Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Some highlights

In the back of my mind, I remember that I have a blog. But as I've mentioned, my focus has been almost undivided to finishing this final semester of undergraduate school--and finishing strong! Next Thursday marks my final date and I will be more than pleased to be done. It's a scary new journey ahead, full of professional resumes, interviews and (hopefully) a job offer. 

Here are a few moments from the past few months

trying my hand at some old-fashioned cake doughnuts

anniversary dinner

a beautiful day at the beach

wine tasting

holiday drinks while studying

thanksgiving decorations

fall sangria

a decimated thanksgiving table

Thursday, October 4, 2012


The first time I had gnocchi, I was in Italy. Gnocchi is somewhat of a potato dumpling/pasta, creating a unique texture and flavor when used in place of any other type of pasta. It was served with a small bit of something akin to an alfredo sauce. It was one of those meals I wanted to savor. When I returned to the U.S., I certainly had a certain dish on my mind, so I was pleased to see it packaged at the local food co-op (I had never before seen it in a grocery store). However, it was nowhere near as tantalizing as I remembered it being, perhaps due to the piece of soil I was on.

As I was thumbing through cookbooks the other day for new dishes, I came across a recipe for potato gnocchi and instantly added it to the menu. The dough is slightly difficult to deal with and the final product was nowhere near beautiful. It was, however, much tastier than any brand I have purchased at a grocery store.

Potato Gnocchi from I Know How to Cook
 (slightly adapted by me)

Scant 1/3 cup butter, plus extra for greasing
2 1/4 pounds potatoes, unpeeled and quartered
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
*Generous 3/4 cup flour
Salt, to taste
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Gruyere, edam or swiss cheese

Grease an ovenproof 8 x 8in. dish with butter. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender (15-20 min, approximately). Drain well, cool room temperature, and peel potatoes. Mash potatoes and beat in the eggs, egg yolks, two heaping tablespoons of butter and the flour. Season with salt and nutmeg. 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring a large pan of water to a boil over high heat. Flour a hard surface, divide dough into four equal "hunks" and roll into a snake-like shape. Cut into one inch pieces and flatten slightly with a fork. Poach them in batches, over boiling water, for 3-4 minutes or until the gnocchi floats to the top. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain well (using a colander or paper towels).  Arrange the gnocchi in the greased dish. Sprinkle with cheese, dot with the remaining butter and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.

*Depending on the potatoes, the temperature, etc, you may need more flour. The dough should be pretty soft, but still able to hold a shape after being rolled out, without sticking to your fingers. Be careful, however, how much flour you add. If there is way too much, it's going to taste like flour and that's just yucky.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Over the weekend

I found out the yoga studio nearby does community donation classes on Saturdays, so we we headed over there after a nice start of peachy green smoothies. I have missed the gathering part of yoga, coming together with others to work towards the same goal, the same poses, the same breath. What a great tone to start the weekend.

1 and 2 -- smoothies.
3 -- matching mats. sometimes this feels a little silly, but what can you do?
4 -- a beach break
5 -- chai tea latte at a new coffee shop
6 -- some fall leaves on the east side of the island, spotted during our trip around the island in a new car
7 and 8 -- beer tasting at a newly discovered beer and wine shop

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Music + Studying = Productivity

The past two weeks have been entirely full of exams and assignments, so I've had a lack of inspiration (and time) to show anything that I've actually done lately---Because I haven't done anything! Except this.

Here's what I've been listening to while sitting at the new coffee shop.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Simple Things//Magazine

I discovered a "sneak peak" into The Simple Things magazine over a month ago, bookmarked it, and totally forgot about it because of where it was in my bookmarks. I found it again over the weekend and am so pleased I did.  It sent a sigh of contentedness through my soul. The magazine looks to be so delightful and I'm eager to get a copy myself. 

The style reminds me of why I enjoy all the cookbooks I do. Homemade, Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights and La Tartine Gourmande all share a love for the simple joy that is excellent food, special moments and a beautiful cheese plate. And not excellence in the overdone. No,  excellence in a few fresh ingredients, some flowers picked and a well-used, but beautiful tablecloth. 

It is gems like these that I treasure forever, the ones that teach me time and again that simple is the best path to take, the truly beautiful. For one can have the overdone, but is it something you can recreate day after day, to be enjoyed time and again?

Take a moment to peek through this delightful magazine yourself.  Perhaps it will make you sigh, as well.

You can check out The Simple Things blog here

Friday, September 14, 2012

Some reading

What I've found over the week...

1. Remembering September 11th.  "We cannot be made afraid to live."

2. Ceremonies are important, even if we think it might be silly

3. A great bruschetta recipe

4. It's hard to accept some things, but it's still good for you

 5. Transition songs for the end of summer

6. One should not mistake appearance for truth

7. Working through the re-evaluation of your style

8. Giving your photos an autumn effect with Photoshop

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Saying "no thanks" is missing out

Image via favspotting

A lot of people have a difficult time saying no. I'm not one of those people.

When it comes to working an extra shift for someone, or helping them out, I'm all for it. But recently, I've taken to the "I'm too tired/cranky/scared/insert negative emotion here" road. As the girl who took off for a six month stay in Europe by herself, I'm not sure where this came from. Over the weekend, however, it seems I was to be taught a lesson on saying no to doing things. A new friend from school invited Erik and I to go wine tasting with her and her husband. Erik was out surfing, we would have been late, and I was tired from studying all day, but also a little agitated with the idea of mingling with people I don't know that well.  So I said "no thanks, definitely next time!"

At class, she showed me a photo of her with Jack Johnson.  At the wine tasting.

I was struck by how vividly this portrayed what saying no to things was doing to my life. I've been missing out on huge opportunities, due to whatever I might feel. Not only meeting celebrity moments, but smaller, important things, such as making more friends, learning how to surf better or going to a cooking class. Those things which make us a fuller person, someone who has said "yes, I'm afraid, but I'm going to face it and do it anyway." Because as the saying goes, life begins at the end of your comfort zone. (Strangely enough, I read an article on Saturday about this very thing, and it really convicted me. Too bad I hadn't read it a few hours before).

So here's to figuring out how to say yes, to move forward and face fears!

(except for skydiving)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The greatest of feasts

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” 

―James Beard

I mentioned last week that I was baking bread and making butter as part of the "projects" section of my menu.  It's not a routine (or even common) event in my kitchen, but when I do happen to pull out the yeast and cream, it certainly results in a very happy me.  I end the day feeling accomplished  and as though I am truly living the simple, beautiful life.

For what is it to bake one's own bread and churn (mix) one's own butter?  What makes these used-to-be menial, weekly tasks so jaw-dropping?  Are we so accustomed to mediocrity (bread that tastes like nothing good and margarine standing in) that things which used to be normal and routine are now something to be cherished.  Can you imagine 100 years ago, saying "oh my goodness, you bake your own bread?"  

How things have changed.

2-4 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
Salt, if desired

Pour whipping cream into a mixing bowl and add a touch of salt, to taste (if desired).  Mix on high speed for 2 minutes, then switch to medium low for the time remaining.  You will know when you're done mixing when solids suddenly separate from liquid.  Scoop out the butter (solids) and strain the buttermilk (liquid) into a container.  Set buttermilk aside for other recipes and add any solids to the rest of the butter.  Rinse butter under cold water through a fine mesh strainer until water comes out clear.  Store in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.

I use a recipe from Betty Crocker's cookbook whenever I bake bread.  The recipe can be found here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ruche looks

Today was the launch of Ruche's fall lookbook, and it has me longing for sweaters, boots and a chill.  Autumn is especially dear to my heart, as it holds our wedding season, that time of preparation and the date itself.  I can clearly remember the feeling of the mountain air that weekend, when it was just cool enough to need a sweater, but not so freezing that we all must stay inside.

Enjoy the video and perhaps you, too, will be reminded.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weekend Brunches

I love making brunch.  Since we wake up at 5a.m. on weekdays, a "real" sit-down breakfast doesn't happen and as you've seen from menus I've shared, it's usually yogurt and fruit.  So I save it all up for the weekend, pulling out all the fun breakfast/brunch recipes from my cookbook collection.

Saturday, we had ouefs en coquettes with spinach and red onions.  Just a little ramekin filled with vegetables, topped with an egg and a tablespoon of cream.  Such a delightful bit of breakfast.  This morning, I whipped up a few chocolate crépes, filling them with créme fraîche or lemon curd.  And with everything, always a bit of fruit and endless cups of coffee.

A note on the créme fraîche; did you know you can make it?  I had absolutely no idea, but it seems so silly to say you can't make something at home when obviously someone had, before it was mass produced and sold in supermarkets.  One simply adds a tablespoon of yogurt or cultured buttermilk to every half cup of cream.  Be sure it sets out in 70 degrees or so for 12-24 hours (I allowed mine to sit for 24).  I have never purchased it, so I don't have anything to compare it to, but I thought it turned out quite well.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What we're eating this week//4

It's late in the week, but as has continued to be the trend, I only just made the menu for the next week and went grocery shopping last night.  I actually made butter last night and plan to get the bread baked over the weekend so it will be ready for french onion soup night.  I haven't been making bread or butter regularly, but I needed some cream for a few recipes and realized it would save money to set aside some cream and make butter from the rest of it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Holiday weekend

It's been a while since I've had a holiday weekend that actually meant something.  With the spring and summer semesters being done totally online, it never felt like a day off here and there made a difference.     What a nice feeling to enjoy the time off.  

Monday was our most exciting day.  Erik had to work overtime both Saturday and Sunday, so we spent most of Monday doing fun things.  It started with a scone and lemon curd breakfast (or strawberry kiwi jam, whatever was preferred), then a hike to Manoa Falls.  Quite honestly, it was the easiest hike we've done since moving here and was so traffic heavy that with all the stopping, it really didn't feel like a hike.  But it was beautiful and we were able to see all the spots we fixed up on our trail volunteer day.  

We ended the day in Waikiki, utilizing happy hour at the Yard House and wandering around.  Once on the beach, we realized we would be getting to see the sunset!  I think it was the first time we've seen the sunset since moving here, since it's blocked by the mountains at our place.

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Transitions: Late summer

While my summer is a little different than many others, I still feel the change in attitude and heart from summer to autumn.  School has started again, things are becoming busy, and we've been getting more rain. It seems the excitement of lazy days in the grass or by the pool, eating popsicles and listening to Foster the People on repeat is fizzling out.  Death Cab for Cutie and Alexi Murdoch are beginning to dominate my music time, these days.  Even the variety of produce is dwindling.

I welcome the change, for one cannot live without it.  As season moves to season, I say goodbye to the old and hello to the new.  It's an exciting time, full of new beginnings.  But for the time being, we're all in a transition, still with one foot in summer and the other in fall.  So here are some things to do as we move.

1. Preserve some of summer's bounty image via Weeping Cherries
2. Add flannel and boots to your summer shorts.  image via Kenza
3. Make the most of still available summer produce.  Try Heirloom tomato panzanella with poached eggs.
4. Listen to Codes and Keys by Death Cab for Cutie. The perfect pair of happy and melancholy.
5. Find some warm berry tones for your closet.  image via asos
6. Take a walk. image via Ashley Akers
7. Go swimming one last time. image via Pinterest
8. Host an outdoor dinner party. image via Pinterest
9. Make sangria. image via