{Lately Loving} All Things Tufted

Hello lovelies & happy Friday!  It's been a long week, so I'm keeping things simple today & sharing something I've been loving for quite some time & not just lately. Usually over time I tend to get bored with certain style accents, but that hasn't happened yet with tufts. And thank goodness for that because our semi new couch that I plan on having for a while is tufted. I love the detail because it adds a little something extra to a piece of furniture. Plus, I love details in furniture...though you'd never know it by some of my Ikea furniture. But thats not important. Anyways, below are some items I'm currently crushing on! Plus...some of these items are on sale! If only I was looking for a new project...


{Recipe} Stir Fry Beef Lo Mein

This dish is what I'd call, a masterpiece. I absolutely LOVED this meal & it was really easy! That is, once I figured out how Udon noodles work. But I'll walk you through that. I mean, this dish is awesome because you can completely customize the veggies to your liking, plus it is FULL of flavor!  It's been a few weeks since I made this, but I think I need to make it again this week because it was THAT good.  

I mean, look at that! How pretty does this dish look?! The recipe came from Damn Delicious & the only thing I really changed was swapping the mushrooms out for snap peas. Next time, I'm thinking I might add peppers into the mix. Anyways, enough gushing, lets get to the cookin...

Serves: 4 (generous portions...we were hungry!)
Cook time acc to Damn Delicious: 25 mins
Cook time acc to me: 35-40 mins
How difficult was this for me? Pretty easy!

2 7 ounce packages of Udon noodles (I found mine in the Asian food section & they were precooked, yet still in like a solid brick) discard seasoning packets.
1 tbsp olive oil
8 ounces beef top sirloin filet sliced against the grain (I bought pre-sliced beef just because.)
8 ounces broccoli florets
2 carrots, diced
1-1.5 cups of snap peas (I really just guessed & grabbed a handful)

For the sauce:
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger (I used dry ginger, tasted just fine!)
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp sesame oil
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (if you want more heat, use 1/4 tsp)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper


In a large skillet, over medium to high heat, heat oil. After a minute, add meat & brown meat on each side, approx 3-4 mins.

While meat is cooking, in a small bowl, mix together all ingredients under the sauce. Set aside.
If your Udon noodles aren't cooked, now is the time to cook them. Follow the instructions on the packaging.
Once the meat is cooked, set aside.
Without rinsing out the skillet, add veggies. If you feel like they are burning, add a little more olive oil.  Cook veggies for 3-4 minutes until they soften up. 
Make sure to stir frequently.
Make sure if your noodles are cooking, you check in on them!  
Once your noodles are cooked, add to skillet.  IF your noodles are like mine where they are in a clump, add entire clump to the skillet.  As the noodles heat up, they will begin to break apart as you'll notice in my photo.  I just kept jabbing them with my cooking utensils.
Add in beef & sauce at same time as noodles.  Make sure to frequently stir.
It took my noodles about 7-8 minutes to fully break apart & tenderize. 
Once your stir fry looks like this, serve it!  Enjoy!



Reading Challenge Book Reviews #14 & #15

So, this one time I read a book & had absolutely NO CLUE it was actually the sequel to an extremely popular book from years ago.  This is actually quite embarrassing ridiculous because the first book is a STAPLE in the chick lit dept. that I love so & yet I'd never read it! Also...I happen to love the author. Oh the shame! So the category book #14 filled was "A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet"...so I read, Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner. I loved it! It filled exactly what I was looking for...light & addicting. The main character, Cannie is extremely relatable while she battles with her figure, men & work. I do tend to get sucked into the chick lit books, but ya know what? I don't care. Anyways, I loved this story but while reading it, I just got the sense that there was another book I should have read first. The main character, Cannie, made a few references that felt like she was talking about something that had happened previously, but I didn't really get it. After a quick google search, I discovered Jennifer Weiner's claim to fame Good in Bed was actually the prequel to this book. WHOOPS! So I did what any smart person would do & read Good in Bed for book #15 "A popular author's first book" & I loved it too! Certain girls was written like 10 years later, so I'm sure fans were probably more excited than I was. But overall both of these books were awesome.  The main character, Cannie is extremely relatable as she struggles with her weight, her family, her career & relationships. As per usual, I kindly borrowed the summaries from Good Reads. I recommend reading these books in order, you'll enjoy it more!

Good in Bed Summary
For twenty-eight years, things have been tripping along nicely for Cannie Shapiro. Sure, her mother has come charging out of the closet, and her father has long since dropped out of her world. But she loves her friends, her rat terrier, Nifkin, and her job as pop culture reporter for The Philadelphia Examiner. She's even made a tenuous peace with her plus-size body. 
But the day she opens up a national women's magazine and sees the words "Loving a Larger Woman" above her ex-boyfriend's byline, Cannie is plunged into misery...and the most amazing year of her life. From Philadelphia to Hollywood and back home again, she charts a new course for herself: mourning her losses, facing her past, and figuring out who she is and who she can become.
Certain Girls Summary
Readers fell in love with Cannie Shapiro, the smart, sharp-tongued, bighearted heroine of Good in Bed who found her happy ending after her mother came out of the closet, her father fell out of her life, and her ex-boyfriend started chronicling their ex-sex life in the pages of a national magazine.

Now Cannie's back. After her debut novel - a fictionalized (and highly sexualized) version of her life - became an overnight bestseller, she dropped out of the public eye and turned to writing science fiction under a pseudonym. She's happily married to the tall, charming diet doctor Peter Krushelevansky and has settled into a life that she finds wonderfully predictable - knitting in the front row of her daughter Joy's drama rehearsals, volunteering at the library, and taking over-forty yoga classes with her best friend Samantha.

As preparations for Joy's bat mitzvah begin, everything seems right in Cannie's world. Then Joy discovers the novel Cannie wrote years before and suddenly finds herself faced with what she thinks is the truth about her own conception - the story her mother hid from her all her life. When Peter surprises his wife by saying he wants to have a baby, the family is forced to reconsider its history, its future, and what it means to be truly happy.

Radiantly funny and disarmingly tender, with Weiner's whip-smart dialogue and sharp observations of modern life, Certain Girls is an unforgettable story about love, loss, and the enduring bonds of family.
Catch up on past reviews here:


Daily Deals & Steals

One of the things I really wanted to accomplish this summer in my Summer Challenge (catch up here) was starting a new series so here we are. I'm always looking for new things to buy for our home, but unfortunately with our limited space & my desire to not completely piss off J, I mostly just browse. While perusing my favorite sites I always find such great deals on furniture, art, accessories etc. so I figure why not share my finds with all of you? Maybe you guys can buy the things I want & then I can just come & drool over them. Deal? I mean,  everyone deserves pretty things! 

Also, just a reminder, this is NOT a sponsored post. These my own thoughts & opinions. Remember kids, I'm not that cool!


{Recipe} Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic Aoli

Oh, brussels sprouts, how I adore thee. It seems every time I'm out to eat & brussels are on the menu, I just have to have them. HAVE. TO. However, I've yet to master making them at home. Sure, they taste pretty good, but I haven't really had that OH. HELL. YES. moment...until now.  These were SO easy to make & required very little prep/work, my favorite combination! Well, my favorite combination that doesn't involve the crock pot that is. Anyways, we ate these two nights in a row & even on night two, they were still pretty good albeit I burned them a little, but what else is new. I would definitely make them again as a side or even as an appetizer. Thank you Costa Kitchen for this new staple recipe!

Serves: 4-6 (with generous portions)
Cook time according to me: 25 mins
How difficult were these for me? Easy!

20 Brussel Sprouts cut into wedges
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
6 tbsp light mayo
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread out chopped sprouts on baking sheet

Sprinkle with olive oil, salt & pepper.  Give the sprouts a good mix so they are coated evenly. 

You could also do this in a bowl, but I was trying to save on the dishes.

Bake sprouts for approx. 15 mins until the edges are browned.

While sprouts are cooking, in a small bowl mix mayo, garlic, lemon juice & parsley.  Fridge until sprouts are ready.

Once sprouts are cooked, remove from baking pan & serve!


{Lately Loving} Modern Florals

"Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking." If you don't love Meryl in Devil Wears Prada then I don't think we can be friends. I've never been into florals...until lately. Now, it seems I can't get enough! Perhaps because when I think of florals I think of table cloths that were owned by my grandmother. Ok, maybe not MY grandma, but other grandmas.  But the floral movement is legit & I'm finding myself grabbing up everything floral I can get my hands on.  Within reason that is. Below are some of my favorite floral items...& there's a solid chance I own half of the items below!


Easy Breezy Broccoli Salad with a Side of a Mini Announcement

Summer is in full swing & there is a LOT going on over here. Over the next few months you may start to notice some changes at CITC & I couldn't be more excited for them. I can't give too much away now, but if I disappear for a few days (like that's never happened) now & then you'll understand why!  In the meantime,  let's eat. Summer to me means BBQ's & pool days (it'd help if I had a pool...next house!) so really it just means BBQ's. The key (IMO) to a great BBQ is the side dishes. I love all kinds of salads, macaroni salad (new recipe coming soon!) pasta salads, egg salads, veggie salad (is that a thing?)...I could seriously just keep going (& keep making things up. Man, I'm in a rambling mood today) So in the spirit of summer & keeping things light & effortless, I give you the easiest side dish EVER. This salad was a HUGE hit in this house & it was SO easy! Just throw a bunch of stuff in the bowl, mix & fridge. DONE. The original recipe came from Skinny Mom but as usual, I modified it only slightly. Also, shout out to my vegetarian friends...all you need to do is omit ONE ingredient from this recipe & you're good to go.  Oh & did I mention it's relatively healthy? Yeah, you're welcome.

Serves: 10-12 (Serving size 10-12)
Prep Time: 10 mins, fridge for 1 hour
How difficult was this for me? E.A.S.Y.

2 heads of broccoli, chopped (I bought a pre-packaged broccoli & just chopped the pieces)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced (I used about 15 baby carrots & chopped those)
1/4 cup cooked turkey bacon crumbles
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup ranch yogurt dressing (this is important, it's not typical ranch salad dressing. Ranch yogurt is much healthier but still gives you the ranch flavor)

Items from the original recipe I chose to omit:
1 head fresh cauliflower, chopped
3/4 cup reduced salt green olives
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise

Put everything in an extra large bowl

Toss gently.

Fridge for 1 hour. Serve!