It’s The Little Things: Some Pantry Staples

First, the items I want to discuss are more like refrigerator staples and not pantry staples, because that is where these things are stored. But “refrigerator staples” does not roll off one’s tongue in quite the same way that “pantry staples” does. What? You don’t think “pantry staples” is pure poetry? Next you’re going to say that “Mops and Brooms” is not your favorite song. It’s a rap, by the way. And it’s sweeping the nation.

There are three products I always have in my refrigerator. They are not your typical staples. Let’s discuss:


Trader Joe’s Cilantro and Chive Yogurt Dip is my go-to staple. I love it with my my favorite grilled chicken in the summertime, but I have also paired it with steak and fish and it is equally delicious.

Even served simply with some grilled flat bread and rice is yummy.


It is a greek yogurt (tzatziki type sauce) blended with herbs and it is outstanding. I do not typically care for premade sauces and dips. I much prefer making my own, but this one is perfection. It is easy. I highly recommend it. I always have a container on hand.


This brings me to my next staple. I love Stonefire’s Naan Flatbread (I have found mine at a local little grocery store and in the fresh bread section at Albertson’s). Usually you would serve pita bread with the yogurt dip, but I like naan better. It is wonderful dipped in the yogurt sauce above.

I smear melted butter on each side of the bread and toast both surfaces for a few minutes each in a hot skillet. Then I cut it with a pizza cutter and serve.


This bread freezes wonderfully. When I want to use it, I simply defrost the package for an hour and then I cook it as I previously described. It is a healthy little appetizer served with veggies and the sauce above in case company spontaneously stops by.


Which leads me to the last staple I will be writing about today. Broccoli. It has always been my favorite vegetable. My kids enjoy it, too. Two nights ago my son had two servings of broccoli before he even touched his main course. “The secret is butter.” As it always is. By the way, that’s my second favorite song. It’s creaming its competition.

I love these prewashed and chopped broccoli florets that come in their own plastic bag. You can serve them raw with the tzatziki sauce. But I usually eat them hot as a side instead of with the dip. I puncture the bag with a fork two times and then microwave the bag for three minutes on high. I let the broccoli rest in the bag for one minute then I dump the broccoli in a bowl with two tablespoons of salted butter, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper. I mix it together and serve it as a side to my family’s dinners throughout the week.

When I was taking the broccoli pictures my daughter begged me to make the broccoli even though it was almost nine o’clock at night (which explains the great lighting). I did. And we ate it up. I have heard that eating after nine is bad for you but broccoli doesn’t count right? Let’s see…

Brocolli after nine
Is perfectly fine.
Just drink some wine.
Don’t have a last line.
For this bad rhyme of mine.

What is your favorite pantry refrigerator staple? Do you use any of the ones I mentioned? What is your favorite thing to serve to unexpected company? I would not recommend poetry. They seem to leave after that. Hey, where are you going?

Gnoman…Gnoe-man…Gnoah, man!…



I have to thank Melinda for spotting this gnome sweater at Modcloth and alerting me to its existence. And on the last day of one of their sales, too. Thank you!

I kind of love this Gnome Is Where The Heart Is Sweater more than any item in my closet right now. Don’t tell Humboldt!

How could I be a gnome lover and not own this?

I couldn’t.

I do not want to be the crazy lady wearing this sweater every single day, but I would if I could. It is so comfy and I like the length and the fit.

The jeans are Mother Cruiser Denim that I got on sale at Anthropologie for $40. Regular retail price is $220. I am often confused when people state that Anthropologie is too expensive. They have fantastic sales. I snatched up two pairs. They are my favorite jeans I own. I had to get them shortened, but that was no problem. If you can find these, I cannot recommend them enough. They are magic. I sized down one size.



My husband (the pictures above are not him. They are the model at Modcloth). Oh, I desperately want to post photographs of him. He is the whole reason behind me even liking gnomes, being the Angry Gnome (this is his nickname, which is hilarious, because he is the least angry person I know). He, however, would rather stay a mystery. I keep telling him, “Honey. I need pictures of other people on my blog. People are going to get sick of pictures of just me. I’m getting sick of pictures of just me.”


So, for now, he wins.

I did want to show the two gnome sweaters I purchased for him (on a discount, of course) from Modcloth. The sweater sporting the gnome with the skis is called, “Assert Your Elf Sweater.” Yes, elf. But it is obviously a gnome. I cringed at the name and purchased it anyway. The UFO gnome invasion is called, “Gnome away from home.”

How cool are they?


And yes, we wear our gnome sweaters out together. And, yes, we are so cool dorks. And, no, we do not care.

We like to coordinate.

Oh my gosh, sidetracking into a funny story:

Years and years ago, my family found ourselves at the Fashion Island Mall in Newport after a trip to Disneyland. I wanted to go to the Anthropologie there and we were going to eat dinner at P.F. Chang’s.

So, there we are. In our matching Mickey Mouse t-shirts surrounded by chic women (this is often the mall shown in “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” I once smelled one of the cast members there. Yes, you read that right…I am a freak. She smelled divine).

Two women walked by us as we were waiting outside for a table.

One of them turned to the other one and said:


“They match.

They are all matching.”

The word “matching” was said loudly and as a derogatory word.

They turned around and stared at this new breed of species they had never encountered before.

I waved.

They snickered and left.

I would love to go shopping there with my husband in our matching sweaters sometime. I find instances like that encounter amusing. They are just lucky I didn’t try to smell them. ; )



Would you laugh at us? Or do you think it is okay to “match”? And do you ever match your partner (besides Halloween)?

P.S. Please do not forget to enter for a chance to win a $25 e-gift card to Anthropologie. It ends Tuesday night!

Two Vests and A Jacket

I never, ever thought I would have a fashion blog. It seems weird to me to show pictures of myself and talk about what I am wearing. I am still finding my style as I play around with my new body type.

But my mother LOVES this part of my blog. It is her very favorite.

And I want her to be happy.

And I LOVE clothes.

In fact, I have so many outfits backlogged, I might do three outfit posts in the next two weeks.

Merry Christmas, Mom! ; )…

Oh! And this is kind of funny and awful at the same time. You are going to notice in the next few weeks, that the pictures of me standing in front of my fireplace will be full of Christmas cheer. Also, I have a garland strung across that says, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” Well, when I pose in front of it, sometimes only two letters show.


In the future, if I can remember, I will take the garland down before photos. But if I forget, sorry in advance!


This vest is so old, I cannot even find the name for it. I bought it from Anthropologie years and years ago. I love the polka dots and cheerful color. The jeans are my favorite brand, Mother Brand Jeans. The super cute necklace was c/o Simply Livly on Etsy.


Please. Please. If I am ever too lazy to go out to my car and get my regular lipstick from it… Show me this picture! Holy garishness!

This is almost my exact outfit from my Thanksgiving post with a different necklace and shirt. The plaid was from Nordstrom Rack (also seen here). The vest is my favorite new staple. It is the Ruffled Sweater Vest from Anthropologie.



“Why are you wearing your pajamas, Mom?” My son asked me this question as we were getting ready to leave on our hunt for a Christmas tree.

I looked down. I had to explain that I was not wearing pajamas. That these were pants. But it did make me slightly self conscious.


I threw on a bright scarf to draw some attention away from my bright legs, and we were off.

I first spotted these Tartan Charlie Trousers on Sayaka on her blog, Happily Ever Anthro. She looked so adorable in them. I checked the price. $29.95 down from $118. They had my size. Sold.

(The pants are now $19.99, and sold out. But last week, I saw three sizes back in stock. If you like them, you might be able to call the stores and find them.)

Since then, I have paired the pants with my bunny shirt like Sayaka is wearing. But I am not comfortable with my butt (I started to type bottom, but felt like a fake, and the other word seemed too blunt for my blog) being exposed, so I like them better for myself with this super long tee from last year.

The jacket is the Auden Denim Jacket. I waited and waited for a great sale on this denim jacket. I am including a link, even though it is sold out, because it keeps popping back in stock. I took a size 8 in this jacket.

My only other denim jacket is ten years old. It is a size 12, and really too big. I love this jacket! So happy to have snagged it on such a great sale price!

What is your favorite cold weather staple?

P.S. * I shared this on The Pleated Poppy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey and stuffing
Giving thanks over gravy
Why won’t my jeans close?

In lieu of my usual “It’s The Little Things” today, I will be updating sporadically throughout today with things I am grateful for. I want to keep things in perspective.

My grandmother (who was the heart and soul of the family) passed away in January and today is going to be especially hard for my family. I will first travel two hours to my dad’s house, where my kids have spent the last two nights. We will prep food there (with my sister and her family) and then make our way about 1/2 a mile up the road to where my grandmother’s house is. My mom and her family will be gathered there. My heart is heavy. We will stay an hour and then go back to my dad’s house to eat.

Busy day! What are your plans? Because I feel my day will be filled with a lot of sadness, I am going to focus on the positives.


First up, coffee. Cuban coffee to be exact. Lovely goodness! I could not and did not get out of bed without it.


I made chocolate pie last night. I also made my husband some cranberry sauce. I believe he is the only one who likes it. Today, I will make green bean casserole.

I was also in charge of bringing the rolls and other pies. I ordered a pecan, pumpkin, and coconut creme from Marie Calendar’s. The yummy rolls were baked fresh at Great Harvest yesterday. I am grateful to be able to pick up yummy food and not mess up my kitchen making all of those things. I also am bringing wine. ‘Cause. Big grateful there. I did not even remove it from the trunk last night. I was scared I would forget it. Shudder.


This is what I am wearing for the drive and prep work. I am grateful to have scored these Mother’s Brand Jeans on clearance. If you have not tried Mother Jeans, you are missing out. Imagine my jeans were pulled down right.

Your bum will be grateful.

I am playing around with photo apps! Bear with me!

And we’re off! I hope your day is going great! What are your plans?


We are at my dad’s house. We are about to go outside and play a ball toss game. Here are some pictures I took on the drive to my dad’s house. Isn’t it beautiful? Look at the snow!



Played a game with my daughter. Had fun! The kids helped made these balls by drilling holes in them with my dad.


Then sat outside by the fire with my dad and talked for an hour with a glass of wine. So relaxing and nice. Grateful for this time.


Making green bean casserole on the grill outside. An adventure! We should eat by 5:00!


Turned out great! Of course, I do not eat this. Nor will I try it, but it looks yummy!


We finished the night with pie. We will be back on the road in ten minutes. It was a very nice day spent with family. I am incredibly thankful for the one I have. I hope everyone’s day was great!