Coveting

I have been coveting these Rag & Bone booties since the first day of the Nordstrom Anniversary sale…last year. I think it’s time I snatch these up, and for $300 off $595? Sold to the lady without the perfect pair of Rag & Bone booties.

The heel is a perfect height for both denim and dresses, and a nice escape from my kneehigh Frye boots I live in throughout the fall and winter. As much as I’d love to be able to wear more flats and loafers, boots are really best during our rainy season. See, another reason why I need these boots.

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eggplant crostini

eggplant crostini | TWELFTH AVENUEDid you know that eggplant is a summer vegetable? I had no idea! In my mind, I always lumped eggplant in with the fall/winter root vegetables (maybe it’s a texture thing?), but as I found out in my latest CSA share, eggplants are, in fact, harvested in late summer.

So now the question is what to do with them? The blazing Portland sunshine and 90 degree summer temps don’t exactly have me yearning for eggplant parm…is there such a thing as a cold, refreshing eggplant dish?

YEP.

A quick perusal of Deb‘s archives revealed this “crostini” recipe that uses roasted eggplant rounds as the base for a light, salty, herbaceous tomato salad. (Side question: Do you read Smitten Kitchen? It’s seriously the best. First place I go when I’m in need of a recipe or meal inspiration, before Pinterest even. Pinterest is actually pretty far down the list for me at sixth or seventh. I don’t know why I even pin recipes. If it’s not from SK or Pioneer Woman or How Sweet It Is or one of my Giada cookbooks or my mangled-within-an-inch-of-its-life-from-overuse Best of Cooking Light cookbook, it’s probably not worth making.)

But back to the recipe at hand…These roasted eggplant “crostini” thingys are surprisingly delectable. What started as a healthy way to use up a lot of CSA produce turned out to be a very satisfying dinner. I ate half of the batch on the spot and have plans to combine the leftovers with quinoa for dinner number two tomorrow night. Welcome to the summer dinner rotation, little eggplants!

Roasted Eggplant Crostini with Tomatoes, Feta & Mint
(adapted ever so slightly from Smitten Kitchen)
serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a light meal

INGREDIENTS

1 Tablespoon plus 4 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium eggplants, cut in 3/4- to 1-inch slices
2 ounces (1/2 cup) crumbled feta cheese
2 Tablespoons capers, drained
1/3 cup diced red onion
3 diced medium tomatoes (1 1/2 cups)
3 Tablespoons minced fresh mint and parsley leaves
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Ground black pepper

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with one Tablespoon olive oil. Arrange eggplant rounds in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, without disturbing, for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully flip each piece: the undersides should be blistery, dark and a bit puffy and should release from the pan with no effort. If they don’t, let them cook longer. Once flipped, sprinkle them with additional salt and pepper and return the pan to the oven for another 10 to 12 minutes, until the undersides match the tops.

Meanwhile, mix your feta, capers, onion, tomatoes, herbs, vinegar and remaining 4 teaspoons olive oil in a small bowl. Add more vinegar and ground black pepper, to taste.

When the eggplant rounds are done, arrange them on a plate or serving platter. Scoop a spoonful of the salad over each round. Eat immediately.

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potato chip stuffed chocolate chip cookies

potato chip stuffed chocolate chip cookies | TWELFTH AVENUE

Guys, I feel guilty.

This afternoon, after cutting out of work at noon (summer Fridays #FTW!!!), I indulged in the guiltiest of guilty pleasures: baking chocolate chip cookies while watching Kardashians reruns. (It’s the one where they’re in Thailand and Kim is clutching her Vogue cover in every scene. And Brody knocks some guy’s sunglasses off of his head ’cause, you know, he’s such a badass. And Kim “shops” for an orphan. Quality television.)

As if I wasn’t feeling guilty enough, I went and mixed about a bag of crushed potato chips into my cookie dough before rolling it into little balls and popping them in the oven. So dirty. I didn’t taste that much of a difference, to be honest. Maybe I needed a sturdier chip? But the idea was delicious, and so were the cookies.

potato chip stuffed chocolate chip cookies | TWELFTH AVENUE

Potato Chip Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 36 cookies

INGREDIENTS

2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup shortening
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups (12 oz bag) of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups crushed potato chips

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, salt and baking soda on a paper towel or in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl (I use my KitchenAid), mix together shortening, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Slowly add the flour mixture a little at a time, beating well after each addition.

Using a spatula, mix the chocolate chips and potato chips into the cookie dough. Drop dollops of dough onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer cookies to paper towels or wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

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wanderlust

TWELFTH AVENUE

Wanderlust: noun. a strong desire to travel.

Next month, my job is taking me to Europe for a short stint, so I’m seizing this opportunity to use up some PTO (seriously, have I not been taking days off? where did this vacation time come from??) and satisfy my wanderlust with a little European adventure. I’ll be spending time in Amsterdam and Oslo, visiting family (and getting back to my Swedish roots!) in Stockholm, and finally embarking on a whirlwind solo tour of Spain. I’ve never seen/read it, but I’m hoping for an Eat Pray Love self-discovery type of scenario on this trip, emphasis on the Eat, and maybe let’s replace the Pray with Yoga and add Drink (because, hi, sangria), so Eat Drink Yoga Love? Does that work? Whatever, I’ve heard about the churro and melted chocolate stands in Seville, so maybe we just call my as-yet-unwritten travel memoir Eat and be done with it.

I’ve spent very little time in Spain (a few days in Barcelona almost a decade ago) and have never visited The Netherlands, so I’m pretty desperate for advice for planning this trip.

Have you spent time in Spain or Amsterdam? What did you see? Where did you stay? What did you eat? Where did you shop? Any tips for travelling alone? I’d love to hear from you!

Image credits clockwise from top left: sacramento street, Culture Club, Vanessa Jackmanremain simple, Vanessa JackmanPinterest

 

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glassroots tour

Glassybaby l TWELFTH AVENUE
Green Glassybaby l TWELFTH AVENUE
Glassybaby Decisions l TWELFTH AVENUE
Orange Glassybaby l TWELFTH AVENUE
Glassybaby Choices l TWELFTH AVENUE
As you may have seen on Instagram, I stopped in at the Portland glassybaby seconds sale last Saturday and picked up some gems. It was so fun standing in line with fellow glassybaby lovers and picking through the gobs of brightly colored glass. People had boxes and boxes of these beautiful votives, collecting for their homes or giving away as gifts. There are endless ways to use and gift these hand-blown glass votives.

The company gives 10% of every glassybaby sold to organizations that provide hope and healing to people, animals and the environment. From Saturday’s seconds sale, 10% of sales were donated to OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Challenge.

Do you know about their glassroots tour? It’s a cross-country tour bringing glassybaby to 30 cities over 16 weeks starting September 1st, 2014 until Christmas. Some stops include; Seattle, Portland, Bend, Sun Valley, Jackson, Chicago and Detroit. To learn more, visit here.

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