Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kebabs, Rice and Chopped Salad Recipe

With my husband back at work and enjoying every type of artery-clogging fast food during his lunch hour, we’ve tried to make dinners as healthy and easy as possible.  This meal totally fits the bill.  Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you away; any of the recipes can be modified to include whatever meat, seafood, veggies and type of rice you have in your fridge or pantry.

All recipes serve 4

Napa Chopped Salad
napa cabbage
red cabbage
red pepper
green onion
daikon radish

The salad is a breeze to prepare as long as you have a sharp knife and a little bit of patience. Finely chop all ingredients in amounts and ratios of your liking. My personal preference is to for everything to be chopped finely or julienned, but it is really up to you. Drizzle with the soy vinaigrette and enjoy as a starter or side.

Soy Vinaigrette (chopped salad dressing and kebab marinade)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/8 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 clove chopped garlic
salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the oils.  While whisking, slowly add oils until the dressing is emulsified.  If you like your dressing a little sweeter, you can use sugar instead of honey.

1 pound top sirloin
½ pound sea scallops
1 Bell pepper (color of your choice)
1 yellow onion
1 cup cubed fresh pineapple
2 zucchinis
cherry tomatoes

Step 1:
Cut the top sirloin into 1.5” x 1.5” pieces and marinate them for at least 2 hours but up to 24 hours in the soy vinaigrette. Make sure to set ¼ cup aside to dress your salad.

Step 2:
Wash and dry the scallops well, and season with salt, pepper and a pinch of white sugar.

Step 3:
Cut all remaining ingredients in roughly 1” x 1” squares.

Step 4:
Skewer the meats and veggies, alternating approximately one piece of meat to three fruits or veggies. I usually have 3-4 pieces of meat or fish on a skewer and serve two skewers to each person.  If you're using wood skewers, make sure to pre-soak them to avoid any splinters.  Ouch!

Step 5:
Grill to desired doneness. Serve with rice and salad. 

Yellow Rice
2 cups long grain rice
1 tbsp turmeric
¼ cup chopped onion
1 clove chopped garlic
3 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Pinch of salt

Step 1:
Place rice in the rice cooker or make according to package instructions, substituting chicken stock for water.

Step 2:
Heat vegetable oil in a pan and fry onion and garlic until fragrant. Add rice and mix in turmeric with a couple tablespoons of chicken stock.

Step 3:
Cook for a few minutes until the rice starts to develop a crispy layer on the bottom. Stir and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with kebabs.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stella McCartney for Gap

Stella McCartney's summer collection for GapKids is online and in stores today.

I rushed to the this morning, as everything I liked in the winter collection sold out within hours.  There are several super cute pieces that capture the trends of the moment (think nautical and floral) with a mix of classic Stella (vintage-looking sweaters, colorblock hi-tops and superhero tees). 

It's fun to have access to designer pieces at a more affordable price point, though prices are still a bit inflated by Gap standards.  What do you think of the new collection?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lamb Cake

Easter is just one week away, and I'm looking forward to hosting a brunch for my in-laws on Saturday and an Easter breakfast and egg hunt for the kids with my mom and grandma on Sunday.  I haven't quite worked out the menu yet, though I know it will include chicken salad tea sandwiches (my grandma's fave), some of the lovely fresh fruit from our local produce market, and a french green bean recipe I am working on.  Of course it wouldn't be Easter without a smoky, sweet ham, and a bevy of treats.

We're big on traditions in our house, and every easter my mother-in-law makes a lamb cake for the kids.

{image via}

These cakes originated in Eastern Europe and while I don't remember them from my childhood in Minnesota, they are abundant in the Chicago area.  They're fun and festive, and I love that it is a little something special the kids can look forward to every easter.

What are your Easter traditions?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dwell Studio

I got home today to find the newest catalog from Dwell Studio in my mailbox.  I love love love this brand and especially love their more affordable line for Target.   My new obsession is their Paper Dolls collection.

How luxurious is this cashmere blanket?

What about this sweet bookshelf?  Perfect for a little girl's room.
And wouldn't this weekender be a fab tote for a sleepover?

I'm always searching for unique prints and patterns that don't look like typical kid gear, and Dwell Studio is a fantastic resource.  I have to confess, I'm sort of eyeing the tote bag for myself.  You don't have to be a toddler to love paper dolls, right?  Maybe I'll let Remy borrow it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Kid-Friendly Cookbooks

I've fallen in love with a new genre of books.  It's sort of a hybrid cookbook and parenting guide, with real-life anecdotes mixed in.

Last year I started with Hungry Monkey by Matthew Amster-Burton.  This is such a well written book, filled with short, hilarious vignettes written by a food writer/dad who is trying to foster an appreciation of wide spectrum of foods in his young daughter.  The sharp, witty writing is almost as delicious as the recipes, which have become some of my favorite meals during the past year.

I enjoyed Hungry Monkey so much that I picked up a similar book that Amster-Burton recommended called Too Many Cooks: Kitchen Adventures With One Mom, Four Kids and 102 Recipes by Emily Franklin.

This book is a little bit more serious, but equally compelling and filled with simple, clean and absolutely delicious recipes.  A few of my favorites are buttery apricot bars and a crisy roasted chicken.  Franklin's anecdotes about motherhood and cooking were so engaging that I devoured the book in a few hours and had to read it again.

I would recommend both books to any parent who has struggled with what to cook for your kids.  Now I'm on a search for any new writing in this genre.  Any suggestions?

Friday, March 12, 2010

New York City

Famous Since Yesterday has been very quiet lately, as I've been on vacation.  My husband and I just returned from a lovely weekend in New York City.  There are no words to accurately describe how amazing NYC is.  The architecture, the energy, the's absolutely perfect.

My favorite part of this particular trip was our visit to The Met.   I spent hours visiting my favorite artists, including Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Alexander Calder, and David Hockey, who painted this beauty, Large Interior Los Angeles.

I've been to New York City too many times to count, but each time I visit the city feels fresh and new.  Showing the city to my husband and enjoying some of the typical the tourist destinations was so much more fun than I could have ever imagined.

My Top 10 NYC moments from our trip:
1. The Met
2.  Soup Dumplings and Rice Cakes at Joe's Shanghai
3.  Strolling through Central Park on a beautiful, sunny day
4.  Macarons at La Maison du Chocolat
5.  The view from the Empire State Building
6.  Shopping in the Village
7.  Sampling local cuisine from the street vendors
8.  People watching in Times Square
9.  Window shopping on 5th Avenue
10. Brunch at Bar Americain

Our trip was a whirlwind, but it left me feeling completely invigorated.  My husband and I are already talking about our next visit to the Big Apple.  What are your favorite things to do in Manhattan?
{image via}

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Easter Tablescape

Spring is in the air, as evidenced by the temperature ascending just slightly above the forty degree mark today.  Okay, so that's hardly springlike in most rational parts of the world, but this is Chicago, and therefore practically constitutes shorts weather.  And it has me in the mood to plan my Easter tablescape.

Don't you just love these bird nest chargers by Pottery Barn? 

And how about these mini nests by Williams Sonoma at each table setting?

And maybe an apothecary jar filled with these speckled eggs from Pier 1?

Aaaahhhh, Spring.  How lovely.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Chasing Fireflies

The other day I received a catalog in the mail from Chasing Fireflies.  We seem to get quite a few catalogs at our house, but this particular one intrigued me, so I took a look.  Inside were some of the most adorable, unique children's items I have ever seen.

Check out this fabulous mermaid towel.  It's perfect for the beach and you can have it personalized as well.  I may have to get these for my nieces.

I'm also completely smitten with these personalized Easter PJs.  Dear Easter Bunny, please leave a set or two in Dash and Remy's baskets.

And then there's the ruffle collar bubble dress.  Can I get one in a grown-up size?