30 October 2014

Lemon Chicken & Arugula Salad

This post is brought to you by Quirky!

Some time ago, one of my girlfriends suggested I create a copycat recipe of Trader Joe's Lemon Chicken & Arugula Salad for the blog. If you haven't had it: arugula, couscous & quinoa salad with grilled chicken, and a lemony red pepper dressing. We buy packaged salads a few times a month because they're easy, but I've been trying to make more meals from scratch at home so I gave it a whirl. This version is definitely different - adding beets and goat cheese - but inspired by the original.

When Quirky reached out to me, I did a little dance around the kitchen. Their website offers a vast array of kitschy tools and gadgets - inventions made by everyday people. I was immediately drawn to The Stem, thought up by a guy named Tim - a high-polished aluminum spray nozzle that you stick into a citrus fruit to spray out all the juice. No more squeezing. No more seeds. No more lemon juice stinging my hangnails. And only $9.99! Crazy deal & an ingenious invention. And it arrived in a cool little box. I love thoughtful snail mail.

The tool reminded me of an all time favorite salad dressing of mine, that I picked up from Rachael Ray years ago - lemon juice, salt, and a little EVOO. Simple. Delish. But you can also use it to make a snazzy cocktail: spritz your martini glasses with a little grapefruit for your next girls night. Or mist your shrimp with a little lime. For my copycat salad, The Stem dressed the greens with just the right amount of lemon.

Lemon Chicken & Arugula Salad
  • Arugula
  • Butter Lettuce
  • Lemon, Olive Oil, Sea Salt (for dressing)
  • Israeli Couscous
  • Red Quinoa
  • Golden Raisins
  • Chickpeas
  • Roasted Red Pepper
  • Roasted Beets
  • Chicken Breast
  • Goat Cheese (I used cranberry chèvre)

  • Prepare your chicken breast and couscous/quinoa salad ahead of time and let them cool. I used a homemade marinade for the chicken with garlic, roasted red peppers, olive oil, a little lemon juice, salt and pepper. Baked at 375': 10 minutes covered, 20 minutes uncovered, until the chicken reaches 165'. For the couscous/quinoa, prep per package instructions (use chicken stock instead of water for added flavor if you have some), taste and season as you go. Mix in the chickpeas, diced roasted red pepper, and golden raisins (or use dried currents, as the Trader Joe's original does).

    Start with a mix of arugula and butter lettuce. Spritz with lemon juice, using The Stem. Season with freshly ground salt - I like pink Himalayan sea salt - and toss with olive oil. Add couscous/quinoa mix, roasted beets, sliced chicken breast, and goat cheese - try the Cranberry Goat Cheese from Trader Joe's! It's delish! And voilà, you're ready to enjoy.

    Bon appetit, from me and my friends over at Quirky!
    PS: Use the code TREAT25 for 25% off & free shipping through 11/2.

    Pro Tip: When you register for a Quirky account, you get to vote on product ideas to help choose the next big invention that Quirky will design, and you can even submit ideas of your own

    Check out these other neat Quirky products:

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    28 October 2014

    Mad for Plaid & Menswear

    ASOS Men's Shirt // H&M Leggings // Guess Booties
    ASOS Waist Belt // H&M Clutch (similar here) // MAC Rebel Lipstick

    I stopped by the MAC store yesterday to get color matched with the right foundation and lipstick for my skin tone. I was sold on Rebel immediately! I've been on the hunt for the perfect fall shade of lippy, and it was as easy as asking the makeup artist for her suggestion. Why didn't I do this sooner?! I may never wash it off.

    Today's casual look isn't just menswear inspired, it is menswear - wearing Jesse's new linen blend button down with the sleeves rolled. I got it for him earlier this month for his birthday. It's typically difficult for him to find a well fitted shirt, because he's 6'4" with a slim build. These ASOS shirts were a hit, and now I know where I'll be shopping for him in the future! Highly recommend.

    And on the DIY front, this necklace is my newest creation. I got myself a Metal Stamping Kit recently and finally put it to good use. The ampersand is probably my favorite typographical character. Took a bit of practice stamps to get it just right, but I'm really happy with the turn out! What do you think?

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    23 October 2014

    Autumn in Palm Springs

    Jenny Han Metallic Knit Sweater (similar here) // SaboSkirt Floral Shorts // NastyGal Sunnies (similar here)

    Palm Springs style is a lot to do with luxe fabrics and boho prints. As a music festival destination with primo weather this time of year, such festive style is an easy go to year round. These shorts were a summer purchase over a year ago, and they transition into fall easily paired with an oversized knit - tucked or untucked. I adore the scalloped hem. It's the details that really make a look stand out. Speaking of details, the metallic threading in this sweater is so Palm Springs. I wish the photos did it justice. If it's glitzy and gaudy, you'll fit right in with the old school hollywood crowd. I thrifted this sweater this week, and chances are it came from a ritzy retiree. All the more reason to love it.

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    19 October 2014

    Nouveau Boyfriend Tee

    ASOS Boyfriend Tee with Nouveau Print // ASOS Maxi Skirt with Dropped Waist

    More often than not, you can find me with a dirty chai latte in hand wearing a basic loose cut tee. Add the word "boyfriend" to any garment, and I'll probably buy it. Boyfriend cardi? Check. Boyfriend blazer? Check. Boyfriend tee? Ten times, check. The term usually implies oversized fit, with a feminine take on menswear structure. This specific tee is my new (or should I say nouveau?) favorite. The fabric is super soft, the rolled sleeves were set perfectly, and I'm a sucker for a good typeface. Plus, it's French & I'm obsessed.

    After cleaning out my closet, I've been on a mission to find a quality black maxi with a good shape. I fell in love with this the moment I laid eyes on it. Just the right amount of flounce, and it's high waisted. Yes please, and thank you very much!

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    18 October 2014

    Harvest Turkey Sandwich

    We had grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner the other night, and got to talking about quality cheeses and crusty breads. I was inspired to put together a seasonal turkey sandwich on ciabatta, with cranberry, pesto, roasted tomatoes, and some really good greens. I'll preface this by saying the sandwich would be ideal with brie, but I wanted to make use of what we already had - muenster. Tasty as hell.

    Ahh, the crusty loaf. We determined crusty bread makes for a better sandwich (of course this depends on the sandwich - ciabatta probably isn't the best choice for a PB&J).

    I recently read that tomatoes should always be served roasted (I wish I could remember where I found my first recipe). I'd never tried them that way, but gave it a go a few weeks ago and I think I am officially ingesting the proper daily dose of lycopene. I could seriously eat these for every meal - with eggs, mixed into a jar of marinara for a semi-homemade meal, even by themselves... by the bucket full. Heat the oven to 425', drizzle with olive oil, a little S&P, and roast for 20-30 minutes. I like to use garlic sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a pinch of dried herbs. They're great with a splash of balsamic added in the last 5-10 minutes, I used white balsamic for this sandwich.

    I cheated a little with the pre-cooked turkey breast, but it was a better option than the preserved sliced deli meat. A little muenster (but try brie!), fresh basil leaves, and micro greens. The bread got brushed with pesto and warmed in the oven after the tomatoes finished.

    When you roast tomatoes, you can quarter them or slice them. I think I prefer them quartered, but the slices worked better for the sandwich. Anybody know a trick to get all the burnt oil off the dish? The downside of roasted tomatoes is that the dishes take a heck of a lot longer.

    Pile it all up and add a dollop of cranberry sauce at the end for the perfect fall treat. Bon appetit!

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    17 October 2014

    New Arrivals, Butter Cake & a Recipe

    It's been a busy, productive week! When I spoke about October goals, I mentioned revamping my Poshmark closet. I've opted to sell on eBay instead, for the time being. It's become this fun little obsession the past couple days to get everything listed (I have a lot, some brand new & unworn, some vintage). You can expect lots of new arrivals rotating in all month. I'm listening to my high school iPod while I style and photograph the clothes - such good flashbacks! The Killers, Aqualung, Beatles, old Daft & Benassi... yes, a few random Britney Spears songs...

    Above: cut out velvet-feel dress // smiley face shorts // cruizin' tank // vintage lacoste sweater

    Celebrated Jesse's birthday in style at Mastro's with their famous warm butter cake (he would have preferred chocolate, but I loved it as usual). And looking forward to seeing Jim Jefferies live next month. We've never been to a comedy show before, so it should be exciting.

    Lots of kitchen experimentation all week! This one was a favorite, a recipe given to me by Jesse's mom: Enchilada Stuffed Shells. Cook your ground turkey as normal in a skillet with mix-ins like onions and beans, and some taco seasoning. Boil large shell noodles per box instruction. Stuff the shells with your turkey mix & line them up in a baking tray. Smother with enchilada sauce & bake at 350' for 25 minutes, add some shredded cheese a few minutes before you pull them out. Serve with sour cream and your favorite salsa. Sliced green onions over the top would be a great pop of color.

    Also new & notable: the interview I conducted with music festival producer Mariah Hanson is now up on Coachella Magazine. My first interview in years! You can check it out here.

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