Thursday, June 27, 2013

Broccolini Pasta

That's right, it's broccoLINI. Now, if you're not a fan a broccoli or broccolini don't let that turn you off of this recipe. I don't like either but I looooove this pasta. It is so good and pretty healthy for you. My step-mom - who, let's be honest, is not the greatest cook - gave me this recipe. It's that easy! I made it for Husband and he has a craving for it at least once every 2 weeks. It is my favorite pasta dinner and it might be his favorite meal that I make.


 Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 lb of bacon
  • 1 lb of linguine 
  • *OPTIONAL* if you'd like a low carb option of spaghetti squash substitute follow the link here
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can garbanzo beans/chickpeas
  • 1/3 package of grape tomatoes
  • 1 bunch broccolini
  • grated parmesan cheese to taste

Raw, no bacon
Cooked & with bacon added


How To Cook It

  • start cooking your bacon first as it takes the longest
  • start water boiling for pasta as it takes the second longest
  • in large frying pan add oil and garlic over medium heat
  • add chickpeas/garbanzo beans
  • chop broccolini and add to pan
  • chop grape tomatoes and add to pan
  • reduce heat to low-medium and let simmer until bacon is ready to be chopped and added - bacon should be cooked through but not crispy
  • drain noodles and add sauce mixture
  • plate pasta and add parmesan to taste

If you want to make this extra healthy, use whole wheat pasta and dab your bacon grease off before adding it to the 'sauce'. If you want to make it super delicious but add a whole bunch of fat, forgo the olive oil and use bacon grease instead. When you do this you have to start your bacon earlier so you can have the grease to start cooking the garlic, chickpeas, tomatoes and broccolini. 


Enjoy!

Closet

Summer is heeeeereee (imagine I said that like Oprah)! It is supposed to be 90+ degrees for the next 5 days at least! So get ready for a lot of shorts and dresses. WOO! I'm pumped, I love the sun. I don't really love HOT heat that much but whatever, I've got an air conditioner.



Shirt: Forever 21
Shorts: Old Navy
Shoes: TJ Maxx / Steve Madden
Necklace: Forever 21
Watch: Urban Outfitters

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tortilla Soup

Husband has not been feeling well for the last week and requested some soup. He had just eaten about 3 cans of Campbell's chicken noodle so... yeah, chicken noodle was out. (Although I do a really good one that I'll share at some point in the future). He's sick with a sinus infection and likes spicy food so I thought, TORTILLA! Awesome.


Ingredients: 

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 a white onion - chopped
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 6 c. chicken broth
  • 2 c. chicken - chopped or shredded
  • 1 can black beans - drained
  • 1 spicy pepper
  • juice of 3 limes
  • monterrey jack cheese - to taste
  • cilantro - to taste
  • salt - to taste
  • avocado - to taste
  • tortilla chips - to taste

How To Cook It:

  • over medium heat, heat the olive oil 
  • add onion, saute until translucent (about 3 minutes)
  • add chili powder, stir until fragrant (about 1 minute)
  • add chicken broth and chicken, bring to a boil
  • reduce to medium heat, add black beans and spicy pepper, heat through
  • let simmer about 10 min
  • spoon into bowls and add toppings to taste

For heat, I'll usually add more than one spicy pepper or I'll leave a few seeds in. Also, as you can see, I used a red onion. White, in my opinion really does give better flavor. And last, I usually blob some sour cream in my soup because husband likes it a lot spicier than I do; I also like my broth a bit creamier than he does. Obviously you can add a myriad of other things too: tomatoes, corn, etc. according to your taste. Soup is really hard to screw up (which is why I love to make it).

Closet

Remember when I said I copy a LOT of my outfits from Pinterest? Here is the proof. This outfit (and if I'm being honest with myself, a LOT of my outfits) I stole from THIS girl's wonderful blog - that I found on Pinterest.


Shirt: Aerie by American Eagle
Pants: American Eagle
Denim Jacket: American Eagle
Shoes: Payless
Scarf: TJ Maxx
Jewelry: Were both gifts

Huh, that's a lot of American Eagle in one outfit - and totally by accident. I think I only have 2 or 3 other garments from there....

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Week Of Groceries

I don't claim to be a health nut but I DO try to keep my meals relatively unprocessed. If anyone is wondering (and I don't flatter myself enough to think that you actually are wondering but) here is what a week's worth of groceries looks like at our house. Husband has Type I (insulin dependent) diabetes and we have discovered he fares better when we eat home made meals. For example, if I make spaghetti, I make my sauce from scratch, not from a jar with a bunch of sodium and preservatives. Make sense? K cool.


You can see that about 85% of our groceries are fresh produce. I'm not a huge fan of vegetables and I was probably the world's pickiest eater when I was growing up but I've found enough recipes that make me start to drool when I get to the produce section at the grocery store.  


On the menu for this week is: Tortilla Soup, Taco Salad, Broccolini Pasta, Bistro Steak, and a random thyme/roasted grape/ricotta cheese recipe I found here. (Although with this recipe, I have found you get better flavor if you strip the thyme leaves off the sprigs and leave them on the grapes. That will make sense if you read the recipe.) 


I try to hit up the grocery store Sundays instead of Mondays because, like Peter Gibbons, I suffer from "the Mondays".. and I have a work-out class until 6:15 Monday nights, and there's usually laundry, blah blah blah...

Closet

I love getting new clothes and mixing them with old. I haven't worn pearls in so long but get me a few new pieces and suddenly my boring old closet is full of new possibilities. Or at least I think so.


Shirt: H&M
Cardigan: Forever 21
Pants: Nordstrom Rack
Wedges: Payless (I don't know why they are showing up this weird yellow color, they are nude and the color doesn't really look anything like what is shown in the picture)
Pearls: Forever 21

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Berry Picking

It was a BEAUTIFUL day yesterday and we really wanted to do something outside. One of my students told me about a great little u-pick berry farm a couple of miles out of town. An afternoon in the sun and some cheap, fresh berries? I'm in.

On the way out to the berry farm, we stopped at Davis Family Farm (where we bought our moms hanging baskets for mothers day) and picked a few strawberries. Oh. My. Gosh. These little devils aren't big but they taste soooooooo good!



We got more than you would in the store for a whopping $0.72! Seriously? Awesome.

Picking strawberries


Right next to the strawberry patch was a field of peas. I don't want to get anybody in trouble, but Erika is a thief....

THIEF!


Next stop was the Red Barn Berry Farm (http://redbarnberryfarm.com/). They have cherries, raspberries, blackberries, and boysenberries ripe and in season RIGHT NOW!

 

Husband and Jessica were most excited about the cherries so we went for those first. They had mostly bing and rainier cherries and another kind, we weren't sure what it was but they were bright red and sour!

Next up was the raspberry patch. Although I like boysenberries the best, raspberries are most fun to pick!


Raspberry picking

And last, we came to what we thought were blackberries but turned out to boysenberries. Not that I complaining. These little nuggets explode in your mouth like a big bomb of awesome. So good! Although watch our for the stickers on the plant. I swear, you don't even have to touch them, it's like they sense your presence and shoot out at you!


I could not think of a better way to spend our afternoon. Husband eats berries like they are going out of style and I always yell at him to save me some. We have so many now, I'm more worried about them spoiling before we can eat them all. Breakfast this morning was out of this world - and now I'm kind of thinking about a smoothie....

Our haul


Friday, June 21, 2013

Closet

Don't you just love it when 'casual Friday' falls on a day when your team is playing in the College World Series? I know I do! And lucky for me, my boss is a HUGE OSU fan as well. So as long as I have an OSU logo on me (and I don't have any meetings), I can go about as casual as I want. Ahhhhh comfort!


Look! A hat!

Shirt: OSU Beaver Bookstore
Pants: Nordstrom (Hudson brand)
Shoes: Nordstrom (But uhhh, yeah... They are converse. You can get them aaaanywhere.)
Hat: OSU Beaver Bookstore

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Easy Pasta Dinner

This is a recipe my friend Dane gave me back in college when I didn't know how to cook. It is SO EASY. I always keep these ingredients in my pantry because (with the exception of the cheese) they never go bad and I can make a tasty dinner if I haven't gone to the store all week *ahem*. The other nice thing about this recipe is that you can dress it up: add pesto or chicken or whatever! It's pretty hard to screw this up.


Usually I use farfalle pasta, but this angel hair is all I had...

Ingredients:

  • olive oil - enough to cover the bottom of an 8" pan
  • white wine - I usually use chardonnay; enough to cover the bottom of an 8" pan
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp basil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp oregano 
  • 1 heaping Tbsp of minced garlic - sorry, I use the pre-minced jar and I don't know what that equates to in "fresh cloves"
  • chili pepper flakes to taste - depending on how spicy you want it
  • 1/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes (in oil)
  • 1/2 lb. of pasta 
  • *OPTIONAL* if you'd like a low carb option of spaghetti squash substitute follow the link here
  • feta cheese to taste

This recipe makes enough for 2 and then some left overs. Again, it's pretty subjective, you can't screw it up; want more? Just cook more pasta! It took me a couple of trys to get it just the way I like it.


How To Cook It:

  • start boiling your pasta water FIRST - this "sauce" doesn't take long so make sure you start that pasta first!
  • combine olive oil and wine together in sauce pan on med heat
  • chop sun-dried tomatoes coarsely and add to olive oil mix
  • add garlic, basil, oregano, and chili pepper flakes
  • let simmer while bow tie pasta cooks - you want the wine to cook out and it to get a little sludgy
  • drain pasta and combine it with sauce in a large bowl
  • sprinkle with feta to taste - personally, I put a TON of feta on this nom! 





Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Closet

Husband must have has a stroke or something: this weekend I told him I needed to go shopping for some new bras and denim jacket. He asked if he could come shopping with me... Wut? I cautiously agreed. He liked EV-RY-THING I tried on and told me to buy it all. Am I dreaming? Oh wait, he bought a bike last week and this is his way of evening things out. Okay. I'll take it. This denim jacket was part of my haul. Boom.


And for good measure, one without the jacket.

Denim Jacket: American Eagle
Dress: Nordstrom Rack
Boots: Nordstrom / Steve Madden (I'm reeeaaaally wearing these out aren't I? Better get my other boots back soon!)
Belt: Forever 21
Necklace (can you even see it?): Forever 21
Watch: Urban Outfitters

Monday, June 17, 2013

Graduation Lei


My good friend Erika graduated with her Master's Degree back in December - BUT she walked at commencement over this last weekend. Her best friend, Jessica, wanted to do something fun and special for Erika's ceremony. Jessica is from Hawaii so what better way to congratulate her friend than to "get her leid"?

Jessica ordered flowers to be shipped over from Hawaii (website here) and Friday night she recruited several of our friends to put together about 15 leis. It was super fun!


Here's what we had to work with. Lots of beautiful flowers and they smelled sooooo good! We used four different blooms; 2 different kinds of orchids, purple carnations and white tuberose.




The flowers came with 2 lei needles - basically just a really long sewing needle but instead of an eye at the end there was a little, tiny hook. We used dental floss to string the flowers. I was nervous at first because flowers are so delicate but I found out that they were stronger than I thought. Also there were PLENTY of flowers if I screwed up - these flowers here were advertised as enough to make 10 leis but we made about 15 and had tons of flowers left over. 


Measure the length around you'll need on yourself. Loop your dental floss through the eye of the needle. Double your floss for strength. Then knot the two ends to stop your flowers from sliding off the end. Now you're ready to string your flowers: Just stab the needle through the very center of the flower and slide it down to the end of the needle. Once your needle is full you can slide your flowers down to knot at the end of your string. Repeat this process until your string is full. Then tie the loop end and the tied ends together (make several knots so they don't come apart) and voila! You've made a lei! Make sure to refrigerate your leis if you are not going to use them immediately - they are flowers and they WILL wilt! 





 We made a variety of designs. It was fun to watch the boys get creative - they were so proud!

Close up of one of the orchids. GORGEOUS! 


 Graduation day! Here are some close-ups of our finished work in the day light.

And here is my beautiful Erika, weighted down and sweating under all those hot flowers! Congratulations! COWLITZ ACCOUNT!


And for good measure, the woman that made it possible....

That's true love, folks.



Closet

I know it's supposed to be "casual Friday". I know that with graduation this weekend and the Beavers in the College World Series, I should be wearing head-to-toe orange and black. But I just bought pink pants and I am pumped to try them out. I fished this blazer out of the back of my closet - I've been neglecting it. And it all turned out to be a not-so-casual Friday.


Sorry for the awful that is my phone camera lately!

Blazer: Forever 21
Shirt: Nordstrom Rack
Pants: Forever 21
Shoes: Payless
Necklaces: Forever 21 
Watch: Urban Outfitters

Friday, June 14, 2013

Bachelorette Invite

My friend Kari's bachelorette party is coming up and her sister is going allllllll out for the party. We are going wine tasting in Napa Valley and she's even making matching t-shirts (I promise, they are not those obnoxious "Last fling before the ring" shirts - barf). She asked me to put together an invitation postcard to send out to all the girls. I still haven't heard back on whether or not she approves *cough check you email, Sara cough* but whatevs, I like them so they are going up here:


I pretty much copied and tweaked the design on the the FRONT of the card from an Etsy invitation (so if you want to buy these for your own party click over to her wonderful shop here). The back is all from Yours Truly's noggin right here. Kari's favorite color is pink (like seriously, she's obsessed) so I tried to make them as obnoxiously pink as possible. As you can tell, I also tried to show off the "Wine" theme of the weekend. 


The party IS a little spendy so we wanted to include what our checks cover on the back so people know what they are getting themselves in to. And a little itinerary is always fun. Kari's bra size isn't on there because the girl has mondo ta-ta's and you have to special order her bra's from Europe (just in case you were wondering). I did all this using Microsoft Publisher and grabbing random backgrounds and silhouettes off the internet (so hopefully it's legal to put it up on a blog...).

Closet

Ever have one of those *ahem* weeks where you aren't feeling yourself and you hate everything that you try on? And then, there it is - that one magical outfit that, just for today at least, doesn't make you feel like a cow. Well I have 1 1/2 of those outfits. Yes, they are pretty much exactly the same except different colors.

Yes, thank you, I am PAINFULLY aware that this outfit is strikingly similar to the last outfit post. I'm having a week okay? So lay off...


Scarf: Forever 21
Shirt: Nordstrom Rack
Pants: Nordstrom Rack
Boots: Nordstrom / Steve Madden 
Bracelet: Forever 21

DANCE DARES!

Are you outgoing? Are you looking for a fun night out - that ISN'T just like all the others? Ellen DeGeneres is really a genius, I have to say... and Emma stone is amazing. Here is where we got the idea. DANCE DARES! The object is simple enough: dance behind someone without them catching you.

So a couple weekends ago Husband, Molly, Jessica and I decided to head on down to the University's Battle of the Bands and try it out. (MUCH easier to do a dance dare when there is music playing - and in the beer garden). We got about 20 videos but I'll only share the 4 best here:


The beauty of this first one is that Husband is getting Jessica - and this whole thing was her idea. The first victim of the evening: 

video

The second gem is Jessica getting the beer garden security guard: 

video

I was lucky enough to nab a guy that was REALLY into his pool game (later at the bar): 

video

And Molly had a FABULOUS routine behind the bar patrons: 

video

Clearly, we are not professional dancers! I know this may sound like a mean prank but you would be surprised how many people think it is HILARIOUS - especially your victims. We made lots and lots of friends that night. The worst reaction we got was just "what are you doing?" Try it, like it, live it. 


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Closet

So I realize it is June and for most people that means summer. But I live in Oregon. While it might have been the NICEST spring we've had here in a long time, it is still June *in Oregon* and only about 68 degrees here. Therefore I don't feel weird about wearing this lovely scarf that my mommy bought me for Christmas!


Scarf: gift from my Mom - but I think she got it at Fred Meyer
Shirt: Nordstrom Rack
Pants: Nordstrom Rack
Boots: Nordstrom / Steve Madden
Watch: Urban Outfitters

Spicy Bacon Mac 'n' Cheese

Soooo, NORMALLY I try to eat healthy... but every now and then you just gotta have some soouuull food (or your husband demands some artery clogging goodness). This recipe I kind of 'frankenstiened' together from several mac 'n' cheese recipes I found online. I don't want to brag (but I totally do) that my food snob step-dad pulls one of these every time we mention my mac 'n' cheese; and SEVERAL of my male cousins bug me to make it about once a week. So - if you're looking for a way into a man's heart, make them this hot mess of delicious!


Ingredients: 

  • 16 oz. macaroni - I reccommend some long, spirally kind vs. normal elbow macaroni. It's waaay more fun and delicious!
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) of butter
  • 1/2 c. sifted flour - although I have never actually sifted my flour because I am lazy - but it doesn't seem to make a difference
  • 4 c. milk - I use 1%
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp hot sauce - I use sriracha (rooster sauce) and I don't measure, I basically just squeeze a whole bunch in until it the sauce turns a healthy pink
  • 16 oz. cheese - I usually buy a pre-shredded 'mexican' blend
  • 16 oz. bacon - pepper bacon is awesome for this
  • shredded parmasen - for topping
  • bread crumbs - for topping
  • fresh ground pepper - to taste

Ooooomigawwww BACON!!

How To Cook It: 

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees and place bacon inside so it can start cooking while you prep the cheese sauce
  • cook macaroni and set aside
  • in medium saucepan melt butter over low heat
  • add flour and stir consistently until smooth 
  • turn to medium heat and add milk, stirring consistently until thick (about 10 min)
  • add hot sauce, stir until mixed evenly
  • hopefully at this point your bacon is finished cooking (I usually get a helper to pull this out of the oven and chop it all up. Like so...

Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!

  • add pasta, bacon, and cheese - mix until cheese melts and pasta is evenly coated
  • pour mac 'n' cheese into 9"x13" baking dish
  • top with parmesan and bread crumbs according to taste
  • bake in the preheated oven @ 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes


BAM! You're welcome.

(Sorry, I'm not usually this arrogant about my recipes but we literally just ate this and I'm still on a bacon high)

Salad Rolls

If you have ever made sushi - and ENJOYED it - you will love making these lettuce rolls. If you have made sushi before and HATED it, then pass up on this recipe because the basic process is very similar. If you've never made sushi before, I suggest you try it because it's super fun! Lettuce rolls are a good jumping off point because you get to understand the basic sushi rolling principles, but you don't have to deal with the obnoxious rice (and outrageous "sushi grade" fish prices).

An additional bonus: these bad boys are packed with healthy greens. So if you've been feeling bad about your food choices lately, worry no more! Just be careful to go easy on the peanut sauce!




Ingredients:

  • spring roll wrappers - roughly 8 inches in diameter (but it doesn't really matter, however big you want to make them)
  • extra firm tofu - cut into... logs? 1 cm by the length of the box - does that make sense? 
  • fresh mint 
  • fresh basil 
  • 2 - 3 carrots - cut into thin strips
  • 1 cucumber - cut into thin strips
  • 1 avocado - cut into thin strips
  • 1 head of lettuce - only the leafy green top part, break off the hard white end
  • Thai peanut sauce


How To Make It:

  • Have a wide, shallow bowl (I use a pie pan) of warm water on the counter. Place a clean dish towel under your work surface. Dip rice paper rounds into the water for just a moment and then place on the dish towel. Dip another rice paper round and place it on top of the first (these suckers are kinda flimsy and will break when you roll them if you just use one). 
  • Center a lettuce leaf on top of the stacked papers. About one third in from the edge closest to you, arrange a few of the basil and mint leaves lengthwise across the lettuce. Top with tofu, carrots, cucumber, and avocado. 
  • Be careful not to overstuff the roll. 
  • Lift the bottom edge of the rice paper up and over the filling ingredients and then roll it once to form the roll. 
  • Then fold the sides in (burrito-style) and continue to roll the paper and fillings into a tight roll. 
  • Repeat until your rice papers are gone.
  • With a SUPER sharp knife, gently cut your rolls in half - diagonally for style - and serve immediately! (The rice paper will try out and become chewy if left for too long - like an hour). 
  • This makes about 10 rolls.