Weekend roundup: Christmas Eve dinner, holiday side dishes, dessert for breakfast

The last weekend before the holidays! How did that happen?!? Are you scrambling for anything this weekend?

I just remembered that Santa is supposed actually bring presents for the children so I, uh, made sure he had some…

cioppino2I’m totally excited to make cioppino for Christmas Eve dinner. It’s like a riff on the feast of seven fishes meets San Fran meets just plain awesome. Even though it’s not hard to make, we don’t seem to make it outside of Christmas Eve so I get so excited when it’s that time of year again. Do you have a traditional Christmas Eve meal?

Lots of great stuff around the web on holiday sides and decadent sweet breakfast ideas. Read on…  [Read more...]

Embrace your bitter side: a holiday cocktail guide

cocktail guideI don’t know about you but I think that the end of the year flurry of activity is enough to make your stomach turn. Between work reviews and budget reforests, school concerts, holiday shopping, holiday cards, cookie making, holiday party planning and attending, and maybe a birthday, wedding or anniversary thrown in there and the logistics alone are enough to invest in some extra Tums. Add to that planning family visits or travel and a lot of rich food to consume and you’re in for a serious case of indigestion. [Read more...]

Weekend in Pics: New Apps (phone, not food), Holiday Fun, Kids Cooking

1207 collageIt’s officially holiday season! Even though I haven’t done a lick of shopping, my email and Twitter have been reminding me with holiday gift guides, cookie and cocktail party tips, and hundreds of emails about free shipping. But school holiday concerts, Olde Tyme Christmas celebrations, and snow this weekend really made it real! And reminded me to get moving on that holiday shopping. Read on for more of our weekend adventures.

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Friday (re)Fresh: Thanksgiving (left)over it!

20131129-140035.jpgAs much as I love, love, love Thanksgiving–and this year making our own meal since we didn’t travel to see family as we usually do–I’ve had enough turkey talk for one year. I am ready to move on to all that the rest of the holiday season has to offer! Hannakuh, a wedding, holiday parties, Christmas list shopping and buying, a 5th birthday party to plan, Christmas travel ahead, and New Years! Thanksgiving was just the beginning, so much fun to be had!  [Read more...]

A foodie’s holiday gift guide for friends and family

I’ve seen a lot of gift guides for what to buy your foodie friends, but what about gifts foodies should buy for their friends and family? I use the term foodie loosely–love food and cook a lot pretty much covers it.

But seriously, if you’re reading this you’ve chosen to take time out of your day to read someone else’s random thoughts on food stuff. So you qualify as a foodie in my book.

Looking for gifts or stocking stuffers for friends and family that look to you for all things food? Here are a few gifts I’ve given in the past. Hope this helps for last minute shopping! Gifts

1. Your favorite kitchen gadget. You probably take for granted the tools you have in your kitchen, but have you ever tried cooking in someone else’s kitchen? Some of the things I’ve found many people don’t have:

–A microplane for zesting, grating hard cheese, nutmeg

A GOOD vegetable peeler–I don’t think people can appreciate the value it brings until they have a good one.

2. Your favorite cookbook. What do you go to again and again? We can all benefit! My favorites are: A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen and Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

3. Exotic pantry ingredients. Spices that not everyone has. Include a recipe on how to use. For instance, saffron, whole nutmeg (especially if you got a microplane), cardamom.

4. Dinner kit. A few ingredients, a recipe, a bottle of wine, wrapped up and ready to go. One of my favorites is Truffle Mushroom Risotto, with a Pinot Noir or a Barbera d’Alba.

5. Homemade canned goods. Apple butter, homemade pickles, or Recipe Girl’s salted caramel sauce anyone?

What are you getting for your friends and family this holiday season?

Impromptu Holiday Gathering

Impromptu brunchSometimes the best gatherings are the ones that aren’t planned. You don’t have time to stress about food or the menu, you just scan the fridge, grab a couple of things from the store, and make it work.

We no longer live around the corner from some of our closest friends, but thankfully have a tradition to meet up the day after Thanksgiving and go on a hike near our house. Their holiday travels bring them through town so we have a chance to spend some quality time together before the real chaos of the holidays settles in.

This year, at the last minute, we learned that other mutual friends were passing through as well. They live across the country or on the other side of the world depending on the week, so we jumped on the chance to catch up with them.

I had a bunch of random stuff in the fridge, including: oranges, onions, capers, and polish kielbasa. So, Nicholas and I grabbed a big piece of salmon from the store, and Dan went out for peirogies and booze from our corner market. Katie bounced in the jumperoo while I prepped for 1/2 hour or so, and then everything went in the oven when friends arrived. Our friends brought a delicious salad. Voila, a quick, easy and elegant brunch was born!

Menu:

Roasted Salmon with Mustard Caper sauce
Pierogies with Polish Kielbasa
Salad (ie, Pear, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Salad)
Dan’s Bloody Mary’s (clearly)

Needless to say we didn’t make it on our hike this year, and that was just fine with us!