Monthly Archives: June 2013

What’s Cookin’?

Happy Friday! Are you as happy to see the weekend as I am? I’m especially excited about today because (drumroll please)….we have our tasting this afternoon! This has been something we’ve looked forward to ever since the very, very beginning of wedding planning. Any time we’d contact or visit a venue one of the first questions we’d ask is whether we’d get to do a tasting. They don’t do very many weddings at our venue – just a few per year – so the chef allowed us to dream up our entire menu from hors d’oeuvres through dessert and late-night snacks.

At first I thought this was the coolest thing ever, but do you how overwhelming it is? We could have ANYTHING? I finally got my wits about me and we came up with super fun, clever ideas for hors d’oeuvres, a farm-to-table approach for dinner (that’s all I’m letting slip by at this point), and for dessert…well that’s been pretty hysterical, too. Since a wedding cake is something that’s been super important to Robert all along (I’ve totally gotten on board and can’t wait) he came up with the flavors and, well, let’s just say some of them aren’t very traditional. Happily, the pastry chef is really excited about them, too! I can’t wait to see how they came out. We also picked out a design for the cake that doesn’t scream WEDDING CAKE. Instead, it looks so delicious that it makes me want to put my whole face in it rather than having something that looks way too beautiful to cut into.

After the tasting we’re heading over to the Chicago Craft Beer Festival so we’ll be washing down out potential wedding dinner with some delicious Midwestern-made brews. Now that’s what I call a Friday!

But let’s get back to the point of today’s post. I’m finally back with some FOOD around here. These are two recent recipes I’ve made and we’ve totally loved.

Teriyaki Salmon via Skinnytaste (originally from the cookbook Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites

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Teriyaki Salmon

Oh where do I ever begin? It’s hard to believe there’s so little work to be done (combine soy sauce, mirin, and honey; marinate fish; cook for about 10 minutes total) for how much flavor this piece of salmon contains. It’s so good, in fact, that I had it two Mondays in a row and you can rest assured I’ll be eating it again this Monday. (Side note: Last week on Instagram I hash-tagged #mondaynightsalmon and it was totally a thing. Anyone else eat salmon every Monday? I highly recommend it.) What I love about this recipe, too, is the cooking method: Cook salmon in a pan for about two minutes on each side, add the rest of the marinade, cover and cook for another 4-5 minutes. The fish comes out perfectly. You could follow the recipe exactly as written or make the changes I did, which include skipping the sake (I didn’t want to buy it since it’s not something we drink/use very often) and adding two chopped green onions (white and green parts) to the marinade.

Caprese pasta via How Sweet It Is 

Caprese Pasta

Caprese Pasta

Whole wheat shells that scoop up every ingredient, tiny balls of mozzarella that become melty (is that even a word? it appears that it is…), and flecks of fresh basil. In case you were wondering the answer is no–no life doesn’t get much better than this bowl of goodness right here. The only change I made that’s different from what you’ll find in that link is omitting the mini meatballs – I was feeling more of a vegetarian meal where we could let the little the fresh basil and mozzarella balls (called cieglini) shine. Mission accomplished.

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Wedding Wednesday: Two HUGE updates!

In case my lack of posts lately had you wondering, no I didn’t fall into the ocean while we were in Cabo. Life has been crazy lately (and you’ll soon see why). First a quick trip update: Cabo was, quite simply, incredible. It was the most relaxing trip of my entire life. Aaaand I looked like this for about 90 percent of the time:

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Standard daily activity: napping on a comfy chaise at the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean with a margarita nearby. The umbrella, hat, towel blanket, and SPF 60 are how you don’t get sunburned when you’re as pale as I am.

In short, I’m the most exciting travel buddy ever. Kidding. We had the best time splitting our day between our room with an ocean view and the most beautiful balcony, one of the resort’s three infinity pools, the swim-up bar, and a chaise by the ocean. Not bad, eh? I even got through two books (The Five Love Languages and This is Where I Leave You–I highly recommend the latter.) I could blab all day about how awesome the resort was, how I had the best massage of my life, but I’ll just say this: if you’re ever thinking about taking a trip to Cabo do yourself a favor and book a stay at Hacienda Encantada. Robert and I’ve often joked about how awesome it would be if we could just run away together for a little while without all of that life stuff to worry about. Well, we did. And it was better than I ever imagined it would be.

Okay, now on to the really big Wedding Wednesday stuff. Huge update numero uno…drumroll please…we’re buying a house! WHAT?! I know. If it feels like that came out of absolutely nowhere, join the club. Here’s how it all went down. About a month ago Robert and I had a conversation in which we realized we both want to be in Chicago for the foreseeable future. We also noticed that lots of our friends were buying places so we started to consider whether this was even a possibility for us. After some research and number crunching we realized we could pull it off. Then we started to factor in the low interest rates, the fact that we overpay for rent, the fact that we’d like to have more space, and yadda yadda yadda. Next thing you know we’re sitting in a real estate agent’s office on a Tuesday night. That Friday afternoon she shows us the first place. Saturday morning we put a bid on that first (and only) place we saw. True story. We negotiate back and forth with the sellers through the weekend and by Memorial Day they accept our final bid. Craziness, right? We still can’t believe we put a bid on the. first. place. we. saw., but it had absolutely everything we were looking for and so much more.

Lots more coming in future posts about how we ended up in the Logan Square neighborhood (one word: space), details, potential future projects for the home, etc. If all goes according to plan we’ll be closing in mid-July and moving in shortly thereafter. I’m still in shock that this is happening, but I’m so excited for the life and experiences that will take place in that home of ours to be.

Huge update numero dos….our wedding website is LIVE! Check it out at http://paigerobert.wix.com/paigeandrobert. We spent a long time creating and designing the site together, so I’m thrilled it’s finally out there! Now people can start booking hotel rooms. It’s really happening!!

So there you have it folks! Basically nothing exciting going on around here : ) Ha! The next month or so is sure to be just as nutty, but I hope to be back very soon with some delicious recipes. Because even when you and your fiance buy a house, make a wedding website, and hold down jobs, you’ve still gotta eat. Speaking of which…two words regarding the new kitchen: COUNTER SPACE! Okay, one more: PANTRY!