Mastering the Delicious and Fuss-Free Lunch

I don’t know about you, but during the week, it is waaaaaaay too easy for me to think, “Oh, I’ll just grab lunch from [insert favorite restaurant that’s near work here] today.” As it turns out, that gets pricey. Who knew, right?! A couple of weeks ago, I made a vow to stop eating out for lunch. So far, I’ve been doing pretty well!

Last night, I was trying to think of a lunch that would be easy to throw together for the week, and I came up with a pretty tasty solution! The best part was, I didn’t even have to go to the store for ingredients! In case I haven’t sold you on it yet, it only took 10 minutes to make, and I only used one pot. That, my friends, is a winning combination.

I ended up making gnocchi and peas with a butter-lemon sauce. It’s kind of sweet from the peas and kind of tangy from the lemon. I added some basil to freshen it up a bit, and it is good (if I do say so myself). I was so pleased with it,  I decided to share the recipe with all of you! This is great for lunch, but it would also be a delicious side dish, and if you added a salad, it would be perfect for dinner!

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10-Minute Gnocchi with Peas

(Serves 4)

You will need:

  • 16oz package of gnocchi
  • 1.5C frozen peas
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Salt and pepper

First, add water to the pot and bring it up to a boil. Then, add the frozen peas and  gnocchi to the boiling water (I didn’t even bother thawing out the peas first). Neither of these ingredients takes long to cook – about 5 minutes should be good. You’ll know the gnocchi is finished when it rises to the top of the pot.

Once the peas and gnocchi are finished, dump them into a colander so you can make a quick sauce in the pot. Add the olive oil and butter to the pot. After the butter has melted, add the lemon juice, basil, salt, and pepper. Then, put the gnocchi and peas back in the pot with sauce and stir.  I also added some parmeasn cheese to the top.

See how easy it is?! I highly recommend giving it a try. If you’re interested in more vegetarian dishes, you might want to check out these summer pastas. They look tasty!

What are some of your go-to lunch ideas?

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Mail and Beauty Products

Everyone knows that getting GOOD mail is one of the very best things. I am a huge fan of the monthly subscription boxes that seem to be all the rage right now. It’s like receiving a little present each month! Okay, okay, I know that I’m the one paying for it, but I still get excited every time I see a package in the mailbox. I’m currently a Birchbox member, so I get fun samples of high-end hair and beauty products. Plus, this month, they teamed up with Kate Spade’s Saturday, which means I get a fun coupon to use on all of that site’s fabulous stuff! It’s so much fun that I thought I’d share this month’s spoils with all of you!

First, can we just talk about how cute the little box is?! These boxes are great for little gifts, and I also use them to help organize my bathroom counter.

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When I opened the box, I was greeted with fun patterns, bright colors, wonderful scents, and a little card welcoming me to the May box.

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The back of the card has a list of the products in the box and instructions for how to use them.

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This month, I received

  • Eyeliner from Cynthia Rowley – Honestly, I will probably only use this once or twice. I tend to stick with what I know when it comes to eyeliner and mascara, but I do enjoy Cynthia Rowley products.
  • Kerastase shampoo and conditioner – I will use ALL of this and want more. I have a slight addiction to shampoo/conditioner (okay, I currently have five bottles of each in my shower), and this stuff smells AMAZING.
  • Lip gloss from Noya Beauty – I’ve never heard of this brand before, but I love the shade of the gloss. It’s the perfect summer shade, and after perusing the company’s website for a bit, it looks like a company I would purchase things from often.
  • Lotion from Perlier – This stuff smells goooood! I also like having tiny lotions to stow in my purse and in my desk. Super handy!
  • Bar soap from Sumbody – I’m not a huge fan of bar soap, but this stuff smells like heaven. I can’t wait to give it a try!

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So, that’s the rundown on the fun products I got this month. If you like hair and beauty products, I would highly suggest giving Birchbox a shot! It’s only $10/month, and you can cancel at anytime.

So, what are your favorite beauty products? Do you currently receive any subscription boxes?

30 Days of Torture (aka Planks)

At the beginning of this month, I decided to do a 30 Day Plank Challenge. The premise is simple; you start out doing one 20-second plank a day, and you gradually increase the time until you do one 5-minute plank on the last day.

Guys, I hate planks. I take a yoga class twice a week, and every time the instructor has us do planks, I want to die. You may be asking yourself why I decided to do a plank challenge if I loathe them so. The answer is: I’m not exactly sure. It was a spur of the moment decision, and at the end of it, I can say I’ve done a 5-minute plank. Rewarding, right?

This is the schedule I’m following:

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It’s pretty standard. I found this particular schedule on Pinterest, but planks are really taking the internet by storm (thanks to CrossFit). You can find schedules just about anywhere. I’m currently on day 14 – almost halfway finished! Woot!

While I may not love planks, I am enjoying the 30 day challenge format, and I’d like to continue with that when this month is over. Do any of you have suggestions for what I should do next?

Succulents & Terrariums

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Guys, I’m not going to pretend  I have a green thumb. I don’t (although, I have managed to keep three African Violets alive for 2+ years). BUT, I did take a flying leap on the succulent train that’s rolling through right now. Succulents are just SO CUTE. Plus it’s really hard to kill them.

Last week, I made a terrarium for my office. I was on the phone with my mom while I assembled it, and she was thoroughly convinced it was for her. In fact, I think her exact words were, “OH, YAY! You’re making me a terrarium for Mother’s Day!”

So, I decided to make her a terrarium for Mother’s Day. Since these little guys are so darling and easy to care for, I thought you might want to give it a shot. Seriously, it only takes 5 minutes to put together.

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You will need:

  • 1 pot
  • some soil
  • rocks
  • succulents

First, put a layer of gravel or rocks in the bottom of the pot. This will help with drainage. Then, add some soil on top of the rocks. Put the succulents in the pot and fill in the rest of the area with more soil. Once the roots are covered and the plants are stable, pat down the soil and water the plants a tiny bit.

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That’s it! Easy, right?! I highly suggest making one (or 20). Who knows, maybe your mom wants one… 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend, dear readers! Don’t forget to tell your mom you love her!

 

Brunch Days are the Best Days

One of the biggest perks of adulthood is brunch. Brunch is simply the best meal ever invented. I mean, you can eat anything and drink booze and coffee. What’s not to love? If it’s good enough for Meryl and Hillary, it’s definitely good enough for me!

                                 Photo from: http://textsfromhillaryclinton.tumblr.com/

Today was Brunch Day, which meant some friends and I got together to eat, drink, talk, and laugh for several hours. I mean, we turn brunching into a marathon. If brunching was an Olympic event, we would win the gold metal.

Brunch Days are potluck, so I decided to bring a quiche. Since it was so easy, I thought I would share the recipe I threw together. The best part is that it can be assembled the night before! That way, all you have to do in the morning is slap it in the oven! Quiches are also very versatile, so you can be pretty creative with the ingredients. Mine usually have an assortment of veggies and cheese in them (although, sometimes I use fruit like apples or pears).

To make the quiche I took for brunch today, you will need: 

  • 1 Pillsbury seamless dough sheet
  • 6-8 eggs
  • 2.5 C diced peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, and red onion
  • 1/4 C sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 dollop cream cheese
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp thyme

I realize that it’s probably pretty easy to make a crust for the quiche, but I’m lazy.  I used one Pillsbury seamless dough sheet. I put it in a 9×11 dish and baked it at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes while I sauteed the veggies in some olive oil.

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                                                   sauteed spring veggies

In a separate bowl, I whisked together the eggs and cheeses. After the veggies had softened, I added the salt, pepper, and thyme. Then, I added everything in the pan to the egg mixture. By that time, the pastry had baked enough that it wouldn’t get soggy. I threw the veggie and egg mixture on top of it, covered it with some tin foil, and put it in the fridge to hang out overnight. This morning, I heated the oven to 350 degrees again, and baked it for 35-45 minutes until the eggs were solid. Voila! Quiche!

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Today’s brunch featured toast with an assortment of sweet and savory spreads, fruit, cheese and crackers, fresh veggies and hummus, quiche, chocolate cake, and (of course) coffee and mimosas; it was a delicious feast! What’s your favorite brunch food or cocktail?

Why am I here?

First, let me clarify that I mean here as in this blog – NOT the eternal “what is my purpose” question (although, that may come later).

Yesterday morning as I was grabbing coffee from my favorite local coffeehouse, I ran into my very first college professor. While we were catching up, he asked what I’ve been doing lately. I told him I finished grad school, co-authored an academic paper that’s going to be published this fall, and got a new job. As I was listing off these accomplishments, I found myself thinking, “Man, I’ve really got it together!”

HA!

While I may seem put together, keep in mind I also think beer and M&Ms make an acceptable dinner.

Dinner.

So, that’s what this blog’s about: how I’m navigating through (into?) adulthood with as much poise and dignity as I can muster while still clutching my not-so-adult tendencies.  It should be a fun ride.