Friday, September 28, 2012

Random Phobia of the Day.

For about 6 hours today I am sitting at my dad's house while new carpet is installed.  Leave it to my genius father to schedule this while he's on vacation--hence, me being here.  Aren't  I sweet?  I have a kind of embarrassing confession to make...I have a serious issue with "service people".  Plumbers, electricians, cable guys, etc. make me extremely uncomfortable.  I know how irrational it is, but when I have to be home while one of these gentlemen is in my house, I panic a little.

Apparently I'm a nut case.

This carpet installer man is actually not stressing me out so much.  He seems fine.  I'd put my anxiety level at a very manageable 5...

How about some Friday Faves via Pinterest?  Great!

How to bake cakes flat!  Genius.

Salted caramel and chocolate shortbread cookies. Yumm.

I mean, no words are necessary, right?

I feel like if I had this I would read 24/7.

I'm currently in the "crave soup constantly" season.  Love making it too!

This kitchen is beautiful!

I've been trying to explain to my husband why Louboutins are so amazing...

I really really really love my wedding ring and would never replace it.  But this would be okay for an anniversary gift.  Just saying..

By the way!  Are you following me on Pinterest yet??

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Just a quick update

Just a quick little follow-up to yesterday's post, Stop the Dollar Menu!

On top of all the goodies I made from the very inexpensive ingredients I purchased yesterday, check out this little gem we enjoyed tonight from (half of!) the left-over chicken--

I shredded the chicken, mixed it with a little pesto, low-fat mayo, dijon mustard, and minced onion.  I spread that mixture onto a slice of ciabatta, topped it with sliced tomato and provolone cheese and melted it in the oven for a few minutes.

My husband said he'd order it for lunch any day.  It literally cost, at the most, 1 dollar per serving to make!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stop the dollar menu!

While I love a bag of potato chips and a chocolate chip cookie as much as the next girl, I really do care about living a nutritious lifestyle.
I get so frustrated by those who live off of (and feed their kids from) the dollar menu because it's "so cheap". 
I understand the convenience factor is huge for a lot of people, but the cheap one doesn't get by me.
I promise I'm not going on this mini rant without making a point.

I have proof!

I bought a whole chicken from the grocery store for approximately $4.25.  After chopping up about $1 worth of onions and carrots and drizzling with a couple of tablespoons of oil and some seasonings of choice, it looked like this--

I baked it for maybe an hour and a half at 350 degrees (until 165 degrees internal temp.) and let the whole thing rest for at least 20 minutes under aluminum foil before slicing.

I also used the pan drippings to make this delicious sauce...

And our dinner looked like this (along with *leftover* quinoa and veggies).  Forgive the not so great photo.  I promise it was very tasty.

I also picked about 12 oz of extra meat off of the bones for a future meal..

AND I'm saving the carcass to make homemade chicken stock for a batch of fall soup.

So the final tally is:
Yummy Chicken dinner
Homemade sauce
Extra chicken for a future meal
Chicken carcass for homemade stock

All for maybe $6.00 at the most.

I'm just saying, it can be done!

Have a happy Tuesday :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Social

Sunday Social

1. What is something you have wanted to do but are afraid of?
This is a tough one.  I'm afraid of so many things, but I think if I want to do something enough, I'll push through the fear.  I was afraid of starting my own business (and it's still scary), but I did it because it was important to me.  
2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Still happily married.  Hopefully with one baby and another on the way!  If all goes to plan....haha-does it ever??  My hope is that I'll have enough client momentum to be a stay at home mom, but to still book work whenever I want.  That flexibility is very important to me.  Being at home with my kids is a huge priority, but I know I'll need to do something on the side for my own sanity.

3. What are you looking forward to before the end of 2012?
Enjoying Fall!  Just continuing to live life with my husband and puppy and bettering myself every day.  Oh yeah, and loose 10 pounds.
4. What are your hopes for your blog?
That it will continue to be a fun outlet for me.  I'd love to gain more followers and to learn more about blog design/giveaways, etc.  All in good time.
5. Do you always see yourself living in your current town/city?
I love where I live.  I have always wanted to live in New York again, but I doubt I will.  That was kind of my single girl dream.  I think Grand Rapids is such a great place to raise a family, so I can definitely see us staying here.  Not to mention both of our families are here!
6. What is your morning routine
Hah.  I'm kind of crazy about my mornings.  I tend to wake up around 7:30 on a normal morning.  If I have somewhere to be, I'll wake up at least a few hours early.  My calm, leisurely mornings are very important to me.  I wake up instantly hungry, so the first thing I do is pour myself a bowl of cereal.  I feed the dog, watch the Today show/DVR and catch up on my online stuff, make some coffee, relax for awhile, walk the dog, and shower.
This routine just gets my days started on a positive note. 

Someone I know said something this past week that really got me thinking.  It was something to the effect of "I find it sad how many people hate Mondays.  Why would you write off 1/7th of your week as being terrible?  I love Monday for the opportunity to do something great!".  What a great way to think, right?

That being said; Happy Sunday and have a wonderful Monday!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Just some yummies

Big news!  I'm actually writing a post about food!  I know, crazy.
Today I made some healthy strawberry muffins and Italian vegetable soup just in time for Fall.

Whole Wheat Strawberry Muffins with Greek Yogurt and Chia Seed
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons chia seed
    3/4 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    2/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
    1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1-1/4 cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen unsweetened strawberries

Cream together the butter and sugar until well combined.  Add the eggs, yogurt, vanilla, and Chia seed and mix well.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and lemon zest.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, mixing until just combined.
Toss the strawberries with the 1 tablespoon of flour and gently mix into the batter.

Spoon the batter into a muffin tin with paper liners; about 3/4 full.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.  If you really want to take them up a notch, make a glaze with lemon juice with powdered sugar and drizzle it over the top--yum!

For the soup, I unfortunately don't have an actually recipe...I don't usually measure ingredients unless I'm baking.  I'll at least go through my steps.

I chopped a mixture of different vegetables (parsnips, onion, garlic, zucchini, roasted red pepper) and sauteed them in olive oil until softened.  At this point, I also seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, oregano, and red pepper flakes.

Next, de-glaze the pan with any acidic ingredient (white wine, lemon juice, tomatoes, vinegar, etc.)
Add either vegetable or chicken stock, whichever you prefer.  Allow it to simmer until all the vegetables are softened.  Finish with fresh parsley.

**Bonus tip!  If you use Parmesan cheese, SAVE THE RIND!  I keep the rind of my used cheese in my freezer and use it whenever I make soup.  Just stick it right into the pot while the soup is simmering.  As it melts, it gives it an awesome, cheesy flavor.  So good!

That's all for today.  Enjoy your night and have a happy Friday! :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Social

Sunday Social

1. 5 items you can't live without on a daily basis(water, food, shelter, and clothes dont count)
My computer, Iphone, car, DVR, and books
2. All time favorite book? Why? 
This might be an impossible question.  I'm certainly a Harry Pothead, but I don't know if I would say it's my favorite ever.  I love it for the entertainment value and because it was such a huge part of my childhood/young adulthood.  
I actually might have to say Pride and Prejudice.  The writing is so beautiful and captivating.  I can read that book over and over.  I wish we still spoke the way they did.  

3. Something you'd like to accomplish before the end of 2012

SO many things.  Loose 10 lbs and make my company more successful are probably the top two.

4. If you could go back and relive any year of your life which year would it be? 
I try not to think like that--I'd rather move forward.  If I had to choose, probably my engagement year.  I was so happy, but I sometimes wish I wouldn't have let the stress of wedding planning get to me. 

5. What do you wish people knew about you without you having to tell them? 
Not very much.  I'm not very private about the person I am--if you know me pretty well, you probably know quite a bit about me.
Happy Sunday :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

College football and dead squirrels

Dear Friday,
Thanks for being here!  As much as I love you every week, you're even sexier this week because you are one day away from Saturday, and therefore, one day away from SPARTAN FOOTBALL!!!

Dear Scott's Uncle Jim,
Thank you for making the decision years ago to train Zeke the Wonder Dog (MSU's halftime show).  Not only do I get to claim that I'm "related to Zeke" by marriage.  Sure, it's a dog>human relation, but it still counts in my book!  I also love your season tickets that you don't always use, thus providing us with great 2nd row seats for tomorrow night's game.
Dear Scott,
I'm sorry for getting legitimately angry with you for beating me 3 times in a row in Sequence the other night.  I blame it 30% on being very proud of my Sequence skills, 60% on the bottle of wine I had enjoyed, and 10% on that fact that I am in fact a little bit cray cray.
Dear Bella,
Thank you for the lovely early morning wake up you give me every day reminding me that it's breakfast time.  I'm sure I would forget to feed and walk you if you didn't start wining at me at 6:30am, so thanks!  Also, thank you for double checking my gag reflexes by picking up that half-decomposed squirrel on our walk and carrying it with you for about 2 minutes.  That was just great!  But seriously, you're adorable and I love you.
Dear Followers you expect posts about food,
I have been struggling with that lately.  Honestly, I've been so busy worrying about the rest of life, that I haven't actually had time to think about a clever food post.  That being said, my intention has never been to write a blog that was all food, all the time.  However, I do promise a wonderful post in the next week.  Maybe even one that includes a tasty recipe!
Have a happy weekend!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Social--all about blogging

Sunday Social 

1. What is the name of your blog and how did you come up with it?
My blog is called "Mis En Place".  It's a french term that means "everything in its place" and is used in the kitchen.  It's probably my favorite term as a chef as well as in regards to life in general.
2. What do you love the most about blogging?

I started blogging because I love to write about what I'm passionate about.  I also love the idea of chronicling my journey toward success as a young chef and business owner.
3. What are your 2 favorite posts you've written?

4. What is something you'd want to tell someone just starting out in blog world?
I've had trouble accepting that my blog isn't being read by a million people every day.  I'm only two months in, but I have to admit to a little "blog envy" when I see extremely successful blogs.  So I guess I'd say, be patient and take some time to really figure out what it is that makes a blog readable!  (I'm still working on it myself :)  )
5. Biggest blogging learning experience you've had?
I haven't experienced it myself, but I've heard horror stories about some mean girls leaving nasty comments on blogs.  I mean, seriously, get a life!  It made me put my guard up and not take it personally if someone decides to be rude.
6. Give us 3 blogs we NEED to be following that you love.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pinterest Wednesday


Happy Hump Day! I thought I'd link up today and share some of my favorite Pins right now.  I am the definition of a Pinaholic.  According to my husband, I can't bitch about his fantasy football this season because Pinterest is kind of the female equivalent...

This pin can make me laugh hysterically even when I'm in the worst mood.

Thinking about this for my fall cut/color.

Pumpkin, caramel blondies.  Yes.

So sexy.

 Fish Tacos.

Happy Pinning!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday Social--Goodbye Summer 2012!

Sunday Social
1.  What was your favorite trip/vacation/activity this summer?
Probably taking my husband to NYC in June.  It's my favorite (US) city and he had never been.  We had so much fun wining, dining, and touristing!

A close second, or possibly even a tie was the week I spent at my cottage on Lake Michigan.  So beautiful and relaxing!

2. Favorite outfit look of the summer/clothing item?

Not the best photo of me, but I loved my casual look with coral shorts and a bright turquoise necklace.  I also love my silver sperry topsiders (sorry you can't see them in this photo)
Also, my white lace Lily Pulitzer dress (see above) 

3. What is one thing you wish you had gotten to do this summer?
I always wish I could travel more!  That, and I wish my husband would have been able to have more time off to enjoy the summer.  And looking at the bank account, I probably should have worked a bit more :/
4. Favorite Song of the Summer?
Eh, that's a tough one.  I listen to a lot of oldies.  I did start listening to a lot of Fun. this summer. 

5. Favorite movie/tv show of the summer?
Breaking Bad!  I started watching it on Netflix a few months ago and now I'm hooked!