Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Word Day


Happy Friday! Have you seen these pictures with this little boy? They always crack me up, and I love the message on this one!
Do you have anything planned for the weekend yet? I do not, but John has a list O-things-to-do, and I will be playing his supporting role! Crossing off a checklist feels so great, and I tend to make a game out of it; a competition between myself and the list. 

Margaret Thatcher had this great thought, that you should "look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's when you've had everything to do and you've done it." Thank you Ms. Thatcher for setting a great tone for this weekend... hopefully John and I will enjoy the feeling of supreme satisfaction by Sundays end!

I look forward to your company Monday, but until then, enjoy your (hopefully satisfying) weekend!

Here is Fridays Word of the day...

Fruition- The point at which a plan or project is realized; pleasurable use or possession; enjoyment.

*Synonyms: accomplishment, achievement, consumption

P.S. One thing on our list is grocery shopping, because all of my produce has either been eaten, or has gone bad. I just recently found this article about 5 foods you shouldn't refrigerate, and have found it super helpful. Hopefully it will be helpful for you as well!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Watch Wearing

Are you a watch person? 
Lately, I have been on the search for a nice watch. I want one that is cool, classic, and functional. So far, I have loved many, but haven't really found that one watch that calls my name.
Most watches I like tend to be for Men... here are some cool ones that have crossed my radar. 


This watch is a little too modern for me, but a great men's watch none-the-less.


A Coworker of mine just ordered this wooden watch...cool concept and style, right? It didn't fit her, so her fiance now wears it!


Now, I really enjoy Michael Kors watches... The gold, silver and rose gold watches are my favorite... but I would not mind this plastic version!

Now, This is my all-time favorite watch... If I could have afford a Rolex, I would absolutely snatch this up!

Any other fabulous watch suggestions you would like to share? 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sleepy Time


Some weeks seem to roll on by before we have a moment to blink.... and yet, there are others that seem to crawl on all fours. And no matter how many times you close your eyes, nothing seems to be different when you open them back up! 
Maybe it's because I haven't slept well for a few days, but for me, this week is definitely on all fours.
 I shouldn't say that like it is a bad thing... I mean, what's so bad about time slowing down? If I wasn't so sleepy, I bet I would enjoy the time a lot more...then again, if I wasn't as sleepy, I am sure the time would be rolling by again...faster than that blink. 

Did you know that it should take us (ideally) around 10 to 15 minutes to fall asleep at night? If you fall asleep in under 5 minutes, you are overly exhausted, hence, sleep deprived! 
More fun sleeping fact can be found here!


P.S. Mom, thank you for sending me this picture, it made my day!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Transparent Toaster

Isn't this transparent toaster awesome! You will never burn toast again.... unless you walk out of the kitchen and forget about it, which happens more than it should in my opinion. 
 The link was posted in 2007, and I really do not know why it has taken me this long to find it! Absolutely adding this to my ever evolving "don't need to want" list. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tender Chicken Nuggets


Happy Monday! Was your weekend nice and relaxing? 

I really didn't do much, but enjoy the calm at times. John and I were able to take a really nice walk, watch a movie (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and watch a little March Madness basketball. It was a great few days, although we ended up eating most of our meals out, and I am feeling a bit sluggish because of it.

Tonight I will start the week out in the right direction by making a healthy dinner for us! Typically, meals I make are 100% vegetarian because  grains and veggies are what I enjoy cooking and eating!
 John never complains about the meet free meals, and is more than supportive of my healthy-style cuisine... but I know you can still eat meat and be healthy too, so I have attempted to add meat into at least one meal for him. This week, I was thinking of making little Chicken Tenders for him and this recipe from Taste of Home seems right up his alley! I thought I would share it with all of you as well, and hope you enjoy!

Ingredients (for 4 servings)
  • 1/2 seasoned bread crumbs (I use a homemade panko style) 
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 pound, boneless and skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
* Please buy organic, free range chicken if you are able to! 

Directions
  1. In a large resealable bag, add in your Parmesan and breadcrumbs.
  2. Beat egg white in a shallow bowl. Dip chicken in and place immediately in breadcrumb bag and shake until chicken is coated. Repeat until you finish covering your chicken. 
  3. Place in a baking pan (covered in cooking spray) and cook at 400 degrees, in the oven, uncovered, for 12 to 15 minutes, turning once around 8 minutes. 
  4. Let cool, and serve to someone who eats meat!



Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Word Day



For the last few weeks, I have been feeling a bit blah about myself and have been trying to s.n.a.p. out of it.  

 Maybe it's the changing of seasons, or maybe it's the events going on in my life... but somethings gotta give, because I do not like to be in this kind of mood... 

Sophia Loren once said "sex appeal is 50% what you've got and 50%what people think you've got", and I can see where she is coming from. I have been repeating this to myself all week, and I am hoping it will help me find my confidence groove.

The word of the days inspiration will be pretty obvious! Have a great weekend, and take some time to relax!

Pizzazz- An attractive combination of vitality and glamour; the quality of being excited or attractive.

*Synonyms: Glamour, Allure, Vitality 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Peanut Butter and Oat Coffee Cake

Oh my, these look amazing! It is supposed to rain all weekend in Chicago, so I will just have to make this cake to help cheer up my Sunday Morning!

Obsessions

I have two new obsessions, and I thought I would share them with you! 
The first item of business is a pen that I asked to keep after a coworker let me sign a birthday card at her desk... 

Have you seen these pens before? Well they are made from 89% recycled content and the writing is as smooth as butter! I feel like I have been waiting for this pen to arrive my entire adult life, and it is finally here... I am truly in love and I think you will be too!

The next new obsession I have recently discovered is a mini tub Vaseline.


I noticed these little cuties at CVS a month or so ago, but was in a hurry, so I decided to save the purchase for another time. For some reason, the next few weeks passed and I probably thought about the mini Vaseline tub everyday... I knew I wouldn't stop obsessing over it until I gave one a try, and when I saw them again a few weeks later at Target, I decided to give it a try... And I love it! I mean, I do have a rather large Vaseline at home, and could have gotten a little container of my own to refill, but I am a sucker for all things cute. If you are a Vaseline fan like I am, I would highly recommend the mini version as well. 

Those are my new finds that I think are worthy of a purchase. Let me know if you have found something wonderful as well, and I will surely give it a try!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Grilling Peppers In-doors


Grilled Red Peppers are wonderful, but I have always been afraid to grill them on the stove... I have never been one who thinks playing with fire is fun and maybe that has something to do with it... If only I had the courage to put my hand through fire and burn stuff like my older brother used to do when we were young; unfortunately, my immediate instinct was to put the flames out, or run! This may be linked to the hot ashes of firewood that singed my bottom while sleeping way to close to a camp fire during my youth... but I digress.

Back to the grilling of red peppers... 
I found a video on grilling peppers, where the "grill" time is done inside the oven! This may seem a little wimpy to you, but it's such a great alternative... check the video out if you are interested! 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Damn Interesting

I was on the train today, and realized I left the book I am reading at home... because I enjoy my morning reading time, I decided to look for something else on my phone to read (crazy that phones have the ability to become books now!). What I found was a website that just posts interesting material! Have you ever heard of t Damn Interesting dot com? They have some pretty fascinating articles that covers topics in both the past and present... 

I choose to read about Chinese foot binding... probably not the happiest morning read, but absolutely interesting! Check it out if you have time.

Also, I have one more interesting find for you... bath "pebbles" that stabilize water temperature! Such a genius invention for keeping baths nice and warm...I love green technology!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Travel...



John just came home from a boys trip to Boston last night, and I honestly believe his trip gave me the travel bug! Chicago finally has nice weather, but there is still this traveling itch that needs to be scratched....
...I mean, I don't have to go far, but I do have to just go...
What about your traveling life? Do you need to take a trip every so often, or are you a happy camper at home?

Here are a few options I was thinking about:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Word Day



Last night I went out for ice-cream with Tasya, and you are never going to believe what happened!

So we first go to my favorite frozen yogurt place (previously blogged about - Yogen Fruz) and for some reason, it was closed! Our next option was down the street at a local ice-cream parlor (which is another favorite) called Bob Tail... it was Open!
 Tasya orders a scoop of ice-cream with a shot of espresso on top... have you ever had heard of that?
I had not until that moment, but I am so glad she introduced me! Known as an Affogato, these ice-cream and coffee treats are kinda like an Italians take on the root-beer float...yum!

Ok now it is my time for me to order... because I am in the midst of my chocolate free lent, I ordered a 1/2 scoop of strawberry and a 1/2 scoop of coffee...
...Ice-cream comes, I pay, we leave...
The next thing I know I taking my first bite of coffee -WAITthatsnotcoffee- CHOCOLATE ice-cream!!

They messed up my order! Tasya thought it was divine intervention...and I went with it...even if my gut told me not to go with my atheist friends advice...

All-in-all, it was wonderful and I enjoyed every bite... I also am now in love with Affogatos! the Itlailian translation is "drowned", and that is exactly what the esspresso does to the ice-cream (or gelato). Watch out lemon bars, affogatos are coming in as my new favorite dessert!

Inveigle- To win over by wiles; to acquire by ingenuity or flattery.

*Synonyms: tempt, allure, seduce, entice

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chocolate Loving

Lent... a time to give up something you love and reflect upon the life we live...
I gave up chocolate for let this year... it has been the longest few weeks of my life... now, I have absolutely had my fair share of sickness, pain and heartache... but no chocolate in my life seems to be presenting itself as a larger problem than I would have ever imagined... I dreamt about chocolate all last night, looked up recipes for chocolate chip cookies before I even sat down for breakfast, and now I am blogging about it!

A friend at work told me to put a rule into my Lenten promise... a simple asterix if you will... it could read "no chocolate *in solid form... 

...but I couldn't bring myself to cheat... 
...April 8th, I cannot wait for you to roll around with a basket full of chocolate...
Here is an amazing recipe I have found that I cannot enjoy at the moment, but you  can!

Quadruple Chocolate Chip "Brookies"

Recipe from The Lipstick Blogger... Thank you for the scrumptious idea!

Ingredients
1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups white chocolate morsels
2/3 cup milk chocolate (or semi-sweet) morsels

Directions
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
In a double-boiler, melt the pound of semi-sweet chocolate. Set it aside to cool, stirring occasionally.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, cocoa and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
In your mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and add the vanilla extract. Add the cooled chocolate to the mixture and blend. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure the mixture is uniform.
Add half the flour mixture and combine on low speed, then add the remaining flour and mix until the batter comes together.

Now add the chocolate morsels. If you like nuts in your cookies, you would add them here.
Line a baking sheet with parchment, or silicone baking sheets, and drop spoonfuls of the cookie batter onto the sheet.
Bake the cookies for approximately 7-9 minutes until puffy. Be careful not to over bake these. (Think of baking them like a brownie. If they dont' seem done when you initially take them out of the oven, give them time to set, this is how they should look. They will be moist and delicious.) Allow the cookies to cool and firm up on the baking sheet for a few minutes before attempting to move them to a wire rack.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Hunger Games


Have you read Suzanne Collins series, The Hunger Games, yet? I seem to be the only one around that hasn't read them, and I am starting to feel left out! 

I have good reason as to why I haven't started them... but it is kind of embarrassing to admit... 

You see, when  I finished the last book of the Harry Potter series, I spent the end of the night crying my eyes out... I mean I was a mess! I was on a family vacation at the time in Colorado, and my Mom, in her sweet way, excused me from family dinner and told my grandparents I wasn't feeling well... I do not think my salty company would have been welcomed anyways...

Flash forward to the opening night of Harry Potters final movie! A wonderful gift from the Universe... a chance to relive the World of Potter one more time... I make plans with my Harry Potter bestie... and cancel on her... four separate times... by the fifth time, she decides to just go without me...

I still have not seen the last movie, and realized my overwhelming attachment to the characters in these books...now, if The Hunger Games are all that people are saying them to be, I am still not sure I can handle that intense attachment... just for the journey to finish when the last page flips...

Any thoughts on the matter?


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Peach Sangria

Chicago has had some unusually warm weather...and I am loving it! When 60 degrees and above roll in, a strong urge to sit on a back porch with a great drink and my friends takes over!


Cannot wait to make this daydream a reality! Doesn't this Peach Sangria recipe look awesome?

Growing a Citrus Plant


I have always wanted to grow an indoor Citrus Plant, but have been nervous about starting the process. My apartment is covered in windows, but the large trees outside end up shading much of the warm morning sun...It drives me crazy that my home is not covered head to toe in lush green plants and I really need to figure out a way to make it happen... I wonder how well a simulated sun-light-bulb would work? 

This article on apartment therapy has great insight on growing indoor citrus plants and I may just have to take a chance, because having fresh oranges or lemons would brighten up any cloudy day! 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Eleanor Roosevelt


Happy Monday! Here is a quote I really love from a woman I admire...
 It lends a great perspective on just how much words, language and communication can tell about a human being...

"Great minds discuss ideas.
 Average minds discuss events.
 Small minds discuss people"
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt, you were one smart woman!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Word Day

Last night I met up with my book club friends for some wine, pizza and book-talk. We read 1984 by George Orwell, and I have to say, it was a very good book-club choice. The conversation was great because the book covered so much...but can I tell you a secret? 
I was only able to read half of the book, but I did  finish the rest of it using cliff-notes... so does that still count as read?
 Blame it on my sensitive side (the only real side I have!) but I couldn't do the doom and gloom and heavy emotions any longer! Have you ever stopped reading a book before? This was the first one, and I feel a little liberated (probably because I used to read a book to the end even if I hated it).

Check out this article about the human need for reading, and I find it really interesting. I do not think I ever thought of reading as a true human necessity before, but it absolutely is.

OK, it's time for Friday Word Day!!

Serendipity- The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way; the fact or occurrence of such discoveries.

*Synonyms: offhand, spontaneous, occasional

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring Photo Shoot


Last weekend, my wonderful friend and phenomenal wedding photographer-in-training, came over to my apartment for an impromptu photo-shoot. Unfortunately, I was feeling a bit foggy and distant... and poor Tasya had to work extra hard to keep me focused.... I never realized how much emotion is worn on our faces...
All in all, I think she walked away with a few good shots (no real thanks to the model) and we did have a great time just being together. Her work is amazing and I am so proud of her as a photographer, a woman and a friend.
Please check out her website and blog if you haven't already!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tie Dying T-shirts


About two years ago, I was finishing up a load of laundry, and decided to wash one of my beach sarongs for the first time... when I  was transporting the laundry from washer to dryer, I realized the red dye from the sarong had transferred to the other clothing... 
...nothing was left unscathed... 
A load of laundry was completely damaged and it was all my fault! Some of the clothing (along with the sarong) I just threw out....but other items I loved too much and decided to keep them anyways...red marks and all. 

Unfortunately, one of my favorite V-neck t-shirt was in that "wash from hell" and I stopped wearing it out in public... I should just buy a new shirt, but feel wasteful having a perfectly good -but slightly smudged- shirt at home. 
 Last night I decided I should just take the plunge and tie dye the whole thing.Sometimes mistakes can become beautiful surprises.

This is the video I found on YouTube... Stay tuned for the final design!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Change


Change... What does it mean to you? 

"Everyone thinks of changing the World, but no one thinks about changing themselves"- Leo Tolstoy

"Always remember that the future comes one day at a time." -Dean Acheson

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." - Reinhold Niebuhr

If you click the picture, it will take you to a pretty interesting article on change as well. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Night Light

Ok, I think I found something to invest in for the home! It's not really an investment, but just a really awesome night-light! You can carry the little bulb-balls anywhere! Nice for those late night bathroom breaks!

Investment Piece

Decorating can be so expensive, but at some point, investments need to be made... the question is, what is worth investing in, and what's not? 

Some say Art, and others say  Furniture, but I think both could be valid... like these beautiful stools ($800 per chair), or some cool throw pillows, like Jonathon Adlers collection... (around $100 a piece)



But then again, do you think a throw pillow for $100.00 is really worth it? I cannot make up my mind on this, but picturing Johns reaction if I was to buy a pillow for $100 with a banana on it is enough to make me look away...
Better find something else to decorate with!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Word Day


Hello Hello! Friday has rolled along and here we are! What will you be doing this weekend? All I've been thinking about lately is vacationing, and this picture just sums up so much about the beauty of vacation fun!

Tonight a friend and I will be making dinner and watching a movie! So excited to get into my pj's and hangout... maybe the macaron making will start tonight as well... but that's if we are really motivated. Besides that, John and I have reservations on Sunday at a super foodie restaurant, and I am extremely excited to go! Sounds like a pretty good weekend, don't you think?

Happy weekend! Oh yeah, check this out if you want to giggle...

Sabbatical - any extended period of leave from one's customary work, especially for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc.

*Synonyms: break, rest, vacation, leave 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pudding Pops

I can still remember the happiness I felt as a young girl, when mom gave my brother and I pudding pops! I loved the pudding texture with the popsicle taste... there are few things that can top that childhood excitement...
As I was thinking about how I would love a pudding pop the other day, magic happened! I bumped into this awesome homemade recipe!
Now,  I have found other recipes that just use a box of Jello brand pudding, but this one looks a bit more sophisticated, and might be worth the extra effort...


I have copied over the recipe so you can make it too! Thank you EndlessSummer, for the great treat!

Makes approximately 1 dozen pops 
Chocolate Pudding
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cups cold whole milk
  • 3/4 cups dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Instructions:
Combine cornstarch, sugar, salt and whole milk in a blender or food processor and pulse until well blended. Alternatively, combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk vigorously. Transfer mixture to a heat-proof bowl and place over (not on) simmering water for approximately 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pudding is ready when mixture coats the back of the spoon.  Add chocolate and stir to combine. Add vanilla and stir to combine.
Salted Caramel Pudding
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cups cold whole milk
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (recipe follows)*
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Instructions:
Combine cornstarch, sugar, salt  and whole milk in a blender or food processor and pulse until well blended. Alternatively, combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk vigorously. Transfer mixture to a heat-proof bowl and place over (not on) simmering water for approximately 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pudding is ready when mixture coats the back of the spoon.  Add salted caramel and stir to combine. Add vanilla and stir to combine.
*Salted Caramel Sauce
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoons of kosher salt
Instructions:
Add sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Use a wet brush to remove any crystals that form on the side. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high. Now and then, using the handle give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. Do not stir the mixture directly. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute. As the mixture darkens to a medium amber color, approximately 5-7 minutes, add the butter and cream to saucepan. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine (bubbles will subside upon cooling). Add salt and stir to combine.
Assembly:
For easy layering place cooled pudding in a pastry bag or Ziploc bag and cut the corner. Pipe alternating layers of chocolate and salted caramel pudding into a small Dixie type of cup. Place cups in the freezer for one hour until the pudding becomes semi firm, then place a popsicle stick in the middle an continue to freeze for another 2 hours.

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