Thursday, October 30, 2014

ready for the weekend? definitely!

we have not been home on a weekend in over 2 months.  i am not sure how the time got so packed but it just did... it's all been super fun - catching up with people, attending weddings, going on vacation, girls weekend and so on. but this weekend you will find me just hanging out. we plan on carving up some pumpkins, enjoying all the little goblins and celebrating the youngest member of our extended families first birthday!! then, just like that, saturday is a new month! november feels like comfort. cozy. warmth. crackling fires and spice cider. brown, crunchy leaves, and chunky-knit sweaters. and it’s a time to be grateful. this will be a weekend of planning, reflecting and remembering how many great days are coming up.


    my favorite photo this week.





    my favorite birthday boy



   my favorite new product




  my favorite two little words
  what else?

 everyone can have bad days no matter how great their life may be.   there are these two little words that i find can be so comforting.  when your friend is talking about her worries, she's probably also wondering if she's annoying you. the best thing you can say to someone who's spilling her woes? "what else?" you'll show her that you support her and want her to share all her thoughts--as long as it takes. i remember when i got divorced  how desperate i felt, i would go on and on about my troubles and my friend Pat used to say :  ("mmmhmm, i know...what else?"), and  i cannot tell you how amazing it was. just those two little words  might make someone's day.  

 my favorite new cookbook



 my favorite read this week



 my favorite recipe find this week




                                                           
                                                           happy halloween everyone!!


love sent, xoxo

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

break out the sweaters, if you haven't already

and dig into some comfort food. i could make a list a mile long of my comfort foods, no doubt, but this is a good start. it was a simple meal that we really enjoyed. you should make it tonight, you will be glad you did. just think, you will be balancing the not so healthy mac and cheese with that great healthy apple cranberry salad.




four cheese baked macaroni and cheese with panko crust  (adapted from martha stewart)


5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 tbsp butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar
1 cup grated gruyere 
3/4 cup grated percorino  
3/4 cup  grated romano
1 pound elbow macaroni

heat the oven to 375 degrees
grease a oven proof dish
in a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. melt 4 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. when butter bubbles, add flour. cook, stirring, 1 minute.
 slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
remove the pan from the heat. stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper,
then stir in 3 cups cheddar, and 1/2 cup gruyere , 3/4  cup percorino and 3/4 cup of romano. set cheese sauce aside.
4. fill a large saucepan with water. bring to a boil. add macaroni; cook 4-5 minutes
until outside of pasta is cooked and inside is underdone.
transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
5. pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/2 cup of gruyere,  scatter panko bread crumbs over the top. bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. transfer dish to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes
serve.



love sent, xo


Monday, October 27, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

today my heart hurts....


as i type these words there is silence in the house, other than the rain pounding on the window.  the wind is really strong and it's still dark. it's a cold rainy day, it matches how i feel.   
i don't need this day to remind me that my dad is no longer here.   but for some reason on certain days all the sad feelings come flooding back.  so many thoughts go through my mind.  i remember exactly what i was doing, who i was with,  and how surreal it all felt the day i got the call.   sometimes i wish i could feel less.  not a day goes by that i don't miss my dad.  i miss his emails, his voice, his great laugh and his endless knowledge on everything.   but as the years go by i find myself more and more grateful for everything he taught me. 
last night my family all ate dinner together,  a rarity these days.  a very unplanned surprise. i mentioned how happy i was to have everyone together. i am sure there were rolling eyes.  to my dad his family was everything, he taught us the work of learning to embrace imperfect lives and still see all the beauty.  he taught me:  there is nothing to wait for.  all we need, we have.

i love you dad.  



sometimes we all need to have a good cry.




"but every memory is turned over and over again, every word, however chance, written in the heart in the hopes that memory will fulfill itself."

i love you to the moon and back, xo


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

roasted butternut squash and apple soup

                   the perfect dinner on a rainy, chilly, fall evening.   serve it with no knead bread.


                                                                   

roasted butternut squash and apple soup

yield: 4 servings
ingredients
  • 1 med-large butternut squash peeled, seeded, and 1” chopped
  • 2 medium firm, tart apples (i used honeycrisp) cored and 1” chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked salt
  • 2 tablespoons  unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, about 3/4-1 cup chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 cups stock (chicken or veg, i use chicken)
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • (1/4 cup) cream
  • creme fraiche and honey roasted sunflower seeds for garnish (optional)
  • fresh thyme for garnish (optional)
instructions

  1. chop all your produce in the above list and heat the oven to 450°f
  2. on a large sheet tray toss the apples and squash with the olive oil and one teaspoon of smoked salt. roast on the middle rack for 20 minutes or until fork tender.
  3. while the veggies roast, melt the butter in a medium stock pot over medium-low heat. add the shallots, garlic, and a pinch of the smoked salt. cook until fragrant and translucent, about five minutes. stir often
  4. add  the fresh thyme and simmer a couple of minutes. by this time your roasted veggies should just about be ready to come out. 
  5. add the roasted veggies to the pot with the aromatics and top with the chicken stock, honey, and one more pinch of smoked salt. give it a good stir, bring it to a low simmer, and cook covered for about ten minutes to let the flavors mingle.
  6. remove the lid, and, using a stick blender, puree the soup. 
  7. once pureed, stir in the cream. taste and adjust the seasoning, adding additional salt or honey if needed. if you find it too thick for your taste, you can thin it with additional stock or cream depending on how rich you'd like it.
  8. optional, top with creme fraiche, honey roasted sunflower seeds and a bit of fresh thyme.
love sent, xo

Monday, October 20, 2014

seasons of life.

on friday we sat outside and ate lunch.  we were in providence to celebrate a wedding and it was so warm it felt just like summer again.  the sun felt like it will never warm our skin like this again for quite some time.  then today, autumn had surely arrived.  it takes me a little time to get used to the idea of a new season.  new people, new seasons, new places,  i need to get to know them a bit, we have to bond before i can fully embrace them.  but lately i have been spending more time in the kitchen craving the warmth of the stove, it feels so comforting and i do love fall.  thick soups, piping hot, seem so welcoming on a cool day and there is nothing better than sitting by a fire on a chilly night. so today i closed the windows and walked down a path filled with crunching leaves. tonight i made that piping hot soup and it was a great way to end the weekend. i think i am ready to commit to fall.


we had such a wonderful time at the wedding.  it was such a beautiful venue.  it totally felt like we 
were at a tropical island.  the roger william's botanical gardens are truly beautiful.


spending time with my favorite people happened at this gathering. such a special time, telling stories, sharing love, so many memories, and so many more to come. all the best Meg and Brian it was such a beautiful wedding. xoxo


and all along i believed i would find you.


love sent, xo

Thursday, October 16, 2014

roasted vegetable salad with cinnamon glazed walnuts and cider dressing.

this was such a fast week. i say that because today was my friday. with monday off it was only a three day work week but somehow it didn't seem that short. we are officially back into work mode. it's crazy in my office, but it does make the days go by quickly. with our recent acquisition it will only get crazier. getting back into work mode after vacation has not been that smooth of a transition. there have been slow mornings aided by snooze buttons. and why is it so much harder to get up when it is dark and chilly out? but i do savor the evenings of fall. i love milling over recipes and planning what wonderful dessert or dinner i might want to make. i love catching up on all the reading i didn't get to finish all summer. this salad was born from a visit to a farm stand over the weekend that had an endless array of fresh vegetables. i think it's the perfect fall salad, a sweet, spiced autumn comfort food. almost like a dessert hiding out in a camouflage of greens.


ingredients

beets 2 yellow and 2 red 
4 carrots 
1 small onion 
1 small red, yellow and orange pepper 
cube the vegetables toss with olive oil salt and pepper roast in 350 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes until slightly soft 4 cups mixed greens


for the walnuts:

1/2 cup walnuts
1 tbsp butter
3-4 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

melt the butter and walnuts together in a skillet over medium-high heat. toast, stirring, for a few minutes, then add the brown sugar and cinnamon and cook for another minute or so, stirring, until the sugar is melted and coats the walnuts evenly. remove walnuts to a piece of parchment paper and spread immediately to separate into individual pieces.

















dressing

3/4 c apple cider
2 tbps cider vinegar
1 small shallot chopped
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp dijion mustard
salt and pepper

stir apple cider and cider vinegar with chopped shallot over medium heat 6-8 minutes
remove from heat and whisk in the mustard salt and pepper.

assemble

divide the mixed greens onto plates spoon over warm vegetables drizzle with warm apple cider dressing sprinkle with cinnamon glazed walnuts.

serve immediately

love sent, xo