30 September 2014

Yeezy Style

I spent Labor Day weekend in Atlanta; I was in town for my college bestie's engagement party. When she picked me up from the airport, we went straight to DSW so she could look for some last-minute more comfortable shoes for the party. I headed over the clearance section for a quick look and found myself trying on a pair of shoes I never in a million years thought I would've tried on.
Yes, those are high top wedge sneakers. One year of living in Vermont and I have turned into a total hipster. I was thisclose to buying them, but these were just a tad too snug. I came home and Googled them (duh) and I cannot decide whether or not to take the plunge.
On the one hand, I think they would look super fierce and fashion-y with some faux-leather leggings and a big sweater. On the other hand, I am neither fierce nor fashion-y and I feel like I would be a big ole fraud stomping around in them.
When the Isabel Marant sneakers came out, I was all, "Ew, fashion people are so weird. Who would wear those?" Now I'm all, "Gisele is wearing them, they are actually kind of cute." Also, cute footwear in Vermont between November-April is pretty much limited to LL Bean boots and Sorels, so I feel like these would help me step up my cold weather style game. 
Also, I don't know what color I like. 

I'm inclined to go with the simple black/silver/white, but I mean...if you're going to by high top wedge sneakers, why not throw in some aqua while you're at it?
Am I crazy? If you saw me wearing these, would you silently judge me?

29 September 2014

Menu Monday

M bought me the Martha Stewart 'Meatless' cookbook for Christmas, since I've been trying to cut back on my meat consumption. This was the first recipe I tried from the cookbook, and it still doesn't disappoint. I use coconut oil instead of olive oil since it has a higher smoke point and I skip the sage-chile butter in favor of just sprinkling on crushed red pepper flakes at the end.
Meh. Not great, not terrible. Honestly, I had some frozen tilapia that had thawed in the fridge and needed to get used ASAP, so this did the job. Not the most flavorful recipe, so I doubt we'd make it again.

Chicken and White Bean Enchiladas with Creamy Salsa Verde (Skinnytaste)
Admittedly not the prettiest of pictures, but these were great! The recipe was a little more fiddly and time-consuming than I normally like on a weeknight, but my guess is that you could prep these on the weekend, freeze them, and then just bake them for about an hour and you'd be fine.  

 Baked Sausages with Apples and Potatoes (Dinner: A Love Story)
Another really unappetizing photo of a really delicious meal. This is one of my favorite fall recipes. It is so easy and there's only one pan to clean up afterwards. I used an entire package of Trader Joe's sweet apple and maple chicken sausages, which are 5 to a package instead of 4, and used dried thyme instead of fresh (maybe a teaspoon?). Make sure you serve it with the grainy mustard! 

Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup (Giada De Laurentiis)
Remember when Giada didn't suck? I mean, she always has done her annoying pronunciations of Italian words and had an abnormally large head, but back when it was just Everyday Italian? I loved that show so much and wanted to be her cooking BFF. Then she switched over to Giada At Home and I cannot stand her. There is just something about her now that makes me want to punch her in the teeth. M has a theory that off-camera, she is a total bitch to Todd. I'm inclined to agree.
Anyways. The point of all of that is to say that this recipe is vintage, good Giada. I used to make this soup for myself when I was just out of college and broke and living by myself. It felt tres gourmet, but because it is basically beans with some broth and cream, it is tres budget.
That's it for last week's meals. A few notes on my current way of meal planning:
For the most part, I'm still doing things the same way as I was in this post. Instead of printing off and filling in the menu planner each week, I just have a dedicated menus notebook in Evernote and I create a note for each week.
Last year, I realized that I was making almost all of my meals exclusively from Pinterest recipes. Not that that's a bad thing per se, but I have all of these great cookbooks and tear-outs from magazines at home that I wasn't using. So I challenged myself to start cooking more from those. Ever the lover of rules, I also introduced Tex-Mex Tuesday and Pizza Friday into our lineup, in addition to Meatless Monday and Soup Sunday (during the fall and winter). I don't follow those rules to a T, but they've definitely helped me cook through more of my magazine tear-outs and conquer my fear of homemade pizza.

26 September 2014

Friday Favorites: Fall Edition

Also known as the Basic Bitch Edition.

1. Pumpkin EVERYTHING. Last spring, Burlington got its very own Trader Joe's and the novelty has not worn off yet. I am on a quest to purchase every fall/pumpkin item they sell. The problem is I don't really know what to do with all of it. Pinterest to the rescue. How amazing do these pumpkin butter sticky buns look? I would leave out the cinnamon chips because I am weirdly creeped out by those things, but otherwise? YUM.

2. I hate candy corn. It is the worst. So, so disgusting. I always want to like the little mellowcreme pumpkins because they're so adorable, but I just can't. Every time I see candy corn (which is everywhere this time of year) I think of Lewis Black (skip ahead to about the 1 minute mark)...

My thoughts exactly.

3. Normally I avoid Wal*Mart like the plague. It tarnishes the faux-crunchy reputation I've worked so hard to cultivate.  In addition to the fact that they are a terrible company, it's also a downright miserable shopping experience. However...I make an exception in the fall to purchase the best candle ever:
Seriously. I think the biggest size they sell costs like $5 (eat your hearts out, NEST and Anthropologie) and it actually makes your house smell like you've had apple cider simmering on your stove all day. One time I bought that NEST pumpkin chai candle that all the bloggers rave about, and while admittedly it does come in much prettier packaging, it did not smell nearly as wonderful as my el cheapo Wally World candle. 

4. I hated the book 'Gone Girl.' HATED. To this day, it is the only thing I have ever reviewed on Amazon. I was that pissed that I spent money on it.  First half of the book? Amazing. Loved it. Couldn't read it fast enough. Second half of the book? Lifetime movie garbage. So can someone please talk me off the ledge about seeing the movie? Every time I see a trailer for it, I'm like, "Oooooh this movie looks so good!" WHAT?!? I've read the book, I know what happens, and it sucks. Is it just the magnetic draw of Ben Affleck and Tyler Perry? I don't know.

5. I really want to try the super dark lipstick trend, but am terrified of looking like a Goth chick and don't want to drop the $$$ on NARS Terre De Feu or Tom Ford Bruised Plum lipsticks that I will probably wear once and then be too chicken to ever wear again. I see a trip to the CVS cosmetics aisle in my future...

24 September 2014

Menu Wednesday

It's baaaaaaaaaack! I know you have just been waiting on pins and needles to read about all the things we ate last week. I'm still getting back in the habit of taking pictures (you know you've missed my excellent food photography skillz), so this is a pretty boring, text-heavy post.  Better luck next week.

Super easy, very delicious. Next time could probably leave out the brown butter...it didn't add any noticeable flavor to the dish. I would probably just do a drizzle of olive oil when you toss it with the Parmesan.

Gina wins again. Although I used 3 tablespoons of jerk seasoning and still felt the pork was a little bland. I added in another teaspoon or two at the end of cooking, plus some cayenne, and that helped. Made a ton, minimal prep time, minimal dishes...all the necessary elements of a repeat recipe in our house.

Aunt Martha's Taco Soup {family recipe}
I've shared this on here before, but it's worth posting again. One of my favorite soups of all time! Of note, this time around I used three cans of Trader Joe's diced fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles for the 3 cans of tomatoes and just left out the can of chopped green chiles. You could do the same with Rotel, although you'd probably need 4 cans.
1-2 lbs. ground meat {chicken, turkey, or beef}*, browned with
1 small onion

1 can chopped green chiles
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 package taco seasoning mix (I make my own taco seasoning using Budget Bytes' recipe. I do include the cornstarch.)
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1 can hominy, undrained
3 cans stewed, diced, or crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 can kidney beans, undrained
1 can pinto beans, undrained
2 or more cups water

Simmer for 30 minutes. {I tend to just throw everything in the slow cooker in the morning and leave it on low all day.  This soup is very low maintenance.}

*I prefer to use a shredded rotisserie chicken and brown the onion on its own.

19 September 2014

This Thing On?

So...hi there. Remember me? I don't even know how to begin this post. I'm not sure that I'm "back" to blogging for good...just that I've been feeling like coming back to this long neglected-space for awhile now. Mainly because my husband and my mother keep asking me when I'm going to start blogging again, which I find hilarious because they're the two people in the world I talk to the most. Aren't you guys tired of hearing from me? Sheesh.

I'm not really sure why I stopped in the first place. We moved and our sublet didn't have internet. Then by the time we moved into our permanent address and hooked up internet, I had started a new job. And by that point I was out of the habit. I also had (and still have) some serious reservations about blogging. About what it is, what it's becoming, what it means about me. Let's be honest: you have to be a bit of a narcissist to blog. I mean, you're assuming that your vapid thoughts and observations are interesting to total strangers. Super Special Snowflake Syndrome at its finest. A lot of the people I "grew up" blogging with either don't blog anymore or have become mommy bloggers (which is fine, but not for me since I'm not a mommy) or have become total sellouts. I got to a point where I wasn't really sure who I was blogging for anymore or why.

Blogging also filled a void for me that doesn't need to be filled anymore. When I started blogging, I was fresh out of college, living in a small town by myself with just a handful of friends and friendly acquaintances. So at that time, blogging was a way for me to connect with women across the globe who I had a lot in common with when that wasn't available to me in my real life. Then we got married and moved to a place we loathed where we had barely any friends or social life and felt like there were no cultural outlets for us. We were miserable and blogging reminded me that there was a wonderful world outside of our little dump. Then we moved again. And we absolutely LOVE it here. We've started to form wonderful friendships and build a community for ourselves. I no longer have the same need to connect online because we've made so many wonderful connections in real life.

Now, though, I see blogging fulfilling a different need, one of keeping in touch with friends and loved ones far away. I got such a kick out of going to my college reunion a few years ago and having old acquaintances come up to me and tell me they enjoyed my blog. Not in an, "OMG I'm such a big deal" way, but in a "It's nice to feel like I'm making a connection with people I don't get to see" way. I miss sharing recipes and having a place to just brain dump all the random stuff going on in my head.

OK now I don't know how to end this post. Do people still read blogs anymore? Comment on them? I don't know. I guess I'll just say "Hi, Mom and M! I'm blogging again!" For now...