I hope each and every one of my (two or three) readers had a very magical holiday! I have found myself with a bit of a holiday hangover, which seems to be including some sort of cold which I'm sure was given to me by the many people I encountered whilst traveling in the past week.
So join me, peeps, in relaxing until 2012. When I return, I promise more great recipes and FABULOUS shoes. And maybe some variety to mix things up around here.
Let me reveal a little something about myself to you right now: I am always . . . ALWAYS . . . on the search for delicious breakfast (or breakfast-adjacent) recipes. When my current boss forwarded me this recipe for savory breakfast muffins, which she herself hadn't even tried, I knew I had to give them a whirl.
This is a serious muffin, in preparation, execution, and flavor. I used a hot breakfast sausage but otherwise followed the directions to a T. 24 savory, delicious muffins later, I was sold. And they freeze and are easily re-heated, thereby making them the perfect weekday breakfast (and would be even more perfect with some scrambled eggs).
Don't be fooled by this picture . . . my photography skills aren't getting any better. The muffins ar just extremely photogenic. And speaking of photogenic!
THAT is also a cute muffin. My little love muffin. Or snuggle muffin. Or Arnie muffin (depending on my mood).
Remember, peeps, whe I was ranting and raving about how Mr. Brian Atwood should take time out of his busy schedule to make a pair of shoes that would be appropriate for my wedding? Well, Mr. Jimmy Choo (or Ms. Tamara Mellon, or someone at the company) heard my cries and, lo and behold, I found these:
A few weeks back, we experienced a "cold spell" where the evenings were getting down into the 40s and I was both going to bed and waking up FREEZING. Those who have met me know that FREEZING makes me irritable, and the best cure is more cowbell a hot bowl of soup.
This creamy tortellini soup is made in the crock pot (there I go again with slow-cooker recipes! Sheesh!) and easy as can be. I freely admit that I added well over the 6 cups of spinach, which changed the flavor of the soup in a not-altogether-pleasant way, but when I removed some of the spinach it was FABULOUS.
I feel like, with these shoes, one thing could've stood to be removed, as well:
From the front, and even from this point of view, I love this shoe; but then I see it from the side, and the weird little kitten-heel-that-wants-to-be-part-of-the-wedge-but-isn't gets me. And loses me completely.
The title of this post doesn't start with slow-cooker! WAHOO! But really, quickie fridays never do so I shouldn't be so quick to toot my own horn. These peppers, however, were so good that I WILL toot my own horn over their deliciousness.
I roasted a bunch of cubed-up red and green peppers with some olive oil, salt, and pepper at 450 degrees for half an hour, mixing them up every ten minutes or so. When they came out of the oven, I threw some balsamic vinegar over the top and VOILA! Quick, easy, delicious, and great if you have leftover peppers in your fridge but nothing to do with them (as was the case with these).
The F and I are headed to his office holiday party tonight, and while I'm wearing my old stand-by Michael Kors Berkley T-Straps (which I have had for YEARS and continue to wear regularly), I think these would be equally adorable:
Appropriately festive? Check. Cheap? Check. Heels high enough to bump me up to 6 feet? Check. And, most importantly: Black? Check.
Once upon a time, peeps, I didn't start each and every recipe on this blog with the words "slow cooker." That was, of course, pre-graduate school and two jobs. Now that I'm officially post-graduate school (WOO HOO!) I hope to decrease the number of times my recipes involve a crock pot. But today is not that day.
This recipe, which requires exactly four ingredients, could not be more simple. One can, each, of drained corn and black beans, one cup of salsa (or more, if you like salsa. I used about a cup and a half of HOT salsa), and a few chicken breasts (3-4 large would be ideal). Throw 'em in the slow cooker on low for about 5-6 hours, and the chicken will be shred-able and taco-ready, with no trouble whatsoever!
The F and I had these in both whole wheat, low carb, blah blah blah soft shells and hard corn taco shells. Both delicious. Throw a little low-fat cheese on top, and you're good to go!
These shoes, in all of their gorgeous glory, would be TOTALLY good to go for my wedding if they combined any of the following colors: cobalt blue, jade green, or pewter.
to me! Tonight! As the F has indicated, nobody probably cares because this is the fourth time I'm celebrating a graduation. But if anybody were to care, it would be random people on the internet who read my blog and who weren't around to celebrate the last three! So hooray!
Tonight, my ensemble will look something like this:
Thank God for the "unique cap" and "luxurious" fabric, not to mention my deluxe hood (which seems substantially less deluxe than my LAST hood, which had velvet on it. I'm just sayin'). Because obviously that ridiculously oversized robe is made better by luxurious fabric. Thankfully, my shoes don't look anything like those God awful things.
To be honest, I can't remember where on the interwebs I managed to find this recipe, so if it belongs to you and you're mad at me for posting it here, correct me and I'll credit accordingly! This recipe, which I changed just a little bit, is quick and easy and super tasty.
I poured a whole bunch of HOT chunky salsa in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Then I browned up a pound of ground beef with some onions and taco seasoning (following the directions on the seasoning, of course), then added 6 oz. of cream cheese (I opted for fat free). Meanwhile, I cooked about a half pound of jumbo shells according to the package directions. I let the whole lot of it cool, then stuffed the shells with the meat and cream cheese mixture.
Top the whole thing with a jar of taco sauce (again, I bought the spiciest I could find) and some shredded Mexican cheese and pop it in the oven, at 325 degrees, for about 25 minutes. Delicious!
I feel that my shoe inspiration has been lacking lately. Despite the fact that it's resort season, and crazy things like this exist:
I don't even have any words for these, and I've worn some crazy shoes in my day. I don't believe that there is a person out there who could walk in these without assistance. If such a person existx, come forward.
In the spirit of my impending graduation, I present to you my go-to tasty champagne cocktail:
Frozen, mixed berries in a champagne glass and topped with a little bubbly. Not a bad way to start a weekend, or celebrate a master's degree! As of December 9th, you'll officially be able to refer to me as Ashley, J.D., M.L.S. And yes, I do intend on using ALL of the initials.
I also plan on acquiring a small, black shoulder bag in the near future, not dissimilar to this little number:
Very rarely do I look at a recipe that uses frozen ingredients, like this one, and think to myself I have GOT to try that! Due to my hectic work schedule, however, this recipe slid through, and I am sure glad it did.
This is a list of all of the wonderful things that are in this recipe:
mushrooms and onions
broccoli WITH CHEESE
Need I go on?
That was rhetorical and this is my blog, so of COURSE I'm going to go on. These were a snap to whip up and, unlike my lasagna disaster, were totally delicious.
Yes, peeps, that IS a flaky crescent roll baked atop a cheesy concoction. And I have absolutely zero complaints about this recipe. Except that it only serves two, and I could've eaten twenty portions.
In all of my blathering on about food and cold weather and Arnie lately, I forgot to mention that I am officially DONE with school. For the first time in my life, I am graduating with no plans to return to school. I am both terrified and relieved, because I love school and am worried I will be bored. Before worrying about boredom, however, I need graduation shoes!
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I bring you this quote from one of the F's favorite comedians, Mitch Hedberg:
"If you go to the grocery store and stand in front of the lunch meat section for too long, you start to get pissed off at turkeys. You see turkey ham, turkey pastrami, turkey bologna -- somebody needs to tell the turkeys, 'Man, just be yourself.' "
Also in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I give you a photo of Arnie pigging out, while wearing her coziest hoodie:
HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I am thankful for each and every one of my readers. What you lack in numbers you make up for in enthusiasm! Or something! Now go forth and eat too much!
The F is on a constant quest for more pepperoni. Not a meal goes by that I don't hear "you know what would be great with/on/in/alongside this? Pepperoni." I find it strange, yet endearing (which is one of the many reasons he's lucky to have me. Obviously.).
In an effort to please, I used this recipe for a new spin on lasagna. I should have been wary, having never sauted pepperoni before (the stench and leftover grease were APPALLING. If there is such a thing as a lasagna-steam facial, I got one), but I set off to make this monstrosity nonetheless.
I am not going to mince words in this post, because it is VERY rare when I talk about how much I don't like something I've whipped up in the kitchen: this lasagna was NO GOOD. Perhaps more sauce would've made it better. Or no pepperoni. Or more pepperoni. I have no idea.
But as it was, neither the F nor I particularly cared for this recipe. Maybe you wanna throw some pepperoni into your standard lasagna recipe, and that may be delicious. But I wouldn't count on Guy's recipe, not at all. (I should note, however, that apparently there's an ingredient error and the recipe should only call for one pound of lasagna noodles, not two. That may have made all of the difference and I wish I had read the comments in advance!)
In the spirit of the upcoming holiday (and my upcoming trip to the arctic a/k/a Minnesota) and also of things that aren't what they seem, like the lasagna, I present to you these:
Not the typical shoe featured on this blog, amiright? I ordered these because they are (1) faux-fur lined, (2) still heeled, and therefore sassy, and (3) weather resistant, because I know not what kind of inclement weather I will encounter in the tundra. Also, comfortable! Quite the combination.
Earlier this week, I took the F out for an early birthday dinner (his birthday was Wednesday . . . happy birthday, F!) and we enjoyed a DELICIOUS meal. Normally when eating at a steak house, I add creamed spinach to my meal (I skipped it this time) but this recipe makes creamed spinach so easy, that I could justify not having it at a restaurant!
I didn't get a picture of the final product, but you certainly get the idea! So quick, so easy, and SO delicious. I definitely recommend it any time you're craving your greens with some added richness!
The F and I are not ones to shy away from spicy food (the spicier the better, we always say!) and this recipe, found here, did not disappoint on the spicy front.
The recipe calls for 10 jalapenos, but I opted to use seven because, here in Florida, our jalapenos are bigger and hotter than most. (I am DEFINITELY glad that I made that call.)
The recipe made enough chili to feed a LOT of people, but since it was just the F and I, we portioned it out and saved the leftovers for lunches and suppers. Be warned, though, it only got hotter as it sat in the fridge (and the crockpot)!
I topped the chili with oyster crackers and a four-cheese blend (which helped tame the heat) and it was awesome. The recipe would be easy to tone down for those who don't like their food to singe the tongue, but I would definitely make it again just as it is!
Ever since I tried these on, I can't get them out of my head. But I am determined NOT to buy my fab wedding shoes until closer to the big day.
I would apologize for my absence, peeps, but the truth is that I'm not sorry (new readers, I apologize for starting you off on such a snarky note . . . and welcome!) because I have been working 7 days a week, up to 11 hours a day, and I am EXHAUSTED. On the bright side, I found a wedding dress, which means that the number of healthy recipes on this blog is likely to increase.
But this isn't one of them.
This recipe (which I found here) for spicy chicken sandwiches in the crock pot is so easy, requires 4 ingredients and can be done in 4 hours (8 if you're like me and throw your chicken in the crock pot frozen).
Enter a toasted bun and pepperjack cheese, and you have yourself one helluva (super easy) sandwich. They may not look like much, but they taste wonderful.
I had the distinct pleasure of trying on these FABULOUS shoes on Saturday, and they are nothing short of spectacular. If my wedding were in the near(er) future, these would be in my closet for my big day. But they say patience is a virtue, so I'm not making the big day shoe purchase quite yet!
If you haven't gathered over the 13 months I've been writing this blog (holy crap, btw, where has the time gone), the F and I LOVE cheese. A lot. More than pretty much anything (not Arnie, though. Nothing tops Arnie.). This cheese fondue, which is just milk, cheddar cheese soup, salsa, and some shredded cheddar seemed to fit our cheese-loving bill.
Overall this dip was good, but not great. If you're going to make a tasty cheese dip to enjoy while you watch football (or the World Series or the Real Housewives), go this route.
While going the grunge route, I would normally suggest a good pair of Doc Martens, but these could be a nice (read: cheap) substitute:
Morning, peeps! I apologize for the extreme slowdown in posts, but believe you me I'm trying to kick the cooking into high gear (on the days when I'm actually home to cook, that is) so that the blog doesn't suffer!
I had never tried quinoa, but I work with a lot of women who are in very good shape and who swear by quinoa, so I figured I should try it (you really can't go wrong with a grain that contains both fiber AND protein, seriously).
Essentials for this salad: kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, quinoa (duh), feta cheese, and I added some chicken (that I baked with Greek seasoning). I use a cup of quinoa (cooked in 2 cups of water) and add enough of the other ingredients so that it looks like I have a little bit of everything.
When I pack this for lunch, I pack a little bit of light Greek vinaigrette, toss it well, and chow it down! It's really filling and very delicious. Next time I make it I'm going to add spinach, too, to give it more color (and iron).
The more I look at the B Brian Atwood shoes in stores or on blogs, the more I want a pair.
Full disclosure: the F was NOT a fan of this bean dip. "God forbid we eat a healthy dip during football," I responded. And so he ate. And the longer it sat, the spicier it got, and the more we both enjoyed it. So, peeps, if you're lookin' to spice up your football Saturdays or Sundays, leave this in the crockpot a little bit longer.
I combined 1 can of fat free, spicy refried beans with 1 can of rinsed black beans, 1 can of mexicorn, 1 cup of salsa, garlic, chili powder, cayenne pepper, white pepper, and salt to taste. Put it in the crock pot on low for as long as you can handle the delicious smells, then about 20 minutes before you're ready to eat, top it with sliced green onions and shredded Mexican-blend cheese. Easy and not too darn bad for a football dip, if I do say so myself.
It has FINALLY started to "cool down" here in Florida (it gets into the low 70s at night! YAY!) so cute boots are definitely even more in order than they were before, and I'm loving all the short boots I've been seeing lately.
In my quest to incorporate more salads/vegetables/generally healthy foods into my diet (especially after the gorging that was done during the Food & Wine Festival), I thought I'd try making this broccoli salad.
There's not much to it: broccoli, raisins, red onion, bacon, and a white wine vinegar/mayo vinaigrette to bring it all together.
I actually put TOO MUCH dressing on this salad, but it was tasty nonetheless, and certainly added more veggies to my day than I'm used to.
I wish I could say something enlightening about these:
One might argue that adding spinach to an otherwise delicious fruit juice would render it disgusting, undrinkable, and *gasp* green. And that one would be wrong.
For my last birthday, the F got me a fancy schmancy juicer, and I have tried to juice just about everything (including a not-so-successful foray into pepper juice . . . don't ask). This juice contained a couple of apples, a couple of oranges, some cubed pineapple, a handful of hulled strawberries, and yes, spinach (at least 3 handfuls). You can't even taste the spinach, peeps! If you need a little extra iron, or just to sneak some more veggies into your day, this is a great way to do it.
On my first Saturday Sip, I mentioned that I am in dire need of a new bag, and suggested a black replacement for my black bag. I'm thinking, however, that an injection of some color may be in order.
It is reminiscent of my favorite shades of blue and big enough to carry EVERYTHING I need (which lately has included wedding magazines and small meals so I'll be ready to start trying on dresses in less than a month). And the price is SO RIGHT. Whaddya think? Go Blue?