Crème de la Crème: March

I read a lot of blogs, and really love the "Friday Favorite"-type posts, which usually list/discuss top links to fashion, food, pop culture, etc. Since I'm not enough of a frequent blogger to do the weekly thing, I thought it might be fun to recreate the idea within a monthly parameter instead.

Twitter Fame:
After being a some-time Twitter participant for about two years, I finally experienced the celebrity re-tweet! Truly exciting to know that an "untouchable" celebrity actually 1) read my tweet, and 2) found it special enough to retweet it!

TV Junkies:
Morgan and I are seriously addicted to a few shows these days. I would feel guilty about this, but I counteract the couch potato-ness with plenty of reading and exercising. Some of our favorites:

"Game of Thrones" - We've been in a race to get through season 2 before the season 3 premiere on Sunday. This show is like "Henry VIII" meets "Lord of the Rings" and it is soooo wild! There are tons of characters and storylines, but I like that - it makes me feel smart to be able to follow/keep up.

"The Following" - Apparently everyone on the planet is a traitor/spy/affiliate, according to this show. I cannot get over the massively tangled roles and relationships. How these writers come up with this stuff just boggles the mind.

"The Walking Dead" - Never thought I'd be one for the zombie show, but man-oh-man, this one rocks. 
Just heard today that 27 people will die in Sunday's season finale. Whaaaaaaat!?!?!?

"House of Cards" - Kevin Spacey is an evil, political mastermind...and strangely hot. Robin Penn is better looking (and a better actor) than her Princess Bride days. Kate Mara is playing a game and you can't quite be sure she knows all of the rules. A dark, funny, dangerous show. 

Behind-the-ball catch-ups: "Dexter" and "Breaking Bad" - we're working on these. Can't wait to be in real time eventually (if only to cease dodging storyline giveaways within social media).

Top Reads:
Speaking of books, I spent a majority of my spring break doing a lot of reading.

Gray (Wentz) - Admittedly, I am a sucker for rock star autobios...anything to get into the head of a musician. There's something so seductive about the music world, even if I know full well that I am too uptight to ever hang there. This novel is listed as "semi-autobiographical," but let's just call it what it really is: Pete Wentz's journals in book form. I think he is a brilliant lyricist, and this book is a turbulent, emotional ride through his brain - kind of like a longer version of one of his songs. It makes me sad to read it...but in a good way. 

Dark Places (Flynn) - Ah, this author is my newest favorite! She writes with such twisted, mental angles. I could. not. stop. reading this one in particular, and was not able to figure out anything until the end (as was the author's intent). High marks for that!
Perks of Being a Wallflower (Chbosky) - Haven't seen the movie yet; waiting to finish the book first. I am only just into it, but love the 90s/high school slant already. Can't quite figure out the narrator...

Cutting for Stone (Verghese) - The setting of this book isn't one I would typically be drawn to, but the author sucks you right in from the beginning. I am taking my time with this book.  

Yummy Success:
Andes Mint Brownie - add a topping of crushed Thin Mints and they're out of this world!
Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas - crispy edge-cheesy center perfection.

Pinterest Finds:

Worthy Website:
www.tagxedo.com - a cool place to turn words into art.

Fashion Fave:
Vintage lockets - so gorgeous!

Vintage Vault:
90s fashion...take me back to the days when flannels were cool.

Imagine Dragons concert at The Fillmore. Totally rockin'.

Wise/Witty/Worthwhile Words:
"I'm confused...how is two gay people getting married a threat to my marriage? Am I doing it wrong?" ~ James Van Der Beek, via Twitter
Agreed, Dawson, agreed.

Upcoming Awesomeness:
*Trip to Tampa for a wedding reception (Cuban food/family time/travel fun)
*End-of-Year countdown...only eight weeks 'till summer! 
*Forthcoming info on the new Hanson album/tour
*New Fall Out Boy album release April 16th


A Day in the Life of Edith

Edith is my 11-year-old cat, but she's basically my child. She's curious and moody and super-tolerant - both of my incessant smothering (a Penelope to my Pepe le Pew) and Morgan's misguided attempts to befriend her. Mostly, she's sweet and so, so adorable.

Ever wonder what your pet does when you're not home? I do. Since I'm around all day during the summer, I had a chance to follow Edith around one day and observe her activities. (Comically, I didn't manage to capture a pic of Edith eating, which she does OFTEN.) Overall, she really doesn't do anything interesting at all, but the exercise produced some pretty cute pictures :)


Brunch fabulousness

This past weekend, Morgan and I made a trip to Boulder for brunch. Boulder has an astounding number of great restaurants - especially brunch places - and though we have many favorites, we wanted to try something new. That something took shape in Centro Latin Kitchen, a place that has been around for years but one we've always overlooked somehow. Centro is probably better known for their drinks/happy hour, but we were so intrigued by a Latin brunch concept that we just had to try it.

Centro opens at 9:30 on Sunday mornings, so we made sure to be there right at that time to avoid a crazy wait. Good thing, too - when we left about an hour later, the place was nearly full. Anyway, as we were seated, we were given a regular menu and a happy hour menu. Whaaaa? A BRUNCH happy hour? What a cool idea.

The happy hour menu featured a bunch of menu items (drinks, too) priced between $2-$4. We assumed that the super-low prices must mean that these dishes were mere bites, so we ordered several. < Wrong. The plates were surprisingly substantial; I could have ordered two things and been completely content, if not full. So clearly, this happy hour brunch is a smokin' deal for this place (especially since they have regular brunch menu items priced all the way up to $15).

The food: well, it was incredible. Each dish was just special - a creative fusion of flavor in just the right amounts. The sweet dishes weren't too sweet, the spicy dishes featured a delicious heat. Here's what we ordered:

Coffee (with horchata [cinnamon rice milk] instead of cream)
Smoked cheddar biscuits & chorizo gravy (the only item from the regular menu)
Hash browns with pork green chile
Chocolate-chunk pancakes with blueberry-tequila syrup (< gluten-free!)
Burnt (bruleed) grapefruit 
Breakfast taco w/egg and ranchero sauce
Coconut-battered banana with vanilla anglaise

In all, the experience felt so contently unique to the average brunch meal. The ambiance is cool, the food outstanding, and we walked out of there with a second meal's worth of leftovers -- and a final bill of $22. Freaking awesome!


Food Revelation: Cauliflower Rice

I may never cook with rice again.

Earlier this week, I spied a recipe for cauliflower "rice" on Pinterest. Intrigued, I pinned it and figured it might be a useful recipe to try in the next month - especially since Morgan and I are trying to watch our carb intake before the wedding. We're big fans of cauliflower "mashed potatoes," and so using it to create rice didn't seem like a huge stretch. And when I decided to make crockpot Swedish meatballs for dinner tonight, the cauliflower rice sounded like a great replacement for the typical starch that would lie beneath these meatballs. 

It's so impressive to me when people think outside the box with food (particularly vegetables) and find new ways to use it. Cauliflower rice is a perfect example of this - it's basically just steamed cauliflower that was cut up to look like rice. Mild and soft, the cauliflower soaked up the meatball gravy just as well as regular rice or noodles. I'm sure this cauliflower would sub in well for rice in any recipe - maybe in casseroles or soup. 

Crockpot Swedish Meatballs with Cauliflower Rice

1.5# ground turkey, 3/4 c. fine breadcrumbs, 1 egg, 1/2 c. milk, 1/2 c. minced onion, 1 T. Worcestershire , 1 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper, 1/2 t. garlic powder, 1 t. dried parsley

1/3 c. flour, 2 t. paprika, 1/2 t. pepper, 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 t. garlic powder, 1 t. dried parsley, 3 c. boiling water, 1 1/4 c. sour cream or plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, milk, onion, Worcestershire, and spices in a large bowl. Drizzle 1/8 c. olive oil into a cast iron skillet. Roll meat into walnut-shaped balls and place in the pan. When all of the meat is formed, put pan into the oven and allow meatballs to brown, turning once. 

Lightly grease the crock pot and set to high. Dump meatballs into crockpot, cover and cook 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, in the skillet, heat drippings, boiling water, flour, spices, and sour cream/yogurt. Pour gravy over the meatballs in the crockpot and allow to cook on high for one hour. Turn heat to low and cook 1-3 hours more before serving.

*Both the meatball and the gravy recipes can be adjusted to taste, and would adapt well to additions or changes. Next time, I'm going to add sliced mushrooms to the gravy, and oregano to the meatballs. 

1 head cauliflower, 1/8 c. olive oil, 3 chopped scallions, 3 minced garlic cloves 

Rinse and core the cauliflower. Cut into bite-sized pieces, and then whirl in the food processor. *A grating blade is the best, but if you don't have that attachment, just dice with the regular blade. Cauliflower should be small and rice-like (or resemble crumbled feta). 

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add scallions and garlic and cook over medium until the garlic is lightly browned. Add cauliflower and stir to coat. Crank the heat to med-hi and allow cauliflower to brown. Cover the pan (so that cauliflower will steam) and stir occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. 

In a bowl, layer cauliflower, meatballs & gravy, and peas. Yum!


Telluride - April 2012

We traveled to Telluride this past weekend to finalize several details involving our wedding ceremony, which is only a month away. OMG.

Anyway, it was a great trip - very productive. We met our wedding officiant, who is a wonderful guy and the perfect person for the job. We also secured the wedding site, and saved a little time to have dinner with local friends. I'm so excited to marry my best friend in such a beautiful place! 


 The view from our wedding hotel

 Pastries from Baked in Telluride + mountain 'scapes = heaven

Wedding Travels - San Fran

I've been lucky enough to travel to two fabulous places for wedding-related tasks in the past month, one being San Francisco. My sister and I went to San Fran at the end of March for the wedding dress fitting, and had a great time exploring the city. We toured Alcatraz and hung out with our ultra-cool relatives, Uncle Paul and Tete Bonnie. It was a blast, although too quick of a trip. I learned a few things on this adventure, too:

1) The San Fran public transit (re: bus system) is confusing and inability to navigate it may result in copious amounts of walking through multiple neighborhoods. 

2) When one is tired of walking said copious amounts, a sighted trolley may seem like an oasis in the desert. Be warned...the trolley is a dangerous, wild ride. How that dude controls a vehicle overloaded with annoying tourists - all  with one pulley-stick-thingy - is beyond me.

3) If one should ever master said bus system and actually board a bus, know that one might still look like a tourist (despite efforts to seem otherwise). In these cases, it's best to not speak to the self-proclaimed meth addict sitting across from you. Just FYI.

4) After a long day of walking and riding buses, French-owned coffee shops sell delicious almond croissants. 

5) Yes, it is possible to walk from Union Square to the Golden Gate Bridge. But it's a looooooooong way. :)

Here are a few pics from our trip...

 Prime hotel location

 Hang on around curves!

 Fisherman's Wharf cuisine

 Beautiful Golden Gate

 Bizarre/beautiful monument thingy...still not sure what it was/who put it there

 This was a steep hill. Believe it.

 Oh, my sister Summer...she makes friends where ever she goes!