Sunday, March 1, 2015

Vegetarian West African Peanut Soup

For the frigidly cold New York days and nights we've been having, warm soup is a must-have. While this soup sounds a little odd (peanut butter? plus kale?), it's absolutely delicious. I mean, I'm a sucker for anything peanut butter, but even Brandon agrees that this is now a staple.

Here's the recipe!

Vegetarian West African Peanut Soup

  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth 
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger 
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 bunch collard greens (or kale!), ribs removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch strips
  • 3/4 cup unsalted peanut butter 
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • Hot sauce (we like sriracha) 
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish 
  1. In a medium stock pot, bring the broth to a boil. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and salt. Cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
  2. In a medium-sized, heat-safe mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter and tomato paste, then transfer 1 to 2 cups of the hot stock to the bowl. Mix the mixture together until smooth, then pour the peanut mixture back into the soup and mix well. Stir in the collard greens, or kale, and season the soup with hot sauce to taste. Simmer for about 15 more minutes on medium-low heat, stirring often. Serve over cooked brown rice if you'd like (we actually used white basmati last night, and it was fab), and top with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts. 
This is such a wonderful weeknight meal - it's easy, super tasty and yields enough for another night of leftovers (and there's nothing better than leftover soup). 


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Coffee Time! New Chemex and Craft Brews

I've been really into coffee lately. Like, really into it. Maybe it's the bitter cold we've been having recently in New York, but a nice, hot cup of coffee has really been gettin' me going these past few months.

For Christmas, Brandon and I received a new 6-cup Chemex coffee maker and a three-month subscription to Craft Coffee, a service that delivers hand-roasted coffees right to your door. Basically the best gift ever.

We used a Keurig coffee maker in college, and eventually moved on to a French press when we moved to New York, which I really do enjoy. French presses are so freakin' easy to use, and while you need a few more accessories to make it a seamless process (electric kettle, coffee grinder), it yields such better coffee. Now, with our Chemex, I feel like we've officially graduated. The design of the coffeemaker is undeniably beautiful, the filters reduce the bitterness that usually make its way into the brew, and the wood collar serves as an intuitive handle. Needless to say, I'm really loving it so far. I haven't used it enough to officially state if it's my favorite coffeemaker, so I'll report back after a few more months.

I love a good subscription service, and after receiving this one for Christmas, I realized how great a gift they are, too. They're personal and thoughtful, yet they also allow for the person receiving it to customize the gift based on what they want.

With Craft Coffee, you tailor your profile based on your likes so they can more accurately curate a list of coffees for you to try. Then, after answering a few survey questions, they choose the coffees for you and in a few weeks, your first batch is at your front door. We received some pretty epic flavors, so we've been very happy this past month. If you'd be interested in trying, you can use our code for 15% off: BRANDON1281.

Happy brewin'!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

DIY Marbled Clay Ring Dishes

When I saw this tutorial on these adorable marbled clay ring dishes (ABeautifulMess), I knew I had to take a stab at making them. They seemed so simple to make, and they had a cool, minimalist vibe that I really liked. I also recently saw a nearby boutique selling identical dishes that were 5x the price ($35 a pop!), so I was determined to make them on my own. 

The blog linked out to above details out the steps clearly with great photos. I highly recommend heading over there to try them out yourselves - pictures of mine are below! 

Here's what you'll need:

  • white, black, and colored oven bake clay (a few ounces of colored clay and the 1.75 pound white clay will make you several dishes!)
  • X-Acto knife or plastic clay knife
  • small bowl or baking ramekin that is oven safe
  • gold liquid gilding and small paintbrush
  • rolling pin or large round jar
  • large can or jar to trace around
  • glaze to seal dish (optional)

Coming up... Brandon got me a 3-month subscription to For The Makers that I'll be getting in mid-January, which brings handmade materials and DIY projects to your doorstep. I. CANNOT. WAIT. Each box comes with four different DIY projects under a single thematic (past thematics are Stargazer, Heavy Metals, Honey Nectar, Soft Focus). I'm super pumped to get my first box and show the projects and final results here on the blog. 

Happy DIYing! 

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Gratitude is where it's at, people. Actively practicing gratitude was something that was first introduced to me - really introduced as a spiritual practice - on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. Of course, when I was little, my parents talked about being thankful, gracious and vocal for all of our blessings, but it wasn't ever something I actively thought about, and explored, as an adult. 

As I continue to learn about my spirituality, gratitude is something that I have found to be incredibly therapeutic. Here are a few of the wonderful things I'm thankful for recently. 
  1. A rewarding career that challenges me every single day, and amazing coworkers that make each day so enjoyable.
  2. A family that's unrelentingly supportive, and is always there when I need inspiration.
  3. A loving relationship with my best friend.
  4. A group of friends that I wouldn't replace for the world. These people make my life whole.
  5. My apartment. It's my sanctuary.
  6. Our Christmas tree. It smells so freakin' good right now in our apartment (+ our cranberry  spice candle).
  7. This glass of red wine.
  8. Fresh, folded laundry. It's basically the only thing we accomplished on this lazy Sunday, and we're damn proud of it. 
  9. My workout today. It was embarrassingly the first time I had worked out in a long time (too long to admit here), so it felt unbelievable to move my body. Already planned a yoga class for tomorrow morning.
  10. Planning our trip to Machu Picchu in Peru! We're just starting our research for our trip in early 2015, and it's so exciting to map out the adventure together.
Hope you have a lovely week, all! Xx.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

DesignLoveFest's Dress Your Tech | My Favorites

I'm such a fan of a fresh start, and there's something about a new desktop background that kicks me into gear on Sundays and gets me excited for the work week ahead. DesignLoveFest, one of my favorite blogs, has a series called "Dress Your Tech," highlighting downloadable wallpapers for your computer. They're the best I've seen, and I love that there's always such a variety, yet all of them stay true to her aesthetic (clean, fun & minimalist).

Here are some of my favorites, starting with the one I'm rockin' now.

Happy week, everyone! Xx

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Capitol In Fall

Last weekend, Brandon and I hopped in the car for a quick weekend in DC. We spent Friday night with one of my best friends, Margot, and her fiancĂ©, Zach, and got up early on Saturday for a private tour of NASA, thanks to my friend, Lindsay's dad. NASA was DOPE. We saw parts of the James Webb Space Telescope and a few environmental test chambers for rockets, including a room that simulates deep space (*mind blown*). 
We then headed to a nice brunch, explored the mandatories on The Mall, which were all gorgeous surrounded by the changing leaves (The Washington Monument, The WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial and the White House), and met up with Margot and Zach for a beer tasting event at The Daughters of the Revolution. There was something about drinking beer, and being surrounded by drunk people, in such a historical place - it was a super cool experience.
It was a quick weekend, but I'm so glad we were able to go (especially after an equally historic weekend in Philly). Here are some photos from the weekend! Hope you enjoy. Xx

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Saturday Adventure in Philly

A few weeks ago, my mom graciously dropped my brother's car off in New York City for me to have until Christmas, and since she's dropped it off, we haven't used it at all. We've loosely planned a few things (apple piking, hiking), but our weekends end up getting booked up (in the best way possible).

This past weekend, though - we planned. We woke up early on Saturday and drove the car two hours to Philly! It was actually really lovely getting out of bed and carpe-ing the diem five hours before I usually do on a weekend. When we arrived in Philly, we went straight to Ben Franklin's grave then took an early detour to Reading Terminal Market for an early lunch. Brandon got the traditional cheesesteak - with Cheez Wiz - and I embarrassingly purchased the vegetarian cheesesteak. Even the guy behind the grill thought I was crazy. We then went off to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall (both super cool). We made a pit stop for a martini at The Continental, did a little vintage shopping and capped the day off with some Italian food before getting in the car to go back to New York.

It was such a beautiful fall day in Philly - we loved it.

What's next? DC on Friday! Another weekend, another adventure.