Friday, September 22, 2017

Last Gasp of Tomatoes

Despite the lack of fashion pics last week, don't think you loyal Pattiwagoneers were forgotten. I have an end-of-season tomato recipe just for you. I’ve made this recipe twice now, slightly differently each time, and I think the variations are limitless.

I had three very large and very delicious looking tomatoes with no purpose after the possibility of a tomato pie went unfulfilled L. Like the tomato pie, this recipe is by-the-seat-of-my-pants (my favorite kind of recipe), and unlike the tomato pie, this recipe is healthy. (See Training, Marathon.) The tomatoes are the star of the dish, so it is probably best to save it for some super ripe, super fresh tomatoes, but I think you could do a mini version with the Campari vine-ripened tomatoes while you wait until next summer. Just bookmark this page 'til then. I’ll try to remind you.

Stuffed tomatoes, here we come: 

Slice the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the inside membranes, seeds, and flesh. Then, sprinkle some salt on the inside of the tomatoes and place them upside down on a paper towel. This will suck some of the moisture of out of the tomatoes so they don’t get too soggy.

While the tomatoes are hanging out upside down, cook about a half cup of quinoa in chicken broth according to the package instructions. While that is cooking, sauté a couple of chopped garlic cloves in olive oil and then wilt a few cups of fresh spinach. (Variation: use frozen spinach that has been thawed and thoroughly wrung out.)

Once the quinoa is done, mix in the spinach. Add in some mozzarella and parmesan cheese at this point. To give it some level of creaminess, add either a spoonful of sour cream or ricotta cheese. (I have made it both ways and liked both. In order to really judge the difference, I’d need to do a side-by-side taste test. And this blog is free. And Pattiwagon has been busy lately.)

Season that mixture with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice or rice vinegar. (It will need some acidic pep.)

Fill the tomatoes with the quinoa, spinach, and cheese and then top with panko bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Enjoy! 

Fashion Challenge: Week 7

Sorry for the lapse, Pattiwagoneers. Last week was homecoming, so that meant jeans every day for me. Today will be a twofer, so look for a food post in your feed. HoCo week was a nice break from the fashion challenge, but I'm back in Week 7 with three new looks. And please, hurry up, fall. I'm ready for you and your sweaters and your tights and your boots and your scarves. 


Tuesday (Day 16): 

Went casual after a jet setting weekend with a chambray (still my current favorite fabric) tunic from Target and black pants from Banana Republic. Shoes were black thong sandals from Nine West. This look would be cute with some booties, too, right? I spy a Saturday outfit this fall. 

Wednesday (Day 17): 

Black and white polka dot dress (from where else but Target) and red Tieks. New backdrop here, the beautiful LHS library. And shout out to Gracie for being a good sport and taking my photo after school. 

Thursday (Day 18): 

Seersucker shirt from Gap that I bought my very first year of teaching to give Baby Pattiwagon some professional airs. I wore it with black pants, again from Banana Rep and Nine West nude flats. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 6

Another short week on the Pattiwagon due to Labor Day, and yet again, who's complaining? I am coming off a whirlwind weekend (See: Houseguest, Amazing), so I went for some easy breezy hair, makeup, and clothes this week. 

Tuesday (Day 13): 

Calvin Klein pants in bright pink, Target high necked top with peplum and lace, and Nine West flats. Check. Check. Check. (Although these pants have been begging to be hemmed since I bought them. Sorry pants, you'll have to wait another year.)

Wednesday (Day 14): 

I love how this look exudes the transition from summer to fall. Black tee and army green vest from Target. Black jeans from J. Crew. The shoes are my favorite moccasins from Target, I believe. They have served me so well and are just barely holding on at this point. Someone please remind me the next time I find shoes I love that I need to buy three pairs. 

Thursday (Day 15): 

Pattiwagon original alert! I made this shirt a couple years ago from really simple pattern. I think the fabric choices really make it pop. Black/white houndstooth with teal lace on top. It's a shirt I can't wear too often, and for that reason, I really like it. Paired it with black J. Crew pants and my Malachi shoes

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 5

Yet another short week for the fashion challenge. We had an in-school volleyball game on Thursday, making it the perfect opportunity for a bonus jeans day. So, just three days this week. No complaints here. As this was the last week of August, I tried to wear some "last gasp of summer" looks. Neon green pants are slightly out of place in January. 

Monday (Day 10): 

This Old Navy dress goes way back, as in back to high school. I can't even figure out how many tag designs ago it was, as all the tags have fallen off. (Side note: I'm not sure why I felt the need to dress like a teacher when I was in high school.) But here I am all teachered out, matching it with a cardigan from Gap and pearls. Like this ice cream cone, I wonder if this dress will still be intact when I break it out next year. 

Tuesday (Day 11): 

I got these Target pants for Christmas a few years ago, and they have served me well. The photo really doesn't capture how blindingly bright they are. So I paired them with a more subdued top, a Lucky brand tank and my old reliable Sperrys. 

Wednesday (Day 12): 

I'm not sure where this maxi dress came from, but it's been another standby in the Pattiwagon wardrobe for several years. I like the print a lot, but it's one of those dresses I can only break out once or twice a year. Denim jacket ensures the look is school appropriate. Now, the denim jacket I can break out once or twice a week. I'm going to try to avoid it, but I may have to add it to my original list of exceptions. We'll see how it goes. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 4

It's a short week for the fashion challenge, because I missed school on Monday and Tuesday. The Clayton Clan coupled their annual canning camp with the solar eclipse in Madisonville, so we enjoyed three days of tomatoes and two minutes of totality. The eclipse was one of the most amazing things I've ever experienced. Nature, man. And as far as canning goes, it was a very productive year. I'll post our stats at some point. (Really need to update this post...) 

On to the fashion challenge!

Wednesday (Day 9): 

This week saw another Pattiwagon (+parents) original. This shirt began in 2014 in Uganda with Daddy Pattiwagon purchasing some beautiful emerald fabric for the seamstresses in his life. The fabric patiently waited for a year until Mama Pattiwagon and I started this peplum top with exposed zipper at a rendition of sewing camp two years ago. It was a great pattern and a great fit, but I made the whole shirt assuming I could buy a zipper to fit in later. Not so. So, the semi-completed top patiently waited until I got motivated this summer to finish it. The fix did involve superglue, a tried and true Pattiwagon technique. But I made it work, and I'm so happy with how it turned out. 

Pants are black J. Crew, so you'll be seeing those again. Shoes are a DC Rack Room purchase, a purchase I won't soon forget, as it involved losing my phone and seeking out a man (or more accurately, a guardian angel) named Malachi to find it. (Yeah, that's a long story. Thanks, Malachi.) 

Thursday (Day 10): 

What I'm enjoying most about this challenge so far is how varied I'm making my outfits. I haven't worn this blazer in a couple years, but I think it works with this look that channels Lily Tomlin in Big Business. (Side note: How does that movie have only a 6.3/10 rating on IMDB???) The pushed up sleeves make it just casual enough for school. Dress is linen, from old standby TJ Maxx. Blazer is from J. Crew, and shoes are nude Nine West flats. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 3

Monday (Challenge Day #5): 
Monday night was open house, so I was aiming for professional, comfortable, and cute. Oh, how things have changed since my first year of teaching when I aimed for old, old, and old on open house night. I think I wore a suit (!). Thankfully, I no longer have to overcompensate for my youth with my fashion, so I opted for this Target dress from last year with a pair of mustard yellow flats that perfectly match one of the colors in the dress (as well as my hardwood floors). 

Tuesday (Challenge Day #6): 
I went coastal casual chic with my seersucker cropped pants (definitely second hand, probably Goodwill), a white linen shirt I bought on Amazon, and some simple Target sandals. Easy Breezy. 

Wednesday (Challenge Day #7): 
This day sees the first Pattiwagon original fashion. I made that chambray skirt a few years ago, and it may look familiar, as I have shown it off on the blog previously. Chambray is definitely one of my favorite fabrics to wear (and work with). I found a bunch of it on sale, immediately made the skirt, made (now forgotten) plans for the rest, and then immediately put it in fabric purgatory. Currently seeking chambray inspiration if anyone can offer. Until then, I'll just love this skirt, which I wore with well-loved plaid shirt from Gap and my red Tieks. 

Thursday (Challenge Day #8): 
Maxi skirt and plain black tee from Target with Aldo sandals. I was feeling comfort on this day, and this skirt always brings it. 

Side Note: I feel like my photography is perhaps getting worse with each week. I blame it on the fact that it is still dark outside when I take these photos, and my indoor lights aren't exactly photo studio quality. So I guess we'll be suffering until DST ends in November. Buckle in for more shadows and blurriness! 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 2

Monday (Challenge Day 2): 
Navy J. Crew pants with a striped sweater-ish shirt from Express. Necklace is a red leather flower with an unknown origin. As this challenge goes on, you'll notice that I don't wear a lot of jewelry. It's strange. I'm not at all picky about buying clothes. (Looks halfway decent, fits halfway decent, and is affordable? Sold!) Jewelry and shoes, on the other hand, can be an excruciating purchasing process with eternal hems and haws. Luckily, I found some shoes that pass the Pattiwagon Pickiness Test for this outfit: Tieks. They are super comfortable leather ballet flats with a teal sole. My look was dubbed "Perfecty Patriotic" at school. 

Tuesday (Challenge Day 3): 
Could I look more like a teacher? Cotton dress is super old from Old Navy (like, at least 10 tag designs ago). The belt came with a shirt that I don't really like so much from Anthropologie, so thank goodness I like the belt and thank goodness it was on clearance. (I did have to put some interfacing on the inside of the belt to give it structure. Pattiwagon Sewing Tip of the Day: if you don't like the look or feel of something you own, experiment with ways to improve it. The worst that could happen is you ruin it. And, well, you didn't like it to begin with.) The little sweater is favorite from Gap. Shoes are a random brand from DSW. 

Wednesday (Challenge Day 4): 
I found this outfit right before I started my challenge in the clearance section of Target. Pants: $12.98. Shirt: $4.98. Yes, I know, a little pricy for me. But I think I'll get a lot of wears out of the pants (on the weekends, of course!). Shoes are tan Sperrys, making an appearance in Week Two. 

We had a big "Minute to Win It" competition at school today, so my principal allowed us to wear jeans today. (FYI, this happens fairly frequently at school. Don't mean to harp on this so much, but during the school year, we teachers are overworked, and there aren't many tangible carrots to dangle in front of us. Fortunately, we can be bribed, assuaged, and cheered with the currency of denim.