A Labor Day Weekend Michelada

August 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Have you ever had a Michelada? It’s kind of the best drink ever. I had one a few years back at Hotel Delmano in Williamsburg and ever since then I’ve been completely obsessed. With Labor Day Weekend upon us I thought it would be the perfect time to pass along the recipe for my favorite summertime drink. It’s like a savory margarita minus the tequila- essentially a beer mixed with tomato juice, hot sauce, lime, and a few other goodies. It’s downright delectable with chips and dip, burgers and dogs, and any other kind of summer fare you can dream up. And for this lightweight, I can drink a few before things start to get fuzzy : ).

I hope your weekend looks like the photo above! We’re crossing our fingers for perfect beach weather. Here’s to the end of summer! xx

The Michelada adapted from Food52
makes 4 drinks

  • lime wedges, for garnish
  • sea salt, for garnish
  • one 6oz can tomato juice
  • 2 limes, juiced (about 1/3 cup juice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon Tabasco or preferred hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice (optional)
  • 2 12oz bottles or cans of beer (Modelo is ideal)
  • several handfuls of ice cubes

Prepare the glasses: rub the rims of four tall glasses with the lime wedges then coat the rims with sea salt.

In a bowl or measuring cup, combine the tomato juice, lime juice, salt, Worcestershire and Tabasco (or desired hot sauce) and mix well. Adjust seasoning to taste. Add a handful of ice to each of the prepared glasses, then divide the tomato juice mixture between them (each should have approximately 4 tbsp). Top up the glasses with half a bottle of beer each, then garnish with a lime wedge. I like to add a little more juice to my beer so it’s more strongly flavored, but feel free to follow these instructions or make it however you like.

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A Takeout Confession

August 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

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I have a confession to make. I don’t like take out. This is bordering on sacrilegious in NYC because the majority of the population lives on Seamless, but it’s just not my thing. It’s not that I don’t have those nights where I have zero time or energy to cook- those definitely exist. I’m just annoyingly picky about the freshness of my food. I want a piping hot pizza with the cheese completely melty, and pad thai that didn’t get soggy on the trek from the restaurant to my apartment. Snobby, I know. The only thing I’ll order is Indian, because that reheats well, and I love me some Saag Paneer.

But beyond that, I’m left to cereal and spoonfuls of peanut butter on busy nights. So when the folks at Plated reached out to me about trying their meal delivery service I was intrigued. Truth be told, because I love to have full control over my kitchen, my initial thought was- “Ok I’ll try it, but I’m not really your target customer.” But then I had a chance to glance at their site. And then I learned more about their philosophies and methods (that they care about sustainability and locally sourced ingredients). And then I discovered they’re using actual chefs to create their recipes. And then I thought, ok, these guys are different.  So I gave it a shot.
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I tried two dishes- the Summer Vegetable Carbonara and Asian Soy Steak Tacos with Jicama Slaw. Both were delicious but the carbonara literally had me oohing and aahing audibly while consuming. I’m not kidding. I could not believe how good it was! They totally wowed this picky foodie 🙂
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But what was even more amazing, and unexpected, was that the dishes also acted as a shock to my normal dinner routine- making me re-think flavors, ingredients, and our general way of eating. While Plated makes whipping up a homemade meal a snap, what I love most about it is that it’s creative- and if cooking is not your forté, it’s a great way to ease into it and learn how to cook healthy but truly delicious meals. And it’s WAY better in takeout- whether you love it or not!

Have you tried Plated or any meal delivery service? Would you try one?

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Disclaimer: While Plated generously provided me with two meals, this is NOT  sponsored posts. All opinions are truly my own!

On Our Bookshelf |August|

August 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

Channeling Contessa On Our Bookshelf

One of the things I’ll miss most about summer is sitting in the grass — or the sand — with a good book. Curling up inside in the winter is appealing too, but not quite the same. Although these last few weeks of summer have likely been hectic, we’ve all managed to slow down to enjoy a few good books.

ReconstructingAmelia hc c.JPGClara // Reconstructing Amelia: What is it about summer that makes it feel completely ok to indulge in trashy reads? If you’re spending the last week of the season at the beach (or just want to feel like you’re there), you need to pick up Reconstructing Amelia. As I mentioned a few weeks back, if you liked Gone Girl and Gossip Girl, you will not be able to put this book down. It’s suspenseful without being too gruesome- exactly my kind of thriller.

 

book 1Sarah // The Creative Habit: This one is quite literally ‘on my bookshelf’, because I haven’t quite finished it yet! I wanted something a little different to read, and this title drew me in. It’s written by a famous dance choreographer (Twyla Tharp), and discusses how our daily habits can promote creativity. I’ve always thought of creativity as something that just falls in your lap, so it’s definitely a different approach than most. This may be just the thing if you’re feeling stuck creatively.

 

book3Lauren // The Sound of Things Falling: Set in Bogota, Colombia in the 1980s, The Sound of Things Falling follows the story of Antonio, a college professor who witnesses the tragic shooting of a casual acquaintance. Left in a state of fear with crippling post-traumatic stress disorder from the event, Antonio sets out to uncover the mysterious past of his murdered acquaintance. Through this journey, you’re taken into another world–of Colombia’s drug cartel era, of fate and death, of human nature, the interconnectedness of everything, and one country’s freefall. It’s a gripping must-read!

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The Last Week of Summer

August 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

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It’s the last week of summer! Kind of hard to believe, huh? Working for myself has most definitely made me more conscious of the passage of a year, likely because now the goals and my “must get done” list are much more tangible. I’m thankful for that pressure, though. It’s pushed me to take advantage of each season, and I really felt that this summer. For the first time in years I’ve felt the sun on my face and sand in my toes as much as I really needed. Well, one could always use more, but collectively this summer involved over a month on or by an ocean- the one place that without fail washes away those gnawing feelings of anxiety. In short, its my happy place.

We’ve got good eats and good reads coming your way this week. In the mean time, if you’re hankering for recipes- hit the CC recipe archive! There’s gold in there in the form of summer desserts, killers salads, and BBQ delights. Here’s to a great week.

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Weekend Wishes

August 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Shop: J.crew’s fall collection (I hope to see some pieces in person later today. These jeans and shoes caught my eye. Also, this nightshirt will be mine : ). On a funny note, I’m pretty sure my dad still has these actual sneakers from the 1980’s!)

Eat: nonstop tomates (This Tomato Crostata with Honey Thyme Glaze is at the top of my list.)

Update: your bedding (I’ve been spending some extra time with the lovely Becca lately, and it has me re-thinking my whole approach to bedding. Stay tuned for her fall collection!)

Toasted Hazelnut Lavender Biscotti

August 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Warm, muggy summer weather generally means that your oven gets to take a quick vacation from baking up favorite recipes. Instead, ice cream and s’mores find themselves in heavy rotation — which seems to be fine by most everyone. However, I’ve sort of become obsessed with biscotti recently.

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It all started when I had the classic Anise Almond version from a favorite coffee shop a few weeks ago. One bite, and I was suddenly on the hunt for the perfect recipe. A few experiments plus one impulse greenmarket purchase later, these emerged from my oven. The lavender is floral, but in no way overwhelming. I think that these will become fast friends with your afternoon iced coffee.

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Toasted Hazelnut Lavender Biscotti 

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon culinary lavender
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or more all purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup hazelnuts, chopped

Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons sanding sugar
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon

Preheat oven to 35o°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toast hazelnuts: Place hazelnuts on a second, unlined baking sheet, and bake about 4-5 minutes, or until golden. Promptly wrap in a tea towel to let them steam. After a few minutes, rub hazelnuts together within the towel to release the skins. Discard skins and set hazelnuts aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating until fluffy. Stir in lavender and extracts, followed by flour, baking powder and salt. Fold in toasted hazelnuts.

Divide the dough in half, and form into two 2-inch wide logs (wetting your hands will prevent sticking). Next, mix up the sugar and lemon zest for the topping. Moisten the tops of biscotti logs with water, and sprinkle on the lemon sugar.

Bake about 30 minutes, or until top is set and the bottom is golden brown. Let cool a few minutes before cutting into slices. Bake biscotti slices, cut side up, for 8 minutes. Flip and bake for 8 more minutes, then cool on a baking sheet.

Girl Crush: House of Earnest

August 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

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When you blog full time, you come to understand and really appreciate the original content other bloggers create, because you know first hand the incredible amount of work that goes into each post. Erin, of House of Earnest, may take the cake for the blogger who most consistently wows me when it comes to content (just check out her DIYs…). This girl does not quit! Add in the fact that she rocks a killer full time job at the same time, and well, you’ve got yourself a full on girl crush. I was so excited to ask Erin a few questions and get to know her better. Find out about her early morning methods for decompressing, the source of her endless inspiration, her go to karaoke songs, and more:

You currently live in Ohio. Have you always lived there? Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Columbus, but moved away to Nashville for college and then to Vail for a little ‘ski bum’ living after college. My husband and I moved back to Columbus to start our lives working in the ‘real world’ after our time in Vail and we’ve been here ever since. I love living in Columbus and would always consider it my ‘home base’, but do hope to experience some other places in my life as well.

Not only do you run a blog full time, you work full time! What is your day job like? How do you balance the two?
I do… It’s so difficult since…my hours are very long (12+ hour days) and I travel to Southeast Asia or India every other month or so. I really have to prepare my blog posts ahead of time and will spend a whole weekend cranking out posts to stagger during my travels. Although it’s exhausting, I absolutely love what I do (product development/design for an apparel company), and I love to travel, so I haven’t yet considered giving it up. I don’t balance it well. I work at all hours and spend every off hour photographing something or working on the blog. I need to get better at this, but I’m not quite sure how I’ll do that yet.

India and Asia- what exciting travel! What’s your favorite place you’ve visited outside the country?
It’s really hard to pin point a favorite because every trip has something that I love – I have great friends in Hong Kong, so I don’t have to be on lockdown in my hotel like I am in some cities. In India, the food is phenomenal, so I just eat as much as I can take. In Italy, it’s all awesome, but to say Italy is my favorite wouldn’t give enough credit to my love for Amsterdam. I love the Dutch culture, the cobblestone streets, gorgeous flowers, phenomenal pancakes, and all of the bikes!  I’d say that Italy is my favorite place to visit, but I could live in Amsterdam.

You have an incredibly knack for simple yet utterly brilliant DIYs. How do you dream up these projects?
I literally dream them up. I’m not going to lie, they just come to me. When the ideas don’t flow for a while, I start to panic and so I have to get away from the everyday, clear my mind, and let the ideas seep in. Maybe it’s like DIY meditation?

You and your husband have done incredible things to transform your home. Did you always have a knack for interior design and home renovation?
Always. I used to move my bedroom around all of the time when I was little. It was my favorite thing to do when my parents went out for the night. In college, I might have been the only person at that school who decided that a chandelier would be much better than the dreary overhead, so I swapped it out. I am blessed that my husband lets me do basically whatever I want to the house, because my methods can involve some trial and error!

What’s your morning routine like?
My husband and I take alternate days letting the dog out in the morning since that person has to get up earlier. When I have dog duty, I take her out, make a pot of coffee, get in the shower while the coffee is brewing and then enjoy a cup while my hair air-drys and I evaluate how the day is looking – put the finishing touches on blog posts, social media, email, calendars, etc. Then I make up my face, pour myself another cup of joe and drive to work by 8am.

What’s your evening routine like?
Both my husband and I work pretty late so we are very used to eating between 9-10pm. I get home around 8-8:30pm and start dinner right away, but I don’t make easy dinners. I love trying new things, taking my time and that usually involves something kind of elaborate. We talk and drink wine while I cook to catch up on the others day. Then we eat sitting on the floor in front of the coffee table. If I have a blog post to write for the following day, I’ll start it after dinner, but for the most part, I do a lot of the work on weekends, so the weeknight work is minimal.

Three products you can’t live without:
A good set of hot rollers (I do this everyday to my air-dried hair), My weekly/monthly planner (I’m a paper person despite my techy life), and my Nikon DSLR. It’s made a world of a difference in my blogging.

TV Addictions… and go: Homeland, Dexter, Modern Family. Luckily, they’re all on different seasons, because I only have time to watch one show!

Guilty pleasures: Red Wine and LOTS of home decor mags.

How do you decompress?
The best time for me to decompress is before the day starts. I love to wake up early on the weekends and sneak downstairs to drink a cup of coffee and read through some magazines or get my calendar sorted out. This makes me feel like I’m starting the day inspired and organized. After a bad day at work, I also like to drive home with the windows down and a cheerful song playing that I can sing to. You can’t be upset while you’re singing.

What’s something most readers wouldn’t know about you?
I used to take voice lessons and LOVE to karaoke.  I totally get my fix while I’m in China! My preference is toward Dolly Parton or Abba songs.

Thanks, Erin! It’s always refreshing to hear about someone else who’s still trying to figure out how to balance it all. And, oh yeah, we’re Abba fans too 🙂 Head over to House of Earnest now to drool over all of Erin’s fabulous work.

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