Sunday, November 25, 2012

Better Than Average Chocolate Chip Cookies [homemade]


When I first moved to NYC eight years ago, my mom sent me with a few inexpensive pots and pans and a few cookbooks.  I really had NO idea how to cook or even what I would want to cook.  One of the cookbooks that I was gifted was The Clueless Baker (can you tell I had no clue about cooking).  This book has become my bible for baked goods, everything I have made from this book has been easy and delicious.  Hands down the best item is the Better-Than-Average-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies.  

I have made these cookies many times and have always heard from friends that these are the best chocolate chip cookies they have ever had.  Because of the rave reviews and the consistency I get when baking them, I changed nothing about this recipe (gasp)!  There is no need to mess with perfection here!

These cookies make a great gift for friends and family during the holidays.  Just use an airtight canister like this or this and attach the recipe with some twine (tip - you can buy similar jars at Ikea in the kitchen section for around $5 each...they just don't have them online)!  If you know me personally, you can definitely expect a sweet treat as a holiday gift!       


Ingredients: 
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups (or one bag) semisweet chocolate chips 
Directions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
  2. Line (or butter) one to two cookies sheets with parchment paper 
  3. In a large electric mixer (or mixing bowl) cream together butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla (mix until smooth and fluffy).  
  4. In the same mixer add flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix well (until everything is incorporated). 
  5. Once everything is mixed well add in chocolate chips (either add by hand or mixer).  
  6. Spoon teaspoon dough balls onto baking sheet and bake for 9 to 10 minutes (just until the sides start to get golden brown.  Its better to under bake than over bake!  
  7. Enjoy 
Tip: Store your cookies in an airtight container with a piece of bread (or a few pieces).  This will keep your cookies soft as the stale air will be taken up by the bread!  


Note: these are not healthy.  As I said previously, there is no need to mess with perfection and if you are craving chocolate chip cookies, I recommend you have a "cheat" day!  The recipe makes between 25 and 40 cookies, depending on the size of your cookies.  I usually spoon a heaping teaspoon onto parchment paper and make between 35 and 38 cookies.  The nutrition info below is for 38 cookies.  





Herbed Wheat Thins [Homemade]



I covet a lot of recipes I find on some of my favorite food blogs.  Some of them I think I can make better, different, healthier etc.  Some of them I know I shouldn't mess with, because they are perfect as is.  The Wheat Thins recipe on the Smitten Kitchen was pretty much perfection from the beginning.  They are simple, healthy and delicious.

This weekend for thanksgiving I was in charge of the salad and a few appetizers (thank goodness, because I don't love cooking meat with bones).  I decided that these wheat thins would be the perfect accompaniment to a cheese plate, so I set out to make my first batch.  After a successful first attempt I knew I had to make another batch (I didn't want to come with too few to enjoy)!  Upon opening my fridge to pull out more butter, I smelled the delicious aroma of fresh dill.  I had a revelation ..what if I could make herbed wheat thins!

This revelation turned out to be a good instinct as these are SCRUMPTIOUS.  Not only do these look gorgeous with the little specs of fresh dill, but they taste of cracked wheat, dill a light spritz of olive oil and salt.  You can really choose a variety of fresh herbs (can you say rosemary will be my next project) or your favorite dried versions.  I think making a bunch of different flavors and mixing them in a bowl would be a great treat for your guests.  

Yield: Aprox 3 to 4 dozen (depending on how thin you roll them out...I like mine thin).

Ingredients:


  • 1 1/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp paprika 
  • 4 tbsp cold butter 
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 to 2 handfuls of your favorite herbs...I choose Dill for this batch



Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a food processor pulse your favorite fresh herbs so they slightly break apart but still have large chunks (you don't want to over process into a puree)
  3. In the same processor add whole wheat flour, sugar, salt, paprika and cold butter.  The mixture will resemble small crumbs 
  4. Slowly drizzle the cold water into the food processor (you may need a little bit more or less).  You will know the dough is done when the dough is a ball 
  5. Pre-flour your work surface (so your dough doesn't stick)
  6. Take 1/2 of your dough and roll it out on the counter with a rolling pin until its thin.  
  7. Using a straight edge (I used a thin cutting board) and a pizza cutter, slice your dough into 1 to 1.5 inch squares.  
  8. Transfer squares to baking sheet 
  9. Coat squares with a light dusting of olive oil (I use a misto - if you don't have one I would suggest running out to buy it) and salt.  
  10. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes (stay close to your oven, these treats can burn easily) 

If you are playing with your dog instead of watching the oven, this can happen!  



Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

My husband and I have been married for three and a half years and we have never had a Christmas Tree.  We are never in our apartment for actual christmas, so we have always skipped getting the tree.  This year we decided we would get a little tree to sit atop our dining room table.

In true photographer fashion, before the tree was decorated we had to do a mini photo-shoot with the puppies!  I want to do this again with more props (think santa hat and maybe a star to top the tree), but I LOVE how the lights look!




Monday, November 12, 2012

Cranberry Almond Granola


Granola is one of those foods that is typically labeled as a "health food".  Rolled oats with nuts and berries, what could be so bad about granola?  Granola packs a big punch in a small serving size.  American's also typically "over-pour" in the morning, and a "healthy" breakfast can total 600+ calories and still leave you hungry. I am always shocked to see how many calories (and how much sugar) can be packed packed into the store bought granola.

I am also continually shocked at the price you pay for "organic" granola, especially given how easy it is to make.  So, I decided to try my hand at making a healthier and super delicious version (5 ingredients).  This recipe is SOOOO good and one that must be a staple in your pantry weekly (it has become a pantry staple in our home).

My favorite way to enjoy this healthy treat is with Fage 0% Greek Yoghurt (and fresh berries when they are in season).


RUN (don't walk) to the store to get all these ingredients to make this dish, you will NOT be disappointed!  This is also a great treat to bring as a hostess gift or even a christmas treat to a friends, family or co-workers!    

Ingredients: 
  • 2 cups whole oats 
  • 1/2 cup almonds (chopped - I used dry roasted salted, but you can use whatever your favorite almonds are) 
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries 
  • 2 tsp olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp raw organic honey
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
  • Combine oats, chopped almonds, cranberries, olive oil and 2 tbsp of honey
  • After everything is combined, pour onto a sheet pan and spread out (its fine to have 1 layer, but you want to make sure everything is the same thickness)
  • Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown (if you have a thick layer of granola, I recommend stirring everything aprox 10 minutes into the cooking).  
  • Let cool completely and enjoy!  



Serving Size: 1/2 Cup
Calories: 238 calories
Fat: 9.4g (most of the fat is coming from the almonds, if you want to cut the fat...use less almonds)
Carbs: 35.6g

P.S: do you like the new photo size?  I am working on my styling and photography (I am much more comfortable with people...who knew) and will share more on that as I go!  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Meal Planning

­­My husband and I spent the month of October tracking all of our expenses (using mint.com) and were SHOCKED by the amount of money we had spent on food and alcohol.  It didn't help that we did a mini vacation to Sonoma/Napa California, but none the less we spent way too much!


As a way to save unnecessary calories and necessary dollars, we are attempting our hand at meal planning.  I am actually super excited about this because it will give me a chance to cook (which you know I love) and actually plan ahead to make sure we have everything we need and that I can spend time early in the week prepping so day of I can come home from work and get going! 

For the meal plan I set-up the theme and listed the ingredients I needed to order.  For all of the below (plus breakfast, drinks, herbs, snacks and more) I spent $133 and am hoping (other than the small trip to the store for the things Fresh Direct didn't have in stock and our Sunday meal) this should get us through the week.

I am also going to make 1 meal ahead to be eaten as leftovers/lunch/whenever.  I don't know if I will do this every week, but wanted to test it out!   

As I develop new recipes I will be sure to share them with you, what do you think about our first week's meal plan? 

Meal Plan | week of 11.12.12

Monday: Breakfast for Dinner
  •   Eggs
  •  Turkey Bacon
  •  Pancakes (Bisquick)·   
Tuesday: Work event 

Wednesday: Chicken Tacos
  • Salsa Chicken in the crockpot
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Jack Cheese 
  •  Beans
  • Rice
  • Tortillas (homemade)
Thursday: Work Event 

Friday: Whole Wheat Pasta with Chicken Sausage, broccoli
  •  Whole Wheat Pasa
  • Broccoli
  • Chicken Sausage 
  • Grated Parmesan   

Saturday: Dinner with Jessica/Danny

Sunday: Salmon with Lemon/Dill, brown rice and asparagus (I am buying these ingredients day of)
  • Salmon
  • Lemons
  • Dill
  • Asparagus

Make Ahead: Spaghetti Pie
  • Crushed Tomatoes 
  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Ground Chicken 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nutrition Information | NEW FEATURE

Have you ever been scouring around the web for a new recipe with the words "healthy" or "low calorie" (or anything of the sorts) and when you find the perfect recipe you really have no idea if the blogger is 1) telling the truth 2) knows anything about nutrition (even with the claims) 3) has the same version of the word "healthy" as you do? 

I generally (except when I forget) track all of my food and activity levels (and have been for a long time), but what I realized recently was that while I think what I am eating is healthy, I could very well be cheating myself out of precious nutritional needs (or even words extra unknown calories)!

Over the past few years my philosophy on food has changed (I will post on this soon).  Basically I went from eating really low calories (and lots of no calorie chemicals ala Splenda), to eating wholesome foods that not only taste good but also give my body the MUCH needed nutrition it was craving.

With my nutrition philosophy changing, so did my cooking habits.  I went from purchasing breads (and english muffins - my favorite) to making them weekly for my family.  I went from eating boxed pasta to exclusively making it from scratch.  I went from eating canned soup (yuck) to making big vats of soup and freezing it in Mason Jars (my favorite and must have kitchen essential).

So with all that said, I am now going to be featuring nutritional information for each recipe I post!  That way if you are like me and want to know exactly what you are putting into your body, the info will be right there!

I did a post about Honey Wheat Pizza Crust a while back and wanted to show you what you can now expect!



Honey Whole Wheat Pizza Crust -

  • 1 tsp honey 
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (turn the water on your sink to hot and let it run for about 1 min, just until its just about too hot to touch with your finger)
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast 
  • 1tsp olive oil 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour 
  • 1 cup of white bread flour, plus more for keading  (you can use all purpose if you don't have bread flour handy)
Directions for Honey Whole Wheat Crust -
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (and if you have a pizza stone place in oven and let heat up for 45 minutes to an hour) 
  2. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Lets stand for 10 minutes (make sure the yeast has activated, you will know when you see it bubbling and popping on the top of the water...if you do not see it bubbling on the top it has not been activated and you need to dump it and start over).  
  3. Stir in the honey, olive oil and salt.  
  4. Mix in the flour until mostly combined (it will look like small flour chunks) and dump it out onto a floured surface 
  5. Knead for 10 minutes.  If the dough is sticky, keep adding in flour until it is not sticky to the touch anymore.  
  6. Once its into a ball, put it into a buttered bowl and let rise for 1 hour 
  7. After its risen (aprox doubled in size) punch it down and divide into 2 to 4 balls (depending if you want large/thicker crusts or thin individual crusts (nutrition info below is for 4 balls).    
  8. Let small balls rise for 30 min or so
  9. Roll out and spread your favorite toppings.  
  10. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes (until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden) 

 
*You may see me play with the format of the nutrition information...but you get the picture and I am so excited to be adding this feature! 


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Teriyaki Vegatable "fried" brown rice

My husband and I LOVE fried rice from our local chinese restaurant.  There is something so comfortable and flavorful about fried rice and its so sad that takeout restaurants make it so bad for you.  I have taken this comfortable treat and lightened it up and added oh so much flavor!

The dish starts with this oh-so-easy Teriyaki sauce, which packs so much punch with so little sauce.  It easily coats the rice and complements the vegetables so very well.    

If you want to add even more diminution you can add protein, feel free to mix in some teriyaki chicken or spicy shrimp.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups of uncooked Brown Rice
  • 2 1/2 to 3 Cups of your favorite Vegetables (Fresh is always best but if you don't have access to fresh you can substitute 1 bag of steam fresh mixed vegatables from the freezer section).  I used the below...
    • 1 cup peas 
    • 1/2 cup corn 
    • 1/2 cup green beans 
    • 1/2 cup carrots 
  • 1 whole egg 
  • 2 egg whites 
  • 3 tbsp teriyaki sauce (enough to coat the rice or as much or little as you want)  
  • Scallions chopped (for garnish) 
Directions:
  1. Cook rice according to package directions.  Once cooked, set aside 
  2. In a wok or large pan combine the eggs and the egg whites.  Once scrambled, set aside 
  3. In the same pan add vegetables and cook intil firm but hot.  Add the rice and sauce and cook for 3 to 5 minutes stirring constantly to make sure everything is mixed well and coated with sauce.  
  4. Add in cooked eggs 
  5. Top with Scallions and Serve 

Teriyaki Sauce (homemade)



This delicious concoction came out of the need to add protein dinner (and only having plain chicken in the fridge).  I have been experimenting with different cuisine's and decided I would try to tackle Asian next (or should I say inspired by Asian flavors).  For various reasons (we live in NYC and there is amazing Asian cuisine) I have never tried to make anything Asian.  And because of that I thoguht I would start simple with an oh-so-easy-and-versatile Teriyaki Sauce.

I had originally intended to make this sauce as a marinade for plain chicken, but then realized this is maybe the most versatile sauce ever.  You can use it as a maranaide, dipping sauce, in fried rice, as a glaze for fish, as a garnish on sushi, etc...

And...are you ready for the best part???  It took all of 10 minutes to make (maybe less).  You must give this one a try!

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup low sodium soy sauce (if you don't have low sodium you can also use regular) 
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp ground ginger 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder  
 Directions:
  1. In a small sauce pan add all ingredients on low heat until the sugar, ginger and garlic powder are dissolved into the soy sauce.  
  2. Marinade or dip or mix and enjoy! 

Nutrition Facts:
Servings: 32 (aprox 1 tbsp per serving)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Coconut Chicken Curry (crockpot)



I am currently (still) displaced due to Hurricane Sandy (thank goodness my mom in Chicago is taking us in for the week).  Lately have had a deep desire to cook, I have always loved cooking but the more I cook the better I get and the more I WANT to cook.

This recipe (which is currently in the crockpot and smells amazing) is a bit of a mash-up of this recipe and this recipe from Martha Stewart.  I am also making coconut brown rice to eat with it (and will share this recipe soon).  I hope you enjoy this dish, its healthy and OH SO GOOD!    

Ingredients (step 1):
  • 1lb chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 heaping tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper
  • 3 scallions (chopped)
  • 2 sprigs of cilantro
Ingredients (step 2):
  • 1/2 cup Light Coconut Water
  • 1/2 cup water Water  
  • 1 cup of green peas (frozen or fresh)

Directions:
  1. Create the dry rub by mixing the curry powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper 
  2. Put raw chicken in a plastic bag and mix in dry rub in.
  3. Once the chicken is coated in the dry rub, dump chicken and spices into into your crockpot.
  4. Add Scallions, cilantro and water to the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours (until chicken is cooked)
  5. Aprox 30 minutes before serving add in ingredients from step 2 
  6. Serve over rice or with potatoes (and a glass of wine)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Whole Wheat English Muffins [homemade]

Hey World!  I know its been a while, and boy has it been one busy summer.  I wish I could say I have been spending my time collaborating and creating, but honestly this summer has been WORK - WORK -WORK.  The good news is that I have decided I need a little less work and a little more me.

While I love Fashion [as in clothing and make-up that looks good on me - not a model], I have also started to rediscover my love of art [photography and painting] and cooking!  While this post is dedicated to cooking, you will see more about art soon.

I have really started to focus on nutrition and making sure I am putting the very best in my body, and part of that is if I am going to eat bread [which I consider to be a cheat food] I want it to be the very best tasting homemade bread.  English muffins happen to be my favorite bread, I love the compact size and LOVE how the nooks and crannies soak up the toppings [my current favorite - peanut butter and jelly].

Tonight I decided to attempt to create these delectable little treats.  I scoured the web and the universal recipe that everyone has been raving about is Alton Brown's English Muffin recipe.  However because I really like to use whole wheat as much as possible, I made a substitution.  I was worried adding the whole wheat flour would screw up the recipe (and the ever so important nooks and crannies), but these english muffins are so light and delicate.

Whole Wheat English Muffin Recipe [adapted from Alton Brown's Recipe]

Ingredients:


  • 1/2 cup non-fat powdered milk 
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp shortening 
  • 1 cup boiling water 
  • 1 envelope dry yeast 
  • Pinch of sugar 
  • 1/3 cup warm water 
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour 
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour 
  • non-stick cooking spray 
  • 3 to 4 wide mouth mason jar ring tops (you can also use pastry rings)
  • Flat griddle (we have an electric griddle that sits on our counter)
Directions: 
  1. In a small bowl combine the yeast, 1/8 tsp of sugar and 1/3 cup of warm water.  Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes and make sure the yeast activates 
  2. In a large bowl combine the powdered milk, 1 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, shortening and boiling hot water.  Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved.  Put in the refrigerator to cool.  
  3. Once the milk mixture has cooled combine with the yeast mixture
  4. Add in the four and combine until all of the powder is soaked in by the liquid mixture.  
  5. Cover the bowl with a towel and let rest and rise for 30 minutes to an hour in a warm spot (I turn on my oven light and let the bowl rest in the oven) 
  6. Pre-heat the griddle to 300 to 350 degrees 
  7. Once the mixture is doubled you are ready to cook 
  8. Place your mason jar rings [top down] on the griddle and spray cooking spray.
  9. Spoon in dough mixture, cover with a bowl and cook for 5 minutes 
  10. Flip to second side and cook for 5 minutes 
  11. Enjoy!  




Dough spooned into the mason jar lid (side 1 - step 9) 
Muffin flipped (side 2 - step 10)
Finished delicious product with an over easy egg (my dinner tonight) 
English muffin with butter and homemade strawberry jelly

Monday, July 16, 2012

Face Chart - Travel Edition

I have a lot of experiencing traveling for work, and have gotten the make-up routine down to a science (5 minutes to be exact).  When you have to wake up at 4:30am for a 7am flight, its important to preserve every extra minute of sleep you can!  While I LOVE make-up and could honestly use 25 products or more in one sitting for the perfect look, you can still look perfect with 7 products!   

Excuse the tired eyes, these pictures were taken at 5:45am this morning!  Make-up can work wonders, but when you are tired its hard to cover that up. 




7 MUST HAVE products for a 5 minute face -
  • Tinted Moisturizer (with SPF) 
  • Blush 
  • Bronzer 
  • Eye Liner
  • Cream Eye Shadow, natural color 
  • Mascara
  • Lipstick
My 7 step by step instructions:
  • Rub Tinted Moisturizer all over your face (make sure your moisturizer always has SPF) 
  • Blend in Bronzer on the highlights of your face (chin, jawbone, cheeks, nose, forehead)
  • Blot blush along the apple of your cheek and blend in and up along your cheek bone. 
  • Smear in your cream shadow along your entire lid
  • Line your lids with a sharpened pencil or ink liner 
  • Brush on two to three coats of your mascara 
  • apply your Lip color!  
Tips for Make-up when traveling
  • Choose longwear options (especially for eyes).  When you are on the go, sometimes your makeup is also (which would be tragic), so I recommend choosing as many products as possible that are long wearing.  Bobbi Brown's new long wear collection is amazing, it will not come off or rub off!  
  • Choose bright colors, when you are tired they help to make you look like you are awake!  
  • Keep chap-stick (colored or not) with you, as your lips will get dry on the plane!    
Vola!  The perfect stay-put face for your early morning flight, or the weekend when you just don't feel like painting the whole picture!  


Products I used 
  • Tinted Moisturizer: Smashbox Sheer Focus Tinted Moisturizer (Fair)
  • Blush: Bobbi Brown Blush (Pale Pink)
  • Bronzer: Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder (Light Golden Bronze)
  • Eye Liner: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Eye Pencil (Jet)
  • Cream Eye Shadow: Benefit Cream Shadow (RSVP)
  • Mascara:Bobbi Brown Intensifying Long-Wear Mascara (Black)
  • Lipstick: MAC Cosmetics Pro Longwear Lipcolour (Unchanging)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New Feature: Face Chart


Make-up is a very important part of my life, and its something I change up daily!  It's one of my favorite parts of my morning!  I pick out my cheeks, eyes and lips based on my outfit.  I just love make-up! 

I honor of my love of make-up (and truly the copious amounts of make-up I have in my collection), I will be featuring make-up looks weekly (maybe more) as well as a few tips that I have learned along the way!

Today's Tip: You can do a BOLD lip & cheek as long as you keep the eyes neutral.  In this case I chose pink tones for my cheeks and a red lipstick with pink undertones, they work because they are complimentary but not the same.  Don't be afraid of color, I promise you will get compliments!  I also paird this with a blue and white dress, the red lips are definitely the statement of this look!  





My Face Chart:



What do you think?  Do you like bold lips?  Do you need/ any specific tips?  


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Inspiration and the Blogs I love

I mentioned in this post that I have been inspired!  I was really struggling with what I wanted this blog to be about.  I came to the realization that its okay for this blog to be multidimensional, as I am very multidimensional.  I have also come to the realization that its okay to be real, life is not always beaches and love songs...so expect real!  To my loyal readers (all 3 of you) I am going to be posting about my life with photos (see - Photos and Life works so well).  My multidimensional life consists of style, design, food, cooking, my home (er...my little apartment in Brooklyn), photography, sports, sailing, NYC (lots about Brooklyn), DIY projects, exercise, nutrition, my travel adventures and last but not least my puppy (I'm sure there is more)!

Back to the blogs that inspire me, below is a sampling of the blogs I stalk read daily.

Style
Design
Food
My Other Projects :)

And because no post is complete without an image, I wanted to share a photo of my very lucky little puppy getting a piece of sushi for dinner tonight (shhh...don't tell the vet)!  

Friday, July 6, 2012

Inspired!



I have been inspired by other blogs recently (will post about blogs I love soon)!  As you can tell (for the 3 loyal readers I have) I can't quite figure out what to do with this blog.  I was posting a lot about life last year with some photos peppered in.  I took a long hiatus this year and have just started getting back in a groove recently

I like to post about food, cooking, travel, photography, exercise, work, fashion, my puppy, DIY projects, my apartment...etc.  I choose the name photos and life because I didn't want to be tied down to any one thing.  I am a bit of a free spirit and I like to create and be creative for whatever moves me in the moment, however I do want this blog to be inspirational to others.  I want people to read it and feel like they can be creative with everything they do.  I want to provide value!

Being creative for me is all about feeling good and proud of what you are doing from your make-up in the morning, clothing you choose to wear, accessories you put on, photos you take (iPhone to SLR), attitude you exude, food you make, projects you complete.  So I am hoping to share more about everything creative

I have always been into make-up and fashion (as in fashion I can afford).  I'll post about fashion in another blog post (looks like I have lots of topics to cover soon), but this post is dedicated to make-up.

Ever since i was a little girl I have been exposed to make-up.  It might be from my ballet/ice skating days, where at 7 years old I would perform with a full face of make-up!  After my performance days were over, I still loved experimenting with make-up.  Make-up is also a favorite activity for my mom and I (whenever we get together we always visit a make-up counter somewhere to get a new look).  I daily choose my lip color based on my outfit.  I wanted to share what I am wearing today (and will start to do this more often).     

 



What's in my make-up bag today!

Tinted Moisturizer: Smashbox Sheer Focus Tinted Moisturizer
Blush: Arrojo Sheer Cheek Tint (Similar: Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Calypso Coral)
Eye Shadow:  Benefit Creasless Cream eyeshadow RSVP & Tattle Tale
Eye Liner: Bobbi Brown Ink Liner
Mascara: Bobbi Brown Intensiying Long-Wear Mascara
Highlighter: MAC Hey, Sailor Highlight Powder 
Lips: Mac Hey, Sailor Sail La Vie Lipstick

PS: what do you think of my new hair cut?  I can't seem to find the perfect cut (since I cut it all off last year).  I am thinking once this grows out a little bit more it may be perfect, or maybe I should just grow it out and be done with trying to find the perfect short hair.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Statement necklaces making a statement!




I have had a vision in my head of not having my necklaces strewn everywhere in the apartment (or just sitting in multiple purses!  My jewelry box has been rather dusty in the back of my closet for a while now and my jewelry has not gotten major play (other than a few old standbys that come out every day).  The sad thing is that I LOVE jewelry, especially necklaces!  Just like make-up you can wear what you feel and it can make an ordinary outfit look extraordinary.

I am committed to spending my summer cleaning out and organizing!  Jason and I are both extremely sick of clutter and just want to minimize the things we own as well as display them in fashionable ways (although I should caveat he doesn't care about my necklaces)!

I have gotten quite familiar with Ikea during my quest for organization, and knew I could get all the supplies there for this project!  All it takes is two black frames and 10 hooks!

I love the way it turned out so much that I may consider doing a third frame on the bottom of the door (as believe it or not I couldn't fit everything in the first two frames!  What do you think?

Do you want to do this project at home, below are the supplies I used!
  • 2 Ikea Black Frames FJALLSTA - $30
  • 10 (5 packages) Ikea SAVERN hooks- $25



*All photos taken on my iPhone and edited with instagram!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Homemade Pizza (one of my favorite)

Pizza and a glass of Rose

We decided to cook tonight (its been a while, we have both been so busy that when we are actually home for dinner cooking has consisted of heating something up or ordering takeout on the iPad).

Homemade pizza is one of my favorite things to make!  1) I get to us the pizza stone and board (love this home kitchen invention) 2) It's healthy and I can put whatever I want on it 3) its oh so good!   

This afternoon my husband suggested Prosciutto and I really wanted brussels sprouts, so that's what we made!

For the crust I adapted this recipe, and it came out so great.  In my past few attempts with whole wheat, I have not had much success so I have kept true to my tried and true perfect pizza crust recipe.  I have to say, after tonight, I think I am going to stick to whole wheat exclusively.  Not only can your body process it better, I think it was better than the its white flour cousin!    
   
Before it was cooked!

Honey Whole Wheat Pizza Crust -
  • 1 tsp honey 
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (turn the water on your sink to hot and let it run for about 1 min, just until its just about too hot to touch with your finger)
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast 
  • 1tsp olive oil 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour 
  • 1 cup of white bread flour, plus more for keading  (you can use all purpose if you don't have bread flour handy)
Directions for Honey Whole Wheat Crust -
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (and if you have a pizza stone place in oven and let heat up for 45 minutes to an hour) 
  2. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Lets stand for 10 minutes (make sure the yeast has activated, you will know when you see it bubbling and popping on the top of the water...if you do not see it bubbling on the top it has not been activated and you need to dump it and start over).  
  3. Stir in the honey, olive oil and salt.  
  4. Mix in the flour until mostly combined (it will look like small flour chunks) and dump it out onto a floured surface 
  5. Knead for 10 minutes.  If the dough is sticky, keep adding in flour until it is not sticky to the touch anymore.  
  6. Once its into a ball, put it into a buttered bowl and let rise for 1 hour 
  7. After its risen (aprox doubled in size) punch it down and divide into 2 to 4 balls (depending if you want large/thicker crusts or thin individual crusts.    
  8. Let small balls rise for 30 min or so
  9. Roll out and spread your favorite toppings.  
  10. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes (until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden)
Toppings of the evening -
  • All purpose tomato sauce (this sauce will not let you down)
  • Fresh Motzarella 
  • Graded Parmesan
  • Prosciutto
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Rose (for drinking, not the pizza)
The puppy REALLY wanted pizza!

Homemade Quadruple Berry Frozen (Greek) Yogurt

Mixed Berry Frozen (Greek) Yogurt
 As part of my summer of adventure, I wanted to make my own frozen yogurt!  I LOVE frozen yogurt (like love so much could eat it for multiple meals a day), and wanted to find the perfect recipe using local healthy ingredients.  I LOVE berries, and knew my first attempt had to use these delicious summer treats. 

So Once this indulgence arrived in the mail, I set off to find the perfect recipe!  

 
I have been scouring the web for a great greek based frozen yogurt, and to be honest I was coming up empty handed all around!  I really wanted a recipe that used local ingredients (in my case berries that have been freshly picked and are waiting for me in my freezer) and was the perfect aspect of sweet and tangy.

I found a glimmer of hope when I came across Pink Parsley's recipe for strawberry frozen yogurt.  It had the makings of being the perfect recipe, however I don't have a food scale and wanted to use the mixed berries I have available in my freezer.

So off I went to try to not only make frozen yogurt for the first time, but also create my own recipe!  I love to create recipes (much to my husbands disliking) so I felt good about what I was up against!  (TIP: I was also told when making frozen yogurt or ice cream you want to make the mixture into your favorite milk shake and then freeze).  Below is the recipe and instructions, and my oh my is it good!  You must run (don't walk) to your local farmers market to pick up seasonal berries to try this recipe!   

Quadruple Berry Frozen Yogurt

Berries, Strawberry infused vodka, sugar

Ingredients: 
  • Healthy heap (between 3 to 5 cups) of your favorite frozen berries (I used Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries & blackberries).
  • 1/2 cup of sugar 
  • 3 tsp vodka (I used homemade strawberry infused vodka, but you can use whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 1/4 cup of 0% greek yoghurt (my brand of choice is fage) 
  • Pinch of Salt 
  • 1/2 fresh lemon juiced  

Directions: 
  1. Make sure your ice cream maker is prepared according to the manufacture instructions (in my case I froze the bowl overnight)
  2. Combine frozen berries, sugar and vodka in a bowl and let sweat for aprox 1 hour (until the sugar turns into a syrup) 
  3. Take frozen berries and blend until smooth in a blender or food processor 
  4. Add Greek Yoghurt, salt and lemon juice to blended berry mixture and fully blend everything.
  5. Take your mixture and add to your ice cream maker (I have the kitchen aid attachment) and let mix for 15 to 20 minutes
  6. Once mixture has taken a soft frozen consistency, transfer to your containers and freeze for an additional 1 to 3 hours.  
  7. Enjoy!     
Everything blended together and ready to chill!
The great chill begins!
Action shot!!!

All packed up in Jars and ready to finish chilling in the freezer!

Ready to eat!

 
Devoured! 
 The perfect Sunday treat!

All photos taken on my iPhone and filtered through Instagram!