12/30/2015

SIX BEST RECIPES OF 2015...


Hi! Did you have a good Christmas?? I hope you did... So I thought I would pop in on my little break to share some of our (mines and yours) favorite recipes of 2015. I didn't blog as much this year as I have in the past. But I have to say that this year I made it a point to put more time, effort, and thought into the posts that I did do - especially when I came to my recipes. My passion for food and food photography has grown exponentially over the years - so much so that I have thought about turning this blog into a food blog. Maybe that will happen, maybe not. But one thing is for sure - my love for food and food photography is not going anywhere, so I look forward to sharing more good eats with you next year. In the meantime, here are a few favorites from 2015. Happy New Year!







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12/23/2015

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!


Happy holidays my friends!! To think that there are only eight more days until the new year is incredibly baffling to me! This year flew by for me... But I'm so excited for a new year. This year was a year of incredible growth and self-discovery for me, which has been both rewarding and challenging! Anyone else have that same experience?? I so look forward to a fresh start in the new year where I can exercise what I have learned and hopefully display how much stronger I know I have become.

I'm signing off here for the remainder of the year from some good ol' family time, rest, and reflection. Thank you so much for following along here on my little diary of favorite things. Your time spent here means a lot to me. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a safe, relaxing, and happy New Year! I'll see you back here in 2016!

 Images 1 / 2 / 3
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12/18/2015

A HOLIDAY TABLE + LINKS...



Hi there! Hope you had a great week! So confession. I know I promised a weekly gift guide, but it just ain't happenin'. Health wise it's been a few challenging weeks. That in addition to work, holiday gatherings, and holiday shopping, there just hasn't been as much time as I anticipated! So sorry! So the least I can do is share a few links with you - cause' I know that's your fave. :) Enjoy and I hope you have a great weekend!


Good Gifts...
For the homeowner...
For the heavy tea drinker...
For the cook (totally dying for one myself)
For the lounger (Their pants are all so comfy!)
For the faithful exerciser (I gifted this to someone and it was loved...)


Good Spaces
Such a pretty holiday home tour...
This tour is pretty, too. Her stuff is always so good!
A home renovation process worth keeping up with...


Good Things
Keep this in mind for your home next week!
In case you'll be on an airplane next week, or any week for that matter...
Simply good to know around this time of the year...
In preparation for 2016...

Good Food
A Christmas cookie suggestion... So good.
Chocolate banana bread... Yes and yes.
52 EXCELLENT holiday baking tips...
My favorite, favorite, favorite soup at the moment...
Quite possibly the prettiest sugar cookies I've seen...


Image by Tessa Neustadt via Rue Daily

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12/16/2015

PET PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS + MY 2015 CHRISTMAS CARDS...

This year I have had more personal time than I have had in long time (so thankful), so I decided to spend some of that time shooting my own holiday card. Yep, I'm that girl who is an animal lover who made her cat the star of the show. I have no shame in doing so! Once I have kids, I'm 100% sure I will be that mom who makes her kids the star of the show. In the meantime, Max is it! Over time, Max has become more comfortable being in front of the camera - and I have finally figured out how to make him sit still for more than 5 minutes to get a good shot. Many of you have asked me how I do it, so I thought I'd share a few tips with you today. You might have a pet that follows commands really well and doesn't mind the camera, but I haven't always been that lucky, so here's what I do... 

1. Plan the shoot in a familiar environment around their typical nap time - My favorite pet photos are the ones that make it look like the pet is totally comfortable being in front of the camera when that couldn't be further from the truth. I've found that the easiest way to get that look is to work with them when they are sleepy and in their own environment. So if you know your pet sleeps mostly in the afternoon, then plan to shoot them right after they start sleeping. I usually wake Max up and carry him (he loves to be held when he's sleepy) to a spot he likes to be in (if he isn't there already) and one that has some good light. I then "go about my day" in that space and see if he will get settled somewhere. Pets can pick up on you when you are trying to get them to do something they ordinarily wouldn't want to do, so it's important for you to act natural. In this photo, Max happened to be lounging comfortably on my bed - a place he loves to be, so I knew there was a chance. If you have a dog, then using treats to get them to sit still obviously helps as well. 

2. Exercise patience - Step one might take one, two, or ten tries over one, two, or ten days. You just have to let them do what they do naturally. You have to be natural as well. If I seem impatient with Max and try to force him to do something he doesn't want to do, then getting a good shot is impossible. 

3. Adjust your camera settings and prepare any props before the shoot: Once they are settled and seem comfortable, quickly take some test shots and adjust your settings. The last thing you want to do is fool with your camera during the 30 seconds you have the perfect shot. If your camera beeps when it focuses, then I recommend turning that function off to avoid scaring the pet off. Once Max had been settled on my bed for a few minutes, I adjusted the camera, and quietly and softly arranged the ribbon in front of him and the garland behind him. I had those in the room beforehand. He was deliriously sleepy, so he never moved. Plus, Max is used my shenanigans and the camera, so he was fine. But if this step isn't working out, then recall #2 above! :)

4. Act quickly, but quietly and patiently! That's a tall order, I know. Once your camera is set and they are still in a good spot, start shooting, but do so in a really soft and quiet manner. If you are frazzled or frustrated, then they pick up on that and are likely to move. Once I get a one good shot, I basically keep pressing the shutter button to get the most photos I can before he moves. 

All of that is easier said than done, especially if you have a cat or a hyper dog, but it can be done if you exercise enough patience! :)

Holiday card: "Simply Happy Holiday Card" via Minted

Images by me

**Not a sponsored post **

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12/14/2015

WEEKNIGHT PARMESAN BRUSSELS SPROUTS...


Weeknight Brussels Sprouts | Savor Home

Can I just say that I LOVE brussels sprouts... But can I also say that I rarely used to make them on any other day other than Sunday. I would roast them in the oven the regular way at about 400 for 35-40 minutes until they were browned and slightly crispy on the outside. They were always lovely. But a friend of mine recently told me about a way to make them taste even better in half the time. And that way, my friends, is to simply place them in a cast iron skillet and cook them under the broiler! If you love brussels sprouts and don't have a cast iron skillet, then go buy one immediately - or go ask your mom or grandmother if you can borrow theirs... The heat from the cast iron skillet speeds up the cooking process and makes them a little crispy on the outside. BUT they are still super tender on the inside. The Parmesan cheese added at the end adds this bit of cheesy saltiness that make them extra tasty. They take a little babysitting to prevent burning, but it's so worth it!

Weeknight Brussels Sprouts | Savor Home

Here is what you need and what to do:

1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed (cut smaller sprouts in half, and larger sprouts in quarters)
Olive oil (extra virgin or regular)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the broiler. Add the brussels sprouts to the skillet. Toss them in a light coating of olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper to taste. You might go a little light on the salt if you are adding the Parmesan cheese at the end.

2. Place them under the broiler for about 15-20 minutes or until they are lightly browned. They will need to be tossed well about every 5 minutes or so - especially towards the end once the skillet really gets hot.

3. Remove them from the oven and sprinkle them with the Parmesan cheese. Toss and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Images by me
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12/09/2015

INSPIRED BY...




{That perfectly curated little sitting area... }


{That simply styled bathroom that proves that stylish lighting can make all the difference... }


{The classic style of the front of that home... }


{That outdoor dining area... It almost makes me look forward to next summer. Almost. :) }

Images 1 / 2 / 3 / 4
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12/07/2015

SECRET INGREDIENT CHRISTMAS CRANBERRY SAUCE...

Secret Ingredient Cranberry Sauce | Savor Home
Hi there!! Sorry for the silence here last week... I wasn't feeling that well and needed a moment! I felt much better over the weekend, so I got my camera out to photograph this amazing sauce that would be PERFECT to serve with a holiday appetizer or dinner. This year for Thanksgiving, I wanted to make homemade cranberry sauce. We've always eaten cranberry sauce from the can (so bad I know but SO good!), but this year I thought I would make my own. So I made up a recipe using a combination of different recipes that I researched. My recipe included the zest and juice of an orange, so I asked my mom to pick up some oranges from the store. She mistakingly picked up small grapefruits that looked like oranges, so I ended up using the grapefruit instead. And I have to say - that was the BEST cranberry sauce I've ever had. Hands down. It's tart and sweet - but not too sweet - and the grapefruit zest and juice is perfection with the cranberries. Everyone really enjoyed it and I even caught my grandfather eating it out of the serving bowl with his fork after dinner! It tasted so good with our turkey, but have you ever had cranberry sauce with cheese?? I paired it here with a little cheese board and it is delish! I think the sauce pairs really well with cranberry cheddar, brie, and swiss. It's so good and so worth the 10 minutes it takes to make on your own! :)

Secret Ingredient Cranberry Sauce | Savor Home
Secret Ingredient Cranberry Sauce | Savor Home

Here is what you need and what to do (makes about 2 cups):

2 12oz bags fresh cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
Zest of 1 grapefruit
Juice of 1 grapefruit
1/2 cup water
Pinch of nutmeg

Add all of the ingredients to a pot over medium heat. Bring it to a boil them simmer for 5-7 minutes or until most of the cranberries have popped open. Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool and thicken. Once it has thickened, remove the cinnamon sticks. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This can also be made up a few days in advance! Just store it in the fridge after it has thickened and cooled completely.

Enjoy!

Images by me
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11/30/2015

THANKSGIVING...


{I totally planned to make something other than traditional vanilla pound cake again this year for dessert, but my grandmother specifically requested it, so I made it again. She stashed a few slices of it in her purse on her way home - the ultimate compliment. :) }

Hi there! I hope you all had a great holiday weekend! Gosh if Thanksgiving were more than once a year, I'd get to indulge in really good food, quality time with family, and random naps a lot more often. Those are exactly the things I did and it was quite nice! I only left the house to go to a birthday dinner with for my mom and to visit this CRAZY place with my brother... It's fascinating to see what people leave on planes! Anyway, here are just a few photos from my week. My parent's house has very little natural light, but that gave me an opportunity to get a little practice shooting in low light... I hope you all have a wonderful week!



{The wine I had with dinner - my favorite at the moment... }


{Our juicy, fresh, delicious smoked turkey before carving... }


{Me and the AMAZING macaroni and cheese! It was my first time making that particular recipe (minus the tomatoes) and it was so good!! I highly recommend it! }
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11/26/2015

10+ THINGS I'M THANKFUL FOR...


Are you as excited as I am about today??!!! I'm about to head to the kitchen to help my mom and finish off my macaroni and cheese (I'm using this recipe this year- minus the tomatoes... ). But before I head to the kitchen, I thought I would take a minute to make a list of things here that I'm thankful for. This year has been a big year of change with some ups and downs in between. Yet - I still have so much to be thankful for...

1. Costco: I finally got a membership this year (so late to the game I know) and it has completely changed my life - and maybe decreased my bank account a bit. But it's been so worth it!

2. My brother: We fought like cats and dogs every single day when we were kids and now he's literally my rock. He's so smart and is the best listener I know. I just adore him.


3. Prayer. I pray in the car. In the shower. At work at my desk. While I wait in a line. While I'm in traffic. Before bed. When I wake up. He listens and answers me.

4. Christmas. My tree has been up for 2 weeks already, so you know I'm thankful for that! :)


5. Wine. Red wine specifically. I recently discovered that a glass of most red wines won't trigger my migraines (Praise the LORD!). Any long stressful day is now made better. :)

6. Maxwell St. James. I think Max will always make these lists. The older he gets, the more he requires long cuddle sessions and lap naps. I couldn't love him more...

7. Dishwashers- especially during this time of the year.


8. Google. Even though it's made me think I was dying of the plague, it get's me where I need to go in a jiffy, has helped me become a better writer, and has saved me HOURS of time.

9. My health. Gosh it has been less than stellar this year for whatever reason, but I'm here. I'm alive and I know thousands of people have been and are going through much worse.

10. My FABULOUS friends, my family, slow cookers, my job, wine (oh did I already say that??), Adele, cozy pj's, almond milk, chocolate, cookbooks, slow Sunday afternoons, and YOU!.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Images 1/2/3/4
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11/19/2015

6 GOOD GIFTS FOR THE HUMAN, THE DESIGNER, THE WRITER, & THE COOK...


Alright! Christmas is 36 days away (yikes!), so it's high time for the first of my gift guides! I know, I know... There are already so many gift guides out there, so here's the deal with mine... They will be simple, mostly budget friendly, and hopefully really helpful. They will contain gifts that I would totally go buy for a friend or myself (if I don't already have them). I plan to do one guide once a week or so - with the exception of next week because I'll probably be in a food coma! I really love doing these, so I hope you enjoy them! First up: A few books for people who love or want to design, write, and cook... And for people who are simply human. :)

1. The 52 Lists Project: by Moorea Seal -  If you or someone you know makes personal resolutions or goals at the start of each new year and NEVER sticks to them, then I think this book would make the greatest gift. The book is a project of sorts where one make a simple, yet specific short list at the start of each week for a year (i.e. List the happiest moments of your life so far, List ways you can rejuvenate your space, List your best qualities). The action items for each list are designed to create a greater awareness for what you think and have now and how you can grow from them. I know there are more exciting things to do in the world than sitting down and making random lists, but making simple lists like these maybe first thing in the morning instead of picking up a Smartphone could lead one to becoming the best version of themselves - something that is often the last thing on our to-do lists...

2. Habitat: by Lauren Liess - Lauren's design blog, Pure Style Home, was one of the first blogs I started following years ago and I'm still reading it. She now has a new design book that I think every design lover must have - one that is already on my coffee table. She has such a talent for creating warm and inviting spaces made up of a mixture of elements made of different textures and materials. That is something that can be so hard to do, but she tells you exactly how to do it in her book. She also talks about her guidelines for the design process and offers great tips on how to design your own space. Most importantly (I think), it's just full of beautiful inspiration, whether one is designing their own space or not.

3. Home: by Ellen DeGeneres - Ok you know I love Ellen, so it should be no surprise that I bought this book the day it came out. She's so talented and based on her new book, she's kinnnnnnddd of amazing at interior design. In her new book, she shows you the interiors of her beautiful homes and talks about how she found them (some of which she literally bought during a dinner party), shares some lovely homes of her friends, and shares some of her favorite places to shop. The photography is stunning, but the thing I love the most is her writing. She is HILARIOUS! If you know someone who loves Ellen and pretty interiors, then this would make the most perfect gift for them.

4. Simply Nigella: by Nigella Lawson - I could listen to Nigella talk all day. I love her accent and love her simplistic non-nonsense way of cooking. In her newest cookbook, she focuses on feel good food - healthy food that tastes good, food that cooks up quickly during the weeknight, and food that is easy to make for a crowd. If someone you know has a goal for 2016 to get cooking in a good and healthy way for themselves and/or their family, then this would be a great gift for them...

5. 642 Things to Write About: by San Francisco Writers' Grotto -  I LOVE the idea of this book. If you love to write, are a blogger who needs ideas for posts, or have a child who is struggling with writing, then this is the book that will get those creative juices flowing! It's simply a collection of 642 simple questions and/or statements that jog ideas or stories. Some examples: "Describe something you wanted badly and, once you got it, never used," or, " Tell the true story of a dramatic moment in your life, but weave in one secret and one lie, or, "How do you feel about love these days...I could write a novel on that last thought, but I digress. Either way, I think this would make an excellent gift for a creative!

6. Humans Of New York: Stories: by Brandon StantonHumans of New York is definitely one of my favorite Instagram accounts. The stories of the people, that are sometimes just a few sentences, are so touching. Founder Brandon Stanton has just released his second book that highlights stunning photos of New Yorkers along with quotes and interviews of their life and thoughts. The things people go through (the good and bad) are unreal and this book highlights that. It's a humbling book that will make you smile, laugh, shed a tear or two, and just feel grateful for where you are now. I think that's a good gift... 
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11/16/2015

CHOCOLATE PECAN TART:: FOR BEGINNERS


So I have this fear - and that fear is of pies - pies from scratch specifically. I don't like making pies because my experience with homemade pie dough has been horrific. I never get it right and I just don't have the patience right now to get it right. Cooks on TV make it look so simple right?? I do want to get it right one day, but for now I thought I'd take a step back and practice with this super easy and DELICIOUS chocolate pecan tart. This is the kind of tart that you make when you baking is not your thing - yet you have been charged with bringing dessert to your holiday gathering, or the kind of tart you make when you have very little time to pull a dessert together. It takes about 15 minutes to make and it's made with a store-bought pie crust and pantry staples. AND it's so good. It's simply a flakey, crisp crust with a gooey chocolate-y center that's topped with pecans that develop this wonderful roasted flavor as they bake. So good. It's just a simple, quick dessert that would be perfect for your holiday table.

Easy Chocolate Pecan Tart | Savor Home

Easy Chocolate Pecan Tart | Savor Home

Here is what you need and what to do:
Adapted from Martha Stewart

1 store-bought pie crust
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional, but I used it and it's good!)
8 oz bag whole pecan halves

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make sure the rack is in the center of the oven.

2. Lightly flour a surface and place to dough on the surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough. Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. It should be about 9.5 inches in diameter by the time you finish rolling it out. If you aren't used to rolling out dough, don't fret about this step! It only takes a few rolls and your are done!

3. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin and unwrap it over a 9 inch tart pan (I love this one and its price!). Lightly press it into the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim off any leftover dough that hangs over the pan. Place the tart pan on top of a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, unsalted butter, vanilla, and bourbon.

5. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the tart shell. Pour the filling over the chocolate chips. Arrange the pecan halves over the filling in any pattern you like. I arranged them in a circular pattern here. Either way, just make sure they are spread out in one even level so that they cook properly.

6. Bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until the filling has set and the dough has browned and has pulled away from the sides of the pan. If the pecans start browning too fast, then lightly cover the tart with foil until the tart finishes baking. I didn't have to do that, but just in case! Let the tart cool completely before removing it from the pan.

7. I think this is best served warm with a side of ice cream and/or whipped cream, but it's good at room temp, too!

Enjoy!

Images by me
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11/13/2015

THE PINK DOOR + LINKS...


Hi there! Can you believe what you are seeing?? Links!!I know it has been a while, but time just hasn't been on my side lately for me to put these posts together. But I got it together this week! What's up for the weekend? A workout, testing a tart for Thanksgiving, dinner with a friend, ordering my holiday cards, and mayyyyybe putting my Christmas tree up. I heart weekends. And Christmas obviously... I hope you have a good one! Oh and don't forget to check out Monday's post if you haven't already!

Good Pieces
The newest classic addition to my winter wardrobe...
These are perfect if you have curves & a limited budget! So comfy!
I always look forward to Oprah's Favorite Things...
Sale, sale, sale...


Good Spaces
Oh yes. I could live here.
A stunning before & after...
Her cabin was amazing, so I know this will be good!


Good Things
My highly introverted self is currently reading this book. So GOOD!
I think these could make life's hard moments just a little easier. So honest!
Yep. I'm almost 40 and am really excited about this...


Good Food
These are AMAZING and don't taste "healthy" at all!
I had this for lunch yesterday. So, so, so good & easy to make!
Definitely a pretty option for the Thanksgiving table...
Eleven one bowl wonders... Yum.
And Thanksgiving dessert in a mug...

Image via

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11/10/2015

$200 GIVEAWAY:: GET & GIVE WITH MINTED.COM


I honestly have no clue how the holidays have arrived so FAST! But I am not complaining because this is by far my favorite time of the year! How many of you have already started shopping?? I have already purchased a whopping two gifts and will soon be purchasing my holiday cards at Minted.com. This is the only giveaway I've done this year, so you have to know that I'm a huge fan of Minted. They always have so many beautiful options for holiday, Christmas, and New Years. They also offer pretty gift tags, and ribbon to make your gift look extra special. AND they have lots of beautiful options for gifts as well. If your kids love drawing, then there is a great option to get their drawings personalized and framed. That would make a great gift to a mom or dad for their office! Their personalized stationary and notebooks would make great gifts as well. All in all, I've always thought that Minted was a great place to shop if you are looking for that one perfect personal holiday card or personable gift...

So the lovely people at Minted are giving away a $200 credit to use for any purchase on Minted.com! To enter, all you have to do is answer the fun question in the Rafflecopter below! Reading your answers will be fun and give me and other readers some good ideas for the holidays! The giveaway ends on Monday, November 16th at 12AM EST. Good luck!! 

UPDATE: The last day to enter is now November 16th at 12AM!


a Rafflecopter giveaway This post was sponsored by Minted. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting Savor Home!
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11/03/2015

HOW I KEEP MY BUILDER-GRADE CLOSET ORGANIZED...

I am a stickler for organization - especially when it comes to my closet. Especially! Having an organized closet allows me to sleep an extra 5-10 minutes in the morning (since I don't have to spend that time searching for an outfit or a piece of one) and being organized in general just keeps me sane. While I don't have a Pinterest-worthy closet, I do have a nice, but no-frills builder-grade master bedroom closet that comfortably stores all of my clothes and shoes with extra space left over! There are no plans in the near future to get the closet of my dreams, so I've had to figure out how to get the most use out of what I have. It was a challenge at first, but I've figured it out by following four simple rules that I'll share with you today! Here goes: 

1. Color coordinate everything!: The #1 thing I love about having an organized closet is that I ALWAYS know what I have. Knowing what I have prevents me from buying things that I don't need and it makes it easier to shop in my closet. Color-coordinating everything in the space is one of the best ways to always know what you have. It also makes shopping in your closet super easy. I love to wear black, so on days when I want to wear black, I just head to the black sections of my closet to shop for an outfit. That saves so much time!

2. Implement the One-In One-Out Rule: I have about the same about of empty space in my closet now as I did when I first moved into the closet - which was over 7 years ago. Other than my coat closet, all of my hung clothes are stored in my closet in my bedroom - all because of this one rule. The rule simply works like this: When something comes into the closet, something comes out of the closet a goes into the Goodwill bag. So when I buy something new, I go through my closet and search for items that haven't been worn in a year and/or those items that I just don't LOVE anymore. It's hard sometimes, but I keep looking until I find something - and I always find something. In addition to keeping my closet paired down to just those things I love and have worn in the past year, this rule helps me to always have an updated picture in my mind of what I have so I can make better decisions when I'm shopping. I apply this rule in my small kitchen as well and it works beautifully!

3. Use thicker hangers and only buy a certain amount of them: I know that thin hangers are the thing to have these days - especially when you have a really small closet or a larger one that you have to share with someone else. But hear me out... I used to use the thin hangers - even when I had a smaller closet - and it was really hard to keep up with what I had. The clothing was so scrunched up together that it was just so hard to see everything! So I went and bought a few boxes of the thicker wooden hangers. While I do have less space in my closet, I can really see what I have. The hangers make the aesthetic of the closet much nicer, too... Anything to make a builder-grade closet look better! 

And guess what else?? My goal is to never buy a box of hangers again. I have about 5-10 empty hangers at any given time. Once those hangers start dwindling down, that's my signal to find something to get rid of so that I can free up a hanger and keep my closet paired down. Trust me, there is always something to get rid of. You just have to enforce concepts that make you find those items on a regular basis!

Note that this concept still works even if you use thin hangers. Start by pairing down your closet to only the things that you love and have worn in the past year. Save a few of the extra hangers and donate the rest. This along with using the One-In One-Out rule should be helpful!

4. Ditch the shoeboxes: Shoeboxes irritate me. They tear up easily and you can't see what's in them. Plus a whole bunch of them together isn't visually appealing. Since I don't have the luxury of shoe shelves, I invested in these AMAZING clear, stackable shoe and boot boxes from The Container Store. I can see what I have, my good shoes are very well protected, and I save a little space. I treat these boxes just like I treat the hangers. I bought so many shoe boxes and boot boxes and I'm not planning to buy any more. So once the boxes start running low, I find a pair to get rid of. I love shoes, so the search for that one pair to get rid of is often SO hard, but I do always find a pair that I haven't worn in a while or a pair that I know someone would love to have. Note that I have a small basket in my closet that holds flip flops, slippers, sandals, etc., that don't need to be protected (see bottom of first pic). I only use the boxes for my good quality shoes that need protection. 

If you don't have space in your closet for clear boxes, invest in a hanging bag or something that fits in your closet that will allow you to see what shoes you have. You will be amazed at how much time, space, and money you save! 

What are your methods of keeping your closet organized?? I'd love to hear!

**Suede pumps in last pic are here... **

Images by me
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10/26/2015

MASSAGED KALE & ROASTED SWEET POTATO QUINOA SALAD

Massaged Kale & Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad via Savor Home
Two food posts in a row! I'm on a roll! Ha. So today I'm showing and telling you about a recipe that has been THE most popular recipe in my house for quite some time now. I make variations of this salad almost every Sunday to eat for lunch or dinner the following week, so it's about time I tell you about it! I always layer this salad in a bowl and this particular quinoa salad is by far my favorite "bowl" - especially for lunch since it's so portable. I usually start my bowls with quinoa, but sometimes I use brown rice. Neither of those have much flavor, so I like to layer it with massaged kale. Raw kale is really bitter, but when you massage it with a good vinaigrette, all of the bitterness goes away and you are left with a super flavorful tender green and a great dressing for the salad. I promise it's easy to make, too! I top the quinoa and kale with cinnamon-seasoned roasted sweet potatoes (my favorite), roasted butternut squash, and/or black beans. Then I top off the salad with raw walnuts, feta cheese, dried cranberries, and avocado. I know that's a lot, but it all goes so well together. It's just one big bowl of amazing flavor - and protein, fiber, and vitamins I might add - that leaves you feeling totally full and satisfied. Can't beat that... :)

Massaged Kale & Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad via Savor Home
Massaged Kale & Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad via Savor Home
Massaged Kale & Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad via Savor Home
Massaged Kale & Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad via Savor Home

Here is what you need and what to do:

Salad
Quinoa (see recipe below)
Massaged kale (see recipe below)
Roasted sweet potatoes (see recipe below)
Walnuts or your favorite nut
Feta cheese
Dried cranberries
Avocado

Quinoa (makes about 4 cups) - This is the BEST way to make it (via Goop)!
1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cup water
Pinch of sea salt (I use Malden salt)

1. Add the quinoa to a fine mesh strainer and rinse it for about a minute. Add the quinoa, water, and salt to a medium pot that is set over medium-high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 12-13 minutes, or until the water has completely evaporated.

2. Turn off the heat. Remove the lid to the pot and place a dry paper towel over the pot. Cover (i.e. place the lid over the paper towel) and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then fluff the quinoa lightly with a fork. The paper towel method makes the texture of the quinoa really tender and moist. Don't skip that part! 

Massaged Kale
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
3-4 cups kale, finely chopped (both lacinato and curly kale work here)

1. Add the chopped kale to a large bowl and set aside. Add the olive oil, white wine vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk the ingredients until they are completely combined. 

2. Pour a little over half of the dressing over the kale and massage the kale until it has wilted. To massage the kale, simply grab a handful of the kale in one hand and squeeze and move it around in your hand. Keep doing this until all of the kale has wilted. Use the remaining dressing for the salad if desired.

3. Place the bowl of kale in the refrigerator and let it marinate for about 15 minutes or so. 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes
2 cups sweet potatoes, cubed 
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add all of the ingredients to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or to a 10in cast iron skillet (my preferred method). I love the crust that the iron skillet creates on the sweet potatoes! Toss the sweet potatoes around to make sure everything is evenly coated. 

2. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. If you use a sheet pan, toss them around after about 15 minutes for even cooking. If using a cast iron skillet, I toss them around a few times to make sure they don't cook too fast on one side. 

To make the salad, simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and toss! Enjoy!

Images by me

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10/21/2015

THE BEST BUTTERNUT SQUASH BLACK BEAN CHILI...


While I'm not yet officially declaring myself a future vegetarian or vegan, I am presently working really hard on reducing my meat intake and increasing my vegetable intake. We will see where things go, but for now things are going quite well!  I think it's going well because I've been able to find so many really easy and great vegetarian/vegan recipes where the flavor totally compensates for the lack of meat. I recently found this butternut squash chili recipe via Love & Lemons (such a fave blog) and it is now probably my favorite chili recipe - meat recipes included. It's just that good... The flavors of this soup are absolutely amazing! It's not cooked for hours (and doesn't need to be), so you can taste the freshness of every single thing in the soup. The flavors are highlighted even more by a blast of lime juice that is added in at the end, which takes the soup to another level. I felt totally full after eating a serving and didn't miss the meat at all. I highly recommend it!

Here is what you need and what to do (serves 4):

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium or large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, chopped
2 cups butternut squash, cubed into about 1 inch cubes
1 poblano pepper, seeds removed, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes (I used these to add a little more spice)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup frozen corn (non-GMO is best, doesn't have to be thawed)
1 14.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
3-4 cups good-quality vegetable stock
Juice of 1/2 to 1 lime (This ingredient is so important! Fresh is best here!)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and a dash of salt and pepper and cook until they are soft and translucent - 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, poblano pepper, butternut squash, a dash more of salt and pepper, and stir. Cook until those vegetables are slightly soft - about 15 minutes or so.

2. Add the chili powder, chipotle powder, and tomatoes. Stir and cook for about a minute. Add the apple cider vinegar, beans, corn, and 3 cups of the vegetable stock. Simmer and cook until the butternut squash is tender - about 20-25 minutes. THEN- my favorite part - squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lime. Stir and then taste. Add the juice of the other half of the lime if you want to elevate the flavor even more. Just 1/2 the lime worked for me. Season with more salt and pepper to taste and add more broth if it's too thick...

That's it! Serve with grated fresh sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, cilantro, and/or a side of your favorite tortilla chips!

Enjoy!

Image by me

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10/19/2015

LATELY...

{A big new bunch of mums on my patio... Lets all ban together and pray I can keep them alive!}

Hi there! How was your weekend? Things have been "eventful" (I'm working on not using the word "busy" all the time) lately. Kitchen reno plans (why are things SO dang expensive??), house management, work, friends, working on my Halloween costume (the first time I'll wear one in YEARS), and ridiculously enjoying these crisp fall days are pretty much whats been up as of late. These photos show ya a few more random things and moments from the last few weeks. I hope you have a good week!! 

{A favorite classic fall combo - all found on sale at the Gap! You know I LOVE a good quality trench coat and this one is GOOD (may or may not already be sold out - see the longer version here)! The striped tee is super reasonable in price, has a great shape, and is so soft. Go one size up, though.

{Me practicing for my holiday card photo shoot, which happened yesterday and it turned out so good! Can't wait to show you... Yes I will be that girl who features just her cat on her holiday card this year. #sorrybutnotsorry }

{I shot my first baby shower a few weeks ago and this was my favorite photo. This was my friend's grandmother's first time seeing her at the shower. Seeing her grandmother's happiness for her was priceless... }


{I'm currently reading "Better," by Amy Robach. She's the Good Morning America anchor who had a mammogram on live TV - later to find out that she actually had breast cancer. This is quite honestly not my kind of book, but I was so drawn to her rawness and honesty about the cancer, her family, and her work in the sample of the book that I ended up downloading the whole thing. I'm so glad I did. Cancer is a beast that effects so much more than just the body and her book really deals with that. It's quite fitting for this month and I'm glad to be reading it...}

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