On The Bedside Table

As an art history geek, I flock to books that involve artists or artwork. When I saw this book by Susan Vreeland, I knew that I just had to read it. I am only a few pages in but so far so good. I have already learned so much about the infamous Mr. Tiffany. Check back for a complete review once I complete the book. 

Looking for another good book to read and want to learn a bit of art history in the process?  Run to the bookstore or ebook store and get Loving Frank.  It is so interesting, shocking and the kicker-it's a true story!

Can you find Loving Frank on the shelf? 

I'm curious- what book are you reading now? 


Get In My Belly- Kale Chips

Unless you have been living under a large rock for the past few years, you are likely familiar with the health food turned hipster snack craze of kale chips. And, let me just go ahead and tell you- they are worth the hype. I, for one, am borderline obsessed with the crunchy green delights despite the fact that my kitchen stinks for days after a batch.

The greatest things about kale chips- they are both healthy and delicious! My recipe is easy to follow and sure to please any crowd.

Kale Chips

1 head of kale-washed and dryed completely
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Garlic Gold
1 tablespoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Line cooking sheets with tin foil (less mess= easier clean-up for you!). 

Tear kale leaves from ribs and into bite sized pieces. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on cooking sheets and make sure that the pieces don't overlap. 

Cook for 40 minutes, turning once at 20 minutes. Sprinkle with Garlic Gold and dip in ketchup for a yummy treat!


Scrumptious Vegetable Soup

Armed with a boatload of fresh vegetables from my trip to the farmer's market and a serious need for more greens in my life, I decided to make a vegetable soup. Not just any vegetable soup though, one that is vegan, hearty and mouth watering good. The final result? A soup that even my meat loving husband enjoyed (major accomplishment in my book as his version of veggie soup has big hunks of beef floating in it).

Vegetable Soup

1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed (this gets rid of excess sodium)
1 can green lentils
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 bell pepper (whichever color you like)
1 jalapeno, chopped
1/2 cup okra
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 lg. garlic cloves, minced
2 tomatoes
1 bunch of Asian greens (though any greens will do-kale, collards, etc.)
1 cup cooked whole wheat pasta
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
1/2 tablespoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 bay leaves
Frank Red Hot Sauce

** secret ingredient** shhhh....don't tell- truffle oil

Over medium-high heat, sweat out the onions and pepper. Add the okra, garlic and tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes. Add canned ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and add bouillon, bay leaves, greens, and pasta.

Resist the temptation to raise the smoking hot spoon full of soup to your mouth and allow the flavors to dance in the pot. Allow soup to simmer for 7-10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce.

Garnish with a drizzle of truffle oil ( I used white). The oil is sure to add richness and depth to the soup. Serve with pan con tomate and enjoy! I will post my recipe (super simple) for pan con tomate soon, it's a beloved Spanish dish that I always serve with soup. I hope that you enjoy this soup as much as I do, it's a vegetarian soup that is sure to even please the meat eaters in your life. Cheers!


Run, baby, run!

Happy long run day!! I can hardly believe it but all of a sudden, I am in the final weeks of my marathon training (Savannah 11.5.11).  I am running to raise money for a cause near to my heart- the ASPCA. If you feel so inclined, hop on over to my fundraising website and help those without a voice.

I dropped back down to 8 miles today and thought that you might like to see some of the sites from my nice and easy run around Athens.  

Pretty, right? Ah...the first color change!

Next week, I tackle 22 miles. Yikes! This is by far the longest that I will have ever run and I am a mixed bag of emotions-excited, scared and nervous. Hopefully, I will remember how great this felt {below} and dig deep. That's me all decked out in black like Johnny Cash after finishing the Publix Half-Marathon in March. 

Hope that you have had a fabulous Sunday!


Cool breeze in the air {check}. Leaves showing first hint of orange {check}. Fabulous farmer's market full of delicious eats {check}. After a whole lot of sleep and a little bit of yoga, I headed straight to my favorite Saturday morning spot- Athens Farmer's Market.

We walked away with an armful of goodies- okra, Japanese eggplant, a sweet potato as big as my head, Asian greens (new to me) and utterly delicious city French bread. Yes, I did manage to eat nearly half of the loaf on my way home-girls gotta eat!

Check out this Georgia sweet potato- weighing in a whopping 2 pounds! Note the coffee can for comparison purposes. 

Have you explored your local farmer's market? Check out this website to find one nearby!

A Fresh Take

Hola and welcome, friends! I am so excited that you are here.

Some of you may know me from my other blog (though admittedly I have not been nearly as dedicated of a blogger as I should be) The Consummate Hostess. This blog, On A Pretty Placemat, is an attempt to be a better reflection of who I am. Who by the way- might that be? I am a lifelong vegetarian who flirts daily with veganism but am not a fan of titles so I can't officially commit. There is nothing that I love more than losing myself in travel. Exploring different cultures, food, traditions, and art along side my wonderful husband is what makes my heart aflutter. I am currently training for my first marathon (who am I?) and am a bit obsessed with the sport. I have two fur-kids, Maybelle and Pepper, who are sure to make a frequent appearance on this little blog.

Again, welcome. I am so happy that you found me. Now, let's go have some fun :).