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Friday, September 19, 2014

Weekly Eats: Frozen

No, not that frozen. Sorry. Aaron wanted to get a deep freeze for the longest time, and I never really thought it sounded all that necessary. But he wouldn't let it go (again, sorry) and we got one this year. Let me tell you, I love having it! We always buy meat and other freezable food items when they go on sale, and now we actually have space to store them. So this week's meals were brought to you by beef and chicken from the freezer. 

1. Easy Homemade Burrito Bowls from Iowa Girl Eats (can you tell I love that blog?). Home freaking run. Chipotle is pretty much its own food group in our house--even Jona can tackle a bean and cheese quesadilla--so finding an easy make-at-home version is a wonderful thing. My burrito bowl was filled with rice, black beans, chicken, grilled red peppers, corn, Monterey Jack cheese, and guacamole. Mmmm. 

2. Sour Cream Noodle Bake from the Pioneer Woman. This was an easy, hearty, comforting dish, perfect for fighting the Monday blues. Instead of layering the pasta and meat sauce like the PW did, I took the ultra lazy route and just mixed the pasta with the meat sauce and sour cream (I left out the cottage cheese), poured it in a baking dish, and topped it with shredded cheddar. I kind of want to eat that again right now! 

3. Healthier General Tso's Chicken from Hello Natural. Have you ever made a recipe and loved it, and then for some reason when you make it again it's not the same? I'm not sure what it was, because I really loved this when I made this a while ago. Aaron thinks I'm crazy because he liked it both times. It's a good recipe, I think it was the cook's error this time. It's possible I went a little overboard with the apricot jam. Or maybe my Panko bread crumbs were stale. I keep them in the freezer, but I think they'd been in there for a little too long. Who knows. Anyway, I'm willing to give it another chance. It is awfully pretty. 

What was on your menu this week? 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Effortless Classics

Dresses are the best. Mornings haven't been my friend lately, and though typically I never hit the snooze button, for some reason the past few days it's been calling my name. Since throwing on a dress and jacket requires very little time and effort, I can focus on more important things in the morning, like coffee. And just five more minutes of sleep. Okay, maybe ten.

Denim jacket: Gap (similar); dress: c/o eShakti (similar with scalloped neckline); belt: Target (similar); polka dot flats: Madewell (love this pair)

Linking up to What I Wore to Work at Mix and Match Fashion.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Midweek Pick-Me-Ups, September Edition

It's only Wednesday, but I'm already worn out. I need this pick-me-up post before I become the queen of crabby. So here are a few things that I'm happy about right now. 

Last month we got Jona's one year photos taken, and our photographer (Jessica of Just J Photography, we love her!) just shared some "sneak peek" shots. Jona thought the whole thing was a terrible idea, so he pretty much cried the whole time. She worked some magic though, because he looks pretty angelic in these pictures! 

Over the weekend I made Ultimate Brownies from Handle the Heat. Sometimes "the best" brownie claims to fame are all talk, but this one really brought it. Can you see how dense, rich, and chocolaty these look? Well break up with the box, baby, because these are the real deal. 

I know I just talked about the new stuff I scored at Gap, but these things (cords, sweater, jeans) are still making me pretty darn happy. 

Sweet, stylish mama Beth of Life with Bethie the Boo nominated me for a Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. While I'm terrible at following the rules of these, I wanted to answer her fun questions. Thanks Beth! 

1. What does your perfect pizza look like? My favorite pizza here in KC is Spin Pizza, and I get the Patate, which has potatoes, bacon, and goat cheese on it. Mmmm. 

2. What is your favorite beauty product? Natural Ice chapstick. (It's about $1 at the grocery store.) I've been using it for years and I seriously can't live without it. I know, borrring. 

3. What is the best vacation you've ever been on? Too hard! I loved our first family vacation to St. Louis with Jona. I also loved when Aaron and I traveled to Hawaii to surprise my mom for her birthday. And while it wasn't really a vacation (it was study abroad) it pretty much felt like one when I went to Paris when I was in college. So I can't pick, sorry! 

4. What are you reading right now? I won the book The Landgramm Affair in a giveaway on Krysten's blog, Why Girls are Weird, and I'm reading it now. It's very well written and has some good twists and turns! 

5. Coffee, tea or neither? Coffee-coffee-coffee. (I was imagining Lorelai Gilmore in my head as I typed that. Anyone with me?)

6. Be honest, do you floss every day? Ha! I'm just going to laugh at that one. Sorry dentists. 

7. Do you like your name or do you wish you could have a different one?  What would you choose if you were to have a different name? I love my name. When I was little I always wanted something more ordinary (one that I could find on souvenirs or that people wouldn't mispronounce). But now I love my name, and I feel like it really suits me. 

8. What is your favorite season? Spring! It means the end of the hell that is winter, and it also means my birthday (in April). Spring is the best. 

9. I'm stealing Kristi's here - describe yourself in five words. Perfectionist, compassionate, stubborn, organized, creative.

10. Are you a vanilla or chocolate fan? Chocolate. All the way. Did you SEE those brownies? 

What's making you happy right now? 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Working Mom Formula: Corduroy for the Win

Last week, I talked about my struggle to find the perfect pair of (non-jeans) pants. This week, I'm happy to report that I found a pair! I lucked out at the Gap and found a pair of slim-fitting corduroys, which are comfortable and casual, but I think they are a bit more polished than a pair of jeans. I've been on a neutrals kick lately, so after some debate between this pair and a reddish pair, I went with the navy. I think at the end of the day I couldn't convince myself I needed a second pair of red corduroys, even if both aren't in the current rotation. And also, navy blue is kind of my jam. Especially this ocean-y shade. 

When I was trying to do a mental assessment of all the things these pants would work well with, this paisley shirt came to mind right away. And what do you know, I was right. And I love being right; just ask Aaron. 

Will you be rocking the corduroys this fall? What color? 

Paisley shirt: J.Crew via consignment (pretty tunic); navy cords: Gap; nude flats: Target

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cargo Vest Then & Now

This weekend was gloriously relaxing. We didn't have any plans, we just hung out with Jona, ate good food, and enjoyed the beautiful weather. I also stopped by the Gap to use the Gap cash I earned when I bought a bunch of stuff on sale for Jona. I bought three items to complete my fall capsule wardrobe: the jeans shown here, blue corduroy pants, and a gray sweater. The jeans were a bit spur of the moment; they're replacing the other pair of skinny jeans I had. They were one of those that I liked at the beginning of the day but hated by day's end. Since I'm trying to create a wardrobe I love, the jeans had to go.

The cool weather this weekend called for light layers, so I once again broke out the cargo vest. It's gotten so much wear, both in the heat of the summer and the early fall weather we're having now.

striped top: Ann Taylor Factory (similar) / cargo vest: Old Navy (jacket version) / dark wash skinny jeans: Gap / red shoes: Toms

Linking up to Mix it Mondays at Fizz and Frosting

Friday, September 12, 2014

Weekly Eats: Variety

This week's meals ran the gamut of flavors and ingredients, but they had one thing in common: they were all worthy of repeating. We were saying mmmm all week!

1. Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin from Let's Dish, served with Lemon Garlic Asparagus from Say Yes. After a few recent fails, it was good to have a dish that restored my faith in the slow cooker. This was so good! On Let's Dish it shows the pork served in slices, but for me it was so tender it fell apart. Definitely not a bad thing. 

2. Thai Peanut Chicken Quinoa Bowls from Iowa Girl Eats. Guys, Aaron (Mr. Meat and Potatoes) ate this and loved it. Jona ate this and loved it. If you're still a little iffy about jumping on the quinoa train, make will convert you. It was packed with flavor! I left out the coleslaw mix and added sliced red bell pepper instead. (I snap those babies up when they go on sale...I love red bell peppers!) 

3. Pepperoni Pizza Burgers from The Pioneer Woman. Pizza meets burger, tell me how that can be bad? This may not have been the healthiest, but it sure was good. 

What was on your menu this week? 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Strawberry Angel Food Layers

Something I did a lot more of in my pre-mom days was bake. I have a major sweet tooth, and spending a weekend afternoon in the kitchen baking is a relaxing retreat in my opinion. Life has sure gotten busier, but that doesn't mean I don't crave a (homemade) sweet treat from time to time. I came across this super easy, no-bake dessert on Iowa Girl Eats and I knew it would satisfy my sweet tooth AND be easy and quick to make. (Plus, it's the perfect "farewell to summer" dish. Use those strawberries while they're still good!) 

Although I do hope to do more baking in the future (especially once Jona is old enough to help--I can't wait for that!), desserts like this are the perfect go-tos for busy days.  

I'm joining Anne of  In Residence for her Pin to Present linkup today. Be sure to check it out!