Love and Food in the Big D

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Food Porn Daily - Feature Shot :)

What an AWESOME way to start the day!!... :) 

I'm BEYOND giddy right now :)  Food Porn Daily, a foodie lover's website which highlights a single, daily photo of some pretty amazing food, actually featured one of MY photos from one of Chad's beer dinners!  (Dinner Club with Jim White - The Meddlesome Moth) :)  Little 'ol ME...can you EVEN BELIEVE IT?!  How amazing is that?! Can you tell I'm a bit excited?!

When I ventured over to their website yesterday to see what the daily food shot was...something came over me.  For whatever reason, I thought I could hang with the big boys and decided (in a certain rush of insanity no doubt) to submit a photo.  I thought, "what the's worth a shot, right?"  Who knew that I'd be at the very front of the line for their daily photo... TODAY!  Not next week, not next month...not in...maybe-we'll-get-to-you-when-we've-run-out-of-other-great-and-inspiring-shots....noooo...TODAY!! Less than 12 hours after submission...there it was.  In all its glory.  Wow.  I'm kinda still in shock.  :)  I hope they weren't just low on submissions or something.. ;)  Oh well, even if they were, it's still an incredible honor.  Thank you, Food Porn Daily!  Now..Click. Drool. Repeat.  :)

Screen Shot of what I saw this morning.. :) Isn't she preeetttyy??  ;)

And lastly...I'd like to thank the Academy photo editors of Food Porn Daily ;)... for driving an insane amount of traffic to our little wee blog... :) 

And if you've made it to the bottom of this post WITHOUT having yet gone to see the foodporndaily website with my NOW famous duck photo (hehehehe..)... shame on you!  Click HERE

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Patterned Pieces...

There are times when I'll stop dead in my tracks when I realize just how much of my mom and grandma I have in me.  Crafty in our own special ways, I find myself now appreciating AND DOING the things they once did.  My grandmother, who we all know and love as Nana, quilted for as long as I can remember.  She even had a group of ladies who would come over to her house just to quilt every week.  I wish now that her sweet hands could still make things like these... I could definitely keep her busy with these inspiring pieces. ;)  Or maybe this is just my next project.  I don't exactly know how to sew...or have a sewing machine for that matter, but it's in the blood... so I have no doubts that I could get it done if I really tried.  ;)  Maybe one day....  Until then... I'll just admire other people's handiwork.  :)  

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Secret Life...

Every so often Chad and I will sit down on a random I've-had-a-crap-day-and-I-either-need-a-strong-drink-OR-a-little-inspiration....and watch The Secret.  We have it on our instant watch list on Netflix for just such occassions.  It's such an inspirational piece of work... it helps Chad and I put everything in perspective... reminds us to focus on the positive things in our life... and to start dreaming and thinking of all the wonderful things that we WILL have someday.  We just have to believe it.. Anyone else watch The Secret?

A few months ago (and I don't think for whatever reason that I blogged about it....BAD blogger.... BAD!) Chad and I took a little trip down to Austin for their annual tour of homes.  Almost every single house we saw was just spectacular.  And I mean, jaw dropping spectacular.  Not just plain spectacular. ;) Amazing architecture, amazing use of space...just plain Amazing.  Capital A.  The kinds of houses that make you want to lock yourself up in a random closet until they have locked up and left for the evening...just so you could pretend it was yours...if only for a night... (just in the non-occupied houses of as to not be creepy).  Cue that movie with Natalie Portman where she gets locked up at Wal-Mart then starts staying there...I forget the name.  Anyway...yeah, like that.

One particular house on that tour is set to be OUR house one day.  I don't know how.  I don't know when.  But someday it will be the Kelley House.  As part of our "Secret" plans to visualize and plan ahead for all the things that will one day be ours.. I've decided to let you all see what we WILL call our very OWN.  Dream big or go home.. right???  ;)

Meet our architect... Mr. James La Rue

I bet Chef Chad Kelley could create some pretty awesome menu items in this kitchen :)

downstairs gameroom

Ready for more than a few dinner parties... 


Consider this an official invitation for all of you to attend the dinner parties we will one day have here.  Just throwing it out there.  :)  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wedding Gallery Wall "How-To"... Sorta :)

Let me just start this by saying the time I realized this little project would be a great "how-to", I was already half way into it.  Oops..

I've never actually done a REAL "how-to" on this blog before so when I realized that this was similar to the art gallery wall project I had done in our office-slash-den...(which turned out so well with VERY little out of pocket expense)...I knew this time, I had to share how I did it. 
**You can see the blog post (that inspired this post) with our other art wall.... here.

The last time I did this type of project, I was lucky enough to score perfectly cut, 12" x 12" foam core boards from work (that were about to be trashed).  This time, I wasn't so lucky...BUT, I had been noticing that a lot of still-in-great-shape cardboard boxes were being thrown away, in mass, on a weekly basis.  You know... paper boxes, miscellaneous packages boxes...yada, yada, yada. 

Seeing an opportunity for another great and CHEAP art project, I loaded up on the best looking boxes I could find and took them home.  I then took an exacto knife and started cutting.  I made sure that I had two of any given size in good condition (the top and bottom flaps of the boxes or the sides..whatever really.  As long as they were flat and in good condition, they made the cut....literally..haha. ;)  Just laugh.  You know I'm a dork.  ;) 

After I had gotten two sets of the cardboard cut to the same size, I used Aleene's tacky glue to glue them together.  Easy Peasy.  (Side Note:  Two layers worked but I if I do this again, I'm doing 3 layers of the same size boards).  I then cut smaller, 1" x 2" rectangles....and layered them as well.  (Again, 3..maybe even 4 layers works better).  You'll see in later pictures how I glued those two layered puppies to the backs of my larger cardboard squares and rectangles.  So far so good??  (I realize I'd never make it as a teacher so I apologize if you're like WTH???) ...just stay with me.. pictures are coming soon... :)

Next came printing some pictures.  Now I realize that not everyone is lucky enough to have Photoshop like I do...BUT, you CAN do the same concept with cardboard that is cut to standard photo sizes.  I then used the dimensions of the cardboard I had cut to determine the sizes of the pictures I wanted to use.  I printed them on good quality paper...and like the last time, had them laminated for that extra glossy picture effect.  :)  If you print your pictures at the store to standard size enlargements, you don't even need to do that step.. I just happened to have a laminating machine at my disposal..

Two boards cut, somewhat perfectly, and glued printed and laminated..
Next came the good ol' masking tape! :)

I decided to use the masking tape instead of glue simply because it's temporary.  I realize temporary doesn't always work for everyone but I decided that if I ever wanted to change the pictures out later, I can..without ruining the pictures.  If the masking tape decides it doesn't want to play nice and hold up anymore.. I'll just put more!  No problemo.  :)

There was no real rhyme or reason for the placement of the tape.. just enough to hold my pictures up for a while. 

First picture ready to be taped..  
(courtesy of our superly, awesomely, wonderful wedding photographers, Jimmages) :) 
Now that's a lot of crazy adjectives!! ;)  They really were a delight to work with..

Here's what I was talking about with the two layered, 1"x2" rectangles glued to the bigger cardboard rectangles.  Again... just to be annoyingly repetitive, if I were you, I'd use at least 3 layers for both the big rectangles AND the smaller ones.  OH, and I also found that you need more than two per board.. you need four.. one for each corner of the big rectangle.. just to keep it from being wobbly on the wall.  Just a little note to self. 

I then laid everything down on the floor to see how I wanted it to be placed over our entry hutch. 
You might remember the wedding shadow boxes on the far left that I made and showed on the blog post titled... Shadow Box Love  :)

Our barren front entry wall..
We had, for the longest time, a few large pictures leaning up against the wall but that set-up just wasn't working for me, I took some of those framed pictures that were there and worked it into the cardboard cut-out ensemble.  :)

One by one they went up...with only a few course corrections along the way.  (I only really measured the first three shadow box placements... then... I just went at it, Willy Nilly Style ;)  Good thing it worked out for me..

Unfortunately this part of the wall isn't very properly lit.  The shadows make it feel a bit wonky and crooked.... BUT... for the most part I think it came out great!  Of course, the fabulous pictures Jimmages took, help the wall look bright and colorful.  (Have I mentioned how wonderful our wedding photographers are!!??  ;)  If you're in the DFW area..and are looking for really great, down to earth photographers that do quality work with great creative spirits.. these are your guys!! 

Oh yeah and don't mind the peppermint-candy-looking-Christmas-candles we are STILL rockin'.  We'll change them out eventually.  ;)  Well... maybe... ;)

When Chad got home from work and sat down with me on the stairs to share in my appreciation of the wall I had just worked so hard on... he said the candles below made it look like a "shrine to our wedding"... hahahaha.. thanks Chad, thanks A LOT.. now that's ALL I SEE!!!.  :)  Guess that whole candle thing will be moved soon too.. NOT JUST the peppermint candy looking ones.  Silly boy...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Weekend Visitors.. :)

"I love those days that just evolve into something great..." - Yvette ;)   

The beauty of living in a major city is that, for the most part, people come to visit you.  For whatever reason they may have...birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, sporting events, concerts, conventions...whatever.  I love the fact that a lot of times, we become part of their visit.  For that..I'm grateful to live in this city.  It allows Chad and I to catch up with long lost friends...see family members and a lot of times, play tour guide.  :) 

About a week ago I got a somewhat surprising call from my good friend Renee that I hadn't seen or talked to in a VEEEERRRY long time. (I love those calls that feel like no time has gone by since you last talked...)  It was great to hear that she and her hubs were heading up to Dallas for their five year anniversary and wanted to TREAT US?!?! to the musical Billy Elliot showing at the Winspear (Otherwise known as the AT&T Performing Arts Center).  How AWESOME ...and incredibly generous of them to be treating US on THEIR special weekend!  :) How could we say no??  :) 

After enjoying a leisurely lunch..chit chatting and catching up at the Gaylord Texan (where they were staying) ... we started our condensed tour of what Dallas had to offer on this Sunday afternoon. 

Our agenda for the day:  2pm showing of Billy Elliot at the Winspear then the JFK Sixth Floor Museum before picking up our mutual friend Selin (who just so happened to be in town for a convention ;) for our 8pm reservations at Nobu.  :)  Mmmmm... dreaming of all that yummy goodness now... Oh AND we even had time to throw in a somewhat unexpected trip to The Moth for a late night beer and some ice cream.  :)  It was a fabulous day. 

Billy Elliot: The Musical (book and lyrics by Lee Hall; music by Elton John) is set in a small mining town the U.K. in 1984. The story follows Billy as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class, discovering a surprising talent for dance that inspires his family and his whole community, and changes his life forever.

On our way out after the show...
Check out the night shots I took the last time we were at the Winspear on this February blog post...

Only having an hour to spare before the JFK Sixth Floor Museum was set to close, we ran out as quickly as we could...hoping to beat the rush to our car.  (Hence the limited number of photos I was able to take as we walked out) :) 

Part of me is sad that this city I now call home was involved in such a tragic time in history.  So unfortunate, yet so interesting all at the same time (if that makes sense).  In the 5 years since Chad and I moved to Dallas (separately and not yet knowing eachother), I've actually only been to this Museum once before... and Chad never at we were both really glad to have the opportunity to take in and RE-learn some tid bits of our city's unfortunate past. (We only have 50 minutes here kiddies...GO..GO...GO... ;)  

After all was said and guides returned and souvenirs purchased...we found that we definitely had enough time to grasp a good understanding of how that day unfolded..

Next Stop:  The Hyatt Regency Hotel Bar ;) to wait for Selin to finish checking in before heading to dinner.  Chad and I always feel a bit nostalgic about this place...(We actually visited on our first date hoping to take a ride up to the Reunion Tower Observation Deck...which was unfortunately under construction at the time (and STILL is today)...

Not one of my pictures..but pretty none the less.. ;)

Next up:  Ahhhh... Nobu.  Few words can adequately describe just how incredible the food is here.  Melt in your mouth, fresh, quality flavors that make you want to shamelessly lick your plate just so the sauce doesn't feel unappreciated.  ;)  Set to his own devices, and by eager direction from our adventurous guests, Chad was in charge of selecting our meal for the evening.  And let me just say...Chad and I have indulged in more than a few great restaurants before... but most of the time, it's been just the two of this time, Chad was beyond estatic to be amongst friends that were eager and very willing to trust his suggestions with whatever came up next.  

**Side Note:  It was way too dark and we were WAAAYY too involved in our conversation and food to really stop for pictures so I'll just give you a quick teaser list of all that we ordered this evening.  It was pretty freakin' amazing.. I'm not going to lie.. you should be jealous.  Be very, very jealous.... ;) 

- Lobster Ceviche
- Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno
- Seared Salmon Sashimi with Karashi SuMiso
- New Style - Australian Wagyu Beef Seared in Hot Sesame & Olive Oil with Yuzu Soy
- Steamed Chilean Sea Bass with Black Bean Sauce
- Tobanyaki Tofu
- Tempura Corn Kakiage, Shiitaki Mushroom, Sweet Potato
- Spicy Tuna Roll
- Shrimp Tempura Roll
- Rock Shrimp Tempura with Creamy Spicy Sauce

And for drinks around the table... A bottle of Caymus Conundrum, California '08 and a few bottles of beers I can't remember the names of. 

(All the following pictures are from the Nobu website...visit now, visit often.  ;)   

Nobu Dining Room

View into the bar..

After finally calling it quits... feeling extremely satisfied with not only the food but the service and of course the incredible atmosphere, we thought it only fitting to end the night showing them where Chad calls his second home...The Moth. 

A Texas Sample Flight

You don't have to tell Chad twice that you like ice cream... especially when you have the best ice-cream in Dallas at your disposal.  Two seconds after the group mentioned that ice-cream sounded like the perfect end to this luxurious evening... he came back from the kitchen with THIS MONSTER sundae!  Chef Chad Kelley, always eager to please.  :) 

Dessert Destruction in less than twenty minutes.  We even used the ice cream to make beer floats! 
Well Selin did...Chad suggested she try it and I watched.  :)

(looking back at these photos I'm kinda embarrassed at the shear MESS we made!! Holy dirty plates!!  My goodness...who RAISED US?!?!  :) lol... It was so good we hardly noticed..

I think the look on Selin's face tells it all. :) 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Avery Brewing Beer Dinner - The Meddlesome Moth

Another fabulous beer dinner complete... 

This time, Chef Chad Kelley and The Moth crew played hosts to the folks from Avery Brewing Company out of Boulder, Colorado.  Adam Avery, brewery president and founder, was the guest speaker for the evening...telling us about the brewery and answering questions from amongst the crowd.  As part of The Moth's Summer Beer Dinner Series (and with lots of delicious beers to try), Chad took his guests through the ultimate Avery Experience...pairing not one but TWO beer selections with each course.  :)  I, of course, had my special photographers seat at the bar... where I not only saw the behind the scenes action in the kitchen but was able to get a birds eye view (of sorts) of the guests as they enjoyed their meals.  Happy faces amongst a "happy" crowd equals a good time over all.  :)  Great Job Chef, the food was divine. :)

Avery Beers ready for the first course delivery.... 
Beer, beer...everywhere... 

1st course:  Sunchoke "Vichyssoise", Salmon Roe & Petite Chives
Avery Beer Pairings:  Avery Karma & Salvation

Followed by:  Moroccan Lamb, Couscous, Pine Nuts & Currants
Avery Beer Pairings:  Avery IPA & New World Porter

Gotta love me a sea of sparkling wine glasses... 
Can someone spot Chef Kelley in this picture?  ;) 

Third Course:  Giant Nigerian Salt Water Prawn & Piment D'Espelette
Avery Beer Pairings:  Avery Reverend & Hog Heaven

It's like he's looking at me!!... lol..
He was delicious though... poor guy.  His name was Herb.  ;)

View from the end of the bar...

Fourth Course:  Slow Roasted Pheasant, Exotic Mushroom Bread Pudding
Avery Beer Pairings:  Avery Czar & Depuceleuse
**Side Note - That big hunk of brown on the left was NOT the most photogenic piece of food on the plate but it most certainly was the most delicious!  
Mmmmmm... mushroom bread pudding??  
It sounds sooooo wrong...but tasted soooooooo soooooooo RIGHT!  

Mignardises, Chocolate-Walnut Flourless Cookies, Coconut Macaroons, Vanilla-Orange Tapioca with Sugared Mint Leaves.
Avery Beer Pairings:  The Beast, 2007 Vintage

Manager Cara, Adam Avery, and Chef Chad after all was said and done.. 

Chef Wife Perks...  ;)  
These were actually taken home by my steady beer dinner date Miss Lisa.  :) 
Thanks for never letting me come to these events alone.