A Pretty Pair

Morning Ritual

"WTC" by JoAnn Verburg; "Egyptian Gypsy Dog Dance" by Mike Swaney

{ WTC by JoAnn Verberg (via SF Girl By Bay) }

{ Egyptian Gypsy Dog Dance by Michael Swaney }

A Sunday Ritual, Featured

Savory Bread Pudding

Savory Bread Pudding from Debbie Carlos

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you might remember Sarah mentioning that it was her birthday a couple of weeks ago. It seemed like she had a nice half week-long birthday celebration, capping it off with a big potluck birthday brunch! I was lucky enough to be invited, and I thought long and hard about what I might bring. Cooking for a crowd is difficult since everyone has their own preferences. You want to make something that is simple — a comfort dish, a crowd pleaser — but that is also interesting and makes everyone feel like they’re indulging. Its a birthday brunch after all!

After going through several cookbooks and my recipes binder, I finally came upon the perfect thing: a savory bread pudding. Think french toast but in a casserole, and instead of sweet, it’s caramelized onion, crispy bacon, roasted cauliflower, and sharp cheddar. Yeah, you know you want it. Lets do this.

Savory Bread Pudding

Adapted from Serious Eats’ Savory Bread Pudding

1 Tablespoon softened butter
2 Cups milk (whole or 2%)
6 Large eggs
Salt + Pepper
6 Cups or 10 oz of bread, sliced into 1.5 – 2” cubes (I like mine bigger)

1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into ½” pieces
Salt + Pepper
Olive Oil

6 strips thick cut bacon
1 red onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 Cup cheese, grated (I used sharp cheddar)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

1. Rub the butter all over the inside of a 9×13” baking dish and place the bread inside.

2. Whisk together milk, eggs, salt, and pepper until well combined and pour over the bread. Set aside to let the bread soak in the milk mixture.

3. Toss cauliflower with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread in one layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, or until you see edges begin to brown and caramelize.

4. Heat a frying pan and fry the bacon until brown and crispy. Drain the strips on some paper towels until cool enough to handle.

5. Reserve only about 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease in the pan and use that to cook the onions until brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 or 2 minutes longer. Once cauliflower is done roasting, mix into the cooked onion and stir until just combined.

6. Crumble the bacon and the cheese over the soaked bread and mix with a spoon or a pair of tongs.

7. Pour onion mixture over the bread and bacon. Mix until everything is evenly combined. You can sprinkle on a bit more cheese over everything if you want to. I did.

8. Lower heat in the oven to 375 degrees and bake covered in foil for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Editor’s Note: this post is part of the series “A Sunday Ritual” by guest blogger Debbie Carlos.

A Pretty Pair

Building Blocks

"Cardboard Heaven" by Nina Lindgren; "Mother and Child" by Nguyen Thanh Binh

{ Cardboard Heaven by Nina Lindgren (via This Is Love Forever) }

{ Mother and Child by Nguyen Thanh Binh }

A Westervin Wedding, Shopping Sherpa

New Wedding Bands for Our First Anniversary

handmade geometric gold and silver wedding bands

{ 1. Stardust Wedding Band } { 2. Gold Bubbles Ring }  { 3. Metropolitan Wedding Band }

{ 4. Gold Branch Ring }  { 5. Banner Ring }  { 6. Grid Ring }

{ 7. Starlight Wedding Band }  { 8. Gold Slant Ring }  { 9. Titanium & Yellow Gold Ring }

Brian and I are getting new wedding bands for our 1-year anniversary next month. Why, you ask? Well, we’ve come up with a few reasons to get a new set:

1. It’s fun! Finding new rings together to reflect our personal styles has been pretty enjoyable.

2. It takes the stress out of finding the perfect anniversary gift and trying to keep it a secret. (I’m very skilled in ruing surprises.)

3. We LOVE our current wedding rings, but I’d like to have the option of having a different style and color to wear.

4. I get that a wedding band is a symbol of your union to one person, so it makes sense for that ring to stay constant. But a marriage doesn’t stay the same from year to year. You grow and change together. Therefore, I want a new set of rings to reflect on and celebrate that we’ve made it, happily, through a full year of marriage together.

5. We’re keeping it affordable by purchasing handmade rings and avoiding solid gold or other high-priced metals. And I love supporting individual craftspeople and jewelry-makers!

6. It’s non-traditional. This might be a reason against getting new wedding bands, but we’re counting this in the “for” column.

The only problem? With so many awesome options out there, it’s been hard choosing the right one for each of us! Of the nine rings above, I think we’ve narrowed it down to the two we want. (The options for Brian are in the four corners.) But I kinda want your opinion! Which rings do you like best? What do you think about getting a new set of affordable, handmade wedding bands each year? Don’t hold back.

Needle Drop

Only for You

 

Here’s a silly video from one of our most played albums of the summer, Arrow by Heartless Bastards. You get everything you’d hope for in a music video. Kids acting like adults (or adults acting as kids…which is it? I can’t tell. It’s so mind bending!), a band in a pool, and a slow fade to black. Enjoy!

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Giveaway

Win a $50 Gift Card to Shabby Apple

Westervin Giveaway: Win a $50 Gift Card to Shabby Apple

Guess what, ladies. It’s time for a giveaway! This one is pretty special, too. Shabby Apple has offered a $50 gift card for one lucky Westervin reader to spend on anything at www.shabbyapple.com! That’s right — $50 buckaroos to spend on any Shabby Apple item your heart desires.

Westervin Giveaway: Win a $50 Gift Card to Shabby Apple

You could get these cutesy orange covered button earrings or put your winnings toward the aqua one-piece bathing suit pictured above.

Westervin Giveaway: Win a $50 Gift Card to Shabby Apple

I think this blue polka dot dress would also be a sweet option, or even these two-tone flats. So many possibilities!

TO ENTER:

  • Leave a comment on this blog post stating which Shabby Apple dress or item you like best.

TO BE ELIGIBLE:

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:

GIVEAWAY ENDS:

  • 11:59 PM on Tuesday, August 21st, 2012.

P.S. Shabby Apple is also offering 10% to ALL Westervin readers. Just enter the coupon code ”westervin10off” when you check out. Now isn’t that nice!

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A Pretty Pair

Black Hole

"Reaching Branch" by Scott Hazard; "Allegro" by Misato Suzuki

{ Reaching Branch by Scott Hazard (via Booooooom) }

{ Allegro by Misato Suzuki (via Design For Mankind) }

Piggy Bank

Credit Report Vs. Credit Score

"Generic" by H. Wren

{ Generic by H. Wren }

Credit reports and credit scores. Doubtless you’ve had yours checked, and you’ve seen those blasted commercials. But what’s the point of checking your credit score? Just what is a credit score anyway?

Well your credit score is based on your credit report, which contains some identification information (name, date of birth, partial social security number, etc), your existing credit (credit card accounts, student loans, how much you owe, and your history of payment), your public record (bankruptcy status, court judgements, etc.), and a list of other people or businesses who recently requested your report.

Clearly, this is a lot of information about you, and it’s no wonder that all kinds of people will take a look at your credit report or credit score to assess your financial responsibility. Your landlord will want to know if you have had trouble making payments in the past. Banks will use it to determine if they’ll give you a loan. Credit card companies will adjust your interest rate. Utility companies will decide whether or not to provide service to you.

All of this information is primarily collected by three different credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — who then provide your credit report to companies or people that request it. Each bureau gets information about you from different sources, so your credit report may differ across all three.

Curious about what your credit report looks like? Well, you are entitled to a free report from each bureau every year, which you can access at annualcreditreport.com.

Ok, so that’s some information about your credit report, but what’s a credit score? Your credit score is like the Cliff Notes version of your credit report. It’s a number that’s based on your report, which is meant to indicate how likely you are to repay a loan and pay it on time. Specifically, your score is comprised of information like: the number of accounts you have; whether you pay on time; how much of your credit you are using; the amount of outstanding debt; and the age of your accounts, etc. When people run a credit check on you, they’ll sometimes let you know your credit score. If you just want to find it yourself, however, your credit score, unlike your credit report, is not free. You can check your credit score at each credit bureau or use a site like myFICO.com.

It’s a good idea to know your score, so that you are aware of how potential lenders will view you. It’s also wise to get your free annual report, so that you can make sure nothing unexpected shows up, which could be an indication of identity theft or just a mistake. If you happen to find something fishy, you can dispute it with the credit bureau.

That’s it for this installment of our Piggy Bank. If you didn’t already know about credit reports and scores, we’ve hopefully given you some basic information to build on. We’ll bring you more financial tidbits in the coming weeks.

For a more comprehensive overview, check out the Federal Reserve’s page on credit reports.