Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Slow Living

While perusing my daily blogroll I came across this quote on the Decor8 blog - from the Wikipedia definition for the Slow Life Movement:

Slow Living is the choice to live consciously with the goal of enhancing personal, community and environmental well-being. Slow Living recognizes the role that time plays in shaping the quality of our lives. By slowing down we make time to savor our experiences and to connect more fully with others. The process of slowing down involves simplifying our lives and minimizing distractions so that we have more time and more energy to focus on what is meaningful and fulfilling. By consciously choosing to do less, we contribute to reducing some of the negative social and environmental impacts of our actions.”

I love the simplicity of this statement. I also love the reminder that slowing down is not a sign of weakness, but on the contrary, a sign of focus and determination. 

A little Zen for your Tuesday.
Wax on, wax off. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Entering the 21st century

This weekend, my husband and I finally entered... da da da... the 21st century. Yes, folks, we both are now the proud owners of SMART PHONES!!!! I can't believe it either. I am still a bit in shock. It's not that we have been "anti" smart phone - there is no "damn the man" here - just a pure lack of motivation to spend upwards of $250 a piece for new phones. We are still in purgatory in our current contracts but we decided that neither of us could wait a whole year for a new phone... so thanks to the IRS, we are now the proud owners of 2 new phones, 2 new pairs of running shoes and 1 new vacuum. Honestly, the most impressive of all of that is our vacuum but I didn't want to seem nerdy by posting about our vacuum and gushing all over its coolness... but I will if you want because it is amah-zing. 

Anyway, just wanted to share our exciting news with you... and show you a picture of my new phone. I shall call her Sunshine

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pizza, Pizza!

I have a slight obsession with pizza. I love it, adore it and would happily eat it for every meal if I could. For me, there is no such thing as bad pizza... even bad pizza is good pizza. Yum. 

We like to make pizza for dinner, and we do almost every week. I was raised in a house where my mom made our pizza dough from scratch, and whereas that is very much my thing, I usually just buy ready-made dough. Either way, I thought I'd share with you about my pizza addiction and show you how we do it.

These are the usual suspects:
- Trader Joe's Garlic & Herb Pizza Dough
- Diced Tomatoes
- Turkey Pepperoni
- Black Olives
- Artichoke Hearts
- Mozarella Cheese
- Garlic Powder
- Dried Oregano

So I start by sprinkling my pizza stone with a bit of cornmeal so everything doesn't stick to the bottom. This also adds a nice crunch to the dough. 

Then it's all about stretching the dough. Normal people use a rolling pin and a bit of flour... I just stretch it out with my hands. I have tried the rolling pin method and it makes me crazy... so this method is just easier for me... but to each their own. 

Then I add my mountain of toppings. This picture does not do it justice but there is a ton of stuff on the top of that crust. I use the diced tomatoes in place of the sauce and then add the turkey pepperoni (and lots of it since it is much lower in fat than regular pepperoni!), then the olives, artichoke hearts, a sprinkling of the garlic & oregano and then top it off with the mozzarella.

And this is our end result - YUM!

And that's how we do it, kids. Easy, delicious and you can even say you ate vegetables (although, I'm fairly confident that 2/3rds of the "vegetables" on the pizza are really fruits.. oh well!)

We're also huge fans of BBQing pizza... but I'll save that for another time... closer to summer.

This is my husband... we just finished a 3 mile run and we were both very excited to eat our pizza. 

 This is our dog, Zoey.... she was hoping we would drop some of the pizza on the floor. Silly Zoey... I would never let pizza hit the floor.

 Yum... Pizza..

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Project De-Clutter: The Kitchen Counter, Part 2

It is late & I am about to head off to bed but I am so excited to show my next Before/After pictures of our kitchen counter as part of my de-cluttering project... and I couldn't wait until tomorrow to share!



This has been such an exciting project for me - super liberating in a strange way. I've been challenged to really look at things and ask "do we need this"... not really so much "am I using this" as do we NEED it. Can I function in my daily life without it? I dropped off 3 huge bags to a local thrift store on Monday and it felt so good to be done with so much stuff. 

I read an article in Sunset Magazine a while back about a family that lives on the extreme side of minimalism. I am not really looking to go that far but it definitely gives perspective to things. Check it out here if you're interested.

Good night! Off to dream about clean counter tops!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chocolate Souffles

We had friends over for dinner on Friday & I have this horrible habit of trying to make something for the first time when we're feeding others. It is like the first chronic rule of entertaining - don't try new things unless you know you can do it... but I never listen. 

I am an avid reader of Bon Appetit magazine and so I searched for a good recipe and this is what they gave me (Note, this recipe is for 8 people and I only needed 4, so I halved it. Again - a very brave thing to try before serving to friends, but I live dangerously!):



  • 12 ounces high-quality milk chocolate (I used the Milk Chocolate bulk bar from Trader Joes - YUM!), chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Special Equipment

  • 8 3/4-cup soufflé dishes


  • Butter eight 3/4-cup soufflé dishes; sprinkle with sugar, tilting cups to coat completely and tapping out any excess. Arrange prepared soufflé dishes on large baking sheet.
  • Combine chocolate and cream in large metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove bowl from over water. Stir egg yolks and salt into chocolate mixture. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, beating until semi-firm peaks form. Using rubber spatula, fold 1/4 of beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold remaining egg whites into chocolate mixture in 2 additions. Divide chocolate mixture among prepared soufflé dishes, filling dishes completely.  DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled.

Baking away... Only about 1 minute left to go!

Right out of the oven - dollop of whipped cream on top

Crunchy top with soft and dreamy middle - deeeelightful!

These were AWESOME! Light, delicious, warm - just enough crust on the top but very smooth on the inside. I served them with home-made whipped cream (recipe also include a recipe for Honey Nougat Whipped Cream but I didn't have the time to prep all that so I just stuck to regular) and it was amah-zing. 

So - throw caution the wind every so often... you might get a delicious chocolate souffle out of it.

or... a big gloppy chocolate mess... but I bet it tastes good anyway!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Project De-Clutter: The Kitchen Counter, Part 1

I've been busy working on my de-cluttering process and have my very first Before/After to share!!



Now... This may not look like I've gotten very far but this cleaned up area had a trickle-down affect. In order to get things off this counter, I had to clean out the cupboards above it and get rid of 20 wine glasses that have never been used. Not too surprisingly, that freed up a bunch of extra space - so all of Drew's stuff that was on the counter is now tucked neatly up into a cupboard. 

I picked up a few glass jars at Crate & Barrel last week with a left-over gift card from my birthday & have made quick use of them. They make even dog treats look nice and neat!

I also fixed 2 parts of my sink (OK.. husband helped with one of them) and reorganized the under-sink cabinets as well. I thought about showing a picture.. but without a "before" picture, the "after" seems a bit anti-climactic. 

Today is President's Day and I am celebrating my day off by cleaning. I'm not sure what that is how it is meant to be observed  but I bet George and Abe would be in favor of my progress. 

Oh - did I mention that I cleaned out one of my closets too (yes, I said one of my closets)?! I got rid of at least 10 pairs of very expensive shoes from the early 2000... holy cats, were we into pointy toes or what?! Good riddance.

So, before I lose my motivation I am off to work on laundry and some other clean-type tasks. And then, we're off to celebrate Presidents' Day in the truest of fashions - hitting the Sears' sale for a new vacuum cleaner!

Happy Presidents' Day!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Project: De-clutter

My life is cluttered.
Every counter top has stuff upon stuff just piling up. 
I'm not really sure what all of this stuff is, but I'm pretty sure I don't need it all. 

It is time for Project: De-clutter

Step One:
Toss out anything that hasn't been used, eaten, looked at or thought about in at least 10 days. I bet I will have alot to get rid of!

Step Two: 
Head to Container Store and Ikea and look for ways to organize what is left.

Step Three: 
Enjoy all my new space... by adding new piles of stuff... 
Just kidding!