Monday, March 30, 2015

Monthly Wishes | April

Last Month's Wishes

Plan for Italy Trip: Well, I've contacted a ton of farms in Italy (here's to hoping one actually responds with good news) and I've listed my apartment on Airbnb. If any of you would like to have an awesome vacation in the greatest city in America — nay, the world, just let me know. I have the cutest space for you to sleep.

Save Up for AZ: Pasta is cheap right? I ate a lot of pasta and a lot work food so that's totally saving money.

Better Wine Knowledge: I'm learning so many things about wine! Like regions and grape skins and varietals. It's like I'm back in school but I get to drink while I'm learning. If you ask me, I would have never missed a class if wine and beer were guaranteed.

Celebrate a Blogiversary: Guys. My five year blogiversary is coming up this month and I'm having a ginormous giveaway. I just think you all should be warned and excited that it's about to get real.

Practice Yoga: Due to funds I had to quit my amazing gym. However, I found an awesome YouTube yogi whose videos I love and I'm dedicated to starting my day with yoga four times a week. I think I can swing that.

Get Organized: This year has been...hectic. There have been fires and other things and even more other things and my apartment has become more neglected than it already was. It's time to go through my beauty products and piles of papers bills and throw out what I don't need and file away.

What are your hopes, wishes and dreams for April?

Song of the Blog: "The Perfect Parts" by Shaky Graves

Friday, March 27, 2015

I Do Spy | Lilacs

We're so close to spring time, I can taste it. I'm dreaming in florals and pastels and all I want is to wear sandals and dresses without getting cold at night. I don't think I'm asking too much from you, Mother Nature...

Fanciful Lilacs Dress — ModCloth
Lilac Pearl Earrings — Glass Pearl Store
Presh Play Flats — ModCloth

Song of the Blog: "Purple Rain" by Prince

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Best of Trader Joe's | Breakfast

Welcome to the Best of Trader Joe's series, where I spent countless hours shopping at the greatest grocery store in the United States* to find the best finds for your household. For five weeks, we will explore the wonderful gifts that they have blessed us with from five categories. At the end, we'll end with an awesome giveaway that includes on item from each category. Get excited, people. 

Breakfast. It's the most important meal of the day. And that's why I get my morning fuel from Trader Joe's. They offer a ton of varied granolas and cereals and baked goods but these are my personal favorites.

Organic Frosted Cherry Pomegranate Toaster Pastries

Guys. These are pretty much cherry and pomegranate flavored poptarts and they are my jam. Whenever I want to treat myself for breakfast, these are my go-to's because they are simple yet surprisingly decadent.

Strawberry Yogurt O's

These are yogurt covered strawberries in Cheerios form. They have huge clustered of dried yogurt and strawberries that are delicious. For those morning that I only have a second to eat breakfast, I will pour myself a bowl of these with almond milk and have myself a grand ol' time. (This is also really good for a late-night snack, or what we in the service industry call dinner.)

Almond Croissants

If I'm going to have a croissant, there better be almond paste or chocolate up in there. If you are hosting a brunch for your friends or loved ones, these better be on that table. They are incredibly easy to prepare (let them rise overnight and then stick them in the oven while you're making that egg dish) and delicious.
Gluten Free Granola | Loaded Fruit & Nut

I forget how much I love granola and yogurt. Like, so much. Unlike cereal, it keeps the hunger at bay until the late lunch that the service industry requires. And this granola is so tasty and goes with any flavor of yogurt. What else would you use granola with? Suggestions?
Rolled Oats

Sometimes you have enough time in your morning to make a hearty breakfast. And in the those moments, I turn to good ol' fashioned oatmeal. It's good for you. It doesn't take an obsene amount of time (I'm looking at you eggs). And it's actually really easy to clean up. Plus, you can create a whole mess of different options just by simply changing what you add.

Song of the Blog: "Good Morning Good Morning" by The Beatles

*please note: This is NOT a sponsored post. I just really love and support Trader Joe's. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Let's Get Baked | Raw Ginger Bites

Hi. My name is Katie and I'm a sugarholic. Whenever I finish a meal, I still feel a little hungry until I've finished it off with something sweet. Now, that can be a dangerous for both my teeth and my waistline. So what is a sugar addict to do?

Make healthy sweets. And healthy sweets do not include scooping celery into cookie butter or Nutella (which I have to remind myself every time I go to the grocery store — I don't always win that argument). But you know what makes a delicious sweet that is actually kind of good for you? Dates and nuts. Yeah, I said it. Get ready to have your mind blown.

Raw Ginger Bites
Adapted from The Simple Veganista
Makes 12 balls

3/4 cups oats (any kind but steel cut)
1/2 cup almonds
3/4 cup dried dates
2 t powdered ginger
4 T maple syrup
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
dash of salt
cinnamon for rolling

Combine oats and almonds in a food processor and blend until fine*. Add the rest of the ingredients until well-combined and dough-like.
Form the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in cinnamon.
Keep refrigerated and enjoy for up to 2 weeks*.

*If you have a three-cup food processor like I do, this who process is going to be labor intensive. But it's totally worth it.
**Or eat them all for dinner, like some people do...

Song of the Blog: "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift

Friday, March 20, 2015

I Do Spy | Harry Potter

It's no secret that I love Harry Potter. You all know that by now, right? So as I was browsing through Etsy, like one does on a normal Friday night off, I stumbled across, well, the reason my bank account will no long exist by next Monday.

Invisibility Cloak Baseball Shirt —Skreened
Sorting Hat Laptop Decal — Down South Decals
Weasley is our King Mug — Arctic Mug
Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Ring — Apple Latte

Song of the Blog: "Always" by Panic! at the Disco

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Into the Pint Glass | Belgian Tripel

Thank you so much for drinking with Mariah and me! I know we have had to twist your arms to try all these different types of beers but we really appreciate you sacrifice.

Of course now we're making it a little harder this week by picking a specific sub-style instead of a generic style. Are you ready to learn all about Belgian Tripels? Let's jump Into the Pint Glass!

Ok, wait. Before we get into Belgian Tripels, you should learn a little bit about monks. And more importantly: Trappist Monks. The first monastery originated in France in the mid-1600s, when certain monks decided that their order was getting a little too liberal (someone probably coughed during a confession). These monks traditionally only speak when necessary, but, most importantly, they created some kick ass beer, and that is something we can get behind. While this specific style doesn't *have* to be Trappist, certified Trappist beers can only be certified authentic if they are from one of the TEN Trappist Breweries. The first US Trappist Brewery opened barely two years ago in Massachusetts.

Belgian Tripels (or 18C, according to the BJCP) are a sub-style of Belgian Strong Ales. Strong Belgium Beers have existed since the early 1990s but the Westmalle Trappist Brewery wasn't satisfied with the name Superbier, so that changed it to Tripel barely 60 years ago (we prefer Superbier but to each their own).

Why is this is such a super beer, you ask? Because it has three times the amount of malts as the standard Trappist beer. It's also generally super high in alcohol content but you should *not* taste it. That is a sig of a poorly made Tripel, one that the monks would not be proud of. Tripels are going to be significantly lighter than their brother, the dubel, because of the added hops, ranging in a color of deep yellow to deep gold. You should taste and smell for spicy and floral notes, and especially Belgium malts. However, the better Tripels are going to have the perfect balance of malts and hops and make for the perfect sipping beer.

If this particular story and beer tickled your fancy, All About Beer has a fantastic article.

Adelbert's Tripel B
Style: Belgian Tripel Ale
ABV: 9.3%
IBU: 28

Aroma: There were very strong citrus esthers, and I particularly smell orange. There was also a slight banana scent with a little wheat.

Appearance: It has a beautiful amber color with no clarity. There's a great white, creamy head that dissipates after a few minutes.

Flavor: There was a strong citrus and floral taste with subtle notes of spices. There was very low hoppiness (thank God) but there was some bitterness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: It was medium-bodied with great carbonation and creaminess.

Overall: So. Good. Ugh. It's super drinkable — it's something I would have on an afternoon off. It's very well-rounded and, have I said it yet?, so good.

Into The Pint Glass

Up Next: Amber

Song of the Blog: "Have A Drink on Me" by AC/DC

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Listen To These Irish Artists

Are you ready to get into the holiday spirit? The holiday dedicated to the patron saint of Ireland?

I've got just the thing for St. Patty's Day. I mean, I don't have Guinness or Jameson (how about Guinness Gingerbread?). At least, none to share with you. And you're going to have to rock your own green item, lest you be pinched. 

But how about some amazing Irish musicians and bands to get you into the spirit?

Glen Hansard | "The Parting Glass"

Snow Patrol | "Lifening"

Hozier | "Work Song"

Flogging Molly | "Salty Dog"

The Script | "Paint the Town Green"

Do you have plans for St. Patty's Day? What's your favorite Irish band? How about Irish lullaby?