Monday, January 5, 2015

Life Lately (Sorry, I Know That's Overdone, But Whatever)

We're already a few days into the new year, and I feel like I'm somehow already behind when it comes to posting on this blog.  I was going to share these pictures sooner, but then I decided to just enjoy my day off on New Year's ... And before I knew it, it was the end of the week and I'd written absolutely nothing.

So today I'll be sharing some pictures from the last couple of weeks.  These pictures are mostly of food because, let's be honest, Eric and I really love food ... But the upside to getting a post filled with a bunch of pictures of the food we've recently consumed (including some stuff we made ourselves!) is the knowledge that I'll be posting some delicious new recipes very soon.

I mentioned before that Eric and I were going to start a new Christmas tradition this year by making a special holiday meal.  I don't know how we managed to do it, but we worked together and successfully put together one of the best dinners we've ever made in this apartment.

This was so delicious, and I was so proud of it.  (Okay, I still am ... Why else would I post a bunch of pictures of it on this blog?)
A closer look at the feast!

Our Christmas dinner consisted of pan roasted duck breast with blackberry Merlot sauce, a classic green bean casserole, caramelized Brussels sprouts with brown butter, and sausage, apple, and sage homemade stuffing.  (Oh, and dinner rolls ... But we obviously didn't make those.)  This was an incredibly time consuming meal, but the end result was more than worth it.

Now that I've shown the finished product, it's time to show some "before" pictures.

First, a few random pictures of Eric and me before the cooking began:

Our little photoshoot clearly went downhill fast.  We went from normal and cute to goofy and weird to "sexy" (if you can call it that!) in our aprons.
Here I am showing off my new apron.  As you can probably tell, I bought it at a little gift shop in Paris.  As you can probably also tell, I'm not afraid to look like a complete dork.

And during the cooking process:

Just look at that concentration!

While I worked on the duck breasts and sauce, Eric used the pan on my right to make the caramelized Brussels sprouts and brown butter.  (It's too bad we didn't have another person over while we were cooking to take a picture of both of us working together.)

And, just for good measure, here are a couple of pictures of us enjoying our meal (as well as another angle of our plated meals that showcases our lovely casserole dishes):

Please ignore the mess featured in the background of my picture.  I didn't really think ahead, so I still had random laundry out on the loveseat from earlier in the day.  (I clearly like to take my time when it comes to putting my clothes away.)

We're not so great with the "yum-this-is-so-good" eating faces (as you can probably tell).  At least we have some time to perfect those faces before our next holiday meal!

As you can see, we made an effort to be at least kind of fancy and "proper" by eating our meal at the dining room table.  When it came to dessert, though, all bets were off.

I briefly considered making an elaborate dessert, but after determining that we'd be spending a good chunk of our day preparing our dinner, I decided it probably wasn't the right time to try my hand at baking.  Luckily for us, we hadn't eaten any of the wedding cake that had been sitting in our freezer since our wedding night.  Since we were going to be out of the country on our one year wedding anniversary, we decided to save the cake for a special occasion ... And what better time than Christmas day?

Our faces ... Wow.

If you're wondering how cake that's over a year old tastes, it wasn't great.  I mean, it wasn't bad ... But it wasn't great.  I thought we wrapped it pretty well when we got home on our wedding night, but I guess we could have done a better job.  Oh well.  It could have been worse, I guess.

And, since we weren't sure if the cake would even be edible, we got a backup dessert: a pint of Talenti gelato.  (At least that was delicious!)  Oh, and if you want to see just how classy we can be, here are some pictures of us scarfing down gelato on the couch:

As you can see, we really enjoyed the gelato.  (And yes, I know that picture of me is kind of weird and gross ... Oh well.  That's what you get when you try to take a selfie while eating something melty.

I'd call Christmas dinner a success.

After Christmas, our next big dinner was on New Year's Eve.  We started going out for dinner on New Year's Eve 3 years ago, but we didn't really plan ahead that first year, so we ended up at Spaghetti Works downtown.  The next year, we got our act together and made reservations at another restaurant in the Old Market, Vivace.  This year, we remembered to make reservations well in advance, and scheduled an 8:30 dinner at Mark's Bistro in Dundee.

This was our first time at Mark's, and it definitely didn't disappoint!  (Though it's a little disappointing that I can't count it toward my 12 new to us restaurants for 2015 since we didn't technically eat there in 2015.)  I loved the romantic, intimate atmosphere, and the food was wonderful!  We'll definitely be going back!

I couldn't seem to properly capture the bubbles in my sparkling wine, but you get the idea.  We each had 2 glasses of wine with our meal, and mine came in cute little bottles that actually gave me about 1.5 glasses each.  I call that a win!
If you've been reading my blog, it's probably no surprise that we ordered spinach and artichoke dip for our appetizer.  It was rich and creamy and the crunchy bread was the perfect compliment.
We both got salads, but I'm just posting Eric's.  He got a blackberry vinaigrette, and it was much more photogenic than my Caesar salad.
Since we ordered from their special New Year's Eve menu, I don't have all of the exact details of our dishes available ... So I'll just write what I remember.  I ordered the filet and lobster combination, which was served with a delicious hollandaise sauce, crispy potato wedges, and some asparagus and heirloom tomatoes.
Eric ordered the bacon wrapped scallops, which were served over a butternut squash risotto and with a side of mushrooms.  The sauce was sweet and tasty, but I can't remember what it was.
When we looked at the dessert menu, we knew we couldn't pass up one of our favorites: crème brûlée.  It was the perfect end to our meal!

Since it was ridiculously cold and windy on New Year's Eve, I opted not to wear a dress.  Thankfully, Mark's isn't a super fancy place so I didn't feel out of place bundling up in skinny jeans, boots, and a nice sweater layered over a cute top.  I did actually take the time to curl my hair, though ... So I guess that's something.

Cute, yes?  And this was before dinner (a.k.a. before we started drinking).  I thought I should point that out since the "scary smile" picture may indicate drunken craziness.  But no ... That's just us.

I also tried desperately to get a good picture of my hair since I don't curl it very often.  This was the best I got:

I edited it in an effort to make my face look less washed out, but I definitely didn't succeed.  At least you can see the curls (and one of the new pairs of earrings my mom got me for Christmas).

The rest of our New Year's Eve was pretty uneventful.  We changed into pajamas pretty quickly, and spent the rest of the evening drinking wine while watching cooking shows on Netflix and cuddling.  We may not know how to party in our old age, but it was really nice.

Finally, I wanted to share a picture of our New Year's Day brunch.  (And yes, it was as delicious as it looks!)

This was the perfect way to start 2015!

We made a sausage, onion, pepper, and tomato frittata with some freshly diced avocado for garnish, red and purple potatoes cooked in duck fat (we saved this from our Christmas dinner to use in this meal, and it was one of the best ideas we've had in a while), and mimosas.  Our New Year's Day brunch wasn't the healthiest meal, but it was a great way to start our morning (and the year!).

It's been a great couple of weeks, and I can't wait to see what 2015 has in store for us!


  1. […] you may have seen yesterday, Eric and I made some pretty amazing food over the holidays.  And, while the holidays may be over, […]

  2. […] you’ve read any of my recent posts, you’ve probably seen this one, which is basically a summary of all the delicious (and usually fattening) food Eric and I consumed […]