And The Award Goes To…

The Academy Awards are right around the corner. The fashion parade during the show is one of my favorite parts of watching the awards. I always keep a notepad handy to jot down fashion do’s and don’ts in addition to the movies I need to see. Here is an interesting graphic released by mediarundigital.co.uk illustrating the dresses worn by all the best actress winners from 1929 onwards. My personal favorites are the dresses of Vivien Leigh, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Holly Hunter, and Kate Winslet. Hopefully, the nominees for this year’s best actress award live up to these glamorous women of the past. Happy Oscars’ Weekend!

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Jalapeño Lime Hummus

20140202_164427My sister-in-law and brother-in-law throw a super bowl party every year. My sister-in-law is a fabulous cook and an amazing hostess. As a small contribution to the endless spread she had prepared, I made jalapeño lime hummus. It was my first time trying the recipe and I will definitely be making it again. I loved the combination of the lime and jalapeño with the garlic nuttiness of the traditional hummus. Next time I make this, I will blend the peppers with the chickpeas and spices instead of adding them on top so that the flavors are evenly blended.

I apologize for the poor quality pictures. My DSLR decided to blink its angry, red, change-my-battery message at me right as I started cooking. 

IMG_4040Do not be alarmed by the number of jalapeños in this photo. I quadrupled the recipe below to make hummus to serve 30 people.

IMG_4056Jalapeño and Lime Hummus

Recipe modified from The Kitchn

Makes about 2 cups

2-3 jalapeños
2 cups cooked chickpeas
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons Tahini**
1 teaspoon cumin-coriander powder (you may also substitute 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds and 1/2 tsp of coriander)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons minced cilantro
Pita slices or Pita chips for serving

Roast the jalapeños on the stove. Flip every few minutes until the peppers are charred all over. This process takes about 10-15 minutes depending on the heating capabilities of your pan and stove. Move the charred peppers carefully to a heat safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool.

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From this…

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…to this.

When the peppers are cool enough to touch, peel off the charred skin to reveal the moss green cooked pepper beneath. Remove the stem. Slit the peppers down the middle, remove the seeds, and slice them into thin strips. Set them aside. Be careful when you handle the jalapeños. I washed my hands at least 4 times after I finished cooking, but when I went to the bathroom to slather moisturizer on my face, I inadvertently set my face and eyes on fire. Jalapeño oils are extremely strong, so be wary.

Remove the skins from the chickpeas. It is tedious, but it makes the hummus significantly smoother. If you are in a rush, don’t worry. Skin or sans skin, it still tastes the same.

Pour the chickpeas into the food processor with the lime juice, garlic, tahini, cumin-coriander powder, and salt. Add the olive oil gradually as you start processing. Blend until desired texture.

Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in the sliced jalapeños. Adjust to taste.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before serving (a step I failed to do and wished I had).

Garnish with minced cilantro, jalapenos, and lime wedges. Serve with pita slices or pita chips.

**Tahini recipe: Roast 2 1/2 cups sesame seeds, tossing frequently, for about 5-10 minutes. Do not let them brown. Cool the seeds. Toss them in a food processor with 3/4 cup olive oil and blend until desired consistency. Yields about 2 cups.

20140202_164334Enjoy!

Valentine Treats for your Favorite Girls

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I have started to reflect on all the people I love. As a child, I wasn’t terribly popular in school. I was nerdy, with brightly colored clothing, and books constantly in tow. I was never popular with the boys, which didn’t matter so much until I reached middle school, and the pains of growing into my skin began. It was around this time that my mother started giving me a sweet little present every Valentine’s Day. It was never anything fancy – a simple box of chocolates, a cute card, a single long stemmed rose, lip balm. When I would get home from school, disappointed that I didn’t get to tote around bouquets of roses with balloons and teddy bears like many of the other girls did, I would find a little package sitting on my bed. It didn’t matter what it was, but for that moment I felt special (as I imagined all the popular girls at school must have felt when they received Valentine candygrams and singing Valentines from secret admirers). Even as I grew older, more confident, and the lack of roses on Valentine’s Day stopped bothering me, my mother kept up this tradition. Every Valentine’s Day, even now, I receive a small token with a note expressing her love for me.

As much as Valentine’s Day is a holiday to celebrate love with our significant others, it is just as important to celebrate the love for the important ladies in our lives as well. Single or not, Valentine’s day can be a lot of fun if we focus our energy on our best girlfriends. To celebrate the beginning of February, the month of St. Valentine and all things rosy and lacy, here are a few of my picks for your favorite girls.

Valentines Day picks for your girls

1. Anatomically correct heart chocolates, 2. Great escape gold rings, 3. Kate Spade New York cold hands thermal travel mug, 4. Love bites gift set, 5. Geometric air plant cube planter, 6. Ciate paint pot in cocktail dress, 7. The Art of I Love You book, 8. Letterpress notepad, 9. Wildflower fern bubble bath, 10. Butterfly lace chemise

How adorable are the anatomically correct heart chocolates? And the handcuff rings. Or the love bites gift set, which is a fun way to make light of the day for a fabulously single girlfriend.

Giving Thanks

This Thanksgiving marks the first time my brother and I will not be spending with our parents. They are out of country on a trip, and we miss their presence dearly. We promised them we would eat a little extra on their behalf and Christmas this year will have to have double the amount of food to compensate for this. Here is to being thankful for family and for the addition of my fiance’s wonderful family to ours this year. 

Simple Pleasures

The last few days have been rainy and cold in Houston. For most Houstonites, cold is a foreign phenomenon. We rock temperatures in the high 80’s well into November, so this 45 degree weather is really throwing me for a loop. Walking to the train station every morning makes me wish more than ever that I could crawl under the covers with a steaming cup of green tea and my worn copy of The Great Gatsby. The dreary days have definitely slowed down the pace of my routine, and I find myself enjoying the simple things – slipping on my fluffy slippers; the slow return of warmth to my nose when I walk in the door; the stark contrast between the amber glow of my desk lamp and the moody grays outside my window; and the pause between waking up in the morning, suddenly very aware of the warmth of my feet, and setting them down on the chilled floor. Here is a list of ten things to do on dreary days (and not so dreary days too!).

Simple Pleasures

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