Wednesday, January 30, 2013

{pretzel, bbq pork & sweet potato burgers}

Yes- you read the title of this post correctly.  Does it sort of sound like I have lost my mind and threw a bunch of random stuff from our fridge into a burger?  I wish I could say that was the situation, but I consciously made the decision to put these ingredients together after discovering the existence of pretzel buns at Trader Joe's the other day. This burger is just that same old salty/sweet mix that never fails to satisfy so really it's not that crazy of an ingredient combo.  The salty pretzel bun mixed with sweet and tangy BBQ pulled pork makes for a pretty flavorful combination on their own- plus the pea sprouts and sweet potatoes thrown for some added crunch!

These burgers are the perfect item to bring to that super bowl party you are invited to this weekend not just because they take minimal prep and look fancy in addition to tasting good, but because they taste good cold.  Serving things at the correct temperature is always rough when it's pot luck situation where food has to travel and then also hang out among other guest's food for extended periods of time.  While I do prefer these burgers served warm, they definitely aren't going to disappoint anyone once they cool down! 

{because sriracha makes everything better}

BBQ pulled pork pretzel burgers with Sweet Potatoes & Pea Sprouts
  • pretzel buns from Trader Joe's
  • microwavable container of ready made BBQ pulled pork from Trader Joes**
  • one container of pea sprouts
  • one sweet potato
  • sriracha to taste
  • mustard to taste
  • 1/4 stick of butter
  1. peel sweet potatoes. cut into 1/4 inch thick slices- about 2 to 3 slices per burger. brush slices with vegetable oil and roast in 450 degree oven until tender (about 10 minutes).  then pan-sear slices to add a little color and crispy-ness.
  2. cut pretzel buns in half, lightly coat inside with butter and toast. 
  3. heat BBQ pork in microwave according to directions on packaging. 
  4. place sweet potato slices on burger, then add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the pulled pork.  Top with pea sprouts, sriracha & mustard!
  5. optional: spear burger with some cute and decorative! :)
**note if there isnt a Trader Joe's near you: there is a Jack Daniels version of this BBQ pulled pork that I have seen in the frozen aisle of most big chain grocery stores. I can't vouch for the taste since I have never tried it, but I don't think whiskey ever hurt anybody...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

{entryway changes + gallery wall}

With the recent rearranging of furniture in our living room, we also made some significant changes to our entryway.  The small table I originally purchased for this space back in September now serves a table under TV in our living room.  The fauxdenza that we had originally placed under the TV has been located to to the entryway, but is still a work in progress as we shop for that perfect piece of wood to use for the top.  I actually prefer the fauzdenza in the entryway as the floating aspect of the shelves is very visible from the seating in the living room.  We picked up this runner rug in a simple black and white pattern from the Nate Berkus for Target collection.

The biggest change to our entry is the small photo gallery wall which is something I have had on my to do list forever.  For the longest time I couldn't decide if I wanted to do all photos from our wedding or just a collection of our favorite snapshots from over the years.  Then once I decide on using just wedding photos, I debated between how many photos I should use or if I should include varying sizes and frames. Ultimately, I felt the space was a little small to do many more than 4 to 6 photos total.  I also felt a mixture of photo sizes and frames would make the space look too busy or cluttered.  What finally pushed me to complete this project was when I came across these frames at Target.  I loved the proportions of the exaggerated matting to house an 8' by 10" photo- plus at $15 each they were considerably less than anything else I had seen and liked.

There are still a few minor projects on my to do list for this area including finding something interesting to add to the back of the door like an inspiring art print or even a bold paint color.  I would also love to do some contrasting painted borders on doors of the coat closet that faces the fauzdenza (not pictured because those closets are incredibly boring).

 {if anyone knows of a great lumber yard in the Chicago area that we can locate a pretty wood top for this fauzdenza don't hesitate to pass that info along!}

 {some of my favorite shots from our wedding captured by EPLove}

{bridal party portrait framed in this Target frame}

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

{dressed up caprese}

Pretty soon I am going to change the name of this blog to "100 ways to make caprese" - not today, but if I keep posting stuff like this then that name change might be right around the corner.  Anyways- you know what is good is mini skewered caprese bites, but what is even better is when you make them a bit bigger,  double the layers, add in sliced red beets and top the whole thing with a sprinkling of pistachios.  This is exactly the type of appetizer you bring to someone's house that will make them think you actually know what you are doing in the kitchen.  Plus it looks effortless to make and the bonus is that it actually takes little to no effort!

Friday, January 18, 2013

{friday cocktail: cucumber basil caipirinha}

You know what we do when the temperatures in Chicago hit near 20 degrees?? We act like it's summer by whipping up a batch of Caipirinhas!  Yep- because not dealing with the reality of winter is the only way to deal with it as far as I'm concerned.  And one sip of this cucumber basil caipirinha will make you feel like you are sitting poolside at a summer BBQ. (If this cocktail doesn't make you feel just like that then you aren't trying hard enough.)  I have had this bottle of Monin Cucumber Syrup forever and had yet to break it open until this Friday's cocktail post.  Many flavored syrups are over-powering or sickly sweet, but this cucumber one tastes and smells just like fresh cut cucumbers with just the right amount of sugar to sweeten this cocktail recipe.  This syrup would even be great splashed in with glass of sparkling water or fresh lemonade!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

{weeknight vegetarian}

While our regular dinner party menus might lead you to believe otherwise, we often try to cook vegetarian meals especially on week nights at home.  One of my favorite blogs for great vegetarian meal inspiration is Sprouted Kitchen which features the only two things you need to make me read a food blog: amazing photography and even tastier recipes (and a new book)!  We recently whipped up her recipe for shitake mushroom & lentil tacos for a quick weeknight diner for two.  Don't let the vegetarian nature of these tacos fool you because they are full of flavor in addition to being quite healthy!

Monday, January 14, 2013

{chicago living room}

Since moving into our place in Chicago, I have shared our dining room, office/2nd bedroom and black/gold bathroom.  I wasn't sure that we would ever get to a point where I would want to share our living room since  it just hasn't felt quite finished for months.  After returning from a two and half week vacation, we promptly decided to start moving around all of our living room furniture which included un-mounting and re-mounting both our tv and fauxdenza.    It's clear to me after this re-arrange that previously we were simply not using our space in the best way for our lifestyle.  This new set up gives us more usable space surrounding the living room and lends itself perfectly to what we do most which is entertain guests!

 {our bar set up is now front and center instead of our TV which is now mounted on the 
wall to the right in this photo}

 {coral ottomans, throw pillows & floor lamp from Target, rug from Pottery Barn, sources for other items can be found in our previous home tour right here}

 {vintage table that used to belong to my grandmother topped with fashion books & a terrarium 
from Urban Outfitters}

 {Tom Ford book + faux succulent since real succulents aren't real happy in Illinois}

 {view into the dining room}

{tray from CB2, matchstick holder from Jonathan Adler, Laduree books}

 {custom matchbooks from our wedding now sit on our coffee table}

 {gold rimmed glasses which were the best Salvation Army find in my life}

 {blurb photobooks that live under our TV}

Like I said in the beginning of the post- our fauxdenza has been moved and now lives in our entryway which I promise to share along with photos of our master bedroom just as soon as those rooms are 100% done!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

{golden globes free printable ballot}

I created this little ballot to go along with our viewing of the golden globes 
tomorrow night.  Just click on the photo or link below to download one for yourself! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

{friday cocktail: brandy old fashioned}

Besides The Business, the other cocktail that gets a lot of attention in our house is an Old Fashioned.  My parents recently brought us an amazing bottle of brandy from Germain-Robin in northern California so we decided to try it out in a brandy old fashioned.  This brandy definitely makes for a sweeter version of a classic Old Fashioned which would be great for those don't yet have a taste for stronger whiskey.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

{oscars viewing party inspiration}

I absolutely love awards season!!! (I am practically counting the minutes til the Golden Globes this Sunday!)

This morning the nominations for this year's Academy Awards were released so I thought I would share a little Oscars party inspiration I put together for the viewing party we are planning on holding next month!  Getting together with friends to watch the ceremony (and red carpet!) is a great excuse wear some sequins, drink champagne and have a little friendly competition with personal Oscar ballots! Hopefully I'll do better than last year- see that epic fail right here.