February 12, 2016 § Leave a comment
On chilly nights, after a long day, I love sinking into a hot bath. This has actually been a recent indulgence of mine. I've never been a "bath person" per-se, but this winter that's all changed. I experimented around Christmas with making my own bath salts to give as gifts, and part of the process, of course, was testing them out. From the first time I sprinkled them on the water, and slipped my body in, I was an official bath convert. Now I crave baths. Quiet nights at home I can barely help myself but to sink into my tub with a good book at hand, and let myself soak in the smells and feels from some good bath salts.
With Valentines Day coming up this weekend, I thought this might be an amazing last minute gift to make for your special someone, or treat yourself with! It's quick and easy and most of the ingredients you may already have on hand. My essential oils I was able to find at Whole Foods. Feel free to swap out the Lavender and Eucalyptus for other essential oils, and experiment with scents you love!
LAVENDER EUCALYPTUS BATH SALTS
2 Cups of Epsom Salts
1/2 Cup of Baking Soda
1/4 Cup of Sea Salt (optional)
20-30 Drops of Lavender Essential Oils
10 Drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl, and store in an airtight jar. Use 1/4 cup per bath.
If you're looking to jazz them up, you can also mix in a couple drops of food coloring as well to give them an extra pretty look!
January 23, 2016 § 1 Comment
Happy snow day! Since the northeast is getting pummeled by blizzard Jonas, I'm experiencing a very rare, and very appreciated, snow day! I thought it would be fun to share some of my snow day favorites. Some outfits, recipes, and some crafts too, just in case you're also snowed in a looking for something fun to fill your time inside. Click through the photos to get to the original links!
January 21, 2016 § 1 Comment
Let's talk bout my newly discovered love for chicken sausage. Weird, I know, but stay with me. I work right around the corner from a Trader Joes, and a few weeks ago I discovered their Italian style chicken sausage, and it was love. They're a super quick option for adding some good and tasty protein when I'm making pasta, or a skillet of veggies. I've also been trying some other brands then the one sold at TJs, and most are pretty good, but so far the one I found there is my favorite.
Now lets talk about soup, as I am even more obsessed with soup. Now that the northeast is really getting cold, I basically could eat soup for every meal and be totally fine with it. So when I decided to try my hand at a new type of soup the other day, I could help myself but to go ahead and throw some Chicken Sausage in there too. This soup is seriously so delicious. It's a perfect winter soup to cozy up with, and just a little cup can easily fill you up!
Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup
(adapted from Yellow Bliss Road)
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1/2 Cup of Diced Onion
2 Large Iitalian-style Chicken Sausage Links* - Browned, and cut into smaller pieces
1 – 28oz Can of Crushed Tomatoes
1 – 32oz Box of Vegetable Broth
2 Tablespoons of chopped Basil
1 Package of Tortellini
1 Cup of Fresh, Chopped Spinach
Heat a large pot with olive oil over medium heat, add onion and saute until soft. Add in sausage, crushed tomatoes, broth, and basil. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add in tortellini and spinach, and let simmer for 10 minutes, until pasta is tender.
Serve with Parmesan and some good, thick bread!
*You are welcome to use regular pork sausage too
January 18, 2016 § Leave a comment
It's hard to believe that we've been in our house for over two years. It kind of feels like we just moved in, but memories of living elsewhere also feel so distant at this point.
Both the house, and the apartment that we had lived in before we bought ours had one thing in common – big kitchens with tons of storage! It was a luxury that's easy to take advantage. Then we moved into our house which originally had the teeny tiniest kitchen. It was oddly set up, but thankfully we were able to knock out a few walls that completely opened it up! It was great, but since we have so many projects we're working on with the house, the actual remodeling of the kitchen has been on the back burner. So when it comes to storage our kitchen has a total of one cabinet. It's the lovely built-in that's original to the kitchen, but the top half has glass doors, which means that our storage space for all of those not so pretty things that we all have in our kitchen, is basically nothing. Over the last few years I've learned some tricks to making a kitchen with no storage (or counter space!) work, that have really helped me from going crazy over the lack of hiding places.
ROLLING CARTS ARE YOUR FRIEND
Seriously, I love a cute little cart with wheels. Not only can you stick them in any little corner you might have, but I've really loved that I can roll them out of the way whenever we do any construction work in the kitchen and I don't have to worry about totally unloading everything to move it!
I have both a large utility cart, and this one I thrifted a while back both in my kitchen housing appliances, dry foods, and cleaning products. I also am totally smitten with the cart in the picture above that I bought from Demi-Brooke, that I've turned into my coffee cart! Each cart has a specific purpose and I try to keep them super organized to keep things from getting messy.
My favorite places to find carts are thrift stores (see this post for the before and after of mine) and garage sales. I also love places like Ikea and Target to find them cute, and at good prices (this one is a total steal, and this one is totally stealing my heart).
MAKE YOUR STORAGE DECORATIVE
If your tight on hidden storage space make whatever you need to store out on your counters (or carts) cute! I am obsessed with pretty glass storage containers. I keep almost all of my dry food goods in them. These are super easy to find at almost any thrift store for cheap, but if you're looking for matching ones, places like The Container Store and Home Goods are great places to find them too.
KEEP THINGS ORGANIZED
This may seem like I'm stating the obvious, but I can't stress how important it is for everything to have it's "own space" especially in tiny kitchens. When every square inch of storage is packed, you don't want to have to pull everything apart just to try to find your favorite spatula. Part of keeping things organized for me, has been going through my kitchen once every couple months and seeing what I really need handy. Do I need that specialty baking pan ready to grab, when I've only used it once in the last five years? Probably not. I always walk away with a new bag to donate, as well as a little box to put into long term storage in my basement.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE REST OF YOUR HOME
When things are tight, expand! I was so happy once I brought my coffee cart into my dining room. Not only does it free up a lot of space in the kitchen for more important things, but it looks so cute! Even if we didn't have a dining room, I think a coffee cart would be cute in a living room or office. Think outside the box and take a look around to see if there's anything that's taking up space in that little kitchen of yours that could find a home in another part of your house. Use your imagination, and don't be afraid to experiment and see what works!
January 10, 2016 § Leave a comment
So let's just get something straight here. I am not living in denial, I know that a healthy muffin is basically an oxymoron. Or at least, any muffin that tastes vaguely good and you try to consider "healthy" is an oxymoron.
Since we got that out of the way can we just agree to call these healthyish muffins? Okay, thanks.
This past week I've been on vacation (wooo!) I spent three much too quick days down in Florida visiting Mickey Mouse with my mom, and still have a couple days left before I have to go back to work. One thing that I've dug back into is cooking and baking. Back when I was working from home, I used to make all of our meals, mostly from scratch, and I really miss that, so I'm taking the opportunity to make as much as I can while I'm home, and freeze leftovers to take to work with me when I go back.
I love these muffins, not just because I can pretend like they're not totally horrible for me, but because they also freeze really well. I've made them in the past before and froze almost the whole batch (after scarfing down a couple fresh warm ones, of course). Then I just grab one from the freezer when I have early mornings at work and stick it in the microwave for a few seconds, and bam! An awesome, tasty, healthyish breakfast!
Healthyish Blueberry Muffins
(adapted from How Sweet it is)
2 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour
2/3 Cup of loosely packed Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup of Flaxseed Meal
1 1/2 teaspoons of Baking Soda
1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of Salt
1 Egg lightly beaten
3/4 Cup of Plain Greek Yogurt
2/3+ Cup of Milk
5 Tablespoons of Butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
1 Cup of Bluerries, lightly tossed in flour (fresh or frozen both work)
1/4 Cup of Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 Cup of loosely packed Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon
3 Tablespoons of Butter, at room temperture
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with liners (if planning on freezing – forgo liners and instead grease muffin tin, I like to use the spray kind, dust with flour, and shake off any excess flour)
Whisk together all dry ingredients (flour, brown sugar, flaxseed, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt) and set aside. Combine all wet ingredients (egg, yogurt, milk, butter, and vanilla) in a separate bowl. Add wet ingredients in the dry and combine using a spatula, being careful not to overmix. If batter is still very dry, you can add a little more milk, about a tablespoon at a time, just until the batter comes together. Add in blueberries and mix in just enough to disperse through the batter. Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way full.
Combine all of the ingredients for the crumb topping. I just use a fork to combine and cut up the butter into the mixture as I go. Sprinkle mixture on top of the muffins.
Bake 18-20 minutes until just set (do not over-bake or they do tend to get dry!). Let cool slightly before eating. If freezing, cool completely and then wrap in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag in freezer.