Deconstructed Beef Wellington

We went and picked up our tree last night and it is definitely a big papa! It’s not so much tall as it is wide lol. You know that scene in Christmas Vacation when Chevy Chase cuts the string on the Christmas tree and it goes bursting through the window?! And he says “little full, lot of sap”… that’s how I feel every year! I’ve got sticky sap all over my fingers but it smells so freaking amazing that I think I’ll just leave it :)

This is my absolute favorite time of year. I think I said that about Fall as well? No but Christmas is REALLY my favorite time of year. There’s something so cozy about turning on a classic Christmas movie, with only the lights from the Christmas tree streaming through, cozied up on the couch drinking something warm. I’m hoping we get a little snow in Portland to kick off the holiday season! As with all seasons, what I look forward to most is family and food! Heading home for the holidays, baking cookies, making peppermint hot chocolate (and boozy eggnog) and sharing beautiful festive meals are what it’s all about.

Deconstructed Beef Wellington-2.jpg
Deconstructed Beef Wellington-3.jpg

I’ve been thinking of different dishes I want to make my family and friends over the next few weeks, and Beef Wellington always comes to mind because it’s fun & festive and such a great main dish for holiday parties. There’s nothing better than a melt in your mouth beef tenderloin smothered in a mushroom duxelle and wrapped in flaky puff pastry. Check out Gordon Ramsey’s - he’s the master of beef wellies. But I thought why not deconstruct it?! All the same great flavors with less fuss. And plus, more room for error when you’ve had one to many glasses of rosé in the kitchen and wrapping that puff pastry is looking prettyyy challenging :)

Thomas loves ribeyes so that’s what we tried for this recipe and It had such great flavor! I love beef tenderloin, but you can choose whatever cut of meat you fancy! Dig in, pour yourself a glass, and cheers to kicking off Christmas!

Deconstructed Beef Wellington-8.jpg
Deconstructed Beef Wellington-9.jpg

Deconstructed Beef Wellington

Ingredients


- 3 pints (1 1/2 pounds) white button mushrooms, chopped as small as you can
- 2 shallots, peeled and finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
-Puff pastry sheets (found in the frozen aisle at the grocery store)
- 1 egg (for egg wash)
- 2 pounds of your preferred cut of beef (filet is the most tender, ribeye has more flavor)

red wine sauce
- brown sugar (enough to cover a very thin at the bottom of the pot)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 shallot quartered
- 2 cups of red wine
- 2 cups of beef stock

what to do

  1. Heat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut each of your puff pastry sheets in half making 4 squares. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Space your puff pastry squares evenly, whisk you 1 egg in a small dish, and brush the puff pastry with the egg wash. Bake for 15 minutes or until the squares are golden brown. Turn off the oven when done, but keep pastries in the oven to stay warm while everything finishes cooking.

  2. while your puff pastry is baking, start the red wine sauce. To make the sauce, put a sauce pan over medium heat and cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of brown sugar. Let the sugar melt until it start to look caramelized, careful not to let it burn. You can remove it on and off the heat to monitor it. Toss in your crushed garlic and quartered shallot and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Then pour in your red wine. Let the wine reduce by half and then add in beef stock. Continue boiling until it’s reduced by half again. Taste to see if it needs any adjustments. You can always thicken the sauce with a tablespoon of cornstarch blended in a 2 tablespoons of water before whisking it in the sauce and letting it boil out for another minute.

  3. While the sauce is reducing, make your mushroom duxelle. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large sauté pan and set over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, thyme leaves, and mushrooms and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm while you sear your beef.

  4. For the beef, heat a skillet over medium-high. Add a little olive oil and sear steak on the first side. Flip over, add butter, crushed garlic and herbs such as thyme or rosemary. Let steak continue searing while you spoon over garlic butter until it’s golden brown and the steak is cooked to an internal temperature of 145. Move to a cutting board once it’s rested for a few minutes and slice.

  5. To serve, place a square of puff pastry and top with the mushroom duxelle, then place a few slices of beef and drizzle with red wine sauce. Garnish with fresh herbs and pomegranate seeds.

Deconstructed Beef Wellington-4.jpg

Dirty Chai Cashew Hemp Latte

Are you guys prepping your kitchen and waistbands for Thursday?! In spite of that fact that i’ve already eaten turkey and a full Thanksgiving meal three times in the last week, I am still pretty darn excited! Between hosting a Friendsgiving and attending a Friendsgiving you would think that I would be all turkey’d out, but no way José! We are heading to Seattle Wednesday and will be spending the holiday with a friend and her family. This will be the first time I have ever not gone home for Thanksgiving which is a little sad, but I am happy Christmas is a short month away and we will be going back to Florida then to see the fam!

Chai Cashew Hemp Latte-3.jpg

I am in full cozy-up mode this time of year and love to have something warm in my hands pretty much at all times. Usually I am a standard cup of coffee in the morning kind of gal and I’m completely content with a plain jane cup o’ joe. When I am feeling fancy and order something for a coffee shop, I usually go for a dirty chai latte. It’s a chai tea latte with a shot of espresso in it. I love the extra zing that the espresso gives the drink!

Since I got my new Vitamix I have loved making fun drinks at home - like a dirty chai latte! This recipe is one of my new favorites and I love how the cashews and hemp seeds give the latte a creamy nuttiness. And with the power of the Vitamix, the latte is silky smooth and you would never know that you had put nuts in there!

Chai Cashew Hemp Latte-5.jpg
Chai Cashew Hemp Latte-4.jpg

Dirty Chai Cashew Hemp Latte

Ingredients

- 1 cup water
- 1-2 chai tea bags
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons raw hemp seeds
- 2 tablespoons roasted cashews
- 1 -2 shots of espresso

what to do

  1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil over high heat. Add the chai tea bags, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.

  2. In a high powder blender, combine the cinnamon, vanilla, honey, hemp seeds, cashews, and steeped tea. Blend on medium for 2 minutes, then blend on high for about 1 minute or until the drink is smooth and frothy. Pour your espresso in your mug, and then pour chai latte mixture in the mug. To garnish sprinkle with additional hemp seeds and cinnamon. Enjoy!

Hosting our First Friendsgiving

Thomas and I hosted our first Friendsgiving last Saturday! I had all of these big plans to set-up a photo shoot and take a ton of pictures for the blog, but I definitely underestimated how much work goes into preparing for a Thanksgiving feast! I was talking big game the night before that I can do it all by myself, “it’s going to be easy”, and “I can just make a plan in the morning”. Thomas was going to be working all day, so I started feeling the panic when my eyes popped open at 6am thinking “shit! I better get a move on!”. It was such a fun first experience and we had an absolute blast.

E04FDD19-E290-4A2F-AA94-90FFE7824C3B.JPG

Here’s a little timeline of our day!

The night before: brined the turkey! I used bon appetite’s dry rubbed turkey recipe! It was some of the juiciest turkey i’ve ever had!

6am - eyes pop open in full-panic mode. The apartment is a mess and I don’t have a plan finalized for the day! I break out my bookmarked websites and bon appetite’s Thankgiving edition mag for some inspiration! After an hour of deliberating, I decided on creamy potato gratin, sausage fennel stuffing, roasted brussel sprouts, glazed kabocha squash, cranberry sauce, carrot cake for dessert, lots of gravy and the big fat turkey of course. Praying that Thomas’ flights get cancelled at this point so he can come save me.

7am-10am - Deep cleaned the house, had the Friends Thanksgiving episodes playing in the background, and stuffed everything possible that looked cluttered in the apartment behind our door in our bedroom. Our apartment has NO storage space, so anything that doesn’t have a place gets shoved under the bed or behind the door…I’m learning to be more of a minimalist ok?!

10am- Thomas walks through the door and says his flight was cancelled and he’s home for the day to help me! I cry tears of joy on the inside, but pretend like I had everything handled on the outside.

10:15 - head to Fred Meyer to pick-up all of our groceries! In our neighborhood we live walking distance to three grocery stores, which is such a luxury! We can see trader joe’s from our living room window, so we are definitely spoiled in that sense. If we ever forget a major ingredient I never sweat it since I know I can run right across the street!

11:15 - Got home and started making the homemade carrot cake! I used this recipe by Inspired Taste, but just used two of my 6 inch cake pans and made 4 layers! More frosting right?!

11:45 - While the cake is baking, Thomas starts making the turkey stock with all of the giblets from the turkey (sounds gross but is delicious), and I ran out to buy a couple more white plates from a thrift store down our street that has the best dishes! I also stopped by Kitchen Kaboodle to get cloth napkins candles, and then trader joe’s for all of the greenery/flowers for the table.

12:30 - Took the cake out and put the turkey in! You always want to use a meat thermometer to make sure it’s perfect, but a turkey takes roughly 15 minutes to cook per pound, so we were shooting for 3:30 for it to be coming out of the oven and rest for an hour.

12:30 - 3:30- This was a blur of cutting veggies, washing 1,000 dishes, frosting the cake, basting the turkey every 30 minutes, going nuts on potatoes with a mandolin, peeling god forsaken kambocha squash that has merciless thick skin, singing along to the happy hits playlist on Spotify, yelling at Alexa to turn it down when there was too much going on, sneaking kisses with my hot chef who was frankly saving my ass from having a meltdown had he not been there, setting up the table, lighting all the candles, and then answering the doorbell at 3:30 to a florist delivering flowers from my sweet Nana who knew I was hosting a party!

Pheww, I’m tired just re-living this!

85260A9F-DF12-4DCE-BFB0-62BD7A50D9C0.JPG

3:50 - Our friends Maureen and Eric were supposed to be coming at 4, so I quickly texted her saying we are a little behind sched and to come at like 4:30. I scrambled and took the fastest 2 minute shower ever to wash off all the powdered sugar and turkey drippings, threw dry shampoo in my hair, did a quick little makeup, and was back in the kitchen by 4!

4:00 - Poured ourselves our first glass of rosé which tasted like sweet nectar of the gods at this point in the day. That’s all the really matters here.

4:00 - 4:30 - Did last minute preparations and put everything in the oven that hadn’t been in yet. Here’s everything we made for the night! Dry-rubbed roast turkey, classic potato gratin, sausage & fennel stuffing (swapped out cornbread for sourdough), cranberry sauce out of a can because that’s how I like it, Thomas’s turkey gravy, simple roasted brussels, and kamocha squash with a spicy red wine glaze on top!

The rest of the night: Our friends arrived around 4:30ish and we had drinks and snacks before everything was ready to come out of the oven. We put broil on to crisp the potatoes, but forgot the turkey was in there, mind you this was about 3 glasses deep, and we burnt the top of the turkey! Thankfully enough that was the only mishap of the day and it was still delicious but maybe not as pretty.

We sat around candlelight until late into the night drinking 8 bottles of wine between the 6 of us, breaking out aquavit and rod stewart on the record player, and having one of the best nights ever. I love how a tradition forms when you don’t really plan on that happening, but I know Thomas and I will be hosting a friendsgiving like this one many more years to come.

AFCE573E-D432-4207-A18F-875860F357BB.JPG

Coq Au Vin & Red Mashed Potatoes

I’d like to tell you that this coq au vin, in all of it’s buttery-red-wine-buttery-braised glory, would be the star of this post. While my adult self is shouting at me, I have to tell you that all my inner child wants to do is eat a giant bowl of these red mashed potatoes and call it a night. Red mashed potatoes have been on my family’s thanksgiving table every year that I can remember, and it’s all I can do to resist sneaking spoonfuls while the bird is roasting away. I couldn’t bare only having these for Thanksgiving though, so when the temps start dropping I can’t think of anything that I would rather have more than these creamy dreamy mashed pots covered in slow-braised gravy of some sort.

Coq Au Vin-5.jpg

While these mashies hold a special place in my heart, i’ve managed to maneuver a little space for this coq au vin. Tender chicken is nestled in a sauce made with butter, shallot, red wine, garlic, bacon and a splash of cognac in perfect bliss. And when it’s combined with these creamy red mashed potatoes? Say hello to your new favorite comfort food! Eff it, we can always work out in January…

Creamy Mashed Red Potatoes_-11.jpg
Coq Au Vin-3.jpg
Creamy Mashed Red Potatoes_-2.jpg
Coq Au Vin-4.jpg

Coq Au Vin & Creamy Red Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

coq au vin
-
4 slices thick cut bacon chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 sweet onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 2 medium size carrots, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
- 1/2 a bottle of red wine
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 4 whole sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped

Red Mashed Potatoes
-
2 pounds small to medium red potatoes
- 1 tablespoon of salt (this varies every time for me honestly. Be the judge and add as much salt as you like!)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk or half-and-half

What to do

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy duty pot. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

  2. Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.

  3. Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add in the tomato paste and stir into the mixture and cook for another minute.

  4. Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and simmer on the stove until the liquid is reduced by about 1/3 and the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.

  5. While the stew is cooking, make your potatoes. Scrub potatoes and cut into chunks. Put potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water and add salt. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain well. Place them into the bowl of your stand mixer or just a big bowl and mix using the paddle attachment, add in butter and pour in half and half while it’s mixing. Use your judgement and add in more salt, butter, or half-and-half to your liking.

  6. Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.

Enjoy!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

How’s that extra hour treatin’ ya?! Flying back to the east coast as often as I do I normally am not that effected by a time change, but for some reason when the time switched on Sunday morning I woke up at 4:30 am! It might have something to do with the fact that I took a 3 hour nap the day before (don’t judge), but regardless it was crazy that I felt so awake that early in the morning! I had the most productive day ever, obviously since I started 5 hours earlier than a usual Sunday. I got up and got all my coffee drinking/Netflix binging/laziness out of the way, then I went for a run, and grocery shopped at two stores all before 11 AM! I also wanted a bottle of Cognac for cooking (er, sipping), so I showed up to the liquor store at 10:30 not thinking and had to wait outside for 30 minutes…awkwaaard. No biggie, just hanging out at the corner liquor store first thing on a Sunday morning 🙋🏼‍♀️

Broccoli Cheddar Soup-2.jpg

I made two recipes over the weekend that i’m excited about!! I watched Julie & Julia Sunday morning (since I was up at the butt-crack of dawn) so felt compelled to cook something with a lot of butter & garlic, so I made coq au vin with creamy red mashed potatoes. You’re literally going to want to bathe yourself in the coq au vin sauce - not joking. The 2nd recipe I cooked up was broccoli cheddar soup - a fan favorite, everyone’s Panera go-to, and your best friend in the wintertime. I LOVE a good broccoli ched soup, and don’t get me wrong, heavy cream and cheese is my lovvaa, but a lot of times it doesn’t leaving me feeling the greatest. So I wanted to make something that was way healthier but felt just as indulgent. Best of both worlds! I adapted this recipe from Elizabeth but just tweaked it to make it slightlyyy more unhealthy by adding dairy 😄

And guys….this carrot potato cheese sauce will blow your mind. Thank god I was just feeding this soup to Thomas because I literally licked the spatula at least 10 times before dunking it back into the sauce…whoops.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup-3.jpg
Broccoli Cheddar Soup-5.jpg
Broccoli Cheddar Soup-12.jpg
Broccoli Cheddar Soup-11.jpg

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Ingredients


Cheese Sauce
1 ½ tups of diced golden Yukon potatoes (about 3 medium potatoes)
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 tarlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
½ teaspoon of vinegar (white wine or red wine vinegar works)
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
¼ teaspoon of freshly black pepper
1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese (omit if making vegan)

Broccoli mixture
1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme sprigs
5 cups of chopped broccoli heads, plus more for garnish
1-2 tablespoon of miso paste
pinch or two of cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of almond milk
½ cup of chopped green onions

In a large saucepan add golden Yukon potatoes and carrots. Fill pot with water until vegetables are just covered. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-12 minutes. Drain carrots and potatoes and add to a blender or Vitamix. Add in garlic cloves, olive oil, white wine vinegar, grated cheddar cheese, kosher salt, and black pepper. Blend cheese base mixture for 30-60 seconds or until smooth and creamy. Reserve ½-1/2 cup for soup garnish and set aside the rest.

In a large dutch oven heat olive oil one medium heat for 30 seconds. Add in diced onion, celery stalks, garlic and thyme leaves. Sauté mixture for a few minutes or until the onions are translucent. To the same pot add the chopped broccoli and sauté for 5 minutes. Add in miso paste, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt and stir together. Add vegetable broth and cover pot for 15 minutes. (For the garnish, I took a couple pieces of broccoli out of the pot after it had cooked for a couple minutes).

Transfer the entire mixture with a ladle into large blender or Vitamix and add in cheese sauce. You may need to do this in two batches. Blend soup for 30-60 seconds or until smoothness level is achieved (I like it a little chunky but mostly smooth). Transfer soup back to the pot and heat on low or serve right away. Top soup bowls with a few tablespoons of remaining cheese sauce, green onions and chopped broccoli. Enjoy!

Weekly Crumbs

How was your Halloween week?! Ours was good, but I am officially ready to retire scary movies until next year along with not eating anymore Smarties for a very long time. Bring on the turkey gravy, an abundance of casseroles, and the will to resist listening to Christmas songs until December 1st 😁

Here’s our week in a nutshell:

1) Halloween

I kept my Halloween costumes this year as effortless as possible. For a party, I wore overalls, a straw hat, and scarecrow makeup! And for Halloween day on Wednesday I threw on clothes I already had, a pair of nerdy glasses, and taped Smartie’s all over my pants. “Smartie Pants”! I somehow managed to win our office costume contest which was surprising since I came up with the idea that morning!

AEF5A8E1-008E-4AAD-B18E-294A34A7B8D9.JPG
IMG_2334.JPG

2) Duck Confit Lasagna

Have you heard three words more glorious?! We made duck confit for the first time this past week and then decided to make it even more decadent by putting it into a lasagna. I didn't take a picture of the finished product because we were so busy inhaling it, but I am DEFINITELY making this again and shooting it for the blog!

3) Date night at Toro Bravo

I have been dying to go to Toro Bravo and we finally went on Saturday for date night! We had a two hour wait, so we went next door to Secret Society and had sazeracs and a charcuterie board before getting called back to Toro Bravo for one of the best dinners we’ve had since living in Portland! We drank a pitcher of the homemade red sangria, had their “kisses” which are small individual bites, radicchio salad, the best braised lamb flatbread, and a giant pan of incredible sausage, chicken, and seafood paella.

B6856777-83D9-4D59-87BA-D071B1D0FB96.JPG
3534DDBA-DF50-4E0B-BD34-796AF65938F3.JPG
DAB5B238-3255-490D-BBD5-5AA766CC4EE7.JPG

4) Planning a Friendsgiving menu

Since I want to do a lot of Thanksgiving recipes for the blog, I figured the best way is to cook everything next weekend, have a photoshoot, and celebrate with our closest friends for a Friendsgiving! I’m thinking bloody mary’s while cooking Saturday morning, making an epic fall cheese/charcuterie board for an appetizer for when our fraands arrive, copious amounts of wine (bon appetite said go with Poulsard), turkey of course, turkey gravy, of course, roasted brussels, a yummy rustic stuffing, a cheesy potato gratin of some sort, and mini carrot cakes for dessert. And a pie. There has to be a pie.

 Inspiration over at  Style me Pretty

Inspiration over at Style me Pretty

5) Recipes I’m dying to make

Pumpkin Banana Bread

HAPPY HALLOWEEN WEEKEND!!

Do you have any fun Halloween plans? We have a work party tomorrow night in Seattle. Normally I go all out on a costume, but this year I’m throwing on a flannel and overalls, turning into a scarecrow and calling it a day! I want to be festive but there’s nothing worse than an uncomfortable costume. The rest of the weekend I plan on watching scary movies, breaking into the mini KitKats and pumpkin shaped Reeses and having a cozy weekend at home.

Pumpkin Banana Bread.jpg

Last weekend I baked this pumpkin banana bread and it is so perfect for Fall. Not too sweet for breakfast and is great with a cup of coffee in the afternoon. We always have bananas lying around, so this bread is even better when you have a couple of really ripe ones. I adapted this recipe from Cookie & Kate. I love her pumpkin bread, I just tweaked it by adding bananas and adjusted the measurements a little.

I hope you all have a great weekend, filled with all the pumpkin-y things, scary movies, haunted houses, costume parties, and copious amounts of candy!

Pumpkin Banana Bread-3.jpg
Pumpkin Banana Bread-4.jpg
Pumpkin Banana Bread-5.jpg

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Ingredients
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil
- ½ cup honey or maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup milk of choice
- 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin spice blend (or ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon allspice or cloves)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (NOT baking powder; they aren’t the same!)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
- optional: ½ cup mix-ins like chopped walnuts or pecans, chocolate chips, raisins, chopped dried fruit…
- Pinch of ground cinnamon, for sprinkling on top

What to do

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius) and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.

  2. In a large bowl, beat the oil and honey together together with a whisk. Add the eggs and whisk until blended. (If your coconut oil solidifies on contact with cold ingredients, simply let the bowl rest in a warm place for a few minutes, like on top of your stove, or warm it for about 10 seconds in the microwave.)

  3. Add the pumpkin purée, mashed bananas, milk, pumpkin spice, baking soda, vanilla and salt, and whisk to blend. Lastly, switch to a big spoon and stir in the flour, just until combined. Some lumps are ok! If you’re adding any additional mix-ins, gently fold them in now.

  4. Pour the batter into your greased loaf pan and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. If you’d like a pretty swirled effect, run the tip of a knife across the batter in a zig-zag pattern.

  5. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (typically, if I haven’t added any mix-ins, my bread is done at 55 minutes; if I have added mix-ins, it needs closer to 60 minutes). Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the bread to a cooling rack to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

Savory Stuffed Pumpkins

I watched this episode of Parts Unknown when Anthony Bourdain goes to Daniel Boulud’s home in France where they bake this giant pumpkin in a brick oven. The pumpkin was stuffed with homemade bread, gruyere cheese, mushrooms, grated nutmeg and fresh cream from the cows on their farm. I have literally been dreaming about this pumpkin ever since and anxiously awaiting fall until I could make it!

Stuffed Pumpkin_.jpg

This is such a fun and easy recipe! (Besides carving the damn pumpkin)

I swear, I love Halloween and I am always so excited to carve a pumpkin, but when I went to take out the seeds and strings from even these small sugar pumpkins it proved that it’s a little bit of a pain in the ass! Just make sure you cut a big enough hole for the top because my hand barely squeezed in there to pull everything out haha. I had battle wounds after carving these suckers! But besides that, it’s smooth sailing I promise. :)

I stuffed these little guys with the most insanely delicious mixture eva. Browned sweet Italian sausage, shallot, garlic, fresh thyme, cubes of sourdough baguette, kale, and lots of shredded gruyere cheese. DONEEE. I would gnaw my way through the pumpkin itself if I had to to get to that mixture! Happy feasting Friends!

Stuffed Pumpkin_-4.jpg

Savory Stuffed Pumpkins

Ingredients

- 3-4 small baking pumpkins, or 1 large pumpkin (5-10 pounds)
- 1 French baguette, cubed. It’s better if it’s a little stale, or bake the cubes for a few minutes
- a lot of grated gruyere cheese. I grated about 1.5 cups
- 1 pound of Italian sausage
- 3 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- chopped fresh thyme - roughly 1 tablespoon
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 to 3 heaping cups of kale
- 1 cup half-and-half (adjust according to your preference)

what to do

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a heavy-duty knife inserted at a 45-degree angle, cut out a “lid” from the top of the pumpkin. Remove any seeds and cut away any loose strings using kitchen shears. Be prepared for gooey hands and to find random strings of pumpkin in your kitchen for years to come lol.

  2. Combine the bread cubes and Gruyère in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

  3. Heat a little oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking it into pieces with a wooden spoon, until it is golden-brown and cooked through, about 5-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to the bowl with the bread and cheese.

  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots, cooking until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and fresh thyme and cook for 30 seconds. Increase heat to high and add the wine, using the wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the wine until it is almost evaporated. Add the kale and a generous pinch of salt; stir until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add everything to the bread mixture.

  5. Transfer the stuffing to the pumpkin, filling it all the way to the top. I then poured a little half and half in each pumpkin. This part is totally your preference. If you want to add the cream to the mixture before filling the pumpkins you can, but I like the idea of just topping off the mixture with a little cream when it’s already in the pumpkin. Put the “lid” of the pumpkin back on and put in the oven.

  6. Bake until the filling is bubbling and hot, and the meat of the pumpkin can be pierced with a knife. This can be anywhere from 1 to 2 (or more) hours, depending on the size of your pumpkin.

  7. Carefully transfer the pumpkin(s) to a serving platter. Slice the pumpkin into large wedges and serve with a big scoop of stuffing!

Skillet Chicken & Sweet Potato Pie

Fall grub must have some hue of orange in it right? Isn’t that a prerequisite when deciding what to make this time of year?! All I want is sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut, roasted carrots, and candy corn. Yes, lots and lots of candy corn. Ok, maybe i’ll save the candy corn until Halloween night, maybe.

We had the the most relaxing (err..lazy) weekend ever and I managed to fill it with as much autumn-y goodness as possible. Friday night I made roasted spaghetti squash with mushrooms in a sage butter sauce, accompanied by cabernet and a cheesy horror flick. It was so off the wall that it was actually funny. Have you seen the The Visit?! It’s the one where the grandkids go to meet their grandparents that they’ve never met, and of course there’s a twist! Not great, but entertaining at least. On Saturday we slept in which was much needed, Thomas studied a little, I read and napped (tired much?!), and for a late lunch we wondered to a great new sushi place in our neighborhood Fish & Rice! If you’re in NW Portland you have to check it out!

Sunday’s are meant for a good meal. Whether that’s a fun brunch out with friends or a cozy dinner at home. I’m such a fan of slow cooked meals, but there’s also days where I just feel like doing something quick and easy but it still taste like you’ve put hours into it. This skillet chicken & sweet potato pie is exactly that! It uses rotisserie chicken to make your life easy and you only have to pull out one pan to make the whole meal. The BEST for lazy Sunday days.

Skillet Chicken & Sweet Potato Pie_-3.jpg
Skillet Chicken & Sweet Potato Pie_-4.jpg
Skillet Chicken & Sweet Potato Pie_-5.jpg
Skillet Chicken & Sweet Potato Pie_.jpg

Skillet Chicken & Sweet Potato Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie chicken (skin and bones discarded)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion

  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced

  • 4 cloves of garlic minced

  • Fresh rosemary, chopped, about 1-2 tablespoons

  • 2 tbs tomato paste

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire

  • 1 cup of chicken stock

  • 1-2 large sweet potatoes, thinly sliced (use a mandolin to get them really thin!)

  • Onion and garlic powder to sprinkle over the potatoes

what to do

  1. preheat oven to 350

  2. In a large skillet (or big deep cast iron skillet), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté until they start to soften and get some color on them, about six minutes. Add the garlic and chopped Rosemary, along with a pinch of salt and pepper; sauté another 30 seconds or so, until the garlic is fragrant.

  3. Move the veggies over in the pan and add the tomato paste. Press the paste into the pan for a few seconds to get the flavor out. Add the Worcestershire sauce, shredded chicken and stock. Season with another pinch of salt, and let this simmer about 10 minutes, while you thinly slice the sweet potatoes.

  4. Evenly and lightly press the mix in the pan, so that the potatoes lay evenly on top. Layer the potatoes over the chicken mix, starting with the outside edge, overlapping each other. Once the potatoes are arranged, brush with the melted butter. Then sprinkle with the onion and garlic powder, and another small pinch of salt.

  5. Bake anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes (depending on your oven), until the potatoes are cooked through, tender, and starting to curl on the edges

Spiced Apple Cider Mules

Hap-happy Friday!

This week has been a busy one after getting back from vacation last Friday. Getting caught up at work, unpacking, getting the apartment clean, and trying to get back in a workout routine made the week go by lightening fast! I’m trying to savor as much as October as possible, but I feel like the month is just whizzing by!

Spiced Apple Cider Mules.jpg

We were supposed to go to a friends cabin this weekend, but Thomas ended up having a big flight test come up earlier than expected, so now we are just going to have a quiet weekend at home. While he’s studying, I want to go explore some different neighborhoods in Portland, do a little shopping (I want some cute new props for pictures), and maybe have a picnic somewhere when he needs a study break since it’s going to be such beautiful weather! And you know what would be perfect for a picnic?

SPICED APPLE CIDER MULES! I

t’s basically Fall in a glass which is all I want this time of year. Bourbon, cinnamon whiskey, apple cider, and apple juice? Strong: YES, delicious: YES, goes down like water: YES, YES, YES. I like pouring all the ingredients in a mason jar and giving it a quick little shake before pouring it into the copper mug. I’m not sure, that might be a no-no in a bartenders eyes, but I thought it worked great since everything was mixed so well!

Have a great weekend ya’ll. I hope it’s filled with these mules, and all the cozy Fall Halloween-y things!

Spiced Apple Cider Mules-2.jpg
Spiced Apple Cider Mules-4.jpg
Spiced Apple Cider Mules-5.jpg
Spiced Apple Cider Mules-8.jpg
Spiced Apple Cider Mules-6.jpg
Spiced Apple Cider Mules-7.jpg
Spiced Apple Cider Mules-13.jpg
Spiced Apple Cider Mules-9.jpg
Spiced Apple Cider Mules-12.jpg
Spiced Apple Cider Mules-14.jpg
Spiced Apple Cider Mules - Cheers.jpg

Spiced Apple Cider Mules

Ingredients

- 3-4 Oz of apple juice
-4 Oz of hard apple cider
-1 Oz of bourbon
-1 Oz of cinnamon whiskey (I used Fireball, but any kind will do!
-crushed ice, cinnamon sticks, apple slices, and rosemary if you want to add a little greenery for garnish

  1. In a copper mug fill with crushed ice and pour all of the ingredients in a mason jar and stir, or pour all ingredients directly in the mug.

  2. Finish cocktail off with a garnish of lime wedges, cinnamon sticks and apple slices. Drink up!

How to Make Cozy Miso Ramen at Home

I am on a major ramen kick right now. Like I want to be slurping up noodles everyday kind of kick. Up until about a year ago, I had no idea ramen was anything more than plastic packages of dried noodles with a salty flavor packet. I had my first really good bowl of ramen at Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in Portland and I have been hooked ever since! I never realized there was so many variations- I dream of the day Thomas and I can travel to Japan hopping from spot to spot, slurping up bowls around every corner. Have you guys watched Ramen Head?! It’s a documentary about Tomita, one of the top ramen chefs in Japan, and it’s fueled my ramen fire even more!

Miso Ramen-2.jpg

I am definitely all for take-out and sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and let someone else do all the work. But I wanted to see if I could truly make an authentic bowl of ramen, so I did and it was SO worth it. You should definitely have some time on your hands if you’re going to embark on this endeavor, but in the end a cozy bowl of slurpy goodness will be waiting for you 🍜

Shopping at your local Asian grocery store will make this a lot easier since you can find great fresh ingredients like miso and fresh ramen noodles. I pretty much followed Lady and Pups recipe besides tweaking a few small things and it turned out incredible! Like she says, the ingredient list may look a little long but the preparation is super easy!

Miso Ramen-5.jpg
Cozy Miso Ramen_.jpg
Miso Ramen-3.jpg
Miso Ramen.jpg

Miso Ramen

Recipe & notes from Lady & Pups

It’s important that you use unsalted, or minimally salted stock for this recipe.  I always store homemade, unsalted chicken/pork stock in the freezer as it gives me total control of the seasoning in the final dishes.  Whether you are using homemade or store-bought, if your stock already has a prominent saltiness to it, you’ll have to reduce the amount of spicy miso paste to accommodate which will reduce the miso-flavour in your soup.  You’d be trading flavours with salt, see?

The type of soy milk may also make a difference.  I prefer Asian-style unsweetened soy milk which tends to carry a stronger “tofu/soy bean” taste, but if that’s unavailable, American brands soy milk will do, too.  Just make sure it isn’t sweetened, or flavoured with vanilla or etc.

-The only variation to this recipe I made, is that I used a pork hock to make my pork stock and then shredded the meat afterwards and garnished the bowls as opposed to using ground pork in the recipe, but either way is delicious!

Ingredients:

  • Spicy miso paste: (enough for at least 8 servings)

  • shoyu soft-boiled eggs:

    • 4 large free-range eggs

    • 3 tbsp of soy sauce

    • 2 tbsp of dark brown sugar

    • 1 tbsp of water

  • Garlic and togarashi oil:

All of the above can be made beforehand and kept in the fridge until needed.

To make the spicy miso paste:  Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smoothly pureed.  You may need to stop and scrape the blender a few times to get it going in the beginning.  Transfer the mixture into a pot and set over medium heat.  Bring to a low simmer and keep cooking/stirring for another 5 min.  Let it cool completely and store in an air-tight container in the fridge until needed.

To make the shoyu soft-boiled eggs:  Gently place the eggs in a small pot and fill it with water until the eggs are covered by 1″.  Add a generous pinch of salt (not listed in the ingredient-list because it’s more of a superstition for easy-peeling than anything…) and bring the water to a bare simmer on medium-high heat, then immediately lower the heat down to low (only enough heat to keep it at a bare simmer/or if you want to be anal, 212ºF/100ºC).  The second the water reached the right temperature, set the timer at 4:30 min.  Gently move the eggs around a few times during cooking.  Once the timer goes off, immediately transfer the eggs into cold water and leave them to cool completely.

Combine soy sauce, dark brown sugar and water in a small sauce pot.  Warm up the mixture just enough to melt the sugar, then set aside.  Peel the eggs then submerge them in the soy sauce-mixture.  Turning them occasionally while marinating for 2~3 hours.

To make the garlic and togarashi oil:  Combine minced shallots, minced garlic, sesame seeds, salt and vegetable oil in a small pot and set over low heat.  Slowly cook/stir until the garlics are crispy and lightly browned, approx 5~6 min.  Turn off the heat and add the Japanese chili powder/togarashi.  Give the mixture a stir and let it sit for a few hours or overnight.

  • Spicy miso ramen: (for 2 servings)

    • 220 grams of fatty ground pork (or use a pork hock that you made pork stock with)

    • 1 tbsp of toasted sesame oil

    • 1/4 tsp of freshly ground black pepper

    • 1 tbsp of dried shitake mushrooms

    • 2 cups (475 grams) of unsalted chicken or pork stock

    • 1 cup (227 grams) of unsweetened, unflavoured soy milk (Asian brands preferred but if unavailable, this will do, too)

    • 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup of spicy miso paste

    • 2 servings of fresh ramen noodles

    • 4 tbsp of finely diced scallions

    • 1 sheet of nori/Japanese sushi seaweed, cut into rectangular sheets

To make the spicy miso ramen:  Rinse the dried shitake mushrooms to get rid of any sand/dirt.  Finely chop them and set aside (without soaking).

In a large soup pot, heat up 1 tbsp of toasted sesame oil on high heat and start browning the fatty ground pork with ground black pepper.  Once the pork has broken up, browned, and released its fat, add 1/4 cup of the spicy miso paste and cook for another min until fragrant.  Add the chopped shitake, unsalted stock and unsweetened soy milk and bring to a simmer.  Place 1/2 cup spicy miso paste on top of a very fine sieve.  Lower the sieve half-way into the simmering soup and use a spoon to slowly dissolve the paste into the soup (it may seem very thick and troublesome in the beginning but be patient, it’ll dissolve eventually).  You’d be surprised at how much “solids” within the paste will remain on top of the sieve, which if dumped directly into the soup, will make the soup very thick and “sauce-like”.

Discard the “solids” in the sieve and let the soup simmer for another 5 min.  If the soup tastes quite salty at this point, that is correct.  It’s Japanese ramen…  It is salty.

Cook the fresh ramen noodles according to package instructions, and drain well.  Divide the noodles into two large bowl and ladle the soup on top (you may have a bit more than needed).  For each serving, place 1 shoyu egg (cut into half), 2 tbsp of finely diced scallions, 3 rectangular nori sheets, and 2 tsp of garlic and togarashi oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Slurp away.

Fall Bucket List

Fall! My favorite time of year. Beautiful leaves, crisp cool air, and all things cozy! I swear the second October hits, I switch out summer scented candles for apple cinnamon & pumpkin spice, swap dresses for sweaters, and turn on the oven almost every day to make something warm and cozy. I try and fit as much into this season as possible, so a much needed Fall bucket list is order! "‘Fall-ow” along and you will definitely feel like you did the season right!

Fall Bucket List

  1. Go to the pumpkin patch and carve a pumpkin

  2. Watch all of the classics: Hocus Pocus, Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice, Halloween, Ghostbusters, and Young Frankenstein to name a few!

  3. Bake a pumpkin pie from scratch, homemade crust and all

  4. Go apple-picking

  5. Make caramel apples

  6. Visit a local brewery and try some of their seasonal beers

  7. Have a afternoon picnic complete with warm spiked apple cider in a thermos

  8. Make a pumpkin spice latte at home

  9. Have a cozy night in and make a Fall-inspired cheese board, light all the candles and pop open a bottle of red wine

  10. Make pumpkin pancakes and have breakfast in bed

  11. Go to a Halloween costume party

  12. Visit a scary haunted house

  13. Walk around the farmer’s market on the weekend and shop for fresh produce, seasonal flowers, and apple butter

  14. Go for a hike when the leaves are changing

  15. Have a technology detox day and spend the day reading and exploring the neighborhood

  16. Read a scary novel

  17. Make a pot of chili, like this one, and homemade cornbread

  18. Plan or attend a Friendsgiving

  19. Host a wine tasting with cute appetizers

  20. Send notes to friends and family for Thanksgiving telling them why i’m thankful for them

Fall Bucket List-7.jpg
Fall Bucket List-6.jpg
Fall Bucket List-8.jpg

Weekly Crumbs

Ok, we may look ridiculous but I’m really in the Halloween/dress-up spirit alright?!

Photo Bus.jpg

This was from coolest photo bus at my brother’s wedding in Tennessee this past week! It was such a beautiful and quaint wedding with around 50 people at the Dancing Bear Lodge. It was so great to be with my family since I hadn’t seen them since our wedding 6 months ago!

However we did have a little mishap before the wedding…

On the flight from Portland to Knoxville, we had a layover in Chicago and we accidentally left our garment bag on the plane that had Thomas’ tux and my bridesmaid dress in it! The worst mistake ever right before a wedding! After filing a lost and found report and some serious sweating and anxiety on my end, United Airlines shipped it directly to the lodge the day before the wedding!! Some serious praise is indebted to United for delivering it so quickly! I had major doubts that it would arrive before the wedding since most of the time things like that take forever to get back, but they definitely delivered. Thanks United! :)

Anywho, we’re back in Portland and I’m in full Fall/Halloween mode! And the weather in Portland right now is incredible- blue skies, cool air, and the leaves are changing! I hope you all had a great weekend - Here’s some things i’m loving this week!

- We watched all 4 episodes of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and it is my new favorite show on Netflix. So so good. I just want her job!!

- I’ve been scheming up my halloween costume for this year, i’m not revealing yet what it is since i’m not 100% sure, but I loved all of these in this slideshow!

- Loved this 40+ list of the best Halloween movies! The classics like ghostbusters, Adams Family, and Hocus Pocus are my favorite 🎃

- I stumbled upon this list of the coziest cabins in the world. Can I please make my way through this list?!

- I love this fall reading list. I needed a good new book, so this is a great place to start!

- the best chicken recipes of all time from Food52. Definitely bookmarked!

- Fall recipes that I’m planning to make from other bloggers this week:


Have a great week everyone!

Seared Scallops with Butternut Squash Purée

People are obsessed with all things Pumpkin this time of year. I mean OBSESSED! Have you walked into Trader Joe’s lately? Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin shaped pasta, pumpkin spice coffee creamer, and even pumpkin spice hand-soap! I have to admit, I did order a pumpkin spice latte today at Starbucks and I might have already decided what i’m going to be for Halloween, so I have no room to judge…

However, if you’re needing a break for pumpkin but are still wanting to give some love to the squash family, butternut is your guy (or girl?)! Normally i’ve ever just used butternut in stews or my favorite butternut squash enchiladas, but we puréed it up for this first time and it is silky autumn delectableness.

This was a random recipe we made and it ended up being a crazy delicious combo so I wanted to share it with you guys! If you’re wanting to make something that looks fancy but is super easy and quick to cook-up, this is for you!

And If you’ve never seared scallops, YOU GOTTA MAKE IT HAPPEN. Not only are they scrumptious and perfect sea vessels, but they are surprisingly simple to make. The trick is not to flip them right away and let them get a perfect golden crust. Do it, just do it alright?

Seared Scallops-3.jpg
Seared Scallops-2.jpg

Seared Scallops with Butternut Squash Purée

Ingredients (recipe is for two people)

- 8 large scallops (about a pound)
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons of finely chopped shallot
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- 1 small butternut squash
- sautéed mushrooms (optional)

What to do

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350º. Peel the squash, scooping out the seeds and cutting the flesh into 1-inch cubes. On a foil-lined sheet pan, toss the squash cubes with olive oil and season with salt. Cover the squash with foil and roast until it's tender, 50 to 60 minutes.

  2. Purée the squash in a blender and then push through a fine-mesh strainer and add to a pot with a lid to keep it warm.

  3. To make the scallops, Pat scallops dry, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Add scallops, and sear about 2 minutes on each side. Careful not to flip until each side is golden. Transfer scallops to a plate, cover, and keep warm.

  4. Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and shallot; cook a few minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown. (Be careful not to burn the garlic.) Remove skillet from heat; stir in lemon juice and capers.

  5. Re-heat the butternut puree in the pot if it’s needed. Dollop the puree on a plate and slide it it with a spoon to create a base for the scallops. Place scallops down, spoon brown butter sauce over!

Enjoy!

Weekly Crumbs, Vol. 14

Last week nothing particularly exciting happened Monday-Thursday, so I thought I would just do a little recap of our weekend since it was such a good one! Every weekend is good, but this one felt exceptionally long and fun-filled! I hope you all are feeling just as rested and relaxed this Monday morning! 😌

Friday

Normally on Fridays I love nothing more that staying in, cook a yummy meal together and share a bottle of wine. But this Friday it was such beautiful weather all day, 70’s and not a cloud in the sky, so we knew that we should soak up every ounce of good weather while we still have the chance! Thankfully we live in the best part of Portland in my opinion, so we just wandered out our door a couple of blocks and sat outside of Jo Bar and Rotisserie on 23rd ave. We drank their new seasonal cocktails, a fig old fashioned for him, a reposado cocktail for me, snacked on the best oysters with a tequila mignonette, drank several glasses of bubbles, talked and laughed and people watched. A quick happy hour turned into an unexpected date night, which is the best kind!

7675B36F-2BC3-4A2E-B24C-7242A60E4CF5.JPG

Saturday

Saturday we showed our support at the PurpleStride walk on the waterfront in Portland. Several of our friends parents have passed away from pancreatic cancer, so it felt good to be there to support them and help fund such an important cause.

Afterwards Thomas planned a surprise for one of our good friends’ birthdays - To take us all up in a plane! It was our friend Linzy’s birthday, and Thomas and Linzy’s husband had it planned for weeks and us girls had no idea! Unfortunately the weather ended up being too bad to go up once we were already at the airport, but she was still really surprised and we made a plan to make a day out of it the next nice day that we have in Portland! It will be my first time as well going up with Thomas in a plane, so i’m excited! We still had to kill time though since we were planning a surprise party for Linzy at her house, so we ended up going to Edgefield for a couple of beers before saying our “goodbyes” and then racing ahead of them so we could get to their house to be in on the surprise!

IMG_2049.JPG

Sunday

Sundays is definitely my favorite to sleep in and move extra slowly in the morning. We fell asleep at like 10:00 Saturday night since we had such a long day, so after sleeping over 10 hours we woke up feeling rested and refreshed!

If anything is on your agenda for this week it’s to make this toast that I made Sunday! Sourdough topped high with an herby dill and parsley yogurt, sun-dried tomato pesto, wilted spinach, fried eggs, crumbled goat cheese, and finished with more herbs and Everything but the bagel seasoning! SO good. Around noon we headed out to Cornell Farms which is a beautiful nursery and garden center right on the outskirts of NW Portland. We made a cute little herb garden and then sat on the porch at their cafe and had coffee, quiche and a blueberry granola.

Afterwards we decided to check out Uwajimaya, a huge Asian food market in Beaverton. I have been wanting to go for a while now and it did not disappoint! They have everything you could ever want and we definitely took advantage! We spent part of our future child’s college fund but no big deal, it was worth it 😉 I made traditional miso ramen from scratch for the first time and I will never do it another way again! Posting the recipe soon!

Turkish Egg Toasts-3.JPG
Herb Garden-2.jpg
IMG_2506.jpg
Miso Ramen-3.jpg

Lamb and Butternut Squash Curry

It may be 85 degrees out today but I am in full-fledge fall mode and there’s no going back! It’s been cooling down more and more in Portland (besides today for some reason) and I am absolutely loving it! This time of year officially kicks off the holidays! Halloween which means changing leaves, lots of scary movies, fun costumes, and pumpkin-in-everything; Thanksgiving filled with all the best things in life: family, turkey, all the pies, and gravy, lots and lots of gravy; And last but not least Christmas, which is undoubtedly the best time of the year.

Lamb & Butternut Squash Curry_.jpg

In these months, there’s nothing more satisfying than coming home and making a warming meal. The smell of a stew braising in the oven, a pie baking, or mulled cider simmering on the stove with cinnamon are the best possible smells to fill your house. This lamb & butternut squash curry, the king of yummy smelling things, will literally make your burst into tears of joy. I have to say, it’s taken the cake of my favorite cozy meal.

Sometimes we make it with lamb shoulder, but this last time we used lamb shanks and I don’t think I’ll ever do it any other way again! So amazingly tender. The butternut squash makes it feel extra autumn-y and the coconut milk and kale top it off to perfection. Making this meal and sharing a bottle of red is one of my favorite date night meals for this time of year!

Lamb & Butternut Squash Curry_-3.jpg
Lamb & Butternut Squash Curry_-4.jpg
Lamb & Butternut Squash Curry_-11.jpg
Lamb & Butternut Squash Curry_-7.jpg
Lamb & Butternut Squash Curry_-5.jpg
Lamb & Butternut Squash Curry_-6.jpg

Lamb & Butternut Squash Curry

ingredients

- 4 lamb shanks or 2 pounds trimmed boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 small-medium sized butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 cups chopped Tuscan kale
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
- chopped fresh parsley for topping
- basmati rice and naan bread for serving

what to do

  1. In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and cook over high heat until browned on all sides about 3 minutes. If the shanks or cubed lamb shoulder doesn’t fit in all at once, brown the meat in two batches.

  2. Remove the shanks and set aside. If you’re using the lamb shoulder keep it in the pot. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add the curry powder and cook for another minute until it’s all dreamy smelly. Then stir in the flour, then slowly pour in and stir the wine until smooth. Add the stock and bring to a boil, stirring, until thickened, 1 minute or so. Add the lamb shanks back in, cover and simmer over low heat until the lamb is very tender, about an hour and a half to two hours.

  3. Add the squash, carrot and coconut milk to pot and simmer over moderately low heat until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the kale and let simmer for another few minutes until kale is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Top basmati rice with the curry and serve with warm naan bread!

Enjoy!

Our Essentials for a Camping Weekend

Ok - we may be more ‘glampers’ than campers just to get that out there. I would like to think that I could carry just a backpack, hike 15 miles to our camping spot, and eat freeze-dried food but that’s just not appealing to me when I am wanting a relaxing weekend in the outdoors. All the more power to you though if you’re a serious hiker like that! I always tell Thomas I would like to do a backpacking trip someday…but for now I am good with coolers of food & snacks, our comfy tent with an air mattress, and lots of beer & wine, s’mores and board games!

Here’s our essentials for a camping weekend!

  1. Find a good camping spot. I love scouring The Outdoor Project for recommendations.

  2. Pack a couple of coolers to the brim with good food and drinks for the weekend! I love Yeti coolers as well as their ice packs to keep everything cold.

  3. Speaking of good food - meal plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so you bring the perfect amount. We usually do eggs and bacon for breakfast, sandwiches or hotdogs for lunch, and steak, veggies, and potatoes on the grill for dinner.

  4. Even though we love cooking over the fire, a Coleman stove is essential for making something quickly or boiling water for coffee in the morning.

  5. Speaking of coffee, a French press is great since it’s easy to just add boiling water and not deal with any filters.

  6. Board games - Yahtzee and cards are a must.

  7. An air mattress - we use a battery operated pump which makes things easy. It’s always hilarious when it starts to deflate and you both end up crammed in the middle!

  8. Libations - I love sitting by the stream or lake during the day with a cold beer, and then cozying up by the campfire with red wine at night. Or hot chocolate of course :)

  9. Bug spray and citronella candles. Those little suckers are intense! Our last camping trip there were a ton of wasps and I luckily had this natural lemongrass bug spray that actually kept them away from the camp!

  10. S’mores of course! Hershey’s chocolate all the way. I bought a thicker bar of chocolate last time that I thought would be good, but the chocolate didn’t get as melty as Hershey’s does.

  11. Dry shampoo. This is very necessary. 3 day- greasy-camping-head is not a good look.

  12. Something to read. Spending the quiet mornings and afternoons reading is my fav! This last trip I brought my newest issue of bon appétit and i’m also reading Sara’s Key which is so good!

  13. The last essential is to completely disconnect. Not that we have any service anyways when we normally camp, but regardless we always turn our phones off. Besides the occasional picture, completely disconnecting from social media feels so good for the weekend.

Camping Weekend_-7.jpg
Camping Weekend_.jpg
Camping Weekend_-4.jpg
Camping Weekend_-6.jpg
Camping Weekend_-10.jpg
Camping Weekend_-14.jpg

Weekly Crumbs, Vol. 13

FALL IS HERE!!! Sorry to scream that at you, but I am so excited! Anyone who knows me knows that Halloween is my thing - but it’s also so much more than that. I love the crisp mornings and chilly evenings, the beautiful leaves saying goodbye to Summer and hello to Fall, making cozy meals at home, and yes, watching lots of scary movies and Hocus Pocus at least 3 times in true Halloween spirit. I have been researching everything I want to do on the blog for this month so i’m giddy with excitement at the thought of LOTS of pumpkin. Basic maybe, but you know you love it ;)

 photo by  Taralynn Mcnitt

In love with these decked out houses for Fall/Halloween

Thomas and I were house/dog sitting for our friends who were on their honeymoon, and it made me even more excited to buy our own house! The next place we settle we will definitely buy and I am SO READY. I love all of these cute Fall/Halloween decor ideas!
- chic not cheesy
- these fall front porches
- Halloween dinner party decor
- minimal fall mantles

Steel-Cut Oat %22Risotto%22 with Delicata Squash (4 of 1).jpg

Cozy meals we’re making this month

Last week was the first week that I felt was cool enough to start making all of my fall favorites. We made my favorite lamb and butternut squash curry which I am putting on the blog this week! Here are some of the other recipes already on my mind:
- wine braised beef with parsnip puree is one of my favorites!
- steel cut oat risotto with butternut squash is the best comfort food
- roasted autumn salad is the best quick weeknight meal!
- butternut squash and black bean enchiladas

Fall cocktail game is strong

Boozy pumpkin hot chocolate.jpg

- Boozy pumpkin hot chocolate
- Aperol pear cider spritz
- this apple-groni sounds amazing!
- apple cider bourbon cocktail
- I love a good sangria - this autumn version looks amazing!

Fall Staples I have my eye on

 photo by  livvylandblog

photo by livvylandblog

- I really want a cool hat like this one!
- a cute mustard colored sweater
- I need a new jean jacket for layering and when it’s not too cold out.
- Always in need of an oversized sweater

Our Go-to Açaí Bowls

During hectic weeks when Thomas and I get home and collapse on the couch, we look at each other and say “how the heck do people do this with kids?!” Even though we are still a couple years from having a baby, it’s definitely more in our minds when it comes to how much we work right now. Props to all of you busy working mama’s out there, because I don’t know how you do it - I’m guessing it’s some magical mama energy that you get!

As a recruiter I’m flipping between two computer screens, talking to candidates with the phone glued to my shoulder, conducting interviews in our office, and doing what seems like 10 things at once. And as a pilot, Thomas usually has back to back flights and definitely has to be alert and ‘on’ all day - So you can imagine how we both value the chance to ‘turn off’ at night and especially on the weekends. That’s why Saturday and Sunday mornings are simply the best. I’m sure that’s the same for most people though! Having a quiet morning reading, catching up on blog posts, sipping coffee, and eating a good breakfast is what I look forward to after a crazy work week. When we really want to recharge and start the morning off right, our go-to is an açaí bowl!

It’s refreshing and light but filling when you add granola, sliced banana, and peanut butter! It’s Thursday, so are you already day-dreaming about Saturday morning? You know this girl is. :)

Acai Bowls-2.jpg
Acai Bowls.jpg

Açaí Bowl

Ingredients

- 1 (100g) packet frozen acai berry packet
- 1 banana frozen (the riper the better)
- ¼ cup almond milk
- honey (optional) if the banana isn’t sweet enough

toppings
- peanut butter - melt with a little coconut oil so you can drizzle it
- granola - we use our homemade granola
- more sliced banana. You can also add strawberries and blueberries
- hemp seeds
- cocoa nibs

what to do

  1. In a high-powered blender, combine the acai berry packet, frozen banana, 1/4 cup of almond milk, and extra honey if needed. Blend until completely smooth.

  2. Pour into a bowl and top drizzle with melted peanut butter, granola, sliced banana, hemp seeds, and cocoa nibs.