Friday, February 13, 2015

Three Easy (Veggie) Recipes

As you have all probably noticed, I love super simple, but also delicious and fresh recipes. It's even better when it's a larger batch so will have leftovers for tomorrow's lunch. Although sometimes I do experiment with my recipes, usually I stick to the top three go-to's during the week. Being a vegetarian, I have to be pretty good at thinking out of the box with my ingredients because I can easily get stuck in the grilled cheese and tomato soup cycle every night. So here are my top three recipes that have been on my menu over the past few weeks.

1. Curried Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew - Recipe from Epicurious

I discovered this recipe about a year ago when I was at a potluck dinner and another girl brought it as her dish. I was obsessed. It has so much flavor and not any complicated ingredients. It automatically became one of my go-to dishes. It's also easy to freeze and still tastes great as leftovers! 

2. Tempeh Protein Bowl - recipe by me

This is actually a recipe I recently created at home trying to mimic a "protein bowl". I had a bunch of different ingredients in my fridge. Tempeh, kale, garbanzos, and rice. So, I basically stir fried everything with a soy sauce alternative (Bragg Liquid Aminos). Perfect for a weekend lunch at home.

3. Baked Spaghetti - Recipe from Martha Stewart

Last week I was really craving something Italian. I researched some recipes online and found this one. Since I had never made baked spaghetti before, I thought this would be fun to try! The recipe didn't have any complicated ingredients or instructions (surprising for Martha Stewart). Basically everything is mixed in one bowl and then baked. Then with the mozzarella on top, I couldn't say no obviously. I did have leftovers for a week and since Zach was gone this past weekend, I ate A LOT of baked spaghetti. Tip: Make sure you add lots of spices and enough basil. My spaghetti was not as flavorful as I was hoping, but I think it was because I didn't have enough basil.

Does anyone have any go-to recipes they make during week? I would love to hear your suggestions!

Happy Friday, everyone! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Touring the Triangle: Trophy Brewing Company

Before Zach and I officially moved to Raleigh, we came down to visit a few times to look at apartments and explore the city. One of the apartments we looked at is located just outside of Cameron Village, which is a cute college area (right next to NC State) with a lot of boutiques and local restaurants. Although the apartment didn't end up working out for us, we did find one of our favorite spots for pizza and beer in Raleigh, Trophy Brewing Company! 

Entrance to Trophy.

Trophy's outside patio seating.

Trophy's outdoor/indoor seating area.

Located right next to a laundromat, Trophy is definitely a "diamond in the rough" and always packed. It is super tiny restaurant (no idea how they fit a kitchen in there), with a large patio that they recently added due to the high volume of people I'm sure. It is probably one of the most popular spots in Raleigh for pizza and beer, but it has more of a sentimental value for us since it was one of the first places that made us fall in love with our new city!

Zach's beer which was a Trophy/Quest collaboration of a Smoked Peach Saison.

Trophy is known for their interesting beers (Milky Way....Peanut Butter & Banana) that they rotate pretty often since it's a nano-brewery, meaning they make smaller batches. But, they usually always keep a few classics on draft, like my favorite Best In Show which is a citra saison. 

(Photo Missing Here of Delicious Pizza) 

Unfortunately, when Zach and I got a table they had JUST run out of pizza. Our luck, right? So I wasn't able to capture the deliciousness in a photograph. Although, that probably preaches how good the pizza is that they actually ran out of pizza.  

After they told us they ran out of pizza...this is my "Stop taking photos of me, I'm hangry" face.

The death of beer #1. Zach wanted me to share this photo because he said "This will be a funny experience to post on your blog!". Obviously at the time, I didn't think it was funny when I broke my beer glass and spilled beer all over me...but looking back...wait no, it still sucked.

If you're visiting Raleigh, I definitely recommend checking this gem out. I'm sure it's not like any neighborhood pizza joint that you've ever been to! 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Little Bit of Lemon

I love dessert. You all know this. But honestly, I don't bake sweets often. Most nights, I'll just grab a bowl of my favorite Ben & Jerry's Phish Food. Then, every once in a while, I'll get a little bit of inspiration and pull out my Kitchen Aid to create some different concoction.

My inspiration usually comes from what I already have at home, so I don't have to run to the store for random ingredients. Also, I think it forces me to be a little creative when I have to work with what I have! Last night when I looked in my fridge, I still had a bag of lemons from my grandma's lemon tree in Arizona, so I decided lemon bars it is!

Classic Lemon Bars - Recipe from Joy the Baker

  • About 2 lemons 
  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • Eggs
  • Powdered sugar (the one thing I didn't have, but it's just to put on top at the end)
See, most of the ingredients I guarantee you probably already have at home, so this should be pretty simple! 

Step 1: Crust

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 stick of butter until combined. Add 1 cup flour and pinch of salt and mix. Then press dough into 8x8 baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Step 2: Filling

While crust is baking, combine 3/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, and 3 tablespoons of flour until well mixed. 

Step 3: Bake and enjoy!

After warm crust is brown on edges remove form oven and pour filling over warm crust. Then bake in the oven for another 18 minutes. When finished, sprinkle powdered sugar over top and cut into 9 squares!

This will definitely become one of my go-to desserts. I promise it's worth the time. I can actually now tell a difference between a homemade lemon square and not homemade. What are some of your homemade dessert go-to's? 

Happy almost Friday!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tuesday Tunes - February 3, 2015

It's Tuesday, guys. You made it past the first two (long) days of the week! But, I know we could all use some good music to get us through the rest of the week. Grab a glass of red wine (we all deserve it) and check out my favorites of the week.

1. "And When it Rains" - The River Pilots

I may be partial, but I promise you'll fall in love with the music. For all of you who don't know, this is my boyfriend's recent music project. It's an acoustic americana duo with some added instrumentals to the mix. They posted one of the songs from their new album on their website today and trust me, it's worth a listen. Keep an eye out for the release of their first album on February 10th on iTunes, Amazon, or on their website! Tune in tonight at 9pm EST on Roanoke's 101.9 The Music Place for the new song!

2. "Black Sun" - Death Cab for Cutie

I think my love affair for Death Cab started back in early middle school. Zach makes fun of me saying that Ben Gibbard is my celeb crush (probably true). Ever since, I've never been disappointed in their music. Anyway, they are coming out with a new album next month and they just released their single "Black Sun" a couple days ago which has definitely been on my top listens for the week.

3. "American Beauty" - Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors

Short and sweet, this song definitely made the tops for my week. I love the acoustics and simplicity. If you like this song, you'll definitely enjoy the rest of his new album "Medicine". Sidenote: he's a also friend of a friend, so check him out! 

4. "Make You Better" - The Decemberists

They're back! I have always loved The Decemberists, but it seems like they've been on hiatus for three years. They just released their new album in February and I'm loving it, especially this song. It's a fun, upbeat, indie jam for all you hipsters out there. You can't help but sing along.

5. "Wherever Is Your Heart" - Brandi Carlile

You have all probably heard her hit "The Story" (all you Grey's Anatomy fans out there). If you haven't, she is sort of a soulful/folk mix and has very interesting beautiful voice. She's been a favorite of mine for a while now and has a new album coming out next month. Also, if she's on tour near you, go. She puts on a great show and is just as good live as on CD.

Hope you all enjoy tonights Tuesday Tunes! Are there any songs you've had on repeat this week that I didn't mention? I love sharing music with friends so send me your favorites!

Monday, February 2, 2015

DIY: Simple Wire Mesh Board

I have been wanting to re-do our little desk area for a while now. I remember when we toured the apartment, it was one of my favorite spots in the apartment. Six months later, I have maybe sat at the desk three times and it's just gotten full of clutter. When I saw this post on Pinterest, I knew it was the perfect addition my little office needed!

I have always loved crafting projects but after painting 100 wine glasses in college, I guess you could say I was a little burnt out. One of the main reasons I started this blog was to challenge my creativity, otherwise I would just spend every night watching Breaking Bad on the couch (oh, wait...). 

What you'll need:
  • 1x1 inch wire mesh - you can get this at any hardware store in the garden area ($12)
  • Wire cutters - you gotta cut that stuff! ($10)
  • Wood Clothespins - optional for hanging items on the board ($2)
  • Small paper lanterns - optional for decor ($14)
Total Costs: Less than $40!
Time: 30-ish minutes

After hitting up Lowe's, we came home, made veggie burgers and got to work! First we measured our space and then started with the wire cutting (when I say we, I mean Zach).

Then, to hold the wire in place, we used a few small nails around the edges.

Then the decor items...and voila! We now have a board to post photos, recipes, thoughts, to-do's, etc. Kind of like our real life "Pinterest" board. 

I also bought a few other things just for organization. For example, the file folder organizer (Target), small vase (Anthropologie), and pen/pencil holder (Anthropologie).

What kind of DIYs do you all like to do or have done? Do you have any tips for organizing a desk or office?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Surviving the Grocery Store

When I lived at my parent's house I loved grocery shopping. I could pick out the items I wanted and then didn't have to worry about adding everything up at the end (c'mon who doesn't love that?). Since I have been living on my own, I figured out grocery shopping is not near as fun when you're the one who has to be cost-conscious. The first few times I went to actually "stock" up, I didn't have a plan of what to get and ended up only coming home with the ingredients to make a single dish and two days later was living on protein bars. After a few practices, I finally started to figure out what exactly I needed and how much. I think now I have mastered the art of grocery shopping by focusing on the staples and then a couple different experiment items. Here are some of my grocery staples (keep in mind this is veggie, so your list might be different if you're a carnivore).

1. Amy's Pizza - This is my favorite of all frozen pizzas. The crust is soft and tastes like a fresh pizza. We usually bring the "No Cheese" flavor home from the store for nights (like tonight) when we're too lazy to cook. If you haven't tried this one, you need to. It sounds crazy without cheese, but it has a balsamic sauce that's delicious!

2. Black Beans - We always have some type of beans in our cabinet (actually usually 4-5 cans). Hey, we're veggie! We use them on salads, for tacos/burritos, or really whatever we're in the mood for. Simple Truth is my favorite because has a huge variety of organic beans for $1 a piece! 

3. Tomato Soup - We make grilled cheese and tomato soup at least once a week. It's a great comfort meal, especially in the winter time, and it's so quick and easy to make. My favorite flavor is Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato from Simple Truth!

4. Hummus - No explanation needed. 

5. Frozen burritos - The Amy's frozen burritos are my go-to for lunch at work. I usually keep 1 or 2 in the freezer at work in case there is a day I forget my lunch. They have lots of different flavors, but the southwest is probably my favorite. Amy's also has a lot of other frozen entree options, like Asian dishes and lasagna which and they are usually on sale!

6. Tofu - As a vegetarian, this is obviously a staple. I am one of those weirdos that actually loves tofu. You can do anything with it since it soaks up any flavor you add to it. I use it a lot on salads and more recently to make homemade tacos!

7. Granola - Right now I'm really into granola and cereal for breakfast. I went through an oatmeal phase, but I think I overdid that. I am one of those people that eats the same breakfast every morning for a year and switches to something new. Cascadian Farms Ancient Grains is my favorite because it's not too sweet but sweet enough where you can eat it plain with milk. 

1. Greens - We always make sure to grab some type of greens (spinach, mixed, kale, arugula, etc) to use for salads or juice. 

2. Green apples - These are my favorite apple right now. They have the most flavor (reds are always hit or miss) and are the best to use when I'm making juice. 

3.  Lemons - It seems like almost every recipe I make calls for lemon. So I always make sure to have a couple in the fridge. Right now I have about four lemons that I took from my grandma's lemon tree in Arizona! 

4. Sweet Potatoes - Recently it seems like we've been eating sweet potatoes a lot in different recipes. Especially in winter soups, which I will share in a post soon!

5. Cauliflower - One of my all-time favorite recipes to make is curried cauliflower. It's super easy to make and you can keep it in the freezer for leftovers. But, cauliflower/broccoli are always great veggies to keep in the fridge since they can really be added to anything.

6. Green Peppers - Stuffed peppers, tacos, omelettes. No question, green peppers are the best. Not too spicy, but have enough spice to add flavor. 

7. Ginger - We seem to always go through ginger, especially now that we have starting making juices more and Asian dishes (which we make often as well).

8. Carrots - I always have a bag of carrots around for snacking (with hummus), using in juice, or soup/chili recipes. I like the large carrots best since I can use them for all of the above.


These are just a few of my staples and they change depending on seasonality (especially the produce). What are your grocery staples?