2.29.2012

Wanderlust


I've been feeling all bogged down and itchy to get away. Not travel away. Away, away. Away from nursing school and home selling, away from police work and gas prices. Away from people and rudenss. I wish I could just wish my way to a place with land and trees and animals. Where work is gardening, and cooking. Where meals are occasions. Where there's wine and laughter. Where there's stars.

I think we need a commune.

2.28.2012

Back to Black


I miss my long hair. I don't regret cutting it and donating it, but I miss it. And I'm tired of my straight bob. So I went back to black. I like the contrast of my black hair with light skin and blue eyes, although one of my teachers asked me if I was feeling well (note to self, don't forget blush). My hair stylist decided to scare the shit out of me by telling me that if I ever wanted my hair a different color that it would have to be bleached out. But then I remembered that this is not my first rodeo with black hair and that every other time I've dyed it, it naturally fades away until my hair returns to normal.

I've also been curling my hair again. I feel it gives a bit of a vintage vibe and it's that little difference that'll help me get through the growing out phase. I desperately wish I had the photo of my grandma that my grandpa keeps next to his bed, so you can see her in all her dark wavy haired pin-up-esque glory. I also bought some fake eyelashes, although I'm not wearing them in the photo above. And some red lipstick. What? I'm going all out.

2.27.2012

27


Today I turn 27. I've been noticing small signs of aging lately. My skin is drier, my metabolism is slowing, my back hurts after a long day in clinical. I'm not worried or sad about these changes, just noticing. I have no qualms about getting older, but if there is anything I've learned from caring for the sick, it's that life is unpredictable, and there are no guarantees. It reminds me of the way I want to live my life and the things I still want to accomplish. 

Travel more

Exercise

Get up earlier (a little)

Spend more time with friends

Forget how it "should" be

Watch less TV

Live in the moment

Read more books

Be less cheap

Entertain more

Stop trying to be perfect

Spend more time outside

Be more independent

Here's to 27.

Image via Rifle Paper Co.

2.20.2012

Classic Mac and Cheese

Mike and I went to Michigan to visit my brother A.J. and his wife Kristin to help with their new addition Anna Marie. One of the things we did for them was cooked dinner each night that we were there, so that they didn't have to worry about planning and making dinner for guests. We decided to make some good old fashioned Macaroni and Cheese.

1 lb pasta
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4-5 slices colby jack recipe
1/2 cup cubed ham, bacon of pancetta (optional)
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
panko bread crumbs (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Bring a pot to a boil and cook pasta for about 8 minutes. While pasta is cooking, bring a small saucepan filled with the 2 cups of milk to a simmer. 

Heat a deep saute pan over medium heat, add ham and cook until browned. Remove ham from pan.
In the same pan add the 4 tablespoons butter (this amount can be deceased depending on the amount of fat in the pan after cooking the meat). 

Once butter is melted, stir in the flour and whisk until combined and no lumps remain. Add the warm milk. Mix until a white sauce forms (congrats you just made a bechamel!). Add the shredded cheddar and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce thickens. 

When pasta is finished cooking, drain and put it back in the pan. Add the cheese sauce, the ham and mix well. Put half of mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish or cast iron pan. Place cheese slices on top of mixture. Add the rest of the mixture on top of the cheese slices and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Weekly Meal Plan

White Chicken Chili



Chicken Saltimboca with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower

Oven Fried Chicken

Image 1, 2, 4

2.18.2012

2.14.2012

Chocolate Heart Sandwich Cookies

Happy Valentine's Day!  Even though Mike has the day off, I'm spending today tending to patients in the ICU. I'm gonna pack one of these guys in my lunch box to help sweeten the day. Enjoy!

Cookies via Martha Stewart

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg

Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Mix with a whisk until well combined.

In a double boiler, or a bowl over a pot of simmering water, mix chocolate chips, brown sugar and butter. Stir constantly until almost completely melted and combined. Remove from heat and stir in egg. Mix well.

Transfer the chocolate-butter mixture to the bowel of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, start the mixer and add the flour-cocoa powder mixture in slowly until completely combined. It will form a thick dough.

Place half of dough on parchment paper and place another piece of parchment paper on top, sandwiching the dough between the two pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it's about 1/4 inch thick. Place in freezer for 20 minutes. Repeat with the other half of dough.

After 20 minutes, preheat oven to 350, take out dough and remove top piece of parchment paper. Using a cookie cutter (I used my Grandma's vintage scalloped heart), cut out heart shapes and place onto parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely, about 20 minutes.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling via Smitten Kitchen
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg white
6 tablespoons room temperature butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Pink food coloring

In a double boiler, or a bowl over a pot of simmering water, mix sugar and egg white stirring constantly until you can't feel the sugar when you rub the mixture between your fingers. 

Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the mixture until it turns white and doubles in size (about 3-4 minutes). Add vanilla.

With the mixer running, add butter a tablespoon at a time. Mix until combined.

Add about 4 drops pink food coloring and 1 drop of green to tone down the pink. Mix well.

Place mixture in piping bag or ziplock bag with a hole cut off a corner. Pipe onto back side of cookies and sandwich together.

2.11.2012

Valentine's Day Decor

I love to decorate for the holidays, but I think that holiday decor should blend seamlessly into your regular decor. Because we already have two red couches in the living room, I wouldn't want red overload, so I thought white decor would be a simple and pretty way to decorate for Valentine's Day. 






Don't forget to grab some fresh flowers. I grabbed two white planted tulips from Trader Joe's. Of course, they're white too, but because they're potted I figured these guys could hang around until spring. What kind of Valentine's Decor are you rocking? Bright and shiny or soft and minimal? 


2.02.2012

Valentine's Day Style

These babies JUST arrived (thanks for the Christmas gift Grandma!). I know it's only February and the time for such shoes has yet to come but I thought I could wear them out to dinner on Valentine's Day (after I have a clinical shift, a class and a study session for a test). So I threw together two different outfits on Polyvore. I don't usually wear pink. Or dresses. So I'm trying to expand my fashion horizons. Both the dress and top are from H&M, and I think I might run over there this weekend to try em on. What do you think?


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