Bella Italia For This {Rainy} Wednesday


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Our dear friend Emma {Hi, Emdogg!} just got married and honeymooned in the most beautiful country that has a piece of my heart, and probably yours too: Italy. Don't these photos make you want to get on a plane and wander through the Roman streets with a gelato in hand!? Her husband is the incredible photographer who took all of these and was kind enough to let me share. If any of you are ever looking for a photographer, please contact Drew Angerer. He's based in D.C. but goes all over the world to shoot everything from politics to weddings. I could not recommend him more!

It's a rainy Halloween Wednesday here, which matches my mood a bit. Missin my other half.
How are all of you doing on the East Coast, post-storm? Are your families and homes ok? You've been in my prayers!

Seasonal White Sangria


Monday, October 29, 2012

I love Sangria year-round. You too?! To make it seasonal for Fall {as well as Christmas and all Winter long} I used crisp white wine, oranges, apples, fresh cranberries, mint and sparkling apple cider. It's very fitting for this time of year as the weather changes, very simple to make and incredibly refreshing.

It would make such a pretty and unique addition to a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner too.

Seasonal White Sangria
{serves 6}

2 Bottles Crisp, White Wine {I used a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough}
1 Bottle Sparkling Apple Cider
1 Orange, sliced
1 Apple, sliced
1 C. Fresh Cranberries
Fresh Mint Leaves

Add all of the ingredients; stir and refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Thankful // Little Things


Friday, October 26, 2012

 I've kept myself so busy with an incredibly long to-do list and list of goals to accomplish while Cam's gone that it feels like I haven't sat down yet since he left! But it's actually been a really great week, full of so many "little" blessings, like this amazing sunset from last night, girls night and a sporadic dance party, being hired for a couple photo sessions, getting to talk to my love on the phone each night...
 Today's sunshine, turquoise East China Sea, and 80 degrees 
Driving Cam's car. And laughing hysterically at all the shocked faces from the gate guards when I go on base, marines, and basically everyone, when they see 5'4 me jump out in a girly dress.
Buying mikkan {Okinawan tangerines} on the side of the road
 Being emailed a photo of my handsome husband !
A pretty, new journal and writing snail mail.
 Nightstand flowers.

I hope you all had a wonderful week. Happy weekend!

Roasted Butternut Squash & Pesto Pizza


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My basil plant grew out of control, which meant it was time to make pesto. I also had a butternut squash on hand, and was thinking what would be yummy with both of those, when it hit me. Pizza! I made this last night while I was on the phone with Cam {miss you, my love!} and had it for leftovers again today. The mild mozzarella balances out the incredible flavor and texture from the fresh pesto and squash, and it's perfect with a glass of wine. {Like everything in life...}

I received a beautifully wrapped gift in the mail this past week with this lovely table linen, cutting board, and wooden tongs. They were made in and sent all the way from Australia with the kindest note. I had tears in my eyes that someone whom I've never met in person would be so generous and thoughtful. Thank you so much again, Lorraine!  It reiterated in my mind how much I love blogging.  It's such a fun and creative space for me to keep in touch with you all, reconnect with old friends, and to share my recipes and photography as I try to grow in both... and it's also introduced me to so many fantastic women who I now consider friends. Called "blogships" by my husband. Ha. (: Blogging is truly a community from all over the world. Some of you have encouraged me so very much and I wish I could express how thankful I am for you!

 Roasted Butternut Squash & Pesto Pizza
{serves 2... or one 6'6, large, very handsome husband}

1 Butternut Squash
1 C Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
1/2 C Pesto
Sea Salt
4 C Flour
1 Packet Instant or Dry Active Yeast
1/4 C Raw Sugar

For the dough, I made my recipe here. It's too easy not to make your own! (: I also used my pesto recipe here. Both of these take no longer than about ten minutes to make.

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Halve the cherry tomatoes and thinly slice the squash. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle in olive oil and sea salt and roast for about 15-20 minutes or until the they begin to lightly brown. Take half of your pizza dough, and with floured hands, spread or roll on a pizza stone or baking sheet. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the dough and spread out as many slices of mozzarella as you like. Add the roasted squash and tomatoes and then place dollops of pesto throughout the pizza. Bake on 500 for about 10-15 minutes or until the cheese bubbles and the crust is lightly browned. Mmmm it's so good! Enjoy!

Exploring Naha


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Isn't this place adorable!? One of my favorite reasons to go to the capital of Naha {along with the airport, awesome fish market, and exploring the city} is this tea and coffee shop. And one of the many wonderful parts of this culture is their food... or in this case, their tea. I didn't used to like it before living here, but Japan has made me a believer! If you live on island, you have to go to Tida Be Natural Cafe and try their fresh herb peppermint tea, made from their garden and served in that pretty glass kettle. It's such a peaceful place to catch up with a close friend.
...It's the simple things!

Fall Vegetable Wild Rice & Green Salads with Apple Cider Vinaigrette


Monday, October 22, 2012

I picked up these beautiful Okinawa vegetables this morning at our neighborhood farmer's market and used some in dinner tonight + a dinner for a new mommy. The orange fruit next to the Japanese eggplants are persimmons and are so delicious and high in beta carotene.  I don't know what the beautiful deep green and purple lettuce is called, but my favorite farmer neighbor grows it and told me how "genki" {healthy} it is for you. We've realized more and more the importance of eating locally and seasonally, and are so blessed to get to do so here of all places!

I took home one of those pretty sage plants too!

I made a wild rice dish packed with the fresh veggies and a spinach salad with walnuts, tomatoes, apple, bacon and gorgonzola.  This went so well together, especially with the dressing mixing into the rice salad. My apple cider vinaigrette is super easy to make and you can use it on all sorts of dishes, not just salads. I shake it all up in a mason jar and then have enough for weeks.

Wild Rice Vegetable Salad
{serves 4}

2 eggplants, chopped
4 small bell peppers {or 2 large}, chopped
1/2 red or yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 C. dense, leafy greens {kale or spinach will work!}
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
1 1/2 C Water
1/2 C Apple Juice
1 C. Long Grain/Wild Rice

Generously coat the bottom of a medium-sized saucepan with olive oil. On medium heat, cook the garlic and onion until lightly browned. Add the rice, water, apple juice and about 1 tablespoon of sea salt and stir until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is soft, stirring occasionally. Taste and add more salt as needed. {I also mixed in about 2 tablespoons of the apple cider vinaigrette for added flavor}

On medium heat, saute the eggplant and peppers in a generous amount of olive oil.  Sprinkle on sea salt and cook until veggies are tender and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Mix into the rice with the chopped dense greens.

Spinach Bacon Walnut Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
{serves 4}

1 apple, chopped
About 4 C. spinach
4-6 slices bacon
1 C cherry tomatoes
1/2 C walnuts
1 C olive oil
1 C apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt & pepper
1 Tablespoon brown mustard
3 Tablespoons honey

Add the olive oil, vinegar, salt & pepper, mustard and honey to a mason jar or to a lidded container and shake hard until everything is completely mixed together. Taste with your finger. It should be a little tangy, but if it is too much so for your taste, add more honey. Toss with the spinach, apple, cheese, walnuts, and tomatoes. Enjoy! And I hope you all had a great weekend too.

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