Monday, June 18, 2012

Vegetarian Sesame Udon Noodles

This next vegetarian dish I found over on and it has quickly become one of our favorites. In fact, I'm getting hungry just writing about it!

I've modified this one a bit to make it more like a stir-fry, but you can also follow the original and cook it in the microwave!


The Sauce:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root (make sure you add this, it makes the dish!)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup peanut oil
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 dash hot pepper sauce (I add red pepper flakes to give it a little more heat too)

2 Tbls Olive Oil
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
2 cups diagonally sliced snap peas
2 cups rough chopped kale
1 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 block firm tofu cubed

4 green onions, minced
2 Tbls fresh basil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted (use toaster oven or dry frying pan to toast the seeds)
1 (7 ounce) package fresh udon noodles


In a jar with a tight fitting lid (I use a salad dressing container), combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, peanut oil, sesame oil and hot pepper sauce or flakes. Close the lid, and shake vigorously to blend. Set aside to let the flavors blend.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add udon noodles and follow package directions to cook until tender. Drain, and set aside for later.

Heat oil in a large skillet or wok. Add peppers and onion and sautee for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Add in peas, kale, mushrooms and tofu and stir fry until veggies are cooked.

Add drained noodles to the pan and pour sauce over entire dish. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and gently toss all ingredients together using tongs. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes to allow noodles to soak in some of the flavor.


Serve in a deep bowl with chop sticks and top with sliced green onion and fresh basil.

(Not into the vegetarian thing? Try adding chunks of Asian inspired, grilled salmon (with a sweet and spicy glaze), as an alternate source of protein.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Black Bean & Sweet Potatoe Chili

Continuing on with my vegetarian recipes (as promised!), this next one is an awesome and quick, all-veggie chili that is super delicious! Serve it up with a little cheese, a dollop of plain Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream) and a corn muffin on the side! Yum!

Found my inspiration for this one on

The Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (you may consider boiling these for a few minutes to speed up the cooking time)
2 medium carrots, sliced (you may consider boiling these for a few minutes to speed up the cooking time)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped (I used green in this version since that's what I had)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 15 ounce can black beans
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste, we like it a little bit hot!)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup frozen corn (I like to add corn to my chili)

The Directions:

Sautee onions and garlic in olive oil for a minute or two, then add bell pepper and simmer until onions are almost soft. Add in (par-cooked) sweet potatoes & carrots, diced tomatoes, beans, spices and stock. Stir to combine and reduce heat to low.

Simmer, partially covered and stir occasionally, for approx 15-20 minutes, until flavors have mingled and vegetables are cooked. Add in frozen corn in last 5 minutes of simmer.

Serve in a deep bowl with Jack cheese, Greek yogurt and corn bread or muffins!

Friday, June 8, 2012

West Elm Room On Sale

West Elm recently sent out an email blast advertising their summer sale so I (of course) perused the sale items. I was pleasantly surprised at what was there and the deep discounts you can get when they mark things on clearance. In fact, I was able to put together an entire bedroom concept for under $1,500 using mostly sale items.

Take a look!
And in case you are wondering, here's the breakdown:

Queen Bed Frame - $479.99
Queen Quilt - $99.99
Standard Shams (2) - $33.98
Euro Shams (2) - $39.98
5x8 Rug - $199.99
Chair - $149
Throw Pillows (2) - $34.98
84" Drapes (2) - $49.98
Candlesticks (1 of each) - $47.97
Table (not on sale) - $199
Owl Lamp (not on sale) - $99

Grand Total = $1,452.89!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Napa Cabbage Salad

Since I promised to do a series on our vegetarian eating, I'm continuing with this next oh-so-delicious "Napa Cabbage Salad." I'm sure it isn't new to many people, but to us it was new when we tried it at our cousin's Easter get together last month. It's pretty simple and seriously addicting (watch out!).

Some of the recipes I've found online for this salad are not-so-healthy, so I tweaked ours a little so we can eat it more than once a year and not feel so guilty!


1 head Napa cabbage - shredded
5-7 green onions - sliced
1 cup slivered almonds
1 package dry Ramen noodles
2 TBLS sesame seeds
2 TBLS Butter
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 TBLS sugar
2 TBLS soy sauce


Shred cabbage and slice onions and combine in a large bowl together. Chill in the refrigerator.

Melt butter in a sauce pan. Break up the Ramen noodles into small pieces and add to butter along with almonds and sesame seeds. Mix just enough to coat evenly. Spread "crunchies" mixture on a baking sheet and pop into 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. (Be sure to mix several times so all sides get toasted and brown.)

Rinse out the sauce pan and combine cider vinegar, oil, sugar and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and let come to room temperature.

Just before serving add the crunchies to the cabbage and toss with the dressing.

That's it! It's done, it's delicious and watch's addicting!

Happy Spring time eating!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Orcutt Wedding - May 17, 2012

Last week I had the pleasure of being a part of the Orcutt family's very special wedding day! We pulled together a beautiful, budget wedding and I couldn't be happier with the results. 

Here's a sneak peek at the happy couple on their big day. More photos and details to come.


Thank you Cory and Evelyn for this amazing opportunity!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Veggin' Out

Well it's May 1st (where has the time gone?) and I've got one wedding down, and one to go (for now!). This weekend's day-of coordination turned out well, after a bit of a rocky start, we pulled together a fun and beautiful event! I learned a lot along the way, met some great people and am even more excited for the next one in just 2 short weeks!

For today though, since I've so been neglecting my little blog, I decided to share some of the new, delicious and simple recipes that have had us veggin' out!

That's right, we've gone vegetarian. Okay, not entirely, but I did go all-veg for one full week and the hubby totally dug everything that I made! I decided to start reducing the amount of meat in our diets and pumping up our vegetable intake (even more than we already do) to see if it made a difference on how I felt. It actually does and I feel great!

So, these next couple of posts are dedicated to some of my new favorite vegetarian recipes! Hope you'll try them out and enjoy them as much as we do.

This first recipe in this little veggie series is based off of Jeanie's Falafel, a recipe I found on All

  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper  
  • 1 egg
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • Middle Eastern flat bread or pita
  • 1/2 red pepper, sliced
  • spinach
  • tzatziki Sauce
  • tahini Sauce 

  1. Use immersion blender or food processor to mash garbanzo beans to a thick paste consistency.
  2. Stir in the onion, garlic, parsley, cumin, turmeric, baking powder, bread crumbs, egg, salt and pepper.  Mix to dough-like consistency.
  3. Heat oil in deep pot about 3/4"-1" deep. (you can deep fry them if you prefer, but I like to minimize the amount of oil I use and just get a good crust on two sides)
  4. Use your hands to form balls about 1"-1 1/2" in diameter and drop into the oil.
  5. Cook until golden brown on one side and then flip to brown the other.
  6. Remove falafel balls onto a paper towel.
  7. Warm the flat bread and lightly coat one side with about 2 tbls tahini sauce. 
  8. Add spinach, peppers and falafel balls and top with tzatziki sauce.
  9. Grub!

Jeanie's recipe was a great start for ingredients and directions (since I had no idea where to begin), but since The Hubby doesn't love cilantro, I left that out and I added an egg to make the falafel a bit more moist since it has a tendency to be a dry. This is a meal that anyone will enjoy.
Happy Mediterranean Eating!