TGIF Returns!

Remember the good old days of TGIF?  I don't know about you, but Friday nights in elementary school into early middle school were the best!  Family Matters, Boy Meets World, Step by Step, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper.  Those nights were laden with friend sleepovers, heaping bowls of popcorn and cookie dough ice cream.  Oh, the memories...

Well, guess what?  Corey Matthews and Topanga Lawrence are returning as the PARENTS in a new Disney Channel spinoff, Girl Meets World!  While I'm probably not planning on watching this new show regularly, I thought it was kind of exciting that some of our favorite TV characters from childhood were reuniting!

TGIF!

Seasonal Scents

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  Lights are already springing up in neighborhoods, red cups are grazing coffee shop countertops, and that holiday warmth is in the air.  

One of my favorite things the approaching Christmas season is the familiar holiday scents.  Evergreen, gingerbread, peppermint, orange + cloves, all of the wonderful, cozy, homey scents that by aroma alone signify Christmas.  This time of year, I always indulge in the ever-fragrant Bath & Body Works candles.  This year, I am loving White Barn No. 2 Chestnut and Clove.  Quite a long name, for a holiday scent I realize, but even so, this candle is worth a burn.

Wishing you a sweet smelling season!  What are your favorite holiday scents?

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Dinner Last Night: Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

I made soup on Sundays two weeks in a row, woot woot!  Another pin-turned-reality find, tomato basil parmesan soup.  The best part about this soup, the majority of the prep is done via crockpot.  Cha-ching!  Talk about a time-saver.  

I added the first batch of ingredients to the crockpot around 11 AM, ran errands and did school projects during the day, and then finished the soup with a roux later that evening at 6 PM.  Dinner's ready!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Wishing you a holiday full of family, friends, and thankfulness.
Eat up!
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Two Years Ago Today...

Two years ago today, my husband asked me to marry him.
What a wonderful ride it has been!
Happy Engagement Day my love!
Looking forward to all the years to come. 143.


Dinner Last Night: Curried Pumpkin Soup with Mushrooms

Way back in January, I made a New Year's resolution to try and make soup on Sundays...  Obviously that's been super successful, seeing as it's mid-November... But hey, this is my last ditch effort to fulfill that goal and make this Sunday soup tradition happen!  Another pin-turned-reality dinner last night - curried pumpkin soup with mushrooms.  Y-U-M.  This soup was incredibly easy with minimal ingredients, and boasts the flavors of fall.  It's creamy but chunky, smooth but spicy - all in all, a new fall favorite to add to the mix.  

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Coffee vs. Water

Do Seattleites drink more espresso than water?
What do you think?

Well...the answer is YES!  Check out this article, it's crazy to think that Seattleites truly consume more coffee than water on a daily basis.  While I'm not sure this is a fact to pride ourselves on, I can't say I'm terribly surprised.  Seattle is undoubtedly a coffee culture.  While other cities also enjoy their java, according to this article, Seattle is the only place in the US where this fact is true.

The article also states that part of this may be due to the fact that Seattleites avoid drinking bottled water (it's not green people).  In lieu of reaching for a bottle of water, we reach for coffee.  

Thoughts?  
What is the coffee culture like in your city?

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Dinner Last Night: Ramen Vegetable Soup

I don't know about you, but in college I ate a lot of Top Ramen.  I know my friend Heather can attest to those days. :) Gosh, looking back, I think, did I'm thankful I am long past the days of adding powdered chicken flavoring to water and calling it a meal.  But back then, it was such an easy, quick dinner that was ideal for the busyness of college life.  

Until recently, this was the only ramen I knew of. I didn't realize another, truer version of this soup existed until I visited Japan in 2010.  Wow, talk about a wake up call!  The authentic, real jam-packed savory bowls of noodles, meat, and vegetables put those powdered chicken broth packets to shame.  

This ramen vegetable soup recipe was simple enough, and Martha Stewart endorsed (always a welcome seal of approval).  While it's not quite the overflowing bowl of gustatory loveliness I had in Japan, it was tasty and easy to concoct.  Funny enough, it calls for those familiar grocery store noodle packets (minus the powdered broth, of course).  Since I had more vegetables on hand, I added in mushrooms and peas to the mix.  One thing to keep in mind for reheating, the ramen noodles soak up a LOT of broth, so it might be beneficial to keep some extra on hand for leftovers.


Dinner Last Night: Butternut Squash Mushroom Tart with Gruyere

Well, I couldn't resist cooking up one of the fall eats I bookmarked right away!  Dinner last night was butternut squash mushroom tart with gruyere.  The recipe claims the total time prep/cook time to be 30 minutes, which is a total lie! This recipe took approximately 1 hour (if not longer), but the results were well worth the invested effort. The gruyere was a perfect compliment to the flavors of butternut squash, pancetta, and shiitake mushrooms.  Complete with a blue cheese salad, a bottle of red wine, and we had ourselves a delicious Sunday night dinner.

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November Chill

Cold has descended upon the Seattle area.  One minute it was breezy, crisp, and feeling very autumn, the leaves rich with color and full on trees...And then, what seemed like a nanosecond later, trees are bare, and streets are carpeted with yellowy red mulch, and a wintry chill hangs in the air.  Yesterday, the temperature read 32 degrees, but skies were dry.  Not quite snow season, but getting close. Now, I realize this may not be considered cold in your neck of the woods, but winter boots, scarves, and puffy coat weather has arrived here.  

I'm currently enjoying a four-day weekend off school, thanks to Veterans day and a parent/teacher conference day that I opted to not use (having done all of mine before/after school in recent weeks).  I've spent the morning combing my stack of fall magazines that usually sit idly as I can never find the time to read them, but now I am leisurely perusing for comforting, fall recipes.  

Here are some favorites on my "to cook" roster, gathered both the web and reliable stash of Martha Stewart Living, Cooking Light, and Real Simple magazines.








Now, let's see if I can really make every single one of these to enjoy at home!

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Currently...

Listening to this via audio book...


Watching this new series...

Enjoying this cover...

And this instrumental cover...

While sipping a glass of this...

What are you up to?

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November Weekend

What a fun fall weekend!  Friday night, we celebrated my best friends' engagement at the Novely Hill Januik Winery with an elegant dinner in the barrel room, complete with "How well do you know the couple?" trivia, fine wine, and decadent desserts.  

Saturday, my husband and I double-dated with my parents to see the new Ben Affleck movie, Argo.  The movie was incredibly gripping, suspenseful, and had you at the edge of your seat, wondering, What's going to happen next?  It was very good, I'd recommend it!

Sunday, we readied our house for some home improvements happening next week, some pipe repairs in our basement and a slough of new windows that are going to be installed.  

How was your weekend?

Baking with Coconut Flour

I first read about baking with coconut flour here.  I don't know about you, but I had never heard of coconut flour before, I wasn't even sure how coconut flour was even possible?  How does a coconut become flour, I wondered.  My google research informed me that the "flour" is actually made from ground coconut meat.  Hmm, interesting!

Long story short, I was intrigued to try this wonder ingredient out for myself.  I popped on over to my neighborhood Whole Foods and scooped up some bulk coconut flour, (which was surprisingly inexpensive).  I made the lemon-blueberry muffins from the initial blog post that piqued my interest.  The muffins were moist, albeit a bit dense, with an underlying nutty flavor. Overall, pretty good.  Don't mind my husband who turned up his nose at them upon the first mention of the word, "coconut." (Sigh).  One fact I did learn about coconut flour, is that the flour is incredibly dense, and somewhat clumpy, thus it requires significantly more liquid to balance out the texture (i.e. 6 eggs instead of 2).

While I'm not sure I'm a coconut flour convert quite yet, I would suggest to the curious baker out there that it's worth a try, especially for those who are gluten-sensitive.  In the mean time, I'm going to use my remaining flour to try out coconut flour banana nut bread.  I'll report back :)

Have you tried coconut flour?  If so, what are your favorite recipes?