Monday, November 30, 2015

Hello December...

Hey there friends!  I'm excited to do Blogmas leading up to Christmas!  I’ve made a list and checked it twice!  Seriously, I did and so for the next 25 days I would like to share the highlights of 2015  Advent calendar style.  Visit this page every morning to open a new door by clicking on the number of the day.

Sorry, I'm running a bit behind.  Calendar is done until day 16.  I'm working to catch up this weekend... 21 is done, so is the 24th and Christmas...

Happy Holidays,
     ♡ Nina

Monday, November 16, 2015

Open-Faced Veggie Sandwiches

My husband has been baking fresh sourdough bread every week since August.  This recipe shows the yummiest and my favorite way to eat it.  On the weekends, these sandwiches are my go to meal when I'm looking for something fresh and savory and need to prepare a quick meal for myself.   These open-face sandwiches just are the perfect lunch or snack and I simply love the freshness and crunch of everything that goes on top of them!

The bread in the picture is sourdough bread laced with vegan cheddar cheese and jalapeño peppers.  This just so happened to be the bread of the week, however, the combination of toppings is yummy on any sourdough.

  • 2 slices of fresh Sourdough Bread
  • Romaine lettuce (about one large leaf per slice)
  • English Cucumber;  thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. Vegenaise
  • Cilantro leaves;  whole or broken
  • 1 tsp. Nutricional Yeast Flakes
  • Hot Pepper Flakes;  as many or as few as you like
  • Salt and Pepper;  to taste

  1. To start, wash and clean all fresh produce.  
  2. Slice the bread into 1/2 inch thick slices.
  3. Next, spread the Vegenaise onto the bread.
  4. I like to tear the romaine leave into smaller pieces and arrange these bits on the bread
  5. Add a layer of cucumber slices and then a layer of tomato slices
  6. Next, season with salt, freshly ground pepper, nutritional yeast and the hot pepper flakes.
  7. Finally, pull some of the cilantro leaves of the stem and add them on top of the sandwich. You can tear the leaves into smaller pieces to release the fragrance into the rest of the ingredients.  Slice each piece of bread in half if you like and it is ready to eat.  Enjoy each bite!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Outfits of October | Project 333

I cannot believe October has come and gone in a flash.  It's been a great month filled with beautiful fall weather, exciting changes (paying off the student loans) and fun times.  Also, one whole month of capsule dressing went by!  I'm extremely happy with how well it went so far, how simple it is and how much I've learned already about my personal needs and style.  Today, I would like to share the list I kept to track which items I actually wore. 

1 - grey short sleeve lace shirt, blue jeans, brown chunky heel sandals 
2 - blue and white embellished sweater, blue jeans, black chunky heel boots, green parker, red beanie
3 - maroon corduroy pants, cream knit sweater, brown chunky heel sandal, green parker
4 - lace skirt, sleeveless green and blue patterned blouse, no shoes (because the day was spend at home)
5 - black slacks, brown chunky heel sandals, red beanie
6 - dark blue jeans,white button down blouse with dark blue trim, beaded necklace, black chunky heel boots, green parker
7 - maroon corduroy pants, chambray button down shirt, black fleece vest, black chunky heel boots, green parker, red beanie
8 - black lace dress, jean jacket, brown chunky heel sandals
9 - dark green v-neck sweater, blue jeans, black chunky heel boots, green parker, read beanie, black work tote
10 - maroon corduroy pants, chambray button down shirt, brown, chunky heel sandals
11 - SICKDAY - black leggings, sleeveless green and blue patterned blouse, black chunky heel boots
12 - SICKDAY - black slacks, grey short sleeve lace shirt, chambray shirt, black fleece vest, fuchsia peacoat, black headband, black gloves
13 - black slacks, red/blue embellished sweater, black chunky heel boots, black headband, grey fleece pullover
14 -  maroon corduroy pants, cream knit sweater, black fleece vest, green parker, black chunky heel boots, black headband, 
15 - black lace dress, grey cardigan, black flats
16 - (daytime) black slacks, green sweater, grey fleece pullover, fuchsia peacoat, black chunky heel boots, black headband
- (evening) white/blue embellished sweater, lace skirt, brown chunky heel sandal
17 - red, white and blue striped dress, brown chunky heel sandals
18 - black leggings, red/blue embellished sweater (home all day so no shoes or socks)
19 - black leggings, grey fleece pullover, black chunky heel boots, fuchsia peacoat
20 - dark blue jeans, white/blue embellished sweater, black fleece vest, black chunky heel boots, green parker, beanie, gloves
21 - dark blue jeans, cream knit sweater, black fleece vest, black chunky heel boots, green parker, scarf, beanie, gloves
22- sleeveless green and blue patterned blouse, lace skirt, grey cardigan, brown chunky heel sandal
23 - dark blue jeans, white button down blouse with dark blue trim, mustard cardigan, green parker, black chunky heel boot, black headband, gloves
24 - maroon corduroy pants, chambray button down shirt, (cozy socks)
25 - black slacks, blue/red embellished sweater, black chunky heel boots, fleece pullover, green parker, red beanie
26 - dark blue jeans, sleeveless green and blue patterned blouse, grey cardigan, green parker black headband, gloves
27 - black slacks, chambray button down shirt, black fleece vest, black chunky heel boots, fuchsia peacoat, beanie, gloves
28 - black slacks, cream knit sweater, fuchsia peacoat, black chunky heel boots, blue striped scarf, beanie, black gloves
29 - dark blue jeans, blue/red embellished sweater, black fleece vest, black chunky heel boots, green parker (accidentally left/lost the parker at the hot springs…so the jacket is gone until we go back and pick it up)
30 - blue jeans, cream knit sweater, black chunky heel boots, fuchsia peacoat, scarf, beanie, gloves
31 - black leggings, blue/white embellished sweater, jean jacket, scarf, beanie, black chunky heel boots

❊ Forgetting my parker in the locker at the hot springs!!!  Yes, I did…what a nightmare.  We will try to go back to grab it next week.
The fabric of the 7 year old maroon corduroy pants ripped as I pulled them up. The rip is right above the back pocket and basically right smack on my butt.  I’m not happy about it and I will have to retire the pants and switch it out for the black corduroy pants.
❊ My black slacks have a silver button on each of the back pockets. Sadly, one of them came off and I just had to sew it back on. 
❊ I will finally order the peacoat my husband wanted to get me for my birthday (which was in the beginning of October) and I will add this coat to my capsule. This will bring the count to 33.

Also, Spencer started capsule dressing too!  On my train commute home this Friday, he called and announced he is planning to get his winter clothes out and that he would like my help to make a capsule.  What?  I was really surprised.  He liked how simple my side of the closet looked and how little time it takes me to get dressed now.  Having that set number of clothes makes my mornings much more relaxing.  I no longer need to pick out an outfit the night before or ruffle through all my things to find what I need.  So that night, we went through his already rather sparse collection of things, sorted out all the items that were worn out or never worn (mostly hand me downs with scratchy and stiff fabric), boxed up his summer clothes and returned the rest to his closet.  Now both closets are neat and it feel like there is quite literally so much more room to breathe.  How nice!

I hope you enjoyed this update on project 333!

♡ Nina

Monday, October 5, 2015

Cherry Bites

This recipe is incredibly simple.  No baking or sugar needed to make this dessert and it is made out of only need 6 ingredients:  cherries, almonds, walnuts, ground cinnamon, a pinch of salt and a splash of water.  It is no secret that I like as few ingredients as possible in my recipes and that I prefer if these simple flavor combination pack a good punch.  These tart cherry bite certainly do!  

Rich and tangy, these cherry bites completely capture those precious personalities with their cute little size and bright fruity flavor.  With the chewy texture of nutty oatmeal cookie dough, these fun bites taste almost as decadent as dessert! 

  • 1 1/2 cup dried tart Cherries
  • 1 cup unsalted Almonds
  • 1 cup Walnuts
  • 1 tsp. ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Water

  1. To start, place all ingredients, except for the tablespoon of water, in a food processor and process about 1 minute, or until ingredients are in small, relatively uniform crumbles.
  2. Next, while the machine is running add the water and mix for a couple more seconds.  The dried cherries and the bit of water act as the glue that holds together these energy bites. 
  3. Then, form the mixture into bite size balls.  It works best you if press a good amount with your fingers to compact it and then you can roll them dough in your hands to form the shape.  Shaping the bites is a slightly messy affair and you’ll end up with some of the mixture stuck to your hands, but the abrasiveness of the cinnamon actually polishes and smoothes you hands... that's a bonus in my book.
  4. Once shaped, store the little round balls in an airtight container.  They’re fine on the counter, but you could also refrigerate them for a few days.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Fall 2015 Capsule Wardrobe - I’m In!

I have been thinking about making a capsule wardrobe for the past year and I’m finally taking the plunge.  Over the past couple of years I’ve been slowly culling my wardrobe (and my stuff in general) and I’m excited about taking a new challenge and trying project 333.  Please visit Courtney Carver’s Project 333 (linked here) for more information on the concept!

Capsule dressing with project 333 basically means that I'm selecting 33 key items for the season by going through my clothing and picking out what I would like to wear in the next  three months.  It also means that I'm going to box up everything else that's not necessary for the upcoming season or that's not inspiring.  As I'm writing this, my first capsule wardrobe is almost complete and I’m pretty darn excited about it.  I'm excited, not because I'm looking to become a fashionista and have the intention to turn this website into a fashion blog, but I'm excited because I'm interested in living intentionally, minimally and stepping away from excess and consumerism... all of which capsule dressing promotes.  

So let's talk through what is happening with capsule.  The pictures show all the items in the capsule and I will have to say that I decided to exclude sleepwear, undergarments, exercise clothing and jewelry.

Here is a list of the items I selected:

TOPS (4)
1 - sleeveless green and blue patterned blouse
2 - grey short sleeve lace shirt
3 - white button down blouse with dark blue trim
4 - chambray button down shirt

5 - blue and white embellished sweater
6 - blue and red embellished sweater
7 - dark green v-neck sweater
8 - cream knit sweater
9 - grey cardigan
10 - mustard cardigan
11 - black fleece vest

12 - black lace dress
13 - red, white and blue striped dress

14 - black blazer
15 - jean jacket
16 - fuchsia peacoat
17 - green parker
18 - fleece pullover

19 - dark blue jeans
20 - black slacks
21 - black leggings
22 - maroon corduroy pants
23 - lace skirt

24 - black chunky heel boots
25 - brown chunky heel sandal
26 - black flats

27 - blue striped scarf
28 - black gloves
29 - black fleece headband
30 - red beanie
31 - jewelry: wedding ring/band, rose-gold watch, pandora bracelet, beaded necklace, long dainty necklace, 2 pair of stud ear-rings
32 - black work tote
33 - ???

The official start of this for me is October 1st.  I'm excited!  

Combinations so far:

1 - grey short sleeve lace skirt, blue jeans, brown chunky heel sandals 
2 - blue and white embellished sweater, blue jeans, black chunky heel boots, green parker, red beanie
3 - maroon corduroy pants, cream knit sweater, brown chunky heel sandal, green parker
4 - lace skirt, sleeveless green and blue patterned blouse, no shoes (because the day was spend at home)

I hope everyone is having a good week.

♡ Nina

Monday, September 7, 2015

Homemade Orange-Pistachio Gnocchi

Hello friends, here is our new vegan recipe for September: homemade potato gnocchis!  They are much simpler to make then you think, yet the results are absolutely stunning.

These light, fluffy gnocchis can stand up to any egg based pasta and blow them out of the water!  They pair nicely with any rich creamy pasta sauce as well as with pestos and tomatoes.  With a little time and effort, these gnocchis will be the star of any home cooked dinner.  The orange pistachio sauce takes humble ingredients and blends them into something unique.  The brightness of the orange and the richness of the pistachio come together to create a flavor that is both bright and earthy at the same time.  Good for hot summer days when something refreshing is needed and also for cold winter nights when you need a taste of summer.  

The contrasting green and orange colors on the plate also add a fresh visual element to elevate the dish to something extraordinary. 

GNOCCHI Ingredients:  
  • 2 large Russet Potatoes
  • 2 cups of Flour
  • 2 Tbsp. Salt

SAUCE Ingredients:  
  • 1 cup shelled and peeled Pistachios
  • 1/2 cup Oil of choice
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • juice and zest of one Orange

  1. To start, process the pistachios very fine in food processor.
  2. Next, with processor still running, drizzle the oil into the nuts. 
  3. Move pistachio mix into a medium bowl and season with salt, orange juice and zest.
  4. Next, make the gnocchi dumplings.
  5. Begin by preheating your oven to 450°F and washing the potatoes.
  6. Place the 2 large russet potatoes on a baking sheet and put in oven for 1 1/2 hours.
  7. As soon as the potatoes have a crunchy skin and are soft on the inside, cut them in half and scoop out the insides with a soup spoon.
  8. Once the potato is out, place in a fine sieve and push through to create a fluffy textured mashed potato. 
  9. Spread the mixture out on a clean counter top and let the potatoes steam for 3-5 minutes.  This way they release their excess liquid. 
  10. Next, bring a pot of water to a simmer on the stove. 
  11. After potatoes have stopped steaming, add 1 cup of flour and the salt to the dough by dusting it over the steamed potatoes.
  12. Use a spatula to fold in the flour, being careful not to overwork the dough as this will produce tough, gummy gnocchis.  The least amount of time spent working the dough is paramount.  If the dough is too wet, slowly add more flour to the mixture. 
  13. After the dough has achieved a slightly tacky texture, dust the countertop with flour to prevent sticking.  Then roll the dough into long, thin snakes and cut them into your preferred dumpling size. 
  14. At this point, it is good to test the dough by placing one gnocchi dumpling into the boiling water and cooking it until the gnocchi floats, then dropping it into a bowl of cold water.  If the dumpling falls apart or appears too mushy, dust the batch with flour and knead the dough gently 3-4 times and then try again. 
  15. Once the desired consistency is reached, cook the remaining dumplings and place them onto a baking tray in the refrigerator to cool.  (The gnocchis will hold nicely over night this way or for 3 days if put into a container with a lid.) 
  16. Then, put a medium sized skillet on stove top over medium heat.  Add oil and once the pan it hot, brown gnocchis on both sides.
  17. To plate, pool orange pistachio sauce onto a small plate and pile gnocchis in the center.  Garnish with more orange zest if you like.
       Nina & Spencer

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Mango and Strawberry Salsa

This simple, fruity and chunky salsa is a wonderful summer dish.  It goes well with tortilla chips as a stand alone dip, however, it can also work well as a topping for our summer vegetable fajita recipe or as a condiment for many other savory dishes.  This bright salsa never lasts long at the dinner table or at a party because it is so refreshing and energizing. 

SALSA Ingredients:  
  • 1 yellow Mango;  diced
  • 5 Strawberries;  diced
  • 1 Tbsp. Cilantro;  finely minced
  • 1/2 Lemon;  juiced
  • 1/2 orange Pepper;  finely diced
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper 
  • a dash of Cumin

  1.  Wash and clean all fresh produce.
  2. Dice the strawberries and mango into 1/4 inch squares.  Also dice the bell pepper as small as you can.
  3. Next, finely chop the cilantro.
  4. Combine all ingredients into a medium bowl and gently mix them together.
  5. Tip:  For a spicy version, add some diced jalapeño pepper into the mix.  Omit the seeds for a just-a-bit spicy version.
       Nina & Spencer

Monday, July 6, 2015

Spiralized Salad with Orange Miso Dressing

This recipe is a light, noodle-less noodle salad.  It is one we love to make when we can not be bothered to turn on the stove or wish to create anymore heat in our house.  Great for those hot, horrid days that need a little refreshing touch.  This interesting dressing has a bright Asian flavor that definitely leaves you wanting a second helping.

DRESSING  Ingredients:  
  • 3 Tbsp. Light Miso
  • 2 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Tahini
  • 1/4 cup Orange Juice;  freshly pressed
  • 1 Tbsp. Water
  • 3 tsp. Maple Syrup

SALAD Ingredients:  
  • 2-3 Zucchinis;  spiralized
  • 1/2 English Cucumber;  spiralized
  • 2 Carrots;  spiralized
  • 1 Red or Orange Bell Pepper;  julienned
  • 1/4 cup fresh Cilantro Leaves;  chopped
  • Sesame Seeds;  to sprinkle over the salad before serving

  1.  Make the orange miso dressing:  In a small bowl or food processor, combine the miso, vinegar, sesame oil, tahini, orange juice, water and maple syrup and process or mix with a whisk until everything is well combined.
  2. Wash and clean all fresh vegetables.
  3. The next step is to shape the zucchinis, English cucumbers and carrots into noodles with a spiralizer.  Also julienne the peppers and finely chop the cilantro leaves.
  4. Add all the vegetables into a large salad bowl and toss them together until they are a tangle of different colored noodles.
  5. Serve on individual  plates with the orange miso dressing and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
       Nina & Spencer