October 31, 2013

In the Kitchen: Pizza Dough

On one of our first dates Will made me homemade pizza. Little did he know, before we started dating I rarely ate pizza. It always upset my stomach as a child so I learned to stay away. Now, I eat pizza probably more than I should. Our recipe has changed a lot over the years. We've tried multiple dough recipes, sauces, and toppings. We still use different pizza toppings depending on our moods and the season, but we have committed to one dough recipe. Mark Bittman's pizza dough comes out consistent every time. We end up with a crispy crust and slightly chewy middle, making it the perfect pizza dough. Plus, it is basic enough for the at-home pizza cook newbie. Give this dough a try if you're interested in making pizza. 

Pizza Dough 

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
1 teaspoon instant yeast 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
1/2 cup water 


Place flour, yeast, and salt in a stand mixer or food processor. If you are using a stand mixer make sure to use the dough hook attachment. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in olive oil and water. Turn up the speed to medium-high and let the dough mix until it a ball forms around the dough (it will take about a minute). 

Once a ball has formed, turn the dough onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough a few times until a smooth ball is formed. You do not need to knead by hand for too long because the mixer did the majority of the work. 

Place the dough back into the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for two hours. After two hours, punch down the dough and allow to rise again for another two hours. 

When dough is ready, remove from bowl and place on a floured work surface. From here, you can either roll the dough out with a rolling pin or by hand. Roll the dough out into a 13 in circle (or whatever form you please), and cook accordingly. 

Makes 1 pizza 

October 30, 2013

Style: Boyish Charm

Sweater: J.Crew // Jeans: Gap // Necklace: Banana Republic // Sunglasses: Karen Walker // Loafers: J.Crew (similar) // Bag: Kate Spade 

This outfit really shows off my personal style: simple, relaxed, but still a little feminine. Last week, I talked about my desire for a new cashmere sweater, and this weekend I found the perfect one. This J.Crew sweater is everything I was looking for. It is cozy, warm, and not too fitted. I think one of the best parts about personal style is getting to play with proportions. Wearing a boxy sweater with skinny jeans and loafers keeps the look casual, yet approachable. I know this is an outfit I will wear on rotation for years to come. 

October 29, 2013

In the Kitchen: Pumpkin Waffles

I've made waffles two sundays in a row. What was just a craving, is becoming an obsession. Last year, Will roasted one of our decorative pumpkins, which we ended up putting in soups and stews throughout the winter. It ended up being much easier than expected and a little pumpkin flavor every once in a while is a welcomed change. 

We picked up a local pie pumpkin at the grocery store last week and roasted it while we made dinner. I had seen a few fall themed breakfast treats floating around the internet, and decided to give it a try. These waffles were great. The pumpkin adds a nice fluffiness and color, while the spices give a good depth of flavor. These waffles are perfect for a lazy Sunday brunch or holiday treat.  

Pumpkin Waffles 

1 cup all-purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup brown sugar 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon clover 
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 
1 cup buttermilk 
1 egg 
1 cup pumpkin puree 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Preheat waffle iron. In a bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon, clover, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. The mixture will still be a little lumpy, make sure to not overmix. 

Spray heated waffle iron with nonstick spray. Pour desired amount into waffler iron and cook until crispy (I like mine a little more done, but it is up to you). Store in a 250 degree oven until all waffles are made. Serve with warm maple syrup and butter.  

Pumpkin Puree 

1 pie pumpkin 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop out pumpkin seeds and cut into quarters. Place pumpkin quarters on a cookie sheet and cook skin side down for 1 hour until softened. Once cooled, remove flesh from skin and mash with a pumpkin mashers. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge. 

October 28, 2013

Style: Orchard Dressing

Dress: Lewis Cho (similarsimilarsimilar) //  Scarf: Anthropologie // Boots: Ralph Lauren // Tights: Hanes c/o, Bag: Kate Spade (similar)

One of the biggest perks of living in Charlottesville is the endless amount of seasonal activities. This past weekend we made our way to Albemarle Ciderworks to try out their legendary cider (it is supposed to be the best around). While the cider was not my favorite, I did enjoy wandering around the apple orchard. They are known for growing vintage apples, but sadly the majority had already been harvested. We ended up finding one loan tree with a few apples to admire. A black sweater dress, boots, tights, and a silk scarf was the perfect outfit for an afternoon outdoors in Virginia. I stayed warm enough for the slight chill in the air, and my tights were thick enough to keep my legs from feeling too cold. Hopefully, we will be able to make it out earlier in the apple picking season next year. 

October 25, 2013

Friday Favorites: Cozy Cashmere


I bought my first cashmere sweater last fall. It is a light teal cardigan from J.Crew, and I still love it as much as I did then. Cashmere is a worthwhile invest. It keeps you just as warm as wool, without the itchiness. This week has showed the first signs of winter so I am looking at stock up on a few good cashmere sweaters to get me through the cold months ahead in Virginia. Above are a few of my favorite, and pretty affordable cashmere sweaters. I am especially eyeing this one from J.Crew. What are your cold weather staples? 

October 22, 2013

In the Kitchen: Leek and Mushroom Risotto

I'm honestly afraid that I will not survive winter in Virginia. Highs in the 30s? Is that a thing? We won't be escaping the 50s for the remainder of the week (is it December already?), so I thought it was a fitting time to break out a warming, very comforting, risotto. I know many home cooks tend to shy away from risottos because they afraid they won't turn our lovely and creamy, but I actually find them to be pretty straightforward. They can take on whatever flavoring you please, and with a little time and a lot of stirring you have a tasty one pot meal. This leek and mushroom version is warm and filling, plus vegetarian and gluten-free! Try this dish the next time you are looking for a comforting week night meal, it is easier than it looks. 

Leek and Mushroom Risotto 

1 tablespoon butter 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1/2 large onion, finely diced 
1 leek, finely diced 
2 cloves garlic, finely diced 
1 cup mushrooms, sliced 
3/4 cups arborio rice 
1/2 dry white wine
2-3 cups vegetable stock 
salt & pepper 
parmesan cheese 
1 tablespoon minced chives 

Heat butter and olive oil in a heavy stock pot over medium heat. Once butter has melted, add onions and leeks. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. 

In another saucepan, bring vegetable stock to a simmer. Add arborio rice to stockpot and cook for 2-3 minutes until rice is glossy. Stir in wine (if you like a less tangy risotto use 1/4 cup of wine). Once wine is absorbed, add warmed vegetable stock 1/2 cup at a time. Continue adding stock 1/2 cup at a time until risotto is cooked through, this will take about 20 minutes. You want the risotto to still have a slight bite but be creamy. Stir in 1/2 tablespoon of chives and a generous amount of parmesan cheese. Top with remaining chives and serve immediately. 

October 21, 2013

City Guide: Oxford, Mississippi

Oxford, Mississippi is my happy place. Those who have attended The University of Mississippi share my fascination with this small southern town. In Oxford, everyone is friendly and everything is beautiful. Maybe there is a little too much fun to be had, because this town spoiled me. Now I can't always get great happy hour deals or just lay in the grove for hours. I went back for the first time in almost a year last weekend and had a great time. Check out my list people for my favorite places to eat, drink, and play. 

Ajax During orientation you will see almost every freshmen dinning here with their parents. They serve good southern cooking with a lot of charm. The veggie plate is my go to, but don't forget to start your meal with a sausage and pimento cheese plate. 
Big Bad Breakfast The name says it all. Here, you will get the biggest and baddest breakfast in Mississippi and possibly the world. They are open for breakfast and lunch, but go early to or on a weekday day to avoid a long wait. Try the breakfast plate with hash browns and tomato gravy for a hearty breakfast. 
Bottletree Bakery I ate here for the first time in high school, and always make it a point to stop in when I'm in town. They bake everything for scratch each morning. I am obsessed with the ham and swiss croissants, and you can never go wrong with one of their sweet pastries. 
Handy Andy The best BBQ in town. They cater mostly to townies so don't worry about feeling out of place (I usually do). Go if you're hungry and get the BBQ sandwich plate with potato salad and baked beans. 
Newk's Great spot for a quick lunch. They make excellent salads, sandwiches, and soups perfect for picnics or taking home. 
Snackbar The best place for dinner in Oxford. They opened my sophomore year, and while in school I made sure to eat here at least once a semester. The menu is seasonal, but make sure to start with the charcuterie plate. If you can't make it for dinner at least stop in for the house punch, it will knock you off your feet! 
Taylor Grocery Located a few minutes outside of town, they are known for their fried catfish. Grab a few friends and a bottle of wine for a long evening on the porch (there is usually a wait). I love the grilled shrimp but most people opt for the fried goodies. 

City Grocery Fine dining downstairs and drinking upstairs. This is my favorite bar in Oxford. Here, you always seem to know someone. Grab a classic cocktail like a gimlet or an old fashioned and watch the square come alive on the balcony. 
Proud Larry's During my senior year, this is where we went for happy hour (it was in walking distance to my house). After 4, you can get margaritas for $2.50 and $1 High Lifes. Plus, if your happy hour lingers on they have the best burger in town. 
The Library Sports Bar Want to hang out with 500 of your closest friends? As the biggest and most popular sports bar in town, this is the place for a long night of drinking and dancing. 

Cicada This women's clothing store caters to high end designers like Rebecca Taylor and Rag & Bone. Two years ago they opened a men's store one block down, which my husband loves. 
The Lyric An old movie theater, this music venue reopened my freshmen year. They get big names like Wilco and Modest Mouse, but they almost always have someone playing every weekend. 
Off Square Books If you are a book lover, you will have a hard time leaving here empty handed. This is where they sell a few of my favorite things: cookbooks and magazines. They also sell discounted books here, so you can always find a good deal. 
Rowan Oak  A trip to Oxford would not be complete without a pilgrimage to Rowan Oak. Tours are free, but make sure to pack a picnic if the weather is nice. 
Square Books Go for the books, but stay for the coffee. Their balcony is one of my favorite spots in town to sit with friends or just admire the day. 

October 18, 2013

Friday Favorites: Burgundy Bags


I'm going to be that girl: how is it already Friday? Seriously, wasn't I just leaving for Mississippi last week? How did a week go by so quickly? Anyway, how about we talk about beautiful burgundy handbags. Living further north has me craving a richer colored wardrobe, but my fair skin does not take kindly to deep hues. So, the best option for me is adding in fall inspired accessories like handbags and shoes. I'm especially loving this bag by Zara. With a lower price point, this bag makes my fall desires a possibility. I would pair mine with black skinny jeans, booties, and an oversized knit. How would you style your burgundy bag?

October 17, 2013

Style: My Favorite Tee

Tee: Anthropologie // Jeans: Gap // Flats: J.Crew // Necklace: Kate Spade // Bag: Kate Spade (similar)

During college, my t-shirt collection grew at an alarming rate. My go-to uniform for four years was an oversized t-shirt, leggings, boots, and a cardigan. Seriously, it wasn't pretty. So, part of my post-college wardrobe has been finding great basics. I pick up this shirt from Anthropologie a few weeks ago while shopping, and it has quickly turned into one of my favorites. It is super soft and the color is perfect for fall. Who makes your favorite t-shirt?

October 15, 2013

In the Kitchen: Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Pasta

Last fall I fell in love with two (new to me) vegetables, brussels sprouts and fennel. I could have eaten them everyday, but I don't think my then fiancĂ©e would have been too pleased. I tried multiple brussels sprouts recipes over the season, but I kept coming back to this one. The crispy bacon, spicy chili flakes, and soft brussels sprouts are so comforting on a cold day. I made this for dinner last week on a particularly cold (it came close to being in the 40's) and rainy night. I'm looking forward to trying out some different seasonal vegetables this fall, but brussels sprouts will always have a special place in my heart.    

Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Pasta 

4 ounces bacon, sliced thinly 
1 teaspoon rosemary 
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes 
5 garlic cloves, chopped 
8 ounces brussels sprouts, sliced thinly 
1 tablespoon butter 
8 ounces penne 
lemon juice
black pepper 
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 

Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat. Once boiling, add penne and cook until al dente. 

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once warm, add bacon and rosemary to pan and cook until crispy (about 5 minutes). Add red chili flakes and garlic and cook for one minute until fragrant. Add the brussels sprouts and 2 tablespoons of water (this helps cook the sprouts). Keep the brussels sprouts moving in the pan until water has evaporated, then press sprouts into the pan and allow to get crispy, this will take about 3 minutes. When the sprouts look cook through add the butter and the juice of 1/2 a lemon to the pan, then toss in the pasta. Serve pasta in a large bowl with a heaping amount of grated parmesan.  

October 14, 2013

Cocktails for Two: Bourbon Sidecar

I like to think I'm not that picky, but I deep down I know I am. When it comes to alcoholic beverages I typically stick to a few drinks: gimlets, red wine, and IPA. So, my kind husband often ends up making two drinks (gin for me and whisky for him) if we're having cocktails, but a few weeks ago I was feeling adventurous and had him make me a Sidecar. Considering I rarely drink bourbon I was pleasantly surprised by this drink. The sweetness masks a lot of the strong bourbon flavor, which I find overpowering, and the lemon gives it a good tart kick. Plus, the deep orange coloring is perfect for this time of year. So, if you're in the mood for a new drink this season, try a Bourbon Sidecar on your next date night. It is a great drink for two on a chilly October night.

Bourbon Sidecar for Two

3 ounces bourbon
1.5 ounces Grand Marnier
.75 ounces simple syrup
2 ounces lemon juice
2 dashes angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake until cocktail shaker frosts over. Strain into two coupe glasses and enjoy.

October 11, 2013

Friday Favorites: Flat Booties

ONE: Steven // TWO: Madewell  // THREE: Marais USA

This weekend I am headed to my old stopping grounds, Oxford, Mississippi. We are packing up the Prius with two of our good friends and making the 12 hour drive to spend time in the grove and hit up a few of our favorite restaurants. While I love Oxford, I do not consider it to be the most fashion-forward town. I will be wearing heels and light dresses the majority of the weekend, but if I had it my way I would be cozied up in a giant sweater and these Steven booties. They look extremely comfortable and are a pretty decent price point, which actually makes them a possibility. I hope everyone enjoys this lovely fall weekend, if you are at home or on the road.   

October 10, 2013

Sale Alert!


Because who can resist a good J.Crew sale? 

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