Je ne peux pas attendre
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Here are a few details of some interior Haunted Manion decor from this year.... Above, is one of our landscape lights in the backyard... The orange LED bulb for this lighting system costs 18.oo apiece. With several lights, that really would have added up.. so... I went to Target, bought $2.oo trick or treat pumpkins and cut the bottoms out with an exacto knife... and Look ! Better than an orange bulb and I did all the lights for what one orange bulb would have cost !!! Me-so-smart.
I printed off creepy Victoria era portraits from the computer and cut them to fit our every day photo frames that were on the mantel.. Another cheap decoration... Surrounded by autumnal garlands and some spanish moss, the mantel made a great focal point for the party goers as they entered the great room
Another cheap decoration / centerpiece... A $4.oo mouse and $ 3.oo worth of candy corn... some spanish moss and a LED spotlight... and there you go; one rodent inspired fall centerpiece for less than 10.00 !
In our home, the have pairs of French doors that lead to the patio and pool. October is the ideal time of year in Phoenix, so we open the doors and the dining room becomes more of an outdoor than indoor party space. We use it as a buffet basically, allowing party goers easy access to the spooky treat selection by removing the chairs and lighting tons of candles.
Even the bathroom gets a a Halloween makeover... the paintings are draped in black gauzey fabric and are crooked on their hangers... Every year, we right a message on the mirror... and this year... We took inspiration from the creepy song by the Pierces called "Secret".
~*~ HAPPY HAUNTING ~*~
This years Haunted Mansion was better than ever. Every Year it seems to get bigger and more elaborate... which is funny, especially since I never really cared for Halloween... It took almost two weeks to decorate for, but it was worth it... the love is in the details and with a party this size, there always needs to be something to look at or 'notice'.
The patio was swagged in flowy black fabric, manzanita bushes, and almost every bunch of fake fall foliage that Hobby Lobby had to offer. We got new black garden urns to use as centerpieces..
Using a small drill bit, we were able to drill holes in some dollar store ghost faces that were just the right size to slide into the tips of the manzanita branches...
The cemetary got a makeover this year with an actual white picket fence... premade at Lowes, it came in 18 foot lengths... Score ! Since we dont get fall color here in Phoenix, we placed fall leaf bunches in various bushes around the pool.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Shrimp Scampi is a great quick summer night dinner. With lemons in abundance in the desert
and access to seafood from both Mexico and California, its an affordable easy dinner to whip up... While boiling one pound of cappellini, saute five or six green onions in some olive oil.. Add tons of garlic and the zest of two lemons. Just before the garlic goes brown, remove from heat, add a few torn basil leaves, and stir in your chili flakes. Add your pre cooked jumbo shrimp, just to warm them. Generously salt and pepper the warm pan of goodies and add the juice of the lemons we have already stipped of the zest. Around this time, add a few pads of butter.. we try not to use the traditional recipe of butter doused shrimp, butter doused noodles, and butter saturated onions.. The first four letter of butter is BUTT, and mine is large enough already, thank you very much. Butt (hehe) you will need some to create the illusion of richness. By this time your cappellini should be done. Drain and toss with waiting mixture in the pan . add a little pasta water to create a sauce. Finally garnish with a little more basil and drizzle a lemon inused olive oil over the portioned plates. We use Lucerno from Williams Sonoma.
***We use Dreamfields pasta... Only has 5 net carbs per serving...***
This recipe has one fourth the calories and one fifth the carbs of a regular Shrimp Scampi
~THE PERFECT PICO DE GALLO~
In the small microcasm known as the Southwest... People can be divided into three categories that inevitably define them... Those who like salsa, those who like Pico, and those who hate tomatos and or cilantro. Im convinced the third group are aliens and propably are destined to spend eternity in Hades. As for the Prior two groups, I fall into the Pico category. Salsa is fine, but I tend to eblieve that so much flavor is lost in the salsa; wither becasue the tomatos are overly processed / cooked.. or people try to add too much to salsa to make sure theirs is 'special'. Pico makes me happy. It can make a grilled chicken breast a healthy and happier lunchtime meal... it can make a tortilla chip suddenly become more than a salty cornflake... I have experimented over the years with several different ratios... and the one I come back to time and again is simple..
1 Cup of Cilantro
2 Cups finely diced red onions
4 cups finely diced Roma tomatos
Salt and pepper generously
Add a small, and I do mean small sprinkling of regular old sugar
Add one garlic clove and the juice of one key lime for every cup of tomatoes
(4 cloves and 4 key limes)
While Phoenix certainly can back up it boastful claims of authentic Mexican Food on nearly every street corner, one is hard pressed in the Valley of the Sun to find an authentic Neopolitan Pizzeria... Christopher Bianco, we thank you. We needed you. It used to be one had to wait downtown for at least two hours to experience the authentic flavors of Napoli at Pizzeria Bianco just to get an authentic taste of Italy... Recently a second Trattoria opened by Bianco in the Camelback corridor, and Chug was there right at 11 to enjoy a decadent but somehow light lunch..
We started with an arugula salad that was tossed in an apple cider vinagrette and dotted with local marinated peach wedges, goat cheese, and pecans.
We ordered two wood fired pizzas... The one above is the sausage, roasted garlic, and mushroom pizza.. The one below was my favorite... It was a white pizza topped with red onions and roasted pastachios...
The menu is tiny... There are only 6 pizzas available and they are posted in red letters on the island of the open air kitchen (see below)