Sorry I've been incommunicado for a while. We had to post grades for this quarter and had parent teacher conferences, so I was pretty busy! But, I was able to record some of the best parts of my week with my phone, so I thought I'd share!
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I made this fall garland out of paper leaves. I bought them from Paper Source, don't you love that place? And, we enjoyed the first fire in our fireplace! We've never had a fireplace before, it's pretty fantastic.
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One morning, my windshield was covered in ice. This did not make me smile, until I took a closer look.
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The crystals took my breath away! So pretty. 

This next picture is kind of gross, but it's perfect for Halloween!
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One of my students scraped her elbow and bled on her homework. I thought it was really funny that she left me a note explaining that it was an accident and apologizing, as if I would think she did it on purpose. Ha!

What things have been making you smile this week?
 
 
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My newest cozy was featured in this lovely treasury list! See it?! Right there at home with all those chic, beautiful items! Click on the image to visit the list and the featured stores.

And in other exciting news, my Earl Gray cozy was mentioned in hello lovely inc, a style blog! Go check it out to see other beautiful items!
 
 
My cozy got into another treasury list! 
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I love it when this happens! Doesn't looking at these colors just make you smile? 

Click on the image to visit these shops!
 
 
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Fancy, right? This meal features chicken breast smothered with a creamy dijon paprika sauce accompanied by carrots and new potatoes cooked to perfection in the same pot as the chicken. A side of crisp, simple asparagus is a great complement to the richness of the main course. Let's make it!

Actually before we make it we need to marinate the chicken over night, or for a few hours. Soak 4 chicken breasts in 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 1/2 - 2 lemons) and 1 tablespoon of Lawry's seasoned salt, if you have it. I used this copycat salt mixture instead.
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I should name this pot, I use it all the time (you may have noticed) and love it. Maybe Giada? It's Giada De Laurentiis brand from Target. Nah, I think I can come up with something more creative. 

Anyway, once you're done marinated the chicken, heat up 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a dutch oven or big pot with a lid.
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Cook the chicken breasts for 3-4 minutes on each side over medium heat. We're just searing the outside, they'll have plenty of time to cook later. 
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Remove the chicken to a big bowl and cover with foil. Add a chopped yellow onion to the pot, and let it soak up all the chicken juices and deliciousness for about 2 minutes.
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Until they are softened and amazing looking!
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Now add 2 tablespoons paprika and 1 cup chicken stock and stir together.
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Return the chicken to the pot (and their juices) and add the new potatoes. Cover and cook 10 minutes over medium to medium high heat.
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While you wait, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prepare some asparagus (wash and dry them and cut off the brittle ends) and spread them in a baking dish. Toss them with some olive oil, 1 or 2 tablespoons and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
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Looks good already, right?
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After 10 minutes have passed the potatoes will look like this and, your oven is ready so put the asparagus and set a timer for 20 minutes. Now, add carrots to the pot, put the cover back on and set a different timer for 15 minutes.
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Take a 15 minute break, pour yourself some wine, read a book, and afterward, your carrots and potatoes will be perfectly cooked! With a slotted spoon, take the veggies and chicken out of the pot and put them into the big bowl you used earlier and cover with foil.
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This is what you will have left, where did all that chicken stock go? It's a mystery!
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Add 2 more tablespoons of butter, 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard, and 1 cup of heavy cream. It looks kind of weird at first...
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But after a few minutes of stirring and warming it will be a beautiful, tangy, creamy sauce. Give it a taste and add some salt or mustard if you think it needs some.
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Once the sauce is perfect, return the chicken and veggies to the pot. Gently stir so the sauce coats everything.
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Your asparagus should be finished already, so dinner is served! Enjoy!

Paprika Dijon Chicken with Asparagus
source: adapted from my Dad's recipe

Marinade:
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (1 1/2-2 lemons)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Seasoned Salt (I used this mix)

Asparagus Side:
1 bunch asparagus, cleaned and tough ends removed
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
a bit of lemon juice (optional)

Main Course:
4 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons paprika
1 cup chicken stock
12 small new potatoes, cut in half
1 bunch carrot, cut into large pieces as seen in the pictures
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Marinate chicken overnight, or for 3 hours or so if that is all the time you have.

In a dutch oven, or large pot with a lid, heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.

Saute chicken breasts for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove to a bowl, cover with foil.

Add onion and saute until soft, 2-3 minutes. 

Stir in paprika, pour in the chicken stock. Return the chicken to the pot and add the new potatoes. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and wash, dry and trim the asparagus. Toss with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes.

Add carrots to the pot, cover and cook for 15 more minutes.

With a slotted spoon remove chicken, potatoes and carrots to a separate bowl and cover with foil. 

Reduce heat to low and add mustard, cream and 2 tablespoons butter to the pot. Stir and adjust heat until the sauce has reached your desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Return chicken, potatoes and carrots to the pot. Mix gently to coat with the sauce and serve with roasted asparagus.

 
 
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Look what I made! I used a cork bulletin board to display my jewelry! I thought about editing out Jared's t shirt sticking out of the drawer. But I decided against it, because quotidian details are charming aren't they?
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I love this so much! Let me count the ways (literally, I'm going to count them).
1) It keeps my jewelry organized and untangled.
2) It helps me see what my jewelry options are so I can make my choice quickly.
3) It reminds me how much jewelry I have and will help me avoid buying more (because I only have a few square inches left to display any new jewelry!)
4) It's pretty!!


Would you like a similar display for your jewelry? Here's what you do!
1) Buy a cork bulletin board with a frame. I got mine at Target for $15. There was a white logo in the corner, I just drew over it with permanent marker. 
2) Buy clear, so they're less noticeable, push pins. I got these at Target, too.
3) Push the pins into the board and hang your jewelry on them! Try to mix different textures and colors so it looks interesting.
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I grouped my jewelry into different categories, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, brooches.
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I hung the earrings and pins on baker's twine tied between two pins. You could use any type of string you have on hand, or even wire! Full disclosure: my ears aren't pierced! That's why I only have this one pair of earrings. It's hard to find cute clip ons!
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I even displayed my small collection of hair accessories. Maybe I'll use them more often now that I can see them!

This project is way customizable, you could paint the frame a different color, or use a vintage frame! You could cover the cork with a pretty fabric before you pin your jewelry on. I prefer the plain cork board because it provides a nice neutral palette. Plus, most jewelry pops out in contrast to the light brown color. Also, the cork board gives me an academic vibe, kind of like those beautiful insect display cases!

I was inspired by the many beautiful pictures of jewelry display ideas on Pinterest. Do you use Pinterest? If so, you should follow me! Just click on the red button on the right bar!

This might just be the most satisfying DIY project ever. It only took about 30 minutes, was inexpensive, and I love the results. What do you think? 
 
 
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There's a new cozy for sale over at Art of Ariadne! Just thought you'd like to know!
 
 
This morning, I woke up to the beautiful sound of a flock of geese honking, not an alarm. Most people up here think of these geese as pests, but I love them! I think they're graceful, interesting and a little bit scary, honestly!
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Today there was no school, so I had fun running errands like shipping a cozy and buying more yarn for more cozies! I'm excited about that mustard color!
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Then, I went thrifting! I love shopping at thrift stores, but usually never have the time it requires to dig through tons and tons of clothes I don't want in order to find a hidden gem.
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I resisted the temptation to buy the so-bad-it's-good rose sweater. But check out that textured wall art, it's the freaking caryatids from the acropolis! I think I might have made a mistake in passing that up. How often do you find tacky art depicting classical architecture, you know!?
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But I did find some cute clothes, like this sweater dress ($4). This is my, "I don't know how to pose" pose.
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this super comfy sweater coat (also $4)...
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and this skirt, originally from H&M (also $4)! Perfect for work!
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After a successful thrifting trip, I headed home, had some coffee and quiche on matching China, and wrote this very blog post! A pretty great day, right?
 
 
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My friend Alyssa recommended this recipe to me. I'm so glad she did, it is freaking delicious!
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You know it's going to be good when it starts with butter and bacon grease, right? Of course right. But I'm getting ahead of myself, first we need to roast some garlic. Don't worry, it's not difficult.
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Just separate the cloves from a head of garlic, rub off the papery parts and then chop off the pointy ends of the garlic. You don't even have to peel them! This way, once they're roasted, you can just squeeze the cloves and the garlicy goodness will pop out. If that doesn't sound delicious I don't know what does.
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Just put the cloves in some foil, drizzle with olive oil and gather the foil together so it looks like a hershey kiss. Then let it sit in the oven for an hour at 250 degrees and the garlic will be soft, slightly caramel colored and incredible. Resist the urge to eat them just like this.
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While the garlic is roasting, chop up a celery stalk, a carrot and 1/4 of an onion.
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This is when the butter and bacon grease come in. Throw in your veggies with the butter and bacon grease to "sweat" for 15 minutes. I interpreted "sweat" as just cook on very low heat. 

While you wait, get a bit of sugar, chop up some basil and open a can of crushed tomatoes. Then take a seat and enjoy the amazing smells coming from your kitchen.
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After 15 minutes, add the sugar, chopped basil and 1 more tablespoon of bacon grease. 
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Then pour in the crushed tomatoes. Stir it together and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let it simmer, covered for 30 minutes. Once the garlic is done, pop as many cloves as you want into the tomato mixture, I added 10 medium sized cloves, but after tasting it, I wish I added more!

After half an hour, stir in a big pinch, more like half a handful, of parmesan cheese (freshly grated please!). Cover and continue to let the tomato mixture simmer for another 30 minutes.

Then, turn off the heat and let it cool for 15 minutes. We're going to blend it next, and you don't want to put very hot things in your glass blender do you? Once cooled, blend it until it is smooth. All the garlic, celery, carrot, onion and basil goodness will permeate through the soup as it blends. Yummm.

Pour the mixture back into the pot and add 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream, or 2 cups cream. Stir it all together until it looks like this.
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Now give it a taste. Does it need salt? Add some! Does it need to be warmed up a bit? Do it! All this work, you want the soup to be perfect, right? 

Next, and this is absolutely crucial, make a grilled cheese sandwich! 
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Creamy Tomato Soup
adapted from Homesick Texan

1 28 0z can crushed tomatoes
1 head of garlic, roasted
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1/4 onion, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 tablespoons bacon grease (I just happened to have some on hand, if you don't, don't let that stop you from trying this. The soup will still be fabulous without it!)
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste
1 cup milk
1 cup cream (or 2 cups cream and no milk)
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

Divide head of garlic into separate cloves. Rub off the papery shell, but don't peel them. Cut off the pointy parts of the cloves. Put on foil, drizzle with olive oil and gather foil so it looks like a hershey kiss. Roast for 1 hour at 250 degrees.

Heat onions, celery and carrot with butter and 1 tablespoon bacon grease on low heat for 15 minutes.

Stir in sugar, basil, 1 tablespoon bacon grease and tomatoes. Bring to a boil then simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

When garlic is finished roasting. Squeeze the cloves out of their shell into the soup. Add as many as you like.

Stir in cheese, then continue to let the tomato mixture simmer, covered for 30 more minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Puree tomato mixture until smooth, stir in milk and cream. Add salt to taste and warm until desired temperature for serving. Enjoy with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich.
 
 
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Remember summer? Me neither. Don't we need a little reminder? Yes, I think so.

The Simple Southwestern Salad is so easy, refreshing and tasty. It is the perfect compliment to the cheese enchiladas I shared a few weeks ago. Plus, you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already!

Simple Southwestern Salad with Corn and Avocado
Source: Real Simple
Serves 4

2 heads romaine lettuce, cut into pieces
2 ears of corn, with kernels cut off (please don't use frozen corn, it would make the salad bland and lack texture. But it is your salad, maybe you prefer salads like that!)
2 avocados (cut into cubes, I just halved mine because I was in a hurry, and I'm lazy.)
1 15.5 ounce pinto beans, rinsed
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
a handful fresh cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
tortilla chips

Combine the lettuce, corn, avocados, beans, onion and cilantro in a large bowl.

Mix together oil, lime juice, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl or shake it together in a mason jar.

Toss the salad with the dressing and serve with some tortilla chips on the side. I like to crumble them up and mix them into the salad. Yummmm.
 
 
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Just thought you'd like to know, there's a new coffee cozy for sale in my shop, Art of Ariadne!