What I Want // Summer Sneakers

The search for shoes perfectly fit for dog walking, market strolling, and errand running has been a long one. I know the main criteria: comfortable and versatile. BUT do I want to go sporty, basic, or bright and colorful? Help lead me in the right direction! Or maybe I just get one of each? Justin would just love that solution.

sneakers2sporty: red/black | basic: burlap/coral | graphic: dots/hexagons/palms
floral: flowers/lemons | spotted: left/right | striped: blue/red

Recipe // Slow Cooker Carnitas, 3 Ways

Carnitas3WaysMy new favorite Mexican restaurant serves eye-rolling, grunt inducing carnitas so I decided to attempt to replicate them at home so we didn’t have to show our faces in there AGAIN this week. We even got fancy and experimented with different topping combinations with the pineapple and salsa being my absolute favorite. We will definitely be making these again since my slow cooker basically did all the work for me. Who doesn’t love coming home to a house/apartment basking in the smell of a dinner you haven’t slaved over? I know I do! It’s like having an inexpensive personal chef. What is your favorite way to finish off carnitas?

Slow Cooker Carnitas (via):

1 (2-3 lb) pork roast
1 can (15 oz) enchilada sauce (I used red)
1 cup salsa
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
tortillas and toppings (optional: guacamole, sour cream, cheese, pineapple, salsa, lettuce)

Place roast in a slow cooker sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and then pour over the roast. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or HIGH for 5-6 hours (I would recommend the low setting). Remove the roast from the slow cooker when and shred using two forks (it should fall apart pretty easily). Cover a large baking sheet with foil and spread the shredded meat on top of it. Pour about 1 1/2 cups of the liquid from the slow cooker over the meat. Broil the meat for about 5 minutes, until it starts to caramelize around the edges, flipping once during this time. Serve the meat on tortillas, in burritos, enchiladas, salad or make nachos. Top with your favorite toppings. We used warm tortillas and guacamole, pineapple, sour cream, salsa, spinach, and cheese!!

Recipe // Hummingbird Bakery Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut_Butter_CookiesPeanut butter and chocolate baked together into soft, chewy goodness and washed down with a large glass of ice cold milk. It doesn’t get much better than that.

HBPBCookies-2Hummingbird Bakery Peanut Butter Cookies (via):

1 stick plus 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips, chopped
parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment or a handheld electric whisk, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Turn the mixer to slow and beat in the vanilla and peanut butter. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt; mix well until a smooth dough is formed. Stir in the chocolate chips until evenly dispersed. Drop 12 equal amounts of cookie dough on each prepared baking sheet and bake 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Let cookies cool slightly on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Book Review x 6

My heart is happy when I am all consumed by a great book.

Traveling for ten months automatically disconnects you from time sucking activities like television and reconnects you with exploring, whether it be a city, literature, or history. We have attempted to maintain our detachment from TV (aided by our lack of cable) and our attachment to reading and exploring by allowing ourselves full nights dedicated to playtime at the park with the girls, long walks, and time spent cuddled up in a mound of blankets engrossed in our current books. Last night was one of those nights (I finished this and immediately started this). Here are some of my latest reads that had me reflecting on the past, future and my morals, while others were the perfect lighthearted escape from life. Have you read anything great lately? I am in dire need of some great book recommendations!!

20140423-145343.jpg The New American Road Trip Mixtape: Post breakup, Brendan hits the open road searching for healing and the meaning of life. Recommended to me by Justin, this book made me want to pack everything back up again and hit the road searching for the greater purpose of my life. A great book to get you thinking about your heart’s deeper desires and the purpose and destination of the road you are traveling on.

Orange is the New Black: Piper’s past catches up to her and lands her fifteen months in jail where she shares her attempts at navigating her new world behind bars. An easy, quick read that made me want to stay on this side of that barbed wire fence.

The Husband’s Secret: Imagine stumbling upon a letter written to you by your husband in the case of his death confessing his deepest, darkest secret that will change everything in everyone’s lives. That’s what happens to Cecelia while her husband is still alive…I’ve said it before and I will say it again: I’m a sucker for books featuring chapters from multiple character perspectives, each giving you a little more detail into the past, present, and future. You will not regret picking up this book as it is incredibly well written, keeps you engaged, and makes you reflect on how you would handle similar situations. Read it NOW.

Unbroken: A World War II Story: This story has sat on my Kindle since it gained popularity but for some unknown reason I never chose to start it, however, once I finally did, I was hooked. The unfathomable story of survival Louis Zamperini endured during World War II was heartwrenching, unbelievable, and powerful. Although I wish I wouldn’t have read this during my five flights to/from Nashville, I’m so glad I finally sat down to learn this story of such an incredible man.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette: Bernadette, a wife and mother, suddenly disappears and her daughter, Bee, is determined to find out just where she went. Lighthearted, witty, and page turning.

Cartwheel: Based off the Amanda Knox trial, I was hoping this book would throw some curveballs and perhaps even end with the reader knowing for sure what happened, but in the end it was just like the real-life trial: no answers, lots of acquittals. At best I grudged through it, just trying to finish, hoping for something, anything. Definitely not one I would recommend.

Recipe // Loaded BLT Sandwiches

LoadedBLTSandwichesClassic BLT’s get even better with the addition of avocado, pepper jack cheese, and spicy Ranch dressing in these Loaded BLT Sandwiches. A great and easy way to update a favorite.

BLT-4 BLT-1 BLT-2Loaded BLT Sandwich (via):

2 pieces of sourdough or bread of your choice
mayo
spicy ranch dressing
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 an avocado, sliced
3 or 4 leafs of iceberg lettuce
2 slices of pepper jack cheese
6 pieces of bacon
ground black pepper

Cover a baking sheet in aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place bacon on the baking sheet, sprinkle with black pepper, and place into a cold oven. Cook the bacon until the oven is preheated to 400 degrees, continue baking until desired crispiness. Blot the bacon with paper towels to remove grease before adding to the sandwich.

While bacon is cooking, slice the tomatoes, avocado, lettuce and pepper jack cheese. Coat one side of each slice of bread first with a thin layer of mayo followed by a thicker layer of spicy ranch. Assemble the sandwich in this order, bottom to top: bread, lettuce, avocado, hot bacon, pepper jack cheese, tomato, and the final slice of bread. Serve immediately.