Monday, February 27, 2012

Breakfast Cookies

Would you ever allow yourself to eat cookies for breakfast? I do! It all started a few years ago when my love for Potbelly's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies was at an all time high. To say I obsessed, would be an understatement. It dawned upon me that they would be even better if they had banana flavoring and hence the birth of breakfast cookies.

Bananas + Oatmeal= Breakfast

So here is what I do. I take a standard oatmeal chocolate chip recipe {I think last time I took it straight off the box} and replace the butter with mashed banana. It's a lot of work! Smart ladies make their guy do it while he is watching the game. Make sure the monitor the cookies while they are baking as it will vary from the original recipe.

Last night, Nate and I used this recipe and the addition of walnuts made them even more delicious! Try it out and I guarantee you will be eating cookies for breakfast ... yum!

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Tale of Tiburon

It's been two weeks since I returned from exploring Northern California ... Napa, Tiburon and San Fran to be exact. I plan on posting my review of some new wineries I visited. But, until then I'll share with you my experience in Tiburon, a quaint town near the northern base of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Remember this fabulous view I posted not too long ago? It was from the Water's Edge Hotel in Tiburon, a mix between a boutique hotel and B&B. Next door to the hotel is a ferry service that will take you to Angel Island or San Francisco {only a 25 min. ferry ride}.

Nate and I enjoyed fabulous views from our room and deck of the marina, San Francisco skyline and beautiful Angel Island. We were treated to in-room breakfast and evening wine and cheese. The hotel was rustic, simple and clean marrying natural woods, modern linens and furniture and wood burning fireplaces.

The outdated {although clean} bathroom, terrible hair dryer and fake orchid {I despise fake flowers ... realize I have issues} left a few things to be desired, but overall we had an absolutely lovely experience.

Highly recommended for a romantic weekend! I did not have that luxury as Nate was working, so I spent the day reading on the peaceful roof deck {not too shabby}!

I spent a few hours strolling through the shops in town {the town is really tiny} and stumbled upon Christopher Home & Salon. The home store caught my attention with its natural, rustic and vintage selections - beautiful shells and coral, horn flatware, vintage plates from the navy, lovely candles, ginger jars. In short, it was just dreamy. Attached to the store is a salon that is just as beautiful. Sigh, I wanted everything at Christopher Home & Salon.

Tiburon feels like one of the best kept secrets. Go enjoy the beautiful scenario, pretty shops and fabulous seafood!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Last Sunday's Crostini: Dinner

I realized I never posted my final crostini recipe from last Sunday, so I'm back with one last crusty bread creation! After our unique breakfast and lunch variations, we moved to a play on bruschetta for dinner. We topped the crusty bread with ricotta, roasted tomoatoes and balsamic and served it up with a fresh salad to round out our light dinner!

  • Ricotta
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Aged balsamic vinegar

  • To create roasted tomatoes:
    • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
    • Coat tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
    • Bake for 30 min
    • Allow time for tomatoes to cool to room temp before assembling
  • Spread thin layer of ricotta on bread and sprinkle with salt & pepper
  • Layer on roasted tomatoes
  • Drizzle with balsamic
There you go ... a day's worth of crostini recipes to enjoy! Warning: you will wake up the next day still feeling full!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Gray Walls Singing the Winter Blues?

I've had gray walls for the last 4-5 years now and thought that I would love them forever. Why not? They are neutral, but still provide some depth. Not to mention, I get tons of comments on the particular shade of gray that I carried over from my last apartment to our current place. However, lately I'm not too keen on my walls. It could be that I'm getting swept away by Chicago's new found winter and that the gray walls put me in a constant state of dreary. Or, maybe it's that I see a bunch of amazing rooms pulled together by color and not neutrals.

Thoughts on gray walls:
I personally like gray when rooms are full of light and contrast - large windows, big chandeliers, crisp white moldings. And this, might be contributing to why I'm no longer digging them in my apartment. For one, we have very few windows for the size of our living space. Those windows also look into a terrible brick wall 10 feet away. Additionally, our place was built circa 2006 and lacks character {including modeling} and good lighting {the track lighting makes me want to vomit}.

Enough complaining, now onto some colors I'd love to play with ...

I have a major love affair with blush. It's screams subtle femininity, takes color well and warms up a space. Hello, and don't you just love it paired with turquoise {I die}? 

At first I thought of it for our bedroom but this color can transform just about any space. Love, love the living room with blush walls directly above.  The walls feel so neutral you can't tell if the space belongs to a male, female or just super cool couple.

Must. have. blush. walls.

Oh, and where to begin with mint. It feels fresh, clean, retro and fun. It has the ability to add major drama when paired with black or hot pink or appear calm and collected when mixed with grassy greens and white. The kitchen above it just genius. I bet lots of tasty treats are made in that kitchen.

What flavor are your walls? Anything new colors you'd love to get your hands on? 

*All images are from Pinterest

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sunday's Crostini: Lunch

Back with another crostini recipe! We moved from sweet to salty with lunch. Although we used the same bread and ricotta from our breakfast variation, the flavors completely changed ... check out the recipe for the topping below!

  • Ricotta
  • 1 Bag Frozen Sweet Peas
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Mint
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Sliced Prosciutto
  • Olive Oil

  • Boil chicken broth, seasoning with red pepper flakes
  • Add peas to broth and cook until tender (approx. 5 minutes)
  • Strain peas
  • Blend peas, mint, salt, pepper and approx. 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a blender
  • Refrigerate 30 minutes
  • Combine pea mixture with 2 tablespoons ricotta
  • Spread onto crostini and top with sliced prosciutto
I served this one up with some sweet potato chips while Nate watched Sunday sports. Another winner in my book!

Sunday's Crostini: Breakfast

Ah crunchy and crusty bread ... you're nuts if you don't love it! Sunday morning I picked up a fresh ciabatta loaf and ricotta cheese with crostini on my mind. I chose ricotta for its versatility, knowing that I wanted to make a variety of different toppings to serve up throughout the day. Nate and I succeeded in having crostini for ALL three meals and I'm here to share our variations. First up is breakfast!

To Make the Crostini:
  • Brush sliced ciabatta loaf with olive oil
  • Grill for 1-2 min each side over medium/high heat. All grills are different so make sure to monitor your toast! You're looking for golden grill marks and not burnt edges!

Served alongside crunchy, red grapes!

  • Ricotta
  • Walnuts
  • Honey
  • Bananas and/or Pear

  • Cover each toast with a thin layer of ricotta
  • Add sliced banana, pear or combination and sprinkle with chopped walnuts
  • Drizzle honey over top
Other toppings you could add: raisins, cinnamon, oats ...

I brought this version to book club the following night as a sweet treat! Check back later for my lunch and dinner versions ...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day ...

... to my two favorite Valentines!

* Back to regular posting after last week's adventures in Napa, Tiburon and San Fran!

Monday, February 6, 2012

My room with a view ...

My hotel room in Tiburon (just over the Golden Gate Bridge) over looks the water; such a treat to wake up to on vacation! Enjoying Peet's coffee, the fireplace and the fabulous view.

More to come later ...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Be Mine ...

I really, really need you for Spring. Now, if you could just find a way into my closet ...

{$99 at Piperlime}
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