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

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
  • 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)

  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.


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.


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.


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

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

mid october

beautiful golden october.

time, as usual, escapes so quickly.  i guess that's a good sign.
the days are full and my heart is happy.  this past weekend was such a gorgeous fall weekend.
i often think it's such a shame that the foliage can't last longer. but, that's probably
what makes it even more beautiful, the fleetingness of it all.  the days were sunny and crisp
and the nights were made for cozy anything.  in my world - the perfect season.

we had an extra day this weekend, one that was an added bonus.

i made lots of lists and i had intended to bake lots of things and then there were just so many outside places calling my name.
we had the most amazing risotto i have ever eaten.  seriously,  i have been dreaming about it.  it was that good.  i will try to duplicate it as soon as possible.  it might just have to wait a bit because we will be away again this coming weekend and trying to pull that off during the week can be a challenge with the length of time risotto should really cook to make it perfect.

if your travels take you to new hampshire for leaf peaking this weekend then here are a few places you shouldn't miss.

you should plan to stop at this vintage bakery  get there early because they sell out really
fast.  once you go you will see why.  there are different specials each day,  they are closed
on mondays and tuesdays.  buy some amazing danish or a ham and cheese croissant, enjoy a fall latte and don't forget....

to buy some breads to have later for your picnic along jackson falls. jackson falls is a beautiful peaceful spot that is worth visiting year round.  if you like photography, don't miss it. be careful climbing along the rocks as the water changes rapidly.  it's a year round gem, each season  holds its own beauty.

i can't tell you how many times we had past this restaurant  before we actually tried it.  of all the
years we have been going up north it was only a couple of years ago that we realized what an
incredible spot and it's practically in our back yard.  a city grade meal in a country setting
the atmosphere is rustic and romantic and the food is incredible.   they also have a great wine list. it is the exact spot i had the risotto. (you know the one i hope to duplicate)
if you can snag a high top table in front of the fireplace your evening will be complete.

i think i missed the restaurant because i was always so in tuned to heading directly into
the country store for the most amazing cider donuts i have ever eaten.  hot,  directly out of the oven.

they were pressing cider on saturday and it was really fun to watch.

another location in jackson that has so much old fashion charm is nestlenook farm.  walk the grounds, take a horse drawn carriage ride, go ice skating in the winter time.  it's a perfect spot, lots of fire pits throughout the grounds and it's a great place to spend some time just taking in the scenery.

the wentworth inn in jackson is also a nice place for dinner.
if you are looking for a place to stay this place is really beautiful 
if you are just looking for decent food and a great beer you can't beat this brewery

just remember as the wind brushes by, listen to the leaves.  too much is never enough.

love sent, xo

Thursday, October 9, 2014

more things to love about fall...

1-  nesting

i love candles and the warm glow they bring to everything.  i use them all year round but
there is something really special about them when the weather gets cooler.

2 - cozy blankets

i love having piles of them around so you can just grab one and toss it on to ward off a
little chill, after all, who doesn't like to snuggle?

3 - fall wardrobe update
i am suppose to be trying to purge my closet.  but...

Of course I had to have these  and this vest  for those long walks i plan on taking

4 - beautiful cool mornings that turn into gorgeous blue afternoons
spectacular color is every where.  grab your camera and head out, you will be amazed at
what you find.

5 - all the comfy fall foods

i have piles of recipes i want to try. now with our recent vacation i really think i need to
try to master a croissant recipe.  but in the mean time we are using up all the great
vegetables from our garden.

roasted veggies


1 1/2 cups black rice
2 tbsp. butter
2 shallots, peeled and diced
1 cup pecan pieces
zest of 1 orange
2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 butternut squash, peeled seeded and diced
1 bunch of carrots (a colorful variety will make the dish more beautiful!)
4 beets (we found golden and red beets, but any variety will do)
1 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste

preheat the oven to 450ºF
wash the beets and carrots and trim off the greens, leaving a bit of the tips on the carrots. peel the carrots. place them both in a large stockpot with cold water and bring to a boil, adding 1 tsp. of sea salt.
once the water is boiling, let the carrots blanche for about 1 minute, leaving the beets in for another 5-7 minutes. (you can pierce the beets to make sure they’re tender before removing!). rinse both under cool water after removing from the pot.

for the butternut squash, i like to place it in the oven for about 5-10 minutes to get it soft enough to easily peel and chop. cut the squash in half and remove the seeds before placing it on a baking sheet to pop into the oven. just enough to get the tough outer skin soft.
once all the veggies are prepped, you’ll want to toss them in olive oil and sea salt before placing them on a baking sheet. the squash should be diced while the carrots can be cut in half, and the beets sliced. i added a bit of thyme and extra salt and pepper once they were on the baking sheet, then popped them into the oven for about 15-20 minutes—until the edges start to brown. you can flip them halfway through to get them roasted evenly. in the last 2-3 minutes add the pecans to one of the trays to toast them up.
directions: rice
put a saucepan over medium heat, and adding the butter and shallots to sauté for about 2 minutes. add the rice and toss to coat. add the water as directed on the rice package, and about 1 1/2 tsp. of salt. bring to a boil, and then stir and lower the heat to let simmer until cooked through.

once the rice is cooked, remove it from the heat and add the orange zest, thyme and cumin, then salt and pepper to taste. you can drizzle a bit of olive oil in with it if it’s become too sticky to mix well.

to assemble  lay down a layer of rice and place the roasted vegetables on top.  it's such a beautiful fall

enjoy, xo

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

hello, fall

we have officially said goodbye to summer and hello to fall.   we did get an extra dose of
summer in the south of france where it was still 80 degrees.  but we are home now and back to the grind.  but also back to our comfy bed and our routine,  which feels good.  fall is actually my
favorite time of year.  i love to throw on a comfy sweater and curl up in front of a cozy fire.
it's the perfect time to make great soups and beautiful fall desserts.  and of course apple picking and pie making.   we walked a ton while we were in france and noted that must
be how the french stay so  thin.  how could they be thin with all of those amazing desserts and
amazing bread always within an arms reach.?

while we were away i had this fantastic puff pastry wrapped pork that i was determined to
duplicate.   it was wonderful and i have to say,  i think i did a pretty good job at duplicating it. it's super easy.  your guests will never believe that you did not spend
all day on it.

puff pastry wrapped pork

1 medium pork tenderloin
2 tbsp chopped dried apples
2 tbsp coarse mustard
5-6 springs of thyme
salt and pepper
5-6 slices of thin prosciutto
1 sheet of puff pastry thawed for 30 - 45 minutes.

1 egg 1 tbsp water beaten (for egg wash)

slice the tenderloin in half.  take one side and turn it so that the bottom of one side is
now laying next to the top of the other side.
stuff the middle with the chopped dried apples.
lay out 5-6 pieces of prosciutto over lapping slightly in a vertical direction.
lay a piece of parchment paper over the prosciutto and roll over with a rolling pin so that
the prosciutto sticks together. remove parchment. sprinkle with salt, pepper and liberally with the thyme.
place the tenderloin on top of the proscuitto and roll it around it.
roll out the puff pastry to approx 12x16 rectangle spread with the coarse mustard.
lay the pork on the bottom end of the pastry and again roll it to cover.  fold down the ends
brush the egg wash liberally over the puff pastry.  Bake at 400 degrees for approximately
30 minutes until golden brown.  you must wait at least 10 minutes before cutting it so that
the pastry has time to solidify.
this is super easy and looks really elegant and  it tastes fantastic.  serve it with apple sauce, some
green salad and perhaps some roasted potatoes.
have creme brulee for dessert and you have a beautiful french meal that didn't take all day to

so, unfortunately i deleted all of my iphone pictures this past weekend by mistake.  :(  my IT
guys tried to salvage them today but... they are gone.  i can be really bummed out about this
or chalk it up to c'est la vie...  so ... such is life.  not much i can do about it.  so you will have to take my word for it that the puff pastry wrapped pork is awesome.

sorry i lost all of my photos of the step to step.

apple picking was worth the trip.

"use what you have, use what the world gives you.  use the bright flame of fall before winters darkness. orange, harvest, amber, gold, cool nights and the smell of fire: our tree lined streets are set a blaze, our kitchens are filled with the smell of nostalgia.  apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself."

love sent, xo

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

paris holiday

on that cold evening in february when we booked our trip to paris we imagined a magical place.

my dream was to peruse pastries shops, walk along cobblestone streets and drink lots of wine. paris was more beautiful than i had imagined. each building was a work of art, worthy of it's own postcard. each day we took part in devouring croissants, rich cheeses, beautiful french cuisine and the wines of the region. we walked for miles just taking in all there was to see.  stopping often for a cappuccino and just soaking in the beauty. there were so many things we loved about the city. it's beautiful gardens in the park at luxembourg, the weather was summer like and the flowers were abundant.
standing under the eiffel tower took our breath away. the city lights at night were spectacular.  lunch along the seine  over looking notre dame cathedral was one of the most romantic lunches i have ever had.  the louvre was the largest building i have ever seen, nearly a mile in length.

                                                               luxembourg park

                                                    the eiffel tower was magical
                           the locks of love bridge.   sign your names to a locket and throw the keys into the river for everlasting love.
lunch on the seine river 
the cathedral of notre dame 
the louvre

the endless outside cafes
the markets on every corner

lunch in les baux

one of my favorite dishes in france - moules-frites

chateau de chambord
the harbor in caen

we made our way up to normandy where i wasn't sure what to expect.   it was truly a moving
expereince  - one i was glad i did not miss.

we made our way down to provence and the french riviera.   it was still summer in the south of france.  we soaked up the sunshine knowing we are not far from our long winter nights. we visited the beautiful town of arles and avingnon.  the bright reds and blue roof tops complimented the warm sun.

 a stark contrast from the grays of paris. we made our way through old town marveling at the beauty of the cobblestones streets just made for leisurely strolls, stopping at open markets and sitting at outside cafes sipping lattes and wine.

we couldn't be so close to monaco and not stop by.  the monte carlo casino was the most incredible spot i had ever been to.  the wealth is unsurpassed.
the yachts in the harbor at monaco

the beautiful beaches in the town of nice was a lovely way to spend a few days. 
the mediterranean was so blue

we had an incredible vacation.  we felt truly blessed. enjoying the slow speed of life was just what we needed.  the people were friendly and the country was kind.  we will mostly definitely go back.
dreams do come true.  a reminder to slow down,  pay attention and drink it in.  and don't forget to share it with the ones you love.

love sent, xo