Fiber Musings

Month: September, 2015

Monday Meal Highlight – Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes, and Paprika

When I quit my job to stay at home with my son I was blessed to be able to focus my attention on the things that matter most to me: My baby and my husband. I just left a fast paced, deadline driven job and surprisingly I now find myself structuring my day at home with similar deadlines. In my head there is a miniature checklist each day- On Monday’s for instance, we do the following:

  • Meal planning for the week
  • Take Baby E for a walk
  • Complete daily chore
  • Afternoon grocery shopping
  • Wash & fold laundry
  • Monday Meal Highlight blog post

Somewhere in there I also try to get Baby E down for 2 (or three) naps, feed myself, grab a cup of coffee, work on freelance work, change 5-6 diapers and shake a rattle with my left foot while sneakily eating pieces of dark chocolate. I wake at 6 a.m. to feed Baby E, but I consider my “work” day to start at 8 a.m. when my husband leaves and to wrap up at 6:30 p.m. when he gets home. I challenge myself to end each day with a clean house and dinner ready at 6:30pm. (Full disclosure: this only happens half the time….sometimes…. occasionally).

Monday is one of my favorite days because I love planning out our meals, organizing my grocery list and hitting the local store. I feel that Baby E enjoys cruising through the grocery too- The colors, the smells, the music, the cheese samples…. Anyhow, I spent my first two months as a stay at home mom going bonkers in the kitchen before reality hit. I was spending WAY too much money on groceries. So, I have recently been trying to find healthy, flavorful meals that won’t break the bank. (Without relying solely on my mom’s Tuna Casserole recipe… Uck! Sorry mom)

Enter: Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes, and Paprika from Bon Appétit… (Can we get a longer recipe name? Please, anyone?). This little gem of a weeknight meal is the perfect example of a great meal that comes together quickly and wont cost you a fortune. The same ingredients are reused in different ways to create a meal that seems complicated but that doesn’t require a huge laundry list of items. I especially like this recipe because it utilizes many staples that I try to keep on hand anyways. The canned beans and tomatoes are excellent budget friendly fillers and it seems that there is almost always a sale on some variation of chicken breasts. (I’ve made this with boneless skinless, bone-in breasts and bone-in thighs. Note: your cook times will vary- See here for some chicken cooking basics) Not to mention this is a great make-ahead meal. Throw it together the night before or while baby is sleeping and pop it in the oven 20 minutes before you want to eat. The great thing about roasting your dinner is that you have the duration of the roasting time to set the table, clean dishes… etc!

I like to serve this with a box of pine nut couscous or if I’m really in a hurry 90-second microwaveable brown rice. (But seriously, it’s killer with the couscous).

I hope that this becomes a staple in your home just as it has in mine!

via Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes, and Paprika Recipe – Bon Appétit.


Spooky Spider Cake

I am not huge into Halloween decorations- I do the costumes… I eat the candy… I frequent the pumpkin patch but something about making my home look like Chuckie’s haunted play castle just doesn’t agree with me. (I know, I’m lame)…

A few years ago, however, I uncharacteristically concocted a Halloween cake that had even my husband squirming in his boots.


So here it is, the Spooky Spider Cake- Mmmm tasty! (Pardon the picture quality, at the time I didn’t plan to blog this!)


Here is how I pulled it off- Read the rest of this entry »

Hiding in Plain Sight – Open Kitchen Storage

My husband and I have always lived in reasonably small homes. We moved out to Silicon Valley after graduating from college and we couldn’t afford more than a 1100 square foot apartment. Eventually, what started out as a necessity became a preference. Each purge felt empowering, and we took pride in being able to live with less. We downsized from 1100 square feet to 750 square feet. When we moved to Chicago we downsized again, living in a 570 square foot studio for three months while we hunted for a condo. Finally, we purchased our current condo, a 1200 square foot urban loft. When purchasing this property we knew that we planned to have our first child here, so we splurged and purchased a 2 bedroom unit. This is the largest home that we have ever lived in together and it comes with many “firsts” for us: Double vanity…. In-unit laundry… Separate tub & shower… and great city views, BUT it does have the smallest kitchen of any property in which we have lived. (Perhaps with the exception of our stint in the studio apartment)…

At any rate, upon moving, I knew that I would be faced with two major storage challenges:
1) Where to hide Kyle’s vintage surf board… (In the furnace closet wedged behind the A/C filter)
2) Kitchen storage.
The latter required a bit more creativity.

I scoured the internet for inspiration and found that I wasn’t the only one trying to think outside the box- (or should I say cabinet… ba dum cha!) Hiding kitchen equipment in plain sight not only saves cabinet space but it can be downright beautiful!

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Monday Meal Highlight – Orecchiette with Rapini and Goat Cheese Recipe

I absolutely love this fresh and easy pasta dish. The simple, refreshing flavors combine to make a dynamite weeknight meal in no time at all.

My modifications are listed below:

  • I substitute Broccolini for Rapini (Rapini can sometimes be slightly too bitter for me and my husband)
  • I use whole wheat pasta
  • I use reduced-fat goat cheese crumbles (Although, I admittedly go full-fat cheese if I’m making this for company, ha ha!)

via Orecchiette with Rapini and Goat Cheese Recipe | SAVEUR.

You Say Potato, I say “pa-TAW-toh” – Sweet Potato Recipe Feature

My husband did a full autumn immersion trip to Trader Joe’s on his way home from work last night. In an effort to brighten up my evening- (mission accomplished), he came home with some of my favorite autumn items: a bouquet of beautiful orange mums, a box of TJ’s Pumpkin O’s cereal and  bag of sweet potatoes. (Quick side note: If you haven’t had Trader Joe’s Pumpkin O’s you need to go get them….now! nom nom nom nom…..)

Anyhow, my husband is the king of buying an ingredient but not thinking of what we will do with it. So I’ve been sifting through some of my favorite sweet potato recipes this morning. Below are a few old favorites, as well as a few new recipes that I am hoping to try this season. Just for kicks, since Baby E is officially eating solids now, I included a link to some great recipes for homemade baby food as well!


sweet potato 1

Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad with Cherries, Goat Cheese + Candied Walnuts, via Ambitious Kitchen

I LOVE this salad!
I made the following recipe modifications:
I used dried cherries in lieu of fresh, and we used honey roasted pecans in lieu of the walnuts. Also, I didn’t have fresh lemon juice at the time so I substituted orange juice- (the good stuff: high pulp, not from concentrate). Turned out great.

sweet potato 2

Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Wedges, via Creme de la Crumb

sweet potato 3

Roasted grape, goat cheese + honey stuffed sweet potatoes, via How sweet it is

sweet potato 4

Collection of great age appropriate sweet potato baby food recipes & nutritional info, via

Big Herringbone Cowl

It is a blustery, rainy afternoon and Baby E has surprised me by going down for a late afternoon nap so I thought I’d sip on a cup of tea and share another knitting project from the archives. This cowl is one of my favorite projects from last year and it is perfect for weather like this!


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Cottage Wrist Warmers

Untitled-2I wanted to share a knitting project from the archives. I completed these a few years ago and have worn them to death!

Initially, I created these to wear when I was working as a designer in the San Francisco Bay area. I found myself routinely on job sites in Lake Tahoe during the winter and wanted something that would keep my hands warm while still allowing me to sketch, scribble and scrawl.

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Autumn Decor Inspiration

Monday Meal Highlight – Citrus-Marinated Chicken Thighs

Citrus-Marinated Chicken Thighs Photograph by Hirsheimer & Hamilton

Citrus-Marinated Chicken Thighs
Photograph by Hirsheimer & Hamilton

Well, last week it was feeling pretty autumnal, but we are back up into the high 70’s & 80’s this week, so I felt like I should break out one of my favorite summer meals. This recipe is easy enough to become a weeknight staple but tasty enough to serve to guests. I have found it to be a great make ahead meal- We often have this for dinner when I know we have a busy evening ahead. I make up the marinade in the morning and leave the chicken thighs in the fridge soaking up the awesome flavors all day. When Kyle and I are ready to sit down to dinner  they cook up quickly and beautifully.

This week I threw together a cauliflower side that was a great complement, and again, extremely easy:

  • Steam cauliflower, drain.
  • Add juice from half a lime, a small handful of chopped cilantro, salt and pepper to taste.

This was a great alternative to a heavier or starchier side such as a rice dish. I let some of the extra marinade run into the cauliflower and together with the chicken it made a great healthy meal.

I’ve also done this recipes with chicken breasts, in which case I roast them in the oven in lieu of using the broiler. I imagine that this would also be GREAT on the grill. Let’s soak up the rest of these beautiful summer evenings!

via Citrus-Marinated Chicken Thighs Recipe – Bon Appétit.

Currently Obsessed with… Robert Gordon Australia

I was so happy to come across Robert Gordon Australia and their sensational handmade pottery. The Gordon family has been making stoneware since 1945 and have curated a range of diverse collections featuring traditional, modern and whimsical styling. There is truly something for everyone, and I must admit that I have lost hours of my life perusing their website and drooling over each piece. Below I have included a few of my favorites…


Monument Vases




Copper Jugs



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