Thursday, May 30, 2013

Friday Faves

It has been an amazing week in Florida.  As I shared last week, one of the things I truly live for, is great times with great people.  The older I get the less time I have for goofing off with friends, but I am blessed that even at the age of 30, with a real adult life I still find time to laugh and enjoy good company.  Friends and family mean the world to me and this has been a truly fabulous week that I am sad is coming to an end.  

Chicken Fennel

After recently discovering fennel and how yummy it is, I have been trying all sorts of new recipes that include it.  My most recent favorite is this Chicken and Fennel recipe, I found on The Food Network website.  

The only changes I made to this recipe are, I left out the olives, because I don't like olives and I didn't make the couscous they suggested.  Otherwise, the chicken was wonderful, very juicy and well seasoned.  While the fennel, onions, garlic and sun dried tomatoes added a nice Mediterranean flavor.  It's the perfect simple dish to make for a dinner party!

Dice fennel, onions and garlic.

Pan fry chicken thighs in olive oil, 
then saute the vegetables with seasonings in the juices.  
The chicken does not need to be fully cooked 
b/c it will continue to cook in the oven.

Place chicken in baking dish and 
cover with vegetables and seasonings after sauteed.  
Bake at 450 for 20-30 minutes.

I had this chicken with a side of cauliflower mash 
and it was the perfect combination.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

White Denim

I have always feared white clothing for the mere fact that I will get them dirty as soon as I put them on.  But seeing as white denim has been popping up everywhere lately I knew I needed to get over my fears and buy a pair of white jeans asap.

I paired these with a peach and white polka dot blouse for a breezy and fresh look.  With neutral shoes and some gold accents in my jewelry and purse, it was the perfect Spring outfit.

Jeans {H&M}  Top {TJ Maxx} Shoes {Guess}
Purse / Necklace {Forever 21}
Bracelets {Banana Republic / Stella & Dot}

How do you wear white denim?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Four ways to give back

I know there are a lot of individuals, whom have time to give but don't know where to start.  Well I have compiled a list below, of websites that offer great ways to offer your time, services, talents and/or resources.  Charities and foundations need money, but they also need our time.  So get involved today!  

1) Looking for somewhere to help out, but don't know where?  Enter your zip code and interests at Volunteer Match and tons of opportunities will pop up.

2) Catch Fire is a perfect website if you are not currently working, but looking for a way to give back and build your resume at the same time.  This site lists non-profits that are looking for people to volunteer their specific skill set.  For example, accounting or web design.  You can gain experience while job searching and possibly make some professional contacts along the way.

3) If you work for a company that might be looking for a way to help make a difference, then A Billion Plus Change is the perfect website to check out.  This website helps to align a companies resources with the needs of a community.  Urge your work place to join today!

4) The White House Joining Forces Initiative is another fabulous way to help.  Our troops do so much for us so why not support them!  This website offers many ways to help military families from mentoring children, to donating items or even something as simple as sending a thank you card.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Skinny Mojito's

Although my usual drink of choice is wine or champagne, every once in awhile I have a hankering for a fun cocktail.  I usually refrain from having too many sugary cocktails as they tend to be high in calories.  One of the most sugary being a mojito.  But who doesn't love a mojito?!?!  

So last week when I attended a friendly gathering and was asked to bring drinks, I thought it would be the perfect time to experiment with making a more waste line friendly version of the mojito.  By using agave nectar as a sweetener instead of real sugar it brought the calorie count way down.  

1/2 bottle of Bacardi (or any white rum)
About 1 liter of soda water
Agave Nectar to taste
Handful of mint
5 limes

I combined all of the ingredients in a pitcher with ice and stirred well.  Then, I added in the agave little by little and tasted along the way to be sure it was just the right amount of sweetness.  If the cocktail becomes too sweet add soda water or rum as needed to even out the flavor.

Serve over ice with lime slices and enjoy!
I hope everyone has a nice Memorial Day with friends or family!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Faves

With the very much anticipated trip to visit my friends in Florida FINALLY here, this was a very busy week.    I had lots to do at work, to prepare for my 6 day absence along with packing, errands and extra working out so I could be ready for 8 days full of eating, drinking, lounging and laughing my heart out with two of my bestest friends.  

I have known Les since we were in 4th grade and Carol, I met during my middle school years.  We weren't always really close, but over the past 8 years our friendship has grown to be truly one of the most respected, loved and cherished friendships I have.  Not only do I love them each individually, but they are also one of the strongest and most admired couples that I know.  

Our lives have been very similar over the past 8 years, which is what I attribute our friendship's growth to.  We all started our higher education in 2006, along with moving out west (from Detroit), them to Vegas, me to San Diego.  Then Carol and Les moved to Florida so Carol could complete her residency around the same time I relocated to Los Angeles for my first official full time job post grad school.  Each time we get together we somehow manage to have more fun then the time before.  This is something that I truly treasure, yet have no idea how we are consistently able to pull it off.  It's these moments that I live for and that make everyday normal life all worth it!  Here's to another awesome trip and I can't wait to leave on Saturday!        

Gorgeous table setting for book club brunch
Thanks to Lauren for hosting

Avocado, egg, tomato & cheese toast

Hazelnut coffee - my fave flavor

Beautiful daisies in jars of rice at 
The California Winemasters charity event

Enjoying some KJ 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

National Chardonnay Day

A friend recently shared with me that May 23 is National Chardonnay Day!  I am not sure how I missed this in the past, seeing as this is the 4th annual one.  In honor of my love of wine and my particular favorite, I thought I would share my favorite Chardonnays.
Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve
Robert Mondavi Private Selection
Crane Lake
Francis Coppola

Hmm, perhaps next year I should organize a Chardonnay tasting of every one's favorites in my home.  

Cheers and I hope you can all enjoy a nice cold glass of Chard this evening in honor of National Chardonnay Day!!!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Faves

Finding the simple pleasures in life can be a challenge at times.  As much as I'd love to admit that my life is all champagne and roses, it's just not!  So this weeks Friday Faves post was a bit of a challenge for me.  But I did my best and am proud that I still found things to make me smile during a trying week.

As for the weekend, I am looking forward to volunteering at California Winemasters on Saturday evening and dinner and cocktails with friends tonight plus our book club meeting on Sunday afternoon.  Next weekend I am off to Florida, so there might be some shopping and planning for the trip ahead, yay for vacay!

Strawberries from the Santa Monica Farmer's Market

Finally getting around to reading this book

Splitting one of the best cheeseburger's I have ever had with a friend

Venti coffee - which was much needed on Thursday morning

Attending a weight watchers meeting

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sloppy Joe - Male & Female versions

I have become a pro at cooking healthy meals for myself, but when it comes to cooking for a man this can often be difficult. I try to find easy ways to make a full calorie version for him & a lighter one for myself without making two completely different meals.  

When I made Sloppy Joe's recently, I made a regular version with ground beef, onions & Manwhich sauce. And then, I took some of the meat into a separate pot & added tofu to my portion. This lowered the calories and kept the protein level high for myself. I also served my portion as an open faced sandwich to save on the calories from the white bun.  

Left: Man plate (Points Plus Value = 22)
Right: Woman plate (Points Plus Value =  10)

Up close of woman's plate

Up close of man's plate

How do you eat healthy while cooking for your boyfriend/husband or your entire family?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Faves

The past weekend and week was a busy one.  I spent most of the weekend visiting with friends and during the week, I spent most of my time watching hockey.  With the Detroit Red Wings in the playoffs and playing in Anaheim it made for an exciting week!  I tried getting tickets for game 5 on Wednesday, but sadly it didn't pan out.  I did however cheer the Wings on from home.  

I am originally from Detroit and although I live in LA, I will always be a die hard Detroit sports fan, NO MATTER WHAT!  It is no secret that Detroiters are hard core, when it comes to sports.  Whether our teams are winning or losing we always support them and don't jump ship.  The Wings play game 6 tonight and they need to win it for a chance to stay in the playoffs!  Let's GO RED WINGS!!!   
Layering bracelets & enjoying my newest Stella & Dot piece from my consultant and fellow blogger

Labatt Blue, White Castle sliders & homemade wings for Monday's Red Wings game

Enjoying my new Ralph Lauren rain boots

Food I purchased for the Stamp Out Hunger Campaign

Mixing stripes & prints (again)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Stamp Out Hunger Campaign

When I first volunteered at the Los Angeles Food Bank I was shocked to hear that 1 in 6 Americans suffer from hunger.  That includes 17 million children, who aren't always sure if they will be able to eat 3 meals daily.  We live in a country that produces more food then our population can eat, yet we still have people go without food.  

This Saturday, May 11, 2013, Feeding America is sponsoring a Nationwide food campaign called Stamp Out Hunger.  The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)  aka your mail man or woman will pick up any non-perishable items that are left by your mail box and donate them to a local food bank.  Take a look at the link above to learn more about the campaign, and please leave some food out by your mail box.  I am sure we can all find a canned good or two that we can spare from our pantry to help feed others that are in need.  I stopped at my local grocery store and picked up 2 bags full of groceries to donate!    

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Weekend Egg Scramble

On weekdays I tend to eat pretty simple breakfast meals, a hard boiled egg, Greek yogurt or oatmeal accompanied by some fruit.  So when the weekend comes around I love splurging on a larger more wholesome breakfast.  I am not patient or detail oriented enough to poach eggs or even make omelette's for that matter (I somehow always mess these up).  So I love a good egg scramble!  

The best thing about this recipe (and most of my recipes) is that you can change ingredients out for what you like or what you have at home.  I always have eggs and cheese, so in addition I just add whatever veggies and/or protein I have and Voila! 

For this recipe here are the ingredients I used:
2 eggs
2 slices of turkey
1/4 cup of shredded Mexican blend cheese
1/8 of a red onion
1/4 red and green bell pepper
1/2 a tomato
1 handful of spinach    

First, saute the onion and turkey slices (or meat of your choice).

Add the bell peppers.

Add eggs, cheese, tomatoes and spinach.  Another lazy trick, is that I never scramble the eggs before putting them in the pan.  I just crack them directly into the pan and scramble them with all of the vegetables.  I am not sure if this is a Polish thing, European thing or what, but my mom always did it this way so that's how I learned.  And to me, it makes perfect sense, why dirty yet another bowl.

Cover so the cheese melts and spinach wilts nicely.

Add a side of fruit, piece of toast and a cup of coffee and you have a perfect egg scramble.  Or if you are feeling festive or have guests over make a larger batch and add some mimosas for a wonderful weekend brunch!