Monday, December 31, 2012

Fashion Inspiration - Winter layering

I've been trying (I said trying) to do less shopping, which inherently means re-working items already in my closet.  Luckily, there have been some great examples of re-purposing more springlike items for the winter through aggressive layering.  It all got started with this image of Keira Knightley at LAX wearing a big sweater and jacket over a flowy skirt with tights and ankle boots.  I only wish I looked this good when traveling.

{Keira Knightly at LAX, via TomandLorenzo}

I love how the proportions work, and are effectively opposite from those above, with this shrunken fisherman's sweater over a tea-length skirt.

{Mary Kate Steinmiller, via The Sartorialist}

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cherry Almond Granola

There are tons of good granola recipes out there on the internet, including this one I'm anxious to try from 3191 and something like 4 different ones on Orangette.  However, for a long time I still was quite intimidated by the idea of making my own.  My sister has shown me the error of my ways though.  She regularly makes granola to keep us stocked up, and insists that buying it pre-made is outrageously more expensive than making it yourself.  (In the interest of full disclosure, I still don't make my own granola, I just eat the granola my sister makes.  But in case you can't convince your roommate to keep you stocked in homemade granola, now you can make your own.)

The latest batch she made was particularly delicious, with almonds and dried cherries, because as Jamie Oliver would say, almonds and cherries are best mates.

As I understand it, the basic granola recipe is highly adaptable, generally being oats, nuts, flavorings, sweetener & oil, and then dried fruit at the end after baking if you desire.  So to steal a line from the 3191 recipe, "You’re making granola, people, so embrace your inner hippy and just go with the flow."

Cherry Almond Granola

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup almonds, chopped slivered or sliced
1/2 cup shredded coconut or coconut chips
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. agave or honey
3 Tbsp. canola oil (or another neutral oil)
1/4 cup flax seed
1 cup dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

On a large baking sheet, combine oats, nuts, coconut, salt, and cinnamon smooshing around until generally mixed.  Pour over sweetener and oil, and mix about again until incorporated.  Bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown and toasted, stirring every 15 minutes or so to help cook evenly.  Add the flax seeds halfway through baking to allow them to toast, but not burn.  Once you pull from the oven, let cool completely before adding the cherries and storing in an airtight container.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Whitney Houston - Step by Step

One of my favorite holiday movies is "The Preacher's Wife" with Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington, I think in part because I listened to the soundtrack on repeat back in middle school.  This song, "Step by Step," in particular was on such heavy rotation that a cool 15 years later my two closest siblings still remember all the words, no doubt pounded into their memories by ceaseless playing on repeat.

While it was a little hard to watch this year in the wake of Whitney's death, I think maybe all that more important, in order to remember her staggering talent.

Album cover via.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Style Spotlight: Miranda Kerr

While I'm sure she also wears some very nice clothes on red carpets for fancy events, I have always been most impressed by Miranda Kerr's street style looks.  While she's still wearing very expensive clothing, I think her street style looks can more easily be interpreted by non-celebrities, like me.  While I will never have her legs, figure, or clothing budget, there are still some style take-aways from many of her looks.

I love the simplicity of this look, with an over-sized blouse and skinny tuxedo pants.  She almost always has on a great pair of sunglasses and is carrying a great bag, good inspiration for paying attention to even the little details in an outfit.

{In A.L.C. and Equipment in New York via People}

While leather shorts are certainly a little risky, I think it's best to keep the rest of look simple, as here, with just pumps, a white tee, and shades, or as in the look below, with tights and gray and chambray layers on top.

{In Paris for the Dior Spring 2012 fashion show via RCFA}

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The xx - Last Christmas

I can only handle a certain amount of Christmas music before it makes me want to poke my eyes out, and my preferences usually tend towards the classics.  (The Pandora Indie Christmas channel brings me to the brink of eye-poking even faster.)  Therefore, I have absolutely no good reason why I really enjoy this version of "Last Christmas," covered by The xx, found via the We All Want Someone to Shout For blog.

Other than maybe the fact that I love them.  (The Pandora The xx channel is one of my favorites.)  They're a London-based, indie pop group which formed in 2008.

Other than just their "Last Christmas" cover, you should check out their most recent album, Coexist, which came out back in September.  I particularly like "Chained."

Image via.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Shrimp & Grits

Maybe I was just preparing myself for my trip to North Carolina last weekend, but a couple of weeks ago my sister and I threw together a shrimp and grits dinner.  For those of you who don't know this, grits are delicious and go with lots of things, see here.  They're also easy.

I don't even know that I have that much of a recipe to share here, because we just pulled some slow-cooker carnitas out of the freezer and warmed them up in a pan, sauteed some kale with some chili flakes and bacon, and cooked the shrimp with a little lemon, chili flakes, and parsley, and that was it.

EDITED TO ADD: Oops, apparently there was a thoughtful recipe behind the shrimp, rather than just being thrown together, namely this Bobby Flay shrimp and grits recipe.

I use Alton Brown's cheese grits recipe, although I usually just use water to cook the grits.  The key to grits is stirring often during the cooking process so you don't get lumps, and then lots of salt and pepper and cheese.

For my carnitas, I use this Pioneer Woman Spicy Shredded Pork Shoulder recipe, although I leave the rub mixture on the pork overnight, and then just cook the whole thing in a slow cooker during the day while I'm at work, before shredding the meat and reducing the juices.

All told it's as easy as can be.  And then I got to go to North Carolina and have grits for brunch at Foster's with Jenny-Jen.  I'll have to try this next, grits with black beans, salsa, and a fried egg on top.

Shrimp (for shrimp & grits):
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 slices bacon, chopped
4 tsps lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, minced

Rinse shrimp and pat dry.  Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned; drain well.  In grease, add shrimp.  Cook until shrimp turn pink, add lemon juice, parsley, and garlic, and saute for 3 minutes.  Serve over grits.

Cheese Grits:
4 cups water (or broth, or 2 cups water and 2 cups milk)
1 1/2 tsps kosher salt
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 oz sharp cheddar, shredded (or cheese of your choice, Parmesan is good)

Bring the liquid and salt to a boil in a pot with a lid over medium-high heat.  Gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking, and then reduce the heat to low and cover.  Remove lid and whisk every 3-4 minutes, and cook for a total of 20-25 minutes or until creamy.

Remove from heat, add the pepper and butter, and whisk to combine.  Gradually whisk in the cheese a little at a time.  Taste for salt, pepper or more cheese.

4 lbs pork shoulder (up to 7 lbs is fine)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp salt (or up to 2 Tbsp)
pepper to taste
3-4 cloves garlic
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 whole onion, peeled and quartered
line wedges

Throw all the ingredients save the pork and lime into a food processor and blend until combined.  Rub the mixture all over the pork shoulder, and store covered in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, place the pork shoulder and all the rub mixture into your slow cooker, add a couple of cups of water, and cook on the low setting for 6-8 hours, or until fork tender.

Once cooked, pull the meat out and shred the pork with two forks.  Now you have options with the sauce.  You can try and remove some of the fat by skimming it off the top. (This is way easier if you can stick the sauce in the fridge overnight because the fat rises to the top and solidifies).  You can reduce the sauce on the stove top if you think you have too much liquid.  Or you can just throw the shredded meat back into the slow cooker and mix it all up, which is what I usually do.  Serve with lime wedges.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December Country Music Round-Up

Every so often there's nothing I want to listen to so much as country music.  Being currently right smack in the middle of such a period, I thought I would share some of my current favorites.  When I've been getting stressed out, I try to remember to "get some of this laid on back."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fuchsia Trunk Show

My favorite jewelry store Fuchsia is having their annual holiday trunk show this Thursday and Friday.  The vast majority of the jewelry on my board is from there.

So come on out!  I'll probably go on Thursday, in case you were interested.  Details below:

Hello everybody!
Time for our Holiday Trunk Show!
Thursday December 6th and Friday December 7th.
5:00 to 9:00 both nights
Tons of local jewelry, sweets, and bubbly!
Hope to see you here...
6658 se Milwaukie Avenue
503 232 3737

First image mine, second from Fuchsia email list.  

Sky Ferreira - Everything is Embarassing

Most of you have probably heard of this song, since it came out on her "Red Lips" EP on October 16, 2012.  However, I just heard about it as the best song of the year from Nitsuh Abebe's Top Ten Albums of 2012 post on NY mag.  And it does not disappoint.  Her debut album is meant to come out in early 2013.

Image via.
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