eclectic design inspiration

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Music -> Decor: Beyoncé

One of the major perks of babysitting back in high school (besides being paid to lounge by the pool, having unlimited access to Spongebob fruit snacks, and no tax withholding) was being thought of when the dad's company gave him tickets to a Destiny's Child concert, and he didn't know who she was. So, when asked if I would like to have four tickets to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo on the one night the big performer at the end of the evening was NOT a country musician - this country-music-hater said OMG yes! And that’s when three friends and I put on sparkly, bootylicious outfits and danced to Beyoncé and the gals' "Say My Name" in a giant Astrodome that smelled like cow manure. True story.
Flash forward to 2011. Since Beyoncé’s performance at this year's VMA's (the night she almost caused the Twitterverse to implode after revealing her pregnancy), I have been into her song Love On Top. It's one of those songs that puts you in a fantastic, all-smiles-and-sunshine mood, which is really important considering it's November and I live in Portland. Although there is something to be happy about this winter: BASKETBALL IS HAPPENING!!! GOOOOOO BLAZERSSSSS <3 #88 :) :)
Anyway... this post's Music -> Decor is all about Beyoncé: Classy, Fun and Sexy. Like seriously, is there a better example of a sexy woman? I don't think so. She's inspiration to us all.
Because the video is just too good, she gets more than an mp3.

Okay, she actually gets two videos:

And for Beyoncé's music translated into decor...

I've come to a conclusion: Beyoncé should hire Kelly Wearstler as her interior designer because it turns out these are all her photos. It's such a perfect match it's KILLING ME that I can't introduce them! I guess I will have to trust in fate for this one.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

No-Turkey Day (Yes, I went there)

Thanksgiving came and went pretty quickly this year, so I’m going to make the post about it quick as well. I’m honestly so over Thanksgiving leftovers that it’s hard to write a post about how good the food was - even though it really was good! The first four times I ate it. :)

I did things a little differently this year, inspired by the last chapter of Jonathan Safran Foer's book Eating Animals, and took on the culinary challenge of a vegan Thanksgiving. I know, I know, SO controversial. What a hot topic! No turkey, and NO tofurkey. The feast consisted of mostly traditional dishes, using ingredients that I haven’t cooked much with before: coconut milk, almond milk, egg replacer, and Earth Balance.
Everything (except the stuffing...sadness) turned out well, but there were two big hits that are especially worth mentioning, both from Oh She Glows. Photos from OSG as well.

Sweet Potato & Pear Holiday Soup. (I am now fearless about using my blender for non-smoothie recipes)

Fluffy White Dinner Rolls. (Ummm why have I not tried kneading dough before? It’s my new favorite thing. Too bad bakers have to get up so early or I would consider it my new dream job)
Overall the meal and holiday were really enjoyable. A great reminder of how much I have to be thankful for. :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Autumn bo Bautumn

If you haven't noticed, I'm on a kitchen kick and as a result, have been trying my best to shop locally and cook within the season as much as possible. Below is a pic of me with my loot from the Portland Farmers' Market in the PSU Park Blocks. Hands down one of my favorite weekend activities, not only do I get to try at least a dozen samples of locally made cheeses, chutneys, pickles, salsas, pestos and savory dips (sometimes I end up making two or three rounds) ... I get to buy amazingly fresh fruits and veggies that have been grown by family farmers just a morning's drive away from Portland. And it's cheaper than what I could get at a grocery store!

don't worry, I've switched to a more moisturizing conditioner since this pic was taken ;)

There are three main reasons why we should shop locally and in season whenever possible:

1) Vegetables at our local grocery stores that are not in season have often traveled thousands of miles to get from a "farm" to your city. Does that sound so fresh (and so clean clean) to you?

2) Vegetables at the grocery store that are not in season are picked when they are immature, so they aren't spoiled by the time they finally make it to your shopping cart. Vitamin degradation and nutrient loss is the trade off! Um, isn't that why we eat vegetables in the first place?? Oh, you heart the taste of broccoli? Maybe it's just me...

If you MUST have that summer corn (por ejemplo) in the dead of winter, go for the frozen kind because it will have more nutrients than anything you can find in the store that is out of season. Truth.

3) Finally... just think about how much better it would be for the environment if we didn't have millions of fruits and veggies shipped cross country all the time. We like to be green, now, don't we????

For your convenience (I'm all about good reader service), I've compiled a list of some of the most popular autumn fruits and veggies. You may see a lot more on the list than you expected:

Apples, Grapes, Pears, Beet roots, Broccoli, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Pumpkin, Pomegranates, Onions, Carrots, Persimmons, Yams, Potatoes, Lettuce, Winter Squash, Mushrooms, Celery Root, Cauliflower, Garlic, Kale

Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Beet Greens (I am not so sure if I'll be making those beet greens again... just being honest)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Superfood: Beets

They are rich in folic acid, calcium and iron. They have lots of fiber and nutrient compounds that protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer.
Let's go.

Wash fresh beets and remove stems and tail
Place in baking dish with a half cm - half inch of water
Roast in oven for for 30-45 mins at 425 degrees (should easily slice with a knife)
Run under water and slip off skins
Slice or chop with purple onion
drizzle with olive oil, red wine vinegar and fresh black pepper

Honestly though, I've realized my favorite way to eat beets is just raw, on a salad. 

This photo was taken with my phone during my lunch break at work. I admit I was a little self conscious about standing at the counter in the office lunch room, shredding beets with my giant cheese grater, but it was So worth it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cheese-less Pizza... it's actually good!

Greatly influenced by the eye-opening film Food Inc., I've been spending a lot of time recently analyzing what it is I'm eating exactly. Where did this come from? What is it doing for my body? I've been experimenting with foods that I wouldn't typically go for (see archived post: You Know I Like My Chicken Fried) and have been happily surprised.

Lately I've been inspired by the Oh She Glows blogger Angela Liddon and her enthusiasm for vegan cooking and baking. She is one creative woman! Tonight I'm making her Butternut Squash Mac n Cheeze and am SO excited to see how it turns out; I'll make sure to write about it later. I'm not on a vegan diet, but am dabbling in it a bit since I've learned more about it and realized it is both a healthy and humane way to eat. And many vegan dishes are delicious! I was particularly intrigued by notorious-vegan Alicia Silverstone's quote, "Since I've gone vegetarian, my body has never felt better and my taste buds have been opened up to a whole new world." Like, I want my taste buds to experience a whole new world too! I'm obsessed with food and eating, so doesn't it make sense to give it a chance??

Well... I love cheese. A Lot. Grilled cheese and tomato soup, stinky hunks of French cheese with a glass of red wine, thick swipes of chive cream cheese on my bagel, cheese-stuffed fried jalapeno poppers, overflowing quesadillas and greasy cheesy pizza! But I read an interesting post at Oh She Glows having to do with Angela's preference for cheese-less pizza. She's even asked a pizza chef to leave the cheese off of her pizza when ordering at a restaurant (it didn't go over well, if I remember correctly, he refused). Anyway, her insistence on cheese-less pizza convinced me to try it.

So I made my own.

The most important thing about a cheese-less pizza is that the other components of the pizza have to be perfection because they are left completely exposed without flavorful, melty cheese. And thus my new passion for roasting my vegetable toppings with olive oil and sea salt before putting them on the pie. It makes a world of difference because they develop this wonderful caramelization that goes ohhhhhh goddddd in your mouth. This is an excellent "how to roast vegetables" article that I stumbled across online, and I followed his guidelines when I roasted the vegetables for my first cheese-less pizza. One thing to be careful of: if you first roast your veggies in a casserole dish and then put them on the pizza to be roasted some more - be careful you don't overdo it when they go in the oven the first time. At the first sight of a darkened edge, take them out and let them finish up on the pizza.

So far I've roasted purple onion, red bell pepper and garlic for my pizza, but I really want to try tomatoes, mushrooms, jalapeno peppers, red potatoes and pineapple!

I'm not going to explain step by step how I made the entire pizza because most people know how to make some kind of pizza, whether it be pita pizzas or a passed-down-from-your-grandmother recipe. However, I will say that in this instance, I believe less is more when it comes to the pizza sauce.

So, try a cheese-less pizza with roasted vegetables. It's healthier, cheaper and will allow you to really savor some amazing flavors. And don't even think about dipping it in ranch dressing!