A Few of My Favorites - 08.29.14

082814 1. Troye Sivon's The Fault In Our Stars: I discovered this song on some random Spotify playlist a few weeks ago. It is about the book by John Green (haven't ready it, but I know what it's about). No matter what the inspiration was, this song is amazing and I probably play it 10 times a day. No shame.

2. Tyler Shields' The Dirty Side of Glamour: I've been following Tyler Shields' photography for a few years now. Precursor: his photography is not for everyone. It is raw, gritty and at times can be somewhat controversial. At the end of the day though, that is precisely what I love about art. It's not going to appeal to everyone's taste. You don't have to like it. In fact, you can hate it. But these photographs evoke some sort of reaction, which is the whole point of art.

3. Trader Joe's Organic Banana Chips: Okay, my cousin told me that these are not healthy this past week and I have been forcing myself to erase it from my memory. I have to buy 2-3 bags of these a week because they are the snack food that I keep at home and in my desk at work. The second I feel my stomach grumble I reach for these and chow down. If you haven't tried them yet, go to Trader Joe's. Right now. And do not waste your time on the non-organic banana chips. They are far inferior.

4. Arm and Hammer Advance White: I've been using this toothpaste for at least five years and I have a very difficult time using anything else. When I first started using Arm and Hammer, the experience was not pleasant. The taste isn't the best. But it is bar-none the best toothpaste in terms of cleaning your teeth, getting rid of bad breath, and leaving your mouth feeling fresh and clean in the long run.

5. Patagonia Better Sweater Vest: I bought this vest at Ecology Sport in Door County this summer and am so excited for cooler weather to start wearing it regularly. The heathered grey will be perfect to pair with just about any outfit. Come at me fall!


Strawberry Lemonade

How am I just now realizing that I never wished you all a Happy 4th of July? Fail on my part... Anyhow, I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend with your family and friends. Mine was spent in my parent's backyard with a little bit of bags, an iced cold beer in hand, and burgers and beer brats cooking on the stove. A little music playing, my nieces running around the yard, not worrying about avoiding the throngs of people in the city - it was the perfect way to spend Independence Day! lemons

Sunday afternoon my mom and I decided to pull out the Vitamix and try making homemade strawberry lemonade. Please bear with my while I shamelessly plug Vitamix. After living in NYC for a year, I had developed an unhealthy love for juices and smoothies. Green juices. Berry smoothies. Coconut water. Almond milk. Anything and everything. I knew that I wanted to put my money into something worthwhile and decided to purchase a Vitamix. Unfortunately I am not longer in possession of this amazing blender - let's call it payment to my parents for allowing their adult son to live at home. This thing can do anything - smoothies, make flours, soups! I can do no wrong.

I just discovered Vitamix's newest blender, the S30. How can I get my hands on this guy to try out in my kitchen?


When making the recipe I juiced 1 cup of lemon juice and it only came from about four lemons. I did a little adjusting and decided to use about a 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice. Depending on what your taste is, feel free to use as much or as little as you please. I grew up eating lemons. My sister and I would give our little brother lemons to eat as a baby and watch him make faces. It got to the point that none of us made faces when we ate lemons.

We didn't make this batch with vodka, but it'd be a great drink to make for a BBQ or summer party!

strawberry lemonade


 What about you? Do you have any go-to drink recipes for the summer (alcoholic or nonalcoholic)?

Strawberry Lemonade Recipe from My Baking Addiction


1 cup sugar 1 cup of water 1 pint fresh strawberries 1 cup fresh lemon juice (I ended up using 1.5 cups) 4-6 cups cold water (this will vary depending on your taste, I only used 4 cups) 1 cup vodka (optional)


  1. Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar with 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and heat until the sugar in completely dissolved; swirl the pan occasionally. Let cool.
  2. Once the simple syrup has cooled, puree strawberries in a blender with ½ cup water.
  3. In a large pitcher, combine strawberry puree, simple syrup and lemon juice. If using the vodka, add it to the pitcher and stir to combine.
  4. Add 4-6 cups of cold water. The amount of water you use will depend on your taste, so add as little or as much as you want to achieve your perfect sweet/tart balance.
  5. Serve over ice. If desired, garnish with fresh strawberries and lemon slices.

Fennel & Garlic Shrimp

The past few days I have been trying to mentally and physically preparing myself for the next couple of weeks - the 4th of July, a wedding, a week-long vacation to Door County! Summer always seems to end up being a catch-22: you have so many things that you plan to do with your time - get into shape, go to the beach, read more - but at the end of the day, it seems as if time moves by that much quicker during the summer because we are filling our free time with so many things. Despite this all, I have found myself excited to post an entry on SMAK every day. Yes, some nights that requires me staying up much later than I'd like, but I have gotten into a grove that seems to be working and that I actually enjoy. Plus, I can't leave anyone hanging who actually follows the blog regularly (thank you if you're one of these individuals!). I have found myself spending quite a bit of time at my parents' house this week. I am not sure if it's the comfort of a familiar place or the ease of not having to commute back into the city after work, but last night was my first night at my apartment this week. And it appears as though this weekend is going to be much of the same.

I love cooking with my mom because she loves to cook just as much as I do! Pour a heavy glass of red wine and the two of us could spend hours in the kitchen!

Fennel & Garlic Shrimp

My mother is a huge enthusiast of Ina Garten. It would be safe to say that she owns a majority of her cookbooks. She stumbled upon this recipe for fennel & garlic shrimp and we decided to give it a whirl. Look at these photographs now, the dish appears as though it would be a lot more difficult than it actually is. The time-consuming aspect is simply the prep work - chopping the ingredients, etc.


As we enjoyed the meal, I got the intense sense that it had French inspiration. Now whether or not this is true, I have no idea. But I could picture myself sitting at a small bistro table in Paris eating the shrimp and shoveling the leftover ingredients onto a slice of French bread.

What about you? Have you had any dishes that have created a visceral experience? One that transports you to someplace completely different?


Fennel & Garlic Shrimp Recipe from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Foolproof Cookbook


6 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup chopped fennel bulb, fronds reserved 3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves) 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1 pound (16-20 count) shrimp, peeled with tails on 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 1 tablespoon Pernod 1 teaspoon fleur de sel 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper French bread for serving


  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the fennel and sauté for 5 minutes, until tender but not browned. Turn the heat to medium-low, add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook at a very low sizzle for 2-3 minutes, until the garlic just begins to color.
  3. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels, add them to the pan, and toss together with the fennel and olive oil.
  4. Spread the shrimp in one layer and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes on one side. Turn the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes on the other side, until they're pink and just cooked through.
  5. Off the heat, sprinkle with parsley, 1 tablespoon of chopped fennel fronds, the Pernod, fleur de sel, and black pepper.
  6. Serve with bread to soak up the pan juices.