Easy Ramen Noodle Salad

Thursday, February 23, 2017

My life has moved to the fast lane the last couple of weeks.  I have had a ton of activities and outings going on every week, which is unusual for me.  I tend to like to have lots of time at home, but I have been trying to be more social, and to let Fox interact with friends more often, and that has meant much less time at home.  It has been great (and slightly exhausting for my little introverted self), but dinner prep has definitely suffered.

So this type of meal has been so great.  It is about 15-20 minutes of prep from start to finish (even faster if you are using a bagged coleslaw mix), pretty healthy, and delicious.  You could add some chicken to it, if you felt like you wanted a little extra bulk or protein, but I think it is pretty great just how it is.

Easy Ramen Noodle Salad:

1 bag coleslaw mix or 1/2 cabbage head, thinly sliced and 1-2 thinly sliced carrots
2-3 packages ramen noodles (the 25 cent kind)
1/2 cup peanut sauce (see recipe below)
toasted, salted peanuts, for garnish

Prep your vegetables and your peanut sauce.  Cook your noodles (without the seasonings packet.  You can discard that, or save it for another project) according to the package directions.  Plate by layer in the cabbage/carrot mix on the bottom, top with ramen noodles, and finish with peanut sauce and peanuts.

Peanut Sauce: 
adapted from The Veg Life
1/2 cup vegetable broth (or warm water with a dash of marjoram and turmeric)
3 Tbs smooth natural peanut butter
2 Tbs honey or maple syrup
2 Tbs soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
a small splash of lime juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder

In a medium sized jar or bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until smooth.


Menu Post #10

Monday, February 20, 2017

We got a job offer (!!!!!)! I am going to wait until the contract is signed before I tell you anymore about it, but needless to say, we are thrilled! It is a great opportunity and we think it is going to be a great thing for our family!

Because we knew we would be moving sometime this summer (At least, we hoped we would get a job to move for), we ended our CSA share, because it costs less when you buy a bunch of weeks at a time, and I didn't know how long we would be around to use them. This has meant shaking up my menu planning/grocery routine.

I decided to make one big change and go to our local farmer's market every weekend.  In an effort to make a greater contribution to my community, I buy at least a few of my vegetables and a treat for us to share each week.  I can't get all my vegetables there, because it would blow my budget out of the water, but I figure some contribution is better than none.  Plus it is like a little treat each time we go!

Even if I am only spending $5-$10 a week, I know I am directly helping someone in my area by supporting their business/family.  It makes me feel really good, and is helping me feel more like part of my community.  In the future, I hope to spend a greater portion of our spending budget on local products from small businesses or the farmer's market.

The initial idea of making shopping local a bigger part of my life came from this fabulous book that my mom sent me for Christmas.  The premise is that if you shop local, you invest more in your community, will feel more connected to your community, and your community will do more for you in return.  While my contribution might seem very insignificant (and it is), I feel like doing something that my small budget can afford is much better than nothing.

Do you shop local?  Go to the farmer's market regularly?  Is that something that even appeals to you?  Maybe you have some great ideas that I can start incorporating in my life. If you do, I would love to hear them!


Beet Soup:  One of my very favorite soups.  Thick, creamy and a lovely pink-red color!
Veggie Panini's with Cilantro Lime Dressing: WOW.  Just Wow. I used yellow squash and sweet potatoes, and it was terrific.
Asian Cabbage Salad: I keep making this one, and will post my adaptations in a few weeks.

Worth a Try:

Shredded Carrot and Chickpea Salad: This soup was surprisingly delicious, despite the fact that it was basically carrots and chickpeas.
Black Bean Tacos with Coleslaw: Easy and fast (unless you make your own tortillas like I did)
Coconut Lentil Curry: This made SO much, but it was delicious, so I didn't mind eating for lunch for like 5 days in a row.

The Curated Closet: Beginning Steps

Friday, February 17, 2017

Last spring, I had a pocketful of ThredUp credit, and a desire for summer simplicity, so I decided to do a capsule wardrobe for the months we were in Utah.

I was extremely careful about my picks, and put each new item through a rigorous love test to see if I would actually enjoy wearing it.  I returned a lot of stuff and really tried to be smart about my decisions.  I had high hopes for my careful capsule.

Five months later, I was sick and tired of most of my picks, and felt like I had chosen all the wrong clothes.  I was frustrated and unhappy with my clothing situation, and the whole experiment felt like a total failure (see more about that here).  There were a few shirts that I hardly ever wore, and some that I had initially loved, but didn't really work for me.

Despite originally thinking a capsule wardrobe would be just the thing, I decided capsule wardrobes weren't for me, and moved on.

Then, a few months ago, pictures of this book called "The Curated Closet" began popping up on my Instagram feed, and within just a few days, I had seen it, or heard about it about 5 times.  And conveniently it was on the new non-fiction shelf at my library just a few weeks later, and I knew I needed to check it out.

Once I read the first chapter, I knew it was going to help me fix my unhappy closet problem.

The author, Anushka Rees, walks you through an incredibly detailed description of how to make the closet of your dreams, with shopping guides, helpful examples and beautiful photos to keep you going when you don't think you can ever get there.  It isn't about capsules (although, there is a section about that in her book), but it talks about having a smallish wardrobe filled with the things you love, which sounds dreamy to me!

Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to walk you through my experience using this book, and how it is has helped me gain a greater vision of what I want my closet to look like, and how I am going to make that happen.

Finding your style is a somewhat lengthy process, but the rewards are great.  Effortless daily style, clothes that make you feel great, pieces that really fit you, and a wardrobe that can last for many years.

This journey begins by collecting a series of outfit images that appeal to you.  Styles that you like, combinations that appeal to you, maybe a particular piece that you love wearing.

I made a Pinterest board, but then, per Rees' suggestion, I combined it all onto one Photoshop page.  For this post, though, I actually broke it down into some specific pieces/looks that I like, so you can more easily see some patterns.

After I assembled a bunch of photos, I started going through and looking for trends and patterns in what I had pinned.  It was quickly obvious that I definitely had some preferences, and quite a specific style, despite my not feeling like that in my closet.

Here are a few of the patterns that I found in my board.

- Individual items - striped shirts (particularly tee shirts that are white with black or blue stripes) and button down blousy types (especially loose fitting); scarves; oversized sweaters and shirts (never boxy); Anorak jackets; medium brown ankle boots; high neck or turtleneck.
- Colors - black, white, tan (not for shirts), navy, light blue, burnt orange (or orangy red), grey, and olive green.
- Silhouettes - Fitted on bottom, loose on top, or loose on bottom (skirts only) and fitted on top.  
- Materials - Denim, wool, light cottons, linen, a little lace, leather.
- Styling - high waisted skinnies with a button down and a sweater, plus booties; oversized sweaters with jeans; loose tees with jeans or black pants.

Patterns in the pictures (you can find all the sources on my Pinterest page):
Chambray. All the chambray!

So many stripes! 
Orange.  I really like orange, and it makes me look tanner than I am.  
Brown leather accents.  I need more of these.  I totally love them, and have very few currently. I love these accents with olive, too. 
White button down shirts.  I just invested in a new one, and it was such a good feeling! Also, can you tell I love them with tan?  

Thanks for making it all the way through this insanely long post!  More to come on this soon, I promise!  These posts have been WEEKS in the making, so they will be coming over the next few weeks as I tell you more about my experience reading and working through this book.  I would love to hear about your experience if you have gotten and followed the directions in this book, too!

Elsie, from A Beautiful Mess has also been working in this book lately, and while her style is vastly different than mine, it has been fun to see her posting about it!

Blood Orange Gelato

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, and because I am trying to be a cool mom, I made these waffles.  Despite my implicit trust in Ruth Reichl's recipes, they were actually not the best waffles I have ever eaten... This was also not the first time I had made them, either.  I have an amusing story to tell you about the first attempt.  

I decided to make them for Fox's birthday last month, and although they are supposed to be an overnight recipe, I was in a rush, and adapted them for a quick rise.  The batter rose well, and they looked pretty good, so I quickly added the eggs and gave it a few good stirs to make sure they were beaten in and then began cooking them.  

We enjoyed many of them them, but still had some extra batter left, so Adam volunteered to finish making them so that we could freeze the rest.  A couple minutes later, I hear a shout of surprised from the kitchen.  There, in the middle of the waffle iron, was an entire egg yolk...  

You aren't supposed to cook eggs in the waffle iron, so it made a huge mess and took him a couple minutes to clean it out.  He continued making the waffles, and then, to both our horror, another entire egg yolk dumped into the waffle iron.  Somehow, I hadn't mixed either of the eggs into the batter.  Whoops!

So, I gave them one more go yesterday, this time, mixing the eggs before dumping them into the batter.  They were much better, although I am still on the lookout for the perfect waffle recipe.  Let me know if you have one!

Now onto this blood orange gelato recipe.  I actually made this last year, but was holding out on you, because the photos I got were pretty terrible.  I was planning on making it again for a second round of photos, but by then, they were out of season, and it was too late to post.  

It is a recipe worth saving though, so I just had to get it up this year.  I hope you like it as much as I do!  Happy Wednesday! 

Blood Orange Gelato:
1 cup whole milk
1 cup white granulated sugar
peel from 1 blood orange
1/2 cup blood orange juice
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 egg yolks

Combine the milk and 1/2 cup of the cream and the sugar in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium, until the mixture is steaming.  Remove from heat, add the orange peel, and cover.  Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes.  In a medium bowl, combine the cream and the 5 eggs yolks.  

Once your 30 minutes is up, remove the orange peel from the milk mixture, and throw the orange peel away.  Now, begin heating up your milk mixture again over medium low.  

Once it is pretty warm to the touch, add two or three spoonfuls to the egg and cream mixture, and stir.   Now, begin stirring your milk mixture, and slowly pour the egg mixture in one steady stream into your warm milk mixture. Continue stirring for about 10 minutes, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.  Remove from the heat, add the orange juice, and pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl, and refrigerate it for 2-4 hours.  

Once it is very cold, pour it into an ice cream maker and mix it according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Remove the ice cream from the maker and put it in a sealable container.  Let it freeze for 4-6 hours, then serve and enjoy!  Will keep in the freezer for 5-7 days


Raiding My Sister's Closet: Dress it Up/Dress It Down

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day is a low-key celebration in our house.  We don't make loads of heart-shaped sugar cookies, or buy hundreds of dollars of red roses, and expensive jewelry, but we definitely celebrate.

Adam often gets me the $4 flowers from the grocery store (which I totally love receiving), and usually there is a sweet and sappy note or two received.  I usually get him something thrilling like a $3 bar of dark chocolate (can you tell we are on a student budget?).

We also usually have a special dinner at home, and make a fancy dessert together (we are making these this year).  In fact, two years ago, Adam and I both got dressed up (fancy shoes included), to go into the kitchen to eat a heart-shaped pizza together while our baby slept.  Totally romantic.

These clogs were a post-Christmas purchase, and I am loving them, but struggle to dress them up, despite the fact that they are a heeled shoe.  This dress it up/dress it down was a challenge to see if I could really dress them up for a date.  The fancy combo isn't actually my favorite, but after 15 outfit tries, this was the best I could do with the clothes in my closet.

The casual outfit on the other hand is basically what I wear every day.  I am wearing button downs with skinny jeans and cute shoes 3 or 4 times a week right now, and totally loving every minute of it. These shoes fit in perfectly, but can be worn with a skirt if need be.

Happy Valentine's Day!

 White winter legs... 

 Gosh, I love these shoes!
 Dress it up: dress (similar)//shoes//necklaces (a gift)
Dress It Down: shirt//pants (via ThredUp - $10 off your first order through this link)// scarf (old)//shoes//earrings

Janssen and Merrick are probably better at getting fancy than I am currently. Check out their gorgeous Valentine's Day ideas! 


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