Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Brown Sugar Shortbread

Among other things, I'm trying to (re) learn how to bake. I've been semi-obsessed with the Food Network, really since childhood, but especially the past couple years. I'm pretty picky about my food, so it kinda goes with the saying, "If you want something done right, do it yourself." I don't mean that I dislike other people's cooking...but if I'm in the mood for Chicken Parmesan and fettucini alfredo, why should I waste a ton of money at Olive Garden when I can make it at home? I mean, a trip to Olive Garden is almost always nice...I freakin love the place, but sometimes it's nice to be able to enjoy that kind of meal in the comfort of your home and with the satisfaction of knowing that you made it.

I've been cooking pretty steadily for the last couple years...basically since I graduated college. One thing that I haven't practiced in forever is baking...I thought I'd give it a whirl this weekend:

Brown Sugar Shortbread
a la Pampered Chef

It came out pretty good, but I forgot how dry shortbread was...I did manage to make a quick powdered sugar glaze that I drizzled over the slices as they were served...gave them a little kick...yummy!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What's Wrong With Me?

"To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly." ~Henri Bergson

Today I subscribed to Martha Steward Living. I sat there, staring at my computer screen, wondering, am I really about to subscribe to Martha Stewart Living? What's wrong with me? I don't get Martha, I get Cosmo, Lucky, Glamour...

I remember one time in college, when I had moved from the dorms to an apartment, I did something...maybe I cooked, or I ironed something...I can't remember...but what I do remember is how my friends remarked, "Oh my gosh...look at domesticated Diana!" Hmmm...domesticated? I think I've always been "domesticated." Even back in middle school, my favorite TV shows were FoodTV and HGTV. I've always loved cooking, crafting, garage-saling, and other stereotypically "domesticated" things. And yet, it was almost as though that person took a step back in college to let a different person develop, and now those two entities are growing together. I've taken up garage-saling again. I run a jewelry business, so I do crafty stuff all the time. I've started evening out my TV time with Style and The Food Network and HGTV. My mom bought me a sewing machine, so I'm trying to re-teach myself to sew. It's weird and refreshing all at once, sort of like when you revisit your parents house after you've moved's unfamiliar and comfortable at the same time.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Linguine With Shrimp Scampi

Oh Food Network, how do I love thee?

I love weekends that I can wake up late, keep my comfy, cottony PJ's on and sit in front of my couch and watch Food Network and make jewelry. Give me a cup of coffee...maybe a bacon, eg,g and cheese bagel from Bruegger's, and I'm a happy camper. Every once in awhile, I stumble upon a recipe that becomes a staple in my home. This is one of them:

It's Linguine with shrimp scampi, and not only is it delicious and relatively healthy, it's pretty darn easy to make. There aren't a lot of ingrediants to it, so that helps keep things simple, but the food is cooked over medium low heat, which means that things don't really burn all that easily. I first made this meal a couple months ago, and we must have had this half a dozen times already since then. Oh, and it's not too expensive to boot!

Click here for the recipe

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sunrise, Sunrise, Looks Like Morning In Your Eyes

Last week, I woke up at my usual 6 AM for my hour long car ride to work (don't worry, it's supposed to be temporary). As I headed north through the early morning and slowly lightening sky, I was pleasantly surprised when I turned east to stop by the bagel shop I visit once a week for breakfast. The most gorgeous, peachy pink sky was ablaze with sunlight. It made the fact that I had to wake up so early that day just a little bit better.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Tree or a Home?

I took these pictures in the parking lot next to the tennis courts where I take lessons about once a week. The weather has been great lately - perfect tennis weather. I played yesterday and today - today was much better. Tuesday was almost too hot. I kept looking at the shady spot next to the court, under a large oak tree, and wishing I could just sit down for a couple minutes and sip on some is what I had yesterday and today. But, I couldn't look weak in front of my tennis coach! He didn't even seem to notice the heat at all, so I couldn't let it get to me!

On the way out, I noticed this tree (see below). It had cute little berries (at least I think they were berries) in yellows and reds. I guess it's just that time of year where berries replace flowers. Either way, I ask...

A tree?

Or a home?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Miami Cuisine - Bistec Anyone?

One of my favorite experiences from my trip to Miami was eating at an authentic Cuban restaurant. We checked out one in the Coral Gables area that was super nice, and our friend/"tour guide" (hehe...jk) that we were visiting is actually Cuban herself, so she was able to help us order the best items on the menu. We started the meal with deep fried plantain chips with a garlic/oil dip and yuka...umm...somethings with a creamy basil (I think it was) dipping sauce. For my entree, I had the Bistec de Palomilla, which I instantly fell in love with. It's an extremely flat piece of steak, seasoned with garlic and lime juice, sauteed till it's juuuuust right. It's served with rice, black beans, and a minced onion/parsley mixture, and a side of pan-fried, sweetened plantains. It was sooo good! To top the meal off, we had a "coffee with milk." Now, I know that sounds simple, but it's not just brewed coffee with milk poured in it. It's actually sort of like a mini cafe latte with twice the caffeine and slightly sweetened. It was also delicious...the whole meal was really.

Anywho, the other night, I don't know what caught me, but I decided to try to recreate my fab meal from Miami.

My attempt at Bistec de Palomilla - it would have been better with a better cut of meat, but ah well...

My meal wouldn't have been complete without the fried plantains! A girl's gotta have her dessert!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Miami Mystery?

Anyone know where this is?

It's in the same area where you may see this:

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Floral Teapot Set

I went garage-saling yesterday. I used to do it a lot with my mom when I lived at home - through middle school and high school - especially when I was really into HGTV. During college, I kinda forgot about it, but I've decided to pick the hobby back up to see what I can find. They say most of Rachael Ray's plates, platters, etc are actually vintage, so I'm interested to see what kind of wonderful discoveries I can make.

Yesterday, I picked up this super cute tea set for only $5! Yes, only $5. I read the bottom, and the set is apparently made in France...maybe I'll google it later to see if it's worth anything, but I just really like how pretty it is.

My original idea for garage-saling was to find cute, vintage plateware for entertaining, but some seem like they may have been made for looking at only. I'm still deciding for this set if I'll simply display it or actually put it to good use with my friends and family. What do you think?

Miami - South Beach

My SO and I went to Miami a couple weeks ago, so of course, we had to take a trip to South Beach. The weather was beautiful, the beach was warm with a light breeze, and the water was so soothing! Here's some pictures:

A look at the strip from the beach - this was on the end of South Beach where there was a bit less art-deco style - I loved the white sand, the blue skies and the blue-green water!

A seagull watches the beach-goers

Another seagull people-watching - these seagulls are quite the voyeurs, n'est-ce pas?

My favorite scene from the beach was a random flower someone has stuck into the sand. At first glance, and from pretty far away, it almost seemed to be growing there (which of course makes no sense). Maybe there was a wedding on the beach?

Hmmm...maybe it's time for a change of scenery? I could move to Miami...maybe? No? Ok...hehe. Not right now at least ;)