Saturday, April 30, 2011

Photo of the Day (4.29.11)

Yesterday was a travel day and then I was super tired and fell asleep, so yesterday's photo is going up today.

Today's photo: Robin on the barn at the Stanford Inn in Mendocino, California.


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Photo of the Day (4.28.11)

Today's photo:  Bat ray washed up in Morro Bay at Windy Cove.  I know it's not the prettiest thing to look at, but it was really interesting to see.  It was probably about 4 feet across! 

In the Kitchen: Potato Soup

Here's the recipe for the potato soup that I made for Easter.  To come up with my recipe I combined some things from a few recipes on allrecipes.com (found here and here) and then a little bit of my own ideas.  I like a potato soup with more than just potatoes in it, so I also added some veggies to the mix.  It is super tasty and tastes really good leftover as well, because it makes a whole pot full.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 slices bacon, crumbled
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 potatoes, cubed
  • 4 cups chicken stock, or enough to cover potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • green onions, chopped
  • cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions 

  1. In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until done. Remove bacon from pan, and set aside. Drain off all but 1/4 cup of the bacon grease. 

  2. In the bacon grease remaining in the pan, sauté onion until it begins to turn clear. Add the garlic, and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cubed potatoes, celery, and carrots and toss to coat. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Add enough chicken stock to just cover the potatoes. Cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender. 

  3. In a separate pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Cook stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the heavy cream, onion powder, parsley, cayenne, salt and pepper. Bring the cream mixture to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir the cream mixture into the potato mixture. Use a potato masher to mash the soup a little to break up some of the potatoes. Adjust seasonings to taste. Top with crumbled bacon, green onions, and shredded cheese.

     

     Yum!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Getting Pretty

I was soooo nervous the morning of the wedding. I definitely wasn't nervous about marrying Graham, it was an excited nervous - excited that this day was actually here and it was actually happening.  Sometimes I get this feeling that I'm still a kid, but then I realize that I'm actually a grown-up, doing grown-up things.  (I still can't believe I'm turning 25 tomorrow!)  I spent the night before the wedding at my parents' house, away from Graham.  We woke up that morning before the sun was even up and headed out.  My mom, my maid of honor, April, and I got our hair and makeup done in downtown SLO while sipping champagne, which I could barely get down because my stomach was in knots.

Then, we headed to the Dallidet.  It was so exciting to pull up in the parking lot and see everything getting set up, and our year's worth of planning coming together.  I then went to the bride's changing room where I put my dress on and all of the finishing touches to really feel like a bride. 








Graham liked to judge potential wedding photographers on the quality and creativity of the "shoe shot."  I think Allyson passed the test.






I was busy with my finishing touches, while Graham and everyone else put the finishing touches on everything else.  I don't think I once worried about anything the day of the wedding, I was just too excited!

All photos by Allyson Magda

Photo of the Day (4.27.11)

Today's photo: Misty day in Morro Bay.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Photo of the Day (4.26.11)

Today's photo: Easter flowers that Graham picked up for me on Friday and that Monty likes to eat.

In the Kitchen: Happy Easter!

We had a very simple Easter this year.  Graham's parents were out of town, so we had just my parents over for dinner.  We made some delicious food that I thought I would share.  I worked on the soup and dessert and Graham made the main course.  We had filet mignon with a shallot cream sauce and pan-fried squash.  I made a potato soup (recipe to follow in a separate post) and a butterscotch bread pudding for dessert.


That bread pudding was absolutely delicious.  I had never tried bread pudding before I met Graham, I thought it sounded gross.  It is mushy bread, but it is oh so tasty and now I am hooked.  I used this recipe I found on allrecipes.com.

Ingredients

  • 1 (10.75 ounce) loaf day-old bread, torn into small pieces
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, combine bread, milk, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and butterscotch chips; mixture should be the consistency of oatmeal. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven 1 hour, until nearly set. (It should have a "thigh wiggle" or wiggle as much as a well endowed thigh.) Serve warm or cold.

I had to change the recipe a little when we made it because we didn't have enough brown sugar, so I ended up using about 3/4 cup brown sugar and about 1/2 cup Sugar in the Raw.  We also soaked our bread (we used french bread, that we staled in the oven for a bit) in the milk for about a half of an hour before we baked it all.  Graham was really disgusted by the mention in the recipe about wiggling like a well endowed thigh, but I did poke it and it definitely wiggled!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Photo of the Day (4.22.11)

Today's photo: Finch on the line in our backyard.

Sunday Waffles

Last Sunday, we decided to make it a lazy morning and make waffles and play video games*.  We made our waffles in our Krups waffle-maker (the waffles turn out not nearly as pretty as my mom's vintage waffle-maker) using the Bisquick Heart Smart mix. We just followed the instructions for waffles on the side of the box.  They turn out to be really tasty waffles though.  We got some strawberries from the local berry stand down the street that brings them fresh from Santa Maria everyday.  These strawberries were huge!  They were like the size of apples!


Look at the strawberry in the palm of my hand!  See, I ended the last three sentences with exclamation points in order to convey their truly monstrous size.  I chopped some up, mixed them with a little sugar and put them, as well as a little whipped cream on my waffles.  Graham is supposed to eat berries sparingly due to his kidney stones :(  So he opted for maple syrup, whipped cream and cinnamon. 


 They were super tasty and I think we should make waffles a Sunday morning ritual.

*Lego Star Wars III, I've decided the Lego games are fun for girls too because they are cute little legos, even though I've never seen Star Wars(!).  I did tell Graham that maybe I would, now that I've played the games.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Anatomy of a Nut Can

Last night Graham was making Bananas Diablo, his version of a flambé banana dessert.  He tops the dessert with roasted Brazil nuts (he's tried many different nuts and determined the Brazil nuts to be the best).  Since the local grocery stores do not carry nuts in bulk (except for New Frontiers in SLO) we bought a can of mixed nuts, with the Brazil nuts listed fourth in the ingredients list of the six nuts included.  When we dug through the can to get the Brazil nuts Graham was very disappointed to only find two nuts and a little stub of another.  Two and a half nuts in the whole can.  They determine that the can is less than 50% peanuts based on the weight of the nuts, so that must be how they decide to put 2.5 Brazil nuts in also.  So don't buy mixed nuts if you like Brazil nuts.  This is a photo of the nuts found in one can of Planter's mixed nuts, lightly salted.  We thought about weighing the nuts also, but that would have been a little too much work and made us out to be a little nuts too.


Btw, the Bananas Diablo tasted delicious even though we used a mixture of the Brazil nuts and hazelnuts.  I should have taken a picture of that too, but I didn't want my ice cream to melt.

Photo of the Day (4.21.11)

Today's photo: Towhee in the backyard diving off of the fence.  I was a little disappointed that I didn't get the whole towhee in the shot but then I looked at it on the computer and thought that it looked pretty artsy with his head cut off.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Photo of the Day (4.20.11)

Today's Photo: Grape Kool-Aid Tree (Psoralea pinnata) behind the bead shop on Morro Bay Blvd.  It was a beautiful tree/shrub and really smelled sweet like grape kool-aid.

Wedding Wednesdays

I haven't really documented our wedding in any way.  I haven't even completed our wedding album and it's been almost 3 years(!)  How has that happened?  I started a blog back in 2007 when we got engaged with the intention of writing a wedding blog that would go through the whole planning process.  I had lofty goals of writing for Weddingbee, but I was such a horrible blogger then that I think I got two posts out by the time we were married over a year later.  So I'm going to take Wednesdays as a day to share our wedding photos which deserve a moment in the spotlight, since they are currently just on my hard drive.

Our day was perfect for us, but I still love weddings and fantasize about having another wedding (to Graham again of course) in an alternate location with an alternate theme (so maybe I'll also post a little pretty wedding inspiration from around the web too). Here's a peek at what's to come on Wednesdays:







All Photos by Allyson Magda

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Photo of the Day (4.19.11)

Today's photo: City of Carmel police car at the 1st annual Morro Bay Public Service Vehicle Show from last Saturday.  This was my favorite vehicle from the show, very cute and vintage.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Photo of the Day (4.18.11)

Today's photo: Little cement bear on our front porch.  We do live in Los Osos after all, we need to have at least one bear.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Critter Window

I've recently become addicted to watching nature webcams.  My favorite webcam right now is the Critter Window.  The cam is located on a farm in Indiana.  There's almost always something to watch on the camera at any given time.  So check it out.

Awwwww, cute animals:

Look at that little squirrel.

Wood Duck!


Screen captures by me while watching The Critter Window.

Photo of the Day (4.15.11)

Today's photo: Great Blue Heron in a field in Los Osos.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Photo of the Day (4.13.11)

Today's photo: Succulents I potted as a centerpiece for the dining room table.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Photo of the Day

I've decided to post a photo a day to make sure I don't have any excuse for not having blog material.  So, everyday I will post a photo I've taken recently, in addition to anything else I have to blog about.  I do have a backlog of things I need to write about, so stay tuned for some real posts too!

Today's photo: Monty in the window looking fancy.