Friday, September 30, 2011

happy hour: champagne cider cocktail

in honor of october (i honestly can't believe tomorrow is october, by the way), i've crafted an autumnal cocktail that captures one of my favorite flavors/ingredients of the season.  apples.

growing up, my sister and i loved sparkling cider.  not only was it delicious, but we felt oh-so-grown-up sipping our fizzy cider out of elegant champagne flutes.  with that memory in mind, i thought a champagne & cider cocktail would be a lovely, celebratory drink this time of year.  bonus, this drink is super simple to make and guests will adore it!

credit {here}
champagne cider cocktail

1 part apple cider
3 parts champagne
garnish options: cranberries, cinnamon stick or an orange wedge

in a champagne flute add in cider, then top with champagne and your garnish of choice.  if you want to make it super festive you could rim the glass with sugar in the raw.

sugar rim: run an orange slice around the lip of the glass to coat it, invert the glass into a shallow dish of sugar in the raw to coat it.  now craft your fall cocktail.

credit {here}

hope you enjoy the first weekend of october!  i know craig and i will - our wedding shower is tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

foodie wednesday: clams & crab cakes

last week, craig & i had my parents and my sis, hannah, over for a seafood feast.  we enjoyed steamed clams as our appetizer and then had crab cakes and a garden-fresh salad for dinner.  of course, dinner was accompanied with glasses of white wine and lots of good conversation & laughs : )

clams with white wine & garlic

1 lb little neck clams, rinsed & cleaned
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
3 tbsp butter
juice from 1/2 a lemon
other 1/2 cut into wedges

1. melt 1 tbsp butter in a medium pot over medium heat.  add the garlic & shallots, season with salt and cook for 2-3 minutes until mixture is fragrant.

2. add wine & lemon juice and increase heat to medium-high until liquid comes to a simmering boil.

3. add clams and cook, covered, for 5-7 minutes, until clams have opened.  (discard any clams that are still closed!)  while clams cook, melt the final 2 tbsp of butter and pour into a small bowl.

4. using a slotted spoon, transfer clams to a large serving bowl and pour the broth into a small bowl for dipping.

5. serve clams with shallot-garlic-broth and butter for dipping and lemon wedges.

i loved scraping the bottom of the broth bowl to get some shallots/garlic for my clam.  with a squeeze of fresh lemon, i was good to go!

low-carb crab cakes

crab cakes often rely on breading to give them bulk.  this recipe relies on awesome, lump crab to make these cakes extra delicious : )

1 lb lump crab
2 large eggs
2 (heaping) tbsp grainy mustard
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
salt & pepper

preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. in a large bowl combine the crab, eggs, mustard and parm.  season with salt & pepper.

2. once evenly combined, form crab mixture into patties.  i opted for 8 large cakes.

3. put bread crumbs in a shallow bowl and lightly coat each patty.

4. spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and arrange cakes.

5. bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping once half way through baking.  crab cakes should be golden brown and scrumptious looking!

enjoy with horseradish mayo, light ranch dressing or even guacamole...and a lemon wedge, of course!

our seafood feast was seemingly decadent, but actually rather wholesome.  with the proper combination of decadent ingredients, you can enjoy both a healthy & deliciously fulfilling meal.

bon appetit!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

breathe & smile. smile & breathe.

lately, i've been a roller coaster of emotions.  with the wedding drawing near, yoga teacher training beginning and some time-consuming (but exciting) work projects on my plate, i've been up-down-high-low-happy-sad-pissy-sweet a lot lately.  poor craig.

credit {here}
that said, i have been making a concerted effort to focus on the positive...cause after all, perception is reality, right?  but sometimes it can really just feel like the world is coming at me, no matter how hard i try to convince myself otherwise.  in those moments, instead of moping or crying or getting mad, i'm breathing.  and smiling...if i can.  and then breathing some more.

credit {here}
i'm finding that this oh-so-simple tactic is really helping me get my feet back on the ground when my head is running wild and my emotions are out of whack.  instead of beating yourself up for not being able to "change" your mood, stop trying.  breathe.  and smile (if you can).  and then breathe some more.

when you control the breath, you control the mind - no matter what it's saying to you...
credit {here}

smile.  breathe.

Monday, September 26, 2011

om monday: perception is reality

in many ways, my yogadharma classes are reinforcing truths that i already believe, but my classes are also encouraging me to view them on a larger, more worldly scope.  we can get so wrapped up in our perception of things that we forget that it's just that...our perception.

credit {here}
there's a great saying that i've long believed to be true: perception is reality.  this basic notion has been re-churned countless times, but its simple eloquence is sometimes hard to grasp.  it's sometimes hard to admit that if things are "good" or things are "bad", it's because we're perceiving them to be that way.   

sure, there are times when you could argue that almost anyone would agree with you that what you are going through is either more negative or more positive, but i'm sure we've also all experienced beautiful, sunny days when we're miserable and pissed off, as well as difficult, sad times when we've been able to share a smile or a laugh.  it's all about our perception of the situation. 

credit {here}
you can choose to see the outside world as annoying, out-to-get-you and an overall unfriendly place, or you can decide (i know, it's hard) to begin to perceive things differently.  instead of reacting with your usual knee-jerk response and going to that cold, hard place, soften and try to think about a new way of looking at the things, people and experiences you encounter on a daily basis.

...and, you'll enjoy more "sunny" days for sure...

Friday, September 23, 2011

happy hour: three's a crowd?

i have been all about multi-grape wines lately.  though i love my go-to sauvignon blanc, i'm totally digging the supple, hearty reds and surprising whites that emerge when winemakers mix & mash different varietals.

drink me.
my favorite combo-wine maker is ménage à trois.  i know, i know, good name, right?  they have red, white and rosé 3-grape wines, and they are all good.  all their wines are a mixture of (you guessed it) three different grapes and consequently all have a uniquely pleasing quality that delights many different palates.  and at approximately $10/bottle, you really can't go wrong...

also, these mixtures are a great place to start if you're unsure of a certain type of grape.  look for a combo wine that includes that varietal and ease your way in.

sooo goood.

so, in my humble opinion, three is definitely not a crowd.  three is just getting the party started ; )

so, mavens, drink any good wines lately?  cheers!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

foggy morning on the farm

craig and i are loving our housesitting gig for my friend (and previous employer).  their house is a gorgeous stone farmhouse on rolling acreage.  not only are we in charge of the house & property but also 2 horses, 2 dogs and 2 donkeys : )  we've got our work cut out for us...but we're not minding it one bit!

here are some lovely images i captured this morning while wandering around the house and yard, in no particular order.  enjoy!

eating my overnight oats

olive (black) & josie (tan & white) wandering around.  these girls are slowly becoming friends...
hoover on the window seat

LOVE this image <3

 breakfast was overnight oats (my usual) and coffee with frothed milk. 

lunch was an open-face onion pita topped with roasted veggies (i.e. leftovers), homemade marinara (thanks, barb!) and havarti cheese.  under the broiler for 3 min and voila!  delicious : )

snack was small glass of red wine...

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

foodie wednesday: hearty lunch

with all this cold(ish) weather we've been having here, i've been totally feeling hearty food - soup, chili and red wine (is that a food?).  the other day, trying to satisfy my fall-food craving, i made a simple, yet completely delicious meal. 

here's what i came up with:

1 link chicken sausage - used sweet italian, but my real favorite is spinach & feta
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
1 small tomato, sliced
salt & pepper

serves 1

1. put olive into a saute pan and heat.  after a moment, add the (defrosted) link of chicken sausage and enjoy the "sizzle".

2. allow the sausage to get a crispy coating on both sides before adding the onion & mushrooms.  saute the veggies and then cut the sausage into chunks to make certain they cook all the way through.

3. cover and continue to cook.  (if veggies and/or chicken are starting to stick, add 1/4 cup of water before covering.)

4. when chicken is cooked thoroughly and onions & mushrooms are caramelized, season with salt & pepper.

5. serve with fresh tomato and basil.

after my habitual cut-and-mix-mix-and-cut

this meal was the perfect size for a hearty lunch but could definitely work for any meal!  you could whip up some scrambled eggs and serve this as a side, or you could add the mixture to pasta or top couscous with it.  yum!

bon appetit : )

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

fall-ish weekend recap

this past fall-like weekend found us enjoying the company of friends, yummy food and traveling to some of our favorite (nearby) places.  it was a lovely weekend, indeed.

craig and i kicked off the weekend a day early on thursday night and enjoyed happy hour drinks at our favorite little bar.  on the way home, we saw a rainbow!  we were excited and tried to get some pictures, but don't worry, we didn’t break out into tears like “double-rainbow” guy on youtube… haha

when friday evening rolled around, we headed to our alma mater, muhlenberg, for alumni/homecoming weekend.  craig and i wandered the campus while sipping some tea and soaking up the gorgeous, fall-like weather.  later, we met up my sis, hannah, and friends for sushi before venturing back to campus for a night of college-esque fun {wink::wink}

after breakfast at our hotel saturday morning, craig and i drove into philadelphia to meet with my mom and dad to look at some potential properties.  we have been dreaming about moving into philly for a few years, so we thought it would be a good idea (and a lot of fun) to start doing some “research”.

for lunch, my parents treated us to a delicious meal at tria on 12th & spruce.  we ordered some wine (it is a wine bar, after all…) and shared some small plates (homemade rosemary olive oil potato chips with truffle aioli and also caramelized onion bruschetta with feta) before indulging in the main course.  everything read so well on the menu, craig and i decided to share: 1 smoked salmon sandwich with herbed goat cheese on grilled brioche and 1 truffle mushroom & brie panini.  yum!

after lunch, we wandered around society hill before heading to old city for cappuccinos and a bit more real estate scouting. 

saturday evening found us back home in our little bucks county cottage enjoying chinese on the couch : )

sunday morning kicked-off with 8:30am yoga class.  nothing like 90 minutes of sweaty vinyasa to set you right again.  mid-day was a women-only affair, celebrating the impending arrival of my cousins’ first baby.  we don’t know the name yet, but we do know it’s going to be a november boy.  (fingers-crossed he’s born on my birthday, november 19th!)

olive, our dog-baby, all curled up on the couch.  she is seriously too cute!
 before leaving for the baby shower, i had thrown together a crockpot chili, so a lovely, hearty aroma greeted me when i walked back in the door afterwards.  craig and i got into pjs nice and early and chowed down on chili, fireside.  yes, it was cold enough for a fire in the fireplace!  i loved it!

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