Hair Ties

Hair ties, typically scattered from handbags to the everything drawer but never on hand when you need one.  They will never go out of style.  The other day, I noticed a friend wearing a silk bow tie scrunchie.  It was a sweet twist that looked chic not to mention kind on the hair.  Check out Silke London (also check out their very cool head wraps!) and Slip for new alternatives that won’t break or damage your hair.  Plus bows are so trendy at the moment!       

It Is All About The Citrus!

Citrus comes in many shades with flavors ranging from tart to sweet.  A bit like candy but not.  Part of my winter survival will be finding tasty ways to get my daily dose of vitamin C.  Here is a lovely winter citrus salad paired with toasted hazelnuts and fennel from Smitten Kitchen (no surprise).  My orange cutting skills could use some improvement but other than that, this dish is pure sunshine.  Don’t be afraid to mix up the citrus.  I used two blood oranges, a sumo orange, and a grapefruit.  Fennel and blood orange salad recipe and images from Smitten Kitchen.  So good, so clean, so refreshing!   

1/4 cup hazelnuts or walnuts
1 medium-large fennel bulb, leaves and stems trimmed off
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
2 large blood oranges
1 small shallot, peeled and cut into paper-thin slices
10 mint leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lime zest

Place nuts in dry skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, to toast. Let cool. If using hazelnuts, roll them around in a dishcloth (or, if cool enough, in your hands), discarding any loose skins. Coarsely chop nuts; set aside.

Slice about 1/2 inch from bottom of fennel and discard. Slice fennel very thinly on a mandolin, benriner or with a knife, starting with flat bottom side. Toss in serving bowl with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Trim all peel and pith from oranges. Holding peeled fruit over bowl containing fennel, use sharp knife to cut sections from membrane and let them drop into bowl. Squeeze remaining membrane over bowl to sprinkle salad with remaining juice, and discard membrane.Add shallots, mint leaves, olive oil and reserved nuts and toss gently. Sprinkle with lime zest.

Do ahead: While the mint leaves will look and taste best on the first day, I really enjoyed the leftovers from this salad for lunch the next day.

Lemaire x Uniqlo Drop

It is no secret that Uniqlo does it well.  You can count on them for all your wardrobe essentials.  They are committed to simple and functional designs for every day living at an affordable price.  Also Uniqlo’s collaborations are consistently good.  They partner with designers who understand their core values.  Check out the Lemaire collaboration that just dropped.  One to not miss!  It is a collection of elevated basics found in warming tones and bold accents.  The long sleeve pullover sweatshirt is a favorite.  A simple no logo and well designed sweatshirt with a nice neckline is hard to find.  One would think this is a simple task but not so much.  Lemaire nailed it in my opinion with their updated version of U’s classic sweatshirt.  The boxy relaxed silhouette with a mock collar is feminine and sporty.  It is offered in five colors.  The pink is pretty fab for spring!  Check out the entire collection.  I also like the simplicity of the ultra light puffy and the men’s black hoody (very nice!).

 

Comfort In A Bowl

Smitten Kitchen

Veggie delight strikes again! Holding strong to cooking flavorful vegetarian meals.  A three-bean chili from Smitten Kitchen is an uncomplicated mid-week winter comfort dish.  SK offers lovely notes to make this dish easy and quick to prepare.  I went with the canned beans to shorten the time and opted for the stove top method for cooking.  Have fun with the toppings and break out the hot the sauce.   Thank you Smitten Kitchen for another winner!          

Yield: About 9 cups chili; 8 smaller servings or 4 to 6 large ones

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
1 to 2 peppers of your choice (see Notes, below), finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt or 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse salt
1 12-ounce bottle beer
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted if you can find them
1 1/2 cups mixed dried beans (see Note)
3 1/2 to 4 cups water

To serve: Lime wedges, sour cream, diced white onion, cilantro, corn or flour tortillas or tortilla chips or rice

Heat oil in the bottom of a medium-sized heavy pot or Dutch oven (if finishing it on the stove), in the pot of your pressure-cooker (if using one) or in a large skillet (if finishing in a slow-cooker). Once warm, add onion and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add any fresh peppers and cook for 3 more minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt and cook for 2 minutes, until browned and deeply fragrant. Add beer and scrape up any bits stuck to the pot. Boil until reduced by half, or, if you’re nervous about alcohol content, until it has all but disappeared.

If finishing on the stove: Add tomatoes, dried beans, any dried or rehydrated-and-pureed chiles and the smaller amount of water. Bring mixture to a full boil and boil for one minute, then reduce heat to a very low, gentle simmer, place a lid on your pot, and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Add the last 1/2 cup water if mixture seems to be getting dry, though I didn’t need it in most of my tested batches. If a slightly more sloshy chili wouldn’t bother you, you can add it from the get-go.

If finishing in a slow-cooker: Scrape onion, spice and beer mixture into a slow-cooker and add tomatoes, dried beans, any dried or rehydrated-and-pureed chiles and the smaller amount of water. Cook on HIGH for 6 to 7 hours, until beans are tender. You can add the last 1/2 cup water if needed, but probably will not find it necessary.

If finishing in a pressure-cooker: Follow the directions from your pressure cooker manufacturer. I failed to get this fully tested in my new one (boo) but estimate that it will take 20 to 22 minutes on high.

Serve as-is or with fixings of your choice.

Notes:

  • Peppers: The most important decision you make about your chili is, unsurprisingly, in the chiles themselves. If you’re cooking for people who don’t like spicy food, I recommend just using 1 bell pepper or 1 fresh poblano, which is very mild. 2 fresh jalapenos will give you slightly more heat. 2 small dried chiles, depending on which you use, will give you a bit more of a kick, as will 1 to 2 chipotle en adobo peppers from a can. If you need help choosing a dried chile, Serious Eats has a great guide to the properties of each here. To best incorporate the flavor of dried chiles into your chili, cover them with a bit of boiling water until they’re soft, then puree them. If this sounds like too much work, you can cook them with the dried beans for decent heat flavor infusion.
  • Chile powder: If you’d like the clear flavor of your dried chiles to come through, you can skip the chile powder in part or entirely.
  • Tomatoes: This makes a fairly tomato-y chili. If that’s not your thing, halve the suggested tomatoes, using only a 15-ounce can instead.
  • Beer: Use whatever type you’d like here. I used Dos Equis; I think a Negra Modelo would also impart a nice, deep flavor.
  • Beans: I use a mix of three beans here, usually 1/3 dried kidney beans, 1/3 black beans and 1/3 pinto beans, but I had a bag small pink Rosa de Castillo beans from Rancho Gordo around so I used them instead. I find that these three beans, surprisingly, take about the same time to cook, but if you’re nervous one will take longer than the others, you can soak it in water while preparing your other ingredients. Even 30 minutes should even up the cooking times.
  • To pre-soak your beans: This recipe doesn’t call for or require pre-soaking but pre-soaked beans will cook faster. How much faster depends on how long they are soaked for, but you can estimate that beans soaked for 6 hours or overnight will approximately halve suggested cooking times, regardless of cooking method. If pre-soaking beans, do so in the 3 1/2 to 4 cups of water listed in the recipe, and use the remaining soaking liquid as the water in the recipe.
  • Using canned beans instead: 1 1/2 cups dried beans will yield approximately 3 to 3 3/4 cups of cooked ones. To use canned or already-cooked beans instead, you’ll want to use 2 to 3 15-ounce cans of cooked beans and then — this is important — skip the water. Simmer all of the ingredients except the drained and rinsed beans for 20 minutes, then add the beans and simmer it 10 minutes more. If the mixture looks dry, add 1/4 cup water and simmer for another few minutes

Style Tip: The One And Done Wonder, Boiler Suit

Here is something to think about for spring!  The boiler style jumpsuit, the all-in-one is becoming a wardrobe staple.  It makes itself an easy go to piece.  Neutral tone colors are safe but the brights are super fun.  I do believe you have to style it to really pull it off.  The fit and fabric are important.  It can’t be too tight or to loose and ill-fitting on the backside.  You want enough fabric to play around with the sleeves and pant cuffs to achieve a nonchalant appearance (see the Scandi cool girl above rocking the Ganni pink jumpsuit).  Or perhaps dressing in a monochromatic inspired look of a one piece like Victoria Beckham’s army green ensemble.  A style that is chic, sophisticated, but also very utilitarian.   

Dress it up or down with kicks or heels.  Make it seasonless by layering with a tee, turtleneck, or approach it like a button down shirt.  Don’t over accessorize.  The boiler suit is meant to be uncomplicated.  The one major  downside: the complete undressing to use the bathroom.  Otherwise it is all up.  No matter your take on this style, you can’t ignore the clean, chic look of the dark navy suit, soft black knee-high boots, and the Bottega Veneta bag.  It rivals any two piece number you can put together! (all images from Pinterest) . Check  Net-A-Porter, & Other Stories, Garmentory 

Listening To Greta Van Fleet

(image from Rolling Stone)

Seventies throw back with You’re The One. You can draw your own conclusion about the Michigan rock band, Greta Van Fleet. So many opinions about this young band and their comparisons to Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin. Perhaps you will love the hippie style of this band especially the frontman, Josh Kiszka. As seen on SNL being introduced by Rachel Brosnahan aka Midge from the very hilarious, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Another one to add to the road trip playlist. FYI, they will be playing this summer at the Boston Calling Music Festival. Greta Van Fleet 

Two Snow Boots That May Cheer You UP!

Dream of warmer days but winter is far from over if you live on the east coast or anywhere else that experiences old man winter. Winter boots along with other bulky items are pretty much the uniform for the next couple of months. So hunting for fresh alternative styles that aren’t so common to make winter dressing a bit more exciting.

The Zurich label, INUIKII and the London label, mou are not brand new players. But they are fresh alternatives to the well known UGG boots. INUIKKI and mou’s super stylish handcrafted boots will brighten up your winter days.  These leather and shearling boots are design conscious and and made from ethically sourced hides and fibers. You will appreciate everything from the detailed stitching, glossy finishes, muted tones to bold vibrant colors. All are certain to be suitable for apres-ski or city strolling. If you have to wear them then let them be fun.

Like the Ugg, both labels have a moon boot like appearance. You like it or you don’t. Unfortunately INUIKII only delivers to EU-countries but some styles are available through Mytheresa. Mou you can purchase directly.