Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wifey Wednesday

Gruyere Spinach Custard Cups
(it's even green in honor of St. Patty's day!)

2-3 tbsp fine dried breadcrumbs
1 lb fresh spinach (can use 1 package frozen if you prefer)
1 tbsp EVOO
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 tsp minced garlic
4 dry-packed sun-dried tomato halves (chopped into small pieces)
Kosher salt and fresh pepper
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
3 lg eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard

8 custard cups or ramekins (or 1 pie or baking dish)
chopping knife
chopping mat

Preheat the oven to 350

Spray cups with Pam and coat with bread crumbs, tapping out the excess:

Rinse spinach and cook down.... and down and down and down:

 Then, drain the spinach and chop it finely until you get something about like the below. In your large skillet, cook the onion and garlic till just tender, then combine spinach, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and plenty of S&P to taste:

Now, you're ready to divide this among your cups adding the cheese on top (technically, custard cups would be proper, but I used ramekins and that was totally fine):

Then, whisk your eggs and combine with milk and mustard and pour evenly (I added more cheese at this step too... couldn't help it!):

Bake for 15ish minutes (keep an eye on them till rising and golden) and enjoy!

We had to increase the temperature slightly and bake a little longer to achieve the desired effect. Hubby and I decided this might even be a nice breakfast treat also and could be easily re-heated again. For company though, serve immediately - it's just so pretty on a dinner plate! This recipe is from a Williams Sonoma cookbook we received as a wedding gift, which makes it extra-special for us - we love sticking the cards we received from our friends right in the pages :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Caramelization 101

I've been asked by a few folks to share the secret to making perfectly caramelized onions.

It's really quite simple, so here's the quick and easy method. For this version, I'm also tossing in a red bell pepper (makes homemade fajitas extra special):

1 large white onion (think 1 onion per every 2 people)
Bell pepper (it you're going for Mexican flavors)
salt and pepper to taste

silicone spatula
chopping knife
chopping mat

First, peel then chop your onion into long thin pieces like this:

What do do with the weirdly shaped bell pepper? Try to peel the outside away:

Then flatten out and chop into long thin strips:

Next, place onions and peppers into a warm skillet with 1-2 tbps EVOO. I try to be minimal with oil, so feel free to use the amount that's right for you :)

Coat the onions with EVOO and add salt and pepper to taste:

Don't be tempted to stir the onions too much... the secret to perfect caramelization is to let the onions sit and caramelize in the pan for a good long while. For best results, spread the onions across the bottom of the pan for more even cooking.

Be sure not to let the temperature get too hot... you're not frying these guys!

We do this a lot as you can see.... here and here are just a couple examples of how we incorporate these tasty delights as often as possible. It's also really a staple for our Monday night fajitas.

Why fajitas most Monday nights? Because they're easy and delicious, my friend. What else did you expect? This simple routine makes the first day of the week just a tad more comforting :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Liberty of London

 Get ready to drool.

Flat Yellow Lace Print Washbag

Meet Liberty of London.

Seriously, isn't this company cute!?

The above are from the company's actual British locale, but starting on Sunday, we can get our own little American taste of the goodies at none other than Tar-jay! Including this adorable bike, which would make going green complete bliss:

Can't wait to see everything in person!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wifey Wednesday

We've had a few 70s/sunny kind of days and I've been inspired to spruce up for spring. Of course, my favorite way to do this is with my china.

You know I love mixing, matching and collecting china, so here's a little peak at some of my current mixes - you'll see that pretty much anything goes! 

Talavera (Mexico) and Herend (Hungary):

 My everyday is all white, so basically any of my favorite accent pieces can be easily mixed in for a different look. This time, I used my Twist Anna from Villeroy and Boch (coincidentally the same manufacturer as my everyday, Cellini). It is a pattern my mother collected for me while I was growing up. This is why I love an all-white base pattern. It's a nice clean palette to play with when you need a little change.

V&B and... V&B:

My all-time favorite pattern is Blue Willow (graciously borrowed from my Grandmother's museum-worthy collection). I have a few odds and ends from the collection so I have them scattered around our place. A few saucers make a nice statement on a side-table, and they look fab as wine coasters when we have company. Here, I've paired some saucers with a little teacup Mom collected for me as part of a dainty demitasse collection:

 Even my pinecones got a breath of fresh air. I added some rose sprigs from Hobby Lobby to transition them from winter to spring. I just couldn't put them away!

My main motivation for remixing my china was to use what we already have to make an impact. Take inventory at your house and then head to some of your favorite stores for inspiration and to see what new looks you love. You'll find that you can replicate a lot of them by re-working pieces hiding in your closet, or packed away in the cupboard.

Have a happy Wednesday!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, Life as a Wife!

Today we celebrate 1 year in the blogosphere with Life as a Wife. To celebrate, let's admire some beautiful birthday cupcakes from Martha Stewart

(all photos from

Any of these would be perfect for a Spring celebration! 

Let's see if we can try our luck with some of these gems over the coming weeks. We're re-energized as we welcome this sunny springtime. Here's to getting back to our roots and living the Wifey Life.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wifey Wednesday

For a lot of people, packing for a trip often becomes an unorganized last-minute grab-fest. Suitcases become packed to the brim with clothes that haven't been worn in years and outfits that have never looked good, but somehow, this random hodge-podge of textiles ends up as the travel wardrobe you're stuck with for days.

You can avoid this.

Over the years I've developed a system designed to free you from wardrobe woes and clothing conundrums.
For this week's Wifey Wednesday, I give you my Proper Packing method. This effective method offers structure, organization and a guaranteed lighter load to the burdened packer. It is also a great tool to use if you are packing for additional family members (husband, kids, etc...) as you can offer clear guidance and direction for less stress on your vacay.
  1. First, grab some regular note cards, or maybe your favorite cute notepad (grab one card for each day of your trip).
  2. Next, log on to and pull up the 10-day forecast for your travel destination (results are most accurate if this is done 1-2 days before the trip).
  3. Write the daily high and low temp on the top right corner of each card (also include chance of precipitation, if necessary).
  4. If you can predict your daily itinerary, list your activities for each day on that card.
  5. If you cannot predict your daily itinerary, a safe thing to do is list a casual and dressy outfit (or a daytime and nighttime outfit).
  6. Finally, write down the specific items you'll need to wear for each event (style of jeans, type of shoes, color of scarf). 
Your final product will look something like this for each day of your trip:
 Additional packing categories to consider:
  • Jewelry – gold watch, pearls, pearl necklace (always carry your jewelry bag on the plane with you)
  • Toiletries – face wash, lotion, perfume, shampoo/conditioner, soap, nail polish
  • Appliances – blow dryer, straightener, curling iron
  • Shoes – gold flats, running shoes, cowboy boots, black heels (be as specific as possible)
  • Coats – green peacoat, pink fleece jacket (you can carry this on the plane since it's large)
  • Purses – try to bring only one that you can pack inside your carry-on, or use as your carry-on
  • Underpinnings – hopefully you know what you need (make sure to consider if any of your outfits require special undergarments)
Make your packables work double-duty:
  • If the item is large, make sure you can wear it more than once (i.e. a heavy coat or cowboy boots)
  • Bring jeans that can dress up and down (do you really need 3 pairs of jeans for a 4-day trip?)
  • Pack cardigans that can bring a dress from daytime to evening
  • Put a clutch in your purse so you have a less-bulky option for the evenings
  • You'll do yourself a favor if you pack as much as you can on hangers in a hanging bag. You'll be able to keep your garments relatively wrinkle-free and easily visible when you unpack at your destination.
I've saved the most important tip for last….

 DO NOT write an outfit down on your card without trying it on at home. 

This ensures at least two things:  
  1. That you don’t forget an important element of the outfit (ohhh, I must have a particular undergarment for this shirt, or ohhh, that really is see-through, I better bring a cami, etc…)
  2. That it looks great! Nobody likes to pull out outfits on a trip only to discover creative wardrobe ambition has failed.
I realize this is a lot of effort up front, but the Proper Packing method hasn’t failed me yet. You wouldn’t believe how much more relaxing a trip can be when you already know what you and your family will wear. With everything to coordinate while you're away, let your outfits be one less thing - you've already planned ahead!

Happy packing!


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