Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chicken and Kale Casserole

I can't believe I have not posted this recipe yet! I made it almost two months ago and had totally forgotten about it.  I am a hug fan of casseroles or any dish that can be prepared ahead of time.  That way I can cook at nap-time then at dinner all I have to do is pop it in the oven.  This dish makes alot, I separated it into two dishes and brought half to my sister in law who had just had a baby.  If you buy a rotisserie chicken this is super easy to make.  Not many ingredients but they all pair together really well.  I love the addition of the lemon in it, it adds such a nice unexpected flavor.  Plus since there is kale in it you are getting a serving of leafy green veggies for the day.   I of course had to tweak the recipe by adding more cheese- everything tastes better with extra cheese!
This is such a great weekend night meal! 

|| C H I C K E N   A N D  K A L E  C A S S E R O L E ||
Recipe adapted via Martha Stewart
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3/4 pound large pasta shells
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced medium
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bunches kale (1 1/2 pounds), tough stems and ribs removed, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 container (28 ounces) part-skim ricotta
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan, grated 
  •  1 Container Cottage Cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain; return to pot. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is beginning to soften, 4 minutes. Add kale, cover, and cook until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to pot with pasta.
  2. Step 2

    Stir in chicken, ricotta, cottage cheese, lemon zest, and 1/2 cup Parmesan, and mozzarella; season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; top with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake until top is golden, 30 minutes.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Obsessions + A Note on Yesterdays Post

Before I start into my favorite topic of Obsessions, I want to address something from my post yesterday.  Several of you left comments not liking my post, saying it rubbed you the wrong way, and that really bothered me.  I was not trying to make anyone feel bad. 

I was not bad mouthing working mothers at all or saying your life is easier,  in fact I said I am often envious of them and understand why many have to/choose to go back to work.    When Sterling starts school more full time I plan to go back to work and for the past year I have worked part time in addition to my blog which is also like a job for me.  I understand that it is equally as hard to be a working mom.   Being a mom working or not comes with challenges.  I was merely writing about a personal decision I made to be a stay at home mom and how hard of a job it was and the sacrifices made.  I know working moms make sacrifices too, but I was writing purely about my own personal experience.
All of us moms need to stick together working or not.  It is ridiculous to pit working moms against stay at home moms.  We are all just doing the best we can to provide for our families and be the best moms we can.  We each face different hardships each day.  I was not trying to compare the two at all.   I admire you working moms and meant no harm in my post and I am sorry if you took it the wrong way.   My blog is like my personal diary where I choose to share certain aspects of my life, I never set out to offend people but I guess some read into things more than others.  I respect all mothers working or not,  it is damn hard job and we need to stop judging each other and support each other.  Moms need to stick together. 
 Love to all you moms out there. ...............................................................................................................
 First of all I need to mention Shopbop is having their Friends and Family Sale, use code INTHEFAMILY to get 25% off all orders.  Several items from my list today are from Shopbop so don't forget to use the code at checkout!  Now is the time to buy Rag and Bone Newbury Booties if you don't already have a pair they rarely get put on sale.  I love mine, best boots ever and worth the splurge.  Pretty sure I am going to go ahead and order my MOTHER jeans for post baby as well!

I am so glad Topshop finally ships to the US.  They have some fabulous pieces for amazing prices.  Loving this dress, the colors are awesome.

also love it in this Floral Pattern as well.

I am loving plaid for Fall.  This is such a cute jacket for everyday wear.

These pants are amazing!! I am dying for a pair of skinny velvet pants and you know the fit on these will be amazing.


Loving these booties and the price. They look really similar to the Rag and Bone booties.  They have gotten rave reviews on every website I have looked at.

This dress is so awesome and the price tag is even better.  It would be so cute layered with a fun vest, blazer or leather jacket.

I am totally obsessed with this blouse.  Perfect pattern and fit.  Would look amazing with the leggings below.

These leggings are a must.  David Lerner makes the best leggings around.  I have been on the hunt for a pair that looked like leather and these are perfection.

Love both these pave links bracelets.  They would look so good layered with other bracelets or solo.
Gold || Black

Monday, October 14, 2013

Being a Stay at Home Mom

Over the weekend, I read the most incredible and on point article about being a stay at home mom, written by, gasp, a man. It was spot on and I found my self nodding and agreeing with everything he said. You must check out the article HERE, it is appropriately called Being a Stay at Home Mom, What do you do all day?  Matt Walsh's wife is one lucky lady, for the fact that he realizes how hard it is being a stay at home mom.  Sometimes I think men don't quite get it.

It got me thinking alot about being a stay at home mom.  As soon as I got pregnant with Sterling I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom.  We grew up with my mom home with us and I wanted that same experience.  I realize some people don't have the option or luxury to stay at home with their kids, wheter they choose to go back to work (trust me I can understand why you would choose the adult world over poop and baby talk all day) or the fact that finicially they need two incomes.  As luck would have it the company I worked for while I was pregnant with Sterling got hit hard by the down turn in the economy and I was laid off the weekend before I had Sterling.   They offered no maternity leave so this was just as good.  I knew I probably won't go back full time after I had Sterling, but had thought about part time.  I was never the bread winner anyways so by the time we added in daycare it wasn't financially worth it for me to work anyways.

You see I choose to be a stay at home mom.  Yes, things are tight around here and there have been times when we have had to rely on our families to help us out.  I am lucky in that aspect, that they will lend a helping hand.   I choose to have less, meaning we have not taken a vacation since our honeymoon (except for our beach trip which my family pays for)  because I want to be home with Sterling.  We desperately need more space but just can't afford to move to a bigger house right now, for the same reason.   It makes you realize yes, money is important but not the most important thing in life.  I would not change a thing, I am so grateful to stay home with Sterling.  I  love spending so much quality time with him while he is young and watching him grow and mature into such a sweet, loving and quirky little man.  I have witnessed all of his "firsts" and seen his personality develop and to me that is worth more than gold.  I will forever treasure these times and memories.

Being a stay at home is mom is a long ass day.  I don't understand the people who think our day is easy and that we sit around and watch tv all day.  In fact most days I rarely watch TV unless its cartoons for Sterling.  Sterling wakes up before the sun rises everyday single day (seriously 6:45 is a late start for us) and is non stop from the moment he wakes up.   At this age Sterling always needs something- food, juice, help building a puzzle, help getting dressed,  help using the bathroom (at what age can you stop wiping your kids bottom?), etc.    In between tending to his needs I also have to take care of our dog and all the household responsibilities.   Making sure the house is clean, sheets are changed, laundry is done, drycleaning dropped off, dinner is cooked,  you get the idea.   Then somewhere in between all that I try to take an hour for me and work on my blog, because that is what I enjoy plus it provides me with some spending money.  Until about a month ago I was also working at home part time at my old job but finally had to quit because I was just too over stretched, I don't know how some women juggle it all.

The days are incredibly long as a stay at home mom.  I am exhasuted by 7 most nights, just the time Matt is getting home from work.  I feel bad because by then I am done for the day and just want to get in bed but marriage is important too so I make an effort for us all to eat togther as a family and catch up with Matt.   You can't forget about your spouse even though your kids drain the life out of you. This clip from family guy pretty much sums it up, there is always someone yelling "mom".

I think being at stay at home mom is one of the most under-appreciated jobs around.  We always put our needs last and rarely get any down time.   Even on the weekends it is just me and Sterling because Matt works most weekends.   After becoming a mom myself it made me appreciate all that my mom sacrificed and gave to us even more. At times I am envious of people who go to work and have that adult time, I am sure it nice to have a break from your kids but I still wouldn't change a thing.  My heart broke for my sister and sister in law when they had to go back to work, I know hard it is to leave your baby when they are young, especially when you don't want to. 

I think the years when your kids are young are fleeting, they go by so fast and I feel so grateful to be able to spend all this time with Sterling.  I truly love being a stay at home mom.    I rarely get a thank you, but I know I am helping to mold my son into a good person and that is all that matters.  Bravo to all you stay at home moms, I know what tough but equally rewarding job it it.
Word to your Mother.  and yes I am terrified of being a SAHM to two kids- yikes!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Weekend Style Files: Scarves The Perfect Fall Accessory

I am a huge fan of scarves. I have two bins filled with them in my closet. I feel like they can effortless complete an outfit and take it to the next level. My favorite scarf I own is my Missoni Infinity Scarf. I used to primarily buy cheap scarfs until my parents gifted me with this scarf last year for Christmas and I became obsessed with it. I wore it with everything from my lululemon workout gear to my everyday clothes. It is indeed the perfect scarf and worth the extra money.

  Gap and Banana Republic have really nice affordable options out- I am smitten with Banana Republic's Colorblock Cashmere version, it comes in 8 great versatile colors and the price is great. 

I rounded up a few of my favorites for Fall.  Use code GAPSAIL to get additional 35% off at Gap and code FALL to get 30% off at Piperlime.

and in case you get stumped like me wondering how to perfectly tie a scarf, I found this great guide.  Although not gonna lie I love an Infinity Scarf purely for the fact you can just slip it on, no messing involved!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Thoughts For Friday

Happy Friday Friends. The hubs is off fishing all weekend so me and little man are going to have alot of quality time together. We have big plans to to have a movie date and see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. 

With Columbus Day on Monday lots of places are having sales.  Tibi is having their Friends and Family Sale, 25% off full priced merchandise.  A few of my favorites, scroll thru to view and use code FRIENDS25 at check out. I love Tibi, always such good quality pieces.

Thanks to Megan, I snagged the most fabulous agate bookends for the nursery at Marshalls for $12.99.  If you need a blue pair I spied an awesome set at West Elm for only $19 (view here).  These things normally sell for $200+!

My Serena and Lily Pom-Pom Curtains arrived for the nursery, and I am obsessed.  You can still take advantage of the Friends and Family event thru Monday.  I highly recommend these curtains, use code HEART20 to get 20% off.

 I am already dreaming about getting back in regular clothes.  I am so over wearing the same few outfits and feeling like a cow, only good thing is I have not been shopping so I am saving money.  First on my post baby purchase list is a pair of MOTHER jeans.  I have heard rave reviews about these!  They are high waisted which I really like and are supposed to be really flattering.

I am smitten with this Python Clutch from Banana Republic.  It is a great price for a cool oversized clutch.  I am debating between the navy and grey.  Banana Republic has actually had some cute stuff this fall.

Sandra Bullock has been looking amazing lately at all the Gravity premieres (that movie still freaks me out and gives me anxiety, I could never watch it)!  She is 49 and looks fabulous.  I am wondering if she has a new stylist.  Loving this look in a major way.

Sterling has been such a doll lately, loving on my tummy and talking to his sister.  Melts my heart.

How awesome is this take on kids sushi?  I am thinking Sterling and I are going to make it this weekend.  It is just bananas, peanut butter, and rice krispies.  Too cute.

and because I am dreaming of the day when I can have more than a sip of wine, this ecard made me laugh!

 Have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Next Diaper Bag AKA Purse

Ah, the important things about having a baby like selecting the perfect diaper bag. I am so not a fan of traditional diaper bags that scream "I'm a mom." I prefer to invest in a tote/handbag that could be used for an everyday bag as well. Before Sterling was born I invested in a kick ass Gucci Tote that I still love and carry as my purse frequently. Those were the days back when I was working full time and could afford luxuries like that, now I can't be dropping that kind of money even though I wish I could. I have narrowed down the bag to a few options so help a sista out and tell me which you think would make the perfect diaper bag for baby girl.   Keep in mind I will most likely use as my purse too.

 I adore this tote, its python and the perfect size, plus they will emboss initials in gold that look so good.  I am torn between going the neutral route and getting the black or tan or getting a fun color like magenta.

This one by far is the best price but I just can't decide if it is too boring.  It is a great size and also can initials embossed on it in gold.

I have a soft spot in my heart for all things Missoni.  This is a bag I could pass down to baby girl one day.  Such a fun pattern, but would I tire of it?

My mom found this tote at TJMaxx and I am kind of smitten with it.  Love the leopard and hot pink combo.  It zips and is the perfect size.

Love this tote, would love it just to have as a purse, but of course it is the most expensive.  Is it worth the money? 

and I ordered this pouch for Diapers and Wipes, so cute right?  Plus it can double as a clutch for me.

Take a vote and tell me which diaper bag you think is best for baby girl- option 1,2,3, 4, or 5?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Kale Ceasar Salad With Crispy Chickpeas

I love kale, in a major way. I add it in my juices, saute it for lunch,  and love to make salads with it. This was a recipe I have been wanting to try for awhile.  It is off the charts amazing.  I think the dressing is what makes it so good.  It is creamy and filled with Parmesan Cheese and the crunchy chickpeas are the perfect addition to top the salad..  You can dress the salad well ahead of time because the Kale won't get soggy but I would wait and add the chickpeas right before you serve so they don't get soggy.   I actually ate this salad again the next day and the kale stood up to the dressing fine, it was still delicious and firm.   This is by far my new favorite kale salad, I will be making this frequently.

|| K A L E  C E A S A R  S A L A D   W I T H   C R I S P Y   C H I C K P E A S ||
recipe adapted via Mountain Mama Cooks
    For the Dressing:
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons of water to thin if necessary
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • For the Garbanzo Beans:
  • 1 15oz can garbanzo beans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

  • For the Salad:
  • 1 head lacianto kale
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Caesar dressing
  • crispy garbanzo beans
    For the Crispy Garbanzo Beans:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.
  2. Rinse and drain the garbanzo beans; lay them on a double layer of paper towels and dry them as much as you can. Slightly rub each garbanzo bean between your fingers to remove the thin layer.
  3. Line the dried garbanzo beans on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Roast the garbanzo beans for 35-40 minutes until brown and crispy.
  5. While the garbanzos are roasting, make the dressing:
  6. Combine all ingredients except oil, salt and pepper in the base of a blender.
  7. With the motor running, slowly add the oil in a thin stream into the blender.
  8. When the dressing is thoroughly mixed, test for desired thickness. If you want it a little thinner, add the water a teaspoon at a time.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. To assemble the salad:
  11. Clean the kale and remove the leaves from the thick inner stalk.
  12. Chop the kale and transfer to a large bowl.
  13. Dress with desired amount of Caesar dressing (I used about 1/2-2/3 of this batch) and grated parmesan cheese.
  14. Top with crispy garbanzo beans.