A Baby, Whales and Fun!

imageLast December, T.W.O. officially became aunties to a handsome boy – Hayes! He was the best Christmas present under the Christmas Tree! To officially welcome him into the world, we planned a baby shower to honor him surrounded by family and friends. Being a beach family, we loved the idea of a Whale Theme Baby Shower…Ahoy It’s A Boy!! Our color palette was shades of blue – navy, turquoise and light blue. We used polka dots and solids to offset the whale material we purchased on Fabric.com. We made custom flag banners with personalized onesies, table runners and square center pieces. Whale mobiles hung from the umbrellas, along with blue lantern balls. Simple hydrangea flower arrangements were placed on each table along with small bowls of gold fish. Below are images of the day – hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


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A Big Thank you to Baker Party Rentals who were fantastic to work with!

Games:

1. How Long Is Hayes?

2. Nursery Rhyme Game

3. What’s in the Diaper

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imageFood:

The menu for the shower was simple and light for this hot ‘summer’ March day! There was a crudité plate along with a cheese platter for the guests to munch on when they arrived. We had a drink station set up – Rosé (of course!), homemade ice tea, lemon water, pink lemonade and Pellegrino. For the main entrees, homemade ‘Napa’ Chicken Sandwiches, Orzo Pasta Salad and a Mixed Green Strawberry, Avocado Salad. Dessert?? Of course our mom’s famous carrot cake was served along with lemon bars and custom Hayes chocolates. I don’t think anyone went home starving! Seconds please???

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imageGifts:

Leaving a party empty handed is not really fun, so we made sure to send our guests home with ‘Cookies Ahoy’! We made chocolate dipped shortbread cookies, put them in a bag along with the custom Hayes chocolates and tied a tag on them. Simple, cute and oh so good!

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 Be sure to tune into our blog in a couple weeks where we will be sharing our ‘Napa’ Chicken recipe!

It was the perfect day to celebrate one special baby boy!

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Spaghetti alle Vongole

imageSpaghetti alle vongole is a dish that we love ordering while dining out.  Typically pasta isn’t on the weekly menu at our house, but with this dish we made an exception.  There is nothing like pasta loaded with a ton of clams, lemon juice, garlic and fresh parsley.  Some of the best spaghetti alle vongole we have had has been in Italy, Amsterdam, San Francisco and now in T.W.O.’s kitchen.  Check out how to make this recipe for your family and friends!


Spaghetti alle Vongole

Ingredients:
– 1 lb dry spaghetti*
– 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
– 1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
– 2 lbs littleneck or Manila clams
– 3/4 cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio)
– 2 meyer lemons, juiced
– 1 1/2- 2 cups fresh flat-parsley, chopped
– 1 1/2 cup mizithra cheese, grated
– Sea Salt
– Pepper

* T.W.O. tried a gluten-free pasta which tasted exactly like regular pasta. Our guest didn’t even know it! 

Directions:
1. Wash and scrub the clams.
2. Cook pasta as directed. While the pasta is cooking prepare the sauce.
3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a deep sauce pan with a lid. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes. Add the clams, wine and lemon juice. Cover and cook for 7 minutes or until the clams open. Discard any clams that do not open.
4. Over medium heat, add the drained spaghetti and season with salt and pepper. Toss carefully. Plate the pasta and clams and top with fresh parsley and mizithra cheese. Sprinkle with lemon juice if desired.
5. Enjoy!


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Bon Appétit,

T.W.O. signature

Dutch Tomato Soup

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 T.W.O. spent some time in Amsterdam over the Holidays and discovered how amazing their tomato soup was.  The Dutch made it the right way – hearty, full of flavor and fresh tasting.  Each afternoon we escaped the cold and went into a café ordered some mint tea and a bowl of soup.  Most (well maybe all) of the time the tea was followed by a glass of craft ‘bier’ that was on tap…Heineken, Witte  Brouwerij ‘t IJ, Amstel, the list goes on.  We had to do as the locals do! Anyways, we got home to the States and decided to recreate the tastes and flavor of the tomato soup in our own kitchen.  In our eyes, we pretty much perfected the Dutch recip.  We were missing one thing though…the ambiance.  There is no place like Europe!

Hope you have fun making the soup; we did!  Also, make sure to check the blog next week we will be featuring a portion of our Europe trip! #BritTwoDutch


Ingredients
-3 lbs fresh tomatoes (we used tomatoes on a vine)
– 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
– 2 cups sweet onion, chopped
– 1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
– 1 cup celery, chopped
– 2 Tablespoons garlic, chopped
– 2 bay leaves
– 1 cup fresh basil,chopped
– 2 large sprigs thyme
– 2 large stalks Italian flat-leaf parsley
– 1 cup vegetable broth (low sodium)
– 1 15oz canned tomato sauce
– 1 Tablespoon sugar
-5  Tablespoons tomato paste, divided
–  Salt
–  Pepper
– Red pepper flakes

Instructions
1.  Take the tomatoes and cup in half.  Remove the seeds using a stainer making sure to save the juice in a bowl underneath.  Place the tomatoes in another bowl.  Take the liquid left in the strainer bowl and add to the tomato halves.
2. In a large heavy bottomed pot, add olive oil, onions, carrots, celery, garlic and bay leaves. Cook over medium high for five minutes. Add tomato halves with juice.
3. Add half of the fresh cut up basil. Tie whole thyme and whole parsley together with twine and place in pot.
4. Add broth, tomato juice, sugar, 3 tablespoons tomato paste, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover and cook 30 minutes.
5. Remove and discard bay leaves, thyme and parsley.
6.Add second half of basil to the soup. Stir in pepper flakes and butter. With a food processor, blend soup until completely pureed.
7. Add the soup back into the pot and cook for 10 minutes.  (If you like it thick, add the remaining two tablespoons of tomato paste. )


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Happy Cooking,
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Risotto with Meyer Lemons

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With the holidays being over, cooking sounds like the last thing to do.  Well not for T.W.O.! We are excited to share recipes with you and this year we are kicking off the Recipe of the Day with Meyer Lemon Risotto. A co-worker gifted this fabulous Buvette cookbook during a Christmas exchange.  It is one of her favorite restaurants in New York (also in Paris) and we can’t wait to go to Buvette after making this fabulous dish.  T.W.O. added mushrooms to our dish to step it up.  Flavor not needed though if you don’t like mushrooms. Enjoy!


Meyer Lemon Risotto

(as seen in the Buvette cookbook)

Ingredients:
– 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– 1 shallot, chopped
– 1 cup risotto rice (or Arborio)
– 1/4 cup dry white wine
– 3-4 cups boiling water
– 2 Meyer lemons
– 1 sprig fresh basil
– 1 small box of crimnini mushrooms, sliced
– 1 cup finely grated pecorino romano
– Salt

Directions:
1. Warm 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high-heat. Add the shallot and cook for 2 minutes.
2. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it turns opaque and starts to make a popping noise. (1-2 minutes)
3. Add the white wine and pinch of salt. Cook until the wine has nearly evaporated. (about 2 minutes)
4. Add a cup of boiling water and cook, stirring continuously, until the water has nearly evaporated. Add more water when the surface of the rice is coated with small bubbles. Repeat with the second cup of water and add the lemon zest and mushrooms.
5. Add a third cup of water and the basil sprig and cook until the liquid is almost gone. Test the rice and make sure it is cooked. If not, add some more water. This process should take about 20 minutes.
6. Once the rice is cooked, remove from heat and add the cheese. Season the risotto with salt and pepper and serve!


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Name that Apple

imageWith Thanksgiving this week everyone is scrambling to get their grocery shopping done and the house ready for the guests.  Forget anything….I am sure you did.  What about name cards?  If you did, don’t stress. T.W.O. has the perfect and affordable name cards you can use on your Thanksgiving table.  You can even pick up some of the supplies while at the grocery store.  Check out how we made these fabulous gold apple name cards.

Supplies:

– Apples (T.W.O. used Granny Smith apples)
– Gold spray paint (or any other metallic color depending on color scheme)
– white paper
– scissors
– pen


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Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Homemade Spicy Peanut Sauce

DSC_0957Standing in the fresh produce section and thinking to ourselves, what shall T.W.O. make for dinner tonight?!  Well, it’s November and the weather in Southern California is 85 degree so all these Fall recipes didn’t sound appetizing in this heat. We walked down the aisles and decided on lettuce wraps. Random? Maybe! It was a good choice though for this warm night. Below is a simple recipe for those “what to cook nights?” that will have your family wanting seconds.


Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Homemade Spicy Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:
– red leaf cabbage
– ground turkey
– crimini mushrooms
– 2 cups rice noodles
– white rice (cooked)
– 1 cup shredded carrots
– 3 cloves garlic
– 1/2 Maui sweet onion, chopped
– 2 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
– 1/4 cup green onions, diced

For the Spicy Peanut Sauce:
– 1/2 cup Justin’s Peanut Butter
– Juice from 1 lemon
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1 1/2 Tablespoons sriracha
– 2 Tablespoons almond or cocnut milk
– 1 Tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
– 1/4-1/2 cup hot water (depending on desired consistency)

Directions:
1. In a pan sauté the onions and garlic. Add the ground turkey. Cook until done.
2. While the ground turkey is cooking, prep the peanut sauce. Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.  Add more or less water depending n desired consistency.  Set aside.
3. Cook the rice noodles as directed. Set aside.
4. Chop the green onions and wash the cabbage.
5. Assemble the lettuce wraps with the noodles, turkey mixture and top with the peanut sauce and green onions. Add the white rice to the plate.


 

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Happy cooking!

T.W.O. signature

Crunchy Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

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Greek yogurt and fruit is a very common breakfast for T.W.O. But lately, this dish has been missing something- crunch! So since it is Fall (even though the weather doesn’t feel like it in California!), we decided to add some Fall flavor to granola! This recipe is so simple and yet so flavorful! The best part about it too is that it is healthy, gluten free and full of nutrients to help start your morning off right. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


Crunchy Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

Ingredients:
– 3 cups rolled oats
– 2 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1 tsp ground allspice
– 1 tsp ground nutmeg
– ½ tsp ground ginger
– ½ cup pure maple syrup (or agave/honey)
– ½ cup pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
– ½ cup applesauce, unsweetened
– 2 Tbsp brown sugar
– 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
– 1 cup dried cranberries
– ½ cup pumpkin seeds (optional)

Directions:
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients (oats through ginger) and set aside.
3. In another bowl, combine the next 5 ingredients (maple syrup through vanilla) with a whisk.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. With a spatula, combine thoroughly before folding in the dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds.
5. Spread evenly on the baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
6. Cool completely before storing.


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Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks

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Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks

Ingredients:
– 2 Ahi Tuna Steaks
– 1 large lemon
– 1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
– ¼ cup soy sauce
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– Pepper
– Krazy Salt

Directions:
1. Put the ahi steaks on a plate. Marinate with lemon, cayenne pepper, soy sauce, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Set aside and let sit for 15 minutes.
2. While the steaks are marinating, pre-heat barbeque.
3. Place the steaks on the barbeque over medium heat and cook for 4 minutes on each side.
4. Remove steaks for heat. Slice and plate with your favorite side dish.


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Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Hatch Chile Sauce

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Taco Tuesday? How about Enchilada Tuesday!?!? Yes! Hatch chilies are in season, so T.W.O. decided to make a homemade enchilada sauce. And boy did we turn up the heat! Hatch chilies compliment the chicken and pepper jack cheese nicely. Grab your apron and lets start cooking!


Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Hatch Chile Sauce

Ingredients:
– 1 ¼ pounds hatch chilies (poblano chiles also work)
– 3 Tablespoons olive oil
– 8 cloves garlic, chopped
– 2 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon ground pepper
– 3 ¾ cups reduce-sodium chicken broth
– 10 corn tortillas
– 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese, shredded
– 3 cups shredded cooked chicken*
– 4 Tablspoons cilantro, chopped
– 1 cup crimini mushrooms, diced
For garnish:
– 1 avocado
– sour cream
– cilantro
– lime
*T.W.O. shredded a whole rotisserie chicken

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to a broil. Make sure the racks are positioned in the middle of the oven.
2. Places the hatch chilies on a baking sheet lines with foil and broil for about 15 minutes, turning them halfway through.
3. Remove from the oven and reduce heat of the oven to 400°. Once the chilies are cooled, pull the skins off and remove the steams and seeds.
4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chilies and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes and then add 1 ¼ cups chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let reduce for 10 minutes.
5. Place the chile mixture into a blender and blend on low until the mixture starts to look like a pesto. Set aside.
6. In a bowl mix together the shredded chicken, mushroom and cilantro. Set aside.
7. Using the same skillet, add 2 ½ cups chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Dip each tortilla in the hot broth to moisten and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 9 tortillas.
8. Add 2 teaspoons of cheese to each tortilla and the chicken and mushroom mixture.
9. Roll them up and place in a 9×13 baking dish, seam side down.
10. Pour the chile sauce over the enchiladas, leaving the edges exposed. Top with the remaining shredded cheese.
11. Bake in the middle rack for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Once melted, turn the oven to broil and cook until the cheese is brown.
12. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes. Serve and garnish with cilantro, avocado, lime and anything else your heart desires!


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Cheers,
T.W.O. signature

Arugula Salad with Sliced Green Apples

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T.W.O. created this Arugula Salad to complement their surf and turf dinner.  It’s a simple recipe that  includes green apples and shaved parmesan reggiano cheese with a homemade lemon dijon vinaigrette.


Arugula Salad with Sliced Green Apples

Ingredients:

– 6 cups arugula
– ¼ cup lemon juice
– ¼ cup white vinegar
– 4 Tablespoons olive oil
– 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
– 2 green apples, diced
– 1 cup shaved parmesan reggiano cheese
– 2 teaspoon garlic powder
– Salt
– Pepper

Directions:
1.Add the arugula to a bowl. Thinly slice the green apple and add to the lettuce. Top with shaved parmesan.
2.For the dressing: mix the olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Make sure all the ingredients are mixed well.
3.Once the dressing is done, add to the salad mixture. Toss and serve!


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