Since we live near/have lived in Savannah, GA, St. Patrick’s Day is near and dear to our hearts. We won’t be making it down for the big parade on Sunday, so here’s how we’ll be celebrating:
1. Host a party: Don’t feel like venturing out to your local pub? Have your friends over and go green with your food/decor!
2. App: Channel your inner leprechaun with Irish Grilled Cheese Sandwiches from the Food Network.
3. Festive mani: We can’t let the weekend go by without a mani… This holiday sent us on a hunt for the perfect shade of green. Essie came through (as always)!
4. Outfit: Girls. The weather is supposed to be beautiful this weekend! Time to break out your Springs best. And make sure it’s green. We don’t want you to get pinched…
5. Festival: For those of you in Atlanta this weekend, Fado Irish Pub is the place to be. They’re celebrating St. Pat all weekend long with Bagpipes, Irish fare, and Guinness to your hearts content. Click here for tix/more info.
How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? Tweet/Instagram us pics! @glitter_blog_xo.
Stumped on what to make for dinner tonight? Try this easy (SO EASY) Zucchini Parmesan recipe. Serve it as a vegetarian main dish, or as a side dish to accompany grilled chicken or fish.
2 zucchini or summer squash, sliced in half and then sliced lengthwise (to make rectangular-ish slices)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Spray foil with cooking spray. Arrange slices on cookie sheet, and spray with more cooking spray. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over squash, followed by a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Bake at 350 for ten minutes, then broil on high for another five minutes. Serves two as a main dish or four as a side dish.
Delicious, and easy.
Tweet us some of your go-to side dishes! @glitter_blog_xo
Toast nuts in the oven or a frying pan until they’re golden and fragrant. Careful – this only takes a few minutes! Let cool. (This took me a few tries – I am easily distracted.)
Wash and dry kale, and trim all of the stems off. You should just have the leaves left. OR, use bagged kale leaves. These are usually available in a 16 oz package – use half for this recipe. Use the other half for green smoothies.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Drop the kale into the boiling water. When the water returns to a boil, swirl the kale around a few times until it wilts.
Pour the kale into a colander and rinse immediately with cold water. Press out as much water as you can using a dishtowel.
Place the nuts, kale, Parmesan, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth. You may need to add more olive oil to reach desired consistency.
To refrigerate, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pesto. Will stay fresh for up to 3 days. To freeze, place desired portions in small containers with plastic directly on the surface of the pesto, or place in plastic freezer bags. Freeze for up to two months.
This tasted so fresh! Joe and I ate it on whole wheat penne Friday night, and my friend Kate and I enjoyed it on pizza Sunday night. Definitely a fresh, healthy take on a classic.
Have you tried any new recipes lately? Tweet us @glitter_blog_xo, or Instagram pics at @glitter_blog_xo.
J and I capped off our busy weekend by watching (separately) the 2013 Academy Awards Sunday night. I didn’t have a full-blown Oscar watching party, but I did make a fun appetizer to celebrate. These tarts are the perfect small bite to pair with a glass of wine. The onions/goat cheese/thyme combo would also be delicious on toasted baguette slices.
Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts
1 tbsp unsalted butter
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1 cup white wine
1 bunch fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed (from a 17 oz. package frozen puff pastry sheets)
1 log soft mild goat cheese, at room temperature
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
In a heavy skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Saute onion, stirring occasionally, until golden (about 10 minutes).
Add wine and deglaze skillet, scraping up any brown bits. Cook until water evaporates and onion is an even deeper brown (about 10 more minutes).
While onion is cooking, cut pastry sheet lengthwise into thirds. Cut each strip into 8 triangles.
Place triangles on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick pastry all over with a fork. Bake until golden (about 10 minutes). Slice each pastry in half to create two thinner tart bases.
Spread goat cheese onto pastry triangles. Top with caramelized onions.
Garnish with fresh thyme leaves and serve immediately.
Makes 48 tarts. Adapted from the March 2013 issue of InStyle magazine.
And now, for this week’s Glitter Girl. Once a week-ish, we plan to highlight one of our favorite friends/readers/fellow Glitter Girls with a pic and a brief questionnaire. We’ll feature girls who are living in interesting places (from Atlanta to Alaska) and doing interesting things (from stylish stay-at-home moms to corporate ladder-climbers). We hope you enjoy getting to know The Glitter Life community!
Let’s meet MikaKawana!
About me: I’m a University of Georgia grad (like L!), fashion hound and political junkie. I’ve worked as the finance director of the Georgia Republican Party since 2007. I learned all of my meticulous tendencies as Laura’s intern in Governor Sonny Perdue’s office years ago. 🙂 And I use them every day as I shake people down at the GAGOP.
1. What item or accessory do you wear the most?My grandmother’s onyx ring.
2. What are your three favorite stores (for ANYTHING, online or bricks and mortar)?Social/Dish (that counts as one, right?), Arden’s Garden (hello…who doesn’t love wheatgrass? If you haven’t juiced before, you need to get on it), and World Market (they have great deals on wine and decorations).
3. Fill in the blank. You would die if ____ followed you on Twitter. Uhhh. I don’t have a twitter account. Maybe one day, I’ll jump on the bandwagon.
4. Your last meal. What is it?It’s Mexican. It is always Mexican.
5. What’s your guilty pleasure?Massages at my sketchy foot massage place. It’s called Foot Massage. Fact. You can’t beat an hour massage and a 30 minute foot massage for $70. If you live here in Atlanta, Foot Massage is located in the Pinetree shopping center on Buford Hwy. Ask for May.
Did you make anything special to watch the Oscars? Tweet us at @glitter_blog_xo! And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram at @glitter_blog_xo.
We hope you all had a fantastic weekend. J had a blast in Charleston this weekend (pics coming soon). L spent the weekend being domestic, which included making THE MOST amazing cupcakes on Saturday. Here’s the super-awesome, very easy, amazingly-delicious recipe. Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, passed on by L’s mom.
Chocolate Chip Walnut Cupcakes
1 box brownie mix (yep)
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
4 oz. light cream cheese
4 oz marscapone cheese (which I didn’t think they’d have at Walmart but they totally did)
1 cup powdered sugar
Place walnuts and chocolate chips in bowl and add 1/4 cup DRY brownie mix. Stir to coat.
Mix brownie mix, eggs, oil and water until well blended. Fold in walnut/chip mixture.
Spoon mixture into 12 muffin cups. If you can master the ice cream scoop method to get perfectly uniform cupcakes, go for it. I can’t (WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?), so I just used a spoon.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes.
Place cupcake on wire rack to cool.
After cupcakes have cooled completely, make frosting.
Beat cream cheese, marscapone and powdered sugar with a hand mixer until fluffy. Frost cupcakes. I used a butter knife to frost, but you can get fancy and use this professional method.
The original recipe called for toasted walnuts, but I forgot and threw them in un-toasted. I don’t think it mattered – toasted walnuts would be delicious, but they don’t make or break the recipe. The original recipe also called for mini chocolate chips, which I couldn’t find. Again, nice if you can get them but not necessary. I actually liked the big chunks of chocolate in the cupcakes! The original recipe called for THREE CUPS of powdered sugar (my teeth hurt just thinking about that), but I only used one. I prefer a tangier icing, but if you like super sweet, go for it and use all three cups.
What sweet treats are you making for Valentine’s Day? The Cupid’s Cloud dessert from our Friday Five is perfect for two OR for a family; these cupcakes are just the thing for a party or the office. Tweet us your ideas @glitter_blog_xo!
Inspired by this recipe on Lauren Conrad, and emboldened by a hand-me-down blender from my mother, I decided to give smoothies a try. I mean, why not? Our immune systems are struggling this time of year, and we’re in the mood for a boost. After some experimenting, I came up with a healthy recipe that is actually pretty delicious.
1 cup raw kale, chopped (you can find this bagged up at any grocery store, even Wal-Mart)
1 frozen banana, roughly chopped
1 cup mango (you can use fresh or frozen)
1 teaspoon flaxseed (you could also use chia seeds)
1 quarter lemon, squeezed
three handfuls of crushed ice (or more, if you like a thinner smoothie)
Pulse all ingredients together until you reach the desired consistency. Done!
This took like two seconds to make. It would come together even more quickly if you chopped and froze your banana and mango in individual portions the night before. Then, in the morning rush, all you have to do it toss, pulse, and pour the smoothie in your favorite travel cup and leave the blender for someone else to wash. 😉
Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe? What’s your go-to healthy drink? Tweet us at @glitter_blog_xo!
J and I are swamped today with various annoying business tasks (borrrrrrring)…so our friend and sometime-contributor Brooke stepped up to the plate and wrote a quick guest post for us. Enjoy!
Hi, glitter girls!
Just like everyone else, I had a few too many frilly martinis and appetizers over the holidays (parties, parties, parties!). My husband and I are trying to make up for all the extra holiday calories by eating better and exercising more. Last night, I put together an awesome meal that meets all of our criteria: colorful (color = lots of vitamins and minerals), low-fat, low-carb, fairly quick and easy, yummy, and bonus—it’s vegan. (Add rice to the meal if you’re not trying to omit carbs…just be sure it’s brown rice!) – xoxoBrooke
Thai Peanut Stir Fry, the Perfect New Year’s Resolution Meal
(All amounts are estimates because I don’t actually measure anything. Total prep time: 30 minutes)
1-2 blocks firm tofu (We’re big on protein at my house, so we use the big blocks of tofu.)
2/3 c. soy sauce
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp peanut butter (the real kind, no sugary Peter Pan stuff)
1/3 c. vegetable broth
½ c. light coconut milk
1 Tbsp agave nectar (natural, sweet alternative to sugar or syrup)
1/3 c. (or about ten leaves) fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1. Cut tofu into cubes. Press out extra moisture. (To do this, make a tofu sandwich. Place a clean dish towel or paper towels on a cookie sheet, set the tofu cubes on the towels, place another clean dish towel or several paper towels over them, place another cookie sheet on top, and set something heavy-ish on top, like the base to a blender. Leave it there for about five to ten minutes.)
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix 1/3 cup soy sauce with the mustard and garlic powder in a bowl. Set aside. (If you are going to add rice to the meal, now is a good time to start cooking it.)
3. In a small sauce pan, combine the other 1/3 cup soy sauce with the peanut butter, vegetable broth, coconut milk, agave nectar, and hot sauce. Whisk together over low heat.
4. Dip the tofu cubes in the soy-mustard-garlic mix and place on a greased (sprayed) cookie sheet. (I line the cookie sheet with foil for easy clean up.) Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.
5. Now that the tofu is cooking, cut the veggies. Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the cabbage, zucchini, and pepper. (I also added about ¼ c. water and put a lid on it to speed up the cooking.) Once the veggies are just tender (about 4 minutes), add the spinach and basil and cook for another minute. (The buzzer for the tofu and rice should be going off about now.)
6. Combine the veggies and tofu in a large bowl, pour the peanut sauce over, and toss to coat. Voila!
After WEEKS of not cooking (Christmas Day brunch doesn’t count), I actually made dinner last night. I really enjoy being in the kitchen, and I’m trying to get back in the habit for 2013.
I was craving salmon, so I threw together a simple supper of Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon, Wasabi Mashed Potatoes and baby brussel sprouts (don’t laugh, they’re my fave!).
These recipes are super easy and require very little in the way of preparation. Neither one really requires measuring–just eyeball the ingredients, which you probably already have on hand. You could make the potatoes early and reheat them at suppertime. Piece of cake.
2 teaspoons butter (I use Land O Lakes light butter for cooking)
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
few grinds sea salt
1 salmon fillet (1 to 1/2 lbs)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Heat the brown sugar, butter and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the olive oil, mustard, soy sauce and salt. Let cool for 5 minutes. Place salmon on foil-lined cookie sheet and pour the cooled glaze over the top. Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork. My oven is typically on the hot side--but even so, I cooked mine for the full 25 minutes. It needed it! Serves 3 – 4.
Wasabi Mashed Potatoes
Even if you don’t like wasabi in the sushi sense, you will like these potatoes. The wasabi gives them something extra special but not necessarily identifiable.
2 to 3 lbs potatoes (Yukon gold or white)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter (you can even use Move Over Butter or whatever you have on hand)
1 to 2 tablespoons reduced fat sour cream, optional
1 good squeeze wasabi paste (available in the Asian section of supermarkets everywhere, even in Statesboro), or more to taste
Scrub potatoes (I like to leave the peel on for extra texture and fiber, but you can peel them if you like). Cut any large potatoes in half or quarters so that all potatoes are the same size. Cover with water in a medium to large pot. Bring pot to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 20 – 25 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the potatoes. Pour into colander to drain, then return to pot over very low heat to dry the potatoes, just for a few second. Remove pot from heat. Add the milk, butter and sour cream (if you like), and (this is my favorite part) use a potato masher to mash everything up. Adjust, adding more milk, butter or sour cream until you get the consistency you want. Add wasabi to taste. Obvs, it’s better to err on the side of LESS wasabi. You can always add more later. Finish with a few grinds of sea salt. Serves 4 – 6.
Click here, here and here for more of our favorite easy weeknight recipes. Yum!
We hope you all had a fantastic New Year’s holiday. Here at the Glitter Life, we’re easing back into regular blogging mode after a few weeks of slacking off. Let’s start with an easy recipe from L. This Cranberry Orange Bread meets all our baking criteria: it’s relatively healthy, pretty much fool-proof and wraps up beautifully. File this away for homemade Christmas gifts next year!
Cranberry Orange Bread
2 1/3 cups Bisquick Heart Smart® mix (I used regular Bisquick)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup skim milk (I used 2%, whatever)
2 tablespoons grated orange peel (plan on using at least 2 oranges)
5 egg whites or 3/4 cup fat-free egg product
3/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped (put them in a food processor and pulse once or twice–chopping cranberries by hand is TEDIOUS)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons orange juice
Heat oven to 375°F. Generously grease bottom of 9×5-inch loaf pan. In medium bowl, stir Bisquick® mix, granulated sugar, sour cream, oil, milk, orange peel and egg whites until moistened. Stir in cranberries. Pour into pan.
Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and top crust is deep golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Loosen sides of loaf from pan; remove from pan and place top side up on wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.
Before serving, stir powdered sugar and orange juice until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over bread.
Makes 1 loaf (about 24 slices).
I made this for Christmas morning, and it was a hit. I actually made it several days before and wrapped it tightly in Saran Wrap after cooling it. Per the recipe’s claim, it tasted great three days later. Just unwrap, glaze and go. For gifts, wrap first in Saran Wrap, then in butcher or kraft paper. Don’t glaze–it tastes great without. Tie on a pretty ribbon, and voila. Homemade goodness.
No matter what your NYE plans entail (black tie event, oyster roast, just hanging at the house), you can work a classic champagne cocktail in there somewhere. Maybe it’s your pre-game drink; maybe it’s what you toast at midnight. Either way, here’s how to dress up a basic bottle of bubbly.
Place one sugar cube in the bottom of each champagne glass and top with chilled champagne. Add 3-5 dashes of bitters (depending on your taste–take it easy the first time) and garnish with a lemon peel. Insert sparkly stirrer and enjoy!
Working on NYE? Need a little something for your co-workers? A party favor for tonight? Try this with a champagne split/paper straw/ribbon!
Hope you all have a fantastic New Year’s holiday. Be sure to tweet us pics @glitter_blog_xo! We’ll return on Wednesday with a re-cap of our NYE festivities and a list of ideas for New Year’s resolutions. Eeek!