Sunday, December 30, 2012


So, it's a bad habit of mine to take pictures of everything I eat. Yup. I'm totally that girl that pulls her iPhone out in the middle of a restaurant, the grocery store, my own apartment and snaps a picture of my meal right before I dig in. It's like eating and enjoying it isn't enough, I have to take a photo to remind me of how good it was. Or maybe it's just that I want to never forget and go back for more! 

So I'm coining this new obsession iFoodagraphy (get it... iPhone Food Photography!) Ha! I'm so clever sometimes, I even amaze myself! Luckily enough for you, I'm going to start sharing some of my iFoodagraphy photos with you! Starting with this month's uploads.

Some are meals made by me, most are awesome meals I've had around town. Check 'em out!

Stay tuned till next time!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Homemade Baileys Holiday Gift Idea

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!!! We sure did. We went back to Spokane to visit family and friends and enjoyed a White Christmas (which was so nice since it doesn't really snow here in Portland). 

One of the best things about Christmas is of course all of the holiday goodies, but I especially like giving homemade gifts for the holidays. Last year it was homemade Cranberry Lime Infused Vodka and this year Homemade Baileys! The Baileys was definitely a hit between friends at home and my co-workers and you can be sure this is one recipe that will become a staple around the holidays for me. 

 The best part about this gift is that it is soooo easy to make. Finish it off with some easy holiday decorations from your local craft store and woila! 

I know it's probably too late for a Christmas gift, but New Year's is just around the corner, and if you have a New Year's Party to attend...this would make the PERFECT HOSTESS GIFT!!! (hint hint)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Homemade Baileys

1 3/4 c Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 c Whipping Cream
14 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 tblsp hershey's chocolate syrup
1 tblsp instant coffee
1 tsp vanilla 

Are you ready for the super difficult instructions...ok. Here it goes. Pour all of the ingredients into your blender and blend for 30 seconds and you're done! Yup. That simple. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Little Brother Comes To Town...

And we pretty much eat our way through Portland! I'm not kidding, he was here for 3 days and I think I gained 5 pounds!

Portland is definitely one of the biggest foody cities ever. You can get everything from gourmet donuts (blueberry bourbon basil donut anyone?) to Pear and Blue Cheese Ice Cream (It's actually really good, I promise!).

So when my little brother came home from his first quarter of his college career and was "bored" in the first 24 hours....I convinced him to come visit me and the hubby in the PDX. It was so much fun showing him around the Portland Saturday Market, the Pearl District, 23rd (my favorite!) and topping it off with a Trail Blazers game oh and showing him all the delicious's a good thing he was only here for 3 days or I would be in BIG TROUBLE in the pants fitting department.

So...where did we eat? You asked for it...

We started off with Lebanese food from Nicholas's...

Picked up a housewarming present for my friend Morgan at St. Cupcakes (which we definitely helped her eat too :) ...

Stopped by Stumptown Coffee (another favorite!)...

Scarfed down Fried Chicken Biscuit sandwiches from Pine State Biscuits (these were unfortunately delicious)...

Brother is super stoked about how well I fed him this weekend!

 Doesn't this scream YUM! (and heart attack) waiting to happen :)

Had a little mid-afternoon treat at Salt & Straw (Trust me, you'll soon be addicted)...

I had to get two "kiddie" size scoops because there are too many good flavors to choose from!

Stopped in for some cajun tots at McMenamin's (a Portland staple).

And completed his trip with some Voodoo Donuts and a trip to Kell's Irish Pub & Restaurant. (Unfortunately, I didn't get to snap photos of these....but trust me they were just as delicious as the rest!) wonder I gained 5 pounds, I'm surprised it wasn't 10!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Three Bean & Beef Chili

I'm on a warm your insides up kind of recipe kick! This next one is so delicious and is the perfect mid-week dinner to come home and whip up on a cold night. This Three Bean and Beef Chili is (a) delicious (b) hearty and (c) healthy!!! It's full of fiber, veggies and lean ground beef and just enough kick to get that metabolism revved up! Plus, I found this recipe a while back from Ellie Krieger on the food network, and she's known for her healthy meals! See not all cold weather, warm you up recipes have to be bad for you too!

I will say, that if there's only two of you, like in my household, halving the batch would not be a bad idea. Although, I didn't and I'm not sorry because we had leftover chili for lunch and dinner for a few days and it stays just as good if not better, for rounds two and three!

Top it off with some cheese, sour cream and green onions and it's the perfect mid-week meal (although that cheese and sour cream counteract the whole good for you roll I was on...I won't tell if you don't!)

You can find the recipe here on Enjoy!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Date Night with the Hubster

When the weather gets cold outside, and it rains as much as it does in Portland, I try to be creative with our date nights...and this one was no exception. One of the best dates my hubby ever took me on was a picnic in Manito Park back home in Spokane. It was sunny, we sat by the pond and we got to feed the ducks!

So, for a cold night in December, I was on a mission to re-create our "picnic date" and decided to create a living room picnic. This is so easy and so fun, and can add something interesting to a boring old week night.

I picked up a bottle of wine and some cheeses, crusty bread, proscuitto, tomatoes, sundried tomatoes and pesto from my local TJ's (Trader Joe's) and created an indoor picnic on our living room floor! It was complete with a blanket and a cozy little fire in our fireplace. We popped on a movie and the plan was to play some Scrabble (yes we really are 29 and 30 but we love board games!) I even had a mini dessert waiting for peppermint macaron's! (Because we need a little holiday dessert.)

This was a great dinner (super easy and no turning on the stove or oven!) and it was a super fun way to cozy up to my hubby on a cold winter night.

I hope you enjoy your indoor picnic as much as we did!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Creamy Mushroom Polenta

As the weather gets colder, I definitely turn to those dishes that warm you up on the insides and are truly stick to your ribs kind of meals. (It's ok, we'll all resolve to lose 10lbs in the New Year, and I'll be sure to post some waist slimming recipes then, so you don't need to fill bad about all these yummy dishes). 

I had never tried polenta before, (I know GASP!), but have always been curious about it and stumbled upon this recipe a few years back when I was looking up recipes for my first ever Thanksgiving dinner I made all by myself. It didn't fit right with the Thanksgiving dishes, but I held on to it, knowing that I'd want to make it sometime in the near future. Well, the near future turned into 3 years later (how does that happen?) and I finally dug the recipe out of my recipe binder and tried it. I'm so glad I did! It is cheesy and full of intense flavors from the mushrooms and it is delicious all by itself or as a side dish to these.

Creamy Mushroom Polenta...I love you. I promise to make you again and again and you should too!

Creamy Mushroom Polenta
4 cups water1 teaspoon salt
1 cup yellow cornmeal
Pinch pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups thinly sliced mushrooms (i.e. oyster, shitake, baby portobellas)
1/2 yellow onion diced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tblsp thyme
Pinch pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

To make the polenta, begin by bringing the water and salt to a boil in a 3 quart saucepan. Slowly pour in the polenta and cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes while whisking. Decrease the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes, stirring ever couple of minutes with a wooden spoon. Add parmesan. Cover the pan with the lid propped up on the spoon while not stirring.

Cook the mushrooms while the polenta is cooking: Set a large saute over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.

Decrease the heat to medium-low and stir in the minced garlic and thyme. Cook for 30 seconds then stir in the mushrooms. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes, then stir in the wine. Simmer for 1 minute and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To finish the polenta, remove the pan from the heat and season with pepper. Stir in butter and top with sauteed mushroom and minced parsley.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Braised Short Ribs with Parsley Lemon Gremolata

I don't know about you, but immediately following Thanksgiving (and not one day sooner) we like to put our Christmas hats on and get ready for the holidays. In our household that means going out and getting a Christmas tree (we cut down our very own this year!) and hanging decorations while listening to Christmas music and watching our favorite holiday movies. 

It also means lots of fires in the fireplace and delicious wine gets consumed by the glass (I'll say glass but I really mean bottle) and more importantly those stick to your bones kind of meals start to get cooked. 

This is definitely one of those cold winter night meals that tastes delicious and makes you want to curl up next to the fire with a glass of wine. It was also fitting that it's one of the first recipes I've made out of my "Newlywed Cookbook" since it's the first of each holiday as a newlywed! 

These braised short ribs are so tender, because you cook them in your oven in a delicious broth with tasty aromatic vegetables until the meat literally falls off the bone. I served it with a creamy mushroom polenta (don't worry, I'll be sharing that recipe soon!) and it was so good my mouth is watering while I type this (I wish I had leftovers!). My only regret is that I only made enough for dinner that night, so there weren't any leftovers to take to work for lunch the next day...although, I'm not sure there would have been left overs either  way. 

 I hope you cook this while you're decorating your tree or settling into your family holiday traditions!

Isn't husband cute with all the Christmas trees?

Husband did all the work, but I wanted a photo with the saw too!

I got to do the honors this year! (Only because we got a Christmas Tree that was the same height as me!)

Braised Short Ribs

1 Bay Leaf
1 Sprig of Thyme
1 Garlic Clove
Salt and Pepper
2 1/2 lbs Beef Short Ribs
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 C Dry White Wine
3 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Large Onion Chopped
2 Large Carrots cut in 2 in pieces 
2 Stalks Celery cut in 2 in pieces

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the ribs on a piece of parchment paper and season with salt and pepper. 

Heat the oil in a dutch oven or oven safe pot with a lid. Add the ribs and brown on all sides. Remove the meat from the dutch oven and set aside. Add the wine and scrape up all the brown bits. Add the broth and return the ribs along with the onions, carrots, celery and herbs. 

Cover and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. As soon as it reaches a simmer, transfer the dutch oven to the oven and cook until meat is tender and falling off the bone (2-2 1/2 hours). 

Remove the ribs and whole vegetables from the oven and let sit . Meanwhile simmer the liquid over the stove for about 20 min till the sauce reduces. 

Make the Gremolata

1/3 c coursely chopped parsley
1 lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper 

Mix the parsley, olive oil, juice of the lemon and salt and pepper in a bowl. 

Serve the beef short ribs with the sauce drizzled over and the gremolata drizzled over the top