Cookbook Crush: The Minimalist Kitchen

I am going through a bit of a cookbook renaissance my friends.  I've noticed my cookbook shelf has a few stand out favorites and a sizable handful gathering dust.  I no longer turn to Giada DeLaurentiis with the same enthusiasm as I once did, namely since we've cut back considerably on our pasta consumption.  As for other favorites of years past, I've decided it's time to swap out those I've neglected and refresh my shelf with some new titles.

I still check everything potential cookbook out from the library first.  If you don't do this, convert now, it's a huge money saver!  If you're anything like me, who can easily be swept up in the silken pages and delicious color photos of cookbooks when they're breezily displayed on bookstore shelves.  At any given time, I have about ten cookbooks in my library queue.  Typically there is a wait, so I just bide my time and enjoy my thirty days once they arrive in my name.  I typically read them post bedtime, bookmarking the recipes, before trying to discern if number of sticky notes justifies the price.

A recent favorite which will surely be dogeared once it arrives is The Minimalist Kitchen, the brainchild of Melissa Coleman, you may know her from the blog The Faux Martha.  This cookbook boasts all my favorite things, lovely full paged color photos of the food, easy step-by-step directions, easy tabs indicating make ahead, or ideas for quick substitutions should you not have an ingredient on hand.  I also want to eat every. damn. thing. 

I made her quinoa bimibap bowls for dinner, which was surprisingly well received by my kids, hooray!  Other pages currently sporting sticky notes include the blender dutch baby, soba bowls with peanut sauce, a quick 'n dirty fried rice, takeout cashew chicken, baked falafel pitas with tahini sauce, and while I'm not currently indulging in dairy, I couldn't help but salivate over the recipe for roasted banana cream pie.

Sound good?  Well then, put it on hold already!

image/parade

Friday Fun

Kickstarting the long weekend!  What are you up to?  Something fun I hope!  Here are some links to things I've been reading around the web.

+ this 3D skin printer can heal deep wounds within minutes!  isn't technology amazing sometimes?

+ have you heard there's PBS is remake of Little Women in a mini series, will you watch? Here's a review.

+ thinking of making this salad next week

+ almost the season for all things rose - lemonade frose anyone?

+ inspired by abby wambach's commencement speech at Barnard College

+ did you watch the royal wedding? I saw the highlights and loved every detail

+ Swedish law passed today declares sex without consent is rape

+ our world is drowning in plastic

image/freckledandfree

Dinner Last Night: Crispy Tofu Pad Thai

We sure do love our Thai takeout around here!  I've tried a pad thai recipe here and there but Deb of Smitten Kitchen always comes through and when she posted her recipe for crispy tofu pad thai, I knew it was worth trying out myself.  I appreciated her tips on how to prep the individual components and then assemble into the final dish, definitely helped me when prepping dinner with two kiddos at my feet.  

image/smittenkitchen

Currently...

How are you??  Have a good weekend?  We enjoyed a leisurely weekend of kids' birthday parties, soccer games, brunch with friends, and sunny skies.  All in all, a good one.

+ just watched this movie based on a true story this past weekend (I love Jessica Chastain)

+ just started this book per it's mention on the ted radio hour podcast

+ loving this new lipstick in "first date" and this lip gloss in "peony" (not sticky with a subtle hint of mint)

+ also recently finished an epic binge of homeland (seasons 3-7)...phew, I need a break

+ this essential oil is in the mail, pretty excited to test it out

+ looking forward to the royal wedding and this lifetime version of their romance

image/katespadeny

Beautycounter

Hello out there!  I have a new gig I wanted to share with you!  I recently became a consultant for Beautycounter. I was reluctant to take on a side hustle unless I truly felt like it was a good gig for both myself and family and it had to be a company I really believed in.

How I got here? Well, I've been on a quest to rid toxins in my everyday products since a good friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer, and was told by her doctors that traces of parabens were found in the cancerous tissues removed during her mastectomy. Since then, I've tried to transition out all the products I use that contain chemicals. During this process, I kept noticing that swapping out household cleaners seemed to be an easier switch. Their labels were more explicit, clear cut, and more transparently chemical free. But when it came to skin care, shampoos, and makeup- if was very ambiguous and I felt like I never really knew what I was putting on my body.

I first heard about Beautycounter on a few blogs I love. I admit, at first, I too was skeptical. With so many people are plugging their side hustles these days, it's hard to know if it's the real deal. In addition, I'd been pretty loyal to big name makeup brands like Laura Mercier, Mac, and Tarte for years - despite not knowing what exactly was in their products. In addition, I was a little wary of a new brand - would an exclusively clean line be able to hold up to the makeup coverage I was used to? The answer is YES!

I started small; first with foundation, powder, and moisturizer. Since then, I've dabbled in lipsticks, lip gloss, concealer, cleansers, sunscreen, and more! And believe me when I say, since I've switched, I haven't looked back! Plus, I feel so much happier and more confident in my skincare and makeup routine today knowing that I'm not inadvertently putting any chemicals or potentially harmful ingredients into my body.

One of the main reasons I'm excited to partner with this company is because of their mission. They only sell products FREE of parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, etc. in addition to 1,500 other questionable or possibly harmful chemicals, which consequently are quite prevalent in other companies the beauty market today. Their never list includes the 1,400 chemicals restricted or banned from personal care products in the European Union plus others Beautycounter has found to be of concern.

To put this in perspective, there are currently only 30 banned ingredients in the US, and there have been no laws passed to regulate the cosmetic industry since 1938. Beautycounter also spends considerable resources advocating for stricter laws and regulations in Washington, D.C. to help change this, to promote change and hold companies accountable for the the ingredients they're allowed to put into their products.

I encourage you to check out the Beautycounter website and seee if you find something that piques your interest. If you decide to buy and try, there's a 60 day exchange/return window, no questions asked.

And if you’ve read this far – thank you!  I want to give you as much information as I can without overwhelming you.  If you have any questions, please ask!  In the meantime, here is the link to my business website.  I'm excited to be doing something that I believe in that also earns money for my family.

P.S. I'll be posting some of my favorite products soon, so stay tuned!

image1/beautyeditor

Happy Monday

Trying to get back on the blog wagon...it's been a while.  How have you been?  We had a glorious weather week this week - sunshine, blue skies for miles, all the shorts and skirts.  We went to a local beach last night for a picnic dinner and there were even kids dancing around in

+ this new food show on Netflix

+ rediscovered this delightful movie this past weekend. love! have you seen it?

+ when your outfit perfectly matches the sky and sea


+ wanting to copy this itinerary for a sw roadtrip

+ would you ever make a children's art quilt?  love the idea.

+ don't these succulent cupcakes look too good to eat?

+ loved the first episode (christina tosi) of the new chef's table: pastry

+ bookmarking this pad thai recipe for a rainy day

+ loving this cookbook by nadine levy redzepi (wife of famous chef rene redzepi of noma)

image/meggielynne

Weeknight Baking: Double Chocolate Banana Bread

A day of endless rain - torrential downpour at times - made for a cozy afternoon indoors, baking.  With four brown spotting bananas calling out to me on the counter, I opted for banana bread when my daughter insisted, "chocolate banana bread!"  Upon the suggestion I shrugged, oh what the heck, who am I to withhold chocolate from our banana bread.  This recipe did not disappoint.  Truth be told, about 90% of it was eaten within a day.  Yum.