Friday, August 28, 2009

Confetti Couscous

Here's another good find from Cooking Light magazine. I've made this recipe twice, once for a party and once to have at home. Simple to make and is just as delicious, if not more so, the next day.

Confetti Couscous
total prep/cook time: 45 mins serves 8

2 baby eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 yellow squashes, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into quarters
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 cups uncooked Israeli couscous
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Note: I don't have a grill so I roasted the veggies in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring half way through.

2. Brush eggplant, squash, and bell peppers evenly with 4 teaspoons oil. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Place vegetables on grill rack; grill 3 minutes on each side or until slightly charred. Cool and chop. Place vegetables in a large bowl.

3. Bring 2 cups water and broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in couscous. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until couscous is tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Add couscous, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper to vegetable mixture; toss. Combine vinegar and mustard in a medium bowl, stirring well. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup oil to vinegar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture over couscous mixture; toss to coat. Stir in basil.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

a mention in The Green Bride Guide

This May, among a whirlwind of friend's weddings, I was hired to help plan a wedding. I was fortunately referred to the couple - Becca and Greg - by a coworker whose wedding I helped with last summer. From start to finish it was a delight to work with Becca, Greg and their families. Although I was working, I can honestly say it was one of the best weddings I've ever attended. Classy, casual and a perfect reflection of their love for each other and the people who surrounded them. One of their big priorities was to have a green (eco friendly) event. Since they had very green lifestyle to begin with it wasn't hard to carry out their vision.

This week I found out their wedding is being featured on The Green Bride Guide. It was great to see the wedding pictures, read their story again and I was so touched to be mentioned as their wedding planner (and floral designer!). It was a honor to work with them and even more so to be acknowledged in the story. View The Green Bride Guide story and pictures

A few side notes...
Image 4: who is that in the background?
Image 5: as mentioned in the story, the flowers were purchased from a local farm. The flowers were GORGEOUS. If you ever need flowers for an event, consider ordering flowers from a local farm. Save money, support a local business and recieve flowers that were cut the same day.
Image 10: What you can't see in this photo is the handsome bartender/my personal assistant for the day, Brian. He was such a huge help and I had a lot of fun working with him.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My friend Chelsea...

was my roommate in college. We lived together for 3 fun-filled years in our sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta.
and I knew shortly after meeting that we were meant to be friends! best friends to be exact.

is a hard worker but knows to never take life too seriously. She's thoughtful, funny and has a great sense of style. Just a few good reasons why we get along so well.

lives in beautiful Durango, CO. I wish it was closer to CA.

is engaged to a fabulous man, Trevor. Talk about a match made in heaven!!

is tying the knot in 23 days!

will be a gorgeous bride!!

Before she gets hitched it's only proper she be showered with love, best wishes and a few gifts! Over the weekend her mom and lovely ladies in Durango did just that. While I was unable to be there in person, I was honored to make her invitations. It was one of the my best creative challenges to date.
Here are a few pics of the invite...

Page 2 was a detachable recipe card for the guests to share their
favorite recipe with the bride and groom.

And a few pictures from the shower...

Guest of honor making mimosas

Cute party favors - filled with granola

Beautiful flowers from mother of the bride's yard.
She's also growing and designing all the wedding flowers!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Keep It Simple

I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for ice cream. I absolutely love it and consider myself somewhat a connoiseur. All those years of working at Dairy Queen gave me a keen sense of what makes a good vs. a great ice cream. I'm also conscious of my health and know that a scoop a day will not keep the doctor away.

The lovely and apparently health conscious people at Haagen Dazs have created a new ice cream called five. This sweet treat gets its oh-so-clever name from the list of ingredients. That's right, it is made of only five simple ingredients. Last night I tried the coffee flavor (SKIM MILK, CREAM, SUGAR, EGG YOLKS, COFFEE) and was delightfully pleased. The best part about this new heaven in a cup is that it's LESS FAT than the regular Haagen Dazs ice cream.

Simple ingredients, delicious and less can you say no? Next time you're at the store, treat yourself to a pint of five!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Roasted Tomato Spaghetti

One of my favorite EASY recipes is Roasted Tomato Spaghetti. I found the recipe in Cooking Light magazine and made a few minor changes. For all of you lucky tomato gardeners, you can make this without having to go to the store. Even if you do have to make a quick trip to the store, I promise it's worth it. Enjoy!

Roasted Tomato Spaghetti
total prep/cook time: 30 mins serves 4

2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved (about 4 cups)
5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) parmesan cheese
note: the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup ricotta salata cheese, crumbled but I prefer parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Place tomatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt (I also add a dash of garlic powder and any other italian seasoning I have on hand). Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until tomatoes collapse.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/3 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta and reserved liquid to pan; stir in tomatoes, remaining 4 teaspoons oil, remaining 3/8 teaspoon salt, basil, pepper, and cheese. Toss well. Serve immediately.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Here are a few of my most recent card creations...

Monday, August 10, 2009

I would like to introduce you to the Cheeseburger Bird

I must admit that I was pretty skeptical when Brian told me about a bird that sang "cheese bur-ger." I'd heard him imitate the whistle several times but still thought he was pulling my leg. It wasn't until recently while hiking in Tahoe I heard the chirp and knew immediately what I was hearing. It was THE Cheeseburger Bird! Throughout the hike we heard several calls for burgers but never managed to see the birds.

Fast forward to Sunday morning. While waiting in line at the grocery store I was browsing Sunset magazine. The first sentence of an article about Lake Tahoe reads, "Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheese." I couldn't help but laugh and immediately read the article to Brian.

I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about this apparently infamous little bird! A quick search on Google showed me that The Cheeseburger Bird is well documented. Also known at the Black Capped Chickadee, this little bird can be heard singing "cheeseburger" throughout the spring and summer throughout the Sierra's. The bird is heard much more than it is seen. I've attached a photo because this cute little bird looks like it probably only eats a small order of fries and not a whole cheeseburger!

Next time you're in Tahoe, take a moment to listen for the Cheeseburger Bird. Even if you can't hear the song, share the story; it's bound to get plenty of laughs!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Skydivers in San Francisco

Yesterday in San Francisco some 100 skydivers jumped in formation for a T Mobile promotion. The 'divers then descended upon the city, landing in four preselected spots - Justin Herman Plaza, the Pier 39 rooftop, Marina Green and the Moscone Rec Center.

While I wasn't able to see the skydivers from across the bay, I did enjoy flipping through the pics taken by spectators. Here are a few of my favorite for your viewing pleasure!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

linguine with zucchini and chickpeas

Need an idea for dinner? Try making linguine with zucchini and chickpeas! I found this simple and delicious vegetarian recipe in Real Simple. I was happy to find I had all the ingredients in my kitchen (except the zucchini) and that RARELY happens. Enjoy!

linguine with zucchini and chickpeas
total prep/cook time: 20 mins serves 4

12 ounces linguine (3/4 of a box)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 small zucchini, cut into thin half moons
Kosher salt
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste)
3/4 cup grated parmesan

Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain and return pasta to pot.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, tossing often, until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas, garlic, and red pepper and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Toss the pasta with 1/4 cup of the parmesan. Divide the pasta among bowls and top with the zucchini mixture and remaining parmesan.