Wednesday, February 29, 2012

unbelievable leap day.

i can't believe tomorrow is march......especially when this happened today....

it really is so beautiful. 

perfect atmosphere for the walk we (me&k) got to take before dinner.

(steak dinner) yum.

we were wearing our boots and made no effort to circumvent puddles or drifts of snow or slush.

we really didn't want to go inside. so we spent some time jumping around in fresh snow.

so happy leap day everyone!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

awesome garbage.

i don't often pick up garbage. especially other people's garbage.

when i see furniture or other cool things people put out on the curb i usually drive by and then think about it for a couple hours. 

then it occurs to me that the desk, chair, lamp, etc. i saw would be PERFECT for this or that place in my home. 

i get in the car and frantically drive back to where i saw the item on the curb.

and. it. is. gone.

this happened a month or two ago with a beeauuuuuutiful vintage aqua painted desk. everything was perfect. the color. the hardware. the style. the size. 

after this happened i told myself not to let another awesome opportunity go by.

fast forward.......

i drove by these two chairs the other day and picked them up. they are solid wood and heavy. well made, you know? i absolutely cannot wait to re-do them. sand them, repaint, re-upholster. 

so excited.

but i can't decide on colors patterns. i was thinking either paint them grey or white and then have a little more adventure on the seats. what do you think?

any ideas???? i'd love suggestions.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

the state of things. in CT.

lately things have been quite crazy around here. 

the busy kind of crazy. 

and blogging kind of got pushed to the side and overlooked. but to tell you the truth, i haven't been doing much online these days. it's like the internet has lost it's draw for me.

hurrah for breaking my addiction to pintrest. and not even realizing it. 

we have been going out and about a lot these days and traveling a bit. 2 days last week, 2 days this week. it's fun to go away and experience a new city every once in a while. but i'd have to say, i'm always excited to come home. there's just something extra comfy about being in your own bed and having your own kitchen.

oh and while i'm on the subject of home, i rearranged our living space again. i'm not sure that it actually looks better. i think i just like the change to something different. i made a small collage on our wall of pictures from our albums. we hardly ever print out pictures but when we do, we slot them away in one of our albums. how silly! it's fun to look at them every day and reminisce about our fun times. 

speaking of fun times, today is a long day of teaching for me. sometimes i drag my feet to the studio, not at all looking forward to seeing each student. it takes a lot of energy keep especially the young ones engaged for the full time of our lesson. and on those days that i dread teaching, my heart gets warmed by a little girl telling me that her violin is her best friend. 

too precious. 

the weather has been getting colder this week and i've been biting all the skin off my lips. dont' ask me why. i don't even realize i'm doing it. it's probably a stress related habit. 


and on this lovely note, dear readers, i need a cup of coffee. or sanka. which is what i'm drinking these days. (did you know it's like 99% caffeine free?) 

~happy tuesday~

Friday, February 10, 2012

chicken enchies (and time saver tips)

i'm always looking for a quick, filling meal.  that means i have to do some things in advance and in big batches to be able to put together a quick meal.

i should let you know i'm not much of a planner. i know there are mothers/wives out there who plan the meals a week at a time. i am not that person. this is how dinner gets decided at our house:

(around 5 or 6 o'clock)
me: are you getting hungry?
k-man: not really, but maybe in like an hour or so.
me: hmmm, ok. are you craving anything in particular?
k-man: no, not really. (rare case scenario ;) )
me: ok. i'll go an see what we have in the fridge. 
k-man: cool. 

and then i concoct something like this recipe. 

ingredient preparation is usually the thing that takes the most time (in many cases) in the kitchen. if you can have many of your ingredients ready to use, then popping something in the oven means you can spend a total of maybe 10 minutes of hands-on time for dinner. the are some things i have found most helpful to do when i have some free time are these:

cooking large batches of chicken breasts in the crock pot
{i buy the frozen bags of chicken breasts at wal-mart and then pop them in the crock pot for 4 hours on high. then i shred them and put them into serving-size containers and freeze them)

shredding cheese
{we never (anymore) buy pre-shredded cheese. in case you haven't noticed, it doesn't really have a cheese flavor. when cheese is on sale (cheddar, mozz, etc...) i buy a bunch and we shred it. it's great for pizzas or  in this case chicken enchies}

boiling eggs
{protein is so important in you diet. i have recently started boiling batches of 5 eggs and storing them in the fridge for quick pick me ups and lunches. sometimes i want something light for lunch but know i will be hungry if i don't have some protein. adding an egg in a flash is just the thing!}

make double pasta
{we eat a lot of pasta and it is very helpful to make twice what you will eat for one meal. for instance, yesterday i made a stir fry. but made extra pasta. it is very helpful to store a container of cooked pasta in the fridge. i can take it out for lunch or dinner the next day and have a meal by just adding pesto or sauce and reheating}

here's a recipe i made using the things we had on hand. these are kind of like enchiladas but with no tomato product since i am allergic to tomatoes (so sad...).

i recommend adding a some salsa to the mix when making this for non-tomato-allergic people. 

here's what you will need: (remember, you just adjust for the number of people you are feeding. this recipe makes 4 enchies. enough for 2 adults)

4 large wheat tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken
1 cup pink or red beans
1/2 cup sauteed onions and peppers
1 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

preheat oven to 425F.
mix in a large bowl: chicken, beans, onions, peppers, 1/2 cup cheese, sour cream and cilantro. add 1/2 cup of salsa.

spoon mixture evenly into 4 tortillas and roll. place in a 8x8 pan. top with any leftover mixture. 1/2 cup more salsa and 1/2 cup cheese.

bake at 425F for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.


my mixture sans salsa :/  salsa would have taken it to the next level!! 

ready for the oven! 

hope you make these for  a tasty meal :)

what are some shortcuts you do in the kitchen?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

thoughts in the shower

i love a warm shower. it's the best place for me to do my thinking.

my stress melts away and i am so relaxed.

this realization happened a couple days ago in the shower.

the other day i was a bit annoyed.

not for a good reason, but for something silly.

i was upset that i had been the last one to fill up the gas tank the past 4 (or more?) times. i don't really hate fueling up. i think i just dislike standing out in the cold holding a pump to the car. whatever. i had a really bad attitude. i was blabbing in my head, complaining to myself how wrong it was to always be the one to fill up the car and other (now silly) things.  

as i was thinking all these horribly mean things, it occurred to me that my life is truly blessed. i mean, seriously, if the most upsetting thing in my life right now is that i have the responsibility of filling up our car with gas, my life is truly blessed. i instantly realized how this upsetting thought had consumed me. and it was so wrong. 

when i realize i am getting upset at things in life which are of no consequence, it is then that i should stop and realize how blessed my life is. 

because i am blessed beyond measure.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

wiww: how to layer to keep warm

it's thursday. and i'm doing a what i wore wednesday. 

yes, the week has gone by a little faster than i thought.


in the winter, it gets pretty cold up north. and i'm pretty much always cold when everybody else feels pretty comfortable temperature-wise. so i've learned to layer. that's really what will add dimension and interest to an outfit while meeting my insulation needs. 

after i read the e-book the no brainer wardrobe,  i saw a layering expanded. some combinations i would have never thought looked good together, really worked!

so without further adieu, here's how i keep warm. without looking like i'm a polar bear in a ski jacket.

(this was paired with skinny jeans and ballet flats, just fyi)
there are 4 layers going on here:
::tank (underneath the gray t-shirt)
:: gray short sleeve tee
:: blue button down long sleeve shirt
:: hunter green cardigan (also long sleeve of course)

adding bright belt and necklace really keep things interesting and tied together.

(f-minus on m hair that day by the way)
now this is a really warm outfit. here are the layers:
::tank top underneath it all
:: brown cashmere turtle neck (it's pretty thin, but very warm. always go with cashmere if you want to stay warm)
:: orange cardigan  (it gives shape buttoned up)
:: accessorize by layering necklaces and you are set to go!
p.s. one of my favorite color combos right now is mint and tangerine.

in this outfit, there are 3 layers:
::tank top (under the blue shirt)
:: blue shirt 
:: navy blazer. this navy blazer is one of my favs. it's cottony, soft, and stretchy so it doesn't feel as stiff as  a regular blazer. 
:: creme scarf. because i rolled up my sleeves and wore a shorter skirt with no tights/pantyhose, i needed some extra warmth. if you make sure either your neck/torso region or your waist/legs region is pretty warm you can afford to pull a look like this off in the winter. just make sure either your top or bottom is well covered and warm. 

how do you stay fashionably warm in winter?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

italian stir-fry

stir-frys are a common meal at my house. reasons why? oh because:

1. they are very quick to prepare/make
2. they are very filling
3. they are soooooo tasty!
4. they have your starch, veggies, and protein all in one.
5. they only dirty 2 pots.  (and for an entire meal, that's pretty good)

often we have asian stir-frys with soy sauce, sesame oil, bok choy, etc. but we also really like italian stir-frys.

i usually use a different type of pasta (so not linguine or any long type of pasta). i've found rigatoni or ziti works well, but you can use any type you have on hand.

the other great thing about stir-frys is that you can improvise pretty easily. if you don't have a particular vegetable, you can substitute anything you do have on hand.

for this stir-fry you will need:

3/4 pound of pasta, cooked according to box
2 hot italian sausages cut into small pieces
6 cloves of garlic, minced
 1 large handful of straight-leaved spinach, stems removed
1/2 cup chopped pepper (either red bell or green work really well)
1 TBS italian seasoning (or just make your own by combining dried basil, oregano, red pepper flakes (only a couple!), salt and pepper)
chicken broth


while the water for the pasta is coming to a boil, prepare all your ingredients (chopping, mincing etc.)

put your pasta in to the boiling water with 1 TB. of salt.

next get you wok (or extra large frying pan) and heat 1 TB. of oil. as soon as it shimmers add your cut up sausage. once that is mostly cooked through, add the garlic and pepper. mix and cook 3 minutes.

when your pasta is done, add it to the wok and stir to combine. add italian seasoning. stir. add some chicken broth if  the pasta is sticking to the bottom of the pan. 

at last, add the spinach and mix. cover the wok/pan as best you can so the spinach can steam. 
cook approx. 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted.

dish into bowls and top with parmesan.

serves 2 hungry adults ;)


 rigatoni pasta, small sausage pieces, wilted spinach. you can see we mixed 2 different kinds of pasta this time since we had a little in another box to use up.