Saturday, June 30, 2012

Classic Stripes

As much as I love a trendy item or two I usually always come back to the classics in my wardrobe, and stripes fall into that classic category for me. I pinned this image immediatly after I saw it over on The Silver Pen (Amazing blog that every woman should be reading!) and keep going back to oh and ah over it. Princess Caroline of Monaco is pictured here looking radiant. A striped classic evening dress that is perfect for a summer black tie affair...perfection!

Princess Caroline via The Silver Pen

Friday, June 29, 2012

New Baby Meal

When someone has a new little one a delivered home cooked meal can do wonders! It's one of my favorite things to do and I'm excited to do it tonight for one of the hubby's oldest childhood friends. I like to put together a yummy but healthy meal and usually provide enough for leftovers for lunch the next day.

A few other things I like to do are print out a menu of all the recipes I've cooked/baked so that the new parents can see exactly what they are eating and can also save the recipes if they want to cook them down the road. I also love to include a little present for the baby and books are my favorite gift to give. I have such fond memories of bedtime story time with my parents so I like to keep that traditional alive. My current favorie book to give is Goodnight Cowtown, it's a playoff of Goodnight Moon and highlights all the amazing sights and traditions of Fort Worth. Get your own copy here!

Now back to the actual meal. I did shredded pork, a wild rice edamame salad and espresso brownie bites. I can already tell this Wild Rice Edamame Salad is going to be something I make again and again, so easy and so good. Whilte there is quite a bit of prep time involved it's SO worth it. Enjoy!

Wild Rice and Edamame Salad via Pixelated Crumb



Wild Rice and Edamame Salad from Pixelated Crumb

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 4 cups cooked wild rice
  • 2 cups shelled cooked edamame, thawed if frozen
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 3 medium scallions, thinly sliced (green parts only)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar, plus more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Toast the almonds in a medium frying pan over medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown (don't let them burn!), about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a large heatproof bowl. Add the sesame seeds to the pan and toast, stirring often, until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the almonds.
  2. Add the rice, edamame, carrots, scallions, and cranberries to the bowl with the almonds and sesame seeds and toss to combine.
  3. Whisk the olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey, chili pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until combined. Drizzle over the rice mixture and toss to combine. Taste and season as needed with more salt, pepper, and vinegar. Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Year of The...

So last year was the year of the Givenchy Antigona (At least in my eyes!) and this year I've decided (More in my dreams I've decided...) it will be the year of the Fendi "2Jours Elite" Leather Shopper...o my goodness this bag is gorgeous. That soft buttery leather and the classic shape make it a winner, not to mention its yearound wearibilty. Pure perfection in my opinion.

Fendi "2Jours Elite" Leather Shopper in Honey via Nordstrom

Are you coveting a certain bag this season?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fun Eats in Destin!

I always like to do a post wrapping up any vacations I take not only so you all can see what I was up too, but also to remind myself down the road! Aren't bachelorette weekends just the best? I'm sure like me many of you are partaking in many of them right now as wedding season is in full swing. Well, let me tell you girls, Destin, FL is a great destination for a relaxing bachelorette weekend!

View from the Deck Seating at Louisiana Lagniappe


We ate at two fabulous restaurants. First, we went to Louisiana Lagniappe and we were able to sit outside with an amazing view. They even had fireworks on the night we were there which was the perfect ending to a great meal! When in Florida you obviously should take advantage of all the great seafood and I definitely did. I had one of the grouper dishes and it didn't disappoint. But the hushpuppies that they bring out in lieu of bread might have been my favorite thing!



On our last night we went to the Baytown Wharf area and had maybe one of the best meals of my life at Bistro Bijoux. Everything was amazing from start to finish! We all split a Fried Green Tomato and Crab appetizer that was to die for and everything just kept getting better and better as the meal went on. I would highly suggest you eat at Bistro Bijoux if you are going to Destin!

Do you all have any favorite Destin restaurants? I would love to hear!



Monday, June 25, 2012

Mexican Shrimp Casserole

First off, sorry for the lack of pictures. I didn't take any when I made this on Friday night. I made this while having a great beach weekend in Destin and it was the perfect beach meal. Not to heavy, but filling and fresh. I served this with a mixed green salad with sliced strawberries and toasted walnuts with my favorite salad dressing. I hope some of you enjoy this meal as much as I did!


Mexican Shrimp Casserole courtesy of Mama


1 lb cooked shrimp 
1 T olive oil
2 t Creole seasoning
1 red bell pepper chopped
1/2 cup frozen corn (Thawed and drained...I also think grilled corn could be great here!)
1/2 shredded Mexican cheese (I used a low fat version)
1 can black beans (Drained and Rinsed)
green onions (chopped)

Toss shrimp w oil and creole seasoning. Put all ingredients except cheese into pyrex and top with cheese. Bake at 375 for 40 mins. Loosely cover w foil for the first 20 mins baking and then remove foil for 2nd half. 
Top with desired toppings such as diced avocados, tomatoes, salsa or lime wedges.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

New Favorite Pasta

I don't cook pasta all the time. It's not that I don't like it, but for some reason it's just not what I reach for. However, when I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. I had some girls over to watch The Bachelorette (Who's your favorite?? Arie and Sean are my top 2!) last Monday night and we all LOVED this. It keeps well for a few days and can be made in advance too...winnnnnning!

Seriously, this might be my favorite thing I have cooked in a LONG time.

Pesto Pasta w Lemon, Spinach, Edamame & Toasted Almonds from The Kitchn


Pesto Pasta with Lemon, Spinach, Edamame & Toasted Almonds


serves 4 to 6
8 ounces spaghetti (I used whole wheat and used a more twisted penne like version)
1/2 cup pesto (Took a shortcut here and bought already prepared store bought)
8 ounces spinach (Not frozen spinach, use the bagged or boxed spinach you would use to make a salad)
2 cups edamame (shelled and shucked, the peas, not entire pods, you can find this in the freezer section)
juice from 2 lemons (plus fresh lemon wedges for serving)
3/4 cup almonds, crushed and lightly toasted 
Heat a large pot of water to boiling, cook pasta until al dente. Remove from water, strain and rinse with cold water. In a large bowl, stir pasta, pesto and spinach until combined (some spinach will wilt, some will stay firm — this is a nice contrast of textures). Finally, stir in the edamame and squirt the lemon all over the finished dish. Reserve a few lemon slices for people to add more if they like. On a low heat, toast crushed almonds until just fragrant. Garnish pasta with the toasted almonds.
***I added a few shredded Lemon Pepper Grilled Chicken tenders into this for extra protein and I think it only enhanced the flavor! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Blueberry Muffins...Again

Yep, I'm sure you all are SO surprised that I have another muffin recipe for you all. I made these for a dear friend and her family and I hope they will enjoy these as much as I did! They came together so quickly and I had almost all the ingredients on hand. Helpful tip, when you have fruit that is on its way to going bad freeze it! That's how I had these blueberries on hand.

Thanks to Ingredients, Inc for another great recipe. Happy baking friends!

Blueberry Muffins with Greek Yogurt from Ingredients, Inc


Blueberry Muffins with Greek Yogurt 

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Yield: 1 dozen
Ingredients
11/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole-wheat)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (6-ounce) container nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (I used 1%)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11/2 cups fresh blueberries
Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl combine, Greek yogurt, milk, oil and vanilla. Stir liquid ingredients into dry ingredients just enough to combine. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top.

3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Lustworthy Item #3

Ummmm are these earrings not STUNNING? I came across them after reading The Zoe Report yesterday and immediately pinned them. I shall be dreaming about these beauties!

Jennifer Meyer Turquoise and Diamond Bar Earrings



Monday, June 18, 2012

A Twist on Chicken Salad

First off I don't even like chicken salad, I really never have. However, I've recently tasted a few varieties (Central Market PLEASE bring back your Grilled Pesto Chicken Salad!) that I've liked so I wanted to try my hand at making one in the kitchen. It was perfect timing when I read this post over at How Sweet It Is.

One of the main things I loved about this recipe is that it can be made entirely the day before, LOVE when you can do that. I did make a few changes, mainly that I didn't toast the buns or melt the cheese because I was serving this to multiple people and everyone has different preferences. I also added some cayenne into the mixture right before serving thanks to my friend Lisa's suggestion. Next time I would add cayenne into the dressing!

Hope you all enjoy this! It's great to feed a crowd and budget friendly too!

Southwestern Chicken Salad Slider Melts via How Sweet It Is



makes about 12 slider sandwiches
1.25 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cooked and shredded (I boiled mine in chicken broth and then shredded)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup black beans
1/3 cup sweet corn (I used grilled corn from the ready-made section of our local Central Market)
3/4 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3-4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, sliced (I cut the deli slices in half to more fit the slider size)
12 slider buns, dinner rolls, or bread slices (I used whole wheat)
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Throw in onions, peppers and 1/4 teaspoon salt, mixing to combine. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until vegetables have softened. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. In a large bowl, combine chicken, onions + peppers, black beans and corn, mixing well.
In a smaller bowl, combine greek yogurt, remaining salt, pepper, cumin, smoked paprika and cilantro, mixing well. Add yogurt to the chicken mixture, stirring well to coat and combine. You can eat/serve your chicken salad in a traditional way, or to make the sliders, toast the bread or buns, scoop a few spoonfuls of the chicken salad on top of one bun, add some cheddar slices, then pop under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, until cheese is melted and chicken is warm. Top with bun and eat!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day!!!

Whose excited to celebrate their Dad (yes I still call him that) and/or father figures in their life tomorrow? I sure am! We are celebrating with a family dinner at one of my Dad's favorite restaurants tomorrow night and I can't wait to celebrate all the amazing thanks that make my Dad so great. Much like my Mother's Day post, I wanted to highlight 10 things about my Dad that I love.



- He is humble.
- He is sentimental.
- He loves to send me and Mama to NYC
- He loves my husband like his own son.
- He taught me what hard work means.
- He didn't push me to go into public accounting. 
- He still treats me like his baby girl.
- He takes me on lunch dates.
- He gave me the best education possible.
- He knows that Mama is always right. :)

Love you Daddy, thank you for being the best Dad ever! I'm so honored to be your daughter!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summertime and the Fruit is Yummy!

Corny title I know, I'll get better at titling my posts eventually, but for now they will stay on the lame side. Last night we had the pleasure of going to dinner at my dear friends parents house (Side note my dear friend Emily lives in NYC, but we still go enjoy family dinners at her parents home without her...pretty great right? ) and my contribution was a dessert. I knew I wanted to make a fruit based crisp or pie so off to Pinterest I went. I had had this crisp saved for awhile and decided to go for it since I knew that strawberries were so yum right now. I also was drawn to it because I have never tasted or baked with rhubarb. Well this was a hit! SO yum!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp via Skinny Taste



Ingredients:

For the filling:
  • 1 lb strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 lb rhubarb stalks (about 5 or 6) cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
For the Topping:
  • 1 cup Quaker quick oats
  • 1/2 cup 100% white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, not packed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine strawberries and rhubarb in an oven safe dish.
Add agave nectar (or honey)...
Then orange juice and orange zest; sprinkle with cornstarch and toss until fruit is well coated.
Mix remaining ingredients for the topping in a medium bowl then spread over fruit.
Bake until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling, about 40 minutes.


A scoop of vanilla ice cream on this is a must! And this can be made ahead of time if need be!



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Astley Clarke Jewels

I'm not even sure how I came across the gorgeous baubles at Astley Clarke, but I'm so glad I did. Astley Clarke is a London based jewelry company started by Bec Astley Clarke. Bec felt that there was a void in the online market for fine jewelry and thus Astley Clarke Jewels was created. They have thousands of gorgeous pieces, but as usual a few pairs of earrings stole my heart. Aren't these all stunning? I think the St. Catherine's are my favorite as I just LOVE the modern lines and the architectural feel that they have. What is your favorite?
Talithia Motif Earrings by Dinny Hall
St. Catherine's Stud by Elizabeth Humble
Mini Luna Cocktail Earrings by Monica Vinader


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Apricots...Thanks Lauren!

Everyone should put this in their winning appetizer category of recipes. I promise that these will not disappoint and that everyone will LOVE these. They went so fast at the party I made them for last Saturday. A big thank you to my friend Laurent who originally introduced me these, thanks for the delicious idea!

I followed a few different recipes to come up with my favorite twist. I would definitely recommend making an assembly line with all your ingredients to make the process go smoothly. I found coating the bacon pieces in the brown sugar mixture before I wrapped them around apricots was the best way to go.

Brown Sugar Bacon Wrapped Apricots

Ingredients

1 lb bacon (I ended up with 16 pieces of bacon which I then sliced into thirds crosswise)
Dried apricots (I eyeballed how many I wanted/needed out of the bulk bins at our local Central Market)
1/2 C brown sugar
1 t cayenne pepper
1 t black pepper
2 T pure maple syrup 

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375ยบ F. 
  2. Stir the brown sugar, cayenne pepper and black pepper together and then dump onto a large plate so you can coat the bacon pieces into the brown sugar mixture.
  3. Wrap each apricot with a piece of brown sugar bacon, and place seam-side down on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake until the bacon is beginning to crisp, 6 to 8 minutes per side. (Mine too longer than this just FYI)
  5. Remove from oven and brush with the maple syrup. Serve with toothpicks. 
***Sorry for lack of a picture!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Peanut Butter + Banana

Mornnnning everyone! Who else is extremely exhausted today?! I really am wishing I still had some of this Peanut Butter Banana Bread to perk me up, sadly I don't. I made this quick bread as a small thank you to a sweet family who hosted me in their home for a few days last week in St. Louis. Have you all ever been to St. Louis? It's gorgeous! If you all ever go you need to visit The Cat's Meow, adorable shop!

Anyway back to this bread, it's easy to make and YUM. I went off of this recipe, but omitted the Reese's. I know I know you ALL are thinking why would you omit the Reese's...I just didn't want this to be super decadent and thought by omitting the Reese's it would make for a lighter bread.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread via Cookies & Cups



Ingredients
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup oil (I used canola)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
How to Make
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Grease your loaf pan.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together your flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.
  4. In a large bowl stir together your bananas, peanut butter, oil, egg and sugars.
  5. Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Batter will be lumpy. DO NOT OVER-STIR.
  6. Bake for approx 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges of the pan with a knife and remove from loaf pan, transferring bread to a cooling rack.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Dressing

Sooo I make my own salad dressing and love doing so. While yes I do keep one or two bottled versions in my fridge for emergencies I really prefer to make my own for a few reasons. The most important being that it tastes better, but the latter being that there are all sorts of additives and words I can't pronounce in bottled salad dressings, not to mention the salt content is usually out of control. I've posted this dressing recipe on the blog before, but have never had a post entirely about it so wanted to re post it today. It's BEYOND easy and keeps in the fridge for a few days. I usually half this recipe and it lasts us for two or three salads.

Some of my current favorite salad combos right now either mixed greens + diced green apple (with skin on + dried cherries + Tours Mix (BEST thing ever!) + dressing OR mixed greens + sliced strawberries + toasted slivered almonds + dressing...yum yum!


Balsamic and Mustard Dressing from The Sweet Beet


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (Sometimes I used a flavored balsamic)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard (I prefer grainy)
1 tsp honey 
1 tsp dried herbs eg. oregano, thyme (I used Mrs. Dash No Salt Added Herb Mix)
salt & pepper

You can either mix it with a fork, a whisk or shake it up a jar (any shape will do!). But for optimal flavor, really mix it. Use a jar if you’re going to be making extra and storing it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Favorites at Cannes

Soooo the looks from Cannes were so so so good! I was beyond impressed with every ones choices. I know I'm a little late to the party to just now be showing my favorites, but better late than never right? The only reason I had the best photos was thanks to the Red Carpet Fashion Award blog, they have the best coverage. 

Clearly, everyone was obsessed with all of Diane Kruger's looks, my favorite like many others was the Nina Ricci (top right). I couldn't' possibly pick out a favorite look from my pictures below, I love them all. I mean HELLO look at Reese Witherspoon rocking Versace, and pregnant no less, and I love Jessica Chastain's floral shift by Dolce & Gabbana, perfect daytime look.

What is your favorite? Can't wait for Cannes 2013!



Photos via Red Carpet Fashion Awards

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Red Velvet + Brownies + White Chocolate + Anniversary

Ummmm these are amazing, but do Jessica's recipes ever disappoint, not so much. Some of my closest friends (Hi Nat & Ryan!) were celebrating their 1 year anniversary this past Monday and I wanted to make them a yummy to help celebrate. Clearly in my head anniversaries call for an excuse to eat LOTS of treats, duh. SO, I went with these Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Frosting...since Ryan's groom cake was red velvet at the wedding I thought these were a perfect pick.

Red Velvet Brownies via How Sweet It Is



1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons red food coloring
Preheat oven to 350.
Butter and flour an 8 x 8 cake pan.
In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder, red food coloring, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to create a paste.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then add remaining teaspoon of vanilla. With the mixer on medium speed, add in cocoa powder mixture. Beat until batter is completely red. (If at this time your batter is NOT red, you can add a little more food coloring if desired. Color will depend on brand.) Add flour and salt, mixing until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Spread in the 8 x 8 pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

White Chocolate Frosting
1 stick of butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces white chocolate, melted (I used Lindt and microwaved to melt)
1-2 tablespoons milk (I only needed 1 T and used whole milk)
Cream butter in an electric mixer until fluffy, then add vanilla. Slowly add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time with the mixer on low speed. Add in melted white chocolate and beat until incorporated. To reach desired consistency, add in milk 1 teaspoon at a time with mixer on low speed. If frosting becomes too liquidy, simple add additional sugar.