Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites

A friend had a small gathering before we all went out Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. I had been running around all day so needed a quick appetizer to whip together and these pretzel bites fit the bill. Not only are they really easy to make but extremely addicting. I had to box my Dad out the whole time I was taking these photos, hence the very large Shrek hand in the last pic, as he popped one after another into his mouth.  I used this recipe and adapted it slightly by using Pillsbury dinner rolls and adding cinnamon sugar. Definitely plan on making them again for the holidays...unless I get a craving sooner. 

{Ogres love pretzel bites}

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekend Update - 11/28/2011

{Miss Purdy}
Hope you all had a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend with your family and friends. I was at home in Illinois for some much needed down time. It was so nice to turn off the work blackberry and completely decompress out on the Greeny ranch. The long weekend was full with family events, spending time at the local watering hole with friends and even managed to squeeze in a little cooking. Now it's back to the cubicle & cracker jack box apartment in the Big City where I'll be wearing spandex pants the rest of the week. Happy Cyber Monday to all!   
{best dog in the whole wide world...bar none}

{my Mom's famous coconut cream pies on Thanksgiving morning}

{homemade quiche for Sunday brunch}

{my little cousin Corrina...maybe the cutest ever}

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Black [Lace] Wednesday

Denim Shirt - H&M / Skirt, bag, headband as bracelet - Forever 21 / Booties - Nine West

I had my eye on this Elie Tahari skirt after a lunch time trip to Bloomingdales a couple weeks ago and luckily stumbled across this Forever 21 version for less than $20 shortly thereafter. The jagged bottom edge of the skirt and denim shirt serve to offset the girliness of the lace. But enough about that...it's one of my favorite days of the year: Black Wednesday. I couldn't be happier to be home with my family to celebrate. Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving! See you next week!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mixed Prints

Shirt, skirt - J. Crew / Necklace - Forever 21 / Wedges, belt - Zara / Bag - Vintage

I went out on a limb yesterday and mixed two of my J. Crew fall purchases, this leopard skirt and plaid shirt, together for work. Sure, I got some looks from the banker guys in their always blue shirts / black slacks but I kind of take that as a compliment.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekend Update - 11/20/2011

{lots of diy holiday decor inspiration at Anthropologie}
Another nice fall weekend full with a variety of activities including a couple birthday celebrations, Lead the Way Fund charity run & brunch and of course a little shopping. Hoping these next couple days fly by before I'm off to the homeland for Thanksgiving. Simply can't wait to spend some QT with fam and friends. Hope you had a great weekend!
{old ice skates add the perfect touch to this merry christmas garland}

{my running partner (until I died on the 4th mile) at yesterday's Run Down Hero Highway}
{group of Army Rangers leading the Star Spangled Banner...'Murica}

{all the booths set up and mobbed with people at the Union Square Christmas Market}

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fall Harvest Soup w/ Gruyere Croutons

For last weekend's Friendsgiving, the hostess circulated an email weeks in advance for people to sign up for different side dishes. There were a couple empty appetizer slots so I threw my name down for a soup. A lovely display of different squashes at Whole Foods led to this one. The popcorn sprinkled on top was orignally for aesthics but actually added the perfect little crunch. I could be am partial but it might be one of my favorite soups and it paired really well with the turkey, stuffing & cranberries and other sides including arugula-goat cheese salad, brussel sprouts with baked apples and mashed sweet potatoes. I ate my gruyere crouton before I even got to the soup but would imagine they pair together quite well too.
{ginger, large onion, acorn / butternut / sweet dumpling squash, garlic, sage and thyme}

{I halved, seeded and baked the squash for 45 minutes at 350 to allow for easier peeling}

{sliced baguette, grated gruyere and thyme for the croutons}

{although the popcorn sinks slightly, the kernels stay crunchy}


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
1 peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)*
1 peeled acorn squash (about 1 pound)*
1 peeled sweet dumpling squash (about half pound)*
1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh sage
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 minature bag of popcorn for garnish

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, all squash and herbs; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return to same pot and season with salt and pepper. Top with popcorn right before serving for an extra added crunch!

*Note: I baked the squash at 350 for 45 minutes to make for easier peeling.

Extra virgin olive oil
24 1/4-inch-thick baguette bread slices
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage

Preheat broiler. Put a little oil on one side of each bread slice. Arrange bread, oil side up, on baking sheet and broil until golden, about 1 minute. Turn over and sprinkle with cheese thyme and sage. Broil until cheese melts, about 1 minute.

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen's winter harvest soup.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oatmeal Variety Pack

Whelp, now that I completely built it up after last Friday's post...here it is ladies & gents...the Oatmeal Post.

I've been eating oatmeal pretty much every morning for the last 4+ years at my desk at work. The Quaker variety packs leave much to be desired so I've found myself mixing up my own versions with each season [currently digging the pumpkin and caramel apple]. With that being said, most of these varieties are self explanatory but here are a bunch of recipes in case you're needing a little spice in your morning routine. Enjoy!

- blueberry
- peach
- peanut butter & jelly
- pumpkin spice
- mixed berry
- banana nut
- caramel apple
- coffee cake
- double chocolate
{pics: a beautiful mess}

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blogger Blitz

Blouse, bag - Forever 21 / leather skirt, scarf, booties, glasses - H&M / Cardigan - Madewell

Threw this on to run out the door to the Blogger Blitz on Sunday. You'll notice the gray and oatmeal combo that I mentioned last week. Told ya it's happening a lot...More to come, I'm sure.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weekend Update - 11/14/2011

{verveine tea and cranberry/pistachio biscotti}
With the blink of an eye, another weekend has whizzed by with lots of errands, a little cooking, a Friendsgiving dinner and concluded with the NYC Blogger Blitz at City Winery. Met so many lovely ladies and had to force myself to go to bed in lieu of staying up all night perusing their blogs:


Hope you had a great weekend!
{my contribution to the Friendsgiving dinner}

{15 people, 7 side dishes, lots of wine, one tiny apartment}

{Friendsgiving hostesses with the mostess...the Francoz' sisters}

{fur bag / mens knit scarf that I wore everywhere this weekend}

{my blogger blitz name tag that's almost too pretty to toss}

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran Appreciation - RLTW

{Table decor from my sister's wedding | Sam was absent as he fought in Afghanistan}

{Sgt./E5 Samuel O. Greenwalt, A Company, First Ranger Battalion}

Last night as I was feeling sorry for myself after yet another late night at the office, I read over my blog post one more time before publishing. It was about oatmeal. And then it dawned on me that today is Veteran's Day and oatmeal does absolutely nothing by way of paying my respects to not only my brother, Sgt. Samuel O. Greenwalt (pictured above), but all of those that have fought so courageously and selflessly for our country and freedom [not to worry, the oatmeal post is coming next week...get excited]. One late night in my 72° office, comfortable chair and all the food & water I need seems pretty luxurious compared to the multiple days these men and women have stayed awake on freezing nights in the Iraqi desert or Afghan hills. 

My brother served with honor in the First Battalion of the 75th Army Ranger Regiment and luckily returned home safely after 4 years, comprised of three tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan. Some of his other Ranger brethren, however, were not so fortunate including Sgt. James J. Regan of the Third Battalion. 

Regan, an All-American Duke lacrosse player, was deeply affected by the 9/11 terror attacks, which claimed many lives in his home town of Manhasset, New York. Upon his graduation from Duke, he turned down a highly-paid investment banking position at UBS and deferred a scholarship to Southern Methodist University Law School to join the army in 2004. After serving two tours in Afghanistan, his second tour in Iraq was cut short on February 9th, 2007 by a roadside bomb while on combat patrol in Baqubah. At the young age of 26, he was later laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetary earning a Purple Heart and Bronze Star among over a dozen other awards and decorations. 

Sgt. Regan's fiancé, sister to one of my college friends, stated in the Eulogy that 'Jimmy was a hero to many but always very humble. He always sought team success and not personal glory.' I echo these comments for my brother, Sam, and every other person I've ever met who has or is serving for our country.

Following Sgt. Regan's death, his family started a charity organization in James' honor called Lead the Way, established to raise funds in support of disabled U.S. Army Rangers and the families of Rangers who have died, been injured or are currently serving in harm's way. Next Sunday, November 20th, Lead the Way has organized it's 5th Annual 'Run Down Hero Highway' in New York, a 4.5 mile run (or in my case, slow jog/walk) along the Hudson River passed the Statue of Liberty and to Ground Zero. Register here for this great event (registration includes a long-sleeve t-shirt and celebratory brunch at Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers afterwards) or here to simply donate to the Lead the Way organization. Click here for a short video of the event last year. 

This blog post barely scratches the surface of my sincere appreciation and gratitude to the servicemen for such noble deeds, but it will have to do for the moment. I would encourage you all to thank a Veteran today because we would not live in a home of the free, if it weren't for the brave.


{Sgt. James J. Regan 6/27/1980 - 2/9/2007}

{4th Run Down Hero Highway last year}
60 other Army Rangers who gave their lives for our country

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