Tuesday, August 14, 2012

OOTD - Tuesday, August 14 - Pre-Fall

OOTD 8/14/12

j. crew tippi sweater in marled camel / j. crew navy schoolboy blazer
j. crew minnie pants in boulevard green / viv & ingrid elephant charm necklace / aldo flats (old)

Monday, May 7, 2012

drinko de mayo

Hola mi amigos! I hope everyone had a fabulous Cinco de Mayo. I certainly did! I get really into themes/holidays, and this weekend was no exception. My parents threw a party at our vineyard, and because I thought (incorrectly) that I was supposed to be home for work, I crashed that party with a friend and brought the average age down about 15 years (or more)!

For a while now, I've been seeing all sorts of awesome jello shots made in different kinds of fruit. I'm all for that kind of creativity, but I hadn't had an occasion that I deemed worthy of all that effort. However, when this recipe for lime margarita jello shots caught my eye, I was sold. 

Margarita Jello Shots
adapted from Brit.co
Ingredients (makes 24):
6-8 limes - 3 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice
1 ounce water
1/4 cup sugar
1 package Knox unflavored gelatin (2 teaspoons)
3 ounces  tequila
1 ounce Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or Triple Sec
sea salt and/or large crystal sugar, for garnish

To hollow out the limes: juice them as best you can. The trick is to get under the pulp and into the skin to get all of the fruit out for the cleanest possible rinds. We found that using a grapefruit spoon really helps with this. When finished, strain the juice to so you have no pulp, which would leave floaties.

I actually tripled the recipe....
To keep limes secure, place them in a mini muffin pan. Combine lime juice, an ounce of water and sugar to small saucepan. Sprinkle with gelatin and allow it to soak in a minute or two. Warm over medium heat, stirring until sugar and gelatin dissolve. Stir in tequila and Grand Marnier and pour into lime halves. I strained at this point as well because the gelatin seemed a little chunky to me.
Allow to refrigerate at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight. Once jello has set up, cut into wedges. Serve with salt and sugar for dipping!
These went over very well. Not that my parents and their friends aren't already inclined to booze and booze hard, but I'll just say there were regular jello shots there and people were just not pounding those. Seriously, I made about 100 of these bad boys and came home with maybe 10. Success!
When it comes to partying, you can't just put out a ton of booze and expect that to be a party. Oh no. You need snacks. The plan was already to have a fajita buffet, but I mean, come on. You need snacks before and after that! Other guests had volunteered options when they RSVPed, but as far as I knew no one was bringing salsa. No salsa at Drinko de Mayo?! That's basically a crime, if you ask me. Luckily, Serious Eats, one my favorite food blogs, had just posted a recipe for salsa that sounded simple yet amazing. I adapted it a bit to fit my tastes, but let me tell you, I may make another batch this evening and every week from here on out.
Roasted Tomato Salsa
adapted from: Serious Eats
Ingredients (
makes about 3 cups):

2 lb. roma tomatoes, halved

kosher salt

3 jalapeño peppers, halved
10 cloves garlic
1 medium sweet onion, quartered
1 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

Preheat broiler. Place tomatoes cut side up on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Add jalapeños, onions, and 6 cloves of garlic to the sheet. Broil until slightly blackened, turning garlic as needed (roughly 20 minutes). Remove and let cool.
I'd like to grow all of this this summer.

 Seed all but one of the jalapeños. Roughly chop jalapeños, onions, roasted garlic, additional 4 raw garlic gloves, and tomatoes. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until desired texture is reached. Stir in cilantro and add salt to taste. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Doesn't that just make your mouth water?
Seriously, it couldn't be any easier, but it is SO addicting! Never mind the fact that my breath is just terrible afterward, it's worth it. Like I said to my mom while making this when she questioned the amount of garlic I was adding, if your "friends" don't like garlic, are they really you friends? I don't think so. They're probably vampires and are not to be trusted.
Overall, I had a great Cinco de Mayo. I had my first Beergarita, some BOMB mojitos, and an amazing drink my friend invented, which she called I'll Have Another (the racehorse, which, as well all know, won the Derby). She went to UK so it was only fitting. As soon as she pins that, I will try my hand at it and post it here. I think we had enough to go around:
Not pictured: 2 coolers of beer.
And with that, I will say, adios amigos!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

birthday week

Hello, hello! Welcome to my birthday week! Growing up sharing a birthday with my older (by 12 years!) sister has made me somewhat of a birthday diva. Ok, a HUGE birthday diva. I will never forget that when I was little, I once declared: "It's my birthday; I can do whatever I want!" My mom shot that down really quick.

This year is somewhat different. Several months ago, I gathered a few close friends and booked a flight to Washington, DC for the weekend of my birthday. I even got my mom's blessing to "do whatever I want, within reason," which I'm taking as anything not illegal. I flight out this evening, and 2 local friends will join me tomorrow morning. Additionally, my friend Lane is coming in from Philly, friends from Baltimore (where I will be staying tonight) will be down, and, of course, DC-area friends will be joining the festivities!

I have so many exciting things to look forward to, but for tonight, I can't wait to get off the plane and have a glass of Ms. Zabad-Ale, a beer my friend Zach named after me for my birthday! 6.0% Belgian Whit, yummy!

He's punny.
I'm also planning to eat my way across DC, with reservations at Founding Farmers, an all-American, enviro-friendly restaurant; Kinkead's, a seafood brasserie that is like eating art - it's my favorite restaurant ever!; and brunch at The Getaway, which Bitches Who Brunch sold me on by mentioning their $15 bottomless bloodies AND mimosas - you had me at hello.

As for non-alcohol-related activities, I honestly don't have much planned. We have a Capitol tour and possibly a White House Garden tour, but I've done pretty much everything else typically touristy in DC. I'd like to visit the Holocaust Museum, as I've always declined (I'm sensitive). However, this is Lane's first visit, so I'm sure we'll do plenty of sight-seeing! And of course, shopping (we're staying practically on top of the Pentagon City Mall), and a trip to Georgetown Cupcake for my birthday cupcake! I'm sure I'll have plenty to review when I get back, but suffice it to say, I'm so happy to be surrounded by people who love and want nothing less for me this weekend than for me to do WHATEVER I WANT! :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

adventures in kitchenland

We've all been there. You spent a little too much money at the bar and too little at the grocery store, so you get creative with the random food you have in your house. Well. Sometimes this is successful, sometimes... not so much. After a couple of failures (Tostitos queso dip with farfalle as "mac'n'cheese"; "pizza" made out of Mexican cheese, marinara sauce, and a tortilla), I finally found a winner! Or two, actually. However, by a large margin, my el cheapo cornbread was a smashing success. I know my roommates, and, as predicted, the first batch lasted less than 24. In a house of 3. I knew I was on to something, so when I went home for Easter this weekend, I made these as a side for Easter dinner (I guess we're not so traditional). Pardon my terrible photos, particularly the lack of one of the final product. Just trust me, they're amazing.

Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

  • 3 boxes Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 can corn with peppers
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 jalapenos
  • 1 bag shredded cheese (I used Kraft Mexican cheese)
  • Milk (optional)
This is so easy I can't even believe I'm explaining it. Preheat your oven to 400°. Line muffin tins - this made about 3 dozen for me. The only actual work you have to do is to seed and dice the jalapenos. Then put all that stuff in a bowl and mix it. Use like half the bag of cheese and save the other half. Don't mix it too much, and add some milk if it's too thick. 

Try not to eat it all raw.
Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins and let sit for about 4 minutes, then stir it up. I don't know why, that's just what the box said. I guess it makes it fluffier or something, somehow. Top with  the remaining cheese and bake for about 16 minutes. Try not to eat them immediately or you will burn yourself. 

Please note that no papers of the same color could be next to each other.
You can also do this in a baking pan but that just didn't seem to work as well for me. Also, that does nothing for limiting portion control, and trust me, it will be hard enough as is. I don't know the nutritional information for this or anything, and I don't care. It has corn and jalapenos in it, it's probably healthy. Or something.

My other foray into kitchen fun was a bit more experimental. Whenever I visit the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets (hmmm... probably part of the reason I'm forced to eat all these weird concoctions...), I always pop into Le Gourmet Chef, or as I like to call it, the snack store. You know that place. They have like a million samples of their amazing dips that you're never going to buy in the first place because they're like $10 each. Well, first thing, I try Anna Mae's Wing Dip. I think this is new. I've never had it before at least. That stuff is really good. Like really good. Like I-almost-actually-bought-it good. Thank goodness my mom was there  to talk to sense into me. She's like, "Lorilea, do you know how easy that would be to make? Don't be ridiculous." So after stopping into the Pepperidge Farm outlet to pay $3 for a years worth of crackers and whatnot to accompany the dip, we had home to experiment.
This is good, but mine's better. Because it's cheap.
Like I said, there is no real set recipe for this. You just have to do it by taste. You will need:
  • 1 package cream cheese (I used neufchâtel. It's healthy.)
  • Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce
  • Dried minced garlic (NOT garlic salt!)
  • Crumbled bleu cheese

Whip up the cream cheese a bit with a hand mixer. Now pour in some Frank's. I don't know, like a 1/3 of a cup to start? You'll use a fair amount, depending on how bold you want your dip. Now, my family likes bleu cheese, so I used a whole tub. You don't have to, but you should. Finally, add some minced garlic, to taste. Really, you should just keep tasting and adding stuff until you like it, but DO NOT use garlic salt. This stuff is salty enough as is. Serve with celery and pretzels.

Moral of this long-winded story, even though you may choose to have several liquid meals per week does not mean you have to end up eating ramen and terrible, misguided inventions. 

Friday, March 9, 2012


Tomorrow evening on embark on my first real roadtripping experience. Sure, I've been on countless family vacations, but at the time, the driving part of those seemed closer to torture than a fun, bonding time like no other. After having plans to go to Daytona Beach as part of a larger group, a friend and I decided to throw caution to the wind and make the drive to Miami ourselves. Actually, I'm still hedging my bets to see this pulls through as he is notorious for flaking last minute! However, the plan is to leave late tomorrow evening and drive through the night to Myrtle Beach. In an effort on my part to prevent us from killing each other due to 14 hours of silence (or rather kill him me for talking too much!), I spent several hours perfecting a playlist for our listening pleasure.

I believe the perfect playlist should listen like a conversation. It should start low, calm, and grow from there, swelling to a peak, and slowing dying out. By no means should it just be a random compilation of songs. For this reason I spend hours not only carefully selecting the music, but also organizing the order. A sampling is below, but unfortunately, some of the songs I'm most excited about could not be added there. Those can be found on Marc Johnce's website - he is an amazing mashup artist that I cannot get enough of! Seriously, check it out!

Other than that, I'm just trying to rest up and get ready for the long drive - and psych myself up for the fact that not only is this my first road trip, we've only reserved a hotel for one night out of the 8 we plan to be gone. We've packed a tent, sleeping bags, a cooler with plenty of alcohol, bathing suits, and not much else! Wish us luck!

**Edit: turns out my car doesn't play MP3 CDs, so I had to trim the list to fit it on 2. Sad.**

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012


There is nothing I love more than getting a good deal. I can never keep it to myself when I score something for a fraction of the original cost. To this effect, Marshall's and TJMaxx have been a girl's best friend for years, but due to their natural of ever-changing inventory, they are not online retailers. As a self-professed shopaholic, I have to get my fix when the mood strikes, which has lead to an increasing amount of online shopping over the years. That's where designer shopping sites like Gilt Group and Haute Look come in to play. All the discounts of TJ's or Marshall's from the comfort of my home. Or office. Whatever. Anyways, in addition to their already-discounted merchandise, Gilt is partnering this week with Klout, a website that aggregates your social media activity to "measure and leverage" your influence on the internet. All this week, Klout is offering a perk of discounts on Gilt, ranging from 20-100% depending on your Klout Score. So find out your level of influence and save on some new designer clothes, home goods, and food while you're at it!

The World of Whiskey

I am a vodka girl. Always have been; always will be. So much so that I once referred to myself as Vodka, a nickname which (thankfully) only stuck for a short period of time. However, after reading this article about the image your drink of choice gives you, I decided to branch out.

Last night was the much-anticipated opening of a new (to Lansing) bar called The Black Rose. According to the background information on their menu, the bar itself was first built in Ireland in 2004, from where it was transferred to Grand Rapids, MI, and now has come to rest on Washington Square in Lansing. It's on the small side, which to me translates to cozy, and it has a slightly upscale atmosphere. Overall, I've got a good feeling about this one, and I hope it works out!

Anyways, I mentioned to a friend that I wanted to try whiskey. The combination of the Irish-themed bar and the article got to me. He suggested I start with Johnny Walker Black, neat. I compromised and ordered it rocks. This was not a good start to my whiskey-drinking career, let me just tell you that.

At this point, a colleague stepped in and introduced me to The World of Whiskey, as he put it. He explained that there are several types of whiskey, each with different characteristics. We reviewed Irish whiskey, scotch, bourbon, and Canadian whiskey. His thoughts and my observations on each:
  1. Irish Whiskey (Bushmills) - Triple-distilled and aged in reused oak barrels. - This one was by far the smoothest, and to me, the best-tasting. I ended up finishing this one on the rocks once the lesson was over.
  2. Scotch (Glenfiddich) - Twice distilled, the grains are roasted over peat fires. - Oh my god, no. No, no, no. No wonder I didn't like the Johnny Walker - too much of a smokey aroma for me.
  3. Bourbon (Woodford Reserve) - Distilled once and aged in fresh oak barrels. - Ok, I really liked the flavors of this. Very robust. However, it was not smooth by any means. It was just too harsh for me, but I'd like to try it with soda sometime.
  4. Canadian Whisky (Canadian Club) - Grains are blended before barrel aging. - This was my second favorite. It just had a more complex flavor, almost hinting at amaretto.
Overall, I think whiskey is something I can get used to drinking. In the meantime, I may need to refer to this article about 4 steps to drinking whiskey neat, but I think I'll get there!