Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Saying "I do!" (Part 2)

Now that everyone was seated and my groom was ready, it was time to start the ceremony.  The bridesmaids made their way down the grassy, slightly muddy, aisle.

First up was Tor's sister, Kirsty

Next was my good friend Sally

My other friend, Nicole

And last but not least, my sister Becky

They all made it down the aisle without tripping and took their spots.

Then it was my turn.

Stay tuned for the third, and final, installment of ceremony posts!

All images by Kristen Grinnell Photography.

Missed a Wedding Wednesday?  Catch up here...
Saying "I do" part 1
Family & Group Pictures
The First Look
Getting Ready With The Girls

Monday, August 29, 2011

Slow Cookin: Chickpea Stew

I love cooking with my crock pot.
It's so easy to throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and come back hours later to dinner.
I especially love it in the fall and winter to make delicious stews and soups.
That's when I first found this recipe over at The Kitchn for a Curried Chickpea Stew.
Oh my goodness, this stew is so yummy and flavorful and filling,
and huge - it makes 8-10 servings, so you'll have plenty of leftovers.

Curried Veggie and Chickpea Stew
From The Kitchn
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon ginger, peeled and grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno chili, seeded and minced
2 cups vegetable broth
2 16oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
1 28oz can diced tomatoes with their juices
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
10 oz baby spinach
1 cup coconut milk

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  
Saute the onion with one teaspoon of salt until translucent, about 5 minutes.  

Add potatoes and another teaspoon of salt.  Saute until just translucent on the edges.

Stir in the curry powder, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and chili.  

Cook about 30 seconds, then pour in 1/4 cup of broth.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze.  Pour the mixture into your slow cooker.

Add the rest of the broth, chickpeas, bell pepper, cauliflower, tomatoes with juices, and last teaspoon of salt.  Stir to combine.  Beware, this took up pretty much my entire crockpot, filled to the brim.  Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.

Stir in the spinach and coconut milk.  Cover for a minute to let the spinach wilt.  Adjust seasonings as needed.  Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day Trippin' to Santa Barbara

Here's a few shots from one of our trips to Santa Barbara a few months ago.
I love this town, and love that my husband has a ton of friends there
giving us the perfect excuse to make the 2 hour drive up there.
Oh, and we got married here too.  What's not to love?

Somewhere down there is my husband and friends...

Climbing back up at Mesa Lane

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Saying "I do!" (Part 1)

It's finally time for the ceremony!  There are so many photos that I've split it into 3 parts.   Please stay tuned for all three!

With the group photos all wrapped up, it was time to head over to the park for the ceremony.  I was honestly dreading this part ever since I bought my dress.....getting into the limo in a very slim fitting dress with a very long train.

Luckily my girls helped me get in without a hitch.  About 5 seconds later we were at the park (it was only a block away).  The girls hopped out while I hid out in the limo for a few minutes.   The guests were all seated, hiding from the slight drizzle under umbrellas.

I felt really bad about making them sit outside in the drizzly weather, but everyone kept assuring me that it wasn't bad at all.  Unbeknownst to me, conversations had been had between my mom and the coordinator about possibly moving the ceremony indoors.  It was decided to keep it outside because it wasn't really raining and because my mom was really excited about the draping and decorations on the arbor.  I was happy to keep the ceremony outside, since that's what we originally wanted.  And supposedly the drizzling stopped right before the ceremony.

Now that we were all at the park it was time to get started!  Our good friend, Matt, played acoustic guitar for our ceremony music.

The guys stood around waiting.

Tor's parents made their way to their seats.

While another Matt helped my mom to hers.

That left just my dad waiting for me.

And this guy waiting for me at the other end of the aisle.

Up next...the girls and I try not to trip down the aisle!

All photos by Kristen Grinnell Photography

Other Wedding Wednesday posts:
Getting Ready With The Girls
The First Look
Family and Group Photos

Monday, August 22, 2011

Linguine with Pea Pesto

As a kid, peas were one of my least favorite vegetables.  
It was always a battle in our house as I loved broccoli and hated peas 
while my sister hated broccoli and loved peas.  

So one of us was usually bound to be upset.  

I remember pushing those little green balls around on my plate, 
trying to hide them under my rice, 
and sitting at the table all alone, long after everyone else had been excused, 
because I wouldn't eat my peas.

There's even a story of how I'd chew them up 
and store them in my cheeks but wouldn't swallow them.  
I'd be sitting at the table with cheeks full of peas 
with my mom saying "Rachel, swallow your peas."

So she's probably gonna be pretty surprised that I'm posting a recipe featuring peas
and that I really liked it!
If only she'd known 20 years ago that this is the way to get me to swallow my peas.

If you frequent the popular food blogs you've probably seen this recipe already,
as it was posted on Smitten Kitchen back in June.
It was super easy and quick to make - 
definitely do-able for a weeknight dinner
but also pretty enough to serve your friends.

Linguine with Pea Pesto 
1 1/2 cups fresh peas, or a 10 oz bag of frozen peas defrosted
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
12 oz dried linguine

To keep the peas from overcooking, and keeping them a nice bright green color, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.   Boil some water in a small saucepan and a pinch of salt.  Add peas and cook for 2 minutes, then scoop them out and dunk them in the ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Set aside a 1/2 cup of cooked peas.  Add the rest to your food processor along with the garlic, pine nuts, 1/3 cup Parmesan, and salt.  Process them a couple minutes until they're smooth.  Slowly pour in the olive oil with the blade running.

Cook the pasta al dente in a large pot of salted boiling water.  Reserve about 2 cups of pasta water.  Drain the pasta and return to the pot.  Over medium heat, add the pesto and remaining peas to the pasta and stir to combine.   Add as much of the pasta water as you need to make the pesto smooth and evenly distributed over the pasta.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with extra Parmesan.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Five Things

Feeling inspired by this post over the The Curious World of L...

Five Things I'm grateful for right now...

1.  A husband who will sneak out of the house to buy me frozen yogurt after a mini mental breakdown over the fire alarm going off repeatedly while cooking dinner

2.  Lunch with my mom on Monday

3.  Fresh produce from my dad's garden cooking in my oven right now

4.  Putting on my pajamas about 0.3 seconds after getting home

5.  A long weekend in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe coming up soon.

What are you grateful for today?

Walking Around My Hood

I'm usually pretty exhausted by the end of my day
making it difficult to do any sort of exercise.
So a few times a week I try to get out and take a walk around the marina
which is pretty much in my backyard.

Here's a look at one of my walks last week
as seen by my iphone.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Packing My Lunch: Quinoa Salad

During the week I try to pack my lunch 4 out of 5 days.
All those little sandwiches and salads at cafes tend to add up,
both in dollars and calories.
I went through a phase where I ate the same 4 Lean Cuisine meals every week.
That quickly got old.
So I went on the hunt for good, inexpensive, nutritious lunches.
This post over at Can You Stay For Dinner inspired me
to make a big batch of quinoa and turn it into my lunch for the week.
It was tasty, healthy, full of fresh flavor, and easy to pack.
I'd highly recommend it, using any variety of veggies and herbs that your little heart desires.

Quinoa Salad
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cucumber, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup sliced grape tomatoes
4 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup crumbled feta
a few sprigs of fresh oregano
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Let the cooked quinoa cool.
Add the chopped veggies and herbs.
Whisk lemon juice and olive oil together.  Pour over quinoa.
Add feta.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Toss to combine.

This kept well for about 2 days.  After that, the veggies started to get a little mushy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Field Trip: Street Art at MOCA

A few weeks ago, my sister and I went to a street art exhibit at MOCA in LA.

It was really fascinating and educational.
And colorful!

I learned about the history behind graffiti
(did you know that hobos traveling the railroads would leave their mark on boxcars)
And about the difference between East Coast and West Coast graffiti.

While I don't necessarily agree with random tagging,
I couldn't help but see the art behind many of the pieces.
It's amazing what these guys can do with spray paint!

Here's a peek at what I saw
(as seen through my iphone camera)

Not real people

One of my favorites 

I couldn't agree more with the last paragraph below,
 especially after seeing countless campaign posters stuck on the fences all around my apartment every year.  Nothing but litter, in my opinion. 

If you live in LA, or happen to be in the area
I'd highly recommend this exhibit.  
It was the best $5 I've spent in a long time!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Meatless Monday: Veggie Tart

I first found a version of this Veggie Tart in an issue of Real Simple
and it quickly became a favorite.
It's packed with good veggies,
a bit of cheese,
and is all wrapped up in a flaky crust.

I've adapted it to use any variety of veggies
that are in season or on hand.
In this version I used asparagus, leeks, and red potatoes
with a handful of grated Swiss cheese.

Potato, Leek, and Asparagus Tart
adapted from Real Simple

1 9-inch pie crust (I used store bought)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, cut into half moons
1 cup sliced asparagus
2 red potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
salt and pepper

Heat oven to 375.
Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add leeks and asparagus.  Season with salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are just tender.
Stir in Swiss cheese.  Toss in the potatoes.
Roll pie crust out to about 12 inch diameter on parchment paper.
Slide the paper onto a large baking sheet.
Spoon the veggies mixture into the middle of the piecrust, leaving a 2 inch border.
Fold the edge of the crust over the veggies.
Bake about 50-60 minutes until crust is golden and potatoes are tender.

Serves 2 large or 4 small servings.

Feel free to add or change the veggies. 
I kinda guessed at the amounts I used, as I usually just eyeball it.

Serve with a side salad or couscous.
If you have any leftovers, it makes a great lunch the next day.