September 29, 2013

Tomato and Parsley Penne Pasta

As I've been penguining around my apartment kitchen, trying to feed myself tasty but still healthy meals, I have discovered several golden recipes from Pinterest. Unfortunately, many of them have expensive ingredients or take much too long, or even require things I never have laying around. So I have been experimenting, substituting this herb for that, potatoes for onions, etc. It's been fun, but the best part is the success at the end!

A recent success I will share with you today is this delicious Tomato and Parsley Penne pasta dish. The original recipe is here, but I have altered it so much it's really a whole new recipe.

The two biggest changes are that I substituted parsley for basil and onions for chicken. Fresh basil is impossible to find at the grocery... I don't know why. But because I'm not at home and cannot simply open the back door and pick all the basil I need, I had to use parsley. The other substitution is a bit harder to explain... For one, meat is expensive and I have no money. Two, one of my roomates is a vegetarian, so I try to make stuff I know she can eat. Three, I really hate preparing chicken. It's gross and just blehhh... So unless I have my boyfriend around to do all the chicken-handling, chances are my dishes are going to be chicken-free.

Alrighty, let's get cookin'.

You will need...
1 package of noodles (Penne is the best for this recipe but all I had today was Macaroni, so that's what is in the pictures)
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 fresh tomato, diced
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
4 Tbs. cold butter
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Mozzarrella cheese

1. Prepare pasta according to package instructions. A three quart pan should be fine for this, but if your pasta package is on the large side, you may want to use a stockpot. Later, once you have strained the pasta, put the pasta back in your pot.

While the pasta is cooking...

2. Saute your onions in the 2 Tbs. of olive oil. Let them saute on medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Salt and pepper them to taste.

You can chop your tomato and parsley while you wait.

3. Add the tomato and parsley. Let cook for 1-2 minutes.

4. Add 4 Tbs. butter and 2 tsp. garlic. The butter will melt and begin to form your garlic sauce. By now your pasta should be strained and back in the pot, ready to go.

5. Once butter is melted, pour your sauce into your pot of noodles. Give it a good stir with a wooden spoon and make sure it is mixed in evenly.

6. Add a few handfuls of Mozarella cheese. Mix it in so you have a delicious, cheesy pasta dish.

And there you have it! A fast, delicious veggie and pasta dish that takes only 15 minutes to prepare. It is also very budget friendly, and will please your vegetarian roomate :)

I do encourage you to take a look at the original recipe; the first time I made this I used chicken like the recipe calls for and it was DELICIOUS. I highly recommend it. Have a great rest of your week, y'all.


Love pasta dishes like Lizzie? Think she's a baby for not wanting to handle chicken? Think fresh basil is better than fresh parsley? Leave us a comment and we'll be sure to answer!

August 28, 2013

Panera Mac 'n Cheese

Diana and I have found out recently that we really quite enjoy cooking together. You'd think we would have known this already, since we have been friends for five years now, but we're lame and didn't.

Well, one night a few weeks ago, Diana came over for dinner. It just happened to be a night I was in charge of the cooking, so she and I stopped at the grocery to pick up what I needed. I had decided I would cook up some Panera-style mac 'n cheese, and, on a whim, Diana said she wanted to try a recipe for Parmesan Cauliflower. So we got our food, drove home, and got cooking.

This post is about how I cook my mac 'n cheese! Panera actually gives you their recipe on their website, but I have altered it a bit to fit my tastes, budget, and time needs more accurately.

Here's what you'll need...
1 package noodles (Any kind works. Shell noodles are my personal favorite)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 cups milk
6 slices American cheese
8 oz. extra-sharp white Vermont cheddar cheese
1/2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. Tobasco (or any hot sauce)

1. Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Do so in a stockpot. A three quart pan is not big enough for this recipe, even if the pasta all fits. Later on, after you strain the pasta, you will be putting it back into this pot and adding the cheese mixture.

While the pasta is cooking...

2. Start the cheese mixture. In a three quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. (Hint: 1/4 cup butter is half a stick.)

Emmy showing you what 1/4 cup butter looks like...

Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour. Cook for one minute, whisking constantly.

Gradually whisk in the milk. Turn heat down to medium and cook until the mixture thickens and boils. Don't forget to stir it occasionally!

3. Chop and shred your cheeses. Your white vermont cheddar will need to be shredded. Unwrap all your American cheese and rip it into small pieces.

Slowly, a handful at a time, add your cheeses to the mixture. Make sure it melts.

4. Add tobasco, mustard, and salt. Stir the mixture until it is creamy and smooth.

5. Mix cheese with pasta. By now your pasta should be cooked and strained. Remember the big pot we cooked it in? Put it back on the stove on low heat and put the pasta back in.

Now, pour your saucepan of the cheese mixture into your stockpot of pasta. It helps to scrape the sides of the saucepan with a spatula so you get all the cheese out. 

 Stir the cheese and pasta together with a wooden spoon until the pasta is completely coated.

And there you have it! My variation of the Panera Mac 'n Cheese! The biggest difference is the amount of Dijon mustard you put in. The real recipe calls for too much; if you put in the amount it says all you will taste is mustard. It didn't actually taste like the real thing with all that mustard.

Look for a post on the Parmesan Cauliflower we made, too. It was just as delicious! (And I don't even like cauliflower...)


Have your own macaroni and cheese recipe you love? Think I'm crazy for leaving out all the Dijon mustard the real recipe calls for? Have any questions? Leave us a comment! 

August 9, 2013

How To Save Big at Target... Lizzie's Insider Secrets

Lizzie here.

When brainstorming new ideas for blog posts, I usually try to make sure my ideas are either entertaining or useful. Or both. And of course it has to be something I actually know about. And while I love to be a know-it-all, I'm really not. (You hear that, Diana?) Sometimes I feel pretty lost when it comes to choosing post topics.

But one thing I really know a lot about is being thrifty.

Today, I somehow fell into conversation with a fellow shopper at Target while we browsed through the cardigans...

I asked, "Are you using the Cartwheel coupon for these sweaters this week, too?"

She looked at me like I was crazy. "What's Cartwheel?"

I then explained how I saved myself $70 on a recent Target purchase by using a combination of coupons, phone apps, and employee knowledge.

(Yeah, by the way, I work at Target. I don't think I've ever mentioned that, actually, haha.)

Needless to say, I spent fifteen minutes showing this woman how to download all the apps and where to find all the coupons her bargain-hunting heart could desire.

And that's what I want to share with you all today... How to save some serious money at Target.

June 28, 2013

June 2013

Lizzie here. Happy summer to you all! 

We've been a bit behind here at LD's as Diana and I have both been working and going on vacation. But we finally got around to doing a June photoshoot with one of my old friends, Bronwyn. She's so photogenic and had several pieces of adorable vintage clothing she was willing to let us use! She also supplied the lovely location; she lives next door to a 600 acre farm. It was really agreat shoot for us, and is definitely our longest thus far. 

Diana's clothing details:
Black dotted dress: Vintage
Light blue lace maxi: Goodwill
Black satin dress: Garage sale
Earrings: F21

Lizzie's clothing details:
Red blouse: Bronwyn's closet
Vintage wool skirt: Goodwill
White top: Target
Floral skirt: Goodwill
Belt: Vintage
Crown: Claire's
Blue dress: Goodwill

Bronwyn's clothing details:
White dress: H&M
Lacey slip: Vintage
Navy dress: Vintage

May 20, 2013

Late Spring 2012 Flashback

Lizzie again.

Just a continuation of posting our earliest photoshoots that were never posted on our blog! This one is from late spring of 2012, again starring Darry and Kaela.

Just a little info about this shoot:

1) Diana did this originally as a shoot for a design project; she had to create an article for a fashion magazine. So one day during study hall we got all dressed up and walked to the practice football field behind our school (odd place for a shoot, yes, but it was so pretty back there!).

2) We are all wearing thrifted clothing! Darry's skirt is completely unaltered and straight from Goodwill. My skirt is also a Goodwill find, but I altered it quite a bit to make it a hi-low. Kaela's vest is from Goodwill as well. It was originally a jean jacket, but Diana cut the sleeves off to make an adorable jean vest! Also, I'm pretty sure Diana got Kaela's dress at a garage sale... We are just so darn thrifty.

3) All the accesories are inexpensive, too. The hat is from Walmart, my belt is from Claire's, and Kaela's necklace is from Forever 21.

4) This shoot took 2 days! The lighting didn't turn out very well on the first day so we decided to give it another go.

5) We found the desk I'm sitting in (and that Darry is sitting in in our early spring shoot) in some bushes. Pretty awesome. It made for a great prop! The flower bushes also made a great backdrop. And fun crowns :)

6) The reason there are no pictures of Diana is because she was the one always behind the camera! Occasionally we got the camera for her, but all the pictures we took just didn't turn out. So know that she was there and not ignored!

So there you have it! I hope you all enjoy these beautiful pictures. Again, Diana and I are so thankful for our gorgeous friends!


Early Spring 2012 Flashback

Lizzie here.

I have been sorting through the DOZENS of pictures that were taken last spring for a few editing projects I've been working on (like our new blog banner!) and I realized those pictures never made it onto our blog... Because our blog hadn't been made yet!

ANYWAYS, I decided I should post them. They are absolutely stunning. Diana and I have been so blessed to have gorgeous friends willing to be models for us! Spring of 2012 was a time full of Darry and Kaela, that's for sure!

So enjoy! Photo cred goes mainly to Diana. Also, check out our photoshoot board on Pinterest!

 {Top to bottom: Darry, Diana, Kaela, Diana and Kaela, Darry}

April 6, 2013

Spring 2013

Just thought we'd share a few pictures of the photoshoot we did recently with our dear friend Kaela and Lizzie's sister, Emmy. They are both lovely models and we appreciate all the help they give us whenever we need a model :) 

Happy Spring everyone! We're so glad the weather is finally pleasant and warm!

Lizzie and Diana