Sunday, October 31, 2010

Skincare Overload

ello all, sorry for having gone MIA as of late. I have had a flurry of guests from out of town as well as a very very intense work week. Sometimes, the phrase "when it rains, it pours" is just so apropro. I worked many late nights this week and worked very hard on Friday night so that I could have the weekend off, and boy am I glad I did it! This weekend was lovely, complete with friends, the city, and shopping!

I go through ebbs and flows of the shopping itch. Right now I'm not really there, but the Boyfriend has got it bad. So we went to Soho and shopped a bit. Success! Among other things, he got a really smart pair of shoes from Clark Originals. Love. In fact, just before he got them, I tried on the women's version and fell in love. Don't worry, he is not trotting around women's shoes. If anything, I would be the one in men's shoes.

In any case, the one thing that I have been splurging on is skincare products. I am awful to my skin, almost never moisturizing my hands or feet, and pretty much using the same tub of St. Ives face lotion for the last 1.5 years. I am trying Philosophy's Miracle set, which contains retinol, thanks to Sephora's coupon. So far so good, my face feels smoother, and I kinda like having a nighttime routine. Two thumbs up, Philosophy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Obsessed: Tocca Bianca Perfume

or a while now, I have been obsessed with this new (to me) fragrance, Tocca Bianca. I love soft and feminine scents, especially clean scents. Like laundry. Mmmm....laundry. I've been dropping by Sephora every now and then and spritzing a little bit of this on my wrists. The smell is fresh, slightly floral, and soft. Definitely give it a try!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Homemade Focaccia + Roasted Red Peppers and Arugula Sandwiches

haven't actually tried making this yet, but I keep coming back to the same recipe and image. I love this picture, don't you? It's from one of my favorite food sites, Alexandra's Kitchen. She posts the best recipes and the most vibrant and vivid photos, so good it's enough to make your mouth water.

My dad used to make us focaccia bread on a regular basis. Mainly because he owned a restaurant and was always trying new recipes. So the first time I tasted focaccia it was his, and when I asked him what it was I thought he was just being silly. Focaccia? That just sounds funny to a 6 year old.

You can find the recipe for this here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What's for Dinner Tonight? One-Pot Chicken with Sausage and Potatoes

ortunately, I am the accidental (but very grateful) receiver of Everday Food Magazine, a great little subscription that comes my way and is filled with simple recipes for, well, everyday food! The previous tenant of the Boyfriend's apartment (his cousin, one of my most favorite persons in the world) was the original and intended subscriber, but since her move to the bay area, she's been unable to have them forward the magazine to her new address! Hey, I'm not complaining...although I do feel bad.
I usually sit through a stack of them and tab the recipes I want to try. Last night was the One-Pot Chicken with Sausage and Potatoes, a very simple and really yummy recipe from this month's issue.

2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a pound of sweet italian sausage, casings removed, broken into 3/4 inches (I used turkey italian sausage)
2 bone in chicken breast halves (which comes out to 4 pieces, each breast is sliced in half)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 yellow onion, diced medium
1 pound of waxy potatoes, halved or quartered if large (I used finger potates and cut them into quarters)
3 stalks of celery, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of fresh oregano

In a large pot, heat oil over medium high. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until brown all over (about 4 minutes). Transfer the sausage to another dish (it won't be fully cooked, but don't worry!) Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and add to the pan, meaty side down. Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes, flipping it once. Transfer the chicken to the sausage dish.

Add onions, potatoes, and celery to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft (3-5 minutes). Return sausage and chicken, meaty side up, to pot and add 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through (about 20 minutes, but I gave it until 30).

Remove lid and increase heat to high. Boil until the liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup (5 minutes). Transfer chicken to a platter. Add vinegar and oregano to the vegetables and sausage and stir to combine. Transfer this all to a platter with chicken. Transfer sauce to a gravy boat and serve alongside the chicken. Voila! A really simple and very delicious meal.

I spent about $10 for this whole dish and improvised here and there. But it was really simple and the Boyfriend loved it!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fall Traditions

s noted in my previous entry, I love Fall. I love everything about it. The smell and feel of the crisp air, the crunching of the leaves underneath my boots, the beautiful changing colors of the leaves...sigh. Fall is wonderful and my fondest memories are from this season. Fall is also apple picking season which inevitably leads to apple desserts and baked goods. I'm not a huge cooked apple fan, I think the texture is too grainy/weird/mushy for my liking. Apple pie fans are shaking their heads in disappointment, I know. But! I love love apple loafs! Related to the pumpkin/banana/zucchinni bread family (I'm just assuming), apple loafs are often overlooked. I haven't seen them around much, certainly not in cafes or coffee shops, but they are one of my favorites and I've been making them for the last two years, this year making it three, thus (in my book), a new Fall tradition. Below is the absolute best recipe and it's pretty fool-proof. This recipe is from, but for some reason it's no longer there! Good thing I wrote it down!

Autumn Apple Loaf

1 1/2 stick of unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 2/3 cup of sugar
2 eggs, beaten (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 cups of peeled and chopped apples
Optional: 1 cup of chopped walnuts, raisins, etc.

Cream together the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix the other dry ingredients in a bowl and sift with a fork. Add the wet mixture to the dry one. Add apples and whatever else you want to include, walnuts, etc. Pour into a greased loaf pan and fill it to about 3/4 high and bake at 350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes. Make sure to test it to see if it's fully cooked. Use a toothpick and pierce the loaf at the thickest part. If the toothpick comes out clean, it's done. If not, it needs a few more minutes. The top of the loaf will turn a golden brown.

I usually chop the apples into small pieces since I don't really want to feel them. This time I made them slightly chunkier and I actually like it! Also, I added 10 more minutes to the bake, since it seemed to take a bit longer than usual. The top of this loaf comes out very crispy and the inside is very soft and moist. It's the best!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Planning My Escape...

or the past 2 years, I have been planning my escape. Gasp! What does this mean? From what? From whom? Where will you go? All questions that I'm sure are filling your head with a look of panic (I kid). No need to fret, it's just another adventure! The Boyfriend and I have always discussed, rather whimsically, living abroad. For just a little bit (or forever)...but until we have a place/city where we want to plant our roots, we want to roam. This is quite difficult for the both of us as our jobs are state specific and require us to take exams and all that other yucky stuff should we decide to change stomping grounds. We have both traveled to a decent amount of places, although in very different parts of the world. He's more rainforest, Amazon, Honduras, etc. and I am more London, Paris, Brussels. And we are both originally from the West Coast and have secretly held a desire to go back. Don't get me wrong, I love NYC more than anything, and I consider it one of the best cities in the world. In any case, we have not stayed anywhere long enough to really know where we'd like to go next. Where to go? I know I need a side gig to sustain us...and all this will not take place for several years. But just thought I'd start planning my escape...