Friday, March 29, 2013

it is a good day

Today is Good Friday. Easter is right around the corner.


He has Risen
{he has risen indeed}

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

jumping on the "5 things" train

Eliza tagged me in her "5 things" post {thanks hun!}, so I thought I'd play along.
Amy Rizzuto Photography

one // I used Powerpoint, Word, and Paint to design all of my wedding paper products. I have a fancy-schmancy photo editing and design program but I rarely use it. 

two // My first job ever {aside from babysitting, which I don't really count} was the "kennel girl" at a Veterinary Hospital. I was a senior in high school. I cleaned up after surgery, did laundry, picked up poop, and eventually graduated up to actually giving shots, taking temperatures, and running stool samples {yuk}. I decided that the long hours and emotional detachment common to the Veterinary field wasn't really my cup of tea, but I entered college declared as a Pre-Veterinary major anyway. {I quickly switched to Biology, but dropped that when I realized that Intro to Bio bored me to tears. I ended up graduating from college as a Psych major. That's a different story.}.

three // Sour candy is my Kryptonite. Any kind. I have once consumed an entire 2lb bag of Sour Patch Kids in one sitting {for shame}. My mouth was bleeding but I couldn't stop. Also included in my top-5 candy "flavors" are Swedish fish {they're in a category all their own} and Black Licorice.

four // The only time I've lied about my age is when a snooty hairdresser finds out I'm married and asks me how old I am. It's never an "oh, how old are you" but rather "how old ARE you??!?!". I have no idea why the hairdresser thing is important, but it's the only time I ever actually lie about it. I am not ashamed that I married "young" {And it wasn't that young, I married at 23!} but for some reason salon chairs take away my spine or something. 

five // I love lipstick {news to no one}. The majority of my "collection" is from the 80's. #marykaymomforthewin
This is one of the only "new" lipsticks I'll wear: Bare Escentuals Pretty Amazing in Strength
The rest is almost as old as I am :)
MK Richest Raspberry // MK Really Red // MK Hibiscus
MK Ruby Red // MK Plum Pearl (they don't even make this color anymore)

Tag, you're it! Allison // Anne // Merrick // Allie // the other Allison and anyone else who wants to play along!
Don't have a blog? Leave 5 random things about you in the comments!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

yacht eye candy

As you may remember, Tim and I had the opportunity recently to model in a Yacht shoot for a photography conference. Feel free to click through and see some of the insta sneak peeks in that post if you haven't seen them already; I'll wait..........

...... okay welcome back. When I say I am overwhelmed by the pictures that we got back, don't take that as an exaggeration. First of all, the shoot was with professional photographers, i.e. they do this for a living, i.e. every picture was absolutely fantastic. Second, there were more than 30 of them on the shoot. Third, we were out on the water for 3 hours. 

Yeah, we have like a million photos to sort through. I love it :)
Here are a few {a very pared down few} of my favorites. Because holy heck there were so many.

Amy Rizzuto Photography  
When we were finished, they rushed us down into the hold to change into something more casual. They weren't done with us yet!
Um, how am I going to choose which ones to PRINT?!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

the campsite

Highlight reel: We camped, we wine-tasted, we froze, and I checked two things off my 25 before 25 list. The "learning how to use our DSLR" one will have to wait, as the battery died partway through our trip so only some of it was documented. :( HOWEVER! It was still a fabulous and memorable weekend.

Friday after work, we loaded up the car {phones and all other media devices switched off and stowed} and drove the 20 minutes to Lake Cachuma in Santa Ynez. #GORGEOUS.

Our campsite was at the end of a peninsula jutting out into the lake, so we had the most incredible view all weekend.  

When we arrived, we pitched the tent and unloaded everything out of the car. It was at this point that we realized we'd forgotten 1) matches/lighter/something with which to start a fire 2) cooking utensils{we did have pots/pans}, 3) warm enough clothes 4) firewood or kindling {Tim had remembered a bag of charcoal though}... You know, basic camping 101 (can you tell it'd been a REALLY LONG TIME since either of us had been camping?)! It was also at this point that the forecasted 30MPH winds began to kick up. #whatarewethinking

So while I snuck away to try to find any sort of combustible material {against the warning of the signs at the ranger station; I made sure to only grab stuff that had already fallen!}, Tim made friends with a neighboring campsite to borrow a lighter. We'd cook using our eating utensils and hope I had mastered the science of cooking on cast iron {nope}.
It was an adventure, but we made it work.

That night, we bundled up as best we could and prayed our tent wouldn't blow away.

By the morning the wind had died down and the sun was shining a balmy 46*. Holy crap. We'd discovered that the raccoon who'd been hanging out in the trees behind our tent all night had ventured into our campsite and discovered the one bit of food we hadn't locked in the car the night before. That was fun to clean up.

We jumped into the car at 8am to find a place, ANY PLACE to buy matches/lighter/something to start a blessed fire to feed us and keep us warm.

After a leisurely breakfast, coffee, and a couple games of backgammon, Tim and I ventured into Los Olivos to grab lunch and go wine tasting {We ended up doing beer and champagne tasting flights as well}. Perks of living in Wine Country :)

We met up with some friends and visited some dog-friendly wineries so their pup could join us. Because seriously look at that face!

Saturday night was a lot less windy than the night before, so we didn't freeze too bad that evening :)

Sunday after breakfasting, hiking, and packing up the campsite, we headed home. I swear, most of the work involved in camping happens AFTER you get back! We certainly earned our showers that day--everything needed to be scrubbed down, organized, repacked into bins, and put away so we can find it the next time we decide on a whim to go camping.

Since my media-freeze was still in effect, we spent the rest of the day finishing up half-finished projects and deep-cleaning the apartment before showering and hitting the evening Palm Sunday service at church. Phew! What a productive weekend! By the time the service was over, our exhaustion hit and we called it an early night.
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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lake Cachuma photos via John L. Wiley 
If you need me this weekend, I'll be here. We're checking two things off my 25 by 25 list: camping (#25) and ditching the phones and computers and other assorted i-devices (#23). We'll have a phone in case of emergency but that's IT. I'm hoping the weekend will prove to be a good time to learn how to use the DSLR (#24) as well, since it's so pretty where we'll be, but we'll see how that goes.

But here's the question: Where does the Kindle fall in terms of "media"? Technically it's a book, right?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

recipe: ricotta cheese {and lasagna}

Every once in awhile, I get bit by the bug.
The domesticity bug.

Now, don't get me wrong; Tim and I cook dinner every single day and I like to think we're relatively okay cooks, but every once in awhile, we like to overachieve.

{like the day I randomly decided to make french macarons after eating them only one other time. They were delicious; I'll post the recipe sometime.}

Well, a couple months back, I spur-of-the-moment decided I wanted to try making ricotta cheese {because why the heck not?}. Ricotta is what's considered an acid cured cheese, which means it curdles/sets using some form of acid rather than rennet tablets. It was so easy and so delicious that it's now pretty much a once a month occurrence around here.

Want to try? Here's what you'll need to make about 2 cups of cheese {basic recipe adapted from Fifteen Spatulas}:

Ricotta Cheese
2 cups heavy cream
3.5 cups skim milk
1tsp salt
3 tsp white wine vinegar
possible substitutions:
heavy cream : half & half for a lighter cheese; heavy whipping cream {for a sweeter cheese}
skim milk : 1%, 2% or whole milk for richer cheese
salt : seasoned salt, garlic salt, onion salt, etc.
white wine vinegar : any other vinegar! I've tried rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, even lemon juice once. If it's an acid, you're probably okay.
Step 1. Combine heavy cream, milk and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  In this version, I used garlic salt; you can see it floating on top of the mixture below.

Step 2. Bring to a boil, stirring often.
Step 3. As soon as it starts to boil, remove from heat. Stir in your vinegar and let it sit for a few minutes (I usually wait 2-3 minutes). You will see the cheese begin to curdle along the sides of the pan.

 Step 4. While you're waiting, place a fine strainer or colander over a pot and line it with a wet paper towel. I use the ones from Costco and haven't torn one yet, but if you're worried you can double-up.

Pour your now-curdled cheese mixture into the strainer and let it sit for at least 20 minutes, mixing periodically to redistribute the cheese.

The longer you let it sit, the thicker it will become. I have let it drip for two hours; It's your call! It will thicken up nicely in the fridge as well. In this case, I left it for a half hour.

At this point, you can mix in fresh chopped herbs {about 3 Tbsp total; a mixture of parsley and basil is absolutely delicious}. Transfer to a container or use right away! It'll keep for about 4 days in the fridge.

What can you do with Ricotta cheese? We like it spread over bagels or toast, and it's really yummy just on chips too! Or, you can make lasagna, and bask in your domesticity.

1 package of no-cook lasagna noodles
2 cups ricotta cheese*
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg {in a pinch, this can be excluded}
1 large jar pasta sauce
1 lb ground meat {we used ground chicken here}
basil flakes for garnish

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400*F. Brown meat in a skillet until fully cooked. Drain, then mix in the pasta sauce with meat. In a bowl, combine egg, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese; mix well.
Step 2: Spread 1 cup of meat mixture on the bottom of a 9x13 pan {or 9x9 for a taller lasagna}.
Step 3: place one layer of uncooked pasta over sauce
Step 4. spread half of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles. Top the cheese with 1/3 of the meat mixture.
Step 5: repeat steps 3-4. {meat; noodles, cheese, meat, noodles, cheese, meat.}
Step 6: place one final layer of noodles on top, then spread the remaining meat mixture on top. Cover with foil and bake for an hour.
Step 7: After an hour, uncover and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese and basil flakes. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Remove from oven, and let stand 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

*may substitute cottage cheese for ricotta


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