A day late and a dollar short.. But wanted to share my June Mood Board anyway! June was a busy month and as I already shared it’s birthday month for us! This year it was extra full of celebration with birthdays, parents moving, and social safe family visits. All good things, but didn’t leave much time or for posting! I’m excited to settle into July, which should be much quieter!
The hot summer air has hit in full swing, I‘m grabbing for hair clips anywhere I can find them!! These ones from The Tiny Tassel Shop caught my eye. I really like the multicolored option!
This summer we’re working on backyard projects. One spot we’re a bit too chicken to tackle yet is our shed.. It’s in dire need of restoration! I saw this how to build a greenhouse post from A Beautiful Mess and now I’m thinking maybe the shed could be turned into a cute greenhouse-esque planting station and dining space!?
Still on the topic of the backyard, we inherited a staghorn plant from my parents during their move! My parents have had it FOREVER; it was originally gifted to them as a small “pup” from a friend. I thought it’d be cute to learn how to start a staghorn and gift some pups ourselves!
In the kitchen this month I’ve been testing – and tasting! – some bread recipes! The first one was a disaster and didn’t even make it to the oven.. BUT I got some tips from a friend and things got better! She shared with me her recipe, which is very similar to this No Knead Bread. I’ve successfully made two batches now! For the second batch, I added whole roasted garlic cloves to the dough and served it with a fresh bruschetta. O.M.G. so good!!
Scallops have been on the menu recently. We made them on the stove top with a cajun spice and served them with a celery root mash. I first heard about celery root as a mashed potato alternative from the book Lunch in Paris, which has a great recipe. Or you can make them just like you would your fav mashed potatoes! Just replace the boiled potatoes with boiled celery root, so easy! We used the mashed potato recipe from this Pure Delicious cookbook! Also, these Garlic Butter Scallops from How Sweet Eats look amazing, super intrigued by the watermelon salsa!
June is a special month for our household. We celebrate all month long because it’s BOTH of our birthdays! We kick off the month with Nick’s and end it with mine. This year I turned 25!! I wasn’t sure what to expect when hitting the official quarter century mark. Would there be a cry of the quarter life crisis!?
What was actually running through my mind on the day was how proud I am of where I am now and how excited I am for where I’m going! It was the best reminder to be gracious to your today and generous to your tomorrow.
In the past, I would have easily recognized another year gone with a frenzy of self doubt and fretting over the things I “should have” accomplished by now. This year though, I didn’t and it felt powerful!
Getting to this place, where I feel settled, was not an overnight journey. It’s been a year and a half of actively working towards it. Last year, I assigned myself the project of embracing my thoughts, emotions and preferences. I wanted to challenge myself to actively learn about myself! I wasn’t perfect at it and it took a lot of practice.
This year, I have assigned myself the project of projecting my own voice. Since I was getting comfortable mentally embracing my thoughts and emotions, it was time to start recognizing and documenting them. That’s when I started journaling and gratitude lists! (Both inspired by Ashley Brooke, I admire her ability to be personable and positive.) At first it was hard and slightly awkward, like talking to a wall. But after some time, I’ve found it to be something I look forward to doing. It’s my way of capturing the little joys!
It’s not quite a daily habit, although I’d like to get there eventually! Most mornings when I sit down at my desk, cup of coffee in hand, I start my work day by dedicating a few minutes to journal and list three things I’m grateful for that day. It’s been a rewarding habit. I can tell on the days I dedicate the time to journaling I am more at peace!
I doubt I need to say it, but the world has felt noisy recently. There’s a social retreat in attempts to survive a worldwide pandemic, while sirens of social injustice calls for united action. It’s so crazy when you allow yourself to realize just how much is happening.
I saw this post and it took me a minute to let it settle. I don’t know if it’s true, but if you believe in that sort of thing you will agree that this year was destined for something big. It says, “ The last time Saturn was in Aquarius was during the Rodney King Riots. The last time Pluto was in Capricorn was during the American Revolution. Neptune was in Pisces when Rome fell. We have all 3 right now.”
What’s even crazier is that we still have half a year to go, and part of that is the next U.S. Presidential election. Plus, not only do we have global and national “noise” in our lives, but we all have our own sh*t going on. (Excuse my french!)
Recently, I’ve felt the weight of all the noise. It’s gotten harder to focus on the daily tasks. Especially while working from home with all the additional joyous distractions. I mean, who can resist a feisty kitten who delivers her favorite ball to you every hour!?
I challenged myself to find a way to help quiet the busy thoughts. One answer I’ve found is noise canceling headphones! I bought these beats about 8 months or so ago, but never became an avid user. I’ve started using them more often while working during the day and it’s made a big difference! They are so helpful when putting on the blinders and getting to work.
My next challenge was figuring out what to listen too. I have to be honest, I am becoming OBSESSED with a podcast called RomComPods. It’s a new romantic comedy fiction podcast! Only a few of this season’s episodes have been posted, but I am already HOOKED! The episodes are not long enough!!
Do you listen to podcasts or audiobooks while working?
The pure JOY that formalwear brings me is just unparalleled! I mean other than my wonderful husband, our loving families and the fur monsters 😉
To quote Charlotte from the princess and the frog, “Seems like only yesterday we were … wishing our fairy tale dreams.” It was weird to rummage through a childhood of random things lost to my closet this past weekend but it was also fun to remember the little things that ring clear to my truest self!
My prom dresses are definitely beacons of my truest self. I mean who else is going to wear the BIGGEST pink dress they can find WITH a big ass bow, without reservations!? I’ve always been one to favor the fairytale stories, and the girly dress up games. Truly, if I could wear a ball gown everyday, I probably would! I know that sounds strange, but it makes me who I am!
Is it wrong to easily think to let go of things like yearbooks (Like seriously, H.A.G.S., come on guys!?) but panic at the idea of losing my prom dresses? These dresses allowed me to live out my fairytale dreams and create memories for a lifetime! I mean truly, I was lucky enough to go to THREE proms, all with the same prince charming, who is now my forever. What yearbook page is going to do the same?
Anyway! If you’re curious, two of my favorite dress designers to follow are Oscar de la Renta and Alexia Maria. Both use classic silhouettes and feminine details, which I can not get enough of! Two of my favorite style bloggers to follow are Blair Eadie, and Jenn Lake. I am obsessed with how these ladies use color to perfectly accompany their outfits! They are #GOALS in my book. Hands down!
Not sure where I got this recipe originally. Honestly, I wrote it down in my recipe book a few years ago and never looked back! This is a super quick and easy weeknight meal with minimal dishes… what’s not to love!? You can also reserve some quinoa for an easy lunch the next day. (Next day’s salad: Add a handful of spinach, some chickpeas and a bit of feta!)
1 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth (unsalted or lower sodium)
1 cup water
2-4 salmon fillets with or without skin (about ¼ pound per serving)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne
2 tbsp olive oil
¾ cup cucumber (english), diced
¾ cup tomatoes (roma), chopped
¼ cup red onion finely diced (or less, totally a personal pref!)
4 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 lemon, zested and cut into wedges
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
First make the quinoa: in a medium pan with a lid bring the quinoa, vegetable stock and water to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer, cook about 20 min or until liquid is gone. When done, remove from heat.
While quinoa is cooking, prep the salmon. First combine the salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and cayenne. Season the salmon with the mixture.
In a large skillet over medium heat add the olive oil and place salmon skin side down, cook for 5 minutes. Flip over and cook for additional 5 minutes, or until done. Remove skin.
While the salmon is cooking, prep the fresh ingredients including the cucumber, tomatoes, onion, basil, lemon, and parsley.
Add the cucumber, tomatoes, onion, basil, and lemon zest to quinoa, toss to combine.
Serve in a shallow bowl with quinoa salad on the bottom, salmon fillet on top with a wedge of lemon and sprinkle of parsley!
This was way too good not to share! Literally could have polished off the pan but decided the leftovers would be worth waiting for! 😉 I wasn’t in the mood to fuss over rolling actual enchiladas.. So, when I saw this skillet version on What’s Gaby Cooking I figured we could give it a whirl! Possibly going to start making this dish on the weekly, is that weird?
2 tbsp olive oil
6 6-inch flour tortillas (we used whole wheat)
1 14 oz can red enchilada sauce
½ red onion, diced
1 zucchini, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped w/ stalks (save half for garnish)
1 lb ground turkey
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
Dash of cinnamon (mom’s secret!)
1 small can green chilies
1 small can full of water (Or any kind of golden beer!)
½ small can of tomato paste
1 can black beans
1 cup grated colby jack cheese
1 green onion, sliced for garnish
½ cup greek yogurt
Juice from half lime (rest in wedges)
½ tsb cayenne powder
1 clove garlic, crushed
Heat oven to 350. Grease 12 inch cast iron skillet with 1 tbsp olive oil.
Prep the veggies, including the red onion, bell pepper, zucchini and cilantro.
Heat another large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil, onion, bell pepper, zucchini and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until soft.
Add the ground turkey and ½ of the cilantro to the skillet and cook until turkey is done, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin, chilli powder, and cinnamon to the skillet, stir until evenly distributed. Add the green chilies and water/beer, stir and cook for another 2 minutes.
In the cast iron, layer the ingredients, starting with a layer of enchilada sauce followed by 3 tortillas, ½ of the veggie and turkey mixture, ½ of the black beans, and ½ of the cheese. Repeat for the second layer with the remaining sauce, tortillas, veggie turkey mix, black beans and cheese. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes uncovered, until bubbly and cheese has melted and started to brown on top.
While waiting, make the garlic lime sauce. In a small bowl, mix together the crushed garlic, lime juice, cayenne powder, and greek yogurt.
To serve, top with scallions, cilantro, creme and lime wedge!
May is here, and almost gone! Although it’s hard to believe we’re almost three months into quarantine, I really feel like Nick and I have come into our new routine nicely. We’re utilizing a seating area of the house that we NEVER used much before.. It’s quickly become my new favorite place!! Each morning we make our way to the comfy chairs to enjoy a cup of coffee and a few pages of our books!
Another space I’m excited to start using more is our backyard! We unfortunately had to remove one of the three large oak trees from our backyard. However, it was unhealthy and had lived a full life so it was time to let her go. Fortunately, we are now getting a ton more sunshine out there! I’m dreaming of eating al fresco and lounging with a book!!
Now for the good part, I’ve pulled together a few things I’ve been loving this month!
Even though we are “stuck” at home, it doesn’t mean we can’t make the everyday special!? When I saw these green wine goblets, I just had to have them. We’re using them as pretty everyday glasses and I’m obsessed!
I’ve been trying to transition to a cleaner beauty routine, this month I tried the Supergoop Glow Screen and the Honest Beauty Glow Powder. I’m loving them both! The glow screen definitely lives up to the hype, it’s so light on my skin and at the end of the day it isn’t sticky at all! The glow powder is so nice as well, it’s not as visible as the cream product I previously used but I’m loving the sheer veil effect!
While WFH I’m constantly looking for easy and flowy everyday wear wardrobe options. I’ve been wearing this green tie waist dress on repeat (plus it looks so cute with my new fav headband!) and I instantly fell in love with this watercolor skirt!
If I’m being honest, I’ve been loving these blush loafers for a few months now. I now have three pairs, including the blush, tan and blue. They are literally like walking around in your bedroom slippers.
Not sure why, but french cooking to me is just synonymous with a romantic dinner for two! Nick got me this french cookbook for Christmas and we finally made our first meal from it, the Garlic Ginger Shrimp and Spiced Chickpeas. It was delicious!!
Do you ever just crave Chinese take out!? Like after a long day of work you just can’t wait to change into some jammies with a tall glass of wine and a big bowl of lo mein? On nights like these I turn to recipes like this easy Chicken Cabbage Stir Fry. It’s guaranteed to satisfy, so grab your chopsticks and let’s get cookin’!
2 boneless/skinless chicken breast
1 tbs coconut oil
1 tsp curry powder (more or less to taste)
1 package (8 oz) lo mein noodles
5 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (about half a head of cabbage)
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup grated carrots
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoons sesame oil
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce (or tamari)
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
sriracha sauce to taste for topping
Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet or wok
Thinly slice the chicken breast and season with curry powder. Add to skillet, stirring periodically. Cook for 8-10 minutes, chicken should be fully cooked. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
While chicken is cooking, prepare veggies
Thinly slice the cabbage
Dice the yellow onion
Mince the fresh garlic and ginger
Grate the carrots
After removing the chicken from the skillet, add the cabbage, ginger, garlic, carrots, onion, and sesame oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 15-20 minutes. Cabbage should be wilted and onion softened.
While veggies are cooking, prepare noodles (according to package instructions) and mix together the stir fry sauce.
To mix the stir fry sauce add the soy sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch to a small bowl and whisk together.
Once the cabbage stir fry is done, add in the cooked chicken, noodles and stir fry sauce.
Toss over low heat for until well coated and combined, about 3 minutes.
Serve and enjoy! We topped it with Sriracha for a hint of spice!
Recently I’ve made a few Dutch oven meals because it really is the perfect way to warm up when the weather is chilly! Taking on a whole chicken isn’t as scary as it seems, the hardest part for me is carving it. My dad is kind of an expert with carving, he taught me to start with the breast and go from there.
The chicken I cooked was upside down, which I did accidentally the first time I cooked a whole bird… But the breast meat turns out really moist so maybe I should start calling it my trick!? If you are feeling adventurous, try cooking yours upside down as well and let me know how yours turns out!
Lemon & Wine Dutch Oven Chicken
1 lemon, sliced
5 garlic cloves, peeled
½ medium onion, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried parsley
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2/3-1 cup of white wine
1. Preheat oven to 375 degree
2. Stuff one slice of lemon into the chicken’s cavity with 3 garlic cloves.
3. Rub olive oil on the outside of chicken. Then generously cover the chicken with herbs, salt and pepper.
4. Place chicken in Dutch oven, pour in the wine and throw in the rest of lemon and garlic.
5. Place lid on top and cook for 1 hour, check temp. You want the temp to get to 160, if not at 160 add 20 minutes and repeat. Then remove the lid and continue cooking until it reaches the safe internal temperature of 165 degrees for a chicken.
6. After removing from oven let sit for about 10 minutes to allow the juices to rest.
I know its not the season for this pie… But we have to do what we want, because life is short!
If I had to pick my absolute favorite kind of cooking I would say baking a pie. And if I had to pick my favorite pie to make I’d say Mixed Berry Pie. There are tons of recipes out there that are a variation of this pie but this recipe is mine. Out of trial and reassessing this is what turns out the best in my opinion. I hope you enjoy making it as much as I do!!
Place half of pastry on wax paper
2. Press down to start flattening pastry
3. Roll out pastry to about 12 inch circle
4. Pull off top layer of wax paper
5. Transfer pastry to empty pie pan
6. Roll out top pastry and using a knife, or a rolling cutter, cut pastry into strips
7. Fill lined dish with fruit filling and weave top pastry
8. Seal top and bottom pastry by pressing down edges with thumb
Spring Berry Pie
1 cup quartered strawberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blue berries
1 cup blackberries
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Mix all together in a medium bowl and let sit for about 20 minutes.
2/3 cup pluse 2 tablespoons shortening
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out top and bottom pie pasties. Line pie pan with on pastry and fill with fruit filling. Lay top pastry over top the fruit. Seal top and bottom pastries along side of pie pan with thumb. Cut 4-8 vent in the top pastry.
Mix together all ingredients with your hands. Start with 4 tablespoons of cold water and if dry add 5th tablespoon. Split dough in half. To avoid the messy flour situation roll crust in between two pieces of wax paper to a 12-inch circle. (If paper slides wet the counter top just slightly)
Transfer pastry to pie pan and pour the filling into the pan. Roll out the second half of the pastry. Place pastry on top and fold top pastry under access bottom pastry. Seal fold with thumbs. Cut 4-8 vent in the top pastry. Cover top of pie with tin foil, and place in hot oven. Bake 30 min or until filling is boiling. Remove tin foil and bake an additional 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.