Caprese Salad

photoWhile I keep wanting to call it a Khaleesi salad (thanks a lot, Game of Thrones), the name is the toughest part of this dish. I’ve been on a fresh tomato kick and can’t get enough of this red vegetable…fruit? (They have commitment issues. Hey, tomatoes are just like us.) I love a caprese salad for lunch because there is literally no cooking involved so it’s super quick to make. Unless you have a hot date for lunch, you can follow this recipe that serves a table for one.

What you need:

2 ripe tomatoes

1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup of balsamic vinaigrette 

1/2 ball of fresh mozzarella (I’m not sure if 1/2 ball is the technical term, but that’s how I bought it at the grocery store. Mostly I just want to see if you have the balls to ask the 15-year-old Hy-Vee worker for 1/2 a ball of cheese.) 

Cut the cheese (lolz) into thin-ish slices. Do the same for the tomatoes. No need to cut the basil. Once these ingredients are plated, drizzle the balsamic over it. Traditionally, caprese is plated as the photo shows, but I really don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to plate this salad. Just make sure you don’t drown it in the balsamic vinaigrette. Feel free to offer this salad as an appetizer for dinner as well.

This post looks awkward to me because it’s so short, but there’s really no way to draw this recipe out. As always, it’s best served with a glass of wine (not that I condone that behavior over your lunch hour.) Have at it.

LGBT Pasta. Yep.

photo (11)So my dad was giving me all those cooking lessons, you know? And then I was like, “Hey Dad, I’m moving to Des Moines , so this is awkward.” While the Moines has its perks, I’m pretty much on my own for supplying any culinary creativity. But I think I’ve truly found/made up/conjured a recipe that any post-grad can make. It’s super delicious and incorporates one of my fav food groups – ahem, pasta – and it’s cheap. There’s also no need for any fancy kitchen utensils (which is great because I can’t even afford the gas to get me to Target right now.) Friends, get your mind fired up about LGBT Pasta.

A politically incorrect name for a pasta dish? Definitely. BUT, it brings some serious flavor, and it was the first thing that came to mind when I thought about the ingredients: Lemon, Garlic, Basil, Butter, Tomato.

I made two servings and used:

2 tomatoes

1 stick of butter

1 clove of garlic

1 cup of basil leaves

1 lemon

Optional 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (shredded)

Start with boiling a pot of water for your pasta. I used spaghetti, but you can use any type of pasta you’d like because this is America. Then I went to work on the sauce: I started by throwing that stick of butter in a pan on low heat. An entire stick of butter may seem like a lot…and it was. I mean, it tasted awesome, but I might’ve gotten a little pretentious about the Midwest’s favorite dairy product. I’ll probably go halfsies with butter and olive oil for next time. The next ingredient I added was the garlic. I minced it (similar to my guacamole recipe) and added it to the simmering butter. Seriously you guys, I think butter + garlic is one of the best smells in the entire world. I made this dinner at my boyfriend’s apartment, and he lives above Jeff’s Pizza – we gave them a run for their money. (Except not really because they have lots of money, and we have none.) Moving on.

I chopped the tomatoes into about dime-sized chunks. These tomatoes were super sweet and added a nice balance to the garlic. From there, I added the basil leaves and made sure my stove temp was still at a low setting. I sprinkled a little Parmesan cheese in the pan partly because I was bored, but more so because I thought it would taste really good. Lastly, I squeezed the lemon juice in with the rest of what was becoming my heavenly-scented sauce.

I started cooking the pasta while keeping my sauce at a low simmer. After straining the pasta, I put it back into the pot and poured in my sauce. I brought that to a low simmer and made sure each piece of pasta got a sauce bath. After the pasta and sauce are mixed to your liking, toss it on a plate (or bowl, if you’re into that kinda thing). I added fresh Parmesan to my pasta, which melted perfectly on top of the steaming plate.

Serve up and enjoy with your favorite bottle (or bag) of wine!

You Need to Have a Girl Crush on Ellie Goulding

Happy Saturday, friends!  I am new to Des Moines as the Internet is new to my apartment (I survived for four weeks without it at home so I’m convinced I can now do anything)- hence, this is my first post from my place instead of hastily typing during my lunch break at work. It’s been a lazy Saturday so far, filled with recollecting great stories from last night and trying to avoid the hot hot heat that is still infesting our first fall month. Today has also given me the chance to catch up on music and general Internet stalking, which leads me to today’s topic of choice: Ellie Goulding and why she should be your girl crush – if she isn’t already.

1. She has one of the most unique and best female voices of all time. There. I said it. OF ALL TIME. Whether you’re feeling pathetic, pissed or ready to party, she has a song to match it. Her second album, Halcyon, was released last October. Lyrics led me to believe she had split with a bf,  and at that time we were clearly handling our break ups in the same way: she was playing sold out shows around the world, and I was going to B-Bop’s three times a week.

2. She’s 26. So it’s not that creepy if we’re obsessed with her, right? She’s basically the same age as us, which means two things: we’d probably be friends in real life. And she’s clearly a struggling post-grad too……TWINSIES.

3. Her Instagram feed is gold. There’s more to her than just cat selfies, but these are clearly my fav. You’ll notice I liked both of these photos. If you haven’t yet figured out that I’m a cat lady (who miraculously has a boyfriend), then sorry, that cat’s out of the bag.

Picture 1

Picture 2

4. She has incredibly voluminous hair…and eyelashes. Voluminous hair, yeah, we love that, but those lashes – even a giraffe would be envious. They cater to her already chic London-rocker look and bring her to the next level of cool. Wanna trade closets? Or lives?

Ellie+Goulding+ellienew

5. She gets giddy around JT. Obviously she just gets it. We need our girl crush to have a crush on our man crush, right? That’s a lot of crushing, but we’re into it. And what’s better than our girl covering our boy’s hit song? Nothing, that’s what.

Picture 4

So, You Had an Off Day

1237774093240_fOf course it was cute when Rachel Green messed up at work. Everything she did was cute — even wearing overalls didn’t suppress her success. She brought bagels to customers who asked for tea, sat down on the job, and still had her boss drooling over her. And then she got a job at Ralph Lauren. What. Just like Monica being able to afford that amazing apartment in New York City, the real world doesn’t exactly work like that.

You hear it time and time again — learn from your mistakes. You have to make mistakes in order to succeed in life. The phrase gets annoying, but you can’t deny that it’s true; however, that phrase leaves out one of the most important parts of making mistakes (apart from simply learning from them.) People want to see how you bounce back – your boss, in particular. I think I’ve recently just gotten old enough to realize that doing well doesn’t make you a suck up. Unlike your fifth grade classmates, your co-workers don’t get mad when you start doing more work than you should or asking others around what you can help them with. Bad days in college consisted of waking up late for class, forgetting a paper was due later that afternoon, or running around your apartment wondering where you put your mug. Though all relatively life-ending threats, they all seemed to be fixed by a night out with your crew or a night in with your girls. Faltering at work now leads us to pose questions like, “What if I get fired?” “What if they decrease my hourly wage to less than the minimum?” “What if I’m taking a step backward in the company I’ve been dying to work for?” I’ll still say that a night either out or in with the people you love will still solve more problems than you think, but it’s more than imperative to get your shit together and prove everyone around you wrong.

Do you have to go about this in a head-rearing, no apologies sort of manner? Of course not. But you need to get focused any way you know how. Don’t wallow. Don’t send emails to your friends about how ridiculously mean your boss is. And do not spend the rest of the day doing half-ass work. Shake it off, and know that it happens to everybody.

If you’re still feeling down, know that there was someone out there today who actually asked me how to copy and paste.