January 31, 2014

stuffed peppers

Green Pepper l TWELFTH AVENUE

Lately anytime I ask Allen what he wants for dinner, he says Stuffed Peppers. After the second or third time he asked, I wondered if it was something he grew up eating? But no, just something that sounded good, so I took a shot at making them for the first time last weekend. Surprisingly very easy and light, at least for the vegetarian.

I made the recipe almost exactly as shown below except I substituted mushrooms for more green bell pepper and diced tomatoes instead of water for baking. They turned out just as I hoped, fresh and surprisingly light. To be honest, it was almost not enough food for me. I’m a pretty big eater for a petite person, so I think next time I will make a more traditional vegetarian version with quinoa and beans.

Green Peppers l TWELFTH AVENUE

Stuff Peppers l TWELFTH AVENUE

Stuffed Peppers
6 Servings

INGREDIENTS
6 green bell peppers, tops cut away and seeds removed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups cooked long or medium-grain white rice
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes

PREPARATION

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling water, parboil the peppers until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and dry on paper towels.

In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the beef, garlic, parsley, salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes. Cook until the meat is browned, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon to break up the lumps, about 6 minutes. Add the rice and tomato sauce and stir well. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Pour diced tomatoes or sauce into a baking dish to just cover the bottom, about 1/8-inch deep. Stuff the bell peppers with the rice mixture and place in the baking dish. Bake until the peppers are very tender and the filling is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

January 30, 2014

that gym scene

I finally joined the gym. The company I work for has some pretty amazing fitness facilities on site – two sports centers, a big indoor pool, spinning and yoga studios, a full line-up of classes, etc. etc. – and now that I’ve finally bitten the monetary bullet and signed up for a monthly membership, two things have become abundantly clear: (1) I am an idiot for waiting so long to join (I’ve been working there for two and a half years!). The classes are fantastic, and I love having the flexibility to work out whenever my schedule allows. (2) I need to step up my gym steez (Mom, FYI, steez = style with ease). I feel like such a loser in spin class when everyone around me is wearing cool patterned running tights and draped or cut-out tanks exposing sports bras with neon details, and I’m just pedaling away like a chump in my ratty grey t-shirt and black capris.

It’s about time I supplemented my dull workout wardrobe with some new pieces. Although I like to stick to a black/white/grey color palette, the neon accents in these Nike finds lend a little extra somethin’-somethin’ to the overall look, don’t you think?

that gym scene | TWELFTH AVENUE

Clockwise from top left: Nike Women’s Running Jacket ($400): For that quick dash from the car to the gym and beyond. Nike Pro Printed Sports Bra ($35): The vibrant pattern on this sports bra is too good to keep hidden. Nike Tailwind Loose Tank ($45): A simple shape with the perfect drape to expose that bright printed sports bra. Nike Legendary Tights ($95): My absolute favorite workout pant – I own several pairs already, but you can never have too many. Nike+ Silver FuelBand ($169): So glad Nike started making FuelBands with metallic accents. Nike Free Trainers ($105): Obsessed with these shoes. Nike Duffel Bag ($65): A good gym bag is essential to my locker room routine.

January 29, 2014

printed

Bar{black + white couch and pillow play nicely with the abstract artwork}

While I may talk a lot about neutral simplicity, I love a good print as much as the next girl. As I’m working on my own home and putting this inspiration together, it makes me want to scratch everything and recreate. I need to find a balance and prioritize, and some patience would be nice too.

Leopard{only in my dreams}

Runner{I love the mixed printed pillows and curated art}

Girly{spotted femininity}

Striped{fun stripes in an otherwise neutral space}

Living{great mix of colors and patterns from the bookshelves to the tile}

Spotted{can you see a trend here?}

images via Pinterest

January 28, 2014

diy parchment wrapped wine bottle

DIY wine packaging | TWELFTH AVENUE

“Parchment wrapped wine bottles tied up with string (er, twine)…these are a few of my favorite things.” Between housewarmings, birthdays, seasonal soirées and thank yous, I constantly find myself gifting bottles of wine. During the holidays, I’m all about dressing them up in funny little sweaters (yep, I’m tacky like that), but most occasions call for a classier touch. Parchment paper makes beautiful, inexpensive packaging. The next time you’re gifting a bottle of wine (or a bottle of nice olive oil, if that’s more your thing), try wrapping it up in a piece of parchment and twine and adding a personalized note in the form of a label. Here, I’ll show you how…

DIY wine packaging | TWELFTH AVENUEDIY wine packaging | TWELFTH AVENUE

To make your own personalized wine bottle gift wrap, you’ll need:
– A yummy bottle of wine
– One piece of parchment paper (at least the length of a wine bottle)
– One rubber band
– A piece of twine
– A few pieces of white paper printed with a personal message (I print a few so I can play with sizing)

DIY wine packaging | TWELFTH AVENUE

Take your piece of parchment paper and wrap it around the wine bottle. (I prefer the look of a rough, uneven edge around the top of the bottle, so I tear my parchment straight from the roll.) Secure the parchment with the rubber band.

DIY wine packaging | TWELFTH AVENUE

Using a paper trimmer or scissors (and a steady hand!), trim the white paper down to a couple of inches above and below the message.

DIY wine packaging | TWELFTH AVENUE

Slide the rubber band to the bottom of the bottle and wrap the paper around the parchment-wrapped wine bottle. Move the rubber band to secure the paper.

DIY wine packaging | TWELFTH AVENUE

Tie the twine into a bow around the middle of the paper label…

DIY wine packaging | TWELFTH AVENUE

…and remove the rubber band.

DIY wine packaging | TWELFTH AVENUE

Holding the base of the wine bottle in one hand, grasp the neck of the wine bottle with your other hand and simultaneously twist and flatten the parchment paper around the bottle. Handle with care.

January 27, 2014

brights

Floral J.Crew l TWELFTH AVENUE Alexander Wang l TWELFTH AVENUE Detail l TWELFTH AVENUE Alexander Wang Booties l TWELFTH AVENUE J.Crew l TWELFTH AVENUE Dress: J.Crew. Blouse: J.Crew (similar here and here). Jacket: J.Crew. Booties: Alexander Wang. Beanie: J.Crew. Sunnies: Ray Ban. Jewelry: David Yurman.

It’s not very often I talk about a really great weekend, but last weekend was a really great weekend. Got my hair did, its blonde and I like it and then had Saturday morning brunch with some college lovelies. There’s not much else more fun than catching up with people you spent some of your best years with reminiscing about the stupid stuff you did and catching up on everyone’s awesome lives. Awesome I tell you. To cap it off, Allen and I went to Her Saturday night.

A really great book and a really great movie have something in common for me, I never want it to end and it leaves me talking about it for days. Her totally hit the spot, Allen and I loved it, and couldn’t stop talking about it all night. Everything from the acting and styling to the colors and deep, romantic, emotional connections was just fascinating. There was never a point where I was guessing or assuming what was going to happen next, it is original and fresh, oh so fresh.

We played golf on Sunday morning (remember this?), it was like pulling teeth for me to commit, but it was super fun. And then hung tight for the epic TV line-up that was Sunday afternoon / evening. I know you are nodding your head agreeing. Grammy’s Red Carpet on to Keeping Up With The Kardashians on to 60 Minutes (okay, maybe that was just me) on to Grammy Awards on to The Bachelor: Sean / Catherine (commercial breaks, sorry about it). J&B brought the house down. B’s moves empower me from my couch. I don’t know how she does it.