Well I got a little behind, but then caught up again! The January Cure has created the most productive me that’s ever happened in January. Generally this is the month I decompress from holidays (oh retail, you’ve nearly ruined me). But not this time! I’m getting things done. And flowers every weekend is my new favorite.

sunday

So far I’ve:

  • Made a list of house projects: here.
  • Put together a clutter collector (and boy did we need one!)
  • Purged the pantry! Which in turn helped me realize what all is in there, which led to an awesome lentil soup.
  • Meditated on a room. I chose the bedroom because my goal is to have it be the most serene place in the house.
  • Picked a project: Clean out those closets! Starting with the bedroom of course. Those old clothes and things need to go.
  • A kitchen once-over.
  • Got started on my project, bedroom closet clean out.
  • Drawer Declutter. One at a time, I’ll tackle them all!
  • The 3 minute surface sweep. Hopefully I can make this one a nightly habit (at least weekly!).
  • The bathroom cabinet cleanout.
  • Set up a landing strip for keys, etc.

Still to do:

  • Get together a get-together. Working on something for February!
  • The bedroom blast. My nightstand needs some serious work.
  • Media Fast (I keep trying…)
  • This weekend’s project: Living room love!

Click through here to the January Cure to see all the steps, projects &  details.

One of the things I did over the holidays was make stock. Lots and lots of stock. Which led to many soups and stews over the past few weeks. We made a lot of old favorites (like split pea and turkey noodle), and a few new ones! This beef noodle stew is a rich hearty classic that I’d been craving for a while. There’s just something about a rich beefy stew when it’s freezing outside – warms and fills you up in the most satisfying way.

beef noodle stew

Beef Stew with Noodles
via martha stewart

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 medium onion, sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups beef, turkey or chicken broth
1/2 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
2 cups egg noodles
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over high. Add beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook until seared and brown, about 6 minutes. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion just begins to soften (reducing heat if necessary), about 3-5 minutes. Stir in flour until beef and onion are coated and cook 1 to 2 minutes (careful not to burn). Add broth and 3 cups water, stirring and scraping up browned bits. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until beef is tender, about 25 minutes. Add carrots and potatoes and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add noodles and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, stir in parsley and vinegar.

Something about January makes me feel all crafty (and I am never crafty!). I’ve been looking into something to add a little more life to our walls. Here’s a few amazing project ideas I stumbled across. Click through each of the photos for tutorials!

wall project delightfully tacky hexagon wall mural
Hexagon Wall Mural via Delightfully Tacky

wall project taylor made patterned dot wall
A custom dot wall via Taylor Made

wall project a beautiful mess paint pen statement wall
Paint Pen Statement Wall via A Beautiful Mess

wall project everything emily washi tape wall decals
Washi Tape Decals via Everything Emily

wall project a beautiful mess gold moon wall
Gold Moon Wall via A Beautiful Mess

Isn’t that gold moon just stunning? I can’t get over it! Hopefully once I tackle the January Cure, I can start getting creative!

Slightly spicy, perfectly lemony delicious roasted chicken is what this should be called. I made this on a Sunday night, but there was so little prep, it could be easily managed after work one night. I served it with my favorite risotto (that I haven’t made in 3 years!! due to an inability to track down escarole). This wonderfully flavored chicken was the perfect balance to the warm, creamy side dish. It has just the right about of bite and tang.

roasted chicken with lemon and oregano

Roasted Chicken Thighs With Lemon And Oregano
via bon appetit

1 lemon
4 large or 8 small skin-on, boneless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3 sprigs oregano
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 425°. Very thinly slice half of lemon; discard any seeds. Cut remaining lemon half into 2 wedges. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
Coat a large room-temperature skillet with 1 teaspoon oil. Add chicken, skin side down. Place skillet over medium heat and cook, letting skin render and brown, and pouring off excess fat to maintain a thin coating in pan, until chicken is cooked halfway through, about 10 minutes.
Scatter half of lemon slices over chicken and half on bottom of skillet (the slices on top of the chicken will soften; those in the skillet will caramelize). Transfer skillet to oven, leaving chicken skin side down. Roast until chicken is cooked through, skin is crisp, and lemon slices on bottom of skillet are caramelized, 6-8 minutes.
Transfer chicken pieces, skin side up, and caramelized lemon slices from bottom of skillet to a warm platter. (Leave softened lemon slices in the skillet.) Return skillet to medium heat. Add oregano sprigs, shallot, garlic, and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Remove skillet from heat. Add wine; cook over medium heat until reduced by half, 1-2 minutes. Add broth; cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Squeeze 1 lemon wedge over and season sauce with salt, pepper, and juice from remaining lemon wedge, if desired. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons oil. Return chicken to skillet, skin side up, to rewarm. Serve topped with caramelized lemon slices.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about beauty, but there have still been birchboxes and ipsy and many fun products I’ve tried. Here are a few of my more recent faves, many of which have made it into my regular rotation, if not my everyday (ignore the well-loved bottles, as these are seriously well-loved):

new beauty faves_2015

  • Smashbox Hydrating Under Eye Primer This sounds like a lot things, but as a gal that’s been battling some serious under eye circles and incoming lines (hello to my thirties!) this stuff does the job. A nice eye cream plus this primer is awesome for every day.
  • Smashbox Bing Lipstick I will swear by this red for the rest of my life and when they discontinue it to make room for new and exciting colors, I will cry and cry. I better stock up now. Best red I’ve ever worn. Great staying power too.
  • Perlier Intensive Moisturizing Body Balm This stuff smells and feels amazing. Shea butter with a light almond scent and super moisturizing power. At the end of the day my skin still feels great. Only thing keeping scaly winter skin in check!
  • Living proof Full Thickening Cream With this baby fine greasy hair, products are not always my friend. And sometimes it feels like I’ve tried them all in an attempt to build volume. This leaves my hair feeling bouncy but not sticky and works perfectly in conjuction with my other fave hair powder.
  • Clinique Turnaround Overnight Ok this isn’t a new one, but it’s a renewed one. I used this exfoliating cream religiously in my early twenties, and it staved off basically every breakout while keeping my skin super soft. It was discontinued for a bit, but came back in a new gentler and more moisturizing formula that I initially questioned, but is actually perfect for my now combination, slightly drier skin. I use it 3-4 nights a week and after just a month I can see how much clearer my skin is again.
  • Dr Brandt Pores No More Primer Obviously I love Smashbox, and after months of using their fabulous foundation primer, it was finally beat out by this beauty. They are both great products, but this one feels lighter on my skin and has just a bit more staying power. Despite my slightly drier skin, I still have the oiliest t-zone around and this is the first thing that’s kept makeup on my nose all day. Miracle cream!

I am terrible at seflies, but seriously this lipstick is perfection:

SF 04

What about you? Any great new beauty finds lately? I’m always on the lookout for something new!

You know, I really like meatballs, but I never thought I’d truly be wowed by them until tonight. And I mean WOW. I’m actually speechless. This is not a flavor combination that I would have thought to put together, but it totally knocked my socks off. And I snuck in a little extra goodness with the addition of a little spinach in the mix; it added just the right amount of green to the meat & grains. SO excited for these leftovers, and to expand my spice horizon a bit more! I’m thinking I might double the sauce next time, because personally I love a ridiculous amount of sauce and want to smother the rice as well as the meatballs, but maybe that’s just me! And a dollop of plain yogurt at the end could be great too… hmmm….

Garam Masala Spiced Meatballs with Buttery Marinara_1

Garam Masala Spiced Meatballs with Buttery Marinara
via bev cooks

for the meatballs:
2 slices grainy bread
1/4 cup milk
1 pound ground turkey
2 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbs. minced parsley
1 Tbs. minced shallot (or about 1/2 small shallot)
1 Tbs. garam masala
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 egg
1/4 tsp kosher salt

for the marinara:
28oz can crushed (San Marzano, if they’re available) tomatoes
3 cloves sliced garlic
1 white onion, cut in half
4 Tbs. butter
1 tsp dried oregano

1 cup white rice (jasmine or basmati)
a couple of handfuls of baby spinach
additional minced parsley for garnish

Pulse the bread in a food processor until it becomes crumbly. Place the crumbs in a small bowl and pour the milk over it. Combine with your hands until the bread is moist. In a large bowl, place the turkey, garlic, shallot, parsley, garam masala, turmeric, egg, and parmesan cheese. Add the bread mix and salt. Combine with your hands. Form 1-inch balls and place them on a tray or plate until you’re ready to cook (mine sat for about an hour).
Add the onion halves, crushed tomatoes, garlic, butter and oregano to a large pot. Let simmer on low for about 45 minutes. In the meantime, cook the rice as directed.
Also in the meantime, heat a little oil in a large skillet over medium high. Add the meatballs and sear on both sides until you get some good browning. Once browned, transfer the meatballs to the sauce to finish cooking, about 20 minutes. Fish out the onion halves if you need to make room. Give a pinch of salt to the sauce at the very end. Spoon the rice into bowls and top with a handful of spinach. Dish the meatballs and a nice spoonful or two of sauce over the top. Finish with a sprinkle of parsley and serve hot!

Garam Masala Spiced Meatballs with Buttery Marinara_2