Boho Chic

I am currently crushing on the flower crown trend.  I’ve noticed the headgear in a few magazines, and love the whimsical look it adds to a simple dress…especially a wedding dress. You can find a ton of pictures on Pinterest and can score an inexpensive floral headband on Etsy.  If you’re looking to add a tidbit of vintage glam to your big day, check out the ideas below.

 

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Flower Crown{image source}

If you are thinking of adding a bohemian headpiece to your bridal ensemble, or just want to rock a flower headband for fun, here are a few shops to check out: Whichgoose, Beau xoxo and Peckled

Happy planning! xoxo

Day 3, 4 and 5: Going Vegetarian – Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Day three and four were pretty uneventful.  Since we were busy running around and attending events, we ate leftovers on Wednesday and ordered a pizza on Thursday. Nothing too exciting.  However, I did notice a few things during this challenge.

Cheese

1. I don’t feel as hungry as I thought.

2. I didn’t lose any weight.

3. Cheese is somehow incorporated in to every meal.

Overall my vegetarian experience has been positive. Next week my husband wants to try the Paleo diet. I tried it once before and liked it, plus I’m up for another food challenge.  This time I won’t cheat two days in.

On Friday (day 5) we had time to make dinner and decided on  stuffed red peppers.  Here’s the run down. Wash two large red peppers, cut off the top and remove the seeds, drizzle with some olive oil and pop in the oven for 10-12 minutes at 375-400 degrees. While the peppers are cooking, bring two-three cups of chicken broth to a boil, add in one-two cups of quinoa and cook for 10-12 minutes as well. Chop up what ever vegetables you have in the refrigerator – I used zucchini, red onions and green onions.  Once the quinoa is cooked and cooled, throw in the chopped veggies, add you favorite cheese (see cheese is everywhere) mix and stuff in to the red peppers. Layer more cheese on top and pop back in to the oven until warm and toasty.  I use the cheese as my timer – once it’s melted, it’s time to remove.

Stuffed peppers{The photo’s not too pretty…I was in a rush and running late for my riding lesson. }

For a side, I chopped up some red potatoes, coated them in oil, salt, garlic powder and cayenne pepper and put them in the oven, which was set at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Instant french fries!

Tonight we will be making Cauliflower Pizza.  It’s delicious, but a pain to make since you have to use a blender.  I’ll post the recipe tomorrow.

Enjoy your weekend! xoxo

Day 2 and 3: Going Vegetarian – Tacos

I confess. I cheated and had a few chicken tenders last night (day two) while out celebrating a friend’s birthday.  I tried really hard to resist the urge, but my day was stressful, and all I wanted to do was indulge in fried food while sipping a strawberry martini. Sad I know.  But don’t worry, I am back on track. For tonight’s dinner we tried Beyond Meat, a gluten-free and soy-free beef substitute, and made one of our favorite meals — tacos!

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I was pleasantly surprise with how good the beef-free crumbles were.  They didn’t taste fake or processed and the consistency was very comparable to ground beef. I especially like the seasoning.  We opted for the “fiery” option and it had a slight kick but it wasn’t overpowering at all.  It tasted just like the seasoning we would have normally used if we bought one of those handy taco seasoning packages at the store.  Oh, and the best part…The beef-free crumbles just need to be reheated to eat so prep time is minimal.

I don’t have a recipe that I can share…Basically, we just used the Beyond Meat Beef-Free crumbles, opened a can of black olives, chopped some lettuce, green and red onions and had some salsa and sour cream on the side.  Instead of hard shells, we used soft flour tortillas. Super simple but satisfying.

tacos1

Day three was definitely better than day two, and I promise no more cheating…well unless martinis are involved!

enjoy! xoxo

Going Vegetarian: Day One – Stir Fry

It’s day one of our vegetarian challenge, and I’m {somewhat} confident that we go seven days without meat. Tonight we made vegetarian Stir Fry, which was basically a smorgasbord of vegetables thrown in a frying pan and drizzled with a store bought Szechuan sauce.

The original recipe was discovered on Pinterest. We added in a few additional colorful veggies to add some pizzazz and served tonight’s meal with quinoa to add a little substance.  The results…Delicious, but I just finished eating, and I’m already hungry again….

 

StirFry

 

Cabbage and Mushroom Stir Fry {…with a few extra veggies for a pop of color}
adapted from divinehealthyfood.com

2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
1 scallion
2 cloves garlic
A pinch of red pepper flakes
½ medium cabbage (about 4-5 cups chopped)
5 mushrooms (about 1 cup)
1 red pepper
baby bok choy
1 cup shredded carrots
¼ teaspoon Himalayan/sea salt
2-3 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce (optional)
favorite Szechuan or stir fry sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
A sprinkle of ground pepper
Instructions
1. Wash and chop the cabbage into small pieces.
2. Slice your mushrooms into 4-5 thin slices, peel and chop the garlic into small pieces, chop the scallions lengthwise in small pieces and chopped the red pepper and bok choy.
3. In a frying pan, add the olive oil, scallions, garlic and red pepper flakes.
4. Turn the heat on medium high and let it warm up for a couple of minutes. Add the cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, bok choy, red peppers  and salt and let it saute for about 5 minutes, be sure to stir!
5. Add two teaspoons of low sodium soy sauce and taste, if it needs more, add another teaspoon. Otherwise, add the Szechuan sauce to taste, garlic powder, paprika and pepper. Saute for another 5 minutes and turn the heat off and serve.

 

We were invited to go out to dinner tomorrow night to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I’m a little nervous about dining out. So many meaty temptations. Wish me luck! And if you have any restaurant vegetarian suggestions, please let me know.  xoxo

We’re going vegetarian

My husband and I decided to challenge ourselves to go meatless for one week.  I’m not sure where the challenge came from, but I’m curious to see if we will feel a difference by eliminating our go to protein. We both live pretty active lifestyles, I ride horses three days a week and fit in Pilates on the four days I’m not at the barn.  He goes to the gym to lift weights religiously and boxes at least six days a week. We both also have demanding full-time jobs that require us to think on our feet and run if a crisis breaks out.  I’m hoping our meat-free experiment doesn’t leave us lethargic. I’m not worried so much about my job, since it’s summer and it is pretty quiet, I’m more concerned about horseback riding.  I really can’t afford to lack energy when I’m attempting to jump a fence with a somewhat lazy but super cute horse.  I mean…pushing 1200 pounds of pure muscle is hard enough, I’m not sure I want to experience it with tired legs in 100 degree Florida heat.

To ease us into our new regimen, I strategically planned out our dinners, and my goal is for us to eat leftovers for lunch the next day, so we are not overwhelmed with prepping meals.  Below you will find  today’s lunch….Since we didn’t make dinner on Sunday, I had to whip something together to get us started.  So here it is Day 1 of our vegetarian challenge.  To see what else we are planning, check out my Pinterest page.

Monday – Lunch {Mashed Chickpea Salad Sandwiches with Parmesan Zucchini Fries}

Sandwich

Mashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich
adapted from thesimpleveganista.blogspot.com

1 can of chickpeas aka garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup sliced celery (optional — I didn’t have any available)
1/2 cup carrots, diced or shredded
1/4 – 1/3 cups sliced scallions
1/4 cup hummus
sea salt and pepper to taste
dash of garlic powder
juice of 1 lemon (optional — I forgot about this step)
small handful of pumpkin seeds (optional — I used a five grain bread and didn’t need the additional seeds)
paprika to garnish

Directions
1. Drain and rinse your chickpeas, place in medium bowl and mash with a fork (or put in a food processor if you are in a rush).
2. Add remaining ingredients and combine.

Want it creamier? Add more hummus.  Need more taste? Add more seasonings. This was a super simple and quick meal to prepare.

Serve on toasted bread to make a sandwich or in a bowl.

ZF

Parmesan Zucchini Fries
adapted from JoCooks.com

3 medium Zucchini, cut in sticks
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Cut each zucchini  in half, then cut each half in half lengthwise,then each quarter in half again, so you end up with 8 sticks from one zucchini.
3. Beat the egg in a shallow plate. Season the egg with salt and pepper. In another shallow plate mix the Panko breadcrumbs together with the Parmesan cheese and garlic powder.  Season with salt and pepper.
4. Dip each zucchini stick in the egg wash, then roll through the breadcrumb mixture, making sure each stick is fully covered with the breadcrumbs.
5. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
6. Serve with Ranch dressing or Magical Sriracha Mayo Mixture (1/4 teaspoon Mayo and a dollop of Sriracha. Mix and serve.  Add more mayo or Sriracha depending on how much you want to make)

For dinner tonight we are planning on making Cabbage and Mushroom Stir Fry.  I’ll post the results tomorrow.

Do you have any vegetarian tips? Please help.  xoxo

 

Hello, New York

Last month I attended a PRSA/Regan Communications conference in New York City for work. The conference was about media relations and best practices and was a great escape from the SoFL sun.  I’ve visited New York a few times but never stayed in the City for more than a few hours.

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Luckily during this particular work trip, my husband tagged along and we spent whatever free time we had exploring the city. Normally, I am not a fan of walking anywhere, and living in South Florida, walking is something you do at the mall, the beach or if your car runs out of gas on the side of the road… but there was something magical about walking down the streets of Union Square. I think it was a mix of the history, culture and pure adrenaline of those walking around you. Everyone was stylish and had a sense of urgency.  It was an eye-opening experience and made me realize that I’m not meant to live in a boring suburban neighborhood working a non-creative 9 to 5 p.m. job.  So, I’m on a mission to make a few changes. I’m not sure what kind just yet, but I’m going to start exploring my options.

Here’s a few highlights from my trip:

Hyatt Union Square: We stayed at the Hyatt and I was really happy with our choice.  Everyone was friendly, the rooms were comfortable and the hotel was very chic. Plus, we were pretty close to everything.

hyatt

 

hyatt room

The Spotted Pig: Our first foodie stop was the Spotted Pig in the West Village. Since we arrived a little late, the menu options were limited.  We both ordered the cheeseburger and shoestring fries.  Although I wasn’t super impressed, the burger was good and the restaurant was very cool.

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Spice: We stumbled upon Spice, a Thai food restaurant, by accident.  The food was amazing and they have a few locations throughout the city.

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Max Brenner: A friend recommended this restaurant and we’re glad we listened.  Max Brenner’s is a sweet lover’s dream and they serve food, drinks and of course dessert.  We ordered the sugar waffles with vanilla ice cream, but if we had more room to indulge we would have opted for the fondue.

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Big Gay Ice Cream Shop: We stopped in for a delicious vanilla ice cream cone and of course snapped some photos.

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Katz’s Delicatessen: This place is iconic and worth the crazy lines inside, if you’re a fan of pastrami sandwiches.

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We definitely didn’t get to see everything we were hoping for, but we did pretty good for three short days.  I’m already planning my next trip, and hopefully, next time I’m there it will be for an interview.

What’s your favorite place in the city? I need sightseeing and restaurant recommendations!

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Watermelon Margaritas

If you are a fan of watermelon you are going to love this simple margarita recipe. My husband and I whipped up a pitcher last night and the drinks were a huge hit. In fact we had to quickly make another batch because they were so good. And, they were really easy to make, which I loved, and they paired perfectly with the chicken tacos we served for dinner.

Margaritaprep

Now,  I am not a fan of tequila and rarely order margaritas when I go out. But, this watermelon margarita recipe had a subtle hint of tequila thanks to the lemonade, fresh watermelon juice and triple sec. However, don’t let all of the juice  fool you, these drinks had a kick!

MargaritaFinished

Simple Watermelon Margaritas
Makes one pitcher

Ingredients:
5 oz of your favorite white tequila (add more or less to taste)
2 oz of Triple Sec or orange liquor (add more to taste)
2 or 2 1/2 cups of lemonade – I used a store-bought brand called Simply Lemonade
1 – 2 tablespoons of sugar
1 1/2 cups of fresh watermelon juice (cut in cubes and toss in the blender)
1 1/2 cup of frozen watermelon cubes (use as a garnish in the pitcher and each cup)
2 cups of ice, or as needed
2 limes

Directions:
In a blender, puree the watermelon and sugar until smooth. Pour the puree through a fine mesh strainer (I did this for the first pitcher but not the second…and you couldn’t tell the difference). Transfer the liquid to a pitcher and add the lime juice, tequila and 2 ounces of the Triple Sec. Stir to combine and top with frozen watermelon.

This recipe is perfect for summer, Saturdays or signature wedding drink. Enjoy! xoxo

 

 

Finders Keepers

 Keep.com is my new favorite obsession.  It’s a great website to find stylish clothes, chic decor and unique gifts, all in one place.  On a recent visit I came across the journal below and had to share, especially since I just passed my statistics class. (Hello, I got a B!) The snarky book can be found on Etsy.com, but I probably would have never found it if it hadn’t been for Keep.com.  To show how fabulous the site is, I’ve listed my five favorite finds (including the journal).

Journal – Dear Math, Sincerely Screw the value of X | from Etsy shop anroldesigns

Keep etsy find
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Draped V-back Top – Pink | from lookbookstore.co

Draped Shirt{image source}

Hexen – ShoeDazzle | from shoedazzle.com

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eat a lot. Sleep a lot. Hoodie – Tops – Shop | from stylelately.com

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Fcuking Professional Funny Mug coffee tea cup | from Etsy shop KnotworkShop

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Are you a Keeper? Share you recent Keep.com finds. I’m itching for an online shopping spree!

Enjoy! xoxo

Dinner Under the Moon — Pelican Grand Beach Resort

The back story:

Last year when my husband and I met some friends in Key Largo for a weekend getaway, we stopped at a restaurant called Morado Bay in Islamorada for a group dinner. It was during this dinner that I was introduced to an event called the”Full Moon Party,” which is hosted by the restaurant for every full moon. They have dinner, dancing, live music and circus acts, all under the stars and right on the sand. I heard  it is a really great experience– especially if you’re with a group of friends. Unfortunately, I couldn’t convenience my friends to head out to the Keys again for another weekend trip…But, after countless hours searching for a similar experience closer to home, I came across the Pelican Grand Beach Resort.

PelicanGrand1

For my birthday this year I really wanted to do something different and luckily, the Pelican Grand offered “An Evening Under the Moon,” which is similar to the “Full Moon Party” without the 2 hour drive to the Keys and fire-breathing circus acts. Now…I have a love/hate relationship with this resort. When I was looking for a wedding venue, the Pelican Grand was at the top of my list, and I tried endlessly to make it work despite some major roadblocks — also known as the catering manager. She was evil and because of her I went on my merry way never looking back again…until recently, when we headed back to the resort to have dinner under the moon (sans evil catering manager — I heard she no longer works there).

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Here are a few highlights of the evening. The dining experience included:

  • Culinary selections from a pre-fix menu created by Executive Chef, Todd Lough. (Everything was delicious!)
  • Premier oceanfront verandah seating. (The views were beautiful! )
  • Over sized telescopes positioned for viewing of the moon. (I don’t know how to use a telescope…and didn’t try to figure it out.)
  • Table visits from Bea Kobran, astrologer, spiritual healer and intuitive readings. (Amazing! She told me some really great things.)

I started the evening with a cocktail — Cherry Blossom Fizz, a concoction of Effen Black Cherry, raspberries and Laurent-Perrier.  It was refreshing, bubbly and not overpowering.

 

Drink1

Our first course included a bacon wrapped date. The crispy bacon hugged a smoked date stuffed with a creamy morsel of cheese. (I’m not sure what kind of cheese –possible blue cheese, but don’t quote me)

 

Date

For the small plate course guests have three options to choose from. I opted for the miso chicken salad. It was really good and all of the ingredients tasted fresh and blended well together. I especially liked the dressing, which was light and packed with flavor.

Salad

Intermezzo consisted of coconut sorbet.  It was basically a party in your mouth, and I wanted a huge bowl of the coco-nutty goodness to take home.

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Like the small plates, the main course included three delicious options to choose from. Since I do not eat seafood, the fire grilled churrasco steak was an obvious choice. And, amazing! The chive mashed potatoes (originally with butter poached lobster, but I had them nix the seafood) were creamy and delicious, and the steak was cooked to perfection with baby bok choy, crispy malanga and cilantro demi glaze. So good!

Steak

Last, but certainly not least was dessert. Each guest gets to pick one dessert item from the menu. My pick, the s’mores “La Playa, ” included molten dark chocolate, toasted marshmallows, fresh raspberries and warm graham crackers. And, my husband had the steamed banana bread pudding, which included vanilla creme anglaise, toasted coconut and shaved bitter sweet chocolate. Both were really good, but I think I liked the banana pudding a little better.

Dessert

Overall, I really enjoyed my dinner at the Pelican Grand and highly recommend the “Evening Under the Stars” experience, especially if you are looking for a romantic and unique night out. The next event is scheduled for Wednesday, May 14 and the menu is posted online.   At $75 per person, I think it is worth the splurge. The food was on point, the staff was friendly and you don’t feel rushed. You can stay and linger or eat and dash…whatever you choose. If you check it out, let me know what you think.

Pelican Grand Beach Resort — Ocean2000
2000 North Ocean Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305
954-556-7667
Price: $75 per person

Enjoy! xoxo

Use What You Have Lentil Soup

I believe recipes are made to be ignored. In fact, some of my tastiest meals have been created using the “dash and test” method. Throw in a dash of this, a dash of that and taste before adding in a dash of anything else. The recipe below was created thanks to a dreary Sunday afternoon, and a mix of the “dash and test” method and the “use what you have” method –another favorite recipe practice I utilize on a daily basis.  Using what I had in the refrigerator and Martha Stewart as a guide, I created a simple lentil soup creation. It’s all about what you like, so, if you want to add in a dash or two of another spice, go for it. Enjoy!


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Use What You Have Lentil Soup
Adapted From Martha Stewart
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Serves 8 – 10 (maybe more)

Ingredients
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1 ½ cups chopped kale

½ cup of chopped broccoli

2-3 carrots, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped (optional – I didn’t use celery in my version)

1 garlic clove, minced

Coarse salt and ground pepper – to taste

Crushed red pepper (just a dash)

Thyme (just a dash)

48 ounces low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

1-2 cups cooked lentils (I recommend using Whole Foods 365 Every Day Value Green Lentils — They are about $2.99 and easy to cook)

2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar

 

Lentil Soup

Directions

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, (celery), kale, broccoli and garlic; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion softens, 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth; bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Add lentils and cook until soup thickens slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper, thyme and crushed red pepper.

Don’t get discouraged if your recipe free for all is less than appetizing. Cooking without a recipe is an art. It takes imagination, creativity, practice, and you have to be willing to embrace the risk.

PS.  All of the ingredients used were purchased at Whole Foods Market. Organic is better!