Goodbye October!

I can’t believe that October has already come and gone. It was a great month around here. While I’ve been missing home a lot, New Jersey put on quite the spectacular fall show for us. The colors and weather were incredible. We had a lot of fun exploring our new home. Looking forward to what November has in store {maybe everything aside from the cold weather…}

Not working has allowed me to spend a lot of time in the kitchen which I have been enjoying. I’ve been incorporating 2 new recipes a week into our menu and have loved being back in the kitchen. We don’t have many options nearby for going out or even for takeout/delivery so whatever is on the menu is what happens in the kitchen. Sometimes I get so annoyed and just want to call for delivery but for the most part it’s worked really well for us. I do one big grocery shop each week, usually on Friday, and then if I need to I might run out mid week and pick something up. We have a German Butcher in town which I love. We can get fresh cut bacon, really yummy meats and breads.

 

photo 1

farro, roasted veggies + poached eggs || sweet potato hash with fried eggs || french onion soup pasta || roasted butternut squash + balsamic pork tenderloin and green beans || makings of apple crisp || freezer soup with trader joes pot stickers

 

 

photo 2

 

fall colors on the New Jersey parkway || fun at Allaire State Park || gorgeous fall colors + buildings at Allaire || 60th birthday party || exploring Red Bank || fun at a 2nd birthday party at Happy Day Farms

 

 
photo 3

 

Verrazano Bridge into NYC || Long Beach Island exporing || Jersey Shore || LBI Oyster Fest || More beach fun || enjoying our new copper mugs

Pinning Away….

Things I’ve stumbled across this week that I’m loving. Pinterest and I have a love hate relationship, lately it’s a loving one.

it’s like new clothes for your phone, since I’m not getting the iPhone anytime soon I feel like changing up the screen makes it feel new. there are lots of awesome options here!

this living room feels so cozy. I want to create a gallery wall and have a couch filled with gorgeous throw pillows.

the light! the sink! I want these things in a kitchen in my future house.

I love sushi. how can you not love this baby sushi?! we did something like this as a couple five years ago and won a few awards.

hello gorgeous. I adore those latte bowls from anthropologie. might have to find a way to add and add and add to my collection!

yes! I’ve been looking around for a way to display my instagram photos, I’ve got one corner with some hung up but I like this idea for a main wall in the house.

fall is officially here. this could definitely be my go to outfit all season long.

 

have a great weekend!

Brrrrrrr!!!!

Good Morning and hello Monday! We woke up to temps of 27˚ outside this morning! What the what?! I was so not prepared for the bitter chill that temperatures that cold bring into the house. Especially when you don’t turn on the heat (whoops!) Luckily we learned that our house warms up quickly and our heat does indeed work.

After a long and busy weekend all I wanted to do last night was to head out to a bar and grab some dinner and watch football. I wanted nothing to do with the kitchen or dishes. We were both beyond tired though and opted to stay in, throw on jammies and watch more Breaking Bad. We are seriously addicted and almost done with season 3.

We decided on Gyoza Soup, otherwise known as clean out the freezer/fridge soup. It’s so good and so filling. I’m glad I made more than enough for lunch leftovers today! You can tune this soup to your liking and add in pretty much anything that sounds delicious or any vegetables that are about to turn. The first time we made this soup we used fresh spinach which was really yummy!

When the soup was done cooking I set up the perfect picture and snapped away. Then I set my phone aside and quickly dove in only to later realize that my phone didn’t actually take the pictures. My iPhone 5S is giving me a run for my money these days and it’s only 6 months old. Guess I’ll have to make a trip to the Apple Store this week.

Enjoy your Monday!

gyoza soup

1 medium onion {cut in half, then sliced thin}

4 carrots {peeled and sliced into circles}

2 celery stalks, diced

6-8 large mushrooms, sliced

8-10 Trader Joes frozen Gyoza {we used pork this time}

1 container Trader Joes organic chicken broth

2 cups water

1/2 bag Trader Joes frozen Kale

salt

pepper

ginger powder

garlic powder

hoisin sauce

olive oil

sauté onions in olive oil until they are slightly translucent, then add in carrots and celery. cook until veggies begin to soften. add in mushrooms and cook until they begin to brown. season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and ginger powder {we didn’t have fresh ginger or I would have used it and I was too lazy to deal with fresh garlic!}

add in the container of chicken broth and 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. once boiling add in the frozen kale and bring back to a boil. allow the soup to boil for 5-8 minutes depending on the size of the kale pieces. add in gyoza and cook for an additional 2-4 minutes. don’t let the gyoza over cook!

serve immediately! this is delicious when you drizzle in hoisin sauce but just as good without it. we had some leftover rotisserie chicken so I shredded it and placed a little bit in each of our bowls. I ladled the soup on top and when we sat down to eat everything was nice and hot. this soup was super filling, we each only had one bowl!

have some fun with this recipe and add in vegetables to your liking. Trader Joes has other gyoza as well, there’s a vegetarian version and a chicken one too.

Testing Testing

Sunday dinners are one of my favorite family rituals. We cook dinner at my inlaws house every week. It’s time spent together in the kitchen, talking, catching up and goofing off, always ending with a yummy home cooked meal.

Lately I’ve taken to using Sunday afternoons to prep food for the week. A good relaxing way to start the week and it’s helpful to have a good base for healthy eating. It makes packing lunches so much easier, not to mention throwing dinners together. Meal planning is one of my favorite things to do.

Tonight we took our weekly Sunday trip to the grocery store. We had a meal plan in our heads and when we got to the store we found that the selection of fish was subpar for the fish tacos we were going to make. Quick change of plans and we decided to throw salmon and flank steak on the grill. I also figured it would be a good test run for my upcoming #whole30!

The flank steak got tenderized and a quick marinade of lime juice, ginger and soy sauce. (Need to figure out a replacement for the soy sauce to make it whole 30 approved.) The salmon got a dusting of lemon pepper. We also tossed some asparagus with salt, pepper and olive oil. Thrown on the grill as well, 75% of our meal was done, you have to love quick and easy meals! The salsa that we made would be so good over many different proteins, I’m thinking next time shrimp!

No pictures today, we were so hungry we dove right in!

Mango Jicama Salsa
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 jicama, diced
1 mango, diced
1 jalapeño, reseeded and minced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1 avocado, diced
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

Dressing:
Juice of 3 limes
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup Olive oil or avocado oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients together. Pour over salsa. Serve immediately.

The Right Time Is Now (Well April 1st)

I adore Instagram. There are so many amazing people on there and it’s such a friendly and inspiring community. Recently I’ve seen a Whole 30 being mentioned a lot and it intrigued me. I’ve heard of it before, skimmed the book before but apparently I wasn’t ready to commit at that time. This past week I picked up my very own copy of the book  It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I read the entire thing in 3 days and decided it was past time to reset my body.

I’m uncomfortable in my own skin these days. I’ve been eating like crap for some reason and that’s so not me. I drank soda THREE times this week and I haven’t done that in months. Why did I do it? I have no idea. It wasn’t even good but I kept drinking it until my cup was empty. I also ate fast food one night this week and that pushed me over the edge. It’s like I’m trying to torment my body and punish it. I rarely eat fast food, I love eating fruits and vegetables. I think that my body is screaming at me that it wants help and my brain has finally caught up to the idea. So now I have a plan. Beginning April 1 I will start my Whole 30 journey. I’ve found two new friends on Instagram who are going to start then as well and we’re going to form a little support group which I believe will be incredibly helpful and keep me accountable even more.

This isn’t going to be easy. I love sugar. I also highly enjoy coffee with cream, milk with cereal and cheese and crackers. I’m fairly certain my body does not. So by doing this little reset I’m hoping that my body will take some time to heal and allow me the chance to see what really makes it unhappy. And let’s be honest, I’m also hoping to loose some weight and feel better about myself.

I spent 45 minutes wandering around Whole Foods yesterday and I think the mindset is on it’s way. I picked up items and then debated if they would be a good choice and ultimately they were not. I left with 2 cartons of low sodium organic chicken broth (approved) 2 cans of crushed tomatoes (approved) 1 container of fresh chopped soup veggies (zucchini, green beans, onions, carrots and celery are approved, potatoes are not) 1 can of cannelini beans (not approved) and some fresh pears. I’d say overall that was a good start to resetting my brain!

If you’ve done this before and have tips, please share! If you want to join in that’s great! The more the merrier, go grab a copy of the book and see what it’s all about. I’ll be sharing my journey here, and trying to share pictures and recipes as well. Come back April 1 and join the journey!

 

Project Life

The creative bug has hit again and I’m so excited! I’m so far behind on my PL album and I really want to be caught up but I’ve been lacking creativity. After spending sometime watching project life videos on YouTube I was feeling inspired again and spent the better part of my afternoon yesterday working on layouts. I reworked my title page and got started on a spread covering our trip to San Francisco. It was so much fun I can’t wait to sit down and get more done. I just need to get my butt in gear and order pictures!

I watched a video from Two Peas In A Bucket that had Amy Tan talking about using embellishments out of your comfort zone. I loved that and used that push to include some that I probably wouldn’t have included before. My cover page: The blue card in the top right is from Becky Higgins Seafoam Kit. The striped card is from her Midnight Kit. These are my two main kits and I love that I can mix and match both of them. I love everything about these kits but know that there are SO many other ones out there! I’m sticking with these for now 🙂 The hello twenty thirteen came from Michelle over at Table for Five (if you haven’t checked our her Project Life you should, it’s great!) The Let’s Do This and Everyday Life cards are studio calico cards (I think…) and the camera card at the bottom came from a card swap I did that had a theme of “stamp.” The doily came from my Citrus Twist kit that I tried out (and loved!) and the buttons I’ve had in my stash FOREVER.

1

This page I didn’t embellish too much, I love my photos from Persnickety Prints, especially the little polaroid ones! I journaled on the top one and added a sticker to one. I might go back and add a bit more wash tape to the others but I’m going to sit on that for a little while. The two journal cards on this page also came from my stamp card swap. I love the brown notebook page one, that stamp is now on my wish list! The little arrow was a Freckled Fawn wood veneer and I adore them. The washi tape is a mystery. I think it came from a grab bag that I ordered but I’m not sure.

2

 

This page I love love love! I grabbed the San Fran stickers at Michael’s before our trip. The chevron card underneath it came from the seafoam kit. I covered the little arrow in some wash tape and stuck it on top of the page and then I just used a little scrap piece of paper to label the picture with more washi. This wasn’t one of my favorite washi tapes but I love how it goes with this spread!

3

 

All the page protectors are from Becky Higgins big variety pack. Have you tried scrapbooking with Project Life? It’s so simple…I highly recommend it! My go to tool is the Oh Life email I get daily where I can jot down notes so I remember what happened. It’s an easy way for me to keep up with what’s happening and makes sitting down to journal a breeze. I cant’ wait to sit down and scrap some more! Off to order pictures…

San Francisco {Part 1}

Oh San Francisco. You stole my heart. Like the Mowgli’s said…“I lost my head in San Francisco” {side note. I’m obsessed with this song. It’s my happy dance song. That is all}

The boy, ahem the husband, and I went on a short getaway last month. We needed to go somewhere and his birthday was coming up a few weeks later so we decided to make it a M&M trip. We travel a good deal but typically wind up going to visit someone, friends, family, you name it. A new rule was born this year; we have to take 2 trips a year that don’t involve visiting people. They don’t have to involve an airplane but there must be 2 getaways where it’s just us. We’ll see if 2 a year happen but it’s a nice goal. We laid Seattle, San Francisco and Austin on the table. Austin was way expensive at the time so we knocked that idea off for now. Debating between the two cities we went with SF because it was going to be the Chinese New Year when we were there. It was the BEST decision ever. I fell in love with the food, the city and the people. Minor set back when we got there and realized that the Chinese New Year celebration wasn’t until two weeks after our trip, whoops. I still have no idea how that happened but we managed to have a blast regardless.

I posted on Facebook and asked everyone where to go, what to see and what to eat. I got some awesome suggestions, too many for one trip, and we happily explored the city for 4 days. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency in the Financial District. The hotel was good, nothing fancy but the service was awesome and our bed was comfortable. Extra points for location! Being right across the street from the Ferry Building was great. We arrived at 12:30 Friday afternoon and were able to check in early which was great. We also were lucky enough to score late check-out and then they stored our bags so we could explore a bit more before leaving. I’d definitely stay here again when we come back!

We walked and walked and walked ALL over the city. The one thing I’d struggled with was if we should buy some sort of transportation pass. I’d heard mixed ideas from people but I’m so glad we didn’t! We walked so much that I didn’t feel guilty about the insane amount of amazing food that we ate. We wound up with perfect weather, especially when we were in the sun. We took advantage of public transportation here and again but mostly we wound up walking. The LONGEST walk of the trip was definitely when we started at the Ferry Building and then walked up to Pier 39, explored for 2.5 seconds before I couldn’t handle the tourists anymore and then continued to explore, walked up Lombard St. and then all the way back to our hotel. Holy Walk.

We ate our way through the city! Some of my favs; Wayfare Tavern, Tartine, Pepples Donuts, MY Chine and Chantal Guillon Macarons. I have so much more to say but I’ll keep this post (semi) short and leave it at that. More in depth reviews to come!

Below you’ll find just a few photos that captured our trip….

SF1                hanging out at pier one *gorgeous pottery at the Ferry Building*I am obsessed with macroons*it’s our street!

SF2                                                 love him* delicious coffee* pretty carousel *full house painted ladies

 

 

Simple Things Sunday

Yesterday made me fall in love with Colorado all over again. The colors are changing here and we made our annual trek up to the mountains to see the Aspens. I wanted to switch things around and decided that we should not go to Breckenridge (even though I love it there!) We’ve gone to see the leaves there every year and I thought that it was time for something different. I posted on Facebook asking where we should go and Independence Pass was highly suggested. We packed up some snacks, stopped at Whole Foods to pick up our annual picnic makings and off we went!
This drive was amazing. I did all the driving this time which was a big deal, usually it’s the hubby who does it all but I made it up, down, up some more and back down all of the mountain, finishing off the drive in the dark. We drove through Twin Lakes (holy cow it’s beautiful!), Aspen, Glenwood Springs and back down by Vail, Edwards and Idaho Springs. I couldn’t believe how much color we saw! Driving up 285 we hit Kenosha Pass but most of the leaves had already dropped so we were a bit worried but as you can see from the photos below there was no cause for concern! I am now trying to work in a trip back to Aspen and or Glenwood Springs since we did a quick drive through at the end of our day. 9+ hours in the car is a LONG day but it was great!!!
Linking up with Simple Things because I think this picture speaks to the simple things–beautiful light, nature and gorgeous colors. Happy Sunday everyone! Have a great week.

 

Independence Pass Beauty!

Hubby snapped this of me!

Beautiful Barn!

I am in love with this barn…

 

seriously….magical!

Friday Recap

Happy Friday! This week went pretty quickly, I’m surprised it’s Friday again. Did you have a good week?

1. I love that it’s beginning to feel more and more like fall! I even got to bust out boots this week! (Although they’re back in the closet again. Grrr.)

2. I had to go to Nordstrom with my trusty and well loved sweater uggs because there was a hole. I was hoping they’d tell me that they were fixable but instead I walked out with a brand new pair! More reason to continue to support them 🙂

3. Thursday nights spent bowling with friends is always a good way to end the work week! Even though I lost and my football team lost it was a great amount of fun. Looking forward to the next outing!

4. And on that note…Monday nights spent at a concert are also awesome. Although they do make for a very long Tuesday but it was well worth it! I got to see the Old 97’s at the Boulder Theater and it was so much fun. Small venue plus great music was the perfect concert setting. I’m on a concert roll! After living in Colorado for almost 4 years and never having been to a concert I’ve now been to 3 in three months. Yippee! I think I might be hooked….

5. Current food obsession: soup. don’t tell my husband. he is NOT looking forward to soup and stew weather (but I am SO excited!)

6. Current tv obsession: new fall network shows! all of them! at least until I can narrow down what I’m liking and not liking…

7. Current beer obsession: Pumpkin, pumpkin and more pumpkin!

8. I love pinterest, are you on there? Below you’ll find a few things that I’ve pinned this week. And yes, I’m sure you’ll notice a trend that leads to all things point to fall. But don’t they all look delicious?!

Happy Friday Everyone! Hope you have a good weekend. I’m looking forward to writing thank you notes, spending time outdoors and getting into the apples and honey celebration of Rosh Hashanna, perhaps even attempting to bake a challah. Perhaps being the key word. If I did though it would be this one from Deb over at Smitten Kitchen! What are you up to this weekend?

 

Hi Monday!

I am NOT happy to see you today 🙂 I was enjoying my weekend thank you very much. Football, friends, beer, Bears win, Broncos win, a little outlet shopping, breakfast (and bacon) with friends, a delicious peach cobbler and more time with friends. Yep I’m ready to do it all over again, like now.

I am SO happy that fall is around the corner but I am SO over the 90˚ weather. As in way, way, way over it. Bring on boots! beanies! hoodies! Did I mention boots? These babies are calling my name. They’re treated and ready to be worn!

Speaking of fall, can we talk pumpkin for a minute? I LOVE it. And am so ready to be wrapped in pumpkin for a few weeks. Starting it off right with Pumpkin Lattes from Starbucks of course. But there is so much more! Pumpkin Beer (Delicious!) Pumpkin Pancakes (Yet to try them but my good friend A mentioned that they’re in my future. Yum) Pumpkin Bread! Pumpkin cookies! I can’t wait to get baking and back to trying more pumpkin beers this weekend.

who wouldn’t want to drink this beer?

 

Also, let’s just talk football for a minute here ok? Bears–WIN! Broncos–WIN! Yep, one happy girl here with a great start to football season. (Aside from the winning, the snacks and company during last nights game were wonderful!)

Happy Monday people!