September 26, 2012

Pajama Stripes

This month has been so insanely busy, I haven't had time to even think about updating the blog.  In fact, this is the least I've posted in a month... since blogging.
 
Not having the time and letting days go by without posting, actually made the desire of blogging dwindle more and more.  I was quite amazed, actually.
 
But then I started going through my blog archives and was smiling thinking about how my outfits were an absolute reflection of certain periods in my life over the last 2 years.  I started remembering pieces that I love but haven't worn in forever. I was also drooling over some of the recipes that I had posted.  Especially this one. Must. Make. Again! In short, blogging makes me happy. :)
 
September is historically busier than normal for my family with school starting. We are finally getting acclimated to new school schedules.  Cory started middle school - which is a totally different animal for us.  He is also taking a reallllllllllly early school bus now and just signed up for after-school activities.
 
But things are finally getting settled and we are enjoying this new routine.  I am especially enjoying the extra hour in the morning: taking my time getting ready and being able to think about and grab breakfast before leaving. I've been loving warm hard boiled eggs.  Sprinkled with sea salt and coarse ground pepper. Yum!
 
I have to find the right balance.  And I am confident that I will. :) Busy is good & I wouldn't have it any other way!
 
{Steel Gray Trousers ~ INC via Macy's ~ Navy and White Pajama Stripe Silk Blouse ~ Thrifted / Navy and Gold Suede Belt ~ Thrifted / Gray Snakeskin Leather Pumps ~ Isaac Mizrahi / Gold Doorknocker Earrings ~ Thrifted / Gucci "Joy" Boston Satchel}
 
 
xoxo, thanks for reading! ♥

September 20, 2012

Easy Creamy Chicken and Orzo Soup

I love the idea of having soup for dinner on a chilly evening in the fall.  With a nice big slice of cornbread. Mmm. I could eat cornbread with every meal. :)  Because soups can sometimes take a couple of hours to cook, simmer and get really good, I came up with this quick and easy recipe. It took about 30 minutes, tops and was so comforting and delicious! I hope you try it and love it as much as we did.
 
Ingredients:
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 32 ounce boxes of chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 box of orzo pasta
1 whole rotisserie, pulled from the bone and chopped
1/2 stick of butter
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 packet of Knorr garlic and herb sauce mix
3 tablespoons of flour + 2 tablespoons of water {for the slurry}
Salt and pepper
 
{Every good soup recipe starts with plenty of diced carrots, celery and onion.  :) Dice your veggies into small pieces of the same size, if possible.}
 
{And in my opinion, the best chicken recipes involve a store-bought rotisserie chicken. LOL! I love using them as a shortcut in a variety of dishes. Not only is a rotisserie an inexpensive addition, it adds tons of flavor to whatever it is you're making.}
 
{Pull the chicken off the bone, discarding {or eating!} the skin. chop it into bite sized pieces and set aside.}
 
{In a large pot with a lid, over medium heat, melt your butter.  I have an old large cast iron pot that my mom gave me.  The lid is missing though, so I have to cover it with a plate when I need to. LOL! But it's awesome and I love it.}
 
 
{Sautee your veggies in the butter until they are slightly soft but not mushy. Season well with salt and pepper.}
 
{Add in the garlic and herb sauce mix packet. These are easy flavor boosters.  I've used the sauce mix packets to make everything from soups to stir fry. :)}
 
 
 
{After you sprinkle in your sauce mix, add the chopped chicken and mix well.}
 
 
 
{Add the chicken broth to the pot, stir then cover.}
 
{While your soup is coming to a simmer, you need to work in your {seasoned!} slurry to thicken it. In a bowl, mix the flour and cold water. Add in the onion powder and seasoning salt until well combined.}
 
{Add the slurry to the simmering soup and stir.}
 
{Add the heavy cream.  Begin to bring to another simmer.  Taste here for salt.  Make sure your soup has plenty of flavor!}
 
{Once the soup comes to a low boil, add the orzo.}
 
{Mix well and cover to let the orzo cook, about 7 minutes or so.  Continue to heat through until ready to serve.} 
 
 
{Serve it piping hot with nice big spoon. :)}
  
{It's nice and thick.  Creamy but not goopy and has tons of flavor.  So satisfying! Especially when you want something comforting after a long day of work.}
 
I hope you try it, you should make it tonight! :) Enjoy! 
 
xoxo, thanks for reading! ♥

September 12, 2012

Bright Silk Blazers

 
  
 
{Mustard Yellow + Hot Pink Silk Blazers ~ Thrifted / Navy Trousers ~ NY&Co / Black Skinny Trousers ~ Torrid / Graphic Tank ~ Forever 21+ / White Tee ~ Old Navy / Teal Reva Flats ~ Tory Burch / Black Patent Brogues ~ ASOS}
 
 
I added this bright mustard yellow silk blazer to my collection recently and it has to be my favorite!  I love how bright the color is and how it looks against my brown skin.  This sort of simple outfit {blazer, trousers, simple top and flats} has been my go-to lately. It's perfect for the office and the temps have been cool enough to wear a blazer without hesitation {though I wore them all summer long since it is as cold as a meat locker in my office!}.
 
I may be in a little style rut, I think it's because I am not yet excited about fall fashion and can't let go of bright colors and lighter fabrics.  I did purchase a couple of pieces for the cooler weather {including boots!} but I am too concerned with what to pack on our Caribbean cruise next month; I have vacation on the brain! :)
 
I will hopefully get it together soon, the chill in the air and leaves turning is pretty exciting!
 
Have you been transitioning your wardrobe for the fall weather? :) Bought any cute pieces lately?
 
xoxo, thanks for reading! ♥
 
 

September 7, 2012

Zesty + Creamy Seafood Pasta Salad

I went all summer without making a cold pasta salad so I said I would finally make one on Labor Day weekend. And I did just that, last Sunday. It was creamy, flavorful and delicious. And yes, I did use imitation crab meat. :) My mom always has and we love it! So sweet and delicious. Speaking of, I'll have to share one of her recipes that uses imitation crab meat as the main main ingredient. So simple and so good!
 
Here's what you will do for this creamy salad:
Ingredients:
 
1 box of cooked pasta {I used jumbo macaroni noodles. It doesn't matter which one you chose, as long as it has "ridges"}
1/2 cup chopped and very lightly steamed fresh broccoli
1/2 cup chopped tomato {I quartered some grape tomatoes}
1/2 cup chopped seeded cucumber
1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup red pepper, finely chopped
1 cup {I used a full pound!} of chopped imitation crab meat
1/2 cup steamed and chopped shrimp
1 packet of Good Seasons Zesty Italian Salad Dressing and Recipe Mix
1 cup mayo
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Paprika to sprinkle on the top {optional}
 
 
{Gather your ingredients.  This is an easy chop and drop recipe. You will want to make this at least 2 hours in advance.  The longer it chills, the better the flavors will be.}

{Boil your pasta in generously salted water.  A hearty noodle with ridges is perfect for this dish, as the dressing will coat and stick to every piece. Drain it and set aside.}

{Quickly steam your chopped fresh broccoli for about a minute.  You could also just blanch them in boiling water for a few seconds. Remember to keep some CRUNCH on them and immediately rinse in cold water to stop the cooking.}
 
{Halve or quarter your grape tomatoes.} 

{Chop your steamed shrimp in bite sized pieces.}

{Seed your cucumber by scraping the inside...}

{...then give it a nice small dice}

{Chop your red pepper in smaller pieces.}

{Chop your imitation crab meat into chunky bite-sized pieces.  I get my "crab" {made from cod/pollock} from the seafood counter.  The packages sitting out over near the seafood spices always seem so slimy to me.  I used a full pound for this recipe, it was nice and hearty.}

{Chop your green onion nice and fine.}

{Here's everything all chopped and ready to be mixed in with the pasta and dressing.  Feel free to add anything else or substitute as you wish! :) My mom makes hers with red onion, instead of green and green pepper instead of red.  She also uses spaghetti noodles!}

{Here's what you will need for the dressing, which is a cross between a vinaigrette and a creamy one.

{In the bottom of a huge mixing bowl, start to add the dressing ingredients.  First, the Good Seasons packet {which I absolutely love for all of my dressings for all kinds of salads!!}}

{Add in the oil and vinegar.}

{Add the mayo and sprinkle on the herbs.  Generously salt and pepper to taste. This is a lot of salad that needs seasoning, you want it to have good FLAVOR! :)}

{Mix well with a whisk until well combined.}

{To the bowl of dressing, add in your drained {really well} pasta.}

{Then your veggies and seafood!}

{Mix, mix, mix! Taste, taste, taste! Make sure it's seasoned well with salt and pepper.  Add in more mayo if more creaminess is desired. If it looks "wet" that's ok, the pasta will absorb the dressing a bit while it chills.}

{Sprinkle the top with paprika and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before enjoying it!}
 
We had this on Sunday with hamburgers from the grill to celebrate the end of the summer. Now that summer is just about done, it's time to savor soups, stews and comfort foods.  I have an amazing soup recipe coming up soon, I just have to get around to typing the post out. :)
 
Do you make/like creamy pasta salad? I would love to know how you make yours.
 
xoxo, thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend! ♥
 



September 6, 2012

60's Sheath




  


{60's Printed Shift Dress ~ c/o Simply Be / Fuchsia Suede Pumps ~ Nine West / Teal Wooden Dangle Earrings ~ Vintage}

The minute I got the new Simply Be catalog in the mail, I was creating a wish list in my head. LOL!  It was so hard narrowing down my super long list to just one item that I wanted to review from the fall collection.  I chose this gorgeous 60's Printed Shift Dress because of the print and vibrant fall colors.  By the end of the day today, I knew I had made the right decision.  Not only did I feel perfectly fancy in it, I got tons of compliments and it was so comfortable to wear.  I just love sheath / shift dresses.  The silhouette is really simple but so pretty and lady-like. 

Simply Be {US and UK both carry the same items} has such an amazing selection of cuteness for sizes -10-28, I am never disappointed.  I just ordered this fab little number for our cruise next month. :)

Are you a fan of the sheath dress?


xoxo, thanks for reading! ♥

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