Thursday, February 28, 2013

on who I am...

I am...

...back to BLONDE! Hurrah. I had my hair dark for a good part of the Winter and with Spring being just around the corner I was in the mood to brighten things up. If you asked my 16 year old self If I would ever be blonde she would probably screamed profanities and flip you off. Good thing you didn't ask her. Huh? But anyways I am loving being back to this color and I can't be any more happier with my cut. There's nothing like the feeling you get with a new cut. Zing! 

... feeling homesick. I can't help getting choked up thinking about some of the people that I love most who are just so far away. Lately, there's nothing I wouldn't give to me able to get a hug from my dad or lie awake with my sister and just talk about everything and nothing or take a pie making class with my best girls. I try my best not to let it get me to sad but really, who am I kidding? It's sucks! amazed how people tend to hurt the ones that love them the most. Why is that? I'm seeing it happen to someone that I hold so dear to my heart. Someone that only deserves the best yet always has the worst luck. Worst of all is being in the middle of it and not really being able to do anything about it. I've always been the type of person that is very upfront and forward about situations and will look them right in the eye and then I try to fix it whether it has to do with me or not. I've been better at realizing that I can't fix everything but most the time I have to try. Sometimes I just have the urge to go up, grab them by the shoulders, shake them and scream in their face WHAT ARE YOU DOING? No, I've never actually done this...yet. All I can do is support and hope that some growing up happens and for a bright shinny light bulb to goes off. Love and respect your loved ones, man. All they want is what's best for you. The sooner you realize that the sooner you can start living. 

...always pondering my outlook on parenting. It's seriously something that I'll just sit and think about. I always try to think about what I would do. Most the time I know that I wouldn't really know what I would do until it actually happens. Parenting is such a complex thing. You don't truly understand until you start to have to really parent. Recently,  we made the decision that we are going to hold Sebastian back a year. He'll be turning five in July so technically he could be able to start kindergarten in September. However, with his speech delay we just thought another year would benefit him way more. Although, I have absolutely no doubt that our decision is the right one there's always that thought in the back of my mind I hope I'm doing the right thing. It can be daunting some times, at least for me, knowing that this little child counts on your choices. Doesn't matter though because I'm confident in what the future holds and all I can do is my best. Really, that's all we can do.

...on French Press number TWO. Knocked over and broke my first one. It scattered into pieces and so did my soul. No really. Of course, I got right on my computer and ordered an new one. You would think I'd learn my lesson and pay a little extra to buy one that is stainless steel so that it wouldn't have the misfortune of braking again. But no. I just bought the same exact one. I'm a sucker for the fun green color and love how it matches some of the other things in my kitchen. Have you tried French Press? I think Bodum should pay me commission for the amount of French Presses I've sold for them. I just talked another person into buying one last week!

...feeling like I can't have too many maxi skirts in my life right now. I swear they are my favorite. I want all kinds of colors and patterns. Gimme gimme.

...currently reading Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. The same author of Gone Girl that has been all the hype. I know for a fact that everyone says Gone Girl was an amazing book and I do intend to pick that up one of these days but for sake of being different I decided to try one of Gillian's other books. After reading the synopsis I was like yep, my kind of book fool.  That's exactly what was said in my head. Anyways, it's about a girl Libby who was the soul survivor of the “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas", well except for her fifteen year old brother who was the one who did the killing. Sooo yeah, there's that. This is my first book by Gillian Flynn and I am seriously in love with the writing. It's dark, weird and a thriller mystery. Have you read any of her books? 

...giddy about Breaking Dawn Part 2 finally coming out on DVD. Naturally I already pre-ordered it and with that I'll be receiving a kick ass bracelet. Bet ya'll are seething with jealousy. Part 2 was my favorite movie out of all of them. I was on the edge of my seat and when movies have me gasping for air well, that's a great movie.  

...thankful for a husband who knows when I need a little more cheering up than usual it's caa-razy how our spouses know us the best, a child who is constantly filling me with overwhelming love and is teaching me things all the time, Trader Joe's for filling my chocolate covered espresso bean dream (and no I won't share in case you are wondering, I know that I'm mean), and a happy simple life.

I am ending with this quotes from the book Under the Never Sky... "Love is like the sea, gentle and good sometimes, rough and terrible at others, but it's endless and stronger than the sky and the earth and everything in between". 


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

on a creamy mushroom garlic sauce...

Mushrooms are a staple in my house. I must always feed my husband at least one mushroom dish a week. This week I made a easy Creamy Mushroom Garlic Sauce that we enjoyed with raviolis. Tomato sauces are great with raviolis but I love a cream sauce. Sometimes I feel like tomato sauces can over power the whole dish and take away other flavors. This mushroom sauce can go with any sort of pasta and you could even add some chicken!

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour 
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz bella mushrooms
1/2 cup heavy cream 
1/2 chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped leeks 
salt & pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan-Regginano

1// In a medium sauces pan melt the butter. Add minced garlic and leeks. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté everything together for about 5 minutes. 
2// Add flour, cream and chicken broth. Turn heat low and let sauce simmer until it reaches a velvety smooth consistency. Add Parmesan-Regginano cheese. Stir. Add salt and pepper to taste after adding the cheese since the cheese tends to be salty. 
3// Serve with any pasta or raviolis. 

Enjoy. xoxo.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

on a simple roast pork...

It really can't get simpler than this. Sometimes I think it's important to realize that dinner doesn't have to be a huge big fancy feast...all the time. Face it, we don't always have the time or even the energy to strum up big meals. At times I just don't feel like making anything that has a million steps or ingredients so I take a step back and look at what I have in my fridge, freezer and pantry. Almost always there are things that you can use to make a quick delicious meal out of. Just this past Sunday, for example, I had really no intention on spending my day in the kitchen so I put together a easy roast pork.

When I do my food shopping I always end up throwing a few extra things in my shopping cart. Things that I don't have on my meal plan for that week just in case. Perfect for days like Sunday. And in the end something so simple as this roast pork filled our tummies and made us happy. Not to mention gave me more time to sit on the couch and watch the Oscars ;)

My simple pork roast consists of sauerkraut layered on the bottom of a oven safe dish with cut up potatoes and carrots seasoned with salt & pepper. Then a fine pork tenderloin rubbed with garlic powder, salt & pepper and paprika. Set a few sprigs of fresh rosemary on top and baked in the oven for about 45 minutes. And viola! Now for us a pork tenderloin is enough for feeding the two of us so if you plan on serving more than two go ahead and use a pork loin which is a bigger piece of meat.

Bon Appétit!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

on the ultimate french toast...

The Ultimate French Toast. That's right. Like KABOOM. Can you tell that I've had a slight love affair with breakfast foods lately? Mhmmm. It just happened and I'm totally serious you need to try this stuff. Secret ingredient...panko crumbs. Who knew, right? I made these for breakfast and my boys gobbled them down. This french toast will not disappoint! Plus it makes the house smell so lovely. 

8 slices of country loaf bread, brioche or challah
2 tablespoon butter, melted
4 eggs
1 cup panko crumbs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cardamom
zest of half of a lemon

1// Mix together eggs, heavy cream, honey, spices, vanilla & lemon zest. Use a whisk to fluff eggs up. 
2// Use a separate dish for the panko crumbs. 
3// Heat a skillet on medium heat. Dip bread in the egg mixture first until saturated and then transfer and lightly coat it with panko crumbs. 
4// Brush skillet with melted butter and add the french toast. Cook until golden brown. 
5// Serve with warm syrup. 

I would really love to hear what you all think! Enjoy. 


Sunday, February 17, 2013

on breakfast cups...

The weekends have been my favorite to make fun and exciting breakfast foods. Well, exciting for me because my breakfast during the week consists of oatmeal & yogurt. I made these fancy breakfast cups that were a complete success and of course tasty! It's something I spotted on Pinterest a while back so I thought I'd give it a try. I love that certain things in our kitchen can have multiply uses. The fact that I got to use a cupcake tin for making breakfast got me all giddy. 

You'll need:
cupcake tin 
bacon or ham
your choice of ingredients 

 1// Take your slices of bacon and wrap them inside along the sides of the cupcake holes.
2// Next beat eggs. One egg for each cupcake hole. I made six breakfast cups so I used six eggs. Put whatever your heart desires in the egg. I chopped up some spinach and green onion with some seasonings.
3// Pour beaten eggs 3/4 of the way into the cupcake holes. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top.
4// Pop it in a oven at 350º for about 15 minutes.

Be creative and Enjoy!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

on back into the swing of things...

I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. It's been a little rough, more than it should be. I had three days off, well technically four because I had to take an extra day off last week due to Sebastian having some sort of 24 hour stomach bug. All clear on that though. Bobby and I left for the Pocono mountains early Friday morning, both of us full of excitement. I was mostly pumped for my first snowboarding experience and also just the thought of having a long weekend with the fella turned me into a giddy mess. We don't get out much so a long weekend together is like icing on the cake! 

Snowboarding was a success! It's challenging, frustrating, thrilling and fun all at once! Oh and it can be scary too. A few times I was afraid I was going to plummet to my death but alas I've got all limbs in tacked and ready for experience #2. With that being said, hubby was not so fortunate. On our last day on the slopes he managed to sprain his ankle really bad. It's a swollen mess and he can barely walk. So, this week he's working from home and keeping it elevated. We're hoping for a quick recover so we can plan a day trip to a near by mountain! 

Have any of you been snowboarding? It's totally not as easy as I thought. I did enjoy it so much so that I intend to purchase my own snowboard and boots in time for next winter. Hurrah for future adventures and a new hobby :) 


ps: big hugs & kisses to my wonderful man for putting up with me. Believe me it's not easy at times.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

on cocoa crusted pork chops...

These Cocoa Crusted Pork Chops are amazing! At first I was wary when making these but my curiosity got the best of me. I was nervous that they were going to be too sweet but really it's the perfect combination of spicy and sweet flavors. Very quick to make and the end result has you going in for a round of seconds. Next time you have pork chops on your mind try this recipe out. If I could describe it in one word it would be delectable. I know! I swear the flavor on it's own is so tantalizing that just thinking about it makes my mouth salivate! I made these up with some twice baked potatoes which complimented the pork nicely. Enjoy! 

Ingredients: adapted from Paula Deen 
4- thin sliced pork chops
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 400º 
1// In a mixing bowl combine all the spices. 
2// Rub pork chops evenly with the mixture. 
3// If you have a cast iron skillet use that to heat olive oil over stove. Add pork chops in hot oil and cook for about 3 minutes each side. 
4// Remove skillet with the pork chops still in it and put it right into the oven for another 10 minutes until they are fully cooked and let off some juices. 


Tuesday, February 05, 2013

on currently...

Watching// The Following. Staring Kevin Bacon. Woah! Love this show. Have you seen it? Dear lord it's good. I mean, the season premier was mind blowing. It was like wham bam thank you ma'am. Also holy cow there are so many movies coming out that I want to see. Warm Bodies is one and another is Beautiful Creatures. Both are coming out next week and both have books that I've read. Very interested on how they turn out. I usually come out of the theaters loving the movie even if it doesn't completely do justice. To me, no matter what it's thrilling to see a book come alive. Other movies I want to see are; Silver Linings Playbook, Mama, Identity Thief and Safe Haven (only because Julianne Hough is in it and I sort of have a major girl crush on her!) Anything you've seen that you recommend? 

Reading// I was in a super reading lull. I have a huge list of books I want to potentially read but nothing was jumping out screaming READ ME. The last book I read was Talisman by Stephan King. Now that book was daunting! It was great don't get me wrong. I really loved it but for me it's hard not to love Stephan King. The number of pages I think got to me and I blame that on my readers block. It's funny how I have a hand full of people that I go to when this situation washes over me a push in the right direction! People that know exactly what I am looking for. I ended up picking up a book called Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. I love it so far and can't wait to start the second one. 

Listening to// The Joy Formidable. Specifically the album that just came out last month,          Wolf's Law. I simply adore the album cover too! Swoon. Other than that Tegan And Sara's new album has been on repeat. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about it but then it grew on me. Although, So Jealous will forever be my favorite. 

Thinking about// How much being apart from the people you know best can be so hard. Just recently had a conversation with someone who found out that their best friend is moving to another state. I know all too well what she is going through. Even though I wasn't the one watching someone go but the one that was moving across the country, the feelings are one in the same. It's tough stuff  and I always sympathize with people that go through it. Whenever I talk about it I get the same sick feeling like it's happening all over again! It doesn't get easier which is an awful thing to say to someone who is going through a move or watching someone leave but I tend to not sugar coat things (well, unless I'm baking). You just take it one day at a time. For me some days are worse than others. I'm famous for slipping into a day of depression when I get nostalgic for home. Most the time when I'm feeling the blues I usually just call my dad or sister. All I know is you have to hold on to the people you love, you never know what comes next. Have you ever gone through someone close to you moving or even yourself moving away from friends and family? 

Excited for// This weekend! I've only got a four day work week and I'm super excited about that! Bobby and I are heading up to the Poconos on Friday morning right after we drop our little boy off at preschool. Sebastian will be spending the weekend with his grandparent where he will be loved and of course spoiled. I've collected quite a bit of gear. We bought all the necessary things like; snowboarding jacket & pants, gloves, helmet and all the other little things to keep me warm. However, I'm only just renting a snowboard & boots. We found a place that has kick butt equipment for a reasonable price on our way to the mountains. I'm pretty excited to get on the a board and shred. Best of all my sister in law, Brittany is joining us. She lives in Baltimore so we don't get to see her all that often. It will be nice to spend time with her and have a gal pal to hang out with! 

Random// My new Smitten Kitchen Cookbook that I love oh so much. It's really inspiring seeing an ordinary women turn food blogger all because she loves to cook and then put out her own cookbook. I was flipping through the book again last night and admiring the photos. Also loving a new ring, big comfy infinity scarves, my minnetonka boots, slouchy beanies, pretty manicure nails and beautiful nature light.

ps: my "currently" posts have been inspired by Danielle


Saturday, February 02, 2013

on dip: 2 ways...

Are you doing anything for Super Bowl tomorrow? Whether you are heading to a party, hosting one or just hanging out at home to watch the game these two dips are quick and super yummy! 

I'll be bringing these over to my family's house tomorrow since we are celebrating my mother in law's birthday as well as watching the football game. The first dip is the classic Spinach Artichoke Dip. This is my all time favorite dip. Ever! The second dip is Buffalo Chicken Dip. It's pretty funny how this dip was introduced to me since it was actually my husband who told me about it. We've made this dip a few Friday nights ago to enjoy while we watched movies.

Spinach Artichoke Dip:
8 oz fresh spinach
1 canned artichoke, in water & chopped up
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup mayonnaise 
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, topping

1// Heat the olive oil and add spinach, artichoke, onion & garlic. Sauté until everything is cooked. 
2/// In a medium bowl combine the sautéed veggies with cream cheese & mayonnaise. Mix everything together well. 
3// Transfer into a oven safe dish. Top it with the shredded mozzarella cheese and bake it on 350 for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. 

Buffalo Chicken Dip
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
2 (12.5 oz) cans of Swanson premium white chunk chicken 
1/2 cup Frank's Original Red Hot Sauce
1/2 cup ranch dressing
3 green onions, chopped 
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles 

1// In a medium mixing bowl combine all the ingredients together. Leave a palm full of blue cheese to top the dip. 
2// Transfer dip into a oven safe dish and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. 

Hope you all enjoy your Sunday game day. 

Friday, February 01, 2013

on wicked hot chocolate...

Wicked Hot Chocolate. Say what? It's not for everyone but I thought it was killer. I've heard it called Aztec (or Mexican) Hot Chocolate. What's so special about it? Well, let's just say the secret ingredient is cayenne pepper!! I know. Crazy right? It almost tastes like a chocolate covered hot tamales. Have I intrigued you? Go ahead and make some and give it a try. It might be your new favorite hot chocolate recipe. 

makes 2- 8 oz servings
3 oz semisweet chocolate 
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
2 drops almond extract
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

Cut up the semisweet chocolate into smaller pieces. In a medium sauce pan combine the milk, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, cinnamon & almond extra. Simmer over medium heat for about five minutes or until everything seems like it's incorporated. Take it off the stove and add cayenne pepper. I think 1/8 teaspoon is the perfect amount for just the right bit of spice. But if you are nervous just do a simple pinch! Top it with some whipped cream and sprinkle some extra cinnamon on top :) 

Slurp slurp. Enjoy!