Sunday, December 21, 2014

Staycation: Scottish Christmas

A few times each year my dear friend Ashley and I have a staycation day. We both are small business folks and know it is important to have some R+R, even if you can't actually go away somewhere. We take a full day to recharge at home! We have grown this holiday and invited two more friends, Rachel and Nicole.

For this staycation, we had the theme Scottish Christmas. Ashley is a wee bit obsessed with plaid.

For our first breakfast, we enjoyed pumpkin french toast drizzled with maple syrup and fresh berries. We then went on a lovely winter hike, all dressed in cable knit sweaters, plaid and fun furry accessories. Ashley, you own more hiking accessories than the rest of us combined!

We listened to a nice Celtic holiday mix on spotify and got to gab and catch up. There is something special about hanging out with just the ladies!

Of course we were famished after our leisurely hike, so we came back to enjoy an appetizer of delicious cheddar and sour cream kettle chips while our second breakfast baked: individual mushroom, onion and cheddar stratas in the cutest little red ramekins that I found last holiday season on sale.

After second breakfast, Rachel worked her magic on my hair. We were doing a trial up-do for my upcoming nuptials. I can't believe she is able to do such wonderful things to hair without any formal training. I love the hair do she designed and can't wait for the real day (t-minus 8 days!).

Unfortunately Rachel wasn't able to stay for the whole staycation...she had to go after finishing my hair. Boo!

Nicole and Ashley introduced me to a fabulous new show called Miss. Fisher's Murder Mysteries, an Australian show that you all need to watch! It is available on netflix. Miss Fisher is a sassy, independent, wickedly smart woman who is a detective in Melbourne, Australia. She has the most fabulous outfits, hats and make up and if I could find her skin-care regimen, I'd follow it to the letter.  I would like to be her when I grow up!



While relaxing in front of the tube, we enjoyed a lovely little cocktail make with Crown Royale Maple Finished Whiskey. Truly a delightful cocktail!

Mostly it is just important to slow down once in a while, remember to relax and recharge to balance all of the hard work! Life is just too short.

We are actually going to kick of the new year with another staycation in January before the students get back. How wonderful is that? Our theme....chocolate and fur! We will drink hot chocolate with something boozy in there, wear furry hats and sweaters and do some spa therapy with cocoa butter. Stay tuned, this may be our best theme yet!

{Recipe ReDux} Grab a Book and Cook: Golden Cream of Onion Soup

"It’s the end of the year and we’ll taking a moment to reflect: ReDux has been around for 42 months! (Can you believe some of you have ReDux-ed 42 recipes?) To celebrate, we’re playing a little party game this month: Grab your nearest cookbook and ReDux the recipe on page 42 or 142. We can’t wait to see the books you’re cooking from these days – and how you make that recipe healthier."

Has anyone used a Moosewood cookbook? They are a collection of wonderful recipe books by Mollie Katzan. I have several, but chose to open up The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest to page 42 to see what recipe I'd be cooking. Yum - I love soup!

Most of the Moosewood cookbooks are handwritten by Mollie with beautiful illustrations. It is like receiving a favorite recipe from a friend or family member. And her explanations on cooking basics empower anyone to try new recipes. Check her out!

I decided to puree the soup per a recommendation from Martha Stewart, added some broth and I also added some carrots to boost the nutrition as well as create a beautiful golden color. Otherwise, I left the original recipe alone. 

Golden Cream of Onion Soup
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1 cup broth, vegetable or chicken
  • 3 cups milk
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  1. In a large soup pot, saute onions in butter for 5-10 minutes or until softened and lightly browned. Add flour, salt and pepper and mustard and stir to evenly distribute flour. Cook for one minute more, or until flour starts to brown.
  2. Stir in stock, milk, nutmeg and carrots. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until all veggies are tender. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Check for seasonings and serve if perfect!
I enjoyed mine with some whole wheat cheesy garlic toast for a lovely supper on a chilly evening!

Check out these other fabulous recipe by the Recipe Redux!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tropical Whole Grain Muffins

It sure is cold outside! Most of the time during winter, I really enjoy soups, stews and hearty food that warms the belly. Every once in a while, though, I want my meal to whisk me away. Today, I brought a small taste of the tropics to my kitchen my using the 100 Days of Real Food Muffin Recipe and added pineapple juice, coconut, banana and a handful of pecans. Delicious!

Tropical Whole Grain Muffins

 
  • 1½ cups white whole-wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ¾ cup pineapple juice
  • 1 banana, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl with a fork or whisk mix the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Make a well (hole) in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the eggs, honey, vanilla, oil and juice. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together – do not overmix.
  4. Stir in the banana, coconut and pecans. 
  5. Line a muffin pan with liners and fill ⅔ to ¾ of the way full with batter.
  6. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature and freeze some for a later date. 
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