Sunday, August 30, 2009

Al Dente?

One of my favorite recipes is from Better Homes and Gardens: Mushrooms and Pasta. The cream sauce is irresistible! I was looking through my cabinets and decided to add pine nuts, asparagus, and salmon to the mix. This was influenced by the recipe, Pasta and Asparagus, from the Tongue in Cheek blog. What a perfect idea to combine the recipes.

Click on the recipe to see it full size and feel free to print it out for yourself! The recipe template is from the Creature Comforts blog.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Une Passion Pour des Pâtes (A Passion For Pasta)

I have been dying for pasta. Giada De Laurentiis has an excellent recipe for lasagna rolls that I have been wanting to try out. The recipe can be found on the food network website.

There are layers upon layers in this dish, which makes eating lasagna much more entertaining as each serving is a roll, so you don't have to mess with cutting it! The base of this dish starts with a creamy bechamel sauce that is very quick to make with butter, flour, whole milk, salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.

The lasagna roll itself is filled with ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, spinach, an egg, salt, pepper, and thinly sliced prosciutto. Once you have spread the mixture onto the noodles, they can be rolled up and placed on top of the bechamel sauce. Marinara sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese are poured over the top. Bake for 20 minutes covered and 15 uncovered.

My huzband was the guinea pig, who happens to be quite a picky eater. He ate two rolls (unusual for him these days to have seconds) and with a very full stomach proclaimed that it was the best lasagna he has ever eaten.

After taste testing it myself I have to agree. The flavors blend quite well into each other and you are not left with an overly greasy or garlicky taste. The ricotta cheese, spinach, and prosciutto meld into one other and it is difficult to differentiate the meat from the mixture. I like this quite well as I have somewhat of an aversion to meat. The creamy texture is to die for and the sprinkling of mozzarella on top is very light. Perfection for your palate.

The recipe can be found at There is also a video of Giada preparing this meal. I find her to be fascinating as she cooks all this rich Italian food and is quite svelte. If only I could cook like that and not gain an ounce!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Leather and Metals

If I had all the money in the world, I would be a happy girl. Well, if I did have all the money in the world I would be quite a content girl but the fun factor of lusting after things you can't have wouldn't be there any more. What good is it to have unlimited anything? It isn't good at all!

But, if I did have some extra laying around I would love to have this look. It is a mishmash of designers put into one. I love the tough look of the leather and studs mixed with the glitzy top. The buckle accents on the skirt play up the hardness of the look while the soft colors of the suede shoes and silver of the top pull in femininity.

Love to Look and Love to Have. Via my creational layout at polyvore.

Metal Cellos

I don't claim to know much about music or pretend to be all that musically inclined. I have had a childhood of passed up musical opportunities: piano, flute, violin, and yes even the recorder - my first grand foray into the music world. I've tried them all but I really didn't like instruments that involve saliva or blowing. With the others I may not have had the best relationship with my instructors. It was me not you instruments. Out of all of them I would probably want to pick up the piano again someday.

C-E-L-L-O, you are my love. I never thought I would find you. You make my fingers bruise and break. You squeak when I want you to sing. You are just about as big as I am but not quite as heavy. Time can be made to play you until I get it right.

It's beautiful, the sound of a well played cello solo. My two non conventional cello influences are Break of Reality and Apocalyptica. Both play classical and metal cello music. I am not much of a metal fan but cello can play it really really well. I love watching the 4 cellist of Apocalyptica head bang their way through a Metallica song. I can't help but smile. I want to play that some day sans head banging. But I first need to get my finger placement right.

Here is another amazing cello music video from Break of Reality, playing Metallica's Day that Never Comes. The above music video is Apocalyptica playing Nothing Else Matters.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tablescapes: Design Inspiration

I have a staunch habit of being an avid browser and a less frequent purchaser when it comes to furniture. First, I don't have my design concept for my own home completely developed as I am intrigued by so many styles and designs. It has to be more definite before I will commit. Secondly, it is difficult to find exquisite quality of workmanship and materials. I am usually put off by veneers and most things Ikea. There is something so solid and reassuring about solid wood, dovetailing, nail heads, and dents that seems as if a piece has been around forever. It makes me think about who has used this furniture as time passes. I'm talking about antique furniture but it has to be the perfect piece as I have been introduced to plenty of unappealing subjects!

But there is plenty of room in my heart for new too. It goes to show that reproductions can take the place of authentic. My mini obsession, for the time being, is for trestle or farmhouse tables. Ones that can fit a full family plus guests without a problem. Ones that have dents, scratches, and a color or texture that has been worn down by time. Or falsely distressed by some other means if it is nouvelle.

My favorite new table includes the one in the picture above. It is a Pottery Barn design called the Sumner dining table. This seems to be more of a farmhouse style. I adore its roughly hewn planks and fat legs. The grain of the wood and the soft stain are appealing with wrought iron accents, natural foliage, and linen. It looks like it has been around a while yet is sturdy enough to last another 100 years or so.

What would your dream tablescape be? Is is like my current table want with it's more earthy and rustic side? Or do you prefer something a bit more modern?

Monday, August 17, 2009

How May I Count The Ways To Spend, Spend, Spend

Having paid little attention to the fashion company Free People, I was drawn to their attention after receiving a catalogue last week. I have a tendency to gravitate towards brands like J.Crew and Urban Outfitters, so I think Free People fits into the mix quite well.

As I live no where near the actual store, I was reduced to online shopping. Let's just say my cart was quite full by the end of the hour plus that I was visiting the shop. I absolutely adore the tailored look of the high waisted skirt mixed with the over sized sleeveless tee and leopard wrap. Yes...I did purchase this look but have only received la jupe (skirt). So I anxiously await the final pieces.

To Complete This Look:
Convertible Leopard Swing Wrap $58.00
Coveted Apron Tee in acid heather $48.00
High Waisted Button Skirt $98.00
Mesh Frill Wrap Necklace $28.00
Rhinestone Lace Tight $38.00

Overall, it may seem pricey for the look but the pieces are transitional between many outfits. Mixing and matching is limitless!

Image via Free People.

Creative Elements


I thought I would give polyvore a whirl. So much fun! I could picture this ensemble being worn to an art gallery or strolling the streets of Milan. Quite lady like and sophisticated. I tend to gravitate towards neutrals as they are not difficult to dress up or down. Would you wear this and where would you take your glamorous self?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Parlez-vous Francais?

I have a little more than a week until I begin my French 101 course at the local University. This is 3 years after I have graduated. So I have no clue how my studying skills have held up after all that time. This is huge for me as one of my main goals is to become fluent in French.

I'm quite nervous as I have a background in Spanish and have never be taught French. My problem is that I have a tendency to pronounce and read the French in a Spanish way. Which isn't helpful at all.

This summer, I have been cracking down on Rosetta Stone French to cover some of the basics before I get into the classroom. I don't think that anyone could become fully fluent in French through Rosetta Stone. I believe it is more for the tourist to pick up some of the local vocabulary. The learning through immersion technique is unique as not one word of English is written or spoken. I think it has helped me to begin thinking in French rather than English.

At times I have been driven insane by the Rosetta Stone program during the vocal lessons, as apparently there are some words it thinks I can't pronounce like policier among others. I have gotten my husband to say that word in particular for me so the program will let me move on to the next lesson. I wonder if my instructor will have a problem with my pronunciation. I will let you know.

If anyone has any comments on how to transition into speaking French or has any stories to share regarding speaking French to native speakers please feel free to share.


I absolutely adore antiquing and it just so happens that my favorite blogger, Corey, from Tongue in Cheek has a drool worthy brocante story more often than not. It puts me in the mood to traipse the local antique stores looking for treasure. It would be a defining moment if I was to stumble across some French antique gem hidden in between the nick knacks but that would be too much to ask for in this part of the country.

Today, I settled on something that at first glance is very pretty but does not necessarily have a French or European origin. The silver plated flatware set is covered in beautiful flowers and ribbons. What could be more lovely in a table setting?

After finding the off-putting name of Arbutus attached to my new purchase, I immediately began to research the history. Arbutus trees, also known as strawberry trees are a Mediterranean tree often found in France. I guess I did bring a little bit of France home with me.

Ps. Forgive my wrinkled linen.