Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Best Way to Cook Brussels Sprouts

Do brussels sprouts gross you out?  I used to be right with you.  Brussels sprouts and lima beans were the two veggies I would not touch with a ten foot pole.  Then I met my (almost) mother-in-law, who serves brussels sprouts all the time.  Out of politeness I tried them once, and it turns out, they can be good!  Baked with olive oil, salt, and pepper, they are crispy, a little caramelized, and super flavorful.  Trust me when I say these are not your grandma's brussels sprouts!

When you're making brussels sprouts, I find that 4-5 ounces per person is a good serving size.

To make these bad boys, first preheat your oven to 425.  Line a cookie sheet or baking pan with aluminum foil.

Cut off any extra stalk from the sprouts, and then cut in half (or even quarters if they're really big). If the outside leaves fall off, don't worry about it.  I like to leave them in because they end up getting really crispy and delicious. Drizzle with olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Use your hands to coast all of the brussels sprouts evenly with the oil, and then spread them out evenly on your baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes, stirring at around 10 minutes.  They'll be done when you can easily pierce them with a fork.  Serve them hot and enjoy!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blazer + Boyfriend

Blazer - NY&Co (old) / Tee - Loft (old) / Jeans - Gap / Watch - Kate Spade / Shoes - Sole Society (currently on sale!) / Bag - Coach

Last week we had some weirdly cool weather in Chicago, which meant that jeans and the blazer came back into play.  I wore this out for what was supposed to be one drink last week, which somehow turned into five martinis and shutting down the bar.  Sometimes these things happen.

Linking up with Tuesday PrettiesStyle Sessions and Stylish Tuesday.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

This Weekend...

This weekend I...

...Went to a wedding for two of our good friends down at the Planetarium.  The skyline view from there is gorgeous.  Watch out, our engagement photos were taken in the same spot, so this is a little preview ;)
...Because of the wedding, we got to hang out with a lot of friends from out of town (and a couple from out of the country).  Sadly, those currently living abroad have not managed to pick up accents.
...Went to see Billy Joel on Friday night at Wrigley.  Jeff's boss gifted us the tickets, and the seats were freaking amazing.  More Piano Man, please!  It brought back lots of college memories of going to see U of I's own piano man every Tuesday, and lots of more unfortunate memories of drinking $2 long islands at the shows.
...Accidentally shopped the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale thanks to everyone's favorites posts, and maybe picked up these little beauties.
...Finished up the design for our wedding website!  And also started thinking that maybe I will do the design for our invites and whatnot myself.  I was going to definitely hire a designer because it's kind of hard to design things for yourself, but I'm starting to change my mind.
...Went out to Barn & Company with a few friends and remembered how much I like/miss Lincoln Park.  I may live in the South Loop, but I'm definitely still a north-sider at heart!

I hope you had a good one!

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Current Pinsperations

Happy Friday!  I'm pretty excited for this weekend, tonight we're going to see Billy Joel at Wrigley Field and tomorrow we have another wedding.  I haven't shared my inspirations lately, but have been going kind of crazy on Pinterest so I had to share:

All images via my Pinterest page.

What's been pinspiring you?

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Thursday, July 17, 2014


Tank and Belt - Old Navy / Shorts & Jacket - JCrew Factory / Sandals - Payless (similar) / Necklace - Stella & Dot / Bracelet - Michael Kors / Watch - Kate Spade / Earrings - c/o Shopbevel

The pineapple trend has hit in a big way.  I was resisting it, until I found these adorable shorts from JCrew Factory.  This may be a bold statement, but I think I'm ready to name them the most flattering shorts in the world.  I usually hate higher-waisted items because I'm already pretty short-waisted, but somehow these work.  And I mean, who can say no to the print?  I wore this for a day of running errands and was going to wear this to our night at Ravinia last weekend, but the temperature dropped right before I left for the train, so I opted for some cute printed pants instead.  Always the struggle in Chicago.

Linking up with Monday Bloom and Friday Fab Favorites.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sautéed Chicken with Tomato Pan Sauce

You guys, this is probably the most legit meal I've ever cooked.  The flavors were complex, and the chicken was perfectly done.  It really made an at-home date night Jeff and I had a couple of weeks ago feel like a real date.  You know that commercial for Barilla Meals for Two where they start cooking and then one of them turns on music, they open a bottle of wine and light some candles?  That. Really. Happened.

Usually when I cook, I feel like I'm still making "college-y" meals.  If I don't have shallots, for example, I'll toss in an onion instead, or if I'm somehow out of onions I just leave them out all together.  Cutting corners always seems like a good idea in the moment, but leads to less satisfactory meals.  This recipe took a little longer than my usual weeknight routine of tossing a chicken breast into the toaster oven and adding some barbecue sauce (or let's be even more real, heating a frozen pizza), but it was definitely, definitely worth it.  Plus, the recipe called for wine, which meant I got to enjoy a little "chef juice" while I worked.  Win win win.

Sautéed Chicken with Tomato Pan Sauce (adapted from Keepers)
Serves 4

You'll Need:
4 bone in chicken thighs with skin
1 TB olive oil
4 TB unsalted butter, divided
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
One handful of fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and 1 TB butter over medium-high heat until the foam from the butter begins to subside.  Generously season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, then add to pan skin-side down.  Cook until it is golden brown, about 6 minutes.  Turn the chicken over, reduce the heat to medium, and cover the pan.  Cook until cooked through, 10-15 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a platter and tent with aluminum foil.

Pour off all but one TB of fat from the pan and return to medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the wine, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan, and simmer until most of the wine has evaporated.  Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring often and pressing down on them with the back of a spoon, until they start to break down, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the basil and remaining butter.  

Serve the chicken topped with your sauce, along with a fresh summer vegetable like asparagus.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Casual Summer Skirt

Tee - Target / Skirt - JCrew Factory / Sandals - Hive & Honey (similar) / Bag - Ann Taylor / Necklace - YuniKelley (similar) / Watch - Michael Kors (similar)

Skirts are my absolute favorite in the summer.  I used to prefer dresses, but there are so many more possibilities for styling with skirts.  Today I'm partnering with Hanna Marie Lei to show two ways to wear summer skirts.  This is only the second time I've worn this skirt (see the first time here) but it is definitely my new favorite.  I used to think the paper bag waists didn't work on me, but I've definitely changed my mind.  This style is really fun and stylish, but also comfortable!  Usually I want to change into comfy clothes when I'm just hanging out at home, but the waistband on this skirt is so comfortable that I kept it on until it was time for bed.

Be sure to check out the rest of Hanna's look here.

Are you all about skirts during the summer, or are you a shorts or dress girl?

Linking up with Mix It MondaySummer StyleRandom Wednesday and Stylish Tuesday.

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