Aimee Desiree Press » A little press for photography, style, everyday life by the beach, and Patch

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  • Aimee Desiree Press

    A little pretty press for photography, everyday life by the beach, style, and Patch.

Style: Cynthia Vincent Pouch

This Cynthia Vincent pouch was a recent bridesmaid gift.  I’m in two more weddings in July and I’m kind of hoping these next two brides have the kind of taste the first one did.  And if they gave a cute little purse, that would be awesome (hint, hint).

This pouch is classic, elegant and unique, with a flare of fun.

IMG 5027 Style: Cynthia Vincent Pouch

It’s large enough for all of the essentials and then some, but small enough to fit into a larger purse if need be.

IMG 5029 Style: Cynthia Vincent Pouch

IMG 5032 Style: Cynthia Vincent Pouch

The textured leather reminds me of the bottom of my parents swimming pool with the cool looking stones that refract up through the water.

IMG 5034 Style: Cynthia Vincent Pouch

And the inside is lined with this wonderful print.

IMG 5038 Style: Cynthia Vincent Pouch

IMG 5040 e1308948311581 Style: Cynthia Vincent Pouch

I’m a new fan of this line.  They have these cute blue flats on sale right now!   Oh, this could be dangerous.

July 3, 2011

Alex - Pebbly, it works in fashion and swimming pools. For sure.

Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

IMG 5395 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Inspired by a Costco salad, this Greek Pasta Chicken salad is a little more work, but a lot more taste.  It’s not as fast as dumping salad out of a large plastic container onto a plate; however, it’s much more fresh and delicious.  Not to mention that it’s super easy.  I mean, you:

  1. can get all the ingredients at Trader Joe’s;
  2. only have to cook the pasta (even my 14-year-old nephew can do that);
  3. can add or subtract ingredients, depending on what you like.  (So, it’s like the low-maintenance dish for the high-maintenance family.)

Plus, this salad is a hit at parties.  We served it at Claire’s baby shower.  People were suspicious because it looked “so healthy;” but, it was also gone in a flash.  I think it’s safe to say they liked it!

Here’s the deal:  You need to buy the following ingredients.  I’d say all grocery stores have them, but I have a special place in my heart for TJ’s.

IMG 5109 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

First, put some water to boil and add the pasta.

IMG 5179 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

While you are waiting for the water to boil, wash your veggies and start slicing and dicing.

My husband and I have an ongoing debate about how to slice a bell pepper.  His way sucks (sorry, hon, but it does), so I’ll show two other ways go about it.

One:  Slice off the top and bottom.

IMG 5125 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Then just pull out the seeds and slice away.

IMG 5136 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Two: Slice off one side so that you can steady the bell pepper on one side.

IMG 5151 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Then repeat on the other 3 sides before slicing away.

IMG 5139 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

You can use any kind of tomatoes.  I love cherry maters.  They are crisp, you don’t have to take the seeds out, and you only have to slice them in half.

IMG 5159 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Then dice up half of the red onion.  Or the whole thing if you are into onion breath.  Your call, I don’t judge.

IMG 5169 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

I’m really into rinsing out any kind of food that comes in a can or jar.  It gets rid of a lot of the sodium and then you don’t have to deal with the taste of the brine.

IMG 5181 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

I like to cut artichoke hearts into quarters.  If you don’t usually eat them, you are about to discover a new favorite.  They are so yummy!

IMG 5185 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

IMG 5187 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Like I said, I’m into rinsing out food.  Now, you can season and bake chicken breast to then cool and add to the salad.  But that’s so. much. work. and this salad is meant to be easy.  If you wan to go all out, I suggest using Trader Joe’s everyday seasoning or lemon pepper seasoning.

IMG 5193 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Don’t worry about losing the salt from the pitted kalamata olives.

IMG 5196 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

The low-fat feta cheese is plenty salty.  This is the last of your slicing – woot!  Just cut the cheese into strips…

IMG 5208 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

and break it apart into small chunks.

IMG 5212 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

IMG 5222 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Rinse the pasta :) when it’s done to cool it off.  Then pour it into a large mixing/serving bowl.

IMG 5247 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Look, the salad is already almost done and doesn’t it look pretty so far!

IMG 5273 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Let’s get this salad dressing going.  If you prefer something creamy that you can just pour onto the salad, I’d go with something like this:

IMG 5430 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Personally, I’m into homemade salad dressing.  It’s easy and good for you.  I found a recipe for Greek salad dressing here and then modified it for this recipe.

It’s 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1 cup red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp. dried oregano, 1 Tbsp. dried basil, one tsp. dijon mustard, and one teaspoon of freshly-ground pepper.  I leave salt until the very end, because you never know how salty the olives and cheese are going to make the salad.

IMG 5289 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

If I had a third arm and hand, I would be whisking the vinegar into the olive oil.  Actually, come to think of it, I think it’s better to whisk the olive oil into the vinegar.  Not that it makes much difference here.

IMG 5301 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Next, whisk in the dried oregano…

IMG 5302 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Then the dried basil…

IMG 5308 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Next, the pepper… You’re just going to have to close your eyes and imagine it due to my inability to download photos properly technical difficulties.  It was the best one, too!

And, finally, the mustard.  

IMG 5315 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Make sure to mix all of the ingredients together really well.

IMG 5328 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Okay, now for big ta-da!

I realize not everyone is half-Ecuadorian and, consequently, does not have a set of must-have-for-every-Ecuadorian-man-or-woman set of spoons.  Go get yourself some anyway!  It’s useful for all types of cooking and spanking kids.  Kidding.  Mostly.

IMG 5278 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Now pour in that chicken

IMG 5281 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

And mix it in with your spoon (wooden if you are like me!).

IMG 5283 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Add all the veggies, stopping to mix as you go.

IMG 5330 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

IMG 5332 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Then the olives.

IMG 5334 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

And the feta.

IMG 5337 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Do you know what capers are?  Buds of a flower!  It’s kind of a fun factoid to impress your friends with when you make this salad for a party.  I only use about half of the jar, so I just reuse a teaspoon to drain them in the jar and then pour them into the salad.

IMG 5354 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Again, third-armed Aimee would whisk the dressing as she poured it in.  A smarter third-armed Aimee would also have made the salad dressing after mixing in the salad ingredients, so as not to allow the herbs to settle.  Unfortunately, she would also be a freak of nature; so, I’ll just do it my less-smart two-armed way.

IMG 5359 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Add salt to taste.  Please don’t use table salt.  It’s gross and should only be used to dry out slugs.  Use sea salt or another kind of gourmet-ish salt.

IMG 5383 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Ta-da!

IMG 5388 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

IMG 5395 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Okay, ta-da, and then the dishes.  One of my pet peeves is recipes that look so yummy and easy…and then leave you with tons of dishes to do afterwards.  Not to be all Dorothy Wizard of Oz about it, but I think it’s only fair to pull back the curtain and reveal the truth here.

I used that one glass bowl there for the waste from my veggies and packaging.  I’m pretty sure I learned that trick from Rachel Ray on 30-Minute Meals. Overall, not that bad.

IMG 5421 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

 

Here are the recipes:

Greek Pasta Chicken Salad:

  • One bag of fusilli pasta (16 oz.)
  • 1 carton mixed cherry tomatoes (16 oz.)
  • 1 Bag of baby bell peppers (8 oz.)
    (All of the above are organic, but to each her own)
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts (14 0z.)
  • 1 jar pitted kalamta olives (16 fl oz)
  • 1 can of premium chunk white chicken (12.5 oz.)
  • 1 bag low-fat feta cheese
  • Half of 1 medium red onion, diced.
  • Half a bottle of capers (7 fl. oz.)
  • Sea salt to be added last to taste.

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add pasta, stir gently, and return to a boil.  Boil 9 minutes or until al dente.  Meanwhile…take out a medium mixing bowl for the prepared veggies.  Wash and slice the tomatoes and bell peppers.  Slice and dice half of the red onion.  Rinse and slice up the artichoke hearts into quarters.   Add all the veggies to the mixing bowl.  Rinse the chicken and set aside. Rinse the kalamata olives in a colander and set aside.  Slice up the feta cheese and then break apart before setting aside on the cutting board.  When the pasta is ready, drain it well and cool it off with cold, running water.  Add it to a large mixing/serving bowl.  Add the chicken, followed by the veggies, olives, cheese, and capers.  Mix well with awesome wooden spoon.

Greek Salad Dressing:

  • 1 C. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 & 3/4 C red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Pour 1 & 3/4 C red wine vinegar into a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl.  Whisk in the olive oil.  Then whisk in each ingredient well.  Continue to whisk as you pour it over the salad.  Mix the dressing into the salad well.  Add sea salt to taste. I’d let it sit for 10 minutes or so before serving.

I’d venture to say you should make this salad the same day at you serve it.  You can make it early and just store it in the fridge.  It keeps for 3-5 days.  However, if you know you are going to store the salad, I would just leave the dressing on the side so that it doesn’t make the tomatoes soggy.  Enjoy!

IMG 5400 Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad

Does One Fan Make It Official?

Patch and Jack Does One Fan Make It Official?

Earlier this week, Patch was stopped on our morning run by an artist who wants to put him on canvas.  It kind of went to his head and he’s started his own fan club.  Meet, Jack, the President and only club member of Patch’s Official Fan Club.  Are you really official if you only have one fan?  If he’s as cute as Jack, I guess so!

June 24, 2011

Alex - Popular Patchy. Great picture.

Style: Minted.com

I’ve been invited to 8 weddings, all within a 2.5 month period this summer.  For girls, that usually means a shower and bachelorette party.  What I didn’t realize is that it also meant lots of real mail! I actually know the time the mailman arrives now.  I quickly skim through all the coupon magazines I’ll never use and the local paper I’ll never read, hoping for a little envelope with my name hand-written or pressed into the paper.

I’m not going to lie, I have my favorites and several of them belong to the wedding of my friend, April.  She’s an artist.  Her friends are artists, or, at least, know they have to be artistic to support April’s image.  Yeah, they have set a high bar.  So when I flipped over her beautiful shower invite and saw that her MOH had purchased it off of Minted.com, I immediately logged on to browse through some shower invites.  Claire’s baby shower was fast approaching and we needed some invites ASAP.  Okay, invites that I was satisfied with ASAP.

It was exactly what I had described to my co-host.  What luck!  And with a few tweaks to change the colors and announcement, they were able to send me a draft almost right away.  Here’s what we ended up with:

IMG 3590 Style: Minted.com

I just love the personal touch with their packaging!

IMG 3573 Style: Minted.com

IMG 3601 Style: Minted.com

Even though I was too cheap lazy cool to pay for a second draft when I learned that I had a typo in the address, they fixed it and it arrived just perfect!   And that’s the only thing that satisfies me when it comes to party planning – perfection!

 

 

Claire Verti’s Baby Shower

When Claire told me she was pregnant, I immediately offered to throw her baby shower.  I’ve known her since we were in high school, she was my super senior year roommate at college, and she had been waiting for this baby for SIX years.  I mean, if anything is cause for a celebration, it is Claire and Baby Verti.  Our mutual friend, Jenn, offered to be my partner-in-crime, and then her sister-in-law, Jenn, said she wanted in, too.  I love volunteer Jenns!

Like all good celebrations, we needed a theme.  Claire is waiting to find out the sex of Baby V. until he or she is born, so we were open for colors.  I thought about blue and yellow for “UCLA Baby,” but that seemed too…mmm…mascot-like.  Then I thought about the neutral green and yellow before quickly realized my OSU grad husband wouldn’t pay a dime for those colors, even if he wasn’t attending the party.  So, needless to say, ducks were also out.  In talking over this gender dilemma with Claire, we just decided to embrace both genders and use turquoise and pinks.  I decided on the theme “Bundle of Love” and envisioned a baby being swaddled.  I kid you not, I found exactly what I had pictured in looking through invites on Minted.com .

So, after a few tweaks, we ended up with this invitation:

IMG 3590 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

Since Claire has lots of family and friends who are super excited about Baby V., we knew we were in for a high head count.  So, we planned for an outdoor party, which meant we needed linens to cover the tables.  I rented turquoise and flamingo linens from Platinum Party Rentals.  Stefanie was super helpful in picking out the exact shade of pink to match the invites and got my order in that same day (which is always good for a procrastinator!).

On a friend’s suggestion, I went to check out Whole Sale Flowers & Supplies, because what party is complete without awesome flowers?!  Wow, I could walk around this store for hours.  But, I was on a mission, so I picked out some tulips and green filler.  I thought I was done with flowers until I got to Trader Joe’s.  Right outside were my favorite of all flowers:  peonies. Yes, please! I picked up three bouquets and figured that just about did it for 5 tables and the serving table.  Jenn V. offered to frame baby photos of Claire and Mark to add the table center pieces.  So Cute!

This is how it turned out:

IMG 4934 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

I can’t believe I didn’t get close-ups of the peonies :(  But, here are the tulips!  These ones spent the next 4 hours wilting until I realized I forgot to put water in the vase!  I worry about myself sometimes :/

IMG 4932 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

IMG 4936 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

Cuteness!

IMG 4940 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

Of course, no party is complete without food.  My sister suggested these brilliant raspberry jam, goat cheese, rosemary paninis.  Sure, we had our skeptics, but they were a hit!  I’m glad we made extra because they were all gone fast! I know Jenn R. and I had a few right off the panini press.  The cooks have to make sure the food tastes good ;) Then we made Greek pasta chicken salad, fruit salad, a veggie tray, and served white bean hummus and gaucamole with chips a la Trader Joe’s.  The blood orange Italian soda was also gone in a flash.  Next time, that’s all I’m getting for drinks!  I’m posting recipes over the next few days :)

Oh, look Alice got a pic of some of the peonies!

DSCN0436 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

Photo credit: Alice :)

Shower games:  Some people love ‘em, others can’t wait to be done with ‘em.  We are all on the latter end of this spectrum, so we just played the usual word scrabble.  Jenn V. also printed up baby photos guests had sent in and we had to guess who was who.  My suggestion is to start this game early and give a list of names to give people a start.  Our guests were too shy (or full) to really play.  All the same, I think it’s worth another try at the next shower.

The first person to email me the name of the baby on the far right wins!  If that isn’t a big hint, I don’t know what is!

IMG 49261 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

Lastly, were cake and presents.  We got Claire’s favorite flavor: chocolate.  And then ate while we watched her open tons of gifts!  What a lucky baby!

This card gets an A+.  I may never make fun of scrapbookers again…

or people who use scrapbooking as a verb.  And check out that gift box!

IMG 4978 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

IMG 4980 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

IMG 4979 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

More than one guest thinks Claire is having a baby boy.

IMG 4974 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

IMG 4975 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

Others are rooting for a girl.  I believe Jenn V. handed down this blanket to Claire.

Mark’s mother, who passed away a few years ago, made it.

IMG 4959 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

IMG 4960 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

Talking of hand-made quilts, I think Marge, Claire’s mom, has been busy!  Wow!

IMG 4958 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

IMG 4957 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

IMG 4956 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

The classic diaper cake.  I love them every time!

IMG 4942 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

The real cake:  Jenn V. ordered it from Costco.  It turned out just perfect, right?!  And, it was really delicious.  Go, Jenn!

IMG 4945 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

Before you knew it, it was time to leave :(

IMG 4954 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

IMG 4955 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

Aimee, Jenn R., Claire, Jenn V.

hostesses Claire Vertis Baby Shower

I love that Claire gave us hostess presents wrapped to match the party colors.

Our party photographer, kitchen helper, gift wrapper, gift name noter, set-up and take-down person:

Claire’s sister, Alice!

IMG 4924 Claire Vertis Baby Shower

The thing about being a hostess, is that there are hardly any time for photos!  Luckily, Alice took lots and you can see her photos and some of mine here:  You can view these photos in a full-screen screen slideshow and download full-resolution copies for free.  Enjoy!

June 26, 2011

» Delish: Greek Pasta Chicken Salad - [...] this salad is a hit at parties.  We served it at Claire’s baby shower.  People were suspicious because it looked “so healthy;” but, it was also gone in a [...]

June 28, 2011

Claire Verti - You guys did such a great job! I think you should consider a career in party planning. Can’t wait to see who is right about the sex of this baby! Boy? or Girl?

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