Thursday, April 28, 2011

treats for the whole year

ok, so i know this is a few days late but this weekend was crazy busy.
these little guys are sooooo freakin' good and even better?...soooo EASY to make. seriously - there are 3 ingredients and they take mayyyyybe 10 minutes to completely finish.
you will need:
waffle pretzels
hershey kisses, unwrapped (any flavor - i used milk chocolate)
pastel colored m&ms (any kind - i used peanut)
**the amount of each ingredient depends on how many you want to make 

what to do:
preheat oven to 170 degrees.
layout the pretzels, in a single layer, on a baking sheet.
place one unwrapped kiss on to each pretzel until all are covered. 
carefully put baking sheet in oven and bake at 170 degrees for 5-7 minutes.
again, carefully take the baking sheet out and push one m&m into the semi-melted kiss.
 place one m&m onto each piece and gently push down so chocolate is somewhat flattened over the pretzel.
let cool at room temp or place in fridge for faster cooling. 

(if the m&m doesn't go all the way down that means the kiss isn't melted enough. put baking sheet back in oven for another minute or two and eat the messed up one).

a made a butt-load of these around christmas time - instead of pastel m&ms, i used green and red ones - put them in little mason jars, tied a ribbon around the top and gave them to our neighbors and co-workers as gifts. they can honestly be made for any holiday since m&m has a gazillion different colors to choose from. enjoy :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

earth week: birthdays!

today, the most beautiful, encouraging, supportive woman was's my momma's birthday! yep...her and the queen (is what she always says). HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOMMA! 

sooo, to stick with our earth week theme, here are some things you can use if you're planning a party of your own. just because you're throwing a party doesn't mean you can't still be green :)
invitations: what's the first thing everyone has to think about when putting together any kind of event? the invitation...right?! use these recycled invites, or even better? e-invitation. no, it's not through there's a seller on etsy that designs an invitation strictly for your event and then creates a website for your guests to visit so they can RSVP to the party. it's an awesome idea that saves paper annnnd money on postage.

birthday garland: this piece is amazing! and like i've always said, etsy has the most amazingly eco-friendly products out there...especially because they aren't made in "bulk". materials are bought on an as-need basis since artists are very conscious of their spending. production costs are kept low because they aren't made in "bulk". also! you can use this guy over and over again.

gift wrap: wrapping paper is NOT the way to go. if you must use the stuff, find recycled paper..even newspaper makes unique wrapping. buuut, if you're adventorous enough to use fabric, wash clothes, scrap fabric, old t-shirts or scarves, are excellent options for ya. you can use big ol' safety pins to hold everything together.

birthday cards: again, my obsession for etsy continues. they have some a-mazing cards made with recycled materials. click here and here for some good ones!  

table cloth: enough with the cheesy plastic, vinyl table cloths you can grab at the dollar store. why not grab one of these gorgeous pieces for an upcoming party? it's a good excuse to go splurge on that table cloth you've been wanting...since you can use it over again..

party supplies: i know not everyone is going to breakout their everyday dishes for a party (one, because you probably don't have 20 sets and two, well, who wants to risk their dishes getting broken?) party city has some great (festive!) products that are eco-friendly and wayyyy affordable.

party on :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

earth week: keep it local

it's no secret that shopping local is both sustainable and healthier than shopping at a big chain grocery. 1) you're supporting and helping local farmers keep their farms in business,
2) the time of delivery from farm to farmers marketing, as opposed to "farm" to grocery store, is significantly lowered - thus, good for the environment, and 
3) the quality of farmers market produce is so much better than the products you'll find at the grocery - most of the time their produce is grown naturally and organically annnnd since the food doesn't have to travel very far it is less likely that the produce is going to get bruised or damaged in the delivery process. because let's face it, who really likes to cut off the bruised part of the apple anyways?

pre-athens, i was a teeny-weeny nervous about stepping foot into farmers market. i'm weird like that - if i don't know enough about something it's hard for me to feel comfortable doing it. i mean you walk into this place with all these farmers that clearly know a ton about what's going on..what's good and what's not. it's a little intimidating. soooo, for all the others out there that are really weird like me here are a few tips:
- know your seasons: know what produce is available, when and in your area. (florida farmers markets will have wayyyy more abundance of produce than northern states. luckily, south bend has a little cheat sheet for chicas like me. if you live near here your schedule will be very similar)
- go early or go late: going early will give you the best options, you will be able to pick what you want before it's picked over. although, if you're looking for a good deal you may want to go late. toward the end of the day vendors may not want to take tons of stuff home with them which might make them willing to negotiate. bang for your buck is what i like to call that number
- bring bags and cash: most vendors provide bags for your purchases, but they are almost all the time flimsy plastic bags and we know how i feel about those guys. there are so many cute bags out there, there's no excuse to not use one alllll the time. (click here and here if you need ideas). aside from your own bags, cash is the next most important thing you will need at the market (okay, maybe it's the first, but since this post is for earth week i'm saying it's definitely second!) most markets only take cash - 50 cent and one dollar increments. so, small change is preferable for most vendors.
- be adventurous: farmers markets are known for having unusual things. good thing? most of the time they have samples laid out for people to try. don't be scared - try, try, try! you never know what you might find!
- plan ahead: in most cities you can see what is available at your market even before you step foot in the building (or parking lot if you live in athens). so, plan ahead. sketch your meals out a day or two before and know what you need before you start wandering. i went to a local barnes & noble to look for farmers market-specific cookbooks. there are TONS out there - here's a list (courtesy of amazon). 
- think dirty: you gotta remember - these products are coming straight from the farm. they aren't cleaned and usually aren't cut into proportions before put on display at each booth. at farmers markets there are no such thing as "baby" carrots. they are usually unpeeled and uncut...with dirt 'n all. same with beets, celery and any other fruit/vegetable you can think of. as long as you're okay with getting your cute little bags a little dirty, those carrots will be the best damn carrots you have ever tasted (once washed, of course)

- get advice: going back to my intro - farmers, and each individual vendor, will know the most about their products. if something is new to you don't be afraid to ask them about it - how to cook it, what to cook it with, etc. 99% of the time they are more than happy to educate. 

now, don't be sckerd. find a local farmers market near you (here) and go get your shopping onnn.
happy marketing :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

earth week: meatless monday

round 2 of the bauer meatless monday adventure included "chicken" pitas and moroccan couscous.
there's a restaurant in athens that i'm obsessed with - salaam - and they have the best couscous ever (and their food is pretty awesome, too). but, since beau isn't as adventurous with his food choices as i am (although he's gotten a lot better over the past six years), he had no idea what couscous was. this recipe turned out pretty delish. it reminded me of salaam's version...just not as good. [warning: this couscous recipe makes a TON].
to go with the couscous, i made "chicken" pitas with homemade tzatziki sauce. but, since it was meatless monday, i clearly didn't use chicken. instead, i used smart tenders - savory chick'n. it's a meat substitute (veggie protein tenders is what is on the front of the box) that, if seasoned right, tastes very similar to the real thing. in fact, i bet if it wasn't meatless monday beau wouldn't have been able to tell the difference ;) i found these amazing wraps to use in place of big, bulky pitas too (and they're only 100 calories!)

so, enjoy:

moroccan couscous
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 zucchinis, chopped
salt/pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup raisins
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drain
1 (10oz) box couscous, cooked (i used instant couscous)
2 (8oz) cans mandarin orange segments (drain syrup)
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
3 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

in a large sauce pan, heat spices over medium-low heat until warmed and fragrant. add the oil, pepper, zucchinis, and salt/pepper and saute for about five minutes. 
add veggie broth, orange juice, raisins and beans and bring to a boil. once boiling, remove from heat and add cooked couscous. mix together and let sit for five minutes. then, fold in orange segments, parsley and mint. 
we ate this warm, but salaam serves theirs cold. it's good either way :)

"chicken" pita with tzatziki sauce
1-2 boxes smart tenders - savory chick'n, cooked
whatever veggie toppings you want - i used red pepper, romaine lettuce and tomatoes
pita shells or flat out wraps
tzatziki sauce (recipe here)
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles

cook smart tenders according to package directions (skillet method is preferred). remove tenders from skillet and pat dry with a paper towel. spread tzatziki sauce on one side of pita/wrap. lay lettuce, tomatoes, pepper and feta cheese crumbles on the other side. place tenders on top of veggies and cheese and fold together. super easy, right? and super yum :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

earth week: pack your lunch

for those of you that don't know - friday is earth day. the one day out of the year that is dedicated to our planet. in my eyes, you should be conscious of your earth-friendly choices 365 days a year, but hey..that's me.
you can never be too cool or too busy to be green, and you can never be too old to pack your lunch. that's the first topic in our earth WEEK "in honor of" - pack your lunch! it saves you TONS of money and is actually super eco-friendly (not to mention healthier for you!) but, only if you use reusable products. packing your lunch without all the reusable goods is a way for you to save money, but it's not saving the planet if you're throwing away five paper lunch bags, 10 zip-locks, and five-plus water bottle a week, right?

so, here are some products that will help you save money and save the lunch-hour at a time:

there are sososo many great eco-friendly products out there - my fav, Etsy, is a great place to look. and, sure, they might cost you a little more upfront, but in the long run you will save money...and *cough, cough* help save the planet :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

in honor of: easter

with easter right around the corner i thought it would be fun to put some outfit ideas together for three different events people might be partaking in next sunday - church (always a fashion show for the c&e's), easter brunch (a family tradition with my parents and brother), and a cook out/bbq/picnic (assuming the weather is nice wherever you are).
 church: dress, heels, blazer

when i was in high school, and even throughout college, my family would always get together for easter mass, followed by a ginormous brunch at my parents country club (then we would all go home and sleep off our food-coma, only to wake up in time to catch some golf which would inevitably put me back to sleep). my brunch outfit is more casual than what you would wear to church, even though you could definitely wear it to church and then straight to brunch, but still a little dressy...perfect for the type of brunch locale i'm used to. but, if you're going to someone's house for brunch the cook-out outfit is more than enough, or you could pair the brunch dress with a pair of sandals or flats to make it a bit more casual.

my search for different outfit pieces lead me to my favorite site - Etsy. it was there that i found this great jewelry seller, the maiden. the four leaf clover necklace is from her shop and is only $8! (an awesome forever 21 replacement). for the quality metal she's using her prices are more than fair. her designs are super simple and perfect if you're looking for that everyday piece without having to spend a lot of cash-money.

wherever you are next weekend, or whoever you're with, i hope the weather is beautiful and that you're surrounded by people you love and good food :) happy early easter!

Friday, April 15, 2011

big deal

today's a big day here in notre dame, in. today, in approximately 2 hours, the shirt will be unveiled. there is a big unveiling ceremony and everything, with brian kelly even helping hype it up and show off THE shirt for this year.
the shirt is a long standing tradition amongst the notre dame student body and community - it began in 1990 as a way to unify the student body for their home game against michigan. since both teams have similiar school colors - blue and yellow/gold - the shirt was made green so the ND students could stand unified in their irish green (shirt to the left). and in 1993, the shirt's profits were used to help offset the medical bills of an ND student who had become paralyzed. today, proceeds from the shirt are used to support student body clubs and organizations, student medical costs, and students who cannot normally afford to participate campus activities. 

a new shirt has been revealed every year since 1990. last years shirt (front is below) was also green, but since the shirts inception it has been gaining more and more popularity throughout the community. i've only been here for a few weeks and i can't wait to see what the shirt committee came up with this year!

updated: click here to see this year's shirt.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

local finds: south bend chocolate company

DTSB (you know, downtown south bend? yea, i'm using local slang since i've been here for all of 3 weeks) is probably one of the most relaxed downtown-areas that i've ever experienced. there are cute shops and boutiques, (what look like) cool bars, and some really great restaurants lining main street. it's as laid back as you can get.
the first place beau took me to when we were visiting south bend in january was the south bend chocolate company. it's crazy! - you walk into the place and it's like you're getting 4-in-1: it's a cafe, specialty dessert shop (including their famous chocolate...covering every type of fruit, nut, and snack you can imagine), it's got it's own pastry counter, and one whole side is dedicated to lunch (which is awesome, by the way). there are tons of tables around the entire place, free wireless, and comfy couches - definitely encouraging it's patrons to stay awhile...which we did. if you're ever in south bend you have to check this place out.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

run, forest, run

normally i'd be content with doing a little p90x in the basement, but this semi-warm weather has got me itchin' to be outside alllll the freakin' time. [see, that's the difference between here and florida - when you live somewhere where it's not beautiful all the time, and you've been stuck inside since october, you tend to appreciate the outdoors a little more]. 
35 degree weather didn't stop me from waking up early this morning and getting myself a little run in. note to all: i haven't really ran since last november...cough, 2009...when my 12 crazies and i did ragnar. ja know, running and i have this love-hate relationship when i'm training. so, when i go out and run after 16 months of not having to do it everyday i honestly do miss it. 
so, with that said, i leave you with some of my fav. workout gear:

one thing that's so so so important - if you're going out for a run you need to make sure you have the right kind of shoes. the shoes you wear everyday to the gym aren't going to cut it. make sure you know what kind of support you need in a shoe based on your arch type. if you take care of your feet, they will take care of the rest of your body.

next thing beau and i will be training for? chicago muddy buddy - here we come!

so, go! get out there and run! or walk...whichever you prefer. just get out there and do something. cheers to our tushies.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

meatless monday

last week's oprah show "harpo's vegan challenge" got me so inspired! i think beau and i eat pretty well as it is, but my choice of snack foods could improve a TON and i'd like to start thinking about what we eat, rather than just eating it.
by no means do i think i could ever become vegan (i love cheese and dairy wayyyyy too much), but why not be "vegan-ish" and lean into that lifestyle? oprah's staffers who took part in the challenge said that even though they might not 100% stick to a vegan diet, the challenge made them much more aware of what kind of food they were buying, where they were buying it from, and how they prepared it. (the sb farmers market will be seeing more of my pretty face, and i will definitely be purchasing kathy freston's book to learn more about being conscious of the way beau and i eat).
now, i don't eat red meat - just chicken, turkey and pork, nothing - so my meatless monday idea is much less of a challenge for me than it is for beau - my little indiana country boy, meat and potato lover is p-o'ed. buuut, i told him: "meatless monday, or starve". period. 

so, here's the first recipe in our meatless monday adventure - minestrone soup and tomato spinach pizza - not bad, right?! he's even taking leftovers for lunch today :)

minestrone soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 cup fresh (or frozen) green beans
2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 (14 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup (half a box) whole wheat elbow macaroni
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper, to taste
parmesan cheese or yeast flakes (to make vegan) - optional, for garnish

- chop everything up prior to heating stockpot
- heat olive oil in a large stockpot
- add onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. cook for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned
- add in zucchini, green beans, and diced tomatoes. stir in vegetable broth and water. add beans, macaroni, oregano, and basil. simmer until vegetables and macaroni are tender - about 30-35 minutes
- season with salt and pepper and serve warm
- garnish with parmesan cheese or yeast flakes, if desired. serve with warm bread

tomato spinach pizza
one organic pizza crust - whole grain or whole wheat
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup (more or less depending on your taste) all natural marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (daiya cheese for vegan option)
1 roma tomato, sliced
5-6 raw spinach leaves - cleaned with steams taken off - tear into pieces
1/2 tbsp dried basil

- preheat oven to 450 degrees
- drizzle and brush olive oil on pizza crust. spread marinara sauce over the entire crust, leaving a 1/2" border along the edge to prevent spilling over in the oven
- sprinkle mozzarella/daiya cheese over sauce, layer spinach pieces over the cheese and place slices of roma tomato over the spinach. sprinkle dried basil over the entire pizza.
- bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is melted
- let cool for a few minutes, then slice into wedges.


Monday, April 11, 2011

someone had their first surprise party!

i'm trying really hard to focus on this post, but barefoot contessa is on the food network cooking these guys..i gotta take notes.
boy, have i been neglecting little s2s this week, huh? life seems to be zipping by ever since we moved - unpacking, setting up shop, know, the fun stuff. on top of all that i hosted a surprise birthday party for beau this weekend. the entire bauer clan roadtripped it to south bend for some cornhole-playing, scare-the-crap-out-of-beau, warm weather, birthday fun :)
[note about the cake: beau's sister, nic, told dq that she needed an ice cream cake for an adult male. a buck in the forest is the best the could do. yeaa..only in indiana..]

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

so close

we are back in athens again this week and i realized how unfair it is that ohio has color in their landscape. i mean bright greens and yellows and the tiny cherry blossom trees are even showing their little faces.
what the heck, south bend? why you so lazy?

on another note: we have to clean and pack up the rest of our stuff today...well, i do. beau's in class. sooo, i'm doing all i can to postpone that activity...including taking pictures of myself with my mad-face on...

Monday, April 4, 2011

awesome news!

as you may have read here, the athens farmers market is like none other in the state. it is the largest open-air market in ohio, and its goods are extremely unique to the athens-area.
sooo, you can bet i was thrilled to learn that south bend had their own farmers market! beau told me about it on wednesday (little sweetheart, he is) and i was ready to hop on over there that afternoon. buuuut, i can be a sweetheart too (muahahaha), so i told beau that i would wait till saturday so we could go together :)
saturday monring we marched our pretty little butts over there and let me tell you...this place was unreal. i'm not saying it was better than athens because, let's face it, athens is on a playing field all their own. no, the south bend farmers market was just different. it was more like a farmers market mixed with a little bit of Etsy - there was LOADS of stuff, not just food, and the place went on forevvvvveeeerrrrr. there were deli counters, italian bakeries, cupcake booths, vintage goods, and even handmade jewelry. i fell in love with this one chick - her jewelry pieces are absolutely to-die-for. her name is ali oesch, and you best believe i will be making a purchase (or two) with her very soon. 

and to my dear athens - i still love you and your uniqueness :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

brittany, the painter

happy fridayyyyyyy!
it's supposed to snow today. no, i'm not going to bitch. instead, i'm going to focus my attention elsewhere.
see, we have this really old piece of furniture that my roommate, first year out of undergrad, gave to me. i think it was her grandma's, so i could never understand why she would want to get rid of it. untilllll i moved out...the freakin' thing weights a TON! beau and my dad hate it, but i love it (probably because i never have to lift it and i only get to admire it once i tell them where to put it). not only is it old, but it looks old too. so today i'm going to give it a mini-makeover. here's what it looks like now:

and here's what i'm thinking for color:
hopefully i'll be finished by the end of this weekend.
wish me luck :)