Monday, September 26, 2011

Meatless Monday: Soup Roundup

Fall - as of Friday, it was official. What a fabulous season! We are looking forward to sipping mulled wine, wearing tights and boots, finding persimmons at the market, watching leaves turn bright shades of red and orange, and eating warm comfort food.

So this week we are taking a look at all kinds of soup from vegetarian pho (the traditional Vietnamese noodle dish) to cornmeal soup from everyone's favorite rustic Italian chef Lidia Bastianich. Soup is a simple way to make any meal meatless. There are so many options from straight veggie to soups loaded with noodles or rice. If you find a delicious looking recipe made with chicken or beef stock, just sub in some great quality veg stock and you're in business.

Swede Soup with pickled hazelnuts and turnips (fyi a "swede" is a rutabaga)

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Stylish iPhone Case - the perfect accessory

Bags, shoes, earrings - check, check and check. Of course we all have those quintessential accessories down pat - they complete our look. But let's say you're one of the millions of iPhone users - you want something that matches your style as far as that goes too, yes?

We've all seen the same, tired iPhone cases you can get at the Apple Store, or the cheap-o ones that you can purchase at a mall kiosk with your fave sports team logo. But what's a girl to do if she wants something unique and stylish - something that catches admiring looks from passers-by when you pull it out to text or schedule your next hair appointment?

Of course, the Muses have a few suggestions for you:

1) Go totally unique -- Society 6 is a venue for artists to sell their creations. Browse more than 12,000 pieces of artwork to find something that speaks to you...or speaks about you. The best part, they will turn any painting, picture, or print from their website into a case or skin for your iPhone, iPod, or even your computer.

2) Support individual vendors & their creativity -- you can find almost anything to suit your fancy on Soft cloth covers, cute little pockets, hard covers that look like retro Nintendo holders or phones - if you want it, chances are you can find it on Etsy - or commission a vendor to create it for you.

3) As if we need to tell you -- two little words that make any girl happy: Kate Spade.

Mandala by Peter Patrick Barreda

Because for at least one of the Muses the dream of being a Mermaid never died

Oh Kate, how we love thee

meatless monday: slooooow food

Meatless Monday isn't just about going without meat - it's about celebrating "slow" food, food that is grown locally, is fresh and takes time to prepare. Chances are if you don't live in California like the West Coast Muse, you relish any opportunity to score fresh, locally-grown produce on the cheap. I, the East Coast Muse, and my dear husband have recently signed up for produce box delivery through Washington's Green Grocer. A box of produce in a size our little family can handle is delivered every Thursday to our building. We get an email four days prior letting us know what's going to be in our box (perfect for meal planning), and if we're ever out of town we can cancel our box for that week. There's no contract or obligation, so if it ever gets to be too much, we have the option to cancel without charge or agitation. The variety of goodies that come in the box is tremendous, and I'm having so much fun trying vegetables I've never actually purchased or cooked before (e.g. beets - I love beets but I've never actually cooked them before! Those were fun). I find that the fruit does get to be a bit much for us, but a clever solution I've discovered is to chop it up and put it into Ziploc bags in the freezer - add milk and ice, and a smoothie can be prepared anytime and on the quick.

What about you, faithful readers? How do you celebrate "slow" food?

Now, lest you walk away disappointed at a schpeel rather than fun, know that we wouldn't be the Muses if we didn't leave you with some parting goodies. We would like to share two delectable recipes for you today: eggplant dippers with marinara (courtesy and Carrot Cake Sandwiches (from A Cozy Kitchen). Check them out and let us know what you think!

Cheers to slow, meatless cooking, baking and eating!

photo courtesy

photo courtesty

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cupcake Wars - you know we gonna kill it!

That's right friends, yours truly and yours truly are currently on Step 3 of the casting process for Cupcake Wars (read: first we were called back because of our hilarious email to the casting office; then WCM wooed the casting agent on the phone with her ridiculous antics and charming personality - xoxo love you Chancey!). After all that we were asked to make an audition video. Certainly tough to do when we live on other sides of the country but we managed to come up with a fun creative video nonetheless. we just need to figure out what to do with 10 Grand.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Meatless Monday: fancy pants rice and beans

We recently had a Meatless Monday suggestion from a good friend of the West Coast Muse. Leah's culinary savvy equals her elegance so when she gave a recipe suggestion my ears perked up for sure.

This is a gourmet version of rice and beans that stemmed from a recipe in Gourmet. The base is rice, beans, and sweet potatoes, topped with roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds); direction for all that is below. When Leah and her precious family had this for dinner, they added some delicious accoutrements and layered the rice and beans as follows:

Beans (any type you like)
Roasted sweet potato
Queso fresco 
Toasted pepitas
Spritz of lime juice and some salt

This recipe could not be simpler so it would be the perfect thing to throw together as a quick Meatless Monday dinner (or lunch!)


Roasted Sweet Potato Cubes
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.
Toss sweet potatoes with oil and salt, then spread in 1 layer in a large shallow baking pan. Roast, stirring and turning over once or twice, until tender and browned, 35 to 40 minutes.

Rice and Beans
2 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
4 to 4 1/4 cups Kemp’s black beans

Bring water, rice, and salt to a boil in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat and cook, tightly covered, until rice is tender and water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Let stand, covered, off heat 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup hulled (green) pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas; not toasted)
2 teaspoons olive oil

Toast pumpkin seeds in a dry 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick; preferably cast-iron) over moderate heat, stirring, until seeds are puffed and pale golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in oil and salt to taste.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Friday!

From Zara's photographic love letter to America. This photo is an ode to Florida, where your sweet Muses met and fell in love. 

The new Design Sponge book is out.

Check out Gourmet Traveller's tantalizing collection of coffee dessert recipes - great for a sweet pick me up. The chocolate, fig, and hazelnut semifreddo looked particularly sumptuous.

Loving the rain.

In Fashion this week....

The Limited started selling shoes (!!)

Zara opened its online shop. Dangerous.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gifts for an expecting mama

For so many of us, it's that stage in life - babies and weddings.  Admittedly, it is a very fun stage. So many friends welcome new loved little ones into their lives and you get to spend your Saturdays oooing and aahing over wittle baby clotheys and stuffing your face with finger sandwiches. We know what to buy an expecting mother for a baby shower since she has a registry but we've also come up with a few gifts to help you pamper your to-be mama when she first finds out she's got a bun in the oven. 

The Belly Band - no need for a whole slew of new maternity pants, toss it over any unbuttoned pants and she can keep wearing that favorite pair of trousers for months!

Pregnancy Tea - You can find a number of caffeine free teas that aid everything from nausea relief to healthy lactation.

Stretch Mark Prevention Cream - you may want to save this kind of thing for a close friend or sister as some people might not love the suggestion that they are about to be covered in stretch marks. But really, in our minds, anyone that would help us stay bikini ready should definitely be considered a friend.

Ginger Candies - another great way to help fight nausea. These do have a pretty strong ginger flavor so they aren't for the faint of heart. Also, you can usually find these at Trader Joe's.

Pregnancy Pillow - These glorified body pillows help a mom by allowing her to rest her ever growing belly on something while sleeping, relieving stress from her back. 

What do you think? What were some things you wished you would have had early on in a pregnancy?

Lots o' love,

The Muses

Friday, September 2, 2011

Happy Friday!

We are loving the Lanvin Fall/Winer 2011-2012 collection. Check out those beautiful red and coral dresses...and they move so well when fist pumping! However, our male dancers should maybe just stick to catwalks #whitefolk.

So who mandated no white after Labor Day in the first place? If you must know, Time dishes the scoop.

Obsessed with the new web site Museum of Useful Things offering fun kitschy items and great gifts. Personally, we love the idea of this Mason's Tote as a weekender bag!

Never be without the perfect card again, from the always lovely Kate Spade.

Lucky west coasters never have to do without 'em, but east coast gals are always craving lemons. Learn how to preserve lemons, thanks to SF Girl by Bay.

This fairly perfectly sums up the interaction between your bi-coastal Muses over last week's "earthquake". Too funny.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

white jeans after Labor Day? YES WE CAN!

It's almost Fall, which makes this little East Coast Muse giddy with excitement: boots and trenches and sweaters, oh my! (This, of course, isn't really the same for our sweet West Coast Muse, who, thanks to San Francisco's perpetually-brisk weather, gets to wear boots and tights any ole time she likes) But Fall's fast approach also brings on the whole "wear-your-summer-stuff-now-because-it's-almost-Labor-Day" dilemma. I've spotted multiple ladies at the office this week wearing every piece of white clothing in their wardrobe.

HOWEVER -- while getting my shoulder iced yesterday afternoon at the PT office, I flipped through the September issue of InStyle magazine. In it, they answered a reader’s question by saying YES – you CAN wear white jeans* after Labor Day. Only stipulation: style them differently for fall/winter. We suggest pairing them with some dark chunky boots, a camel-colored trench or a long-sleeved button-down (even chambray!).

Enzo Angiolini Alessi Bootie, Classic Khaki Banana Republic Trench, Lucky Brand Ashbury Floral Top, J Crew Selvedge Chambray

The rules are changin', ladies! And yes, if you happen to live on the East Coast, you will see me sporting my white jeans well into late fall/winter.

*please note: if you own white jeggings, go ahead and throw them into the trash now. no need to hang onto those nuisances.