A storm has moved into town and what could be more comforting on a cold day than homemade soup. I was watching Will & Grace reruns (Season 6 Episode 12) where Grace obsesses over soba noodles and I decided I wanted to make my own soba noodles and a simple soba soup. Start to finish I had these noodles and the soup made in an hour.
I took this recipe from Saveur but cheated a bit in that I used a stand mixer to knead the dough and a pasta roller to roll and cut the noodles. Made of mostly buckwheat flour and a little all-purpose flour this dough was SO easy to work with. I only used about a third of these noodles in the soup so the rest I dried out on the countertop for about 8 hours before storing in a plastic bag and freezing.
- Try to eat less
- Make foods I can can consume large quantities of
We take some of our favorite veggies – mushrooms and kale – a tangy marinara sauce and layer it with spaghetti squash and 3 kinds of cheeses. This recipe isn’t overly cheesy (though if you add lots I will respect you greatly). But since a main goal of this lasagna is to feel guilt-free while eating as much as possible, I was a bit stingy with the cheese. For added heft, hearty lentils are stirred in to the marinara sauce to ensure that – at some point – we’ll fill up. It’s not complicated, but it’s a cozy, healthy dinner that lets us stay home (safe and warm!) to ride out the month of January.
Did anyone else grow up with super simple, super cheap dishes that as an adult, when you think about them, take you back to a simpler time? Much like the scene in the movie Ratatouille where Anton Ego, the stuffy food critic, is served the traditional peasant dish of Ratatouille and is immediately transported to a childhood memory, there are certain dishes that are comfort foods for me and invoke a simpler time before adult-ing! That’s what this Comfort Food Casserole does for me.
This month we bring you comfort foods. What better way to get through January but with comfort foods? I always need extra motivation to get through this month of post holiday madness and, typically here in Colorado, bitter coldness and skin that feels like it will crack!
Bringing in the New Year deserves a special celebration, so why not set some booze on fire to welcome in 2018? We just did it to celebrate the holidays, and I can confirm that Flaming Punch is an excellent way to get excited for what’s to come!
Realistically, I’d probably like this drink solely because it’s something you get to light up, but it’s also really tasty. It’s warm and toasty (a result of the hot booze, of course, and also the rum and the cognac) with some lemon for tartness, demerara sugar for sweetness, and black tea to stand the whole thing up.
A few other reasons to enjoy this drink:
- The lemon makes your hands (and the drink) smell delicious
- A hot drink is perfect during this chilly season
- It’s super easy to make AND is super fancy to serve
- Done correctly, it’s a perfectly safe way to get to set things ablaze (note: we did have a fire extinguisher close at hand, because Safety First!)
- The recipe apparently originated from Charles Dickens?!
Even though gift giving for this holiday season is coming to a close there is still plenty of partying to be done between now and New Year’s Day. Since we are all pressed for time I thought I would share some quick and easy treats I whipped up for guests recently.
Each of these recipes I borrowed from other blogs so in the interest of having more time to party I am not going to retype them but provide the links. Each treat has a story though so I will share that instead!
I made this list for two reasons:
- I love a good recommendation from a real person. I find general customer product reviews as generally unhelpful; for every “this hot pad changed my life” there is another comment that says, “this hot pad caused my divorce!”
- The holidays are closing in, and as much as I believe in making your own gift (and there’s still plenty of time to do that before Kwanzaa), I also believe in buying gifts too. For some of us, time is very short (Chanukah is almost over!) and rush delivery is still a reasonable option (Christmas is a week away!).
So, let’s get to it!
I love eating cookies. I love baking cookies. Most of all I love giving cookies! Whenever I need a gift for someone, I go to Food52. This is how I discovered the CookieBox™. What better gift this holiday than making your own cookie kit in a CookieBox™?!
I discovered this box a few months ago when I needed just the right gift for Strudel’s birthday. She had just finished telling me that before we went to the International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento, she had made a batch of cookies for her partner to enjoy while she was away for the weekend. As I browsed Food52 I found CookieBox™ and as a result I knew she needed one for her cookie storage.
You might ask, a box just for cookies? I ask, why not?! This isn’t just any old box, it’s a handcrafted pine box made in the US. Not only is there the CookieBox™, there’s the PieBox™ and CakeBox™ too. The leather straps come from right here in Denver! Even better, last month, I entered a giveaway contest on Instagram @piebox and won! Now Strudel has a CookieBox™ and a PieBox™ for all her baking adventures!
With the passing of Thanksgiving, I view this time as when we ease up (though not give up!) on squash so that we can focus more on the peppermint and chocolate. As it’s also gift-giving time (and since I’ll use any excuse to try out a new recipe) I’ve just made these fantastic, refreshingly minty peppermint marshmallows as a holiday gift. Marshmallows alone don’t do anyone much good, so I also whipped up some homemade hot chocolate mix and ka-pow! We’ve got ourselves a thoughtful, easy, and tasty holiday gift.
Please note: making your own marshmallows is pretty fun, even if a little sticky. They taste better than the store-bought variety, plus gives you the added advantage making something that looks fancy without spending the billions of dollars that store-bought artisanal marshmallows usually cost. Adding in flavors – such a peppermint – is a great way to personalize the treats for the season.
Also, I don’t mean to gloss over the hot chocolate mix: it’s a brilliant combination of unsweetened chocolate bar with cocoa powder and sugar (and a few other easy ingredients). It’s a snap to make, and is a wonderful, decadent, chocolaty treat that’s perfect for the season.
I grew up hating gravy. When I met green chili, it was life changing. Seriously. Let me explain. As I went to others houses for thanksgiving in college and later adulthood I realized I had a somewhat unique gravy experience growing up compared to my peers.
My mom, being from the south, always made giblet gravy. It was my job in helping with holiday mealtime prep to pick the meat from the turkey neck. As a kid, gravy was quite possibly the grossest thing I had ever eaten (next to liver that my mom tried to pass off as swiss steak)!
Fast forward to adulthood where living in Colorado, my discovery of an amazing alternative to gravy to slather all over my mashed potatoes and everything else as well, Green Chili.
Every family has it’s own Thanksgiving customs, and one of my family’s traditions comes straight from another family – NPR commentator Susan Stamberg. Every year, Susan tells the story of her mother-in-law’s cranberry relish, and every year, it’s on our Thanksgiving table.
My dad – experimenter of unusual recipes and maker of the relish (and all things Thanksgiving) – started making the relish probably about 30 years ago. Even Susan S. acknowledges it’s a bizarre mix of ingredients. However, the unusual ingredients (and that it’s frozen!) result in a spicy, tangy, sweet, and deeply flavored side dish that holds it own amid the other flavors at the table. Certainly, regular cranberry sauce always has it’s place at our Thanksgiving table (my brother Eric might riot if it didn’t), but this cranberry relish is my favorite.
(FYI I’m very sure that my love of horseradish is partly why I love this cranberry relish so very much)