Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

only four ingredients

I love rice krispie treats not only for their ooey gooey goodness, but also for the fact that I always manage to justify eating them. My thought process goes something like this, “Its just cereal. How bad can it be? It’s like I’m eating breakfast.” And that’s what I will keep telling myself, because this particular recipe is just too good to pass up.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Horse of a Different Color

I love the Brits for their quirks. Quirks like that stiff upper lip, gossip over the garden fence, obsession with the royals, and driving on the left.  I love them for their bangers and mash, real ale, and high tea. I love them for their wool, plaid and tweed. And lastly, I love them for their scenic landscapes. Just a short walk from my place is a quiet alcove with a stream and a stone wall that reminds me of the charming British countryside. I’m planning to visit Britain this summer, but until then my hidden nook will do just bloody fine.

Blazer: Talbots, Blouse: H&M, Pants: J. Crew, Purse: Ralph Lauren (old)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I had some (very) ripe bananas lying around. The thought of using them to bake the quintessential banana bread less than thrilled me. Instead, I found this Martha Stewart recipe. I've never been a big fan of oatmeal raisin cookies, but when I swapped the raisins for chocolate chunks and added some banana I was sold!

Friday, February 24, 2012

this and that

This week I managed to have a few days off. It was one of those weeks that was supposed to be really relaxing but turned out to be even busier than a typical work week. Here are some things that kept me smiling.

valentine's roses a week and a half later and still thriving
a very rare sleepy (and calm) moment
peanut butter cups, enough said.
shamrock garland-a wise target purchase, and a sign that one of my favorite holidays is on the horizon.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wild Mushroom Soup

The first time I ever had mushroom soup was at a friend's house after grade school. We were hungry from a long drawn out bus ride, so she introduced me to the wonders of campbell's cream of mushroom soup. I loved it, of course. What child wouldn't with all that intense cream. While I couldn't discern the mushrooms from the heavy broth, I didn't really mind. Since then, I've come to appreciate vegetables and have been on the quest for a more savory soup where the cream-to-mushroom ratio is better balanced (read: a creamy broth, not a bisque). I came across a promising recipe in an issue of family circle magazine, and it came out just as I had hoped it would. The mushrooms were plentiful and the broth was modestly flavored so not as to overpower the main component of the soup. Will definitely be making it again!  

Makes 8 servings
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 28 minutes

3 tablespoons butter
2 large shallots, diced
1.5 pounds mixed wild mushrooms (such as cremini, shiitake, and oyster), sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1. Melt butter in a large, lidded pot over medium heat. Add shallots and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Add mushrooms and thyme and cook 8 minutes. Sprinkle flour and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add stock and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes.

2. Stir in heavy cream, sherry, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil (do not simmer). Mix in parsley and serve.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Black and White and Red all Over

A day in Newport is a day well spent. A few days ago my boyfriend and I headed down to the picturesque seaside city for some lunch and a stroll. (Sweater: Ann Taylor Loft Pants: J. Crew, Shoes: Kohls, Bag: Kate Spade)
.....two steps later I snuck back to the car to grab my jacket. It was windy!
Nail Polish: Sephora L14 - My Favorite Jeans, Bracelets: Birthday Gift :)
We ate here. Deciding on two entrees was difficult, because everything sounded so good. We ended up ordering a handful of small plates. The ancho springroll was my favorite one. 
Driving home over the famous Claiborne Pell Bridge. Until next time,  Newport..

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chicken Tacos

There's a reason I buy chicken every week. Well, there's many. It's budget friendly, figure friendly, and you almost can't mess it up. I used to cringe at the thought of chicken, because my parents managed to incorporate it into almost every single dinner while I was growing up. After a brief chicken hiatus, I'm glad to say it's back on my weekly grocery list thanks to recipes like this. The other night I had leftover cutlets so I made these chicken tacos.  It's easy to tailor this recipe to your preferences (I already had the hard shells, so I used them instead, and I omitted the corn). I love the fact that prep time is minimal, and I can come home six hours later to a tasty meal. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

All Made Up

I have fun experimenting with different types of cosmetics and my preferences tend to shift with the seasons, but these products are my main stays all year long. What's in your makeup bag? 

Makeup Forever HD Foundation   
Smashbox Primer
Bobbi Brown Lipstick
Sephora Powder Brush
Buxom Mascara
Buxom Eyeliner

Friday, February 17, 2012

February's Folly

(An impromptu visit to the beach- a reminder of summer days to come)

To put it lightly, the month of February does not endear itself to me. Somehow it’s the shortest month, but it feels like the longest. With it come drab skies, lots of wind, possibly some snow, definitely some rain, and a bleak chance for sun. To add insult to injury, it’s not long before punxsutawney phil stops by to ensure six more weeks of this. February is situated in the middle of what seems to be an endless winter, dangling spring close enough to remind me of brighter things, yet far enough away to slip me back into my bulky winter jacket. Meanwhile, various fashion weeks are taking place and spring clothing lines start showing up on shelves everywhere. In an act of defiance, I dress for spring, but I find myself in shivers and reaching for the closest sweater. February, you are a tease.

Pictured are a few things getting me through this unremarkable month.

(An excuse to wear pink and red- afterall, this is the month of love and all things girly)

(Red hots- the perfect combination of sugar and spice and small enough to fit in my purse for a mid-day treat)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fine Print


Animal prints are great for giving any outfit instant flair. Accessories are the perfect way to incorporate them into your wardrobe without going over the top. 

Belt: J. Crew, Shoes: Anne Klein, Scarf: Target  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Hungry Valentine

A quick bite before my valentine runs out the door for work. I kept it simple with heart shaped english muffins and some homemade jam.

Last night we assembled this tasty plate with a variety of chocolates (and some almonds for good measure) from our favorite local shops. The hardest part of this was deciding on which chocolates to get. He likes the fruit filled, cinnamon flavored, ginger glazed, you name it. I love nothing more than a straightforward piece milk chocolate or peanut butter filled cup. Needless to say, we figured it out. And surely this was nothing a stiff martini couldn't take care of. The martini shaker was recently given to me as a gift, so I was excited to make some chocolate martinis.

Armsby Abbey

If you're looking for somewhere to go this week, Armsby Abbey is a great alternative to the otherwise opulent restaurants that become packed to the rafters during the week of february 14th. It is a hidden gem among a slew of dive bars that line Worcester's Main Street. Not only does it boast a selection of 22 beers on tap, it also features craft beer from all over the country and the world. Pretty Things Baby Tree is an unusual quadruple beer currently on tap. Brewed with dry plums, it is light in body but heavy in taste. If beer is not your thing, the Abbey’s got you covered with their list of edgy mixed drinks. A personal favorite is the hot buttered rum. Their food menu is not big, but very well thought out. Dishes are created to perfection using locally grown cheese, produce and herbs. The Armsby Abbey pushes the envelope with their smoked bone marrow yet stays true to classic comfort foods. Their mac ‘n cheese should practically be famous by now. I love to pick, so I always make sure to order the cheese plate! With 11 local farmstead cheeses to choose from, I’m always trying something new.