Galentine’s Day

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. This weekend was fairly chill for me and to be honest, I took advantage of a rainy Sunday for a ramen lunch date & a few hours to be cozy in my apartment. Last week I wrote about dealing with mean girls however, today I’m writing about celebrating the women that empower & inspire us. The women who we keep as our closest #girlgang and build us up. Though I’m thankful for those ladies everyday, what better time than to throw a Galentine’s party. While we can thank Parks & Rec for the tradition, I love it because it’s a great excuse to get together & have a cute party with your favorite ladies. If you need a little pink & red inspo, as well as a one of my favorite treats, look no further.

First of all, this is the easiest cute treat to make. If you’re in a pinch, all these ingredients you can buy pre-made so… here are the details on these precious love notes.

I’ve made these two ways, with puff pastry and with pie dough. I prefer pie dough because they don’t lose their shape while they’re baking. Cute your pie dough into squares add a little raspberry preserves (if you don’t make it homemade, highly recommend this brand) fold up the bottom corner, then either side. If you have a small heart shape cookie cutter, cut out a little piece of dough & add over the three corners. You can also use your (clean) kitchen scissors to hand cut them out, I did and after a practice cut, it’s easy to get the hang of. Add a little egg wash and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 12 minutes or until golden brown.

 

<bubbles & cake bites>

<these ombre mini cakes are my fav>

<crumbs>

Are you planning to celebrate with your best girlfriends? Have you already? What were your plans? These are also awesome desserts if your beau has a sweet tooth.

xoxox

Trader Joe Favs

Today I wanted to share a few items that have been in my cart every time I head to Trader Joe’s. To be honest, Trader Joe’s always used to be an extra stop for me. I’d go to my regular grocery store then if I wanted something specific would pop into Trader Joe’s to pick it up. A few months ago I popped in and realized it was silly of me to be doing two grocery stops, they have so many great items! Here are a few things of my favs!

  1. Everything But The Bagel seasoning. Okay, a few weeks ago I asked on Insta if other people were as obsessed with this as I am. I got a resounding YES! I love this seasoning on ezekiel bread with laughing cow cheese or on top of scrambled eggs.
  2. Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle mix. If you don’t make your own batter from scratch and prefer to be gluten free, this mix is surprisingly delish. I usually think GF can be a little… sawdust-y;  I truly think this mix is your best GF option out there.
  3. Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip. I totally fell into the TJ trap… They were sampling this dip a few weeks ago and I was surprised at just how creamy & delicious this was. I actually took it to our Super Bowl party last weekend and it was a huge hit. I also love to keep this in my freezer in case we end up having guests over last minute.
  4. Dr. Praegers California Veggie Burgers. These are SO good. While I still enjoy regular burgers, I’ve been trying to keep healthier option readily available at home so I’m not tempted by takeout. I just pop one of these into the oven and eat it plain- it’s so good!! They have other types too but this one if my favorite.
  5. Acai Puree Packets are perfect for those gorgeous Acai bowls you see on Instagram but are rather pricey to buy. A great option is to make it yourself at home. These are unsweetened so it’s a great way to know just how much sugar you’re adding into your breakfast (or whenever you decide to make one).
  6. Carrot Ginger Miso Salad Dressing. This is an awesome alternative to making your own carrot ginger dressing. I love it so much that once I stopped at three different locations because they fly off the shelves.
  7. Corn & Chile Salsa – great to add to taco salads!
  8. Makings for a BOMB charcuterie board. Have you ever been mesmerized by the wall of cheese available at Trader Joe’s? Guilty. They have a great range for cheeses + meats to make a fantastic charcuterie whether it’s  a night in for one or a cheeseboard to top all over Instagram cheeseboards.

What did I miss? What are your Trader Joe’s favorites?

Cheers

Italian Chicken & Vegetable Skillet

Happy Monday! We’ve officially made it through our first full week of 2018. We were feeling the effects of the bomb cyclone most of the weekend so I made this delicious Italian chicken and veg skillet with what I had in the fridge. Last week I was still fighting off remnants of a bad cold, so I wanted to make something packed with protein with fresh veggies but would also still feel like comfort food.

This Italian Chicken & Vegetable skillet is delish and & super simple to make. Highly recommend if you need something that reheats well for lunch, too!

(I used different colored cherry tomatoes, which created a yellow sauce versus a traditional red)

What You’ll Need

pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
Tbsp. pesto
2 tsp. Italian seasoning, divided
2 tsp. minced garlic
cup cherry tomatoes, halved
small zucchini, diced
cup cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. chopped fresh basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese

The How To

  1. Season the cut up pieces of chicken with salt & pepper and place them in a freezer bag with the tablespoon of pesto, 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and minced garlic. Massage the mixture into the chicken and let it marinate for at least 15 minutes. *I prefer to let the chicken marinate overnight
  2. Heat skillet over medium heat and spray it with cooking oil.
  3. Add the marinated chicken to the hot skillet and sauté until thoroughly cooked, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the cooked chicken onto a plate.
  4. Once the chicken is removed, add in the zucchini, tomatoes & remaining teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Sauté until they start to soften, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Lower the heat to medium and add the chicken back into the skillet along with the cannellini beans, balsamic vinegar and basil. Stir everything together and taste for seasoning.
  6. Top with the shredded parmesan cheese, serve immediately & enjoy!

Cheers!

Jicama, Orange & Avocado Salad

Last week I posted a few Instagram polls asking what you’d like to see more of on the blog as I’ve been a little remiss lately. Well, I’ve heard you & I’m excited! Lots of fashion, travel, cooking & entertaining and even a little bit of wedding planning coming your way.

Today, I want to share a new recipe I learned while taking a cooking class this weekend at Sur La Table. Sidenote: I love taking classes at Sur La Table- they make an excellent date activity and a few, I’ve even flown solo (macaron class a few weeks ago) and always have the best time. This last weekend’s class was Authentic Mexican and this Jicama, Orange & Avocado Salad stood out as a repeat recipe for sure.

What You’ll Need:

1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced on mandoline
3 large oranges, rind removed, quartered & cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 medium jicama, skin removed with a knife and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon chile powder
2-3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
1 large avocado, sliced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
sea salt<I love this OXO mandoline & always use it with this cut resistant glove to avoid a nasty cut>

How To:

Combine onion, oranges, jicama, oil, chile power and lime juice and toss to combine. Gently fold in the avocado and cilantro. Taste & adjust seasoning with salt or additional chile powder. Allow to chill for a few minutes for flavors to marinate & serve in a large chilled salad bowl.

*Consider making ahead by combining all ingredients except for the cilantro and avocado, and marinating the flavors so it can be absorbed into the jicama. I find it to be a little like tofu in the sense that it takes on whatever flavor its paired with.

I also fell in love with a shrimp taco recipe that I’ll be sharing later this week. Crazy week for me as I’m doing a quick flight out to Phoenix and topping the week off with our engagement photos! Here we go…may your coffee be strong & your Monday be short!

cheers

Summer Chickpea Salad

 

This is one of my very favorite recipes, especially in the summer when almost all the ingredients can be picked up at my local farmer’s market. Full disclosure, this is not my own recipe, but reblogged from one of my very fav food blogs, How Sweet Eats. Jessica recommends the salad be enjoyed on bread but I love it so much, I eat it as a lunch salad by itself. It also maintains extremely well in the fridge as I usually make it on Sunday & enjoy throughout the week.

Summer Chickpea Salad with Honey Garlic Lime Vinaigrette

yields: serves about 4                          total time: 30 minutes

What You’ll Need: 

3 cups chickpeas (or 2 (15-ounce) cans, drained and rinsed)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2-3 ears grilled corn, cut from the cob
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 lime, juiced and zested

The How To:

In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, onions, corn, tomatoes, basil and chives. Toss well with the salt and pepper. Separately, in a small saucepan, add the oil, vinegar, honey, garlic, lime juice and zest. Heat over low heat and whisk until the mixture is warm and garlic cloves are sizzling a bit.Pour the liquid over the chickpeas and and toss well to coat. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Check out How Sweet Eats for this recipe & many fantastic others!

Cheers!

Cookbook Giveaway: Graze

You know I love to share my fav cookbooks but this one may take the cake. My friend, Suzanne Lenzer, chef & food stylist extraordinaire, has recently debuted her newest cookbook Graze which emphasizes the joy of tapas style meals. A less-of-more mentality; smaller portions for more variety. Um, yes please! The book is fantastically written and along with incredible recipes she includes sections on how to shop & what essentials you should have lying around your kitchen to make grazing totally stress free. Suzanne also feels, “life is better with bread” which paints a great picture of why we get along so well (#rootinforgluten).

Suzanne and I met each other while working on a food client at my old agency. She was the preferred food stylist of this brand & from our first photoshoot I was amazed. Her kind demeanor & mind blowing food styling are just a tiny tidbit of how lovely it is to work with (& know) her.

If you’re thinking tapas aren’t really your thing, there are plenty of recipes you can double to eat as a full meal. If you’re still not convinced, then I’ll direct you to her mouthwatering pizza cookbook: Truly Madly Pizza….which describes many of my nights in college & let’s face it, grad school, too. In Truly Madly Pizza, Suzanne prefaces the book with two particular sentiments I think we can all get behind:

  1. Pizza is not junk food.
  2. It should always be paired with wine.

And the people said AMEN!

Ok, ok the giveaway! Super simple to enter, just follow the steps below.

  1. Follow me on Instagram
  2. Like & tag your favorite cooking partner in the comment section on my photo of Suzanne’s cookbook
  3. Follow Suzanne on Instagram

Winner will be announced this Thursday! Good luck!

Cheers,

Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms & Peas

Happy Friday! I’m still loving my girl, Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook, Cravings. If you haven’t gotten it yet- you should. From page 1 you’ll be wishing you were a supermodel, who eats carbs and is married to John Legend. Man, some girls get all the luck.

If you’re in need of a delicious dish heading into the weekend, this risotto is la la lovely for a snuggled-in date night or impressing a group of your besties (either situation deserve a glass of wine, of course).

What You’ll Need:

2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups warm water
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot or 1/4 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup shredded Parmigiano- Reggiano, plus more for garnish
freshly ground black pepper

The How To:

  1. Place the porcinis and warm water in a bowl & soak until soft, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours. Remove the mushrooms, squeeze them so the liquid drips back into the bowl and strain the liquid through a piece of cheesecloth or very fine strainer.
  2. Transfer the strained soaking liquid to a medium saucepan, leaving behind any grit in the bottom of the bowl and add chicken broth. Warm the broth over medium-low heat until steaming and keep warm on a back burner.
  3. In another medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until translucent (but not browned) about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir, allowing to cook for 2 minutes. Add wine and salt and increase heat to medium-high and boil until the wine is mostly evaporated, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Return the heat to medium and using a ladle, add 1 cup of the brother to the rice; cook & keep stirring until the broth is almost all absorbed. Keep adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time, waiting to add more until most the brother in the pot is absorbed each time and cook, stirring occasionally until the rice is swollen and still very slightly firm in the middle. Overall this process is about 22 minutes. You may be left with a little broth you don’t use; traditionally risotto should be a little loose and saucy but how wet you want it is up to you.
  5. Stir in the peas and cook just long enough to warm them through then stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter, Parm and reserved chopped porcini.
  6. Divide risotto among bowls, garnish with fresh pepper and of course, a little more parm (because, cheese..) Enjoy!

Cheers,