Tuesday, February 28, 2012

eat something

I just have to say one negative thing that I took away from the Oscar ceremony and red carpet on Sunday.  For the love of all things delicious, I wish some of these ladies would just start eating.  

I love Rose Byrne and think she's a fabulous actress, but she needs to eat.  Please Rose, eat something.   

And I am so tired of Angelina Jolie.  Tired of the same red carpet looks and really tired of her extra bony frame.  That leg sticking out of your dress would have been sexy if it had any sort of muscle to it.  All bones and skin.  Gross.  And her arms are just as bad.  

Here's the thing.  The women in Hollywood have to remember that they are inspirations to millions of girls and woman around the world.  Why do they need to keep sending the message that looking emaciated is hot.  I bought into this thinking for a really long time and I have worked like hell to get over this.  Seeing these examples of what can only be malnourishment is not a friendly reminder.  It's unnatural and it's unreal.  

BE a real woman, don't let these images cloud your brain with what is beautiful.  What is beautiful is YOU.  Always remember that.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

oscar wrap up

I've blogged about it before and I'll blog about it again.  I love the Oscars.  Absolutely love them.  When we have a home that can fit more than five people, I plan on starting an annual Oscar party.  Dresses and baubles might be required...just saying.  

Last night did not disappoint.  While I didn't love every single thing about the show, there was a lot that I loved and here is my wrap up of all that made my heart sing last night.  

One word.  Meryl.  What a beautiful, human, authentic woman.  I thought the most touching moment of the night came just after they announced her name for Best Actress.  

"First I’m going to thank Don because when you thank your husband at the end of the speech they play him out with the music and I want him to know that everything I value most in our lives you’ve given me," 

I was pleasantly surprised by the many wonderful women that I put on my best dressed list (which I'm sure is the same as many of yours).  There were a lot this year!  These ladies worked it all night long!  

Stop it right now Miss Michelle.  She killed it in every way possible.  That pink clutch with possibly the most perfect dress?  That little whimsical bow brooch.  The delicate yet stunning diamond necklace.  Amazing.  

So simple, so striking.  She remains one of my favorite women in Hollywood.  But was anyone else wondering how that cape stayed on so well?  She must have not done any waving to the fans of America as she walked the red carpet.  

Viola, you inspire me.  I love the color, I love the jewels and I admire the "take me for who I am" hair.  

I loved this color and natural yet completely elegant feeling that this hilarious woman brought to the table. On a personal note, I loved that she went with dark nails.  

Loved it.  Loved the chunky bracelet.  Loved her as a presenter.  

Fierce.  Elegant.  Timeless.  

My favorite hair of the evening.  

It was a good year for Mr. Oscar.  Though I have one complaint but I'll blog about that tomorrow.  This post has way too much goodness and beautiful eye candy to bring up anything negative.  

What did you all think of the show?  The gowns?  The winners?  

It's exciting to think that a new year of movies and dreams of Oscars begin today.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Be a chef week - grilled pizzas

This is a family favorite in our house.  And by family I mean, my husband and I really love these pizzas.  Who would ever think that making your own pizza dough would be so easy?  And honestly the tastiest pizza dough ever.

It's as easy as mix, knead, rise and grill.  

The pizza dough recipe is from my dear friend Ina.  You might have heard of her.  You can see how she does it HERE.  I do everything the same as she does until it comes time for the cooking.

In her recipe, she only uses the garlic oil on her pizzas.  I like to cover mine in pizza sauce.  I am not a fan of sauce-less pizza, so I sauce it up.

Follow her recipe, but here are a few tried and true tips:

- Make the garlic oil that she mentions.  It is one of the things that makes this pizza special.  Here's how:

Bring 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil and 6 large garlic cloves to a boil, once it's boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Carefully remove the garlic and slice it into a bowl.  Pour the oil over the garlic.  Rather than sprinkling it over the top like Ina mentions, I brush this on the pizza just before I put on the sauce.  And my best secret is to sprinkle the garlic slices over the sauce as your first topping.  Mmmm.

- DON'T skip the step of letting the dough rest an additional 10 minutes after you have separated it into shaped balls.  I know it's tempting to just start flattening it out and get going, but don't do it.  If you let it rest that additional 10 minutes, it will be pillowy and soft and so delicious.

- We have a gas grill, so I just keep the grill as low as it will go for the entire time I'm cooking them.

- I freeze the dough balls that we don't use.  They don't turn out as amazing when you take them out of the freezer, but they are still really yummy!  Just make sure they come to room temp. before you start trying to shape them.

- Have fun with your toppings!  This particular night, I was a little lazy with the toppings because usually we pile them high with anything and everything you can imagine.  Get crazy, it's your very own grilled pizza so top it with whatever the heck you like.  But I do HIGHLY recommend using fresh mozzarella.

ENJOY!  It is a perfect Friday night dinner!

And here's a behind the scenes picture for your viewing enjoyment...

What do you do when your grilling at night and your porch light is out?  Well, you obviously put on your husband's head lamp.  Duh.  Nice head lamp lady.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Be a chef week - enchiladas

Enchiladas don't photograph very well.  All of that cheesy, saucy goodness doesn't make for a pretty photo.  But your belly doesn't care about what photographs well, does it?  

I have always wanted to have a "dish," one that people associate with me.  These enchiladas are my husband's favorite thing that I make, which I secretly take great pride in.  But this year, when we were headed home to my parents house in South Carolina for Christmas, my Mom called to tell me that my Dad said, "I want Jessi to make her enchiladas while she's here," which totally made my day.  

"My" enchiladas.  I guess I do have a dish...so Enjoy!  

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas 
1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed 
1 (16 oz.) jar medium salsa, divided 
2 (10 oz.) cans enchilada sauce - green 
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese 
2 1/2 cups shredded chicken 
1 small can diced green chilies 
10 - flour tortillas 
1 (8oz.) package shredded Mexican four cheese blend 
avocado for garnish

-Drain spinach well, set aside.  
-Stir together 1/4 c. salsa and enchilada sauce, set aside.  
-Microwave cream cheese for 1 minute until soft.  
-Add spinach, chicken, chilies, remaining salsa and stir.  (sometimes I throw in some extra ingredients here if I'm feeling sassy; drained black beans and diced mushrooms are my most common add-in, but definitely not necessary)  
- Spoon a heaping 1/3 cupful of chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla.  Roll tortilla.  Place seam-side down in a lightly greased baking dish.  
- Pour enchilada sauce mixture evenly over top of tortillas.  Sprinkle with cheese.  
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.  
- Top with sliced avocado to serve.  

**This dish freezes well, so I usually take a few extra and place them in a separate pan to freeze for a quick and easy mid-week dinner**

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Be a chef week - red velvet cake

I am not a good baker.  Which is funny because I'm a very precise person, but for some reason I cannot bake very well.  I envy those that can create amazing sweet treats, I think it's a real talent...one that I lack.

However, I do make a mean red velvet cake.  Now, if you are a real baker then you probably have a legit red velvet cake that you make, so you can just stop reading this now.  But if you are like me and you are baking challenged, then this cake recipe is for you!

Pair this with a traditional cream cheese frosting for ultimate yumminess.

1 box Betty Crocker German Chocolate Cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 c. oil
3 eggs
1 bottle (1 oz) red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla extract
**Simply mix all ingredients and bake according to package.  Cool cake on wire racks for 10 minutes, then invert pan and continue to cool cakes.  Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate to cool completely to make for easier icing.  I like to slice each 9" round cake in half with a serrated knife so that I can make a four layer cake, but you can also use the two layers as they are.**

For the frosting:
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
3 3/4 c. boxed confectioners sugar (1 box)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
**Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed until smooth.  Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until light and fluffy.  Stir in vanilla.

I saved some crumbles to decorate the top, but you can also use either white chocolate chips or shavings of white chocolate to decorate the cake.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Be a chef week - miso soup

The hardest part of making miso soup is getting in your car and going to the Asian market.  I'm serious, this is criminally easy.

What you'll need:

1) Dashi 
2) Wakame seaweed (dried) 
3) Shiro Miso 
4) Water 
5) Tofu 

When you go to the market, ask for Dashi which is a Japanese soup stock.  It will be easier to just ask rather than trying to find it.  There are different kinds, but you want instant dashi.  I like the fish dashi which is the most traditional, but you can also get a mushroom dashi or a kelp dashi.  You can make miso soup without dashi, but this will make it taste very authentic.  This is what it looks like: 

You'll also want some seaweed for your miso soup.  There is typically an entire section of the market devoted to these types of soup add-ins.  I have no idea what's in the different packages, so I go based off of the picture.  This is technical stuff, I know.  You do want to make sure that it has wakame seaweed in it, which most of them do.  

Shiro Miso.  You will love having this in your fridge.  You can make marinades, sauces and all sorts of yummy dishes with miso.  Miso marinated cod, anyone?  Yes.  

Tofu.  Get whatever kind and firmness you like, this is your miso soup!  

4 cups water
4 Tbs. miso 
1/2 Tbs. dashi
tofu (I use about a third of a brick) 
1 to 1 1/2 Tbs. dried seaweed mixture (or more if you like a lot to seaweed in your soup) 

Literally all you do is bring the water to a boil.  While it's coming up to a boil, add the miso.  After the water has started boiling, reduce heat to medium and stir to break up the miso.  Add the dashi, stir a few times to dissolve.  Then add the tofu and seaweed, let it simmer for just a few minutes and you're ready to eat!  

And remember that in Japanese culture, the louder you slurp your soup and noodles, the more you are enjoying it.  It is a sign to the chef that you think it's delicious or "O-ee-she".  So slurp away!  

BE a chef week

Who doesn't like to pretend they are a real chef?  Who doesn't set up all of their ingredients on the counter and talk to a pretend camera like they are on a cooking show?  Oh come on, you know you've all done it!

While I am no chef, I am a pretty darn good cook and love being in the kitchen.  I love to cook, I find it soothing and therapeutic after a long day.  I am pretty much a recipe girl, I love finding and trying new ones while some fail miserably, some make it into my recipe box forever.  The best recipes are the ones that you can go back to time and time again and never tire of them.

I thought it will be fun if everyday this week I share with you one of those tried and true recipes that even the worst cook could make.  I love all of these because they are easy and also because they are really delicious!

Let's BE chef's this week.  I hope it inspires you to get in the kitchen and make something that's out of your usual routine.

Friday, February 17, 2012


Isn't it fun when new things get introduced into your life?  And then you become a little bit obsessed with them...oh wait, is that just me?  

Here are a few things that are new to me in the past few weeks.  And yes, I'm mildly obsessed with them all.  
Shailene Woodley.  Um, did you see The Descendants?  If that wasn't enough to make me love her, then she went and killed it on the red carpet at the Globes.  Amazing.  She rocks.  

A friend recently made me a delicious cocktail and when she told me that it was just vodka and Peach Fresca I couldn't believe it!  Peach Fresca.  New obsession.  Not sure how it tastes on it's own, but damn delicious as a mixer!  

There are no words for how much I love it.  No words.    

This is my new favorite mascara.  It stays on so well, won't give you black under eye from all that smiling you do and makes your lashes look fabulous.  

I adore instagram.  I am not sure how I lived before I had it.  I feel like I see the world through an instagram filter now, which is not a bad thing.  

What are you into lately?  DO some discovering of something new this weekend and then tell me about it, so I can add it to my newly obsessed about things!  

Have a special weekend y'all! 


Thursday, February 16, 2012


Because we all need to hear it more often than we do.  

Print available HERE.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

blog awards

Did you know they give away blog awards?  Yea, I recently got one.  It was the "you abandoned your blog" award.  I gave a pretty good speech but you better believe that I killed it on the red carpet.

I've been away from here and I say it every time, but I've missed it.  I think I got too wrapped up, worried and intimidated about not having as many followers as I wanted to have.  But guess what?  I don't care about that anymore.  I want to write again because writing helps keep me inspired.  And connected.  

I also think I lost site of the blog's focus.  GO.  BE.  DO.  Simple.  Write about it.  Starting now.

I can do this.  I can blog here, blog and tweet for my company, pin enough to keep people inspired, be a great friend/wife/daughter and do what I love.  I can do it all.  I can at least do a better job of trying.

....and....I'm back.