Stick It To Me

Who has their holiday cards done already? I DO, I DO! Yep, it’s November 12th and I’m bragging, I have never gotten them done this early. They will go out promptly after Thanksgiving…yay me! I wanted to do something fun for my return addressing, since I obviously can’t be bothered to address 75 envelopes by hand. In the past, I’ve used one of those stampers that everyone seems to have now, but I’ve moved since then, so the address isn’t current. I thought it might be fun to do stickers as an inexpensive alternative, so I began my search and found the most adorable shop on Etsy, “IlovedielineStudio“. She has a ton of other stuff as well – gift tags, stationery, doilies, notepads and cards.

The price is $6 for 48 stickers, there are so many cute choices and you can customize the colors. I chose the chevron stickers in red. A low cost way to spruce up any card/invitation/note. Etsy rules. There is definitely a ton to sift through, but it’s worth it to find a little gem like these stickers!

For my holiday cards, I got them on Minted for the second year, I’m a total sucker for nice paper and ended up spending $120 for 75 cards (after a 20% off coupon). Since I’m Jewish and Oliver celebrates both Hanukkah with my family and Christmas with his dad’s family, I have adopted the “Happy Everything” card to cover all bases. Here is last year’s card from Minted, I loved them.

2012 holiday card
2012 Holiday Card – Merry, Bright & Sparkly design from Minted

I cannot believe we are already 2 weeks out from Thanksgiving. But since every commercial is already Christmas themed, ’tis the season. Well, this Jew is ready with her holiday agnostic cards! Happy Everything!

Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s Monday, I’m back at work, and I know I’ve made something good when I’m counting down the minutes until I can heat up my leftovers for lunch. Yesterday I made Tyler Florence’s Chicken Noodle Soup and made the stock as well. I think his recipes generally rule, btw. If you’ve never made your own stock, don’t be intimidated! This is the recipe to try it out with. Super easy, seriously, super easy – so delicious. I followed this to a tee and it turned out perfectly.

Chicken Noodle Soup – courtesy of Tyler Florence

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts chicken stock, recipe follows
  • 8 ounces dried wide egg noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Directions

Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Chicken Stock – Yield: 2 quarts

  • 1 whole free-range chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded
  • 2 carrots, cut in large chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
  • 2 large white onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, halved
  • 1 turnip, halved
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.

Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.

Everyone should have a go-to Chicken Noodle Soup recipe and now you do. You’re welcome!  Happy Monday!

¡Viva México!

Hola! I’m back, yay! We flew in last night and I am still basking in the vacation glow. My house is a mess and there is a huge pile of laundry I am avoiding. It is worth noting that I completely unpacked both of us last night, after getting home from a 10 hour travel day at 10pm. Thanks OCD! You come in real handy some days. I was determined to cook something healthy today and the cold Seattle weather meant one thing – soup. I’m making chicken stock and Tyler Florence’s Chicken Noodle Soup, but other than that, I don’t feel like doing anything.

Oliver and I went with my parents to quite possibly one of my favorite places on earth, Punta de Mita, Mexico, about a 4.5 hour non-stop flight from Seattle. Seriously, if you are looking for a new vacation destination, I cannot say enough good things about this place. The Four Seasons & St. Regis both have hotels about 10 minutes away, so you know it’s a prime location, but the actual town where we stayed is quaint and quiet and undeveloped. Punta de Mita is about an hour outside of Puerto Vallarta, a sleepy little town, and it is absolutely lovely. We rented a huge 3 bedroom condo, all of the amenities, gorgeous pool, right on the beach, it was perfect. You don’t need a car and it is a quick walk on the beach to about 15 restaurants. For only $400/night, it’s a pretty sweet deal, especially compared to somewhere like Hawaii, where you could never get this much for your money and be right on the beach! (Note – my parents treated us to this vacation, I never could have swung this on my own. I’m a lucky, but very appreciative, lady.)

Food – Mexican is my favorite ethnic cuisine, hands down, I never get sick of it. We made a huge grocery store run and got the essentials – tons of fresh fruit, avocados, eggs, tortillas, chips, cerveza, etc – my family definitely likes making breakfast and not eating all of our meals in restaurants. Every morning began with fried eggs on avocado toast or on top of a quesadilla (I am obsessed with Oaxaca cheese, I can only find it there and it is so mild and perfect for quesadillas) with some papaya or mango. Ceviche or fish tacos for lunch with chips and guac/pico. Dinner consisted of fresh fish or or some version of meat/tortillas/guac/beans. And drinks, oh the drinks. I also never seem to get sick of margaritas!

Restaurants

  • Serendipity Restaurant & Mezcaleria
  • Casa Teresa Ristorante Italiano – fantastic Italian, a really nice change of pace
  • Si Senor – my favorite, we ate there twice, traditional Mexican, so good!
  • Rosa Mexicano
  • Blue Shrimp
  • Sufi
  • Sea Breeze (at the St. Regis) – the best red snapper ceviche I have ever eaten
  • Oscar’s (best fish tacos ever!)

Books (full post to come, but here is the list) – I read voraciously when my parents are there to watch Oliver.

  • The Light Between Oceans – ML Steadman (thank you for the rec Katie Peterson, this was one of the best I have read in a long time!)
  • Dr. Sleep – Stephen King
  • Me Before You – Jojo Moyes (thank you Joanna Beals!)
  • Mary Coin – Marisa Silver
  • The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

Swimming in the warm, clear ocean is one of my happiest joys in the world, nothing is better. Read, eat, swim, relax, REPEAT. That’s what I did for eight glorious days and now I’m back, re-engergized and ready to blog!