Saving Fresh Herbs

Hey guys!

Since summer is over here in Edmonton, and it’s been snowing/trying to snow the past while, I thought now would be a good time to share a couple of easy ways to save fresh, delicious herbs to enjoy throughout the winter before you can’t find them as easily at markets and the grocery store. I won’t be mentioning pesto in this post since I have this one  that explains the basic methodology you’d need to use – BUT, pesto can be frozen and is another great option.
1. Infused Oils
Recently, I was invited to dinner at my good friends’ Bridgette and Nick’s house. I always ask, can I bring anything? And they always say no, and put on these amazing dinners (seriously, the best). This last time, I was determined to bring a a small gift that brought a little of me to them- so I made them something that I love, rosemary infused olive oil! I love to make it with garlic for just myself, and roast potatoes with it, but I kept it more neutral not knowing what they’d like to cook it with. A few days later I got a message saying that it was great, which is always the best. If you’d like to try to make it yourself, simply pour half a cup of olive oil in a microwave safe dish, add a sprig of rosemary (or any herb you like) and microwave it for 40 seconds. Voila! You can also use a herb like parsley or basil and put it in a food processor- once it is a paste, put it into a silicon ice cube tray and top with olive oil to keep it from turning brown- you can freeze it this way!
2. Compound Butters
Not going to lie, this post where I made steaks for a date is the last time I’ve cooked for a date. Dates don’t happen very often in my world! But, the herby butter I used was delicious and can be used in so many things- basting steaks, starting risottos, making browned butter, and to kick up mashed potatoes! You can mix it in, roll it into a log, and then freeze it- just cut off what you want when you want it!
3. Stock Making/ Freezer Prep
If you’ve read about my crockpot stock, then you know I like to make my own out of kitchen scraps and frozen chicken carcasses from rotisserie chickens. One of the things that makes stock so, so good is fresh herbs, and they can be super expensive once the summer has left us. So, I tend to use my crockpot to make a few batches in the summer and fall to save for the winter.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy herbs all year long? Let me know!

Favorite Fall Boots

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Hey Guys!

 

I wanted to share my must-have boots for fall. Obviously, I am not telling you to buy allll of these boots, I’m saying if you need a pair of boots, any of these could be a great option! Just click any picture for product information.

 

 

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This first pair is the Aldo Arravia! My sister is going to be so proud of me, these are not black! I love the chunkier stack heel, I hate thin heels for outdoor shoes in the winter (yes, I have indoor shoes for the winter… suede and velvet don’t belong outside all the time necessarily, treated leather or vegan leather is way smarter). These would look amazing with jeans, with tights and a sweater dress… they’re just gorgeous. They’re decently tall with a non-grippy sole though, so not the best pick if you have to walk outdoors in the elements a bunch!

 

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This next pair is a bit more realistic for people like me who have to walk outside but still want a bit more of a lift. I feel like this pair looks waaaay more luxe than its price tag with the dark black leather and gold hardware. The heel is low enough to walk with confidence as well. These would look amazing with work wear!

 

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I love black. I love leather. I love flat shoes! It doesn’t get any better, really. I like to size  up in my “everyday” boots so I can layer thermal socks into a well-built waterproof exterior. This way I look great, and I’m warm.

 

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These boots are beautiful for someone who can wear a more casual boot every day. The chestnut leather is absolutely gorgeous and the styling options are pretty diverse!

 

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OK, I own these boots in two colors. They are my favorite fall boot, but they are suede so they’re better suited to drier climates or fall, or you can be like me and spray waterproof them. (To be clear, I use nubuck spray and then waterproofing spray, and repeat every 4-6 weeks.) In black, I can wear them to the office on a more casual day and the tan looks so good with casual clothes!

 
What boots can you not live without this year?

 

Lentils with Kale and Mushrooms

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Hey!

Today I wanted to share a super easy plant-based dish that is vegetarian but can be made fully vegan by omitting the eggs. This is pretty hearty so I’m not sure that even the most dedicated meat eater would want to add meat, though. But you do whatever makes you happy!

Lentils with Kale and Mushrooms

Serves eight for $9.22 or $1.15 per serving
2 cups of dried lentils -$1.32
1 package of sliced mushrooms – $3.34
Shredded zuchini- $0.78
1 bundle to 2 bundles of kale (or frozen kale) – $1.97
Chili Flakes, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, olive oil
*optional add on- 1-2 eggs per serving (as pictured) – $1.81
Cooking your lentils is easy- just follow the instructions on the package! While they cook in a pot, put your mushrooms in a pan with thyme, chili flakes, pepper, garlic (minced) and a small amount of olive oil. You want to cook these down and get them nice and soft.
Once your mushrooms are cooked down, add your kale and cook it until the leaves are wilted. Next, add your shredded zuchini and cook for 2-3 mnutes and you’re done! It’s at this point that you’d want to taste for salt (never start your mushrooms with salt… it’ll make them rubbery).
When your lentils are cooked and drained, add them to your mushroom mixture, stir it all together and enjoy!
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Going without a traditional meat at dinner can save you so much money in the long run- you don’t have to skip feeling satisfied, though! What’s your favorite way to cut cost on protein?

Affordable Picks from the ShopBop Sale!

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Hey Guys!

Since I’ve been trying to incorporate more affordable fashion into the blog, I’ve been watching for sales on online retailers of affordable clothes. Which, shopbop.com is an online retailer of all price ranges of fashion, but they are having a big sale that ends tomorrow (Friday, October 14th) at midnight (Pacific time). Your order will be 25% off which for us Canadian girls, means we are only paying ~10% currency markup rather than 1.34 Canadian dollars for every US Dollar we purchase in. Regardless of what currency you’re purchasing in, though, this is a great sale and an awesome opportunity to buy on-season items more affordably. I’ve included below some of my favorite picks under $150!
All you need to do to take advantage of this sale is use the code MAINEVENT16 at checkout!

Tops

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1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

Bottoms

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1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

Dresses

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1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

Shoes

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1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

Accessories

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1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
ps. Shopbop.com will recognize that you’re in Canada and show you the Canadian cost of whatever you’re buying- the equivalent will just be charged to you in US. Hooray for transparency!

Kitchen Sink Pasta

20160904_171334I’m all about giving credit where credit is due- this recipe was 100% my mum’s brainchild. She likes to call it “Use Up Pasta”, she literally puts everything but the kitchen sink in terms of delicious vegetables in it. Whatever is lying around is fair game. This version has carrots, mushrooms, zuchini, celery, spinach and onions. But you use whatever you need to use up, that’s kind of the idea! I apologize, since these weren’t my groceries I’m not sure on what the costing would be, but I wanted to share this recipe because I feel like I harp on never throwing food away, and this is perfect for using up veggies that may otherwise not get used.

Kitchen Sink Pasta

Italian sausage
Small pasta (mini shells, penne, rotini)
Leftover veggies
Tomato Paste
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Start by taking your Italian sausage and breaking it up in an electric skillet or large frying pan. While this is cooking (or before if you’re like me and can’t do two things at once some days), dice all of your veggies to a similar size. Cook the meat until it is fully cooked and in small pieces, then drain off the fat and return the meat to your skillet and add your veggies on top. If you’re using an electric frying pan, this is a wicked time to pop that lid on and walk away to focus on getting your pasta water on to boil.
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My mum uses the cutest little mini shell pasta for this, and honestly it works really well because the tiny bits of veggies and meat tuck into the shells and it makes it pretty easy to eat. If you don’t have mini shells, penne or rotini will work well, too! Cook whatever pasta you choose according to the instructions on the package and drain. Reserve a bit of your cooking water just in case.
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Once your veggies start to cook down, add 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste and stir to incorporate. Your veggies and meat should be glossy and slightly red after incorporating and letting it cook for a couple minutes. If it’s not glossy and still feels more like meat and veggies than a loose, chunky “sauce”, then add a bit more tomato sauce and a splash of your pasta water. Once it’s looking saucey, add in a couple tablespoons of parmesan cheese and pine nuts (if you like, we like the crunch). Then add you drained pasta on top and mix to serve.
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I hope this gives you an idea of how to turn your random leftover veggies into something delicious! Let me know what veggies you’d add in the comments.