Sunday, April 29, 2012

Breakfast basics made better

-The Basics-
Oatmeal, eggs, toast. Pretty basic breakfast fair, but it doesn't have to be boring or bland. Here are some ideas to switch up your morning routine!

Try different grains! Most oat-alternatives aren't much more expensive than your regular rolled oats and are especially affordable when bought in bulk at places like Whole Foods Market.
Try rolled rye, barley, Kamut, or spelt. Steel cut oats are another delicious, high-fiber option. It takes a little longer to cook, but has a nicer texture than the rolled variety.

Try new toppings!
-Miss Melba: Dried apricot, raspberry, almonds and yogurt (pictured above)
- Cinnamon Roll: Cinnamon, brown sugar, raisins, butter and low-fat milk
-Maple Walnut: Toasted walnuts & maple syrup or a little bit of maple flavoring

Tip: Cook dried fruit, such as apricots & raisins, in the grains. They plump up really nicely!

In my opinion, eggs are pretty much perfect. I like them all ways. My mom turned me onto a different way to eat my poached eggs: Wrapped in crepes! They're amazing! Of course, that tends to happen when you wrap things in crepes. A little salt and pepper is all that's needed.

 I recommend the Jacques Pépin crepe recipe my mother has been using for years

French Toast
I usually put a little vanilla in the egg batter, but these other flavors are delicious too:
-Maple flavoring
-Lemon flavoring
-Orange flower water
 (my mom used this last flavor to death, so I don't like it any more)

-OR- use coconut butter to fry the toast. It tastes delicious and is not any worse for you than butter (remember there's no such thing as low-fat fat)

Warning: this next tip is not low-fat!
One time I was making french toast and I ran out of egg mixture. I had a couple dry spots on the slice of toast I was trying to fry, and the only thing left in my fridge was a half-pint of heavy whipping cream. One thing led to another and I was soon eating the most amazing piece of whipping cream french toast! So the next time you're planning a birthday breakfast or just really feel like calories don't matter, try using whipping cream in your egg mixture instead of milk!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Look of the Day: rain or shine

Seattle Spring: rain, sun, wind, hail.
The clouds are amazing, as they always are this time of year. Big, billowy mountains floating across the sky. I get distracted when I drive over one of our many bridges. Hopefully I won't ever have to blame an accident on "pretty clouds". That's a pretty lame explanation. 

 I was really regretting not purchasing this silver purse from Zara a while back, but it just so happens H&M had nearly the exact same thing. I got it for $5! The cape is a treasure I found at a thrift store in Olympia and the Merino wool turtleneck was $2 at the Fremont Sunday Market.

 Vintage cape - Thrifted wool turtleneck - H&M clutch - Forever21 skirt - Cooperative wedges

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Look of the Day: gingham & denim

My husband didn't want this shirt anymore, so I snatched it up and cut the sleeves off. I've really been wanting a gingham shirt, and even though it's not quite the fit I was looking for, it will do for now. It looks good belted and there's enough material to tie a knot in the front. Thanks for the donation, husband!

Speaking of husbands, Trevor and I have been married for nearly a year! I can't believe it's been that long already! We are planning on going to Tutta Bella for our anniversary, since it's where we went for our wedding lunch. They have award-winning Neapolitan-style pizza and this amazing salad with beats, pistachios, and goat cheese. The salad is so good we ordered two that last time we were there.

Here's that lovely little bag from Mochi Beaucoup again. I just love it with anything blue, but especially navy. It goes nicely since this shade of orange is closer to a neutral than a bright.

J. Crew men's gingham shirt - J. Crew jersey cardigan - Vintage belt and bracelets - Mochi Beaucoup mini bag - American Eagle jeggings - thrifted shoes (similar) and sunglasses (similar)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Recipe: Tacos Foster

This is another recipe I developed using leftover bits. My husband and I can never seem to eat our way through an entire bag of tortillas before they go bad, so I'm always looking for new ways to use them. Bananas are another thing I have trouble using up before they go "bad" (I only eat them when they're still a little green). I've ended up with this simple, delicious recipe that is the perfect sweet finish on Taco night.

Tacos Foster

Makes 1 serving

1/2 a banana
2 small corn tortillas
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp coconut oil
2 lime wedges

 You don't have to follow the directions word for word; this one can be free-styled. I didn't do a great job of timing everything, so these are all estimates. Just use your best judgment.

1. Place a frying pan over medium heat. Place 1 tsp coconut oil into pan.

2. Slice the banana into10 or so pieces. Place half the banana slices in the pan along with one of the tortillas. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the bananas have started to brown. Flip everything over and let cook for another 3 minutes or so.

3. When the bananas have browned to your liking, place them all on the tortilla. Now put the second batch of bananas in the pan, with a little bit more coconut butter.

4. While the second batch is frying, sprinkle the tortilla with cinnamon and sugar and squeeze one of the lime wedges over the sugar mix. Let cook for 2 minutes or so.

5. Remove the assembled tortilla from the pan and set aside. Now, add the rest of the coconut butter and second tortilla. Turn to coat.

6. Once the bananas have browned on both sides you can flip the tortilla and top with the fried bananas. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and a squeeze of lime. Let cook for 2 minutes or so.

7. Remove from pan and serve with a slice of lime. Enjoy!

Tips & Facts:
1. This recipe is vegan, but check the tortilla ingredients beforehand. Sometimes they are made with traditional lard.
2. This can be made with as little or as much sugar as you prefer, and would also be delicious made with honey or agave syrup.
3. As far as fats go, coconut oil is amazingly good for you! Read more about its benefits here 
4. Don't fall into the trap of thinking vegan=super healthy! This recipe still has a lot of fat, so I recommend eating only two :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

vacations are so tiring

I spent all week on my mom's farm. It was so tiring.

Playing with my niece, eating croissants every day (really good, locally made ones), playing Drawsome with my sister, going to the Olympia Farmer's Market, etc. You get the idea; it was a really strenuous week.

So today I recuperated by going to acupuncture and having lunch at my favorite cafe here in Seattle, Cafe Presse. The cafe was full of  chattering diners and bright April sunlight. I enjoyed a cup or two (or three) of the strong chocolately Vita coffee they serve and munched on grilled sardines and a fresh baguette. The latest issue of Marie Claire kept me company.

And now for Friday's Fashion Fact. Today it's a new word that keeps popping up in magazines.

adj. -\swän-ˈyā\-
(As defined by Merriam-Webster)

1. Well-groomed, sleek
2. Elegantly maintained or designed

Glad I looked it up cuz I woulda pronounced it "Soy-nay"

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Flattery & Features

Two lovely ladies have featured me on their blogs this week! I feel linking back to their blogs in the least I can do!

Bella is a trend-setter, not a trend follower, and we are lucky to have her here in Seattle :)
Click here to see her Seattle Bloggers meet-up post.

This is a new blog and I am the very first post!!

A big thanks to both bloggers for featuring me :)

Update: I've been featured a third time this week! Check out my picture alongside many, many other stylish ladies over at Strumpfmode 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dinner Tonight: Power Salad

Grapefruit, kale, and avocados are all very affordable in April, since they're in season, so why not load up on all three! I've created this warm salad, which is loosely based on a delicious salad my BFF Katherine made for Thanksgiving. It features nutrient- and fiber-rich foods, is low-fat, vegan, and incredibly delicious!

Ingredients (2 salads):
1 bunch of kale
1 grapefruit
1 medium to large avocado
1 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lime, plus any leftover grapefruit juice
Red pepper flakes
1/4+ cup pistachios
salt & pepper to taste

1. Cut the avocado into slices or chunks; set aside. Cut the grapefruit in half and use a small knife to go around the edges. This will make it easier to scoop the sections out. Use a spoon to scoop the sections out and set aside with the avocado. Squeeze leftover juice from the grapefruit rinds over the avocado.

2. Heat a saute pan over low-medium heat. Chop kale and add to pan. Add lime juice, olive oil and pepper flakes and toss. If the kale starts to sizzle, the pan is too hot, so turn it down. Heat for 5 minutes, or just until the kale starts to turn bright green.

2. Divide the kale between two plates, making sure to top each with any leftover liquid from the saute pan. Now put half the avocado-grapefruit mix on each salad and sprinkle with pistachios. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Serve with Grapefruit Whiskey Sour :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Look of the Day: Lemon Meringue & Polka Dots

trophy, seattle, cupcakes, polka dots, blogger, fashion, in style
This look was inspired by Trophy Cupcake's flavor of the month: Lemon Meringue. It's pretty amazing. I've already had two and we're not even half way through April! How can you resist a cupcake filled with lemon curd??

seattle, cupcakes, polka dots, blogger, fashion, in style, blonde, pixie cut
 My dear readers, you are looking at the last polka-dotted item I will ever acquire. I know I've said this before, but this time I really am at polka dot capacity. If it was acceptable, I would buy polka dot everything forever, but that would just be crazy. Instead I am satisfied with this one last skirt. Actually, I am more than satisfied. I am excited to own it and thrilled that I didn't have to pay a penny for it! It's from American Apparel, but I won it from the lovely Folake at Style Pantry. By chance, I was on Twitter when she announced a special "Tweet back" giveaway, and, by chance, it was my name drawn! It arrived in the mail just in time for lunch with my new blogging friends from Seattle Style Bloggers

fleur d'elise, blonde, pixie cut, seattle, blogger, fashion, spring

fleur d'elise, blonde, pixie cut, seattle, blogger, fashion, spring, what i wore
H&M striped shirt - J.Crew belt - American Apparel skirt - H&M pouch & sunglasses - J.Crew planner - Vintage Nine West shoes - Vintage bracelets & watch

Monday, April 9, 2012

DIY: Homemade syrup

Today we are making pancake syrup! Maple syrup can be very expensive, but I've developed a really good imitation! The trick is to use piloncillo sugar. It's unrefined and gives the syrup that earthy, planty taste that most imitation maple syrups are lacking. I buy it at a local Asian/Ethnic market, and it can also be found at smaller Latin markets. If you can't find piloncillo (they look like little cones made of brown sugar), then brown sugar or raw sugar will work just fine!

What you'll need:
- 1 part water to 1 part piloncillo sugar
- Tablespoon Mapleine or Maple extract
- Some spoons, spatulas, etc.
- Sauce pot
- A small bowl
- Funnel
- Glass bottle (Old syrup bottles work well!)
- Kitchen timer

To start, let's put our little bowl in the freezer. We will use it to test the thickness of our syrup.

Now, over med-high heat, combine the water and sugar in the sauce pan. The sugar will start to dissolve pretty quickly, but stirring helps speed up the process.

Once the sugar is completely dissolved, turn the burner up to high and bring to a boil. I like to call this a "candy boil." It has a very distinct look, as seen in the above picture. The bubbles are relatively small, clear instead of frothy, and do not increase in volume.

Set the timer for 7 minutes. Stir occasionally.

After a couple minutes, take the bowl out of the freezer and spoon some syrup into it. Place back in the freezer. It should start to get thicker as it cools rapidly. When the timer goes off, take the pan off the burner and do another freezer test. If the syrup is not setting up, you need to boil it a little longer. If it doesn't need to boil longer, then set your timer for 10 minutes. This will allow for a little cool down before adding the flavoring.

It's important to not add the flavoring while the syrup is boiling. I find that most of the flavor evaporates at such high temperatures. Add the syrup when the timer goes off.

Now you can leave the syrup to cool for a little while. 15 to 30 minutes is enough time. Don't leave it too long, thought, or it will be harder to pour into the bottle. Take your funnel and carefully fill the bottle with the warm syrup. You can use your spatula to scrape down the sides.

I store mine in the fridge, but you probably don't have to as this is nothing but sugar and water.

Try it in yogurt, on pancakes and french toast, or even use it to sweeten your coffee!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Look of the Day: feeling like myself again

fleur d'elise, blonde, pixie cut, seattle, blogger, fashion, spring
 I'm back to blonde! Blonder than ever actually. At the salon, I said platinum without realizing that kind meant "Make my hair translucent". Now I know how polar bears feel.
fleur d'elise, blonde, pixie cut, seattle, blogger, fashion, spring
 Shopping tip of the week: If you can make it work, buy kid's clothes! They are so cheap! I got this shirt for $6 at Target. And I bought a matching one for my niece, hahaha
This isn't even the largest size they had, so you might as well take a look the next time you're at Target. You might be able to save some money!
fleur d'elise, blonde, pixie cut, seattle, blogger, fashion, spring
 This lovely little bag came in the mail yesterday and I couldn't be happier. I'm thinking about buying all the colors Mochi Beaucoup has! It was hard to decide which color to get, but in the end orange bag won because I need some orange in my wardrobe. They have some really cute pastels, too, that are perfect for Spring. I love how they have them stacked on top of macarons. Too cute.
Target t-shirt - Forever21 dress - American Apparel petticoat - H&M belt - Forever21 glasses

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Recipe: Sweet Potato Pancakes

recipe, breakfast, food, sweet potato, pancakes

I came up with these when I was in a comfort-food-mood, but didn't just want to end up eating cake and Pringles. I had some leftover mashed sweet potatos that were looking for a home and thought I would experiment (sweet potatoes make everything better, automatically). I substituted them for the oil called for in regular pancake recipes and added extra almond milk to make the batter a bit thinner.

Health Notes: These pancakes are low-fat and dairy-free! Another plus, since sweet potatoes are naturally sweet, this recipe doesn't call for as much sugar.

recipe, breakfast, food, sweet potato, pancakes

1 cup flour
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups almond milk 
1 egg
1/2 cup mashed sweet potato
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Coconut butter or cooking spray
Blueberries & banana, optional

1. Heat a frying pan on medium heat. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg and almond milk. Stir in sweet potato and vanilla extract.

3. Add sweet potato mixture to dry ingredients. Stir just until combined.

4. Fold in blueberries.

5. Grease the frying pan. Drop batter using a ladle or big spoon. You can make the pancakes as big or as little as you want.

6. Serve with fruit and/or syrup. Bacon doesn't hurt, either :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday Fashion Facts #2

Selvedge denim is made on looms that weave the fabric with one continuous piece of cross thread.
This creates the signature "self-edge" from which the name is derived.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Look of the Day: expletives

There were many expletives in use today. It was that kind of angry where you just start crying instead of yelling. The whole reason: I've discovered that my new camera doesn't fit on my tripod. WTF, right? Oh, I'm sorry, was making it a standard size too troublesome for you, Fuji? Funny, it fits my other 4 cameras, even my SLR! Such a pain in my ass.
For now, I'm back to using my old camera for outfit photos. These turned out nicely, though, which helped calm me down.
The dress is new-ish and was one of those magical, meant-to-be finds. I had been thinking "I want a dress just like that one Alexa Chung wore in Elle magazine." I even painted a picture of it, but I messed up the face, so I haven't posted it (serves me right for not using watercolor paper). One day I was browsing Value Village with my mom, and there it was! Or at least, there was its short-sleeved cousin! And just my size, too!

Perfect mod coolness.

Anne Taylor Petites Dress - Forever21 moto jacket - Kate Spade ipad case - Xhiliration patent flats - American Apparel tights

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dinner Tonight: Vegetarian Puttanesca

2 tsp olive oil
4 roma tomatoes, diced
1 can black olives, coarsely chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 Tbsp Capers, rinced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
Arugula or Spinach for serving
Salt and red pepper flakes, to taste
Romano cheese
Pasta, such as Fettuccine or Spaghetti

1. Put a pot of water on to boil.

2. While the water is heating up, chop up tomatoes and olives. Mince garlic or use a garlic press.  Rinse capers. Place all these ingredients in a frying pan along with the olive oil and tomato paste. Turn heat to medium.

3. Cook pasta as directed on package.

4. Let tomato and olive mixture cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until hot and fragrant.

5. Chop up parsley and sprinkle over mixture in frying pan. Add the vinegar, pepper flakes, and salt. 

6. Once pasts is done cooking, drain, and then toss with tomato and olive mixture.

7. Serve over greens and top with Romano cheese.

Tips and facts:
1. There are very few recipes that call for an entire can of tomato paste, so buy tomato paste in a jar, which keeps better!
2. Without the cheese this recipe is vegan!
3. I was looking up traditional puttanesca and apparently the name means "whore's style spaghetti"! How offensive! LOL
4. This dish goes great with white wine or a wine spritzer, like I made: Pour chardonnay and San Pellegrino Limonata over ice. Yum!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lucky me!!

I got a fancy new camera! It's my anniversary present (which is not for another month and a half). I got a Fuji FinePix S2950. Got a sweet deal on it, too! More pictures to come :)

And now for even better news! I'm excited to tell all you wonderful readers that I've been featured on the Forever21 Blog AGAIN! Twice is pretty amazing :)

Here is the LINK

UPDATE: This was an APRIL FOOLS joke. The F21 spot is obviously not real. I would never try to Rick Roll anybody on a normal day! The camera, however, is real.
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