Pan of Stuffs

Happy Humpday!

It’s meet week in the Ristic household, so I thought I’d share one of my favorite race day recipes.img_0952

Milan is not only a machine, he eats like one too- especially on race days. Because his event (60m hurdles) tends to be earlier in the day, he usually eats as much as he can physically intake in the morning, and then not again until after he’s through.

O.K., so that the racing half of him- needing an enormous “game day” breakfast. The Serbian half of him, doesn’t consider food to be food unless he’s consuming at least 51% meat. This usually rules out my eggs and waffles plan.

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Milan and Manteo prepping for their Indoor Seasons

I wouldn’t say we are “clean eaters” but we are whatever tries to eat as much fresh food as possible. We don’t eat hardly any processed foods, a product of his national food background and my mother being a dietitian. This holds especially true on meet/meat days, he needs to feel full, but the food has to hold him a while as well, so we want to make sure we get him some sustainable energy with all that protein.

With such a tremendous meat requirement, we are usually left in dinner territory when deciding what we want. In an effort to keep it as early-morning consumable as possible, I turn to one of our favorites, which we affectionately call “Pan of Stuffs”.

This is one of the first things I started making for Milan when we first got married. We were poor, the ingredients were easy, and there was plenty of meat. The best part- I’d say start to finish, it takes about 20 minutes to get on the plate!

In a nutshell, its Polish Kielbasa, peppers and onion all cooked up together and served over mashed potatoes or grains (quinoa, lentils, rice)  depending on how healthy you’re feeling. On meet day, mashed potatoes- they’re good luck, right?img_0947

I always start by mincing a couple cloves of garlic (1-3) depending on how much you’re making. I heat that up with some olive oil on a low heat while I chop up the veggies.

I always use (3-4) multi-colored peppers, and usually a couple of bell peppers. This time I used our  “weird vegetable of the week” which happened to be a type of dark green mild Poblano pepper (3). I honestly didn’t taste a huge difference.

Hopefully, now that all of your peppers are chopped you are starting to smell the garlic. Add the peppers, before you get going on your onion.img_0948

I am not a huge onion fan, but I do like the flavor it gives off.  I usually try to dice up about half an onion, and I add it just before I  when I add the kielbasa.

Next is Milan’s absolutely favorite part- the meat. Serbia does a lot of smoked meat, which is why I started making kielbasa in the first place- I know it’s not the same, (and lets be real- I was 20 when we first got married. I’m pretty sure I was doing good to not be making ground beef tacos every night) But, it at least gives him a hint of that flavor he loves.

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I should have made these into a heart, because this is clearly where Milan’s heart lies.

I usually use two (1lb) sausages, and I cut them into 1/4″ slices. (Big enough to to save time, small enough to be able to have a slice in every bite). img_0951

Once I get it all in there, I usually add a little garlic salt, pepper and paprika, just for an extra smoky taste. I let the onions and garlic do most of the talking!

I usually let it cook about 7-10 minutes because the kielbasa is already cooked, I just want to get everything brown and get some good cast iron pan-marks on the sausage.

Once it’s all done I lay deliciously huge spoonfuls over mashed potatoes! (We usually like a little Franks Hot sauce on top of ours too).

I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. In most households, I would say serves 4 without leftovers, but in our house, especially on meet day, the serving size is Milan, with a remainder of Meredith getting a taste.

I love any suggestions on any other “pre-game” meals you love to make!

What you’ll need:

  • (2) 1 lb. polish kielbasa
  • (3-4) multi-colored peppers
  • (2-3) bell peppers
  • (1/2) white onion
  • (1-3) cloves garlic
  • Carb/grain of your choice!
  • (1 tbsp) olive oil
  • Optional: garlic salt, pepper, paprika.
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16 Minute Fix

I’m not immune to the everyday issue of sleeping through the first alarm.. and the second, and more recently, the sixth. I think it has something to do with the way my body naturally rebels to starting my first job that begins at 8 am in the middle of winter. (Darkness=sleep)

I usually set my alarm about 70 minutes before the golden time that I’m supposed to be out the door (7:40). Recently, it’s been more of a grumpy roll out of bed a 7:24, I have my alarm set on a 9 minute snooze – because 10 minutes would be absolutely ridiculous.

This leaves me about 16  minutes to get dressed, get my act together and get out the door. And it’s the getting my act together part that usually takes the longest- I must be fed and somewhat made up. So I’ve been reduced to throwing my clothes on as quickly as I can. Here’s how I keep it professional, unique and quick! (And some days just 2 outta 3)img_0967

The Boring parts:

I’m quickly selling myself out here, but I hide in black. I know that makes me different form about zero other women, but if it ain’t broke don’t break it.

Not only black, but I honestly tend to wear a lot of solids. Hence, the black and tan. I am honestly trying to incorporate more prints, but the furthest I’ve gone towards boldness is horizontal stripes.. and so much so that they’re almost a solid.

The black pants are a deliciously stretchy knit from Ann Taylor.

The black jacket is a knit cross zip from Banana Republic.

The Fun!

This winter even more than others, I am obsessed with suede. I think the texture just looks warm and expensive (obviously, in the right capacities).

So, I’m starting with a boring that I’m considering as both- the tan top. This is a short-sleeved hi-low suede shirt that  I got at Goodwill (where I hope to have my ashes scattered) for $3.75. Alone, it honestly sort of looks like a hi-end cowboy stripper shirt. But, with friends, I think really think it works!

Also, in the land of suede are my ankle booties with a kitten heel from J. Crew. (I can only do a kitten heel in a boot because if it didn’t have sides I would roll right off, and I don’t see how others don’t also.)
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Finally, and most obviously a statement necklace. I used to think this meant it had to be one of those big jewely types from J.Crew (and trust me I have my fair share of those) but, I’ve recently most towards more metals and tassels. This one was .60¢ on sale at Forever 21. I love to find interesting (weird) pieces cheap!

So the moral of our story is, when strapped for time you can never fail with black investment pieces and a little dollar store flair!

I’d love to hear how you pull it together in the morning, especially in a rush!

Dumpster Dresser

We had our first snow of the season this weekend, and I was so happy for a reason to stay inside a not do anything that I didn’t want to, which meant a lot of movies, couch-sitting and snacks 🙂

Milan and I went to my parents has to take advantage of their warm house and reclining chairs (for optimal movie intake). While we were there, my mom and I decided to take advantage of our shut-in status and work on a dresser that we found next to the dumpster at our apartment complex.

Now, when we found it, it was in less than stellar shape.

P.S. Shoutout to Bekah, for donating your solid dresser to the cause!

I’ve mentioned before that I’m no super craft woman when it comes to big projects. I’m working on it, but I’m still only on facelift level when it comes to re-purposing.

The paint was in rough shape when we started, but the dresser itself only needed a little glue on one of the drawers (that I may or may not have dropped while trying to cram it into a Honda accord when it was cold outside).

Fortunately, my mom is pro at this and kept me from flying through on all my whims and making it ridiculous.

The quick and dirty version is just that we took the drawers out, sanded everything down and repainted it how we wanted. -Nothing too crazy.

The longer version really applies to the details in the drawers.

After we sanded down the dresser and the drawers we gave everything two layers of primer. We gave it about an hour to dry and then gave it two solid coats of white paint to cover all of the cute doodles.

We actually did all that in advance and we picked up with the drawers today.  And they needed the most love.

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We didn’t give the drawers any coats of white because we weren’t going to have a lot of white showing. Also, we weren’t totally decided on the design, and we figured we could always go back and touch up as necessary.

So, we decided to tape more because we could always spray the other parts if they didn’t look like. We taped off the border and wrapped aluminum foil around the knobs because we could not get them off, because they had been painted down in the previous job.

After that, we gave five thin coats of rose gold paint (I know it looks kind of brown in the photos) and left it to dry for about an hour and half.

We peeled the tape and aluminum foil off after everything was dry and put all the drawers back in. And Voila!fullsizerender

A lot of pay off for not a lot of work! 🙂 Fortunately, we had all of the materials we needed so for me this project was completely free!

(Side note: we aren’t crazy metallic paint hoarders, our spray paint was leftover from spray painting A LOT of pinecones from our December wedding a few years ago.)

I’d love to hear about any of your special finds or what you do to stay busy during snow season!

 

 

3 Ways to Outlast Resolution Abandonment

Finally Friday in what could quite possibly be the longest four-day work week of all time! As we go into the first weekend of the New Year, I want to share three ways I have found to outlast resolution burnout.

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Flying into 2017 (with help)

1. Avoid All-or-Nothing thinking

textOK, this one pertains to all types of resolutions. The reason many people don’t find success in their resolutions can boil down to one word.  Expectations. 

If I learned anything from 2016 it’s that unrealistic expectations can kill anything  if that want to. Resolutions, dreams, relationships, goals,  jobs.  That may sounds a little backwards if you’re ‘type A’ like I am. We’re supposed to have high expectations to be successful, right? Well, Sort of.

The side of expectations that tends to drag us down is the unrealistic side in the second half of the first definition. Believing that we should achieve something results in thinking that if it doesn’t happen exactly the way we thought it would, then we aren’t succeeding, and we are wasting time.

If you set expectations unreasonably high or too specific (I’m talking to you, perfectionists) then you will just chase after something  until you are exhausted, and that feels like failure, even though it’s likely not.

The truth is that things happen sometimes that are out of your control. You never know what life is going to serve up and if you have one specific vision of what success looks like, or how to get there, then there is a pretty good chance that every last detail of your plan isn’t going to pan out, no matter what you do.

What you can do is set a goal, and actively pursue it with a hope and faith that things will unfold like they are supposed to.fpAvoiding unrealistic expectations and all-or-nothing thinking doesn’t mean to stop believing in yourself, or to stop thinking that you can achieve anything. It just means that if you want to reach for the stars, you can’t think the only way to get there is a rocket ship.

2. Accept that you can’t have abs before you can touch your toes

For those with fitness goals. Please, get out there, accomplish them, and prove people wrong. But extra please, do it the right way, be realistic, and be kind to your body.

As a former D1 athlete who worked for most of her childhood to get there, I could only remember one body that only reacted to food, lifting weights and running in one way: awesomely.

So when I took a year off from exercise, and decided to pick it back up last fall, I was less than pleased. I’m  24, and not that far out of the game, but I couldn’t do anything. I was exhausted all the time, the food I ate was bad and in strange quantities (and not in the cute girlfriend-meme-kind-of-way) and it just felt like something was wrong.

It was. I was trying to pick up the same exercise habits as I had in college, hours of running, plyos and weights. And of course I couldn’t do it! I should have noticed something when I was completely gassed by the warm-up jog.image

The point is this no matter how much weight you want to lose, strength you want to gain, performance you want to improve. You can’t wave your wand and be there. And I’m not even talking about results- I’m talking about the practice it takes to get there.

I know you hate it, and I did too. But walk first, drink more water, lift light weight well, and it will all come back. Whatever you want to attain, you can totally get there. Just start small and appreciate your your gainzz!

3. Set SMART Goals

I’m pretty sure anyone who knows me is tired of hearing me say this. But, what really drives me crazy are people who set goals like “I want to be healthier,” or “I want to be a better person”. Please tell me what “better” means?

If you can’t measure or track your goal in some tangible way, there is a very low chance that you’re going to stick with it.smart

By setting a goal where you can track your progress, you can easily see what direction you’re moving and that will continue to renew your hopes ( see what I did there) in fulfilling your resolution, and your faith that it will come to fruition.

So please, don’t tell me me you want to be healthier. Tell me you want to drink  64 oz of water per day, or eat two vegetables with every meal. You’ll be surprised at how much more likely you are to follow through!

As someone who is a compulsive goal-setter, the new year is just an excuse for me to distribute my crazy with a little context. I’d love to hear about any of your goals you hope to achieve in 2017! (SMART goals only, please! 🙂 )

An Actual Pinterest Success Story

Hi!

I hope everyone is having a great day and managing their first week back to work far better than I am.

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Beautiful Aunt!

My first resolution for  2017 is a two-parter: (1)  to remember the keys to my office door, and (2) eat something for breakfast that doesn’t come from a desperate search of the break room.

In the spirit of frugal decor that actually works, I wanted to share a rare Pinterest success story. My wonderful and talented Aunt Sandy found an awesome dollar tree mirror project on Pinterest that she said was super easy, only cost her $15,  and the results were beautiful!

She bought 15 dollar tree mirrors, and arranged them to look like a single piece, like one of those giant wall coverings that you find at T.J. Maxx or Kirklands for like $70.

 

This is what the finished product looked like!

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P.S. Please note the similarity of joining small objects together from my last project. That just shows that the women in our family hold everything together- or force things to go how we want them. Either one.

Materials:

(15, or however many suit you) Dollar Tree mirrors *she chose mirrors with a silver border, but you could also use those with a black, gold or wooden frame depending on whatcha got going on in your space*

(equivelant amount) Command Strips

 OR

Duct Tape & Foam Board

Instructions:

This one may seem a little straightforward and easy, but that’s why I love it!

What she chose to do is hang the individual mirrors with command strips, but you could also duct tape the mirrors to foam board or cardboard and them hang them as a single piece.

Why it’s awesome:

I know I’ve said it once before, but I’m the worst with changing my mind and rearranging/ redecorating [or the best, depending on how you look at it 🙂 ]. So, this is great because its fast, inexpensive and easily manipulated if you want to change the shape or the location!

But maybe my favorite thing is the fact that it looks so more expensive than it is.

I’d love to hear about some interesting projects you’ve tried and conquered in the New Year.

Rock on and Happy Friday Eve!

 

 

Don’t Cut Corners, Sew them !

OK, so I’m fairly new to the whole world of homemaking. My husband and I have been married for four years, but we’ve just recently moved into our first real home of our own.

Even though I haven’t been in the game very long, I am totally in love with the idea of homemaking and decorating.. or at least I was until I found out how much it cost.

I’ve done well enough to craigslist, black friday and dollar tree my way into decent decor for the majority of my house, but my big hangup has been on the floor.. looking for a rug.

I don’t care how cute it is, or how long I’m going to keep it in my house, I am physically incapable of spending $200+ on a rug. I know me and I change my mind/style/taste for too frequently for that to ever be practical.

So! I’ve looked into all kinds of cheapy  or if you want to use the nice word “frugal” solutions to my problem, like t-shirt rugs and Ikea, but I’ve not been able to get what I want.

And then I walked into Ollie’s and stumbled across this gem.M2.JPG

A rug with every color I could imagine that was sure to suite whatever random decor path I pursued. The only problem- 30″x 48″ wasn’t going to cover my living room.

After lamenting to my mother about why they couldn’t have one that looked like this in a larger size,  I decided I was going to do like I did with most things. I was going to make it work.  I picked up four and decided I was going to sew them together.

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It was super easy, and only took about 1 hour, although I did have help from my mother, who actually knew what she was doing with a needle while I was wildly forcing things together.

Here’s what I used:

  • (4) 30″ x  48″ rugs
  • spool of twine (depending on how big your rugs are)
  • flat upholstery needle

After I laid them out in the pattern they would be sewn together (this particular shaped rug could only be laid out one way without odd proportions), I started sewing a visible stitch down the middle of two pieces (length-ways) in what looked like a loose “m” just to conjoin the two rugs. Once I got to the end of those two, I just turned back and picked up the gaps, making what looked like an “x” pattern.

I repeated this with the other two pieces lengthwise so I was left with two sets of two rugs that had been sewn together down their long edges.

Finally, I just put the two pieces together so that their sewn seems lined up and I stitched the same “x” pattern down that ended up being the middle of the rug.

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Now, this close photo may show my exact measure of skill (or lack-there-of), but fortunately, I chose a forgiving pattern and had the perfect shade of twine on hand. OS once it was all finished, I was really happy with the result.

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It totally looks like it could have been one piece! (at least in the eye of this beholder)

I was quite happy to get it home and put it in it’s new place in my living room.. which I know looks like Christmas leftovers.finished

All-in-all it was an afternoon well spent with my mother that earned me a new rug with all of the colors I could want for $30>. That’s a win for me!

I’d love to hear about any of your frugal solutions to decorating in 2017!