Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Is it just me or is crushing garlic one of the most fun parts of cooking?

Or maybe it's soaking your skewers in a cookie tray because your lasagna pan broke...ugh...

Or perhaps watching people you love enjoying the food you've prepared?

Better yet - those same people telling you how delicious the food is you prepared...

Yes, I witnessed all of these things last week when Josh's mom & dad came over for dinner. I decided to do something a little fancier as this was a Father's Day/Birthday Dinner (Josh saw his dad for Father's Day but I wasn't able). I decided to try these Beef Pops with Pineapple and Parsley Sauce that were recommended by my bosses. And boy did they do a good job recommending.

These were SO amazing. I swear the beef I used said "filet" but they were about $6 - $8 for a 1.12 or so pound package, so it's possible it was sirloin. But can it still be "filet?" Gosh I have no idea. I'm sorry, I just don't remember. BUT THEY WERE DELICIOUS. I was unable to marinate the beef for 3 hours as instructed, I got about an hour in before they were put on skewers and then on the grill. I also forgot to save some of the sauce for dipping, but no one missed it. These were good enough on their own. And grilled pineapple!? COME ON. Amazing. Josh & his mom aren't fans of pineapple, so I just made a few skewers with the steak only. But seriously. Way amazing.

I was afraid the parsley sauce would be a little overwhelming, but let me tell you, IT IS NOT. It was so delicious. So. I'm serious. You HAVE TO TRY THESE. I don't know how I did so amazing on my first try of grilling steak - but these were PERFECT. We all liked them medium-well and they came out just perfect. We served with water with lime in my gorgeous pitcher, salad and sweet potatoes (also done on the grill - oiled and wrapped in foil for under an hour, they were taken off the grill when the skewers were put on).

parsley sauce
3 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed chili flakes (I used a little less as we don't do spicy in this house)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

for the kebabs
1 1/2 pounds beef fillet, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 40 cubes) (I used about 2 lbs for four people. there were only a few skewers remaining for delicious leftovers)
1 (2-pound) pineapple, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 40 pieces)
20 (8-inch) wooden or bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

Parsley Sauce: In the bowl of a food processor, blend together the parsley, garlic, vinegar, chili flakes, sugar, salt and pepper until smooth. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil until incorporated. Place half of the mixture in a medium bowl and add beef cubes. Toss well, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours. Place the remaining parsley sauce in a small serving bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Thread the skewers alternating the beef and pineapple. I put anywhere from six or more of both the pineapple and beef on each skewer. Continue with the remaining skewers. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes each side (for medium rare) or until desired doneness. (I probably did mine about 4-5 minutes per side)

Drizzle the kebabs with the remaining reserved parsley sauce or serve the sauce on the side for dipping!

Seriously. ENJOY!

Also - how cute do our red chairs look with our red berry plates!??

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

style obsessions: arc floor lamps

I've been trying to find information on who started the "arc floor lamp" trend, but have only been able to come up with a few names: George Kovacs and Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. 

The Castiglioni brothers designed the floor lamp with inspiration from a street lamp in 1962. Their arc lamp is considered one of the classics of modern lighting design and is part of the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection. It is the last image below (Arco Floor Lamp) and link for more information.

Kovacs is a well known name in modern lighting for introducing the first American made halogen torchiere ("lamp on a tall pole with a small head holding a slender quartz bulb") and the "Save Your Marriage" lamp ("twin adjustable lights attached to the same plate above the bed"). Info from here.

Here are some of my favorites:

Possino Euro White Marble Base Floor Lamp from Lamps Plus, $299.99.
George Kovacs Polished Chrome Arc Floor Lamp from Lamps Plus, $360.99
Twiggy Floor Lamp, made in Italy, Hive Modern, $2338.00
Arco Floor Lamp, made in Italy, Design Within Reach, $2,696.00

Monday, June 27, 2011

weekend update: june 24-26, 2011

This weekend involved a trip to Pittsburgh and an old-fashioned girlie sleepover (Disney movie [Aladdin] and all) with these lovely ladies:

Staci, Katie, Nicole, me and Kristen

to celebrate this lovely lady's birthday:

We got a limo to take us out and bring us home (for $5/person each way!!) which was super fun and made us feel fancy.

We had dinner and drinks at Bettis Grille where we had salads and split a Buffalo Chicken Flatbread and a Mushroom + Goat Cheese Flatbread. Everything was deliciously amazing.

After dinner we walked down to SoHo for more drinks and hanging out, though I think most of us stuck to water at this point...

We somehow convinced Katie and Nikkie to do some PLANKING - which is supposedly the new craze according to some YouTube video Staci sent us all. It was pretty funny that other people recognized it, as none of us had heard of it before the video.

The next morning we slept in, had cinnamon rolls, fruit and mimosas for breakfast and watched Water for Elephants, which we had all just read as our 2nd book for book club. All of us loved the book (maybe Nikkie wasn't too impressed) and though we enjoyed the movie, there were a lot of variances from the book that frustrated all of us.

We stopped at Rivers Casino and Wheelhouse Bar & Grill for lunch then stopped off at Ikea before going back home.

Oh, and also? Escalators. Are. Dangerous. I managed to trip up a down escalator and slice up my toe. Yes, that was stupid of me. But I'm pretty sure the tripping was not because of the escalator, but because of my clumsiness and then just was worse because of the escalator. I was only a few steps down and I tried to get back up to grab my camera from one of the girls. So yeah. Seriously. Don't mess around on those things.

Anyway, great weekend! Sunday I was just happy to lay around with my husband. We relaxed, napped, ate Chinese and watched TV.

I'm hopeful to get some more fun posts up this week - we had Josh's parents over for dinner last week, so that deliciousness will be coming. Also, I swear next time I go to Katie's house I'm going to do a house-crashers post, because I love what she and her hubby have done with the house, and she's too busy to get pics up on her own blog!

Hope you all had an awesome weekend as well!

Friday, June 24, 2011

fabric friday: 06-24-11 / KnollTextiles Behind the Scenes

Check out this video of KnollTextiles behind the scenes. Pretty awesome shots of the showcase at the Bard Graduate Center as well as some footage of textiles being created.

Monday, June 20, 2011

style obsessions: sectionals

One thing that has remained consistent in my design style is my love for sectionals. Now I'm not talking cheesy, bulky, leather wrap-around sectionals - but modern, retro, neutral colored chaise + sofa sectionals.

Funny how when I had the opportunity to buy a sofa/sectional I ended up buying a pretty basic, transitional and still-not-broken-in-or-very-comfy-even-after-four-years couch and matching loveseat.

Here are a few of my favorites from the web:

Image from Apartment Therapy. I adore this sofa. Have no clue where it's from though.

Karlstad sofa + chaise from Ikea. I love it in grey.

Cini Boeri Lounge for Knoll Studio (I know these aren't sectionals - but i still love the low, comfy look). Image from Neocon 2011 Showroom Highlights.

Gus Modern Carter Sectional Sofa from All Modern/CSN Stores. I love this style.

Santa Barbara Sectional from Vivavi.

Modern Fabric Sectional Sofa from Tosh Furniture.

Grey Fabric Sectional Sofa from Tosh Furniture.

Modern Grey Fabric Sectional Sofa by Tosh Furniture.

I'm definitely drawn to a few key elements: neutral (mostly grey) colors and textured fabrics, visible metal frame/leg and a medium height back with floppy, loose cushions.

chocolate chip pancakes

This is a tried and true recipe my dad has been making for us since my sister and I were wee little girlies. Dad usually handled our breakfasts as he had a more flexible schedule and mom was always off bright and early to get to work during the school year. Though she was gone in the early hours of the morning, she was home by the time we were back from school and enjoyed the summers off with us.

Okay, so Dad didn't start putting in the chocolate chips...I think we did that as we got old enough to make these for ourselves. Don't judge these pancakes. This is nothing. Have you seen We Are Not Martha's S'mores Pancakes?? Yeah. Those look amazing. But my pancakes...have fruit.

I had the pleasure of Josh joining me for breakfast this Saturday morning. He usually sleeps in on Saturdays (until he has to get up for work), but he was up earlier and it was nice spending some time over breakfast with him since I would be gone all night shooting a wedding with my sister.

Anyway, here is the recipe! You can find this recipe all over the web, it's pretty well-used and it's the only recipe where I've memorized the measurements.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes
makes 4 large pancakes or 6-7 medium
1 c flour
1 T sugar
1 1/2 T butter, melted (or veggie/canola oil)
3 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla (or more if you like)
1/4 tsp/pinch salt
1/2 c - 1 c milk (we use 1%; amount depends on how you prefer the consistency of your pancakes)
1/4 c chocolate chips (or more...)

(In case you don't know how to make pancakes...)
Whisk together all ingredients except chocolate chips. Adjust milk amount as preferred. Add chocolate chips. Heat griddle or skillet to medium heat. Add pancake batter, as much or as little as you want (again, depends on size/consistency of your pancakes). Once pancakes start bubbling on top, flip carefully. Cook a few more minutes until done. Repeat until all the batter is used. Serve with syrup, berries and whipped cream!

Of course you can substitute blueberries, white chocolate chips, peanut butter, etc. for the chocolate chips. If I make them plain, sometimes I'll add a little lemon juice to the batter instead of the vanilla. I also learned from my dad that warmed syrup on pancakes, french toast or waffles is the best. I suggest you try it!

I also love reheating leftover pancakes in the toaster oven the next day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

a father's day (early) post

My dad is the best dad ever. I know, I know, everyone says that. But really. It's my dad.

My dad is creative, musical, artistic, hilarious and my best friend. We have always had a special bond; me helping him fix things, handing him his tools, playing Legos with him. I've had the privilege of working side by side with him in our Children's Church program (Captain Bill and Volley Galore!) and singing and dancing beside him at various concerts.

We have a sense of humor that engulfs us (and my sister) to tears while the "Americans" (mom, Brian and now Josh) look at us like we're nuts. My dad is supportive of me and is always there when I need him. I know he prays for Josh and I, that we would be happy, successful, blessed and fulfilled in life. He has been a great father and leader of our family.

Happy Fathers Day to my dad! I love you, Daddio! I will always be your little Ame.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

homemade pizza

For my birthday this year, my parents bought me a pizza making set - stone, peel, cutter and silver server for the stone. It's been a fun addition for baking bread and making some frozen pizzas, but it was time to break out all the stops and do fresh dough AND sauce for dinner.

We also always love breadsticks with pizza. I mean - this is a Josh thing that I have now become hooked on. So, I make a big batch of dough, separate it in half (I go a little heavy on the dough for the pizza) and bake it differently. The breadsticks were baked with a spread of garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper mixed with some butter and oil. Parmesan was dusted on the top after baking. Also, I scored the bread before baking, which made it a lot easier when it was done.

The pizza dough recipe is the staple recipe I always go to on I haven't found any problems with it, so I haven't made any changes. I do think next time I'll incorporate the different spices within the dough for the breadsticks. They were good - but they needed to be kicked up a notch to really separate them from the pizza. I mean, the dough recipe is from Emeril, so, I should be kicking it up notches.

The pizza sauce is an Annie's Eats recipe found here. I made a few changes for us, here's my recipe below:

Recipe for pizza sauce:
14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. dried marjoram (yeah, I used the same amount for all the should feel free to add or remove to your tastes!)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
S+P to taste
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely minced

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Allow to cook for at least 15 minutes.  Once finished cooking, remove from the heat.  Feel free to mash with a potato masher or blender for a smoother sauce. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

This was enough for one about 12" pizza plus plenty left for dipping. And there is still some in the fridge...

Monday, June 13, 2011

weekend update

As always the weekend went by too fast and here we are at another work week. Weekends should always be three-day-weekends. Minimum.

I started out early, leaving work at noon on Friday. Former roomie KC joined me at the townhouse where we chatted about the cable box, Josh's video rocker, our TV stand and other random things that only (late) twenty-somethings like us would discuss. But really. LATE twenty-somethings!? When did this happen???!!!!!!


We decided to try one of those we-only-serve-lunch-close-early places to eat and settled on Gerry's Deli on 8th Street in the Colony Plaza. We were first intrigued by their fun website (I really like that logo/banner on the site!) and secondly by their "CHICKA BOOM BOOM" wrap with chicken, shredded lettuce, tomato, avocado, baked beans, cheese and sour cream. (Okay, I was intrigued by this. So much so that it is what I ordered). Anyway, the food was very good - the above wrap?! AMAZING. Except I'm 99% sure mine didn't have avocado, and if it did, it probably would have been even THAT more amazing. I might have to make this at home. I ordered the potato salad as a side, and even that was amazing. You can pick up food to go or even just deli meats or ox roast (good 'ole Erie ox roast).

After lunch we stopped next door at Dolce Gelato where KC bought me some gelato because I didn't have any cash. Yum. Chocolate Hazelnut and Cheesecake. Amazing combination.

We decided to try a thrift store with the rest of our afternoon and stopped at the City Mission Thrifty Shopper on West 8th & Pittsburgh. We both wanted to own a piece of clothing from a thrift store so we could say "thrifted!" It was the word of the day. More on these adventures in a later post.

So, that was Friday. Only Friday! It was great catching up with Kristen and we had a super fun time! I'm bummed I didn't take any pictures of our adventures, even on my phone would have been good. Oh well. Sometimes you're just enjoying the moments so much, you forget to capture them!!

The rest of my weekend was spent lazing around, making pizza (see post tomorrow), painting chairs, and playing video games with my hubby. After a long work week, all I ever want to do on the weekends is just lounge with Josh! I had hoped for some nice weather to get to the Peninsula, but Mother Nature was not in the summer mood this weekend and it was pretty low, cloudy temps the whole time.

Well. Thanks for sticking through to the end. Hope you all had glorious weekends and a great week to come!