Friday, February 18, 2011

A yummy salad

After a 3 mile walk with my pup this morning, I came home ravenous. I was really craving a salad from my favorite place around town to get one, Cool Greens, but I wasn't really in the mood to shell out $12 for one, although they are so worth it. After a quick peek in the fridge I decided I had all the fixings for a great salad for free! 

For the dressing:
about 1/4 c. rice vinegar
2 small cloves garlic, or 1 regular size
salt and pepper
a sprinkle of dried Italian seasoning
about 1/4 c. grapeseed oil
Whisk all ingredients together and taste. I don't like the taste of oil in dressings, so I always end up adding more vinegar, but adjust the measurements and seasonings to fit what you like. 

For the salad: 
3-4 c. baby arugula and mixed greens. I think what I used is just called "baby arugula mix"
1 avacado, cubed
a couple of slices of red onion
about 1/4 c. sprouts
2-3 T. walnuts, roughly chopped
goat cheese crumbles, as much as you like
Throw all ingredients in a bowl big enough to hold them, except for the goat cheese and half the walnuts. Toss with the dressing (I didn't use it all), and transfer to a big plate. Top with remaining walnuts and goat cheese. Eat it up!  

This was a huge salad. And I ate every bite. I'm pretty sure my measurements are accurate, but it's a salad, you just add as much of whatever you like. I'm sure you all can handle that. 

1. The new Radiohead album. Released a day early, it's real good stuff. 
2. Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha. Can't wait to discuss this one with the book club ladies.
3. Groupon and my American Apparel purchase.  
4. Wickles! I'm a full on addict now, thanks to Josiah. (Psst, the okra is amazing too)
5. Finding two pairs of flats (same pair, different colors) on sale BIG TIME at Dillard's. Finally found a replacement for my favorite yellow flats that I sadly had to retire. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I've had a few requests for my "graces" to be brought back. They weren't ever really gone, I just sort of lost the habit of thinking about them, which is sad because thinking of things that grace my life is such a natural thing for me to do. So they're back!  Starting now.

1. BHLDN :  I haven't ever been much of a "wedding" girl. I think eloping sounds more romantic and unless I have a ring on my finger, I've never allowed myself to think *too much* about what my possible future wedding would be like. It's just not how I function. But then BHLDN came along. The wedding line from Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters that launched on Valentine's Day has me completely smitten. It's bad. I've already picked out three possible gowns for myself, bridesmaid dresses, and shoes. And the fact that it just so happens to have launched before I've ever been close to marriage has me thinking that maybe, just maybe, it was waiting for me.

2. Yogi teas, especially the blueberry slim life green tea.

3. Arcade Fire for the win!!! Finally The Grammy's were (sort of) worth watching again and they got a clue and rewarded a band who is actually talented, rocks hard, and completely deserved the win.

4. Snow days that include: multiple games of Monopoly, a big pot of vegetable soup, snowy walks with the Rose,  popcorn, Mad Men, lots of couch time, lots of cleaning, lots of wine at 3pm (it's a snow day, so day drinking is totally acceptable), more popcorn, mac and cheese, The Social Network, reading, reading, reading, and more popcorn.

5. I've become slightly obsessed with power foods, whole foods, the history of food, etc. These books and blogs have helped feed that obsession. The Whole Story blog from Whole Foods Market, In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, and the cookbook Power Foods from Whole Living Magazine.

6. Okay, time to confess. I am absolutely in love with this album. I've resisted for so long, but I just can't help myself. The only thing that makes me feel better about it is that I got the album from the library for free so I'm not feeding the monster.

7. Half Price Books. This place is quickly becoming my favorite way to pass the time.

8. Having an early Valentine's Day celebration with girlfriends, a delicious home cooked meal, Apples to Apples, and plenty of laughter and wine.  And feeling the love on the real Valentine's Day.

9. My book club that keeps growing and growing.

10. Essie nail polish in Alligator Purse. It's my color of the week.

So tell me, what graces your life today?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Orange & Almond cake

It's amazing how you can take a few simple ingredients and end up with something different every time, depending on how you manipulate said ingredients. Eggs, butter, sugar, flour, vanilla; mix those together and you get a cupcake, or bread, or a pie, cake, cookie, the possibilities are endless. When I bake, I'm always amazed at how all these things go from being separate, simple ingredients, to a weird mixture where I always ask "am I doing this right?!" and then suddenly, BAM! Batter is made! You did it right! Simply magic.

This cake is very simple. Dorie Greenspan calls it "Swedish Visiting Cake" but I altered from her recipe ever so slightly, so I'm just calling it Orange & Almond Cake. The fact that this can be made with one bowl without a mixer was a winner for me. And using my hands to incorporate orange zest into sugar then slowly adding all other ingredients made it, and me, feel very rustic. Perfect for a snow day.

Orange & Almond Cake
(adapted slightly from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours)

What you'll need:
1 c. sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling
the grated zest of 1 small-medium orange
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 stick (8T.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled.
About 1/4 c. sliced almonds

    Preheat the oven to 350* F. Butter a 9 in. cake pan, line with parchment paper, and butter that too. You can also bake this is a 9 in. cast iron skillet, which would really up the rustic factor. Sadly, my cast iron is way too big.
    Put the sugar in a medium bowl. Grate the orange zest directly into the bowl and blend with the sugar using your hands until sugar is moist and smells of oranges. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until well blended. Whisk in salt and vanilla extract. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir in the flour until well blended. Finally, fold in the melted butter.
    Pour batter into pan, scatter with slivered almonds and sprinkle with sugar. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden and a little crisp on the outside. Remove from oven and let cool slightly for 10-15 mins and serve! This is meant to be eaten with your hands, and preferably with morning coffee, or wine and your girlfriends.