Friday Favorites

 

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This is my first Friday Favorites Post. YAY!

First up,  an animal print shoe, and as you can see, I could not narrow it down to one style, so here are a few choices within the animal print shoe category. So fun, and spices up all that black you’ll be wearing this winter.1

 

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This Barefoot Dreams throw!

This was a wedding gift. What a fabulous gift idea. I have claimed it as my own and no one else gets to use it.

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This website. Do you understand all of the things going on in the news, I mean besides the Ebola freaking- scary- part? This is a daily email sent to you, explaining in everyday language, a BRIEF synopsis of world/national news with a definite dry sense of humor thrown in. Read this and you will be prepared for small talk scenarios, you can say, “oh yeah, I know” instead of ” what are you talking about?”          IMG_5166

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Fall Farming! My dad and 2 brothers are in the thick of harvest. We went out to the field and rode in the combine for a bit. Everything about farming is underestimated and misunderstood by the “un-farmed”. It is complex, technologically advanced, world affecting, dangerous, tiring and a total gamble.
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The movie GONE GIRL! (and the book). KN and I saw it last weekend. I am loving how men are responding to this movie. It’s good for our men to have a tiny bit of fear……. :)

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raspberry lettuce salad

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Raspberry Salad

For some odd reason, I have become known for my salads. I believe it started 15 years ago, with family get togethers. The thought of making and baking a vegetable casserole,  trying to keep it warm,  keeping it from sliding around the back of the car, and driving it to Indiana, always sounded too challenging.

When mom says: “Everyone is coming over on Sunday, what would you like to bring?”

Me: “SALAD!”

Homemade dressing is the game changer. It tastes better and is not full of crap you shouldn’t eat. Do you know how B-A-D bottled salad dressing is for you? Ugh. Read the label people. When the first ingredient is HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP!!! DON’T BUY IT! OK??? {If you are not going to make your own dressing, try the dressings in the refrigerated section by the produce or the Paul Newman brand, they are generally less evil.}

Don’t be intimidated by making your own. It is not hard, {obviously}, because if I can do it, than you can too. Mix it up and keep it in the fridge, it will keep a few weeks.

This recipe is tried and true, I have brought it to a few different outings. The most recent was the street block party. Yep, it disappeared so fast, I’m sure everyone was thinking why did she skimp on the salad. There were many requests for the recipe so I thought I would share it here.

The more stuff, the better. I like it chock full of little gems to make each bite delish. I don’t want to fish around and push the lettuce aside to see if there is anything good in it,  a big pile of lettuce is not very interesting. {KN has actually ordered  less lettuce in his salads at restaurants…. “I’ll have the salad, hold the lettuce” LOL}

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Raspberry Salad Ingredients
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Raspberry Salad dressing
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Raspberry Salad

Raspberry Salad Recipe

2 bags of 50/50 mix (spring mix lettuce/spinach)

1 cup raspberries

1 cup honey roasted peanuts

1/4-1/2 cup sliced red onion

1/2 cup bacon

1 cup crispy wonton or tortilla strips (usually in the produce section or by the croutons in the salad dressing aisle)

1/4 cup craisins

Mix it all up in a big bowl.

Raspberry Dressing

1/2 cup canola oil

2 Tbs raspberry vinegar

1 tsp dry mustard

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

(add an extra TBS of sugar if you like it sweeter)

Whisk the ingredients or blend in the blender.

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{ recipe adopted from The Girl who Ate Everything blog.}

 

 

 

 

almost leather pants

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Recently I posted about all of the leather in stores for fall. If I wasn’t honest, I would tell you that these kick butt pants are in my leather closet, which is next to my denim closet, across the hall from my shoe closet. BUT, I don’t have any of those closets and these pants are not leather. {I only have one little closet, so I just spread my clothes around into other people’s closets in my house and neighborhood}.

These are faux, pleather, naugahyde,

or

vegan”. 

It used to be, {at least I thought}, mortifying to have a fake leather anything.

But now it’s like:

going green, or driving a Prius, or shopping at Whole Foods!

There is faux leather everything, however, I am going to stick with my leather jacket, purse and shoes. But for these pants, it’s sweet that they don’t have the equivalent price tag of good old fashioned cow leather. These are from Banana Republic, they were $110. I think that they were also 40% off at the time. (What a deal!)

Or you could go to Nordstrom and buy these leather pants for $995. {I mean, wow, they are cool but it’s like a mortgage payment.}

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I went with a preppy look with a striped long sleeve tee under the sweater and some oxford style shoes.

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{Banana Republic pants here, Last yearJ.Crew sweater, similar here, Tee shirt sold out, similar t-shirt here, Ray Ban similar sunnies here, shoes here-on sale!}

 

 

 

Pumpkin stuff

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We wonder why there are a million squirrels in our neighborhood. Duh. Because every fall we all go buy squirrel “food” for them to store up for the winter.

Why are there more varieties/colors/shapes/sizes of pumpkins every year? I am sure the squirrels are very impressed.

I am overwhelmed with the selections. First, I want all of them and try to get all creative about how cute it will look by my front door. Then I can’t decide on anything and I am like ” I don’t care , I’ll only take this one because the squirrels are going to eat it anyway”, but then I leave with a pile of them and I can’t believe I spent so much freaking money on pumpkins! I mean really, I could of bought a new sweater instead….

Yesterday I sprayed the pumpkins with clear spray lacquer as a deterrent. Every year I try something new to keep the squirrels away. I have tried Raid, Roundup, yelling… and yet these little varmints eat my pumpkins every year, way before Halloween.

{ I will let you know if the lacquer pans out.}

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I hate to break it to you BUT it must be said and repeated until you understand a Starbuck’s pumpkin latte.

A tall, with whip, 2% milk = is 300 calories. There is actually not anything pumpkin in it. There is high fructose corn syrup in the pumpkin syrup and carmel coloring (considered a carcinogen). This should not be a staple in your morning routine. Save your money and get a regular coffee minus the calories and added junk. bleck. You could also make your own, which I am probably too lazy to do, but you can make it with actual pumpkin! Or, have a plain coffee with a pumpkin cookie!

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Libby’s pumpkin cookies

I love cookies. There is greater satisfaction in chewing calories than drinking them,at least for myself. My favorite pumpkin cookie recipe is for these:  Libby’s old fashioned soft pumpkin cookies. They are super easy to make, always a hit and at least they contain actual pumpkin in them, which, actually contains something good for you.

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Here are some motivating reasons to have more pumpkin in your diet from MindBodyGreen:
1. Pumpkins are an antioxidant and an anti inflammatory food! This means it helps with joint health, organ health, stress relief and soft tissue injuries!

2. Pumpkins can help protect the eyes from cataracts and degeneration with their Vitamin A content.

3. The high levels of Vitamin C help the immune system and encourages collagen production for the skin to maintain its beautiful glow and elasticity.

4. Pumpkin is a great source of fiber to help wash out any toxins and keep your body running smoothly.

5. Pumpkins hold enough carotids to give them their lovely orange color and help prevent premature aging and cardiovascular disease.

6. Pumpkin seeds are high in protein and plant based fatty acids, which help regulate cholesterol levels, protect against arthritis, promote healthy skin, and improve brain function.

7. The pulp and the seeds are rich in magnesium required for bone and tooth health.

8. Pumpkin contains lots of potassium and zinc to prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease and hypertension (high blood pressure). Zinc is also great for the immune system, skin and fertility.

9. The fruit contains L tryptophan, a chemical compound that triggers feelings of well being that aid depression in a smooth and natural way.

 

How Pinterest cute is this? On Saturday, there was a baby shower for my sister in law. We were celebrating the upcoming arrival of her “little pumpkin”.

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Yay for fall, have a beautiful day, and remember to count your blessings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

leather jacket

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I’m sure you have noticed, Lots and Lots of leather in stores for fall!

Everything from tees, skirts of all shapes and sizes, pants, sweaters with leather, and of course,  jackets.

Now, leather is not cheap. But it is awesome, smells good, looks good, is very on trend and perfect for fall.  Although I want all things leather, my recommendation is a jacket because you can definitely wear it more than a pencil skirt and I don’t know how to wash a leather t-shirt.

Here are a few ways that you can wear the heck out of a jacket. {This is a Marc New York jacket from Nordstrom}

1.) Just because it’s leather doesn’t mean you can’t throw it on with jeans to run your errands- it will make grocery shopping {which I despise} a little more chic.

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2.) With Leggings? Of course!  This little t-shirt style dress is from {our favorite store gals} Target, and it was like $20. So that definitely balances out the cost of the jacket.

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3.) Don’t forget date night. You don’t have one?

Well, you better start. Put on some lipstick, heels and your leather jacket and remind your man why he picked you in the first place.

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Need help shopping for a leather jacket? Let me know!

 

 

 

high rise

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On Facebook, my much younger cousin posed a question: “are high waisted jeans in style?”

I decided I would give my opinion here.

YES, they most certainly are.

The picture above is me shopping this weekend in my high waisted jeans.

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Oh fine,  it’s Jessica Alba and I know my hips are 2 feet wider.

Here is the thing, yes, they are in style, but should you wear them?

1) If you are, say, over 60 years old and do not dress fashion forward on a regular basis, then no. For sure you will look like you are wearing grandma jeans.

2) If you are “pear” shaped, you should probably stick to a lower rise jean as to not emphasize the hip region or the butt area.

3) If you are young, skinny and look like Jessica, then you should wear them with your shirt tucked in all of the time.

I own high rise jeans but you probably would never know I was wearing them. I do not tuck anything into them, I try to wear things over them. Does it defeat the style of a high waist jean? Maybe.

But this is why: They are magical! You can “tuck” in your belly AND bend over in public without flashing the granny panties. I hate that feeling of your belly hanging over the top of your jeans when you are sitting. That does not happen when the waistband of your pants is higher than your belly!

Here is a picture of SJP doing what I do, these are RtA high waisted jeans in 70’s blue, but you can’t even tell that they are high waist because she has a shirt over it.

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There are also mid-rise jeans, which is a great way to get out out of those “thong showing” jeans  without jumping into the high waisted ones. These are great if you do want to tuck something in, because it will actually stay tucked in and your waistband won’t be 3 inches from your bra.

These are J Brand mid rise skinnies:

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There are of course jeans you should never wear even if you are young and skinny, like these. I mean really? UGH. Don’t give us more reasons Miley.

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sweet 16

{to view this post on the website: click here}

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My oldest son turned 16 yesterday.
I don’t think there is anything sweet about it.
How in the world am I supposed to think that it is a good idea for him to be able to do anything with out me?

I mean, I just can’t.

My younger sister has little kids, ages 1 and 3. She sends me the best text messages-ever. Yesterday, she texted this awesome run on sentence: “So Henry just threw up all over himself and his bed during nap so that was disgusting and he had to have a bath and then I just get him in bed again and come downstairs to see a huge spider run under our couch so I’ve been laying on the floor trying to reach it. I think I got him but I am not sure. How do I clean chunk barf off a sheet? He is crying now. ugh

That is hilarious to me. Because it is not me. {I HATE barf}

When you are stuck at home with little kids you cannot imagine a life where you can leave the house whenever you want or sleep an entire night. If they will ever barf in the toilet and not on the carpet. You daydream of the kids being in school all day, of having a clean car interior, a purse with nothing child related in it.

It feels like that was like 5 minutes ago and now my first born is going to go on about his business, preferably without me? What happened? Are you kidding me?

{Ask me to homecoming, let me hang out with you, tell me what you ate for lunch, did you miss me today?}

I know the answer is no. And no, I am not a weird mom that would actually go to homecoming with him and no I don’t hang out with him and his friends. But I am his mom and he will never understand how much I love him, like ever.

Although, I do not want to trade places with my sister, I do get jealous of the times when her kids  only want her and they squeeze her neck so tight. I remember those choking squeezes. I love telling her that these barfing days will pass and she just rolls her eyes at me. She would like to just be able to go to the bathroom all by herself.

We  hear it all the time, “just enjoy them when they are little because they grow up so fast” but you don’t really understand it until they grow up and then you think wait, when did this happen? Where was I?

I was there the whole time.

Just please keep needing me.

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easy baked doughnuts

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Okay, so I have never been accused of being the first to do anything. I know these doughnut pans have been around for awhile but I just finally purchased them.
Now the question is, what was I waiting for??
Maybe I have mentioned that I prefer cooking/baking to land somewhere on the easy to easier scale.

These, my friends, are easier.

All you need is 2 doughnut pans, a box mix, an egg, butter, milk. Blend it up, put it in the pan and bake for ten minutes.

Voila! Donuts! {I do not lie about e-a-s-y people.}

I used the Stonewall Kitchens pumpkin mix with maple glaze. There are also other varieties: red velvet, chocolate, buttermilk, cinnamon….And even if you don’t use a mix, the actual recipe that comes right on the packaging of the Wilton pan is also very easy.

{And then there is Google where you will find exactly one million recipes for baked doughnuts}

These little nuggets were soft and fluffy and delish. KN ate 3 while they were still warm and he doesn’t even prefer pumpkin.

To make it easier to get the dough into the pan, I spooned it into a plastic baggie and cut the corner off and piped it in.

One more tip, they are kind of made to be eaten the same day. We had a couple left over and the next day the glaze soaked into the cake which made them not near as pretty.

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Let me know if you try it out and what flavor is the best! Next time, we are making chocolate!

track pants {on the tracks}

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These pants are certainly all about comfort.

For sure you could wear this to work, and just think how awesome it would be to sit at your desk all day in sweat pants.

This is not a big investment item and it’s all you need to create this on trend look.

{Yes, a white shirt and a black jacket should be staples in your wardrobe ladies.}

Then on Saturday you can throw on your track pants with a t-shirt, a jean jacket and your trainers.

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Get these track pants at Target
Get these boots at Zara
A nice black blazer at Banana Republic
Cotton, white blouse at the Gap

casserole-ing

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I prefer easy-peasy cooking. Well, actually that’s a total lie.

I prefer no-cooking.

But it happens everyday,
Kids: “what’s for dinner?”
Me: “It’s only 5:00, I have no idea”.

Dinner!? You mean you want to eat dinner again today? We just ate dinner yesterday. AARRRGGG.

I made this casserole because it was cold & rainy last week. It is easy and delicious and you can sort of modify it a bit to your tastes. When I make it next time {ugh cause they are going to want to eat AGAIN} I will eliminate the red pepper because apparently, my family does not eat red pepper {that’s what those little piles of red pepper left on the plate mean, right?}.

I am thinking peas, yum, everyone likes those. Or broccoli. Or asparagus.

I totally wimped out and bought 2 rotisserie chickens from the grocery store to make it e-a-s-i-e-r.
I also eliminated the mushrooms because KN claims that he is “allergic”. Ha.

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{The recipe can be found at: my recipes.com}

 

Three-Cheese Chicken Penne

Ingredients
1tsp. olive oil
Cooking spray
3 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (16-ounce) carton 2% low-fat cottage cheese
4 cups hot cooked penne (about 8 ounces uncooked tube-shaped pasta)
2 cups shredded roasted skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed reduced-fat, reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup, undiluted
Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°.
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add spinach, oregano, and black pepper; sauté 3 minutes or just until spinach wilts.
Place cottage cheese in a food processor; process until very smooth. Combine spinach mixture, cottage cheese, pasta, chicken, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, milk, and soup in a large bowl. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

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