Stitch Fix Review #2: September 2014

Okay, now we’re getting somewhere…

IMAG1169

You can almost feel the increased potential from last month… Literally, this box was about twice as heavy.

As I’m sure you, my 3 loyal readers, obviously remember, my first Stitch Fix last month was pretty bad. It was partly my fault, since I put down that I was a size Medium in tops and everything ended up pretty baggy. But I also felt like my stylist didn’t listen to the specifics of what I needed; I put down that I needed tops for work and she sent some pretty generic work clothes, without paying attention to the part where I said that I’m in a very casual workplace and don’t need traditional work-wear. This month was much better, and there was only one piece that I thought was really off. I asked for more casual work-wear and also some comfy weekend pieces, and that’s what I got!

IMAG1173

The pile!

I’m still asking for dark green, dark burgundy, etc. and not seeing it, but I did get my dark blues.

IMAG1171

The lovely note. Does anyone even read these when I put them up here? I’m going to keep doing it anyways..

The style cards. Already skeptical of the Dovette Draped Detail Dress, but we’ll get to that later.

Maila 3/4 Sleeve Button Drawstring Dress

IMAG1187

My not amused face.

This dress was cute in theory, but buttons like this do not work for larger-busted ladies like myself. They were gaping all over the place, which is not a cute look even if you do have some sort of camisole underneath (which I hate doing under dresses anyways. Dresses are supposed to be easy!) The colors were also pretty drab, and there was elastic at the waist along with the drawstring tie, which was too tight.

IMAG1190

My fancy model pose to show the elastic waist.

I was hopeful about this dress, but it just did not work on. However I have to say that the material was lovely, soft but also thick and not cheap feeling, and it had a lining from the waist down (that I think should have been continued into the top as well). Verdict: Returned!

Adelene Scoop Neck Cable Knit Sweater & Adina Stone and Chain Fringe Pendant Necklace

IMAG1217

Trying to be excited about this sweater.

Let’s start off with the necklace. Surprisingly, I really liked it! It’s not like anything else I own, can be worn over sweaters for a classed up casual look or over anything really. This was surprising to me, because I had seen it in other reviews and not loved it, but in person I really liked it a lot! Just goes to show that with Stitch Fix you need to really give every piece a chance. Verdict: Kept!

Now on to the sweater. I didn’t fall in love when I first put it on. I thought it looked pretty frumpy and the oatmeal color kind of washed me out. But B really loved it, and wanted me to give it more of a chance. Sadly, as I was examining it in the mirror, I found this:

IMAG1218

Loose stitching on the sleeve! No way Jose am I keeping it now. (I was actually kind of sad, as I was starting to warm up to the soft material and slouchy look of it.) Verdict: Returned.

Dovette Draped Detail Dress

IMAG1199

I tried to do my best fake Miss America smile to pretend like I loved this dress, since that’s what the weird front sash reminded me of. Just…so unflattering. Also the material was really thin and clung to my body in all the wrong places. I knew this dress was going to be bad when I saw it on the styling card; I’ve seen it in other reviews and it doesn’t seem to be flattering on anyone. Why do they keep sending this out?! Verdict: Returned!!!

Drifter Graphic Floral Faux Leather Trim Blouse

Saved the best for last. 🙂

IMAG1245

Can you tell from the picture how much I LOVE this blouse? It’s everything I could ever hope for in a Stitch Fix find: something I would never pick out in the store, a unique floral pattern, an interesting material, cool faux leather detailing. This blouse makes me feel awesome. I wore it on a date with B Saturday night, and I’m wearing it right now while I type this at work.

Here, have another picture of me in this awesome blouse.

Here, have another picture of me in this awesome blouse.

THIS is it Stitch Fix. Finally, we’re getting somewhere. Verdict: KEPT!!

And that’s my second Stitch Fix! I already scheduled my third and asked for the same stylist. Hopefully they’ll keep going on this upward trend. And now in conclusion, have another picture of me wearing my new favorite blouse on my date with B.

IMAG1261

In my head: I wonder if I can just wear this blouse to sleep tonight…

Also, please use my referral link if you want to sign up for Stitch Fix!

Easy Garlic Parmesan Pepperoni Chips!

IMAG1242

Well hello there…

These are the BOMB. We had a bunch of pepperoni leftover from when I made holy-grail pizza the other day, and I wanted to do something interesting with it instead of just…eating it out of the fridge. And this is the result, deliciously garlicy and super crunchy pepperoni chips! They’re such an awesome substitute if you’re missing the crunch of normal potato chips. These are fantastic just as they are, but I keep imagining them dipped in some awesome warm marinara sauce like this one from I Breathe I’m Hungry. I may just end up making it tonight to satisfy that craving… Anyways, on with the recipe!

IMAG1237

Oh sweet pepperoni, you lived such a short yet noble life. And now I’m going to eat you.

Keto-friendly Garlic Parmesan Pepperoni Chips

Ingredients

  • 25 Pepperoni slices (or more if you have a big pan and a big appetite)
  • Cayenne powder (optional, I just like everything a little spicy)
  • Garlic powder
  • Parmesan cheese (the powdery kind)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°. Lay pepperoni slices on a baking sheet, evenly spaced. Season each with a generous sprinkle of cayenne and garlic powder. Place in oven, bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and flip each pepperoni. Sprinkle again with cayenne and garlic powder and bake for 2 more minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered parmesan (I use quite a bit). Switch oven to HIGH Broil setting, and return chips to oven. WATCH VERY CAREFULLY. These will go from fine to burned in a split second, so keep a very close eye on them. Remove as soon as parmesan begins to bubble.

IMAG1236

Sizzlin’

Enjoy plain or with your favorite dip! They’re delicious either way!

IMAG1241

These will keep their crispiness for a couple of days if stored in an airtight container. Yum!

Nutrition (for entire recipe): Calories 219 – Total Fat 20 – Total Carbs 0 – Protein 11

Holy-grail Gluten-free Keto-friendly Pizza!

Delicious and cheesy.

Delicious and cheesy.

Lactose intolerants, Vegans, Cheese-haters beware! This recipe is not for you.

But honestly, for the rest of you, this is the only flourless pizza crust recipe you’ll ever need. And it’s so painless to make; way easier than a regular pizza dough, and without sacrificing any deliciousness. 5 minutes of prep, ~15 minutes in the oven, and you’ll be ready to chow down on beautiful pizza deliciousness.

The crust on its own, post-baking.

The crust on its own, post-baking.

With toppings added. Unevenly distributed because I wanted at least  one slice of plain cheese, and B wanted ALL THE TOPPINGS.

With toppings added. Unevenly distributed because I wanted at least one slice of plain cheese, and B wanted ALL THE TOPPINGS.

All done!

All done! Beautiful cheesy goodness.

Look at that lovely flaky crust!

Look at that lovely flaky crust! Anyways, enough distractions, on to the recipe..

Holy-grail Gluten-free Pizza Crust

(Adapted from 3 different recipes found on reddit’s /r/keto and /r/ketorecipes)

Ingredients:

1.5 cups Shredded Cheese (I use a mixture of Mozzarella and Sharp Cheddar)

3/4 cup + 2 tbsp Almond Meal (I like the appearance and texture of this better with almond meal, if you want a lighter crust then you can use Almond Flour)

2 tbsp Cream Cheese

1 egg

Italian Seasoning

Garlic Salt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Place both the shredded cheese and the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until entirely melted. WAIT for cheese to cool enough so that you can handle it without burning yourself, and also so it won’t cook the egg as you mix it in. Mix in egg, almond meal, and a few sprinkles of italian seasoning with your hands, until all ingredients are combined. The mixture should have a (surprisingly!) normal dough-like consistency. Spread onto a cookie sheet/pizza pan topped with parchment paper (or grease your pan very very well, this will stick easily. Learned this lesson the hard way after using tin foil). My technique involves placing the dough on the pan, topping with a layer of saran wrap, and then using a can to roll it out (just…make sure to remove the saran wrap before baking, if that wasn’t obvious). Poke a lot of holes in it with a fork to prevent bubbling, and then sprinkle with a tiny bit of garlic salt (if you are using only shredded Mozzarella then I would use more salt). Bake for 8 minutes, then remove and poke more holes if any bubbles have formed. Bake for an extra 4-7 minutes (12-15 total), until browned.  Remove and top with all of your favorite pizza toppings, then return to the oven for 5 more minutes. If you like your cheese really melted and bubbly, set your oven to broil on High for 30 seconds at the very end (but make sure to keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn).

It’s as easy as that. Please leave a comment and let me know if you try it! Enjoy!

Asian-style-ish? Meatballs

These were…almost successful?

I don’t know, I feel obligated to post them, since they’re a recipe that I sort of made up by myself (if combining 5 different meatball recipes I found online counts), but they were just okay when we ate them hot with the sauce I concocted. HOWEVER, the next day when I ate them cold with no sauce they were much better. 

I guess I’m just posting this as a reference for myself. I really do want to try these again, but with sweet potato instead of carrot (the carrot doesn’t cook quickly enough inside the meatball, even when diced very finely), and with a completely different sauce. 

You, my loyal 5 readers a day, are welcome to try and adapt these into something awesome yourselves! Although I guess the smart thing to do would be to avoid them, since I’ve spent 2 paragraphs talking up all their flaws… Anyways, on to the recipe.

IMAG1094

Asian-style-ish? Meatballs (A Work in Progress)

(Makes about 24 small meatballs)

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

1/2 a large carrot, diced (or sweet potato, if you’re aiming to improve upon these)

1/4 red onion, diced

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 egg

2 tbsp coconut flour (I don’t know if this was necessary, I was just afraid that they wouldn’t bind, which wasn’t a problem. The egg may have been sufficient)

Garlic salt (Or dice 2 cloves of garlic and throw them in with normal salt, I was just having a lazy night)

Cayenne pepper (1/4 tsp – 2 tsp, depending on your spicy preferences)

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp coconut oil, for greasing pan

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350º. Melt coconut oil (I just pop mine in a mug in the microwave for about 15 seconds) and grease pan well. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients (with your hands if you’re down to get a little messy). Use your hands to roll about 24 balls that look around the same size. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until meatballs are browned. IMPORTANT: Flip meatballs halfway through. They will look and taste very weird on the bottom if you don’t let them brown a bit on the other side. I had to brown them in a pan to get rid of this, after which they were fine.

Also a warning, if you use a fattier ground beef it will look like your meatballs are melting in the oven. Do not be alarmed. (I actually googled ‘Why do my meatballs look like they are melting?’ Apparently nobody else has had this problem before?!) It looks kind of gross but you just kind of have to…scrape off the fat when they come out. Or use a less fatty ground beef and avoid this problem altogether.

     IMAG1089 (1)

And there you have it! I served mine over a really simple bok choy sauteed with a ton of garlic, which was mine and B’s favorite part of the meal. Can’t go wrong with bok choy. I’m not even going to talk about the sauce though. Would not recommend.

In conclusion: This recipe totally has the potential to be something awesome. Someone try it with sweet potato and get back to me!

West African Chicken Stew

New. Favorite. Recipe.

Seriously, this will be my new “go-to” dish for this winter, or whenever we have adventurous company over, or maybe just all the time. I brought leftovers for lunch today and now I’m craving more for dinner. This stew has such a unique blend of ingredients and spices that you would never imagine could work well together, but the end result tastes spectacular.

I added extra onions and ginger, 2 things I can't get enough of, as well as a boatload of extra cayenne to make it nice and spicy!

I added extra onions and ginger, 2 things I can’t get enough of, as well as a boatload of extra cayenne to make it nice and spicy!

Not a perfect picture, but gives you a sense of the quantity you get: about 6 portions.

Not the best picture, but gives you a sense of the quantity you get: about 6 delicious portions!

IMAG1047

I served mine over some simple kale (sauteed with salt, pepper, and a little bit of nutmeg). Delicious!

I modified it a bit from this recipe here, who it seems got the original recipe from the book Well Fed 2. Wherever it originated, it is awesome, and I want to share it with you.

West African Chicken Stew

(Servings: About 6?)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1.5 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 3/4 medium onion, diced
  • 2 1-inch pieces fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup canned pureed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter (no sugar added)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Heat a large soup pot over high heat. Add coconut oil and allow it to melt. Add the chicken in a single layer and brown well on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. (Don’t crowd the pan; cook in batches if you need to.) Remove the chicken to a bowl to catch the juices.
  • In the same pot, cook the onions and ginger until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, coriander, cayenne, and bay leaf, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and half the water, stirring to combine. Nestle the chicken into the sauce, along with any juices it released. Increase the heat to bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 25 minutes. Halfway through, add the rest of the water and adjust the chicken on top of the tomato sauce to make sure it is not touching the bottom of the pot, which will cause it to burn.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot; it will be very tender. Break the chicken into large pieces with the side of a wooden spoon. Add the sunflower seed butter and vanilla to the pot and mix to combine. Return the chicken to the pot and cover. Heat through, about 5 minutes, then serve, over kale, rice, or on it’s own!

Hope you enjoy!

Easy Bacon Wrapped Chicken Strips

I made this easy recipe a couple days ago and B and I loved it so much that I figured it would be the first recipe I post on my blog. It’s not the fanciest thing I’ve ever made, but it’s without a doubt one of the tastiest
 
Bacon Wrapped Chicken Strips
(12 strips)
 
Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs of chicken thighs (using thighs is really important because these have to cook for a while, and breasts will get really dry)
  • 12 pieces of bacon
  • Your favorite chicken spice rub (I use a garlic and herb blend that has lot’s of paprika and onion powder, but you can choose whatever you want!)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • Honey mustard (for dipping) [I didn’t have honey mustard (or honey for that matter) so I put 1 tsp of brown sugar into a bit of hot water to dissolve and then mixed it with 3 tbsp of regular mustard]
 
Instructions:
Take each chicken thigh and cut into 2-3 long strips (depending on size of thigh). Rub both sides generously with your favorite spice rub, then wrap one piece of bacon around each strip. Heat oil and butter together in a large pan on medium heat. Place each strip into pan carefully so bacon doesn’t unravel (if they don’t start to sizzle when they hit the pan then let the oil heat up a bit more, it’s important that the bacon goes into a hot pan or they’ll take forever to cook).
 
 
Sizzling away

Sizzling away!

The initial recipe I followed said to cook 6 minutes on each side, but I found that the bacon was not at all ready at that point. I would say just cook it until the bacon looks done and crispy to you, making sure to flip often. By that point the chicken will be totally done, but not dried out as long as you’re using thighs.
 
My fancy plating

My fancy plating

 
And that’s it! Really simple and tasty. I served with roasted carrot fries, which I’ll post as a separate recipe because they are awesome and tasty enough to deserve it.
 
Hope you enjoy!
 
 
 
 
 

First Post: Stitch Fix Review #1

My first post! Such a momentous occasion. I have been wanting to start a blog for quite a while, but I’m still struggling with identifying what I want to say and how I want to say it. So I figured I’d take the easy way out and start off with a Stitch Fix review! Although unfortunately, it will have to be pretty brief, because this box was kind of a dud. (Also, this post is riddled with referral links, because I like free money. Click here if you want to sign up for Stitch Fix; I get $25 with no skin off your nose! It’s a win-win-win.) Now, on to the story:

Fresh from a haircut, I was feeling pretty awesome. B called to inform me that my Stitch Fix box had arrived! A long awaited day! I rushed home to try everything on.

Trying to get a nice picture of the box. Instead managed to get Billy the Beluga in the background.

Trying to get a nice picture of the box. Instead managed to get Billy the Beluga in the background.

Hm, colors look alright. I asked for dark blue, green, burgundy. Lots of fall shades. And I'm not opposed to a pop of coral every now and then.

Hm, colors look alright. I asked for dark blue, green, burgundy. Lots of fall shades. And I’m not opposed to a pop of coral every now and then.

Not sure how I'm feeling about the skirt on the bottom right. And the blouses all look a little boxy to me in the pictures. Ah well, time to give them all the good college try.

Not sure how I’m feeling about the skirt on the bottom right. And the blouses all look a little boxy to me in the pictures. Ah well, time to give them all the good college try.

Aaaaaand, duds. Duds everywhere. The Kasidy Abstract Print Swing Skirt and Stewart Colorblock Short Sleeve Blouse were so awful I couldn’t bring myself to post the pictures on the internet. The rest are pictured below.

Abigail Color Block Lace Trim Top

IMAG0919

I swear I am not actually shaped like a rectangle in real life

Worst. Top. Ever. (On me). And I really hate it, and that’s all there is to say about that. At this point I stopped letting B take the pictures, since they were turning out pretty unflatteringly. It’s all about the high angle..

Rilo Arrow Print Shoulder Stud Blouse

Switched to selfies.

Switched to selfies.

I actually liked this top (and I actually like this picture too). I would have absolutely bought it if it hadn’t been so insanely large. The pattern was cute and I was okay with the shoulder studs. My fault for saying I was a medium, when I am normally between a medium and a small. Apparently I am a small in Stitch Fix sizing.

Montgomery Cross Front Chevron Top

EDIT: this is a new picture from a later date (which includes the necklace I got in my second fix!) B informed me that the previous picture made my head look like an alien, so I figured I'd switch it. ;)

Paparazzi-style shot of me wearing the blouse at work. This is a new picture from a later date (which includes the necklace I got in my second fix!) B informed me that the previous picture made my head look like an alien, so I figured I’d switch it. 😉 

Aaand the only keeper. Honestly I’m not sure I would have kept it if it weren’t for the $20 credit I got from my styling fee. It was hard to get a good picture of it (EDIT: Obviously, since I had to replace the original one..). But I tried it on under a jacket I normally wear to work and it looked pretty cute, so I went for it.

And that’s that. I know Stitch Fix can work for me. I have seen so many amazing reviews where I loved every piece and would have kept the entire box. So I tinkered with my Style Profile a lot and wrote an even longer note to my stylist for next time. Hopefully it will work out and I’ll be posting a glowing review in 2-3 weeks!