Date night in Venice- Part 1

Delicious recipes for the curious cook!

Venetian meatballs

For a very long time, my fiance and I wanted to take a cooking class to learn more techniques, further our skills in the kitchen and just indulge in some really good quality food.  We finally had the chance last month when I surprised him with cooking classes at a local cooking school.  Thanks to a happy accident, the class we originally registered for was cancelled and we were able to join a Venetian Nights themed cooking class, and we were so happy we did!

I’m a firm believer of the thought that you can always know more and that was proven true during this class. I realized I’ve been slicing onions and garlic incorrectly for my entire life, learned some insider tips regarding dessert ingredients and what to use to form the best shaped meatballs.  At the end of the night, our bellies were full and satisfied thanks to a wonderful, entirely hands-on cooked-by-us meal of Venetian favorites.  

I’ll be sharing one recipe from the class each week.  First up are meatballs in a pancetta tomato sauce.  Trust me, they’re good.  So good, in fact, that I temporarily broke from my no red-meat rule to try them and I didn’t regret it one bit.  

MEATBALLS WITH PANCETTA TOMATO SAUCE

Yield: About 2 dozen meatballs
Active time: 30 minutes
Start to finish: 45 minutes

For the meatballs:
1/2 pound ground chuck
1/2 pound ground pork
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, rough chopped
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 pound pancetta, small dice
1/2 onion, medium dice
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red wine
One 28-ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons fresh basil, leaves torn
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of granulated sugar, if desired


  1. Preheat the oven to 375° and line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
    2. In a medium-size bowl, gently mix together the ground meat, egg, breadcrumbs, oregano, chili
    flakes, parsley, ricotta, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Form the mixture into 1-inch
    meatballs, and set them on the prepared tray.
    3. Bake the meatballs until slightly firm and browned on the bottoms, about 15 minutes.
    4. While the meatballs are baking, prepare the sauce. Heat a wide, heavy pan over medium-low
    heat, and add the olive oil. Gently sauté the pancetta until just crispy.
    5. Stir in the onion and sauté until lightly caramelized around the edges, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the
    garlic and cook an additional minute, or until aromatic.
    6. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, and reduce until almost dry.

 

Recipe courtesy of The Chopping Block.

Late summer workout gear

Motivation to get you through hump day!

OV summer

I’m a huge fan of everything from Outdoor Voices.  I don’t normally endorse doing anything but exercising in workout gear, but we all have days when post-yoga errands turn into an entire day spent in our leggings.  But who says you can’t at least look cute in those leggings? That’s why I love OV and their workout gear.  Everything is functional and stylish, so it’s the perfect option for both class and post-class errands.  

Unlike so many activewear brands, which are either functional but lack style or are cute but lack the durability you need to sustain a class, Outdoor Voices options offer both.  They’re made with the technical fabric you need to absorb sweat and allow you to go from class to brunch without needing an outfit change.  The latest hues like the one featured above are unique and are the perfect options for the end of summer and into fall when outside workouts followed by outdoor drinks are in full swing!

Image via.

Summer Suit

Inspiration for the new week!

summer suit2

I love a good suit- a pantsuit, jumpsuit, and playsuit are all good options to me.  Anything that creates an effortless, easy and streamlined look is okay in my wardrobe.  It’s no surprise then that I took this approach when putting together my latest version of a suit- a summer suit.  I paired one of my favorite classic jackets with my favorite denim shorts and sneakers for a simple, comfortable, yet playful and put together, summer look.  This is the perfect outfit for a summer work-from-home Friday, providing both the structure and the fun needed for the end of the work week.  After all, nothing says “summer” like gingham and cutoffs!

summer suit1

Fashion note: I’m wearing a J.Crew blazer (similar here), Madewell denim shorts (here), and Converse sneakers (similar here).  

 

Cauliflower Steaks

Delicious recipes for the curious cook!

cauliflower

One of my favorite vegetables is cauliflower.  It makes its way into many of the dishes eaten in my household, from a roasted side dish to a mac-and-cheese like dish, there are countless ways to eat this wonderful veggie.  But cauliflower has started to find its way to the center of the plate, being featured as an vegetarian entree option at many restaurants and in many culinary magazines.  I recently came across this recipe on Instagram and had to try it.

Cauliflower is hearty and substantial enough to stand on its own and can be cut into steak-like portions that, paired with some toppings and tasty sides, work as a healthy and delicious main meal.  The combo of the roasted tomatoes and green beans is perfect and if you’re going to make these cauliflower steaks, I highly recommend you make the whole meal.  I don’t even like green beans and I scarfed it all down.  Trust me, your stomach will thank you!

Thoughts on yoga

Motivation to get you through hump day!

benefits of yoga

A few weeks ago was the international day of yoga, and even though this post is a little belated, I wanted to take the time to share some thoughts and honor the practice that has given me so much.  

Before practicing yoga, I struggled with maintaining a healthy routine of any kind.  Once I discovered yoga and almost instantly felt some of its many benefits, everything changed.  I discovered how to live a life of wellness, both on and off the mat.  In the 6 years I’ve been practicing, yoga has transformed me both physically and mentally.  I look and feel better than I ever have and yoga’s positive impact has been felt in so many aspects of my life.  Yoga hasn’t made me a rigid, health nut who never indulges or enjoys herself, but rather, it has enabled me to discover balance.  It has influenced me to want to make healthy choices for myself and to understand when to be kind to myself and practice patience with myself and others.  It hasn’t made me perfect, because that’s impossible, but it has allowed me to try and be my healthiest self and for that, I’m truly thankful.  I encourage anyone who’s hesitant to give yoga a try or anyone who hasn’t practiced in a while to get back on the mat.  After all, as the yogis say, “no yoga, no peace; know yoga, know peace.”


If you’re looking for some motivation or reasons to try, here’s a great article highlighting the many benefits of yoga.

Image via Byrdie.

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

Inspiration for the new week!

mural 5

It’s easy to get so ingrained into a routine that you forget to notice some of the things that are right under your nose. Even things in your neighborhood can go unnoticed because you get used to doing the same things.  Recently my fiance and I decided to make weekly walks a part of our routine, making a point to cover a different part of the neighborhood on each walk.  These walks have become so enjoyable, not only because of the time outside in the warm weather, but also because of the hidden gems we’ve discovered on each venture, including a new farmer’s market and a hidden mural wall. It’s a good reminder to appreciate the small things from time to time.

mural 2mural 4mural 3

Fashion note: I’m wearing a Madewell tee (similar here) and shorts and a J.Crew hat (similar here) and purse (similar here).  

WEEKLY WRAP UP/WEEKEND COUNTDOWN

What got me through the week and what I’m looking forward to this weekend!

farmers market
the freshest produce from the local market

The week or two after a long weekend can seem to move simultaneously fast and slow.  I had a great July fourth weekend, filled with time spent outside, friends, good food and summer cocktails, and I followed that up with a busy few days at work, a birthday celebration (for my fiance), and some overdue wedding planning, among many other things.  This weekend will be spent continuing the birthday celebrations and wedding planning, but I’ll be sure to sip some summer wine and take a minute to read my summer book.  Enjoy the weekend!

  1. The best inexpensive roses: As I’ve previously mentioned, rose season is in full swing.  But like with all wines, some are better than others and getting a decent wine that’s inexpensive isn’t impossible, but you have to know what to look for.  I’ve been loving cans, like Underwood, especially for outdoor summer activities, but this list is a great source for quality bottles.
  2. Farmer’s market produce: I’ve been documenting some of recipes I’ve made thanks to an abundance of fresh produce at my local farmer’s markets.  Going to the market is one of my favorite summertime activities, and with so many new options close by this summer, I’ve been making it a point to try and visit once a week, often to different markets.  The result is plentiful options, but sometimes it’s hard to know what’s in season and what to expect.  This guide is a helpful source for your next farmer’s market trip!
  3. Style secrets to live by after 30: I stumbled upon this Who What Wear article recently, just before my post-30 birthday. The advice rings very true to me and I found most of the advice to be spot on, from the fashion mistakes I also committed in my twenties to the sartorial advice I’ve started to adapt to this next chapter of my life.  The advice is helpful and wise, with great outfit suggestions.
  4. The Rules Do Not Apply: This memoir, written by a staff writer of The New Yorker, has gotten a lot of buzz recently and I was intrigued to see what all the fuss was about.  While I thought I knew the general events that occurred in this novel thanks to articles I read beforehand, I was wrong.  This memoir is surprising, honest and at times gut wrenching, but it encourages a mindset of thinking that’s very refreshing.