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Justin often kicks me out of the kitchen to make dinner for us. I don’t protest. The last time he decided to use up as many of the veggies from our CSA as he could. Even though we only get a half share, we still often struggled to use it each week before it some of it goes bad. Nothing is worse than wasting veggies!
When I sat down to dinner, I was delighted to find that he made watermelon gazpacho (with a little kick from chipotle peppers in adobo!) and fresh bread. Yep, my husband made fresh bread from scratch. I think it was the most delicious bread that I’ve ever eaten. The gaspacho was quick and super healthy, but we made up for it with the amount of bread that we ate. Follow the links for the recipes to this delicious dinner!
Instead of grabbing food out last weekend like we would normally do, we decided to be on better behavior and eat in. I whipped up this little piece of deliciousness, and was much better than eating out: both for our bank account and our ability to fit into our wedding clothes.
Here’s the best part- I microwaved the chicken. Yes, you heard me. I keep a big bag of those frozen chicken tenders around for chicken at a moments notice. If you throw a couple on a plate and cover with wax paper (can’t remember where I picked that tip up!) and zap for a couple minutes on each side, perfectly done chicken will come out every time. Amazing.
Holy goodness. I’m such a sucker for caramels. And for salt. Guess what: these are so-soft-and-creamy-you-can-hardly-stand-it AND sprinkled with sea salt to contrast the sweetness. If you’re a fan of dipping your salty Wendy’s fries into Frosties, you should try these. Plus its way classier than the dipping and swirling of fast foods from the dollar menu.
I ordered a few of these from The Caramel Jar to try to make sure they were as good as they looked. Without a doubt, they are. They aren’t what you typically think of caramel- they are so far from the Milk Duds center that it shouldn’t even have the same name. I’ll be using these for an upcoming event (hint hint!). These would make such a fun gift for a friend across the country that you just want to send a little somethin’ somethin’ to. Yum.
So as an early Valentine’s Day treat, The Fiancé made me Red Velvet Whoopie Pies. Oh, glory. Check these babies out. It’s basically 2 red velvet cupcake tops (i.e. the best part of the cupcake) with delish cream cheese frosting in the center. I think whoopie pies might be the new cupcakes (right that down, I want credit for it later this year when Whoopie Pie shops take over the country).
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped
Make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the semisweet and milk chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 50 percent power until melted, about 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth.
Whisk the melted butter, sour cream, eggs, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring in a bowl until combined. In another bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in four equal batches, whisking each batch completely before adding the next. Stir in the melted chocolate.
Scoop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter onto the prepared baking sheets and smooth the tops with a damp finger. Bake until the cookies spring back when lightly pressed, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Beat the cream cheese and butter with a mixer until smooth. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla seeds. Sandwich a heaping tablespoonful of filling between 2 cookies; repeat with the remaining cookies and filling. Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.
Seriously, kids. Do yourself a favor and scratch the plans for whatever you were going to make for dinner tomorrow night, and make this mac & cheese. Or if you’re a late eater and haven’t gotten around to dinner yet, whip this up right now. Not only is this mac & cheese, divinely delicious, but get this, a (hearty!) serving is only 250 calories (Thanks, Cooking Light)! It does use mustard to add some flavor, so if you detest the taste of mustard, cut back a little bit or maybe use a little less. I don’t consider myself a mustard lover, and actually never add it unless a recipe calls for it, but I found the flavor quite pleasant. This would be really good with some broccoli thrown in too. Even though there isn’t a huge amount of cheese, I didn’t feel like it needed more at all. It was melty and delicious and yum.
The best part is that since The Boyfriend and I obviously didn’t eat 6 servings worth, I’ve got a supply of lunches for the week. Yippee!
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside.
While pasta cooks, place flour, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan. Add milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Drop cream cheese by teaspoonfuls into milk mixture; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer 2 minutes or until thick and cream cheese melts, stirring occasionally. Stir in mustard, Worcestershire, and garlic; simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add cheddar cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Combine pasta and cheese sauce in a large bowl; toss well.
1 pound pasta, such as farfalle, small shells, or elbows
One 15-ounce container ricotta
One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup yogurt
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, divided
Heat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil. Set aside. Bring a 4-quart pot of water to boil over high heat, and stir about 1 tablespoon of salt. Add the pasta, and turn the heat down to medium. Cook for a slightly shorter amount of time than specified by the package. (For instance, if the package specifies 10 to 12 minutes, cook for 9 to 10, or until just barely al dente.) Drain the pasta and toss lightly with olive oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta, pureed pumpkin, eggs, and yogurt. Whisk in the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and ginger.
Stir in the pasta and coat completely with the pumpkin mixture. Stir in the pecans, chopped pecans, sage, and garlic. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan.
Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over top. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
The Boyfriend and I hosted our first dinner party last night. 4 other couples (plus a precious baby girl) joined us for the evening. Put simply: it was lovely. We wanted to invite more friends, but as my living/kitchen/dining combo is the size of a large shoebox, this wasn’t really feasible. Guess we’ll just have to throw more dinner parties so we can host all of our friends! As a chill descends upon DC, we wanted to create a menu and decor that reflected our fall favorites.
We didn’t want to spend a ton of cash on the soiree, but obviously wanted to leave our guests’ tummies feeling happy and full. We opted for a 3-course menu that allowed us to do enough prep ahead of time that we could still enjoy the company of our friends instead of slaving away while they were enjoying themselves.
The round table that’s usually in my living room was hidden away to make more room for a long folding table that could accommodate our guests. It was cozy, but totally worked. We used a mixture of white plates from both his place and mine and some antique china bowls from England that we found for a STEAL at a cute little beach town in Maryland ($20 for 9 pieces of china?? Yes, please!). I spray painted some mini-pumpkins gold and set one in each guest’s bowl. The table cloth/napkins are from Target (oh how I love thee!). I used some mung beans from our local organic market to stabilize the candles in the hurricane vases.
Pumpkin Place Settings
I’m not sure why we didn’t take any pictures of the food, but trust me, (most of) it tasted delicious (you know, not that I’m bragging or anything). I must say, The Boyfriend is a rocking chef and made a ton of the dishes. Yes, ladies, I’m a lucky one. All in all, I think we spent about $130 on the food (including a couple bottles of wine!) and about $40 on some decor needed to complete the look.
I always find myself with half eaten loaves of French bread. Tragic. What is a girl to do when she’s had her fill of bread, but can’t throw it away because she hears her mother saying “there are starving kids in Africa” ? (There are. And I love them.)
Instead of throwing yet another loaf away, I made croutons. Super easy. You can be one of those people who thinks Easy Mac is way too much effort and still make these, I promise. Tear up your bread into bite-size pieces, drizzle a little olive oil over them, season with whatever you have on hand (I used black pepper and Tuscany Blend seasoning from Spice and Tea), and pop in a 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until slightly brown. For easy clean up, you can even line your roasting pan with foil.
Hi! I'm Lauren. Thanks for stopping by Stamp 48. I love empowering Creative business owners, grape soda, google maps, peonies, mustard yellow + gray, and ruffles. Stamp 48 represents the next phase of my journey. Subscribe + follow + fan S48 to join me in the journey.