Monday, January 26, 2015

Kale Citrus Salad

The past few weeks I've been obsessed with this salad and I crave it every day. It's definitely one of my favorites as of late and it's delicious on it's own or with added protein, like diced chicken.

I used to buy baby kale but recently I just buy the regular stuff you find at the grocery store and shred it really finely. It's much cheaper and holds up really nicely to salads with heavy ingredients. It's nice to prep the kale on a Sunday and chop up a few bunches. It stores well in the fridge for a quick salad throughout the week.

In a mixing bowl I add a few handfuls of the shredded kale and toss in Tessemae's lemon garlic dressing (it's amazing). To this I add a few diced or quartered beets, orange segments, a half of an avocado, a diced chicken breast, and crumbled goat cheese. Toss this together until evenly combined and finish with chopped pistachios. I like to sprinkle a little salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to the top.
Seriously, this salad is super satisfying, healthy, and so refreshing! Hope you like!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Aiden Brooks Barrett

The past couple of days have been a whirlwind! My sister went into labor late Saturday night and we spent 14 hours at the hospital anxiously awaiting the arrival of baby Barrett. My prediction of a boy was correct, as was my prediction of the date! One would think I should have purchased a lottery ticket that day but I refrained. :) The world received a sweet, handsome, baby boy named Aiden and he is already loved by so many!

Being an Aunt is a pretty cool thing. I now have 2 nephews and a niece and I do believe they are the cutest kids around, although I may be biased! It's crazy how quick they grow and I'm sure as a parent it's even quicker. My niece is turning 4 in two weeks and I still recall the day she was born like it was yesterday. The crazy thing is how quickly you love them. Before you even meet them your heart becomes so full and I can't seem to get enough of them! Aiden is one cute kid and although he's only 2 days old I know he's already stolen my heart! Expect many gushing pictures to come but I'll ease you in with just a few! I actually didn't take any of these pictures... I completely snatched them from my sister but I'm sure she's cool with it :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Chalkboard Menu

A few months ago I bought a chalkboard from HomeGoods and couldn't wait to start writing out my weekly menu. Well, this has sat on the floor of my kitchen for awhile but over the holidays my main squeeze got some power tools which inspired him to finally hang my chalkboard! Amazing what it'll take for men to get pumped about a project...I'm learning the tricks!

Last week I wrote out my menu and to my horror this past weekend...I couldn't erase the chalk pen off the board! I used elbow grease, hot water, soapy water, various towels, nothing. Well that was fun, I thought. But as a last-ditch effort I googled my dilemma, surely, someone else has experienced this, right? Right. I read a few bloggers that said a magic eraser truly was what it claimed...magic! Within seconds my writing disappeared and I can't tell you what a relief it was! Note to self: chalkboard pens write so well and look amazing but don't compare to regular old chalk. At least now I know it can be removed!

Make planning your weekly menus fun, by pulling out recipes and pictures from magazines or peruse the Internet for inspiring dishes and then write out a grocery list for the week based on your menu. This saves so much time (and money) by not having to make trips to the store throughout the week. It also takes the stress off of your already busy day thinking, "what's for dinner"? Sunday morning over coffee and breakfast burritos I planned out my menu, wrote out my grocery list, and got all of my grocery errands done. I even did some cooking prep making my life so much easier on busy work nights.

Try new recipes and keep a master list of go-to meals so you'll remember them. It's easy to get in a rut by cooking the staples but wait too long and you forget about some good recipes! Or you can always ask the people you cook for, they typically remember the good stuff! :)

Please excuse my's never been my strong suit!
How do you keep yourself organized during the work week? Comment below or email me, I'd love to hear!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Orange Marinated Pork with Sesame Wilted Kale

All good things must come to end. After looking forward to a week and a half off work it came and went quicker than I would like. It's interesting how much you can accomplish with your time one day, and others it's a victory if I made it out of my pajamas before 2 pm! I did a lot of organizing and decorating our place after taking down Christmas decor. Spending time with family had to be the best part of my staycation. I also said "yes to the dress", and had a great time with my mom and sisters trying on all sorts of beautiful dresses. 

Although I didn't cross out everything on my to-do list I did accomplish quite a bit which makes going back to work a little easier. Lucky for me I'm headed to LA for business, leaving behind negative temperatures and snow for 75 degree weather!
(This definitely does not resemble the Midwest!)
Last week I was looking for a good marinade for pork tenderloin and did the traditional "dump anything I needed to get rid of" method and it turned out so good that I made it again last night. It had soy sauce, orange juice, garlic, ginger, lime juice, Sriracha... all good stuff. It was so flavorful and I used the marinade to make a rich sauce to pour over the sliced pork. Yum!
I served this with a side of wilted sesame kale and brown rice which made this feel very light and healthy! Here's the recipe:

In a large storage bag combine 3 cloves of minced garlic, 2 Tbl minced ginger, zest and juice of 1 lime, 2 Tbl rice wine vinegar, 1 Tbl chili garlic sauce, 1-2 tsp Sriracha, 2 tsp Worcestershire, 1/2 cup soy sauce (low sodium), 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 Tbl packed brown sugar, and 1 tsp black pepper. 
 Zip up the bag and massage with your hands to dissolve the brown sugar. I love making marinades in a bag because it's easy cleanup!

Trim off any excess fat and silver skin from the pork tenderloins. I had 2 tenderloins that weighed a little over a pound each. 
Add the pork to the bag and marinate for up to about 8 hours and as little as 30 minutes. I kept mine out at room temperature to marinate for about an hour.
Remove the pork and pat dry on a few sheets of paper towel and roast on a foil-lined baking sheet at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes. 
Meanwhile, pour the marinade into a small pot and boil for about 10 minutes to kill off any bacteria from the pork. This reduces into a thick sauce that concentrates all of those wonderful flavors but use sparingly-this is spicy and salty! 
When the pork is done let it rest on a cutting board for about 8-10 minutes and slice to your desire of thickness. I served this with brown rice and lightly sautéed kale seasoned with sesame oil and sesame seeds. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Resolutions

I don't know about you but I have a love/hate relationship with New Year's. It always seems sort of sad to say goodbye to the year prior and look ahead to the next year with so much uncertainty of what's to come. With all the hype of New Year's Eve parties and what to always ends the year on such a stressful note! I do however, enjoy starting a new year and think of it as starting a new chapter. It's a great time to reflect on your life and where your priorities lie.

Which is why, rather than partying the night away in sequins and heels I spent New Year's Eve with two of my sisters, their significant others, my parents, and my fiancé. We made pizzas, sipped champagne, and played board games until it was time for the was perfection.

I hate to admit, but I'm one of the millions out there that always start a resolutions list and by week 3 I fall back into my usual rhythm.

My lists typically read:
1) Work out!
2) Spend more time with family
3) Reach out to old friends
4) Eat healthier
5) Be a better version of myself

Does this look familiar? I really want to challenge myself this year and actually stick to a resolution. Here's the honest truth, I rarely work out. I tried it a few times and even belonged to a gym for years (what a waste of money!) and somehow it's always the item on my To-Do list that I simply don't have time for. Which is why 2015 will be the year I'll find some form of fitness that I actually enjoy and look forward to. Of course, with my wedding months away, this gives great motivation with an actual deadline!

Instead of juggling a lengthy list of resolutions I challenge you to focus on one...and make it count. Make it stick! I would love to hear what's on your list this year and for anyone enduring in a physical resolution like myself, let's do this together!