Tuesday, December 29, 2009

skiers AND snowboarders welcome

I'm back! The recent computer hiatus was necessary though I currently feel completely out of the blogosphere loop. A few mugs of coffee, some good music with Hugo and Mathilde (cute pup belonging to our incredible friend Tom) at my side and I'm sure I'll be back in the thick of things. Christmas break has been amazing, a little stressful yet comforting, and just an all together good time thus far. As soon as we were released from class on Friday, I packed up my things and was on the road to Dallas. There was traffic as usual, joy, but I made it with enough energy to throw some things in my ski bag before catching a few hours of sleep and my 6am flight to Denver. My brother and sister-in-law arrived just a couple hours after us in Denver and we made the 2-ish hour drive out to the mountains.

I love mountains and nature and the outdoors and cold weather when there's tons of snow around you and running into a warm house and sitting by the fire and snuggling up with a good book and any delicious warm beverage.

Moving along...I had been incessantly checking the snow reports for Vail and Beaver Creek for weeks before the trip. Lets just say things were looking less than favorable. Instead of powdery slopes that resemble giant pillows if you were to fall we were greeted by icy trails with the occasional rock and shrub poking out ever so sneakily to destroy any ski or snowboard that came in their path. Me, bitter, because my never-before-skied-on pair of Dynastars are now covered with wide gashes and scratches? No way.

All the negative commentary aside, the trip was great. I couldn't have asked for better weather, there was abundant sunshine for 3 out of the 4 days with temperatures ranging from the high teens to mid twenties. And just as a helpful aside to all the men reading PLSB-pair a scruffy look with a nice warm hat, add some edgy ski gear and a smile *BAM* you're instantly good looking. It was unnerving at times the number of attractive men walking around the ski resort...I'm sorry I have no documentation of this part of the trip.

My brother who will forever be the best ski companion was with me the whole way. Dialogue between us usually consisted of him finding and convincing me to journey down some ridiculous double black diamond slope that was roped off with a sign displaying a skull and cross bones warning skiers that only experts should venture beyond and me grumbling under my breath what a stupid idea it was yet following anyway. It's all fun and games, right? I'm pretty sure my brother thinks he is invincible and that attitude is contagious, I can't help it!

Evenings were spent walking through the Beaver Creek Village one night, the Vail village another night (fantastic Italian at Campo de Fiori if you're ever there), but usually we were at the condo, cozy by the fire playing persian card games. Though my brother, his wife and I love board games, the usual hits such as Taboo or Cranium just never seem to go well when your parents don't speak english as their first language.

It was such a fun trip and the best part is that I still have a week of vacation left! Yesterday involved talking and laughing with great friends, giant Jenga and a chiminea! Hopefully there's going to be a lot more of that for the rest of my break from school. And of course, New Years Eve pictures and recap to come.

Friday, December 25, 2009

More than a Christmas Celebration

Brigid and I would like to take a moment to wish our dearest Jamie a very happy birthday! Wish we could celebrate with you today but the party will have to wait until we are all reunited for the spring semester. Now, since we all know how horrible it must be to share a birthday with the one holiday in America where you can never go out to celebrate except maybe for some Chinese food, everyone make sure you leave Jamie some love!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A break from school

(I apologize for the awful phone-photos)
A birthday cake:

The only kind of cake that B likes is the traditional German Black Forest, or, Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte. While I've tried a few recipes in the past and never been extremely happy with the results - I think this year his birthday was a hit! Instead of trying again to convert European recipes into our measuring systems and trying to make whipped eggs remain fluffy in the humidity; I opted for a much simpler cake recipe and took the rest of it into my own hands. For some reason, I really wanted to make several smaller size cakes, so a circle cookie cutter took care of that. The cake is soaked in Kirsh, a cherry brandy. I layered it in this order: cake, melted chocolate (for stability), my cherry concoction, whipped cream, cake, whipped cream, more cherry concoction! I'm apologizing now, I'm not a strict recipe person. Even when baking, I never follow a recipe exactly and prefer to make things up as I go. Thus, I don't really know all the amounts for the cherries, whipped cream, etc. These are pretty good estimates and my advice is to just taste it! You'll be able to tell if you want more or less of something.

The cake recipe is adapted from www.germanculture.com.ua.

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (butter-) milk
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup Kirsch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line the bottoms of two 8 inch round pans with parchment paper circles. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture, alternating with milk, beat until combined.
Pour into 2 round 8 inch pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool completely. Remove paper from under the cakes. Sprinkle layers with 1/2 cup Kirsch.

Some recipes call for you to cut these two cakes in half and make four layers, but they are so thin I didn't want to sacrifice stability (especially since this cake would have to endure a car ride).

Cherry concoction:
1 jar black cherry preserves
couple handfuls of fresh cherries
more Kirsh (about 1/2 cup)
sugar and cinnamon to taste
Heat all up on stove in a saute pan until cherries are well cooked and the pits can be removed easily.

Whipped cream:
1 container heavy whipping cream
dash vanilla
a few tablespoons Kirsh (to taste)
a few tablespoons powdered sugar (to taste again)

Once cakes are cooled, place the first layer on plate (with kirsh already soaking in). Melt 1/2 chocolate baking bar (semi-sweet) in microwave and spoon over cake into an even layer. When this cools it will hold everything together. Spread about half of cherry mixture over cake. Then add a layer of whipped cream. Place the second cake on top (carefully!). Additional kirsh if you want. Then top with whipped cream and add whipped cream around the sides of the cake as well. For the top of the cake, you can put the rest of the cherry mixture, add chocolate shavings, place fresh cherries around the perimeter - whatever you want!
The difference here is that I cut the cake into 7 circles before assembling:

A gift for friends:
I really can't take credit for them this year. I completely stole ideas off of the internet, a magazine and some blogs. But, I am happy with how they turned out!
Mulling spices:

(cinnamon, star of anise, cloves, all-spice, cardamon, coriander, orange peel)

With directions to make Spiced Apple cider, Spiced red wine and Hot Tottys!

The idea for the gift and the gift wrapping came from the Real Simple Magazine December 2009 issue.

Citrus candle centerpiece:

I just love the colors in this. Drying citrus without a dehydrator was actually a lot easier than I thought it might be! Slice, place on lined cookie sheet, place in oven. Put oven on the "warm" setting - about 150 degrees or so and leave door cracked open for ventilation. It took the smaller slices 12 hours or so and the thicker slices were done in 24-36 hours. I don't want to think about what this did for my electricity bill this month. Then just used a hot glue gun to hold the citrus slices together and to the candle
I got the idea from this post about fall tablescapes on Elizabeth Anne Designs.

A Christmas celebration:
B took me out to Feast (a new-ish restaurant in Montrose-Houston) so we could celebrate Christmas together. I read this article months ago and sent it to him because I thought the whole theme of the restaurant was interesting (in short: using the whole animal for eating/serving instead of just select pieces). I liked the mission of the restaurant for several reasons even though I knew that in my American raising, I still would be squeamish if an ox heart, calf liver or congealed blood were put in front of me to eat. The American food culture has made us all squeamish of "strange" foods, to the point that if we can't buy separate pieces of the most meaty part of the animal, shrink wrapped in the grocery store injected with carbon monoxide so that (god forbid) the color doesn't change, then it must be gross. Any other country in this world uses more of the animal than we do. I'm not saying we don't use the 'leftovers' at all - because I recognize that much of the excess animal parts are sold for things like fertilizing, fish bait, dog food, other feed, and oh yeah, ground meat. But, our food culture definitely creates a sense of waste.
So - my reaction of such a restaurant?
Not quite what I expected.
Black pudding - my favorite of the whole night! Which really suprised me because I was scared of the whole "blood" thing.
B's braised ox heart - really good. I've had chicken heart in Brazil so I wasn't really quite as scared about this one. If you think about it, it is just like any other dark muscle in the body.
My order - Grouper head. This is where things started getting weird. I like seafood and B told me about how the meat on the top of the head and the neck is some of the best meat on a fish and it is usually chopped off and thrown out. Groupers can range in size, so since the waitress presented in such a way that it was one entree, I figured it was either a small Grouper or half a head or something.

I'm not sure how much you can tell from this picture, but the grouper head (only the head!) was bigger than my head! I'm not going to deny at all, it was delicious. Had a great rub on it and the meat was incredibly tender and delicious. But, it got me thinking. First, appreciating that they would serve this when it is so often thrown out. But then I got a little upset. That plate could have fed a family for dinner. I have never felt so wasteful because once I was full and then ate some more, it looked like I had hardly touched it. They could have at least mentioned that we might want to, perhaps, share the dish. Or that it was large enough to feed the party of six sitting in the room, probably even a party of 12. And at the end of the meal, when we asked the waitress if we could bring a few fillets home off of the fish without bringing the whole carcass home, she looked at us like we were crazy. If the restaurant is about being less wasteful the whole situation seemed to go against that in every which way! Which makes me think that the mission of the restaurant to be less wasteful is more in my own mind than in the mind of the owner/chefs. My guess - they realized the profit to be made in Montrose and didn't think twice about it after that. Ah, why can't any business be idealistic??
So there you have it - Feast, delicious but left me asking for little bit less.

Friday, December 18, 2009


The dentites are in a frenzy of excitement/delirium because it is the last day of school for the semester. We are currently stuck in a lecture hall learning about invisalign (you'll have to wait until some Toothy Tuesday for deats). Here's a little dialogue from the morning so far.

Classmate CB to Jamie and B: "The dress code for today was supposed to be Business Casual, not Business Sexy."

Jamie and Brigid (looking over the shoulder of a male classmate in the row in front of them): "Oooohh Ahhh, love the wedding photos. The bridesmaid's dresses are so cute."
Classmate GC: "You know, Brigid will probably have some crazy nudist wedding."
Brigid (this was her most logical response): "Can't--my family will have to be there!"

What are your Friday's like at school or in the office? Are you excited for the holidays? Would you come to Brigid's nudist wedding?

***After lunch addendum:

CAC: "Do you think there are like underground humans living on the moon?"
Yasi to CAC: "You have the palate of a three year old. You probably put cheez its on your steak."
JB mocking CAC: "Can I please have more fruit snacks with my mac n cheese?"
CAC: "No, seriously, no one can deny that they love the taste of Little Debbie."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Toothy Tuesdays!


Everyone hates it. The number one reason people lie in the dental office. It's annoying. Who needs to do it anyway? Why can't I just brush and ya'll can leave me alone already? Here is why:

Ok, this is gross and people probably don't want to see this so I made it small. But believe me, it can get even worse.

The biggest two mistakes people make are: thinking brushing is enough and don't need to floss or flossing everyday sometimes three times a day but doing it the wrong way.

Why is this so important? Well - around each tooth you have a little sulcus or moat where your gums are not attached to the tooth or the bone. PERFECT little pocket for food, plaque (ie-bacteria!) to sit in and hang out. And no matter which way you brush, there is no way, absolutely no way to get the bacteria out of this pocket on the sides of the tooth where it is contacting an adjacent tooth. Let this stuff sit there for just a week and you will have developed a little infection, which exponentially gets bigger as the bacteria colonize. Soon enough this infection is eating away at the connective tissue that is holding your gums attached to the tooth and the bone. Next thing you know, you've lost 4mm of bone and the roots to your teeth are showing. 4mm is a lot more than you might think when we're talking about your bone.

How do I know if my gums are healthy? The best way really is to see a dentist and ask them. We can tell a lot by looking at your gums, feeling for calculus underneath your gums, but we also see a lot on x-rays that we can't see by looking at your gums. Generally speaking your gums should be pink, not red and not puffy. They shouldn't bleed when you brush or floss (although if you are just beginning to "get clean" they might bleed for a little while but then should get better).

What is the right way to floss? Gently slide the floss in between two teeth and GENTLY slide it underneath the gums a little bit and make a "C" sliding motion around the side of one tooth and then lean over and do the same on the other tooth before pulling the floss out. Please don't slam it into your gums and make them bleed - they won't like that too much. And make sure you get between every tooth and even floss in the back on your last tooth.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Channukah Happenings

Wow, has everyone seen the marie claire photos of Natalie Portman?? Well, although she is a member of "the tribe" she could not make it out to the PLSB Channukah Party this past weekend. Something about being busy being famous.

Anyway, the party was a huge success in my opinion. I really enjoyed making the invitations and the DIY wreath. It was a fun stress-relieving activity and I didn't realize I could be so domestic. I got most of the decorations at Hobby Lobby and learned how to make the wreath from reading various crafting blogs.

We made beautiful and tasty latkes without burning down the place and I think my mom and grandma would be proud. My grandpa scanned and emailed me a copy of my grandma's latke recipe and she had handwritten notes to me--so cute. Thanks to Brigid, Yasi and the other amazing guests the food and wine (especially the wine) did not stop! In addition to the greasy goodness of potato pancakes, we had Waldorf salad, radish/blue cheese/honey hors dourves, baked kale, chocolate, hummus, queso and much more.

I was overjoyed watching my non-Jewish friends embrace the festivities! They wolfed down latkes and even learned how to play Dreidel. Some actual Jews came too, and I was glad they made the trip from out of town.

SCANDAL below: One PLSB contributor canoodling with another contributor's B.

My mom sent me a Channukah fruit bouquet from Edible Arrangements. I love getting surprises delivered and it really helped provide food AND decoration for the party, so it was like she was there helping out even though she was back home.

My mom also sent me a package with presents for all 8 nights! My B got in on the gig too--and you can probably tell who's presents belong to who (or is it whom? I'll never know).

This was the scene on the porch the morning after. My, my was that a crazy night.

P.S. Can someone out there in the blogosphere give me a tutorial on adding pictures and formatting in this !?@*&!^!&** blogger program? It literally just took me two hours to make this post and I didn't even get all the pictures in that I wanted because I desperately need to study for our orthodontics final and I think I am pre-hypertensive now as a result of this frustration.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Sunday

Well, it's Sunday which means tomorrow is Monday so that is the perfect excuse to make today an extremely relaxed-awesome breakfast-no lookin' at the clock-sort of day! I must say this weekend, the ladies of PLSB and friends really outdid themselves. We filled the weekend with food, laughter, music, dancing and late nights (details of a special Chanukah party to come!) and for the first time in a long while I actually feel rested enough to tackle the week ahead. The weather is not as frightfully cold as it has been the past couple of weeks (yes, I currently live in San Antonio...no, I do not like the cold) but it's still nice to snuggle up on the couch with a big blanket and some hot chocolate while watching a good movie. Here's my list of the top 5 Lazy Sunday movies-

5. Good Will Hunting (1997)
Set in Boston, it features an all-star cast, some before they made it "big". So clever and inspiring I never get tired of watching this movie.

4. Purple Violets (2007)
An Edward Burns creation, this film was actually released as an iTunes-only feature. Surprising to me because I feel like it would have really captured a big audience with a wider release. The story follows four 30-something New Yorkers and their struggles with love.

3. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
No other film can make me relive and appreciate my travels in Barcelona as much! Beautiful cinematography, incredible soundtrack. Equally entertaining for those who have never visited Barcelona as it is if you just want to relax and reflect on your own travels through Spain.

2. Two Days in Paris(2007)
Surprisingly funny, this clever romantic comedy showcases the escapades of an American photographer and his french girlfriend in Paris. This film is perfect if you're looking for a quick trip to Paris and break from reality without all the effort travel requires!

1. Chocolat (2000)
Juliette Binoche, France, chocolate, Johnny Depp, Spanish guitar, romance. Need I say more? Watch it. Love it. End of discussion.

Europe and the Northeast, humor and transforming music...gets me every time!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Voltaggio squared

Michael Voltaggio is Top Chef.

Which means Kevin is not. Sigh.

Though I really did enjoy watching each of the three finalists (and once I have money I plan on traveling across the country to dine at their restaurants) Kevin held a special place in my heart and I was cheering for him from the get go. I've never tasted his food, obvi, but the never-ending remarks about his "simple yet refined" food bursting with flavor that always wowed the judges made him my favorite. Also, anything southern will always receive a nod of approval from me and Kevin just seems like a jolly guy which is something I think everyone can appreciate. Congratulations to Michael.

Michael with his brother Brian who came in 2nd place.

The whole idea of Top Chef still baffles me. I can barely think of which color scrubs I want to wear in the morning in the time it takes the cheftestants to hunt down, butcher and prepare a wild animal sous vide with some outrageous vegetable side dish. Perhaps I exaggerated a little...there was no hunting involved...but wouldn't that add an exciting dimension to the competition? And yes, I'm still trying to wrap my head around sous vide cooking. But it's inspiring to think that someone can become so skilled at their job/profession/trade that they can whip up masterpieces in mere minutes. Basically, I need to drop out of dental school and follow my heart into a world of culinary wonderment.

Anyone?? I guess not. I can dream...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mid week finds

I love reading about food. Rather than just read a recipe, I am entranced by the people who write about the stories behind their favorite recipes. The travels from when they first tasted a dish, the smells associated with cooking it, the people they shared a meal with and how that meal was so special to them. To me, the stories behind this is the best part of reading about food (of course, I absolutely love trying the recipe and seeing how I can make it special for me too). I wish I could write like some authors do on this blog and share stories with some of my favorite recipes. I've always been aware of my creative-writing lackings and tried to overcome, but never made it too far. This blog is one way that I am finding ways to share these stories creatively. Ok, so on to my find (and now on my 2009 christmas list!):
See Amazon link:

I found this the same way I find some of my favorite blogs. I was reading one blog and peered at the blogs they follow, clicked on one that sounded interesting, clicked on one of their followed blogs, and after a few times of this somehow found myself at a new favorite! Is this weird? I don't know this blogger, living in a different country, living a completely different life from me, but wow - I love her writing! She writes about food the way I love to read about food, and likes reading the same. Her post about this book convinced me I must have it and I must cook from it.

One other quick find for those interested:
Organic/fair trade coffee from CHIAPAS! and yummy cashew granola I can't wait to try. And I heard they deliver for free in the San Antonio area (since they are located here), but haven't found the details about this yet. Go support this newer start up in SA!

Have a great Tuesday!

Toothy Tuesdays: When to Brush

So the girls here at PLSB figured that we may as well put some of the junk we've learned over the past three years to good use. Friends always have teeth questions, and there are lots of random facts non-dentites might like to know.

The do's and don'ts of brushing:

DO brush your teeth before you go to sleep at night and do not eat or drink anything afterward. This is so important because your saliva flow rate is very low while you sleep so all the bacteria and food debris from the day are just chilling out on your teeth with no natural wash system. It also doesn't hurt to use a fluoride mouth rinse before you sleep, just make sure it's alcohol free. Alcohol in mouthrinses tends to dry out the mouth and make it harder to swish it for an adequate amount of time.

Do Not brush your teeth right after you eat a meal. Many super on top of it people think they are doing a good deed by rushing to the bathroom at work after lunch to brush their teeth, but what they don't realize is that they are being very harsh on their enamel. Most meals are going to be acid rich, especially if you are a diet coke drinker. So during the meal you have exposed the teeth to acid, weakening their outer coat, then you go and abrade the weakened surface with a toothbrush. It's better to wait about thirty minutes or make sure you have rinsed with water first to bring your pH levels all back to normal. The same goes for barfing (which obviously shouldn't be a frequent event). Do NOT brush your teeth right after throwing up. Wait it out and rinse with water.

Do use a brushing technique that focuses on your gums. Mentally break up your mouth into four quadrants and brush with the tooth brush bristles tilted toward the gum line as this is where plaque will accumulate and fill in the little troughs between your teeth and your gums. Periodontal disease is rampant and serious, readers! When people brush one side in circles with their teeth biting together they are really only getting half of the upper teeth and half of the lower teeth. Also make sure you get the back sides of the lower front teeth. That is a mega plaque trap spot because often the teeth in that area are crowded and the saliva glands dump and pool right in that area.

Monday, December 7, 2009

One (1) second.

3 hours of agony, torture, cursing, disbelief and thoughts of "holy shit how many years is the stress of this game taking off of my life??!!" came down to one final second. That's right, I'm a Longhorn fan (class of 2007). So is Jamie 1. because she is cool and 2. because of family ties. So is Brigid 1. because she is cool. No, I am not going to subject you all to another Texas fan ranting and raving about the emotional roller-coaster eventually leading to victory (how sweet it is) that was the Big 12 Championship. I'm just here to let you all know that though the books and drills may weigh us down, we've created a great group of friends in dental school and we still know how to have fun on the weekends.**

Jamie's boyfriend hosted everyone for a little Saturday college football, come eat and be merry party. It was an afternoon filled with good food, good company and good-ish football. Jamie's seven layer dip was so delicious I wanted to stick my face in the entire bowl. Brigid made adult grilled cheese sandwiches (insert clever adult humor joke now) with gooey cheese and sweet mango chutney on toothsome jalapeno toast that were waaaay better than any other grilled cheese you've ever eaten. Our friend Alex put together a chunky guacamole, the perfect companion to any chip in my opinion and almost worthy of a guest blog apperance. I made some jalapeno poppers to go on the grill, they were so hot there were teary eyes all over the room. I also made these.

Hook 'em!
Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing and
pumpkin cream cheese icing (for color, of course)

Seven hours of non-stop football. Mix in a couple guitar hero jam sessions. Awesome evening! Thanks again to Jamie's B for hosting!

**I know, the weekend technically consists of more than just Saturday. However, seeing as how Saturday covered the most important subjects, football and food, and since Sunday was consumed by studying, this weekend review will cover only Saturday. Hrmph.


My sister and I have decided to do it. This is going to be a big challenge to both of us, as we are both kinda new to this whole "biking" thing. The longest distance I've biked in one day is probably a little under 30 mi. and somehow on April 17th next year we will ride 150 miles over the course of a weekend. It's going to be hard, demanding, strenuous, arduous and a lot of other words from the thesaurus. It will be a personal struggle to keep on fighting and is a huge personal goal for the both of us. And not to give you the whole spiel here, but whatever we might go through that weekend with our youth and health won't even come close to comparing what it's like fighting Multiple Sclerosis for the rest of your life. If you want more info about MS - you can go here or here to read up on it. My Aunt was diagnosed with MS a few years ago, so we will be riding for her.
In the mean time, we have a lot of training and fund-raising to do. To support us, you can visit our personal fund-raising pages, donate what you can, even if its $5, send the links on to family members and friends --> My page Caitlin's page We will update the pages soon and make them more personal and I'll post about this again as the day come closer and we've embarked on the training. Until then, count your lucky stars for your health and energy.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Getting your grub on....

First things first. Is anyone else going crazy over the latest celebrity marriage fallout?? As if we haven't had enough this year (forgive me for getting so involved and thinking celebrities are actually people I know). I'll admit I read a lot of trash on the internet and watch a lot of trash on tv, but even I am over loaded with the stories about Tiger Woods' infidelities at the moment.

Although Tiger's tale (ha) is starting to unravel like so many other unfaithful husbands' have before him, I am anxious to see what Elin Nordegren does. Maybe I'm the only person who notices this, but it's like famous wives are expected to "stand by their man" at the apology press conferences when in fact they have been the ones most betrayed, not the general public. Think about it--Vanessa Bryant, Silda Spitzer and even my beloved Hillary have seemingly set aside their own hurt feelings to be the first to jump on the he-said-he's-sorry-now-let's-keep-loving-him band wagon. It's refreshing that Elin is staying out of the limelight because you know what? She doesn't owe us anything.

What will she do? Do Swedish wives have a different outlook than American wives? What would you do? How can any of us actually predict that?

Now onto the business at hand. One of my other passions: restaurant-going. This post's featured restaurants are two of my favorites in San Antonio.

1) Paloma Blanca. I love this place because it is fancy and festive, but not too stuffy. I always get the Puntas de Puerco which has plenty of variety in terms of texture and flavor, tender meat and a big kick of spice. They have a wonderful patio for getting your drank on and even a special menu for patrons with Celiac disease. Make sure you get there at off-peak meal times because it gets CROW-DED. Dessert is great too, but don't load up too much because Vela Wine Bar is right next door. The ambiance at Vela is delightful and the noise is low enough to enjoy conversation with friends while sipping delicious wine. I can't say I'm crazy about their food, but the menu is impressive.
2) Dough Pizzeria Napoletana. This place is amazing first of all because there is no set closing time (a miracle for a person of my pace) and of course their dough. The chefs make in-house mozzarella and fly in many ingredients from Italy. Dough has receieved a special certification for serving authentic Pizza Napoletana (only 1 of 32 restaurants in the US have this distinction). My boyfriend found this gem in Texas Monthly and in my opinion you literally can't go wrong with anything on the menu. Try the Spiedini, Baby lettuce salad, Margherita Pizza, and a glass of Coscia Roero Arneis, topping things off with espresso and a Nutella Panini. Get even more indulgent with their daily specials. Gah I'm salivating.

Summer skin in December

It's funny how music can evoke so much emotion and almost take you back in time to recalling different memories, happy or sad. My iTunes was on shuffle this evening as I was studying for yet another final and Summer Skin by Death Cab for Cutie came on. The song's opening piano chord quickly got my mind thinking about the lyrics, which after this past summer have special meaning to me. Wait, let me rephrase that...after this summer, the lyrics to this song actually have meaning to me. To make a long story short-boy meets girl, boy and girl live 1500 miles apart, girl falls in love with boy and boy did not, um, reciprocate. It's so cliche to think of a "summer love" but this song so perfectly describes the way our relationship came and went. Perhaps I do harbor some bitter feelings towards relationships and love right now, it's only normal, right?! But with the cold weather and rain that has recently fallen over San Antonio, I can't help but let my mind wander off thinking about carefree summers with warm sunshine, barbecues and the possibility of another summer fling. Hey, if anything, it beats the hell out of trying to wrap my mind around rotational paths and swing locks.

Holiday Season "Likes"

Yes, they are centered around food.

Quite possibly my favorite fruit ever, these are a limited season, get them while they last kind of fruit. (Go, get some now!) I can't imagine a better snack or way to end a holiday meal, or any meal, than with these little fruits delivering a burst of tart sweetness. Except maybe chocolate... but these are definitely better for you!
Back in high school, the height of our soccer season was in the dead of winter, which happens to be clementine season. My friend Lauren and I would buy crates upon crates of these delicious fruits to help us pass the long cold hours of school bus tournament travel and the inevitable bench sitting. Ever since then, the taste and smell of clementines bring me back to the feeling of the crisp winter wind on my face and the friendship Lauren and I shared battling through the competition to varsity, with crates of clementines (and boxes of Wheat Thins) there to soothe our souls.

Cold weather/"what's in my pantry?" stews:
Coming home from clinic, hungry and tired and needing something to get my mind off the day; the "what do I have in my pantry today" dinners can be some of my best culinary inventions. The rhythm of chopping, the swirling of the spoon in the pot, and the periodic taste test help relax and soothe me. This past week - a spicy lentil chili of sorts:
(For 2 meals)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
-saute the above in olive oil until fragrant and soft (this is one of my favorite smells in the kitchen!)
-slice 2-3 links of sausage and add to onion mixture. Cook until sausage begins to brown (could use bacon, any other meat, or leave out)
-add 1 cup of lentils and 2 cups of your choice of broth. (you can add more broth now or later if you want it really soupy)
Cover pot and let simmer about 30 minutes or until lentils are cooked.
Add 2 cups of spinach leaves right before turning heat off and stir until they are withered.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Living for the Weekend

I know we just got back from a 5-day holiday break which I spent mostly with family and close friends watching football and eating, but really, does lounging around and stuffing mass quantities of delicious food down your throat ever get old?

After gorging myself over the Thanksgiving holidays, I still cant help but look forward to all the football and food this coming weekend has to offer!
The Lineup:
Friday: heading to Austin to celebrate a past roommate's acceptance into UMSOD Class of 2014! Congratulations my Nhilita! **
Saturday: Where do I begin?? Long run with E-Dub, for reasons including but not limited to maintaining overall sanity and preparing for our race. Study...the details of how this fits into my busy weekend schedule remain to be ironed out. SEC championship game. Big 12 championship game. I always wonder how I continue to get excited for Texas football when I am absolutely certain that the range of emotions I experience while watching the Longhorns play have a seriously adverse affect on my overall health. The three of us are going to Jamie's B's place, yay.
Sunday: Fight off the "Sunday Depression"...usually involves more food, studying (sigh), running and definitely a nap, or two.

I know, I know. All of you are totally jealous because this sounds like the most incredible weekend EVER and you wish you could eat some delicious jalapeno poppers and burnt-orange cupcakes with us. Oh, I forgot to mention the jalapenos and cupcakes?! Don't despair, pictures to recap next week!

**The third year dental student in me wants to tell her to shred that acceptance letter and hide under a rock until she has chosen a career other than dentistry. True story.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Got me thinking about the holidays...

Well - when the three of us decided to start this blog together, we thought because there were three of us we might avoid the beginning awkwardness of not posting enough and figuring out what we would write about. Probably not so. With school craziness happening its harder to find time to post than I thought. We can't wait until we are well into the swing of blogging, have bloggy friends to comment on, and have our own blog-followers! So, if you are one of our first followers - don't give up on us yet! We promise…this will get going.

So, it's Sunday night, Thanksgiving is over and I'm back here in SA dreading the return to clinic/school in the morning. While I'm trying really hard to study for my final on Tuesday, instead I'm wishing for one of the leftover bottles of Prosecco from this past weekend and drinking Famega (Vhino Verde) instead.

[I am not a fan of many white wines - but this is one I will always buy again and again. Crisp, it has just enough bubbly and lightness that it feels almost celebratory, but substantial enough to drink with dinner.]

Anyway - why not a little upcoming holiday season pondering instead of studying ---

DIY gifting: Year after year and I'm still searching for perfect, original, one of a kind homemade gifts to give to friends. I'm never completely happy with what I come up with every year. Last year I put together some red glass ware with a gingerbread mix. I had so much fun for a full weekend playing with recipes and super dark molasses-rich brown sugar until I finally came upon a mix that would deliver both gingerbread and gingerbread pancakes. I liked this because it didn't matter if the person I was giving it to celebrated Christmas or not - everyone still loves gingerbread! This year my family decided to draw names for our Christmas gifting, so my usual 15+ person Holiday gift list is now cut almost in half. This calls for more creativity for the remaining! (Plus further spreading joy?) Any original DIY gifting ideas out there?? (Do we even have any followers yet?)

Au revoir! I'm off to pick up Jamie and (her) B at the airport.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Allow me to introduce...myself.

Name: Yasi

Hailing from: (area--non specific) Dallas T.X.
Pets: Hugo lovingly referred to as The Hyoogs, Hugster, Hugo Boss
Fave coffee drink: Soy latte, extra hot. You want to add one pump of any pumpkin flavored syrup, fine by me.
Fave childhood movie: My Father the Hero...currently still on my all time top ten list.
What you spread on toast: Butter with my mom's homemade quince jam.
Fave reality tv show: Top Chef
Travel experience: Summer abroad in Arles, France. Block parties every week with my host family's neighbors, pain au chocolat every morning, and lets not forget I got to experience World Cup 2006 European style.

I would like to visit: Lisbon!
Social pet peeve: Chewing with an open mouth.
Fave website or blog: www.garancedore.fr/ and joythebaker.com
Dream occupation excluding being a dentist: Owner/chef of a French bistro serving breakfast and lunch made with fresh vegetables from the courtyard garden. Yes, I've put some thought into this idea.
Fave snow cone flavor: Half tigers blood, half sangria, cream all over please.
Fave recipe or cuisine: I couldn't possibly pick one recipe so I'll say Persian cuisine, gotta stick to my roots.
Most anticipated holiday event this year (or most looking forward to): Skiing in the Rockies.
Least favorite fashion trend: Leggings
Chunky or smooth salsa: Smooth
How do you like your eggs: 2 eggs, tsp. heavy cream, pinch salt, scrambled.
Black/dark nail polish--do or dont: Do it!
Favorite season: We don't really have fall in Texas, so I'll stick with summer.
Favorite MJ song: Beat it
Fave US national park: Glacier Park
Would you rather run, bike, or swim: RUN
Name of future 1st born child: I don't really like aliens...I mean, children.
Thoughts on fiber: Include it, often.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A series of introductions....

: Jamie
Hailing from: we'll say "Houston," but my pride lies with a little place more specific
Pets: unlike the other contributors to this blog, I am not a dog person. Not a pet person really. My plants are my pets and I love them.
Fave coffee drink: I go through phases depending on the season. How about an iced, decaf, non-fat, sugarfree caramel macchiato (but don't be shistey with the caramel drizzle).
Favorite childhood movies: Home Alone and Mrs Doubtfire (but the list goes on and on--I was an indoor kid)
Favorite reality tv show: Stumped! I like a lot: Million dollar listing, anything on TLC (The Little Couple, Say Yes to the Dress), The City, Rachel Zoe, Tabatha's salon Takeover, Real Housewives of NY
Travel experience: So thankful for my study abroad experience in Barcelona--got to see lots of Spain, South of France, Monaco, Italy (Rome, Florence), Greece (Athens, Santorini, Mykonos-favorite), Andorra, Amsterdam, Prague, Lisbon (favorite).
I would like to visit: Istanbul!
Social pet peeve: Cracking knuckles, Speaking loudly on your cell phone in a public place--bad cell etiquette in general, Driving slowly
Inspired to blog by: ElefantitasAlegres.blogspot.com
If I wasn't going to be a dentist I would be: CEO of a non-profit or a Hair stylist or a Restaurant review writer
Favorite snow cone flavor: Bubblegum
Favorite recipe: Hominy, polenta, green chili, black bean casserole from Epicurious.com
Most anticipated holiday event this year: Good friends' wedding--eek! Probably watching a TV series on DVD in its entirety with my sisters. Suggestions?
Least favorite fashion trend: Those stupid plastic hipster glasses. People who really need glasses to see (me) take offense. Plus they are just hideous.
Life philosophy: Slow and steady wins the race.
Chunky or smooth salsa: Green, creamy and spicy.
How do you like your eggs: Two egg whites to one egg yolk ratio scrambled or fried.
Black/dark nail polish--do or don't: Do do do!
Favorite season: Summer, no contest.
Best lesson learned from 90s sitcom: Don't mess with gangs. Remember when Rachel's restaurant got trashed on Family Matters by the Dragons? Luckily Steve was able to go undercover and save the day.
Favorite MJ song: PYT-Pretty Young Thing
Would you rather run, bike, or swim: Run, but really none of the above most days out of the year, and any of the above if a fun situation presents itself.
Goal for PLSB: To bring interesting thoughts to the blogosphere and brighten someone's day.

An Introduction is in order

Hello! I am Brigid, hailing from San Antonio.

Jamie and Yasi put together some questions for us to use as our introductions - so here we go!

Pets: The wild and crazy Tiberius! (Ti)

Fave coffee drink: Well, I love anything sweetened and with lots of cinnamon but the *Bucks caramel macchiato is pretty fantastic also. I think once Jamie and I talked about this drink for a full week.
What you spread on toast: Butter! Or, in the words of Julia Child "With enough butter, anything is good!"
Travel experience: ¡Mexico! EspaƱa y Brasil… These were all study-abroad type trips in college (I know, spoiled), and it may or may not be a coincidence that these are all Latin American or Spanish speaking.
I would like to visit: Turkey and the Mediterranean. And anywhere else if I'm going to be honest.
Social pet peeve: Rudeness
Fave website or blog: nytimes.com, my blogger dashboard, foodnetwork.com
Dream occupation excluding being a dentist: I think I would have to say Spanish teacher, only because I am now so invested in this whole dental thing that it's hard for me to imagine/create anything else.
Fave recipe or cuisine: Granola? (explanation coming) or really good and fresh Mexican.
Most anticipated holiday event this year (or most looking forward to): Thanksgiving…I need a break! And all six siblings will be in town! And my youngest sister just turned 21 so we need to celebrate.
Least favorite fashion trend: scrubs :(
Chunky or smooth salsa: Spicy - doesn't matter if chunky or smooth.
How do you like your eggs: nothing runny or goey please! I always thought I didn't like fried eggs b/c I hated the runny yoke. I only recently discovered you could flip it or break it to cook the yoke so it's not runny.
Black/dark nail polish--do or dont: I don't but I still think it looks great on others!
Favorite season: Either fall or spring. I don't like anything too extreme.
Best lesson learned from 90s sitcom: I don't think I was allowed to watch sitcoms in the 90's, something about a deprived childhood leading to the current pop-culture deficit in my life. Although I probably have watched enough TV as a procrastination device in D-school to make up for this.
Favorite MJ song: Did I mention I culturally missed the 90's?
Fave US national park: I think Jamie & Yasi added this just for me. Interesting factoid though - while I've been to several national parks, I can only remember two. All others were before the age of 3 and all of my other adventures have been mainly state parks. So, National park - Big Bend (so far). Favorite state parks? Lost Maples. Again, so far...
Would you rather run, bike, or swim: Why choose - Tri all three! Although I'm not such a fan of running.
Name of future 1st born child: Haven't decided yet. I have decided that this is not for a long while.
Thoughts on fiber: Absolutely necessary! So is coffee. For the same reason.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A star is born.....

Welcome! We fully anticipate movie deals, outdoor clothing lines and a trendy restaurant or two to come from this blog, but for now it's an easy way to avoid the "Sunday Night Depression" as it has been dubbed. You see lovely followers, we three queens are currently slaves to our dental school duties, fighting those pesky SugarBugs with peace and love and other sparkly bits of fluoride goodness. Here we will escape to a place where we can write about outdoor adventures, cooking, urban lifestyles, our dogs or lack thereof and travels when we get the chance.

Ingredients of magical hot chocolate:
  • Heavy cream
  • Milk
  • Orange zest
  • Instant coffee
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Vanilla bean
  • Dark Chocolate
  • La Popular (Mexican chocolate)