Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Naan Pizza with a Summertime Twist

A while back I shared my Naan pizza creation. It's still a staple in our house for many reasons.
  • It's a fantastic way to get rid of leftovers.
  • While we have our favorite combination, it never turns out exactly the same.
  • The Naan bread is already cooked, so the pizza doesn't take long to bake (only 10 minutes).
  • It's nearly impossible to screw it up.
In honor of summer, we've been tossing our pizzas on the grill instead of in the oven. The grill flavor is great. Has anybody else tried it?

Chicken pesto is still one of our favorites. Next on the list of flavor combination to try: a Greek pizza.

Chicken Pesto Pizza
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fresh garlic

Small pieces of chicken (already cooked)

Fresh mozzarella cheese

Shredded parmesan cheese

Greek Pizza
Tomato slices
Greek Olives
Feta cheese
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese

Spices like basil and oregano

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Taste of Italy. In Pittsburgh.

I had dinner with my mom and her friends last week. A-MAZ-ING! We went to a home in Bloomfield – one of the many Pittsburgh neighborhoods, also known as our Little Italy.

The first floor is a little store called Merante Gifts and the upstairs was set up for one of the most fabulous wining and dining experiences I’ve ever had. Maria – the owner and hostess – prepared a meal for us from appetizers to dessert, explaining each recipe and her tricks of the trade as we went along.

It all began with a feast of delicious appetizers that could have been a satisfying meal all on their own. My personal favorite was the brie wrapped in puff pastry with apricot preserves, almonds, dried cranberries and apples. It was actually really similar to the brie in a bread bowl concoction Fiance and I created this winter (I can share our recipe if anybody is interested).

Then it was on to dinner, starting with cool Italian gazpacho, which was a perfect blend of veggies and herbs served in a cool heirloom tomato broth.

Also on the menu:
  • Pasticcio di Gnocchi with b├ęchamel, prosciutto, peas and pancetta completing the dish (and the gnocchi was homemade, of course)
  • Filet Mignon wrapped in puff pastry
  • Grilled summer vegetables
  • Roasted beets and oranges over field greens and arugula
After all of that, my tum was about ready to burst and I was pretty positive I couldn’t swallow another ounce of food. Then Maria brought out the Limoncello cake.The cake looked amazing and tasted even better.

Maria left us with a recipe for everything and I can’t wait to try a couple out on my Italian fam.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Laundry Machine?

Can you refer to a washer or washing machine as a laundry machine? I'm seriously asking.

Last week I was out to dinner with my mom and a bunch of her friends. They were laughing with me (or maybe at me) about all of my domestic fails. They found the tales of my laundry inadequacies especially entertaining.

They were also amused -- and a bit flabbergasted, it seemed -- that I was referring to the machine by the incorrect name.

So the jury is out. Please deliberate. Is it acceptable to call a washing machine the laundry machine? Or am I really out on a limb with that one?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

TLC's Inedible to Incredible

Did anybody watch this on Monday? How was it? After watching this sneak peak, I'm half expecting Chef John Besh to show up at my front door...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Half Full Friday

It's hard not to be in a great mood on Fridays when the entire weekend is in sight. For me, it's easy to see my glass as half full. Thank you, EyeGirl for the great idea.

Here's what I'm thankful for today.
  • My baby sister, who is on her way home from a semester in Australia as we speak.
  • The new dishwasher. It saves me so much time every week.
  • For the first time in more than 6 months, I have a Friday night all to myself. SYTTD, here I come!
  • My brother-in-law-to-be, cousin and a couple family friends all successfully graduated from high school this year (not that I ever doubted they would).
  • Fiance and I had time to relax and hang out last night before he left for his week-long bachelor party.
  • My DVR. Is that horrible?

Spinach & Feta Rolls

I recently made pepperoni rolls for a party. The recipe I used couldn't have been any easier (I did sub cheese cubes for shredded mozz).

When it was all said and done, I had an extra can of the crescent rolls left over. We were pepperoni rolled-out, so I started to brainstorm. That's when I came up with spinach & feta rolls. Sorta like spanakopita meets pepperoni roll.

I lined each crescent wedge with fresh spinach leaves and feta cheese, rolled them up, brushed a little EVOO on top, and baked away. Quick and easy... and tasty.

I think my new go-to party appetizer will be half pepperoni rolls (a staple for sure) and half spinach & feta rolls (I think the vegetarians out there might appreciate it). If you're interested in giving 'em a whirl, follow this recipe, subbing pepperoni for fresh spinach and cheese cubes for feta cheese.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Wedding Weekend

We dedicated last weekend to our house. Now this weekend will be dedicated to wedding stuff.

Today we're meeting with the church musician to pick out our ceremony songs. I already have a pretty good list, but I'm eager to hear what else the musician suggests.

This also got me thinking of reception songs. I'm putting together a dinner playlist. I have a good handle on it, but would greatly appreciate any recommendations.

Saturday night we'll be doing some work on Fiance's cabin -- the scene of our country casual rehearsal dinner hoedown. Sometimes I think that party might actually be more fun than the wedding.

Then on Sunday we're taking engagement pics. I didn't particularly want to do this, but it's part of our wedding photography package. Plus the photographer wants to work with us prior to the wedding so everybody is comfortable on the big day.

I'll admit, I'm not taking the photo shoot too seriously. We're just planning to have some fun with it. Weather permitting, we might even paddle around in Fiance's canoe instead of traditional studio shots. I've yet to ride in his canoe, so this could be interesting.

At some point, I'm also hoping to squeeze in time to research things we must see and do while we're on our honeymoon in Hawaii. I've heard you have to book some things prior to arriving on the island, so I don't want to miss any opportunities.

Has anybody ever been to Maui? I'd appreciate any advice, recommendations, travel tips, etc.

So I need dinner song recommendations and Hawaii advice. Ready, go!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Work that sledge hammer

I’m really, really lucky to have a very handy Fiance and Father – and they work well together. Since we moved in, we’ve really put a lot of sweat equity into the place. When I say “we” I originally thought that would mean Fiance and my dad. As it turns out “we” actually includes me.

Some say I have a type-A personality, and I don’t disagree. To keep our projects on track, I made a list of everything we wanted to do and then assigned deadlines. The final deadline being the first week in August when all of my friends are coming to town for my shower.

I’m actually surprised we’re on track, considering how many weekends we spent away, how many nights Fiance worked late while I was in class, and everything else we had going on with our families, wedding planning and work.

So Fiance & Dad spent Memorial Day weekend working on the kitchen/dining room and were kind enough to trust me with the sledge hammer. I was tooting my own horn, claiming that manual labor must be my calling, when I stood up a bit too quickly and smashed my head on the oven hood. After that, I was assigned a lovely forest green hard hat for the remainder of the project.

Now we just have to lay new floor and paint. I can't wait to get the gross pinky/peach color off the walls.

Fiance & Dad hard at work
Thanks for cooking all weekend, Mom.Wasn't kidding about that hardhat

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It fits!

I had my first dress fitting last night! So exciting.

Recently, I've been watching a little too much Say Yes to the Dress. They always end with some sort of drama downstairs in alterations. So now I have a fear of alterations gone wrong. Needless to say, it was a major relief to see that the alterations were really minor.

I'm quite tall, 5'10 give or take, which is tall enough that my dress doesn't even need to be hemmed. In fact, I plan to wear flats (for numerous reasons, my clumsy nature one of them), but if I had wanted to wear heels, they would have had to lengthen my dress when it was being made.

The good news is it doesn't need to be taken in at all. The even better news is that it doesn't need to be let out. They really only have to shorten the halter strap a little bit and add a bustle.

Apparently that bustle is critical for the reception. As the alterations lady said, "you don't want somebody to step on your dress while you're dancing and rip the entire thing right off." Yes, it would be good if we could avoid that scenario.

How many days until Sept 25? I'm getting really excited!