Tasty Tuesday – Shrimp, Orzo and Broccoli

This was one of the earliest recipes I made, and the first one I tried with both shrimp and asparagus. It’s simple, quick, and very delicious. Unless you mess it up like I did this time.

Cook the orzo first. If you haven’t cooked with orzo before, you definitely should. It’s so easy and feels like you’re eating rice. Once it is drained, toss it with a little vegetable oil.

After peeling the shrimp, cook garlic in oil before throwing the shrimp in on top, and cooking until pink. If you’re using fresh asparagus or broccoli, cook that first. I was using frozen broccoli, so I decided to put it in last.

Once the shrimp and vegetables are cooked, stir in orzo, lemon juice, olive oil and basil.

Then add feta cheese, and unlike me, do not dump in too much by accident. It still tasted good, but it overwhelmingly tasted like cheese. Whoops.

Full recipe with asparagus here.

Menu Monday – September 28

Alright, back into the swing of things. Getting back into life after a vacation is hard!

Before I start on the menu post, I wanted to ask my followers something. Those of you that are on Instagram, would you be interested in following me if I got one? I’ve never wanted one before but now that I’m waiting on a fancy new iPhone for a late birthday present, I thought it was a good opportunity. I could post daily dinner pictures and other interesting blog and life related stuff.

Anyway, on to my weekly menu!

Dinner ingredients this week were just over $40, but a lot of it was stocking up. I was completely out of rice vinegar, soy sauce, white sugar, frozen broccoli and rice. So by spending this week, I can save next week.

Fashion Friday – Travel Capsule Results

 photo travel capsule_zpswdd0b5pj.jpg

Travelling light was pretty much a success, I’d say. There are a few things I would have done differently though.

Plans changed, so I didn’t need my dinner dress or my skirt for church.

I wore my shorts once (with loads of bug bites to prove it) and my jeans the rest of the time. Even though an adorable puppy gave me muddy pawprints by jumping up on me.

I wish I’d packed an extra shirt. I ended up wearing my gray t-shirt from the plane to bed so I didn’t want to wear it again, and the blue blouse twice.

I packed three pairs of socks, plus my sneakers and flats, and didn’t end up wearing any of them and wore my sandals all weekend. No dress or skirt = no dressier shoes. We weren’t quite as active as I thought we might be, so I didn’t need my sneakers.

So for future packing, I need one more shirt than I think I’ll need and only one dressy outfit. And never three pairs of shoes for a weekend.

What I Read Wednesday – The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak

Violet Bakery

This book will be released on September 29, 2015. I received a copy through NetGalley.

This cookbook is full of recipes from Violet Bakery, a small place in London. The owner trained in California at Chez Panisse, a restaurant founded by Alice Waters. When she left for London, she went on a food journey before opening Violet Bakery, which is all detailed in the beginning of the book.

The Violet Bakery Cookbook focuses on flavor. Instead of being full of sugary sweet recipes, it focuses on the science behind flavor in baking and how to balance sweet, salty, bitter and sour to make amazing flavor combinations. It also offers some tips on baking, such as baking one cake in a deep pan and cutting it into layers. Or sending your sugar through a food processor to get the lumps out instead of sifting.

The recipes are divided into categories such as Morning and Midday, or when you would usually enjoy each treat. For breakfast, enjoy some scones or cinnamon rolls (which I definitely want to try), and for lunch, try some savory bread pudding or a quiche with squash and sage. For teatime, there’s a special banana bread or a coffee cake with cardamom and walnuts. Then there are the cake recipes, like devil’s food and carrot cake, along with a few different icing recipes.

Despite being recipes used in the bakery, they are all simple enough to do at home with equipment you could have on hand. Some of the ingredients are specialized and might not be as easy to get, but there are plenty of recipes that anyone anywhere could put together.

Tasty Tuesday – Crockpot Fried Chicken

I don’t use my crockpot nearly as much as I should. It’s such a pain to clean, but I love the convenience of throwing things in and having dinner ready later.

This is one of the easiest crockpot meals. I had some frozen chicken drumsticks from last week, so I threw them in and 4 hours later of no work, dinner was ready when my husband walked in the door.

I dredged the drumsticks in flour and spices first. It’s infinitely customizable, including how many you want to cook. I never do more than four at once, but you can do many more depending on the size of your cooker and how many people you have to feed.

Then pour on 1/4 cup of melted butter. Set it on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-10. I was short on time, but four cook fast, so it was done in less than four hours.

The skin isn’t crispy, so this isn’t the best recipe for that, but it’s still delicious. I served it with the mashed potatoes I made and froze back in June. They surprisingly kept their texture and flavor.

Menu Monday – September 21

Vacation was nice but it’s good to be back home. We had a whirlwind four days and my husband met a ton of my family. Luckily everyone loved him and remarked either to me or my parents on how I made a good choice. Score!

We got in late last night, the plane got in around 11:30 and we didn’t get home until 1. Today is a bit of an extra vacation day to recover and get settled. We also went grocery shopping today.

The menu for this week:

  • Sausage, Pepper and Rice – Nice and simple for our first day home. I chopped up some green peppers and froze them the night before we left. I’ll add chickpeas if we have some.
  • Crockpot Fried Chicken and Mashed Potatoes – I have the legs left over from last week’s chicken leg quarters, so I’m going to cook them in the crock pot. A couple of months ago I made some mashed potatoes and froze them, so we’ll see how it turned out.
  • Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken – I made this with scallops last week and the pasta was tasty so I want to try it with chicken.
  • Stir Fry – Easy and cheap. Tofu, frozen green pepper, mushrooms, canned pineapple, and possibly broccoli and carrots.

Dinner ingredients for the week were less than $10. I got creative with what we already have. We have frozen green peppers, mashed potatoes, chicken, chickpeas and canned pineapple already, so I really only needed to buy turkey sausage, tofu, mushrooms and chicken broth. I’ll be making some chicken stock, but I didn’t have time yet.

This week I also stocked up on bread, 2/$5 and English muffins, Buy 1, Get 2.

Fashion Friday – What’s in my Bag?

Hello from vacation! Since I’ve been interested in the capsule wardrobe idea, I was very intrigued by the idea of packing only what I could carry on the plane. Here’s what I brought.
The bag. Isn’t it the cutest thing ever? It’s large enough to fit everything I need, but much smaller than a rolling suitcase. I found it at DSW and it was exactly what I was looking for.

I packed: one pair of shorts, one skirt, one dress, one tank top, and two blouses. On the journey I wore: jeans and a gray t-shirt (front, center). I carried my gray cardigan in case the plane got cold.


  • Thursday – Gray t-shirt, jeans
  • Friday – Blue blouse, jeans
  • Saturday – Striped dress for dinner; blue tank top, polka dot blouse and shorts for the rest of the day.
  • Sunday – In case we go to church, skirt with gray t-shirt. Jeans with any of the shirts for the plane ride home.

Also packed: underwear, two bras, one set of pajamas, socks, sneakers, flats. I wore my sandals on the plane for ease through security.

I found this adorable clear bag at TJ Maxx. It came with an assortment of carry-on bottles and containers for personal care items. I put the rest of my makeup in the blue bag.

See you on Monday when I get back! Let’s hope this packing plan worked well for me.