Monday, June 27, 2011

Meet Alex

After months of waiting and 2 cancelled trips to see each other, I finally got to meet my niece Alexandra on Friday.  She is just about the cutest thing I've ever seen.  As I sat there holding her I couldn't help but think about all the fun things I'm going to get to do with her as she grows up.  I want to take her shopping and camping, buy her make-up and a fishing pole, teach her how to bake cupcakes and how to bait a hook, give her ice cream for dinner and advice about boys she likes. 

Being an aunt is going to be so amazing!



Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my dad and all the dads out there.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blonde

I got my "hair did" last week.  I'm officially BLONDE again and loving it!  I can't believe how much more like myself I feel as a blonde.  I know there's no chance that I'm anywhere close to a "natural blonde" anymore, but I can pretend, right?  Oh, and I got bangs...so exciting.  :)


Plus, I had fun playing with the "thermal imaging" photo option on the camera on my iPad while I was under the dryer.  Yes, I'm a dork, but isn't this kinda cool?


That's all I got.  Totally lame post.  Sorry.  I'll do better tomorrow.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Grilled Pizza

Last week, in honor of my friend Mel being in town, the girls and I attended a pizza class at Kitchen Conservatory, taught by the amazing Kirk Warner.  As you might remember, I've taken a pizza class before, where we made traditional pizzas, but this class was different - this class was about "Grilled Pizza" and some of the toppings were anything but traditional.  Other than Heather (who has taken a few KC classes with me before), none of the girls had been to a KC cooking class and I couldn't wait to introduce them to one of my favorite things to do (I think this was my 14th class!).  We picked a great one too (although, they're all pretty great), Kirk was awesome and the food did not disappoint. 

Kirk started out by showing us how to make the dough - huge vats of dough that can be frozen, parbaked and stored, or made right away (well, right after it rises). 
The dough should be cut into 2 oz. portions, which are the perfect size for a personal pizza.
For pizza that is going to be cooked on the grill, Kirk recommends a very very thin crust. 
So, our first job was to roll out the dough. 
Kasey and Heather were great at this.
Then we began working on the toppings.  
Julie cut onions for her pizza.
And then sauteed them.
Kasey worked on making tomato chutney for her pizza.
Mel readied the parsley.
I made these spicy garlic-chili shrimp.
And when the toppings were all ready, it was time to grill the dough.
Kirk walked us through the process, which was SO ridiculously easy:
place dough on grill, let cook on both sides for a few minutes, remove from grill.
Sheesh, why haven't I been grilling my pizza this whole time?
Heather and Mel manned the grilled.
On a side note, our cooking class was also a bit of a celebration, since we learned a few days before that Mel was cooking something besides pizza.  The bun in her oven is 12 weeks young and due a few days before Christmas!  I am so excited for them and can't wait to meet this kid.  That is one lucky baby to have Mel and Eric as parents!
See, she's absolutely GLOWING!
Mel's colleague and her father were also taking the cooking class.
They were adorable.
Now I want to take my dad to a class too!
After the dough was cooked for a few minutes, it was solid enough to hold toppings, so we headed back to the kitchen to prepare the pizzas.  Since the pizza crusts are so thin, the toppings should be light and spread out to keep the pizza from being too heavy or not cooking throughout.  The pizza I prepared was a spicy shrimp, asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes with goat cheese (below).  YUM. 
Kasey and Heather's pizza was an Indian-inspired pizza with saag paneer and tomato chutney.
Both went back on the grill to cook a little longer to heat the toppings and get the crust nice and crispy.
The finished product was incredible.
Light, crispy and delicious.
Julie and Mel prepared their pizza next. 
A light brushing of olive oil, followed by prosciutto, caramelized balsamic red onions and figs.
This one was also incredible!
Mel's friend and her dad made a roasted butternut squash pizza.
Who knew butternut squash would be SO GOOD on pizza?
Kirk, you are a genius!
And speaking of Kirk's genius-ness, you will not believe this next creation.
Bacon and Eggs Pizza.
For.The.Love.
Bacon topped with coarse salt and cheese, put directly into the oven on a pizza stone.
After a few minutes of cooking, Kirk broke two eggs on top of the pizza to cook.
It came out of the oven crispy, with the eggs still a little runny.
Kill me now.
He topped it with truffle salt and a light salad of arugula, evoo and lemon juice.
I must say, I was not prepared for this pizza.  It blew me away. 
I have had a lot of incredible food at Kitchen Conservatory over the years,
but this pizza might just be the best thing I've ever eaten.
Obviously everyone else in the entire class agreed and we had to make at least 4 more of these pizzas so we could all get our fill.
The rest of the class made a few other pizzas and then we had the opportunity to play around with the ingredients and mix things up a bit.   
Chicken sausage pizza with roasted red pepper and marinara.
Holy moly.
Veggie pizza with tomatoes, black olives, asparagus and basil.
Or how about butternut squash, asparagus, tomato chutney and Parmesan cheese.
Kirk also showed us how to make a calzone using the pizza dough.
This was was a marinara, asparagus, ricotta, herb calzone.
Un-freaking-believably good.
The rest of the class was spent chatting and eating. 
We had to make sure we sampled at least one bite of every single pizza that was made (you know, for quality assurance purposes).
Definitely not a bad way to spend the evening!
I'm still full.

Thank you Kirk and Kitchen Conservatory for such a fun night. 
I have a feeling we'll be back very soon (like next week).

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sisterly Love

I grew up with three younger brothers.  THREE ROWDY BOYS and lil' ol' me.  Of course, since I was the oldest, I ruled the roost and occasionally had to beat the crap out of them to reestablish my dominance if they ever got out of line.  I love my brothers fiercely and wouldn't trade them for anything in the world - they taught me to be tough, how to wrestle, how to shoot a gun, how to throw a punch.  However, I've always wondered what it would be like having a little sister.  A big part of the reason we got our second dog (Sage) was to give Mally a younger sister.  I can't even tell you how excited I was to see how Mally handled it.  Like me, Mally's a bit of a spoiled princess.  She rules the roost around our house and isn't used to sharing.  So when we introduced Sage to our family, Mally handled having a little sister a lot like I handled having little brothers...by wrestling. 

It definitely didn't take Mally and Sage long to figure out how to "play" together.
Sage lays on her back and bears her teeth.
Mally stands above her in the ultimate power position.
She makes funny noises and bites Sage's leg and neck (not too hard though).
Even though she's taking it "laying down," Sage definitely fights back.
She uses her butt and back legs to block Mally out.
Sometimes she gets a hold of Mally's whiskers or bottom jaw.
And those puppy teeth are SHARP!
But I know Sage is loving every second of it. 
She's so funny to watch because she makes the most hilarious faces!
When I tell Mally to go easy on Sage, I get the "But-I'm-not-doing-anything-mom" look that I used to give my mom when I got caught tormenting the boys.
Which gives Sage an opportunity to escape.
Sorry Mally.
Na na na boo boo.
I got away from you.
And then Sage snarls her lip and lunges at Mally...
...and it starts all over again.
Until somebody gets distracted by a stick.
Mally has zero interest in sticks, but she knows Sage loves them.
So she'll parade it around the yard in front of Sage, not letting her have the stick.
Sisterly love at it's finest.
I think these two are going to be just fine.
"Our roots say we're sisters, our hearts say we're friends." ~Author Unknown