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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Kale Ricotta and Feta Pie

I've been on a huge kale kick lately. I love making salads, sauteing it in the morning with an over easy egg, and putting it in my smoothies. It's definitely a veggie that grows on you, when I first tasted kale I wasn't crazy about I'm trying to put it in everything! And thus, kale and ricotta pie was born.

Savory pie definitely gives conventional, sweet pie a  run for its money. While of course sweet pies are awesome, savory pies can be eaten in the morning (this pie is awesome with an egg on top for breakfast), for lunch and dinner. It's a super multi-tasker. And even though it's full of cheese, it's also full of kale which is super good for you. One cup of kale has 684% of your daily vitamin K...684%!! wowza.

For this pie I used my trusty store bought pie crust. I know, I'm a terrible food blogger. They are just so easy and fool proof! I used low-fat ricotta, but feel free to use whatever kind you like. It turned out so yummy...I'm actually gonna go have a slice of this right now!

Kale Ricotta and Feta Pie
Pie crust (I used store bought)
6 cups fresh kale, washed and chopped
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 tbs. olive oil

2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup feta cheese
2 eggs
Cherry tomamtoes
1/2 tbs. basil
1 tsp. rosemary
salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large frying pan, add olive oil, garlic and onion and cook over medium heat until onions are soft. Add kale and balsamic vinegar and cook until kale begins to wilt slightly. Be careful not to burn the kale! Turn off heat and cover.

2. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and eggs. Add basil, rosemary and salt and pepper to taste. Fold in feta cheese and parmesan. Add cooked kale.

3. Prepare pie crust in your pie pan. Pour ricotta mixture onto pie crust and smooth with spatula. Cut cherry tomatoes in half, and push them into filling (inside of the tomato facing up).

4. Cover pie with foil and place in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until crust has become golden brown. Uncover pie, and cook for another 10-15 minutes, checking on it every so often so curst doesn't burn. Let cool for about 1 hour before cutting.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My Style: Black, White & Stripes All Over

Blouse: Kensie (Macy's)
Skirt: Tee by Big Star (Macy's)
Necklace: Francesca's
Shoes: Urban Outfitters

There are a few reasons why I could never be a "real" fashion blogger. One of them is all my stuff is usually bought on sale, so it's tricky to link back to items. Also, I just don't think I have enough clothes. I would be really interested in seeing fashion bloggers closets...they must be huge! But the main reason is dressing up in cute "blog-worthy" clothing
everyday must be exhausting! I've gotta have jean and t-shirt days every now and then.

Oh, and one more thing. Sometimes it's just weird to see an outfit on your body in pictures. I feel like a picture gives a pretty good representation of how people see you, which can be a little surprising. Sometimes what I thought looked good in the mirror suddenly doesn't look quite as flattering, or the opposite! Any other fashion bloggers have this experience?

It might sound a little boring, but black and white is one of my favorite color combos to wear. It's just so easy and makes mixing patterns really simple. I'm also a huge fan of pops of color, and black and white outfits set that up perfectly. What are you favorite color combos to wear?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ice Cream Sunday: Kahlua Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream with Caramel Swirl

If I don't have my coffee by 2 pm, I usually get a headache and experience an overall lack of motivation to do anything. Yes, my name is Amanda, and I'm a caffeine addict. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, but believe me, I have no intention to "fix" this problem. Sorry, not sorry.

Coffee is simply necessary, and I will not apologize for that. Coffee flavored anything, and I'm totally on board.

Coffee ice cream is brilliant. Kahlua is just genius.

Wait, Kahlua ice cream? Oh lordy.

Wait, wait...there's also chocolate and caramel? Let's do this.

Okay, yes...these instructions look really complicated. I swear it's not hard, this ice cream just involves making a few different components. Basically you need to make the custard, the caramel sauce (you could always just use store bought caramel) and you have to chop up the chocolate chunks. See, not that hard. You're totally capable! Let's make some awesome ice cream.

**Just a little side note, this ice cream never really got firm, and I'm guessing it's because of the alcohol in the Kahlua. It was still delicious, but was soft and melted fairly quickly. If you want a super hard ice cream, this may not be your thing.

Kahlua Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream with Caramel Swirl 
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup kahlua
6 egg yolks
2 large tablespoons instant coffee
1/2 cup sugar

Caramel Swirl (Recipe adaptedfrom Food Network)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup half-and-half
4 tablespoons butter 
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon kahlua

Also Need:
4.25 oz. chocolate (I used one large dark chocolate Hershey's bar), roughly chopped

1. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, cream, kahlua, instant coffee and sugar. Bring to a light boil and remove from heat and let cool slightly. 
2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks. Once cream mixture has cooled slightly, add one cup into eggs while whisking. Add another cup of cream mixture to eggs, then add the egg mixture back into the cream mixture (in the saucepan). 
3. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
5. Remove from heat and strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer. 
6. Pour this mixture into an airtight container, place in the fridge and let cool completely. 

Caramel Swirl:
1. Mix the brown sugar, cream, and butter into a medium saucepan and turn on medium heat. 
2. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes until sauce thickens. Add salt and kahlua and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so to thicken further. 
3. Turn heat off, and let cool slightly. Transfer mixture into an airtight container and place in fridge to cool completely. 

Let's put it all together!
1. Pour custard into ice cream maker and let churn until the texture of soft serve. Add chocolate chunks.
2. Transfer half of ice cream mixture into a small, fairly flat container (I used a small casserole dish). Using a spatula, smooth mixture flat, then drizzle caramel sauce on top. Cover this with the remaining ice cream mixture, smooth out and cover again with more caramel. 
3. Place in freezer for several hours, or until completely frozen. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

fall footwear favorites

Of course summer is great due to the warm weather and long days. But when it comes to style and clothing, I'm all about fall! Layers, deeper tones, scarves and boots are all right up my alley. Here are a few shoes I've got on my fall wish list! I'm not wishing summer away...but fall leaves, fall!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tropical Citrus Sangria

Generally, I'm a red wine kinda girl. White wine just doesn't seem like wine to me...I feel like I'm drinking juice. I realize wine is juice, but white just doesn't have the bitterness and substance of red. Despite my red wine preference, white has begun to grow on me thanks to the awesome summer we are having. Cold red wine just doesn't work, so white it is!

Before making this I researched some white wine sangria recipes, and was a little surprised how sweet they all sounded! Additional sugar, juice, and soda? Yikes. Instead of adding all that sugar, I opted for a sweeter wine (riesling) and depended on the juice from the fruit to give it flavor. It was plenty sweet, totally refreshing and I wasn't missing my red wine at all.

Tropical Citrus Sangria
1.5 liters white wine (I used Barefoot Riesling)
1 cup coconut water
1 cup white rum (optional)
1/2 fresh pineapple, cubed
1 fresh mango, cubed
1 lime, sliced
1/2 lemon, sliced
fresh mint leaves (about 7-10 leaves)

1. In a large pitcher, add pineapple, mango, lime and lemon. Using a large spoon, crush fruit slightly to release juice.
2. In a small cup, muddle mint leaves slightly and add to pitcher. Add wine and rum, if desired.
3. Place pitcher in the fridge for several hours to allow mixture to chill completely. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Style: Mint & Mermaids

Top: Mine (that's the brand...haha)
Necklace: Macy's
Shoes: Lucky Brand (old)
Jeans: Vigoss

"The Little Mermaid," was my favorite Disney movie when I was little, by far. I would watch it almost every morning and wished I was a mermaid so badly. I watched it for the first time in years a while ago, and had mixed feelings about it. Of course I still enjoyed it, but the message seemed a little iffy. "Hey girls, you don't need a voice, just rely on your good looks to get the guy!"

This message is probably lost on little kids, but it did make me wonder if it manifests somehow in the future. Anyway, for some reason this outfit kinda reminded me of The Little Mermaid...must be the color of the shirt or something. What was your favorite Disney movie growing up?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ice Cream Sunday: Chocolate Nutter Butter Ice Cream

When I was brainstorming what ice cream to make for this week, I realized I haven't made chocolate ice cream yet (well, Nutella ice cream kinda counts). How this happened, I'm not quite sure. So, I set out to make the creamiest, richest, most chocolatey ice cream I could. I am happy to report this mission was accomplished.

This chocolate ice cream means seriously business. Think frozen chocolate ganache. Extremely rich and creamy, one scoop is sure to satisfy your chocolate cravings. But when it's this good...why stop at satisfied? The Nutter Butter cookies add that perfect crunch and bit of saltiness.

Speaking of Nutter Butters, I feel like these cookies are seriously underrated. They are so good! I remember in elementary school, whenever a kid would bring these as a snack for the class, they were a hero for the rest of the day. Following that logic, you'll be a hero when you make this ice cream.

Chocolate & Nutter Butter Ice Cream
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 tbs. cocoa powder
4 egg yolks
1/8 cup sugar
Nutter Butter cookies, roughly chopped (I used about 10-15)

1. Add milk, whipping cream and chocolate into a saucepan and turn on medium low heat. Stir frequently until chocolate is melted and mixture is thoroughly combined. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
2. In a stand mixer (or electric hand mixer) whip egg yolks and sugar until eggs lighten in color.
3. Whisking constantly, slowly add chocolate mixture into egg mixture. Return mixture into the saucepan and stir over medium-low for several minutes. Once custard has thickened slightly, place into an airtight container and let cool for several hours to overnight in the refrigerator.
4. Place custard into ice cream machine until the texture of soft serve. Add Nutter Butter cookies, and transfer into an airtight container and let freeze for several hours to overnight.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A S'mores Experiment

Let's not pretend that camping isn't just an elaborate scheme to make s'mores. Cause we all know it totally is. It just wouldn't be camping without them! So while on our little camping trip, I decided to conduct a little experiment. Sure, s'mores are great...but what if we replaced the chocolate with candy instead? My hypothesis was s'mores with candy would be awesome, and it was fully supported.

I chose Reese's, Rollos and Snickers as my variables. Of course honey graham crackers and marshmallows were present. For each s'more, I roasted two marshmallows so there would be one on top of the candy, and one on the bottom. This helped the chocolate melt more. Yuum!

First was the Reese's s'more. The shape of the Reese's made it really easy to layer and eat, and the peanut butter added a nice saltiness. Because of it's flat, thin shape, it melted the best out of the three.

 I'm a little biased because Snickers are my favorite candy bar, but this was my favorite. I think it was the saltiness and texture of the peanuts. The caramel didn't hurt either. Tommy agreed this one was the best, it just has a lot of good things going on.

Last was the Rollo s'more! Pretty dang tasty. I used three Rollo's to keep things even. I wish the caramel would have melted more, in hindsight a Caramello bar probably would have worked better. Although it was yummy, it was probably my least favorite...dare I say it was too sweet?

Have you ever gotten creative with your s'mores? If so, what did you do? I'm thinking about bringing some Nutella on the next camping trip :).

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Camping at Douglas Fir Campground

Growing up, camping was a huge part of summertime. We went quite often and I have so many great memories from it. There is just something about eating food cooked by a flame, sleeping on the ground, feeling like you can see every star in the sky at night, and doing a whole lot of nothing. As a kid I remember being bored a lot; it's amazing how doing nothing becomes so awesome when you're an adult! Haha.

Tommy and I decided to camp for a few nights at the Douglas Fir campsite, about one hour east of our house. It was a great little getaway, although it was hard to be without phone and internet for two nights! We spent a lot of time reading by the river, drinking beer, making awesome campfire food (hotdogs, steak, bacon and eggs, and smores!) and chatting by the fire.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Peach, Brie, Bacon & Basil Sandwich

Sometimes you want a grilled cheese. And sometimes, you want a grilled cheese that changes your day. This is that grilled cheese. Sweet, salty, crunchy, melty and a little earthy. Oh so delicious. I made one for Tommy a few days ago, and he said it may be the best thing he has ever eaten. Mission accomplished.

Making a grilled cheese certainly isn't rocket science, but there are a few things that need to happen for the best results. First, we need cheese in between every ingredient. It's our glue, and we want our grilled cheese to be one solid sandwich. Next, we need to be patient. Don't crank up the heat right away! Let the inside get all melty and delicious, then turn up the heat a bit to develop a nice crispy outside. Once it's done, let it sit for a few minutes to cool; we don't want all our ingredients to run out!

Peach, Brie, Bacon & Basil Sandwich
1/2 peach, cut into slices
Brie, about 7-8 slices
2 pieces cooked bacon, chopped into bits
Fresh basil leaves, about 6
2 slices of artisan bread (I used sourdough)
Fresh ground pepper

1. On a piece of sliced bread, place basil followed by a couple slices of brie. Follow this with bacon pieces, more brie, peach slices, then more brie. Sprinkle with fresh pepper. Top with another piece of bread, then butter both sides of the bread.
2. Heat pan to medium-low heat, and let the inside of the sandwich get melty. Once the inside is melted, turn up heat to get both sides of bread golden brown (if they aren't already).
3. Let sit for a few minutes, and then dig in!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Style: A Little Bit Minnie

Blouse: Urban Outfitters
Skirt: MADE (Macy's)
Shoes: Franco Sarto
Belt: Forever21
Purse: Francesca's 

When I first laid eyes on this skirt, I told myself I didn't need it. And of course, well, I don't. But as I watched it go more and more on sale (one of the pros and cons of working at the mall) I was able to rationalize it. Yes, polka dots are starting to take over my closet. But it's black and white and will go with anything, I can wear it with tights for fall, and it has the best  little swing to it. See, I just convinced you to get it too! Hah.

It's so crazy to think July is half way done. Fall will be here before we know it, and then the holidays. Tommy and I are moving into a new place the 1st of September (also Tommy's birthday) and I'm really excited about it. I will definitely miss our little house with its huge kitchen, yard, garage and privacy. But it will be nice to get a fresh start in a place that doesn't have so many issues. 

On a totally unrelated note, have you seen this video of Ryan Gosling seeing his face on a dishtowel? Haha, so good. I think that's a good note to end on. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sponsor Spotlight: Katherine from Of Corgis & Cocktails + Giveaway!

Today I'm super excited to introduce Katherine from Of Corgi's & Cocktails. I have admired Katherine's blog for a while now, and how could I not? She has great style. adorable pups, and knows her way around the kitchen. As the title of her blog suggests, she also makes lots of yummy cocktails! I personally can't wait to try her orange blossom martini and this rose rock candy syrup

Oh, and don''t miss out on our awesome giveaway at the bottom that Katherine and I teamed up to bring you! It's awesome :)

Why do you blog?
I think it's partly an organization thing - I love seeing a catalog of my life and style. I have a Flickr that dates back to 2008 and really almost goes through every part of my and my husband's relationship. Blogging was the next step for me. I have always been into fashion and participated in things like Chictopia and what not, so it made sense. Then I fell in love with it.

What inspires you?
Just about everything. Other bloggers. Restaurants. Design agencies. Animals. How crazy imaginative kids are. Seriously - I get inspired by the most random of things. Driving tends to inspire me to do things though.

Tell us 3 random things about you:
-My husband and I share the same birthday - we're born an hour apart.
-I played the trombone for 7 years. I also haven't touched one in the same amount.
-I am lucky to own a few bags that I designed myself - and had a few on the market. Being a product designer has its perks ;D

3 Favorite Posts

And now, for the giveaway! Yay! We are giving away not only two awesome Clinique items (one 7 Day Scrub Cream & one Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss in "Grapefruit") but also a giftcard to! Hurry an enter below :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ice Cream Sunday: Avocado & Brownie Ice Cream

I'm not sure how to start this post other than holy freaking cow, this ice cream is maybe the best thing I have ever put in my mouth. A little dramatic? Sure. But I'm serious, this ice cream is amazing. It's unbelievably creamy, smooth, rich, and yet slightly fluffy. Throw in some chewy brownie and you have some crazy good ice cream.

I'm sure some of you are thinking, "Sweet avocados? Pass." All I can say to you nay-sayers is to give it a shot. The first bite might seem a little strange, but by the second or third you will be wondering why you never had avocados for dessert before. Plus, avocados are full of healthy fats so you can rationalize that extra scoop!

As far as the brownie goes, feel free to use whatever recipe (or box) you especially like. I used Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Brownies, which if you haven't tried yet you are missing out! Yogurt is the only thing you need to add to the mix, and they are so chewy and rich! You would never know they were "reduced guilt."

Avocado & Brownie Ice Cream (recipe adapted from Food Network)
3 medium ripe avocados
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup sugar
Approximately 1 cup of cubed brownie pieces

1. Slice avocados, and scoop out meat into blender. Add cream, milk and sugar and blend until completely smooth.
2. Place mixture and brownie pieces into the fridge and let chill completely for several hours.
3. Once chilled, pour avocado mixture into ice cream machine until thick.
4. Place a few brownie pieces into an airtight container and cover with a layer of ice cream. Add more brownie pieces, followed by more ice cream until all the ice cream has been transfered. Cover and place container into the freezer for several hours or overnight.