Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Daily Cute

My friend Jon has just about the best job I can imagine - he finds a cute picture, writes a corresponding cute caption, and it's published on Parade's "Daily Cute".  Nice life, huh?

It just so happens that yesterday's "Daily Cute" featured my very own Bean the Cat a.k.a. Beanjamin Button a.k.a. BeAndre Jordan a.k.a. Jaisa's BFF.  Jon needed a cute picture that had to do with baseball so he could reference spring training.  I tried to get Bean to snuggle up inside of a baseball glove for a nap but she had none of it.  Luckily, she was down for cuddling with a baseball instead:

Now that you've seen the shot from Parade, here are a few outtakes that didn't quite make the cute cut:

Happy Thursday.  Stay cute, Bean!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pinterest: Cheeseburger Sensation

I really love cheeseburgers.  REALLY love them.  But they are tired.  Boring.  Not blog worthy.  Yawn.  You know what is blog worthy though?  The following recipes that turn cheeseburgers on their head.  I want to make every single one of these.  Now.  Drool to the dome.

Cheeseburger Soup - perfect for cold & snowy days

Bacon Double Cheeseburger Dip

Cheeseburger Casserole by Paula Deen

Mexi Cheeseburger Quesadillas

These all look incredible...right?!  

Stay hungry! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

DIY Pacifier Holder

Here's a quick sewing project that took about 20 minutes and kept my OMG-there's-a-baby-arriving-soon crazies at bay for now.

When adding items to our baby registry, I saw that these pacifier clips were one of the best rated baby products Amazon carries.  It seemed crazy to stick them on the registry when I knew I could make a similar one myself.  Here is what I used:

scrap fabric (leftover from this bag)
mitten clip

I cut the fabric so it was about a foot long strip and ironed the edges...

...then sewed a hem onto each side...

...making sure to sew in the elastic strip as I sewed the end...

On the other end, I sewed on the mitten clip, then attached a pacifier and we are ready to rock!

This is an easy peasy homemade baby gift and I think I'll make a few more with my extra scraps of fabric.  I have a few more pre-baby sewing projects to work on and this one is for sure the simplest.  Stick with me as I go over my head in sewing and nesting!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cheesy Jalapeno Bread

I know my husband pretty well.  I know what he means when he says certain things.  For example, "I'm hungry" means he wants a full on meal.  "Will you make me a snack?" however, means he wants something fun to eat.  Something probably not so healthy, and something probably involving cheese.  Just so happens to be my specialty.

I desperately need to go to the grocery store.  It's scary.  We have barely anything, but I was able to rummage up enough to make something soul satisfying and fun for Monday eve.

This passed the hubby test.  And the HH Hungry test.

This would be a delicious appetizer or a great alternative to cheesy garlic bread.

Here is the recipe:

1/2 Baguette, Sliced in 1/2" Rounds 
2/3 Cup of Mayo 
3/4 Cup of Cheddar 
1/2 Cup of Parm 
1/2 Jalapeno, Finely diced 
2 Tsp Worcestershire 
1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Garlic Clove, Finely chopped 

Lay out the bread rounds on a baking sheet.  Mix all of the ingredients together and then spread mixture on top of each round.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until bread is golden brown and crispy.  YUM.  By the way, this is a great recipe because all of the measurements are estimates.  Have fun with it - it's just cheesy bread after all. 

Stay hungry! 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Easy Shower Cleaning

Here's a quick cleaning post based off of an idea I found on Pinterest.  I can't find the original pin, so here's a look at what other people are doing.   It is SO simple and yet has made a big difference in keeping our master bathroom shower clean.

Behold... one of those dish-scrubbing wands filled with one part dish soap (my favorite) and one part vinegar.  We keep it in the shower for when we have a few extra minutes in the morning to scrub down corners or walls.  Doing a little bit each time we are finished showering means that the shower is always pretty clean and nobody has to get in there for a deep clean & scrub.  In our shower we have tile, plastic, stainless steel knobs, and glass walls.  This cleaning concoction works great on all of them!

Speaking of showers, I made a recent impulse buy when walking past an Origins last week... the same shampoo and conditioner I used to have in middle school!  Gifts from Origins were big among my 7th grade friends and I always used and loved this shampoo.  Welcome back to my hair, Origins.

Happy Friday, readers!  Stay clean and stay homey!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Da Nella Pizzeria Chicago, IL

It's been a long time since I highlighted a restaurant in Chicago.  Not for any particular reason.  I mean I eat out ALL the time, I just didn't really think to do it.  Until I had this pizza.  And then I was all oh snap Hardly Housewives readers would totes love this.  Yes.  My inner voice is an annoying 12 year old girl.


Check out these pics.  It was like I was back in Italy again.  Sigh. Drool.  Sigh and drool.  Mi amore.

Here is the burrata (omg - cream filled fresh mozz) with prosciutto and bruschetta.  I've been having dreams about this.  Dreams I will be reliving this weekend.

LOOK. AT. THIS. ZA ZA.  This was Charlie's - spicy salami with red pepper flakes.

Here is mine.  ALL MINE.  Rapini and sausage.  What is UP.  And you know I ate that crust with butter.

I am one lucky (and plump) girl.  Stay hungry!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Spring-y, Sunny Baby Shower

I am still basking in the afterglow of a beautiful baby shower thrown for me this weekend by my mom and sister.  I had such an incredible time and feel so lucky to have such generous and thoughtful family and friends.

They included so many sweet little details that made the shower feel special and personalized.  Here's one of my favorites - a clothesline of my own baby pictures displayed across the fireplace:

They also printed out letters for guests to fill out for our baby... thoughts and wishes and notes.  I am planning on working all of the finished letters into some sort of nursery decor.  It was so sweet to read through these wishes after the shower was done:

My sister made favors for our guests with two variations of this recipe, wrapped up with colorful spring-y ribbons:

We received so many awesome, thoughtful gifts for our baby and I am just so overwhelmed with gratitude.  I'll be doing washing baby clothes and moving into full-on nesting mode until further notice!

Monday, February 18, 2013


Happy Monday.  Some jerk at our tailgate yesterday made us pack up five minutes into getting there so I have no pictures of my fabulous chili.  AH.  In the meantime, enjoy a little comic relief.

When I try to swim without waiting 30 minutes after eating, I'm like 

When my best friend tells me she's going on a diet I'm like 

When I step on a scale after eating all weekend I'm like 

Source: TVRealityGifs. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Homemade Bacon & Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Happy Valentine's Day!  Here's a quick recipe I made for my furry little friends to show my love -  homemade heart-shaped dog treats hot n' fresh out the kitchen.

I shared another homemade dog treat recipe a few weeks ago and I have since tweaked it a bit, added some ingredients, ran it by the bassets for a taste test, & am ready to share with you!  This new recipe includes two ingredients that my dogs go nuts for - peanut butter and bacon grease.  Like my last recipe, I love that everything I needed to make these was already in my pantry (or, in the case of the bacon grease, in a sealed jar underneath the sink so nobody can steal it, open it up, and hide in a closet while devouring it, FRED).


1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup bacon grease (heated slightly so it's liquid)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup water
1 egg

Mix all ingredients together and knead the dough into a ball.  Cool in the fridge for half an hour and roll out onto a floured surface...

... and then cut the dough into shapes:

Bake in an oven at 375 for 20-25 minutes.  Remove when the edges of the treats are crispy and golden.  Like the last recipe, your kitchen will smell incredibly good (unlike the last recipe, I was not tempted to taste test since the memory of solid-to-liquid bacon grease was very fresh in my memory).  Allow the treats to cool, feed to your dogs, & stay hungry!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Homemade Bakers Square French Silk Pie

My husband has been asking me to make French Silk Pie for...I don't know...8 years.   First of all, I had never heard of French Silk Pie.  We don't have such a thing in Maine.  We have Boston Cream Pie, but no, no, no that isn't it my husband insisted. 

We don't really celebrate Valentines Day. Well not in the traditional sense. I'd rather my husband call me on a Tuesday, because it's Tuesday to tell me how much he loves me (which he does, every day, on his way to work). BUT, if I can think of something spontaneous and something he would really love, like French Silk Pie, then damn...I'll do it.

Let's just talk about this pie for a second.

This is hands down THE MOST DELICIOUS pie I have ever eaten.  EVER.  Like EVER EVER.  Don't worry Mom, I still love your banana cream pie, coconut cream pie, lemon merigue pie, raspberry pie, blueberry pie, Boston Cream Pie etc etc.  But this one is better.  OH MY GRAVY I SAID IT.

Yeah.  I did.

Drool. To. The. Face.

Ok Jon Oestermeyer.  Here is my attempt at making the instruction easier for you to print out.


1 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temp
1 1/2 Cups Sugar, plus 3 Tbs
2 Ounces Unsweetened Chocolate, plus more for topping
2 Tsp Vanilla  
4 Eggs*
3/4 Pint of Heavy Whipping Cream 
2 Pinches of Sea Salt  
Prepared Pie Crust (my mom SWEARS by Trader Joes)

*YES. This recipe has raw eggs.  Gasp.  But so does all of that raw cookie dough you eat.  I don't really think it's a big deal, but just make sure you pop this pie back in the fridge after serving and that you use fresh, fresh eggs.


Bake pie crust according to the packages directions (I did about 12-13 minutes in a 400 degree oven) and then set aside to cool.  Beat sugar and butter, basically forever, until the sugar becomes less grainy.  I think I beat it for about 15 minutes.  Melt the chocolate in the microwave by letting the microwave run for 15 seconds, then stir, 15 more seconds, stir again, etc until the chocolate is completely melted.  Add the melted chocolate and vanilla to the butter and sugar.  Add your pinches of sea salt.  If you'd rather use regular butter, skip the sea salt.  Add eggs, one at a time and let them beat on high for 5 minutes each.  Pour the mixture into the pie crust and let it chill for as long as you can possibly stand it.  3-4 hours at a minimum, but overnight is best (torture).  Right before serving, beat heavy whipping cream and 3 Tbs of sugar to make fresh whipped cream.  I don't like very sweet whipped cream, so you can definitely add more sugar to taste.  Top the pie with the whipped cream and then use a potato skin peeler to shave some chocolate on top.   Serve and watch your husband or wife worship you.

Thank you for the awesome recipe.

Stay hungry!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Freezable Vegetarian Meals

Jesse and I both work from home, so we go out to eat frequently because often neither of us has left the house by 5 PM on a workday, save for a walk to the mailbox or an occasional coffee run (going out to eat "frequently", mind you, is a change from our Brooklyn lifestyle where we went out to eat or ordered in delivery nightly).

With the upcoming arrival of our firstborn (referred to locally as "bebe"), I understand that we are going to be homebound for a while and will need to have some prepared food at the house.  We live in the sticks, so delivery isn't an option out here.  The internet and my experienced mom friends all suggest making meals in advance and freezing them, which seems easy enough until I realized that most recipes I can find for freezer friendly meals seem to be meat-based. 

Here is a round up of some meals that would freeze nicely, are vegetarian, and would make a great meal rounded out with a simple salad (or eaten on their own at 3 am):

1.  Smitten Kitchen's take on Thousand Layer Lasagne (with spinach) -  I've made fresh pasta from scratch before (here's Jaisa's tutorial btw) and have a pasta attachment for my KitchenAid.  Time to spend an afternoon rolling some lasagna sheets.  This would freeze beautifully and reheat easily.

2.  Delightful Repast's Vegetarian Quiche - With quiche, you want to cook it ahead of time, let cool, and then freeze it.  I will be making this veggie-packed quiche and then cutting into individual servings before freezing in foil.

3.  Most Mac & Cheese will freeze nicely.  I'm including the picture above (Toasty Mac and Cheese from Real Simple) because I thought it was hilarious that Real Simple suggests those smoothies as "similar recipes".  Kale Apple Smoothie... Mac and Cheese that calls for 5 cups of whole milk... totally the same thing.  (I will probably make our Gouda Mac & Cheese and freeze in single servings for quick comfort food).

4. Homemade Calzones from The Kitchn - making small calzones in advance makes perfect sense for me & Jesse because he can make up his own meat lover's ones while I fill mine with eggplant, spinach, & ricotta.  Totally beats Hot Pockets!

5.  Squash, Kale, & White Bean Soup from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen - for sure the healthiest of the bunch, but looks delicious and nourishing.  

As you can see, I have my work cut out for me for the next 49 (!!!) days.  Please feel free to share any freezer friendly veggie meals YOU like.  Stay hungry!

Monday, February 11, 2013

How to Make the Perfect Filet Mignon

I have an idea.  How about instead of going out to dinner for this Valentine's Day, you stay home and make a super fast, super simple steakhouse worthy dinner right at home?  YOU CAN DO IT.  I promise. It's so easy.  This entire meal, from start to finish, took about 30 minutes and was outrageously good.  I've never made filet mignon at home, but it came out absolutely perfect. Let me show you how. 

I went to Whole Foods and got 2, 6 ounce pasture raised, grass fed tenderloin steaks.  If you're going to go all out, do it right.  The steaks came to $26 total.  A piece of filet at a Chicago steakhouse would be 30-40 dollars EACH (with no sides) so this is actually pretty reasonable for us. 

Start by patting the steaks off with a paper towel so they are very very dry.  Next, rub both sides with a drizzle of olive oil so the seasoning has something to stick to.  Generously, GENEROUSLY season both sides with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.  I am obsessed with Cyprus White Flake Sea Salt and used that, so if you're wondering why there are big chunks of salt, that's why. The seasoning helps create that crust so don't be shy.  If you are a salt freak like I am, invest in that salt. I put it on absolutely everything.   


Heat 3-4 Tbs of olive oil in a pan and heat on high until the oil begins to smoke.  You want the pan to be screaming hot to ensure the meat sears evenly, doesn't stick, and creates a beautiful crispy crust.  Sear on each side for two minutes.  I used a cast iron pan and loved the results.  On that note, use a pan that's oven safe. 

The photos a little fuzzy, but you get the idea.  CRUST.  Amazing. 

After the meat sears on each side, place in a 400 degree oven for 4-5 minutes.  4 minutes will give you a medium rare steak where a 5 minute cooking time will give you closer to medium.  If you want to ensure the right temp, you want 135 ish for medium rare and 145 ish for medium.  If you like it cooked more than that, there is something wrong with you. 

This came out...omg...just so good.

I just finished eating this and yet my mouth is straight up drooly paloozy staring at these pics.

Simple.  Delicious.  And romantic.  Just my kind of Valentine's Day.

Here are the ingredients and the exact steps you need to make this complete meal in 30 minutes (or less!) for two. If you aren't super comfortable with multi tasking in the kitchen yet, I would recommend making both of your sides first so you can focus on your steaks after. 

6 Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, quartered
1/4 Cup of Sour Cream 
4 Tbs of Unsalted Butter 
Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper 

2, 6 Ounce Tenderloins 
Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper 
Olive Oil 

Haricot Vert (Fancy skinny green beans): 
2 Handfuls of Haricot Vert or trimmed green beans 
2 Tbs of Olive Oil 
3 Cloves of Garlic, smashed 

Quarter the potatoes and simmer them in salted water for 12-14 (I left the skins on to save time).  While potatoes are cooking, season the steaks and sear in the pan.  Put in the oven.  Drain and mash the potatoes and whisk in the butter, seasonings and sour cream.  Set aside.  Remove steaks from oven and place them on a dish to rest.  Heat up olive oil and smashed garlic in a pan.  Add haricot verts and cook on medium high heat.  Remove the garlic and cover, cooking for 2-3 more minutes or until cooked, but still very crispy.  Plate and watch your husband or wife's mouth hit the floor.  

You know what would go really great with this?  LOADED mashed potatoes.  Ok. Someone stop me. 

I'm done.  Stay hungry and stay tuned to see what's for dessert on Wednesday...oh my.