5 Ingredients → 1 Cheap & Healthy Dinner

Ingredients:

  • Quinoa
  • Kale
  • Garlic
  • Eggs
  • Parmesan Cheese

More often than not, I have the ingredients to make this dinner already on hand. It’s easy, quick, flavorful, and cheap. I’m not including measurements, as it’s up to you and how hungry you are. I often make a big batch of quinoa at the beginning of the week, which makes this dinner ready in a pinch.

  1. Prepare quinoa according to directions.
  2. Heat up about 1 T of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Tear the leaves off the stem of the kale and place into the hot pan (the kale will significantly wilt down, so don’t skimp on loading on the greens).
  3. Stir the kale to coat with olive oil, then add salt and pepper. I highly suggest red pepper flakes as well for some kick.
  4. Let the kale sit to get a good char while mincing a clove of garlic. Add the garlic to the hot pan, stirring so the it doesn’t burn.
  5. Lower the heat and push the kale to one side of the pan. Add a touch more olive oil, and fry an egg in the empty side of the skillet. Sprinkle shredded parmesan cheese on top of the egg, but be sure to get some on the pan for the yummy, crispy cheese.
  6. Layer a bowl with the quinoa, then the kale, and lastly the egg(s) on top.

There’s so many combinations of veggies to add to the kale: sweet or yukon gold potato, onion and mushrooms, roasted butternut squash. It’s a great way to use up leftovers throughout the week. Also, obviously you can omit the cheese to be dairy-free, but why would anyone ever do that?

1 New Years Resolution

I believe resolutions will never last through a whole year. You forget, no longer care, or just don’t have the willpower anymore. However, they’re important to think about even if your goals only last a month.

My resolution isn’t fitness related, or centered around my diet (though it probably should be), but more aligned with a choice I make every day: where I get my coffee. I’m not an avid coffee drinker, my morning can start with or without caffeine, but I prefer with. If I start buying a cup every morning, or a specialty drink a few times a week, it starts to take a hit to the wallet. I’d much rather go to dinner with some friends, or buy a new pair of shoes with that money.

SO…my new years resolution in specifics is ‘I can’t buy coffee on the go when I’m alone.’

Allowed Instances: sitting at a cute cafe sipping on a latte alone, out to brunch with friends, or desperate situations if I’m driving late night and it would be dangerous to others.

For now, you’ll find me at the Keurig or the coffee pot trying to perfect the grounds to water ratio. We’ll see how long this lasts…

3-ish Blue Apron Recipes

Before the holidays, I was the lucky recipient of a Blue Apron box from an employee who had 5 boxes to give away. I don’t generally eat or cook meat (even though I’m not a vegetarian) but I figured I would get the most bang for my buck and go for the omnivore option.

I received three meals, with approximately two servings each:

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Chicken Khao Soi: I immediately craved this option, and made it the day I received the box. Let me tell you, everything may be pre measured, but there are a lot of pieces to these meals. I thought this was generally easy to cook and assemble; however, there were so many dishes to wash afterwards, and I don’t have a dishwasher. The worst, but the meal was yummy!

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Pork Chops: I babysat for a family in Beacon Hill, and the mother made the most delicious pork tenderloin for dinner. I was excited about this option, but I’m terrible at cooking meat on the stovetop (that’s what the directions called for). My roommate love this meal, but I thought the shallots in the freekeh salad were too strong and the meat was a little tough (which is obviously my fault). I packaged up the portion that I didn’t eat, but never felt the need to finish it, and into the trash it went.

Blackened Catfish: I never cooked this meal. I put the catfish in the freezer for another time, but the other ingredients will likely go bad before I get around to making the meal. I figure some Blackened Catfish Tacos might be a good option for this week.

VERDICT: Even though I enjoyed not spending any money on groceries, I found I meal-planned around the Blue Apron meals and not my schedule. As someone who started off with a pretty good base of cooking knowledge, the step-by-step directions slightly impeded my creativity in the kitchen. The packaging felt a bit wasteful, too, so I will be sticking with my weekly grocery shops and cooking whatever my heart desires. However, thanks to Blue Apron for the trial! Also, if you’re worried about freshness, the ingredients were top-notch!

 

 

6 Blogs I Follow Regularly

Yes,  I do realize this list is a bit excessive for blogs to check every morning. Honestly though, I can’t start my day until I’ve briefed myself on the new content. A fair warning though…these blogs create a bit of an online shopping habit or at least an expensive wish list. I also talk to my friends and family about these bloggers on a first name basis (weird, I know).

  1. screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-4-20-26-pmCupcakes and Cashmere: I’ve followed Emily’s blog for a couple years now, though I certainly wasn’t first to discover it. I’ve found that her new content keeps getting better and occurs most often of any blog I follow. I’m incredibly jealous of her new Associate Editor, Leslie, but I’m not sure I could’ve made the big move to LA as she did. To be honest, I’ve determined the exact moment when new posts are made live, and even kept up while abroad in Scotland.
  2. screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-4-20-49-pmCup of Jo: Joanna’s style most embodies my own, and the brands she endorses are simple, well-made, and reflect an ease in living. They write the most varied content, but centered around women’s interest.
  3. screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-4-17-59-pmDeliciously Ella: This brit must be the healthiest woman on the island, because when I studied abroad in Scotland, I didn’t nearly eat like she does. Ella’s site is a great go-to when you need a detox, refreshing recipe, or generic meal inspiration.
  4. screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-4-19-49-pmSequins & Stripes: Liz has the most ADORABLE baby, Charlie, that she consistently snapchats and insta-stories (do I sound like a stalker)? Anyways…she write with a down-to-earth and relatable personality that I connect with.
  5. screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-4-21-52-pmGal Meets Glam: If there’s any blogger to be completely jealous of, it’s Julia Engel. She and her husband create the most incredible travel itineraries, beautiful clothing, and clearly pay specific attention to the layout and UX of their site.
  6. screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-4-19-38-pmLuella & June: I don’t really know what Bradley Agather’s life is, considering she seems to click “purchase” on $600+ items of clothing on a weekly basis, but she’s just oh-so cheery. I can appreciate her taste even though we don’t necessarily have a similar style (or budget), and I keep going back due to her consistent new content.

2 Appreciated Stocking Stuffers

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If there were just 1 thing I would wish for constantly, it would be an incredible and glowing complexion; however, with my genes that will just never happen. So I was incredibly grateful to my ingenious mother who went through my makeup back to restock my essentials for my stocking.

My makeup routine is minimal, and if I don’t have to wear any, I’m a happy camper. For those days where I wish to look in the mirror and see semi-clear skin, I have these two products. I’ve found that primer is vital to the overall effect of foundation, the base layer is both a barrier and a canvas. I love the Laura Mercier Blemish-Less Foundation primer for the protection from clogged pores and creating a more even finish afterwards.

Since I need a bit more coverage than just the brand’s tinted moisturizer, I used the Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation. It feels super-light but build-able depending on the current state of my face.

I’m no makeup guru, I like what I like and oftentimes online reviews and chic packaging sway me more than my own opinions. I’ve come to love this brand, but was intending on purchasing a foundation more in my post-college price range this time around, so kudos to my mother for being incredibly sneaky and thoughtful. She always knows how to indulge in my ‘too expensive for my budget’ taste. Love you, Mom!

 

2 Ideas I’ll Never Wrap My Head Around

  1. Space, the Universe, and Aliens? 

Ever stayed up late, say past 10:00 pm watching PBS, and stumbled upon an episode of NOVA? There are a number of series that attempt to explain the vastness of the universe. To imagine another planet is difficult to comprehend, but to visualize another galaxy is another challenge. Does space never end? Where does it go? You can go deep into the black hole of questions while never fully understanding the concepts. If you care to blow your own mind, check out up coming episodes of NOVA.

2. Death, the Afterlife, and Ghosts? 

I’ll be honest, I’m a firm believer in ghosts, spirits, otherworldly entities on our planet. It’s almost easier for me to wrap my head around some sort of afterlife than space (which is an actual scientific field). I was immensely teased when I took the podcast The Black Tapes a little too seriously, and pretty much convinced myself that demon children were roaming the world. I don’t know, there’s something that happens after death, but I hope I don’t find out for at least a couple decades.

4 Items on my Wish List

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  1. MVMT Watch: I wore my tortoiseshell Fossil watch everyday, it was simple enough to be part of my casual wardrobe,  but classic enough to stand with a formal outfit. Truthfully, I hadn’t replaced the battery for over a year (it was always set to 5:00); however, I dropped it while putting it around my wrist. I broke it, and unfixable, so time for a new one! I love the simplicity of this MVMT watch, and I tend to gravitate to gold over silver in all my jewelry.
  2. Mountain Wall Hanging: There are multiple shops on Etsy selling similar products, but I would love to hang this in my bedroom. I have a similar circle basket with the metal netting above my bed, and this would tie in well among the pictures on my gallery wall. Also, even though I could make this myself, it’s important to support other artisans.
  3. Bose Soundsport Wireless Headphones: I’ve used an iPod Shuffle for the last 8 years, mostly because I find carrying a phone around the gym or on a run a burden. My parents would prefer that I take my phone on my run, but it’s such a pain to take it of my little fanny pack to switch the song. These bluetooth headphones would be a great investment for long runs where good music is a must, and for the flexibility to leave my phone by my water bottle at the gym.
  4. A Gentleman in Moscow: Amor Towles debut novel, Rules of Civility, is truly the last book I remember utterly enjoying every page. I’ve been looking forward to reading this book, but would love to own it instead of waiting for it to be available at the library. I always put books on my Christmas list since they feel like such a luxury.

1 Craft to Make this Christmas

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Hark! The Herald Angels Sing…that this is the one craft you should make this season. All the credit goes to my mother on this one, who makes these angels as gifts, decoration, and for her own pure enjoyment. Here is what you need:

  • Old Music Paper – available at paper stores, on Ebay, music stores
  • Gold Doilies
  • Thin Red or Gold Ribbon
  • 1″ Wooden Balls (hole through middle)
  • Thin-Tipped Markers

Now that you have everything, let’s get crafting!

1. Cut a circle in the music paper, then make a slit to the center of the circle, then another to cut out a wedge. See below for diagram:

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2. Secure with tape or glue, then set aside.

3. Fold gold doily in half (these will be the wings). If you want to get fancy, make a crease on each side of the wings like the picture above. Attach to one side of the cone, with the flat side of the wings, and the point of the cone facing up.

4. Draw face and hair onto wooden balls with markers.

5. Take a long piece of ribbon, fold in half and make a knot about 2.5-3″ from the fold. Feed the folded end through the point of the cone, then through your head. Make a knot at the top of the head.

6. Feel free to decorate more as you please! Shown above is glitter glue around the bottom of the skirt.

4 Regrets from my College Days

I’m so lucky to have graduated with incredible friends, a strong degree, and an overall positive experience during my four years in Maine. Although I worked about 15 hours a week in the athletic training room, studied late into the night in the library, and took ample time to hang out with others, there will always be a couple slight regrets after graduating. Here are 4 of mine:

  1. Take the time to meet with Professors – there are very few people who wouldn’t include this, even if those who went a couple times per week. The most rewarding relationships in college are with those who teach and help you grow, so go visit them! Whether it was a less than stellar grade, a brainstorm session for a group project, or the opportunity to receive life advice, it’s always worth it. 
  2. Join a group your friends aren’t part of – I met a few of my closest friends through my on-campus job; however, afterwards I didn’t make much of an effort to explore other groups. At every college there are a plethora of organizations or clubs to join that might just define your college career. 
  3. Study something you LOVE – I’ve said this many times, but this is one of my biggest regrets. I studied economics, with a concentration in natural resources (and to my disbelief I actually use it now). If I studied English or History, I believe I would’ve tried harder, been more passionate about my work, and met with my professors (see #1). There’s usefulness in a degree, but interest is really the driver of success. 
  4. Make the most of ‘Down Time’ – Since college is one of the last stages of life without a set schedule, I tended to nap or just do nothing with my free time if I didn’t have an obligation. Much like #2, it’s important to explore all of the opportunities that the school creates. When else will a famous author be speaking with free admission in an auditorium a 3 minute walk away? Never…And when will all of your friends be in the same town, or possibly even the same building? Not after graduating! Take the time while the opportunity is there. 

3 ‘Drop Everything and Go’ Vacations

   Auberge du Soliel            |    Glacier National Park     |      The Dreamcatcher

I am the WORST at committing to traveling and taking time off. I have the desire to see places around the world, but not the boldness to hit ‘purchase’ on my flights. If I had an unlimited budget, extensive vacation days, and the perfect travel buddy, here’s where I’d be headed in a heartbeat:

  1. Auberge du Soliel Resort in Napa Valley: I’ve been to the Bay Area before, but not since I’ve hit the ripe old age of 21, and no farther North than the Golden Gate Bridge. Soon will be the perfect time to experience my love of a big Cabernet Sauvignon in the place of its domestic origin. I can picture myself with a bunch of friends at this luxury resort: hiking during the day, relaxing in the pool, and enjoying a glass (okay, multiple) of amazing wine.
  2. Glacier National Park: The images of Glacier National Park caught my attention while view National Parks Adventure at the Museum of Science in Boston – you must see it! I’ve been dying to plan a trip ever since, and hope to spend a week one summer exploring the wonders that our country has taken such lengths to protect. 
  3. The Dream Catcher B&B in Puerto Rico: It’s always around this time of year that I itch to fly somewhere warm. This B&B rose is clearly perfection with its multitude of hammocks, access to beach, and fresh vegetarian meals. What else could you ask for, anyone in?