It will change the way you look at dinner.

I'm not a vegetarian, or a vegan or any type of other movement. We are meat and potatoes, and now since I married a filipino, rice family. Although I did not grow up on a farm, we lived in the city while my dad worked in the coal mine, we went back to our grandparents home often. My fathers father had a working farm when I was a child so when we went to visit sometimes for months at a time, we lived on an actual farm. My grandpa Jan was so removed he had no working toilet and no telephone until the day he died. We had sheep, cows, chickens and some pigs. I'm sure there was a horse once upon a time, but not while I was a child. The farm was only to raise livestock, you couldn't grow much of anything since we were in the mountains and the earth wasn't good for growing. We grew the only thing that thrived there, grass. It was harvested and fed to the animals during the winter months, but during the summer the cows grazed the pastures and so did the sheep. 

Not our actual home, but close enough.

What my point is, is that everything was natural. There was no hurry to get the cow super fat for slaughter, it took time to fatten them up. They ate the grass and that was their main nutrition. In retrospect it was delicious, not the stuff that you buy in commercial stores in a big city. I think its hard to eat in a natural way and affordably at the same time. You have to make a choice, to either spend the money and buy grass fed and organic, or eat less meat. 

This movie Food, inc is nominated for an Oscar this year in the documentary category. It's definitely a movie everyone should try and see. Food, inc explores the way that our food comes to the table in America. It is not necessarily how animals are slaughtered, but how they are raised and what they are fed. Since seeing this movie, it has made me think about what I put on table for my family to eat. I have looked into buying grass fed but it's hard. It's not as easily available at most supermarkets except your Whole Foods and other high end grocers and its much more expensive. I figure it's a compromise that I need to make, buy less meat but better quality and try and feed the family more grains and other proteins as the bulk of our diet. I'm not saying we are going full force and convert to organic and all, but maybe the choices we make on the whole will change the food industry for the better. Go and rent this movie and see how you feel about the way you look at dinner.


Let them eat CAKE!!!

About a week or more ago was my birthday. Nothing fancy we didn't really celebrate since it falls close to valentines day I asked my husband to wait afterwards to get me flowers. I help my mom, who's a part time florist so I know the quality of flowers would be horrible around that time. 
I asked him to get me a facial instead, which was wonderful and since it was a real european facial took 3 hrs.   

This post isn't about any of that, its about the cake my girlfriend brought to my house to celebrate my birthday. My 3 closest best friends came over and we had fish tacos and wine and cake. 2 cakes. One was a passion fruit and the other a nut/chocolate/alcohol combo. We all had a small piece of each.  Although I cheated, I gave up pastries for lent, I will buy these cakes again for Easter. Only 30 something days to go.

Asian style salmon

Normally in our house we don't eat a lot of salmon. Once I've had salmon a couple of times I get tired of it. It has quite a distinct flavor all by itself.  But for lent I figured I will try to eat other fish than our usual tilapia. So thats where the salmon came back in, and the cod and the halibut among others. 

This recipe came from my love of asian flavors and so I thought lets put in on the salmon since its such a strong flavored fish. It has black bean sauce, ginger, sesame oil and soy, all my favorite flavors and its blackened.

The recipe is fairly simple, you marinade the fish for at least 20 mins and fry in a nonstick pan. The non stick pan is important. To blacken the fish since it has the marinade on it it will stick to a normal pan in seconds. But with the nonstick you can keep it on longer at a higher heat and not risk having your fish fall apart when you try and flip it. I also served asparagus that I cut into smaller pieces and sautéed in the same pan that I took the fish out of, it still had some of the  marinade left in the pan. You can add a tiny bit more of the marinade to the asparagus and and a splash of water to help steam them. 


Have you seen Lonny?

Lonny February Issue is out, I have read Lonny since its premiere issue, but this is the first time blogging about it. If you haven't check it out. It is online only so no need to spend a dime on it. 

I would have picked a different photo for the cover, there are many more interesting ones inside. They seem to have a knack for picking meh covers.

Here are some outtakes from the mag itself... 

Simple don't you think, which is really not Lonnys forte. I have something like this, I'll save it for some other post.

Not particularly crazy about this kitchen, its too much for me. I thought the wallpaper was fabulous - in small doses. 

Here is another one, it did not have all these antiquey mementos all over the place like some did in this issue, or the stacked books on the floor which is clutter and space hog. Too much stuff everywhere, your eye has no place to rest. Also there wasn't a styled tray of stuff, not to say its not apropos in some instances but does one really need to dust all that crap?

I think I picked this because I'm a sucker anytime I see orchids en-mass like this. I cant seem to grow them after the flowers drop. But thats another story.


Punxsutawney Phil... dang you!!!!

You know when the ground hog said there was going to be six more weeks of winter, I figured yeah hopefully that means that the snow will linger around but we won't get anymore real snowfall... wishfull thinking.
If you live in Chicago and east of it you know what I'm talking about. Although Chicago didn't get hit quite as hard as the other eastern cities we did get in some places anywhere from 6" - 14" of snow. Which means it will be some time before that melts and we see some sort of action coming up from the ground.

If this is what you have to look at, when you look anywhere, is blinding white...

Than maybe you need a bit of spring just like I do to brighten up your day. I saw this pot at Trader Joe's for $11 and I had to have it, although it says its Jasmine it doesn't smell like the jasmine that I grow in the summer. It almost smells like lilies which isn't to say it's bad, they just aren't fragrant. But I don't care, that burst of green and the lemons in the bowl certainly brighten up my day anytime I walk into the kitchen.

Oh hurry spring don't be late, it's not that I hate snow, I just love green trees and flowers more.


Repurposing plates as art

I'm sure you have seen this trend for awhile now. I was inspired initially by the Viceroy hotel lounge and thus began my fascination with doing this in my own home...

Viceroy Hotel Santa Monica

Pottery Barn (I think)

Photo Credit

But as you can see the plates usually have some sort of theme, at least the ones that look the best have some thread of consistency going through them. I went with graphic plates, that all have black in them and then I added a variation, I added letters(an ampersand and a woodblock A, which is a little hard to see). So in the end it is mostly plates with a few oddballs here and there but I do love it and how it looks on the archway of my kitchen. I do need to add a few tiny plates or letters to complete it but those aren't something that you can find as easily as full size plates.

My two favorite plates do come from ebay and they were purchased from a vendor in Sweden and Germany. They are the Scandinavian plates, one is pretty old the other, black and white one is newer but it has the same style as the older one. I need to troll ebay again for some more plates in smaller sizes,  hopefully I can score some more for cheap.  The scribble line plates are from Crate and Barrel from some time ago and the line drawings are from Spain, they came in box set that was with cups and bowls - supposed to be Picasso, not sure if any of the drawings were done by him and they were reinterpreted onto plates or they did it in the Picasso style - which they do look like. 

I know the colorful plate doesn't really go with the rest of them but I really like it. I picked it up in the Philippines with my husband and its hand painted on wood  and technically it fits because it does have strong black outlines on the plates. Either way it's staying until I find something to replace it or add something to make it fit. 

I have no clue why my wall looks like its a different color in each pic, its actually a neutral khaki, this last photo is really green looking, maybe it was the waning light of the day. 

Yeah it's still a work in progress...

Paisley is fresh again.

I have loved paisley forever – or since I saw eons ago Crate and Barrel carry a paisley bed set that was too pricey for me working a minimum wage job. Well it seems paisley has been making a quiet comeback in the recent years. Not only do the finer retailers start carrying paisley bedding in fun, contemporary renditions but also the budget retailers have too.

Photo credit Pottery Barn

Is this just not GORGEOUS!!! It is definitely not your grandmas old paisley patterned bedding. Pottery Barn sells this and it is on my list for new sheets for spring. That cherry blossom branch doesn't hurt either.

Photo credit Pottery Barn
And even this set priced for a lot less at Walmart is very cute. It has the benefit of being an all in one instead of just the duvet cover.

Decisions, decisions...

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