under construction, yo! Greenbeans and Moneytrees: June 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

cooking for one: week 4

This week I thought as my special challenge.  This is because this week, I made risotto.  I’ve made it once before with my cousin last year and it was so absolutely delicious that I couldn’t wait to make my own to see if I could replicate the richest, most scrumptious dish possible.  However, normal groceries stores don’t sell Arborio (the rice needed for risotto) so I had to go to Tutto Italiano, an Italian specialty store (I highly recommend their sandwiches sooooo good. J 

This chicken risotto, although not as good as the mushroom risotto Leah and I made, it exceeded expectations.  I used more wine than it called for an subtracted from the chicken broth, and I think that really sealed the flavor.  The chicken was a little dry (as always, I’m absolutely TERRIFIED of eating raw chicken) but the sautéed onions in balsamic vinegar were delicious and everything mixed together was so good it made my taste buds tingle. J


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
  • 2 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups hot chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 lbs chopped cooked chicken breast
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onions and saute for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the onions are a dark golden brown. Remove from heat, stir in the balsamic vinegar and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in a separate large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the rice and mix well. Let heat for about 2 minutes, then pour in the wine. Reduce heat to medium low and start pouring in the broth about 1 cup at a time. Add more wine/broth as each cup is absorbed. Continue in this manner until all the broth is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the reserved onion mixture and allow to heat through. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish each serving with fresh thyme.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Party Purse

I am constantly on the watch for the perfect party purse.  My criteria are: black, slim and small, must have a short shoulder strap.  I have these criteria because black matches everything, particularly since most of my party-wear is black.  I don’t want to tote some huge bag around teeny college hallways, but at the same time it must be able to fit all of my stuff.  My can’t go to parties without list includes: phone, keys and onecard, state ID, credit card, insurance card (just in case!), lip gloss, and depending on where I’m going and what they’re serving a waterbottle.  Now, I think the shoulder strap is most important.  I am not the best at keeping track of my stuff, so I like having something I can swing over my shoulder and be done with.  With a clutch, I’d set it down instantly and everything would be gone.  A wristlet can bump into my cup and clumsy me will spill it all over my dress.  And a crossboy would get in the way of dancing, not to mention terribly easy to pick-pocket.  And thus, the perfectly slim but roomy black should strap purse emerges ahead of all other handbags.  The delima?  I’m too frugal to spend $200+ on a tiny bag and too snobby to buy something a Target.  And thus, I’m stuck.  However, if I could bring myself to pay a whopping $325, I would buy this Tory Burch.

This purse is classic and could never go out of style, however I still can’t imagine blow a week’s paycheck on that teensy amount of leather.

Highlight: Getting excited about seeing Taking Back Sunday tomorrow night at House of Blues
Lowlight: It's raining, and that just makes me crankyyy.
Wearing: ModCloth grey pencil skirt, Express v-neck tshirt, Zara coral cardigan, Steve Madden black flats.
Recent Purchase: Lacoste coral polo shirt
Wanted: Dooney and Bourke Blended Shadow Barrel Satchel in Black (pic below)

Living Alone: Week 3

Monday night I spent a two hours slaving over the stove creating a three-course meal for one.  By 8:00pm I was finished and enjoying my dinner in front of Desperate Housewives.  My menu this week: Pineapple salad (which means me, a Tupperware of pineapple, and a fork), Lemon Garlic Chicken with artichoke hearts over pasta, and a Apple Tart for desert.  This was served with sweet tea in a wine glass (I’m so classy J).  The one mistake I made with the chicken dish was that the recipe didn’t say whether or not to add the juice in the can of artichoke hearts, so I did.  And that caused the liquid in the pan to double and then I was freaked out by that so I just kept the pan on the stove for longer and let some of the liquid to cook out.  However, when I did that, it overcooked the chicken and caused it to dry out.  It’s still fine to eat and really tasty, but the chicken was just a teensy bit dry.  Since there was still too much liquid in the pan, I decided to whip up a box of pasta and let that be my base, which turned out to be perfect.  If you like artichokes and pasta and lemon and garlic (I adoreee all of the above) then you’ll love this dish.  I think it’s my tastiest yet.

Lemon Garlic Chicken with Artichoke Hearts over Pasta:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken meat, large dice
  • 1 1/2 cups quartered artichoke hearts (canned or jarred - not frozen)
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed thinly sliced basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add onion and garlic, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Add chicken and cook, stirring rarely, until well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add artichoke hearts and cook until slightly broken down, about 3 minutes.
Add wine, water, and juice and scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate any browned bits. Cook until alcohol smell is cooked off and sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in basil and lemon, and serve over pasta.

Credit:  Foodnetwork.com

Monday, June 14, 2010

Confessions of a Shoe-holic.

My sisters and I have always been obsessive about buying.  The oldest always bought music, CDs, posters.  The middle sister had more shoes than Imelda Marcos.  As for me, makeup and clothes.  That's all I ever wanted.  I remember one year for Christmas all I received were boxes and boxes of clothes.  I was in heaven.  But lately, my sisters and I have begun to mesh.  The oldest and middle are now more fashionable and trendy in their clothes buying summer scarves and cardigans before me.  And I have gone to more concerts in the last 6 months than I have in my whole life.  But most obsessive, I've switched (almost) completely from clothes to shoes.  Although Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus has the pretty designers that I like to fawn over (*sigh*Jeffrey Cambell), I feel they're overpriced for what they are, tiny little accessories.  I prefer Bakers.  The service is great, the shoes are 90% under $100 and always up to date on trends.  Not to mention the B Card, which works like a CVS card point system plus offers 10-40% on every purchase (the only downside is it's $25 to join).  This past weekend, against my better judgement and promise to myself that I'd go to the mall and not spend any money (yeah, right) I couldn't resist but being pulled into Bakers and before I know it, I'm widdling 10 pairs to just 2 (they were having a buy one get one 25% off sale!)  In the end, I felt victorious walking out with two pairs of hott shoes for just $52 (impressive, even for me).  Taupe suede caged booties (with a 5" stiletto heel) and a long overdue flat sandal, pewter and sequin with a pretty, curvy design on the top.  Both perfectly match the grey and floral-skirted strapless dress I scored from Gilly Hicks for $20.

Another stunning shoe-holic detail of my life, my beautiful, caring boyfriend.  This stunning young man landed an internship at none other but Sperry Top Sider *swoon*.  I have been unable to convince myself to wear my pair of American Originals in Electric Blue since I fell down the stairs and broke my ankle in them two summers ago. I'm convinced they're cursed and simply cannot bring myself to wearing them, even though they're delicious.  Anyways, this darling boy has leaked me the fall look book and as much as I would LOVE to gossip about how great and exciting it is and exactly what I plan on buying, I cannot.  He would have a hernia, convinced he will be fired if anything gets out.  But still, between the sales and his employee discount I plan on racking up the Sperrys for a dime a dozen and my feet will look FABULOUS.  This week I snagged the Bahama in Green Seersucker.  Adorable under jeans or shorts and perfect for those long nature hikes my boyfriend and his athletic family take me on (I'm huffing and puffing just thinking about it! :] ) But I simply cannot wait until these come in for mee.  I will be one happy, comfy fashionista. :]

Highlight: Not falling while wearing my new heels ALL DAY (including a hilly walk across campus)
Lowlight: My loaf of bread that I use for my sandwiches is all moldy :[
Wearing: Grey scoop neck Refuge tunic, H&M knee length black peasant skirt, Bakers Taupe caged booties.
Recent Purchase: Strapless dress and panties from Gilly Hicks, and two pairs of Bakers shoes.
Wanted: A navy blue romper that the bf talked me out of at Gilly Hicks.

fending for myself: week 2 night 1

This week, instead of making one dish to feed me for an entire week, I am making Chicken Packets each night this week.  Chicken Packets is this great way of cooking where you put a chicken breast with any flavoring of choice and wrap them inside of a tin foil packet.  Then pop them in the oven or on the grill for 25-30 minutes and bam! dinner is ready.  Tonight, my seasonings were varied and I was unsure of it at first.  I was supposed to have pineapple chicken, but the pineapple wasn't looking ready yet, so instead I chopped up some baby carrots, tossed it with Thousand Island dressing and a little parmasan cheese.  I wasn't sure if there would be enough liquid in the packet to make the chicken moist, so I added just a small splash of pulp-free orange juice.  I must have done something right because I have never in my life had chicken that moist and delicious.  The carrots could have been a little more cooked (I like mine squishy) but the taste wasn't bad at all!
For a side dish, I made Farfalle pasta with some chicken broth, olive oil, garlic power, and pepper all tossed together.  Although quite garlic-y, it was delicious (mostly because I LOVE garlic).  Overall, the meal was quite tasty and I look forward to tomorrow night.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

i got the fever for fever!

Today I stumbled upon (sadly not stumbleupon, regular web surfing) and discovered the fall preview of Fever shoes.  This is the holy grail.  I have died and gone to heaven with these shoes.  Beautiful, inexpensive, and so delicious I could eat them up in one shopping trip.  There's Grace, Tiff, Amanda, Said, and Catorrah.  Beautiful artworks that I want on my feet.  Right now.  I don't want to wait.

The designer is Natischa Harvey, and she's fairly new and has experience in mostly decked out sneakers, but I'm excited in this line and what Natischa will think of next.  For now, you can browse her look book here

My first buy?  Tiff (black)
Second- Amanda
Third- Said
Possibly Grace if I feel up for it.

Huge heels are all the rage as run past the usual 3-4inches and leap into dangerous 6-7inches.  Manolo Blahnik has never gone past 5inches, but this season he added a 6inch and it has accounted for 30% of his business! Christian Louboutin plans on introducing an 8inch heel next season.  RIDICULOUS! 

Highlight: Finishing a week-long clean and organization of Babson's design studio (aka a business art room).
Lowlight: Drinking a buttload of caffeine and now not being able to fall asleep.
Wearing: Citizens of Humanity skinny jeans, American Eagle backless printed shirt, Brooks Brothers light blue cardigan, Rampage embellished flip flops
Recent Purchase: I am currently awaiting my latest purchase of GillyHicks, due to arrive at any moment.  In this glorious package contains my first ever romper (pink tank top with a plaid short), a wonderful old fashioned button up sleep shirt (unfortunately they were out of blue so I had to get pink), a new bra, and sleep shorts in green/grey stripes.  *sigh* I can't wait.
Wanted: Happy Go Lucky sleep mask from Fredflare.com after my favorite Audry Hepburn movie, Breakfast at Tiffanys.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

cup cake- not at all

One morning (well, afternoon) last week I woke up with the strong craving of cake.  However, my father would be devestated if we turned the oven on in 90degree weather and I didn't want to eat the whole thing.  Instead, I found this wonderful recipe for cake in a cup, a cup cake!

4 Tablespoons cake flour
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons milk
3 Tablespoons oil
1 Mug
Mix flour, sugar and cocoa:
5 Minute Microwave Chocolate Cake
Spoon in 1 egg
5 Minute Microwave Chocolate Cake
Pour in milk and oil, and mix well
5 Minute Microwave Chocolate Cake
Put in microwave for 3 minutes on maximum power (1000watt)
5 Minute Microwave Chocolate Cake
Wait until it stops rising and sets in the mug
5 Minute Microwave Chocolate Cake
Tip contents out of mug onto saucer and enjoy!
5 Minute Microwave Chocolate Cake
My cake toppled over in the microwave (luckily I cleaned it out before my mother saw) but it was still very delicious.  It was exceptionally dark and heavy, but that's just the way I like it (not to mention adjustable with the amount of cocoa powder and flour).  I actually didn't have any cake flour so I substituted with regular flour and I think that's why it was so heavy.  But fantastic none the less.

Rich, dark, decadent (just like I like my men :] ), and enough for one.
This definitely rates: 5/5

dinner for one

The first three weeks of "summer" my boyfriend's father (a wonderful chef) made dinner for us both.  The following week (last week) I spent lounging at home gobbling up whatever homemade treats my mother made for me. :]  This week, is the first week of my own cooking.  I have decided to make one meal per week and eat bit and pieces of it for dinner while truly feasting on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch each day.  On the menu this week, pasta with chicken and asparagus (for the recipe click here).  Below are some pictures.

Although not my best dish ever, it was quite tasty and kept me filled without snacking.  Success!  This whole wheat pasta was mixed with two browned chicken breasts, steamed asparagus, roasted garlic, some parmesan cheese, olive oil, and a little bit of chicken broth.  

It was plentiful, stick to your ribs, and fairly tasty.
I rate it: 3/5