The Past Few Weeks, According to My Phone

Oh, hey, everyone. I really hate when I don’t post for a long time, but I’ve been stupid busy, which is partly good and partly just obnoxious. I have a bunch of projects I want to start/finish and a bunch of things I want to take pictures of, but I haven’t had a free second! Boohoo, poor me, etc. So, I figured I’d share a few of the things with iPhone pictures of subpar quality. Please, keep in mind that I took most of these for myself, so the areas of my home you’re about to see are, uh, not styled or cleaned up or prettified. We’re keeping it real today.

I recently took some rough measurements of our downstairs to get an idea of how much it might cost to redo the terrible, tragic floors, and I confirmed what I already knew – that it’s going to be a while before we can afford it. So, I’ve endeavored to cover them up as much as possible so that my hatred for them won’t burn me up inside with QUITE as hot of a fire. I started with this runner from Overstock.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Foyer with gold frames and geometric area rug

I pushed myself out of my gray comfort zone to get the Brown/Bone, and ultimately, I’m glad I did. We needed some warmer shades up in here, and it also should be pretty good at disguising dirt. In the above photo, you can also see that we’ve made some progress on the gold frame collage in the stairway, and you can see my new vintage brass(-ish) mini cabinet thing in the bottom left! I don’t know what time period it’s from or even what to call it, but I just love it. I found it at DuPre’s Antique Market in Marietta Square and felt that I couldn’t live without it, so my mom bought it for me as an early birthday gift. I’ll post better pictures of it some day soon!

I’m still pretending to know how to take care of plants, so I got a few hanging baskets for our porch. I did a fair amount of research on shade-friendly flowers that can handle being neglected, and I came up with lobelia.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Hanging lobelia

Aren’t they pretty? They droop when they’re thirsty, then I water them and they perk back up. I like plants that tell me what they want.

Speaking of plants, I was CRAZY bored the other night, so I said to myself, “Self, you should gold leaf something,” and the first thing that came to mind was terra cotta pots, a la The Hunted Interior. I’m really feeling how they came out.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - DIY gold leafed terra cotta pots

I usually try not to tell the internet if I’m going out of town, but now that I’m back, I can tell you that I spent last weekend in California(!). Brad was there working with our insanely talented friends from Manchester Orchestra, so I got to see them play two nights in a row.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Manchester Orchestra Cope tour

I’ve been to many Manchester shows, but they inexplicably get better every time I see them, and this tour is particularly amazing. If there’s a show near you and it isn’t already sold out, you need to get yourself a ticket.

For another part of my trip, I visited my dear friend Katie in San Francisco.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Steph and Katie in San Francisco

Katie and I met in college, and after graduation, we both scattered across the country, so we don’t get to see each other much. I was really pumped to spend even a couple days with her, and she showed me SUCH a good time. I love San Francisco! I couldn’t believe how GREEN everything was. I know I probably drove everybody nuts by talking about the plant life so much, but it’s just a really beautiful city. And really fun, too.

Another great thing about Katie is that she introduced me to this amazing kale and brussels sprout salad recipe.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Kale and brussels sprout salad

I made it the other night and it was even more delicious than I expected. To counteract the healthy factor, I served it with spinach artichoke grilled cheese sandwiches. Holy moly.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Spinach artichoke grilled cheese

I find food photography to be an extremely intimidating art form, and I’m pretty sure this phone photo hasn’t captured the magic of these sandwiches. But trust me when I tell you that they may be one of the tastiest things I’ve ever put in my mouth. TRY THEM. TODAY.

Jumping back to when I went out of town: My dog, Macy, had a bit of a tough time. She was at the kennel and decided she was just done and wanted out, so she wouldn’t let anyone near her. I had to hire a trainer to go pick her up (PS: Frogs to Dogs is AMAZING) and then our petsitter took care of her the rest of the weekend. She’s a very special creature, and I just want to be with her and protect her at all times.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Steph and Macy

My poor sweet little fool.

Lastly, I ordered this rug during the Rugs USA Mother’s Day sale, and it came today. Imagine my surprise when I unrolled it and instead of being violet, it was hot pink. Of course, I had to lay it out to see how it looked.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Rugs USA Windsor Overdyed Grove Rug in Pink

This is what it was supposed to look like:

Windsor Overdyed Grove Rug in Violet

Ohh, you guys, I don’t know what to do. Fuchsia is my favorite. And I think that would look really good in here. But the pink is so cheerful and warm, and it has less of the distressed white parts, and UGH, I don’t know. I attempted to PhotoShop it into fuchsia to see how it would look.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Living room with Photoshopped rug

I’m very, very torn. I’m not sure I can live with myself if I don’t try the fuchsia, but how much would it stink if I sent the pink back and ended up liking it better? I’m going to call Rugs USA tomorrow and see what my options are.

So, that’s what’s been going on in my neck of the woods. What’s up with all of you?

Thanksgiving in the New House

When we first signed up to run a half on Thanksgiving Day, we figured we’d be spending the rest of the day eating Boston Market by ourselves. Luckily, Brad’s parents came to visit and helped us with the shopping, prepping and cooking, and even though we celebrated a day late, we ended up having our first real Thanksgiving in our new house.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Thanksgiving table with floral china and gold

I was thrilled to finally have a chance to use the china and flatware from our wedding registry. It’s seriously been sitting in our cabinet a year and a half without being used at all, and that ain’t right. I mean, look how pretty it is!

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Floral china

I believe this is the first time I’ve shared a picture of our new dining room furniture, too. Voila!

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Thanksgiving table

We had the table custom-made by Bassett. I’d had my heart set on rustic reclaimed wood, but we just couldn’t find a reasonably-priced one that we liked. This one has two leaves, so it can seat up to eight people (or maybe 10 – we haven’t tried yet), and it has a protective finish, and the dark wood does match our other furniture better. It’s for the best, really. We got the ghost chairs from Amazon, and I LOVE THEM. They are SO much more comfortable and sturdy than I thought they’d be – especially with the Ikea sheepskins.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Thanksgiving table with ghost chairs and sheepskins

I picked up the linen runner and napkins from Crate & Barrel, literally three days before Thanksgiving, because I am excellent at planning ahead.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Thanksgiving table with ghost chairs and floral china

The silver tray and the salt and pepper shakers are Michael Aram from our wedding registry. I love them.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Michael Aram salt and pepper shakers

You can tell I did a really good job ironing the runner.

Anyway, preparing the meal was a two-day team effort. Brad’s parents got us a new grill as an early Christmas gift, and Brad was massively excited to grill the turkey on it.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Brad grilling the turkey

I had no idea you could grill a turkey, but it came out amazing, so um, I guess you can.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Brad carving the turkey

The stuffing came from this recipe, and it was delicious. We piled it onto our giant platter (another last minute Crate & Barrel purchase) along with the turkey.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Thanksgiving turkey platter

We also made bacon-wrapped green beans, using this recipe. We made ours on a broiling rack instead of letting them cook in the bacon grease, and I think they suffered for it. But the bacon part was good!

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Bacon-wrapped Green Beans

The sauteed carrots with lemon and marjoram came from this recipe, and I thought they were pretty dank. (Do people still say dank?)

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Sauteed carrots with lemon and marjoram

The corn pudding and potatoes were both from family recipes.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Corn pudding and Chee Chee Potatoes

I was given permission to share the recipe for the corn pudding – which was SERIOUSLY INSANELY GOOD – so I’ll put that in another post if y’all are interested!

All this plus cranberry sauce (canned, duh) and gravy (jarred, duh) made for a pretty full table.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Thanksgiving table with food

And of course, we finished it off with apple pie, which Brad and his mom made from scratch, and blueberry pie, which I made from a box found in the freezer section. Yuuuup.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Apple and blueberry pies

It’s not Thanksgiving until you’ve Instagrammed a picture of your plate. Here’s mine!

Glitter and Goat-Cheese - Instagram Thanksgiving plate

We polled the table on what was the best dish, and while not everyone voted officially, I think the corn pudding may have won.

What was the best dish at your Thanksgiving table?

     

(Kind of) Going Green

Hey, strangers! Remember me? That girl who used to blog multiple times a week and now barely even stops by? Yeah, that’s me. Guilty.

So what’s new in the Glitter & Goat Cheese world? Well, first of all – my mom got engaged on Saturday! How awesome is that?! I’m so excited for her and her new fiancé, Rob, and am hoping they’ll let me get at least marginally involved in the wedding decor. I’m still upset that I didn’t discover Pinterest until the tail end of my wedding planning process. I would have been all over it. But I digress! Congratulations to my mommy (and happy Mother’s Day!)

The Hubs and I have been busy, busy, busy, and I know I always say that, but this time it’s for REAL. I work in one of those industries that gets CRAZY over the summer while everyone else is taking trips to the beach. It’s exhausting, but I also really love my job, so I’m happy to be challenged. At the same time, though, we’re still on a running schedule (my coach is now helping me get a little faster), and we’ve been really sleep-deprived, so we’re doing everything we can to take care of our health. And that’s where our brand-new Blendtec blender comes in!

BlendTec - Green Smoothies - Ingredients In Jar

Isn’t she beautiful? The backstory: I’ve been wanting a juicer for some time now, but I just couldn’t get Brad behind the idea. He’s a smoothie guy – he wanted something to replicate the fruity concoctions you can buy at Smoothie King. I’m a big smoothie fan, too, but I really wanted something to encourage a balanced diet – I wanted to drink kale and carrots and stuff.

While we were in Nashville, our friends’ friends Betsy and Mark were kind enough to have us over their home to carbo-load before the race. At their apartment, we were introduced to three fascinating things: two toilet-trained cats named Gronk and Izzie (you need to read their blog right now), and a Vitamix. Long story short, I found out that there are things called GREEN SMOOTHIES that you can make with vegetables AND fruit (and protein powder and flax seed and whatever else you want to throw in there), and you get to use the whole fruit/vegetable instead of just the juice, which gets you extra fiber. Sold!

Brad and I were trying to figure out which of our televisions we were going to have to sell in order to buy a high-powered blender when his parents came to the rescue and offered to buy us one for our birthdays. A few days later, our Blendtec was sitting on our counter. Thanks, Bill and Cheryl!

If “Blendtec” sounds familiar to you, it might be because you’ve seen the whacky “Will It Blend?” videos. We haven’t tried putting our iPads in there yet, but so far, it has blended everything we tried. This morning, I mixed up some Vita Coco, spinach, flax seed, frozen strawberries and blackberries, and fresh grapes.

BlendTec - Green Smoothies - Ingredients
(I did not spill those flax seeds out of the bag for artistic photography purposes – I just knocked it over by accident.)

For this particular combination of ingredients, I just hit the “Smoothie” button (with certain things, you have to try different cycles, even though they’re all smoothies). Then, the magic happens.

First, it chops up the greens.
BlendTec - Green Smoothies - Blending Process

Then, it pulls in the rest of the ingredients.
BlendTec - Green Smoothies - Blending Process

Last, it blends everything together into a smooth, drinkable consistency.
BlendTec - Green Smoothies - Blending Process

It doesn’t always look pretty, but 99% of my mixtures so far have been delicious. (I still drink them when they come out yucky-tasting. Produce is expensive, y’all.)

BlendTec - Green Smoothies

For the record, strawberry seeds are very stubborn. I haven’t quite figured out how to pulverize them, and they always seem to end up stuck in my straw. But everything else blends up perfectly! We’re still doing a lot of experimenting. I bought some protein powder today in hopes that it’d make my smoothies a bit more filling.

So, that’s what’s been going on over here. Hopefully my next post will be about something a little prettier than blended spinach and running gear! What’s been new with all of you, lovelies?

     

Champagne Shimmer Cupcakes

This past Saturday, I was invited to a cupcake exchange party at my friend Amy’s house. I was so excited to get the invitation, but a little concerned, because I really can’t bake. It is what it is, you know? I have other skills. I’ve come to terms with this handicap. But I didn’t want to let everybody down.

Luckily, I remembered fairly quickly that I’m married to a man who can bake. And he happens to have a recipe up his sleeve that’s perfect for a party: champagne cupcakes with champagne buttercream frosting. He agreed to make them, and I planned to help. Unfortunately, I accidentally woke up on Saturday with a raging hangover and could barely stand up. As it turned out, Brad slaved away in the kitchen all afternoon while I huddled under the covers waiting for death. It’s embarrassing.

Don’t worry, though. I recovered just in time to leave for my party. (Don’t pretend you’re relieved. You think I’m the worst wife ever and don’t deserve to go to parties. I get it. I don’t blame you.) And now, here I am to share the recipe!

Champagne cupcakes with champagne buttercream frosting

CHAMPAGNE SHIMMER CUPCAKES

(This recipe is from Gimme Some Oven, so you should really go over there to read it, but I know y’all are lazy, so I’m posting it here, too, with some very slight adjustments.)

Cupcake ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup champagne
  • 6 egg whites

Cupcake instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cupcake pan with liners. (FYI: This recipe makes about 20 cupcakes, and we needed at least 24, so Brad multiplied all the ingredients by 1.5. He ended up with 30.)
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Add that and the champagne slowly to the butter and sugar mixture and blend on low.
  3. In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  4. Add the egg whites slowly to the batter and blend.
  5. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Champagne buttercream frosting

Frosting ingredients: (Again, FYI: If you like a lot of frosting, you may want to double this. Worst case scenario is that you have an extra bowl full of buttercream frosting to immediately eat with a spoon save for later.)

  • 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons champagne at room temperature

Frosting instructions:

  1. Beat together sugar and butter. Mix on low until well-blended, and then on medium for another two minutes.
  2. Add vanilla and champagne, then beat on low for another minute.

Make sure to wait until your cupcakes are totally cooled before you frost them, or their faces will melt off and you’ll be really bummed. Then make sure you garnish them with something pretty. We like gold sugar crystals and raspberries.

Just a tip: If you plan to drink the remaining champagne, you might want to buy something a little better than Cook’s. (Or not. Up to you.) I was clearly not thinking straight while dragging my hungover butt through the grocery store.

Cook's Extra Dry Champagne for Cupcakes
We went with Extra Dry because it’s sweeter than Brut, but not too sweet. I bet rosé would be good, though.

Amy has an adorable blog called The Chirping Dog, and she took some great pictures on Saturday, so I hope she posts about the party soon! She did the most amazing job with cupcake-themed goody bags, cupcake carrying boxes, a prize for the best cupcakes and even a cupcake-themed Christmas tree.
I want to see the pictures so bad! In the meantime, here’s an Instagram shot of all the other creations.

Cupcakes

UPDATE: Amy posted about the cupcake swap on her blog! Go check it out!

What would you bring to a cupcake exchange party? Would you ever be cruel enough to ask your significant other to make them for you? (PS: LOVE YOU, BRAD! THANKS AGAIN!)

     

On a Roll with Escarole

Now that it’s finally starting to cool down in Atlanta, I’ve found myself craving soup at all times. I’ll basically choke down anything the cafeteria at work dishes out. Today, I even ate “New England clam chowder.” In Georgia. (Needless to say, it was subpar.)

The Hubs and I received a beautiful Le Creuset French oven as a wedding gift this year, and I can’t wait to try out new stews, roasts, and … uh … braised things? (What on Earth does one make in a French oven?!) But until I figure out how to use that heavy-ass thing, I’ve got a super-easy go-to recipe that creates thick, filling, delicious soup in just half an hour.

I’ve made a couple tweaks to the recipe from my cookbook because I like my soups extra-hearty, but you can find the original, printable version on Food & Wine’s website.

Escarole Soup with Chicken and Rice
From Food & Wine Quick from Scratch Italian (Our very favorite cookbook, by far!)

    Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup rice, preferably arborio
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 pound escarole (1 small head), leaves washed and cut into 1/2-inch ribbons
  • 1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 in all), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Step 1: Chop your carrots, celery and onion. Mince your garlic, unless you’re using the pre-minced stuff in a jar like I do. (Whatever – I’m a busy, working woman, and sometimes, I take shortcuts! It tastes just as good!)

Set the garlic aside for now. You’ll be sauteing the first three ingredients together.

Step 2: In a large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the carrot, onion and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have started to soften – about 5 minutes.

Step 3: Stir the garlic in with the rest of the vegetables, and cook another 2 minutes or so.

Step 4: Add the broth, rice and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes. While your broth, rice and vegetables are simmering, cut up your escarole and your chicken. (That is, unless you’re an over-achiever and you prepped everything before you started. Suck-up.)

Step 5: Add the escarole to the pot and continue simmering until the escarole is almost tender – about 5 minutes.

Step 6: Add the chicken and pepper. Simmer for just 1 minute. The chicken should be done. Yes, really! Eat a piece!

Step 7: Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the parsley and Parmesan.

Ta-da! You’re done. Serve with really buttery garlic bread and some extra grated Parmesan in case your guests/family are cheese-loving piggies like my husband. (Just kidding, honey. Not really, though.)

Note: To avoid situations like this, avoid putting the peeled skin from your onion down the garbage disposal.


I’ve heard it’s not polite to make your house guests (my mom’s boyfriend, in this case) take your pipes apart.


Like my slippers?

What are your favorite soup recipes? Care to share them with One-Recipe-Wonder over here? Extra points if they can be made in a French oven!