Friday, September 27, 2013

Mediterranean Barley with Chickpeas and Arugula

Mediterranean Barley with Chickpeas and Arugula
Summer's end means the end of Mediterranean marinated salads for a good long while...
Here's a healthful and easy way to use the last bits of your summer produce. 

Mediterranean Barley with Chickpeas and Arugula
(adapted from Cooking Light)
Serves 6

1 - 8.8oz package uncooked pearl barley
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup feta
chopped pistachios
arugula leaves
lemon pepper, to season

1. Cook barley according to package directions. 
2. Combine barley, bell pepper, tomatoes, and chickpeas in a large bowl.
3. Whisk together lemon juice, oil, salt, and crushed red pepper. Drizzle over barley mixture, and toss. 
4. Serve over a bed of arugula and sprinkle with pistachios and lemon pepper.

**This salad stays good for several days in the fridge, I recommend nuking it for 10 seconds before you serve it to melt the dressing - then toss with arugula and pistachios each time before you serve it so they won't get soggy**
Mediterranean Barley with Chickpeas and Arugula

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Autumn Pins {Pinterest}

above: {pin it / source}
below: {pin it / source} // Pumpkin Magic Bars {pin it / source}
Le sigh. Autumn inspiration - I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF IT. 
Do you remember that DCOM (Disney Channel Original Move) Halloweentown? Of course you do. I wish there such a universe that existed called Autumntown where it was Autumn all year long - so kind of like Halloweentown, but without the creepy dog people (?)....
In the meantime, while searching for said universe, please do enjoy some Autumnal pins from my Pinterest board. 
above: Spiked Maple Apple Cider {pin it / source}
below:  Pumpkin Spice Vietnamese Iced Coffee {pin it / source} // {pin it / source}
above:{pin it / source} // below:{pin it / source}
above: Apple Cider Sangria {pin it / source} // {pin it / source}
below: Pumpkin S'mores Cupcake {pin it / source}

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mixtape Monday: Harvest Heirlooms

me + pumpkins
yes, that little pumpkin picker would be me

My beloved Fall is finally officially here. I've already had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season and am going to grab some Autumnal mums and pumpkins to decorate my apartment with tomorrow. Also to commemorate the season, I picked up an adorable Autumn Sky scented candle (whatever that's supposed to smell like) in a cute little owl ceramic jar from Target (grrr - I cannot find the link to it!). Thinking up my annual fall to-do/eat/buy/decorate/celebrate list as I type this...

...and for your week - Autumnsongs:

1. A Hard One to Know - Benjamin Gibbard
2. More Adventurous - Rilo Kiley (wonderful lyrics)
3. Battery Kinzie - Fleet Foxes
4. Would You Come With Me -The Elected
5. On The Road - Angus & Julia Stone (This song makes me wanna go apple pickin'.)
6. Halcyon - The Paper Kites
7. Guillermo Leaves the Party on the North Face - Meryll
8. Meet Me At The Edge Of The World - Over the Rhine
9. Heirlooms - Pale White Moon
10. Long Time Traveler - The Wailin' Jennys (for fans of: Allison Krauss and The Civil Wars)
11. Afraid - Neko Case
12. Jolene - Dolly Parton (I LOVE Dolly. LOVE her. She is brilliant.)
13. Singing Arc (While the Fire Dies Version) - Seabear

Friday, September 20, 2013

Coconut Almond Macaroons Dipped in Dark Chocolate

coconut almond macaroons dipped in dark chocolate coconut almond macaroons dipped in dark chocolate
It was my dad's birthday a few weeks ago and since I wasn't there to celebrate with him, I decided to send him one of his favorite desserts - Coconut Macaroons. I scourged the internet for the perfect recipe and decided on this one and am oh so happy that I did. I personally have never been a huge coconut macaroon fan (I prefer the French variety of macaroons) but knew that with toasted almonds and dark chocolate added to the mix, I would love them. They were unreal - not too sweet, crunchy, chewy and rich. I'll defintely be making these again. My mom has been begging for the recipie and here it is 
Follow her recipe verbatim and you will be rewarded with morsels of heaven. 
coconut almond macaroons dipped in dark chocolate
Other recipes I've made for my dad's birthday:
Homemade Snickers Candy Bars
{No-Bake} Snickers Pie

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Chicago Lately...

wicker park flatiron
southport wicker park
Colorful street at is everywhere  / I am in constant awe of the flatirons and historic buildings everywhere. I was spoiled of all this in Charleston, so I am happy to be living in a city that still has it.
The cake decorators at work organize the icings in rainbow order at the end of the day - it solicited a picture.
anthro horner park
There is an Anthro walking distance from me. Uh oh. / Been soaking up as many 60 something degree days as I can by walking around Horner Park.
I've officially been living in Chicago for about a month and a half now and must say that I am very blessed how things have come together so beautifully. I keep waiting for the "catch" to happen. I understand that the downs will happen and I am not for a second taking for granted how many ups there has been since moving here. All my friends and parents point out that it obviously was meant to be, me moving here, and because of all the extensive planning and saving it took to get here, things have every right to have come together like they have.
I really like the people I work with and an so thankful to have found a full-time job at a popular bakery. Improv classes are in full-swing and are introducing me to new friends.
My living situation is very good, and I am loving decorating the apartment (pictures to come soon).
Surprisingly my stress level has gone way down since moving here, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I don't drive here and just take the "L" everywhere. Driving has never been my favorite and I am notorious for getting lost and being late, so having a relaxing ride to and from work with my earphones and staring out the window has done me wonders.
I can gush on and on, but I just wanted to check in with y'all and let you know that everything is really working out for me here and I am ba-dah-ba-ba-ba lovin' it.
horner  jenni's
Another lovely view of Horner Park / So much love for Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Lake Michigan from a boats point of view. The water is actually that color. 
lake michigan lake michigan
Me and a dog getting along - it's a rare sight

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mixtape Monday: From This Valley

from last year's fall, somewhere in the north Georgia mountains

After a 90 degree Indian summer last week, I could not be more excited for this crisp, fall weather we're experiencing now in Chicago. I just feel so energized.
To kick off the season (a little early, but I am just too eager) here is an Autumn playlist, which I will compile many of over the next 2 months. Expect folksy, warm, and brisk songs...

1. Magpie to the Morning - Neko Case (This is off her newest album, which is phenomenal. She never disappoints.)
2. From This Valley - The Civil Wars
3. A Maker of My Time - The Paper Kites
4. After Eliot - Johnny Flynn (With a similar sound to Mumford and Sons, I've always preferred Johnny over them. I just love his lyrics. Please give him a listen.)
5. Calling Cards - Neko Case (She always happens to release albums at pivotal moments in my life. I think I'll always associate this album with my first few months living in Chicago and riding the L.)
6. Second Chances - Gregory Alan Isakov
7. Fortune Teller - Calexico
8. Leopold Street - The Paper Kites
9. Hand-Made - alt-J
10. Obvious Bicycle - Vampire Weekend
11. Ghosts - Laura Marling (wouldn't be a complete fall playlist without this folksy gal)
12. Wakin On A Pretty Day - Kurt Vile
13. Have You Ever - Brandi Carlile

For more Fall-themed playlists:
Autumn I | Autumn IIAutumn IIIAutumn IV

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Matthew Tischler

This 'Screen Series' by photographer Matthew Tischler is nothing new to the internet (I think his portfolio was made several years ago) but I still have never seen such a concept. Photographing film by focusing on a window screen as a sort of rudimentary filter. The result is an un-touched, organic approach to both photography and impressionism. 
I especially love the effects of the water droplets.  
Degas would approve. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Yogurt with Pistachios, Orange, Mint & Dark Chocolate

yogurt with pistachios, orange, mint and dark chocolate yogurt with pistachios, orange, mint and dark chocolate
While visiting Greek Town a few weeks ago, I purchased some homemade Greek yogurt at a bakery. Full-fat, rich, creamy, and so freakin' worth it. I think it's good to treat yourself every once and a while to the real thing. 
I was inspired by one of Chobani's yogurt combinations after seeing it on Taza's instagram....
pistachios, orange segments, fresh mint, and chopped dark chocolate
That's it. I didn't even add honey. Unreal how simple and amazing it was - especially with the homemade yogurt. I strongly urge you to try this out ASAP. 

Also, the rest of Chobani's menu is full of inspiration for jazzing up plain Greek yogurt - definitely going to re-create some of these!
yogurt with pistachios, orange, mint and dark chocolate

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Albums I Will Always Love: Seabear, The Ghost That Carried Us Away

The Ghost That Carried Us Away

My love for all things Icelandic first started way back in high school with my love of Icelandic music, namely Seabear. They were a little more accessible than Sigur Ros because they chose to sing in English (as opposed to their native language - or a made up one), but still had the harmonious, magical sound that only fits the country it was made in. The Ghost That Carried Us Away a refreshing and lush album that I always thought could score the Where The Wild Things Are movie pretty well. 
It's poetic and childlike and folksy with an aquatic-feel. The hushed, lulling lyrics and the flow of songs are as graceful as a melting Icelandic glacier. Fitting. 
Also, I will forever associate this album with the Fall-time, so listen accordingly and prepare for the best season with this music.

Fall down the stairs
It's been a long time since
I got my hands on your teenage poems
It's the only poison that I like
- Libraries

I think I must have known you
In another life
I think our rocking chairs
Used to rock together all night
 - Hands Remember

Check out: "Hospital Bed" is a romantic, enchanting waltz, "Arms" is a folksy tune that should be Autumn's theme song, and "Good Morning Scarecrow" is a quick piano intro with spooky creature/monster sounds. 

Buy: Amazon | iTunes

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Coconut Curry Pita Bowl

coconut curry pita bowl
I would call myself a pretty experienced cook, but there are parts of the world whose food I just haven't played around with enough. One being Indian food and their curries. Between not really knowing how all the different spices and curries taste - alone and together, what/why they are used in specific dishes -  and honestly not ordering it enough when I go out, it all sort of intimidates me. 
I have great plans to broaden my horizons on Indian cooking and eating - starting with this simple, easy-to-follow Coconut Chicken Curry. You can totally make it into a pita sandwich, but I don't have the coordination to keep from exploding on all sides when I am eating it, ergo: a pita bowl.

Coconut Curry Pita Bowl
(adapted from this recipe)
3 boneless skinless chicken fillets
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons curry powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes
3/4 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
juice from 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
chopped tomatoes
leafy greens
sliced cucumber
whole wheat pita breads
(I really like to use Whole Wheat Pocket Thins - I think they are the most soft and healthy)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the chicken fillets and cook about 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
2. Heat the coconut oil in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, and cook until soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes.
3. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Use two forks to shred apart the chicken, then add it to the pan with the onion and bell pepper. Stir in the curry powder, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, salt and coconut.
4. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, lime juice and a dash of salt and pepper until smooth.
5. Heat the pita in the microwave for 10-15 seconds and add to your bowl with the shredded chicken, yogurt sauce, and some tomatoes, greens, cucumbers - or whatever suits your fancy.

coconut curry pita bowl

I've had mind-blowing Indian food in San Francisco and Asheville - any suggestions for Indian cuisine in Chicago?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mixtape Monday: What I am Listening to and Why

I've got so much great new music to share with you....

1. Nuclear Seasons - Charli XCX (Marina and the Diamonds meet Icona Pop)

2. Applause - Lady Gaga (Mother Monster is back. It took me a few listens to get into it, but now I'm hooked.)

3. Nothing Compares 2 U - Capital Cities (Sinead O'Connor cover)

4. Never Age - GEMS (I owe a lot of my favorite music to Miss Moss.)

5. Ash Tree Lane - MSMR (I've been posting about them a lot lately, and for a good reason..)

6. Snudge - Night Panther

7. Don't Give Up - Washed Out

8. Lover's Carvings - Bibio (I've owned this song for years, but only lately realized how great it is. It's happy and groovy.)

9. Lost in the Light - Bahamas (This is my favorite song right now, watch the video for it above. For fans of Feist and Dr. Dog)

10. Oh Sailor (feat. the Silverlake Conservatory of Music Youth Chorale) - Mr. Little Jeans

11. Sonsick - San Fermin (for fans of: Dirty Projectors)

12. Illusions - Shout Out Louds

13. The Trip - Still Corners (Sounds like a 2013 Fleetwood Mac)

14. Hurricane - MSMR 


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Think of You by MSMR

This song, which I featured on this week's mixtape, was my "it" tune of the summer. It's a fierce anthem that is relatable on so many levels. I highly recommend checking out more of MSMR's music, especially if you enjoy Florence + The Machine and CHVRCHES.
Loving the VHS quality of this acid-y/colorful video...

Happy Labor Day Weekend, y'all!
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