Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Meal Planning - week three

I sat down on Monday and poured over some recipes trying to figure out what I wanted to make for the week. Keeping in mind that my mother doesn't eat meat on Friday's during Lent. That's fine and dandy, I have plenty of fish dishes - but I was trying to keep from going to the store later in the week... So, here it is - semi French inspired deliciousness. Oh, and Sunday wasn't exactly planned, but I'll let you know what I made anyway.

Sunday - Delicious Beef Soft Tacos with Sweet Onion, Vine Ripened Tomato, Shredded Lettuce, and Shredded Colby Jack Cheese

Monday - Croque Monsieur with a Simple Baby Spinach and Tomato Salad

Tuesday - French Onion Soup (with two types of onion) and a Roasted Red Pear Salad with White Wine Vinegar and Honey Vinaigrette

Wednesday - Herb Roasted Chicken with Creamy Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes and Fresh Asparagus

Thursday - Homemade Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup with Ditalini Rigati Noodles and Peas

Friday - Roasted Eggplant Lasagna with Fresh Lasagna Noodles, Red Bell Pepper, Roma Tomatoes and Caramelized Onion

Saturday - Is the night people are less likely to be around for dinner. It will either be leftover city, homemade pizza night, or Beer Braised Sausage and Warm Potato Salad.

I've got to get back to my bubbling french onion soup since the onions have finally finished caramelizing and get the pears in the oven... Oh, the whole stick an onion in the freezer for a few minutes before slicing trick really does keep the onion tears to a minimum. I've sliced onions before where I had to leave the kitchen several times and from the look of me you'd have thought someone died! Damn those onions.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Digital Scrapbooking

Okay, so I'm not exactly much of a scrapbooker.  I've got lots of scrapbook papers and other goodies, I used to scrapbook a bunch with my sister, but I haven't done it in awhile.  I'm interested in a lot of different scrapbooking techniques for other applications like cards, journal type books, shadowbox art...  I got a Bamboo Wacom Tablet awhile ago because I wanted to use it for digital photograph editing.  I used one years and years ago in high school and enjoyed it more than using a mouse.  The tablet came with some different software and a book for digital scrapbook.

 Bamboo Fun (Medium) Blue Tablet with Pen, Mouse, and Graphics Software

After checking out the information and looking up different digital scrapbooking goodies online I became semi-obsessed with the idea.  Not obsessed with the idea of digital scrapbooking in and of itself, but with the idea of using all these great snazzy bobbles for websites, and website badges and buttons, adding some textures and antiquing to photographs and things like that.  Some of these designers make some really amazing goodies which are surprisingly realistic - some are insanely adorable - others are just plain neat.  To make it more fun, some of these designers give away freebie downloads of some of their goods.

If you're interested in checking any of these things out, here are some websites that I think are fun...

Tempus fugit - the fantastic freebie blog

Scrapbook - Bytes - filled with tutorials and downloads

Digital Scrap Cafe - an online store with a blog and lots of different artists offering goodies to download

All of these websites have inspired a bunch of ideas for new blog designs and badge/button goodness. 


Monday, February 8, 2010

Foodie Goodness

I recently joined Foodbuzz.  I've checked out the website a few times before, but never actually signed up.  It's sort of like Facebook and Twitter in one food filled package.  You can add posts from your blog, add photographs, make status updates, review restaurants, make foodie friends, find food blogs to follow...  If you're all about good food too, you should defiantly check the website out. 

You can find my Foodbuzz profile HERE.

In other food news...  I made homemade barbecue chicken pizza on Saturday night.  It was simple to do because I used leftover roast chicken - but it wouldn't have been a big deal to cook some chicken tenders for the pizza (I prefer chicken tenders to a whole chicken breast).  It turned out pretty well, but next time I'll double bake the crust since I like it super crispy. 

Tonight I'm making pasta that is loosely based on a sausage sandwich.  It'll have Italian pork sausage, baby portobello mushrooms that I cook up special, caramelized onions, and baby spinach all wrapped up in a loving sauce based on a macaroni and cheese sauce, but with chunky tomato sauce added to it.  It should end up delicious.  I'm currently debating if I want to use long noodles or my favorite short cut pasta (cellentani).  I'll have to take some pictures.  (I haven't been super into food photography as of late since I'm reading how to do it properly.)


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Blogging for Bliss by Tara Frey : A Book Review

Blogging for Bliss: Crafting Your Own Online Journal: A Guide for Crafters, Artists & Creatives of all Kinds

The other day I finished reading my copy of "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey.  It's a really great book for someone who is new to the world of crafty blogging.  There's information about the major blogging platforms - Blogger, TypePad, and Wordpress along with ideas on how to pick a name for your blog, how to add creative sparks to the design, tips for posts that get read and commented on most, tips about taking photographs for your blog, among other things.  My favorite part were the stories and interviews with different bloggers with popular creative blogs.  Many of these bloggers were the writers of blogs I've already visited and thought were interesting and inspiring for many different reasons.  Some of those blogs include Elsita, Daisy Cottage, Inspire Company, and Inside A Black Apple.

If you're interested in getting the book, Amazon has the best price.  I tried to check it out at the local bookshops, but no one had it in stock.


Mirepoix Maven

So, after lots of thought I decided to make a new food blog. Cait's Plate is the name of some restaurant some place, so I keep getting e-mails about other's blogging about it. I decided on the name Mirepoix Maven and I'm working on getting it up and running. I've been trying to track down my missing Dreamweaver CS4 book because I really want to do an entirely custom design. Once I find the book I'll end up overhauling the design for this blog too. I'm also going to start a photography blog which will be about trying to get a foothold in the photography community in hopes of starting a photography business. I seriously think the book grew itself some legs and ran off.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Okay, my boyfriend has been finding all kinds of videos lately. He was the one who sent me to check out the videos about happiness in the first place the other day... Well, today is all about a cute little happy movie about friends that he came across. Thank the boyfriend for the cute story of an orangutan and a hound dog.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Philosopher's View on the Keys to Happiness

Epicurus's ideas on the key to happiness are actually rather simple... His viewpoints weren't for the rich, but for anyone who wanted to live a happy life. The major point is that money is not the key to happiness. There's a major theme of needless shopping in the first video and how buying that new shiny watch might make you feel all warm and fuzzy now - but it's not a long term feeling... especially when the credit card bills come at the end of the month. Will owning 10 different watches really make you happy and feel fulfilled at the end of the day?

I agree with a lot of the ideas that are brought up, go figure.

I want to be my own boss, making a living off what I'm good at and what brings me joy.

I want to grow a large portion of my own food because it's fun and rewarding. When I had over 70 seedlings growing in my sun-room a few years back it was almost akin to raising children... Making sure they were all well fed and watered, putting them into bigger pots when they outgrew their seed trays, and then moving them into their final large pots so they could flourish. I won't lie - those cherry tomatoes were the best tomatoes I've ever had in my mouth... For all you parents out there - having your child GROW their own vegetables is a good way to inspire the actual EATING of healthy goodness. Plus, playing in dirt is fun.

I'd love to live in a small close-knit town where everyone knows everybody. That would be my take on living with friends. Friends are fun to talk to and do things with, but I think I'm a highly sensitive person (HSP) and living with a bunch of people would drive me insane. I am however a big fan of the not eating meals alone idea. It's somewhat depressing to roast a cornish game hen for one.

The program was broken up to three YouTube videos... Check them out if you're interested.


P.S. Check out the Homegrown website... It's a really beautiful, creative, and inspiring design.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Alicia Istanbul

I've been following the blog of a jewelry designer named Alicia Istanbul and found out that she's doing a jewelry giveaway via her blog. She makes some really amazing pieces mainly using sterling silver, stones, and acid etched designs. If you'd like to enter to win a wonderful summery necklace check out her most recent blog post!

If the necklace isn't your thing, Alicia has a store on Etsy.com... Hey guys, Valentine's Day is coming up!


Joy - in the itty bitty

Okay... it's itty bitty, but I think it's pretty awesome... I get e-mails from Borders with coupon codes and updates about my Borders Bucks... Well, I just orders a food photography book online and I added another book to go along with it. I used a super handy coupon code and my $5 Border's Bucks that I had in my account and wow - I got the second book for free. Not only that, but technically I got a free book and $2 off the book I was originally buying. To make it even more fun Borders.com gave me free shipping.

So yes, I'm smiling right now... I got a book I needed along with one I wanted and didn't have to pay for the wanted book.

Come on, you'd smile too.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Books That Have Their Own Feet

The past few days I've been searching high and low for my Dreamweaver CS4 book. I got it with the idea of teaching myself how to build websites and recently got inspired to actually sit down with the book and go over the lessons. Well, the thing has got itself some feet and ran off on me. I've looked everywhere I thought it could be and still haven't found it. I've been looking for at least an hour a day for the last few days. Crazy, right? I have a nasty feeling I'm going to take the house apart, clean it up, still have no idea where it is... and then find it in some really random place - like in the garage.

I went to the local library for the first time in a long long time tonight to try and pick up a copy of the Dreamweaver book and see if they had anything else that would be helpful. Well, they didn't have the book for CS4, the CS3 one was already out and I didn't really see anything else that would be as useful. I checked out their digital photography section and found a book on lighting that seemed to have a bit of everything in it. There's a section for food photography, one for fashion and jewelry, one for around the house, one for cars, etc. I ended up checking it out with my brand new library card (the card I had since I was super little - maybe 4 - wasn't in the system anymore so I got to get a new shiny one). I'll have to let you know how the book is...

I started talking to a semi-local photographer on Model Mayhem about what she'd recommend for starting out studio lighting and she was really helpful... When I asked her about food photography and if she knew much about it or knew someone who did she recommened a website that lists TONS of photographers by area... I found several different photographers that do food photography on the American Society of Media Photographers website, but none were very local. One of the photographers I looked into learned from a man named Lou Manna - a major food photographer in NYC who wrote a book about food photography. I'm now on a search for his book, which according to his website is available at Borders - but it was too late after the library trip to check out tonight.


P.S. There's a pink line down the left side of my laptop screen... My boyfriend has informed me that it probably means that my screen is dying. Oh, joy. Well - it could be if a MacBook Pro lands in my lap as a replacement. Although the MacBook Air is pretty cool since it's oh so light.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Model Mayhem

My Model Mayhem portfolio was approved so you can check out my model photography if you're interested. If you have an account on there, feel free to add me as a friend!


Friday, January 8, 2010

Photo Shoot in Philadelphia

My boyfriend surprised me right before Christmas asking if I'd like to go to a photo shoot in Philadelphia with him. There was a holiday shoot being held at a place called Fortress of the Arts with a bunch of holiday sets and models and he thought I'd enjoy going. Well, it snowed a great big snow and the shoot was moved to the Sunday after Christmas.

I'm finally getting around to loading the pictures onto an external hard drive (right this second) and it's taking forever because I shot in RAW and JPEG. I think I got some really nice shots of the models and can't wait to get at them in Photoshop. I know my boyfriend was tempted to pretend a few of them were his since he has them loaded on his computer... I'm going to make a profile on Model Mayhem after I pick some pictures I like best.

I'd really like to get some studio lights to play around with. I really enjoyed using a PocketWizard with the studio lights. Has anyone else played around with one of those? My boyfriend has been talking about me going into photography a lot lately. Not exactly about giving up jewelry but moving my artistic focus to something else I enjoy because he thinks it may be easier for me to "get into".

I do like photography, I'm just not sure if I'd enjoy the aspects of it that would be the "bread and butter" so to speak (standard portraits/family portraits, staged wedding photography). I did speak to a girl today about wedding photography and she was saying how it's moved from staged photographs to more candid shots that really capture the whole day. I wonder if I can turn food photography into my "bread and butter" and I wonder if that means I get to enjoy all the yummies... (Yes, I've thought about trying to become a restaurant reviewer/food photographer combo many times!)

Click goes the shutter...

Christmas Eve Dinner

This is a bit late, but at least I didn't forget what I made! I've always wanted to make a tradional standing rib roast, and finally got to make one. I kind of did a bit of a take on a "surf and turf" since I made shrimp along with the beef. There was a roast I saw the recipe for on Food Network that was wrapped in prosciutto and roasted with black mission figs. I couldn't find figs at the grocery store and figured a plain roast was going to be good as is.

Roast Beast with Rosemary and Thyme
(standing rib roast)

Old Bay Sweet Shrimp with Garlic Butter

Herb Roasted Baby Red Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic

Sauteed Haricot Vert with Butter and Cracked Pepper
(thin french green beans)

Roasted Simple Root Vegetables (carrots and parsnips)

Dinner was good, though the meat wasn't cooked to my sister and mother's liking (they like it WELL DONE). At least the chef got to enjoy the meal. : )


P.S. I have a photograph of the roast beast that I need to edit and add to this post. It looks scrumptious in the photo.

Friday, January 1, 2010


I've been busy doing all kinds of holiday things since Thanksgiving. I've cooked up some awesome food and had plenty of laughs - right now I'm watching my boyfriend play the PS3 he randomly got the other night. We've been playing Little Big Planet - the characters are cute and I love the layered backgrounds and cardboard cut-outs. Later I'll be making roasted pork tenderloin among other things for dinner. Hopefully I'll get around to baking some more cookies as well.

I have plenty to share and tons of photographs and what I made for holiday meals, but right now I want to hang out and play with my sackperson.

Hope everyone has a great New Years Day...