Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Living Kitchen

When my in-laws were in town a couple weeks ago, I picked up the March Tulsa People magazine. They had an article about a farm / restaurant that I am really interested in visiting so I thought I would share it with any other local Tulsans that didn't read the article. There is a 7 acre farm in Bristow, OK that during the summer and fall months, they host home-made dinners with locally raised or grown ingredients. You get a tour of the farm, and meet other diners as you all sit at one of two long communal tables, and former Seattle chef, Lisa Becklund prepares a feast!
There are different dinner themes from Native American to Lavendar Fest, to Garlic Dreams, however, the dinners are only on specific evenings so you must make a reservation and their web-site says they book quickly. But to give you an idea of what the night may include...a refreshing spritzer upon arrival to sip on during the tour of the farm, a starter soup, followed by a salad, a refreshing ice to cleanse the palate, a main course, and of course a desert, not to mention tastings of locally produced wines! I am so excited to try this out, and think this will be my post-baby dinner celebration with my husband! You can visit their web-site by clicking here, or to read the article that was in the Tulsa People magazine, just click on the title of this post. This certainly sounds like a fancy evening to me!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Shoelala, The Men's Store for Fancy Shoes

In an episode of The Office (not last week, but the week before), Michael has all these great ideas, including The Golden Ticket offer which gives the customer a 10% discount if they happen to receive the "golden ticket" in their next paper shipment. He also mentions one of his other great ideas, "Shoelala", a store for fancy men's shoes so you can buy for all those special occasions in a man's life, like the birth of a child, wedding...I was so proud because Michael Scott actually used the word "fancy" too! So, I searched around at different shoe stores online to see if I was a purchaser for Shoelala, what I would stock at a Fancy Men's Shoe Store. Here is what I found.
These are the fancy occasions I would suggest they be worn to starting on the top row going from left to right:
1. Summer or spring garden parties as well as the occasional illustrated Easter sermon.
2. Your wedding, or any time you must go to a government office - they will take you seriously if you wear these.
3. Prom or your wedding reception.
4. These are your fancy, around the house slippers.
5. One for every work day + 1 bonus pair that is great for those important meetings.
6. For those footloose moments where you just have to dance. (the heel is not removable)
7. ORU Graduation to really show your school spirit.
8. Your first child's birth- comfortable, stylish, wipeable, and they will blend-in.
9. For any time you meet the emperor in his new clothes.

I wish I could find that specific clip from the episode, but since I can't, here is a link to watch the full episode.
Fancy Schmancy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fancy Feline's

I think it is relatively stereotyped that cats are the fancy animals out of the animal kingdom (with maybe the exception of well-groomed poodles). From their food being called "Fancy Feast", to the bedazzled accessories that can be worn by the felines or their owners, they certainly seem to have cornered the market on "fancy", for animals anyway. (If in doubt, just look to the left.)
Well, my brother shared the most exciting new development in fancy feline wear with me this morning and I couldn't help but pass it along to any of you cat owners. What is this new fanciness you ask? Well, what if I told you, you could purchase your darling family pet a beautiful new wig to give your animal the lustrous hair you always dreamed they could have!? I know, you would purchase one right away wouldn't you? Well, now you can. Here is a sampling:

They come in "Bashful Blond," "Electric Blue", "Silver Fox", and my personal favorite "Pink Passion." Just click here to visit the site to see the glory and fancy for yourself. Please make sure you read the descriptions of each wig, and of course the info on the model- all of it is most satisfying. Enjoy and please do send me pictures of your fancy felines in their new hair-dos! (Be forewarned they are on back order right now so you may have to wait a few weeks!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Beach Music

I wish I had come up with this title on my own as it means I may have written the beautiful novel of the same name, but I didn't. Instead, Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides and an assundry of other books, wrote it. So, let me just say that this book is beautifully written. It is the type of book that you read just to be moved by the beauty of the way the author arranges language. The story of course is itself good too, takes place in Italy and in South Carolina, and it discusses World War II, and Vietnam all in the context of one individuals life and how he was affected by his parents generation, his generation and how he in turn is raising his daughter. So, just to give you a little flavor of his writing ability, here are some quotes from the book for you to enjoy...

"She made my bloodstream feel like the place that the gods had to find before they could discover fire." (I am sure I do that to Micah too, so maybe that line was written about me?)

"The Class of 1966 was entering an America that was newly hallucinatory and disfigured. The whole country seemed to have turned inward upon itself and all the old certainties seemed marginal and hollow, and that tangy confidence of a nation accustomed to strutting turned hesitant almost overnight. As our footsteps echoed across the stage, this class entered a country that was traveling incognito even to itself. We would become part of the first American generation of this century to wage war on each other. The Vietnam War would be the only foreign war ever fought on American soil. All were free to choose sides. Bystanders were ridiculed and not tolerated. There were no survivors in the sixties, only casualties and prisoners of war and veterans who cried out in the dark."

"He was a tall man, built like a heron and with the face of a spooked herbivore, and vaguely off-balance."

"In the language of my church I could approach the alter of God with words like flung roses sustaining me. Without faith so long, I could hear my church singing me love songs as the priest stepped closer to my mother. The words were winged and feathered, drifting like Paracletes around me. This mother, this holy earth, this basilica that once had housed me."

That is it for now, and probably hardly even the best phrases in the book. In fact, my favorite line I can't find, but something along the lines of "her eyes held the terror of a thousand birds released to flight." So, if you enjoy reading for the sake of beauty than this is a beautifully written book to read. Be forewarned, it is probably rated PG-13 at least for language and some adult situations between the wars and well, men and women too. Also, it is melodramatic (as you can tell from the writing style above), so just be prepared to give some license there. Click on the picture for Amazon reviews or to purchase. No, I am not paid for recommending this book!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Raw Steak and Potatoes

No, not raw steak as in beef, but rather, mushroom steaks! Had you fooled didn't I? Well, as you will see in the pictures, I decided last minute instead to use button portobelo mushrooms instead of the large caps. Don't ask me why because I don't remember now why I did that. But, it was all raw, and it was delicious and filling and a hearty meal that any mid-western man or woman would enjoy!

This was the first time I had made these mashed potatoes, but they turned out sooo creamy and delicious. They are made from jicama root and cashews. My husband didn't know what jicama was when he went to the store for me, so for those of you who also might not know what it looks like...

The one thing I did make slightly different than the recipe book, is while I made the stuffing mix, I marinated the mushroom caps in a little Nama Shoyu sauce to give them a little more salt / meat flavor and soften them slightly. If you have a dehydrator, I would put them in there with the Nama Shoyu, stuff them and then return to the dehydrator.

I took pictures of the recipes from my books this time because I did not create these, nor did I tweak these to make them a little more uniquely a "Cheryl Barnard Raw Recipe" (other than the above marinating). So, below are the recipes in their completely original state!

So, if you fancy raw food, or steak and potatoes, give these a try. We brought the left-overs to some friends who are doing raw food for 30 days on a cleanse. They decided to make them themselves now too, so this is easy enough for beginners to make and tasty enough for people who don't usually eat raw food. If you can't see the recipes clearly enough and you really want to make one of these, let me know and I can type it out for you in some really fancy font to make it extra special.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

One More!

In case anyone was wondering, our sweet little baby on the way was definitely a surprise for us and about a year earlier than we were originally planning!

Micah felt the baby kick on Sunday too! We hope to find out boy or girl on March 23rd.

Half Way to the Birthday!!!

Well, I am officially 20 weeks, which means half-way to our baby's birthday! I thought I would do a fun photo shoot to commemorate this first milestone for our family. Here are some of my favorite shots, proudly showing my growing belly!

BTW- the cupcakes are cut in half since it is the half-birthday, but don't worry, I ate a whole cupcake in celebration! The cupcakes are from Cupcakez on Mingo in Tulsa.
Mmmm deliciousness and fanciness abound there!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Anniversary Dinner Salad Picture Found!

I found one! I forgot I took a picture of the roasted asparagus salad I made for our anniversary dinner (two posts down), so here it is. I realize this is a little anti-climactic of a post, but for those who appreciate pictures of food...

Please keep in mind I took this picture with my phone

BTW- the dressing was:
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
1/2 clove garlic
approx. 1/2 tsp. grainy mustard
dried oregano to taste

Just a tease to keep you coming back- I have two new yummy raw recipes I have recently tried that I will be posting soon, and I started clearing the way for a garden which I am soooo excited about! Plus, I will be sharing some great lines from a fantastic novel I just completed and some of my favorite new Micah photos.
Oh so fancy!
(remember, I am trying out some sign-off lines?)

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Micah wanted to surprise me for our anniversary this year and he planned a trip all by himself and didn't tell me where we were going. I knew he was missing the mountains badly so I was preparing to go to some winter-wonderland, when the day before leaving he told me we needed to go shopping for a maternity swimsuit! I then figured we might be going to see Lindsey Weyer, my childhood best friend, and her husband Jack who live less than a mile from the beach in Jacksonville, Florida and that is exactly where we went!

Micah tried surfing for the first time ever, and he made a valiant effort. It wasn't the greatest of conditions, so we will have to try again sometime soon, and hopefully then I can do it too.

I had great hang-out time with Lindsey, so good to see her again!

Since it was our anniversary, we wanted a picture to commemorate it and show the growing belly! I did get royally sunburned, but it was well worth it.
Yeah for anniversaries and great friends! On our way back the flights were continually overbooked too, so we ended up with $700 in vouchers to use on our next vacation. Now we are thinking of going to the winter-wonderland I mentioned and go skiing after the baby arrives.

Anniversary Dinner

As you know, Micah and I recently celebrated our two-year anniversary, so I thought I would share our anniversary meal. Micah had started to feel sick and he was working 12+ hour days on a film shoot for three weeks in a row, including Saturdays, so we knew it would be a quiet night at home. So, I borrowed a recipe idea from a friend, Christa Baca for easy home-made calzones (check out her blog here). I bedazzled the calzone a little bit more by adding hearts to the crust in honor of our anniversary, and I also made a delicious Italian salad with roasted asparagus.

I won't lie and tell you I made the dough from scratch, but rather I got the dough near the crescent rolls and cinnamon rolls and just unrolled that flat, filled with sauce, cheese and toppings and folded it back over and pinched the sides together. I baked according the instructions on the roll. It was so simple and delicious! (thanks Christa for the idea!).

The salad was also super easy, but I unfortunately wolfed it down so fast I didn't take a picture:
  • To roast the asparagus, you wash and then trim the bottom ends. Lay on a baking sheet and generously salt and pepper and dot with butter. Roast in a 400 degree oven, tossing once, for about 10-15 minutes (depending on how thick the spears are). Then add on top of the salad!
  • I also made croutons that night since Micah really likes them and I don't typically buy them (why add unnecessary carbs to a salad!?). Cut up the heel of a loaf of bread, toss in a bag with about 1 tblspn. olive oil, salt, garlic powder and really any seasonings you want depending what salad you are making. I put them on the same pan as the asparagus and just pulled them out a bit early and voila- delicious homemade croutons!
  • The rest of the salad was capers, feta cheese, green olives, grape tomatoes, red onion, field greens and mushrooms.
To finish the evening was our favorite dessert that I made from scratch- Creme Brulee and then we un-romantically watched one of our favorite tv-shows before finally sleeping in separate beds (like I said, he was sick and coughing all night; little baby and I need sleep!).
The creme brulee recipe is surprisingly simple, and oh, so delicious! But you do need to make it the day before so it has time to cool in the fridge and then make the crust the day of. Here is the recipe:
  • 1 quart whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar (I added a little more)
  • 1 tblspn vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • 8 egg yolks
  • dark brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 4 ingredients in a heavy saucepan and warm slowly over low heat until the cream is scalded (180-185 degrees), stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, beat yolks in stainless steel bowl until lemon colored. Very slowly pour hot cream into yolks; do not beat or mixture will foam.
Pour into a 6-8 cup baking dish or individual 6oz. ramekins. Place in a larger baking pan. Fill pan with hot water so water comes halfway up the custard container(s). Bake until knife inserted 1 inch from the edge of custard comes out clean (center will be soft) about 25-30 min. Remove custard from water bath and allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat broiler. Sift brown sugar to depth of 1/4 inch evenly over top of custard. Place custard under broiler 6-8 inches from heat. Watch carefully as sugar will melt in 1-2min. Do not let it burn. When sugar is melted, return immediately to refrigerator to stop the cooking. Serve very col. Crust will hold up for 4-6 hours.

To add a little romance to the evening, I did light our stone fireplace wall with small tea-light candles, moved the roses he gave me to our table, and I had Teitur playing in the background (Teitur is the artist that we danced our first dance as a married couple at our reception, "One and Only" was the song). So, despite the sickness and an evening in, we still managed to celebrate that remarkable day.