“I received a credit to try Stitch Fix as a result of this promotion. By posting this review I am entering a contest sponsored by Stitch Fix and am eligible to win a prize. I was not compensated for my time. This post contains affiliate links.”
I have a confession: I’m addicted to clothes, and have been ever since I learned how to pick them out for myself.
There’s something about stepping out in a new outfit that is just so satisfying. I don’t have expensive taste, but I do have a constant itch to change up my wardrobe, so discovering Stitch Fix last year has opened up a whole new world of possibilities. That’s why, when I heard they’d be hosting a sponsored contest with The Recipe Redux…
For those unfamiliar, Stitch Fix sends you clothing personally hand-picked for you by a stylist. Now, I love a good trip to the mall (and like to think I can dress myself halfway decently), but I’m the kind of girl who finds a good pair of pants and then buys them in six colors. So, having an expert pick out styles for me allows me to go outside my comfort zone and incorporate unique, adorable pieces I probably wouldn’t try on otherwise!
Another great thing about Stitch Fix is that your stylist tailors each “fix” to your needs and budget. For example, I wrote in my “Style Profile” that I’m a musician, and am always looking for cute (yet conservative) black blouses for concerts. And whenever I have an event or recital coming up, my stylist is always there to help me find the perfect dress. I also connect my stylist to a Pinterest board where I can share all of the latest trends I’ve been loving. I DON’T love to spend a fortune, though, so my stylist makes sure the pieces I’m sent are within my budget.
Every time you request a “fix,” your stylist sends you five pieces. Whatever you don’t absolutely love, you can send back for free! This month, my pieces were:
Gaura Back Detail Knit Top
This is an adorable top! I was skeptical of the horizontal stripes at first, but they didn’t end up being unflattering. What WAS a little unflattering was actually the detail on the back which, although very cute, pulled a bit with my arms relaxed. I really liked the shirt on (especially with these sage green pants and wedges) but decided after lots of thought that I wasn’t in love with it enough to keep it. However, it has TOTALLY renewed my faith in horizontal stripes! 😉
Bowie Solid Dolman Sleeve Top -and- Arden Printed Maxi Skirt
I loved the fit of this skirt when I first unboxed it. It hugged my curves in all the right places! Unfortunately, the faux wrap look (which I usually love) did not flatter my figure in this particular style. My stylist knows I lo0o0ove floral prints too, but I felt the large, chunky print was overwhelming for my height (or lack thereof). I paired the fitted skirt with the looser dolman top, which was super soft and comfy but not my favorite style. Though I loved the wide neckline, I’m not a fan of sleeves that are purposefully baggy under the arms – they make me feel like a bat! 😛
Lisbon Stud Detail Blouse
This piece and the next were sent to me as options for concert blouses. The length, neckline, and overall cut of this blouse were SO flattering, but in my opinion, the stud detail would be a bit too loud for a concert or gig. I also didn’t love that the sleeves cut off and went in at the elbows.
Nevis Embroidery Detail Blouse
We have a WINNER! I have been looking for a light, sheer black concert blouse for ages and have been having a surprisingly hard time finding a cute one. The embroidery on the front is understated but decorative. The length is not too long, which is hard to come by with a loose tunic-like top, especially when you’re fun-sized 😉 Paired with my favorite go-to concert pants, this blouse was just perfect! I can’t wait to wear it to my next concert or gig.
Curious about trying Stitch Fix? See for yourself! 🙂
There are very few breakfast foods I love more in this world than the blueberry muffin.
Whether it’s fresh out of the oven or one of those generic ones you get in plastic wrap at the corner store, there’s just something about a blueberry muffin that is so satisfying. Not a chocolate muffin, not a poppyseed muffin, and definitely not a CORN muffin (Pointless. WHY? Just eat some cornbread). I don’t know if it’s the buttery flavor, the sweet blueberries, or the temporary carb-induced euphoria, but whatever it is, I loooove it.
So, I know I just gave you a dessert recipe. I know.
I also know that I outlined my unpopular opinion on Valentine’s Day in last week’s post, and now it would appear that I have made you heart-shaped chocolates. But I feel like that’s OK, because Valentine’s Day is over. I’m a weird kind of stubborn sometimes… Also, the only ice cube trays I own are those heart-shaped ones from Ikea. So, there’s that. But you should totally make these next time you have a date over, because they’ll probably fall for you immediately (if they haven’t already).
And I know you may be a bit chocolate-d out from all the chocolate you may have consumed since last Saturday. But for me, there is no such thing as “chocolate-d out,” and I don’t think I’m alone. So I am honoring this month’s Recipe Redux theme, “Favorite Chocolate Matches,” with a super easy, delicious truffle recipe.
Amidst this extremely busy (and freezing) week, simple was the best way to go. I had been planning some kind of cocoa chili, but then earlier this week I made cinnamon chili instead, because I was 100% hungry and only about 60% adventurous. Such is the life of a grad student.
And so this morning, on the morning OF this post’s due date, I still did not have a recipe. Oops. Although, in the true nature of the challenge (which was to find a way to use leftover chocolate), I used two other leftover household staples to make these little nuggets of heaven – peanut butter and dates. So many of my favorite candies boast the peanut butter-caramel-chocolate trifecta, and dates are a perfect healthy way to simulate the texture and flavor of caramel.
I made these before heading off to see a student, popped them in the freezer, and they were perfectly set by the time I got home. Then, I had just enough time to pop them out of the mold and photograph them before I went out to rehearsal. If that’s not proof that these are low-maintenance, I don’t know what is. And I’m kind of high-maintenance. But these honestly taste super fancy, so nobody will have to know your secret 😉
- 3/4 cup pitted dates, mashed
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, melted
- 3 tbs. peanut butter of choice
- Combine mashed dates with a pinch or two of sea salt. Combine and set aside.*
- Spoon a small amount of dark chocolate into each section of a silicone ice tray or mold. Using the back of a teaspoon, spread the chocolate to thinly coat the bottom layer of each section. This layer should still be thick enough that you can't see any of the tray through the chocolate.
- Place in freezer to set bottom layer, about 5 minutes.
- Fill each mold about 2/3 of the way up with mashed dates.
- Fill the rest of each mold evenly to the top with peanut butter.
- Thinly spread the rest of the chocolate on top of each candy (i.e. don't cover the whole surface of the tray/mold with chocolate).
- Return to freezer until set, about 1 hour.
- *If necessary to help with mashing, microwave the dates first for about 20-30 seconds.
Somebody please stop me from eating all of these immediately.
I made these last night, and as of the exact moment I began writing this post (12:32 AM) I had already eaten two of them.
Okay, I had eaten three. But I didn’t eat enough dinner last night. ALSO, I hadn’t yet photographed them, so I had to get rid of all the ugly ones. See? It’s ok. I was doing you a favor… Yeahhh.
I have been dying to make a healthy version of cinnamon rolls since birth, basically. I LOVE cinnamon rolls. In college, one of my roommates would make those amazingly delicious and crazy easy cinnamon-rolls-in-a-tube for special occasions. You know, the ones with the dough that you have to wear protective eyewear to open because the package is GOING to explode? Yeah, you know. SO good.
Unfortunately, those don’t exactly fit into an unprocessed lifestyle, and my goal is to make everything as delicious as possible while also using “real-food” ingredients. And so, these were born. And they are STILL gooey as all heck.
I threw some apples into the mix, because I’m still a li’l bit stuck in autumn and am not loving this weird transition into winter. It has been raining like crazy in NYC for the past few days, but it has been FREEZING. It might as well be snowing. Except that it’s not, so instead of making snowmen in the park and getting days off from school, I’m getting soaked by tsunamis of cold taxi puddle water on my way to class. Do I look amused to you? (Imagine that you can see me, and that I look unamused.) The change in seasons is always a weird time on the East Coast, but cinnamon rolls are for all the time. So, let’s just call these seasonal and be done with it.
Since I didn’t want to use powdered sugar, these do not have your typical “icing,” but they are soaked with a maple syrup glaze, which I think is probably the next best thing. They’re SO delicious warm, with a piping hot cup of coffee or tea on the side. Also, when I was looking for recipe inspiration, I saw that Chocolate Covered Katie put raspberry jam IN her cinnamon rolls. So, obviously, I put some raspberry jam on a warmed up roll for breakfast, and my life was changed. Like, really forever.
The fact that I have a pan and a half of these in my kitchen is really dangerous. Anybody want to help take some of them off my hands?
I’m kidding. Don’t. I want all of them. <3
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 package (1/4 oz.) instant yeast
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, almost boiled
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 egg
- 2 c. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
- 2 c. Whole Wheat Graham Flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
- 1 Honeycrisp or Gala apple, peeled and chopped
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1 tbs. cinnamon
- 2 tbs. coconut sugar
- 1 tbs. honey
- 3 tbs. melted coconut oil
- 2 tbs. melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Dissolve yeast in warm water.
- In a saucepan, heat almond milk on medium heat until almost boiling. Reduce heat and add coconut oil and honey, whisking until melted. Remove from heat and transfer contents to a large bowl - let cool until a bit warmer than room temperature (so that the coconut oil is still a liquid)
- Once cooled, whisk in yeast slurry, egg, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, combine flours.
- Slowly add flour to wet ingredients until completely combined and dough can be handled. Extra flour may be added. Knead dough for a few minutes with floured hands.
- Let sit in a warm place to double in size, about 1 hour.
- Combine filling ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a coarse paste forms.
- Once dough has risen, punch it down and roll out on a floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick.
- Spread filling evenly over dough.
- Roll the long end of the dough inward to create a log.
- Using a very sharp knife, cut into 16 even slices.
- Arrange slices together into two greased cake pans.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Whisk together glaze ingredients and drizzle evenly over warm rolls.
Last week was full of the most fortunate accidents.
Last Wednesday, while seeing a friend of mine perform at Carnegie Hall (casually), I ran into a different friend who I hadn’t seen in forever backstage – he was seeing a friend of HIS performing on the same concert. Crazy, right? Sometimes the music world is just the right amount of small.
Then on Halloween, I had dinner with two former teachers, one of whom was in town with the Philadelphia Orchestra. They were going to be playing Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony, also at Carnegie, but they sold out before I was able to get a ticket. *Commence hysterical crying sequence* So, I went to the hall 40 minutes before the performance to test my luck.
While waiting on the cancellation line, I met the nicest concertgoer who had an extra balcony center ticket she was trying to sell. I don’t usually trust total strangers, but in the name of Mahler… Who KNOWS what atrocities I would commit in the name of MAHLER 😉 The concert was incredible, and I’m sure I cried for about 33% of it.. Ok, I cried the whole time. I miss that orchestra and everyone/everything in Philadelphia so much. It was a bittersweet (but mostly sweet) taste of my second home!
But even before all of this, the week of happy accidents kicked off on Sunday with a little brunch I put together for family at my apartment. You know those days when you have something REALLY specific in mind to cook, but then the grocery store doesn’t have every single EXACT ingredient you plan to use? No? First world problems? I’ll stop talking.
…No I won’t, that’ll never happen. The plan was to make crostini with a crusty whole grain bread and then this here relish. My grocery store didn’t have any kind of fresh baguette that was made with whole grain flour. So, I settled for a whole grain bagel. This was, weirdly enough, the best decision I could have made. I cut the bagel into very thin rounds, tossed them in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and baked them (until they were ALMOST burnt – this was a less fortunate accident). Homemade crunchy bagel chips? IS THIS REAL LIFE?!
The rest of the recipe went exactly as planned. Sweet and tart pomegranate arils, briny chopped olives, thyme, and citrus all mixed together and left to sit overnight, and then sprinkled over the bagel chips which had been generously schmeared with ricotta. Oh, and then I drizzled honey on top of alllll of it because I have zero self control. You drooling yet? If you’re not, I’m worried.
Not only are these toasts like a holiday in your mouth, they LOOK like something you should be serving for the late fall and early winter holidays! Between all the deep reds, greens, and earth tones, all you need is a crackling fire and some hot cider and you’re good to go. I felt a little guilty for sneaking some summer ingredients into the relish, but they worked! I’m not trying to hold onto summer or anything, but not everything has to be cold all the time in the fall and winter. I’m all for seasonal ingredients, but sometimes in the winter, you just need to “wake up” a little.
Plus, these ARE perfect for entertaining! Super easy to put together, minimal cooking required, and taste fancier than they actually are. Make them for your family, friends, and neighbors at your next holiday. They will definitely be back. Make them for your book club – instead of discussing the latest chapters in The Fault in Our Fifty Shades of Twilight, you may end up spending the whole time convincing your winedrunk friends that no, these are not in fact that hard to make. Impressive, delicious, and low maintenance. Just how entertaining should be!
My one word of advice: whoever you do make these for, make more than you think you’ll need – it’s pretty much impossible to stop at just one.
- 2 whole grain bagels, sliced into rounds
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1.5 cups pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 cup mixed olives, pitted and chopped
- 1 tsp. grapefruit zest
- 1 tbs. freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- Combine all relish ingredients into a mixing bowl. Let sit for at least 4 hours (or overnight) in the fridge.
- Preheat oven to 325˚F.
- Slice bagels into rounds - the slices don't have to be the same shape, but should maintain even thickness.
- Toss bagel slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Arrange on a baking sheet. After about 5-7 minutes, check to see if the first side of the bagel slices are browned and crispy. If so, flip them and return to oven. Watch frequently to prevent burning!
- Once both sides are crispy, remove from oven and let cool.
- Spread ricotta on each toast, then top with about 1 teaspoon of relish.
- Once all toasts are assembled, drizzle them with honey and serve.