Tuesday, April 24, 2012

color wave

With every new season that arrives, it brings something to love.
Spring lets the sun shine, the flowers bloom, and the plethora of colorful pieces to come charging out of the closet.


I've always been partial to pops of color. I used to paint each nail a different color, wear bright green eyeshadow with everything, and let my red pointy-toed flats or thrifted hot pink tennis skirt do the talking.


Now that bright colors are in more than ever, I can say that I'm just falling into the trend, but truth is: I've always been one for color. Now it's just ok to wear my bright yellow flip flops with my bright orange bag and my bright pink shorts. 
Though it's not like you ever really need an ok. I wear it cause it's fun. 


This skirt is tons of color and twirly fun, but to keep it fairly subdued and basic, I paired it with a black cami. Perfect for a spring day.

Necklace, Skirt, Purse: Forever 21. Flip Flops: Old Navy. Bracelet: gifted, Kameleon

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

a cheeseburger

To be honest, if I had to pick one favorite food it would have to be a cheeseburger. A greasy, gooey, cheesy cheeseburger.
And I don't mean a big, fat patty on a big bun. Although, that's ok, too.
I'm more of a fan of the thin patty charred perfectly on a flattop so you get the crispy outside and a juicy inside. And a big slab of cheese to melt all over it.
It's my kind of meal, what can I say?
Well, I can say that I have been living off of these cheeseburgers for a couple of weeks now.


Bacon turkey burgers. Is there anything else in the world?
Unlike those who prefer to season the outside of the patty, I'm a firm believer in seasoning the meat and mixing it up.
A big sprinkle of salt, a decent sprinkle of pepper, and a dash or so of garlic powder. A good char on a grill and a slab of cheddar (though I also had some manchego laying around and that was all sorts of delicious).
I also like to cook my bacon on the grill, too. Lay a piece of tin foil down and use that as a skillet almost. The bacon crisps up beautifully.
All other rules remain: flip only once, don't press down. Oh, but cook it all the way through.
This is not the place for a medium burger.
The result is one tasty, juicy, healthier option.


Gouda and Cheddar Cheeses.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

for the -aholic in all of us

I am a serious chocolate-peanut butter-aholic.
And because I am a serious chocolate-peanut butter-aholic, I absolutely could not pass up this little gem when I came across it at Target last week.


It's been hanging around ever since, sort of mocking me with its "I'm so awesome, what exactly are you going to do with me??" grin.
I contemplated something simple to really highlight those chocolate and peanut butter flavors: maybe a simple cookie or cupcake or even a blondie.
And then I decided why not just make it a chocolate and peanut butter explosion??


I went with this recipe that I've been making for who knows how long (substituting the chips for the peanut butter cups).
It's funny, brownies were always the one thing I made terribly. And then one day that brownie recipe came along and I was no longer the terrible brownie maker.
But once I added peanut butter to the mix it went way beyond no longer being the terrible brownie maker. They were deee-licious.

Dusted with a little flour to keep them from sinking to the bottom.

You could very easily make basic brownies, but honestly, once I made the peanut butter ones, I haven't (except for rare occasions) gone back.
They are just too good.
And they are the perfect treat for the chocolate-peanut butter-aholic in all of us.

Sometimes, all you need is a fork.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

springtime lunch

I can't pinpoint the time I started making this chicken salad, but I remember vaguely getting the idea after watching Ina Garten make a dish with chicken and grapes.
I wanted to combine the idea of chicken salad with the idea of potato salad with the idea of egg salad. Get the idea?


I've been making this salad for quite a while now and I really, truly love it. Sometimes I forget how good it is, take a bite, and think "wow, this is fantastic."
True story.
And it's like most of my cooking: guess amounts, throw stuff in, taste, repeat.
The main component, and the most important, is the chicken. In the times I've made this, I've tried roasting, grilling, even pan-frying. The absolute best bet is poaching.
And if you're like me, you just cringed.
The only memories I have of poached chicken are rubbery, dry, tasteless ones.
The idea is to not boil the crap out of it; the idea is to impart flavor and simmer gently.
When you create a poaching liquid, think about flavor. I throw in chunks of carrots, celery, onions. I crush garlic cloves and peppercorns. I add some bay leaves and thyme leaves. Even some parsley stems. And instead of just plain water, I add in some chicken stock.
Simmer the chicken in the liquid gently for about 15 minutes, cool it and shred it and you've got chicken that stays moist and delicious and is the perfect component for chicken salad.
Everything else? well they're just star supporting actors. The hard-boiled egg adds interesting taste, the basil adds that fresh, herby background, and the grapes add the perfect sweet surprise.
Happy spring lunch.

Chicken Salad
Use good quality mayonnaise. Miracle Whip is not acceptable.
The poaching is recommended, but optional. You could even purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and shred.


Poaching Liquid:
3 cups total water and chicken stock
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 carrot, cut into chunks
1 celery stalk, cut into chunks
1/4 onion, sliced
1 bay leaf
bunch parsley and thyme stems
salt, peppercorns
slice of lemon or lemon peel

1 lb chicken breast

2 medium carrots, shredded
1 c grapes, halved
2 T (or so) basil, chiffonade
handful parsley, chopped
1 hard-boiled egg, diced
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 c mayonnaise
salt, pepper
1/4 c almonds, optional

1. Add the poaching liquid ingredients to a shallow pan and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add in the chicken. If the liquid does not quite cover the chicken, add some more until it does.
2. Poach gently (do not boil), uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the liquid, cool and shred.
3. In a large bowl, add the shredded chicken, carrots, grapes, herbs, egg, and lemon juice. Mix well. Add in mayonnaise and mix to coat and combine. Taste for seasonings. Add almonds if desired.
4. Serve atop spinach or baby arugula or a soft, toasty bun for a light lunch.

Makes 4 servings.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

springtime wardobe


One of my favorite things about the arrival of spring is the abundance of spring dresses and being able to wear them all.
I love taking a cold shower and slipping into a breezy, frilly spring dress.


I wore this out to a fun lunch on the beach last week. Paired with some sparkly sandals and a messy bun, it was beachy springtime chic.
And oh-so-comfortable.


Dress: Forever 21. Sandals: Rampage / DSW. Rings: Key West Shell Warehouse.