Walden, The Winter, and I

Getting more comfortable pairing greys and browns!

So basically it was too cold outside to even think about attempting to freeze my fingers off taking photos of this look. It had started out a sunny morning, but by noon it was snowing and our plans to head to Harrisburg got canceled.

Sooo... I was pretty much snuggled up on the couch and read all day! Except when making a floury mess in my kitchen later that evening when making homemade tortillas. Mmmm! But I did run to the store to grab lettuce and tomatos for taco night! Almost didn't make it back up the hill due to snow, but we HAD to have tacos, so I HAD to venture to the store. :)

Dress & boots: thrifted
Sweater: Old Navy
Belt: came on an H&M skirt
Necklace: F21
Tights: Target


Cavatappi with Sausage and Spinach

I'm a big lover of spaghetti and meat sauce. It's a comfort food that I could (and probably do) eat at least once a week. I love this recipe, because it is like a jazzed up version! I had never heard of cavatappi before making this recipe, but it wasn't hard to find in the pasta isle at all.

Cavatappi with Sausage and Spinach (source)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 lb spicy Italian sausage
  • 1/2 lb fresh spinach leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 lb dried cavatappi, cavatelli or gemelli pasta
  • 28 oz can whole tomatoes in puree
  • 1/3 cup half & half (heavy cream works fine too, it's all I had so it's what I used)
  • 1 oz finely grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook onion & garlic a couple minutes, stirring well so that garlic doesn’t burn. Add sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring salted cooking water to a boil, then cook pasta uncovered until al dente.
  3. While pasta cooks, add spinach and 1/4 cup water to sausage in skillet and sauté, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes until the spinach is tender and wilting. Drain off a couple tablespoons of tomato purée from the can, then add entire can of tomatoes, breaking up w/ back of spoon so the tomatoes are in large chunky pieces. Simmer for a few minutes. Add a few swirls of cream and stir into sauce. Add pasta to skillet, tossing until well-combined. Season with salt & pepper and top with grated parmesan.

My new favorite comfort food. The recipe stated it served 4, but I got 6 servings out of it. Perfect for a snow day!


Saltine Toffee

Made with just Saltine crackers, butter, and brown sugar! Then topped with chocolate chips and crushed nuts of your choice (or none at all)! My husband called this his favorite candy.

Saltine Cracker English Toffee (source)

  • 40 salted saltine crackers
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I used half pistachios, half walnuts)

  1. Preheat oven to 400* F.
  2. Line a large jelly roll pan (about 15x10") with parchment paper. Lay the saltine crackers evenly on the pan, fitted tightly together.
  3. In a saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and let it boil for three minutes without stirring. After three minutes, pour the hot brown sugar mixture evenly over the saltine crackers.
  4. Bake for 5-7 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips across the toffee. Let them sit and melt for a couple of minutes and then use a spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly and gently across the toffee (like frosting).
  5. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top of the melted chocolate. Let the toffee and chocolate cool completely (I put mine in the fridge). When cold, invert pan over another large jelly roll pan or a clean work area. Gently peel paper off bottom of toffee. It should lift right off. 
  6. Turn back over to face up. Break the toffee into bite-size pieces.
  7. To store, keep in an air-tight container for 1-2 weeks or in the freezer for a couple of months. 

Ours only lasted about a week before we ate it all!


30 Minute Baguette

Quick & Crusty French Baguettes (source)
  • 2 cups very warm water
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 cups flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and sugar.  Set the bowl on top of your preheating oven for ten minutes. 
  3. Stir in the salt and add the flour a half-cup at a time, until the dough becomes soft but not sticky. Knead the dough until elastic.
  4. Cut the dough into four even pieces. Roll each of them into four long, thin ropes.
  5. Twist together two of the ropes to form one loaf. Twist the other two ropes together to form a second loaf.  Transfer both onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (You can now bake the loaf right away or allow it to rise for an additional 15-30 minutes on top of your warm oven.)
  6. Fill a large bowl with 3-4 cups of ice. Open your hot oven and place the baking sheet with the baguettes inside, then toss the ice cubes on the bottom of the oven and quickly shut the door. Do NOT open your oven for 15 minutes.  Bake until golden brown, about 15-18 minutes.
  7. Serve fresh and hot with your favorite olive oil for dipping.

I halved the recipe for my husband and me to eat on NYE (see this post)
It was delicious and warm and I ate it plain! 
Oh how I love carbs!


Skillet Gnocchi with Spinach & White Beans

Skillet Gnocchi with Spinach & White Beans
(recipe from Eating Well)


  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 cups chopped spinach leaves, (I used a combo bag of spinach, chard, and bok choy)
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat, for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans and pepper and bring to a simmer. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes.

This meal was super quick to make (about 30 minutes) and so tasty!
I enjoy eating vegetarian, but you could always add some sausage to the skillet when sauteing the onions.
I'm sure that'd be the bee's knees!