Friday, January 28, 2011

Menu for the week

Beef Bourguignon over polenta/salad
Asian chicken noodle soup/salad with Asian dressing
Grilled paninis with fontina, pears and harissa/Salad
Indian spiced chickpeas with fire roasted tomatoes/Roti

Breakdown:
Aldi/Kroger 47
Trader Joes $9
Costco $4
Super H $13

I am very much looking forward to my weekend. I have great movies to watch (No Impact Man and Masterpiece Classic's Downton Abbey saved up on my DVR queue) and hanging out with friends for dinner. I hope yours is a good one too!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Streetcars of New Orleans

The oldest continuously operating streetcars in the world! The mahogany seats, brass fittings and exposed ceiling light bulbs are from a day when plastic seats and aluminum rails were not even a thought. Rumbling around St. Charles Avenue and Carrollton Avenue for more than 150 years, the streetcar symbolizes the charm and romance of the City of New Orleans.

See for yourself:












Wednesday, January 26, 2011

They are growing so fast

Every January I make sure I measure my kids' heights in order to keep some kind of record of their growth. Always thinking ahead (there is always a posibility we might move to another house, someday) I decided to use a wooden tape measure to measure them (I make my marks there and label it with their name and date). I also added pictures of them at that point in time. I love the idea, don't you?



Disclaimer, this is not my idea, I saw it in a Pottery Barn book once and I shamefully copied it... Nothing wrong with that, right?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chocolate croissants

Is it me or am I the only person that gets inspired to cook by watching movies about food? The worst part is that it always happens late at night (when I want to replicate all the delicious food I've seen in the movie). The other day the husband and I were watching "It's Complicated" (this same movie inspired me to make lavendar ice cream) and the minute they started talking about chocolate croissants, what do you think the husband said? Can you make that for breakfast? I said, of course not!... I have no idea how to make the dough and even if I did the research it will take me more than 2 hours to whip up chocolate croissants... Then I remembered, I did just ask him to get me THREE packages of puff pastry at the store because they had them on an insane sale ($2.29 per pack - in case you did not know, that price is incredibly cheap). So I put a pack from the freezer down in the fridge and, you guessed it, the next morning I made chocolate croissants for breakfast...

Here is what you'll need:
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry (package containes 2 sheets), left to defrost in the fridge for 2 or 3 hours.
2 oz (1/2 bar) of dark chocolate cut in pieces ( I used Ghirardelli's 70% pure cacao)
1 egg, beaten
a sprinkle of fleur de sel

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Unpackage the slightly thawed puff pastry and place on a lightly floured surface. With a light floured rolling pin, gently roll out the puff pastry, extending the dough about 1 inch on all sides. The dough will thaw as you work it.

With the pastry sheet horizontal, make two vertical cuts, making three strips of pastry dough. Cut each strip in half horizontally. You’ll have six medium sized rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half diagonally, creating 12 triangles.

Place each triangle so the wider part is toward you and the point is away from you. Place small pieces of chocolate about 1/2-inch above the wide part of the triangle.

Carefully roll the chocolate loaded end toward the point, pinching the dough together at the beginning of the roll to ensure that the chocolate doesn’t ooze out during baking. Once rolled, curl the ends toward the center slightly.
Place the 12 small chocolate croissants on a lined but not greased baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle each top with just a bit of sea salt if you like a little salt with your chocolate.

Place in 425 degree F oven and immediately turn the oven down to 400 degrees F. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

I know what you are thinking. These are not the real buttery croissants... But I tell you, this will do it any day. I promise you are going to like them!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Menu for the week

White bean and broccoli soup/Salad
Rigatoni alla Sorrentina with chicken /Salad
Spring green Risotto/Salad
Vegetable tortellini soup/Salad

Breakdown:
Aldi/Kroger $40
Costco $5
Super H $8

So, do you notice how we eat salad with almost every meal? I have a few favorites, but in winter, here is my absolute favorite:

For the salad:
bed of baby spinach
chopped up apples or pears
hand full of nuts (walnuts, pecans, sliced almonds...Whatever you have. I happen to use in this recipe cinnamon coated almonds from Trader Joes, a new favorite)
a hand full of craisins
crumbled up goat or feta cheese

For the vinaigrette:
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
one drizzle of maple syrup or honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
In a small bowl whisk together all the ingredients except the olive oil. Pour the olive oil slowly until the vinaigrette has emulsified.
Enjoy!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Though their eyes

Do you remember this posting? I had so much fun doing it that I decided to do one anytime we go on a little adventure. As a reminder that sometimes, we need to look at things the way children do and just have fun!

Are you ready? Here we go...

Riding the streetcars (on St Charles Ave.)

Hanging out at the Audubon Park




Ferry ride to Algiers (Canal St. Terminal)
Watching the street performers (Jackson Square)
Taking a stroll on the French market
Visiting the artist's studio of Harriette Prevatte and getting a very special tour (Chartres St.)


She does amazing commisioned work. If you need her contact information email me at Planandplay1{at}gmail{dot}com

Visiting (and being completely awe-struck by all the bugs) the Insectarium (Canal St.)
All activities mentioned here are reasonably priced or free. Sure we could have gone to the Imax Teather or the Aquarium or the Zoo but we really wanted to experience the city and what better way to do it than a riding street car or walking around, right?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pictures from the weekend

The crescent city, the big easy, New Orleans...












These last 2 pictures summarize the paradox of the French Quarter. Don't you agree?

Can you guess what's next?... New photo series, coming soon. So many pretty things to photograph, it will be a shame not to share them with you all... Come back soon for more NOLA love.