Living a tasteful life

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gift Giving Series//Baking Beauties

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!  I hope everyone is prepped and ready for tomorrow. 

I am sharing Part 3 of my Gift Giving Series today.  These gifts are sure to please the one who loves to bake!  Of course there are the essentials that all bakers need,  but it also doesn't hurt to have a few pretty things around the kitchen. So I did my best to find items that are both necessary yet stylish.

First up, this  white marble pastry board from Sur La Table.  No need to store this beauty in the cabinets, it would look great styled and left out on the counter.

And what's a marble pastry board without a matching marble rolling pin.

Before breaking out the rolling pin, this fancy Kitchenaid Professional 610 Stand Mixer might come in handy.||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules

Cookies and cakes as good as gold! How can you go wrong with this Goldtouch Nonstick 6- Piece Essentials Bakeware Set ?!||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules

Lovely desserts call for a lovely set up. These Round Marble & Wood Pedestal Stands make for an eye-catching display.

No need to dirty your clothes while spending all that time in the kitchen, this monogrammed IceMilk Full Apron will do the job. However, I'm not so sure I would want to mess this up either.

This is one great set of kitchen tools! The Le Creuset Revolution Utensil Set includes a perfect mixture of tools to serve all of your many cooking needs.

Just in case you need to brush up on some of those special techniques, the book Baking by James Peterson is a good reference.
And just for adorable are these Macaroons Glass Ornaments!

Shop the items above by clicking on the individual image or following the links provided. 
Happy Baking!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Asparagus Roll-Ups

Yesterday we had our annual Thanksgiving lunch at the office.  Starting Monday off with a mile long menu of delicious food was probably not exactly the best idea. Let's just say that a gym session was necessary after all of the food I consumed.

Everyone in the office brings a dish for the big lunch so I decided to make asparagus roll-ups. These are super easy appetizers and are great for large crowds. I was cooking for approximately 30 people and had plenty of left overs.

I started by frying the bacon.

While the bacon cooked I flattened the sliced bread with a rolling pin.

I rinsed the asparagus, patted dry and cut off the ends. Once the bacon had cooked and cooled, I crumbled it into pieces

I then added the cream cheese, shredded cheese crumbled bacon and garlic powder in the food processor and mixed well.

I took the cheese mixture and spread it on the flatten pieces of bread.

Next, I topped each slice of bread with a piece of asparagus.

Rolled the bread up tightly

And sliced into bit size pieces.

I prepped these the night before, not planning to serve them until the next day.  I placed them in an airtight container and refrigerated until needed. 

Before serving I brushed them with softened butter and baked them on 350 until golden brown.


Asparagus Roll-Ups
1 loaf of bread (I used a whole grain)
1 bunch of asparagus (depending on how many you are cooking for)
8 slices of bacon
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1 package of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 stick of butter
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Using a large nonstick skillet on low-medium heat, cook bacon until it’s browned enough to easily crumble.
3. While the bacon is cooking, assemble the rest of the ingredients. Using a rolling pin, flatten out each piece of bread and set aside.
4. Rinse the asparagus bunch, pat dry and cut off the ends.
5. Once the bacon has cooked through, drain on a paper towel and crumble into small pieces after it has cooled.
6. Using a food processor add the cream cheese, 2 cups of shredded cheese (adjust to your preference), crumbled bacon, and garlic powder (adjust to your liking preference) and mix well.
7. Take the cream cheese mixture and spread evenly on each slice of bread.
8. Place one piece of asparagus at the top of the bread and roll tightly.
9. Slice the bread into bite size pieces. I had made four rolls out of each piece of bread.
10. Once all of the rolls have been pre-sliced, soften butter and brush the tops of the rolls.
11. Place in the oven on 350 until golden brown.
Note: I was making this as an appetizer for approximately 30 people and had plenty of leftovers. 


Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekend Recap/Monday Must Haves

Happy Monday!  The work week may be short, but this post isn't.

This weekend my friend Brae drove in from Indiana to visit, so needless to say we were out and about.  With that being said, I will try to shorten my recap with the food highlights.

Friday we stayed in, had dinner and did a lot of catching up. Since our evening was pretty low key, we were able to make it to the 9am barre class at the gym on Saturday morning.   After the gym, we got dressed and ready and headed downtown to the  Buy Local Block Party.  There was live music, food trucks and tons of local vendors with everything from food and crafts, to jewelry and art. We browsed around a bit, sampled some treats and decided to go Taco Boy for lunch.

After lunch we made a few stops then headed home to get ready before going out for the evening.

We had dinner reservations at Edmund's Oast, you know the place where they serve the tasty PB&J Beer that I love.  We had quite the spread at dinner. Everyone ordered a small plate so we were able to try a few different dishes. This was my second time eating there so I had a few favorites in mind to order. The lighting is pretty dim in the restaurant so excuse the visuals. But the food was so delicious!

Goat Sheep Cow Cheese Plate

Braised Lamb Meatballs

Pickled Shrimp
Fresh Ricotta
The cheese plate was nice, offering the perfect size sampling of each type of cheese with a sweet touch of berry jam included.  And I must say,  I'm not a huge fan of lamb but these meatballs were great, and not too overpowering. The pickled shrimp was a must, given it's one of the most popular items on the menu. It's packed full of flavor and has a little kick to it. But my favorite dish hands down is the ricotta. It's soft and creamy, paired well with the toasted bread, and topped with the lemon enhanced broccoli = perfection!

After dinner our intention was to stop and have a cocktail somewhere else. We went to Carmellas, a fun new dessert bar on East Bay Street.  We took one look at the desserts they had to offer and decided that we were going to have more than just a cocktail.

I had the Peanut Butter Explosion...the name says it all!

On Sunday we did some shopping in the rain. I found some decorative and functional things to go on our new media stand that Whit is building (photos coming soon).  Then we ventured over to The Taco Spot for a late lunch.

I had the fish tacos and I topped them with Sweet Peach Southern Hot Sauce.  This stuff is amazing! I normally can't handle much heat when it comes to hot sauce, but this particular one is so good. It's not too hot and has just the right amount of sweetness to balance it all out.  It's apparently very popular because you can only buy one bottle per person due to availability.  I will be returning to make my purchase. As you can see, there wasn't a lack of food this week.

We had beautiful weather on Saturday but not so much on Sunday. The next few days don't look to promising either.

Which leads me to my Monday Must Haves. With all this rain, it got me thinking about cute rain gear and I wanted to share some items that are on my lust list. Look on the bright side, if your going to be stuck in the rain at least do it in style.

First up, Hunter Rain Boots.  I just adore these boots. I mean let's be honest, rain boots don't sound that exciting but they are when you get to select from all of the fun colors they have to offer. These are my personal favorites. However, I would also take some in black, pink, and hunter green...just saying.
I wouldn't mind the rain so much if I had one of these adorable umbrellas.,en_US,pd.html?dwvar_135247_color=922&dwvar_135247_size=UNS
I love this oversized turtleneck poncho.  It would work well with a long sleeve shirt underneath it and a scarf.  It's also not too bulky so a rain jacket would fit comfortably over it.
Speaking of rain jackets...I purchased this green nylon anorak jacket from C. Wonder at the end of summer and have been getting some good use out of it.
I will say, it's purpose is more for looks than blocking the rain. Unfortunately they are sold out of this particular jacket, but there are some similar ones out there. Side note, C. Wonder is currently have a friends & family event, offering 30% off.
I'm liking this convertible hooded jacket
However, you can't go wrong with a classic double breasted trench coat either.
If I had these pieces in my closet, I would be excited about rainy weather any day....well maybe that's not completely true, but it would at least make the rain more bearable!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gift Giving Series//Getting in the Holiday Spirit(s)

Last week I shared my  gift giving guide for the hostess, and as promised I have put together something a little different for you this week. Today's guide features gifts for the cocktail connoisseur. 

There's nothing wrong with enjoying an adult beverage with dinner, after dinner or even while preparing dinner (which I'm guilty of). With the holidays coming and all of the entertaining that goes on inside the home, why not be on top of your "A" game when guests come to visit. I have a list of items to stock your bar with, ensuring you have everything you need to get into the holiday spirit!





 1. Williams Sonoma Silver Stag Cocktail Stirrers.  These chic drink stirrers are functional and               would look great on the bar.

 2. Wayfair Moscow Mule Hammered Mug.  Love that these copper mugs are manly yet pretty.

 3. Williams Sonoma Schiller's Liquor Bar Cocktail Book Box Set. Great for cocktail making yet         looks good on the shelves. 

 4. Williams Sonoma Classic Tartan Plaid Wine Bottle Tote. Festive way to wrap up a bottle of                wine.

 5.  West Elm Deco Barware Collection Gold + Marble. This elegant barware set has all the                    necessary tools for happy hour.

 6.  Charleston Bloody Mary Mix. Add a lowcountry kick to your drink with this mix.

 7.  Sur La Table Sphere Ice Molds. Keep your drink cold and look fancy while doing so.

 8.  Williams Sonoma Beer Mugs.  Pub status mugs that are freezer safe.

 9.  C Wonder Stag Bottle Opener. Open your drinks in style.  

10. Williams Sonoma Le Creuset Champagne Resealer.  Can't finish the bottle? Seal it this so you          don't waste a drop.

11. Uncommon Goods Himalayan Salt Tequila Glasses. No need to add salt to the rim with these           shot glasses.

12. Overstock Fitz & Floyd Gold Luster Stemless Glasses. Keep it classy with stemless wine                     glasses.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Beef & Veggie Ramen Noodle Soup

I wanted to share a delicious recipe that I made last night for dinner. This noodle dish is packed full of flavor and is the perfect comfort food for a cold winter day.  Don't let the ramen part fool you, this isn't your typical college cup of noodles.  This soup contains both veggies and meat, sure to keep you satisfied. It only takes about an hour to prepare which is a bonus when coming home to cook after a long day at work.

I started by heating olive oil in a large French Oven. I diced up some carrots, celery and onions and tossed them in.

After seasoning the veggies with salt & pepper and sautéing for a few minutes, I then added minced garlic and mushrooms, continuing to sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes.

After sautéing all of the veggies, I added low sodium beef broth, water and soy sauce bringing the mixture to boil, gave it a stir and reduced to a simmer for 20 minutes. Side note, if you don't have a Le Creuset Spatula Spoon, you should get one!  I use mine for just about everything. They are great because they won't damage the bottom of your pots when stirring.... and even better they are heat resistant up to 400+ degrees. 

While the veggies simmered, I heated olive oil in a non-stick skillet and seared the beef cubes, which I later diced into smaller bite size pieces and set to the side.  Meanwhile, I boiled 4 eggs while everything was cooking.

After the veggie mixture had simmered for 20 minutes, I added 3 packs of ramen noodles (seasonings discarded) along with the cooked beef cubes. I then boiled the soup for another 6 to 7 minutes until the noodles were al dente.

 Once the soup was ready, I peeled and sliced the eggs, diced the green onions and added them to the soup. 

This tasted so much better than the ramen I once used to eat in my dorm room in college! 

Beef & Veggie Ramen Noodle Soup
Soup Serving Size: 6 to 8

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups of shredded carrots
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt + pepper (more if needed)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 package of mushrooms
  • 4 cups low sodium beef broth (I bought an extra carton to add to leftovers)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 packs of ramen noodles (seasoning packets discarded)
  • 1 package of cubed beef (2 packs if you want more protein)
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/3 cup green onions, chopped for garnish

  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion, carrots and celery.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and cooking until tender.
  3. Add the minced garlic and mushrooms cooking for another 2 or 3 minutes (careful not to burn the garlic)
  4. Next add the beef broth, water, and soy sauce. Stirring together to combine.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. While the veggies are simmering, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add beef cubes to the pan season with pepper and cook the meat until it’s no longer pink. Once the meat is fully cooked remove from heat and set aside.
  7. Heat a small pot of water until boiling and add eggs. Boil for about 15 to 20 minutes and remove from heat. Drain the water and set eggs aside to cool a bit before peeling.
  8. After the vegetable mixture has simmered for 20 minutes, add the ramen noodles and cooked cubed beef.
  9. Continue to simmer for about 7 to 8 minutes or until the noodles are al dente.
  10. Peel the hard boiled eggs and slice in half. Adding one egg per bowl of soup when serving
  11. Garnish with diced green onions.
**When serving leftovers, I use the extra beef broth to add liquid to the noodles.

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