Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday List #25-For Voyeurs

On the web? Of course you are. Phone, tablet, whatever, you're out there.

Today's Monday 5 List is for the readers who are voyeurs like myself. You like to look.

So the next time you're sick on the couch with your iPad or taking a break from answering email at work, here are 5 websites I recommend for visual goodies and inspiration.

  1. Pinterest. I've been browsing this website for awhile but only started "pinning" a few months ago. Not familiar with pinterest, it's a virtual pin board, you see an image you like on the web, you pin it to your collection of boards, clicking on the image once pinned takes you to the source of the image (blogs, websites, flickr accounts etc). Others can re-pin your pin, you can re-pin other's pins and on and on and on. I use it for recipes, style and great vintage sources. You can find me on pinterest here.
  2. StyleLikeU. A great site for browsing people's closets. Yup, photos and interviews with everyone from celebrities to designers, shop owners, musicians, writers etc..I love the images of messy closets, cluttered bedrooms, cherished mementos and the stories behind the clothes they wear and the trinkets they have in their homes.
  3. Flickr's What's In Your Bag Group. Completely. Addictive. Thousands of images from people all around the world of the items they carry in their purse, tote, backpack, carryon etc... Hover over an image and see little popups about the items. Fun, cool and sometimes shocking what people carry in their bags.
  4. Apartment Therapy. You can dig and dig in this website and always find something inspiring. Want to see the inside of tiny apartments in New York City. They're in here. How about clever ways to decorate on a budget? Its in here too. It's a time suck, beware.
  5. Hooked on Houses. Have a favorite movie or television series house? Good chance it's on this fun website. Some of my favorites are on here including the house in Something's Got to Give, Practical Magic, Under the Tuscan Sun and Kate Winslet's house in The Holiday. Celebrity homes and featured homes about the world are here too. The movie homes I am waiting to see on this website are Harry and Sally's apartments from When Harry Met Sally.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Special Friday Flashback

Today is my anniversary. A day to look back and more importantly look forward.
This is one of my favorite romantic movies, enjoy watching the scene where Jon and Sara finally meet in Serendipity.
True love is worth waiting for. P, you were worth the wait.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What? More Zucchini?

If you are growing zucchini in your garden you may be having an overabundance right about now. I had a couple of zucchini laying around and whipped up this recipe, it's delicious.

Pasta with Zucchini and Olives

2 zucchini
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter (real butter, not margarine!)
Penne Pasta (I used half the package of Trader Joe's Organic Brown Rice penne pasta)
1/2 cup chopped olives (I used Trader Joe's jumbo pitted Greek kalamata olives)
Parmesan cheese (I used 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
Salt & pepper

Wash and slice the zucchini, not too thin or they will get mushy when cooked. Boil water for pasta. On medium heat melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add zucchini and cook slowly until the slices start to soften and brown. While the zucchini is cooking add the pasta and cook until al dente, drain.

When zucchini is cooked, reduce heat and add the pasta, stir to combine. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon (you can also add lemon zest and more lemon juice to taste). Add freshly grated parmesan cheese, stir to coat. Add chopped olives and salt and pepper, stir to combine and serve hot.

The pasta and salty olives with the fresh zucchini, combined with the tart lemon juice and creamy parmesan is delicious. Enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday List #24-Watcha' Watching?

In the 80's and 90's I was a regular watcher of Aaron Spelling created TV shows, TJ Hooker, Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Love Boat, Dynasty, and Fantasy Island. In the decades since and with more and more crap on cable I've watched less and less TV, especially with the horror of reality TV and trash like the Kardashians and housewives from American cities. Shudder.
Once the Olympics is over this summer I am planning on cancelling my cable subscription and instead use Hulu Plus, Netflix and Red Box for any entertainment I want to watch. So before I say goodbye to cable, here are the only shows that I still watch and enjoy. Most of these show will be available on Hulu and Netflix, those that aren't are usually in season box sets at the library. 
  1. House Hunters & House Hunters International. I've been watching this show for years and try and catch only new episodes. Now that we know it's all staged it's a little stranger to watch but I love to see the locations where they film. 
  2. Giada at Home. I love this cooking show with Giada De Laurentiis. The home where she films is serene with the California surf through the kitchen windows, her light and easy meals and her fun guests including her hysterical Aunt Raffy. I experiment with her recipes regularly. 
  3. Barefoot Contessa. Her beautiful home and gardens, her eccentric friends and her beloved husband. I rarely make her recipes but I like to watch her cook, especially when she visits Paris or New York. 
  4. Downtown Abbey. Completely. Obsessed. This show has created an entire culture of people who love it. I haven't been as obsessed with a show since General Hospital in the 1980's. Fantastic characters, beautiful locations, history, tragedy, vintage clothing, love, this show has it all. I can't wait until the 3rd season begins. 
  5. Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and The Layover. He tells it like it is when he travels and eats. My son and I watch his shows together whenever we can. Anthony was in Chicago filming last week and rumor has it he went to the locally loved former speakeasy Simon's. Paul and I stop by there for a beer or glogg when we are in Andersonville, great place when it's cold outside. 
  6. Glee. A show my son and I don't miss, and not because one of the producers based it on the high school my son and I both graduated from. Regular watchers suffered through the horrible 2nd season and we're hoping the show ends as well as it started. 
What are you watching and have you or are you ready to get rid of cable?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Recipes for Farmer Market Goodness

Every weekend I visit my local farmer's market to supplement the vegetables and herbs that I grow in my garden with local specialties. There is the egg man, the pita and olives lady, the French nuns with their amazing homemade pastries, the knife sharpener and wonderful fruits from local farms including peaches and cherries. Last night I made a ridiculously simple meal for Paul and I and we enjoyed it with a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Here is the recipe, enjoy!

Rosemary & Lemon Salmon
2 filets of salmon
Fresh sprigs of rosemary (I grow my own and used 2 sprigs)
Thin slices of lemon
Extra virgin olive oil

Lemon Basil Potato Salad
Small yellow potatoes ( I used about 10 small potatoes, enough for 2 people) 
Juice of 1 large lemon (You can also add grated lemon zest and more juice to taste)
1 tbsp prepared pesto
1/4 cup real mayonnaise (You can use less mayo if desired)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Fresh basil (Also grown in my garden, I used a handful of small leaves)

Roasted Green Beans with Parmesan Cheese
2 large handfuls of fresh green beans
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil

To prepare the potato salad, make a few hours before dinner or the evening before.
Wash the potatoes and add them to a large pot of salted water, boil until just fork tender. Drain and shake off excess water. In a small bowl, whisk together the pesto, mayo, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust accordingly. Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half or quarters and add to the dressing. Stir gently to coat and refrigerate for at least a few hours. Before serving sprinkle with fresh basil, julienned.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Tear off 2 pieces of aluminum foil, large enough to make a packet around each piece of salmon and place on a small baking sheet. Place salmon on foil, drizzle with olive oil, rosemary sprigs and 2 very thin slices of lemon. Salt and pepper can be added for taste. Fold the aluminum foil around the salmon and seal edges, the salmon will steam in the foil.

On a larger baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, arrange the washed and dried green beans in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.

The beans and fish will cook in the oven at the same time. Approximately 15 minutes for the salmon and 15-20 minutes for the green beans depending on how much you want them to the brown. Once beans are removed from oven, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Serve the fish with juices from packet spooned over the top with a side of chilled potato salad and warm green beans.

Delicious and so easy. The salmon and potato salads are adjusted from recipes by Emeril Lagasse and The Pioneer Woman.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Flash Back Friday #53-An Affair to Remember

I've been working on launching my vintage store on Etsy and hope to have it open next week. Between uploading the images of the items I will be selling, researching prices and writing descriptions, I've been looking for vintage inspiration for the logo for my store. As I'm working on it I find inspiration in the style of classic films such as the 1957 movie An Affair to Remember.

A few of my favorite things about this wonderful movie:

  • The simple scarves Deborah Kerr wears around her hair
  • Belted dresses
  • Dressing formally for dinner
  • The beautiful gardens of the grandmother of Cary Grant's character 
  • The romance of travel
  •  Midcentury furniture
  • Finding true love later in life
  • Pink champagne
Here is a clip, enjoy and have a nice weekend readers!

Monday, July 9, 2012

I'm Published: My Article For Booklist

I was asked to write an article for Booklist, it was recently published as a July featured article. You can read what I wrote, The Evolution of Business Reference on the Booklist website or directly here.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What Do You Do During a Heatwave?

Chicago is having a record breaking heatwave. Spending most of my childhood in Florida for 3 months each summer made me rather heat tolerant, however the humidity in Chicago is terrible and we haven't had a good rain in weeks.  So what is there to do when you can't be outside for more than a few minutes? I've been reading, posting vintage items to my Etsy store, and enjoying the cooler locations in Chicago such as the Art Institute.

The books I am reading right now include:

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. The movie adaption is a favorite of mine but vastly different from this charming book that often reads like poetry. Who doesn't dream of fixing up a villa in Italy, harvesting olives for the oil and learning to cook Italian dishes?

Sunset Edible Garden Cookbook. A feast for the eyes and the stomach this excellent cookbook is full of mouthwatering recipes and photographs. Chapters are arranged by vegetables, herbs and fruit which highlights the many creative ways you can use what you grow including corn, peas, squash, etc.. The corncake recipe is on my menu for dinner tonight.

The photo below is of my garden, I've used a beach umbrella to shade my herbs and lettuce which were starting to suffer with the intense heat. As long as this heatwave continues I will try and get my indoor projects completed before my son returns to visit for a day after his bootcamp graduation later this month.
Stay cool readers.