Friday, April 29, 2011

Fresh Cut Friday

Time's been tight this week. In fact, I didn't even get around to picking up fresh flowers for this week's FCF. Luckily, my parents came to the rescue and sent me a picture of their lilacs, fresh from their backyard.

I'm envious of anyone who has flowering bushes & trees in their yard. I'm hoping to get some of my own planted this spring. After two springs/summers in our house, we have yet to landscape the backyard. It seems there was always something above it on our "to do" list. But I think we're finally ready to get some roots in the ground, and better yet, some homegrown bouquets on the table. Can't wait. In the mean time...thanks, Mom & Dad! And feel free to bring some of those lilacs on over.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fresh Cut Friday

This week's arrangement is a mix of pink alstroemeria, cream roses, yellow freesia, and a few sprigs of mint from my little herb garden. Which, by the way, is already off to a great start thanks to all of the rain we've been getting. I arranged it all in a pretty blue & white bowl with floral foam.

Between the roses, freesia, and mint...this is probably the best smelling bouquet ever. Have a great weekend and a very happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Orzo with Salmon, Asparagus, & Tomatoes

Have you seen Giada's line of pasta, sauces, etc. at Target?

I'm a big fan of GDL. She puts a fresh modern twist on traditional Italian. Her recipes are always so good. I didn't use a recipe of hers for this dish, but I did use her orzo.


2 salmon filets - cooked & flaked

(I used "season grill salmon" from Schnucks seafood counter-it's delicious!
Baked it at 400 for 15 minutes)
1 bunch asparagus, diced
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup white wine
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tbsp capers
chopped basil + parsley, or any fresh herbs you like

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil


salt + pepper
{missing from this pic is the salmon, capers, olive oil, s+p - oops!}

Cook the orzo according to the directions on the box. I found that it really stuck to the pan, so I recommend adding a little olive oil to keep the sticking to a minimum. When the orzo is just a few minutes shy of being done, add the asparagus in.

Can you tell how starchy the orzo is? I'm not going to lie - it was kind of messy. Not an "easy clean up" kind of dish.

Drain the orzo and asparagus. In a large pan, saute the chopped garlic in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, then add the cooked orzo and asparagus. Add the wine, 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, tomatoes, chopped herbs, capers, and s+p to taste.

Stir it all together, remove from heat, and add the flaked salmon and as much freshly grated parm as you want.

It was a nice, light meal. And pretty easy...if you have someone else do the dishes.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fresh Cut Friday

OK, so technically these arrangements may not be "cut", but it doesn't get any fresher than still growing. So I'm considering these two arrangements my Fresh Cuts of the week. Last weekend, I picked up a nice variety of herbs and a few flowers to get a start on my spring planting. The tulips and hyacinths were on clearance for $1 per bulb. So I grabbed a few of each, knowing they would make great centerpieces, in one form or another. I ended up planting the tulips in this yellow bowl and topping it off with some moss. They've gotten super tall over the last few days. They should be opening up soon.

Guess who was lurking nearby again? Like a jungle cat ready to pounce.

Here are the hyacinths in a small urn, also topped with moss. See how the leaves are yellowing? Yeah, I don't think it's doing so well. In fact, the blooms were so droopy I had to stick some skewers in the stems to keep them upright.

Before skewers...

Yep, not much time left for these guys. Oh well, they were pretty while they lasted!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Meet Paloma...Margarita's skinny friend.

When the temps warm up and daylight sticks around a bit longer, two things happen. One, you want to be outside, on a patio. Two, you want to be drinking a margarita. Or at least I do. This time of year, I find myself with a major hankering for a good margarita. But I also find myself feeling guilty about consuming the ridiculous amount of calories that come along with said margarita. Did you know a modestly sized restaurant marg can have as many as 500 calories?! Yikes. I've tried some lower calorie store bought mixes in the past. The ones that tasted decent still had a lot of calories, and the ones that were truly low cal tasted not so bueno.

Last night, when the Mr. and I found ourselves wanting a margarita to go with our quesadillas, he got online and looked for recipes that only required ingredients we had on hand. Margarita mix was not one of them. He found this recipe for a Paloma, a drink very similar to the beloved margarita. It calls for Squirt soda. We just so happen to have diet Squirt at the moment. Which is very unusual.

{photo from here}

To make it...

Start off with some salt on the glass rim. Fill the glass with ice. Squeeze one lime (a whole lime, not just one wedge!) into the glass with a pinch of salt. Add one shot of Tequila, or to your taste. Fill the glass up with (diet) squirt or grapefruit soda. Stir a little & voila!!

We both really liked these. And since we used diet Squirt, our version was only about 100 calories per drink. A-mazing. I recommend you make a batch, find a patio, and enjoy!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Fresh Cut Fraturday

Just a little late with this week's Fresh Cut bouquet. Hence the "Fraturday" in the title. I'm clever, I know. Side note: is it just me, or does that made up word make you think of frat boys out on their lawns tossing the football around on a sunny Saturday? Takes me back to my days at Mizzou. I won't say how far back. Because it makes me sad. And I am in denial.

Back to this week's bouquet. I went simple and classic. Got this bunch of hydrangeas at the grocery store for $7. Not bad for such big beautiful blooms.

And as always, Quincy needed to be right in the middle of the action.

That smile tells me he likes hydrangeas, too.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

I've missed you, Mr. Grill

Our weather has been totally wacky the last few weeks. But I think (fingers crossed) we are finally settled into spring, and I couldn't be happier. I dusted off and fired up the grill last night to make a quick and healthy dinner.

Nothing ground breaking here. Just some salmon with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, dill, and lemon slices.

And this is a mix of squash and sweet potatoes, with some whole garlic cloves thrown in...also drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper.

I put both on the grill, along with some sliced pineapple...yum.

As far as cook times go, I'd say the squash/potatoes needed about 25 minutes, salmon 15 minutes, and pineapple 5 minutes each side. I kept the grill on low-medium.

I'm happy my grill, and dining al fresco, are back in full force. I've missed them both.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Just a pretty pic.

While clearing out old photos on my phone, I came across this shot of the church The Mr. and I got married in. I took it last fall, after we attended Saturday night mass and had dinner a few blocks away. It's gorgeous during the day, but something about the way it looks all lit up at night...kind of breathtaking. I've loved this church since I was a little girl. We didn't go to this part of the city a lot, but I remember marveling at this big beautiful church any time we did. I always thought it would be pretty amazing to get married here. And it was.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Fresh Cut Friday

This week's FCF features one of my very favorite flowers...ranunculus.

I got these pretty blooms at Trader Joe's. They're lookin' good and adding lots of color to the dining room table.

I snagged this vase at Value Village for $.80 this week.

I also got this tiny goblet from VV. See the pink band at the top? (What is it with me and pink lately?) So I plopped a few ranunculus blooms in it, too.

Oh, and did you notice the little greenery tucked in there, from this arrangement, AND this arrangement? It's still going strong. Talk about an overachiever.