Tag: food

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you’re enjoying your family, friends, loved ones and pets today.

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Yup, that’s me many Thanksgivings ago. I feel so blessed the word thankful doesn’t feel like enough. As someone in the later half of my 20s I’m amazed by how much I learn and grow year over year. It becomes easier to understand what makes my family tick, why I am the way I am and why the people in my life (both near and far) are so important to me.

In the age of “busy” it’s not easy to stop and take a minute to tune out the digital distractions and tune into you and your family. Among all the holiday chaos today I hope you have the chance to enjoy whatever it is you’re thankful for.

Cheers to the good food, warm hugs and funny stories you’ll share today. I hope you’re able to relax and take it all in.

Autumn Dinner Party

You’re cordially (virtually) invited to my autumn dinner party…

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I hosted a small dinner party for six a few weeks ago to toast the season and informally celebrate my BFF Laura’s birthday. The table setting was one of my best so I decided it was too good not to share.

You probably won’t be surprised to see succulents gracing the table. I used some purple and cream echeveria cuttings paired with seeded eucalyptus and leafy foliage to create a natural centerpiece.

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And some smaller cream succulent rosettes graced the napkins.

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I spent an embarrassing amount of time cutting out some leaf place cards by hand.

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With only four guests (six including my husband and I) place cards weren’t necessary but they added a touch of whimsy to the table. I’ve read that giving your guests a reserved spot at the table eases the worry of where to sit and I think there’s something to be said for that.

We planned to have a fire outside after dinner so I used candles and ornamental kale to give the back yard a more festive fall feel.

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You can easily recreate the rustic candle holders with two terracotta pots, two cylindrical glass vases and some green preserved moss. I’ve had them on my table for the past few weeks through all sorts of weather and they still look great.

I even spruced up the powder room with two stems of succulent rosettes and some extra seeded eucalyptus in a clear vase. Small touches like this are easy and they help make your home feel extra special for your guests.

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On to the important part –the food! I served the meal in four courses to be a little fancy shmancy.

We had acorn squash soup.

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I didn’t use a recipe to make this and just sort of flew by the seat of my pants. I roasted the squash cut side down in a 400 degree oven (smothered in olive oil, sea salt and cinnamon) for an hour until it got nice and soft. I sautéed some garlic in a large Dutch oven and scooped the squash into after it had a chance to cool. Then I added some chicken broth, stirred and let it summer for about 30 minutes. After adding some salt, pepper and a little cream I puréed it with an immersion blender and it was ready to serve! For an added touch I topped it with a few springs of fried sage and roasted pumpkin seeds. Yum!

The second course was a delicious fall salad made with spring mix topped with dried cherries, pomegranate seeds, Gorgonzola, red onion and pumpkin seeds dressed with a lite Italian vinaigrette.

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Next was the main course — prosciutto sautéed Brussels sprouts and stuffed chicken breasts. I got both of these recipes from Skinnytaste. You can find them here and here.

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And to top it all off I made gingerbread tiramisu for dessert served with espresso. I used my friend Laura’s recipe because it’s AMAZING and the flavors scream fall (hello pumpkin pie spice and gingersnaps). You can get it here.

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I opted to serve the tiramisu in individual vintage punch glasses for an extra special touch. They took a little more prep before the party but were super easy to grab out of the fridge and go when it was time for dessert. Laura’s recipe made 10 of these little guys so I had some left over. I wasn’t mad about it.

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It was a very special night and we all decided we should have formal, fancy dinners more often. Maybe I’ll host another for the holidays? Or to combat the winter blues in January? Who knows, but I hope it’s soon!

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Just remember the most important thing is to make your guests feel welcome and relaxed so don’t try anything outside of your comfort zone for a dinner party setting. Rely on your favorite recipes and think of a way to elevate them — like serving dessert in punch cups instead of bowls. Little touches go a long way when you’re entertaining. Now go call your friends and invite them to dinner! 🙂

Sunday Football Baked Potato Bar

Sundays for me mean two things: football and good food. Today we’re hanging out at Mike’s Uncle’s house to watch the Eagles game.

When we get together at Uncle Brian’s we each bring something yummy and always else up having some sort of epic meal. Seafood lasagna, antipasto, steak, fresh caught perch and homemade meatballs to name a few.

Today, we’re having prime rib (!!!) so I decided to make a baked potato bar to go with it.

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For the potatoes, I simply scrubbed them, poked a ton of holes in the skin, rubbed them with almond oil to lend a nice nutty flavor and sprinkled the skin with course sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Then I put them right on the rack in a 350 degree oven for 75 minutes. They were done a bit early so I turned off the oven and left them in there for an additional 30 minutes and they got nice and soft inside and crispy outside without burning.

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I threw together a fixin’s bar using my glass chips-and-dip platter with sour cream, butter, chopped bacon, finely chopped chives and shredded cheddar cheese. Everything you could possibly want to top your spuds!

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Now it’s time to eat. I hope you get the chance to relax and enjoy your family today.

Go EAGLES!! 🙂

Easy Breakfast Cups

Work is back in full swing, and so is my attempt at prepping meals to get us back on track after a holiday season full of heavy food. Making three meals a day from scratch (two of which that are also portable enough to drag into work) is nothing short of a miracle. I’m trying to make an effort at providing us with three balanced meals to curb cravings and keep hunger pains at bay throughout the hectic work week, so I put on my thinking cap and came up with an easy breakfast that’s perfect for our busy lifestyle – using ingredients I had on hand, no less!

Easy Breakfast Cups

I’m sharing the deets of this genius idea with you, just in case you struggle with healthy meal planning like I do. Okay, maybe not genius (I’m sure there’s hundreds of pins on Pinterest with similar breakfast recipes), but I’m pretty proud of myself. These breakfast cups were inspired by a crustless quiche recipe that I got from my Mommom, but even more lightened up. I used a cupcake pan to make 12 yummy breakfast cups using just six eggs and three small links of sausage. A serving size for Mike and I will be two cups, so one egg and a quarter of a sausage link each, but they’ll taste yummy and curb our cravings for a heavier breakfast sandwich. The protein should stick with us throughout the day, too.

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to make them yourself:

Ingredients

  • Small Sausage Links, sliced (3)
  • Eggs (6)
  • Paprika
  • Garlic Powder
  • Chives

Process

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cupcake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the sausage links into very thin slices (or use ground sausage) and sauté in pre-heated skillet until cooked.

Crack six eggs into a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle a generous amount of paprika, garlic powder and chives (dried or fresh) onto eggs and beat with a fork until combined. Feel free to add a little milk to this step for fluffier eggs if you’d like. I didn’t have any on hand, so I omitted it for this recipe. I also omitted adding salt and pepper to the eggs because the sausage would add enough seasoning combined with the other herbs and spices.

Divide cooked sausage slices among the 12 cups in the greased cupcake pan. Pour egg mixture over sausage until cups are half full. Place in oven and bake until eggs become fluffy, about 10 minutes.

Cooked Breakfast Cups

Allow breakfast cups to cool in cupcake pan and divide into grab-and-go single-serve freezer bags. Freeze until ready to eat. Then, pop them into the microwave until warm and enjoy!