Nervous But Excited

Ryan surprised me with tickets to see Nervous But Excited at The Ark on Saturday evening, which I never even suspected & it was such a wonderful surprise to get; I am one lucky girl to have such a thoughtful husband!

We first heard of Nervous But Excited/saw them at the Folk Festival a couple months ago & I really enjoy seeing them perform live. My personal favorite Nervous But Excited song is “Said & Done” – it’s so lovely it kind of makes me want to cry…

by Valerie | 04.26.10 | Around town, For Funsies | 2 Comments »

Wild abandon

It’s Friday & it’s lovely out! This is a childhood photo of me…just look at that expression on my face – I must have been really happy/excited; let us all enjoy the day & this lovely weekend with wild abandon!

by Valerie | 04.23.10 | For Funsies | No Comments »

Plant Princess

This is Lisa & she’s a doll – not literally, of course…just a really awesome person! Lisa runs a fabulous flower/plant/container gardening shop in Ann Arbor called Pot & Box & she’s become a fast favorite of mine.

My friend, Amy, & I had the pleasure of visiting Lisa in her shop last Saturday (this is quickly becoming a habit of mine too, which I’m fine with!) & I picked up some really great things. I got a beautiful planter filled with snapdragons, pansies, & brussels sprouts, a blooming cabbage plant, a pot filled with different kinds of moss & succulents, & some beautiful quince branches.

Here are some other flowers I’ve picked up from Lisa’s shop & photos of Lisa’s shop…just lovely!

I’m amazed at how quickly Lisa can throw an amazing arrangement or pot together & how easy she makes it look. You may have noticed, from some of my previous posts or especially if you know me personally, that I have an affinity for flowers & plants & I make sure to surround myself with them in my home & office & just about anywhere I can because they really do brighten my day & are so lovely to look at – so knowing Lisa brings me great joy!

And this is Lisa’s adorable dog, Ko – I love dogs too, so I had to mention Ko as well!

by Valerie | 04.21.10 | Around town, For Funsies | 2 Comments »

Maple Bourbon Grilled Tofu, Skillet Potatoes, and Brussels Sprout Slaw

Maple Bourbon Marinated Tofu with Garlic Pan-Fried Potatoes & Brussels Sprout Slaw

I am not a big fan of cooking shows usually, I find them a bit tedious at times and often they cook things I don’t care to eat. That said I am fan of Top Chef on Bravo, not really for the competition aspect of it, but the inventiveness of many of the chefs on the show. The other night while working I had it on TV and heard one of the judges say that they were impressed by a brussels sprout slaw that had raw brussels sprouts in it. I sat there at first very confused because I myself had never really like the taste of raw brussels sprouts and didn’t understand how it could be good, but I figured I would try my own version by modifying a slaw recipe I had once read replacing cabbage with the brussels sprout.

As for the tofu, I had some really good smoked tofu at a local restaurant the other night and figured I’d try to take it one step further and southern it up some more. So here it all goes…

Ingredients for the tofu:
1 package of extra-firm tofu
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup bourbon (I used Maker’s Mark)
1-2 tablespoons of course ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon smoked pepper
1 tablespoon molasses
and some salt and pepper

Ingredients for the slaw:
2 cups sliced brussels sprouts (use either a knife or vegetable slicer)
1 small green bell pepper minced (or finely diced)
1 shallot minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
some lemon zest (I zested half the lemon I used)
kosher salt and course ground black pepper (a 50/50 mix about a teaspoon worth)
a sprinkling of cayenne (1/4-1/2 teaspoon perhaps)

Ingredients for the potatoes:
8 small yukon gold potatoes sliced
3 cloves of garlic
olive oil (about a table spoon)
some gourmet grinder blend, salt, and pepper to taste


Brussels Sprout Slaw

The slaw is pretty simple: take all the ingredients and mix them up in a bowl. The cayenne I think is key here and is a really nice addition adding a subtle spiciness to the whole thing, but don’t add too much. Its the easiest thing to do for the meal so do it first and set it aside. I let mine sit in a bowl for about an hour or two before serving so that the flavors really mixed. You could make it right before or even earlier. I know at some point you are asking yourself about the flavor of raw brussels sprout but try it before you bag on this recipe.

Pan-Fried Potatoes

The potatoes are also simple and easy, but they take the longest to cook. Heat up a skillet to medium heat (or slightly above). Heat up the olive oil in the pan, toss in the garlic let it cook for a few minutes not too long though, add the potatoes and cook them until tender. About 20-30 minutes. Season it to your liking before you finish cooking them. I used some kosher salt, course ground black pepper, and some gourmet grinder blend.

Maple Bourbon Marinated Tofu with Garlic Pan-Fried Potatoes & Brussels Sprout Slaw

Prep the tofu as I did here in this post. Try to remove as much of the moisture from it as possible. In a bowl mix together the maple syrup, bourbon, mustard, smoked pepper, and molasses. After preparing the tofu soak the tofu in the marinade for 15-30 minutes. Make sure that the some of the mustard seed stick to the tofu as well.

Heat up a grill pan to medium heat on the stove (I guess you can use a real grill if you want to but I was being a little lazy). Toss the tofu on there grill, grill each side until the tofu is cooked through and the grill pan has left some really nice grill marks on the tofu. Its somewhere around 6 minutes each side. Salt and pepper the tofu as it cooks right before you take it off. I used a Chardonnay Oak Smoked Sea Salt for the salt and a little bit of coarse ground black pepper. Put it all on a plate and enjoy.

by Ryan | 04.19.10 | Recipes | 5 Comments »

Elbow Room

What a fun weekend we had! Got to spend a lot of time with many wonderful friends, saw some live music (our friends Jim Roll & Danny Kline played) at the Elbow Room in Ypsi on Friday night, did some great shopping at all my favorite places (Pot & Box, Everyday Wines, Treasure Mart, Tea Haus, etc.), had a great breakfast at Beezy’s & saw the 2010 Graduate Degree Exhibition of Cranbrook Academy of Art at MOCAD in Detroit on Saturday, & saw Little Shop of Horrors at the Performance Network with friends on Sunday!

by Valerie | 04.18.10 | Around town, For Funsies | No Comments »

Fair weather

Our patio doesn’t look like this quite yet, but it will soon! And with the weather being so gorgeous in Ann Arbor today (high of 80 – in April – & that’s impressive here!), I am struggling to sit in my office when I can hear the birds chirping outside & feel the cool breeze & see the sunny day just out my window. Sure would be nice to be sitting on my patio right now, wearing a billowy skirt, sipping on a glass of white wine with fresh berries & mint in it, & just enjoying this beautiful day – guess it’ll have to wait until after 5pm…

by Valerie | 04.15.10 | Around our home, Around town | 2 Comments »

Spring, spring, spring

This is why I can’t get enough of Ann Arbor in the spring…

by Valerie | 04.10.10 | Around town | No Comments »

RC Cola + Herbs = love

Ryan & I picked up an old, wooden RC Cola crate when we were in El Paso, TX last December & I thought it would make a great planter. So, we went herb shopping at the farmer’s market today & put it together & I think it has to be just about the cutest herb planter ever! We planted rosemary, thyme, basil, thai basil, oregano, & mint.

by Valerie | 04.10.10 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden | 1 Comment »

Love that Lill!

I was so excited to open my box of two new, custom designed purses from 1154 Lill Studio today! And here they are…

by Valerie | 04.10.10 | For Funsies | 3 Comments »

Happy Easter!

by Valerie | 04.04.10 | Holidaze | No Comments »

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