1.31.2013

January Lately

January was a pretty fun month for me.  Turned 31, got engaged, baked a lot of yumminess.  Not a bad way to start 2013.  I didn't take very many Instagram photos, though, but that was a deliberate choice.  I'm trying to be more thoughtful with the photos I post and not clog your feed with meaningless snaps just because I can.  Here's a little snippet of what January had to offer.

San-Francisco-Photographer

S'mores (and a new app - Over)  |  Persimmon Crisps  |  Most Dangerous Brownies Ever

Relaxed by the Fireplace  |  Post-engagement Breakfast  |  Prop-roses (from the proposal)

Getting the Party Planning Started  |  Molly Found Her Inner Zen  |  Finally, A Day Without Frizz



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1.30.2013

Broccoli Fritters

Broccoli Fritters on Big Mario Life"

When I was little, broccoli and canned spinach were my two favorite vegetables.  Weird?  Maybe.  But at least I ate veggies.  Not many kids can say that these days.  Vegetables have become the enemy of the dinner table for a lot of kids.  When I was a nanny, I had to beg, plead, bribe, and threaten the kids just to get them to eat their veggies at lunch.  If only I had this fritter recipe back then.

You see, these fritters are veggie bombs -6 cups of chopped broccoli!- and yet, they taste so naughty.  So, so naughty...  A very light pancake-like batter holds the chopped bits of broccoli together while they gently fry to a golden crisp in hot canola oil.  A little squirt of lemon juice and a dollop of cool, tangy sour cream round out the flavor and texture of the fritter, making it hard to resist even for the most veggie-phobic.  Now obviously it's not a totally healthy dish, but when you're getting that much veggie bang for your buck per serving, a few indulgences can be forgiven.

Broccoli Fritters
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen; Makes about 12 fritters)

Broccoli Fritters on Big Mario Life"
 
What You Need:
-6 cups chopped broccoli (I use fresh florets and a few of the stems; if you want to use frozen broccoli, be sure it's completely thawed and dry off all the excess moisture)
-2 eggs
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-2/3 cup Reggiano cheese (it's a really high-quality, yummy Parmesan)
-2 cloves garlic, chopped
-1 tsp. Kosher salt
-Red pepper flakes
-Canola oil (for frying)

What You Do:
1. Cook your broccoli and set aside to cool.  I just boil mine for about 5-6 minutes or until tender (but not mushy!).

2. While the broccoli is cooling, lightly beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Add the flour, cheese, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes then continue mixing.  It'll start coming together like a thick pancake mix.

3. Add in the cooled broccoli then, using a potato masher, smash it up a bit to mix the broccoli in with the batter.

4. Heat the canola oil in a skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is nice and hot, scoop up a spoon-sized ball of batter and add it to the oil.  Press into a patty shape (not too thin, though).  You can add multiple mounds to the frying pan, just be sure to leave an inch or so between them.

5. Once the fritters are a light golden brown (about 3 minutes), flip over and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  These little guys get dark very quickly so don't wander off to check your email like I did, unless you want them really well done.

6. Transfer the fritters to a paper towel to drain off any excess oil then serve with a squirt of lemon juice and a scoop of sour cream.  If you're not going to be eating them right away, you can keep them warm in an oven set to 200 degrees.

Broccoli Fritters on Big Mario Life"


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1.29.2013

Wise Words | Have Faith


Do any of you subscribe to Striking Truths?  I love seeing good quotes or inspirational messages, especially when combined with great design.  Striking Truths never fails to deliver.


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1.28.2013

Colors

I've learned quite a few things in the last two weeks of being engaged.  For one, I feel I can finally sympathize with what my clients are experiencing.  Wedding planning has been a blast for us so far but I can definitely understand how things could get crazy stressful.  There's a lot to do and it can easily consume your life if you let it.

Another thing I've learned since getting engaged is that people like to ask about colors.  And you know what hasn't even cross my mind the last two weeks?  Colors.

I totally understand the importance color can play in the overall look and feel of the wedding.  Choosing a color theme for your decor can go a long way in setting the mood for the event.  It's a perfectly reasonable question.  But every time I hear it I have to fight the urge to turn on my best Southern drawl and politely but firmly say, "Mah cuh-luhs ah bluh-sh and baah-shful."


I also tend to associate choosing colors with choosing bridesmaids' dresses - and there's the rub.  We decided pretty early on not to have a wedding party (no bridesmaids or groomsmen) so the idea of choosing colors never crossed my mind because choosing bridesmaids' dresses never crossed my mind either.

Now that we're finally starting to look at venues, I've been giving colors a lot more thought.  Like most couples these days, we want to have a wedding reflective of us so we're trying to think a little outside the box for venues.  If we have an idea of what kind of experience we want to create, then having some idea of color or decor might help us see the potential a non-traditional venue might hold.

One color combo I've been tossing around* is lavender, deep purple, and gold.  I know lavender can sometimes get a bad rap as a wedding color, especially when mixed with yellow.  The line between rustic chic and Mother's Day nightmare is quite thin, my friends.  But the rich, deep plum keeps the earthy lavender modern and charming.  And the sparkly gold accents... well, every rustic needs some glam, right?

 via

Of course, we haven't even booked a venue yet so who knows which direction we'll end up going.  It's still kinda fun to starting thinking about it, though!

*By "tossing around" I mean the following conversation happened:

Me: Okay, how about this.  Purple is my favorite color so we could have purple and maybe something to kinda pop, like an accent color or something.

The Boyfriend:  Uh-huh.

M:  How about ... lavender and super dark plum purple, with maybe a little bit of gold glittery sparkle here or there?

The Boyfriend:  Okay.

Me:  I mean, I'm not convinced those should be the colors, but it's a start, right?

The Boyfriend:  Yeah. (gives thumbs up)


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1.24.2013

Hangry

Have you guys seen the recent Healthy Choice commercials?  I used to live on Lean Cuisines and other frozen meals in law school and resumed the bad habit while working at the law firm.  It seemed like such an easy lunch at the time but I was always hungry again just a few hours later and would inevitably end up snacking on whatever I had in the office.

But there's something you should know about me.  I don't actually get 'hungry;' I get 'hangry.'

Hungry + Angry = Hangry


Naturally, when I saw that Healthy Choice commercial, it totally spoke to me.  I mean, I know we can all relate.  Who hasn't felt the wrath of an empty stomach, rumbling to let you know that it's just seconds away from becoming a bottomless pit of bad food decisions.  In those dreadful moments before stuffing your face full of whatever is within arms' reach, even the sound of children's laughter could send you into a pissed off fury.  And really all along, the only thing you needed was a Healthy Choice meal.  Who knew?

*PS - This post in not sponsored by Healthy Choice, in case that wasn't totes obvi.


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1.22.2013

2012 Faves | Wedding Details

I know we're a solid three weeks into the new year but I still wanted to share some of my fave wedding details of 2012 with you.  I've been browsing Pinterest looking for inspiration for our own wedding lately but I realized something this morning - my clients provide loads of inspiration in their own weddings!  From theatre-inspired personal touches to handmade felt flower bouquets and a "cheese" cake made with wheels of brie, blue cheese, and goat cheese, my couples show no shortage of loveliness or creativity.  Here are just a handful of my fave details from the last year.

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xo

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1.21.2013

On My Mind This Monday | Inauguration

It's Inauguration Day!

Being the lover of US History that I am, this day is kind of exciting to me.

I've watched every Inauguration since 1993.

I was in 5th grade.  Our teachers brought a little TV into the hallway.  We all poured out of our classrooms and took our seats on the tile floor to watch history being made.  With just a few short but poignant words, Bill Clinton was officially our President.

And every four years after that, I've watched the Inauguration, but always on TV.  Someday, I will be there in person.

I mean, it's on my bucket list so it's bound to happen, right?

How could you not want to experience this in person...?


So many people.  So much pomp & circumstance.  So much tradition to root us in history.  So much hope and positivity for the four years that lie ahead.  I'd love to be a part of that someday.

Have you ever attended a Presidential Inauguration?





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1.18.2013

Friday's Fancies | Outfit Crush

For some reason, January seems to be the Month of the Errands.  There's always something that needs to be done whether it's grocery shopping, dropping camera gear off for cleaning, or just meeting up with friends for coffee.  When I have to be on the go a lot, I want something comfy, cute, and warm.  So when this week's theme for Friday's Fancies -Outfit Crush- was announced, I immediately turned to all those cozy sweater/jeans/boots combos I have pinned all over Pinterest.  Isn't this outfit perfect for running all over town like a mad woman while still looking cool, composed, and in control?


Yeah, I think so too!  So here's my version of it, complete with a pretty ring and pop of color.

1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7

What's in store for you this weekend?  Lots of errands or lots of relaxation?

Happy Weekend!!!
xo


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1.16.2013

Saying Yes to the Dress

Alright, let's be real up in here.  Even though we just got engaged a few days ago, I've been looking at dresses for years y'all.  I look at wedding websites often -much more so than the average person- simply because it's my job to know what's going on in the wedding world.  And in viewing post after post after post about weddings, I can't help but be drawn to two things: the desserts and the dresses.  I mean, are you really surprised by this?  I fantasize about fashion and new outfits on a weekly basis and bake up dessert dreams nearly as often.  Don't act so shocked.

But there's a big difference now.  Before, I always viewed the dresses in an "Ooh, that's pretty!" way, not an "I want to wear that on my wedding day" way.  Now, it's like I'm looking at dresses in a whole new light.  Suddenly frilly frocks that seemed so cute before are too girly.  Sleek figure-hugging gowns that were once so chic are maybe a little too sexy.  Nothing is quite right anymore. 

And don't even get me started on everyone's worst nightmare: falling victim to a looks-great-now-but-really-it's-horrific fashion trend.  I know you know what I'm talking about.  Just think back to that moment when viewing old wedding photos where you thought either "Ooh, look at that dress!" as in, "What a beautiful timeless gown!" or "Oh, wow... look at that dress..." as in, "What an unfortunate sign of the times..."  Like with pretty much any wedding dress from the 80s, for example.


Even the beautiful and elegant Princess Di fell into the 80s poof trap with that unfortunate Victorian duvet cover she wore as a dress.  (I don't care if it was the most envied dress at the time, I still want to cuddle up underneath it and take a nap.)


Then there are the gowns that are timeless, classic, elegant, yet still stylish and on trend.  Princess Grace's is a perfect example.

No doubt the Duchess will look just as timeless and elegant in 50 years and Princess Grace does today.


If you've gone through this process, how did you decide what dress was your dress?  And if you haven't, what will you look for when you do?


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1.15.2013

Big News

I have a little news bomb to drop on you guys.  This year I got the best birthday present to date - my soul mate for life.  Yes, that's right, The Boyfriend is no longer the boyfriend...

...HE'S THE FIANCÉ!!!!!


Actually, I'm not convinced "The Fiancé" is as catchy as "The Boyfriend" so I'm still playing with nicknames to use here on the blog.  He suggested "The B-iancé" but I think that's because he secretly wishes he were a bootie-licious pop star (and married to Jay-Z...).

From our first trip to Disneyland together (2009)
So you may see a few more wedding posts happening around here as we navigate this new adventure together.  Hope you don't mind! ;) 

xo

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1.14.2013

The Most Dangerous Brownies Ever

For the most part, I post pretty healthy recipes on this little blog.  But every now and then, my need for some ooey-gooey deliciousness takes over and devilish temptations like these brownies come into existence.  These bad boys are the antithesis to healthy.  Their only redeeming quality is the use of canola oil instead of butter. (If you really want to cross the line into crazy town, substitute the cup of canola oil for two sticks of butter.)

Don't worry, though.  The lack of butter does not hinder the decadent richness we all love about brownies, mainly because of the four eggs, two different kinds of sugar, and extra chocolate chips added in at the end.  What makes these brownies truly naughty is the fact that there's no need for that pesky "melt chocolate in a double boiler" step.  Oh, no no no, my friends.  These are one-bowl beauties.  As in, you can whip these up in less time than it takes for the oven to preheat.  That is true danger.

Be forewarned: these brownies will take all your new year's resolutions and shatter them into a million little pieces.  I dare you not to eat the whole pan in one sitting.

Double Chocolate Cocoa Brownies


What You Need:
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder, sifted
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans (nuts are optional, of course)

What You Do:
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and spray a 7x9 baking pan with baking spray.  You can also butter and flour the pan if you don't have cooking spray.  Line the pan with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper as well (this will make it much easier to remove the brownies from the pan later).


2. Beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy.  Add sugar and brown sugar then continue beating.  Once all the sugar is combined, add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.


3. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes.  Cool in the pan on a rack until the brownies are easy to handle.  Using the parchment paper, lift the brownies out of the pan and transfer to a rack to finish cooling.  Try and resist temptation because these brownies are their chewiest and fudgiest if you can wait to cut them until they've cooled completely.*


4. Pour yourself a nice tall glass of milk, thank me in your diary, and enjoy!

*Let's keep it real up in here - it's winter. I set these bad boys by the window, opened it up just a bit, and they were cooled and ready for cutting in about 15 minutes.  I have no patience when it comes to getting desserts in my belly.


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