Thursday, January 28, 2010

Remember the time we realized "Thriller" was our favorite song

Anytime Alex and I go up to Porter Square, we always make it a point to have dinner at Christopher's

It's a super cute little place, with lots of exposed brick, a giant fire place, and a great menu. The food is made with 100% natural ingredients and they have lots of local beers on tap. This sounds like a rave review and it should because on paper Christopher's sounds great. That being said, on a few occasions we've had a less than desirable experience there.

Some things on the menu are great. The veggie burgers are excellent, the turkey club is great, and I had a vegetable pizza there once that was fantastic. Salads are kind of eh and the burgers aren't always cooked to order, although I would say that probably boils down to the kind of shoddy service, rather than an issue with the food. The service is in a word so-so. Sometimes you get good service, sometimes your waiter forgets that he or she has customers. The atmosphere is great at first glance. However the tables are so close together in some sections you have to wedge yourself in between your table and the back of another customer's chair. Additionally, some spots in the restaurant are so cold you have to keep your winter coat on through the meal, while other times you get stuck 6 inches from the blazing fire place.

All and all I would say it's a hit or miss kind of place, but hey, I guess we haven't totally learned our lesson yet because we go back every once in awhile hoping for a hit.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

When I started this blog back in June, Alex and I had just moved in together and I wanted a way to document how much fun we were having. In July, he surprised me by proposing and now we are getting married.

Since then, things have been a bit of a whirl wind. I've been trying my best keep up with crafting, cooking, and blogging (the things I love most!) and trying my best not to post too much about wedding planning. For one, I want some things to be a surprise to for my guests. For two, I wanted to keep somethings in my life wedding free.

That all being said, here is a little update on where we are! Alex and I have chosen a date, a place, food, flowers, a hotel for our out of town guests, I bought a dress and I'm picking it up on Saturday, we have designed and started to put together our own Save the Dates and Invitations, Alex has put together a wedding website, and I'm currently working on Welcome Bags for our out of town guests.

As crazy as it's been, I love it. Our wedding is going to end up being the ultimate DIY craft project. And, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What we need is a luminous veil

Two summers ago, Alex and I went on a trip to San Francisco.

Besides London, San Francisco was my favorite city that we have visited. It has so much personality, the people were so unique, and the weather was perfect. We had such a great time. Probably my favorite thing in San Francisco was the Golden Gate Bridge. It is massive, awe inspiring, and I took about 1 million pictures of it from every high point we visited in the city.

Last weekend, Alex and I rented The Bridge. The Bridge is a documentary about the countless number of people that travel across the country to end it all at the Golden Gate bridge.

I realize that this sounds very depressing and it was. Beautiful scenery aside, the movie was hard to watch. That being said, the movie was a sort of tribute to the lives of 24 individuals who died at the hands of mental illness and 1 that survived the 245 foot drop in 2004. I wouldn't recommend the film to everyone, but it was interesting to see. Although, afterward I had to change my computer desktop from this to this.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Every Day Italian

I love pasta. It's pretty great. Especially when it is baked with cheese.

In the search for something good to make for dinner. I came across Giada De Laurentiis' recipe for Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina. It looked really delicious, but needed a few modifications to our liking.

So, here is my recipe for Baked Chicken Conchiglioni.

I used conchiglioni pasta instead of pastina because it looked fun, and I couldn't find anything labeled pastina. I'm pretty sure any pasta would do!

Baked Chicken Conchiglioni
makes 6 servings

  • 3 cups conchiglioni pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced into cubes
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (9 ounce) jar of marinara sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
  3. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
  4. Drain pasta and place in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat.
  6. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes.
  7. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
  8. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta.
  9. Add the tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, spinach, salt, and pepper.
  10. Stir to combine.
  11. Place the mixture in a buttered 9" x 13" baking dish.
  12. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese.
  13. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture.
  14. Dot the top with small bits of butter.
  15. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tupelo, Honey

One of the things I love most about our apartment is our neighborhood. Inman Square is particularly great! Good people, good bars, and good restaurants.

This weekend, Alex and I had the chance to try Tupelo and boy were we disappointed that we waited this long!

This place has it all: Southern comfort food, Petsi desserts, and drinks served in ball glasses. The food was delicious, beginning with corn bread and ending with key lime pie, both Alex and I were a little blown away. The atmosphere is comfortable and inviting, small and warm with big windows and super nice service. And, it's only two blocks from our apartment. Tupelo might have to become a new favorite!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Aaron Space

Over Christmas, Alex and I split our time in both New Hampshire visiting my family and Maryland visiting his. I love getting to visit Alex's family because his mom is the greatest cook, they have a new puppy, and because it means that we get to visit DC.

I love DC. It's a great city. I love seeing the sites and we always pick out a museum or two to go to. This trip, we didn't make it down into the city, but we did spend an afternoon at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steve F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Such a cool place. They have 163 full sized aircraft and 154 large space artifacts that you get to see up close and personal. It was really neat. Plus, Alex got to drop some of his super smart aerospace engineering knowledge on me, so it was kind of like I got a behind the scenes tour!








Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Challah Back Youngin'

Hello there 2010!

Alex and I are back from spending the holidays with family and friends up and down the east coast. It has been a crazy couple of weeks, but it's back to the real world.

For Christmas, Alex's mom got me this neat looking King Arthur Flour Dough Whisk. So I decided to try it out by making some sweet and delicious challah bread. I really enjoy making bread and the whisk turns out to make the whole mixing and kneeding process 10x easier. I love it. The challah turned out really good too, not as sweet as challah you get at the bakery, but still soft and chewy.

Challah (by Joan Callaway from All Recipes)
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water.
  2. Beat in honey, oil, 1 egg, and salt.
  3. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens.
  4. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour if needed.
  5. Cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours, until dough has doubled in bulk.
  6. Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board.
  7. Knead for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky.
  8. Divide into thirds and roll into long snakes about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  9. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid the three pieces together, pinching the remaining ends together like the beginning.
  10. Place finished braid on a greased a cookie tray.
  11. Cover with towel and let rise about one hour.
  12. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  13. Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over the braid.
  14. Bake for 40 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.
  15. Cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.