Currently Viewing : Casa de Youngren

Grilled Meat Loaf Burgers

When it comes to making my own burger patties, I’m always the keep-it-simple type. We don’t put a lot of extra stuff in our homemade patties – we keep it to really high quality beef and that’s pretty much it. Jeff and I joke around that “this is a burger patty – it’s not meat loaf!” Well today, it’s actually meat loaf… I thought this take on meat loaf and burgers looked interesting, so we gave it a whirl and found that it was not only easy, but it was tasty, and that’s a winner here at Casa de Youngren. Jeff and…

View full post »

Falling in Love with SDJeffy

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted an installment of the love story between Jeff and me – the story of how we met, our first date, and the series of events that led up to the day we said, ‘I do.’ To catch up on our love story up until this point, read all of the previous installments here. I am picking up the story just after our romantic second date, when I realized that I really really really liked this freckled boy. —————————– At this point in our love story, Jeff and I have gone on two dates over…

View full post »

Lessons from Around the Farmhouse Table

We moved from the suburbs a year ago to our ‘new-to-us’ old house in our 1950′s neighborhood, and I love it more than I can describe. The simple backyard, the old doors, the creaky floors, and the colorful cabinets all bring a smile to my heart. I am deeply satisfied and grateful to live here and to be here. To be just a four minute scooter ride away from our studio, and to have space for a vegetable garden on the sides of the house. To host dinner for 20 people on a whim, and to devour good food and great wine…

View full post »

Honeycomb Cake with Lemon Zest and Sage

I gave up baking pies for holiday gatherings at the in-laws.  Growing up, I could whip out delicious pies with my eyes closed, and I was in charge of them for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the first few years of our marriage, however, I suddenly couldn’t bake a pie worth a bit of salt. Nothing ever came out right once I moved to San Diego – in fact, nothing ever came out even edible. After a few disastrous apple pie fiascos at Christmas dinners with Jeff’s family, I threw in the towel on dessert altogether and decided that San Diego had…

View full post »

Rhubarb Flatbread with Chives and Honey

I know. The title of this recipe doesn’t exactly sound appetizing once you really think about it. Rhubarb? On flatbread? Eh? I found this recipe in my recent issue of Better Homes and Gardens because rhubarb is in season right now. But their thinking is that there has to be more than just sweet dishes for this ingredient, so they did a feature on savory rhubarb recipes. This one, in particular, caught my eye. We didn’t exactly love it. The recipe says to stick whole stalks of rhubarb on the flatbread and the stalks were just too thick and tart to…

View full post »

The Extreme Introvert’s Afternoon

My favorite memories from my travels over the years have been my ‘introvert afternoons’, when I get to steal away and walk around a beautiful neighborhood in a famed world city by myself with earbuds in – nowhere in particular to go – and ending up at a cafe with a cup of cafe con leche, a creamy cappuccino, or a buttery espresso. San Francisco, Paris, Granada, Berlin, Rome, Florence, Venice – I’ve wandered them all. And lately I’ve been dreaming about going to New York City for two weeks for this very reason. How magical would it be to…

View full post »

One Pan Orecchiette w/ Chickpeas & Olives

While my attempts at gardening grow outside (tomatoes, herbs, arugula, green beans, and carrots), I’ve been looking for easy sumer dishes that will work equally well when the San Diego fog rolls in as when the sun is shining bright and hot outside. Or when my garden decides to grow or not… I stumbled across this beauty of a dish while browsing my beloved Martha Stewart Living magazine and tore it out immediately for safekeeping. How can something so pretty be so easy? Not only would I have so much fun making this dish and keep it as a staple in my…

View full post »

The Portland Flight and Jeff’s New Game

On the recent flight home from our engagement session in Portland, Jeff boarded the plane before me to get our luggage in the overhead bins, while I waited behind in the boarding area to get a few extra minutes of charge on my laptop. He took the window seat, and left the middle seat for me. When I finally boarded, there was already a passenger seated in the aisle. As I scooted past the stranger and slid into my seat, Jeff turned his head, took off his head phones, slowly looked me up and down, and said, “Oh hey, you’re…

View full post »

Gratin Tomato Pasta

My lovely friend and Recipe Sunday assistant, Jenny, comes to my house once every six months to spend two days – an entire weekend – making and photographing ten recipes for the next batch of Recipe Sunday posts here on the blog. It’s two days of cooking, shooting, and washing dishes. LOTS of dishes. And since I’m the one shooting, Jenny and Jeff are the ones in the kitchen, keeping the place from teetering off the cliff into total chaos, which is what it was when I was doing this whole thing solo. I ask Jenny every time we do this if it’s…

View full post »

Tres Leches Bread Pudding

Awwwww yes… Easter. The day of chocolate shaped bunnies, deviled eggs, the official launch of the little summer dress, the only day I’ll ever wear white gloves, and the end of lent. Oh the end of lent. Ok, so I’ve rarely observed lent, but I’m slowly hearing the excited groans of those around me that are longing for their neglected shots of espresso, french fries, chocolate bars, and donuts – they’re getting louder and more insistent as the end of lent draws near. So I realize this post will not help those dessert hunger pangs over the next week, but…

View full post »

The Gift of Both

Jeff’s sweet aunt sent us a truly meaningful Christmas gifts this past holiday season. She sent Jeff two prints – one of his grandmother and one of his grandfather. They are displayed in our living room, enclosed in the cardboard frames that the photo studio provided all those decades ago, which I think is absolutely perfect. I wouldn’t want them framed any other way. Jeff burst into tears the moment he opened the gift. His grandfather helped to raise him when he was a small child in Minneapolis while his mom was a flight attendant and his dad worked his…

View full post »

Dreams of Sheep
Reves de Moutons and Dreaming BIG

“If the life you dream of living is one you know you can accomplish, then you need to dream bigger.” I don’t know where I got this quote or who said it, but I wrote it on the whiteboard in our studio last week after coming home from a trip to Paso Robles. This past November, our friends, Evan and Kristy, sold or stored everything they owned and moved from San Diego to a teeny apartment in Paso Robles. Soon after, they purchased a ten acre farm, moved into their new home, painted and furnished every single room, bought a…

View full post »

Herbed Potato Gratin with Roasted Garlic and Manchego

I grew up in a town surrounded by potato fields, and my dad was a brilliant engineer that did research and development on irrigation systems so our lives were planted in the middle of farm country. Between our farmer neighbors, my dad’s test fields, and the local farmer’s markets, we had a perpetually bottomless sack of potatoes sitting in our garage all winter long. And since these were local potatoes – not the pretty ones that show up in grocery stores – these babies were HUGE. We’re talking football sized russets with giant knobs jutting out the sides, so we…

View full post »

The Dinner Table is Set

For years, I felt like I couldn’t just pull up a chair to the dinner table of life. Every time the gourmet meal would be set out to enjoy, and the invitation sent for all to come, sit, and join in on the feast, everyone else strolled up with confidence. Everyone else pulled up a chair and sat with anticipation. Everyone else dug into the meal. I, however, would run to the bathroom at the sounding of the dinner bell so that I could touch up my mascara, run some fingers through my hair, and adjust my outfit. Was it the…

View full post »

Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese

When my Recipe Sunday assistant and kitchen-wonder-woman, Jenny, served these simply mouthwatering goat cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon at her house one afternoon, I knew I had found my foodie soulmate. These sinfully delicious bites of creamy goodness mix together so much of what I love – crispy salty bacon, tart fruit, crunchy almonds, and loooooooaaaaads of goat cheese. OH.DEAR.HEAVEN. I’ve never been one to go crazy about St. Paddy’s Day, but any excuse to throw a party is fine by me, and these appetizers will cause any party guest to melt at your feet in honor of the…

View full post »

Nutmeg Shortbread

Why do you cook? To remind you of home? To experiment with a new ingredient? To release your creativity? To relax? I’ve been posting Recipe Sundays for a few years now as a casual thing I do for our bloggy-blog, and even though I’ve always known that I am probably the last person on earth to be talking about cooking (I don’t have a minute of formal training or an ounce of technical skill), I’ve always enjoyed it. When Jeff and I got married, I couldn’t even make scrambled eggs. I had Hamburger Helper lining the pantry shelves with boxes…

View full post »

Thank You Will Never Be Enough

On Friday – on Valentine’s Day – Jeff and I received an email from one of our past brides, Jennifer. She has always been a sweetheart along with her now husband, Michael, but this note made my weekend. Maybe my year. The subject read, “Thank You Will Never Be Enough.” With Jennifer and Michael’s permission, her note is posted below along with the image that she attached to her email regarding Michael’s sweet Grandmother, Armida Flores. “Dear Erin and Jeff, I have been trying to write this letter to you for the last few weeks in my head and I think…

View full post »

Cheddar Beer Soup

Nothing makes me appreciate a warming-from-the-inside-out kind of dish like spending a few days in Indianapolis this past week. Even local Indiana-ites were aghast at the jaw-clenching freezing temperatures this past week. A high of zero degrees? Really? Did they realize that a couple of Californians were present? Or was this just a special welcome wagon from the maniacal weather gods? However, the chilly air plus the big game today makes this the perfect timing for a yummy, creamy dish like this Cheddar Beer Soup from Epicurious. It’s thick, hot, and perfectly pairs with a dark IPA, so make a…

View full post »

Braised Ancho Chili Beef Short Ribs

If you thought it was about time for The Youngrens to post yet another braising recipe on Recipe Sunday, then I have two things to say: You know us too well. I like you already. Our friends know that Jeff and I can’t get enough braising over here at Casa de Youngren, so when my fellow blogger and Recipe Sunday assistant, Jenny, showed up with this mind-blowing recipe to make and photograph, I knew that we had found a new household favorite. Beef short ribs? Check. Ancho chilis? Check. Insane flavor?? Double check. Whenever you’re braising, don’t skip the seasoning…

View full post »

Six Acres, a Plow, and a Pitchfork
My Family’s Idaho Portrait Session

Since Jeff and I were going to be visiting my family in Idaho for Christmas, my sweet sister requested a family photo session. Since she is my sweetest of sisters, I obliged. So between Jeff, myself, and a tripod, we were able to gather my siblings at the house in which I grew up and capture our growing family. Which was a bit strange to be honest. My entire photography career has taken place in San Diego, so it was a mental shift (to say the least) to put on my photographer eyes and look around at the six acres…

View full post »

Candy Cane Marshmallows

Was this a seriously fast holiday season for anyone else? Since Thanksgiving was a week later than normal, I’ve been feeling the lack of that fourth holiday week to check everything off my Christmas to-dos. Presents bought? Check. Wrapped? Not so much. Decorations up? Check. House cleaned? Hmmm…. So if you’re anything like me and still have a few folks left on your list and need something quick and easy to give, these peppermint flavored Candy-Cane Marshmallows from Martha Stewart just might keep your boat afloat for another few days until the bells ring in Christmas morning. I’m not the…

View full post »

Happy Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving
From the NEW Casa de Youngren

The first thing Jeff said when we saw our new house for the first time and walked into the back yard was that the patio needed a farmhouse table. One that would seat at least 20 people. Nothing less would do. So he built one. One that fits 20 people. He also built a dining table. One that fits 8 people, but we’ve already crammed 14 friends around the sides, pulling in every chair that we own from around the house and the backyard. We could have fit more, but the dining chairs were too wide. Thanksgiving in many ways felt…

View full post »

Pumpkin Soup with Chili Cran-Apple Relish

Thanksgiving feels much later in the month this year which means two things: 1) More time to build the epic 20 person farmhouse table for hosting Friendsgiving and 2) more time to overdose on pumpkin. Both of which are oh-so-good. When it comes to an easy first course for the droves of family and friends that will be taking over your humble abode this week (or even just a November date night in with your sweetie) this soup is a no fail crowd-pleaser. It’s no surprise that this soup is easy and delicious, though, because it comes from the queen…

View full post »

Cranberry Stuffed Cornish Game Hens

I know I’ve said this before but, Recipe Sunday is baaaaaa-aaaaack!! It’s been a little over a year since I last posted a Recipe Sunday and I have no excuses for my sudden cooking silence. Well, actually, I have plenty of excuses – things got busy, our business expanded into three, we’ve got seven employees and a studio now, we moved across the city, we’ve been flying across the country, bladdy-blah-blah-blah. Nothing but excuses coming from this side of town. But do you want to know the real reason for no Recipe Sundays for over a year? I couldn’t find…

View full post »

The Youngrens are on HuffPost Live!

What a random (and wonderful) afternoon! A few hours ago HuffPost Live asked if we would be a part of their online segment, “Spouses Who Work Together” after discovering my article on being married to your business partner. Ummmm, yes. Yes, yes, yes. Aaaaaand yes – we definitely would like to be featured on live internet TV. Another check off the bucket list! We were a part of a panel with two other couples and the interview went swimmingly. It was delightfully humorous and insightful – everything good TV should be. My only regret is that Gracie the cat didn’t a…

View full post »

A Brand New Happy Place + Photos at Versailles

Remember our trip to Paris? The poetry? The red awning? The Ray Charles cassette tapes? I do. I deeply do. It was one of those ‘life moments’ – one that rises to the top of the memories pile. Like when the doctor asks you to go to your happy place to keep you calm while he sticks a needle in your arm. Between riding bikes through Lucca in Italy, waking up in a mountain range in New Zealand, and reading poetry in Paris, I have a few happy places to pull from whenever necessary. “No sweat doc,” I say as I figuratively…

View full post »

A Bubbly Giveaway
And the Winner Is…

I LOVE having giveaways on the blog because your comments make me SO HAPPY. I mean, I would even trade in a pack of Mega Stuf Oreos just to sit down and read your stories. And by the way, Molly S is now my official bath time hero for introducing me to the limited edition Mega Stuf. These oversized cookies have 50% more creme than Double Stuf Oreos! Whaaaaa? These things are so massive that there’s ten less cookies in the package than the Double Stuf variety. I mean, I can now tell myself that I’m eating ten less cookies without sacrificing…

View full post »

The Great American Dream
Plus a Bubbly Giveaway!

If I’m being honest with myself, I actually don’t take baths very often. Sometimes, I’m so tired at the end of the day that the process of drawing and prepping a decent bath feels like so much time and effort that I give up before I even start and end up on the couch watching TV with my cat and a package of Oreos.  But the idea of a bath I can get on board with. The idea of pulling out my basket of bath goodies and allowing the aromas of bath salts and candles to fill my lungs makes…

View full post »

It’s Not Just a Bowl of Tomatoes

Jeff and I have been traveling a ton these past three years and we’re excited that it’s time to close the door on that season of life and begin a new one. One that involves us being home. A lot. So we’ve cut back on the flights and said no to almost all of our travel plans in 2013 and it feels so gooooooood. When our friends want to hang out for coffee down the street, we can actually say yes because we’re not on the 6:30 eastbound to Atlanta. When our family wants to stop by, we can say…

View full post »

The Wonderful and Magical
Harper Cross

It never loses it’s magic… The emotions of meeting a newborn baby still catch us off guard. The quiet, precious moments unexpectedly squeeze our chests at the worst moments rendering both of us awkwardly speechless. Breathless. Even though we’ve been here before and know what to expect, the wonderful emotions are still very much the same. They’re familiar now, though not any less vivid or strong. Like taking a shot of whiskey, we know what to expect but it doesn’t make the drink any weaker. In fact, it just makes the whole thing that much more exciting. And I say that…

View full post »