Category Archives: Fridays w/ Steph

Stephanie Saviola gives you advice on all things fashion every Friday.

Stephanie is an East Coast native currently residing in Chicago. She is a freelance writer and editor and a recent Journalism graduate of Columbia College Chicago. During her time at Columbia, she was Managing Editor of the weekly newspaper, The Columbia Chronicle. She loves fashion, food (cooking and eating) and animals.

E-mail Stephanie at: ssaviloa@woodwardspine.com

Twitter: @stephsavez

Minestrone soup

Minestrone Soup

By Stephanie Saviola

The season is starting to turn and cooler nights make for the perfect heartier dishes including soups and stews. This easy, vegetarian soup I like to make can be ready in about an hour and is a great way to use up leftover veggies in your fridge.

Ingredients:

–  1 sweet onion, chopped
–  4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
–  4 carrots, sliced
–  4 stalks celery, sliced
–  1 1/2 cups red potatoes, diced
–  1 can cannellini beans
–  1 can diced tomatoes
–  1 zucchini, diced
–  1 bay leaf
–  10 cups vegetable stock (chicken stock may be used)
–  2 cups fresh kale, rough chopped
–  1/2 pound of ditalini pasta (or pasta of your choice)

In a large stock pot sautée the onions and garlic with a little bit of olive oil until onions are translucent. Add a dash of salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes if you want a little spice to the soup. Add the stock and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Add all the veggies including the can of tomatoes but not the kale and reduce to low heat and cover, stirring occasionally for about 40 minutes. Make sure you taste it along the way and add salt and pepper as needed. Add the cannellini beans and continue to stir and cook the soup for another 15 minutes. I add fresh chopped parsley and basil at this point. In a separate saucepan cook the pasta of your choice. Cook to al dente and set aside. Toss in the kale right at the last minute and serve soup with the pasta of your choice. Top with pecorino romano cheese and serve!

*any variation of beans and vegetables can be added or substituted.

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Sweet Potato Risotto

Sweet Potato Risotto

By Stephanie Saviola

Risotto can be a bit challenging if you have never cooked it before. It will probably take a couple of tries before you get it just right. I always follow this recipe from and add my own ingredients or experiment with flavors. I would recommend leaving out the peas with this version of the Risotto.

Here are the extra ingredients you’ll need:

–  2-3 sweet potatoes, depending on size

–  1/2 bag of fresh spinach (the final product photo shows a lot of spinach. I added a full bag this most recent time I made it for the extra nutrients, but 1/2 a bag is more   than enough)

–  1 clove garlic, finely minced

Follow along with the recipe. While the risotto is cooking, roast the sweet potatoes in the oven around 400-450º until they are soft. Remove and set aside. The last five minutes before the risotto is done, spoon out small pieces of the sweet potatoes, add the garlic and stir together to cook for another 5 minutes. Right before the risotta is complete, add the 1/2 bag of spinach, stir together and serve.

*You can use vegetable stock in place of chicken stock and also leave out the white wine if you’d like.

Raw Sweet Potato

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Blueberry Ricotta Muffins

Blueberry Ricotta Muffins

By Stephanie Saviola

Ingredients:

– 1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries (frozen can be used as well, but need to thaw)

– zest from 1/2 lemon

– 1 1/2 cups flour

– 3/4 cups sugar

–  1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

-1 /2 teaspoon of salt

-1 cup Ricotta or Mascarpone cheese

– 1/4 cup of milk (*try using orange juice instead of milk to boost the flavor of the muffins)

– 2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350º. Mix all of your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Make sure the flour is sifted before dumping it in the bowl.  In a separate bowl, beat 2 eggs (do this first to make sure you don’t get shells in your mixture), then add the milk and mix into the dry ingredients.  Add the Ricotta to the mixture. If you are using fresh blueberries, wash them and add lemon zest to berries. Slowly fold in the berries to the mixture. Disperse the batter into a muffin tin. Make sure you properly grease the pan if you are not using baking cups. Bake at 350º for 20- 25 minutes.  (Optional: About 5 minutes before the muffins are finished, take them out of the oven and lightly butter the tops and add a sprinkle of brown sugar, return the pan to the oven to finish baking.)

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Muffins before the bake

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Pasta. Quick.

 

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By Stephanie Saviola

Ingredients:

–  1 lb. of thin spaghetti
–  2 pints of cherry tomatoes
–  2 tablespoons if capers
–  3 cloves of garlic, crushed and diced
–  olive oil
–  1/2 cup of chopped, fresh parsley
–  1/2 cup of fresh basil
–  1 cup of pecorino Romano cheese

This is a quick, simple meal and can be thrown together in about the time it takes to cook the pasta.

In a large pot, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Make sure you salt the water before adding the pasta to the pot. While the pasta is cooking coat a medium sauce pan with olive oil and add the 3 cloves of garlic and cook over a medium heat. Make sure the garlic does not burn. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half and add them to the sauce. Continue to cook over medium heat stirring frequently. The to tomatoes should break down fairly quickly. Add cracked black pepper to taste, and if you like a little heat, add some crushed red pepper flakes to give the sauce some spice. After the tomatoes cook for about 6-7 minutes add the capers and cheese. The pasta should be ready. Drain the pasta well, return it to the large pot and add the sauce to the pot. Add the fresh herbs and serve immediately. If you have a good quality olive oil, drizzle some over the top of the pasta right after you plate the dish.

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The games are in full swing…

Olympic Gear

By Stephanie Saviola

The much anticipated 2012 London Olympics kicked off this past week with the opening ceremonies in true Brit-pop fashion. The summer Olympics are always so much fun to watch. I love the competition, especially for  volleyball and swimming. Plenty of people are showing their support with viewing parties or donning some team USA gear. How cute is the personalized Ralph Lauren polo (bottom right) one of my favorite bloggers Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere is wearing? How will you guys be celebrating?
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Greek Salad

By Stephanie Saviola

Ingredients:

–  1 head of Romaine lettuce, roughly chopped

–  1 vine-ripe tomato or 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved

–  1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled

–  1/2 cup of Kalamata olives, pits removed and chopped

–  1 cucumber, halved and sliced

–  1/2 cup of red onion, sliced

–  1/2 cup of pepperoncini

You can assemble the salad however you’d like. I prefer to leave the vegetables in bigger pieces. It makes it a heartier meal, especially with the rich Feta cheese. For a simple vinegarette, whisk 1/4 cup of good olive oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 1 clove garlic, finely minced, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano and a dash of salt and pepper.

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Fashion Friday: Sandal Love

By Stephanie Saviola

Untitled #53
It’s too hot to even think about clothes.  I tried, but in this heat wave all I wanted to do was throw on my swim suit and jump in a pool or the lake.  So here are some fun, strappy sandals to help keep your feet cool!
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