my first crack at making tomato sauce

In last week’s blog, I mentioned that I was about to attempt to make Heirloom Tomato Sauce. I did, in fact, attempt it, and I have to say: it turned out pretty damn good. I definitely made some mistakes, and I need to tweak the recipe for next time. I used this recipe as a base, but I made a lot of revisions, since I only had about three pounds of tomatoes (heirloom and roma, instead of all heirloom – like it calls for). Next time, I’m going to follow whatever recipe I use more accurately, since I only yielded one pint of sauce, and it was just too much work for one meal’s worth. But in all fairness, I’ve never made, or watched anyone make, tomato sauce. I now get why you make and freeze so much. I finally get it, you guys.

I will say it turned out delicious, although there wasn’t a ton. The fiancé didn’t care for it as much because, as he put it, he “doesn’t like tomato sauce to be too chunky”. Way to tell me that after I slave over a stove for three hours, hun. So next time, I’m going to find a recipe that uses a food processor to make the sauce smoother. Luckily for him, I’m an accommodating chef.

tomato saucedoesn’t this look great? it was. anyone who says differently is a fool.

Ingredients (altered from original recipe):

3lbs heirloom and roma tomatoes, washed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
8-10 small cloves garlic, peeled
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3/4 cup white wine
olive oil
2 stalks fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

For instructions, visit: Mountain Mama Cooks Recipe – I’m loving her recipes, and her canning tips. As someone who is eager to get into canning, I’m definitely plan to use her blog as a resource for other recipes.

Anyone know another sauce recipes that I should take a crack at?

favorite finds this week

a few things I’m loving on the web this week:

1. I didn’t think I could love Amy Poehler anymore. Check out her AMA on Reddit this week. “Adam Scott smells like lemons and possibility. Future and peppermint. Loyalty and vanilla ice cream.”

2. This Buzzfeed list had my cracking up. Fun fact: I’m a die-hard Harry Potter fan. 27 Pictures Only Harry Potter Fans Will Think Are Funny. My favorite:

harry potter

3. This new Cloth app will make me one step closer to being Cher Horowitz.

4. Good to know: 8 Things Recruiters Notice About Your Resume at First Glance

5. For all my social media professionals: 5 Tips for Using Social Media During Conferences

6. This recipe that I am tackling immediately after I write this post. Wish me luck. Heirloom Tomato Sauce

heirloom-tomato-sauce-canning-mountain-mama-cooks-1

6. Although I laughed at this video, my biggest fear in life is the chick from The Ring coming out of my television. That’s not a joke at all, either. In my eyes, it is the scariest movie of all time. If someone pranked me like this, I would not be pleased.

7. The future of airplanes has me seriously tripped out.

8.. This epic, epic 15-second video:

 

fall treats + traditions

I love fall. It’s the combination of the leaves changing, fall fashion, fall food and creepy Halloween movies and decor that make it my favorite time of the year.

This past Sunday, we had what I would consider to be the “perfect fall evening.” We carved pumpkins while watching Hocus Pocus (a staple for the season, if I do say so myself). After we gutted our pumpkins, I decided to cook the seeds. I rinsed them, and then coated them in melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. I put them on a baking sheet and popped them into the oven at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Once I put them in the oven, I went back to carving and watching the movie. The apartment filled with the delicious smell as they baked.
image (5)

image (6)Our pumpkins – mine is the Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas and Jeff’s is Wreck-It Ralph.

I usually go all out for Halloween – deck my apartment out in Halloween decorations, dress up, pass out candy at my family’s house, and go pumpkin and apple picking. Since we are in a new state, we are laying a little low this year. We are sticking with two traditions – halloween movies and fall cooking. Some of my favorite movies to get in during the season are: Scream, Hocus Pocus, Monster House, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice and of course, Halloween.

For our fall cooking this year, I decided to make apple butter this season. I found this recipe from Changing My Destiny and adapted it a little bit by using six large Fiji apples, rather than 12 small ones. It turned out incredible.

image (7)

Do you have any fall traditions?

revamping cheap furniture + moving fails.

My fiancé and I have moved for the 1,000th time this year. Luckily, we moved just 30 minutes away from our old place (last time, it was 30 hours away) to a new apartment in Dallas. We are officially out of the burbs and back to city, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Weird fact: I love moving. I love to clean and reorganize. I know I’m definitely in the minority on that one.

The last three places we have lived we have gotten almost everything from IKEA, so we claim to be pretty good at putting things together from there. With this move, however, we had to move an Expedit shelving unit (picture below). The thing is massive that we had to take it apart to even get it out the door at our old place. Jeff claimed we knew this thing so well, we didn’t need to pull up the directions on the Internet to put it back together. Guys, trust me on this: when you are putting together a piece of furniture that is 6’x6’ and held together primarily by wooden pegs, always, always read the directions. Do not get cocky.
expedit

Needless to say, we put the entire thing together with two screws to go when the whole thing collapsed. 80 wooden pegs come with that thing and every single one of them broke in half. Every. Single. One. Fun fact: they don’t sell the IKEA Expedit shelving unit anymore, so they don’t have the wooden pegs in store to buy. I had to order them online for $40 so we can attempt this thing later, and the sad pieces of it are scattered all over the ground to remind us of our failure.

After this fiasco, I found this great Buzzfeed list about different IKEA hacks to revamp your cheapo furniture so it doesn’t look so cheapo. Some of my favorites that I will definitely be trying below:

Ikea Hack 3Turn the Kallax shelf sideways and add legs to make a media console.

Ikea Hack 2Tuft the cushions of a Karlstad sofa
IKEA Hack 1Swap out the legs of your IKEA sofa. You can buy new ones here.

I would love to hear your moving horror stories and favorite IKEA hacks!

what inspires you?

only you can find your path

I plan to make some blog changes in the next few weeks. I am thinking of revamping, so I’ve been searching for inspiration for the last few days. I’m working to figure out my new vision, to really pinpoint it. I’ve been searching through other blogs and reading as much information as I can on the Internet. I’ve always been outside a lot. I find that it helps me think, except it’s so damn hot (yes, it’s that hot in October in Texas).

Another thing that has helped is just writing, even without a distinct vision. I have been in quite the writing rut lately. I haven’t known what exactly to write about (what am I really an expert in?) and how to put my words onto paper in the right way. Recently, (today, actually) I just said, “Fuck it,” and started putting all my real thoughts down on paper. It’s been helpful. I have a few posts saved and ready to be posted soon that are very real and very me. I’m excited to share them.

I also found this great article on Thought Catalog about ways to boast creativity. It was fitting for my day.

So, I have to ask you, bloggers: where do you get your inspiration?

Fall Fashion Essentials Without Breaking The Bank

Lumelle

It is officially the first day of fall. What does that mean? Pumpkin spiced lattes, apple picking, hot cider and of course, fall fashion. I know that ladies everywhere are ready to hang up their sundresses and tank tops and make room for new fall wardrobes.

Keeping up with the latest trends every fall can be exhausting and can break the bank. We are sharing a few must-have essentials for your closet. All of these items can be mixed and matched, making picking out your outfits in the morning much easier. We’d also be willing to bet you have at least a few of these already hanging in your closet.

TOPS:

CHAMBRAY Forever 21, $19.80

Chambray Button-Up
Chambray tops go with anything. Tuck it in with a skirt, and you’re ready for the office. Pair it with a white shirt underneath and dark jeans with cool boho jewelry, and you’re ready for…

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The Simple Way To Make Lemon Oregano Chicken With Orzo

This dish is my new favorite meal. It’s packed full of flavor and super simple and easy to make. I’m a Greek girl, so we used to cook with oregano and lemon a lot in my house. This tastes like home to me. When my fiancé tried it, he said “This tastes like I could get it at a Greek restaurant.” My Yiayia would be proud.

Oregano Chicken

Lemon Oregano Chicken with Orzo
6-8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Lemon juice
Olive oil
A handful of fresh oregano
2.5 cups of fresh spinach
1/2 cup orzo
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Garlic
Black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Chop up the oregano and put in a bowl with 2 tbsp of olive oil and lemon juice (use to your liking – I use a lot!) sprinkle garlic salt or crushed garlic and black pepper in the bowl. Mix with a spoon.

Coat each of your chicken thighs in the mixture and add to a baking dish lined in tin foil. Bake for 35 minutes.

While the chicken is baking, boil water in a saucepan and add ½ cup of orzo.

In a medium sized saucepan, sauté the spinach and cherry tomatoes with 2 tbsp of olive oil, the juice of one lemon and garlic. Add cooked orzo to the saucepan.

Once the chicken is done, remove the chicken from the pan, and add some of the remaining juice in the pan to the orzo for extra flavor. Mix together, and serve!