July 28, 2014

So: 4 years ago…all the way back in 2010, I launched this little piece of the web. Today happens to be Ruffles & Truffles’ 4th birthday, and I’m taking a few moments to reflect on setting goals…and making changes.

silhouette bird

I find it interesting to look back on my old posts, and it is one of the great things about having a blog. Looking back to get perspective on where you came from, as well as looking forward to the direction you are hoping to go. When I started Ruffles & Truffles, it was just a fun little site for me. I was a hobbyist and enjoyed sharing the things that were going on in my life.

Ruffles & Truffles

Then I got a bit more serious. Even though blogging had just been a hobby for me, I thought it was important to set some realistic goals for myself. In the beginning, my first blog related goal was to be a part of an ad network. I thought it would give me a sense of legitimacy in my blogging. I was oh so pleased when I met that first goal, and it spurred me on to dream a little bit bigger. I began doing some sponsored campaigns, and realized that my passion truly was for the blogging world. The next goal: earn enough income from my site to consider it as a “part time job,” if you will. It took a while, but I’ve crossed the finish line in regard to that goal. And I’ve had some awesome opportunities cross my path in the past four years, from working with one of my favorite stores (Marshalls), to meeting celebrity chefs, to participating in a chili cookoff, to hosting a live food demo…just to name a few. The people, brands, and places I’ve come in contact with over the years have been incredible.

But after reaching my “part time job” goal, I had to set a bigger one. The enormous goal that I always thought about, but in the back of my mind I always figured would be impossible. That goal, of course, was to delve into a full time gig with blogging.

Katie

…and I’m doing it. This is where the making changes part really comes into play. I wanted to pinch myself when the opportunity to work with the Sunday Supper Movement presented itself to me a few weeks ago. A chance to work with a group that I truly believe in and support…a chance to be involved with the blogging world full time…a job that will allow me to push myself technically and creatively…I was SO in.

And by SO in, I’m not kidding. Within a week of starting with Sunday Supper, I was plunged into the final planning period of the Food & Wine Conference…and ran all of the A/V for the weekend. Talk about diving right in to the deep end! It was awesome. If you’ve been wondering why it’s been slightly different and a littler quieter around these parts lately, now you know why! I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things as my “new life” settles in.

Katie and Justin

Of course, I would be remiss if I did not give a special shout out to my husband, who always shows me such support and is one of my biggest cheerleaders when it comes to making my dreams come to fruition. I know I don’t tell him enough, but there is no way I would have been able to come as far as I have without him standing by my side. He has truly become a faithful blogger’s husband…

Sherman & Lucia

As Ruffles & Truffles begins it’s journey on to year five, I can’t wait to see where things progress. It is absolutely mind blowing to me to realize I won’t be returning to my old job at the end of the summer…and that I have been able to make what I thought to be somewhat unattainable goals into a reality. Funny enough, Sunday Supper has been partnering with American Family Insurance for the past few months for their #ChooseDreams campaign, and I have to say it truly has hit home for me. I am so thankful for the opportunities that have come my way that allowed me to choose dreams and bring them into existence. Does it get better than that? I don’t know that it does.

So, happy birthday, Ruffles & Truffles! Here’s to another inspiring year….

July 27, 2014

Leading a healthy and fit lifestyle is definitely something I strive for in my household. Not only is exercise/staying active an important element of our week, but the food we serve at our family table is a huge consideration. Today, I’m sharing what has become one of our favorite healthy meal options in my home. These quinoa bowls with grilled vegetables and corn salsa are customizable, fresh, and full of flavor. Won’t you dive in? Quinoa bowls One of the common misconceptions I hear from people when it comes to eating “healthier” is that it is expensive. I totally hear what they’re saying, but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be a pricy endeavor! My biggest tip when it comes to shopping for fresh produce is to keep an eye on what is seasonal. If you are purchasing veggies and fruit that are in season, they will be at the lowest prices in comparison to veggies that are out of season. Right now, zucchini, yellow squash, and green beans are in an abundance in my neck of the woods…so most of my meals include them! In the fall and winter, I tend to see a lot of butternut squash, spaghetti squash, apples, and more. Quinoa bowls For me, it is fun to get creative with what is fresh. Don’t feel restricted by eating seasonally! And if there happens to be a vegetable or fruit that isn’t in season or at a reasonable price for your budget, check out the frozen section of your grocery store! My local store tends to have awesome BOGO sales, and I always end up picking up frozen edamame, peas, and corn to have on hand. Quinoa bowls …on to the recipe! I have a deep love for burrito bowls, but eating one every night of the week is probably not the most creative meal in the world. Therefore, I love coming up with different spins on the classic that offer new flavors and ingredients. These quinoa bowls with grilled vegetables are brightly colored, full of flavor, and are fun to put together too! Now, if you haven’t fully dived into the quinoa trend, you can always serve your veggies on a bed of rice. If you’re just slightly ready to test out quinoa, there are some nice brown rice/quinoa blends on the market I’ve tried and are a nice introduction for those who aren’t sure they’ll enjoy a full bowl of quinoa. Baby steps…baby steps. I personally ADORE quinoa – it is gluten-free, contains protein, and has an awesome texture. It’s great served cold or hot…it’s so darn versatile! Ok, I’ll stop declaring my love for quinoa now. For this yummy Sunday Supper, all you have to do is fire up your grill, dress your veggies and cook them, then plate them perfectly on top of your quinoa with a scoop of corn salsa. These quinoa bowls are vegetarian as-is, but you could very easily add a meat or fish of your choice to the mix. We’ve added grilled mahi mahi in the past, as well as chicken and pork tenderloin. Options, options….

Are you a fan of “bowl” creations for a healthy dinner?

Quinoa bowls

Quinoa Bowls with Grilled Vegetables and Corn Salsa for #SundaySupper #ChooseDreams

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 5 oz quinoa or brown rice/quinoa blend (uncooked)
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 2 medium yellow squash
  • 1 red bell pepper (orange or yellow also work)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup corn salsa

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Cover and set aside as you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Preheat your grill to medium high heat (around 500 degrees F). Slice your zucchini and squash on the diagonal, about 1/2 inch thick (to allow for maximum grill contact). Drizzle with olive oil, minced garlic, and salt and pepper. Toss/stir gently to coat all sides of the vegetables.
  3. Grill vegetables for about 5-6 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove from grill and on to a serving plate.
  4. To complete your dish, add a scoop of quinoa to the bottom of your bowl, then top with 1/4 cup of corn salsa and the grilled vegetable slices. If desired, you can sprinkle some fresh parmesan cheese on top to finish! Enjoy!
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AmFam Choose Dreams Logo Make sure you follow along on the Family Healthy Fit Lifestyle #ChooseDreams Pinterest board! Also, take a few minutes to visit the American Family Insurance website, follow them on Twitter, ‘Like’ them on Facebook, check in on them on LinkedIn, watch them on YouTube, follow them on G+, and see what inspires them on Pinterest! This post is sponsored by American Family Insurance. All opinions are my own. ~~~~~~~ Don’t miss out on the other amazing offerings today for Sunday Supper!
Get Up and Go Power Breakfasts

Salads and Healthy Snacks

Healthy Fit Lifestyle Dinners

Healthy Desserts

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Sunday Supper Logo Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

July 23, 2014
Do you have a favorite type of jewelry to wear? Earrings? Necklaces? Bracelets? Rings? If I could only choose one style of jewelry to wear for the rest of my life, a statement necklace would be it…hands down. I generally wear only stud earrings…very rarely wear bracelets…and the only rings I wear are my engagement ring and wedding band. The thing is: I’ve accumulated quite a few statement necklaces over the years, and I need a statement necklace display for them.
statement necklace display
Years ago, my parents bought me a wonderful, tall jewelry box for all of my baubles. However, it matched the decor from my previous set of furniture, and with our bedroom makeover in progress, it isn’t going to stick around. Besides, the big statement necklace pieces I have very rarely are able to fit inside properly…go figure.
statement necklace display
The thing I love about statement necklaces is that they look very pretty when they are on display. Therefore, I’m hoping to eventually solve the conundrum I currently have by adding some trays to the top of the dresser to keep them looking organized and pretty. I’ve been searching high and low for clear lucite trays, as I think they would add the organization factor without distracting from the jewelry. Of course, because that is what I’m looking for I am having the hardest time finding them.
statement necklace display
In the meantime, I’m simply attempting to lay my statement necklace display out as if I DID have the trays already. The power of positive thinking…right? Perhaps I can will the lucite trays into my life somehow.
statement necklace display
On a side note: the majority of these necklaces are from T.J. Maxx – it probably doesn’t come as any surprise if you know me! If you haven’t perused their jewelry department, I definitely recommend you do so the next time you stop in. I have been able to score some darn awesome baubles for seriously affordable prices. These large statement necklaces normally run at prices over $100 (some have had original price tags at over $200), and I’ve never spent more than $50 on a piece. Score.

So – how do you store your statement jewelry pieces?

July 22, 2014

Oh summer…the time of the year for fresh, light, and bright food items. There is so much produce in season, and it truly a time when I get creative in the kitchen. Or in this case: on the grill! Summer grilling: it’s a must! Today, I’m sharing a recipe for an easy to make grilled corn salsa. It’s full of color and flavor and is oh so versatile for your summer meals!

Grilled Corn Salsa

I have to be honest: I LOVE corn on the cob…but I hate eating it ON the cob. I always end up with corn kernels stuck between my teeth and it will bother me for hours on end. I was the girl who always had her mom cut the corn off of the cob for her as a child. And I still do it to this day. It can kind of be a process as well – running the knife down the side of the cob, the corn kernels cascading off and falling everywhere – some on the plate, some on the counter, some on the floor. I am notorious for making a mess when it comes to stripping corn. However, OXO’s corn stripper tool is a godsend! Not only does it run through the corn easily, it has a compartment to catch all of the kernels as they are stripped from the cob – all you have to do is dump the container into a bowl. My life just got a whole lot easier.

And can we talk about the amazingness of grilled corn? It is my all time favorite way to prepare it; the char from the grill adds such awesome flavor (and great color too). You can use any color you desire – I am personally partial to the bi-color variety. A quick brush of olive oil with OXO’s silicone basting brush, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and a few turns with your OXO 16″ grill tongs once they hit the grill, and you’re on your way to grilled corn salsa goodness!

Grilled Corn Salsa

I decided to create a large batch of salsa this time around – it yielded about 3 cups in the end. Why, you ask? Because I have oh so many plans for this salsa. Today, I’m dipping into it with corn tortilla chips (classic – yum!). Later this week,  I’m going to share another recipe for a healthy and delicious Sunday Supper. Annnnd I even have a third easy weekday supper recipe in the works after that. So – stay tuned…you’ll be seeing much more of this salsa in the future!

This salsa is super easy to customize to your personal tastes as well. If you aren’t a fan of spice, leave out the jalapeno (you could even replace with bell pepper). Or, take it up a notch with even spicier peppers. If you plan on eating the salsa all in one sitting, some diced avocado mixed in would be delectable! Oh, the possibilities!

Have you made your own salsa? What do you add to yours?

Grilled Corn Salsa

Grilled Corn Salsa

Ingredients

  • 4 ears corn
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 14.5 oz petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat your grill to medium/medium-high heat. Clean the ears of corn and brush lightly with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place ears of corn on the grill and cook on all sides for about 6-8 minutes, using grill tongs to turn the ears occasionally. Remove corn from the grill and place on a platter to cool.
  2. When the corn has cooled, use a corn stripping tool (or knife) to strip the kernels from the corn. Add to a large bowl along with the red onion, jalapeno, diced tomatoes, and cilantro. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 of a lime over the top of the mixture, along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly to incorporate all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve!
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