Our New Favorite Way to Make Dungeness Crab

Before I could even read a menu I would choose crab legs over chicken tenders on the kids menu. My poor parents would shell crab legs for me before they even ate themselves lol. I think they were happy that I was an adventurous eater but i’m sure a little annoyed as well.

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I grew up eating Florida Blue Crabs which have the sweetest most delicate meat. Even though they take up residence from Novia Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico, I always think of blue crabs as such a Floridian way of life! I have such fond memories of spreading newspaper all of the kitchen table and going to town- dunking the claw meat in melted butter was always my favorite! In Norway, Thomas’s family eats crab completely different which I love! They eat the whole body of the crab, spread the meat on a piece of white bread and squeeze a little mayo and lemon juice on top.

Now that we live in Oregon, Dungeness crab is king! While blue crabs are better in warmer months, Dungeness crab are best in the winter so we have really been enjoying them this season. I have fallen in love with a new way to eat crab with this recipe! A sweet asian peppercorn sauce blended with a ton of fresh coriander. We crack the shells just enough to easily take out the meat, and then toss them harmoniously with the peppercorn sauce. And there she is. The most glorious crab recipe I've tried to date. Pour yourself a hefty glass of white wine, spread out the newspaper, and get your hands messy ya’ll!

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Asian Peppercorn Dungeness crab

Ingredients

- 3 pounds of crab (do 1 1/2 pounds per person)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 jalapeño, roughly chopped
- 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 bunch of coriander (cilantro)
- 2 tablespoon of toasted black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 lemon
- sliced scallions and additional coriander for garnishing

What to do

  1. Boil sugar, vinegar, ginger, garlic, and jalapeño until it comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.

  2. In your blender, mix the vinegar mixture, hoisin, and cilantro until it’s completely blended.

  3. Remove the claws from the body of the crab and crack them either using crab crackers or with the back edge of a knife, removing some of the shell so the sauce can absorb into the crab claw meat. Remember, this is meant to be messy, so you’ll remove the rest of the shells and pick the meat out when you’re eating!

  4. You can pick the meat out of the body of the crab as well and keep that in a separate bowl.

  5. Once you have all of the crab claws cracked, heat the oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Toss the crab in and heat them up for 2 minutes or so tossing occasionally. Add in the sauce, tossing the crab, and reducing the sauce down - about 5 minutes.

Enjoy!

Valentine's Day Cheeseboard

I’m sure most of you are guilty of having a little love affair with cheese. I mean how could you not?! Thomas always laughs because sometimes I can’t help myself and I will nibble the corner end off of a block of parmesan like a mouse because I’m too lazy to cut it! He’ll open up the fridge and there will be two teeth marks in the cheese haha. What am I five years old?! 

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One of my favorite date nights is to lay out a charcuterie cheese board and snack throughout the night, with a glass of red of course. I would perfectly content if that was my dinner most nights of the week! The essentials for me is always a soft mild cheese like brie, blue cheese because it’s my fave, and something sharper like an aged cheddar or gouda. 

For Valentine’s Day I created a festive cheese board with fun v-day themed tags. Grow Mold with Me, BRIE Mine, I’d Be So BLUE Without You, and You’re a GOUDA one! I love a good pun, especially a “cheesy” pun… 😆

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These cheese tags were so simple to make - Just cut out hearts of white card stock, use a red colored pencil or sharpie for the lettering, and tape on the back of toothpicks or any cheese tag you have! Easy peesy and adds a cute touch for a galentines party or date night! 

FOR THE BOARD: 

I bought everything from Trader Joe’s but you can get everything from your favorite grocery store! Have fun with this and add any other nibbles that you think would be festive! 

- Blue Cheese
- Brie
- Aged Gouda
- pistachios and walnuts
- Prosciutto and salami
- Rasberries and strawberries
- Fig Jam
- Dark Chocolate
- fig and olive crackers and rosemary crisp crackers

We paired the cheeseboard with a Strawberry Champagne Sangria that I’ll be sharing tomorrow lovie dovies 🥰

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What we Read, Watched, and Ate this Weekend

For the Portlandians reading this, are you sad the snow didn’t come?! I mean the BIG SNOW - the “snowpocalypse”. The city was in a frenzy Friday when the forecast said we were getting 15+ inches, myself included! I was so excited to get out in the closed down streets and finally play in the snow come Saturday. We hopped across the street to Trader Joes Friday night to get everything to make lasagna and it was literally like the scene from Jumanji. You know the scene where the monkeys are throwing paint cans and the canoe goes shooting through the store? People were in a panic and had SWIPED the shelves clean, I couldn’t believe it! There wasn’t a can of beans or mere onion left in the joint. Come Saturday we woke up expecting our apartment to be enveloped in a winter wonderland - yet the branches were barely dusted with snow 🙄 The sun was shining and it was a beautiful weekend nonetheless! At least the folks who stocked up for the 'lypse won’t have to buy groceries for the next 6 months 😆

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Read

  1. I just started Girl, Wash Your Face! I’m only two chapters in and I already love it. Rachel Hollis is absolutely hilarious and inspiring. Every page I read it makes me more and more motivated to make changes to reach my goals!

  2. Reading this article on Savannah, GA makes me want to visit there even more! I still can’t believe I haven’t been there yet!

Watched

  1. Nothing like a good rom com :) In our impending snowstorm on Friday we watched As good as it gets! I love a good jack nicholson flick.

  2. For the last few days we have been watching One Strange Rock on Netflix with Will Smith as the narrator. It is so freaking amazing! It’s incredible how our planet works and how magnificent it truly is. This is definitely not a boring science show ya’ll - it’s worth a watch!

  3. Thomas finally got me to watch a James Bond movie! It’s not that I was ever opposed to them, but I feel like it’s kind of like Star Wars, if you start one than you have to watch them all and that just seems like too large of a feat at this point in time lol. We watched From Russia with Love with a young Sean Connery (cue the Sean Connery Jeopardy skit from SNL 😂)

Ate

Friday
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We made cast iron lasagna in our dutch oven! The best rich meat sauce, béchamel, and lots of layers! The cast iron sides makes it almost caramelized and crispy in some spots - SO GOOD! Putting the recipe on the blog next week.
Saturday
- for breakfast we made Turkish eggs! I’m going to also post this to the blog as well soon since It’s becoming one of our faves. Pita bread topped with a lemony yogurt, poached eggs, a spiced chickpea and walnut mixture in a buttery sauce, and then topped with fresh dill.
- leftover lasag for lunch because duhhh
- smoothie bowls for dinner because we were so full from lasagna lol - Here’s our go-to favorite açaí smoothie bowl!
Sunday
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breakfast was leftover risotto from last week with a fried egg on top! Because Sundays mean fridge cleaning day.
- I did a Valentine’s Day cheese board shoot for the blog, so I ate my weight in cheese and fig jam for lunch.
- For din I made a variation of HBH’s sheet pan chicken shawarma bowls. SO good! I love the combo of hummus, spicy chicken and cucumbers!

Have a great week friends!
xo

Our Favorite Romantic Dinners to Make Together

When I see the giant heart boxes of cheesy chocolates in the grocery store during this time of year, I roll my eyes just a little. But at the same time i’m bursting inside because I am your typical girl and go nutso over mushy gushy stuff and love any excuse to celebrate anything and everything! So while I do love this day dedicated to love, I feel like every day should be like valentines day. It doesn’t have to be this grand gesture of buying flowers, chocolate, expensive dinner and gifts ALL on one day. But we do expect this throughout the year, right ladies? 😂 Just kidding - but in all honesty doing special things together should be EVERY WEEK, not just on February 14th and your Anniversary every year.

Making a romantic dinner at home is something we do as often as possible.. There’s nothing better than breaking open a bottle of wine, turning on some good tunes, and making a great meal. Don’t get me wrong, I love going out to a fancy dinner occasionally, but for us this is our definition of a perfect date night 💕🍴 Here’s a list of our favorite recipes to make together!

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1. Seared Scallops

Whenever i’m thinking of a romantic dinner at home, scallops are the #1 thing that pops into my mind! These little vessels of sea goodness are super easy to prepare if you’re careful, they look pretty, and you won’t feel super bloated after dinner - you know, so you can save room for dessert… 😉

My recipe for seared scallops with butternut squash purée is so good with sautéed mushrooms and an arugula salad on the side. Keep the salad simple with just lemon juice, good extra virgin olive oil, grated parmesan, and salt and pepper.

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2. Pasta

Nothing says ‘date night’ more than a good pasta dish and a bottle of red wine. It’s our go-to for Friday night or anytime really! I love those nights after we’ve finished our pasta and we’re sitting by the candle light finishing off the bottle and instead of turning on the tv to watch a movie or show, we just keep talking into the night. Sometimes life gets so hectic and you forget to just slowww down and enjoy each other. So my friends, break out your best bottle of cab or bubbly, make this sweet potato gnocchi with balsamic sage brown butter or oxtail ragu pappardelle and have yourself an old fashioned date night at home! 💋

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3. Lamb Shanks

The first time Thomas made me a lamb shank I seriously thought to myself “hot damn I better marry that man” ;)

I don’t know how, but for some people lamb isn’t there thing, and I just don’t get it. Lamb shanks especially, is melt-in-you-mouth-fall-off-the-bone perfection. For date night, I love our slow braised lamb shanks with basil mint pesto, with small roasted potatoes, and roasted mini carrots.

Or if you are wanting more of a stew, this lamb and butternut squash curry made with lamb shanks is one of my all time favorite cozy dinners.

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4. steaks

It’s hard to go wrong with a good steak for date night. We don’t have a grill since we have downtown apartment living, but I have found that a pan seared steak can be pretty darn good. I love searing a filet in a really hot pan with little butter and olive oil and then adding a spring of rosemary and smashed garlic cloves to the hot butter, spooning it over the steak as it finishes cooking. GAHH that’s good. All you need is silky mashed potatoes and broccolini on the side and you’ve got yourself a snazzy date night meal.

Or for a really show-stopping date-night meal, beef wellington is always so fun! I love this deconstructed beef wellington I crafted up this past holiday season. A lot easier and pretty to look at :)

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5. Chocolate Cake

okay, i’m sorry - I know this isn’t a dinner, but who needs dinner when you’ve got dessert?! If you feel like forgoing the dinner and going straight to dessert, than there’s nothing better than chocolate cake! We have made two chocolate cakes together and both are equally delicious. Chocolate rose cake for two is a fun treat for Valentine’s Day, but the double chocolate cake is extra rich and decadent.

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I know i’m being extra lovely on the blog for Valentine’s Day, but I hope you treat most days like V-Day with your other half and make date nights a weekly routine ❤️

Tell me in the comments what your favorite date night meal is or favorite thing to do together?!

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What we read, watched, and ate this weekend

Hey hey! How was your weekend? We had the best cozy cabin weekend with friends in Black Butte, a quaint ranch vacation community in Central Oregon near Bend. My friend Danni’s parents own a cabin there and it’s always the perfect relaxing weekend getaway! We headed up early Friday afternoon and spent the next couple of days with our four friends, eating good food, drinking too much wine and playing in the snow with their dogs Cooper the golden and Kodo the Aussie.

We didn’t do as much “watching/reading” as a usually weekend, but we sure did a lot of eating! 🍴

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Read

  1. I just finished reading Sarah’s Key, If you haven’t read it then you should definitely put it on your list. I just ordered Where the Crawdads Sing and Girl Wash Your Face on Amazon today.

  2. On our 3 hour ride to Black Butte, I read through a new cookbook, Six Seasons. It’s by chef Joshua McFadden who owns Ava Gene’s and Tusk in Portland. His way of cooking and using seasonal produce is incredible. Simple recipes at home centered around the seasons best vegetables. I already made a comforting cabbage farro soup from the book and I can’t wait to make more!

Watched

  1. We watched the Fyre Festival documentary for a 2nd time at the cabin since a couple people hadn’t seen it and were curious. It’s honestly so mind boggling to me that really happened and what a loser he is. It’s definitely entertaining if you haven’t watching it yet!

  2. Other than the doc, the TV stayed off which was a nice change! We played a lot of King’s Corner and One Night Ultimate Werewolf, which is such a fun game! Especially if you’ve had a few cocktails!

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Ate

Friday
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our friends Danni and Nick were in charge of dinner Friday night! They made spaghetti with bolognese with salad, crusty bread, and lots of red wine of course.
- for our night cap we made our favorite Old Fashioned’s using bitter housewife aged bitters!

Saturday
- for breakfast Thomas and I made our favorite shakshuka with couscous recipe that I adapted from Molly Yeh. This is honestly the breakfast recipe we make the most in our house, and occasionally for dinner for that matter!
- for lunch we headed into Bend and had lunch at Deschutes Brewery. We had beer flights (I loved the grapefruit sour), and I had French onion soup and the Nashville spicy chicken sandwich for lunch. I have to say, our spicy fried chicken sandwiches blow the socks off of that one.
- for dinner, our other friends Gabe and Linzy were in charge and they made our french onion pot roast with creamy polenta from the blog! The most cozy of all cozy comfort meals.

Sunday
- we woke up leisurely, had our coffee, and then Thomas and I made Huevos Rancheros for the group! We made a pot of black beans seasoned with salt, pepper, and cumin and cooked them down with a little beef stock and made them really creamy. We put the beans on top of a tortilla topped with a fried egg, homemade pico de gallo, avocado, sliced radishes, jalapeños, scallions, cilantro, and crumbly queso fresco cheese.
- after breakfast we took a long bike ride and before we knew it we had to rush back to the cabin and get packed up since there was other renters coming in. So once we were packed up we headed back to Portland and made asian-y pork burritos for dinner and the Super Bowl! If you want to follow-up along on Instagram stories, I am challenging to post on there everything we eat for dinner the rest of the year and saving it in my highlight reel! 😄 I thought it would be neat for us to look back and see everything we eat, plus I can re-make some of the stuff that we make on the fly that ends up turning out good! You can screenshot the recipe in my stories if you want to make it as well!

Have a great week!

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New Year, Big Goals!

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Almost every NYE that we’ve been together, we have gotten dressed up, made a great dinner with friends, and sipped champs until the early morning hours. Is it ironic that the first year that we’re married we stayed in, wore our comfiest attire, and didn’t even open the bottle of Prosecco in the fridge? lol I have to say though, I would not have had it any other way this year. We had a rough couple of days traveling back from a friends wedding in Ohio (we got stuck and had to stay the night in Dallas) plus I have a pretty nasty cold, so by the time we made it back to Portland in the afternoon of NYE I couldn’t think of anything I wanted more than to stay in and have a relaxing night at home. We did muster up the strength to make a pretty epic oxtail ragu with pappardelle, and then we watched one of my favorite movies of all time, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood We fell asleep on the couch and woke up 5 minutes before the clock struck midnight and kept our eyes open just long enough for a kiss - then slumbered away for a much needed 9 hours.

New Years Eve is always bittersweet. In one way i’m sad the the holidays and celebrations have come to an end, but i’m also excited to reset, reflect on the year prior, and create goals for the new year. 2018 was an amazing year; We got married, we attended 5 other weddings, went to the Bahamas for my bachelorette party, visited Austin, TX for the first time for another Bach party, traveled to Bali for our honeymoon, and to the Dominican Republic for my work contest trip. On the career front, Thomas switched from helicopters to airplanes with the path to become a commercial airline pilot, I continued to grow in my role as a recruiter at my day job, I did my first two restaurant photography shoots, and I continued to grow this little blog of mine. I am so proud of everything we have accomplished together so far, and I can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store!

2019 goals!

personal:

Buy a home - I am constantly drooling over Pinterest and dreaming of a house. Our big goal for 2019 is buy a home where we are going to be for the next 5-10 years.

Saving - Saving money is a big part of buying a home, so I guess these two kind of go together. However, I overall want to be more conscience of what i’m spending my money on, like coffee for example. I have a perfectly good coffee maker at home and at my office, so there’s no reason to buy Starbucks! If I added up all the money i’ve spent on coffee out the last few years, would have a good chunk of money to put down on our house…no joke!

Spend less time watching TV - I’m a multi-tasker when watching a show, but i’m sure I would get a lot more done if I turned it off completely and had my full-focus on whatever i’m working on. I love a good show or movie on Netflix, but during the week my goal is to keep the TV off and focus on things for the blog, reading, or practicing Norwegian on Duolingo.

Play:

Kicking off our inaugural anniversary trip! - This is one that i’m really excited about. At my brother’s wedding we met a couple who for the last 5 or 6 years since they’ve been married have alternated planning a surprise anniversary trip! How fun is that?! It’s something to look forward to all year and will be amazing as well once we have kids and need a little vacay lol. I am kicking it off planning it for our 1st anniversary March 31st and Thomas will have no idea where we are going until we go to the airport (eh, or get in the car?) - stay tuned on where we go :)

Sticking to a weekly date night - I think connecting and being away from all social media/tv/the outside world is so important, whether it’s a cozy night at home playing board games or going our to a restaurant we’ve been dying to go to! I feel like we’re good about date night already, but I need to be better about ditching my phone!

Blogging/Business:

Read one blogging/business article a day - Constantly learning and staying up on new trends is so important and I definitely want to make this more of a focus.

Post consistently - I go through spells where I do 3-4 blog posts a week, then I’ll lose focus and only do a handful in a month’s time. I’ve already ordered my 2019 planner, so I am going to be proactive with planning content in advance and using my weekends and time off as efficiently as possible.

When it’s all said and done, the most important thing I want for this year and every year in the future is health and happiness for the people I love the most. Anything else is just a bonus :)

I hope you all have an amazing start to 2019!

Smoked Salmon Bagels

Can you believe Christmas is in 8 days?! The last couple of weeks have flown by, and now we are packing up and getting ready to head to Florida in a couple days to be with my family for Christmas. We just have today and tomorrow of work before our holiday break officially kicks off - plus tomorrow is my birthday! To celebrate and kick off our two week much needed vacay, Thomas and I have a room booked at McMenamin’s Edgefield tomorrow night. It’s like it’s own little town! Cozy quaint rooms at the hotel, a spa with outdoor soaking pools, a wine room and brewery on-site, and a delicious restaurant! I’m beyond excited for a little r&r and a night away before we fly home!

I’m sure most of you will be having guests in your home and hosting family and friends in the coming weeks. It’s the best time of year getting to spend time with everyone you love the most, but sometimes entertaining can be tiring! Instead of stressing over an elaborate breakfast in the mornings, something that is so easy (and fun to eat) is smoked salmon bagels! So simple and who doesn’t love a good toasty bagel?! Make it a DIY situation but laying out the salmon, bagels, cream cheese, and all the toppings out on a serving tray so everyone can build their own the way they like! I love the Hot Smoked Scottish Salmon from Trader Joe’s, but any lox or smoked salmon will do.

This is a breakfast everyone loves, looks pretty, and is easy on you for hosting. Win win for everyone! A strong latte, an epic salmon bagel, and good company sounds like a perfect holiday morning to me :)

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Smoked Salmon Bagels

Ingredients

- Everything bagels, or whatever your bagel preference is
- cream cheese
- smoked salmon
- All the toppings: capers, thinly sliced red onion, capers, micro greens, cucumbers, and sliced tomatoes.

what to do

toast the bagels right before serving - place cream cheese in a dish with a spreader, place toppings around the tray and let everyone build their own bagel. Easy peasy!

Double Chocolate Cake

Who else has been watching Christmas movies every night since December kicked off? Guilty. I have so many favorites that it’s hard to fit them all in!

Here is my faves (in somewhat of an order of best, but IT’S SO HARD TO CHOOSE!)
- Christmas Vacation (I mean, duh. I hope i’m as funny as Aunt Bethany when i’m 90)
- Home Alone - Hysterical laughter every time Marv gets hurt in the movie
- Love Actually - I literally cry happy tears every-time
- Scrooged - Bill Murray is my hero
- A Christmas Story - Plays on repeat on our tv Christmas Day

Other faves are The Holiday, Elf, The Santa Clause, The Grinch, The Family Stone, It’s a Wonderful Life, and i’m sure many more i’m forgetting. What’s your favorite Christmas movies?! I need more to add to my list…obviously :)

The countdown is on for a much needed break and I couldn’t be more excited to head home for Christmas! We are leaving next week for Florida, but first we are going to be staying at Edgefield next Tuesday for my birthday! It’s an amazing property right outside of Portland with a quaint hotel, thermal soaking pools, and lots of cozy restaurants and bars on-site! I’ll definitely do a post on our stay!

I am all for Christmas cookies, but sometimes you just need a good slice of chocolate cake. You can’t go wrong serving up rich and decadent chocolate cake, and it’s easy to make festive with greenery and sugared cranberries! I adapted this recipe from Broma Bakery - she’s seriously a cake wizard. I used cocoa I had on-hand, but if you want to make it a “black-out” chocolate cake, you’ll need to use dark cocoa.

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Double Chocolate Cake

for the cake

- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cups cocoa powder
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup strongly brewed coffee

for the frosting

- 1 3/4 cups salted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup strongly brewed coffee
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt

What to do

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. 

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk oil, eggs, and buttermilk.

  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, whisking until no lumps remain. Pour in brewed coffee, mixing until just combined.

  4. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for roughly 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

  5. To make the frosting, place butter and cream cheese in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (an electric hand mixer also works). Cream on high speed for 1 minute, then turn speed to low and add in cocoa powder. Mix until combined, then add in powdered sugar, brewed coffee, vanilla extract, and salt. Cream on high speed for 1 minute, until mixture has lightened slightly and is fluffy.

  6. Frost cake by placing first cake layer onto a cake stand. Top with a healthy dose of frosting. Spread evenly, then repeat with second layer. Use remaining frosting to frost sides of the cake. Last, use the back of a spoon to create a large swirling pattern all around the cake! 

Deconstructed Beef Wellington

We went and picked up our tree last night and it is definitely a big papa! It’s not so much tall as it is wide lol. You know that scene in Christmas Vacation when Chevy Chase cuts the string on the Christmas tree and it goes bursting through the window?! And he says “little full, lot of sap”… that’s how I feel every year! I’ve got sticky sap all over my fingers but it smells so freaking amazing that I think I’ll just leave it :)

This is my absolute favorite time of year. I think I said that about Fall as well? No but Christmas is REALLY my favorite time of year. There’s something so cozy about turning on a classic Christmas movie, with only the lights from the Christmas tree streaming through, cozied up on the couch drinking something warm. I’m hoping we get a little snow in Portland to kick off the holiday season! As with all seasons, what I look forward to most is family and food! Heading home for the holidays, baking cookies, making peppermint hot chocolate (and boozy eggnog) and sharing beautiful festive meals are what it’s all about.

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I’ve been thinking of different dishes I want to make my family and friends over the next few weeks, and Beef Wellington always comes to mind because it’s fun & festive and such a great main dish for holiday parties. There’s nothing better than a melt in your mouth beef tenderloin smothered in a mushroom duxelle and wrapped in flaky puff pastry. Check out Gordon Ramsey’s - he’s the master of beef wellies. But I thought why not deconstruct it?! All the same great flavors with less fuss. And plus, more room for error when you’ve had one to many glasses of rosé in the kitchen and wrapping that puff pastry is looking prettyyy challenging :)

Thomas loves ribeyes so that’s what we tried for this recipe and It had such great flavor! I love beef tenderloin, but you can choose whatever cut of meat you fancy! Dig in, pour yourself a glass, and cheers to kicking off Christmas!

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Deconstructed Beef Wellington

Ingredients


- 3 pints (1 1/2 pounds) white button mushrooms, chopped as small as you can
- 2 shallots, peeled and finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
-Puff pastry sheets (found in the frozen aisle at the grocery store)
- 1 egg (for egg wash)
- 2 pounds of your preferred cut of beef (filet is the most tender, ribeye has more flavor)

red wine sauce
- brown sugar (enough to cover a very thin at the bottom of the pot)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 shallot quartered
- 2 cups of red wine
- 2 cups of beef stock

what to do

  1. Heat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut each of your puff pastry sheets in half making 4 squares. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Space your puff pastry squares evenly, whisk you 1 egg in a small dish, and brush the puff pastry with the egg wash. Bake for 15 minutes or until the squares are golden brown. Turn off the oven when done, but keep pastries in the oven to stay warm while everything finishes cooking.

  2. while your puff pastry is baking, start the red wine sauce. To make the sauce, put a sauce pan over medium heat and cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of brown sugar. Let the sugar melt until it start to look caramelized, careful not to let it burn. You can remove it on and off the heat to monitor it. Toss in your crushed garlic and quartered shallot and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Then pour in your red wine. Let the wine reduce by half and then add in beef stock. Continue boiling until it’s reduced by half again. Taste to see if it needs any adjustments. You can always thicken the sauce with a tablespoon of cornstarch blended in a 2 tablespoons of water before whisking it in the sauce and letting it boil out for another minute.

  3. While the sauce is reducing, make your mushroom duxelle. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large sauté pan and set over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, thyme leaves, and mushrooms and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm while you sear your beef.

  4. For the beef, heat a skillet over medium-high. Add a little olive oil and sear steak on the first side. Flip over, add butter, crushed garlic and herbs such as thyme or rosemary. Let steak continue searing while you spoon over garlic butter until it’s golden brown and the steak is cooked to an internal temperature of 145. Move to a cutting board once it’s rested for a few minutes and slice.

  5. To serve, place a square of puff pastry and top with the mushroom duxelle, then place a few slices of beef and drizzle with red wine sauce. Garnish with fresh herbs and pomegranate seeds.

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Dirty Chai Cashew Hemp Latte

Are you guys prepping your kitchen and waistbands for Thursday?! In spite of that fact that i’ve already eaten turkey and a full Thanksgiving meal three times in the last week, I am still pretty darn excited! Between hosting a Friendsgiving and attending a Friendsgiving you would think that I would be all turkey’d out, but no way José! We are heading to Seattle Wednesday and will be spending the holiday with a friend and her family. This will be the first time I have ever not gone home for Thanksgiving which is a little sad, but I am happy Christmas is a short month away and we will be going back to Florida then to see the fam!

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I am in full cozy-up mode this time of year and love to have something warm in my hands pretty much at all times. Usually I am a standard cup of coffee in the morning kind of gal and I’m completely content with a plain jane cup o’ joe. When I am feeling fancy and order something for a coffee shop, I usually go for a dirty chai latte. It’s a chai tea latte with a shot of espresso in it. I love the extra zing that the espresso gives the drink!

Since I got my new Vitamix I have loved making fun drinks at home - like a dirty chai latte! This recipe is one of my new favorites and I love how the cashews and hemp seeds give the latte a creamy nuttiness. And with the power of the Vitamix, the latte is silky smooth and you would never know that you had put nuts in there!

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Dirty Chai Cashew Hemp Latte

Ingredients

- 1 cup water
- 1-2 chai tea bags
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons raw hemp seeds
- 2 tablespoons roasted cashews
- 1 -2 shots of espresso

what to do

  1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil over high heat. Add the chai tea bags, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.

  2. In a high powder blender, combine the cinnamon, vanilla, honey, hemp seeds, cashews, and steeped tea. Blend on medium for 2 minutes, then blend on high for about 1 minute or until the drink is smooth and frothy. Pour your espresso in your mug, and then pour chai latte mixture in the mug. To garnish sprinkle with additional hemp seeds and cinnamon. Enjoy!

Hosting our First Friendsgiving

Thomas and I hosted our first Friendsgiving last Saturday! I had all of these big plans to set-up a photo shoot and take a ton of pictures for the blog, but I definitely underestimated how much work goes into preparing for a Thanksgiving feast! I was talking big game the night before that I can do it all by myself, “it’s going to be easy”, and “I can just make a plan in the morning”. Thomas was going to be working all day, so I started feeling the panic when my eyes popped open at 6am thinking “shit! I better get a move on!”. It was such a fun first experience and we had an absolute blast.

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Here’s a little timeline of our day!

The night before: brined the turkey! I used bon appetite’s dry rubbed turkey recipe! It was some of the juiciest turkey i’ve ever had!

6am - eyes pop open in full-panic mode. The apartment is a mess and I don’t have a plan finalized for the day! I break out my bookmarked websites and bon appetite’s Thankgiving edition mag for some inspiration! After an hour of deliberating, I decided on creamy potato gratin, sausage fennel stuffing, roasted brussel sprouts, glazed kabocha squash, cranberry sauce, carrot cake for dessert, lots of gravy and the big fat turkey of course. Praying that Thomas’ flights get cancelled at this point so he can come save me.

7am-10am - Deep cleaned the house, had the Friends Thanksgiving episodes playing in the background, and stuffed everything possible that looked cluttered in the apartment behind our door in our bedroom. Our apartment has NO storage space, so anything that doesn’t have a place gets shoved under the bed or behind the door…I’m learning to be more of a minimalist ok?!

10am- Thomas walks through the door and says his flight was cancelled and he’s home for the day to help me! I cry tears of joy on the inside, but pretend like I had everything handled on the outside.

10:15 - head to Fred Meyer to pick-up all of our groceries! In our neighborhood we live walking distance to three grocery stores, which is such a luxury! We can see trader joe’s from our living room window, so we are definitely spoiled in that sense. If we ever forget a major ingredient I never sweat it since I know I can run right across the street!

11:15 - Got home and started making the homemade carrot cake! I used this recipe by Inspired Taste, but just used two of my 6 inch cake pans and made 4 layers! More frosting right?!

11:45 - While the cake is baking, Thomas starts making the turkey stock with all of the giblets from the turkey (sounds gross but is delicious), and I ran out to buy a couple more white plates from a thrift store down our street that has the best dishes! I also stopped by Kitchen Kaboodle to get cloth napkins candles, and then trader joe’s for all of the greenery/flowers for the table.

12:30 - Took the cake out and put the turkey in! You always want to use a meat thermometer to make sure it’s perfect, but a turkey takes roughly 15 minutes to cook per pound, so we were shooting for 3:30 for it to be coming out of the oven and rest for an hour.

12:30 - 3:30- This was a blur of cutting veggies, washing 1,000 dishes, frosting the cake, basting the turkey every 30 minutes, going nuts on potatoes with a mandolin, peeling god forsaken kambocha squash that has merciless thick skin, singing along to the happy hits playlist on Spotify, yelling at Alexa to turn it down when there was too much going on, sneaking kisses with my hot chef who was frankly saving my ass from having a meltdown had he not been there, setting up the table, lighting all the candles, and then answering the doorbell at 3:30 to a florist delivering flowers from my sweet Nana who knew I was hosting a party!

Pheww, I’m tired just re-living this!

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3:50 - Our friends Maureen and Eric were supposed to be coming at 4, so I quickly texted her saying we are a little behind sched and to come at like 4:30. I scrambled and took the fastest 2 minute shower ever to wash off all the powdered sugar and turkey drippings, threw dry shampoo in my hair, did a quick little makeup, and was back in the kitchen by 4!

4:00 - Poured ourselves our first glass of rosé which tasted like sweet nectar of the gods at this point in the day. That’s all the really matters here.

4:00 - 4:30 - Did last minute preparations and put everything in the oven that hadn’t been in yet. Here’s everything we made for the night! Dry-rubbed roast turkey, classic potato gratin, sausage & fennel stuffing (swapped out cornbread for sourdough), cranberry sauce out of a can because that’s how I like it, Thomas’s turkey gravy, simple roasted brussels, and kamocha squash with a spicy red wine glaze on top!

The rest of the night: Our friends arrived around 4:30ish and we had drinks and snacks before everything was ready to come out of the oven. We put broil on to crisp the potatoes, but forgot the turkey was in there, mind you this was about 3 glasses deep, and we burnt the top of the turkey! Thankfully enough that was the only mishap of the day and it was still delicious but maybe not as pretty.

We sat around candlelight until late into the night drinking 8 bottles of wine between the 6 of us, breaking out aquavit and rod stewart on the record player, and having one of the best nights ever. I love how a tradition forms when you don’t really plan on that happening, but I know Thomas and I will be hosting a friendsgiving like this one many more years to come.

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Coq Au Vin & Red Mashed Potatoes

I’d like to tell you that this coq au vin, in all of it’s buttery-red-wine-buttery-braised glory, would be the star of this post. While my adult self is shouting at me, I have to tell you that all my inner child wants to do is eat a giant bowl of these red mashed potatoes and call it a night. Red mashed potatoes have been on my family’s thanksgiving table every year that I can remember, and it’s all I can do to resist sneaking spoonfuls while the bird is roasting away. I couldn’t bare only having these for Thanksgiving though, so when the temps start dropping I can’t think of anything that I would rather have more than these creamy dreamy mashed pots covered in slow-braised gravy of some sort.

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While these mashies hold a special place in my heart, i’ve managed to maneuver a little space for this coq au vin. Tender chicken is nestled in a sauce made with butter, shallot, red wine, garlic, bacon and a splash of cognac in perfect bliss. And when it’s combined with these creamy red mashed potatoes? Say hello to your new favorite comfort food! Eff it, we can always work out in January…

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Coq Au Vin & Creamy Red Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

coq au vin
-
4 slices thick cut bacon chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 sweet onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 2 medium size carrots, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
- 1/2 a bottle of red wine
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 4 whole sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped

Red Mashed Potatoes
-
2 pounds small to medium red potatoes
- 1 tablespoon of salt (this varies every time for me honestly. Be the judge and add as much salt as you like!)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk or half-and-half

What to do

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy duty pot. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

  2. Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.

  3. Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add in the tomato paste and stir into the mixture and cook for another minute.

  4. Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and simmer on the stove until the liquid is reduced by about 1/3 and the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.

  5. While the stew is cooking, make your potatoes. Scrub potatoes and cut into chunks. Put potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water and add salt. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain well. Place them into the bowl of your stand mixer or just a big bowl and mix using the paddle attachment, add in butter and pour in half and half while it’s mixing. Use your judgement and add in more salt, butter, or half-and-half to your liking.

  6. Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.

Enjoy!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

How’s that extra hour treatin’ ya?! Flying back to the east coast as often as I do I normally am not that effected by a time change, but for some reason when the time switched on Sunday morning I woke up at 4:30 am! It might have something to do with the fact that I took a 3 hour nap the day before (don’t judge), but regardless it was crazy that I felt so awake that early in the morning! I had the most productive day ever, obviously since I started 5 hours earlier than a usual Sunday. I got up and got all my coffee drinking/Netflix binging/laziness out of the way, then I went for a run, and grocery shopped at two stores all before 11 AM! I also wanted a bottle of Cognac for cooking (er, sipping), so I showed up to the liquor store at 10:30 not thinking and had to wait outside for 30 minutes…awkwaaard. No biggie, just hanging out at the corner liquor store first thing on a Sunday morning 🙋🏼‍♀️

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I made two recipes over the weekend that i’m excited about!! I watched Julie & Julia Sunday morning (since I was up at the butt-crack of dawn) so felt compelled to cook something with a lot of butter & garlic, so I made coq au vin with creamy red mashed potatoes. You’re literally going to want to bathe yourself in the coq au vin sauce - not joking. The 2nd recipe I cooked up was broccoli cheddar soup - a fan favorite, everyone’s Panera go-to, and your best friend in the wintertime. I LOVE a good broccoli ched soup, and don’t get me wrong, heavy cream and cheese is my lovvaa, but a lot of times it doesn’t leaving me feeling the greatest. So I wanted to make something that was way healthier but felt just as indulgent. Best of both worlds! I adapted this recipe from Elizabeth but just tweaked it to make it slightlyyy more unhealthy by adding dairy 😄

And guys….this carrot potato cheese sauce will blow your mind. Thank god I was just feeding this soup to Thomas because I literally licked the spatula at least 10 times before dunking it back into the sauce…whoops.

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Ingredients


Cheese Sauce
1 ½ tups of diced golden Yukon potatoes (about 3 medium potatoes)
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 tarlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
½ teaspoon of vinegar (white wine or red wine vinegar works)
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
¼ teaspoon of freshly black pepper
1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese (omit if making vegan)

Broccoli mixture
1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme sprigs
5 cups of chopped broccoli heads, plus more for garnish
1-2 tablespoon of miso paste
pinch or two of cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of almond milk
½ cup of chopped green onions

In a large saucepan add golden Yukon potatoes and carrots. Fill pot with water until vegetables are just covered. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-12 minutes. Drain carrots and potatoes and add to a blender or Vitamix. Add in garlic cloves, olive oil, white wine vinegar, grated cheddar cheese, kosher salt, and black pepper. Blend cheese base mixture for 30-60 seconds or until smooth and creamy. Reserve ½-1/2 cup for soup garnish and set aside the rest.

In a large dutch oven heat olive oil one medium heat for 30 seconds. Add in diced onion, celery stalks, garlic and thyme leaves. Sauté mixture for a few minutes or until the onions are translucent. To the same pot add the chopped broccoli and sauté for 5 minutes. Add in miso paste, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt and stir together. Add vegetable broth and cover pot for 15 minutes. (For the garnish, I took a couple pieces of broccoli out of the pot after it had cooked for a couple minutes).

Transfer the entire mixture with a ladle into large blender or Vitamix and add in cheese sauce. You may need to do this in two batches. Blend soup for 30-60 seconds or until smoothness level is achieved (I like it a little chunky but mostly smooth). Transfer soup back to the pot and heat on low or serve right away. Top soup bowls with a few tablespoons of remaining cheese sauce, green onions and chopped broccoli. Enjoy!

Weekly Crumbs

How was your Halloween week?! Ours was good, but I am officially ready to retire scary movies until next year along with not eating anymore Smarties for a very long time. Bring on the turkey gravy, an abundance of casseroles, and the will to resist listening to Christmas songs until December 1st 😁

Here’s our week in a nutshell:

1) Halloween

I kept my Halloween costumes this year as effortless as possible. For a party, I wore overalls, a straw hat, and scarecrow makeup! And for Halloween day on Wednesday I threw on clothes I already had, a pair of nerdy glasses, and taped Smartie’s all over my pants. “Smartie Pants”! I somehow managed to win our office costume contest which was surprising since I came up with the idea that morning!

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2) Duck Confit Lasagna

Have you heard three words more glorious?! We made duck confit for the first time this past week and then decided to make it even more decadent by putting it into a lasagna. I didn't take a picture of the finished product because we were so busy inhaling it, but I am DEFINITELY making this again and shooting it for the blog!

3) Date night at Toro Bravo

I have been dying to go to Toro Bravo and we finally went on Saturday for date night! We had a two hour wait, so we went next door to Secret Society and had sazeracs and a charcuterie board before getting called back to Toro Bravo for one of the best dinners we’ve had since living in Portland! We drank a pitcher of the homemade red sangria, had their “kisses” which are small individual bites, radicchio salad, the best braised lamb flatbread, and a giant pan of incredible sausage, chicken, and seafood paella.

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4) Planning a Friendsgiving menu

Since I want to do a lot of Thanksgiving recipes for the blog, I figured the best way is to cook everything next weekend, have a photoshoot, and celebrate with our closest friends for a Friendsgiving! I’m thinking bloody mary’s while cooking Saturday morning, making an epic fall cheese/charcuterie board for an appetizer for when our fraands arrive, copious amounts of wine (bon appetite said go with Poulsard), turkey of course, turkey gravy, of course, roasted brussels, a yummy rustic stuffing, a cheesy potato gratin of some sort, and mini carrot cakes for dessert. And a pie. There has to be a pie.

Inspiration over at  Style me Pretty

Inspiration over at Style me Pretty

5) Recipes I’m dying to make