A Squared: June 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cooking Light Favorites on Pinterest

Happy Friday, readers!

Today is moving day at A Squared, so today's post is a short and sweet one.

While I was preparing for this move it gave me an opportunity to take a long hard look at how much 'stuff' my husband and I collectively have and I decided it was time to do some purging. One thing that had to go was my beloved collection of Cooking Light magazines. I've been a subscriber for 5 years and would pick up a one off issue here and there before that... and I have saved [read: hoarded] every issue. That's a LOT of magazines!

So, I did a little crowd sourcing on Instagram and asked you guys what I should do with them: Pack or purge? The unanimous response was to purge the collection. I didn't want to lose all my favorite (or still untested) recipes though so I went through and added all of the dog-eared recipes to a Pinterest board before I recycled the magazines.  Check out my Cooking Light Favorites board for a vast collection of my favorite Cooking Light recipes.

Below are a few of my favorite Cooking Light recipes of late... enjoy!

Linguine [or Farfalle, for me] with Sweet Pepper Sauce

Tangy Italian Beef [+ provolone] Sandwiches

Orange-Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Peppers & Onions

When it comes to dinner, I sometimes need to remind myself that complex does not always = better. This recipe is a perfect example.

One recent weekend I had big plans for making homemade steak fajita bowls complete with seasoned rice, fresh guacamole, and fruit salsa. Well, the day got away from us and Alex and I ended up running errands, eating a late heavy lunch, and then 9 pm rolled around and I was just not feeling hungry or energetic enough for the original dinner plan. So we improvised.

This simply spiced steak with sauteed peppers is a great summertime dinner. I love a homemade spice blend because you can control what goes into it (meaning, no weird preservatives or exorbitant amounts of salt or sugar) and it gives the steak amazing favor. You could even double or triple the recipe and keep extra rub in an airtight container to use later. The rub is spicy, flavorful, and a touch sweet and letting the steak marinated for a while is key to getting the best flavor out of it. Top it with some simply cooked and seasoned sweet bell peppers and you have a healthy, fresh, and satisfying summer dinner that comes together in a flash.


For the steak--
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1-1.5 lb. flank steak
  • 1 Tbs. light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbs. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

For the veggies--
  • 1/2 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 10 mini sweet bell peppers (various colors), seeded, ribs removed, and sliced into thin rings
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. of fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 Tbs. fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Place the steak on a baking sheet lightly coated with half of the olive oil. Separately in a small bowl, combine brown sugar and remaining dry ingredients through black pepper. Rub the mixture evenly over both sides of the steak and then drizzle the top with the remaining olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours.

When ready to grill, remove from refrigerator and allow the steak to come to room temperature for about 10 minutes. Grill to desired degree of doneness. Allow steak to rest for 5-10 minutes and then cut diagonally against the grain into 1-inch strips.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add onions and a dash of salt and saute for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and peppers to the pan and saute for an additional 10 minutes, until peppers have softened. Season with additional salt and pepper, stir in lemon juice and cilantro, and serve with the sliced steak.


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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Tastemaker Top 10 with Deborah of Dietitian Debbie Dishes

The Tastemaker Top 10 is a collection of 10 questions asked by me and answered by some of my favorite bloggers. Here they will tell you a little bit about themselves, their blogs, and of course, their favorite foods and restaurants. Today's featured blogger is Deborah Davis, a registered dietitian and a fellow Chicago blogger behind Dietitian Debbie Dishes. I'm so excited to share her perspectives on healthy eating with you!

Name: Deborah Davis

Blog: Dietitian Debbie Dishes

Location: Chicago, IL

In a few sentences, tell us a little bit about your blog: Dietitian Debbie Dishes is a blog about making healthy eating more approachable. You'll find lots of healthy vegetarian recipes that are easy to make and focus on whole foods. Along with recipes, I also share helpful nutrition facts along the way.

Now, tell us about your...

1. Favorite meal, food, or cuisine:
Hmm... that's a tough one because I feel like it changes frequently! Right now, I am loving on tacos and homemade granola.

2. Least favorite meal, food, or cuisine:
Pork butt. I ordered it once at a restaurant thinking it would be like bacon - it's definitely not the same as bacon. Ha!

3. Favorite restaurant in your city:
 Antique Taco --> I seriously can't get enough of their fish tacos or kale salad!

4. Favorite restaurant outside of your city:
Before I moved to Chicago last year, I lived in Memphis for two years. I used to love the restaurant Trolley Stop Market. Honestly, there wasn't anything I didn't like there.

5. Favorite food memory: When I was little, I used to love sprinkling sugar on a plain piece of Wonder bread. Thinking back on it, that was completely weird. My taste preferences have definitely changed over the years!

6. Favorite guilty pleasure food: Cupcakes. Definitely cupcakes!

7. Favorite ingredient (something you love to cook with, or something you see on a menu and know you have to order): During the winter, I was on a huge Brussels sprouts kick and made this caramelized Brussels sprouts recipe every week. As a vegetarian, I am always trying to come up with new ways to prepare vegetarian protein staples like tempeh and tofu.

8. Favorite kitchen tool, utensil, product, etc.: Our Lodge cast iron enamel stock pot - we seriously use it for almost everything.

9. Favorite recipe: That's a tough one! I think my favorite of the moment is this recipe for honey roasted cinnamon almonds. They are so incredibly easy and almonds are a great, healthy snack! I also need to make these marinated mushroom and sweet potato tacos again ASAP!

10. Favorite thing about blogging: Making lots of yummy food and sharing it!

11. BONUS! Five favorite blogs/blogs that A Squared readers should know about: 
- Oh My Veggies --> Awesome resource for vegetarians!
- The Everygirl --> It has everything - style tips, career advice, and food!
- Joy the Baker --> She loves brown butter and has an awesome podcast.
- Cook Republic --> Gorgeous photos and great recipes.
- Love and Lemons --> Another blog for photo and food inspiration

Thanks so much for your thoughts, Deborah!

Do you have a blogger that you'd recommend to be featured on the Tastemaker Top 10? Or are you a blogger that would like to participate? Email me at aasquaredblog@gmail.com and let me know!

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Monday, June 23, 2014

We're Moving! And Super Easy Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad

So, you may have heard that I'm moving... :)

I'm so excited about moving into a new place and about (finally) being a homeowner, although it is already occupying a lot more of my time than I had expected. Typical, right?

Alex and I have owned our home for 10 days now and have spent the last two weekends (plus a handful of weeknights) painting the place so that's ready when we move in this Friday. With 2/3 of the place needing to be painted (to change the existing yellow to our preferred gray) and 11-foot ceilings this was quite an undertaking! Why am I telling you about this?

1. You may experience some radio silence here on A Squared over the next week or two. All my free time lately has been dedicated to packing, painting, and moving-related errands so I haven't had tons of time to prep posts (or even cook). So, bear with me... we'll be back to our regularly scheduled posts before you know it! In the meantime, you can always keep up with me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook where I'll be checking in live from my move.

2. Cooking has been a real challenge-- both in terms of time and space. The lack of time, of course, you understand. But in the last week, we have also sold our kitchen island and we gave away our old dining set so we have no place to cook or to eat. So, we have eaten a lot of pizza, Chipotle, and I did manage to "cook" the other night, but Alex and I dined on moving boxes. True story.

Since I can't stand eating takeout all day every day (a girl has her limits), I have been coming up with some super easy dishes to make for dinner when I can. Last week Alex and I had to run up to the new place to do some painting after work so I made a pasta salad the night before that was easy to make, pack up, and transport to the new place for a picnic dinner in our new kitchen. This pasta salad recipe is super simple and is based on one that my mom used to make for us on hot summer nights when I was a kid. This can be customized with any other mix-ins that you like, but I love that the combo of grilled chicken and fresh veggies makes this an all-inclusive meal. This pasta salad is perfect for a picnic (it's dairy free!), for a quick summer dinner, or if you're planning on moving in the near future.


  • 8 oz. short cut pasta *I used elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, seasoned (I use a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika), grilled, and cubed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup olives, pitted and sliced *I used a combo of green and kalamata olives
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup prepared Italian dressing *I like Good Seasons or Newman's Own
  • Grated Parmesan or red pepper flakes, for serving

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and pour pasta into a large bowl.

Place broccoli in a medium microwave safe bowl. Drizzle with 1 Tbs. water and microwave for 90 seconds. Drain off remaining water and add to bowl with the pasta.

Add chicken, carrots, peppers, and olives to the pasta and pour in 1/2 cup dressing. Toss well to coat.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. This pasta salad tastes great when refeigerated overnight. Before serving, stir well and add additional dressing to taste. Serve chilled.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Homemade Pizza Dough

Happy Friday, everybody!  I don't know about you but this week flew by for me-- and we're headed back to the new place tonight to (hopefully) finish up our big painting project. In the meantime, I have one more post-Rhode Island post to share with you.

We decided to have dinner at home after Megan's graduation ceremony and the graduate requested we have homemade grilled pizzas. This was a perfect choice because everyone loves pizza and we each got exactly what we wanted. We customized our own personal pizzas with toppings from the huge spread that my mom had put out and then my dad grilled them up outside.

I was especially excited because I love my mom's pizza. Her crust recipe is really simple and delicious, but-- food blogger confession time-- I am terrible at making it! I don't know what it is, but everything that I try to make that involves yeast turns out to be a big fat disaster... So, when I get a chance to enjoy mom's pizza (made by mom) I take it!

I'm sharing the recipe for mom's homemade pizza dough with you today. It works equally well for baking in the oven or on the grill. Fun fact: it's also a base recipe for soft pretzels! You know that if I can't even master pizza crust, I won't be tackling pretzels soon...

Cheers to my [our] favorite graduate of 2014!


  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • Olive oil, as needed

Dissolve the yeast completely in the warm water. Stir in sugar until combined.

Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl and create a well in the center. Pour the liquid into the center and stir to incorporate. After the ingredients begin to come together, use your hands (and coat them with a little olive oil to work with the sticky dough) to knead the dough into a smooth ball.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes.

For oven baking: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough on a  lightly oiled baking sheet, top with sauce, cheese, and desired toppings. Bake for 12-15 minutes until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.

For grilling: Preheat grill to medium high heat. Roll pizza out into desired shapes and sizes, lightly grease both sides with olive oil, and place on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill for 3 minutes or until grill marks appear. Turn dough over, top with desired toppings, and grill for another 3-5 minutes with the grill cover down until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly. Remove from grill and serve.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Smoke House Cafe & Great Chowder Cook Off in Newport, RI

In the midst of this moving madness, I have totally forgotten to fill you in on my first trip of the summer!

Earlier this month, Alex and I flew back to Rhode Island to watch my little sister Megan graduate from high school. The weekend flew by too quickly, but it was so fun to spend a little time with all my siblings to celebrate a big milestone in one of our lives-- it's not often that we're all together!

We had some great quality family time at my parents' house, but we also managed to sneak a few food-centric activities too. On Saturday Alex and I headed out to Newport and spent the day there with my parents. We ventured into Newport to attend the annual Polar Seltzer Great Chowder Cook Off. I don't think I have attended the Chowder Cook Off since I was in high school, so as a lover of all things food and street festivals I was definitely pumped for this one.

Once there though, I have to say I was a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong, it was a really fun festival. There were tons of vendors and live music and the location right on the wharf in Newport is great. However, I remember there being dozens of chowder cook off participants the last time that I was here and and the festival was really light on entries this time around. We tasted our way through all of them in about an hour. I definitely wish there would have been more for us to taste!

Personally, I think that they were just marketing the whole thing wrong. This is more of a summer festival featuring a chowder cook off, but the chowder definitely did not feel like the main event this time around. That said though, there were a couple of real standout chowders for us:

  • I loved Trio's entry in the Creative Category: A stuffie chowder. Trio is located in Narragansett, RI and their chowder was a riff on the traditional Rhode Island stuffie (a stuffed quahog). The chowder included cheese, sweet pepper flavor, and was topped with seasoned breadcrumbs.
  • I also loved the chowder that Fat Face Fenner's Fishack in Hermosa Beach, CA was serving up. It had almost a sweet and sour flavor that was refreshing and different.
  • Alex and my dad both favored the classic white clam chowder from reigning champion Stefano's Restaurant in Long Beach Island, NJ.

While we did have a great time at the festival, we powered through the chowder tastings pretty quickly and were still looking feeling a little hungry. My parents were totally on the same page as me and suggested we head over to Smoke House Cafe, one of our favorite restaurants in Newport which is also conveniently located just down the block from the Newport Yachting Center where the Chowder Cook Off was taking place.

Smoke House is a great little open air restaurant and bar specializing in barbecue and cocktails. In other words, our kind of place. It's a small place and the food is good, so there is typically a long wait here. We showed up mid-afternoon and were able to get seated right away-- which was amazing-- but plan accordingly if you're going during peak lunch or dinner hours.

We started with cocktails and I was immediately drawn to the Cojito that I spied on the menu: Mom and I both ordered this mason jar cocktail is a spin on the classic mojito with fresh coconut-infused rum, elderflower liqueur, fresh lime juice, soda water, and mint. It was delicious!

Alex may have been even more excited than me for cocktail hour when he found out that Smoke House Cafe was serving the elusive Narragansett Shandy. This shandy is a collaboration of two of Rhode Island's favorite beverages: Narragansett Brewing Company beer and Del's Lemonade. Even back in Chicago we had heard about this limited edition drink so Alex was itching to try it and disappointed to find that it's not widely available in RI liquor stores. It was a happy moment to find that drink on the menu at Smoke House!

You may recall from previous posts that my husband has an inexplicable love for deviled eggs. He really enjoyed Smoke House's version that incorporated smoked bacon for a little barbecue-inspired kick.

My favorite item on Smoke House's menu is by far the nachos. I love nachos at most restaurants, but these are particularly special. Tortilla chips are topped with fresh tomatoes, corn, sliced jalapenos, and red onion along with melty cheese and Smoke House's signature BBQ pulled pork. They finish it off with a little sour cream and guacamole and it is SO good! It has been a few years since I have been here too (I actually told Alex that I think the last time I was there was on a date with someone else-- guess it has been a while!) and the food and atmosphere was just as good as I remembered.

If you're in Newport and looking for a place for a casual meal or drink-- or if you just need a break from seafood (although, who are we kidding?)-- add Smoke House to your dining itinerary for your next trip!
Smoke House Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Spicy Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

We are in the midst of moving and let me tell you, I'd like this to be our last one for a while. And seeing as we bought the place, I'm thinking it will be!

The past couple of weeks (and the next few) have been full of cleaning, packing, painting, trips to Home Depot, Craigslist furniture pick ups, and all sorts of moving-related tasks. Needless to say, the more thoughtful dinners that I like to prepare have taken a backseat to pizza delivery and takeout salads that we can eat on the fly. I have been doing my best to cook as many meals for us as I can, but that's gotten tricky since we sold the kitchen island at our current place (which was my main kitchen work surface!) and since we've been running back and forth to the new condo. These dinners need to be quick and easy to prepare and many of them also need to be easy to pack and reheat (or need no reheating at all) so that we can pack and eat them at the new place where we don't have a fully stocked kitchen yet.


So, tonight's What's for Dinner Wednesday recipe totally fits the bill for a quick, easy, and also satisfying dinner. These grilled cheese sandwiches are packed with flavor-- a little sweet and a little spicy, but also super filling. I love the addition of avocado to this sandwich. It's super rich, but also relatively good for you. I added Serrano ham here, but you could easily sub in bacon or grilled chicken or leave the meat out completely and make it vegetarian too.


  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 4 slices sourdough bread *Get it fresh from a bakery (even in your grocery store), if you can!
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices of pepper jack cheese
  • 4 slices of Serrano ham
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced

Spread butter equally on the outside of each of the 4 slices of bread.

In a small bowl, mash the avocado with a fork or masher until smooth. Stir in lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread this avocado mixture on the inside of each of the four slices of bread. Note: You do not necessarily have to use all of the guacamole here-- just your desired amount.

On one slice of bread (buttered side out), layer 1 slice of cheese, half the Serrano ham, and a few tomato slices. Top with the second slice of cheese and the second slice of bread with the buttered side facing out. Repeat with second sandwich.

Place both sandwiches carefully in the hot skillet and cover. Cook for about 4 minutes or until cheese begins to melt and the bottom side is golden brown. Gently flip the sandwich over, cover again, and cook for another 2-3 minutes until golden.

Remove from skillet, allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, slice, and serve warm.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Tastemaker Top 10 with Maris of In Good Taste Magazine

The Tastemaker Top 10 is a collection of 10 questions asked by me and answered by some of my favorite bloggers. Here they will tell you a little bit about themselves, their blogs, and of course, their favorite foods and restaurants. I am excited to introduce you to Maris Callahan today. Maris is the brains behind In Good Taste Magazine, a great online magazine focused on making food and entertaining simple and beautiful. Meet Maris!

c/o Leigh Loftus

Name: Maris Callahan

Blog: In Good Taste Magazine

Location: Chicago

In a few sentences, tell us a little bit about your blog: In Good Taste is an online magazine that aims to simplify every day occasions, from date night and girls' night dinner to a quick work night meal, for busy young professionals and anyone on the go. Food and drink are such social experiences and we want to make it easy and fun for people to cook more and be more knowledgeable about the food they eat when dining out.

I love to cook, but I know firsthand that when life gets busy, it's so easy just to grab takeout. I think that's because there are so many resources for busy families and parents, but not enough out there for people who are working long hours, balancing busy social lives and simply don't have the time to be Martha Stewart, too! We also find that people love great food, wine and cocktails and can travel the world enjoying new and exotic cuisine...but in their own kitchens, don't know how to prepare something as simple as a chicken breast or a steak! 

Now, tell us about your...

1. Favorite meal, food, or cuisine:
The answer that immediately comes to mind is "all of them" but really, I'd have to say Italian. I love just about any carb -- pasta, pizza, freshly baked bread and the fact that cheese is often present in many types of Italian cooking, is also a plus. I also really like Southern-style cuisine. A lot of people think of Southern food as fried chicken, biscuits and other rich indulgences -- which are all delicious, don't get me wrong. There's just so much other good stuff too. I visit close family friends in Kiawah Island outside of Charleston during the summers and that's where I've had some of the best fresh seafood and produce. I'm also from New York and there's nothing like a warm bagel with lox and cream cheese.

2. Least favorite meal, food, or cuisine:
I'm probably one of the few people on Earth who would say this but I despise the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. Separately, sure. Together? Can't do it.

3. Favorite restaurant in your city:
 This is like asking a parent to choose a favorite child. Right now, I'm totally obsessed with Nellcote. I moved to the West Loop in March and have already been back a few times for pizza, fresh pasta and beautiful ambiance. I work from home and love to sneak out of the office to have lunch and work from Beatrix, especially during the summer when the windows are open. I love their fresh juice bar and big, green salads. I also love everything that Paul Kahan does, Publican, Nico and Avec all top my list.

4. Favorite restaurant outside of your city:
My uncle is a partner in a restaurant group in New York and I love going to any of his restaurants. Republic is an amazing space for Thai and noodles -- I've had many a birthday party there. Indochine is another one and it's chic, elegant and the food is incredible, all very classic New York.  

5. Favorite guilty pleasure food: Boxed macaroni and cheese. Every once in awhile, it just seems to fall into my cart at the grocery store and I just don't have the heart to stop it.

6. Favorite ingredient (something you love to cook with, or something you see on a menu and know you have to order): There are a few things that are always in my kitchen: lemon zest, olive oil and really good sea salt.

7. Favorite kitchen tool, utensil, product, etc.: My KitchenAid Stand Mixer is basically a part of the family.

8. Favorite recipe: When I'm cooking for myself, I love making Baked Salmon with Dijon Glaze or Baked Chicken with Spinach and Mozzarella. Both are just so simple really tasty. I love making Creamy Avocado Pasta for friends -- I've never met anyone who didn't like this (just don't try to save the leftovers!).

c/o Leigh Loftus

9. Favorite thing about blogging: I love that blogging lets you take control of your own destiny. I started a blog six years ago when I was working full time in New York at a huge PR firm and was feeling constantly overwhelmed. Through my blog I met so many professional contacts and friends that led to my moving to Chicago, starting my own public relations business and now, launching In Good Taste as an online magazine, which I hope will help take some of the mystery and intimidation out of cooking for others who are also "figuring it all out."  

10. Five favorite blogs/blogs that A Squared readers should know about: 
Sarah's Cucina Bella - great recipes and travel tips for both families and singles.
A Girl and Her Food - has never led me wrong with a restaurant recommendation.
Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine- a really fun food blog that most 20somethings can relate!
Kitchen Belleicious - just simple, good food and stunning photography.
Chez Us - one of the first blogs I ever read and keeps getting better and better over time!

Thanks so much for your thoughts, Maris!

Do you have a blogger that you'd recommend to be featured on the Tastemaker Top 10? Or are you a blogger that would like to participate? Email me at aasquaredblog@gmail.com and let me know!

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Top 10 Items on My NEW Loft Wishlist

This past weekend was a big one for us... we closed on our very first home!

We did our final walk through on Thursday night and it was so crazy to see the place completely empty for the first time and to know that Alex and I now have the keys to our very own home. We don't officially move in for a couple of weeks, but we spent the weekend running back and forth getting some painting, cleaning, and other stuff done to prepare. I am tired, but feeling very accomplished.

In the meantime, I have been busy shopping to furnish our new larger place and have rounded up a few items that I am dying to include in our new loft kitchen and dining area. Some of these pieces are pipe dreams, but some have already been ordered and I am so excited to get started on turning this new loft into our home. These are the top 10 items on my list:

Top 10 Loft Living Items

1. Thos Baker cafe chair
2. Kalco satin nickel chandelier
3. Pink Marmalade reclaimed wood wall art
4. Original design chandelier (glass)
5. West Elm serveware
6. Magenta ceramic canister
7. Restoration hardware bar cart
8. Carlisle Metal Counter stools
9. Williams Sonoma kitchen linen
10. West Elm rustic furniture

Want to keep up with the big move? Check out my Loft Living board on Pinterest for even more of my dream picks for furnishing my dream loft! You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram using #asquaredmoves to document the whole process. See you there!

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Friday, June 13, 2014

My Top 10 Father's Day Foodie Gifts

With Father's Day approaching this weekend and a gift post yesterday, I wanted to share some more ideas for dads who love food-- and drinks. Whether your dad is a grillmaster, has a sweet tooth, or is a beer afficiando, there is a little bit of something for any man in your life on this list. My dad has previously received and enjoyed #4, 9, and 10... I'm eying #2, 5, or 6 for this next Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day, dads!

Top 10 Father's Day Foodie Gifts

1. Dad's Day Double Play Garrett Popcorn *And for a limited time only, try Garrett's Smoky Cheesecorn too!

2. IPA Beer Making Kit

3. Crate & Barrel Craft Coffee Spring Sampler

4. Restoration Hardware Whiskey Stones

5. Original Chocolate Turtle Terrapins Gift Box

6. Portillo's Hot Dog Kit

7. Moscow Mule mugs

8. Ultimate Brownie Sampler – Vermont Brownie Company

9. Lillie's Q BBQ Sauces

10. Grill and Barbecue 4 Jar Gift Box

*Editor's Note: I did receive a complimentary sample of Garrett Popcorn. The opinions expressed here, as always, are my own.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

My Favorite Things: Father's Day Edition - American Duffle

Father's Day is coming up this weekend, so I'd like to take a moment to talk about dads-- my dad, in particular.

The older I get, the more of my dad I see in myself. His dry sense of humor, his gift of gab, and his desire for order and organization and to fix problems are all traits that I recognize in me. He is also super creative, an entrepreneur, and for as long as I can remember, he's always had a side passion project in addition to his full time job. Perhaps it keeps his left and right brain in balance? And with a blog on the side of my 'real' job, I guess I am following in his footsteps!

Today, as a special Father's Day post and a tribute to my dad, I wanted to tell you a little bit more about his latest venture: American Duffle. American Duffle was born out of a combination of my dad's experience as a frequent traveler, his appreciation for high quality craftsmanship, and his patriotic spirit. As a consultant, he flies to and from home almost weekly and almost always carries his luggage on the plane and he wanted to create something for travelers like him: it's a duffle bag that is compact, durable (it's actually bulletproof!), and can accommodate a ton of clothing for a carry on-sized bag. And on top of all of that, these bags are made with pride here in the USA!

So, if you've got a guy in your life that is tough to shop for (and don't we all?), consider an American Duffle bag. It's a great all purpose bag-- for guys that travel, play sports, or who generally just have a lot of stuff.

American Duffle bags are available in a variety of color combinations-- I love this black and olive combo. It's such a fun take on neutral colors. The duffles are also available in two sizes: The Warrior (21"x12"x14") for $328 and The Weekender (17"x11"x12") for $298. For more information, check out their website or you can also find and follow American Duffle on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest too!

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