Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Little Things

It's so flippin' nice outside that I can't stand it.  Seriously, go outside right now!  I'll wait for you to come back...

...see what I mean!?  I'm trying to get over the fact that's almost February and it feels like May...but my brain simply can't compute.  All I see are fluffy clouds, a blue sky and THE SUN and my head yells "IT'S SPRING!!" at me.  Anyway, since it was so lovely outside and I have plans to hangout with friends tonight I decided to go home on my lunch break to see this guy:

Hear that?  That was the sound of my heart exploding!  Oh, the cuteness!

We went for a nice little walk up the street.  He smelled all the smells; his nose virtually glued to the sidewalk.  It was wonderful.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Weekend in Instagram

A recipe for this past weekend:

2 parts icy
1 part antique
2 parts drunk
7 parts lazy

Combine ingredients thoroughly.  Sprinkle with tacos and enjoy.

And that isn't even an exaggeration!  See for yourself...

 I've been on a soft taco kick lately!  In fact, last week I had steak soft tacos three nights in a row.  The fourth night I had quesadillas.

 Cheese's beggar face.  Poor guy, I only ever share healthy food with him.

 Friday night was a big pile of laziness, wrapped in blankets and filled with Cheese...literally.

 Saturday morning Cincinnati woke to this.  Ice on everything.  

 Lucky for us, Cincinnatians are notoriously afraid of snow and ice.  So, when I had a craving for fancy pancakes and we ventured to Rookwood we found the usually chaotic First Watch utterly quiet!  After breakfast we ran some errands, then made our way down to a very quiet Findlay Market for some hot chocolate and gelato at Dojo.

 Taking advantage of the quietness of Saturday, we then decided to hit up the Ohio Valley Antique Mall, one of my favorites!  In the immortal words of Gomer Pyle, "SHAZAM!"

 After the antique mall, we drove a couple miles up the road to Jungle Jims to pick up some taco fixins.
  Seriously, I have a problem!

 After a taco induced coma, we were supposed to go to a birthday, but it got canceled.  So I had the not-so-bright idea to party anyway.  I then proceeded to make several ridiculously strong drinks, including this one, which I called the "Hello, my name is drunk!"  Nearly equal parts club soda and cake vodka, with a splash of POM juice.  I'm stupid!

 This was the exact same, except ginger ale instead of club soda.  I liked it much better...at least I drank it faster.  Trust me, it wasn't pretty.  The next day I vowed to never drink again.  Or at least not turn into a complete idiot of drunken madness next time.

 Antoine went to go pick up some lunch on Sunday, meanwhile Cheese proceeded to watch the door and whine until he returned.  

It certainly is rough being so lazy!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Silent Treatment

Winter and I aren't seeing eye to eye right now.  Sure, the ice this weekend was not the major pain-in-the-ass to me that it was to other people.  And it was really quite pretty.  But it's not enough!  If it's going to be cold, sunless and icy, there needs to be snow.  Period.  I need that all to familiar crunch under my feet.  Those glorious big white flakes falling from the cloudy sky.  Without it, Winter is just a major downer.  The end.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Every once in a while I like to get down on the floor at creature level and play with our furry friends, Cheese and Guillermo.  Usually it ends up being more of a Cheese play time, since he likes to edge Gui out of the playing.  I think Cheese digs it when I play with him at his level.  Plus, it's a great opportunity for me to take some cute pictures.  Behold, the FACE:

 It's just too adorable.  That face should be illegal!

Happy Friday all!  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend?  Any exciting plans in the works?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

One Month

It's officially been one month since Antoine proposed and I said "yes" and "but I'm sick and in my pajamas!"  I'm finally getting used to wearing a ring.  In fact, I would totally miss it now if I weren't wearing it.  Plus, it's pretty.  I still haven't quite mastered the use of "fiance" instead of "boyfriend"!  I usually have to correct myself mid-sentence.  But I assume that's par for the course.

As far as planning goes, it's been very laid back so far.  In the beginning I wanted to hold off beginning to plan right away, you know, so we could just bask in the fact that we're engaged!  And then when the planning began it was, for the most part, pretty fluid and easy.  We've already nailed down a fantastic photographer, a high school friend of mine.  We're pretty sure where we want to have the ceremony and where we want to have the reception.  What kind of cake(s) we'll be having.  We've found our invitations.  We have a pretty good idea of what our guest list will look like.  And I've got a good idea of what we're doing for flowers.  We've got our attendants...all four of them!  And they seemed to pleased as punch to celebrate our special day with us.  Oh, and we've set a date...May 26th, 2013.  So, we've got a year and four months to figure out the rest.  I'd say we're looking pretty good so far.

In the meantime, I just finished reading this fantastic book called A Practical Wedding that I'd suggest to any bride-to-be, or any woman who sees herself as a potential bride-to-be in the future.  There's also a pretty awesome blog to accompany it that goes by the same name.  It keeps you sane, tells you to ignore all that wedding porn and focus on the stuff that matters.  I dig it.

I'll keep you updated on the progress as we go along, hopefully the planning continues on this mellow yet exciting trajectory.  Fingers crossed.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kitchen Company

Sometimes when A and I are in the kitchen whipping up something for dinner, the animals feel the need to accompany us.  They're probably just waiting for one of us to drop some sort of food item on the floor.  I mean, that's normal pet behavior, right?  Weird thing is, if it's just me in the kitchen/house the Cheese-man might come in and see what I'm up to, but he very rarely will stay in there.  And if I'm flying solo, usually Gui is nowhere to be seen.  BUT if it's me and Antoine in the kitchen then, for some reason, both animals decide they need to be in there too.  Like it's a family event and they don't want to be left out or something.  Bunch of weirdos!  Anyway, while we were making dinner one night (I was working on the pomegranate brussel sprouts) I snapped a couple pictures of Gui (Cheese was in and out and in and out, making it difficult to get a good picture of him).

Look at those whiskers!

This is his usual, "Get the hell away from me, dog!" face.

An after-dinner snap of A and I.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Recipe: Pomegranate Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Now, I'm not known for my love of veggies.  Cheese, maybe.  I do love me some cheese.  But vegetables and I don't have a mad whirlwind love affair going on or anything.  We like each other, sometimes.  But that's about it.  Well, a while back I was on a crazy veggie roasting kick.  Weird, I know!  We're talking mass quantities of roasted veggies for lunch and/or dinner.  It was a little extreme!  Eventually I kind of burnt myself out.  But, for a while, it was glorious.  True roasting magic.

In the midst of all the roasting I found a lovely little recipe for brussel sprouts with a pomegranate balsamic glaze.  Now, I think I had had brussel sprouts maybe once in my life before this and I don't remember being too fond of them.   But I'm a sucker for anything with pomegranate in it!  And I do love me some balsamic glaze!  So I went for it, and behold:

Gorgeous sight, isn't it!?  And it tasted better than it looked, trust me.
 Brussel Sprouts with a Pomegranate Balsamic Glaze

1 - 1 1/2 lbs. brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved
Olive oil (generous drizzle)
salt and pepper 
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup balsamic
1/4 cup sugar
handful of pomegranate seeds

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Toss cleaned brussel sprouts in a bowl with olive oil, course sea salt and pepper until coated.   Spread sprouts out in an even layer in a parchment lined roasting pan or walled cookie sheet (the parchment makes clean up easier).  Roast sprouts for 20 to 25 minutes then take them out and stir them around.  Put them back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes, until they start to brown.

While the sprouts are in the oven, start working on the glaze.  Bring balsamic, pomegranate juice and sugar to a slow boil in a saucepan. Make sure to stir the glaze regularly.  After about 15 to 20 minutes the glaze should reduce to about two-thirds and should coat a spoon.  Take it off the heat and let it rest until the sprouts are done.

Once the sprouts are done, transfer them to a large plate or platter, sprinkle them with pomegranate seeds and drizzle with glaze (The original recipe said 2 tablespoons of glaze...but once I tasted the glaze I put almost all of it on the sprouts! It's that good!).

Now, for those of you who are pomegranate-shy, don't you fear!  Take a look at this quick and easy demonstration and you won't sweat at the thought of breaking down a pomegranate for one second.

Pomegranates are so very pretty and interesting inside!

 Let's just talk about how adorable brussel sprouts are for a second.  Can we?  They're like little itty-bitty heads of cute cabbage!

If you give it a try please let me know how it turns out and what you think!  I absolutely loved it, but then I love pomegranate and balsamic.  Antoine, who isn't as pomegranate crazy as I am, seemed to really enjoy the recipe as well.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Life in the Last Three Weeks...

...through the eyes of Instagram.

Hi, remember me?  It's been awhile!  The past couple weeks have been a mixture of good, bad and the in-between.  A and I got engaged and celebrated a delightful Xmas together.  I discovered that a friend passed away, attended the memorial service of this very special and unique woman, and wrestled with finding the right way to console your best friend when you can't come up with words that can help heal after such a massive loss.  We celebrated New Years in downtown Cleveland, A went back to work, I finished some craft projects, we started wedding planning, and work, for me, continued to be exciting and crazy.

It's been a strange couple of weeks.  But there were definitely some really good moments (amongst the bad and so-so ones), some of which I've highlighted here through Instagram.

A and I went to Oriental Wok for Xmas Eve dinner with my sis and brother-in-law.  Good times.  Notice that yellow scarf, I made it!  And I'm kind of in love with it!

Cheesy got a new toy for Xmas, one he hasn't managed to destroy just yet (miracle of miracles!).

Xmas morning we opened presents, just A and me.  Then I made mimosas and A made his famous Liege waffles.

For Xmas dinner, Antoine cooked up a delicious filet mignon with compound butter, baked sweet potato with cinnamon sugar butter and steamed veggies.

We ate said delicious dinner over candlelight at the dinner table...in our pajamas.  It was perfect.

And, if dinner wasn't enough, A also made his spectacular creme brulee for dessert! 

Throughout dinner and dessert Cheese sat quietly at our feet, like a little angel.

There was much wine-drinking over the holidays.

For New Years we had a low-key celebration in our downtown Cleveland hotel room with my HLP and her boyfriend.  It was very nice.

On the way back home from Cleveland, A and I stopped in Columbus to explore, by coffee and get dinner.

My lovely HLP, Amanda, got me a wonderful Moka stovetop espresso maker.  I absolutely adore it and have used it regularly since I got it!  Luckily, I've had some previous barista experience so I can whip up a mean latte, if I do say so myself.  I'm so very addicted!

Cheese continued to be adorable.  And continued to beg for food.  And lattes.

There were a string of beautiful sunsets and sunrises a couple weeks ago.

I began working on an afghan I had started a year or two ago.

And, what do you know, I actually finished it!

Antoine came home from the airport last Friday with pretty flowers for me.  I think he likes me, or something.

The following morning, the sky was dusted with pink puffy clouds.

And the Cheese-man continued to be cute.  Especially in closeup form.

I snagged some awesome new espresso cups on the cheap...to further my new addiction.

Gui and I held hands.

 Antoine made delicious waffles from scratch.  Seriously, he's amazing!

A and I went to the Cincinnati Art Museum, and I admired this man's impressive 'stache.

I broke out in hives for no apparent reason and had to start taking large amounts of steroids and Benadryl. 

Guillermo, as per usual, jumped into bed with me almost every single morning, over the last three weeks.  Purring up a storm and looking cute.