french onion soup

my husband always wants to order french onion soup when it’s on a menu at a restaurant. i wanted to surprise him by making my own homemade version for him, so this was my attempt. I’m not a huge onion fan but still loved this. it was yummy!

french onion soup

ingredients:

  • 4 onions, sliced.
  • two cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup of red wine (i used perimeter cab sauv)
  • 2 quarts (2 big cartons) of beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • few dashes of nutmeg
  • sliced baguette pieces
  • freshly grated gruyere cheese (i used a mixture of cheddar, mozzarella and mostly gruyere)

instructions:

  1. begin with a stock pot or dutch oven on medium heat. add the stick of butter and let melt. i love to use this pot by lecreuset. thanks to my in laws for that bday present!
  2. toss the sliced 4 onions, minced garlic cloves, bay leaves and thyme into the stock pot. cook down until the onions are soft.. about 15-20 minutes, keeping an eye on the onions to make sure they do not burn.
  3. add the garlic powder, nutmeg and flour. turn down the heat to medium low and cook for about 6 minutes constantly stirring the mixture. the flour gives the soup a thicker consistency but we cook it so that we can try to rid some of the flour taste.
  4. add the red wine and stir. cook the mixture for another 5-6 minutes until the red wine has mostly evaporated.
  5. remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. add the beef broth slowly while stirring constantly.
  6. bring mixture to a boil then turn the heat down to a low simmer and leave for 10 minutes.
  7. in the mean time, turn the oven on to broil at 500 degrees F, shred the cheese you want to use and slice the baguette into 1/2 IN thick slices. i only sliced a few pieces for each bowl and then wrapped up the baguette to use another night. align the sliced baguette on a pan and sprinkle with the cheese. (save some cheese for later)
  8. place the pan of sliced baguette and cheese in the oven and broil for 3-4 minutes or until bubbly and crispy. remove from oven and set aside.
  9. ladle the soup into oven safe bowls and add a few of the cheesy toasts to the top. add more cheese to the top and place the bowls on a cooking sheet. place the cooking sheet in the oven and cook under the broiler until the bowls are bubbling and the cheese has darkened.
  10. ta-da! enjoy!

i actually served this soup as an appetizer to a yummy steak dinner. my husband has ben working late every night and i wanted to make a nice dinner to show him my gratitude for his hard work. i marinated some steaks in red wine, worchester, and montreal steak seasoning. then whipped up some mashed potatoes (with a dollop or two of cream cheese of course) and added a ceasar salad with parm crisps on the side.

steak dinner

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french onion soup

balsamic bruschetta

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this is one of my favorite things to make for a get-together or a mid-week slum. it is super easy and really tasty. you can serve it with crackers or sliced toasted baguette.

ingredients:

  • one carton of champagne or cherry tomatoes, quartered.
  • 1/2 cup of EVOO (I use Tunisian olive oil).
  • 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar.
  • 1 clove minced garlic.
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt.
  • basil.
  • fresh cracked black pepper.

instructions:

  1. slice and quarter the tomatoes and add to a serving bowl. add the minced garlic, garlic salt and pepper.
  2. pour in olive oil. add more or less to your liking.
  3. add basil. (roll the basil leaves up and slice).
  4. top with drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
  5. serve with toasted sliced bread like a baguette or crackers.

variations: you can add a dollop of fresh pesto or parmesan cheese.

so easy, right? sometimes I put a spoonful or two of this on top of toasted French bread then pop it in the oven for a few more minutes to crisp up. yum! enjoy!

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balsamic bruschetta

want list

these are some items that have caught my eye. i like to spend time thinking about items so that i can see how many outfits i can make with the item before i buy them. then i can tell if they are really worth the purchase.

1. stan smith sneakers by adidas/ nordstrom. consider pairing them with some ripped jean shorts like these from urban outfitters and a top like this from urban outfitters. or pair it with a cute chambray romper from anthropologie.

ADIDAS SUPerstar

2. cropped top in geo brushstroke/ jcrew. how absolutely gorgeous is this top? pair it with a high waist midi skirt or matching shorts!

jcrew crop top

3. hourglass ambient lighting palette/ nordstrom. the hourglass lady at Nordstrom gave me a little makeover recently and i was shocked how much i loved this illuminating powder. need to get this!

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i don’t like to wear heavy makeup because it makes my skin oily so i prefer to do a light dusting of some shimmery powder in the morning before i head out. i use the incandescent electra blush by hourglass everyday.

incandescent electra

i really love this stuff! the hourglass lady said it was basically “an instagram filter for your face.” love it!

4. courtly checked enamel serving platter/ mackenzie childs. love this line and this is a super versatile piece! serve everything from veggies off the grill to tea sandwiches on this cute platter.

mack childs

5. razzle dazzle champagne flutes/ abigails. these are gorgeous! one of my best friends and her parents gave us some champagne glasses from abigails and it sparked my love for the site! what beautiful stemware. i need to add these to my collection!

abigails

6. anything by nak armstrong/ nak armstrong. anytime I see a piece from this local Austin jeweler, my eyeballs pretty much pop out of my face. gorgeous, raw jewelry.

nak

7. fringe pippi naked suede pumps by joie/ neiman marcus. how cute would these be with some bright nail polish like one of these new colors by Essie? super versatile color but also very different and unique with the pop of fringe.

joei pumps

8. yves saint laurent glossy stain, neiman marcus.  i use this lip stain in several colors all of the time. its easy to apply, lasts a long time and the colors are wonderful. i wore this lipstick on my wedding day and also wear it to the beach. its super easy, long lasting, plus it’s in a pretty bottle! touch up with a little sparkly gloss for a perfect pout! totally worth the money. i need more colors!

ysl lip

9. alaia short beach dress/ shop bop. i love love love this bright coverup and they have it in several colors.

alaia dress

 10. franklin barbecue: a meat-smoking manifesto/ amazon. i can’t wait to get my hands on this book. as an austin-born lover of bbq, i’ve spent hours in line at franklin waiting to get my hands on some of the best meat in the world.

franklinn

do you have any items that you are considering? hope i can get my hands on some of the items above!

want list

summer jeans

i used to think that jeans with holes in them were super casual and sometimes trashy. i’ve been really into them lately. i bought a few cute pairs from zara while in spain a few weeks ago and am so obsessed. i wear them a ton! the ones i bought aren’t available online but these are also cute and on super sale! i also love pilcro denim which is carried by anthropologie. pilcro makes these which are a fun summer option. j.crew is another one of my go-to’s for denim. the lookout high rise jean is one of my absolute favorites. i have it in a few different shades and colors. i love that it sits higher on my waist and it is so much more comfortable for me.

shoes 4

even though the holes are small, they feel much lighter and cooler than regular jeans. that is especially helpful in the summertime. you can pair them with a simple tank top and sandals. i love the frayed edges of these zara jeans! free people carries the “destroyed ankle jean” which fits well. check out the frayed edges.

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or you can dress them up with some nude pumps! these pumps are from nordstrom.

loubs

what do you think about hole-y jeans?

summer jeans

spanish cuisine

my husband had to go to salt lake city after our wedding for work so we didn’t take a traditional honeymoon right away. instead, we waited almost 10 months later and were able to spend time planning a fun trip. both of us are pretty well traveled but neither of us had been to spain before…. so spain it is! we had always heard that spain had some of the best food in the world. anthony bourdain says that the two best countries in the world in terms of food are japan and spain and we were so anxious to try it all.

our trip began a little rocky with our insane uber driver who didn’t know how to get to the airport or how to navigate a car in a big city. once we finally got to the airport, we found a restaurant and had a few drinks. vacay time!

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we stayed in the center of the city in a beautiful apartment which made restaurants, bars, museums & shopping all incredibly accessible. one of our first stops was to a local gem called “la venencia” for pre-dinner drinks. the local spot offered a few types of sherry and tapas. this is when we noticed one of the best things about spain. the bar tenders bring you little plates of food while you drink without asking and it is super cheap. I ordered a glass of oloroso and my husband josh ordered fino. along with our dsherry, they brought us a plate of olives. I’m not a fan of olives. actually, I really hate them. however, I decided that I should partake while in spain. we ordered a few different tapas. the lomo was my favorite. a yummy, rich dried spanish tenderloin that was sliced just for us. after a few glasses of sherry and a few tappas, our bill came out to 9 euros. how is it so cheap? we love this place!!

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for our first dinner, we decided to walk to the plaza de santa ana. it was only a few blocks from our apartment, offered patio seating and live musicians. we were sold. we stopped at a restaurant that had open seating. we ordered some wine and started with a garlic shrimp dish. YUM!

shrimp

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my cute husband.

for our main course, we decided to order the chef’s specialty which was a plate full of sliced steak topped with seasonings and rock salt. you are also given a large hot rock that you can cook the meat on yourself. we drank wine, enjoyed dinner and chatted. what a fun night!

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our next stop on our culinary adventure was the mercado de san miguel. i had no idea what to expect: rows and rows of delicious food offerings. anytime we saw something that looked good, we stopped and ordered something. we had olives, meats, burrata, pizza and beer. yummy! here are some photos of the mercado.

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we found out that candy gummies are a popular tapas option, and I had the world’s best mojitos at this bar called “casa pueblo.”  we really loved this place & ended up visiting it four nights total during our trip.

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a place right next door to our apartment offered flamenco dancing shows with dinner called “el buo.” we went there twice on our trip because the food was so yummy & it was super convenient! on our first visit, we had a few appetizers and then i ordered the black tagliatelle pasta with tomatoes and prawns. josh had roasted suckling pig with shishito pepper smashed potatoes. it all was amazing.

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on the last night of our trip, we came back to “el buo.” we had an appetizer of grilled pig ears and their famous paella. they mixed and served the paella tableside. it was a fun show and delicious.

pig ear paella

 at the airport in houston, I encountered a culinary wonder. the sausage mcmuffin at mcdonalds. how had I never had one before? my husband’s jaw dropped to the ground when i told him that i had never had one and then he proceeded to order several so that I could try them. it was tasty and a funny cap to our well-fed honeymoon. can’t wait for our next big adventure!

spanish cuisine

creamy tomato soup

what a yummy monday evening treat! we decided to catch up on some shows that were building up on our dvr and wanted something light & comforting for dinner. last night i decided to try my hand at one of my favorite comfort foods– tomato soup & paninis!

tomato soup

ingredients for the tomato soup:

  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion (I prefer red onions)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (smashed and minced)
  • several sprigs of thyme (easiest to remove later if they are tied together)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 8 cups warm water
  • 2 cans peeled whole tomatoes (32 oz cans)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, extra for topping
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

instructions for tomato soup:

  1. add butter to large stock pot or dutch oven pot on medium heat. the one I used can be purchased at williams sonoma. add diced onion, garlic and bundle of thyme to stock pot. allow the onions to cook until almost translucent. about 15 minutes.
  2. turn heat up a bit and add tomato paste and 1 tablespoon sugar. cook until the sugar and tomato paste begin to caramelize. about 5 minutes.
  3. add cans of tomatoes, water and bring to a boil. once it reaches a boil, bring the temperature down to a simmer. simmer for 35-40 minutes until the soup has condensed down a bit.
  4. add remaining tablespoon of sugar, salt and pepper and remove the bundle of thyme.
  5. pour the soup into a blender (you can use an immersion blender but I prefer a table blender for this soup) and blend until smooth. return the soup to the pot and bring to a boil. add the heavy whipping cream and let simmer for 3-5 more minutes.
  6. serve with a parmesan crisp and/ or homemade croutons. top with black pepper.
  7. ta da!

meal

for homemade croutons: lightly toss diced up hot dog buns (my fave for croutons!) with olive oil and a creole mixture of spices (salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried oregano and dried thyme). bake on a cooking sheet for 25 minutes on 375.

for parmesan crisps, heat a teaspoon of oil in a small skillet on medium high, sprinkle in shredded parmesan to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. cook until golden brown then cool down on a paper towel until hardened. or you can cook the parmesan in a paper plate with olive oil in the microwave for faster cooking! (shoutout to hannah byrne for that tip!)

ps- does anything smell more yummy than onions cooking in butter and thyme?

onions cooking

creamy tomato soup