Monday, July 28, 2014

London Bridge Night

Thanks to

Monday, August 26, 2013

Bread and Wine

Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist is the perfect combination of uplifting stories, inspiring quotes, and delicious recipes, all with the backbone of dedication and faith. Niequist, who has a passion for food and entertaining devotedly tells the stories that most fondly remind her of childhood meals, traditional comfort foods, family celebrations, and other special moments. With these stories (which honestly feel like conversations with a good friend), Niequist provides delicious recipes like Blueberry Crisp, Basic Vinaigrette, Basic Risotto, Green Well Salad and Breakfast Cookies which are sure to please. While there are a number of vegan recipes, this isn’t a cookbook as much as it is an uplifting collection of stories. There are some wonderful recipes, but so much of the fun of Bread and Wine is reading about Niequist’s unwavering faith, and the celebrations of food that remind her of those she loves. This is a great read, and would make a wonderful gift for the foodies in your life.

Aioli with Walnuts

I am a fan of aioli, a classic Italian pasta dish that is beautiful in its simplicity – olive oil and garlic. For this version, however, it is just a slight twist on the original. I used walnut oil out of necessity (we were out of olive oil) and added walnuts, parsley and a pinch of red pepper flakes to make this delicious. Aioli with Walnuts 1 package (12 ounces) cappelini or angel hair pasta 1/4 cup olive oil 1 head garlic, cloves separated, peeled, and thickly sliced 3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Paper Artist

While I am not necessarily the craftiest person, I am a bit of a paper addict. Scrap booking, card making, and creating all sorts of other paper projects are my idea of fun. I, however, was blown away by the creativity of Paper Artist: Creations You Can Fold, Tear, Wear and Share by Kara L. Laughlin and Jennifer Phillips. This is no ordinary paper craft book – this goes far beyond inspiring page layouts and beautiful card designs so that you can create paper projects that are as beautiful as they are diverse. With clear directions and beautiful photos, you can learn how to quickly create earrings, a headband, a paper purse, a paper flowered necklace, and even a paper hat. My favorite project, by far, though, was the paper scarf – it is beautiful and stylish and I can’t wait to make it. There aren’t any crazy items needed to make these beautiful projects, and the directions are so clear that crafters of any level will find a project that they feel confident doing. With over 114 pages of crafty ideas and inspiration, paper lovers are sure to find a project that will be fun and beautiful. This book is well worth adding to your shelf!

Maple Coconut Sweet Potato Sticky Fries

These fries can be eaten with fingers or a fork, but however you consume them, know that they are addictive. They make a perfect accompaniment to sandwiches and burgers and have a hint of sweetness which makes them almost seem dessert like in quality. To make clean up easier, make sure you line your baking sheet with foil and remove fries from baking sheet as quickly as possible after cooking – the syrup and coconut oil combine to make a glaze and that can become difficult to clean up. Maple Coconut Sweet Potato Sticky Fries 3 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into long fries 1/4 cup pure maple syrup 1/4 cup melted coconut oil 1/4 teaspoon salt 1. Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with two sheets of foil to ensure that clean up will be easy. 2. Mix syrup, coconut oil, and salt in a large resealable bag or container. Mix well. Toss sweet potatoes in to coat. Allow to marinate for about 5 minutes while oven preheats. 3. Spread fries evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender and cooked throughout. Remove fries from baking sheet as quickly as possible and serve immediately.

The Guilty One

Childhood should be a time of innocence and tranquility, but for Daniel, the protagonist in The Guilty One, his youth was a time of confusion and hardship. Daniel’s mother was an addict and Daniel was thrust into the harsh reality of the world as a child being shuffled from foster home to foster home. When he finally is placed with Minnie Flynn in a rural town outside of London, he gets a real sense of family and belonging. After refusing to leave to be adopted by another family so that he can stay on Minnie’s farm where he feels safe and secure, Daniel is adopted by Minnie and becomes entrenched in the country life. Years later, Daniel is a successful criminal defense lawyer and has been assigned a case involving a young boy, Sebastian, who has been accused of murdering an eight-year-old neighbor. Never certain of the boys innocence or guilt, Daniel must build a defense for the young boy while also combating the memories that haunt him from his past after Minnie dies. Daniel had long been estranged from her, unable to forgive her for something that she did years ago, and when he looks at his current situation with the case, he is reminded of himself as a child. Daniel realizes that he was a difficult and disturbed child, and sees qualities of himself in Sebastian; this leads him to wonder if he may have been called to this case in order to change the young boy’s life just as Minnie did his. Ultimately, with the story line divided between Daniel’s past and present, the reader is slowly led to understand Daniel’s sense of urgency with the case and his sense of regret in his personal life. Gradually, we begin to understand who really is The Guilty One. This fabulous debut novel is a beautiful blend of mystery and reflection and is well worth a read.

Butternut Squash Green Curry with Cauliflower Couscous

While the title of this entree is daunting, it is such a simple recipe and so amazingly delicious that I could have it 5 nights a week. The cauliflower couscous is a great alternative to the traditional rice served with curry. Also, because it is vegan and gluten-free and packed with veggies, you won’t feel any guilt if you do have it multiple times in a row. Cauliflower Couscous 1 head cauliflower, florets removed from core, core discarded Salt and pepper to taste 2 teaspoons oil 1. In a food processor, add 1/2 of the cauliflower florets. Process until cauliflower is finely chopped, resembling couscous in size and texture. Spoon cauliflower out and repeat with remaining florets. 2. Add oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently to remove moisture from the cauliflower, about 10 minutes. Cauliflower should become light and fluffy like couscous. Spoon curry over cauliflower couscous to serve. Butternut Squash Green Curry 2 teaspoons coconut oil 1 medium white onion, diced 1 (12 ounce) package frozen cubed butternut squash 2 orange bell peppers, cored and diced 1 cup frozen peas 1 (5 ounce) package fresh spinach 1 (12 ounce) jar prepared Thai Green Curry Sauce 1. Melt coconut oil over medium-high heat in a medium deep-sided skillet. Cook onion until translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add squash, bell peppers, and peas, and cook until thawed, but not tender, about 5 minutes. 2. Add Thai Green Curry Sauce, cover with a lid, and reduce heat to medium-low, simmering for about 10 minutes. Add spinach and stir into curry, replace lid, and remove from heat. Do not remove lid for 5 minutes, or until spinach is wilted. Stir to incorporate spinach, and spoon over cauliflower couscous and serve immediately.