My meal prep completely fell by the wayside this weekend. For dinner on Sunday night I had leftover mac and cheese, popcorn and goldfish crackers. I have been totally focused on redecorating the main level of our house. That makes it sound like our house has so many levels when I say it like that; main level. It doesn’t–our house is a tiny little 1940’s cap cod and I love it. There’s just the main level, the upstairs (which is really considered a half story because it has all those cute little dormer windows and angled ceilings) and then the creepy, crawly dungeon basement. Our previous house was 5 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and was way too much space for just the two of us. Now that we’ve introduced a cute little toddler into the mix, I can see the argument for a larger house, but honestly I wouldn’t trade this little house for anything. Okay, maybe I’d trade it for 1 million dollars, but you get my point.
I love our little house. I love it’s coziness and warm, homey feel. Although up until this past weekend, it really didn’t feel like ours. The walls were painted all different colors, which was fine, they were actually some pretty good colors. But I have been longing for a gray living room. And a gray kitchen. And a gray dining room. Yes, this weekend I painted all three rooms of our main level a cool light gray. And it’s glorious! The shade might even be called glorious gray, who knows. Edit: I do know; it’s called snowglory!
My parents had a leftover 5 gallon bucket of paint that they so generously gifted to me and it was GAME ON after that. Unfortunately, I got a little too excited and did not take any before pictures. Woops! But once it’s complete I’ll show you the after! I am still in the decorating phase. You know when you scour Pinterest for hours looking for rustic chic reclaimed barnwood sconces and peruse Etsy endlessly wondering where people find the time and inspiration for all these beautiful projects. Needless to say, there will still be no time for meal prep this week. So I bought stuff for sandwiches and spent 5 minutes total making this curry last night, and we are set!
Vegan Crockpot Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
- 3 tablespoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 can coconut milk
- 32 ounces veggie stock
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- kosher salt
- fresh cracked black pepper
- Brown rice or quinoa for serving
- fresh chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish
Add onion, garlic, cauliflower, chickpeas, curry power, cumin, paprika, garam masala, coconut milk, veg stock, and a few healthy pinches of salt and pepper to a large crock pot. Stir to combine ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours. Then combine cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water until it dissolves. Add to the crock pot and stir to combine. Cover and cook for another hour.
Serve with brown rice or quinoa and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
Last night I had the pleasure of taking part in the Eat Local Challenge Farm to Fork dinner held at The Informalist. I can easily say it was the most fun I’ve had in months. Several of the most talented chefs in the Chippewa Valley (along with little old me) got together and created a six course meal with wine and cocktail pairings highlighting locally sourced ingredients from right here in Wisconsin. It truly was a magical evening in the kitchen and from what the guests said, it was just as magical for those who dined. **Photo credit goes to Kyle Lehman Photography for all the mouthwatering photos below** Continue reading Choux a la Crème with Bourbon Maple Chantilly Cream
I am IN LOVE with fall. You know, all the classic parts that everyone loves — the changing colors, the cool crisp air, the pumpkin spice everything — but even those dreary, rainy days where the leaves get soggy and everything is a little chilly and dingy and dirty. Actually those days might be my favorite! Sneaking out for a walk around the neighborhood, dodging raindrops. Or a quick trip the grocery store and then scurrying back inside to roast something warm and comforting for dinner. Like this soup! You can snuggle up and get cozy with the fam while your oven does all the work and warms up your house a bit too. Then toss everything into a high speed blender for a few minutes, simmer in a pot and serve.
Although we’ve had quite a rollercoaster of weather lately, I have comfortably settled into my cool weather meal rotation already. Which means you’ll be seeing lots of soup, chili, and my personal favorite, pasta sauce! You’ll probably be seeing some pizza recipes pretty soon here because I can’t stop ordering Domino’s and Pizza Hut for dinner and it’s starting to become a problem. It never tastes as good as I think it’s going to, it’s never worth the exorbitant amount of calories, and it never makes me feel anything but stuffed and tired! But damn, it sure is easy to order online and not have to worry about putting a meal together! I have some leftover spaghetti sauce that would be a perfect pizza sauce in fact…
If you’re looking for a departure from your classic squash soup, you’ve found a comforting crowd pleaser with this soup!
Roasted Curried Squash Soup
- 1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds and pulp removed
- 1 head garlic, halved widthwise
- 1 red onion, cut into 6 wedges
- 2 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place garlic in the center of a small piece of foil, drizzle cut side with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold the corners of the foil up, creating a sealed pouch around the garlic. Lay squash cut side up on a foil lined baking sheet. Arrange onion in a single layer next to squash on the baking sheet. Make sure there is room for your foil garlic pouch on the baking sheet as well. Drizzle squash and onion with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. In a small bowl combine curry powder, thyme, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Sprinkle about 2/3 of the spice mixture across the surface of the squash and the onion wedges. Set the remaining seasoning aside.
Roast squash, onion and garlic for 1 hour or until the squash is fork tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then remove skin from squash and transfer it along with the onions to a high speed blender. Squeeze roasted garlic from the skins and into the blender as well. Add the vegetable stock and blend on high for about 3-5 minutes or until it is smooth.
Pour pureed mixture into a large pot over medium heat. Stir in coconut milk and the remaining seasoning mixture. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Serve with crumbled goat cheese and toasted pecans.
My toddler LOVED this spaghetti! Like, fistfuls of ‘sgetti straight to the mouth she loved it so much. And the best part is I feel good about serving it to her because I know exactly what’s in it! Just a teaspoon of sugar added to the entire recipe (to offset the acidity of the tomatoes) and no artificial flavors or ingredients you can’t pronounce! We are working on teaching her to use a spoon and although most of the time she ends up scooping the food right into her hair, she’d definitely improving. I am still consistently amazed at all the things her little brain has learned in just over a year.
We are at that stage where I thought by now we would be adopting another child. I always had it in my head that we would adopt two children and they’d be rather close in age. I grew up with a brother who was 14 months younger than me and although we had our fair share of fights, for the most part I really enjoyed having a built in friend and childhood playmate. And now that we are older I appreciate him even more than I used to!
But lately I find myself thinking about how much I appreciate being able to really soak up every minute of our daughter’s toddlerness without distraction. And I’m not sure if I’m ready for another baby yet. I love being able to focus and pay attention to her when she needs me. Obviously we are encouraging her to be autonomous and independent as she gets older, but we definitely fall into the attachment parenting category and appreciate all the snuggles and cuddles she offers. I like that we are just this cute little family of three. It seems simple. I like simple. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if we shouldn’t wait until she’s 5-6 before diving into the adoption process again. Once she’s off to school and gaining her independence and you know, using a toilet and a spoon properly!
I’ve never been one of those people who had a life plan or even a dream of what I thought my life would be like. I prefer to go with the flow and see where the tide takes me. So I suppose this is just another shift in our family’s future. I am sure we will still have another child, but for now I am feeling very content just being the three musketeers.
Secret Family Recipe Spaghetti Sauce
- 1 lb. ground turkey (turkey sausage would be great too)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
- (2) 28 oz. cans tomato puree
- 3 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon sugar
Start by browning the ground turkey in a large pot over medium heat. Once cooked through, drain grease and transfer cooked turkey to a bowl; set aside. Then heat olive oil in the same large pot over medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes. Then add garlic and cook for another minute. Add all remaining ingredients, including more salt and pepper to taste, and the cooked turkey. Stir to combine and bring to a low simmer. Turn the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite pasta and a moderate amount of fresh Parmesan cheese.