Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

I have a new favorite dressing. It takes some planning, and I can’t just whip it up out of my cupboard like my zesty italian dressing, but still pretty simple.

I had it over my quinoa, edamame salad and everyone loved it. So happy! I hope you like it too!

First you start off with a pound of fresh strawberries. Wash ’em, trim em’ halve ’em. Put them in a small pot, add sugar, salt and water and cook on medium heat.
Once they are broken down and soft, and leaked out their juices, hit it with the immersion blender until smooth.
Even then, it’s still not smooth enough! Strain that baby into a bowl. Let it cool down to the touch. Or cooler.
Add seasoning, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Whisk until incorporated. And delicious.

Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Yeah, right. Like it will last that long 😉
1 lb Fresh Strawberries, stems removed, chopped
1 tsp of sugar
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 bag of Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix

In a small pot over medium heat, stir strawberries, sugar, salt and water over medium heat. When juices release and strawberries are soft, remove from heat. Blend with an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender) and pulse until smooth.

Strain into a bowl. Let cool. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients. Store in fridge in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Enjoy over salad!

Cooking Quinoa

Can I tell you a secret? I never made quinoa before. And I never ate it either until one time last year at whole foods. I like the texture. I don’t know how to eat it really. But since I am trying to eat healthier I thought I would start with a salad. So I made it in beef stock and threw it in with my salad! My cousin told me that she had been making it wrong the whole time!

Its basically like rice. A 2:1 ratio. Use your favorite broth, to get some flavor infused in there.

I used Trader Joe’s Tri Color quinoa. 1/2 cup of dry quinoa, washed clean in cold water. Then in a small pot I added the quinoa and 1 cup of beef broth. Bring to boil, then lower to a simmer and cook covered until all the liquid is absorbed. Easy right?


Meal Planning

I love cooking. But if it’s during the week, it is usually sporadic. Veggies go bad if I try to plan ahead too much. I’m going to give it another go and try to plan it out, and cook it on Sundays, and make SMALLER quantities. I have the bad habit of cooking for a football team, but it only being us two in the house!

I thought this picture was pretty cute, but because I come home for lunch and eat dinner at home, there isn’t really a need for me to pack bentos. This first week the meals are as follows…

We didn’t eat out a single meal this week! I and I didn’t randomly cook a huge meal that I got sick of eating, or gone to waste. We saved, literally, hundreds of dollars. My food budget was pretty large, because hey, I love to eat, and that’s where all my money goes, and I was okay with that!

The honey and I are taking turns planning the meals for the week, so the next one is his. I’m excited to see what he comes up with! I am leaving the weekends open for splurging and eating what we want 😀

Everyone’s Obsessed with Sriracha {Salt}

It’s so true. This green topped bottle has been in my kitchen since before I was born, so I wasn’t sure why all of a sudden everyone is using it. But I guess because it is MAINSTREAM now. I’ve decided I should start trying out some of these Sriracha recipes.

I started out with the the Sriracha Wings, which were a huge hit! My next adventure? Sriracha salt. Mostly because these would be great gifts and a nice little topping to some simple meals.

I am sure you can find the measurements somewhere on pinterest, but I like to wing it. Maldon sea salt flakes, and enough sriracha to make a paste, but not too wet.
Mix it with some garlic powder, and it becomes a seasoning salt.
Spread it out on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Stick it in the oven and turn it to 200F. When the oven reaches temperature, turn it off. Stick a wooden spoon to prop the door slightly, and leave it in the oven over night. The next day check it out. It should be dry. And probably stuck together.
Stick in a spice grinder, or food processor.
Grind it up as fine as you like it.
Then put it in a cute airtight jar, sprinkle it on everything. Spicy. salty, garlicky goodness.

Rob Schneider at DC Improv

DC Improv is one of my favorite venues for live entertainment. The atmosphere is very intimate, so it just seems like you are hanging out with your buddy, who just happens to be a famous comedic actor. At the Improv, if you get 8PM show tickets, seating is first come first serve, so the earlier you get there, the better. We got there right at 630 when doors opened and we were seated right next to the stage. I could see up his nose, and he made eye contact and talked to our group!
His opening act was a guy named Herbie Gill. The majority of the audience, if not all (besides us) were caucasian, DC yuppy types. I’m not being judgmental, I promise, I just wanted to describe you the audience type. I found Herbie’s jokes hilarious, and he was a DC native, young and struggling. I felt like he didn’t get as much laughs with this crowd.
I’ve never seen Rob Schneider’s stand up before. I just know he is in funny movies and I enjoy his characters. When he first came out, he scanned the crowd. I guess getting a feel for the audience. He started off not tickling my funny bones. He made very political jokes to start…very republican, Obama negative. I’m just don’t one to discuss politics so I sat quietly while everyone else laughed. Then he got to the racial jokes (why are these so funny to me?) where he told us about growing up filipino and the antic from his childhood. He moved on to marriage, and life and thats when he got really funny.
It was a rough start but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would see him again. He is getting old though! Since we were up close and personal, I could see the wrinkles and age spots. His eyes are a beautiful blue though! Afterwards, that weekend we watched a bunch of Rob Schneider movies. Did you know his mom makes a cameo in 3 of his movies? The Animal, Hot Chick and Deuce Bigalow: European Gigoglo. Can you spot her?


Cool Stuff: Madewell Transport Tote

I don’t consider myself fashionable at all. I’m definitely a food/life blogger. But this tote, is totes amazing (haha see what I did there?). I’ve had an eye on it for awhile but because I don’t really spend my money on things like bags it takes me awhile to really get something at that price point. However, I love this bag. I also researched other similar ones, but in the end I always came back around to this bag.

It is a Madewell Transport Tote. Unlined. Real leather, perfect size. It smells wonderful, the color is rich, and leather just gets better with age, so I’m hoping this will last me a long time! It fits everything I need to carry, ipad, laptop, notebook, wallet, etc. It has one interior zip to keep my small things, like my pens, lip stuff, etc.

There isn’t much else to say, other than I love it, it makes me feel fabulous, and I can’t wait to be styling yet function. Cause really its function over fashion for me! Also. No more bags or shoes for the rest of the year. I can do this.


Ramblings: Social Media Lives

Can I let you in on a secret? I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love the easy access to keeping up with the daily lives of friends and family far away. I love discovering new things and making new blog/twitter/instagram friends. It builds a great sense of community, and there are people that can relate and I can pick their brains about topics of my interests. These are the things I love, and these are the reasons why I probably won’t give it up.

I don’t have a personal facebook. My dog has one. I use his account to play games. And post pictures of him. I share lots of my life on instagram (things I want to share, not everything) and I have random commentary on twitter. But I don’t live on social media. I hang out with my friends, eat food, talk, cook, read etc. What I noticed with our society lately is people LIVING on social media… and a lot of the times they live fake lives.

There are different types of people. People who use social media for branding, people who use it for an online interests community (like I mentioned before), people who use social media to share only with people that care about them and vice versa (usually have everything on private), people who use social media to garner attention to feed their narcissistic behavior, and people who use social media to prove to other people that they are living fabulous lives when really they are trying to make themselves feel better about their own life. I read about this somewhere, I believe it’s called “Fakebooking”.


(source unknown via pinterest)

I think this is the hate reason in my love/hate relationship. I’ve decided to cut out quite a few excess people in my life, due to their need to always one up everyone. I feel like this is fueled by such easy access to anyone’s lives via instagram/twitter/facebook. You start comparing yourself, and your life to someone else and it turns you into a monster!

That being said, I’m not going to give up on twitter or instagram. Who know’s I will probably get facebook sometime down the line to share pictures of my kids or something…but somehow I still feel like I won’t. I want to send more handwritten cards/letters/notes this year. Old school. Use up my stamps and paper supplies. Our life is so digital that sometimes I miss tangible things. I want to organize my things and be paper free and declutter. But I still love being in the real world as opposed to the digital world.

What about you? Are you living in the real world? And no, not the MTV show.


Out & About

It’s been awhile since I’ve been out and about. So last Saturday I spent the day with my friend Tiffany and we had a whole day of food, people watching and catching up.

Our first stop was Hot & Juicy. She never been to a down and dirty seafood joint. Now that my older brother moved back to Louisiana 🙁 this will be my choice for crawfish when the season rolls around again. Since they were frozen, we opted for shrimp, po boys and crablegs.
After walking around in the cold, we decided to stop in for some tea and coffee at Sidamo on H Street. Super cute, tiny place known for it’s Ethiopian pour over coffee. Here we caught up. People watched, and made up stories about the characters we saw. Nothing interesting. But a very cozy time.
No trip to H street is complete without a stop into Dangerously Delicious Pies. I can’t believe I haven’t written about this place yet. If you find yourself near a location, stop in! They have both sweet and savory pies. This trip, I came home with Blueberry, Lemon Chess and Baltimore Bomb.
The night ended at Lyon Hall. One of my favorite spots for happy hour. I love their charcuterie and mussels. And we got exactly that, along with some rose. Perfect ending to our girly day of food!


Sleep Cycles Part Deux

So remember when I wrote this post about waking up during your light sleep cycle so that you don’t mess up your whole day? Well I really liked waking up like that. I just made my whole day better. So to aid with that, I tested out this app called Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock.

You stick it under your sheet and through the phone’s accelerometer it measures when you are in which sleep cycle. Crazy I know. I don’t believe it either, but it gives you charts and stuff when you wake up. I tried this out for a week and here’s what I think.

I spend a lot of time in bed and I get enough sleep… Lately. This is all for the new year. If it was tracking and experimenting during the macaron rush, it would probably tell me to go to sleep more.

I do notice that I wake up maybe a minute or two, before the cycle timer makes me wake up. However I do enjoy my morning tea in the quiet. I do feel a lot more refreshed and make it through the day longer without naps and I’m pretty happy with this system of sleeping!


Chicken Divan


You might be surprised to know I’m not the only cook in the house. My honey also enjoys cooking, I just don’t let him in my kitchen often. But there are some days where I don’t want to cook, and thats when he gets to shine. One of his favorites to make, that can be done after work is his grandmother’s Chicken Divan.


His Chicken Divan

3 boneless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp curry powder (optional)
1 lb bag of shredded cheddar
1 lb of frozen broccoli or 2 large fresh crowns chopped
French bread/baguette

Pre heat oven to 350F.
Bring a pot of water big enough to cover the chicken breast to boil. Add chicken breast. Boil until chicken is cooked. In a small bowl mix mayonnaise, cream of chicken and curry powder until thoroughly incorporated. Boil broccoli until slightly tender. Drain.

In a baking pan (9×13) shred the chicken and spread evenly. Layer the broccoli on top of the chicken. Pour mayonnaise mixture over the pan and spread evenly. Then top with desired amount of cheese, or whole bag! Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, cut and enjoy with bread!

Sorry there’s no finished picture. He hasn’t made it in awhile for me to take pics!