Saturday, November 30, 2013

It's Christmas Time!

Time to Christmas this place up!
 Our 1st Christmas living together Mr. Lawyer and I got these ornaments from the Christmas Village. I love pretzels and he loves pickles! Last year we couldn't find any ornaments that we liked that represented us.
 This year our ornaments represent our worst nightmares! I found this cute fox and Mrs. T gave me the evil raccoon.
 As always Glenn is our tree topper.
 I'm so excited about all my fun wrapping paper. I chose fox wrapping paper for Mr. Lawyer so he doesn't peek at his presents!
 The bar is all gussied up.
 The place must smell like delicious Christmas trees!
 Holiday scented soap and lotion is ready to deploy!

Corn & Cheese Chowder

A good pot and wooden spoon (made by my little brother!) always result in some amazing kitchen inspiration.
This Corn & Cheese Chowder is amazing. It's very flavorful and delicious. Topping it with bacon and gorgonzola adds depth, richness, and a hint of saltiness. I combined it with a Roast Poblano & Cheddar grilled cheese on sourdough. In my mind I thought roasted peppers and corn are always paired together. Dipping the grilled cheese into the chowder brought it to a whole other level. I'll be adding this to the soup rotation but maybe only for special occasions as it is very rich and not so healthy.
 It was also an excellent reason to use my soup and sandwich plates!
Corn & Cheese Chowder
(Pinterest find! from
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
4 tablespoon flour
3 cups chicken stock
4 cups frozen sweet corn
4 ounces sharp aged cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup half and half
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
2 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1. Heat a large pot over medium-low heat and add the olive oil and butter. Once melted, add in the onions, garlic, salt and pepper, stirring to coat. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until the onions softened. 
2. Increase the heat to medium and add in the flour, whisking constantly for 1 to 2 minutes until it is evenly dispersed to create a roux. Cook the roux until it is fragrant and begins to turn golden in color.
3. Pour in the chicken stock, whisking constantly. Add in the corn. Increase the heat to medium-high and stir until the liquid thickens a bit. Bring the soup to a boil and cover, then reduce it to a simmer and let it cook for 10 minutes. 
4. Remove the lid and stir in the half and half and the cheddar. Stir continuously until the cheese melts. Add in the nutmeg and taste the soup. Season it additionally with salt and pepper if desired.
5. Serve immediately with crumbled bacon and gorgonzola on top.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Tomato-Barley Soup

I am in love with the sight of this Le Creuset pot on my stove.
 I wanted to make tomato soup and grilled cheese last night (with my homemade chicken stock!) but I didn't have enough cheese for the sandwiches (the horror!). To make the soup more filling I decided to add in barley instead of orzo (because I also didn't have orzo). It was delicious and satisfying. The homemade chicken stock makes a big difference. Just what we needed for a chilly and thrilling Friday evening at home!
Tomato-Barley Soup 
(Adapted from my Tomato-Orzo Soup)
3 tablespoons good olive oil
3 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can crushed or diced tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup barley
1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the chicken stock, tomatoes, salt (to taste) and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Use an immersion blender to blend soup to the desired consistency. For a chunkier soup skip this step.
3. Add the barley to the soup and simmer until barley is cooked, about 45 minutes. 
4. Top with parmesan cheese or grilled cheese croutons!

Thursday, November 21, 2013


We have a Woodland Winter Wonderland theme going on here.
Pretty Paper. Check.
Cute Christmas Cards. Check.
Holiday Candles. Check.
Winter Scented Lotions. Check.
All of Mr. Lawyer's presents. Check.

Someone is about to have a wrapping party.

Soup & Salad

It's been a soup and salad type of week.
Mr. Lawyer makes the best Minestrone.
Mr. Lawyer's Minestrone
(this is his base recipe, he's always throwing in whatever is in the fridge!)
3 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base (He swears by it!)
2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans
1 diced onion
1 (16 ounce) package of frozen veggies (he gets one with carrots, peas, green beans, and lima beans)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dry basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup uncooked pasta (we like ditalini) **see note**
1. Throw everything except the pasta in a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Add pasta and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

**Note: we like to cook the pasta separate and add what we need to our individual bowls. If you have leftovers and it's all mixed together the pasta soaks up all the broth! Better to keep them separate.**

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bucket List Update!

We're checking things off our bucket list left and right! There are only 5 things left on our main list. I have plans to check off three of them this week. 
The corn maze will not be happening unless you count the corn maze ride we went on with our favorite munchkins. Every year for the last four years we have completed the corn maze with the Prep Crew. This year we spent so much time doing the other activities we were exhausted (and dehydrated! It got super hot for a fall day) by the time we got to the maze and decided to skip it. Sad story. So does the corn maze ride count? Mr. Lawyer also announced his displeasure with how that one was worded anyway: "We never get LOST in the maze. Psh."
We got married! This was the best and most fun thing to check off the list! It was amazing and I want to go back and relive that day so much. Everything was perfect.
Thanks to Ms. Sandy-Boo and her parents we were able to check bonfire (complete with fireworks!) off the bonus list. Nothing like a bonfire with a keg of Ommegang the night before your wedding!
A fall flavored (pumpkin spice and salted caramel!) coffee date in the park on a chilly fall morning. 
Crunching leaves is like crack for the soul.
 Peeping on some leaves!
 A hayride that resulted in apple picking and a pumpkin patch.
A double whammy of delicious apple heaven!
I got my bake on the past two months with some Apple and Pumpkin Pies.
 We've been having a ton of fun with the Fall Bucket list that I've started outlining a Winter Bucket List! Most of the things on it are holiday related so I might have to come up with a mid-winter list to get us out of the house...maybe with some museum and restaurants on it.
We're also chipping away at the Top 50 Philly Bars with our friends. It's a good way to be social and have some delicious beer!

A Teriyaki Snack

Overall I liked this recipe but had some issues with the preparation. I did not like boiling the edamame at all. It was hard to heat all the pods evenly and I felt that some were burning on the bottom. I would recommend steaming the edamame and then throwing it in a pan with the sauce. The flavor was sweet and a nice change from naked edamame with a sprinkling of salt but I think I liked the salted edamame better. The sauce makes your fingers all sticky so be prepared for a mess!
Garlic Teriyaki Edamame
1/4 cup water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 package frozen edamame in the pod
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1. Bring the water and garlic to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in the edamame, and cook until the edamame are hot, and the liquid has nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. 
2. Reduce the heat to medium-high and stir in the teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and sesame oil. Stir constantly until the sauce has thickened and coats the edamame, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with sesame seeds to serve.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Cloud

Things I take seriously:
1. My kitchen
2. Rabid Raccoons
3. My bed, also known as The Cloud
In high school I had a nightmare that someone broke in through my bedroom window and stole my comforter. I was chasing them through the woods when I woke up in terror. Dad and the Dork made fun of me for months.
Lost in The Cloud
We've recently had some serious up grades to The Cloud: a new pillow top mattress pad, new linens, the fluffiest down comforter ever, and new LL Bean flannel sheets! Mr. Lawyer had an old set of flannel sheets but they were beginning to look super scuzzy. I estimate them to be around 6 years old (beginning of law school) so I decided to get myself a little wedding present. The new flannel sheets are so soft and cozy! I might die. And I'm totally not turning the heat on this winter.
Look at how inviting that is!
 Look at how fluffy and cozy!
The upgrades are Mandark approved.
 The two new flannel designs with the old. I went with the slate over collegiate blue. I'm currently thinking about a grey bedroom and the slate blue went well with that.
I don't think I'll be able to get out of The Cloud for work tomorrow.

The Sauce is Boss

I saw this recipe for bbq stuffed sweet potatoes and was intrigued. It was a fun combination but THE SAUCE IS BOSS!! The last time I made my crock pot ribs they were delicious. Of course I made them with Dinosaur BBQ sauce so that explains a lot. This time all I had was Sweet Baby Rays which I love dipping stuff in but the flavor didn't hold up well in the crock pot. Sad story. It was kind of boring.
BBQ Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
(Pinterest find!)
Sweet potatoes
Pulled pork from your favorite recipe
Extra sauce for drizzling
1. Roast the sweet potatoes at 400 for one hour.
2. Slice the sweet potato and top with desired amount of pulled pork. Drizzle with extra sauce and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Enjoy Every Moment

Today is our one month anniversary! On our one month anniversary it snowed (1st of the season!) and I received my new insurance card. The first snow and special dates should always be celebrated with something warm and hot tea and breakfast for dinner! And big kid insurance cards should be celebrated with something turkey bacon!
Fluffy French Toast
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 pinch salt
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white sugar
12 thick slices bread (We used leftover Challah)
1. Measure flour into a large mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk. Whisk in the salt, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla extract and sugar until smooth.
2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat.
3. Soak bread slices in mixture until saturated. Cook bread on each side until golden brown. Serve hot.

An Almost Disaster Dinner Party

Last night Brad & Christine came over for a little dinner party. I made one of Mr. Lawyer's springtime favorites: Spicy Sausage & Pepper Pasta in a Tomato-Wine Sauce.
Two hours before they came over my kitchen looked like this:
It's a little tricky maneuvering around a new hot water tank that's blocking your fridge.
 And my bathroom was a hot disaster and a half.
Nothing like coming home and finding a soaking wet hallway carpet.
Thank goodness our maintenance staff is top notched and easily bribed with baked goods. They replaced the tank and cleaned everything up lickety split so I didn't have to cancel.

Now for a close up of the table settings!
Scarlett & Turquoise
 Juniper & Tangerine
 Cinnabar & Peacock
 Plum & Sunflower

Monday, November 11, 2013

Challah Bread

I was a little concerned about my lack of braiding skills but this Challah Bread came out pretty well! It looked spectacular and tasted pretty good for my first attempt. I smeared some peach butter on a few slices and it was delicious. I'm seeing some french toast and turkey bacon for dinner tomorrow night!
(from Quick Breads, Soups, and Strews)
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons warm water
1 package quick-rising yeast
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons light oil
1/2 cup warm water
For egg wash:
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor or mixer.
2. In a smal bowl combine the 2 tablespoons of water with the yeast, stirring until it dissolves. Let sit 2 minutes.
3. Blend the eggs and oil together in a 2nd small bowl.
4. Add the yeast water to the dry ingredients and then the egg mixture.
5. While mixing, add 1/2 cup water. Let knead for 30 seconds. If dough is too dry, add a teaspoon of water. If the dough it too wet, add a tablespoon of flour until it makes a soft dough.
6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Round into a ball and place in a warm bowl coated with vegetable spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a towel. Let proof until doubles, about 45 minutes.
7. Punch the dough down and divide into four equal portions. Roll into strips 12 inches long. Then braid them into the desired shape. Place the braid on a baking sheet covered with vegetable spray. Cover and let double, about 30 minutes.
8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush the braid thoroughly with the egg wash. Bake about 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Fresh out of the oven!

Cranberry Chiffon Pie

Have you ever had a recipe immediately capture your interest? This pie recipe called to me as soon as I saw it. The color was gorgeous and I've always wanted to cook with fresh cranberries. I'd never made a chiffon or worked with gelatin before. I needed to make it immediately. So I did.
 It was a bit messy and labor intensive but it has such a fun flavor and texture. 
It looked like I murdered someone in my kitchen....
 My day's work in the kitchen! Pie and Bread.
 I like making pies because you can make them look pretty in no time at all. After decorating three cupcakes I get bored. My perfectionism and cake frosting don't get along that well. But pies, pies are where it's at right now.
Cranberry Chiffon Pie
(from Saveur Magazine)
Dough for 1 pie
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1⅔ cups sugar
⅓ cup unsweetened cranberry juice
½ tsp. Kosher salt
1 tbsp. cranberry liqueur
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
1 egg, separated, plus 1 egg white
½ cup milk
½ cup heavy cream
1. Bake dough according to directions.
2. Bring 1½ cups cranberries, ½ cup sugar, plus cranberry juice and salt to a simmer in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst and soften, 8–10 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a blender with cranberry liqueur and lemon juice; purée until smooth. Pass through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing on and discarding solids; chill.
3. Combine gelatin and 3 tbsp. ice-cold water in a bowl; let sit to soften gelatin, about 5 minutes. Beat ⅓ cup sugar with egg yolk and milk in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until thick, 8–10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in gelatin and cranberry mixtures until smooth. Transfer custard to a bowl and place a layer of plastic wrap directly over the surface to prevent a skin from forming; chill until just beginning to set at edges, about 30 minutes.
4. Whisk egg whites in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir ¼ of the whites into chilled custard; using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining whites to combine. Pour filling over dough; using a rubber spatula, spread into an even layer. Chill, uncovered, until set, about 1 hour.
5. Spread ⅓ cup sugar on a plate. Boil remaining ½ cup sugar with ½ cup water in a 2-qt. saucepan until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining cranberries. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cranberries to plate; roll in sugar and scatter over top of pie. Whip cream in a bowl until stiff peaks form; using a spoon, dollop cream in center of pie.