April 22, 2014

Cheap Eats: Asparagus & Artichoke Breakfast Casserole



Some of my most out-of-control spending comes from FOOD. I love going out to eat, and I love my microwave. In the past, if I didn't go out for a meal, I only ate Lean Cuisines. And while Lean Cuisines did seem to help me lose a considerable amount of weight (almost 25 pounds since last June!), they are pricey. Even on sale at 5/$10, they are still quite a bit more costly and wayyy less filling than a home-cooked meal. 

However, I do not want to spend a lot of time cooking. I like cooking, but I mostly use it to entertain or as a tool to get boys to like me. I don't really cook for myself that often. But in an effort to save money, I have decided to cook one large meal every Sunday that I can eat for lunches and dinners throughout the week. The requirements for this big meal are these:

1) It has to be inexpensive
2) It has to be easy to make
3) It should probably be gluten-free (I try to avoid gluten for health reasons), or at least packed with protein and veggies
4) It has to be ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY DELICIOUS because I'm probably going to eat it like 6 times in a row

 This recipe that I lifted from Kalyn's Kitchen fits the bill. The ingredients I used are simple:

2 14 oz cans of whole artichokes (more than the original recipe called for...I just REALLY REALLY like artichokes, k?)...$5.98
1 lb fresh asparagus...$1.28
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese...$1.99
12 eggs...$2.19
a somewhat random assortment of herbs I pulled out of my spice drawer

Total cost: $11.44

I estimate that this will make about 8 servings, so this recipe comes out to $1.43 a serving...and it's so much better than eating Lean Cuisine Swedish Meatballs every day! It's also high in Vitamin A, Calcium, protein, and Selenium. Plus at only 210 calories per serving, it's going to help me feel amazing at the beach in a few weeks.

It's also super easy to make. Just follow these steps:


Preheat over to 375 degrees and lightly oil a 10"x14" casserole dish. Dump out cans of artichoke hearts in strainer and drain over the sink.


Boil a few cups of salt water in a medium saucepan. While waiting for the water to boil, break off woody ends of asparagus and cut into 1" pieces. Boil asparagus pieces for a couple of minutes until they're just barely cooked. Transfer artichoke hearts to cutting board and half (or quarter if you prefer!) while asparagus is boiling. After two minutes, dump out asparagus and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.


Layer the artichoke hearts and asparagus pieces in your casserole dish and season. I used salt, pepper, oregano, and basil for mine.


Add 8 oz. of shredded mozzarella cheese.


Crack a dozen eggs into a medium size bowl. I really liked doing this, it made me feel like I was in day one of cooking school! Whisk eggs until they're combined and a bit fluffy.


Dump egg mixture over your other ingredients and give it a little stir to combine.


Bake at 375 degrees until the egg is set and the top is slightly browned. This was about 35 minutes in my oven!


DIG IN!

This recipe turned out really well. I think I may make it for a bridal shower in June, but next time I think I would add feta cheese and a few extra eggs for more richness.

April 16, 2014

Blog Resurrection!

I am in the process of resurrecting, revitalizing, and re-branding this blog. For three years, I used this space to record events in my life and express my interests in fashion, music, and food while I was attending college. When I graduated from college, I was lucky enough to immediately find full-time work in my field, but I made the decision to focus on my career full-time and forget about my college blogging obsession.

Now I'm back. I have realized two things:

a) Blogging can be a totally rewarding and valuable asset in my career, particularly because I work in the fashion e-commerce field. I mean, duh, right?

b) I still love reading blogs daily and my thoughts often take the form of blog articles anyhow. I have so many things I want to share that I think I am physically unable to abstain from blogging any longer!

This blog will now be focused on fashion, interior design, and food, all with a personal finance twist. Like many people my age, I am living on a strict budget. Although I have (ridiculous) rent, (obscene) bills, and (astronomical) student loans to pay, I still want to live the good life. I guess I have caviar tastes and a canned tuna budget, but I believe these things can be rectified. 

It's a big puzzle I'm trying to figure out and I hope you'll join me on that journey!

I will be updating again soon, but until then you can find me on Twitter and Instagram.

December 14, 2012

Buh Bye


I think I'm about done with this blog. Sorry, followers, it's been real! Come check me out at

Bye!

May 30, 2012

The Past Week in Photos

I have taken almost no pictures since New Years, which is extremely out of character for me! Lately I've been trying to catch the Instagram train that everyone seems to be riding these days. Here's a brief life update in photos:


Um...did I mention that I got a job? Like a real, big girl job? With like HEALTH INSURANCE?! Who am I? I got this cupcake on the day I was hired :)
 

Last week, I also moved in with some relatives after subleasing my apartment. This is a much smaller closet than I'm used to, so I really had to pair down my wardrobe!
 

I got that Emoji app. Still not really sure what it's good for, except apparently communicating with my sister.
 


On Saturday I went to a sweet farmers market with my aunt. After picking up our local vegetables and meats for the week, we stopped at a French restaurant for brunch. I had a blueberry tart with iced coffee, while she opted for French toast with fresh squeezed orange juice. SO GOOD! But the best part was, we had a little pig on a leash sitting at the table to our left (named Hamilton!) and a bunny in a stroller to our right. The French pastry chef came out and exclaimed "It's a menagerie!"
 

Some ballin sunglasses I got at work.
 

Revlon's Fuschia Fever. I love the color, but my nails just didn't turn out very well. I'm not sure if it was the formula or the fact that I painted them while drinking outside on a 90 degree day, but they looked pretty janky.
 

While flipping through Southern Living (basically my favorite magazine ever), I saw this picture and thought, "Wow, I wish I could go there" (as I often do while reading that magazine). But guess what? I'm actually going there this summer! I can't wait to paddle a kayak around and then eat crab cakes!
 

I'm like so pretty.
 

Didn't go to a pool this weekend. Wasn't sad about it.


Did you like that? You can always follow me on Instagram (@colleencocobongo).

May 26, 2012

What to do...what to do...

This June, I am attending a wedding where I will meet my boyfriend's extended family for the first time. I'm really excited, and I really really want to have the right dress. The issue is that the ceremony is outdoors during the day, and the reception is inside at night. What does one wear to that? A sundress would be too casual for the night time, and a cocktail dress would be too dressy for the daytime. So like anybody else, I started a Pinterest board (duh). After a few day of online shopping, here's what I came up with:


Left to right, top to bottom: Skater Dress with Rose Mesh from ASOS, Lovely Red Dress from Lulu's, Mini Skater Dress from ASOS, Skater Dress in Lace from ASOS, Anything Flamingos Dress from Modcloth, Lace Mini Dress from ASOS, Prettiest of All Dress from Modcloth, On the Aura Dress from Modcloth

Out of pure coincidence, all of the dresses sort of looked the same. Obviously, I want a lacy/flowy red or pink dress. But which is the right one?

May 23, 2012

The Only Music I'm Listening To These Days: J.D. McPherson

Confession: I listen to NPR every day. I have a half hour commute to work, and I just can't deal with the idiots that are on morning shows. Hence, I started listening to NPR and now I JUST CAN'T STOP! Does anybody else have this kind of addiction? Anyhow, I heard someone interviewing J.D. McPherson the other day when I was pulling into the Target parking lot. I just went ahead and stayed in my car and listened to the whole story, because this guy is great!



He's like if the Black Keys did 50's rock and roll instead of the blues. Oh, did I mention this came out like last year and not in 1957? This whole album was recorded in analog with vintage amps, mics, etc. It's really good! I listened to it four times in the first day that I had it, and if that's not indicative of its awesomeness, I don't know what would be.

Here's another song I like:



I wish he would come to my town because I do a really mean twist :(

What is he so depressed about on this album cover? He must be frustrated that his album isn't in stores, so you have to buy it online or download. But it's so worth it. It's so choice.