week 4: thai noodle steak salad

For as long as I can remember I have ordered the Thai noodle steak salad from Houston’s. It’s a perfect combination of spicy, sweet and savory. Whenever I try to branch out and try something new, I always end up going back to the “‘ole trusty” salad. Besides being delicious, one of the reasons I love it so much is because it’s not a dish I frequently make at home. It always seemed a little too complicated – not difficult, just complicated. But while at Fresh Market over the weekend BW and I bought skirt steak (one of our faves! BW has a skirt steak taco recipe that I’m dying to share with you. The best tacos I’ve ever eaten! Literally THE BEST) and immediately the Houston’s salad came to my mind. After a little trial and error in the kitchen – I poured my first attempt at the dressing down the drain – I think I’ve come up with something that’s pretty darn close to the original. I tried using ingredients I already had on hand, so I wasn’t buying fish sauce and other Thai ingredients I’d never use again. This dish requires very little cooking – other than the steak and the pasta, everything else is just prep. So simple and a wonderful mix of complex flavors.

{ thai noodle steak salad }

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 tablespon sriracha chili sauce (add more to reach desired heat)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 pound skirt steak
  • 4 ounces spaghetti noodles (yields about 2 cups cooked pasta)
  • 1 avocado, cut into large chunks
  • 1 mango, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups cabbage, shredded
  • fresh mint
  • fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • red pepper flakes, for garnish (optional)

Whisk together the sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, honey, lime juice and chili sauce. Place the skirt steak in a large ziplock bag and cover with half of the marinade (reserve the other half as the dressing for the salad) squeeze out the excess air and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

While the steak is marinating, boil water for pasta and begin chopping of all the other ingredients. When al dente, drain pasta and in a large bowl toss with a tablespoon of the dressing. This will keep it from sticking and the pasta will also soak up the flavors of the dressing while it is still hot.

Heat a cast iron skillet. Remove steak from the marinade and cook on each side for about 4 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. While steak is resting, toss together all of the ingredients, except for the peanuts and red pepper flakes, with the remaining dressing. Slice the skirt steak. Divide the salad among plates top with steak and a sprinkle of chopped peanuts and red pepper flakes. This salad is best when served at room temperature or slightly cold, so if desired you can place everything in the fridge while the steak is resting. Serve and enjoy!

today i love: white flower farmhouse

At some point during my blog reading/online shopping I stumbled across the White Flower Farmhouse. White Flower is a little retail shop in Long Island and as their name would suggest they have some great farmhouse-inspired finds. As much as I’d love to shop the store in person, I guess I’ll have to settle for the small selection of unique vintage goods they offer online.

The online shop is changing all the time, so your best bet is to check back often. Unfortunately they don’t ship big furniture items – but it’s a great spot to hunt for accessories and home accents. BUT my absolutely favorite part of the site and the reason I’m absolutely devastated I can’t shop in person…their ah-mazing custom farm house tables!

A farmhouse table is probably one of my top “to buy” items once I’m in a house. When that time comes maybe I’ll have to venture up to the White Flower Farmhouse to find the perfect one…

i {heart} this house: jones design company

I stumbled across this blog awhile back and I’ve been hooked ever since. Blogger Emily is super-adorable and I’ve loved reading as she and her husband have transformed their cookie-cutter house into a home with personality. Here are some of my favorites from her beautiful home.



{ i love the old window that separates the dining room from the entry }

{ probably my favorite room of the house }



{ i love the open cabinets }

How much do you love her dining room and kitchen? For even more of Emily’s amazing house and check out  jonesdesigncompany.com.

wingback chair: part 1

I’ve been pretty busy lately, so unfortunately “project: wingback chair” is not moving along quite as quickly as I’d hoped. What I originally thought would be a weekend project has turned into more of a month-long project…I haven’t give up yet, so there’s still hope. Here’s an update of what’s happened with the chair so far…

Last weekend my mom stopped by to give me a hand. We decided to use the muslin I’d purchases as a pattern. I sketched out this little drawing of the chair to use as a guide for our pattern pieces. Then I left my mom to work while I went out in search of more straight pins…we clearly did not have nearly enough. It seriously takes an obscene amount. My mom also managed to slice her hands up pretty badly with the straight pins. The joke of the day was “just don’t bleed on the slipcover” (spoiler alert – she did.) I don’t think she quite realized what she’d signed up for. Sorry, Mom! After a few Band-Aids and some new pins, we were back on track. We began pinning and cutting the muslin. We used a pencil to draw each piece and then I later cut them out leaving about an 1-1 1/2 seam allowance. Here is my adorable mom helping with the chair…

{ mom }

Fast forward one week: I spend Sunday evening pinning the pieces back on the chair to make sure that the patterns we cut would fit. The next step will be to baste (loose stitch with a needle and thread. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know this term. I didn’t either, I had to Google it. I probably learned this in a fashion course at some point, but obviously it didn’t stick.) the pieces together. I will then flip it inside out and make sure everything looks alright. Then, I will have to rip it all apart and use these pieces as the pattern on my actual fabric. Ugh, I’m already exhausted and feeling a slight tinge of anxiety at that thought, but at the rate things are going I’ve got at least two weeks before I get to that point. I had been toying around with the idea of using drop cloths to make the slip cover. I read about that here. They are super cheap and easy to work with. But since I don’t want to have to go through this again anytime soon, I decided to go with fabric I’ve had in mind all along. Otherwise, I don’t think I would be 100% happy with it. I ordered this oatmeal colored natural linen online for an incredible deal of $5/yard.

{ love this fabric }

I’m excited for the fabric to arrive and I’m even more excited to share the next stage of progress. I’m not yet ready to throw in the towel or admit I’m in over my head, so hopefully another update is on it’s way!

week 3: homemade italian doughnuts

Several years ago I remember watching an episode of Everyday Italian and Giada whipped up some homemade doughnuts using prepared pizza dough. Ever since I’ve wanted to make them. Now that I have a prepared pizza dough I love (I mentioned it here) I decided it was finally time. Doughnuts are a lot like pizza…even when they’re bad, they’re good. That said, these might not have been best doughnuts I’ve ever had. I would have liked for the dough to be little bit lighter.  BUT I’ve never met a doughnut I didn’t like. Using prepared pizza dough made them incredibly easy. A accompaniment coffee and a not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning.

{ homemade italian doughnuts }

  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 pound prepared pizza dough
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 3 ounces milk chocolate

Pour equal vegetable oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375 degrees. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/2 inch thickness. Using a floured 2-inch cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, cut out doughnut rounds. Using a floured 1-inch cookie cutter, cut out a hole in the center of each doughnut (the smallest cookie cutter I had was a little too large, so I used the cap to a plastic water bottle and it worked perfectly.) Gather the dough scraps and re-roll to cut out more doughnuts.

Whisk the sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl to blend. Set the cinnamon-sugar aside. When the oil is hot, working in batches, fry the doughnuts until they puff but are still pale, about 45 seconds per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to paper towels to drain. Cool slightly. While the doughnuts are still warm, add to the bowl with cinnamon-sugar and generously coat each with the cinnamon-sugar. Fry the doughnut holes separately and place them in a brown paper sack with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Shake well to coat in sugary, cinnamon-y deliciousness! NOTE: I was so busy popping these into my mouth, the barely made it to the table.

For chocolate dipped doughnuts, cool the fried doughnuts to room temperature. Stir the chocolate and whipping cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the chocolate melts. Set aside until the chocolate sauce comes to room temperature. Dip 1 side of each doughnut into the chocolate mixture. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy!

{ place dough on a floured surface }

{ roll out dough to 1/2 inch thick }

{ cut doughnuts and place in pot to fry }

{ YUM }

*I am a chocolate lover…it’s true. But I have to say, I think the cinnamon-sugar doughnuts really stole the show. They were delish!

today i love: key lime cupcakes

Working at a magazine, we tend to have a revolving door of interns. After seeing so many come and go, it’s hard to remember them all…unless of course they leave a parting gift. One of our sweet interns brought in key lime cupcakes – made from scratch – and they were ah-mazing! A perfect balance of sweet and tangy. Oh, and to top it off there was edible glittery sprinkles.So pretty and delicious!

week 2: burgundy mushrooms

{ image }

For as long as I can remember this has been a recipe that our family has practically begged my mom for on special occasions. Everyone who tries it raves about it. Even if you don’t like mushrooms, you will love this this dish. I PROMISE! So I was excited to include it as a part of our special Valentine’s day dinner. It takes 8-10 hours to cook, but it could not be easier.  And the results are to die for! Seriously…these mushrooms + steak = perfection.

I love this page straight from my mom’s cookbook. See all the traces of wine left on the page? That’s how you know it’s good!

{ burgundy mushrooms }

  • 4 pounds mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 4 cups burgundy wine
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes (or 2 extra large bouillon cube)
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes

Wash mushrooms (when you wash the mushrooms, make sure that you use a damp paper towel to wipe them off. DO NOT rinse them under running water!) The recipe calls for you to remove the stems, but I leave them on. Put all of the ingredients into a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 5-6 hours. Remove cover and simmer for an additional 3-5 or until the liquid is barely covering the top of the mushrooms. Serve alongside steaks and enjoy!

{ the cleaned mushrooms }

{ so many great flavors }

{ i love these measuring spoons, thanks mom! }

{ add a few cups of burgudy wine }

{ put all of the ingredients in a large pot }

{ cover and let the cooking begin }

*I cut the recipe in half and it was just more than enough for two.

Note: I had to borrow an image from Pioneer Woman, because sadly I didn’t get a shot of the finished product…her recipe is a little different from my mom’s but I’m sure still just as delicious!