veggie tacos

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Tacos are one of my most favorite foods! Chicago is a wonderful city for hunting down “the best” taco. And sometimes I find a delicious taco at home. Enjoy!

Veggie tacos: 

Step 1:
Prep peppers and onions for the grill: red, yellow, orange, green, poblano and jalapeño if you like  a bit of spice.

Step 2:
Coat the peppers with extra virgin olive oil, then Ottoman spice* and Trader Joe’s South African Smoke seasoning.

Step 3: 
Place peppers and onion slices on the grill, skin side down for 6-8 minutes or until peppers and onions begin to char. Flip and cook for another 6-8 minutes.

Step4: 
Remove the peppers and onions from the grill and set aside to cool. Slice into thin pieces.

Step 5: 
Warm corn tortillas or flour tortillas in the microwave for 20 seconds. Garnish with cilantro, coleslaw (Whole Foods carries my favorite) lettuce, sliced avocado, refried beans, spicy mayo** and salsa.


**Spicy mayo:

5 tbsp veganaise or mayo
3.5 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp sriracha

Add additional sweet chili sauce and sriracha to taste.

*Ottoman Spice is from Ucuzcular, a spice market found in the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey. Please click here to purchase this amazing spice blend. Or, Old Bay Seasoning is an appropriate alternative.

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casual in gold

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jacket: ASOStop: Old Navy skirt: H&M (similar here), shoes: Zara, bag: Prada  earrings: American Apparel

I love long sleeve tees, they have always been a go-to for comfort. I wanted to punch up the casualness of this tee by adding a few feminine touches. A shimmering gold skirt adds a little flair and you can never go wrong with a patent leather wedge. The leather moto jacket brings subtle balance along with the small nylon cross body. A great transition outfit for the end of summer.

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monochromatic

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top: H&M (similar here), pant: Old Navy, shoes: Zara, bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs, glasses: Prada

A monochromatic look can be fun. Typically, I choose all black but all white with subtle black accessories can be just as flattering. I love the crisp, clean lines on this white sleeveless top. A skinny jean and strappy heel hold this fresh look together.

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Abelardo Morell

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Work by photographer Abelardo Morell is currently on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. Abelardo creates these beautifully juxtaposed images by using a technique called camera obscura. This is established by completely darkening a room with black plastic and cutting a small hole into the plastic allowing light to pass through onto the subject (or room). Then using a large-format camera to capture the image on the wall and expose it on film. As you can see from these pictures, he has traveled the world creating many series and individual pieces of work. This exhibition in on display until September 2, 2013. Go see it this weekend!

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roasted brussels sprouts

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Brussels sprouts are a healthy side or main course that can can be served either hot or chilled. But roasted brussels and onions are my favorite. When in season, I have been known to make them multiple times in a week!

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
(makes 2-4 servings)

1 lb brussels sprouts
1 medium onion
1-2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 tbsp freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp Ottoman Spice*
1/2 tbsp Trader Joe’s South African Smoke

*Ottoman Spice is from Ucuzcular, a spice market found in the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey. Please click here to purchase this amazing spice blend. Or, Old Bay Seasoning is an appropriate alternative.

Step 1:
Preheat oven to 350°. Trim off bottom of sprouts and cut larger sprouts into halves. Chop onion and mince garlic.

Step 2:
Add spices and EVOO, mix well in an iron skillet.

Step 3:
Roast in oven for 30-40 minutes, mix once.

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harem pants

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top: Zara (similar here), pants: United Colors of Benetton (similar here), sandals: Naughty Monkey (similar here), bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs, sunglasses: Ray-Ban

These harem pants have been a summer staple for a couple years. They are a slouchy fit and pair perfectly with a plain tank top for a casual look. I love the cropped fit, which makes them great for a variety of looks. I kept my accessories to a minimum, a small cross-body bag and classic sunglasses. A functional look for running errands and taking it easy in this summer heat!

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fall bags

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As a continuation of last week, let’s focus on fall accessories. A great bag is always exciting. I’ve put together a few investment pieces that can be carried year after year. A classic black bag is a staple for any wardrobe, a black leather backpack is even better!  This year I’m really enjoying large satchels, bold colors, and soft leather. Here are a few of my tops picks!

1. Leather Rucksack, Zara, $179.00

2. Madewell – Mini Satchel, Shopbop, $124.60

3. Marc by Marc Jacobs, Shopbop, $278.00

4. See by Chloe, Shopbop, $595.00

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cargo & stripes

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top: I Love L81, cami: American Apparel, pant: Zara (similar here), shoes: 80%20, sunglasses: Target (similar here), bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs , lipstick: YSL ‘09-Rose Stiletto

Cargo pants are a favorite of mine. I love the relaxed fit and having so many different pocket options – they are always a staple for travel.  A striped cami/jersey cross-back bra adds a little pattern to the mix under a plain sleeveless tee. I kept my accessories simple with a pair of cat-eye sunglasses and black hobo bag. This is look is perfect for making it through the dog days of summer!

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french 75.5 and macarons

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The French 75 cocktail is typically made from gin, lemon juice, sugar, and Champagne. I switched the recipe up a bit by trying it with grapefruit juice and a simple syrup. The grapefruit juice provides an extra tart flavor, making it a little more refreshing. Rather than using granulated sugar, a simple syrup is smoother and blends evenly throughout the cocktail. Macarons are a perfect pairing to this refreshing bubbly. These beautiful French pastries are from Vanille Patisserie.

simple syrup:

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar

Bring water and sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Remove from heat, allow the syrup to completely cool.

*Makes approximately 10 cocktails.

French 75.5:

1 oz. gin
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1/2 oz. fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
Champagne or dry sparkling white wine
grapefruit twist, to garnish

Combine gin, simple syrup, and grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and pour into Champagne flute.
Top with Champagne or dry sparkling white wine and garnish with grapefruit twist.

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neutral chic

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top: H&M ,  pant: Armani Exchange (similar here), shoes: Jeffrey Campbell (old but similar), clutch: Zara (similar here), sunglasses: Marc by Marc Jacobs,  mini-bow ring and earrings: Madewell , lipstick: YSL ’01-Le Rouge’

There’s something about combining clean lines and neutral colors together that I just love. The simplicity of a symmetrical design paired with a black pant can quickly turn into something less thrilling, but adding the right accessories and shoes always does the trick. I found this clutch earlier this summer and really like that it’s such a versatile piece. The striped zip pouch is removable making it ideal for any outfit, either evening wear or meeting a friend for coffee.

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