Friday, January 31, 2014

Paella, Baby

While studying abroad in Spain, paella was a dish that we saw again and again. I'm a big fan of saffron, meat, and flavorful rice, so I fell in love instantly. Aside from a class in Madrid, I had never cooked it until I moved to Boise, the city with the largest Basque community in the United States. It's served at a handful of restaurants, but the standout can be found at the Basque Market. Cooked for hours in a paellera and filled with mussels, shrimp, and chorizo, this is the kind of dish that foodies dream about. After trying it, I knew I was either going to have to start working there so I could eat it all the time or learn how to make it myself. I was in heaven when I found the recipe online, and it's now a regular in the dinner rotation.

Recipe, adapted from the Boise Basque Market:
(Serves 4-6)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup pimentos or pimento stuffed green olives, diced
1 cup vegetables (I use frozen peas)
12 ounces sausage, cooked and sliced (I use four links of chipotle chorizo chicken sausage)
12 ounces raw shrimp or chicken (I use chicken tenderloins or shrimp peeled with tails removed)
1 1/2 cups Valencia or brown rice
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
8-10 strands saffron

In a small pot, heat broth and saffron to a low simmer.
In a paella pan (paellera) or large, deep pan, heat oil and saute onion on medium heat until golden brown and soft. Add sausage and peppers and saute until meat is heated through. Add garlic and paprika and stir to combine.
Add rice and mix until all grains are coated. Pour in wine and bring to a boil, stirring until all the wine is absorbed. Stir in broth and bring to a simmer.
Allow paella to simmer for about 10 minutes. Nestle seafood or chicken into the rice and top with pimentos and vegetables. Allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes more, adding additional broth or water if rice becomes dry before it is cooked through. If using chicken, remove from pan when it's cooked, shred or chop and return to the pan.
Simmer until all the broth has absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from heat and let paella rest for 10 minutes before serving. I usually serve mine with steamed broccoli or a salad for extra veggies.

P.S. These soup bowls are my new obsession. We got them from our Pottery Barn wedding registry (thanks, guys!) and I have used them for everything from oatmeal to chili to pasta. If you're looking for a versatile bowl, check them out.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Our First Look

Well, it's been almost four months since our wedding and I'm just starting to feel like life is returning to normal! I think about October 5 all the time, remembering the special details, everyone who was there to celebrate with us, the little things that made it perfect for Jeff and me. Like everyone said it would, the day went by in a flash. I couldn't wait for it to start and then in the blink of an eye, the reception was ending and everything that we planned had come and gone. I have so many favorite moments - putting on my dress for the last time, Jeff's dad officiating, hearing readings from our mothers and my uncle, dancing with my dad, the endless laughter with our best friends, toasting under the lights and into the wee hours of the morning at our after party. But the best moment was our first look. I was nervous throughout the day, for no good reason other than that I had no idea what was going through Jeff's mind. We had last seen each other when we kissed goodbye at our rehearsal dinner. I hoped he was excited, loving being with his friends, but I was feeling funny not being in touch on such a momentous occasion. Having a first look was simply the best. As soon as we saw each other, all of my nerves melted away and I remembered the most important thing - that it was him and me, together forever, officially. For those twenty minutes, we were on cloud nine and it set a joyful tone for the rest of the day.

(Timepiece Studio)

Coming up next - our amazing vendors!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Sweater Weather

There's a delightful weather phenomenon in Boise called inversion. It's a cloud cover that comes around in winter, sitting just on top of the Treasure Valley and causing the sky to be a dull white for hours and hours on end. It's been constant for over a week and needless to say, I've reached my limit. When the weather gets cold, my uniform is skinny jeans, booties, a big sweater, cozy scarf, and wool coat. While I would normally daydream about sunshine and bare legs, with no end to the inversion in sight, I'm focusing on staying cozy and warm in combinations of knitted items. Here are a few looks I'm loving this week...

(all images via Pinterest)


Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Year, New Look!

As you can see, my blog got a little makeover! In the spirit of making changes in the new year, I decided to give the site a different look. It's definitely the boldest and most colorful design I've had, and I'm loving it.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a total recessionista, Frugal Fanny, cheapskate - you name it, I rarely pay full price and I live to find fabulous, inexpensive items. So paying for a blog design was understandably a little hard for me. However, I'm here to tell you that it was completely worth it. Working with Designer Blogs meant that I was purchasing a beautiful template complete with great customer service from my designer Lindsey, who was there to talk me through the process and make sure I was happy. She installed everything for me and talked me through any changes, asked for my thoughts and feedback, and was quick and professional. The whole experience left me feeling totally fulfilled. I highly recommend working with Designer Blogs if you're in the market for a new look!


Saturday, January 18, 2014

You Are Enough

I saw this image on long distance loving the other day and I needed to steal it for my own blog, and for the list of mini mantras that I store in the back of my mind. Like so many others, I hit the gym hard after the holidays. After years of body and eating issues (another post for another time), I'm proud to have arrived at a place where I allow myself to indulge, where I find great happiness in a delicious meal shared with loved ones, and where I don't regret dessert at the end of the day. I also don't regret workouts, the feeling of accomplishment, of sweat and sore muscles, of pushing myself for another mile. What I avoid? The scale. It serves no purpose to me. I hope for and work toward loving who I see in the mirror, feeling great in my clothes, being strong and powerful. I spent a long time worrying about how I appeared to others, wondering if I was thin enough to be seen as the person I thought I should be. But inner beauty and the infectious energy of a happy person are so much more important and have a greater impact on the world around us. Today, I am enough, and so are all of you.
Thanks to Alison for this very special reminder.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Golden Girls

Let's hear it for the ladies! The Golden Globes is the best award show (in my humble opinion) and not one, but two hilarious and gorgeous hosts made it a great night. Tina and Amy were perfection - their jokes were funny but appropriate, they didn't roast anyone who couldn't take it (though Tom Hanks looked perturbed by the attention), and they seemed effortless and comfortable in front of Hollywood's finest. They also worked their wardrobe selections, especially once the show got started. I was surprised by some of my favorite fashionistas - I didn't love the choices from Jennifer Lawrence, Kerry Washington, or Jessica Chastain - but that left more room for other gals to shine. Here are my top six Golden Girls:

Amy was flawless, and paid homage to her American Hustle character's style.
Lupita wowed in her red cape.
Olivia rocked her bump and gorgeous waves. 
Kate stunned in figure hugging metallic. 
Leslie's peplum was sexy and demure. 
Sandra (my controversial choice) looked so beautiful she could have been wearing a paper sack, but I loved her high-low silhouette.

There you have it! Which were your favorite looks from last night?


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Shrimp and Veggie Yellow Curry

I'm in total disbelief over how cold it has been across the country the past few days. I feel very lucky to have never experienced negative double digits, and I'm sending my biggest, warmest hugs to my friends and family who are freezing right now! What else might help? A steaming bowl of spicy and sweet curry. I decided to go with yellow curry as it's the one I most commonly try (read: let Jeff order and eat from his plate) at Thai restaurants. This was such a yummy winter meal and I'm sure it will be in the regular rotation. Enjoy!

(Serves 6)

4 tablespoons yellow curry paste
2 cans lite coconut milk 
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 red peppers, thinly sliced
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 cups steamed broccoli 
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
3 cups brown rice
1 lime
Sriracha and/or sambal oelek to taste 

In a large, deep pan, heat coconut milk over medium heat until boiling. Add curry paste and brown sugar, stir to incorporate, and bring to a boil, then turn to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, place squash in a medium sized pot and cover with water. Boil until tender. 
Add red pepper and shrimp to coconut milk and cook on medium low until shrimp is no longer pink and peppers are slightly tender. Add fish sauce and juice of 1/2 lime and stir to incorporate.
Remove squash from water (save the water!) and fold into coconut milk. Add broccoli and stir to mix all ingredients. Simmer for 5 minutes or until ready to serve.
Using the pot you used for the squash, add additional water until you have 3 cups. Add rice and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and cook until soft. Remove from heat.
To assemble, spoon rice into your bowl, followed by heaping spoonfuls of curry. Pour additional sauce into bowl. Garnish with hot sauce and remaining lime juice.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Oh, What a Year!

It's hard to believe that 2013 is over. It has been full of highs and lows, challenges and accomplishments, some of the most life changing events that I've had yet. I will always love 2013 because it gave me a husband, a few new families, and a lifetime of love and adventures to come. I feel incredibly blessed to have experienced everything that 2013 had to offer - our wedding, my new job, a slew of tiny successes, some trips, a lot of happiness. 2013 also brought sadness, with the passing of Jeff's beloved grandfather. While he will be missed by everyone who knew him, I know that Grandpa Barney is bestowing his good luck on us, and we have the honor of carrying on his legacy.

While I can't imagine how 2014 could top last year, I have a feeling that I'm in for a treat. Before we jump in to the new year, here is a look back at my favorite moments from 2013.


Happy New Year!