A Few Favorite Dinner Recipes

Does anybody else have recipe hoarding issues? I’ve been trying at least 1 or 2 new recipes a week since I got married eight years ago. (I know, I’m so freakin’ domestic.) I’m never quite satisfied with my basic collection of tried and true dishes, so I just keep searching for something tastier, easier, healthier, etc… In addition to storing hundreds of recipes on my laptop with MacGourmet (and don’t even get me started on cookbooks), I’ve got a Pinterest board filled with recipes I want to try and another Pinterest board of over 100 recipes I’ve personally tried and loved. I made many recipes that didn’t make the cut, too. Yuck. Pinterest is hit-or-miss with recipes, don’t you think?

One of the goals on my 30 by 31 list was to find 10 easy, healthy(ish) dinner recipes Daniel and I both like. That was easier said than done. He’s a diehard carnivore, and I’d prefer to eat primarily vegetables. I found a few great new chicken/salmon recipes to appease my meat lover, but I discovered that hearty, filling vegetarian dishes with lots of beans and plenty of spice almost made Daniel forget about meat. After some trial and error (and yelling at Daniel for not liking perfectly delicious dishes) I eventually succeeded, and I want to share our new favorite dinner recipes. 

roasted chickpea ratatouille

Roasted Chickpea Ratatouille (photo and recipe by Love & Lemons)

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup (photo and recipe by Damn Delicious)

Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes, and Paprika

Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes, & Paprika (photo by Lisa Hubbard)

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas (photo and recipe by Skinny Taste)

Smoky Minestrone with Tortellini and Pesto

Smoky Minestrone with Tortellini and Pesto (photo and recipe by Food52)

Perfect Baked Salmon (add steamed veggies & baked potato) by The Pioneer Woman

Chana Masala by Smitten Kitchen

Roasted Sweet Potatoes Topped with Quick Black Bean Chili by Marie Simmons

No-Prep Veggie Lasagna by Cooking with Trader Joe’s

Red Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Toasted Cumin by Marie Simmons

Winter Love List

It’s the time of year when everybody around here is whining about the cold weather and anxious for spring. But me, I’m mad because we haven’t had a good snow yet! Today the sky looks like this:

winter love list

Doesn’t it look like it could snow at any minute? It won’t. It’s 50 degrees. I had to dig up some snowy photos from last year for this post—my favorite things about winter!

winter love list

winter love list

winter love list

summer love list + fall love list

Greeting Card Inventory Storage

For the longest time I struggled to find a good way to store my greeting card inventory. I started out keeping my cards stacked in these, but cards kept getting caught up and crushed as I slid the drawers open and closed. The drawers could only hold about 40 of each card, so I had to keep extra inventory stored in chalkboard boxes (pictured below). The boxes were hard to access and made it difficult to know when I needed to reorder cards.

greeting card inventory storage

After over a year of brainstorming, I think I finally have the solution! I wanted to share it just in case any other small paper goods businesses out there are stuck on this too, because googling was no help at all.

Five months ago I ordered a whole bunch of Ikea Billy bookcases with glass doors. A few weeks ago they were finally all delivered and undamaged. Dealing with Ikea was a bit of a nightmare (hence the 5 month delivery time). It turns out their customer service is about as good as Time Warner Cable’s, but I had to suck it up since there’s nobody else that can match their prices.

I lined the shelves with these cardboard bins, which are perfectly sized to fit my standard 5″ x 7″ greeting cards and 3.5″ x 5″ notecards. I spent hours searching the internets to find bins or baskets that were the right size and inexpensive. I was positively giddy when I stumbled across these! I even labeled the bins with labels that coordinate with each card’s designated envelope color.

Now I can see at a glance when I need reorder a card, and it’s so easy to grab what I need when I’m filling orders. Shipping all those Valentine’s Day cards the past few weeks was a breeze compared to the mess it used to be!

greeting card inventory storage

The glass doors on the bookcases will protect my cards from dust and humidity, and just look at all those empty boxes waiting to be filled with new designs!

greeting card inventory storage

Homemade Valentine’s Day Cards

Last night I made a bunch of Valentine’s Day cards the old fashioned way. It took me right back to elementary school—glue, stamps, paper doilies, cut paper hearts… those were the days. I skipped the glitter (since I am a glitter-hating adult now) and used silver and gold spray paint for sparkle instead. I needed some examples for the Valentine’s Day card making session I’m leading at Gather this weekend, and I think these will do nicely. If anybody around the Raleigh area wants to join in and make a bunch of cards like these, here’s the info!

handmade Valentine cards

handmade Valentine cards

Three Phone-y Things

There are a handful of phone related things that are really tickling my fancy lately. For starters, my Aunt got me a retro phone handset for Christmas. It makes me laugh every time I see it plugged into my iPhone. From a practical standpoint, it really is more comfortable to hold an old school phone to your ear than a cell phone.

retro cell phone handset

I’m kinda in love with my transparent floral Rifle Paper Co. phone case. Who wants to hide their pretty phone under chunky opaque plastic? (Just in case anyone is on the fence about this—after much deliberation last fall I upgraded to the iPhone 6+, and I have no regrets. I love how huge it is, since I mostly look at images/read on my phone. The camera is great too!)

rifle paper co phone case

I saved the best for last! This free app, Pureple, is rocking my socks off. Last year I went through my wardrobe and pared it down to only my favorite items. Unfortunately I still ended up not wearing most of them, because it’s hard to visualize outfits from a bunch of clothes smooshed together in a closet. At least for me it is. Enter Pureple. In addition to totally confusing me about how to spell the color p-u-r-p-l-e, it has changed the way I get dressed in the morning while appealing to my hopeless type A-ness! (Hah, A-ness…)

Pureple app

The app lets you photograph the items in your wardrobe (or download photos from the internet) and arrange them into outfits. It’s really simple to use. To take the photos I just hung each item on the back of a white door so they all had the same background. Then I put together a bunch of different outfits, which was absurdly fun—like shopping in your own closet. Seeing everything laid out like that inspired a lot of combinations I wouldn’t have come up with otherwise. It was also easy to spot pieces that needed to be donated, because they didn’t fit in. Now in the mornings I just pick an outfit from the app and go. It’s so nice not to waste any more time staring into my closet feeling like I have nothing to wear.

By the way, if anybody’s been itching to jump on the minimalist wardrobe bandwagon, Pureple would be a great resource to help you come up with a bunch of creative outfits from just a few items.

(The Pureple people did not ask me to write about their app or promote it, I just really like it and thought you might too. Also, did I mention it’s free?)

Pureple app