Category: Recipes

BLACK FRIDAY Favorites: Best Sales of the Day

How was your Thanksgiving?  I tried a new recipe for sweet potato biscuits.  They were flaky, delicious, and so easy to make.

On this special edition of Friday Favorites, I am rounding up the best Black Friday sales from across the web below.  I’ll be heading out to Grand Boulevard today to look at all of the Christmas decorations and check out the Black Friday sales at my two favorite stores: The Zoo Gallery and Anthropologie

Ann Taylor – 50% off everything with code THANKFUL through 11/24.

Anthropologie – 30% off everything online and in store plus surprises and treats in local stores.

Asos — 20% off everything with code WIN20 through 11/28.

Baublebar – Up to 30% off.

Boden – 30% off and free shipping wiht code CY8H through 11/27.

Crate & Barrel – 15% off full-price items with code SAVE15 through 11/27.

Everlane – Money spent on Black Friday helps build an organic farm in Vietnam to feed their workers for free!

Garnet Hill – 25% off full-price items and free shipping through 11/28.

J.Crew — 40% off everything with code THANKU through 11/26.

Kate Spade – 30% off everything with code GIVEJOY through 11/26.

Loft – 40% off everything with code GIFTITUP through 11/24,

Lululemon– Select items discounted.

Macy’s — 20% off with code HURRY through 11/25.

Madewell — 25% off everything with code DONTSTRESS through 11/26.

Nike – 25% off sale items with code EPIC25 through 11/28.

Nordstrom – 20% off select sale items through 11/27.

Old Navy – 50% off select items.

Outdoor Voices– 20% discount with code STOCKUP through 11/27.

Pottery Barn – Up to 50% off and free shipping with code BLACKFRIDAY.

Saks – Up to 60% off through 11/24.

Sephora – Up to 50% off.

Shopbop – 75% off sale items and 30% off full-priced styles with code MORE17 through 11/27.

Show Me Your MuMu– 40% off select styles with code BLKFRIMU.

TopShop — Up to 50% off and free shipping through 11/27. 

West Elm– Up to 30% off and free shipping with code SAVEMORE.

Urban Outfitters — Buy one, get one 50% off through 11/24.

Zappos – Discounts on discounts on discounts.

Will you be shopping the Black Friday sales online or in person today?  Or are you saving your money for Small Business Saturday tomorrow? 

Let me know in the comments!

xoxo

Meal Planning with the Organic Vegetable Co-op

This week, I would like to share with you how to plan out your weekly meals with produce from an organic vegetable co-op bin.  I’ve mentioned before on the blog that we are members of the Emerald Coast Organic Co-op, an organic fruit and vegetable co-operative based at Cafe Organic in Fort Walton Beach, which allows us to purchase a bin of assorted fresh, organic groceries at a discount twice a month.  Because the co-operative orders seasonal produce for the entire group, we never know what fruits and vegetables we will get until we arrive to pick up our bin.  The variety of produce challenges me to try new recipes.  I had never cooked leeks, kohlrabi, beets, bok choy, or watercress before we joined the co-op, and now we have them all on a regular basis!

Meal Planning with Co-op Veggies

Meal planning based on the produce we get in our co-op bin is not unlike how vegetable gardeners or frequenters of farmer’s markets might meal plan.  Basically, you just center your recipes around the produce you have on hand.  I’ll take you through this week’s bin as an example.  We normally cook at home three or four nights a week and eat leftovers or eat out (usually at La Paz) the other nights.

Each bin is FULL of produce, more than my family can typically eat, so we actually split it with a friend – we take turns picking items from the list until all produce is accounted for.  From the bin this week, I picked lettuce, collard greens, sprouts, broccoli, corn, onions, potatoes, ginger, and garlic.

Meal #1

My husband likes to grill out steaks, ribs, or wings one night each week, so I always choose vegetables that will make good sides for that night.  This week, those sides will be oven roasted corn on the cob (I add salt and pepper to the foil packs in the linked recipe) and creamy mashed potatoes.

Meal #2

I usually try to do some type of chicken recipe as well, again centered around whatever veggies we receive.  This recipe for caramelized onion and garlic chicken looks delicious!  I’ll probably make my favorite crock-pot collard greens (I add red pepper flakes) as a side, along with some crusty French bread.

Meal #3

The third home-cooked meal of the week is either breakfast (bacon, eggs, and fruit), spaghetti (in which I throw any and all remaining vegetables into my favorite tomato sauce base) with steamed frozen peas on the side, or a crock-pot freezer meal that I’ve prepared in advance (I make 20 or so freezer meals every 3-4 months just to have on hand for easy suppers – possible future blog post to come on this!).

Extras

We will use the lettuce and sprouts in salads and sandwiches for lunches this week, and my sister picked the ginger to use in homemade juices.  We love the variety and quality of the organic produce we receive through the co-op, and the discount to what we’d pay in the store is nice, too!

Planning around seasonal veggies is something human beings have been doing for a long, long time, and I find that the extra effort of doing so is definitely worth it.  With high-quality vegetables, you can sautée, roast, or steam them with just butter, salt, and pepper, and you get an absolutely delicious flavor with very little work involved.  All that to say, I highly recommend participating in your local co-op or buying seasonal produce from your local farmer’s market and meal planning accordingly!

While I was sorting vegetables, this is what my little monkey was up to….

Anyway, some of my favorite sources for easy weeknight recipes are listed below.  Enjoy!

Red, White, and Blueberry Cream Cheese Trifle Recipe

Holidays are a great excuse to make a yummy dessert, and Independence Day this year was no different.  This blueberry trifle is one of my favorite desserts because it is airy and delicious, and I am crazy for cream cheese.

I have been making this dessert for a couple of years after someone special shared this recipe with me.  I adapted it slightly by increasing the amount of blueberries, and I usually top it with sliced almonds.  This time, I used strawberries instead to give it a festive touch.

Prepwork

Before you begin assembling the trifle, you will need an angel food cake.  I used a Betty Crocker angel food cake mixed and baked it a few hours before I put together the rest of the dessert.  If you have never baked angel food cake from a mix before, be careful!  It nearly doubles in size because it is so airy, so I always use several cake pans.  After the cake cools, cut it up into cubes using a serrated knife.

I recommend you put the mixing bowl and whisk you will use for the whipped cream in the freezer for a few hours to get them nice and cold before starting the recipe.  This trick makes whipping cream much easier!

Ingredients

Blueberry Filling Layer
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
Cake and Cream Layer
  • baked, cooled, cubed angel food cake
  • 16 ounces light cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2/3 cup half-and-half
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
Whipped Cream Layer
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

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To make the blueberry filling, stir together blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, water, and lemon juice in a saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 5-7 minutes, stirring often.  It is better to cook the filling too long than not long enough – it is done when the blueberries have burst and the consistency is like a thin jelly.  Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature.  It will thicken a bit as it cools.

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For the cake and cream layer, whip together cream cheese, half-and-half, and sugar until smooth and creamy.  Gently fold in the angel food cake cubes.  Only add cake cubes until they are all saturated in cream – you may not use all the cubes.  Extra cake cubes make a good snack.

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To make the whipped cream, take your mixing bowl and whisk out of the freezer.  Then, beat together the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until peaks form.

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Assemble the layers in a large glass bowl or trifle dish.  Spread half of the angel food cake mixture across the bottom of dish.  Top with half of the blueberry filling, and then spread  on half of the whipped cream.  Repeat so that there are two layers of each mixture.  Top with sliced strawberries or almond slivers.

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Cover and refrigerate for up to a day.  Serve chilled.  Enjoy!

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The only downside to this recipe: Lots and lots of dishes!  I promise this delectable dessert is worth the effort!

 

Friday Favorites

When did my baby become a toddler??? She looks so big in this picture!  It is all happening too fast!  Despite the sometimes monotonous nature of childcare, babies pepper in moments of pure joy and excitement that make it all worthwhile.  Quick example: I came home after picking up dinner Monday after work.  Carla May didn’t nap great and had been fussy most of the afternoon, so I immediately drew a bath and prepared to eat my dinner on the back of the toilet seat during her bathtime (living that glamorous mom life! – Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this!).  Chatham offered to give her a bath instead so I could relax and enjoy my dinner.  While he was bathing her, she looked up at him and said, clear as day, “dada!”  Both of our hearts melted.

Here are a few more things that brought me joy this week:

Sweet Potato – Bacon – Apple Hash

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This easy hash is one of my go-to recipes, since I usually have all of the ingredients on hand and it is so quick to prepare.  I came up with this recipe back when Chatham and I were adhering to the Paleo diet, and I liked it so much that I have kept it in my repertoire ever since.  The recipe below is for one portion, so if you are feeding multiple people or want to prep multiple servings, just keep the ratios the same.

Ingredients:

2 slices of bacon, chopped into small pieces

1 sweet potato, washed and chopped with skin on

1 apple, washed and chopped with skin on

1 handful of raisins, any kind

Instructions:

Fry up bacon pieces in a pan until they are close to done.  Without draining grease, add sweet potato and apple.  Stir, put the lid on the pan, turn the heat down to medium, and set the timer for 10 minutes.  Check every few minutes to stir.  When you have 5 minutes to go, add the raisins and stir once more.   Put the lid back on.  When the timer beeps, your hash is ready!  Sometimes I’ll drizzle honey or salt on top, but usually the hash is flavorful enough without any additional seasonings.

My sister thought this photo of her enjoying this dish would make it extra appetizing for you. 🙂

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Emerald Coast Organic Co-op

The Emerald Coast Organic Co-op is one of my favorite clubs around and one day, I will write a post on how it works and how I meal plan based on what veggies we get each week.  Basically, we get a bin of organic fruits and veggies every other week that we split with a friend (the bins are huge!).  The produce is always delicious, and we get it at a big discount from what we’d pay in the store.  Co-op membership also forces me to try out new vegetables that I might not otherwise purchase, which is fun!

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Living a Facebook-Free Life

I gave up Facebook for Lent this year and really enjoyed the experience, so I ended up deleting my account for good.  I love looking at photos of my friend’s vacations, weddings, puppies, and babies, but I can get all of that on Instagram without having to deal with the drama of reading people’s status update rants.  I read an article this week that reaffirmed my decision that I would recommend reading if you are on the fence.  The author did not give up Facebook entirely, but made it much more difficult for himself to log on and gained valuable insight in the process: Want More Time? Get Rid of the Easiest Way to Spend It 

Seaside Excursions

This weekend, Mellie, Carla May, and I went out to Seaside, which you may remember was one of our planned excursions on our Summer Bucket List.  Since Carla May can make it a max of 3 hours between naps before getting cranky, we made it a quick trip and knocked out all of our favorite stops as soon as we got there.

I mentioned in my post on Wednesday that I keep a list of books I want to buy, and then wait until I am at an independent bookstore to purchase them.  Nine times out of ten, that bookstore is Sundog Books.   I picked up several paperbacks, including Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close, The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom, and Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan, to add to my TBR stack, as well as a few BabyLit Board books for Carla May.  Have you read any of these yet?

Next, we hit up Central Square Records, which is conveniently located upstairs from Sundog.  Carla May was demanding a lot of attention at this point so I did not get to browse, but my sister bought a few vinyl records, including one of their “Mystery Grab Bags,” an assortment of records wrapped in brown paper for $7 that you don’t get to open until you purchase.  She was excited to find a Styx album and a few Spanish albums inside (she is fluent in the language and just got back from studying abroad in Spain).

Afterward, we took a walk through the beautiful artsy square right behind Seaside square.  It is not as highly trafficked as the main square and is 10 times prettier, so I always make a point to walk through.

We finished our visit with Carla May’s first gelato at Heavenly’s, and it certainly lived up to its name.  I got coconut, and Mellie got banana and nutella.  Carla May got multiple bites of all flavors and absolutely loved it.

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How was your week? What brought you joy?

xoxo

Friday Favorites

unnamedThis week, we transitioned Carla May from the smaller Dockatot to the bigger Dockatot.  She kept rolling over in the smaller Dockatot, and I got worried that she might get stuck, since the cushioned barriers don’t allow for much movement.  I thought the transition might interrupt her usual 11-12 hours of sleep for a night or two while she got used to her new sleeping arrangements, but I did not need to be worried – my good sleeper stayed a good sleeper!  These days, I try not to take anything for granted and rejoice in the little things!

Here are a few more things that brought me joy this week:

Mac n Cheese with Bacon and Peas

Chatham has been working a lot this week, so I haven’t prepared any special dinners and have been mostly using up what we have.  In doing so, I stumbled upon a great recipe that I’m going to have to add to our regular rotation because it was so easy and delicious:

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Ingredients:

1 box Annie’s White Cheddar Shells

4 slices bacon

1/2 bag frozen peas

2 tbs butter

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 minced garlic clove

3 sprigs of thyme leaves

Instructions:

Boil Annie’s pasta as instructed on the box.  Two minutes to completion, pour in frozen peas. Drain pasta when finished.

Meanwhile, slice up bacon into small pieces and fry until crispy.  Place bacon pieces on a paper towels to soak up the grease.

In the saucepan you used to cook the pasta, melt butter and add garlic and thyme.  When garlic is fragrant, pour in milk, sauce powder from Annie’s box, and cheeses.  Stir and add pasta, peas, and bacon.

Enjoy!

This Article

Some of you may have watched my Instagram Story this week about the mockingbirds tormenting my cat.  Well..  not only have they gotten worse, they’ve also started tormenting ME when I take the dogs out.  I did some research (aka Googling) about territorial mockingbirds and came across the funniest article describing the phenomenon that was written a few years ago.  See if you can read the whole thing without laughing: Dive-Bombing Mockingbirds Terrorize South Florida

Minimizing

This week I went through all of my clothes Marie Kondo-style and got rid of everything that doesn’t bring me joy!  Now, all of my clothes fit in only one closet and it is so easy to put together an outfit every morning.  I did not realize until I finished the project and was looking at everything left in my closet that all of my clothes are the same colors: blue, blush, black, white, tan, or gray.  I guess I know what I like, huh?

Note: There are two types of people – those who care if their hangers match and those who don’t.  I am obviously in the latter category.

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Getting rid of clutter, choosing versatile clothing styles that all go together, and organizing a closet are three things I enjoy, so this was a really fun project for me.  Any local friends who would like to organize their closet, please call me!  Seriously, I’d love to help!!!

How was your week? What brought you joy?

xoxo

 

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