Sunday, July 31, 2011

things that make you go awwww

This post is shameless. It has no relevance, value, rhyme or reason. You won't gain any knowledge, jot down a good idea, or drool over a fulfilling feast. It exists solely to make me smile, and hopefully make you all just a tiny bit happier as well. To my friends, it's no secret that I have a worryingly intense love for golden retrievers, so they are heavily represented here. But at least I'm not completely discriminating. Just take a moment to enjoy and indulge my canine obsession in some of it's cutest forms.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

spicy blackened tilapia with garlic roasted potatoes

After a few straight days of indescribable gluttony, I wanted to cook a nice, healthy and inexpensive dinner. I downloaded a new iPhone app that I really love: the Cooking Light menu maker. I like it because it allows you to select an entree from a wide range of choices, and it will create a suggested menu for you. Sometimes I don't know what sides to pair with fish, in particular. I wouldn't have thought of potatoes, but apparently that's a popular choice for more than classic fish and chips. I found the easiest imaginable recipe for tilapia (copied below from the app), and paired it with these crispy, garlicky potatoes and sauteed green beans. The tilapia was really nice and quite spicy, but the perfectly browned potatoes nearly stole the show. All in all this was a great weekday meal.

Spicy Blackened Tilapia

1 T. olive oil
Two 6 oz. tilapia fillets
1 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4. t. ground red pepper (I kicked it up with cayenne)
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat broiler. Rub oil evenly over fish. Combine all spices and sprinkle over fish. Arrange fish on broiler pan coated with cooking spray and broil 5 minutes (or until fish flakes easily with a fork). That's it! You're done.

Friday, July 29, 2011

sleeves of silk

I'm doing it again. This is another fall clothing post. I'm sorry, I just can't help it. Long-sleeved silk blouses are popping up everywhere for the new season, and I'm liking them quite a bit. They come in every imaginable color, and even patterns, and can easily transition from the office to nighttime. Whether hanging loose over skinny jeans, tucked into a pencil skirt or pants, or layered under a cardigan, they look polished and chic. The adorable petite-plaid printed one above is from Madewell, and there are plenty more styles to peruse below.



Banana Republic

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

honey-vanilla peanut butter

Normally, I can't be bothered to make breakfast before school. However, since my new hours require me to wait from a 6:45 wake-up til noon, I need to eat or I may kill someone. Seriously, I cannot go more than 2 hours without snacking or I get quite prickly. I found a recipe for Vanilla-Honey Peanut Butter a while back, and thought it sounded delicious.  But, the recipe was way too intense, starting from raw peanuts and requiring a food processor. Instead, I just mixed unmeasured amounts of chunky PB, honey, and the seeds of a vanilla bean until I thought it tasted perfect. For the next four days, I was able to wake up, toast an English muffin, spread and go. I'm actually even craving it now as I write this for an after-dinner treat. Make sure to click the top pic to see the lovely little vanilla beans!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

summer's end approaching too soon

It's that time of year again. The time when every store tries to end summer a month too soon, stocking their shelves and websites with the must-haves of Fall 2011. This never ceases to make my heart a little sad, as it reminds me that we have only a mere month left of sweet summertime. Fortunately, the J.Crew catalog on my doorstep today helped lessen the blow a bit, reminding me that I can at least look forward to one of my favorite parts of fall: the clothes. Ranking just behind football, my #1 autumnal friend, fall clothing is clearly the best of any season. J.Crew always has the best color combinations, but I like how this season they are mixing pops of bright colors like cobalt and mustard with interesting neutrals like mahogany, blush and camel. I'm kind of obsessed with the very last one myself!




Monday, July 25, 2011

baked parmesan tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes are popping up everywhere this time of year, so I have been trying out some recipes that showcase them. I have only recently "taught" myself to like tomatoes, so the fact that this recipe for Baked Parmesan Tomatoes led me to munch on entire halves at a time is pretty significant. It is imperative that you pick good tomatoes (whether heirloom or not); look how lovely that little heirloom baby below is with all of its folds and crinkles. The next important thing is reasonable Parmesan cheese. The green can grated faux variety won't cut it here. I thought the tomatoes turned out absolutely lovely, and make an amazing summer side dish, or even appetizer.

Additionally, I wanted to mention the Rosé seen above because it is fantastic. My friend Kristen and I discovered it at Whole Foods, purchasing it because of its strawberry notes. This wine is not too sweet, and very crisp with a subtle strawberry flavor. Amazing.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

summer reading

Hold up. Is there actually a post of educational value on Gingersnaps? Is some form of intelligence beyond my insignificant fashion musings and insatiable food-lust slipping through the "New Post" cracks? Perhaps, but it's only a minor glimpse of my nerdy nature; I've showed a lot restraint here in blog land. I wanted to post about a few of the fantastic books I have read (or re-read) lately that made me quite happy. I'm not going all classic lit on you; here you'll find only modern, easy reads that are perfect for the quickly waning summer. A friend was recently searching for some new, fun books, and these are a few of the winners that came to mind. If you have any beloved books to suggest, please leave a comment and let me know!

This is one of my absolute favorite books that I am actually re-reading right now. It is a story told from the perspective of an unusually smart, interesting and quirky nine year old boy who goes on an adventure throughout NYC following a clue left by his father before his death on September 11th. This book is highly entertaining, unique and interesting, and I highly recommend it.

The Glass Castle is an autobiography told by a woman looking back at her tumultuous and unorthodox childhood. Growing up in a family of often homeless nomads, and loosely "parented" by a mother and father whose mental illness becomes more apparent throughout her lifetime, has made this story truly unforgettable. My favorite part, however, is that Walls never seems to seek pity or condolences; instead she tells the story with a matter-of-fact humor that makes even the darkest points brightly entertaining.

I cannot rave enough about The Hunger Games. This book, the first in an amazing trilogy, captivated me from cover to cover. I started the book with some hesitation, as it was intended for the Young Adult crowd, but quickly found myself staying up until nearly 3am with pounding pulse to finish it in just over a day. The story is set in a post-modern society where the United States is obsolete, and a tyrannical dictatorship has taken its place, sacrificing innocent children in a cruel Capital-pleasing game. I want to give away nothing about this plot line, because it was absolutely wonderful to devour it blindly. The second and third books are also fantastic, but nothing compares to the first.
Following a disastrously failed marriage and the loss of his father, the dark and defeated main character, Judd, travels home for the funeral. He finds himself stuck in a house full of family that has clearly not seen eye-to-eye in many years for a full week of mourning. Judd's life is clearly at an all-time low, but his dark and witty sarcasm makes the story an entertaining and intriguing read. This book is definitely the dark and twisty black sheep of the bunch, but it was hilarious, extremely well-written, and worth reading.
If you love dogs, this book is for you.  If you love or have loved one very special dog, you will likely never forget this story. I know that I will remember it forever. I mean come on, there's a Golden Retriever on the cover; if you know me, you know my fondness for this beloved breed. The story is narrated entirely by a dog named Enzo, as he goes through life's twists and turns with his owner and their ever-changing family. It did make me cry... a lot. But I am also worryingly obsessed with dogs, especially if they look like that little sweetheart above.

This book provides the pure comic relief to round out the bunch. It is not an intelligent read, it is in no way profound, and you will gain nothing from it's pages but pure laugh-out-loud humor. When I first read the book in college, my roommate knocked on my door to ask what the heck I was laughing so hard at in a quiet room by myself. Chelsea has written several books, the others of which are just OK (in my opinion), but My Horizontal Life is hands down the best of them.