Wednesday, September 26, 2012

{Go there}: Lucchesi's Ravioli and Pasta Company.

I tell my students all the time to work smarter not harder. And when it comes to dinner, sometimes that is exactly what you have to do.

I have heard people over the years talking about "picking something up" from Lucchesi's Ravioli and Pasta Company but had never been myself. On Friday afternoon when I found myself browsing my Pinterest for recipe ideas, I found a pappardelle pasta recipe with meat sauce that I was salivating over. Fast forward a few hours and tracking down ingredients in the grocery store just didn't seem like fun. I realized really what I wanted was the pappardelle pasta and so a friend suggested going by Lucchesi's to see if they had any.

I went to their store on Sanderlin off Mendenhall and had fun exploring what all they offered. Towards the back of the store there are freezers with all sorts of pastas and ready made meals you can grab and go. 

On the side wall there are fresh pastas of all kinds in a refrigerator, with sauces and salads as well.

There are also other Italian-oriented grocery goods in the store:

On the other end of the store there is a counter where you can place orders for fresh food to eat there or to go. I hear their pizzas, which can come uncooked for you to make at home, are especially delicious. Planning on trying those next time!

So on that Friday night I did find my pappardelle pasta, which I paired with a tomato wine cacciatore sauce. We got a salad with fresh Italian dressing as well and it hit the spot. 

Lucchesi's was a great option for an easy, fast, homemade dinner that night and I can imagine will be one of our new go-to's in the future. 

In pastas and pizzas, 
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

{Make this}: Mexican Street Corn

This story starts with the fact that since Jake is working a lot, when we do get to hang out, we try to really spend quality time together. And somehow even though he isn't around much, it's ok because we're practicing savoring what we get. So this past weekend was a treat because Jake had both Saturday and Sunday off. He still had to study but we were able to spend a lot of time together. Saturday night we got the idea that we wanted to cook a romantic dinner together. We were housesitting for my parents and decided it might be fun to cook over there since the UT game wasn't available on our u-verse TV.

When making our menu, we turned to Pinterest. We ended up deciding to make a grilled pork tenderloin with this rub, green beans, and something I had been wanting to try for a while - Mexican Street Corn.

So with our ingredient list in hand, we headed out on our adventure. The first stop was Whole Foods. I had actually never been to Whole Foods and we had so much fun exploring the store. I snapped a few pictures for fun:

After getting our ingredients, we went to my favorite, Muddy's Bake Shop. We got a sampling of some of my favorite cupcake flavors - Grasshopper, Strawberry Fields Forever, and Frankly Scarlett. After all, if it is going to be a date night dinner, you have to get decadent.

So back at the homestead we started to cook. I snapped this picture of my mom's pyrex print because I love it so much:

My mom is so legit that she has had this pyrex for so long. She had this pyrex before pyrex was cool.

But back to the food and specifically the street corn. We used this recipe for the street corn, taken off Pinterest:

I had never had street corn before but the pin just looked so appealing that I had craved it ever since I pinned it months ago. And finally I got to make it - so glad I did.

So here we are in my parents' kitchen, cooking:

Tenderloin was rubbed, green beans were chopped, and we were ready to go. Even had the best helpers ever, my parents' dogs Rusty and Daisy:

 So it was time to make the street corn. Recipe recapped below. First I boiled the corn (you could grill or put in the oven, however you prefer to make corn):

Then once it was finished I added all the toppings. These are going to sound crazy but they were delicious together - mayonnaise spread on the corn with a knife while corn was hot, then parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, cilantro, lime juice, and my favorite Mexican seasoning (from the Target hispanic food aisle, called Tajin seasoning.

And that is all you do. It is ready to eat. So easy, so delicious.

Really, I hear it is rude to call your own food delicious but I can't tell you how many times I've fantasized about this corn since I made it. It probably is weird to fantasize about corn. I guess there are worse things...

Daisy and Rusty agree.

 So our little date night adventure ended well with a delicious meal, a reasonably priced and good tasting bottle of wine, and time spent together eating outside on the patio. It was very civilized, grown-up, and fun:

So you say you want to make your own Mexican Street Corn? 

You'll need:
  • ears of corn
  • mayonnaise
  • parmesan cheese (the recipe calls for queso fresca but it was $7 for a block and so I used parm. cheese and thought it was really good)
  • freshly chopped cilantro (I could have chopped mine finer)
  • salt/pepper
  • juice of limes (about 2)
  • mexican seasoning (I used Tajin but the recipe calls for chili powder - I think Tajin is far superior and gives it a different taste)

You'll do:
1) Cook your corn (boil, put in oven, grill, whatever)
2) While warm after cooking, take a knife and spread mayonnaise over all sides of the corn
3) sprinkle cheese over all of the corn
4) put salt, pepper, and mexican seasoning on corn
5) sprinkle chopped cilantro on the corn
6) squeeze lime juice over all of the pieces

Eat! Enjoy!

In easy recipes and romantic dinners,
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Monday, September 24, 2012

{House}: Art update.

As mentioned in yesterday's post, I got three pieces of art at this year's Cooper Young Festival. The next day I was so excited that I got Jake to let me use his one day off of the week as a work day around the house. We went to Target and got my go-to frames and then came home and hung up the art!

Jake's not going to like this picture but isn't he being so patient and sweet? He listened to where I wanted the pictures and then hung them for me. He also fixed my leg of my new hutch (on the floor in the front of the picture):

And the new art - the Andrea Manard birthday present from Brie:

And the Painted by Holly collages in the corner of the den, across from their Beale Street print sister:

And while I'm sharing, for my birthday Beth gave me the most precious piece of art. It is a blue Ball mason jar painted vibrantly on a piece of reclaimed hardwood floor. And the best part? It is by a Memphis artist that she happened upon in Knoxville. The artist is Beth Meadows - she has an etsy and a website.

Little by little I'm cultivating quite the little collection of art. And I love it.

In being artsy fartsy,

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

{Memphis}: Cooper Young Festival 2012

It is no secret that I love Memphis. And I love Midtown. And then there's my love of arts and crafts. So when all of these things collide, you get the Cooper Young Festival. Located in one of Midtown's trendiest neighborhoods, Cooper Young Festival is full of hundreds of booths selling art, jewelry, handmade crafts, and more. In addition, there are civic engagement booths, lots of food (and beer!), games for kids, and local musicians. It is a happening place to be and I never miss it!

This year Brie and I went to Cooper Young together (parking at her house makes the festival a little easier, not gonna lie). It was a beautiful day and I snapped some pictures of my favorite booths to share.

The first booth we fell in love with was furniture, frames, and decor made from reclaimed wood. I loved this table below:

And this cooler stand was just so precious.

The booth was from two guys together, Chris of Antebellums and his friend.

The next booth had fun typography prints and artwork. This booth was run by sisters Kristen and Lindsey Archer. Lindsey did all the typography prints and has an etsy site. Kristen did the photography.

After that we stopped by one of my favorite booths from last year, Andrea Manard. For my birthday last year Brie got me a little block print of three owls from her and so it was fun to see her back and check out her new stuff. Andrea uses a lot of maps in her work, which I love. Here's her etsy: . I love the sailboat in the bottom left and also a map of Tennessee in the shape of Tennessee she had.

After that we found another favorite from last year, Painted by Holly. Holly does watercolors and portraits and sells her work as originals, prints, notecards, magnets, and bookmarks. Last year I got a print of her Beale Street watercolor and this year Brie and I both fell in love with Holly's collages. Brie got the Midtown collage and I got both the Midtown collage and a UT collage:

We browsed and walked around a lot more and mostly just enjoyed the pretty day and catching up with each other. When I got back home Brie texted me that she snuck back and got me a birthday present so I went back over to check it out - turns out she was sneaky and noticed I loved this Andrea Manard piece below while we were at that booth and so she went back and got it!

I love it so much - love the map, love the quote, love the colors. What a thoughtful friend.

Once I got my art home it was time to hang it up and enjoy my little slice of Memphis.

Just for fun, here's my CYF post from 2011:

In art, friends, and fun,

Sunday, September 16, 2012

{Craft This}: Paint Chip Art.

Paint chip artwork is all the rage on Pinterest right now. The premise is simple. Take paint chips from your hardware store and create free artwork. When I blogged back in July about updating our master bedroom, I talked about changing out the art in the gallery frames on our wall. This seemed like the perfect place to try out the paint chip art.

What I did was incredibly simple. I used frames I already had, grabbed several shades of the yellow that I use in my house (a bees-wax or straw yellow), making sure to go way lighter and way darker for contrast, and then started playing.

First I took out the old art - for the small frames this was a dried leaf set. Beamer was helping...
(oh and of course I was on Pinterest at the time - are you surprised?!)

The small frames got a bunting pattern on cream cardstock. I used baker's twine (Martha Stewart brand) and cut the paint chips into triangles. I used two chips of the same color for this one.

If you look closely, the printing on the paint chip is on one of each frame, just giving it a little paint-chip-flair, if there is such a thing.

Then for the larger frames I did an ombre effect, just putting the chips into the frame layered so you could see all three (and making sure that you can see the paint name for that same paint-chip-ness as the others, give it some street cred, ya know?).

So for $0, I got four pieces of crafty-art-ness. (There's a second of the ombre ones).

Now I need to get something done for the middle frames (they are 8X10's) and my wall will be updated!

In free art,
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Saturday, September 8, 2012

{Make this}: Avocado Goat Cheese Spread.

This has been the summer of craving two things - goat cheese and avocado. I never really liked either before this summer and so opening the door to these two possibilities has meant I couldn't get enough. And yet somehow I had never tried them together until one fateful day I ate an amazing sandwich at Silly Goose in Nashville. This sandwich that changed my life and my palate? The Bird. It had chicken breast, sun-dried tomatoes, bacon, avocados, and goat cheese. And just like that, I realized the potential of goat cheese and avocado.

Last weekend Jake was watching football and I decided to make something to munch on. I didn't want to go to the store so I decided to use what we had. The result was this avocado goat cheese spread. It would make a great dish to bring to a party or could be put on sandwiches. Try it out!

You'll need:

1 avocado
1 small package fresh goat cheese (the little tube)
1 lime

You'll do:

1) Peel and chop your avocado into small chunks.

2) Tear the goat cheese into small pieces. Add the avocado and goat cheese together in a bowl and toss.

3) Squirt fresh lime juice of one lime into the mixture and add pepper (to taste). Mix this in.

I served with chips and pretzels - it was actually really good with the pretzels. I could also see it with pita chips, pita bread, baguette or french bread, or spread on a sandwich.

You should make this!

In tailgating in style,
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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

{Life}: Best.Weekend.Ever - part two.

{Continued from the previous post...}

So with all my pals in town, we hit the road bright and (not so) early to start our adventure on Saturday morning. First on the agenda? Bryant's for breakfast, of course.

Bryant's is one of those places where it seems like everyone knows about it but it is such a hole in the wall. On Summer Avenue at Graham, Bryant's is known for their breakfast, specifically their biscuits.

After stuffing ourselves and clogging our arteries, we headed out to Sheffield's Antiques for a little shopping fun. We had so much fun walking the aisles - Beth, Eric, Claire, Ellen and I spent some quality time together as we helped Ellen search for some new house pieces and Beth search for an antique for her bedroom. We ended up having a bit of luck, with Ellen getting a TV stand and a side table, Claire getting some antique ice cream scoops, and I got a red chair for my dressing area:

After our grand Sheffield's adventure (which we'll count as working out since we walked the aisles of the store... right?), we headed back to Midtown to eat a late lunch with the additions to our crowd, fresh from Nashville.

We got a couple of their pizzas, which I can whole heartedly recommend. Trolley Stop pizzas are the best ever.

After that we headed back to my house for a little down time. This down time mostly involved the best game ever for the best weekend ever, Farkle. Farkle is a dice game that Eric and Claire brought to the group. It is incredibly easy and fun but involves strategy. We all got involved:

(if you look in the corner of the picture, even my parents showed up at the house!)

After Claire beat us at Farkle, my parents took a "family picture" for us (sans Elise, who was at her dad's house) -

We spent some more time hanging out before dinner.

For dinner we headed to Central BBQ, a must if you've got guests in town.

Beth and I split the nachos.

And Elise picked up another Memphis must, Muddy's Bake Shop cupcakes!

After dinner, we went to Ellen's new house while Andrew and Allison picked up their friend. Ellen's got a cute new place to go along with her cute dog. And check out that picture above Beth - Ellen won a contest with that picture and got to go see it hanging in a gallery in New York City!

Ellen's pup, Lily.

We also recreated a picture from 2005 (top) at Central BBQ (bottom):

 After Ellen's house, Elise, Andrew, and Allison headed back to Nashville.

The next morning Beth hit the road early to go back to Atlanta and our little crew was left with deciding what to do for the afternoon. We took a long walk around the neighborhood, which was refreshing and fun. And since we exercised, we felt the need to eat some more. Continuing on the theme of eating local, we hit up Slider Inn.

After stuffing our faces (yet again), we went to another antique store, my favorite - Antique Warehouse on Summer, before eating one final meal with the love birds. Jake and I took them to our Sunday mainstay, Garabaldi's. We were so excited to share our Sunday tradition with our friends.

After dinner, before going to bed for early work and early flights, we had one last game of Farkle, in which Claire beat us yet again.

What a fun, fun weekend. Let's do it again!!

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