Wednesday, July 23, 2014

red wine braised short ribs

OK. So are you guys ready for one of the easiest and most delicious red wine braised short rib recipes out there? It is literally two steps! Can you tell I really enjoy a hassle free recipe. I love to cook, but there are many things I enjoy much more than cooking, especially in the summer. My love for short ribs all started when I had these amazing short ribs with fresh pasta at a restaurant near my parents house called Carbone's Kitchen if you live in CT in that area its a great spot, you must try! {Side note: I am also not usually the kind to order heavy meat like that off a menu, man have I been missing out.}These short ribs were soo good, I had to try to recreate them. I finally found this recipe on Bon Appetit, and it was a slow cooker recipe none the less, your welcome. 

Keep reading to see how I made Red Wine Braised Short Ribs (in my slow cooker).
4 pounds boneless short ribs
coarse salt & cracked pepper
2 cups dry red wine
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 6 ounce package button mushrooms (or baby bellas)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, peeled
6 fresh Italian parsley sprigs
2 day leaves
1 lb homemade pappardelle pasta
fresh crusty bread

1. Sprinkle ribs with coarse salt and pepper. Please in an even layer in slow cooker. Add next 7 ingredients (red wine, tomatoes, mushrooms,onion, garlic, bay leaves, parley) cover, and cook on low heat until meat is tender, about 8 hours,

2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer ribs to serving bowl, discard parsley and bay leaves. Spoon fat off the top of the sauce and pour sauce over ribs, Serve with fresh pasta & crusty bread

I mean, how good does that look. While I made fresh pappardelle pasta with ours but you could totally eat these with mash potatoes or even alone. My hubby liked these short ribs so much he was practically drinking the sauce out of the pot! I hope you enjoy these as much as he did. 


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

vanilla bean simple syrup

So I decided I needed a healthier alternative to my usual coffee creamer that seems to sit in the fridge for months and never go bad, how does that happen? It's milk isn't it, right? Nope no dairy? What? Anywho, the vanilla bean simple syrup I ended up making is not only good for coffee, but I used it to drizzle over angle food cake and strawberries, umm yumm. You can really make any flavor simple syrup you want, but I prefer this vanilla bean recipe for my coffee. Simple syrup is one of the easiest things to make, and is a serious kitchen staple. You can store it in a glass bottle like I did, or get one of those plastic squeeze bottles from a place like the container store. Scroll down for the easy instructions. 

1 cup sugar
1 cup water 
2 vanilla bean pods
(you can find them in most grocery stores, look in the spice section, or even better buy them fresh)
1 glass or plastic container

Step 1
pour 1 cup sugar to 1 cup water into a sauce pan over medium heat.

Step 2
stir until all the sugar dissolves

Step 3
take a knife and slice down the middle of the two vanilla pods, then using the back of your knife scrap the beans out of the pods and add them into the sauce pan. 

Step 4
stir the mixture until combine and turn off heat and let cool

Step 5 (optional)
take a cheese cloth and strain the pods and beans; you can skip this step if you want, I always add the pods back into the container instead of throwing them out and wasting them. 

Step 6
once the syrup is cool, pour into storage container, and keep until your next cup of coffee, use it with or without milk/cream.

I hope this was helpful and a super easy way to swap out something processed for something homemade. Its the small things that make the largest difference. Enjoy! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

boston farmers market

Dress & Bracelets : JCrew / Shirt: Polo Ralph Lauren / Shoes & Watch: Michael Kors / Tote: Forever 21 / Ring: Tiffanys / Phone Case: Kate Spade (on sale at Nordstrom right now) / Wallet: Cynthia Rowley

I am lucky enough to work downtown Boston, and enjoy farmers markets on a regular basis, there are a few just steps outside of my office. While I do have my garden at home, I clearly can't grow everything or enough of everything for how much my husband eats so when I get the chance to buy local from a farmers market, I do. One of my favorites at this market is Stillmans Farm. they have great produce and also a great meat selection. If you live in Boston, or the surrounding areas check them out!

Friday, July 18, 2014

navy maxi & a beach party

Dress: TJMaxx / Shoes & Necklace: Target  / Lipstick: Mirenesse / Sunglasses: Ray Ban

Ok, so I have a confession to make have worn this same outfit twice now, I know, I know as a fashion blogger how dare I, well I also wore this necklace before here. Soo yea, anyways I wore this outfit once to a bridal shower and then again at the beach for my sister-in-laws baby shower, both were a bit different, I wore heels and vamped my hair a bit for the bridal shower, and to the beach baby shower, I mean who needs heels when you have sand. This dress is another maxi find from TJMaxx, like I mentioned here they have really been on their maxi game. This navy one is super comfortable, it is figure flattering with the empire waist, and a small pleated detail that allows the dress to fall quite elegantly for a jersey material and like I mentioned it can totally be dressed up or down.

I hope everyone has a spectacular weekend, and hopefully your weekend is spent on a beach somewhere.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

officially a "GREWBIE"

I recently came across this great article on a blog I recently discovered called The Yarden. Such a great website, and they have a project called the Peterson Garden Project so if you live in Chicago, please check it out. As a growing newbie, or a "grewbie" I appreciate all of the tips and advice I can get, the more and more I get into gardening the more I want to know, and the more I realize there is deeply rooted history when it comes to gardens and gardening. For example Victory Gardens, and no not just the show on PBS, even though that is a good one but, more to come on that in a later post. 

Here are the 10 tips from The Yarden, so insightful.
1. Mother Nature is our best friend… and sometimes our worst enemy. One of the joys of gardening is becoming less distracted from our high technology, media stimulated world and settling back into the rhythms of nature. She is a little moody these days due to climate change and she’s keeping us on our toes. Last year on this day, April 18, it was 76 and dry as a bone. Today we’re in our third day of non-stop rain and there’s a chance of snow tomorrow. You never know what nature is going to throw at you but, as a gardener, you learn to adapt.
2. You will make mistakes. This is a promise and part of the fun. Even as a lifelong gardener I make lots of mistakes. Sometimes the same ones – see Top 5 Dumb Gardening Mistakes as a case in point. Just forgive yourself and move on – gardens are a good place to learn to not take yourself so seriously.
3. Your garden won’t look like Martha Stewart’s garden. (or the garden from the movie It's Complicated)  Most normal peoples’ gardens aren’t photo ready and perfect. Sometimes leaves are brown or plants are scraggly as they’re getting started or ending their growing cycle. Sometimes insects like to camp out and there might be disease. You will learn to deal with these things and love your garden with its imperfections.
4. In fact, you might over love your garden but not in the way it needs… while last year over watering seemed impossible due to the stinky heat, you can over water, over prune, over tend. Find the balance of what your plants need and admit it if you have a little OCD. Save that for work, let the garden be your relaxed place.
5. Chances are you will over plant. If I had a dollar for every time one of our new gardeners showed up with enough plants for the back forty vs. their 4×8′ I could buy a house in Hawaii. I gently explain over planting, expecting the dejected look, and then remind them (and myself) gardening is all about trial and error. If you must plant all that then you go on andplant all that. It will be a great learning experience. (And I’ll smile next year when I hear, “you were right, we planted too much” and smile more when you do it again…)
6. You need 200 square feet per person to feed someone all season from a garden. Your 4×8′ will not feed your family of four. You will get a lot of produce, herbs, great stuff and save yourself some money, but you’ll still need to go to the grocery store. Sorry.
7.  You don’t have to buy a lot of fancy stuff to garden. You can if you want and you have the dollars but, even then, I don’t recommend it. Gardens are great places to recycle things and spending more money won’t make your plants any happier or make you a better gardener.
8. While it would be great if every seed and transplant provider grew their material organically, it is how you raise the plant that matters. If the seeds or transplants you buy aren’t organic, it isn’t the end of the world. You’ll raise them organically. That’s what counts.

9. Gardeners are the most generous people I know. Why? Because after all that love and care you bestow on your plants you can’t stand the thought of something going to waste. Extra produce is a great excuse to get to meet your neighbor. Since you’re a gardener now, why not get a head start and meet your neighbor ahead of time? Chances are they might have some good advice to share, offer to water while you’re on vacation or be really happy at the prospect of homegrown tomatoes. Share the love, people!
10. The most important piece of advice is this - plants want to grow. As much as we like to complicate gardening today with special methods or gadgets and create anxiety over it all, we have civilization because of agriculture so it can’t be all that hard. And it isn’t a contest. Gardening is a partnership with you, your plants and your patch of soil. So be nice to yourself – you can do this! – and welcome to a lifetime of adventure.

I hope some of these helped you, I know I got a good smile and some, yea your rights out of it. Happy gardening folks! Let me know any of your gardening tips in the comments below, I would love to hear them. 
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