May 19, 2015

Workwear: Classic

 


{Black Trousers ~ INC via Macy's / Black and White Boat Neck Sweater ~ Liz Claiborne / Black Patent Oxfords ~ Amazon / Denim Jacket ~ H&M / Turquoise Tote ~ Aldo}
 
Hello friends!  Black and white stripes will always be considered "classic" in my book. An outfit like this can very well be considered my spring uniform in the office.  Unless I am feeling particularly fancy, I will most likely have on a simple top, trousers or ankle pants and a cute pair of flats.  A pink lip always brightens things up and you really can't go wrong popping a jean jacket over a black and white ensemble.  Five minute outfits is what I like to call them. Easy and definitely preferred on a Monday. :)
 
I hope you are having a great week!
 
xoxo, thanks for reading! ♥
 
 
 
 

May 18, 2015

Creamy Toasted Onion, Spinach and Parmesan Orzo

I am so excited to share this deliciously easy recipe for the perfect side dish!  I am in so in love with the shape and texture of orzo.  They key though is to cook this until it's al dente – meaning that it still has a chewy bite to it.  The last thing you want is a soggy pot of pasta.  And although orzo is considered pasta,  this somehow feels like a rice dish.  ...an amped up rice dish that is so easy to make and comes out perfect every single time.  I always have the ingredients to make this on hand so this has become a regular in my kitchen.  And I never hear any complaints – it is so good!
 
Ingredients:
1 Box Orzo Pasta
1 Bag Fresh Spinach
1/2 Stick Butter
1 Medium Onion, chopped
1 Clove Garlic, minced (or 1 Tablespoon Jarred Garlic)
1 Half Pint Heavy Cream
Heaping 1/2 Cup Fresh Parmesan Cheese {plus a few extra tablespoons}
1 Teaspoon Ground Sage
Salt and Pepper to Taste
 
 
 

{In a large pot of GENEROUSLY salted water, cook your orzo.}
 
 
{While your pasta cooks, chop your fresh spinach and set aside.}

{Be sure to set a timer and cook your orzo according to the package directions for al dente pasta! Mine cooked for 9 minutes.}

{Once cooked, drain the orzo, add the spinach and set aside.  The hot pasta will wilt and slightly cook the spinach.}

{Next, in a large sauce pan over medium heat, start to sauté your chopped onion in the butter.  Let them begin to brown for about 5 minutes then add your garlic. Season with salt and pepper.}

{Reduce the heat to medium low and let the onions and garlic get brown and toasty.  This will take about another 7 minutes or so.}

{Once the onions and garlic are fragrant and toasty, add in your heavy cream and let it bubble and thicken for a minute or so.}

{Add in your parmesan cheese and ground sage. Mix it well and let it cook for a minute more.}

{The cheesy cream sauce will thicken nicely.  Next add in your orzo and spinach mixture.}

{Add in a few more tablespoons of parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.}

{Mix well to combine / taste for seasoning.}

{Top with another sprinkle of parmesan, serve and ENJOY! Look at those brown toasted onion bits.  Little bursts of flavor. Yum!}

This is a really addicting dish with TONS of flavor.  I am not exaggerating when I say I could probably eat an entire pot.  LOL!  It pairs perfectly with any main dish {especially grilled salmon, yum!}, although I have eaten it on its own and was completely satisfied!
 
xoxo, thanks for reading! ♥
 
 

May 8, 2015

Jord Watches Review – My Mother's Day Treat!

 
The best thing about Mother's Day for me is not only do I get to celebrate and honor my amazing mother and shower her with flowers, cards, balloons, and a gift {three outfits this year! YAY!} but also get to celebrate being a mom!  The job isn't easy but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.  I have been blessed with great children and a perfect husband who makes sure to show me that I am appreciated – not only on Mother's Day, but everyday.  And I always joke that I am spoiled all year but more spoiled than a rotten apple on Mother's Day.  {....and my birthday too, but that's another story, LOL!}
 
When I was given the opportunity to review this gorgeous wood watch by JORD Watches I was so excited! And I was even more ecstatic when I found out it would be here in time for me to rock on Mother's Day.
 
I headed straight to the website and was completely blown away by these gorgeous works of art! Each one was more gorgeous than the next.  I am a big fan of being unique and rocking things that are outside of the box and knew I HAD to have a wood watch.  It's such a special piece. The dial, the case, the band... it's all made of wood.  I thought it would be heavy but it's really lightweight and fits perfectly snug on my wrist – which is just how I like my watches to fit. :) 
 
If you know me, you know I have been obsessed with rose gold lately ...OBSESSED! So selecting this gorgeous rose gold beauty was a no-brainer. LOL!
 




 
....and it goes perfectly well with my rose gold Tory Burch Reva Flats. WIN!

 
 
I am completely in love!  Browse the complete collection of wooden watches, here, if you'd like.  I am dying to get my hands on the Zebrawood and Turquoise beauty!
 
I hope you all enjoy your Mother's Day and / or enjoy celebrating a mother in your life.
 
P.S. Follow me on Instagram for my Mother's Day shenanigans. It's going to be a beautiful weekend!
 
xoxo, thanks for reading! ♥
 
 
 
Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary product for this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.


May 7, 2015

Braised Kale, Collard and Mustard Greens with Smoked Turkey

Baaaaaaaabyyyyy. These greens will be the end all be all to your Sunday dinners, family functions, potlucks, gatherings, ...everything.  If you've ever had GOOD greens – whether it be a mix of them {like what I am posting here} or solely collards, kale, or mustard – you know how important the taste and texture is.  They can't be TOO cooked down and mushy, there still needs to be some bite to them.  Speaking of, I actually prefer that some of the stems be kept, for added texture.  Flavor is also very important.  Which is why braising them is my favorite way to prepare greens.  It allows the "pot liquor", the liquid in the pot of which you cook or braise the greens, to seep into the leaves, giving incredible flavor. Total cooking time for this dish is about 4 hours – mainly for the turkey tails to cook down.  I cook them separately as they require a longer cooking time.  Feel free to start your smoked turkey in the morning {or night before} so that they are waiting to be used when the time comes to add them to the greens.  The meat becomes really tender without compromising the texture of the greens, which only takes about an hour or so to braise.
 
Ok, enough rambling on to the recipe!
 
Ingredients:
 
1-2 Pounds Smoked Turkey {I used turkey tails but wings work well too!}
1/2 Stick Butter
1 Large Onion, Diced
1 16 Ounce Bag of Collard Greens
1 16 Ounce Bag of Kale Greens
1 16 Ounce Bag of Mustard Greens
1 32 Ounce Box + 1 16 Ounce Can of Chicken Stock
1/2 Cup of Dry White Wine
1 Tablespoon Seasoning Salt
2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
2 Teaspoons Black Pepper
2 Teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 Bay Leaves
Salt to taste
 
 

{The first step, about 3 hours before you begin to prepare your greens, is to add the smoked turkey meat {or the meat you decide to use} to a pot and cover with water.  I always use "turkey tails" which I think has a perfect amount of skin, meat and fat.  Cook this for about 3 hours so the meat cooks down and gets tender.  This will be used to add excellent flavor to the greens.}

{In a really large stock pot, over medium high heat, add your 1/2 stick butter and begin to sauté your diced onion.  Season with salt and pepper. This will be the start to your "pot liquor" – or the most flavorful liquid ever – to cook your greens in.}



{To the sautéed onions, add in your chicken broth, white wine and the sugar, vinegar, seasoning salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and bay leaves.}

{Let this flavorful mixture come to a rolling boil then reduce the heat to low. Let this simmer for about 15 minutes.  IMPORTANT: remove your bay leaves before adding the greens!}

 
{Begin to layer your greens in the pot.  If you are using one type of greens, they should also be added in layers.  After each layer of greens, lightly season with salt and push them down into the simmering liquid.  There are LOT of greens being cooked – so we want to be sure they are seasoned well. :) I added the kale first...}


{Then the collards.  Again, lightly season with salt and then push the greens down into the liquid.}
 

{Lastly, I added the mustard greens.  Stir them well, making sure the greens have all been submerged in the yummy cooking liquid.}

{Let the greens cook down over really low heat for about 30 minutes.... there shouldn't be too much liquid but there should be enough "pot liquor" to braise them nicely.}

{Once your smoked turkey meat has been cooked down {which takes about 3 hours}, break it / chop it up into bite-sized chunks.}

{Add the chopped meat and the cooking liquid to the pot of simmering greens.}

{Let the greens and the smoked turkey cook together over low heat for at least 30 minutes so that the flavors meld. :)...or longer!}



{And you will have a perfect pot of greens.  Serve and enjoy! I doused mine with a ton of hot sauce before eating, of course. LOL!  I am so thrilled to have a great recipe for braised greens.  A good pot of greens is essential at a GOOD southern-style dinner.  Greens, potato salad and cornbread... with ANY main meat dish - specifically fried chicken? Perfection, I tell ya.  PERFECTION!} 
 
Let me know if you plan to try this one. :)
 
xoxo, thanks for reading! ♥
 
 

May 5, 2015

Kicked Up Chicken Queso Dip

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I thought it would be fun to finally post this easy and insanely flavorful recipe that I have been making for parties for a really long time.  If I had to describe this dish in one word it would be: ADDICTING.  The flavors are insanely crave-able. Whenever I make it, it disappears in record time – so be sure to make plenty.  Fortunately, this recipe can easily be doubled (or tripled) it's a must try for your next party!  Aaaand, this post will be live early enough for you to whip this up tonight to eat while sipping on a margarita to celebrate Cinco de Mayo!
 
Ingredients:
 
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion
1 Small Red Pepper
1 Package of Ground Chicken
1 Packet of Taco Seasoning
1 Teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper {optional}
1 Can Refried Beans
1 23 ounce can of Tostitos Salsa Con Queso
6 Green Onions, Chopped
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar
1 Teaspoon Paprika
Tortilla Chips {Scoops!} for dipping
 
 
 
{The initial cast of characters.  And yes, I understand that there are a few store-bought components but that is what makes this dish EASY.  I could easily whip up a from-scratch queso sauce but quite frankly, this Tostitos brand is the BOMB and I didn't want to. LOL!}

{Start off with sautéing your chopped onion and pepper in the olive oil over medium high heat until golden brown, about 8 minutes.}

{Once the onions and peppers are brown, add in your ground chicken, breaking it up well to evenly cook.  This will take about 10 minutes.}

{Once the chicken is golden brown, add in your packet of taco seasoning.}

{Mix this well to combine and reduce the heat to low.  This is where I added in the crushed red pepper flakes for added spice but this is optional.}

{While the flavors are melding in the ground chicken mixture, heat the can of refried beans in a small saucepan over medium heat.  I used vegetarian refried beans as the regular ones are made with lard.  No thank you!}

{Once the beans have warmed through and are nice and soft, add them to the ground chicken and taco mixture.}

{Now add your delicious queso. YUM!}

{Mix this well and let this warm through for a minute or so.}

{Pour the chicken and queso mixture in a casserole dish.}


{Top it with the chopped green onions, cheddar cheese and sprinkle the top with paprika for color.}

{Bake this in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese melts and starts to bubble on the edges.  AMAZING!!}

 
 
{Serve HOT with tortilla chips.  I prefer the Multigrain Scoops for dipping – the slightly sweet flavor and texture of them go really well with this savory and cheesy dip.}

I hope you'll give this a try for your next event... I guarantee this will be the star of your next party!  I can't even begin to describe how good this is.  Pair this with an icy cold margarita and I am one happy girl! :)
 
xoxo, thanks for reading!
 
 

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