Kale and Brussel Sprouts Salad

Anyone need some healthy inspiration to start off the week? I know I love to make Mondays as healthy as I can, as the weekends are much more relaxed in terms of diet and exercise. I try to get to the gym for a class first thing Monday morning, with a healthy lunch to follow to get the week going in the right direction. I usually fix some sort of salad for lunch most days, changing up the protein or veggies, but it can get boring and hard to get excited about in the winter. Still, it’s my best bet for getting my greens in for the day so I’m fairly committed.

My friend shared a recipe with me the other day for a Kale and Brussel Sprouts Salad and it’s sooooo good. It’s definitely going right into the salad rotation. Plan for a little prep time on this one because it needs to sit for 3 hours. But it comes together really quickly so don’t let that deter you! (And by letting it sit, you no longer have to massage the kale to make it tender = win!)

I served it with dinner one night – we had salmon and a side of homemade pasta  (we being Mark and me – the kids said no thanks and stuck to the pasta.) And it makes a big bowl so I had enough for to have this for a few days for lunch – I cut up some greek chicken to put on top. It was delicious!

This recipe comes straight from Once Upon a Chef. She has fabulous recipes and if you aren’t following her you should!

Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad with Walnuts, Parmesan & Lemon-Mustard Dressing

For the Salad:
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced
1 pound Tuscan or curly kale (about 1 large bunch), thick center rib removed, leaves thinly sliced
1 cup coarsely grated or chopped Parmigiano Reggiano
For the Dressing:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 2 lemons
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used about 1/3 cup to cut the fat content)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots, from one large shallot
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

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You can see in my picture that I used 2 mixes from Trader Joe’s. It was very, umm, cruciferous!!! I ended up adding some fresh spinach to cut the crunch. Next time I’ll follow the recipe exactly and use a kale mixture. Still, it was very yummy. Let me know if you give it a try!

Our Garage Addition

Our family has been in the middle of an addition project for several months. I’ve been excited to show you the finished result, but I thought it might be fun to give you a preview of where we are now, so that when everything is done you will have some perspective.

We really are getting close to finishing the construction portion of it and you can see from the latest photos that the floors are in, the walls have been painted and most of the trim is in place. The counters in the bathroom and for the wet bar just went in last week. The plumber still needs to come finish up his piece, including some installation. The trim work needs to be completed and painted and the stairs need finishing.

And then comes the fun part – decorating! Unfortunately, most of our precious pennies went into the actual construction of the building and finishes such that there isn’t much to play with. But I have material to sew some window seat cushions and decorative pillows and we have furniture that should work for the space. We’ve even painted a few older pieces to complement the room. And I know over time we will be able to add in those extra things that will make the space warm and inviting.

This project has evolved over time and I’m very excited with where we have landed but it has been quite a process and a much bigger investment than we had anticipated! We originally intended to just build a garage with an unfinished space above for storage and to possibly be finished much later. But once that space was there and we had a rapport with our builder and his team, we decided to go ahead and finish the upstairs.

And thanks to the generosity of several friends, we were able to make use of remnants to allow us to finish it to our taste without totally blowing the budget. Oh who am I kidding, we TOTALLY blew the budget the day we decided to finish the upstairs! But even so, the marble and tile in the bathroom and the cabinets for the wet bar were all gifts from friends and we are so grateful to them.

Here are some pictures of the evolution of the project:

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First thing that happened was losing a tree (sadly) to clear space.
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I left town in June with this…
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And came home a few weeks later to this!
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It was about this time that we decided to go off plan and complete the space! *Also, you can see that where the rooflines of the house and garage touch is where we ultimately connected the two structures.
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Now that the back porch was basically trapped by the new structure, we decided that it would serve us better as an enclosed space, essentially extending our mudroom space.
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We also pulled the railings off of our front porch, extended the stairs and put in a cobblestone walkway to pretty up our existing entry, which never really worked for us.
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Love the Cobblestone. And the cute little helper on the stairs who has been VERY involved in this project, thanks to some generous and patient builders.
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We decided to hang shiplap on two feature walls and I love it!
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There’s my favorite worker again!
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Tile from some generous friends is looking so good!
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I love the pop of blue in this otherwise very white space
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This will eventually be a bench seat with a lovely view of the ocean.
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Wet Bar coming together
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The shiplap is now painted!

So that’s where we are so far. I’ll do another post when things are finished up!

Winter White

I think by now everyone knows that wearing white after Labor Day is totally fine. I however, have almost always put away my white jeans with my summer clothes when I’m switching out my closet in the fall. But I have been inspired recently by a few friends who have been wearing white jeans this winter and looking so adorable. I threw this outfit on the other day. I found it to be really refreshing on an otherwise cold and gray day.

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I bought this Halogen Cashmere wrap last August during Nordstrom’s Anniversary sale and while it looks like they no longer have the wrap in stock, I really love their kimono cashmere cardigan in the same color (and currently on sale.) And I wear this cream tissue turtleneck so much I had to get a second one! I seriously reach for it all of the time. It’s also on sale less than $15!

This summer I was browsing the Southern Living magazine, like all good southern girls do and came across an editorial on an outfit. One of the items was credited to a small boutique called Vici. I had never heard of them but I immediately recommended the sweater to my mom and sister (both bought it!) and follow them now on instagram. I really like so much of what they carry and their prices are great. I bought these peep toe booties from them last summer when I was looking for an inexpensive dupe for a higher end shoe and I have loved them. (If inventory is low, sign up for a notification when they restock, which they do regularly.)

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I bought these white jeans on clearance at J.Crew Factory to replace an older pair of the same kind. I really like their white jeans because they feel like a more traditional denim, thicker and without any worries of the pockets showing through (my test for a good white jean starts and ends with pocket visibility!) I’m pretty brand loyal to J.Crew Factory’s jeans. I wear two washes of their regular denim on an almost daily basis. And I have their velvet and white jeans all from the outlet and absolutely love them. I definitely wear them more than any other jeans in my closet (even over designer pairs.) I’m pretty sure I’ve never paid more than $40 for any of their jeans, given the great sales they have. The white jeans were less than $25!

So tell me, do you wear white in winter?

 

 

Baked Oatmeal

If you read my recent post about smoothies, you might be wondering why I’m already moving on to oatmeal?!?! Yes we are a smoothie family, but just in case you are not, I am sharing another great breakfast recipe I think you will love. Baked oatmeal is perfect for these cold, dark mornings we are having right now. It warms you right up and is really filling too.

When my youngest son was born, the three older ones started school two weeks later. In most ways, that was fantastic. But getting the girls fed and out the door after a mostly sleepless night was challenging for those first few weeks. Add to that my waking up starving after nursing all night and no time to cook for myself and tend to the kids – it was not a good scenario.

Thankfully, my  mother-in-law shared this fantastic baked oatmeal recipe with me.  I would make it up on Sunday night and even cut the portions (leaving it right in the pan.) When the morning madness ensued, I had breakfast for the kids and me to pop into the microwave and serve right up. I was sooooo hungry in those days and I would put a spoonful of peanut or almond butter on top to fill me up. I ate a lot of oatmeal when I was nursing to help with my milk supply and while cookie form was my favorite, baked oatmeal was a close second and I ate this exact recipe almost every day for months (no guilt either!)

Baked Oatmeal:

2 ripe bananas
1 cup milk (I use almond milk)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cups oats
1/4 cup pecans (I sometimes leave these out for picky palates)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1.5 cups blueberries (divided)

Pre-heat oven to 375. Slice bananas and line the bottom of a greased casserole dish (8×8 works well). Add 1/2 of blueberries. Mix together milk, egg, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. In a separate bowl, mix together oats, nuts, baking soda, and cinnamon. Sprinkle oat mixture over banana/blueberries then pour liquid all over. Top with remaining blueberries. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

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Now that we are in the dead of winter again, I’ll definitely be adding this back into the mix around our house. And, for those of you looking to set new health goals this year, by portioning this out, you can count on this to be a very healthy and filling breakfast to help start your day right!

 

Dreaming of the beach!

Even though we are in the dead of winter, the unexpected warm up we had here in New England this week gave me some early spring fever. And while we don’t have a beach trip planned for winter break I know many of you do. I’m super excited to share my Spring/Summer monogrammable collection. In addition to the usual bags and totes, I am so excited about the coordinating towels that have been added!

Also this year I’m offering swimsuits with matching towels for the little ones. They are adorable!

Below are some of my favorites:

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Palm Collection
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Shelly Collection
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Boho Collection
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Prep Stripe Collection
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Love the coordinating towels!
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Definitely getting this for my little guy! (available in sizes 2T-6X)
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Oh how I wish my girls were still this age! (available in sizes 2T-6X)
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Obsessed with the hooded towels. These are going to sell out FAST!

Things sell out so quickly, sometimes for the season so please let me know if you see something you like and I’ll get it ordered for you! There are so many more patterns and products available from floppy hats to coolers. Please e-mail if you have a need – I’d love to help!