Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday fundays.

by Crystal

Today was a somewhat lazy day filled with football, jalapeno popper dip, and writing wedding thank you cards. I don't care that it has been over one month since the wedding. Our guests WILL be thanked! And they will be thanked a lot!

But I went shopping yesterday. What else is new? I stopped by Old Navy and got drawn into the $19 Rockstar cords. Nineteen dollars, people. I think they're normally like $ that's like three for the price of one, right? Well, that's what I told myself so when I walked out with three pairs anyway. I'm already loving them.

I also bought a few pairs of boots that I'm second guessing the next day. Does that ever happen to you? Where they're a great idea in the store, but when you get home you're just not sure? No? Just me? Maybe I'm too impulsive. But I look at it as an opportunity to return them and buy new ones!

Outfit details:
Scarf: Local boutique in Hermosa Beach, CA
Shirt: GAP (Gap Pure)
Corduroy pants: Old Navy
Flats: Steve Madden

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Venn Diagram I can actually understand.

by Crystal

I tend to have anywhere from 5-67 projects going on at once. While not all of them actually come to fruition (some are never even started...), these projects help me keep my creative mind active, which I believe helps keep me sane. Well, that and wine, but we've gone over that, haven't we?

I saw this pin on Pinterest and immediately knew I wanted it. The productive mood struck me on Saturday, so I decided to make it!

  • Sharpie marker
  • Floating picture frame (you know, one of those with the glass on both sides)
  • Piece of paper (I used a patterned piece from JoAnn Fabrics)
  • A bowl to trace circles
  • Good music (I listened to Zach Brown Band's album "Uncaged." Love.


I used paper with a wood pattern on it.

The finished product hanging on the wall.
Finished product hanging on the wall with other photos in frames. What can I say? When the productive mood strikes, I do as much as I can. It doesn't strike very often.

The finished product hanging on the wall with other frames over our (half-made) bed!

My husband was pretty impressed. Not that I put this all together, but that I knew what a Venn Diagram was. Come on hubby, I know my calculus.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

wine is life.

by Crystal

Ok friends, it's about time I come clean. I'm a little bit obsessed with wine. If I could only drink one thing for the rest of my life, that's what I would choose. It's got water in it, right?

A friend asked me to go to a wine tasting at the Eagles Club on Wednesday (don't know what the Eagles Club is? I didn't either until I moved here). Everyone brought a bottle of wine, and we all got to try what everyone brought. Turned out 21 other people thought it would be fun too. So we drank 21 bottles of wine. Oh, you don't do that on a school night? I'm not ashamed, judge me if you will.

I brought one of my favorite bottles of wine, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Zinfandel. Much to my dismay, much of it was dumped out in the dump buckets. Next time, I'll remember that the people of southern VA tend to like their wine to taste like juice. 

Shirt: Gadzooks (from high school - remember that store?)
Skirt: Old Navy (2011)
Wedges: Target
Necklace: Gap Outlet

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


by Crystal

It's really hard to get dressed this time of year. When I woke up, it was about 40 degrees. Seriously. I had to put the heater/defroster on in my car on the way to my morning yoga class. But then it warmed up to about 75 degrees. How does one dress for that? Well, if you are like I was today, you change clothes about four times. Weird weather coupled with my day of indecisiveness made it especially hard.

This is what I ended up with - a favorite shirt of mine that I've had for years, and if I could, would wear every other day, along with a new pair of $4 shorts from Old Navy. A major bonus of the seasonal transition - getting summer clothes on super sale! Try saying that five times fast.

 Outfit details:
Shirt: H&M (old)
Shorts: Old Navy
Shoes: Wal-Mart

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wedding Planning 101

by Crystal

Sooo...I got married about two weeks ago. Let me just say, it was awesome. And I've heard from other people who were there that they thought it was awesome too, so it wasn't just because I was the bride!

We planned this event for about nine months, so I feel like I learned a lot from the experience, and thought it would be good to share with those of you who are planning weddings/thinking about getting married/just interested.
  1. Get a wedding planner. They've done this a billion times before. They know who to go to for what. They make paying your vendors much easier. But do your research. There are a lot of wedding planners who limit their services to only a few visits or phone calls before the actual day, and may even charge you extra for being there the day of the wedding. To me, this is a bit ridiculous. The woman who we worked with was available to answer any questions we had, was there for the entire day of making sure things were getting done, and probably saved us more money than we paid her for her services.
  2. Research your venues. Some venues may seem less expensive, but they may not include as much in that cost. Ask the venue if the cost entails any rentals (i.e. tables and/or linens, chairs for ceremony, dance floor, etc.). If these come with the venue, you could save a lot of money. Another thing you may ask is whether you can bring your own alcohol to the venue. If so, you end up saving a lot as well!
  3. Delegate tasks to bridesmaids/groomsmen/family. Since our wedding was a bit of a destination one, most of our guests took the opportunity to create a little mini-vacay out of it. In doing so, we wanted to put together a few activities to maximize our time with everyone. But with all the planning we were doing for the wedding and honeymoon, we asked for some of the wedding party and our families to pitch in and help plan the activities the days before and the day of the wedding. To make things easier, we had a list of things that needed to get done, and asked for them to speak up on what they were comfortable helping out with!
  4. Decide what to splurge on, and what to cut back on. From the beginning, we had a set budget, and needed to abide by that. Because we had our hearts set on a photographer who would be more than we planned for, we figured out what wasn't as important to us - because where we were getting married was already so naturally beautiful, we decided for less florals/decorations, and also because it wasn't a formal wedding, I chose a less expensive dress (but totally appropriate for the environment). For some people, the dress may be the most important thing, or the food - whatever it is, make those choices, and rearrange your budget so that you can make it work!
  5. Speaking of which - think about where you're getting married, and plan the wedding/reception accordingly. We got married outside in Florida in August. It.Was.Hot. We knew it would be, so we didn't want to make the ceremony last excruciatingly long. We also ordered program fans, so the guests could keep cooler during it. As I noted before, my dress was less expensive because it was fairly simple in style (read: less fabric helped me stay cooler!). We also didn't require the men to wear tuxes, or even suits. Eric was the only one in an actual (cotton) suit - while the others just wore shirts and a tie, nice pants and suspenders.
  6. Decide what traditions are important to you, and skip the rest. We didn't do a garter/bouquet toss, or even cut the cake. But we did see each other before the wedding, announce the wedding party and have a father/daughter and mother/son dance. Why? Well first of all, the garter and bouquet toss always made me feel a little uncomfortable as a single person (hello...I'm already single, do I need to be called out for being so?), and we don't even really like cake that much. But we wanted to acknowledge our friends and family. And we saw each other before hand to help make my walk down the aisle a little less tearful. I wouldn't change that choice either - it was special to have the moment of us seeing each other for the first time be a little more private than it would have been otherwise.
  7. Don't forget about your groom. He's a part of the wedding too. Eric didn't care about a lot of what went into the planning, but he did care about some of it - such as the music, food/drink, favors. I always tried to keep him in the loop with what was going on and got his input - sometimes it was just "whatever you want, I don't care," but I felt better knowing that he had the opportunity to make decisions as well. There were a few times when I wasn't completely convinced about what he wanted, but still went with it. In 20 years, what really matters besides the fact that you married the love of your life? (And actually, some of those things got some very positive feedback from our guests!)
  8. Remember who you are as a couple, and try to make your day reflect that. We're mostly a laid back couple who like to have fun. Our family and friends are important to us, and to make this known, we incorporated many of them into the ceremony and reception. We let the bartender serve drinks before the wedding, and people even kept them while seated for the ceremony - why not? We let people eat dinner when they wanted. We gave our guests crazy colored sunglasses as favors (one of Eric's staples), and promoted them wearing them throughout the day/into the night. We wear our sunglasses at night. It was the little details like these that weren't big deals, but were important to us because it helped make the ceremony ours.
And now, a little preview of some moments of the big day!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hot Pockets

by AnitaAh...Hot Pockets...I remember coming home from High School around 3:30pm every day and ravishing with hunger. What else does one teenage grab for, pop in the microwave, and burn their tongue on?? HOT POCKETS! Well, fast forward to now and I realize how fake and processed Hot Pockets are as well as half of the freezer/convenience section. It definitely takes a much longer time to make these than the 2 minutes in the microwave oven but these are beyond easy once your dough is ready. My refrigerator was running low on ingredients but I had a bell pepper from our Green B.E.A.N. Delivery (which inspired me for some of these recipes) and I wanted to use it inside a recipe somehow. A random desire to use my bell pepper turned into a pizza pocket of goodness that was all vegetarian. Whole wheat pizza pockets make this REAL food recipe something that can be your go-to for a quick dinner and great leftover as well with a side of marinara sauce and a salad. This recipe can be turned into a meat lovers heaven, a cheese head's paradise or vegetarian's oasis so get creative and have a pizza pocket party!


Serving Size 4 - 6 (pending on your dough outcome)Food processor or mixer needed

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons Dry Active Yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups whole wheat Flour
  • 1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh mozzarella or shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • OPTIONAL Fillings I used: Sauteed green bell pepper, green olives, onion, garlic. Also try another time: sauteed sausage, ground turkey, BBQ chicken, flank steak. Add pesto, BBQ sauce, cilantro, pineapple, caramelized onions or shallots, basil, spinach, eggplant, zucchini, goat cheese, or sprouts. 
  • Pizza sauce or marinara sauce (I used Muir Glen Organic Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Pour the 1 cup warm water in a glass measuring cup, heat up if necessary. Put in the 2 teaspoons of Dry Active Yeast and let it rest for a minute.
  3. Once the yeast foams a little add the salt and olive oil and stir.
  4. In a food processor with a dough blade/hook add 3 cups of flour. Pour in the water mixture and start the mixer until the dough forms a ball in the processor. 
  5. Coat a large bowl with olive oil and add the pizza dough ball and cover with plastic wrap so that it can rise (20-30 minutes) while you prep the filling ingredients. *You can also make the dough earlier in the day or day before to have it ready to go.*
  6. In a separate bowl, put the ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses in and mix together. 
  7. Chop/dice the other filling ingredients (bell pepper, onion, garlic, and green olives) and saute in a pan on med-high heat.
  8.  Divide the dough into 4 or 6 pieces and shape each into a ball. With a rolling pin, flatten them but not too thin since you need enough dough to fold the pockets. 
  9. Place a spoonful of the cheese filling, then sauce, and then the veggies in the middle of the flattened dough.
  10. Fold the dough up and seal the edges as best as possible (some ingredients might come out on the sides). You can seal up like a square or circular pocket. 
  11. Place the dough seam side down onto a greased baking sheet and pierce the top of the dough with a fork to avoid a cheesey mess while baking. 
  12. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes; remove and let cool for a minute.
  13. Enjoy with a little marinara sauce, salad, and broccoli as well as some Chianti wine.
The flour and the yeast -- what a beautiful marriage to make tasty dough.
Dough in it's beginning stages of took a lot of patience for me to wait. 
The cheesey goodness with Mozz, Ricotta, and Parm
The greenies in my dish: basil, bell pepper, and olives
Sauteeing those veggies for the filling
The 4-pack pizza pocket
Ohhh the satisfaction of cheese oozing out is bliss!

Not Just Any Chip...Zucchini Chips

by Anita

Are you trying to eat more veggies or at least find a radical way to eat them to balance out your intake of licorice, diet soda or  cookies? Well, I am happy to say that I rarely eat or drink the aforementioned items but I certainly want to learn new ways to eat nature's savory candy. This recipe for Zucchini Chips is easy once you have the prep station ready. These are a great go-to for appetizers or a side dish and believe it or not they are still tasty chilled. To make Zucchini Chips healthy you can bake them however, I decided to fry them to get even more golden brown.

Zucchini Chips

Serving Size: 4 - 6
  • 2-medium zucchinis
  • 3 eggs (organic or free range)
  • 1  to 1 1/2 cups whole wheat breadcrumbs (I used Trader Joe's brand)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • Olive Oil or vegetable oil 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Thinly slice the zucchinis about 1/8" round pieces; if they are too thick they will take longer to bake/fry
  2. Prep station (2 shallow bowls): one for the beaten eggs and the other for the bread crumbs, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil (about 1 Tblsp) or 2 Tblsp of vegetable oil in a large saute pan  . Set to med-high heat.
  4. Prep the zucchinis (using tongs, fork, or your fingers) by dipping into the egg and then in the breadcrumbs. Toss them in the breadcrumbs to coat. 
  5. Put the breaded zucchinis on a plate to gather enough to make one layer of zucchinis in the hot saute pan.
  6. Continue to coat another batch of zucchini chips while you monitor the chips in the pan. Turn over after 3 minutes. The oil will get hotter as you continue to cook. If you add more oil, be sure that it is heated before placing the chips in the pan.
  7. Place the finish zucchini chips on a paper towel on a plate and cover while the others cook.
  8. Repeat the process until all the zucchini chips are cooked to a golden brown. Enjoy your revolutionary veggie chips and save some for a late night snack!

The prepping station for your new veggie chips. It gets a little messy.

WHOLE WHEAT bread crumbs makes this REAL food
Egged. Breaded. Zucchini Chips in the making.

Single layer of Zucchini Chips in the hot saute pan

You can see the complete, all vegetarian meal that I created with zucchini, black beans, new baby potatoes, Bibb lettuce, and locally grown tomatoes.