Friday, December 31, 2010

Bunny's Best of 2010

First of all, let me get the bad stuff out of the way. In no way, shape or form did I achieve any of the goals I set for 2010. I am sad to admit it, but it's terribly, terribly true. In general, after two years of working from home and a year of unemployment, going back to work in an office setting kicked. my. ass. Add to that a new puppy, a death of a dog and other emotional and physical issues, and I am glad to say my greatest accomplishment was surviving 2010. Not that is was a bad year, but it just wasn't remarkable per se.

That said, the guilt and shame didn't really work for me, but the experience did make me realize I will not set so many lofty goals for 2011! I am just going to try to go into 2011 with no expectations and see what happens. But in reflection of days gone by (to quote INXS), here's a list of my best finds from 2010:

    Bunny's Best of 2010

    Best Book I Read
    Winner: Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
    Runner-Up: The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier

    2010 was not a banner book year for me...my worst reading record in recent years and I did not read one book that sent me over the moon. That said, these two come the closest...Jackson because I could not put it down and read it in one day, and Chevalier because her historical fiction is so compelling.


    Best New to Me Restaurant (Where I Actually Dined)
    Winner: Tacqueria del Sol, Atlanta, Ga. area + Athens, Ga.
    Runner-Up: Miss Meg's, Clayton, Ga.

    Tacqueria del Sol was so good, I have repeat visited there numerous times. 
    Miss Meg's is, hands down, some of the best seafood I've ever eaten.


    Best New to Me Song
    Winner: Cosmic Love by Florence + the Machine
    Runner-Up: Fuck You by Cee Lo Green
    Honorable Mention: From Where You Are by Lifehouse

    A hard category, as always. Cosmic Love was the first song I heard by Florence + the Machine, so I picked it even though I love others by the group. Fuck You was late to the game, but too great to ignore.'Bout wore a groove in my mind from the Lifehouse song.


    Best Movie on the Big Screen
    Winner: The A-Team
    Runner-Up: True Grit

    Like books, not a great category for me this year, 
    so I chose the campy escape and the classic remake.


    Best Live Concert
    Winner: Michael Feinstein at Atlanta Symphony Hall
    Runner-Up: Chris Isaak at Chastain Park Amphitheater

    Multiple time seeing M.F. and he NEVER disappoints. 
    First time seeing C.I. and it was wonderfully impressive.


    Best Movie Rented From Netflix
    Winner: Arrested Development (full series)
    Runner-Up: Robin Hood (Russel Crowe version)

    Ok, Arrested Development IS a television show, but we did rent it and it is awesome. Robin Hood was great and only enhanced by Cate Blanchett (who I have a girl crush on).


    Best New to Me Food Find
    Winner: Ground pork/Pork Steaks
    Runner-Up: Rogue Creamery cheeses

    Ground pork and pork steaks are both relatively lean, cheap and delicious....what's not to love? 
    Rogue cheeses, while pricy, are memorably yummy.


    Best New Cooking Tool
    Winner: GE Double Oven Range with ceramic top
    Runner-Up: Le Creuset baking dishes

    I had to pick the $$$oven$$$ just because it puts my old one to shame. The Le Creuset baking dishes are just wonderfully easy to clean and so, so pretty.


    Best New Recipe/Dish (Which I Actually Cooked)
    Winner: Lamb Meatballs (from Ad Hoc for Home, Thomas Keller)
    Runner-Up: Italian Sausage Soup (from Bo's Bowl)

    Love lamb, love this simple recipe.
    Love Bo's soup....it's delish. And freezes well. PS, link to Bo on the left for his top
    dishes from 2010! Lots of great ones there.


    Best TV Show
    Winner: Modern Family
    Runner-Up: Real Housewives of Atlanta (current season)

    Modern Family is witty and wonderful.
    RHOA is a glorious guilty pleasure.


    Best New To Me Beers
    Winner: Somer Orange Honey Ale by Rogue
    Runner-Up (TIE): Gnarly Wine by Lagunitas and Rye Squared by Terrapin

    Somer Orange is one of the best beers I've ever had....a perfect summer beer, for sure. 
    Lagunitas rarely disappoints and I just "found" Terrapin this year and 
    have been impressed with their line-up, as well.


    Best New To Me Wines
    Winner: Rose Regale by Banfi
    Runner-Up: Sterling Vinter's Collection, 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
     
    Rose Regale is a beautiful (in the glass) and tasty sparkling rose. Very special. Sterling Vinter's Cab was my entree into cabs and quite nice....nice enough to make me try more varietals.


    Other Bests
    Best New Sweet Find: Chocolate covered coffee beans
    Awesomely addictive.

    Best New Snack: Salt & Pepper Kettle Chips
    I love peppery, salty and crunchy....these chips meld all three into one.

    Best New to Me Coffee: Morning Joe by Starbucks
    Bold yet smooth brew.

    Best New Food Find: Truelove Bakery
    BEST. CUPCAKES. EVER.

    Best New Cleaning Product: Scotch Fur Fighter Pet Hair Remover
    If you have pets, you NEED this. Trust me.

    Best (Re)Newed Retail Find: Cost Plus World Market
    The love child of Pier One and the Dekalb Farmer's Market.

    Best Pet Accessory: Retro Animal Collars
    Beautiful AND well-made!

    Best Pet Find: Tailwaggers Doggie Daycare
    Saves mine and Charlie's sanity.


    Feel free to post some of your "bests" in comments....would love to hear them! Also, I think I will be doing a reflective look back on 2010 this weekend....in hindsight, while looking through my posts, I realized I did more than I thought! Have a safe and happy new year! XO, B.

    Friday, December 24, 2010

    Merry Christmas!

    Merry Christmas to each and every one of 
    my bloggy friends and followers!
    I hope your holidays are happy and
    Santa brings everything your heart desires.
    Be merry, be bright! Love, B.

    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    Bunny Sunday: The Hinky Gallbladder Rides Again!

    Yo, peeps, I have been WAY overindulging this past week on holiday goodies and Mexican and drinks and all sorts of things that are bad, bad, bad, but so good, good, good. You will see a few of these dishes in a minute, and then understand. In the meantime, I think my gallbladder is revolting against the excess.

    First, I just have to say that my weeks?? Are pretty damn boring these days. Really boring, in fact. It's work, home, dinner, work or TV bed. That's about it. I do sometimes manage to squeeze in an errand though, like making my way (with coupon!) this week to FINALLY buy me a new watch. It is ginormous and heavy and I am not 100% sure I 100% love it, so I will show you later. But, while at the department store, I bought this bauble:

    You all KNOW my love of turquoise-y baubles, esp. for summer, and I could not resist this HUGE knuckle-scraper ring. For $7!!! Yes, just $7. Those Chinese children do good work, no? And I am a week late in posting this, but here is a yummy, yummy dinner Bobs recently made for me:

    Meatloaf, green beans, mashed potatoes. That was some DAMN GOOD meatloaf peeps. Yum. I wish I had some now. I also enjoyed another Flying Dog beer this week.

    This is their In Heat Wheat and I found it a little lacking. Practically zero carbonation (as you can see). Just not great. Not bad, but not great. Won't buy this one on its own. I also made more gnocchi this week:

     The Gia Russa gnocchi with butternut squash sauce (both from Cost Plus World Market!). I carmelized some onions at the same time as I cooked some bacon, and then mixed it into the sauce and added a little cream cheese to thin it out. Very good. Served with a winter salad of mixed greens, dried fruit, walnuts and blue cheese with a homemade white wine vinaigrette. Yum. 

    Yesterday, to celebrate the hub's b-day, we went to see A Christmas Carol at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta. Of course, you cannot take photos, so I stole this one off the website:

    Great play and ensemble! We had third row seats so we were RIGHTTHERE. Very nice. Before the show, we went to Amuse!, a nearby French bistro, for brunch. I forgot my camera, but the food and decor were great. I had the Croque Madame, though I must say, I DO think the ones I made were as good, though not as pretty. :) It is still plenty cold here, so last night I decided to make a new recipe: Cheddar Ale Soup.

    Saute veggies in butter....

    Toast croutons and crisp bacon....
    Use immersion blender to whip it into creamy goodness....

     Season....

     Serve!

     I am quite sure this...with the butter, beer, cheese, bacon, truffle oil and such...is what threw my gallbladder into revolt. But it was worth it. It was so. damn. good. Try it, but try it on a day when you have eaten bland things. I think the rich French lunch + heavy dinner = gastrodisaster. And, of course, I cannot end a post without a cute Charlie photo of the week:

    Another tucked in-paw out cute shot. Also, I hope you all enjoyed the Christmas tour of Casa Bunny. Thanks for all the nice comments. I may or may not be back this week, but if not, have a HAPPY CHRISTMAS...be merry, be bright! XO, B.

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    The Virtual Holiday Home Tour 2010: Casa Bunny

    Happy, happy, joy, joy! Jen on the Edge is hosting her virtual holiday home tour again and B. signed up so I can display Casa Bunny in all its seasonal splendor. If you want to jump over to Jen's blog, you can see the links to the other folk's blogs that are on the tour. So, turn up the carols on your iTunes, turn down the heat for a frosty feel, grab you a toddy and settle in. And enjoy!

     Welcome to our home....our stoop, decked out (hubs will be so
    mad those random leaves are in the photo!).

    Inside our front door is the holiday home to my hub's June McKenna Santa 
    collection....well, part of it....and, yes, our walls ARE orange....we are not
    afraid of color here at Casa Bunny.

     
    This basket sits on the table behind our sofa...it's simple...just balls...but
    the basket belonged to my Grandmother and makes me think of her.

     These angels grace the top of our living room bookcase. I love the one on the right
    because she has brown hair (like me). Why do angels always have blonde hair?

    At the base of the bookcase sits large glass vases filled with white lights.

    Our entertainment center which is home to more of hub's Santas.

     This table is off the living room and is the holiday home to my Lane snowmen....I pretty
    much decorated this table the same as 2009 because I loved the look.

    Off our dining area is an antique coal bucket, spray painted green, with balls and lights.

     A small display in our guest room....we don't really have guests so we don't do
    much in this room....and, yes, when your nickname is Bunny, you gets lots of Bunny stuff.

    Byer's Choice Carolers...I love the singing doggies...
    more balls....cheap glass balls = best decorations ever.

    Dining table centerpiece....new Carolers for 2010!

     Other side of dining table centerpiece.
    Dining room hutch....more hub's Santa on top, Christmas china, 
    and the pups' stockings at the bottom.

    Dining hutch detail.
    Kitchen....more light, more balls, snowman plate above stove.

    Kitchen window sill....see our bottle tree out the window? Didn't plan that but it's cool.

    Wreath on antique sled off kitchen....the hubs made this wreath....he is uber talented.

    Angels in sitting area off kitchen...again, balls! lights! sparkly!

     Angel statue from yard, surrounded by lighted wreath with balls,
    and sitting on antique milk can at hallway start....yes, hubs made this wreath too.

    Dresser in master bedroom...my eclectic Santa collection.

     Dresser detail.
     
    Above our bed...chair back shelves with Christmas blocks, 
    beads and Santa figurines.

     Left shelf detail.

    Right shelf detail.
     Angels on other dresser in master bedroom...first, can I TELL you how much
    I LOVE LED candles?!? I have fire paranoia so they rock my world. These angels actually
    reside here year-round....this year I tried to decorate around my regular decor as much
    as possible rather than packing things up.

    Two small trees in master bedroom....last year, 
    we did one large tree so this was a change.

    Our Christmas centerpiece....the "grove" of trees....I don't think we will ever
    change this....we both love it and we have too many damn ornaments.

     Our deck, door side 1....trick: This wreath is artificial and
    we add natural greenery on top that can be replaced as it wilts.

    Deck, door side 2....with lights.


    Sorry for the lateness in getting this up...blogger was being a BEEOTCH this morning (and I know the spacing is all wonky...sorry!). Anyhoodle, that's most of it. We might have a few more touches here and there, but I am going with what I have because I need to scurry off to work. I hope you enjoyed our tour and maybe even we inspired your future decorating! :) I also hope you all have a blessed and happy holiday and a healthy and happy New Year! Merry, merry Christmas! XO, Bunny

    **If you have a few extra minutes and want to read last year's post about our Christmas decorating history, click here.**

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Sunday on Monday: Part Deux

    Well, peeps, I said I would be back and here I am. I will tell you though that right now I am being terribly distracted by the cutest dog in the world who is napping beside me and snoring and rubbing his face with his paw and such. Yes. That would be Charlie. But I have lots to share, so no more distractions! Here we go!

    First, I don't remember much about the first part of the week except that it all lead to that last part of the week which was highlighted by this:

    Hellz, yes, beeotches! It is THE STOVE. In MY kitchen. That bitch is bad-ass and has more buttons and bells and whistles than I can even share. And I am a little scared of it. And those radiant cooktops? A BITCH to clean. I have been paranoid all weekend about breaking it. Or scratching it. Or nicking it. Which I am sure WILL happen, but I just didn't want to happen within 48 hours after I shelled out 1.5 my monthly mortgage for a stove. That said, this stove ROCKS. MY. FACE. OFF. I have already used the double oven twice...Saturday to roast Brussel sprouts (top) and cook cornbread (bottom) and Sunday to warm tortilla chips (top) and make brownies (bottom). 

    Which brings me to the food portion of this post. Last night, we had friends over and I decided to do "Nacho Bar." I cooked ground beef with taco seasoning, fajita chicken, pinto and black beans, roasted corn, jalapenos, cilantro, avocado, sour cream, three different salsas...and melty cheese. Lots of melty cheese. I also made these awesome cranberry margaritas:

    Our company thought they were delish. I thought they were so good, I made me another tonight. We also had "Kitchen Sink Nachos" tonight with all the mixed together leftovers from last night. Behold:

    Yum. fucking. ee. By the way, did I mention it is like single-digitish temps in the G of A today? Holy Christ, is it cold! I was so glad I bought a big puffy coat from Land's End last week (well, I tried to go get the photo, but that lame-o site won't let me copy the pic!). Anyhoodle, I didn't care that I looked like the Michelin man...my happy ass was toasty WARM. 

    And speaking of warm, can Bunny just TELL you how much is PISSES. ME. OFF. when people say, when it is bitterly cold, something like "Global warming, my ass!"???? As was done tonight in the liquor store. By a dumb ass redneck. And at the risk of getting my ass kicked (but it was a man, so even rednecks won't HIT a women...at worst, I figured I would just get called an "uppity bitch"), I turn and say, "Well, REALLY global warming is about temperature EXTREMES and I think this is pretty damn extreme, don't you?" He just looked at me. And I walked out. Ha. In other booze news, I finally had one of the Flying Dog beers:

    It was the India Pale Ale. also called Snake Dog IPA. I really liked it BUT it did have an odd aftertaste/lingering note. When I went to the Flying Dog site, I found this interesting site: BeerDinners.com. It appears to be sponsored by Flying Dog and pairs their beers with various dinner course. Neat.

    In other news, Friday, a friend and I went the High Museum of Art in the ATL. She had some free passes, I had a day off, it was all good. I had not been to the High in a long time. A loooooonnnnnggg time. 

    Apparently, the High has grown. A lot. Like doubled in size. Right now, they have a Dali exhibit as their main show.

    This is front of the museum with the Dali promo and the ginormous mobile which I lurve. The exhibit was actually very good....large, thorough, many different mediums. I am not a huge Dali fan but I enjoyed it. I would have enjoyed it more had there not been 5,000 high schoolers running slunking around with their messy hair and weary sighs.

    This is a view of the interior of the "old" building...very Guggenheim-esque, no?? Walking down that curved, circular walkway freaked. me. out. though. I don't do well with heighty things where I can see to the bottom. Eek. I know my friend probably sprained her eyes rolling them upward. After the museum, we decided on lunch at the Vortex, where I had great new beers: Laughing Skull Amber Ale by Red Brick Brewing, located in the ATL, and Dogfish 90 Minute IPA. I know! Another IPA! As I mentioned to Beer Drinker the other day, I am really into IPAs right now. And Dogfish is a great classic (so says Beer Drinker!). For lunch, we had the cheddar balls to start:

    Damn, these were an EXCELLENT twist on cheese fingers. So good. I could have just eaten these. But I decided to get the Atlanta Nachos...nacho topping over tater tots:

    The Vortex is this cool-as-hell bar & grill and the make super burgers and they love the tots. This dish, while good in theory, turned into a hot mess on the plate once the tots got soggy. Which took about five minutes. Crispy tots with nacho toppings = very good. Mushy tots with nacho toppings = Mexican hash. Bleh.

    For my final share, I will tell you that since it has been so very cold, we have been letting K.K. stay inside. And Charlie just will. not. leave. her alone. Tonight, she just had e-fucking-nough though. He was in her face and she raised up, gave an open-mouthed hiss, and reached out her claw-drawn paw and embedded it in the top of his head.

    Charlie was startled, then pissed. I was ROTFLMFAO. K.K. was like "What the Hell ever, mother fucker...don't mess with me...I will cut you." Charlie started barking at her. And she just ignored him and yawned. She was like "Bring it bitch....if you're feeling froggy, jump little mother fucker." I wish I could have gotten it all on tape. Later, Charlie went over to apologize for being a brat:

    THAT I did manage to get. Sorta. They rubbed noses. All was good. Anyhoodle, peeps, this has been a terrible long post and I need to balance my checkbook and get to getting to bed. Hope you have a great week and are staying warm, wherever you are. Peace and love, B.

    PS, I ain't proofing this bitch so if there are mistakes, so sorry.