Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

Happy Friday & official first day of fall. A few weeks ago, the east coast had our first taste of sweater weather. Of course, we ended up having a bit of a resurgence of warmer weather but that doesn’t mean my sweaters aren’t freshly stacked in my closet waiting for their debut on a crisp, fall day. For me, there are a few things that come with the first crisp breeze…

<crispness in the air always makes me want to stay in bed juuuust a little longer>

  1. Hot Tea. I normally drink green tea every morning as I’m not a coffee gal but it always feels a little different in the fall. On weekend mornings, I’ll leisurely drink a cup by our patio fire pit or snuggled on the couch with the door open.
  2. Switching up my Cooking Routine. I love fall vegetables. Perusing the farmer’s market when all the apples, and squash are in season is so fulfilling to me. I love, love, love this Sweet Potato Gnocchi recipe. It’s usually the first heartier, fall recipe I make every year. Plus.. SOUP!
  3. Holiday Planning. Once October hits, I’ve already picked up like two Bon Appétit magazines, they usually have a perfected turkey or gorgeous tablescape on the front. I love planning out the holidays; when we’ll get together with friends, little stocking stuffers for Christmas morning. While my mind doesn’t go straight to Christmas, this year I’ve promised myself, my gifts will be taken care of prior to December 15. No last minute scramble for me.
  4. Warmer Toned Makeup. If you haven’t noticed, I love deeper toned lipsticks and live for a good marsala or caramel lip. I’ll be sure to share some of my favorites this fall.
  5. Fall Football. In the midwest, football isn’t just a game, it’s an occasion. Tailgating is a must & if you’re watching from the comfort of your own home, snacks & lucky jerseys are a necessity. (Go Bucks!)
  6. Baking. Especially in the fall, pies are my absolute favorite. I also gravitate towards breads like banana, zucchini and if you don’t want to make anything from scratch, these breads from Williams-Sonoma.
  7. “Basic” Activities. I’m not sure when supporting a local farm became labeled as “basic” but yea, I do love picking apples, gathering pumpkins to carve, etc. Those local farms always have the best cider, too.
  8. Fall Fashion. Boots, vests, snuggly sweaters all make their way to the front of my closet & I couldn’t be happier.
  9. Autumn Cocktails. While I’m not a fan of PSL, fresh ciders or spiked apple ciders are my jam.
  10. Candles. I think my love of candles stems from missing a fireplace in our cozy apartment. In the fall, I always have a candle lit. For me, I always opt for lighter scents like snuggly sweater or fresh cotton.

What are you most excited about for fall?

Cheers,

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Summer Chickpea Salad

 

This is one of my very favorite recipes, especially in the summer when almost all the ingredients can be picked up at my local farmer’s market. Full disclosure, this is not my own recipe, but reblogged from one of my very fav food blogs, How Sweet Eats. Jessica recommends the salad be enjoyed on bread but I love it so much, I eat it as a lunch salad by itself. It also maintains extremely well in the fridge as I usually make it on Sunday & enjoy throughout the week.

Summer Chickpea Salad with Honey Garlic Lime Vinaigrette

yields: serves about 4                          total time: 30 minutes

What You’ll Need: 

3 cups chickpeas (or 2 (15-ounce) cans, drained and rinsed)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2-3 ears grilled corn, cut from the cob
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 lime, juiced and zested

The How To:

In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, onions, corn, tomatoes, basil and chives. Toss well with the salt and pepper. Separately, in a small saucepan, add the oil, vinegar, honey, garlic, lime juice and zest. Heat over low heat and whisk until the mixture is warm and garlic cloves are sizzling a bit.Pour the liquid over the chickpeas and and toss well to coat. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Check out How Sweet Eats for this recipe & many fantastic others!

Cheers!

Currently Cooking…

Day to day, I’m constantly connected to technology. Whether for work, the blog or just scrolling through Instagram to pass time, I’m never far from my phone, iPad or laptop. After a long day at work, I race home to open a regular cookbook, flip the pages and land on a new recipe to try. If you’re an avid reader, you understand me when I say there’s nothing better than opening the page of book. Sundays have started to become my “me time” to delve into a cookbook, find a new recipe and get to cooking! Listed below are some of my favorite cookbooks.

1. Seriously Delish – if you follow the blog or my instagram, you already know I have a seriously love for Jessica Merchant and her food.  I’ve followed her blog since grad school and every time I make one of her recipes, they just get better & better. Read her book cover to cover? Follow her blog (& insta), How Sweet It Is for daily inspiration.

2. Cravings – I asked for Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook for Christmas mainly because I love her and think we’d be BFF- having no idea I’d actually love her recipes. No surprise, I do! Stay tuned for later this week when I share her incredible risotto.

3. Shake – ok, technically not a cookbook but mixology can be as fun (and complex) as cooking. Authors, Eric Prum & Josh Williams craft some amazing cocktails and put some exciting spins on the classics (I LOVE the Montauk Mule pictured above) all while giving a step-by-step process on how to make every cocktail perfectly- no intimidation factor here. Another major plus to this book is that it’s divided into sections based on season, so you won’t get stuck in a rut even in the dead of winter.

4. Cooking for Jeffrey – Ok, as if Ina needs any kind of introduction. Her cooking is beyond perfect and let’s face it, so is Jeffrey. This year, one of my resolutions is to work on preparing meat dishes. I certainly don’t hate preparing it, but I always doubt my ability so.. you know what they say, practice makes perfect. All of her cookbooks are divine but this one particularly has some great meat courses that I’ll be practicing over the next few months. Also obsessed with Foolproof, too!

Not pictured:

5. Mastering the Art of French Cooking– Julia Child’s bible & gourmet classic, one day I will master this book, for now, I will tread lightly as each practice soufflé bakes.

6. Molly on the Range– full of midwestern classics- be still my heart! I could never top epicurious’s review: “cooking from this book is as salty and cozy and a BFF sleepover”

7. Martha Stewart’s Cooking School – perfect to master the basics. Want to make a killer pot roast? Martha’s your girl.

8. Meat – back to my desire to learn to better prepare meat, this cookbook lays out all the basics, even down to terminology & cuts. I have a feeling I’ll be referencing this book a lot over the next few months.

9. Soup of the Day– for a short stint in grad school, I worked in a William Sonoma store (hello discount!) On slow days, I’d peruse the cookbooks dreaming of what I’d cook once I finally finished my thesis. I’ve always loved soups, especially served up with a little bit of crusty bread from the local bakery. This book provides plenty of options with 365 recipes to try.

10. The slow cooker Cookbook – if you haven’t learned to love the crockpot, you should. I don’t use mine nearly as much as I should but when I do, I’m so happy I did. It’s beyond easy to get in a rut when using a crockpot but with this cookbook you’ll have a myriad of options that don’t all feel so heavy.

What are some of your favorite cookbooks? Do you still buy cookbooks or do you prefer to find recipes from Pinterest or your favorite food bloggers online?

Cheers!

 

Bliss & A Birthday Cocktail

Today I’m sharing a delicious cocktail recipe that you should treat yourself to in honor of my birthday- which is also today! Hey, any excuse for a cocktail, right? This Strawberry Moscow Mule is so refreshing and perfect if you’re spending a day by the pool (or wish you were doing that!)

Strawberry Moscow Mule

What You’ll Need: 

2 shots vodka

1/2 shot lime juice

3-4 strawberries

Ginger Beer

Ice

The How To:

1. Add strawberries, lime juice & vodka in a shaker. Muddle berries and add ice.

2. Shake well.

3. Pour over ice and top off with ginger beer.

4. Garnish with a fresh strawberry.

5. Enjoy.

Cheers!!

Simple Guacamole

As promised, today I’m sharing my guacamole recipe. It’s perfect for a summer snack and great to take to a get-together. I don’t especially prefer cilantro so you’ll notice this recipe does not include it but I promise, this recipe couldn’t be simpler.

 

What You’ll Need:

2 ripe avacados

2 tomatoes

1 lime or lime juice

1 red onion

salt & pepper

The How To:

1. Dice your avocados, tomatoes and red onion and combine in a bow.

Hint: When dicing your tomatoes, remove seeds so your guac will not be watered down.

2. Squeeze a wedge of lime into the mixture.

3. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

4. With a fork, mash up the guacamole. I prefer my guac on the chunky side, better to scoop up with chips that way. But you can continue to mash to your preferred consistency.

5. Enjoy.

Tip: If you have left over guacamole or make it too early (let’s be honest, there’s never left over guac) place the pit of the avocado back into the guacamole. It will prevent it from turning brown.

I will definitely be making this guacamole this weekend to share!

Cheers to the freakin’ weekend!!

Broccoli Cheese Spaghetti Squash

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had lovely weekends. I did a lot of celebrating so I’m ready for a bit of a reset. This broccoli cheese spaghetti squash tastes delicious but is pretty much guilt free and vegan (well, except for the cheese!)

Ingredients:

1 2 1/2 to 3 pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch broccolini (or broccoli), chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons water
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

The How To:

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit
2. Place halved squash cut side down in a microwave safe dish. Add two tablespoons of water. Microwave on high for about 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add broccolini (or broccoli) and garlic, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Add water and cook, stirring under broccoli is tender, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer into large bowl.
4. Use a fork to scrape the squash from the shells into the bowl. Place shells on a baking sheet. Stir 3/4 cup of mozzarella, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper into the squash mixture. Divide the mixture between the shells and top with remaining cheese.
5. Bake on lower racks for 10 minutes. Move to upper rack and turn the broiler to high and broil, only about 2 minutes.
6. Enjoy!

Cheers,

Seriously Delish Review

Happy Monday, friends!

Ok, so last week I was telling you all about my new Seriously Delish cookbook. I have been a long time follower of the blog, How Sweet Eats and  today I’m “reviewing” the book. And I won’t leave you all in suspense: Seriously Delish is….well, seriously delish.

 I spent the weekend trying a few different recipes, each one was incredible.

Saturday morning, I surprised Prince Charming with this breakfast short rib hash. I normally don’t make big breakfasts for myself but I am certainly glad I took the time to make this dish this weekend. It was a huge hit and practically melts in your mouth.

Later that day, we tried the prosecco-cider spiced punch. After a trip to Patterson’s fruit farm, we had fresh apple cider and you know I can never say no to bubbles- it seemed too good to be true. It was delicious and perfect to sip on during an afternoon of football. Can’t wait to make this for our next girls night!

To go with dinner, I made the roasted maple-balsamic mushrooms with bacon. Also delicious. Sometimes I find balsamic to be a little overpowering but these mushrooms had a great taste and the maple really adds to the fall mood I’ve been in lately.

The extra cherry on top was getting to meet the author, Jessica Merchant, with Alex at a book signing in Hudson yesterday!

Overall, Seriously Delish is a must have! One peek inside and you’ll be raving, like me!

I hope you all had an exciting weekend!

Cheers!!