December 13, 2013

braids are the new black

they're not just for hair-do's and pie crusts anymore. would you believe me if one of the most beautiful pastas i've seen was braided?? and a ravioli no less! i guess i have two exciting things to share in this post. forget the braids for a minute (hard, i know) and let me tell you that if you're any type of foodie at all, stop what you're doing and subscribe to the tasting table emails. food lovers of every type will find information about up-and-coming chefs, new restaurants, adventurous recipes and more with these daily doses of genius.  more recently, the emails have included short videos featuring the chefs behind these incredible restaurants and recipes. you can stop pretending you weren't thinking about braids now...

today's email put chef adam leonti and his culurgiones or sardinian filled pasta in the spotlight. i almost left work i was so excited to give this braiding technique a try. they're gorgeous! i know the foundation to any great dish is the quality of the ingredients and the depth of flavor developed but i can't defend either of these with just a video. no, all i see is the presentation and with that i put my faith in chef leonti's hands that this pasta is as decadent as it appears.

so what have we learned from this post? braids will never go out of style, a beautiful presentation can even make a mcrib look elegant, and lauren has to talk her self out of leaving her day job in the name of food. k, great.

here's chef leonti's recipe for culurgliones with brown butter. i also pulled this recipe for crab ravioli with shallot cream from my trusty food and wine bible. enjoy! and if you're braiding pasta this weekend let me know how it goes!
December 9, 2013

slightly stuck on thanksgiving

this post might seem a little out of order (definitely late) but i haveee to share how i remixed our thanksgiving leftovers this year.  i had a number of ideas racing through my head for post thanksgiving meals but when my sister woke up on black friday and said she was headed out the door for a breakfast sandwich from old school bagel cafe it immediately clicked. in my opinion, old school bagel has the chewiest, most delicious bagels you can find anywhere in tulsa. the owner has been in the business of making bagels for over twenty years and prides themselves on their popular new york style bagels. their tag-line: "no new york in the name, but the bagels are the same."

[ thanksgiving remix 2013 | collard green scrambled eggs, roasted turkey,
smoky glazed ham and gravy on a everything bagel ]
any other day i would have ordered any variety of their breakfast bagels but on this morning i knew i had to create my very own thanksgiving version. as soon as my sister returned home this was born:  a collard green scrambled eggs, roasted turkey, smoky glazed ham and gravy thanksigiving breakfast sandwich on an old school cafe everything bagel. yum! i'll leave you with that...

side note:  all the thanksgiving ingredients are my mother's tried and true recipes except for the ham. that was my project this year and was prepared using this food & wine recipe for smoky glazed ham with red pepper jelly. the ham was absolutely falling off the bone with slightly charred, smoky edges and the red pepper jelly provided the perfect step away from traditional adding a tinge of spice with every bite.
November 29, 2013

sparkly friday

i haven't participated in black friday since i was in high school when i went a couple of times with my mom and sister. people are crazy. i was thisss close to braving the lines this year in hopes of an ipad air but target opened their doors at 8pm right as i was digging into my second helping of turkey and mashed potatoes. but let's be real, i'm a sissy when it comes to the cold so the thought of standing in lines without feeling in my extremities (dramatic?) appealed to me far less than sipping on my frosty glass of champagne. 

so instead of black friday, i'm deciding to add a little sparkle and prepare for the rest of the holidays by trimming my tree and cooking up my first thanksgiving leftover meal. i'm thinking something along the lines of a turkey and cranberry breakfast bagel? i love being my own recipe guinea pig

November 28, 2013

gobble tov!

[ 2012 thanksgiving remix | seared oyster stuffing, collard greens, roasted turkey and a poached egg ]
today, i'm thankful for too many things to count, blessed beyond belief and happier than a clam.  as with most americans i'm looking forward to seeing how far i can stretch my stomach with each morsel of delicious food that will be served. i've even dreamt of the leftover creations to come and hope to top last years thanksgiving remix.  oh, and my mom surprised me last night and asked me to make the seven pound ham she had sitting in the fridge. challenge accepted. gobble tov! (not jewish, but loveee whoever came up with that)

November 25, 2013

getting back together

hi friends. are we still friends? i'm sorry i've been a little distant. i want to blame it on my forced separation from the world of technology (my phone got but really life got in the way. on that note, life has been great since i last checked in.  there have been several dinners, nights out on the town and countless hours spent with my gal pals.

[ love the vibrant colors of my tree ]

to kickoff thanksgiving week let me first say that i'm very thankful this is a short week (although i know it will be filled to the brim with work in these short days and holiday parties, nights out and many many delicious meals with friends and family.  here's to a fabulous week to kick off the festivities.

[ pork gua bao with homemade pickles ]

it's good to be back. here are some snapshots of what i've been up to. and yeah, its mostly food.

[ ribeye oscar with béarnaise on top of grilled asparagus and roasted rosemary potatoes ]
[ sweet potato biscuits with roasted turkey and cranberry sauce | thank gals day ]
[ shrimp & andouille stuffing donuts | thank gals day ]
[ three-cheese mac & cheese flatbread topped with prosciutto | thank gals day ]
[ pumpkin beer soup | thank gals day ]
[ terrible shot of mr sexy back himself, justin timberlake ]
[ pearls and pajamas with my gal pals ]
[ martinis on a night out ]
 until next time...
October 25, 2013

its a bone bash

happy friday! last night one of my besties chaired her very first event!  she was selected by the arthritis foundation to co-chair their first (and hopefully annual) bone bash halloween themed fundraiser.  with the help of a small committee they organized selection of the venue, music, decorations, the caterer and secured tables full of silent auction items as well as event and table sponsors. oh, did i mention this was all in a few short months? impressive.  

[ via ]
among our friends we had antony and cleopatra, lady liberty and uncle sam, piper from orange is the new black, a reno 911 cop, barack and michelle, and jasmine and the genie. we drank the walking dead (signature drink) and brain hemorrhages (signature shot that almost made my head hemorrhage), ate roast beast with a monster mashed potato martini bar and had green slime for dessert before boogieing our bones on the dance floor all night. it was great. she's great. congrats, love!

tonight we have dinner plans at a newly opened japanese hibachi style restaurant called zanmai that was conveniently placed next to the bridge with my absolute favorite view of tulsa.  excited to get some incredible shots of the twinkling tulsa skyline.

until next time...
October 22, 2013

thankful for my gal pals

every girl (or boy) deserves to be surrounded by a tight knit group of friends that they can talk with, play with, laugh with and especially lean on.  i've been lucky enough to find that bond in probably more than my share of girl friends (ha, sorry not sorry). but i really do appreciate the varying friendships i have with each and every one of them.  without making this a sappy post, my point is that i love having my gal pals around.  and if you've read even one of these posts you will know that my favorite time to spend with them is over a dinner. giving thanks for friendship?  i think that calls for a girls thanksgiving! stretch? who cares...

[ scalloped sweet potato stacks via my recipes ]
i've had girls thanksgivings with friends before and my company puts on a potluck lunch every year but i'm tired of the traditional.  it's not allowed here. you can have your mom's thanksgiving afterwards, girls.  for this dinner party i want to challenge my guests to be creative and think of finger foods and hor d'oeurves inspired by their favorite thanksgiving dishes.

[ thanksgiving turkey sliders with cranberry mustard via my recipes ]
for instance, roasted turkey becomes grilled cranberry glazed turkey skewers, smoked turkey sliders with gravy, or turkey meatballs stuffed with goat cheese and cranberry jam. the ham and mac and cheese turn into a chorizo mac and cheese flat bread.  the green beans transform to chilled green bean puree shooters with spicy panko breadcrumbs (to far?) perhaps you make pancetta apple stuffing donuts to dunk into your gravy??? i'm in love with this party and it hasn't even happened yet.  but it will.  it must.

[ pumpkin bourbon shakes via my recipes ]
can i tell you a secret? i've already dreamed up my ideal brunch if all the dinner puzzle pieces come together. thanksgiving poutine!  poutine is canada's most genius foodie invention(in my opinion): golden french fries topped with creamy cheese curds and delicious gravy.  yum! it's canada's version of cheese fries. my take? crispy sweet potato fries smothered in shredded turkey, cheese (goat or feta?), turkey gravy and a light drizzle of cranberry bbq sauce. oh, and topped off with a fried egg because you know, it's brunch.  sounds like gluttonous thanksgiving leftovers in the perfect dish to me!  i'll be dreaming of other fun inventions until the dinner party comes.  what ideas do you all have for a modern thanksgiving dish? i started a pinterest board for inspiration

until next time...
October 20, 2013

sticks on sticks on sticks

it's always sad to say goodbye to oktoberfest each year. this year's festival didn't disappoint and i was somehow able to not spend a dime of my own money! love that.

i wasn't even in zombie mode today.  it may have been the breakfast bagel and french vanilla latte from old school bagel cafe that saved the day because afterwards i had the energy to track down these adorable pink taper candles i've seen featured on one of my daily reads, the everygirl (i can't seem to find a picture of now).

i found them at my spot in garden ridge. garden ridge pulled a target on me in that i went in looking for one specific thing and came out $150 poorer and a cart full goodies.  at least the additional goodies were items i've been on the hunt for.  you see, i made this trek for pink candles because on friday i received my order of numi candleholders from cb2 and new i was in  need of a new fall(ish) tablescape. i snagged some mini white pumpkins from the grocery store and voila!

i love how it turned out! of course now i'm itching to plan a dinner party with my cute setting but what else is new.

until next time...
October 19, 2013

busy-ness as usual

wow. the past week and a half may have been the busiest of my life. a birthday party, two concerts, on-site interviews for work, oktoberfest, and a thunder game.  that sentence just made exhausted all over again.  it was a blast but i'd be lying if i said i wasn't relieved it was over.

[ besties at glam jam ]
glam jam was a fabulous time as usual.  actually this year took the cake.  tables were covered in sparkling linens, the champagne was flowing, a popular local food truck, mr. nice guy, was serving up spicy pork tacos and lobster mac and cheese (i'll have to make a separate post about them later, they're one of my favs), and chips were flying at the black jack and craps tables all night. i'm pretty sure we were gambling, drinking and dancing for over 6 hours.

i'm always equally excited and dreadful for concerts during the week.  excited to see a great show of course but knowing the next day will be all but productive.  somehow i went to two this week. on monday and tuesday...never again. 

[ krewella at cain's ]
monday was krewella, an energetic electronic group i was first introduced to at the lights all night festival in dallas over new years last year and tuesday was portugal. the man a folky rock band a friend had an extra ticket to.  i'm a sucker for live music and couldn't pass it up and am happy i decided to rally and go.

[ portugal. the man at cain's ]
wednesday was the first night of oktoberfest.  tulsa actually has one of the largest oktoberfest festivals in the country (and one of my favorite events in tulsa) and every year my company invites our customers to attend corporate night and i get to go!

we leave work early for a happy hour in the penthouse bar of the mayo hotel and are shuttled over in trolleys to the festival where we have our fill of german beer and food and do the chicken dance on tables (i swear its a thing) more times than you can count.  

[ oktoberfest tents ]
the okc thunder came to town thursday night and family and i went to catch glimpses of kevin durant and the rest of the thunder take on the new orleans pelicans at the bok center.  as fun as it is to cheer and watch the thunder in person i have to say seeing them in okc is 100 times more exciting.  unfortunately they lost by 3 this game but i am looking forward to seeing them as they enter regular season play.

[ thunder at the bok ]
tonight we're going back to oktoberfest (told you it was my fav) to use up the last of our food and drink tickets and squeeze in a few more chicken dances.  sunday i expect to be a zombie. brunch may be in order to recap the weeks events. plus i strangely haven't had a mimosa yet this weekend. that needs to be fixed.

until next time...
October 11, 2013

celebrations & rivalries

this weekend is sure to leave me with some lasting memories.  not only is it almost time for the infamous red river rivalry but its finally glam jam! not familiar? the former might be a little easier to explain. its ou / texas football weekend! you should be well aware of the excitement surrounding this weekend if you reside in either of the states and perhaps surrounding. its a much anticipated weekend full of friends, football and the texas state fair held every year in dallas when the city is temporarily overrun, dotted with burnt orange, crimson, and chants of school spirit. i actually didn't attend either school but being from oklahoma i was drawn into the festivities and made the 4 hour trip to dallas a couple years ago. they should make it a holiday. its amazing.

[ credit unknown ]

this year, however, the rivalry is slightly overshadowed by the second event i mentioned: glam jam. (please do not google "glam jam" to try and find meaning. at least not while at work...)  glam jam is another annual event always held at the beginning of october except there will be no large men trying to kill each other (we hope). its one of my best friends birthday's! if you have the pleasure of knowing her then you understand this is the only appropriate way for her to celebrate. with this year's the evening being vegas themed, it will be filled with tables for craps and blackjack, bottles of wine, beer, and champange, and even a food truck. oh, sparkly country club attire strongly encouraged...

until next time...
October 10, 2013

pumpkins & pot roast

you don't have to give me a reason to throw a dinner party. cooking a meal and having all your friends come over to enjoy it? to me, fun couldn't be more simple.  the excuse i'll say i had this time was to make my first roast of the fall season and get into the spirit of halloween. more simply, i was hungry and needed to decorate a pumpkin that could be displayed longer than a couple of days before halloween.  cue, pumpkins and pot roast!

[ pumpkin patch pickin ]
i've made pot roast a few times and have looked around for different variations but still haven't found a new recipe with a really interesting twist on the original to try out.  but then i thought about it and maybe all the pot roast recipes i found are so consistent because the traditional preparation has proved time and time again to be the people's choice. when tradition reigns supreme, i turn to recipes from chef's that perhaps rarely step out of the box but make simple dishes packed with a flavorful punch. for this roast, i trusted fellow okie, ree drummond aka the pioneer woman. my only variation (insignificant i think) was to deglaze with balsamic vinegar instead of red wine.  i thought i might notice a slightly sweeter undertone in the dish but if it was there i couldn't tell. maybe the wine in my hand had something to do with that...

[ balsamic pot roast and gravy over roasted garlic and parmesan mashed potatoes ]
i kept tradition alive and served the roast over roasted garlic mashed potatoes with gravy. mmm.  y'all i was actually really proud of my gravy. as many meals as i've cooked i've never made gravy with pan drippings.  crazy right? i credit years of watching my dad make gravy at the stove and countless hours watching the food network for whatever force took over that allowed me to create this scratch gravy with no recipe.  gravy isn't rocket science but sometimes you find excitement in the little things.

[ pumpkin beer cheese soup ]
in true fashion, i couldn't complete the entire menu without throwing in a little flair.  the final two dishes are both from one of my favorite food blogs, spoon fork bacon.  its hard for me to visit their site full of intriguing and delicious looking recipes without saving them to my pinterest boards as must make meals.  the timing was right for buttermilk cornbread with bacon lime chili butter to accompany the roast (forgot to snap a picture) and pumpkin beer cheese soup as a starter. both amazing. both perfectly in line with my fall and pumpkin inspired menu.

[ a few of my best gal pals ]
i almost forgot about the pumpkins!  those brave enough took on pumpkin carving. after a fiasco last year i vowed to "decorate" my pumpkin instead. ok, carving was just harder than i remember it being when i was 8 and i chose a stencil entirely too complicated to carve with those child-safe blades that barely cut paper.  glitter is cuter anyway.

[ sparkly spooky pumpkins ]
and finally, what is a fall outdoor party without fire and s'mores! the night couldn't have been better.  a themed menu, cute pumpkins, an open fire and lots friends. oh, and plenty of wine...thank goodness i had monday off!

[ owl and laughing emoji pumpkins ]

until next time...

decorating dreams

is it really only thursday?? i mean, thank goodness its thursday and not wednesday but i can't be the only one that feels like this week is taking longer than usual (especially when i had monday off...). maybe i'm just cranky after not getting much sleep due to seeing the eagles last night. that was my attempt at a humble brag. i get it, i shouldn't complain. they were amazing and it was free. on to what's helping me survive this day

[ living room ]

i wanted to give y'all (<-- from oklahoma) a peek into my home! i actually can't even go along with that lie. this isn't my home but i would die if it were mine.  the dreamy home in these pictures belongs to sarah yates, a professional photographer and founder of birds of a feather and author of the blog, a house in the hills. along with updates on styling her new home you will find amazing recipes, glimpses into her personal style and snapshots of what her daily inspiration. can i just be her?

[ dining room ]

i actually do believe we have similar taste but she has executed her style farrrr beyond what i have been able to accomplish with my time and money in the year and a half since i purchased my home.  hopefully some day soon all the pieces of my home's puzzle will come together and be able to provide a glimmer of the same inspiration that sarah's beautiful home has for me. until then, try and keep your jaw off the ground as you ogle these shots

[ guest bedroom ]

[ dining room in her previous home ]
[ corner of the living room in her previous home ]
all images are via a house in the hills. i highly recommend you follow her blog to keep up with her house updates, recipes, outfits, just everything really.

until next time...
October 9, 2013

all's fair

it's fair time here in oklahoma! or at least it was last week when i was too busy to make a post but anywho....  when i was younger, i don't remember the fair being this exciting thing that came to down each fall. i'm pretty sure my family went once or twice but all of us, except my mom, are generally too scared to ride the rides and i can't even recall searching out adventurous fair food if there was any besides the typical fried treats.

that's all changed since i moved back home after graduation (well i'm still afraid of the rides) and each year my friends and i look forward to attending the free country concerts, trying any new crazy concoctions and most of all people watching.

we kicked off the evening with tastings from local wineries and at a dollar per one ounce serving we co covered the entire state of oklahoma.

this years new foodie attractions were the cheesy bacon bombs, bacon wrapped hot dogs and corn dogs, deep fried fruity pebbles and cricket pizza (wth??? never in my life).  there are a couple staples you just have to have when you visit the fair and after we devoured our traditional corn dog and fried cheese curds, my personal fav, we used to tulsa state fair app (so fancy!) to locate the cheesy bacon bombs and bacon wrapped goodies.

the cheesy bacon bombs were little bits of biscuit and cheese wrapped in bacon and deep fried and the bacon wrapped hot dog was well, a bacon wrapped hot dog. nothing was mind blowing and the fries were beyond awful frozen french fries (which we still finished) but in the end it was still the greasy fair food we crave each year. i think a fun challenge would be to recreate and revamp fair food favorites for a backyard dinner party.  i already have a great recipe for shrimp corn dogs!

until next time...

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