Friday Fun

Hello out there.  Anyone still here?  In this space?  Some days I wonder.  Long gone are the days of 2008 and 2009 when a post would garner 5-10 comments. I'm guilty of it too.  I used to comment on all my blog friends posts, but then...what, laziness?  That's the only excuse I can muster.  Playing the tired mama card?  While tried and true, it feels a bit depressing.  I wish we'd get back to the days of commenting and connecting in the blog world, it was such fun at its peak.

+ time magazine's "person of the year" is a group of women known as the silence breakers, voices of the women who stood together against harvey weinstein and others

+ are we living in a world making kids too safe to succeed?

+ did you hear?  Patagonia is suing Donald Trump after his Dec. 4 announcement to shrink two Utah national monuments

+ the wholehearted parenting manifesto, because brene brown, enough said

+ if I could do a second honeymoon, I might follow her itinerary, africa on anyone else's bucket list these days?

+ kind of obsessed with this bag, what is it about charging for guacamole these days?

+ this post has me wanting to visit boston at Christmas time

+ if you're in for pie crust inspiration - these are works of art!

+ wouldn't mind sipping on this naughty + nice cinnamon hot toddy

What are you up to this weekend?

Dinner Last Night: Slow Cooker Butternut-Apple Soup with Crispy Leeks

Continuing on my dairy-free, and mostly gluten-free journey, I've been seeking out good soup alternatives as the weather gets chilly.  Historically I'd be all about a great cream-based or baked potato soup (yummm!), but, for the time being, I'm shelving those cravings and looking forward to healthier alternatives.  This Butternut-Apple Soup with Crispy Leeks is from the Skinnytaste: Fast and Slow cookbook (which I highly recommend).  It's sooo crazy simple!  You can dress it up or down, I've made it with frozen butternut squash, and apple with skin on it, and a yellow onion - although leeks does elevate it a touch.  All you need is an immersion blender or food processor to blend the final product, and voila!

  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 1 leek (white parts only), rinsed well and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth*
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • For garnish:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced leeks (white parts only), rinsed well
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Coconut milk, for drizzling (optional)
  • *Read the label to be sure this product is gluten-free.

  • Cooking Directions
  • For the soup:
    Place the squash, leek, apple, carrot, and broth in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours, until the squash is soft and cooked through.
    Stir the coconut milk into the soup mixture. Puree the soup in the cooker with an immersion blender until smooth (or in a stand blender, in batches).
    For the garnish:
    Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the oil and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Season with the salt.
    To serve, pour the soup into 6 serving bowls and garnish with the crispy leeks. If desired, drizzle with a little coconut milk.
  • image/abcnews
  • The Big Sick

    Have you seen The Big Sick?  While I'm not well versed in the movies trending in 2017, if there was ever a movie to watch, this is it (bonus, it's currently free with Amazon Prime).

    Based on the true story of Kumail Nanjiani (you might recognize from HBO's Silicon Valley) and his now wife Emily, Pakistan-born comedian Kumail and grad student Emily Gardner fall into love when neither are looking for it.  Kumail is close with his family but does not believe in many of the facets of his Muslim upbringing, namely praying and arranged marriage.  His parents are skeptical of his career choice as a comedian, and continue to invite a revolving door of suitable Pakistani women to dinner in the hopes of enticing him into arranged marriage.  

    As Emily and Kumail's relationship begins to falter as a result of their cultures clashing, Emily contracts a mysterious illness, ending up in a medically induced coma.  Kumail finds himself face to face with her feisty parents (who he's never met prior), his family's expectations, and his true feelings for Emily.

    This movie was so poignant, honest, and real.  You see the characters imperfections and vulnerability which I think makes them all the more appealing and relatable. Ray Romano and Holly Hunter shine as Emily's parents, who are vary wary of Kumail, though find connection as Emily's hospital stay ensues.  

    I really cannot say enough good things, I loved it.  You might too.

    Fall Favorites

    I keep meaning for this to be a monthly post, but the month-to-month format has me constantly feeling behind, hence, switching the titles of these posts to seasonal or just for fun recent favorites.

    + this awesome hair styling cream for all the days you don't blow dry your hair (read: everyday)

    + I've adopted the first two steps of Clare Lyons' beauty uniform and my skin feels amazing and noticeably more smooth amazing!

    + Stranger Things 2 on Netflix.  Have you seen it?? Soooo good, and I don't usually like sci-fi, science fiction, monster-type shows.

    + And while we're watching Netflix, if you need a political drama, have you watched Madam Secretary?  I love Tea Leoni and Tim Daly's chemistry (did you know they're together in real life?).

    + this gluten-free pumpkin pancake mix at Trader Joe's...the best!

    + these vegan/paleo coconut butter cups (I'm partial to mint cream)

    What are your favorite things this fall?

    Podcast Love: The Rewatchables

    Something you may not know about me, I take my podcasts very seriously.  Since I have discovered this amazing medium, I have devoured hours upon hours of content.  My current playlist hosts a plethora of topics; politics, happiness, parenting, movies, love stories, and more.  Hence, I consider myself a podcast connoisseur - if you will...  Thus, here commences a new series, affectionately and perhaps tentatively entitled, "podcast love."

    Something else you may not know about me, I love rewatching old movies.  If I like a movie, I'll likely watch it again.  Whether it's the good old days of rewatching on TNT or AMC, or the current times we live in via Amazon Prime or Netflix, I do enjoy watching familiar favorites from the comfort of my cozy couch.
    Which is why the concept of The Rewatchables intrigued me, a multi-hosted debriefing of some of my favorite movies?  Yes, please!  

    Each episode is about 45 minutes long, and hosted by 2-3 people (hosts change depending on movie type).  There is a familiar format that I appreciate; debriefing other actors and actresses that were up for the part, favorite scenes, notable lines, what parts of the movie have aged the best/worst since it's inception, what would be different if they made this movie today, etc. etc.  

    So far, I've listened to the episodes for You've Got Mail, Clueless, The Departed, and Jerry Maguire.  If you consider yourself a rewatcher - I highly recommend you check out their list and check it out!

    Nicholos Cleves

    This article. Man, does it deserve a read.  In the wake of all this senseless gun violence in the United States this fall, it's hard not to feel helpless, overwhelmed, anxious, deeply afraid, and devastated.

    One thing that always comes to my mind is how quickly the news cycle moves on, jerking the spotlight away from those who were directly impacted.  The dead.  The wounded.  Why don't we ever hear about the wounded?  They may not have died in the tragedy, but their lives were forever changed.

    For all of the nameless, faceless people that our world quantifies in numbered headlines, "26 dead," "9 dead," etc...these individuals who may not have been important people in your life, but are important people to somebody, this article sheds remembers the gift and circumstance of one man among many, someone who died too young, and is remembered by his heartbroken friends.

    Weekend Baking: Birthday Cake (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

    Was channeling my inner domestic goddess this weekend as I made two birthday cakes from scratch for my son's birthday party.  For the majority of our gluten and dairy eating guests - my son included, I made this delicious chocolate cake which is my go-to for birthdays, topped with this peanut butter frosting.

    Since my best friend was in town (who's been GF/DF for years) and not wanting to miss out on the cake festivities myself, I made this gluten and dairy free chocolate cake with coconut cream frosting (note: recipe reads as vegan, but I subbed 4 flax eggs with 4 eggs).  Not trying to toot my own horn, but the cake was pretty delicious!  Highly recommend for anyone with dietary restrictions that just wants a real honest to goodness moist and flavorful chocolate cake that tastes like chocolate cake!