Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wednesday Wants

I want, I want, I want...I am starting to sound like a five year old that I know....

But I think we can assume where she gets that from...but I digress.. there are a few things that I want, some small, some big, some sweet, some shinny, but most of all things that make me happy. I am going through some major house (read: life) clean up, and applying the "does this item bring me joy" technique and all I can say that donation bags are pilling up... but I still want some things that bring me joy... As they say, it's the little things!

1. Turkish Towel - ever since I got back from Istanbul last year, I've been obsessing over these. And this one is perfect for Florida winters and cozying up on the couch.
2. Did someone say bubbly?? A hint of champagne in my chapstick, now that's what I call joy!
3. I already think of coffee as pure magic, and coffee savored from this glittery cup is total bliss!
4. Since I've been traveling often for work, comfort in my shoes and clothing has become a priority, but I still like a dash of chic to it all...these shoes are IT for the season.
5. This is joy in simplicity...I know I don't need more things, but this little planter on my desk is could be my zen place!

What are the little things that bring you JOY?

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Sunday Home

If like me, you’ve been burning the midnight oil for too many weeks or months now, weekends become a sacred heaven. But by Sunday night, it is hard not to resent a Monday. Sunday evening used to mark the end of fun, freedom and carefree vibe. By 4pm on Sunday, I used to feel complete anxiety over all that I “still did not get done” or feeling completely not prepared for the upcoming week or guilty for not stopping and smelling roses and enjoying the weekend guilt free. I recently spoke to my friend Lily about my Sunday evening anxiety and she suggested I create “The Sunday Home” – to ease myself into the week.

The Sunday Home is a work in progress activity but it is starting to take on the feel of tidy, organized, and calm home.” It is far from perfect, but good enough to make me feel accomplished, organized and relaxed as I make my way into a new week.

Part of the Sunday Home is having all the toys “find their way back to their permanent spot,” the kitchen counters are cleared and cleaned, meal plan is posted on the fridge door, fresh flowers from Trade Joe’s gracing the coffee table, school uniforms are laid out, to-do lists are made and Sunday supper with Kiki is a family affair of prepping, cooking, and sharing lots of laughter. Most importantly, Kiki is in bed and asleep by 7:45pm…it might sound early, but by then she’s definitely ready and so am I….

And somehow all of this makes Monday and the new week much easier to embrace and so did this Sunday Supper, Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1-pound ground turkey
3 cups marinara sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-pound spaghetti (I used pappardelle pasta)
Freshly grated Parmesan

Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and saute until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey and saute 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend, stirring often. Stir in the basil. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper. (The sauce can be made 1 week ahead. Cool the sauce completely, then transfer it to a container and freeze for future use. Bring the sauce to a simmer before using.)

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten as needed. Serve with the Parmesan.

Happy Monday Eve!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

This Week on our Menu

Summer is truly over, Kiki started kindergarten, work schedule is back ON, traveling is in a full swing, but this week I am home with no travel on my calendar, which means I am fully engaged in my meal planning. I missed having a Sunday at home to do the necessary mise-en-place and getting things started. This weekend I made a meal plan on my flight back home, bought groceries and got some prep done.

I love to cook and grocery shop, especially when I am kid free. Over the last few years I've learned that my happy place is truly in the kitchen with a glass of wine and some music playing. That being said I do not cook every day, but I definitely cook on the nights when Kiki is with me. The other nights...leftovers!!!

I love sharing our weekly meal plans mostly because I use the blog as my archives and can go back and reference them when I hit those inevitable meal planning ruts. I’ve been trying a couple new recipes lately and thought beginning of the school year would be a great time to share them so you can add any that look tasty to your line up!

The key to school-night cooking, besides meal planning, a true-and-tried strategy is cooking once-eating twice. Meal prepping is actually fairly simple. Use what you already have on hand and make things simpler for you. Meal-planning is also great for your wallet and for cutting down wasting food. Give it a try and you will see how your week will have so much less stress, and I am all about reducing stress in my life. Most of all, whenever your kids ask you what's for dinner, you always have an answer!

My ONLY one rule of meal planning is - there should always be a vegetable on the dinner plate that is fresh! The rest are just lessons I have learned over time:

  • start with planning two or three meals per week and work up to more as you learn what does and doesn't work for you and your family
  • keep a file of recipes that are your inspiration and over time you will build your tried-and-true favorites
  • plan one large batch meal that can be used later in the week as a leftover or build up on another meal
  • if you're lucky enough to have Trader Joe's, keep a few frozen meals on hand as your back can always load them up with some veggies and protein and in 20 minutes you have a delicious meal
  • make casseroles and slow cooker your best friend...they will instantly create flexibility in your week night schedule
  • most importantly...create shortcuts that work for you!

So here is what we have on the menu this week:

Monday: Meatless Monday - Whole wheat pasta, pesto, peas, grated parmesan and a fried egg
Tuesday: lucky to be invited to dinner at J's!!!
Wednesday: Kiki is at her dad's, but I have chicken and avocado salad with lime and cilantro (leftover from our Sunday's roasted chicken dinner)
Thursday: Cauliflower fried rice
Friday: Grilled Chicken and avocado three bean salad
Saturday: home made pizza and Kiki is in charge of toppings (that she can find in our fridge)
Sunday: Slow cooker healthy chicken tacos 

What are your thoughts on meal planning? Any recipe recommendations? I'd love to hear...

Bon Apetit!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Weekend Notes

Hello! Hello! Let's see...where have I been? what have I been up to? 

I've blissfully sailed through summer, Kiki started kindergarten, I've added some more miles to my Delta loyalty program, traveled to some new (to me) cities, truly felt the sand between my toes more than ever before since I moved to Florida, rekindled my love for books, improved my sleep habit, drank a lot of rosé, joined the Blue Apron movement, looked at the world through rose colored glasses (💖) and now that we officially said goodbye to summer I am ready for "fall". I love fall, as it reminds me of the new school year and the new beginning, which reminds me I need a new paper monthly calendar...I am still the old fashion calendar girl despite all my efforts to move digital.  Maybe one day, but for now, I am in search of a girly pretty simple calendar.

My weekend the moment I am in the Live Music capital or Silicone Hills City or better known after its slogan "Keep Austin Weird", all I can say Austin is weird, and cool and so not Texas, if you know what I mean. For lots of behind-the-scenes of this weekend, follow me on snapchat --> 👻 fauxfoodiegirl

What are you up to this weekend?