Monday, March 25, 2013

Emerald & Oxfords

Blouse: J. Crew, Jacket: Zara, Shoes: Shoemint

I've been through some extreme weather swings over the past week or so, from snowing and frigid in NYC, to beautiful 85 degree sunshine in Austin, back to a snow day in Baltimore today. Our trip to Austin was a great one, as my soon-to-be family threw a beautiful wedding shower for Adam and I on Saturday. Full of friends, family, and a lot of love and cheer, we had a fantastic day. We were so happily busy and content that I didn't even take time for photos. Now, that's a feat. Instead, I'll share with you another post from our trip to New York. I paired my favorite new flats with some rolled up jeans, an emerald blouse, a bold necklace (a gift from Jan!), and my favorite jacket for a day of eating, shopping and exploring.






Friday, March 22, 2013

Spaghetti with Spinach Parmesan Balls


At a recent party, I could not believe which bite-sized appetizer left me hovering over a nearly empty plate, hoping no one would take note of my gluttony. This tasty treat was, of all things, vegetarian... and it didn't even have any dipping sauce! What has happened to me? I'm losing my way here a bit, but I'm obviously talking about these Spinach Parmesan Balls, or another version of them. I perused some recipes to duplicate and tweak this idea, combined a few together, eliminated seven tablespoons of butter from a popular version, and came to a very pleasing result. 

I decided to turn these little green gems into a meal by serving them simply with spaghetti, marinara, and some grated Parmesan. It was an absolutely delicious meal that I look forward to making again, this time with enough to freeze some leftover, um, balls.



Spinach Parmesan Balls

1 lb. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess liquid squeezed out
5 eggs
1 small onion, minced
1 cup grated Parmesan
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
2 cups Italian-stye Panko
3 T. margarine, melted

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine all ingredients, except melted butter, and mix well by hand.
Form mixture into 1" balls, and place on a baking sheet in a single, slightly spaced layer.
Brush balls with melted butter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes in the top half of the oven.
Allow to cool slightly, and serve with toothpicks as appetizer, or with spaghetti.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bold, Bodycon & Bubbly

Dress: Topshop, Shoes: Target
This post has actually been making me giggle the whole time I've been putting it together. Why? Because, as it turns out, when you try to take some quick photos after a bottle of Veuve Clicquot (yum), this is what you get. Actually, this is the best of what you get; the rest of the photos, however, are hiarious. Basically, it goes like this: blurred picture with bad lighting, picture of my butt with laser focus, picture of Adam making a face, blurry with bad lighting... you get the idea. Moving on. 

I decided to post these photos anyhow because we had a lot of fun, the bubbly was delicious, and I loved this dress for a night out in NY. With bold colors, an even bolder pattern, and a bodycon cut, this Topshop number is not for the faint of heart. I knew instantly it would be crammed into my weekender for the city, and it was perfect for an unbelievable dinner at Spice Market and, of course, champagne. Read on for my restaurant review.


Spice Market
What we Ordered,and Loved!

I would absolutely recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting NYC. The decor looked like something from a Bond movie; imagining a gorgeous Southeast Asian Bond girl gracefully descending the impressive staircase was hardly a stretch. The ambience was stunning, and the food was nothing short of amazing. Adam's favorite part was the Chicken Samosas, while mine was the Ginger Fried Rice (which I have been closing my eyes and reliving the taste of ever since). The only item I wouldn't splurge for again would be the lobster, as it didn't quite live up to its price tag. If you're ever in NY, you won't regret spending an evening at the Spice Market like 007.

Charred Chili Rubbed Beef Skewers with Thai Basil Dipping Sauce

Spiced Chicken Samosas with Cilantro Yogurt

Ginger Fried Rice

Vietnamese Chicken Curry

Maine Lobster, Butter Fried Garlic, Ginger and Dried Chili

 








 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cobalt & Chelsea

Dress: F21, Jacket: Zara, Boots: Target, Sunglasses: ASOS
I'm a little sad to say that Adam and I ended a long weekend trip to NYC last night. We had an fantastic weekend together eating, drinking, sightseeing and eating (worth mentioning twice) our way through the city. Right outside our hotel, we discovered the gorgeous and eclectic Chelsea Market: a plethora of lunch spots, coffee shops, wine vaults, and shopping in a building with beautiful details and architecture. We frequented the market often throughout the weekend, this time in a cobalt dress that was a huge steal (at only $25!) and great find from F21. Paired with my trusty Zara jacket, tights and boots, the dress can work for both the tail end of winter and, hopefully soon, warmer weather in spring.









Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring in your Step

{1} Madewell {2} J. Crew {3} Urban Outfitters {4} Madewell {5} Madewell {6} Piperlime
There are thousands upon thousands of gorgeous warm weather heels and wedges out there that I'd love to say I'm a pro at wearing. I'm just not. I remember the days of college when I would walk/run down College Avenue at any time of day or night, in any temperature, and bear the consequences as they come. I'm not claiming or admitting to be getting old, but rather lazy. It's rarely worth it to me anymore, so I mostly stick to flats. These little colorful gems are a fun way to add some pop into your spring wardrobe, whether paired with a cute, casual dress or incorporated into your work attire.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thai Peanut Chicken Quinoa


You really should have seen Adam's face when he pulled a box of quinoa out of the grocery haul; it was priceless. Clearly, I'm not generally a subscriber to healthy foods, but I figured I'd at least try out this trendy ingredient by drenching it in Thai peanut sauce and Sriracha. I love anything with peanut sauce, so it seemed natural to try swapping some grain for my usual noodles, and the result impressed even my skeptical fiance. This dish was actually equally delicious as a hot entree and a cold salad for lunch the next day. I would highly recommend making a large batch, as I did, for lunches throughout the week.




Thai Peanut Chicken Quinoa

1.5 cups quinoa
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 chicken breasts
2 T. soy sauce
2 medium carrots, grated
2/3 cup shelled edamame
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup scallions, chopped
1/3 cup chopped peanuts

Sauce

4 T. peanut butter, melted slightly
4 T. light coconut milk
3 T. sweet chili sauce
1 T. Sriracha (plus extra for drizzling)
1 T. rice vinegar
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. lime juice
1/8 t. ground ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced

Directions

1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a large serving bowl.

2. Lightly toast quinoa in a saucepan on medium heat. Add chicken broth, cover, and cook according to quinoa package directions (usually 15-20 minutes). 

3. While quinoa cooks, saute chicken breasts over medium heat until almost cooked throughout. Add soy sauce to pan and finish cooking chicken, coating with soy sauce.

3. Add cooked quinoa to serving bowl and toss with sauce. Add grated carrots, edamame, cilantro, scallions and peanuts. Reserve some of the cilantro, scallions, and peanuts to sprinkle on top for serving, if desired.

4. Slice chicken into thin slices or bite sized pieces and add to quinoa mixture. Drizzle with Sriracha to taste, and garnish with reserved ingredients from previous step. 

Enjoy!





Thursday, March 7, 2013

Guinness Brownie Cakes with Butterscotch Frosting and Salted Pretzels


If you're a regular reader of Gingersnaps, you're tired of hearing me whine and make excuses for holidays flying past, either without accompanying posts, or with ridiculous after-the-fact posts under the weak notion that it will come in handy next year. Check it out! This holiday is different! I vowed to assemble a St. Patrick's Day post in time for March 17th, and I've actually done it. Behold my Guinness Brownie Cakes with Butterscotch Frosting and Salted Pretzels; they are decadent, delicious, and also festive. Plus, they just pair oh-so-well with a nice pint. 

Google "Guinness Brownies" and you'll find about 1,000 variations of the same recipe. I decided to not reinvent the wheel here, so I cheated. I used (gasp!) a boxed dark chocolate brownie mix, but swapped 1 cup of the water called for in the mix for some stout. To up the flavor, I reduced 2 cups of Guinness to 1 cup over medium heat on the stove before swapping for water. Beer > Water, any day. For the full recipe and assembly, see below.

Happy (Early) Saint Patrick's Day!


Easy Guinness Brownies

1 box dark chocolate brownie mix, and necessary ingredients
2 cups Guinness stout
Miniature cake pan or muffin pan

Prepare a dark chocolate boxed brownie mix according to directions, omitting 1 cup of water. Add 2 cups of Guinness to a saucepan over medium heat, and reduce to 1 cup of liquid. Add cup of Guinness to brownie mix, and bake as directed, ideally in this pan. If you don't want to be a little silly and buy this pan, you can use muffin tins and improvise. After the brownies have baked and cooled completely, slice into 1/3 to 1/2" rounds.

Butterscotch Frosting

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar

Melt butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar melts and begins to bubble. At this point, continue stirring for 2 minutes. Stop if sugar mixture begins to darken or smell burnt.

Slowly add heavy cream, stirring constantly for another 2 minutes, until mixture thickens.

Remove from heat and beat in confectioners sugar with hand mixer until peaks form in the frosting. If frosting is dry, add more cream. If frosting is loose, add more confectioners sugar.

Assembling the Cakes

Layer cooled and sliced brownie rounds with spread dollops of frosting. Top final layer with generous frosting layer, and sprinkle with crumbled salted pretzels.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ida Oxford


I had the cutest outfit planned for the first fashion-related post in months; really, it was adorable. But then it needed to be ironed. Wah wah wahhhh. Therefore, this is not that outfit. However, I convinced Adam to snap a couple of quick photos on our way home from the Heavy Seas Brewery in Baltimore. We had a really nice afternoon touring the brewery, and of course, sampling the goods. For only five dollars, you get a pint glass, five samples, and a tour. This of course comes highly recommended. 

On another note, I loved these shoes from the moment they popped up in my ShoeMint showroom. I struggled to find an excuse to buy them, considering they're fairly out of place in Baltimore, but an upcoming trip to New York provided the perfect/flawed logic. These very comfy, cute little Ida Oxfords will serve me well in the city, maybe even paired with an ironed, wrinkle-free outfit.

Jacket: Zara, Shoes: ShoeMint, Shirt: J.Crew, Pants: Zara, Necklaces: Urban Outfitters and F21

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bridal Shower


My mom is the cutest when it comes to anything creative and crafty. Just when I thought we were throwing together a last-minute family bridal shower in PA, I show up to a room with every surface adorned in wedding themed shower decor. She worked so hard on the decorations, and I'm so thankful that she cares so much and made it such a special afternoon. Here are a few of the many adorable details from the even, including a redhead Barbie working it in her wedding dress and tiara.






 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Blood Orange Bourbon Sweet Tea


I absolutely adore blood oranges, and love finding new ways to use them. Usually, my blood orange consumption involves slicing them up and diving in, leaving my face and our counters looking like a scene out of Dexter... but, guess what? You can actually use them for something other than juice delivery to the face. Such as mixing them with other juices, like liquor. Or, sweet tea. This cocktail provided a perfect way to use this gem of a winter seasonal fruit in a drink that's also reminiscent of summer.


 

Blood Orange Bourbon Sweet Tea
Makes 1 cocktail

4 oz. sweet tea
Juice of one blood orange
1.5 oz. bourbon
Splash of Cointreau

Mix all ingredients together over ice. Drink. Enjoy.