Flower Arranging 101

Flower Arranging 101 || Runway Chef Growing up with a botanist for a mother meant I had no choice but to like plants and flowers. Many of my childhood memories include plants in some shape or fashion- planting a garden, setting up flowers for tea party decorations, crafting flower crowns for May Day, learning about the wild flowers we would see on hikes, making candied violets for cakes and chocolates, and making flower arrangements to enter into our local 4-H club fair. Plants can always be found throughout my Mom’s house and it’s one of the things I always love about visiting her. I decided, this year, that I always wanted to have fresh flowers around our place. It has done so much to brighten our space, especially in the darkness of winter. In light of my resolution, I wanted to share some basic flower arranging tips and tricks to keep your flowers lasting longer, right from Mama RC herself. To see the tips and tricks in action and to watch me put together my actual arrangement (or just act like a fool on camera), you can check out my video below, or keep scrolling if reading about the how-tos is more your thing.

Flower Arranging 101 || Runway Chef First, select your flowers. Keep in mind, flowers that are spring bulbs (i.e. irises, daffodils, etc) won’t last as long. Hardier plants will be things like Lilies, Dahlias, Zinnias, Eucalyptus, Delphiniums, Gladiolus, Chinese Lanterns, Alstroemeria, and Love Lies Bleeding. Roses are a universal favorite, however, they do not last long either. To get the most from your roses make sure you pick ones that have not yet opened and whose buds are hard when you gently pinch them.

Flower Arranging 101 || Runway Chef Flower Arranging 101 || Runway Chef Next, fill your vase of choice with lukewarm water.

Flower Arranging 101 || Runway Chef Add in a touch of granulated sugar. You’ll want to do about 1/2 a teaspoon for every 2 cups of water.

Flower Arranging 101 || Runway Chef Check the height of your flowers compared to your vase to determine how much stem you’ll need to cut off.

Flower Arranging 101 || Runway Chef Flower Arranging 101 || Runway Chef Fill a large bowl or basin with warm water. Then cut your flower stems at a diagonal angle under the water.

Flower Arranging 101 || Runway Chef Flower Arranging 101 || Runway Chef For any flowers with a woodier stem (like roses or hydrangeas), after you cut them at an angle, you’ll want to gently smash the ends with a hammer.

Flower Arranging 101 || Runway Chef Make sure you also remove any extra leaves that would be underwater (this will help your water last longer). Then begin arranging your flowers.

Flower Arranging 101 || Runway Chef To keep your flowers lasting as long as possible, make sure you change the water, at minimum, every two days (ideally, every day, especially if you have soft stemmed flowers). Don’t forget to add more sugar every time you change the water! Also, keep your flowers away from direct heat or sun. I made the arrangement pictured here two weeks ago and, minus one or two flowers, it is still going strong.

Flower Arranging 101 || Runway Chef

Sweet Potato Tater Tot Nachos

Sweet Potato Tater Tot Nachos || Runway Chef I know we went over this last week, but for those of you who need a little refresher, my version of the Super Bowl revolves around one thing and one thing only- food. And lots of it! In summary, my super bowl is far better than that other version. So now that we’re all up to speed on that, let’s face plant into these nachos, shall we? I mean, let’s not fool anyone. We all know that’s what you’re thinking about doing. Heck, I know I am. Crispy tater tots, melted cheese, a crunchy salsa, and not one, but two, types of creamy sauce, all with a little southwestern flair (in honor of some game they’re having in Arizona on Sunday). If that doesn’t have face plant written all over it, I don’t know what does!

Sweet Potato Tater Tot Nachos || Runway Chef Sweet Potato Tater Tot Nachos || Runway Chef Sweet Potato Tater Tot Nachos || Runway Chef Sweet Potato Tater Tot Nachos || Runway Chef Sweet Potato Tater Tot Nachos || Runway Chef Sweet Potato Tater Tot Nachos || Runway Chef

Sweet Potato Tater Tot Nachos
Serves 4
Southwestern style nachos made with crispy tater tots in place of the typical chips
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 pounds sweet potato tater tots (I use 2 of the bags from Trader Joe's)
  2. Olive oil or cooking spray
  3. 1 cup grated monterey cheese
  4. BEAN SALSA
  5. 1/2 cup corn (fresh, canned or frozen, just make sure it's drained)
  6. 1 15-ounce can black beans
  7. 1 teaspoon Southwest seasoning
  8. 2 jalapeƱos, chopped and seeds removed
  9. The juice of half a lemon
  10. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  11. CHIPOTLE CREAM
  12. 1 cup Greek yogurt
  13. 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  14. 2 1/2 tablespoons chipotle mustard
  15. AVOCADO CREAM
  16. 1 avocado
  17. The juice of half of a lemon
  18. 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  19. 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  20. 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
  21. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl toss your tater tots in about 2 tablespoons of oil until they are evenly coated. Spread them out evenly on a metal baking sheet (do not line it with foil as the foil won't allow them to get nice and crispy). Alternately, instead of tossing the tater tots in oil, spray your baking sheet with cooking spray before spreading the tater tots out. Proceed to bake your tater tots for 15 minutes. Flip them over then bake for another 20 minutes, or until crispy.
  2. While the tater tots are cooking, whip up your toppings. To make the bean salsa, toss the corn, beans, jalapeƱos, lemon juice and seasonings in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Refrigerate until you are ready to use.
  3. To make the Chipotle cream, combine the yogurt, mayo, and chipotle mustard in a small bowl and stir until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Lastly, make your avocado cream. In a small bowl (or a mortar and pestle) mash together the avocado, lemon juice, yogurt, mayo, cilantro, and salt until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Once your tater tots are baked and crispy, top them with the cheese and put them back in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted (I made sure to push the tater tots close together to prevent losing any cheese).
  6. Transfer the tater tots to your serving dish (I ripped up a paper grocery bag and used that along with a wooden pizza board). Top them with the bean salsa. Drizzle with the two creams and finish with extra cilantro (if desired). Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. These nachos are vegetarian.
  2. The bean salsa and cream toppings can be made ahead and store in the refrigerator, although for the best flavor, I would recommend making the cream sauces no more than 1 day ahead and the bean salsa no more than 2 days ahead.
  3. If you'd like to add meat, I would recommend doing chicken or pulled pork.
  4. Feel free to use regular tater tots in place of the sweet potato ones, cheddar cheese in place of the monterey cheese, chili powder and cumin (or another seasoning mix) in place of the Southwest seasoning mix, and regular chipotle peppers in place of the chipotle mustard.
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Happy Hour

Happy Hour || Runway Chef {Hello Juno!}

Call me crazy but I’m in love with all this snow we have covering the ground. Ok, maybe don’t call me crazy….you’re calling me crazy, aren’t you??! Because only crazy people like cold weather, right? Repeat after me: hot chocolate, hot chocolate, hot chocolate… And let’s be honest, I’m not that crazy. I mean, we live in the Northeast people. We’re supposed to get snow! 

After Juno (or NorBeaster or whatever it was called….side note, why do we name blizzards, again, and who comes up with these names?!) hit, the Mr. and I decided to go out exploring. It’s always cool to walk around NY when it’s shut down….eerie, but cool. We snapped a few pictures, narrowly avoided the wind knocking us over several times, and made it home just in time for a big pot of homemade chili with all the fixins’ and a batch of warm cookies (see below). So call me crazy, but I was happy as a clam…or should I say snowman, since clams are more summery, right? But snowmen eventually melt so are they really happy?? Whatever….you get what I’m trying to say.

Did you get snow where you live? Are you a fan or do your prefer warmer weather?

Happy Hour || Runway Chef {Looking up to find some cool architectural details}

Happy Hour || Runway Chef {Roses hanging to dry}

Happy Hour || Runway Chef {A snowy walk to check out the blizzard at the water’s edge….and just in case you were wondering, that glowing green thing on the left is not the ghost of winter storms past, it’s just the good ol’ Statue of Liberty}

Happy Hour || Runway Chef {The results of the blizzard (at least in our kitchen)- fresh baked Snickerdoodle cookies}

And in place of my usual picture quote at the end, check out these 25 beautiful quotes about snow!

 

Pink Pants

Pink Pants || Runway Chef You guys! We’re finally getting some real snow today! Like actual sticking-to-the-ground, fluffy, white snow. I mean, I was starting to wonder why I bothered to freeze away into oblivion on the East Coast if we weren’t even going to be rewarded with a pretty white blanket. I know most people aren’t fans of the stuff, but personally, I love it (or at least the New England side of me does)! Snow means hot chocolate, mac n’ cheese, comfy clothes, cozy socks, big blankets, cuddling up, roaring fires, going skiing, so in my opinion, what’s not to love?!?  

I’m also punching up this snow day with a little pop of pink. I originally bought these pants with the intention of wearing them only in the warmer months, but I think every season can be improved with a dose of pink, don’t you? The material from my pair of pink pants is a bit lighter so I made them winter friendly with a cozy knit sweater and a navy blue coat. Bring it on blizzard! Me, my pink pants, and my hot cup of cocoa are ready for you!

Pink Pants || Runway Chef Pink Pants || Runway Chef Pink Pants || Runway Chef Pink Pants || Runway Chef Pink Pants || Runway Chef Victoria’s Secret Hat (similar) // Ralph Lauren Sweater (similar) // Zara Coat & Pants (similar) // Report Signature Shoes via DSW // Chanel Bag

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6 Exercises to Do at Your Desk

Desk-Exercises When I told Mr. RC I was going to need him to photograph me doing exercises at my desk, he thought I was completely joking. After laughing for a few minutes, he’s like “Oh. Wait. You’re serious?!”. Well, I just did leg lifts while typing this post while wearing heels…..what do you think?! He ended up laughing the entire time he was shooting these photos, but that’s ok because, as the saying goes, he who laughs first doesn’t finish their work day with toned triceps and tight abs. So your co-workers may be giggling at you now, but just remember who will leave the office looking better tonight. And if you don’t work in an office (like me), these exercises are still perfect to do, because let’s be honest, we’ve all got crazy schedules these days, so if we can fit in a butt blaster while blasting through our bills it will take the pain off of handing over your hard-earned money while also allowing you to not feel guilty about the dessert you want after dinner. And can I get an Amen from my multi-taskers?? I mean it doesn’t get more multi-tasky than working out while working. AmIrightoramIright????!!! If you’re ready to get your workout out on right from your desk, keep on reading to see my favorite 6 desk exercises.

6 Desk Exercises {triceps toner} || Runway Chef Triceps Toner // Just like your typical tricep dip, you’ll want to sit at the edge of your chair for this exercise. Then, keeping your elbows locked in, simply dip up and down. I usually aim to do 10 reps at a time. To switch it up, instead of doing the reps, just hold the downward portion of the position for 10-15 seconds.

6 Desk Exercises {carpal tunnel stretch} || Runway Chef Wrist Stretch // You’ll want to stand up for this stretch that helps prevent carpal tunnel. Simply place your hands, palm up, flat on the table, keeping your fingers pointing towards yourself (you may need to lean over a little bit). Hold for 15 seconds.

6 Desk Exercises {ab cruncher} || Runway Chef Ab Cruncher // Leaning back just a bit, sit on the edge of your seat, arms by your side, hands lightly pressing down on the chair, legs at a slight angle, and feet on tip-toes. Then, keeping your knees pressed together, fluidly raise your legs up and down, always landing on your tip-toes. I aim to do 10 reps at a time, sometimes holding the last one for 5 seconds.

6 Desk Exercises {leg lift} || Runway Chef Leg Lift // Sitting on the edge of your seat, raise one leg to knee height. Hold it for 15 seconds, before repeating on the opposite leg. If the lift is too hard to hold, use your hands to gently assist.

6 Desk Exercises {butt blaster} || Runway Chef Butt Blaster // Act like you are going to get up out of your chair, but instead of standing, stop about half way up. Adjust yourself to make sure your knees aren’t over your ankles, then stretch your arms out in front of your, clasp your hands, and hold the pose for 15 seconds. To switch it up, raise up and down, holding this position, for 10 reps.

6 Desk Exercises {calf raises} || Runway Chef Calf Raises // Again, sit on the edge of your chair. With your legs out in front of you at a 90 degree angle, simply raise your legs up onto your tip-toes and back down. Repeat 20 times. (I was doing these so frequently that they’ve become second nature to for me to do anytime I’m sitting at my desk.)

A few things to keep in mind:

  • For additional exercise options, keep a light set of hand weights under your desk and do things like bicep curls while sitting on that oh-so-boring conference call that you really don’t want to be on.
  • Watch out for rolling chairs.
  • And please keep in mind, I am not a trained professional. These are simply exercises I have been doing at my desk for years and I wanted to share them with you guys. So if you injure yourself or a co-worker makes fun of you, don’t say I didn’t warn you!