Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Haunting!

Fall Printables from Nest of Posies
Trick-or-Treat! Even if it has been a while since you uttered those words, there's no denying the certain amount of nostalgia and excitement associated with that phrase. Tonight's the big night, so make sure you're prepared for costume-clad kiddos and keep it fun. Here are some quick tips for a perfect Halloween night:
  • Have candy on hand. You may not be expecting trick-or-treaters, but even kids in city high-rises like candy. Don't disappoint them when they come knocking! Keep a small bowl of candy on hand, and don't skimp on the cheap stuff- pick something that you will enjoy if have leftovers. 
  • Keep your lights on. It's important for your house to look approachable, unless you are anti-Halloween and desperately want to avoid any visitors. Bonus points if you put a jack-o-lantern or some Halloween decorations outside. 
  • Don't play favorites. If you get a group, make sure to hand out the same amount of candy to everyone. Just because you're a huge fan of Frozen doesn't mean that Elsa should get more candy than the cute skeleton. 
  • Be ready early. This is a great holiday because the cute trick-or-treaters will stop by while you're enjoying a glass of wine and getting ready for your evening. By the time you're ready to head out for your own festivities, the little ones will be on sugar highs, sorting through their loot at home!

Have a fun and safe Halloween weekend! Happy Haunting...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Flavors of Fall: Apple Crisp


I absolutely love autumn, even in Texas where the temperatures are still in the mid-80s. Fall is full of coziness- sweaters, cider doughnuts, and cool nights that make you night snuggling on the couch totally irresistible. I'm planning to watch a movie and chill tonight with this delicious and simple apple crisp. The smell of the crisp baking in the oven is incredibly yummy, and the crisp itself does not disappoint!

What You'll Need:
7-8 Granny Smith Apples
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tsp cinnamon
1 Tsp salt
1 cup Old Fashioned rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup All Purpose Gluten Free flour
1 cup cold butter, cut into chunks


Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Slice the apples thin. I left the peels on mine, but you can peel them if you'd prefer. 
  3. Sprinkle the cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of the salt over the sliced apples. Toss to coat. 
  4. Grease a baking dish and fill it with the apples. 
  5. In a bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, flour, and butter. Toss with your hands until the oats have combined with the sugar, flour and butter.  Note: I added an extra sprinkle of cinnamon and it was yummy. 
  6. Sprinkle the oat mixture on top of the apples and bake for 30-45 min. The oats on top will get crispy and the apples will cook all the way through. 
  7. Remove from oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes before you dig in. 
  8. Special topping: Add a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream before serving. If you want to skip it, go ahead, but it's EXTRA delicious!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Milk + Honey


Is it Friday yet? We're halfway through the week (over the hump!), and if your weeks are like mine, you're looking forward to a bit of weekend relaxation. My favorite spot to unwind? Milk + Honey Day Spa in Austin.


I'll admit, my spa days don't consist of anything fancy- a manicure and pedicure is enough to help me relax and unwind, especially when done right. I love the posh vibe at Milk + Honey and their pedicures leave my feet feeling silky smooth.  If foot rubs aren't your thing, pop in for a heavenly massage or a seaweed mud appellation to draw out toxins. Better yet, make a day of it! You'll leave feeling completely pampered and ready to face next week.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Party Playlist

My running playlist is full of Halloween-inspired tunes this week.  Rhianna's "Disturbia" is one of my favorites this time of year! If you're looking for a party playlist or just something fun to listen to this week, check out these Halloween-inspired songs, compiled by PopSugar:


Monday, October 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Prep: Spatchcocked Turkey

The finished product.
Halloween is this week, but I'm already thinking ahead to Thanksgiving. Turkey is the centerpiece of any Thanksgiving meal, but it's also the reason you have to wake up early and preheat your oven.  A dear friend of mine (who, by the way,  really knows his way around a kitchen) suggested that I test out a new cooking method in preparation for turkey day: Spatchcock Cooking.

Roasting a turkey for a crowd takes hours, and, unless you have the perfect brine and a great meat thermometer, it can result in uneven cooking or dried out meat. A spatchcocked turkey has the spine removed and is pressed flat so that the meat cooks and browns evenly in a fraction of the time. I tried it this weekend and had a beautiful, juicy turkey ready for dinner in less than 60 minutes.

My Turkey, splayed out flat and ready for the oven...

If you're brave enough to wield a sharp pair of poultry shears and de-bone a turkey, watch this quick guide:


I kept my turkey simple, brushing it with olive oil and generously seasoning it with salt and pepper before roasting it.  Some pan-roasted root vegetables made for the perfect side dish, and I'm looking forward to some leftovers for lunch today!

Brussels sprouts, parsnips, carrots, and onions made for a perfect side dish!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Dinner Tonight: Pumpkin Kale Soup

No need to scoop out pumpkin innards for this recipe- the canned stuff will do!
Pumpkin and pumpkin-flavored treats abound this time of year. I absolutely love pumpkin bread and other squash-filled baked goods. This pumpkin kale soup is a bit healthier, but still savory and incredibly delicious.

What You'll Need:
1 lb canned pumpkin
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
3 cups raw kale, center ribs removed
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3/4 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 cup edamame
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

Directions:
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot and sauté the onion until tender.
  2. Add the chicken stock, kale, carrots, celery, corn, edamame, and sweet potatoes. 
  3. Bring to soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25-30 min. 
  4. Stir in the pumpkin and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Cook for 5-10 minutes longer, then serve hot. Enjoy!
I'm whipping up a big pot of this for dinner tonight- it makes great leftovers, or you can freeze the extra soup for later when you need a quick and easy dinner. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How to Pair Wine with Halloween Candy

Image from Boston Magazine

Wine pairing sounds very sophisticated, but sommeliers and wine experts are not afraid to pair wines with unsophisticated treats like nerds and candy corn. This autumn, as you dig into the spoils of halloween, try paring it with a  wine that will complement the candy flavors.

Boston Magazine recently published this article with pairing suggestions for popular sweets. Here's one of my favorites: Candy Corn paired with Boundary Breaks, Single Clone No. 90 Late Harvest Riesling. According to the experts, pairing a very complex white wine with candy corn brings out the candy's sugars but also helps support the notes of honey and tropical fruit in the wine. 

More of a red wine fan? Try Nestle Crunch paired with 2012 Dashe Late Harvest Zinfandel from the Dry Creek Valley. Sweet fruit flavors in the wine will compliment the milky, crunchy chocolate.

Ready to try some candy pairings on your own? This chart will help you make the right choice:

Infographic from thekitchn.com

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pan Seared Salmon with Pesto 'Spaghetti'

Recipe from TheEveryGirl.com
I don't like to post recipes that I haven't tried yet, but I'm making this one for dinner tonight and it looks so yummy that I had to share. Salmon over a bed of healthy spaghetti squash and pesto sounds absolutely perfect- let's try it together!

What You'll Need:
1 medium spaghetti squash
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup fresh basil
1-2 Tbsp pine nuts
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2-4 Tbsp olive oil
1 4oz salmon fillets with skin
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Recipe from TheEveryGirl.com
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds (like you'd do with a pumpkin). Drizzle each side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Place the halves on a baking sheet and bake for about 35 minutes. 
  4. After removing the squash from the oven, set it aside to cool before shredding it with a fork. 
  5. Place the oven on broil to cook the fish. Drizzle olive oil on the two fillets and season them with salt and pepper. 
  6. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a nonstick, oven-safe frying pan. Place the salmon fillets skin side down and sear for about 4 minutes. Do not flip them!
  7. While the fish sears, pulse the basil, pine nuts, and parmesan in a food processor. Carefully drizzle in 2-4 Tbsp olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss this fresh pesto with the squash and halved tomatoes. 
  8. After searing the salmon, place the pan in under the broiler for about 2-4 more minutes or until the fish is cooked through. 
  9. Remove the fish from the oven and serve each fillet skin-side up atop a large portion of pesto spaghetti squash. 
  10. Sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese or freshly grated black pepper. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Club Brunch

I love to read, and I recently joined a book club in Austin so that I could meet a few friends as I adjust to life in a new city. We're reading Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood, and although I have yet to dive into the book, I have been thinking about how fun it's going to be to invite my new friends over for a book club brunch. I've rounded up everything you'll need to have one of your own:

Pinterest

Decor
It's fall, so keep your table setting seasonal and simple like the photo above. I love hollowed out pumpkins filled with a simple floral arrangement. If you're feeling crafty, they make a super easy centerpiece that's sure to wow your guests. 


Menu
Brunch food is delicious, but cold scrambled eggs are not. Choose menu items that you can prep in advance so that all the food is on the table by the time your guests arrive. You can focus on the book (or whatever else your group likes to gab about) rather than running around in the kitchen trying to pull everything together.  



Want to keep it fall-themed? Try these dishes:

French Pressed Coffee
Selection of Teas
Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

Topics of Conversation
In a book club, most conversation begins with discussion of the book. Not sure how to get it going? Try these tips from Lit Lovers on how to lead a book club discussion. I love when talk begins to stray from the book and we move onto other topics, so start with the book discussion, but don't take it too seriously!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Searsucker Austin

Searsucker Austin
This weekend was full of fabulous food, and Searsucker topped my list. Located in the warehouse district in downtown Austin, this is the perfect spot for a group looking to indulge in modern American cuisine and some yummy craft cocktails.

We dined on beef tartare atop thin, crispy potato chips, followed by snapper in romesco sauce, a fillet topped with lobster butter and leeks, and flat iron steak topped with chimi bernaise and arugula. The wine menu was small, but mighty, and a Bourdeaux blend recommended by our waiter was the perfect complement to hearty steaks.
Searsucker Chef Brian Malarkey
If you can't make it to Austin, chef Brian Malarkey has a few Searsucker restaurants in other cities, or you can try some of his recipes at home. I'm looking forward to test-driving some of his recipes for Thanksgiving this year.  Brussels sprouts with candied walnuts and "killer" butter potatoes sound like they'll be huge hits!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Favorites: Bobbi Brown


I am a huge fan of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. In fact, if you take a look at my vanity, it looks like the Bobbi Brown counter at your local department store. The neutral color palettes and sumptuous skincare keep me coming back again and again- I just can't get enough! If you're ready to restock some of your go-to products, here are some of my favorites:


Lathering Tube Soap, filled with coconut extract and apricot oil, helps to wash away makeup and grime. I've been using it since I was a teen!

The Limited Edition Smokey Nudes Eye Palette is my new go-to eye shadow. I love that you can mix and match any of the colors, and it makes creating a smokey eye nearly effortless. 

Spending $19 on Lip Balm may seem ridiculous, but believe me, it's worth it. Bobbi Brown makes a range of beautiful lip colors and glosses, but none of them look great on dry, flaky lips.  This balm is non-greasy and beats drugstore-brand balms (and even Smith's Rosebud Salve) anyway. Plus, the tin is so posh!
The bronze Shimmer Brick is my substitute for bronzer. I don't do a lot of contouring and I keep my makeup simple. A quick swipe of the shimmer brick gives my cheeks a healthy glow (and a little bit of color during the winter when skin gets pale). 

The holidays are quickly approaching, and Bobbi Brown just released a Holiday Gift Guide full of new sets and palettes that are perfect if you want to try multiple products at once. Happy Shopping!

Note: This post was not sponsored by Bobbi Brown nor was I compensated in any way. I simply love the products! 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

On Trend: Booties

I've worn booties before, but this season I'm seeing them everywhere! I'm excited to try the trend in a few new and different ways, and I've been scoping out some of my favorite looks on Pinterest. Which ones suit your style?






Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Apple Cider Cocktails

I'm meeting up with some new friends tonight for some rooftop cocktails, and I'm hoping to find a seasonal sip that's as yummy as these two cider-infused recipes:

Honey Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail from Hello Natural
Want to whip up one of these bourbon concoctions? Place 10 oz. apple cider, 1 apple (sliced), 2 teaspoons of honey, and a sprinkle of cinnamon in a sauce pot. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes to release the flavors. Strain the mixture and add the bourbon. The drink can be served slightly warm, garnished with apple slices. 

Apple Cider Margarita from Fabtastic Eats
If cool, summery margaritas are your drink of choice, this apple cider margarita will help you transition into fall.  In a cocktail shaker, add 6 oz. apple cider, 4 oz. tequila (blanco), 2 oz. triple sec, a squeeze of lime and a pinch of brown sugar. Shake it up and pour it into two glasses filled with ice. Garnish with apple slices and a cinnamon sugar rim. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Happy Houseguests

Watercolor by Inslee Haynes
Hosting houseguests can be fun, but there are some simple guidelines that can make the experience more enjoyable for everyone involved.  I've received a few questions from friends recently, so whether you're the host or the guest, read on...

Q: Do I need to give up my bed for a houseguest?
A: Absolutely not. When a guest comes to stay, it's appropriate to offer them another room in the house. If you have a guest bedroom, that's will meet your needs, but in small apartments that won't necessarily be an option. If you're an urban dweller, offer your guest a cozy air mattress. Some plush blankets will make it feel just as nice as your master suite, and you can tuck the bed out of the way during the day. If this seems intrusive, hotels are also a great option. I have, in the past, booked a room for friends who came to visit, simply because my living space didn't allow for multiple sleepers. I picked up the tab for the room and I think everyone enjoyed some luxurious alone time at the end of a long day running around the city.

Q: What should I have on hand for when guests come to stay?
A: It's expected that a guest will bring their own toiletries, but think about how you might recreate a luxurious hotel experience in your home. I love the idea of keeping sample-size shampoos, soaps, and toothpaste in the guest bathroom for your friends to share. Also, make sure that you have some sleeping space and freshly-laundered sheets and blankets. Even if you're hosting a couch-surfer, nobody wants to cuddle up with used linens!

Q: What's the appropriate protocol for visiting friends? Is there a time limit to how long I can crash with them?
A: I absolutely love hosting friends, but everyone needs a little bit of alone time. Be conscious that if you book a multiple-day trip, your friend may have other commitments like work, previously booked appointments, etc. It's polite to first ask how long you can stay, but also to ensure that you're not disrupting your host's routine. Pick up after yourself and seek a little separation- Take a long morning walk to a local coffee shop or explore a museum on your own. A little bit of independence will alleviate some of the outstaying-your-welcome stress.

Q: What's the most appropriate way to thank a host for letting me stay?
A: If you've read my blog before, this will come as no surprise to you- write a heart-felt hand-written thank you note! If I've stayed with someone for multiple days, I like to leave behind a nice bottle of wine with a note, or perhaps a small trinket that I picked up on an outing during my visit. Your host will appreciate the gesture and it's an easy way to get invited back!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Place to Visit: Dallas Arboretum


Dallas is destination full of fun restaurants and fabulous shops, but if you're in the area and are looking for something fun to do, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is a must.  I visited the Autumn at the Arboretum festival this weekend and took in the fall foliage, along with hundreds of pumpkins in the Pumpkin Village.



Pumpkins and gourds dominated the landscape, but the Arboretum is beautiful year-round. Stroll the grounds and check out the Women's Garden, take in some water lilies, or enjoy one of their many seasonal displays.



Ready to make a day of it? You can stroll through the gardens in just a few hours, but if you bookmark your adventure with some delicious meals and other Dallas fun, your day will fly by.

1-Day Dallas Itinerary:
  • Start the day with a delicious breakfast and a frosty glass of grapefruit juice at Craft Dallas. The elegant dishes will have you in a Dallas state of mind and ready to take on the day. 
  • Make your way to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and work off that breakfast as you take in the scenery. A few hours is more than enough, but don't rush- the views of the Dallas skyline are beautiful and there are plenty of unique plants to explore. 
  • When you've had your fill of ferns and fiddleheads, stop for lunch at Mesomaya. Don't forget a yummy avocado margarita!
  • A day in Dallas wouldn't be complete without some shopping. Swing by Stanley Korshak for some upscale browsing, or head over to Northpark Center, which has something for everyone. If shopping isn't your thing, check out the Dallas Museum of Art.
  • For dinner and drinks, pop over to Uptown and find a place to park. There are tons of trendy bars and restaurants to keep you busy in this quickly-changing neighborhood.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cauliflower Chowder from Damn Delicious

Cauliflower Chowder from Damn Delicious

I had a different post in mind for today, but I made this Cauliflower Chowder recipe from Damn Delicious last night and it was so good that I had to share it! This creamy soup is healthy, full of vegetables, and tastes great with a sprinkle of bacon on top. What's not to love?

What You'll Need:
4 (or more) slices of bacon, diced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup GF All Purpose Flour
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup 2% milk
1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp chopped parsley for garnish

Directions:
  1. Cook the bacon until crisp. Allow it to drain on a paper towel while you prepare the chowder. 
  2. In a large dutch oven or pot, heat the butter over medium heat, adding in the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the veggies start to get soft. 
  3. Add the cauliflower to the pot and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle the flour into the pot and stir until browned. You're making a bit of a roux here. 
  5. Add the chicken broth and milk, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to thicken slightly.
  6. Bring the chowder to a boil, then simmer on low to medium heat for about 15 minutes. 
  7. When the cauliflower is tender, you'll know the soup is done. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then top with crumbled bacon and a sprig of fresh parsley.
Note: You can always add a bit more milk or chicken broth to the chowder if it gets too think. Additionally, if you'd prefer a smoother consistency, you can run an immersion blender through the chowder, blending in some of the larger vegetable pieces.  

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lick


I love ice cream, so local ice cream shops were one of the first things I scoped out once we had settled into our new place in Austin. Located on South Lamar, Lick is definitely a front-runner for my favorite. Their unique flavors and seasonal, local ingredients make for an incredible scoop.

Tip: When you go, don't be deterred by unfamiliar or bizarre ingredients. I can assure you that Lick only delicious ice cream- be adventurous!


Because Lick sources local ingredients, the list of flavors changes frequently. Last time I popped in I tried goat cheese, thyme & honey, plus a scoop of carrot & tarragon. Neal sampled the Texas sheet cake flavor, and enjoyed every last spoonful! Upcoming seasonal flavors are fall-inspired and include sweet potato, pumpkin, and horchata.


Want to skip the line and make your own ice cream? I can't promise it will be quite as good as Lick, but Danielle Walker from Against All Grain has an awesome recipe for pumpkin ice cream you can make in a food processor.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Braised Chicken and Sauerkraut

Braised Chicken and Sauerkraut, from Martha Stewart Living
Martha Stewart recipes aren't always simple, but this one is quick and easy to make. Plus, it's perfect for a cozy fall evening. I served it with gluten-free seeded rolls to sop up the yummy pan juices, and the recipe was a huge hit.

What You'll Need:
3 1/2 pounds chicken legs
Kosher salt
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, halved and cut into 1/4 in. slices
3 large carrots, peeled and grated
4 cups store-bought sauerkraut

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Season chicken on all sides with salt while you heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
  3. Add the chicken to the pan and cook just until browned (about 4-5 minutes on each side). 
  4. Remove the chicken to a plate, then add the onion to the pan. Cook for about 1 minute, allowing the onions to soften. Make sure to scrape up all the browned chicken bits... it adds extra flavor!
  5. Remove the pan from heat and add the sauerkraut and carrots. Stir until combined. 
  6. Transfer the sauerkraut mixture to a 9X13in baking dish, then nestle the chicken legs throughout. Cover the pan with parchment lined foil and bake for about 30 minutes. 
  7. Remove the foil, turn the heat up to 425 degrees and continue to bake the chicken for about 10-15 minutes, until the tops are dark brown and caramelized. 
  8. Serve immediately with boiled potatoes, dumplings, or the other side dish of your choice. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pet Swag (and a GIVEAWAY!)


As Brady continues to grow, I've been having fun trying out new toys, treats, and accessories. Who knew that shopping for a pet could be so fun?! Here are some of my favorites (all Brady-approved):


From the top left:
  1. Found My Animal Adjustable Rope Leash
  2. Doca Pet Wire Food Bowls
  3. Jax and Bones Crate Cover-Up
  4. Jax and Bones Gourdy the Pumpkin Rope Toy
  5. Jax and Bones Ziggy Pillow Bed
  6. Lucky Dog Swag Bag
Want a treat for your pup? I'm giving away a Lucky Dog Swag Bag to one of my fabulous readers! Simply "like" the Delight & Decorum Facebook page in the next 48 hours and your name will be entered. Good luck!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bacon and Leek Quiche


I haven't tried to make a quiche since going gluten-free because the crust is such an important component. But yesterday I was up for the challenge, and this bacon and leek quiche was a delicious success.

What You'll Need:
Single Crust Flaky Pastry Dough (see below)
4 slices applewood smoked bacon, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup half and half
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

For the crust:
1 1/4 cup All Purpose GF Flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick of cold, unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
3 Tbsp ice water

Directions:
  1. Prepare the crust first. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl, then cut in the butter with two knives. Slowly mix in the ice water with a fork until a soft dough forms.  If you have a stand mixer available, you can use the paddle attachment to mix the flour, sugar and salt. Then add the butter and mix until the consistency resembles small peas. Slowly add in the water until a soft dough forms. 
  2. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and flatten it into a small disk. Roll out the dough to a 12 inch round. 
  3. Transfer your dough to a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Fold any overhanging dough into the pan and press it firmly against the sides. The edges of the pan should have about twice as much dough as the bottom. 
  4. Line the dough with foil and put it in the freezer for approximately 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and ensure that a rack is positioned in the lower third. 
  5. When the dough has chilled, remove it from the freezer and add some pie weights to the top of the foil. Bake for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees. 
  6. Make the filling while your crust bakes. Begin by cooking the bacon in a frying pan until crispy. When it's done, remove it with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. 
  7. Wipe the frying pan clean, then heat 1Tbsp butter and sauté the leeks for about 10 minutes, or until soft. Set the cooked leeks aside. 
  8. Combine the eggs, half and half, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a bowl and whisk to combine. 
  9. Remove the crust from the oven and discard the foil. The crust should be set and just beginning to brown. 
  10. Scatter the bacon, leeks, and cheese evenly over the crust, then pour the egg mixture on top.
  11. Pop the quiche back in the oven for about 30 minutes. The filling will puff up and be golden brown. 
  12. Remove the quiche from the oven when it's cooked, but allow it to cool for a a few minutes before removing the edge of the tart pan and serving. 
I served ours with a big french press full of coffee and some sliced fruit. It made for a very yummy Sunday morning!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ready for Some Football?

Tom Brady, lookin' good!
Whether college or NFL is your preference, curling up on the couch and watching football is a fun way to spend a lazy afternoon/evening. Invite some friends over and make it a party! 

Eat: 
Avoid grazing on snacks all day and serve some real food! Your guests will thank you. Here are two menu options:

Menu 1
Chips and Guacamole
Tortilla soup
Cheese Quesadillas with Chipotle Sour Cream
Corona with Limes

Menu 2
Skinny Texas Cheese Fries
Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Chicken
Mixed Greens Salad with creamy Buttermilk Ranch
Margaritas, Beer, or the cocktail of your choice

Sunday Funday T-Shirt on Etsy.com
Wear:
Pull on a cozy fall sweater, your favorite team gear, and some boyfriend jeans. Comfortable clothes don't need to be frumpy. Check out this article from TheEverygirl for some tips.

Plan Ahead:
Make sure your TV is working, you have plenty of comfortable seating for your guests, and you get the game on one of the networks you subscribe to. That may seem like common sense, but it's good to be prepared!

I recommend picking up some cute disposable plates and utensils so that you can focus on fun instead of cleanup, but it's totally your preference. If you go the throw-away route, check out these earth-friendly options from Susty Party.

In case the action stalls, have something fun on hand for your guests. I keep a couple decks of cards, Scrabble, and Cards Against Humanity handy. Play a game while you watch the game!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tortilla Soup


Soup is a quick way to warm you up on a cool fall day, and this recipe for tortilla soup is a staple in our house. The healthy ingredients will keep you satisfied and the jalapeño adds an extra little kick.

What You'll Need:
Shredded Chicken (see below)
2 tsp olive oil
2 cups onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
2 cups carrots, diced
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 quarts of chicken stock
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
6 fresh white corn tortillas
Tortilla strips or corn chips for serving

Directions:
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender. 
  2. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant (about 60 seconds).
  3. Add the carrots, celery, jalapeño, tomatoes, broth, cumin, coriander. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Cut the 6 corn tortillas into strips. Add the tortilla strips and cilantro to the soup.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. The tortilla strips will dissolve and the veggies will get soft. 
  6. Add the shredded chicken and re-season as needed. Serve the soup with crispy tortilla strips (or crushed up chips) and extra cilantro for garnish. 

Shredded Chicken:
I typically have shredded chicken in my freezer, leftover from a whole roast chicken. However, if you only have chicken breasts on hand, here's a great way to create the chicken you need for the soup:
  • Add 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts to a pot with 3 cups of water or broth, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 Tbsp chopped onion, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp oregano, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  • Allow the ingredients to come to a boil and cook for 30-35 minutes. 
  • Let the chicken cool, then shred it with two forks. The chicken will fall apart!