Archive for January 2011

18 January 2011

Kitchen adventures: Super amazing pizza and tacos

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Food

After a bummer recipe last week, I was more than ready to get back in the kitchen and get cooking, and fortunately, the long weekend allowed me to do just that.

This weekend, I made two recipes (overachiever!). Yeah, I splurged on a few things because of the Golden Globes. I like to have good food when I watch my red carpet and award shows. I can be a little bit of a diva about it.

So here’s what I made!

Recipe 1: Caramelized Onion & Prosciutto Pizza (Tasty Kitchen)

Paired perfectly with champagne!

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole Pizza Crust
  • 2-4 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 – 1/2 whole Large Red Onion, Halved And Thinly Sliced
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cups Brown Sugar
  • Kosher Salt To Taste
  • Parmesan Cheese, Grated
  • 8 – 10 ounces, weight Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, Thinly Sliced
  • 4 - 8 slices Prosciutto (more To Taste)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees (I preheated to 450.)

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and brown sugar and toss/stir for several minutes (about 4-8), or until onions are brown and cooked. Set aside.

Roll out pizza dough. Drizzle on olive oil, sprinkle on a little salt, followed by a little Parmesan.

Lay slices of mozzarella evenly over the top of the crust. Arrange caramelized onions over the top of the mozzarella. Randomly lay slices of prosciutto over the onions.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the lower half of the oven, or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and cut into squares. Serve immediately.

Verdict: This was insanely, insanely delicious. I just cannot rave about this enough. I marked in italics some adjustments I made to the recipe (I don’t like the onions too sweet) but I just really loved it. Flavorful, especially the Parmesan addition, and it was SO easy. I absolutely, 100% will make this again and highly recommend it!

Recipe Two: Fish Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Crema (Cooking Light)

Look at that gorgeous color!

Ingredients:

Crema:

  • 1/4  cup  thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3  tablespoons  fat-free mayonnaise
  • 3  tablespoons  reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1  teaspoon  grated lime rind
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  fresh lime juice
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  garlic clove, minced

Tacos:

  • 1  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1  teaspoon  ground coriander
  • 1/2  teaspoon  smoked paprika
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground red pepper
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  garlic powder
  • 1 1/2  pounds  red snapper fillets (I used tilapia and it was just as good)
  • Cooking spray
  • 8  (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 2  cups  shredded cabbage

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

To prepare crema, combine the first 8 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

To prepare tacos, combine cumin and next 5 ingredients (through garlic powder) in a small bowl; sprinkle spice mixture evenly over both sides of fish. Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 9 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Place fish in a bowl; break into pieces with a fork. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide fish evenly among tortillas; top each with 1/4 cup cabbage and 1 tablespoon crema.

Verdict: Also tasty! One key piece of the dish is to heat the fish to room temperature or slightly warm. The spice rubbed on the fish is really delicious (especially because tilapia isn’t super flavorful) and the crema isn’t heavy or too limey, which is nice too. And knowing how good it can taste with fat free mayo and sour cream gives me plenty of ideas for other sauces!

Did anyone else do any baking or cooking this weekend? What are your favorite recipes lately?

17 January 2011

Golden Globes fashion recap!

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Fashion

Woo hoo! 2011’s award season is officially off and running. And that means I’m back in my self-appointed fashion police role and sharing my (least) favorite picks from the big show.

This year, I was even more vocal on Twitter about what I liked and didn’t like and let me say, overall, I was a little underwhelmed. I won’t even pick on Helena Bonham Carter or Tilda Swinton because it’s just too easy :)

My Best Dressed List

The skirt is huge but I LOVE the sparkle and color. Girl just needs to fluff that hair!

Megan! I’m shocked, this dress is simple gorgeous and looks amazing on you without being slutty. Way to go!

Gorgeous color, cut and it’s age appropriate. Stay classy Jane

I’m mixed on Emma Stone being a blonde but her dress color is really soft, pretty and classic. Now just tone down the spray tan

For me, Mila represented “green” best last night. The texture on this is fab

Arielle and Lacey weren’t fans of this, but I liked it. If only my pasty skin would let me wear white

The skirt is too long but the cut and hair together is fabulous. And the belt? LOVE

Brittany from Glee wore something similar to this year’s Emmys but this looks so flattering on Amber. Way to go.

My Not Best Dressed List

I love Natalie Portman. I do, but this dress is a Valentine’s Day nightmare. I would like it more in black/white or better yet, with that damn rose torn off

Halle, we get it. you have a banging body and boobs of a 15 year old girl. You can do better

I love this color with her red hair but the crease marks plus that tragic bubble shoulder is a big no

Love her hair and makeup but hate the dress color and the daisies. Washes her out and she has gorgeous skin!

Again, love the hair and makeup but hate the dress color and flowers all over. Nude/beige is a tough color to wear and this just isn’t doing her any favors

This photographs much better than it looked on screen. It was ill-fitting and the random broach on the shoulder doesn’t work. And now that she admitted she uses Botox, should she even be smiling?

Love the color, love her hair but the cutouts aren’t working for me. And from this angle, it makes her midsection look unflattering

Favorite moments from the show:

  • Christian Bale, Best Supporting Actor – He was amazing in The Fighter and absolutely deserved it
  • Ricky Gervais – His stuff was a little flat but I love how balls-out he is in skewering celebs
  • Colin Firth, Best Actor – I have a massive crush on him and am glad he’s finally getting recognition for the great work he does in every film
  • The Social Network – Yes, people were salty that it won Best Picture but it was a great movie with great dialogue, direction and acting. I have to admit, I don’t think The King’s Speech will beat it at the Oscars

What about you? Did you watch last night? What were some of your favorite moments and fashions from the show? Any least favorites?

16 January 2011

Weekend recap: Saying goodbyes

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Friends

Happy Sunday everyone! I’m currently distracted watching the Golden Globes but I wanted to post about my weekend, even though my weekend continues into tomorrow because I’m off for MLK Day.

Okay, so I what I wanted to talk about tonight was saying goodbyes. I’m not great at them, in fact, I hold off in saying them until the last minute because I dilute myself into thinking the people won’t actually go. Well that never happens.

Friday night, I had two goodbye parties on opposite ends of town, both for good friends who were leaving Chicago for new chapters in their lives. At first, the party stated out as a regular check in, catching up on what’s new, talking about what’s to come and when they’re leaving, etc. It was fun, light-hearted and just good to catch up, even with blaring music in the background of both bars.

Then it was time to head off to the next party or home (going out on Friday nights is tough sometimes!) and the reality set in. It was time to say goodbye and I had no idea when I would see either person again. That’s not to sound melodramatic like oh-my-gosh-we’ll-never-be-together-again-EVER but really, it won’t be any time within the next month or maybe six months.

That’s the hard part.

I’m used to this with my blog friends. I only get to see some a few times a year (if even that) and I know that, but local friends, that’s different!

So I stocked up on my hugs (which they both gave voluntarily), said one more goodbye and left, and found myself standing in the snow, waiting for the bus, almost in tears. Oh…reality.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not great with change or people “leaving,” and this was another reminder that change is inevitable. And as much as I hate both of my friends leaving, I’m happy for them and can’t wait to hear about their new adventures. Makes me even wistful for some of my own again.

What about you? Are you good at goodbyes?

13 January 2011

Big love to my Uggs

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Fashion

I love Uggs. People can mock them (they’re ugly!) tease me for wearing them (cankles!) and say how unfashionable they are (hello, Oprah featured them again on her Favorite Things show so suck it), but I love them.

When you live in a big city and rely heavily on walking or public transportation, you need to stay warm, which means fashion goes out the window and warmth is in season. And Uggs keep your feet WARM, even if they aren’t made for snow and bad winter weather.

This year, I held off as long as I could to bring them out and then finally, not too long before Thanksgiving I said it. Bring out…..THE UGGS!

And then I realized, the bright pink Uggs I bought three years ago, needed to be retired. But before I welcomed in my new Ugg b*tches, I paid a little respect to my pink Uggs.

Sporty!

Pink Uggs, tonight, I pour out a $6 bottle of Cook’s champagne on my tile kitchen floors to honor you and listen to some sweet Boyz II Men jams to remember all the good times we had together.

Now, the pink Uggs sit lovingly in my closet, in case I need them for a dire emergency but the new PURPLE Uggs are out in force and kickin’ it Midwest style. And last week, they were the belle of the ball at work. Multiple people came up to tell me how cute they were and remark on the color. Cankles are SO IN…as long as they’re purple.

Here is a picture of my haut new Uggs.

So mock me, tease me, berate me but these b*tches get compliments and when you’re a girl like me, you take it where you can get it.

Be on the watchout for these babies in Chicago, You can definitely find me in a crowd :)

What about you? Are you an Uggs lover or hater?

11 January 2011

Money can kill the fun

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: travel

It’s a sad fact that money doesn’t grow on trees. Because if it did, I would be shaking that b*tch like a Polaroid picture. And now that I’m officially planning for Italy, I would be shaking that tree 2-3 times per day.

Yes, that’s right! Italy is a GO. Plane ticket purchased and tentative hotel reservations in Rome, Florence and Venice have been made. But as I searched for hotels (which was totally overwhelming) I started to get a little numbers shocked.

Then I started creating a trip budget and I started to get more numbers shocked and fearful. Looking at my total estimate for the trip I couldn’t help but say, “holy f*ck, this trip is going to cost me a fortune.”

And the thing is, the fortune isn’t even because of extravagant hotels (trying to find a midpoint between hostels and luxury) but it’s just amazing how fast all of this adds up.

And then another part of my brain turns on and the self doubt seeps in, saying: “can you even afford this?” “where can you cut corners?” “maybe you should just take the hit on the plane ticket and stay in Chicago.” And lately, I’ve been thinking about changing the dates of the trip overall and eating the change fee on the plane ticket.

I hate this self doubt because it kills the fun, much like money can.

So after talking to a few friends, they told this side of my brain to shut the f*ck up for one simple reason: It’s worth it.

Now, that has become my affirmation as I look at things I want to do in Italy, how I get around, where I want to eat, etc. because otherwise, I’m going to start dreading this trip more than look forward to it.

And I should look forward to it. I’ve worked hard to go and waited 10 years to ball up and go on my own. I want to go and see everything I’ve read about in books or seen in movies, drink more wine than my 5′ 3″ body can take and eat until I have a 7 month food baby. Why? Because trips like this don’t happen all the time and if I am going to spend the money, I deserve to make the most out of it.

It goes back to the fact that I don’t feel like I deserve nice things, so when things like this happen, I immediately self sabotage. Wonder if I can put that on my online dating application :)

Either way, this is happening and I’m going for it. And if I have to sell my eggs, body or soul after to recoup the money, so be it. I’ll list them on Craigslist.

What about you? Do you obsess about money when you travel?