Sophia, the life-size doll

10.27.2008



In light of it being Halloween week, I wanted to share with you the Halloween costume of my cousin's daughter in the Philippines. They are always so creative with her costumes for Halloween and this year she is a doll in a box. How awesome is this? Very clever!

Queen City



This past weekend Jessica and I went up to the Queen City (Charlotte) to visit Anne Marie and Chris for some much needed R and R and to just get away from our lives down in Atlanta. It was a weekend full of sleeping, watching football (Go Dawgs!!), eating and lounging around.

On Sunday, we ate at a Cornelius favorite, definitely a secret hot spot, called Laspadas. Just look at the array of good food we ate. We had the essentials...curly fries, cheese fries and fried pickles. Yummy!

Jennifer Behr

10.21.2008


Photo from jenniferbehr.com

I just got Daily Candy's Deals email today and one of the features was Jennifer Behr's hair accessories. She has also been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings. Her accessories are absolutely beautiful...also going on my Wish List after my own pair of piddies!

Piddies!


Photo from etsy.com and piddies

I was just browsing on etsy.com and found these cute Piddies! If I had a baby, I would buy these right away. They do have adult sizes, but I think they're cute just for itty-bitty babies. (secretly, I do want a pair though...)

The First Taste of Fall

Seems like I'm all about Germany these days...I don't know if it's because I've been watching Heidi Klum on Bravo or if it's the October weather, but what better way to ease into the fall season with a German feast...Soft Pretzels, German Sausages (Brats!) with Apples, Sauerkraut and Onion with a side of Potatoes with Parsley and Dill. These recipes are from the past issue of Martha Stewart Living. This post is dedicated to Jana...


Look at these cute pretzels!


Soft Pretzels
Makes 12

Ingredients
* 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast (1/4 ounce)
* 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
* 2 teaspoons sugar
* 1 cup warm water
* 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
* 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
* Vegetable oil, for baking sheets
* 3 tablespoons baking soda
* 1 tablespoon pretzel salt
* Assorted mustards, for serving

Directions
1. Mix yeast, coarse salt, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl, whisking until sugar dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
2. Mix flour and cayenne in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Slowly pour yeast mixture over flour mixture, stirring to combine. Using your hands, gather dough together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until it is no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic, and let rise for 30 minutes.
4. Cut dough into 12 pieces, and roll each into an 18-inch rope. Form a U shape with 1 rope, and twist ends together twice. Fold twisted portion backward along center of U shape to form a circle, then gently press ends of rope onto dough to seal. Transfer to an oiled baking sheet, and repeat. Let rise for 20 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add baking soda. Boil pretzels in batches until puffed and slightly shiny, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to wire racks to drain. Return to baking sheet, sprinkle with pretzel salt, and bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Pretzels will keep, uncovered, at room temperature for up to 12 hours. Rewarm in a 250-degree oven if desired, and serve with mustards.

Helpful Hint
To save time, store-bought bread dough can be used in place of homemade; start at step 4.



German Sausages with Apples, Sauerkraut and Onion

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 links assorted fully cooked German sausages
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 crisp red apples, such as Gala or Braeburn, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 pound sauerkraut
  • 3 large sour pickles, quartered, for serving
  • 1 Kirby cucumber, peeled and sliced lengthwise into eighths, for serving
  • Assorted mustards, for serving
Directions
  1. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon oil. Halve sausages lengthwise if desired. Cook until browned and heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, and cover to keep warm.
  2. Add remaining tablespoon of oil to skillet if necessary. Add onion, and cook for 3 minutes. Add apples, stir, and cook until softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in cider, and cook for 1 minute. Add sauerkraut, and heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer sauerkraut to a warm serving platter, and top with the sausages. Serve with pickles, cucumber, and mustards. (Sausages and sauerkraut can be kept warm, covered, in a 250-degree oven for up to an hour.)
Potatoes with Parsley and Dill

Ingredients

Serves 6 to 8

* 6 red potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and halved
* 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
* 2 tablespoons torn fresh curly leaf parsley

Directions

1. Place potatoes in a large pot of water. Bring to a boil, and cook until fork tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain. Transfer to a warm serving bowl, add butter, and season with salt and pepper. Toss with herbs. (Potatoes can be made up to 1 day ahead; warm over low heat, tossing with herbs just before serving.)

You are the Best Thing

10.19.2008



I officially heart Ray Lamontagne. I've always loved his music but last night was the first time I have ever seen him in concert and he was absolutely A-MAZING!! There are only two singers who can make me cry when they sing their beautiful music and Ray is one of them. Check out his new album, Gossip in the Grain. My favorite song right now: You are the Best Thing (first track on the album)



Here is Ray singing Trouble (Sorry I can't rotate the video...)

video


Friday night I went to my second Panic concert and it was a little different and much better! My first show was at Philips and this show was at Lakewood...a much better venue for dancing. Despite the rain and the mud I seemed to get my dance on without a worry in the world!

Look at me and all of my hippieness: long dress and barefoot!

Espana 08: Valencia and the Quest for the Holy Grail

10.17.2008



While we were on our trip, Maggie found out that she passed her boards!! Yay!! She can work now! Congratulations! And we caught it all on our camera. She was hysterically crying. I didn't know if something tragic happened or what...it might be tragic that she did pass and that now she is entering the working world! Go back Maggie...go back!!

For her celebratory dinner, we went to La Fonda, a restaurant in Valencia that Leslie's friend recommended us going to. It was probably on of the most memorable meals I have had (and it wasn't because of the story of the prawn that fell on the floor and magically reappeared on my plate). Just look at the beautiful array of scrumptious dishes.

Valencia is probably one of the nicest cities we went to in Spain. If I were to go back to Spain, then I would definitely go back to see Valencia. It's like being in Beverly Hills with the palm trees lining the streets and all the nice, high-end stores.

PS. We were on a quest to find the Holy Grail and by God, we found it! It's in Valencia!

SPOILER ALERT: Auf Wiedersehen...

10.15.2008



photos from etsy.com

Leanne is in!! I'm so thrilled that Leanne won! I knew she would. Her clothes are just absolutely impeccable, innovative and wearable. If I only I knew about her before she became famous because she has her own clothing line on etsy.com but because of her fame and workload, she has stopped selling online...boo!!

Michael, she will NEVER be remembered as Petals Marshall!

Espana 08: Tapas, Wine and Gaudi...Oh MY!

10.14.2008


It's almost been two weeks since we've gotten back from Spain and it seems like my mind is still there. I had to actually make it a goal for this week to update you folks on my trip and I've seemed to change the look of my blog as well. Two for the price of one!

Tapas, Wine and Gaudi...OH MY! That definitely captures the trip in one sentence, but of course I will elaborate more for your entertainment. Spain was such a welcoming country. You could definitely get by with hand gestures (I want this...and you point..simple enough) and the little Spanish that everyone knows, which we've quickly added to our every day conversation back here in the states... ¡Hola BebĂ©! If you hadn't noticed on facebook and kodakgallery and just talking to me in general, it's like our trademark salutation! I told you I would come back speaking Spanish.

The tapas. We definitely were told twice that we were ordering way too much food: once at Can Cortada, a renovated 11th Century farmhouse and again on our last night in Barcelona. Anyways, they were right and we were full. Enough said. The food in Spain is simple, but tasty. They seem to use the food's natural flavors to carry the whole dish. There were lots of Patatas Bravas (your basic Spanish french fries), mussels and cheese eaten. It was deliciously heaven!

The vino. Cheaper than water. Many, many many bottles of wine were consumed on our two week trip, but just think we probably saved a lot of euros by ordering wine instead of water! Wine always seems to bring people together as well as help create good conversation between good friends. I miss drinking a bottle of wine for lunch and dinner.

The architecture. It was absolutely amazing. I kept thinking how do we live, work and breathe in those straight-angled buildings...so boring...while Spaniards are lucky enough to walk in and walk out of these beautiful buildings with intricate detail. We saw most of Gaudi's famous works of art, La Padrera (was once an apartment, but there are 2 families who live there now), Casa Batllo (a house built for the Batllo family and is one of my favorites because of the vibrant color) and the Sagrada Familia (it's actaually still being built and they say won't be done until later in our lifetime). If you saw his work in person, you would have definitely thought: There is something wrong with this guy. He seems delusional...really out there, but he got all of his inspiration from nature...bones, shells, plants, etc. In conclusion, we analyzed the crap out of Gaudi (poor Gaudi) just from his work...we assumed that he was actually a homosexual, but living in a Catholic country and having very religious values, he was oppressed with his secret feelings, so he took it out on his work. Done and done.

Our experience in Spain could probably best be told through our thousands of pictures, so if you've got time and a glass of wine just look at our pictures and you will see Spain.

Barcelona

Hasta Manana Amigos!

PS. I'll post more stories about our trip. Stay Tuned!