29 February 2012

Token Tuesday




Jacket: Rue21
Dress: Cotton on
Tights: dELiA*s
Shoes: Payless
Earrings: Cotton on
Bangles: Target

There are only two reasons to ever visit Florida:
1) Harry Potter World
2) The restaurant The TOP in Gainesville

Other than that Florida is a miserable swamp land that should be avoided at all costs. What's that? You think beaches, "nice" weather, or Disney World should have been on the list? False. I have lived in Florida my entire life, and I am certain my list does not need any alteration, thank you very much.

So, since my dear friend Kendall is leaving in two weeks to work on a seaweed farm in Ireland (yeah, she's more awesome than any of us will ever be--just resign yourself to this now), there was clearly no better way to spend her last night in Gainesville than by going to Token Tuesday at the TOP (which is a night where you receive tokens when you purchase a drink which then can be exchanged for another drink).

Last night, the TOP was just as amazing as ever and it was well worth it staying out until 2am even when I had to be up at 8 to meet with my prof to discuss my paper interpreting a French Renaissance poem (which is surprisingly more interesting than it sounds). So, thank you dear TOP, for your abundance of sweet potato fries, corn nuggets, and token drinks. You made Kendall's last night in Gainesville beyond phenomenal.

And although I was burning, you're the only light. Only if for a night. by glowingalbino

27 February 2012

Height Appreciation



Still I'd rather be working at something than praying for the rain by glowingalbino

So I wander on till someone else is saved by glowingalbino

Jacket, Dress, & Scarf: Thrifted
Tights: Penneys (in Dublin)
Boots: Steve Madden
Purse: Forever 21
Belt: Cotton On

I love this dress. I bought it on sale at Plato's Closet (I think it was around $4). It was essentially just an extra large t-shirt. However, when you put it on a person of my height and belt it, it turns into an adorable little dress. It's in situations like these that I really appreciate being 5'3".

Also, when I can wear heels and not tower over everyone.

And when I can buy clothes in the children's section (which are much cheaper).

And, in certain situations, when I can pass for much younger than I am. When would I want to do this, you ask? When it saves me a 30 minute walk from the airport to the bus stop along an unfamiliar highway in France because a kind old lady decides to stop and pick me up thinking I was 14. That's when. (And, yes, true story.)

AND when I can fit perfectly into window frames to take cute pictures for my blog. :)

Ok, so come to think of it, there aren't many reasons that I don't appreciate my height. Huzzah for being 5'3"!

26 February 2012

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers


I stole this recipe from Whole Foods, and then improved it, if I do say so myself. I was making this for a dinner with friends, so this recipe produces quite a large quantity of food--enough for at least eleven people with some left over. (which is funny because, with eight siblings, that "large quantity of food" is exactly what my mother needed to make for my family every night for dinner. Since I learned to cook from my mom, I suspect this is why I have such trouble for cooking for small groups of people. But I digress). Anyhow, if you're making these for less people, just halve or third the recipe as needed.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, chopped 

3 cloves garlic
12 oz sliced mushrooms 

4 medium carrots, chopped 

1 bell pepper, chopped (I'd use yellow just for the aesthetic value. But you can use whatever color you'd like)
8 bell peppers, stems removed, seeded, and halved (again, I used a mixture of red, yellow, and orange for aesthetic purposes but you can use whatever color you choose)
6 oz baby spinach 

1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
Optional: 2 cups vegetable broth for cooking quinoa
3/4 cup roasted, salted cashews
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (8oz) can tomato paste
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 

Salt and pepper to taste 

First, prepare the quinoa (See this recipe for instructions). I used 2 cups vegetable broth and 1 cup water for the quinoa, but you could use all water or all broth, depending on your taste or what you have on hand. I just find that cooking it in some broth adds a bit more flavor.

Tell her all she needs to know by glowingalbino

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions start to become transparent (about 5 minutes). Then add the mushroom and cook until soft (5-7 minutes). Next add the carrots and peppers and continue cooking until they start to soften (probably another 5ish minutes).

Give a little heart and soul by glowingalbino

Mix in the can of tomatoes (don't drain them, but pour in the liquid also), spices, salt and pepper. Then add the spinach in batches. Cook until wilted.

Let your body lose control by glowingalbino

Then add quinoa, cashews and tomato paste. Adjust spices to taste.

Give a little oh oh oooh by glowingalbino

Place the stuffed pepper in a baking dish. Scoop the mixture into the stuffed peppers, filling each one. Cover tightly with foil and bake on 350 for 1 hour.


Serve warm and enjoy. :)

21 February 2012

Spiced Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Cake

This cake is absolutely glorious. Wonderfully glorious. Definitely one of my favorite things I’ve ever made because it’s amazing in terms of both taste (a perfectly moist blend of dark chocolate, spices, and pumpkin) and aesthetics.

I nicked this recipe from Frangrant Vanilla Cake (someone who I’ll probably be stealing loads more recipes from…red wine cake, anyone?). I made quite a few modifications for reasons of both cost and ingredient availability; I didn’t want to spend $10 on a thing of coconut oil and I couldn’t find maple extract (Dear loser—Publix, I hate you, I’ve aaalways hated you). I also cut out some of the spices because I thought chipotle powder in a cake would be a little bizarre (and because I am a complete sissy when it comes to spicy foods).

Anyhow, without further ado, here’s my modified version of Pumpkin Turtle Cake:

Spiced Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Cake:
3 cups flour
1 3/4 cup white sugar
½ + 2 Tsp cup maple syrup
3 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 canola oil
2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup coconut milk
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Dark Chocolate Frosting:
1 cup regular cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup dark cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup maple syrup
¼ cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt
Salted Caramel
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
2 Tbsp Earth balance butter
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp sea salt

12 oz pecans, toasted
(The original recipe also called for pumpkin seeds, which I would have used but the pumpkins seeds at Publix looked questionable at best (I hate you more than anything in this world-d-d-d-d-d! If you can find better quality pumpkin seeds, dooo it.)


Whisk dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a different bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, coconut milk, oil, and vanilla extract and mix in with the dry ingredients. Then whisk in the apple cider vinegar until pale swirls form in the batter and it is well combined.


Divide the cake batter equally between two 9” cake pans. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until tester is inserted and comes out clean. Thank you, dear mother, for putting the cakes in the oven for me! This cake would not have gotten made without you. Well, it would have gotten made but ended up a wet goopy mess. (In all seriousness, I am very thankful because she did purchase the plethora of ingredients for this cake so it really would not have been made without her. Merci maman!)


While the cake is baking, go ahead and make the icing and the caramel. For the frosting, whisk all the ingredients together until smooth. Add more cocoa powder to thicken the frosting or milk to thin it.


My caramel turned out a bit wonky. It didn't end up thickening as much as I would have liked and it never turned a very deep amber color. However, it was still tasty, so it sufficed.

To make the wonky caramel, bring the sugar, agave nectar, and water to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes (until deep amber) swirling the pan every so often to assure even heating. Remove from heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients (carefully, because the mixture will bubble). Set aside and let cool (the mixture should thicken as it cools...ha).


To toast the pecans, spread them over a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 350 for about 5 minutes or until “aromatic” (basically, until it starts to smell nice). Careful that you don’t let cook too long, because they will scorch.


After the cakes have completely cooled, cut in them in half by turn them over onto a plate lined with parchment paper and cutting through them with a long serrated knife. Do this as slowly as you need to--if you go to quickly your cake layers could end up super uneven.


Place the first layer of cake on a plate and cover with a thin layer of frosting and caramel. Repeat with the following layers (I also crushed about half of the toasted pecans and added them to the middle layer).


Once you have assembled all the layers, cover the entire cake with the rest of the icing and caramel, letting the caramel drizzle over the sides. Decorate the top of the cake with the other half of the pecans.


17 February 2012

Coconut Curry Chickpea Soup

This is delicious. Absolutely wonderful. You should make it. And eat it.

Okay, that's all I have to say.

Oh, and I originally got the recipe from this blog.

Okey doke, here's the recipe:

Coconut Curry Chickpea Soup
2 (15oz) cans of chickpeas
1 cup quinoa
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb mixed greens - kale, collards, mustard greens, swiss chard (I acutally used spinach because it was what I had on hand)
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk

Put the quinoa in a medium sized pot with 2 cups of water (I used 1 cup of water and 1 cup of veggetable broth because I knew I'd have extra broth left over after using what I needed for the soup). Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low. Simmer covered for 15 minutes, or until water is mostly evaporated. Remove from heat and let sit with the lid on. After 5 minutes, remove lid and fluff with a fork.

In a large pot, heat up the olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions, peppers, carrots, and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent (maybe 5 minutes).

Add tomatoes, chickpeas, broth, curry powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.

Add the greens and stir until wilted.

Stir in the coconut milk and quinoa. Simmer until heated all the way through (it should only take a few minutes). Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve warm.

I served it with garlic naan on the side. If I wasn't feeling lazy, I would have made my own naan, but instead I just picked some up from Publix and warmed it in the oven before serving the soup.

13 February 2012

Où est Charlie?

I'll give you all of me by glowingalbino
I'll make you mine by glowingalbino
If you'll take me and make me your first in line by glowingalbino

Cape: American Apparel
Sweater, Dress, & Necklace: Forever 21
Belt: Cotton On
Tights: Target
Boots: Steve Madden
Ring: Etsy

My friend told me that when I wear this outfit I look like a french where's Waldo (who's called Charlie in France and Wally in the UK and Ireland--who knew?!). Sure, being compared to a creeper of a cartoon character isn't great, but anytime anyone uses the adjective french to describe me, I get a little giddy inside. So, I take her words as a compliment.

Dear Mom

Shirt: Forever 21
Belt: Forever 21
Boot Socks: Target
Boots: Ross
Necklace: Charlotte Russe
Skirt: Not quite sure. I've had it since middle school.

I find that I pair brown accessories with black clothing (and vice versa) more and more often. I can't help but think of all the times in middle school when I disapproved of my mother's brown/black clothing combinations and voiced it every time she asked for an opinion, and sometimes when she didn't. While I stand by some of my critiques voiced during these particular incidences, I admit general defeat. I love to pair black with brown. Madre, you were right I was wrong. There--I said it! Thanks for being chic, oh beautiful mother of mine. Love you lots. :)

Anyhow, I wanted to find an interesting outfit that would compliment my blue hair. After some experimentation this was the best I came up with. Though I think I can do better. And now that it's cooler out, I'm looking forward to exploring layers.

side note: Many thanks to my roommate Kylie for taking such wonderful photos. I apologize on behalf of Orlando for its ugliness.We'll try to find a better place for the next photos.

Peace out.

12 February 2012

Oven-Baked Sweet Unsendable Birthday Plantain

You know those moments where you've tried to send a plantain to your friend who lives in London for his birthday but the UK sucks and won't let you send ANY fruit into their country from the States EVEN if it's to celebrates someone's birth so now you're stuck with an unsendable and ever ripening birthday plantain and you're not sure what to do with it?

Yellow diamonds in the light by glowingalbino

Well, I had that exact moment today.

Now we're standing side by side by glowingalbino
As your shadow crosses mine by glowingalbino
But don't worry! You can rest easy because I found a perfectly delicious solution.

Oven-Baked Sweet Unsendable Birthday Plantain:
1 very ripe unsendable birthday plantain
1 tsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Itty bitty pinch of salt
Cooking spray

What it takes to come alive by glowingalbino
Cut off both edges of the plantain and cut a slit length-wise. Peel back the skin.

It's the way I'm feeling by glowingalbino
Cut the plantain diagonally in 1/2 inch slices.

I just can't deny by glowingalbino
Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange the plantains on top (arranging the slices in the shape of a smiley face is unnecessary, but highly recommended). Sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar, and salt.
Bake in the oven at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove, flip the plantains, and return to oven for another 5 minutes.

But I've gotta let it go by glowingalbino
Remove from oven. Briefly wonder if the UK would accept already cooked plantains and contemplate trying to send your creation to said London friend. Then let the wonderful smell of the plantains take its hold and instead decide to consume your plantain creation with your roommates immediately.

We found love in a hopeless place by glowingalbino
Optionally, you can put some peanut butter between two slices of plantain for a superbly delicious plantain sandwich...a plantainwich? Doesn't matter--whatever you call it, it's delectable.

Happy birthday, Neil! I hope your 27th year of life is as awesome as you are. Sorry the UK sucks and left you plantainless on your birthday.

11 February 2012

Baby It's Cold(ish) Outside

Jacket: Rue21
Dress: Forever 21
Tights: Penneys (in Dublin)
Boots: Random shoe store in France
Necklace: Target

Florida decided to give me a welcome back present from France that would make me remember exactly what I was missing during my time overseas: miserably and unreasonably hot weather that lasted the ENTRE month of January. Thanks, Florida, I missed you too. This means that my attire since being home has been mostly dresses and sandals. Nothing particularly photograph worthy, and, even if it were, I don't think I could stand being outside long enough to take photos. Fortunately, I woke up this morning to discover that it was chilly enough to put on boots and a jacket. Huzzah!

So, here you have it--my very first outfit post. I've seen a few people mix up white summer dresses to make a fall/winter look. This would be my attempt.

I need to thank my lovely photographer, Rachael. I forced her out the door this morning to take photos of me before it got too hot to wear my jacket, and she did so sans complaints. Thanks, dear, you're a gem.