Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dear J.Crew,

We used to be BFF's. I apologize for not spending as much time (or money) with you recently, but I'm on a spending freeze for a few months. However, I have a bone to pick with you regarding your "free shipping". Offering free shipping when you spend $100 or more is not FREE. I'm tired of the emails that fake me out in the subject line - I keep opening them to see if maybe this time, you'll just give me true free shipping ON ANY AMOUNT. But no, never. I can't hide a $100 charge from J just to get free shipping, so therefore, I guess we are breaking up. Keep in touch and let me know if you ever reconsider your shipping policies.

Lots of love,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ready for Summer!

Yes, it's February and we still have spring to look forward to, but these warmer days have made me ready for SUMMER! I stole this from Ashley:

1. Any vacations you are looking forward to this summer?
We are spending about a week in OBX in May - my parents have a condo there and we've actually never used it. They rent it out for most of the summer but the weather should be awesome there in May, so I can't wait. We're going with our friends B&S who are expecting a baby in July, so it will be fun to be down there with them before their new addition gets here!

2. What is your favorite article of summer clothing (shoes are included)?
Not sure if I can pick just one - Havianas Flip Flops (the most comfortable flip flops ever) and maxi dresses. Really any dresses...that's basically all I wear all summer.

3. What is your favorite summer drink (alcoholic or non)?
Vodka Tonic - it totally reminds me of summertime. Extra lime. I also enjoy a good Arnold Palmer in the summer (non-alcoholic).

4. Do you tan or burn?
Umm definitely BURN. It takes me a while to build up an actual tan - that usually doesn't happen until late August.

5. Any goals you are working toward this summer?
I want to spend most of my weekends at our pool. Try to swim 10-15 laps every time we're at the pool. Relax. Have fun!

6. What is your favorite summertime food?
Fresh berries, anything grilled, ice cream and popsicles, corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes with salt and pepper.

7. What song most says “summer” to you?
Sublime, Summertime. It reminds me of summers in high school.

8. Any home improvement goals planned for this summer?
Our tentative plan is to start working on our kitchen/floors this summer. eeeek - that means our goal for this spring to save every penny we can!

9. What is one thing you hate to see at the beach?
Jellyfish and RAIN!

10. Did you ever go to a summer camp?
Ooooh yes - the summer before 8th grade I spent 3 weeks at sleep-away camp. I got really homesick. It was also a horseback riding camp (that was the main activity) and I learned that I was allergic to horses there (hello hives!) So obviously it wasn't the best situation. That was my last camp experience.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's!

Hope everyone has a wonderful and romantic Valentine's day! We're making a nice meal at home and just relaxing. J did send me a beautiful bouquet full of pink flowers to work - it was such a nice surprise! I picked up two huge yummy looking cupcakes from Whole Foods for us to enjoy tonight after dinner. I'm excited for a low key evening with my husband!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I heart Risotto. It's probably my favorite food in the world. I make it ALOT (several times a month) and I have to say, I'm pretty good at it, since its sort of a high maintenance meal. Lots of stirring and adding liquid. But it's totally worth it. You can put anything into risotto - my favorite thing is roasted veggies (butternut squash, brussel sprouts, asparagus, etc.)

Anyways, I get a random subscription to All You Magazine - anyone ever heard of it? It's basically a mag about life, recipes, decorating, saving money, etc. Sometimes they have some pretty good recipes, but one in the latest issue caught my eye -- Baked Risotto with Sausage and Mushrooms. Basically it takes the "work" out of the constant stirring of risotto and lets you add in the chicken broth and pop your dutch oven into the oven to bake for about an hour. Hmm I was definitely intrigued, so I tried it tonight for dinner.

It was surprisingly good! It stayed really creamy and the Arborio rice cooked well so it was nice and starchy. I would recommend it, especially if you are feeling lazy and enjoy a one pot meal with super easy clean up!

Here's the recipe (adapted from All You Magazine, my changes are in red):

Baked Sausage and Mushroom Risotto

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 (we got a TON more than 4 servings out of this - we'll both be able to take it for lunch the rest of the week)


  • 3/4 pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed (I used chicken sausage, like the Hillshire Farms precooked stuff cause I had it on hand - still turned out tasty!)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces sliced cremini or button mushrooms
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, warmed (I only used about 3.5 cups of broth and it was plenty!)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (yeah, I didn't have any fresh parsley, so we went without. We did top it with some extra Parmesan Cheese)


1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. In a Dutch oven or other large, ovenproof pot with a lid, cook sausage over medium heat, stirring to break it up, until crumbly and browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Spoon sausage into a bowl lined with paper towels and pour fat out of pot.

2. Return pot to heat and add oil. Add onion and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until onion is soft and mushroom juices have evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour in wine and cook until reduced by half, stirring to release any browned bits on bottom of pan, about 2 minutes. Stir in rice and cook for 3 minutes. Pour in 3 cups of broth and stir to combine.

3. Bake for 20 minutes. Stir in Parmesan, reserved sausage meat and remaining 1 1/2 cups broth. (I only added about another 1/2 - 3/4 of a cup of broth at this point cause it was still really liquidy and it was fine) Cover, return to oven and bake until rice is tender but not mushy, 30 to 35 minutes more. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Definitely try it if you love risotto or if you've never had it before and you want to start off easy! I didn't take a picture, but here's the picture from the magazine's website - it really did look exactly like this!


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