Monday, March 31, 2014

Cooking Single

Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies. Really, it's like therapy. There are days I get home from school and working out at around 6:30 and happily spend the next three hours dancing to music and cooking for the week. My New Years resolution was to make a new recipe every week, and I've done pretty well so far!

On a related note, one of my many billion dollar ideas (trust me, they're real), is the concept of a single person's grocery store. Everything would be packaged with the single person in mind. How amazing would that be? One of my main gripes about cooking real food for myself is that so many recipes make family sized portions and then I end up eating chili for six days straight. I'm pretty good at halving or even quartering recipes, but then you go to buy the ingredients and you have to buy ten tortillas! What normal person doesn't make unnecessary quesadillas when confronted with extra tortillas?! A single person's grocery store has legs, I'm telling you...

Getting back on topic: look at this amazing product that seems to have been invented especially for single people! Three section lasagna pan! Brilliant!!

Just think about the possibilities...everyone could have the crunchy end piece of lasagna, you could roast veggies in one section and a chicken breast in another, you could do veggie lasagna in one and a meat one in another, AND still roast veggies in the third section! I put my pans through a lot; this one would be an amazing, and much-used addition. I might need two.

How would you use this product? I seriously think I could use it every day.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Honey Simple Syrup

Don't you hate how sugar won't dissolve in cold drinks?! I've always preferred iced coffee to hot coffee for some reason (like, as soon as the temperature go above 30 degrees, I'm breaking out the cold brew coffee and doing a little dance). I used to use icky fake sweeteners, but I have since quit that nonsense and gone with either simple syrup (homemade of NOT pay for sugar water! It's the easiest thing ever to make!) or just unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

But, I definitely like a little honey in my tea in the afternoons/evenings. I've noticed, though, that I can be a little heavy-handed with the honey. Teaspoon, shmeaspoon. So I just transferred the easiness of simple syrup to make honey simple syrup. Having homemade simple syrups on hand makes me feel like a barista!

Not very glamorous, but great to have on hand!

It's seriously so easy. Just equal parts honey and water heated in a saucepan/whisked until two become one. Easy-peasy.
Does anyone else stare at their tea until it's finished steeping? No? Just me?

Right now I'm liking my honey simple syrup with lemon ginger tea. Simple syrup is easier for me to measure than gloppy honey.

Happy Friday!


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Alcove Beds

I've always loved finding a cozy spot to curl up. I remember when I was little and we would watch movies as a family, I would gather all the blankets and pillows I could find to make a "nest" on the floor. I loved feeling like a little bird in my nest, so comfy and nestled in.

Alcove beds are like a grown-up nest! Aren't these just the coziest spots you could think of? They're just waiting for a cup of tea and a good book.

cozy alcove bed 
I love the cottage feel. I want to sleep there and have someone read me a bedtime story!

best alcove beds (5) 
 A more modern take. It needs a blanket, but otherwise it's the perfect place for a cat nap...I bet it even gets sun!

best alcove beds (7) 
This makes me think of Marie Antoinette. Fabric on walls is so decadent (mental note: put fabric on the walls!)

There are many more of these beauties here. Don't you want an alcove bed?! I'm off to make a nest...


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Get After It

I saw this on Pinterest (where else?), and I just thought, "well damn."

Don't you hate when all your excuses don't seem to have a leg to stand on anymore? I catch myself sitting on my couch, watching TV, thinking of all sorts of excuses for why I can't grade those papers, work out today, make a real meal for myself. If I started doing one of those things when I started making excuses for why I couldn't, it would be done already! This will be my new mantra.

PS: You can own this mug! This cute Etsy shop has this and other awesome mugs/waterbottles/totes! You better believe I just ordered the water bottle with this quote on it. So awesome for working out!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Quick, Healthy Snacks

For me, the biggest thing getting in the way of me eating healthy regularly Doesn't life just get in the way of the things you've been meaning to do sometimes?! I mean, seriously. The only way I can eat healthily on a regular basis is if I plan for it. I love cooking and trying new recipes, but when it's 8pm, I've been running around all day, and I'm hungry enough to eat my own hand, I just want to reach for something easy.

With this in mind, I tracked down some healthy snacks that are either make-ahead or super quick so you can have a go-to for those I-would-eat-my-hand-if-it-had-butter-on-it moments. And get this, they're delicious. All of our mothers have told us to eat a piece of fruit if we're hungry before dinner, but what fun is that? Here's to elevating things a bit...

(All photos via their respective blog posts)

A few hints...
  • For the energy balls (I'm doing my best not to make a middle school type am I doing?), use dark chocolate, if you use it at all (heart healthy!), and natural peanut butter (or whatever butter).
  • For the avocado toast, I have to say I'm not a huge tomato fan, but I definitely eat this with Ezekiel bread, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper/chili powder. Yum!
  • The spicy nuts (see the above reference to definitely not writing a joke here...) don't have any sugar. There are plenty of sugary recipes out there, and I'm guessing they all smell heavenly while cooking...but resist the temptation to add sugar to your snack! Save your sugar fix for something truly worth it! Like this! Or any of these! Also, I used two tablespoons of olive oil instead of butter and all tastes like Chex mix! So good!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Family Weekend

I took a long weekend this past weekend to go on a road trip with my mom to visit family in northern Virginia and see my little brother's lacrosse game. It was a quick trip, but I loved being able to see so many people I love! 

We had to make a pitstop at South of the Border outside of Florence, SC where we met up. That place is so hilarious! Have you ever been?

The highlight of the weekend was watching my little brother's game! It didn't go the way we would have preferred, but I love watching him play! Go Blue Hens!

My mom and I were in the car for around 16 hours this weekend (we joke that my mom missed her calling as a long-haul trucker)...between talking, laughing, and singing, there was never a dull moment. As you can see, even Gatsby was a road warrior!

We also got to see my aunt, uncle, cousins, and their families, which never happens enough. Such a great weekend!


Friday, March 21, 2014


My mom and I are going on an impromptu road trip this weekend to the DC area/Towson to see my brother play lacrosse (Go Blue Hens!). I haven't seen my mom since Christmas break, and I am so excited to hang out with her...we always have a great time together :)

These are a few gems from our last adventure together. We went to Chicago for my birthday last summer and had so much fun! The one above is from the architectural boat t
our we took one night.
Trying to stay dry on the double decker bus tour!

Waiting for the Second City show to start

Even though it's just a weekend, I'm excited to be able to hang out with my awesome mama!

I'm even bringing her grand pup along for the ride...

Happy weekend!



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Which Layla Do You Prefer?

My eighth grade English teacher once told our class that you could tell a lot about a person based on whether they preferred the acoustic or electric version of Eric Clapton's "Layla". I don't remember much about the poetry we read that year, but that comment as always stuck with me for some reason, and I happen to believe that there's some truth to it. It's a pretty interesting conversation starter, too!

So which do you prefer? Acoustic? Or electric? I'm an acoustic girl myself.

Happy hump day!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wine/Beer Pairs

When it comes to wine, my knowledge pretty much begins and ends at "I really like red wine". For some reason, I've never been big on white wine, but I love a good (or just cheap) red.

For those of us who like wine and beer, but don't know much more than that, the kind folks at VinePair, a website dedicated to all things wine, made us this:

If You Love This Beer Then You'll Love This Wine 

Helpful, right? You could use it to find a corresponding wine that matches up with your favorite beer OR the other way around. I've never tried a lambic beer, but I know I like pinot I'll have to give it a shot!

Happy sipping!


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Follow Your Arrow

One of my favorite reads, A Cup of Jo, recently lead me to this incredibly interesting read. It's an article about a mother who, in an attempt to bring culture and worldly perspective to her children's lives, moved her family to Paris for a year. Since the French seemed to have the market cornered when it comes to doing, well, everything right, she thought she would come back to the States with little citizens of the world, cured of all their obnoxious American ways.

As someone who doesn't have any human children, I was surprised by how much the article resonated with me. Lately, I've been reevaluating where I am, geographically, professionally, personally. I've been looking within and without for my next step, wondering where I should go next in pursuit of the life I want for myself. Gosh, crafting the life you want for yourself is a lot of pressure! Following your passion and finding the next "right" thing is hard! I sometimes wish for a crystal ball that I could look to in order to know that, five, ten, fifteen years down the road, I will have made the right decisions and ended up where I wanted to be.

The moral of this article seems to be that we are all making it up as we go along. The old adage to focus on the journey, not the destination should be changed to focus on the journey because that's all there is. Maybe there is no destination. The only destination is the one we reach when we stop journeying. We just have goals in mind that we try to align our actions with.
F. Scott Fitzgerald 

So, I guess this is all to say that if you are feeling the need to make a move but are not quite sure where to...I feel ya. I find that every few years I start to feel the need to do something else. I'm hoping someday I'll settle into something that makes me want to stick around awhile, but I'm not sure I've found that thing yet. Does anyone else get the itch to move on like that?

Lots of big picture thinking going on around here lately! I hope you have a wonderful Monday and don't forget to follow your arrow :) 


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Roasted Rosemary Almonds

One of my new year's resolutions was to try one new recipe each week. This resolution was made with the hope of channeling my love of food into broadening my horizons and eating more cleanly, instead of, say, shoveling Girl Scout cookies in my mouth by the handful. (ps- Have you seen this? Hilarious.)

Luckily, I have enjoyed just about every new recipe I've tried, but the most recent one I've tried is definitely a keeper. It's funny how the easiest recipes are usually the most memorable. These roasted rosemary almonds are the perfect snack: crunchy, salty, a touch spicy...and pretty healthy! Plus, by making your own seasoned roasted almonds, you control the ingredients and save money! Win-Win!

I made half of the recipe to make sure that the almonds stayed fresh since I'm the only one eating them. Make them soon!

Happy snacking!


My Favorite Juice Recipes

Are you on the juicing trend train yet? I got a juicer a few Christmases ago and have loved throwing whatever I can find in my juicer to see what it tastes like.

Delicious "green lemonade"--such a pretty color and amazing for after you've had a weekend of fried food and beer :)

I've done a few three-day cleanses, kind of a modified version of the BluePrint Cleanse. I would love to try BluePrint to see how it compares, but it's so dang expensive! Plus, I can't imagine that any type of bottled juice could be as good as the kind I can make in my own kitchen.

I have this Breville juicer. I used a 20% coupon at Bed Bath & Beyond, and it wasn't too bad--pretty much middle of the road when it comes to juicers based on my research. Also, I always use these pretty glass bottles to store my freshly made juice. Keep in mind that you should drink freshly made juice within 36 hours. I've tried freezing it, and it's OK, but not great.

Here are my two favorite juice recipes...try them; they are seriously delicious!

Green Lemonade (makes 2 big glasses)
As much spinach as you want
3-4 lemons, peeled
1-1 1/2 inch piece of ginger root, peeled
3 green apples
1 cucumber
3-4 celery stalks

Wash everything well. Add spinach first--awesome dark green color! The more spinach the better! Stir the juice well and either pour in bottles (drink within 36 hours) or serve over ice immediately with a straw because straws make everything taste better.

Carrot-Orange Juice (makes 2 big glasses)
5-6 peeled carrots
4-5 peeled oranges
1-1 1/2 inch piece of ginger root, peeled
2 peeled lemons
2 green apples, peeled (I only peel them so the juice stays a pretty orange color)

Wash everything well and dump it in the juicer! Stir it up and either store it in bottles for up to 36 hours or drink immediately over ice. A straw is, again, mandatory.

When I drink fresh juice, I definitely notice an increase in my energy...I just feel healthier all around!

Happy Juicing!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Work It

When I work out, I mostly enjoy taking classes since someone telling me what to do forces me to slack off a little less. If I'm not taking a class, I prefer walking outside or spending some time on the elliptical listening to music that makes it easier to up the pace a bit.

Please tell me you remember this lady.

Here are a few songs that are currently on my happy workout playlist...
1.) "Happy" by Pharell Williams
2.) "A Little Party Never Killed Nobody" by Fergie, Q-Tip, and GoonRock
3.) "Follow Your Arrow", Kasey Musgraves
4.) Various Glee Songs, but mostly this, this, and this (I can't pass up a good cover, especially if it's a cappella)
5.) "Kiss You", One Direction
6.) "Loca", Shakira
7.) "Love Shack", B-52's

OK, so I have the music taste of a 13-year-old girl. But you have to admit that a smile-inducing song makes a workout go a little faster!

Happy listening!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Don't Say The "S" Word

Happy Monday! Our spring break was last week, and that, combined with Daylight Savings has made for a...grumbly Monday. But! This past weekend was so full of sun and breeziness and glorious weather that it has almost made up for the fact that I'm stuck back inside today.

You're pretty, Greenville.

I have a theory that the kind of weather we have been having is incredibly skittish, so much so that I only to refer to this time of year as the "'s' word". You know, that brief season (at least in South Carolina) between February and mid-May (if we're lucky) where we experience a happy combination of sunny, clear skies and very little humidity. If you say the "s" word, you'll scare it away, and we'll be left with oppressively hot, humid, don't-leave-the-house, I-don't-even-want-to-think-about-the-AC-bill-this-month weather.

So! I hope you're enjoying the same amazing weather we've had these past few days, and can we all agree not to speak the "s" word until maybe May? Maybe that'll keep it around a little longer? I have a few lightweight sweaters that would look great with shorts and ballet flats that would be so thankful...