These past couple months have been exhausting. With lots of out-of-town visitors and extremely long hours at work, the lack of rest has finally caught up to me. I woke up this morning feeling sick and reluctantly decided to stay in bed. When I was supposed to be resting, I was stressing and dreading the amount of work that would inevitably pile up against me when I returned. But against my instinct, I put my phone away, stopped checking emails, and let myself be still. The time to recharge, catch up on some reading, and listen to music was much needed for my physical and mental health. Sometimes we all just need to remind ourselves to take a moment to slow down.
Following the theme of resolutions this week, I’ve resolved to write more letters this year. With endless texts, emails, social media updates, (snapchats?), contacting friends is easier than ever, but there’s still something so special about receiving a hand-written note. Taking the time to say thank you or just hello on paper is a universally appreciated gesture. Just browsing beautiful stationary (I love Rifle Paper Co. and Sugar Paper) inspires me to write just-because notes to my friends. It’s nice to remind those closest to you that you’re thinking of them – with more than just a quick text.
This year I also resolve to keep expanding my cooking repertoire by trying one substantially new recipe every week. Whether it’s beef bourguignon for dinner or a towering croquembouche for a birthday party, I’m hoping to gain a bit more skill in the kitchen, have some fun, and to hopefully add a couple dishes to my cooking arsenal along the way (and not set off the smoke alarm in the process).
Below are a couple of my favorite dishes to make at home, perfect for winter (especially if you are freezing on the East Coast right now!) and chock full of vegetables to make you feel good, even on your second helping. Do you have any dishes you love to cook right now? I would love to try making it. Whether it’s a tried and true family recipe or a new to you favorite, please share in the comments!
Roast Chicken With Cumin, Honey and Orange by Mark Bittman. Considering I usually have all these ingredients in my kitchen, it’s surprising I don’t make this more often. I actually use 3 lbs of boneless breast instead of a whole chicken, and I also serve it on top of greens dressed with the reserved liquid which makes it a perfect meal.
Southwestern Spiced Sweet Potato Fries by TasteFood. These are some of the best sweet potato fries I have had, but beware: they can get pretty spicy if you aren’t careful with the cayenne. Instead of serving with their suggesting dipping sauce, I eat my fries with a bit of crème fraîche which helps temper the spices without adding in additional flavors.
White Bean Soup by Merril Stubbs. Simple to make and especially delicious with a grilled cheese sandwich, this soup can be easily reheated for several meals to come. If you have rosemary, thyme, and sage plants in your garden or kitchen you can substitute in 2 cans of white beans and make this in just half an hour– making it easy if you keep the ingredients on hand to cook a last minute dinner. (Just rinse the beans and add them to a pot with the stock, herbs, garlic, and a couple pinches of salt. Bring to a boil over low heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, then add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes and continue to step 3 of the recipe.)
Photo by Grace for Dressed in Orange.
With holiday break wrapping up and everyone heading back to their daily routines, it can be hard to start in on the New Years resolutions that seemed so manageable just a week ago. I know I personally hit the snooze button too many times on Saturday morning and missed my yoga class, so I’m hoping that a couple new pieces of active wear will help shake me out of winter hibernation! I’m looking forward to getting myself a new comfy sweatshirt for walks to the gym, and a colorful headband for keeping my hair fuss-free during Sun Salutations. I’m also planning on getting a new pair of leggings, since I absolutely love my Lululemon Wunder Under Crops which have served me well at the gym, in the Pilates studio, and at yoga class!
Even if I can’t make it to the gym everyday, I am also trying to drink more water and to walk at least 7000 steps a day (increased from 5000, which was my goal last year). I find that drinking from a water bottle helps me visualize if I am on track to stay hydrated, and having my Fitbit on me is a great motivator to keep active, especially when I realize a day at the flea market is 13,000 steps!!!
I’ll be sharing some other resolutions throughout the rest of the week, but I’d love to hear: what made your New Years Resolutions list for 2014? Have you started in already, or are you as slow to kickoff as I am? :) Good luck!
Gifts of food and drink are among my favorite things to give and to receive (save gift baskets with more paper and stuffing than product). As someone who enjoys spending a lot of time in the kitchen and reading food books and magazines in bed, cooks’ tools and high-end ingredients are always welcome.
For your foodie, gourmand, epicurean friends:
- Jack Rudy Small Batch Tonic [$16]
- Boos Cutting Board [$50-$170]
- Four Barrel Coffee [$16]
- Laguiole Cheese Knives [$70]
- Mast Brothers Chocolate Origin Collection [$40]
- Lucky Peach Subscription [$28]
- Olive Wood Salt Container [$39]
- Smoked Salt [$4]
- Colonna Olive Oil [$45]
- Mushroom Growing Kit [$20]
Gifts for the home are sure to be appreciated year-round because they’re out on display and aren’t necessarily seasonal. I would love to receive a comfy Pendleton throw for all my nights in watching TV on the couch (which happens more often than I’d care to admit).
Any of these would make for great hostess gifts, too!
- Jo Malone Pine and Eucalyptus Candle [$65]
- The Selby is in Your Place [$26]
- Anthropologie Golden Monogram Mug [$10]
- Heath Bud Vase [$42]
- Pendleton Throw [$98]
- Snuffer Set [$23]
- Sonos Play:3 [$299]
- Gold Leaf Agate Bookends [$58]
- Rebecca Atwood Pillow [$200]
- Jonathan Adler Tangiers Coasters [$48]
Check out our style gift guide as well!
I’ve always loved picking out and giving gifts – there’s something so fun and special about the process, despite the stress that sometimes comes along with it. In the end, it makes me just as happy to give gifts as I hope my friends and family are to receive them.
If you’re looking for a gift with style:
- Club Monaco Liza Felt Hat [$98.50]
- J.Crew Mixed Stones Necklace [$165]
- Clare Vivier Stripe Flat Clutch [$197]
- J.Crew Pajama Set [$98]
- Madewell Transport Tote [$168]
- PLAY Comme des Garçons Stripe Sweater [$390]
- Zara Printed Scarf [$35.90]
- Oliver Peoples Ria Sunglasses [$335]
- Me to We Maasai Triangle Earrings [$39.99]
- Snake Knee High Socks [$18]
Before I head home to celebrate (and eat!) with my family, I wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to you all, and thanks for visiting our little corner of the internet. We are always excited to see who is reading and to get your comments– hopefully with some upcoming vacation time over the holidays, we will have several new projects, recipes, and photos to share with you all!
If you woke up this morning with a need to make a last-minute pie, here is an easy-to-follow and pretty quick recipe for Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust and Cinnamon Whipped Cream. Um, wow! If it tastes anything like my apartment smells right now, this is a winner. Food52 hasn’t led me wrong so far, so fingers crossed this doesn’t disappoint!
You can find the recipe here.
Photo by Grace for Dressed in Orange.
The second half of my week was spent desperately fighting off the first signs of a cold. I took medicine and vitamins, drank tea with honey, kept my body warm, made sure to get plenty of sleep, and drank lots of fluids. Despite my best efforts, I wound up sick anyway. It’s never a convenient time to be sick, and last night I found myself in some deep self-pity. I missed a concert I had been looking forward to for months and my fun weekend plans were cancelled. I was missing out all because of a summertime cold, and I felt upset, even angry. But after 12 restful hours of sleep, I woke up this morning feeling mentally refreshed. Though I’m still physically sick, I realized just how silly I was to feel so sorry for myself. So this weekend, I’m going to embrace this time to rest and recharge by catching up on some reading, watching TV, drinking tea, online shopping, and of course, blogging – all from the comfort of my own bed.
In celebration of today’s landmark marriage equality rulings, I suggest you mix yourselves (and your loved ones) a drink or two and give a toast to those people continually working towards equality for all– and of course to all the fabulous weddings to come here in California!
I personally love the above Cocktail Swatchbook, not only for it’s genius drink categorization (recipes are sorted by whether they serve 1, 4, or 6+ people), but also for the adorable vintage barware recommendations Mrs. Lilien includes with each beverage swatch. If you haven’t done so already, I suggest you also check out her namesake blog, sure to delight with great drink recipes, fab party planning and outfits, and wonderfully rhyming posts.