Thursday, June 30, 2011

Free Hugs

First of all, Happy Birthday to my little Sister!
(remember this? Nerd alert!)

Now that I've successfully recovered from my week of Phish, I can finally put up some pictures of my favorite tour sightings:
 Malls with academic buildings

 College guys

 Stadium seating


DARE Graduates

 Even BFFs

 Lucrative Careers

Secret Languages

Creative camping grills

 A Grill (Cheese) Master

 Local Phans

 There are giant rainbow umbrellas

 Goon Sculling

 And Party Time Sunglasses

 Fishman Shirts

 And "Phree Hugs" for Birthday Girls

And then there's the music...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

First Summer Pesto!

Now that I'm caught up on life, it's time to get caught up on posts! Our garden is doing so well (even though we abandoned it for two long weekends in a row). We finally had some time on Friday to make our first batch of summer pesto.

Before MW, I had never had pesto. Pesto originates from Genoa in Northern Italy and MW, having an Italian family, grew up with homemade pesto with tortellini. I was leery of eating a green sauce when he first introduced me, but after my first bite I was in love. It is so savory and full of flavor that you need only to coat your pasta with it. We actually started our summer garden for the purpose of making homemade pesto, and of course it has exploded since then. Basil is still the most abundant plant in our garden and this year we plan to crank out several batches of pesto (perhaps to get us through the winter?). This is one of my favorite easy to make meals when paired with a package of fresh tortellini.

What You'll Need:
food processor
3 cups sweet basil (packed)
3/4 cup parsley (packed)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2- 3/4 cup grating cheese (we use the larger amount with pecorino romano)
4 cloves of garlic
~3/4 cup olive oil

1. Chop the washed basil and parsley in a food processor

2. Add pine nuts, garlic, and cheese, chopping/blending between each addition until it is all blended well.

3. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until desired consistency is reached.

4. Freeze or use fresh! This will make about 4 servings, where each serving is enough to lightly coat a 1lb package of fresh tortellini (we usually use the Buitoni whole wheat cheese tortellini).

Last night, I was lucky enough to have an MW creation complete with sauteed shrimp, pepper bacon, garlic, onions, sun-dried tomatoes 

All on a delicious bed of homemade pesto and tortellini. Because we added extras, we only used a 9oz. package of tortellini and nearly used a full jar of pesto to coat everything. It was mind-blowing

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


How much more amazing can the people at TOMs get:

Dear Blake, are you married?
Love, LA

To browse/support go here: TOMs Eyewear
I'm totally putting these Wayfarers on my Happy Clam Wish List: Wayfarers (in addition to the Flip&Tumble bags I have yet to get...)
So I can look like this:
(yes, they let you virtually try them on- DO IT)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quick Charlotte Tip

Go to Charlotte.
Visit NoDa.
Eat Here: Boudreaux's Louisiana Kitchen.
Pick this (jambalaya):

You won't regret it. My family didn't.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Whirlwind Weekend

We just arrived home after a 3 day trip to Maryland to see some friends and concerts. It was difficult to motivate myself to study during the car trip when I had this book beside me. It was recommended to me by my sister (who enjoys running much more than I do) and it's been difficult to set down! So it was nice to have a couple hours to just read uninterrupted. Typically I read before bed, which allows me to get through about 3 pages before I zonk out.

Reading this book also made me want to hike out into the wilderness for a few days. Things like this transparent kayak call to me. But alas, work and school pull me home. MW will be gone for a couple days this week, so perhaps I'll try to find an interesting recipe to try. Perhaps another vegetarian one? I'm still trying to add to my arsenal of veggie dishes so that I can try my hand at being a vegetarian for a month without surviving off hummus and pita alone.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Honey Wheat Bread

As promised, here is my Honey Wheat Bread recipe. You will love this bread and never want to go back to the store bought stuff again. Having a grilled cheese or BLT on this bread is pure food heaven.

What you'll need to get started:
3 cups warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 (.25 oz) packages of active dry yeast (or about 4 1/2 tsps bulk yeast)
1/3 cup honey
5 cups bread flour
3 tbs butter, melted
1/3 cup honey (again)
1 tbs salt
3.5 cups whole wheat flour
more butter (to spread on top)
9x5 in. pan

What to do:

1. First, activate your yeast. Plop all those tsps of yeast into the 3 cups of warm water and set aside for about 5-10 minutes.
2. Then mix 5 cups of bread flour with the yeast-y water combo and 1/3 cup honey and stir well. Set aside for about 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.

3. Mix in 3 tbs melted butter, another 1/3 cup honey, salt and about 2 cups wheat flour. Mix well.
4. Place this mix onto a floured surface and knead, adding more flour until it's only slightly sticky, but not stuck to the table/counter. Once it reaches this point, I like to knead it for a good 10 minutes to really get the gluten going.

5. Place the dough in a greased bowl. Plop it in and the turn it once over to coat it with grease. Cover with a towel and let rise until it has doubled.
6. Punch down (I give it a quick 3 jabs), shape, and cut into your loaves. Using a (greased) 9x5 pan it makes 3 loaves. I prefer to bake them all at once and then freeze the baked bread, but you can freeze the dough and use it later.
7. Let the dough in the pan rise again until the dough has topped the pan by about an inch. It will look like a nice loaf of sandwich bread!

8. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Then brush the tops with some melted butter and let cool.
9. Once cooled, I wrap mine in plastic wrap and then in foil, if I freeze them.

A few side notes:
This is not a hard recipe at all, but it does take several hours since the bread is left to rise 3 different times. I usually try to do it on a Sunday when I'm doing things around the house. 

The bread rises much quicker if your house is warm(er). So I usually don't have the A/C pumping when I make it. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Something to brighten your day

Tonight I must study.
But tomorrow comes my bread recipe! I made my first loaf of the summer on Monday.

Until then, enjoy this beautifully shot and wonderfully whimsical video/ad: