Glitter & Goat Cheese in 2014


Well, folks, we survived 2014. I can’t say I’m sorry to see it go. There have certainly been some highlights and plenty of happy moments, but I think I’ve spent the majority of this year feeling a little uneasy. My resolution at the end of 2013 was to try and settle into my life – I’ve gone through a major change every single year since graduating college, and I figured it was about time to give it a rest – but I discovered an inability to do so. Brad and I can’t seem to settle into our life here in Atlanta because something just isn’t right, and that’s why I’m so happy that we’re planning to make this New York thing happen. I mean, who knows? Maybe that won’t be right either. But at least we’re trying.

Anyway, back to the highlights. I’d like to focus on the positive, and there was a lot of that. So, let’s look back at a few of my favorite blog posts from 2014.

The first big chunk of the year was completely consumed by the Home Depot Patio Style Challenge. Seriously, what an amazing experience. It was so much work, and at times we asked ourselves what the hell we’d gotten ourselves into, but every step of the process was incredibly rewarding. The finished product wasn’t too shabby, either.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Newly updated and colorful deck and pergola for The Home Depot Patio Style Challenge
See the full source list here and all the process posts here.

Once that was done, we mostly sat around under the completed pergola and avoided our power tools. We were exhausted. But I did dive into my blog reader and Pinterest boards with a renewed sense of purpose, in hopes of finding inspiration for making the rest of our home as pretty as our deck. To keep our decor strategy cohesive, I wrote up a list of design preferences that felt like us.

Recently blog - entryway with fuchsia accents
(Photo via Recently) See the full post here.

Over the summer, I put the theory into practice by making some much-needed updates to our downstairs. True to my word, I incorporated warm woods, pops of color, brass accents, patterned rugs and rustic elements.

Colorful living room with Lulu and Georgia Lalita rug - via Glitter and Goat Cheese
See more angles of our living room and dining room in the full post.

Even after buying a few new pieces, I couldn’t stop daydreaming about things like cognac leather sofas and Saarinen side tables, so when Chairish asked me to e-design a room around one of their accent chairs, I jumped at the chance.

Mid-century eccentric living room inspired by Danish teak armchair from Chairish
Find all the sources here.

Shortly after writing that post, we started thinking about moving, so I put all home updates on hold. Pausing all my projects was tough, but it gave me time to focus on other areas and actually do some reading. I was intrigued (and kind of troubled) by all the press around a woman’s right to alter her appearance, and I wrote about my own struggles with self image.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Hiding ptosis in selfies
Read the full post here.

My self-imposed DIY ban also gave me a lot of time to cook, so I shared a couple recipes, including one for my favorite kale salad.

Kale, chicken, bacon and Israeli couscous salad with lemon mustard vinaigrette (via Glitter and Goat Cheese)
Here’s the recipe! Oh, man, now I want to eat some.

Toward the end of the year, I got into creating curated lists, and my very favorite is a round-up of beautiful kitchens with mixed metals.

10 Kitchens that Prove Mixing Metals Is Totally OK (via Glitter and Goat Cheese)
Here’s the full post. Warning: envy-inducing pretty pictures ahead.

So, now it’s New Year’s Eve, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to a little trepidation at the year ahead. I’m hoping it’ll include a move up north, an influx of stable work for Brad, a new career for me and a renewed excitement for the path we’re on, but there’s a lot of potential for disappointment in those dreams. All we can do now is move forward with optimism and calculated care.

Tonight, we’ll celebrate the New Year with our best friends – for what could be the last time – and hope for the best.

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve? What about your hopes for 2015?

10 Pinterest Recipes That Are Actually Delicious (and Pretty Easy)

Things, they are a-busy in my neck of the woods. I’m almost done Christmas shopping, which is fantastic, but that means I have a TON of wrapping to do. I hate wrapping. So, I’m avoiding it by sharing my top 10 favorite Pinterest recipes!

Now, I’ve tried a fair amount, and let me tell you, not all of them are winners. Some day, maybe I’ll share a few of the ones that didn’t live up to expectations, but as a blogger myself, it feels a little mean-spirited to critique other people’s content. So instead, positivity! Yay!

A note: You’ll probably notice that these recipes all have a lot in common. I swear, I do make things other than kale, artichokes and chicken. But I guess I just like those best. So, here they are, in no particular order:

#1: Artichoke Chicken Skillet from Budget Bytes
Artichoke Chicken Skillet by Budget Bytes - found via Glitter and Goat Cheese
This recipe is really, really good and it’s cheap. The author claims that the whole dish only costs $9.84 to make(?!). That’s worth trying, right?

#2: Orecchiete with Kale, Bacon and Sun-Dried Tomatoes from
Orechiette with Kale, Bacon and Sun-Dried Tomatoes from Cooking Light - found via Glitter and Goat Cheese
This is actually kind of similar to my tooth-chipping kale salad, so it’s not a surprise that I like it. Orecchiette can be tricky to find, but you can use farfalle (bow ties) or conchiglie (shells) in a pinch. Here’s the recipe.

#3: Spinach & Artichoke Grilled Cheese from Too Many Cooks A Couple Cooks
Spinach and artichoke grilled cheese from A Couple Cooks - found via Glitter and Goat Cheese
This is just … there are no words. Wait, I came up with some: it’s basically spinach and artichoke dip on a sandwich, but WAY better. Make it. If you don’t love it, I owe you $5. (Warning: I’m not going to pay you.) Get the recipe here.

#4: Thai Coconut Soup from
Thai Coconut Soup from AllRecipes - found via Glitter and Goat Cheese
That image is very small and sad. But the soup is amazing, I promise. I appreciated that I was able to find all the ingredients at my regular grocery store. There are definitely more authentic recipes out there, but this one is easy, and it tastes pretty close to restaurant quality to me.

#5: Chicken Piccata from Red Shallot Kitchen
Chicken Piccata from Red Shallot Kitchen - found via Glitter and Goat Cheese
When I first tried a bite of this chicken piccata, it was so good, I almost wept. I’m not kidding. We served it over angel hair and now we’ll never be the same. Here’s the recipe.

#6: Fresh Spinach, Tomato and Garlic Tortellini Soup from Cooking Classy
Fresh Spinach Tomato and Garlic Tortellini Soup from Cooking Classy - found via Glitter and Goat Cheese
I made a giant pot of this a little while ago while Brad was out of town, and I ate the leftovers every day for over a week. I didn’t get sick of it. That should tell you something. Recipe here. Note: The recipe calls for three-cheese tortellini, which I did use, but I also threw in some sweet Italian sausage tortelloni, and it was a really good decision.

#7: Orecchiette with Rapini and Goat Cheese from Saveur
Orechiette with Rapini and Goat Cheese from Saveur - found via Glitter and Goat Cheese
Rapini (also known as broccoli rabe) is one of my husband’s favorite vegetables, and goat cheese is one of my favorite everythings, so this recipe was a winner for both of us.

#8: Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad from Bon Appetit
Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad from Bon Appetit - Found via Glitter and Goat Cheese
The first time I made this, I was concerned that it was going to be terrible because the dressing and kale were both so bitter. But then, I took one bite of the finished product with the parmesan and almonds mellowing everything out, and the angels sang. This is now one of my very favorite salads. I make a giant bowl, separate it into containers and eat it for days and days. (It never gets soggy because kale and brussels sprouts are badasses and dressing ain’t got nothin’ on them.) Here’s the recipe.

#9: The Chew’s Baked Artichoke Chicken from Stacey Snacks
The Chew Baked Artichoke Chicken from Stacey Snacks - found via Glitter and Goat Cheese
If you’ve got an hour to bake this, it’s a pretty simple weeknight dinner. I’ll admit, I buy the chicken that’s already been cut up – but even if you go for the whole one, you’re basically just chopping a few things and throwing them in a pan. My kind of recipe. Get it here.

#10: Campanelle with Burrata, Spinach, Lemon and Toasted Almonds from Bon Appetit
Campanelle with Burrata Spinach Lemon and Toasted Almonds from Bon Appetit - found via Glitter and Goat Cheese
When Brad and I made this, we couldn’t find campanelle, so we used fusilli. Then, like a day later, we spotted campanelle at Kroger. Oh, well. Anyway, have you ever had burrata? If you haven’t, go get some at Trader Joe’s or something. It will give you life. Here’s the recipe for the pasta dish.

So, there you have it: 10 recipes that you can go try yourself with full confidence that they’ve been vetted by yours truly (a mediocre cook who really, really loves food). If you make any of them, let me know what you think! (You better love them or I’m disowning you.)

Punch Up Your Holiday Party

Brad and I aren’t having a holiday party this year – the next couple of months will be busy and a wee bit complicated – but if we were, I’d definitely be making a punch of some kind. At this stage of our lives, we can’t really afford to set up a full bar, so we usually encourage BYOB-ing, but I always like to have something just in case, and punch is the easiest (and most festive) solution.

With that in mind, I pulled together a list of 23 boozy recipes and shared them over on BuzzFeed Community.

23 Boozy and Festive Punch Recipes to Serve at Your Epic Holiday Party (by Stephanie Shore Fisher, via Glitter and Goat Cheese)

I found cold punches; hot punches; punches that use bourbon, vodka, champagne, rum; caffeinated punches; creamy punches … it’s, uh, a pretty comprehensive list. Hope you’ll check it out!

Kale Salad with Chicken, Bacon and Israeli Couscous

I don’t mean to brag, but I really love kale. I know – what an asshole. So many people struggle to eat enough of the bitter superfood, and I just happen to totally dig it. It’s downright obnoxious, but I promise, I don’t take this blessing for granted.

Because I love it and know how healthy it is, I try to eat kale as often as possible – in smoothies, in pasta, in soup – any way I can. My very favorite way to eat kale, though, is salad. My husband always makes fun of me because I’ll make a meal out of any ingredients I like, whether they go together or not, but I think the ingredients in this salad are extremely well-matched, despite the fact that I cobbled them together from whatever I could find in my kitchen.

I always start with a big bowl of regular kale. None of that baby kale crap. I remove most of the bigger ribs.

A big bowl of kale (via Glitter and Goat Cheese)

Right off the bat, I drizzle it with a little olive oil, a healthy helping of fresh lemon juice and some sea salt.

Kale drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt (via Glitter and Goat Cheese)

Then, I massage the kale for two to three minutes, until it’s softened and a bit wilted.

See how much it’s reduced?
Softening kale with olive oil lemon juice and sea salt (via Glitter and Goat Cheese)

Once that process is complete, I set the kale aside to continue soaking up the oily-lemony-salty goodness while I prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Whole wheat Israeli couscous (or pearl couscous) is another one of my very favorite things. It’s more versatile than the teeny couscous, in my opinion – much better in salads. My grocery store carries one by RiceSelect, but I’ve seen a few other brands. Trust me, it’s worth the search! Just one tip: like many whole wheat pastas, it can be a little bland-tasting on its own, so I always cook mine in chicken broth.

For this salad, I make about 3/4 cup of couscous, and I cut up a whole pint of grape tomatoes.

Halved grape tomatoes (via Glitter and Goat Cheese)

For my protein, I tear four slices of turkey bacon into little bite-sized pieces, and I use whatever chicken breast is left over in my fridge. (For this particular salad, I used some that Brad had made for shawarma the night before, but the nutmeg was an odd fit – I might not recommend it.) If I’m grilling the chicken specifically for this salad, I just mix up some extra lemon mustard vinaigrette to marinate it with.

Making salad dressing is an art in my kitchen, not a science. Every time I try to use exact measurements, I just screw it up. This is my best guess, though: 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, one tablespoon lemon juice, one tablespoon dijon mustard, one teaspoon minced garlic. Add to small bowl and whisk. Salt and pepper to taste.

Lemon mustard vinaigrette dressing to go with kale salad (via Glitter and Goat Cheese)

I toss all the ingredients and dressing together with my softened kale …

Kale salad with lemon mustard vinaigrette, chicken breast, bacon and Israeli couscous (via Glitter and Goat Cheese)

And I serve it with a very generous helping of shaved parmesan.

Kale, chicken, bacon and Israeli couscous salad with lemon mustard vinaigrette (via Glitter and Goat Cheese)

Let’s be honest – everything in life needs a generous helping of shaved parmesan.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Kale salad with bacon chicken Israeli couscous and lemon mustard vinaigrette

Side note: If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I recently chipped my front tooth while enthusiastically trying to lick the last bit of Israeli couscous off a bowl. Yes, this is that Israeli couscous, and the mixing bowl you see in this post is the bone-breaking culprit. While I would recommend using utensils to eat this salad like a civilized human being, I’m hoping my tale of woe tells you just how delicious this salad is. I mean, I wanted to finish it so badly that I smashed a bowl into my face. So, uh … give it a try. Go kale!

Penne alla Vodka with Prosciutto & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I’m very lucky to have an Italian husband. I’m even luckier to have an Italian husband whose mother taught him to cook. And it’s a good thing, because when I met Brad, I knew how to make three things: scrambled eggs, stove-popped popcorn and stir fry. Lord knows what we’d be eating if he hadn’t shared his skills with me.

I think I’m a decent cook now, but Brad’s the sauce master of the family, so when it came time to celebrate National Pasta Month, I begged him to make his famous vodka sauce so that I could share it here on the blog. And obviously, so that I could eat it.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Penne alla Vodka with Prosciutto and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Of course, the internet has no shortage of vodka sauce recipes, so I suggested we set it apart by adding prosciutto and sun-dried tomatoes. We were both skeptical when we saw how chunky the sauce looked, but in the end … oh, mama. This stuff is what dreams are made of.

Like so many dreamy things, Brad’s vodka sauce starts with extra virgin olive oil. He sauteed the onion first, then added the prosciutto and sun-dried tomatoes. The minced garlic went in last.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Sauteed onions, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and prosciutto

Next, he added canned San Marzano tomatoes, tomato paste, vodka and fresh oregano.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Cooking vodka sauce with prosciutto and sun-dried tomatoes

After simmering the sauce and allowing it to thicken, he stirred in heavy cream. By the way: I never promised this recipe would be healthy.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Adding cream to vodka sauce

The sauce then simmered and thickened some more while we cooked the penne. Yum.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Vodka sauce with prosciutto and sun-dried tomatoes

We served the pasta with some parmesan and fresh basil. And we each ate two giant bowlfuls because enjoying good vodka sauce is much more important than being able to fit into your pants.

Penne alla vodka with sun-dried tomatoes and prosciutto - by Glitter and Goat Cheese

Vodka Sauce with Prosciutto & Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Serves 4
Write a review
Cook Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
  1. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1 medium onion (we used sweet)
  3. 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and coarsely chopped
  4. 8 ounces prosciutto, cut into half-inch ribbons
  5. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  6. 1 (28-ounce) can of peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  7. 1 (6-ounce) can of tomato paste
  8. 1/2 cup vodka
  9. 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped OR 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  10. 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  1. 1. Coat large, heavy pan with olive oil and heat to medium-high. Add onions and saute about 3 minutes, or until slightly softened.
  2. 2. Add sun-dried tomatoes and prosciutto and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. 3. Add garlic and saute until it has just begun to turn golden brown, about 1 minute.
  4. 4. Stir in the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, vodka and fresh oregano. Bring the sauce to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer 20-25 minutes, until thickened.
  5. 5. Stir in the heavy cream (make sure it's at room temperature). Continue to simmer 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve over your desired pasta and add salt and pepper to taste.
  1. This sauce is very thick and chunky. If you'd prefer it to be thinner, use 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes and 4 oz. prosciutto instead (or just leave them out entirely).
glitter & goat cheese