Friday, March 30, 2012

NomNom: Grilled Cheese With Bacon And Thousand Island Dressing

I remember the first time I discovered that the 'secret sauce' in McDonald's Big Mac sandwich was basically thousand island dressing. I sorta felt cheated. All that time I really had thought they created this special sauce but it is in fact a slight variation (they add garlic and mustard) to a generic salad dressing they used for their burgers. I suppose I can blame that on my unrefined taste buds as a child. I dunno.

I know much better now than to fill my stomach with fast food (minus the once in a blue moon cravings), but as a child, that was probably my favorite burger. When I came across this recipe that uses thousand island dressing in a grilled cheese, I couldn't help but be curious as to what it would taste like.

I'm a cheese lover. In fact, it's very, very, very rare that there is a cheese I don't like. I'm a huge supporter in that I think that cheese makes everything taste better--this is how I feel about bacon. When you add those two components together, well, I mean, what can I say? The idea of a simple grilled cheese sandwich not only conjures up fond childhood memories of my mom making them for my sister and I, but there's also something very comforting about this sandwich. Hmm tomato soup sounds good right about now too...

I made slight variations to the recipe but nonetheless, it was really tasty. Adding thousand island dressing to cheddar cheese and bacon adds another dimension to a simple grilled cheese sandwich that I highly recommend. There are so many variations to a grilled cheese sandwich, so why not start with this one? (It was also noted in the recipe that Greg Morris, owner of Oaks Gourmet in Los Angeles makes it every Wednesday at his shop's Grilled Cheese Night).
I'm off to the Bahamas today--in fact by the time you read this I'll probably be on the way! Posting will be sparse and I hope to resume by later next week, but I wanted to leave you with this recipe because I think it's something worth making.

Have a great weekend.

Ingredients: Yields 4 sandwiches (Adapted from Food Network Magazine, Apr 2011)
8 strips thick-cut maple-glazed bacon (I used turkey bacon)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more as needed
8 slices sourdough bread (I used wheat bread)
12 ounces cotswold cheese (double Gloucester with chives) or cheddar, shredded
4 tablespoons Thousand Island dressing

1. Cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.Wipe out the skillet.

2. Heat the butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add 2 bread slices. Top each with one-quarter of the cheese and 2 strips bacon. Spread 2 bread slices with some of the dressing and press them on top of the sandwiches, dressing-side down. Cook until the cheese melts and the bread is golden, 3-4 minutes per side. Repeat to make 2 mores sandwiches, adding more butter as needed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Leopard Leopard

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Blouse-Old Navy
Shorts-Old Navy
Clutch-Lauren Merkin
Shoes-Loeffler Randall
Ring, necklace-David Yurman
The weather here in DC has been acting up again. Last week it was in the high 80's and now the temperatures this week dropped into the low 60's! That in between type of weather influenced today's outfit with wearing a long sleeved blouse on top but wearing shorts for the bottom which makes it not exactly a spring outfit nor a cold weather outfit. 

I didn't realize that my clothes from today's post were all from Old Navy until I started writing this post, which prompted me to think about style and cost. I bought both the blouse and shorts on clearance for an incredible price--the blouse was about $8 and the shorts were $5!! Style does not mean that you have to buy the latest trend or an expensive shirt, jeans, etc. to look fashionable. Style is how one interprets clothes by putting their own spin on it, whether it was pricey or not.

Hope you're having a great week so far. My last day of work for the week was yesterday! I'll be relaxing, running errands, replying to a bunch of neglected emails, and packing until I leave for the Bahamas in a couple of days. I have one more post to share with you before I leave so please stop by again=)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I...

1. Watched the much anticipated movie, Hunger Games. In my opinion movies are never as good as the books, but this was very well done. It was over 2 hours long but the time goes unnoticed because the movie kept you in constant suspense. The main actress, Jennifer Lawrence did an amazing job playing Katniss--she makes you want to cheer for her.

2. Stopped by Jimmy Johns to grab a quick bite to eat. This sandwich shop has the most delicious in-house baked bread. I'm glad there are more Jimmy Johns popping up around the DMV area.

3. Cooked a dish using a recipe from Real Simple magazine. It was "linguine with shrimp, artichokes, and crispy bread crumbs." Quick and tasty--what's not to love? I just love reading through magazines and finding recipes that I didn't expect to see in a non related food magazine.

4. Stopped by the drugstore to pick up some toiletries for my upcoming trip to the Bahamas later this week. I am so, so looking forward to this vacation because it's been a bit stressful the past couple weeks and doing nothing but lounging on the beach, eating, sunbathing, and basically being a lazy bum is just what I need right about now.

5. Went rug shopping for my place. I saw a potential one I liked but after measuring how much coverage I want the rug to have, it might be a bit too big. Call me picky, but why is rug shopping such a difficult task?

How was your weekend?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Keep It Simple

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Blouse-Ann Taylor Loft
Jeans-Paige Denim
Bracelets, ring-David Yurman

Happy Friday everyone!

Now that colored pants are all the rage now, I've been playing with different colors and pairings against these yellow jeans. Because they're really bright, I wanted to keep the top simple with a crisp white blouse. I love the ruffle details on this blouse because it stands out just enough for it to not be so basic.

On a different note, I have a couple of things to share with you today. Several months ago, an editor from contacted me asking if I would participate in a Q&A interview about me and my blog, so you can get to know me more here: I was also asked to work on a little project this Monday that will involve me playing dress up, which I'm very much looking forward too but am a little nervous about. I can't wait to share it with you when it finally comes together so please stay tuned=)

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mixing Prints

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Scarf-Louis Vuitton
Bracelets, ring-David Yurman
Shoes-Vera Wang Lavender Label

About a month ago, I decided to take the plunge and buy this leopard print scarf I've been eyeing for the past year. It came with a hefty price tag but it's been something I've been wanting to buy for over a year. It's luxuriously soft, the animal print is so chic, and I see it as something that will rotate in my closet for many years. Scarves are such a great accessory to have in general because they can uplift an outfit from plain to interesting and this one will easily become a favorite of mine that will do so.

I'm usually not one to mix prints in my outfits but I thought it would be fun to go outside my comfort zone this time to try mixing my new purchase with this polka dot blouse. I wanted to keep things somewhat uniform and not go too crazy with mixing prints which is why I chose the color black to be the common factor, along with wearing leopard shoes. 

Readers, do you have any fun ways of mixing prints in your wardrobe?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I...

1. Dined at Coastal Flats in Virginia because I had a craving for their pecan crusted trout which execute oh so well. The mango martini was equally delicious.

2. Made a pimento cheese spread for a couple of good girlfriends since we were getting together to catch up. They enjoyed it (success!) and I couldn't stop eating the leftovers this weekend. I ate it with chips and even spread it on my breakfast bagel. So, so good.

3. Went shopping with the boy to update his spring wardrobe. He's not one to gravitate towards bright colors on his own so we're taking baby steps to do so by starting with these two purchases.

4. Was treated to some "dinosaur steaks" courtesy of a good friend. Her husband happened to be working from home on Friday so he graciously grilled our steaks for us. The taste of a delicious grilled steak in combination with catching up with good friends equates to good times in my eyes.

5. Stopped by TJ Maxx to return something and in return I found and bought a Bodum water kettle! I've recently been looking for an electric water kettle and was so excited I saw one from Bodum. I've been a fan of this company ever since I started using their french press so this was a great find for me. I also love the simplicity of the shape so that it doesn't take up much counter space and it also adds a pop of color to my kitchen;)

How was your weekend?

Friday, March 16, 2012

NomNom: No Cook Chocolate Pudding

You know those days when you come home from a long day of work and look through your fridge to see if there's anything good to snack on? Okay, maybe that's just me but I've had plenty of days like that recently due to long hours at work. Sometimes I just like to have something that's ready-to-eat-no-heating required-kind of food in my kitchen so I can take a bite of whatever deliciousness that is readily available while standing in my kitchen. Yea, standing. Is that weird? I dunno.

When I was younger, my mom would often times pack me those Jell-O pudding snacks for lunch and I would devour it because that would satisfy my sweet tooth. Now that I'm much older and more ahem "adult like" I figured it's due time to try my hands on home made chocolate pudding.

You know how they say the book is always better than the movie version of it? I apply that to food as well. Homemade versions are always, always better. This pudding is easy (NO COOKING required people!!), decadent, and not overtly sweet because it uses both bittersweet chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder.

With the warm weather we've been having, how perfect would a refreshing bite of chocolate pudding sound to you?

Have a great weekend.

Ingredients: Yields 4 (Adapted from Fine Cooking magazine)
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (1-1/2 cups)
2 oz (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into four pieces
2 Tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch table salt
Sweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)

1. Have ready six 4- to 6-ounce ramekins or teacups. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan or microwave until just boiling. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa until smooth.

2. Add the chocolate, butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt, and whisk until the chocolate and butter are melted and the mixture is smooth.

3. Pour the mixture into the ramekins or cups. Depending on the size of your ramekins, they’ll be filled about two-thirds to three-quarters of the way. Cover with plastic (not touching the surface of the puddings) and refrigerate until chilled and thickened, at least 6 hours or up to three days.

4. Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and a few chocolate shavings, if you like.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Trends:Florals

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Shorts-Forever 21
Shoes-Pour La Victoire
Bracelets, ring-David Yurman
Sunglasses-Stella McCartney

Growing up, I've always been a fan of colors and interesting prints on clothes and this blouse is the perfect example of my affinity towards that. I bought it last year because the floral designs on the blouse reminded me of a Monet painting and the vibrant colors made the blouse stand out. I find it funny that one of the big spring trends currently is floral anything because what I bought over a year ago plays perfectly into this current trend. 

Trends can be tricky because what might be 'huge' now may not necessarily be popular next season/year and it could very well end up sitting in your closet collecting dust. My feelings towards clothes is that you should buy something that you love and makes you feel good whether it's trendy or not. Things that might be trendy now may not necessarily be right for you and that is completely okay. Don't fall into the trap of buying everything that's trendy--pick and choose what ultimately suits you.

Do you have any clothes that are trendy now that you're able to recycle?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I...

1. Stopped by Panera Bread in the morning to grab some coffee and was told I had a free pastry waiting to be claimed! If you ever eat at Panera, make sure you sign up for their My Panera card which basically racks up point every time you purchase something. I rarely go often so I was surprised I had enough points for a free pastry. Score.

2. Dined at Kushi (again). What can I say, I love that place. Pork belly ftw.

3. Bought the latest issue of Test Kitchen and went post it crazy with so many appealing recipes I want to make soon. I recently made a Filipino adobo chicken dish from that magazine and it tasted SO DELICIOUS. In face, the boy requested if I could make it again next weekend so hopefully I will have my camera ready to share with you guys.

4. Bought a new nail polish because the color reminded me of Spring. It's a beautiful coral color from Revlon called "Marmalade" and I coated it with Essie's "Set in stones." I also bought a blemish balm (BB) cream from Garnier. For those of you not familiar with BB creams, it's a hugely popular in Asia and the US is starting to pick up on the rage. Sephora explains it as "One of Asia's biggest beauty sensations, B.B. cream—short for "blemish balm" or "beauty balm"—is truly an all-in-one skincare wonder. Their lightweight, multitasking formulas provide SPF sunscreen protection and work to moisturize, conceal, and treat skin in just one simple step. The silky, tinted lotions effortlessly blend with your natural tone, minimize the need for concealer and foundation, camouflage lines and imperfections, and serve as a skin-perfecting primer." I've tried a sample from Clinique's and had lukewarm feelings towards it so I wanted to try Garnier's version since it's also much cheaper. I believe Dr. Jart+, Bosica, and Two Faced are the other companies getting on the BB cream rage.

5. Wore a recently bought necklace from Neiman Marcus this weekend. Love the rose gold against gold.

How was your weekend?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Color me Purple

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Shirt-Eddie Bauer
Cardigan-Ann Taylor
Shoes-Vera Wang Lavender
Rings, bracelets-David Yurman
Hosiery (Natural)-c/o Hanes

Several weeks ago, Hanes hosiery contacted me asking if I wanted to participate in sampling their "sheer" line of hosiery. I was a bit weary at first because if you haven't noticed by now, I love wearing only opaque tights during the winter and honestly, I usually think of much older women when I think of hosiery. So before I agreed to this, I told them that I would participate only if I was allowed to give my honest opinion on how I felt about their hosiery upon receiving it. They had no problem with that and hosiery was sent to me to be tested.

So...I'm (surprisingly) impressed. The material itself feels light to the skin and it's very hard to tell that I'm actually wearing any hosiery. They truly are sheer as they say they are which gives my legs a smooth finish and that definitely is a good thing because I have a slight, visible battle wound on my left leg from a rather embarrassing incident several years ago. I'll spare you the details.

Readers, what do you think? Yay or nay to hoisery?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Be Bold

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Shoes-Pour La Victoire
Sunglasses-Stella McCartney
Bracelets, rings-David Yurman
So if you haven't heard by now, yellow is the color for spring. I've been on the hunt for a yellow skirt for awhile now and unexpectedly found these Paige denims from TJ Maxx this past weekend instead. I still want a yellow skirt but this will do for now;) It was obviously discounted but they're a bit...bright. I got a lot of stares from people as I was wearing this outfit haha.

One of the color palettes I've recently been attracted to is yellow and blue. When I wore this outfit in a previous post, I just loved seeing those two colors together because both are bold and vibrant. Since today's outfit focuses on just those two colors, I wanted to tone it down with a basic black blazer.

Have you incorporated any spring trends into your wardrobe?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I...

1. Added new clothes to my spring wardrobe. I bought a couple of shirts from H&M and found Paige colored denims at TJ Maxx! I was surprised to see those there so soon since it's a huge trend right now and usually designer items found from that store are from past seasons. 

2. Stopped by Georgetown cupcakes (my favorite cupcake store) for a mid afternoon snack since the boy lives close by to them. It's a blessing and a curse I tell ya.

3. Picked up new pillows to add to my couch. They're DKNY and I got them at a great deal from....TJ Maxx. Can you tell I love that place?

4. Met up with the boy after work on Friday and went to happy hour to welcome the weekend. The following day, we also helped celebrate my friend's recent engagement at Mrs.K's Tollhouse in Silver Spring, MD. It's a cute place that looks like it was converted into a restaurant from somebody's home. I ordered the venison and it was cooked perfectly. The boy ordered lamp chops but said he liked my venison better=P

5.  Originally had plans to take the boy to Kushi on Sunday night but he was tired from studying and I also felt like hibernating inside because of the sudden blast of cold weather we got that day. So instead, I cooked a pasta dish recipe I got from the www.thepioneer and we both approved. It also yielded lots of leftovers which is a great time saver for this upcoming work week.

How was your weekend?

Friday, March 2, 2012

NomNom: Lucky Lamb Snackers

So this past Monday was my precious dog, Mandu's birthday. He turned 3 years old and has been such a blessing in my life. Mandu is the only pet I've ever owned so it's been a learning process on how to raise one, but he's already made such a positive impact in my life. He's taught me to be more responsible, more patient, and has shown me nothing short of unconditional love. Being a pet owner now, I now understand when people say they consider their pets as part of their family.

I'm not gonna lie...with a face like his, it's really hard not to spoil him and when a special day only comes once a year, it means that he'll be spoiled more then usual;) The past couple of years I've been baking a 'pupcake' for him, but I noticed that he'll only eat the icing part (made from cream cheese). The little guy loves cheese, just like his momma.

This year I decided to make something else and unexpectedly came across a recipe from Rachel Ray's magazine. Who would've thought? I could've easily bought a bunch of fancy biscuits for him instead, but to me, putting in the time and effort to make something for your pet (or anyone for that matter) just seems more special.
Mandu is a bit of picky eater so experimenting with this recipe which involves lamb was gonna be an expensive gamble but luckily for me, he loved it. Seriously. The little guy ate it up like it was nobody's business.

 Those eyes. That nose. Dem ears.
So if you're also a dog owner, I highly recommend you make these. He/she will love them as much as Mandu did and if not, Mandu will happily eat them for you=)

Have a great weekend.

Ingredients (adapted from Everyday with Rachel Ray magazine March 2012) Yields: 24 treats
1/2 cup ground lamb (4 oz)
1/2 cup shredded sweet potato
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/4 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet cook together the lamb and sweet potato together until the meat is browned.  Transfer to a large bowl along with any meat juices; let cool for at least 5 minutes.  

2. Mix in the eggs, flour, and water.  Drop a heaping teaspoonful of the mixture onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake until browned on the bottom and firm to the touch, 20 to 24 minutes.  Let cool.  These treats can be stored in the refrigerator for one week or freeze them for up to 2 months.