March 7, 2012

bathroom decorating idea

Filed under: photos — Tags: — Cathy @ 6:03 pm

i recently came up with my own, original home decoration/storage idea 🙂

as a discrete and decorative way to store toilet paper in your guest bathroom, use a wine gift bag!

this paper one came from cost plus world market and fits 3 rolls, but being paper you don’t want to leave it where it might get splashed from sink or shower. it’s also light-weight so it won’t get damaged if my cat knocks it over, heh.


February 28, 2012

oscar party appetizers

Filed under: updates — Tags: , — Cathy @ 9:08 am

matt and i had a little oscar party on sunday evening and we made a few appetizers. here was the menu:

1. fried zucchini with sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella
2. black bean dip with cotija cheese
3. matt’s asparagus sushi rolls
4. curry egg salad with lettuce on toast
5. red potatoes with creamy goat cheese
(lauren also made some creamy humus dip but i didn’t get a picture of it)

the best part is that all of my recipes were pretty easy to put together, so we had lots of food without lots of prep/stress! all of these are my own recipe (except matt’s sushi, he gets credit for that).

here’s how they’re made …

1. wash and slice a zucchini into bite-sized rounds. set up a bowl with a scrambled raw egg and a plate with bread crumbs. dip the zucchini in the egg and then dust with breadcrumbs, then drop into a well-oiled frying pan. when the bottom is browned, flip it and cook the other side. you should be able to fry a few of these at a time since they’re small. when they’re cooked through, set them on a plate to cool a bit. then open a jar of sun-dried tomatoes and place one on each zucchini bite, slicing the tomatoes if they’re too big. then slice up some mozarella and put a piece on each zucchini. (i used authentic, fresh mozzarella balls instead of the low-moisture crap. look for it at the cheese section of your supermarket near the deli instead of the regular cheese aisle.) these are best a little warm so don’t make them too far in advance – i did them last right before lauren and beck arrived.

2. this was super easy and can be made ahead. drain the liquid from a can of black beans, then pour the beans into a bowl and mash with a potato-masher, adding some olive oil for a creamy consistency. add garlic powder and cumin powder. i also sautéed some red onion and red bell pepper and mixed those in, then topped it with cotija cheese and served with corn chips on the side.

3. i’ll leave the sushi for matt to explain if he wants.

4. i was really pleased with how this turned out, and you can make the egg salad ahead and keep it in the fridge, then plate it up with lettuce and toast right before your guests arrive. for the egg salad, hard-boil 4 eggs (put eggs in a sauce pan with enough water to cover, bring to a boil and simmer 10-11 minutes, then remove the eggs from the hot water and leave them in an ice-water bath for a few minutes before you peel the shells off). put the eggs in a bowl and mash with a fork along with a few dollops of mayonnaise, 1 tsp mustard powder, 1 tsp curry powder, a dash of garlic powder, and some salt. mix it well. when you’re ready to plate it, toast 3 pieces of bread and cut each slice into fourths. tear up some lettuce and put a piece on each toast and top with egg salad.

5. these red potatoes i copied from an hors d’oeuvre at Maggiano’s but i didn’t have an actual recipe. still, i think they turned out very close to what i remembered! buy a dozen or so small red potatoes (small enough that the widest part isn’t more than two bites worth). wash them and slice them in half, cutting off the bottoms so they stay level and don’t roll around. spray a baking pan with canola spray, then line up your potatoes, drizzle olive oil over the tops, and bake for about 15 minutes or until they’re tender in the middle. let them cool a bit. spoon some creamy goat cheese on each potato.

voila! you have a tasty array of appetizers covering tastes from different regions (italy, mexico, japan, india, and france) ^_^

December 15, 2011

pear-brie-pecan pouches

Filed under: photos, updates — Tags: , — Cathy @ 7:53 pm

so tasty!

i haven’t posted on here in three months! i’ve been busy making holiday presents but couldn’t post about it or i’d ruin the surprise xmas morning, but i just made these super-tasty appetizers.

pear-brie-pecan pouches

ingredients: 1 or 2 cans crescent rolls, 1 can light pears in juice, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 4 oz brie wedge (there was enough filling for two cans of rolls and each can makes 8 crescents)

first, drain your pears and dice, then chop your pecans and mix them in with the pears. slice the brie into small cubes and set aside. preheat the oven to 375*

open one of your roll cans. you can either make the normal crescent shape with a little filling inside or, since i’m feeding 10-20 people tomorrow, i took each 2-crescent rectangle, pressed the seam together, and cut it into three smaller rectangles (to make 24 bite-size square ones out of 2 cans of rolls instead of 16 crescents).

so either with your wedge or smaller rectangle, place it on a baking sheet, spoon a little of your pear-pecan filling on one end of the rectangle, add a small cube of brie, and fold it over, pressing the sides together as much as you can. when your baking sheet is full, bake it for 9-11 minutes or until they’re turning brown on top.

then eat! they turned out really well, we’ll see how the toastmaster group likes them tomorrow, but i’m happy enough with them that i think i’ll make more for new years 🙂

September 14, 2011

more meditating

Filed under: updates — Tags: , , , — Cathy @ 9:02 am

yesterday, via jennifer louden’s newsletter, i learned about susan piver’s open heart project – she wants to teach the world to meditate and has a free newsletter of her own, which includes guided meditations.

i love how, so often, jennifer louden’s posts talk about something i’m going through or thinking about, so this was extremely timely! i finished the chopra center 21-day meditation challenge and was looking for another resource to keep my budding meditation practice going.

i did my first piver meditation this morning and it was so great! i already like her style more than the chopra challenge. i love the imagery she was using and it helped me connect to my sitting session. i’m really excited to explore her blog and do more meditations with her 🙂

September 13, 2011

matt and i are on a fitness kick

Filed under: updates — Tags: — Cathy @ 10:47 am

after having fun floating around in the apartment pool every week or so this summer, i looked into the nearby rec centers to see when their swimming lanes are open. after a false start at the lone tree rec center (we’re not actually in their resident area even though it is 2 miles away), we ended up at the parker rec center (3 miles away) this past sunday. they were doing a triathelon i didn’t know about, but we got there right as the pool was opening up. i wore my super-awesome petal swim cap in white but matt forgot to snap a pic.

so our plan is to swim every sunday morning and i’m going to try to do 25-30 minutes of aerobics most other days of the week plus some weights and yoga/tai-chi mixed in. matt needs more encouragement – we have a fitness room in the apartment complex but he hasn’t been going. i told him if he doesn’t start going regularly, i’m going to get him tae bo!

my birthday is coming up and that always reminds me that my metabolism is only going downhill from here, so i should get in better shape to avoid health problems as i get older. plus i want to have more arm strength. if we lose weight too, that’s a bonus. and i figure building healthier habits before the holiday season will reduce what weight-gain we would have had sitting around heh.

so wish us luck and pester us about getting our workouts in 😉

September 8, 2011

sf + ks = good times!

Filed under: updates — Tags: — Cathy @ 10:14 am

in the last few days, some friends and i decided we need to go to san francisco 🙂

last summer, i heard that kevin spacey will be playing richard iii in brooklyn in march 2012, so i’ve been periodically checking playbill.com to see if there were any updates. there’s still no confirmation of dates for brooklyn, but he’ll be in san fransisco for 12 performances, and since heather and teresa are already in cali, we decided to book a weekend trip 😀 matt is coming with me, and angela is coming from dallas. it will be a whirlwind weekend, but much cheaper than a week in nyc. we’ll be there oct 21-23. i think the last time i was in SF was 1996 :O

August 25, 2011

more easy, original recipes

Filed under: updates — Tags: , — Cathy @ 7:41 pm

here are two really easy recipes i made up this week: carrot slaw and dijon red potatoes

lauren and joel came over for dinner on tuesday to taste-test matt’s burger contest entry. i had a meeting after work and was scrambling for a side-dish when i finally got home. i had six small-ish carrots and decided to throw together a simple slaw.

[easy carrot slaw]
peel and grate six carrots and put them in a bowl. add a generous spoonful of mayonnaise, some garlic powder, and a few sprinkles of rice wine vinegar. stir to combine. that’s it! so easy! you could substitute white wine vinegar for the rice wine, anything light.

then, since i’m dating a culinary student and i like to cook too, i decided we should take turns cooking for each other each week, so tonight i made dijon red potatoes.

[easy dijon red potatoes]
slice some little red potatoes into rounds (i had 4). slice a green pepper into rounds too. sprinkle the bottom of a glass dish with breadcrumbs or just spray with oil so they don’t stick. put some of the green pepper slices on the bottom, then a round or two of potatoes depending on how much you have. sprinkle with salt and pepper. top with the rest of the green pepper slices. drizzle with honey dijon salad dressing. microwave for 5-6 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

so easy! and i remembered to take a photo before we ate all the potatoes:

August 17, 2011

meditation challenge

Filed under: updates — Tags: , , — Cathy @ 8:35 am
mindfulness feels so good.

i had last week off for family visiting little beck hanson, now 6.5 weeks old, and now everyone is back home and things are settling down here. in the last 11 days, i’ve written 9. i’ve worked out the last 4 consecutive days. in the last 8 days, i’ve meditated 7. that last bit is thanks, in part, to the chopra center meditation challenge. it’s free, and it’s not too late to register if you’d like to try it. it started monday and runs 21 days. i had a lovely insight during the guided meditation yesterday and i’m enjoying it in general. one of the teachers is davidji, and he also has an audio show on hay house radio, which is how i heard about the challenge.

so i’m feeling really good this week – full of positive and creative energy.

August 4, 2011

10 rows per day

Filed under: updates — Tags: , — Cathy @ 9:12 am

[clipart, not my actual scarf ^_^]
slowly but surely i’m knitting a scarf

i’m trying to do 10 rows per morning when i get to work. i’m using the recycled silk yarn that a coworker gave me for knitting a scarf for her. it’s lovely to work with, and a good transition from morning traffic into the workday. if i can finish this project timely, i’d like to do some holiday knitting projects, but i’ll take them one at a time so i don’t overwhelm myself.

i’m also easing into writing again, and matt and i are probably going to the compassionate dharma cloud buddhist monastery for a day of mindfulness this saturday. we’ve been there once before and it was such a great experience, so i’m looking forward to a quiet day among the buddhists.

July 22, 2011

wingin’ it: squash

Filed under: updates — Tags: , — Cathy @ 2:23 pm

we had some squash to use, so here is what i threw together without a recipe …

* two small yellow squash and two small zucchini sliced in oblong rounds
* half a white onion sauteed with garlic and olive oil
* ricotta mixed with parmesean and some french onion soup broth to thin it
* sliced tomato and breadcrumbs for the top

sautee the onions and garlic, then stir that into the ricotta mixture. sprinkle some breadcrumbs in the bottom of a glass pie plate. place a layer of alternating squash and zucchini in the pie plate, then cover with half the ricotta mixture, then another layer of squash and the rest of the ricotta mixture. top with the tomato slices and another sprinkling of breadcrumbs, plus salt and pepper to taste. microwave for five minutes, let it rest a bit, then zap another five minutes. when the ricotta is bubbly, it’s eatin’ time.

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