Monday, March 31, 2014

Mixtape Monday: Acoustic Spring

Today it was 64 degrees. I haven't felt that since maybe October. My goodness it was glorious! Here's a playlist to honor Spring - pure, dainty, and acoustic. 

1. The Moon Song (ft. Ezra Koenig) - Karen O (from Her)
2. Brand New Shoes - She & Him
3. Clean Slate - M. Ward
4. Interlude II - alt-J
5. London - She & Him
6. Gatekeeper - Feist
7. There's a Key - M. Ward
8. You're the One that I Want - Angus & Julia Stone
9. Clean Getaway - Maria Taylor
10. Dream in the Dark - A Fine Frenzy
11. Sodom, South Georgia - Iron & Wine

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Chickpea Curry with Coconut Brown Rice

Chickpea Curry with Coconut Brown Rice
Chickpea Curry with Coconut Brown Rice
At first when I made this DELICIOUS, tender, vegetable curry, I thought wow, this is really healthy. Then I realized it's healthy to the max, being both gluten-free and vegan. Again, WOW. Mind-blown. It's so freakin' good, I'm making it again soon... 

Chickpea Curry with Coconut Brown Rice
(adapted from this recipe)
2 cups instant brown rice
1-14oz can light coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 tablespoon curry powder
12-oz sugar snap peas, cut into thirds
1-14oz can light coconut milk
1 cup water
2-14oz cans chickpeas
crushed red pepper for heat

1. To make rice, cook brown rice using coconut milk, water, coconut oil and salt according to package directions. 
2. While rice is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the coconut oil. Stir in the onion, red peppers, salt and pepper and stir to toss. Cover and cook until the vegetables have slightly softened, about 5 minutes. 
3. Add in the garlic, ginger, curry paste, and curry powder. Stir to coat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
4. Add in the peas, coconut milk, and water. Increase heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes more. Taste and season additionally if desired.

Serve hot curry over a bed of rice and enjoy - keeps in the fridge for several days! 
Chickpea Curry with Coconut Brown Rice

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Pins {Pinterest}

above: {pin it / source}
below: {pin it / source} // {pin it}
Just daydreaming of 60-something degree weather and blooming trees over here
Chicago snow, you're drunk, time to go home.
Asparagus Potato Salad with Tarragon Salsa Verde {pin it / source} // Edible Flower Cake {pin it / source}

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mixtape Monday: Workout 4.0

I've been hitting the gym a lot lately and here's what's been keeping me going:

1. Fancy (feat. Charli XCX) - Iggy Azalea (must see the Clueless-themed music video)
2. Countdown - Beyonce
3. Till the World Ends - Britney Spears
4. Aura - Lady Gaga
5. Bring The Noise - M.I.A.
6. Crown On the Ground - Sleigh Bells
7. Carry Me - Bombay Bicycle Club
8. Matangi - M.I.A.
9. High Road (Baio Remix) - Cults
10. Venus - Lady Gaga (LOVING her new video, feat. this song and starring the Bravo housewives) 
11. Your New Beloved - Lovelife
12. Bridges - Broods
13. Nothing But Trouble - Phantogram

for more workouts: 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 

Friday, March 21, 2014

5 Winter Beauty Essentials

winter beauty
Ironic that I am posting winter beauty essentials on the first day of spring (FINALLY), but I feel like all these products transition quite well into the spring, bringing your dry, dead skin back to life to make presentable enough for shorts and dresses. 

O'Keeffe's Working Hands Hand Cream
Where has this been all my adult life of working at a bakery? This hand salve fills in the cracks and barely has a greasy finish to it. You can wash your hands all day and still feel the cream working and preventing your hands from  drying out and stinging at the cuts. A little goes a long way. 

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Standout
Always looking for a new type of lip color and constantly impressed with Revlon's offerings, I knew I had to give this a try. I love the crayon-like applicator, and it doesn't feel as drying as normal lipstick  - but lasts a bit longer. Will definitely be buying more colors in the future. 

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Oil
I had been doing the cocoa butter lotion route all this winter, but hit a wall when patches of my skin felt and looked like sandpaper. Chicago winters are so, so bad for your skin. I started using this oil all over by body before I showered and then re-applied after I got out (no need to use soap) and noticed my skin noticeably improved just after a week. Next winter I am getting a head start and just am going to use this from the get-go.

Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Styling Creme (Olive Oil)
This is my latest hair obsession. I use it damp or dry. It's a bit easier to control than hair oils and truly gives your hair some clean-looking shine. This creme really helps in molding my curls into waves too. 

Systane Lubricant Eye Drops
As I've mentioned before Chicago winters are harsh for your skin - as well as your eyes. My eyes water every time I have to go outside because they are so sensitive and dry. I've taken to putting in a few drops in the morning and night, it really moisturizes and soothes my eyes. 

What are your winter beauty essentials?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Brussels Sprouts Tacos with Caramelized Onion Salsa

brussels sprouts tacos with caramelized shallot salsa brussels sprouts tacos with caramelized shallot salsa
Tacos are right up there with sushi in my book. Last meal worthy. 
It's a wonder why I don't make them all that often myself, but after making these 
(from How Sweet It Is), 
they will be come a regular in my recipe repitore. 
I do pride myself on being a good cook, but I really impressed myself with these bad boys. It was one of those meals that I went out of my way to tell people about. 
The path to food truck worthy tacos is just simply following her recipe verbatim. 
(NOTE: I did not add the butter or cilantro, and I used 2 yellow onions instead of shallots)
brussels sprouts tacos with caramelized shallot salsa

Friday, March 14, 2014

Chicago Lately...

lord huron
Lord Huron at Metro in all their Southwestern, Bolo-tie-wearing greatness. I would see them again and again.  
boots icicle
The usual this winter: hidden feet and icicle daggers
My parents came in town to see me perform some improv. They stayed in my tiny apartment with me and we had the best time eating, drinking and walking on the iced-over sidewalks. Time with them always goes by too fast. 
anthro sick
Jungle-themed Anthro displays // Frankie Magazine and Real Housewives of ATL kept me entertained when I was sick for a few days. Seriously the worst I've ever been and the first time I've ever taken a sick day from work. Ever. 

It's been a long-ass winter. January seems so distant now, so many things have happened - mostly good things sprinkled with some not so good things, but retrospect is kicking in sooner than it normally does.
As I am approaching my mid-twenties (quarter life crisis!), I feel like I am balancing between being a confident, well-liked woman who can state her mind eloquently while still being a blunt, angsty girl who can often have inappropriate emotional reactions. This is the moment where I smell the jacket that I wore going out the night before, that stale beer and second hand tobacco smell, sighing "Ah, my twenties..."
This is a most interesting time in my life, and I am not complaining at all. I feel as though life lessons are fully realized earlier rather than later. I can get over issues a lot faster than I used to. And most of all, with the help of comedy, I'm way less self-conscious. It's a new maturity.
I could go on and on, but my writing skills aren't good enough to spell it all out they way I would want it. Plus, I'm still figuring it - growing up - out.
As vague and confusing as this may all seem, life is treating me well, thanks to the good people I've become friends with in Chicago, and the promise of opportunities (and warmer weather) on the horizon.
I'm learning to appreciate life's downs as if they were ups, because they all go hand in hand when you're evolving into your own. I've got a feeling this whole learning phase will last me well into my 30's. Maybe I'll never graduate...
C'est la vie.
baby me
Is it an only child thing to be obsessed with your own baby pictures? I honestly can't get enough. I wonder what that says about me....But look, I was pretty cute. 
frozen chicago
Icicles in Chicago are no joke. They're so exaggerated, they look like they're straight out of Frozen. // Right after a 50 degree, optimistic day, the weather had to go and do this. 
cta bunny tracks
mysterious notes at the train stop // snow bunny tracks

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mixtape Monday: What I am Listening to and Why

You've got me stuck on repeat:

1. Ready for It (feat. St. Lucia) - RAC (This is quickly becoming one of my top most played songs ever.)

2. Close Your Eyes - Borayork

3. Don't Lie - Vampire Weekend (a song that after listening to many times, I now am hooked)

4. Whenever, Wherever - Bombay Bicycle Club (their latest album is just the best)

5. Waves That Rolled You Under - Young Summer

6. Fountain - iamamiwhoami (Swedish electronic music at it's best, plus the video is gorg.)

7. Hold Me Down (ft. Reviver) - MANSIONAIR

8. Waiting Game - Banks (I've been hearing so much hype about her, and finally gave her a listen. I get it now.)

9. Steal You Way - Gold Spectacles (reminds me of a 90's song)

10. So Long, See You Tomorrow - Bombay Bicycle Club

11. You - The 1975

12. Blue Moon - Beck (Beck is back, bitch. And better than ever before with an organic, folksy sound.)

13. Advanced Factory - Mutual Benefit

14. Home - Dan Croll

15. Country Down - Beck

16. Are You Okay? - Dum Dum Girls

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Asparagus & Caramelized Onion Frittata

Asparagus and Caramelized Onion Fritatta
Asparagus have been spotted at the grocery store, meaning one thing: Spring is coming. I couldn't resist buying some. I usually like to roast asparagus with oil and garlic and serve with an over easy egg, but this time I was thinking a little more fancy, like a frittata, one I would easily pay $9 for at Sunday brunch.  
Frittatas are a one pan wonder and keep in the fridge for a few days pretty well. For dinner, I had the frittata as is, but then for breakfast I chopped up a little of it and wrapped it in a tortilla for a quick breakfast burrito.  
This is an easily adaptable recipe, you can fill it with your favorite in-season vegetables and herbs, here is how I made mine:
Asparagus & Caramelized Onion Frittata
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 pound asparagus, bottoms trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
teaspoon dill
 2 egg whites
3 eggs
3 tablespoons grated cheese

1. Saute onion and garlic in oil in a large pan for about 5 minutes, until caramelized. Add red bell pepper and asparagus, continue to cook for about 8 more minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add more oil if necessary. Season with salt, pepper and dill. 
2. Whisk together eggs, 3 tablespoons water and cheese. Add to pan, covering everything as evenly as possible. 
3. Cook at medium heat for about 4 minutes. When frittata has solidified, place an inverted dish over the pan and turn the pan upside down in one motion. Slide frittata back into pan and cook the other side about 3 minuted until done. 
Transfer onto a plate and serve
Spring VegetableAsparagus and Caramelized Onion Fritatta Fritatta

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Anthropologie {March 2014} Lookbook

anthro morocco
anthro moroccoanthro morocco
anthro moroccoanthro morocco
I was thrilled when I saw Anthropologie's latest catalogue because it was all shot in MoroccoTangier and the blue city of Chefchaouen specifically, two places that I traveled to many moons ago and long to return to. 
I am a sucker for their catalogue's descriptions and quotes, especially this one on Tangier:
"This is a city of opposites - tranquil rooftops above the bustling socco, clear light cutting through spiced air, a seagull's cries on the call to prayer. This is Tangier."

Morocco still stands to be one of the best experiences of my life. I gotta go back one day. 
anthro morocco anthro morocco
*Also, check out Anthro's blog for Moroccan recipes and more*

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mixtape Monday: Summer Dreams

I can't believe Chicago is expecting even more snow before this harsh winter is over. 
Summer, get your ass over here! 
I've resorted to listening to summer-like tunes, in hope it would act like a rain-dance and make the weather warm up a little. 

1. Entrance - Washed Out
2. Luna - Bombay Bicycle Club (Off their latest album, So Long, See You Tomorrow, which is quickly becoming a new favorite.)
3. Thunder Clatter - Wild Club
4. Orchids - Monster Rally (neu-wave Bossa Nova)
5. Home By Now - Bombay Bicycle Club (Seriously, this might be my favorite album of theirs...)
6. Morocco - Moon Taxi
7. Riptide - Vance Joy
8. Pretty Girl from San Diego - The Avett Brothers
9. Travel - Thao
10. Swell Window - Zee Avi
11. Keep You - Wild Belle
12. Sunlight - YUNO
13. White Sky - Vampire Weekend


Saturday, March 1, 2014

{Slow Cooker} Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

{Slow Cooker} Thai Coconut Chicken Soup {Slow Cooker} Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
I think I've typically stayed away from making Thai food myself because of the extensive ingredient list and prep time, but this Thai Coconut Chicken Soup - that's a put-it-in-the-crock pot-and-forget-about-it-meal is a game changer. It's miraculous. 

{Slow Cooker} Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
(adapted from this recipe)
3 tablespoons red curry paste
2 - 12oz. cans light coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/2 pounds frozen chicken tender cutlets
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
salt and crushed red pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
lime and cilantro for garnish

1. Mix the curry paste, coconut milk, chicken stock, soy sauce, brown sugar and peanut butter in a 4-1/2 to 6-quart slow-cooker bowl. Place the chicken breast, red bell pepper, onion and ginger in the slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 4 hours.
2. When chicken is cooked, take out and shred with fork then add back to soup. Salt and pepper to taste. Add in the peas and cook for 1/2 hour longer. 

*Garnish with lime and cilantro - and if you're wanting more heartiness, serve over rice*
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