Flourless Fudgy Brownie Cookies + A Life Update

Hello Friends! 

It's been a hot minute since I've shared anything with you so I wanted to give a little life update. We are t-minus 26 days until the big day! We've been busy bees trying to get last minute things done like final alterations, buying gifts, choosing cocktails, fixing the seating chart, preparing speeches and the list goes on...but it's been so fun! I'm so incredibly excited for the day to finally get here when I get to marry the greatest person in the world in front of everyone we love. And to top it off, we jet off to Bali right after the wedding for two weeks for our honeymoon! It can't get here soon enough!

I know there's no excuse for my lack of blogging, but between work and wedding planning we also went to the Dominican Republic two weeks ago with my work which was so great to disconnect for a bit and escape the cold Portland weather. We soaked up the sun, drank a lot of presidente on the beach, rode ATV's through the jungle, and of course we ate A LOT. Have you guys tried Mama Juana?! ¡Ay, caramba! It's a Dominican Republic liquor that is concocted by allowing rum, red wine, and honey to soak in a bottle with tree bark and herbs. The first night we got a little ahead of ourselves - no more Mama J for me!

In other news, THOMAS ALSO TURNED 30! We threw him a surprise party in the Dominican a few days before, and on his real birthday I made a cozy meal at home with a scallop and fennel salad, slow braised lamb shanks, Israeli couscous and roasted tomato salad, and roasted sweet potatoes with yogurt and cilantro-chile sauce. I can't wait to see what's in store for this next decade of our lives - I have a feeling that a lot of good things are coming our way! 

The next 26 days are going to be a whirlwind I'm sure, but I'm going to try and soak it all in and relish in the moment as much as possible. I can't wait to share our wedding and our adventures in Bali with you! 

NOW FINALLY TO THESE GLORIOUS FLOURLESS FUDGY-AS-HELL BROWNIE COOKIES. In these days leading up to the wedding, we've been trying to workout, eat healthy, and not eat any refined sugar, but these cookies were calling our name on Sunday. They were SO good that I had to share them. I'm not the best baker, but I'm working on it! I always add too much freaking flour and my cookies end up like little puffy hockey pucks. But those days are gone folks because I've discovered FLOURLESS COOKIES. They are the bomb.com and answer all of my cookie prayers. 

Talk to you guys soon! I'll make sure I write at least one or two more posts as a Harper before I become a Knudsen :) 

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Flourless Fudgy Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Ingredients: 
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips  
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts or hazelnuts (optional) 
- Flaky sea salt for topping

What to do

  1. Combine the sugars and butter in a microwavable bowl (or in a pot on the stove). Heat until bubbly, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and beat well with a hand mixer. 
  2. Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat with hand mixer for two minutes (this, along with melting the butter and sugar, helps create a crackly crust on top of the cookies). 
  3. Stir together the cocoa and salt and add them to the batter. Beat for another 30 seconds. 
  4. Fold in the chips and nuts. The batter maybe be thin. Allow the batter to rest while you preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. The batter should thicken as it rests. 
  5. When the batter is scoopable (but still very sticky), scoop by about 3 tablespoons full onto pan 
  6. Bake cookies for about 9-12 minutes. When they come out of the oven, you can press a few more chocolate chunks into the tops of the cookies. 

Breakfast in Bed: The Essentials

You’re the cream to my coffee
Eggs-actly what I need.
All it took was one look
And I was toast.

I'm such a cornball I know... BUT HAPPY VALENTINES DAY FRIENDS!! No matter if you are a big V-day enthusiast or not, everyone likes a little love on this day. Normally we like to stay in and have a dinner at home but this year we are going to grab a cozy corner spot at one of our favorite restaurants in Portland Tasty and Alder and then catch a movie. It definitely felt like valentines day over the weekend when we had a pancake feast in bed. Besides it being slightly precarious with the blueberry syrup and sheet situation it was seriously the best thing ever. I love getting up to make breakfast just to craw back in bed after with a cup of coffee - or prosecco if you're feeling frisky. 

- One of the most crucial breakfast in bed essentials is a good/sturdy tray - Like this one from Pottery Barn!
- Also something important - THE BREAKFAST OF COURSE! You can keep it easy and simple with croissants or pastries that you pick up at your local bakery, or if you want to make it extra special French toast, waffles, or pancakes are always a good way to go. 
- If you're drinking coffee, Chemex is awesome and you can keep it on your tray!
- For optimal breakfast in bed coziness, you need a snuggly duvet or blanket like these throws from West Elm. 
- The last essential will be a nap after all the breaky goodness. Makes sense since you're already there anyways! :)

Keep scrolling to see the recipe for these healthier pancakes with blueberry grapefruit syrup!

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"Lightened up" Pancakes with Blueberry Grapefruit Syrup 

Ingredients 


pancakes
 -2 cup quick cooking oats
 -3 scoops vanilla protein powder (Bob's Redmill) 
 -2 eggs
 -2 bananas
 - 1/2 cup of milk (add more until it becomes a thick batter)
 -coconut oil for cooking

Blueberry syrup
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1/2 of grapefruit, juice squeezed
 
 What to do

To make the syrup: heat the blueberries, water, grapefruit juice and sugar over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Let the syrup come to a gentle boil and cook until thickened about 10 minutes. Add another squeeze of grapefruit if you need to make the syrup a little more tart! 
 - For the pancakes, put the oats, protein powder, eggs, bananas, and milk in a blender and blend until a smooth batter forms. We like the batter pretty thick because as it cooks it evens out, but if you like it thinner just add a little more milk! 
 - Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil on a griddle or in a small frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, pour batter into the pan making either a small or medium sized pancake. If you have a griddle this would go a lot faster, but since we only have a small cast iron skillet we just make one at a time. 
 -Once both sides are golden brown, transfer to a plate and top with syrup and extra blueberries!

Beef Pho

The last couple of weeks have been a little bit of a doozy. After having the flu last week, I haven't really recovered fully and now have completely lost my voice. For my job I literally am on the phone with people all day long, so this has been quite the pickle as you can imagine. I have mustered and made it through every-day, but yesterday I decided to finally throw in the towel and head to the doctor. I spent the rest of my day glued to the couch watching Harry Potter... ALL of the HP movies are on HBOGO right now BTW. I thought Thomas would be working the whole day, but then that little rascal walked in the door and made my day so much better. And I made him watch HP with me obviously - He's such a good sport!

It felt good to rest my voice for a bit, and to help it even more I made this bone broth beef pho using Bonafide Provisions Organic Beef Bone Broth. This was my first time trying bone broth! What do you guys think of it? I've been hearing forever about how beneficial it is and I've seen so many "broth bars" pop-up around town - so it's about time that I gave it a try! I jazzed mine up a bit for this recipe, but even by itself it's delicious. Plus do you know about all the benefits? I had no idea! It's amazing for gut health, makes your skin glow, helps you sleep better, supports bone strength and a healthy immune system! Sign me up!

Pho is one of my go-to comfort foods lately. I love slurping up the noodles in the rich broth, and mixing in all of my favorite crunchy things like bean sprouts, jalapeño's, and fresh basil. The pho I made yesterday isn't traditional, but it's a quicker alternative and hits the spot! I hope everyone is feeling good and hasn't caught this nasty flu! FYI, something else that's really helped me is fresh ginger and lemon tea. We've been drinking it every night!

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Beef Pho

Ingredients
- 12 oz beef eye of round (cheap cut of meat is fine since you're going to thinly slice it) 
- 1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 star anise pods
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 8 cups of beef bone broth or beef stock (I used a mix of both) 
- 1 teaspoon asian fish sauce
- kosher salt, to taste
- 4 oz dried rice noodles
- 4 oz mushrooms, such as shiitake, oyster, or cremini
- 3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 head of boy choy, cut and washed

Optional toppings: 
- sliced jalapeño's
- green onion tops
- fresh basil
- red pepper flakes 

What to do

  1. Place beef in freezer to make it easier to thinly slice. 
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large pot over medium-high; add ginger, garlic, star anise, cinnamon, and cloves. Toast the spices tossing them constantly, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Immediately add broth, cover, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon, remove and discard the star anise, cloves, and cinnamon stick. Add fish sauce to broth and taste; season with a little salt and an additional 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce, if desired. 
  3. Add noodles to a medium pot of boiling water; cook according to package directions. Drain noodles and divide among bowls. Remove beef from freezer and slice as thinly as possible.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat with a little olive oil. Once heated, toss in your mushrooms and cook until browned. Sprinkle with salt and pepper at the end and place on a plate. Reheat the skillet with a little olive oil and throw in the sliced carrots. Once they've sautéed for a couple of minutes, toss in your bok choy. Add in another minced garlic clove if desired and season with salt and pepper. Let the bok choy cook for a few minutes until it's slightly wilted. 
  5. Remove the veggies and turn the skillet on medium high heat. Add a little more oil and once hot, add in the thinly sliced beef and sear. It's going to continue to cook in the broth, so you only need to sear it a minute or 2. Season with salt and pepper and any other spices you like. I added dried ginger and garlic powder! 
  6. Ladle broth into your bowls on top of the noodles and add the beef, bok choy, carrots, mushrooms, and other desired toppings! 

Enjoy!

How to Make the Best Paella

Hey Friends - I hope everyone had the best weekend! After an epic bachelorette party in the Bahamas last weekend, I am still in recovery mode. We had the most incredible time soaking up the sun, drinking rum out of coconuts, and dancing/karaoke-ing the night away. It was better than I could have hoped for, but unfortunately on the flight home I was slapped with the worst flu I've had in a long time. So this past week has been spent drinking ginger lemon tea, sleeping a lot, and binge watching Netflix. I hate when you're sick and your taste buds are all messed up! I've been dreaming of all the yummy food I've wanted to make but I just haven't felt it this week. But I did want to share this incredible Paella we made a couple weeks ago that I am still dreaming of. This is the first time we've ever made Paella and I can't believe we haven't been cooking it the whole time! SO GOOD, SO GOOD. 

It's actually a lot  simpler than I thought it would be! Make sure you let your rice sit though and get a caramelized crust on the bottom. Those little brown bits makes the dish even better! 

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Paella

Ingredients
-2 tbsp olive oil
-2 chorizo sausages, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large onion chopped
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 4 chicken thighs boneless and skinless, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 4 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 tbsp hot sauce such as Tabasco or Sriracha
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp saffron
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb large shrimp
- 1 lb mussels scrubbed and soaked
- lobster tails (optional) I know these can be pricey!
- fresh parsley for garnish
- 1 lemon cut into lemon wedges

What to do 

  1. In a large paella pan or skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat and add sausage to the pan. 
  2. While the sausage is cooking, add in the onion, sprinkle with salt and let cook for 2-3 minutes until they start to soften. Then add in your garlic and cook for another minute before tossing in your chicken pieces.  
  3. Once the chicken has starting browning, stir in your tomato paste and let that cook down for another 2-3 minutes. 

  4. Add the arborio rice to the pan and stir well. Add the broth, hot sauce, smoked paprika, saffron and season with salt and pepper. Stir everything together and then just let the mixture sit and cook for 10-15 minutes without stirring. You want to create a caramelized crust on the bottom of the rice. Be careful not to burn it! Gently take a spoon every so often and push a small portion of rice to the side to check the bottom. The rice should absorb most of the liquid at this point but not all of it. 

  5. Turn down the heat just a little and arrange the shrimp, mussels and lobster tails over the rice, cover with a lid again and cook for another 10 minutes or until the mussels open up. Keep an eye on the lobster tails to make sure they don't overcook. You could also cook the lobster in the oven separately with garlic butter which is what we did!

  6. Turn off the heat and garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.

Mediterranean Falafel Pizza

We are back on American soil folks! After our final snowy morning in Norway on Wednesday, sipping coffee around the fire and having open-faced breakfast sandwiches around the table with family, Thomas and I packed our bags to head back to Portland. We didn't arrive in PDX until Thursday night, so we are finally happy to be home to say the least. BUTTT guess what I am doing on Wednesday? Heading back to Orlando to get on a cruise to the Bahamas for my Bachelorette party!! Seriously, so much happening right now that my brain is having a hard time processing it! I'm a little overwhelmed, but extremely excited nonetheless. I better funnel green juice and eat nothing but super foods for the next week because I see a lot of strong drinks with pink umbrellas in my future. 

So with the crazy week/month that we've had, I am SO DOWN for easy meals that we don't have to think to much about that are healthy and light. If your holidays were anything like ours, I think you are all totally onboard with this. Enter mediterranean falafel pizza! Has anything sounded so magnificent post holiday madness? This is such an easy recipe, and to make it even more simple you can just use store-bought hummus! I highly recommend making homemade hummus (I love Molly Yeh's recipe), but sometimes I get that 'ain't nobody got time for that'. 

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Mediterranean Falafel Pizza 

Ingredients:
For the Falafel Crust:
- 1/2 white onion
- 1 cup lightly packed cilantro
- 1 cup lightly packed parsley
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons of flaxseed + 2 tablespoons of water
- 1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour

Toppings: 
- homemade or store-bought hummus. I like a basic lemon-y version for this pizza. 
-Sundried tomato salad (one of my faves that we make almost weekly)
- Cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
- thinly sliced red onion
- feta cheese
- kalamata olives
- chopped parsley

What to do

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a baking stone and set aside.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flaxseeds and water. Set aside to thicken.

  3. Add the onion, cilantro, parsley, and garlic into a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Add in the remaining ingredients, including the flax mixture, and process until the batter comes together and is incorporated.

  4. Scoop half of the batter onto one end of the baking dish or pizza stone. Shape it into a circle and smooth out the top so that it is an even 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining batter on the other side of the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.

  5. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. To finish, spread on a layer of hummus, then top with tomatoes, onions, olives, feta and parsley. 

Enjoy!

Christmas in Norway

Hei Hei! 

I hope everyone had the most wonderful Christmas filled with lots of family time, couch-napping, and Christmas cookie eating! I have been the queen of vacation the last week and making the most of our holiday in Norway. The days leading up to Christmas were a blur of holiday get-togethers and feasts to say the least.

In Norway, their big Christmas celebration happens on the 24th. You spend the day lounging and eating candy in your ugly sweaters watching old cartoons and Norwegian tv programs. At dusk on Christmas Eve, most families head to the cemetery to light a candle for their loved ones which is such a sweet tradition, and the hundreds of candles look beautiful in the white snow. Then everyone goes back to their homes and gets dressed up to have a big Christmas dinner! Traditionally, everyone eats either Pinnekjøtt which is cured lamb or Ribbe which is pork with the most incredible crispy pork belly on-top. We had both with all of the traditional sides - rutabaga mash, boiled potatoes, brown gravy, sauerkraut, and tyttebær which is a lingonberry/cranberry jam. You wash it down with beer and akevitt which is the Norwegian liquor of choice. This is the first time Thomas and his two brothers were together in a while so the shot glasses stayed filled to say the least! Although the gift exchange is fuzzy and I remember confetti being stuck to my head at some point, it was definitely a Christmas celebration for the books! 

We've been rejuvenating on the last leg of our vacation by getting lots of sleep, watching movies, and staying cozy around the fire. The only time we've taken off our comfy clothes is to go have coffee with friends, explore Oslo, and to play in the snow! Tomorrow we are heading to a friends cabin in the mountains to spend New Years Eve. I hope everyone enjoys the last days of 2017 and I can't wait to see you in 2018! 

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Wine Braised Beef + Parsnip Purée

Happy Saturday! 

What is everyone up to this weekend? December weekends are simply magical aren't they?! Don't you love waking up in the morning and turning the Christmas tree on, sipping on hot coffee when you can tell that it's blistering cold outside. Tonight we're having a little date night and going to The Grotto for the festival of lights and listen to Christmas chorals. Apparently it's the largest Christmas choral festival in the world! I'm also going to pick out my veil and accessories for the wedding today at BHLDN. So excited! 

To continue date night once we're home from the festival,  we're going to dive into this wine braised beef and parsnip purée with a big glass of red. Thomas and I live for comfort food on the weekends and this is the ultimate winter meal that is seriously my go-to around Christmas time. You braise the beef low and slow for several hours until the meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender. Parnsip purée is so good I could seriously eat in place of mash potatoes almost every time - which is big for me to say since I love potatoes so much. Boiled in milk and then blended until they are silky smooth, I promise you that these parsnips are the best possible cushion to all of the braised beef goodness piled on-top. 

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Wine Braised Beef + Parsnip Purée 


Ingredients

For the Beef
- 5 lbs chuck roast
- 1 medium sized onion, finely diced
- 3 large carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 3 celery stalks, finely diced
- 5 garlic cloves, minced, 
- 1/2 a bottle of red wine
- 3 cups of beef broth (or enough to cover the beef in the pot) 
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb crimini or white mushrooms (sliced) 
- Flat leaf parsley for garnish

For the parsnips
- 3 large large parsnips, diced
- Half and half or heavy cream (enough to cover the parsnips in the pot)
- salt to taste

What to do

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Pat dry meat and generously salt and pepper all sides. In a large brainer or dutch oven heat oil until hot. Brown all sides of the meat. About 2 minutes per side. Set meat aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low and add onions, carrots, and celery. Saute until just tender. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.  place the meat back in the pot and slowly pour in wine and beef stock. The meat should sit just above liquid line. For a good braise, you don't want it fully immersed in the liquid. Bring the dish to boil. Cover and place in preheated oven. Cook for 2 ½ -3 hours. Meat should gently fall apart with a fork when done.
  4. Once the meat is almost done, bring your parsnips covered in 1/2 and 1/2 or cream to boil. Boil for about 10 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from heat and purée in a blender until silky smooth. 
  5. For the mushrooms: Heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, placed your sliced or quartered mushrooms in the pan and sauté until browned. Sprinkle with salt and pepper as they are finishing cooking. 
  6. Serve the beef  in shallow bowls on a bed of the parsnip purée and topped with mushrooms and parsley. 

DIY Advent Calendar

Hey there friends - Sorry it's been a little quiet around these parts the last couple of weeks. We went on a whirlwind trip for Thanksgiving back to Georgia and Florida. It was filled with planes, trains, automobiles, very little cell service, no internet, lots of turkey gravy, best friends getting married, our wedding food tasting, and very little sleep. It was an eventful 5 days to say the least. I only took a handful of pictures of my beautiful friend in her wedding dress and other than that my phone stayed in a bag. And you know what, it felt damn good to disconnect for a couple of days. 

Now it's full speed ahead into Christmas and I am feeling as tacky and festive as ever. Right now I am reporting to you from the couch wearing my red flannels, drinking hot chocolate out of my Christmas mug, and Kevin McAllister is blow torching Joe Pesci's hair in the background. Pretty perfect night if ya ask me! 

One of my favorite parts of the evening right now is when Thomas opens up a gift from the advent calendar that I made for him! He always had advent calendar's growing up and his mom would put chocolate or candy in each day - It was something he loved when he was young so this was so fun for me to recreate for him. This is so easy to make as a cute gift for your significant other or you kids! Paper Source is my go-to crafting shop and the first place I stop in when I'm needing holiday inspo. They have every paper/stationary product you could ever desire, holiday decorations galore, yarn galore, and so many other fun things that I could just go on and on. 

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DIY Advent Calendar 

You'll need: 
- 1 poster board (or any cool wooden frame, chalkboard, or sturdy item that you have) 
- Thick yarn
- Various bags, cards, gift tags, paper for gifts
- Holiday stickers, ribbon, and other festive things for decorating
- Little clips or clothes pins ( I got the cute gold ones below at Paper Source, but anything will do!
-  GIFTS! Whiskey stones, honey jars, and love notes are my jam, but scroll down for a list of ideas!

What to do

  1.  Pierce 3 small holes with scissors or an X-ACTO knife along both sides of your poster board - just big enough to fit your yarn through. 
  2. Put one end of the yarn through the hole and measure around the board to see how much you'll need. Cut and tie off the yarn on the back of the board. Keep in mind that some of your gifts might be heavier than others, so make sure the yarn is tied tight and has room to stretch down. 
  3. Decorate your bags or cards with numbers and cute decorations! 
  4. Add gifts, write notes, fill with candy, or booze...whatever your little heart desires :) 
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Egg-in-a-hole Breakfast Skillet

How is everyone's pre-thanksgiving weekend?! Prepping the meal for the big day? Or maybe you're just prepping your tummies and not doing any cooking at all. Whatever floats your boat! I'm currently writing  from the Atlanta airport after my work training, getting ready to board to head back to Portland. We are literally turning right back around and heading back to Georgia on Tuesday to spend a few days at the cabin for Thanksgiving with the fam. 

I feel like from the moment we get to the cabin for Thanksgiving it's non-stop eating. You would think that we would eat lightly before the big meal on Thursday but nope -  not the case. It's literally fried chicken, fried fish, or fried venison the night before (something is bound to be fried), always fresh baked cookies coming out of the oven, and big breakfasts every morning!

I am definitely making these adorable breakfast skillets this year for the fam! They are SO darn good. It reminds me of my moms biscuits and sausage gravy, but these are just jazzed up a little with puff pastry and a sunny side up egg! The creamy, sausage-y richness from the gravy, combined with flaky pastry and a runny egg yolk is something out of breakfast heaven. I had only one little cute cast iron skillet, but if you have enough you can make everyone individual ones, or you could do one big skillet or casserole dish. This time of year is the absolute best to sit around with your family, sharing good food and make memories together.

I would love to hear what traditions you have every year with your family at Thanksgiving! :)

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Egg-in-a-hole Breakfast Skillet 

Ingredients: 
- 16 ounces hot Italian breakfast sausage (choose mild if you don't want spice)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 red potatoes, chopped
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced thyme, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives
- 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk (add more depending on consistency)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 8 medium eggs 

Note: This is to feed 8, so if you only want to feed 4 cut the recipe and half and only cut holes out of 1 puff pastry sheet. 

What to do

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  2.  Sausage gravy filling: Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown/crumble sausage, about 4 minutes. Transfer sausage to a mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Drain grease from skillet, add butter and melt over medium heat.
  4. Add potatoes and onion and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes or until potatoes turn tender and onions lightly soften and caramelize. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add garlic and continue to sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in herbs. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir together for about 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly stir milk into the mixture and continue to stir until gravy is smooth and mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Add more milk in this process if it's too thick. Fold sausage back into the gravy mixture and adjust seasonings. Set aside and keep warm.
  6. Puff pastry topping: Cut thawed puff pastry sheet down the middle, both vertically and horizontally, so you have 4 even rectangles on each sheet. Using a 2 1/2 inch circle cutter, cut a circle out of each piece of puff pastry. Place each rectangle, plus cut circle onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes.
  7. To assemble: Divide the filling mixture amongst skillets/ or big skillet. Remove pre-baked puff pastry rectangles from the baking sheet and set each one over a gravy filled skillet and gently press. Crack an egg into the cut out circle of each pastry rectangle and place skillets onto the baking sheet (circles of puff pastry should still be on the tray).
  8.  Place baking sheet back into the oven and reduce temperature to 375˚F.
  9.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown and the egg whites have set, with the yolks still runny. Lightly season with salt and pepper, top with minced thyme and serve. 

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Balsamic Sage Brown Butter

It is chilllly in Portland folks. It's dropped down in the 40's, all the leaves are starting to fall, and Starbucks already has their Christmas cups out. WHAT IS THIS CRAZINESS?! Wasn't it just summer? Regardless, I am so excited for the fact that Thanksgiving is in a little over two weeks and Christmas is right around the corner! I am forbidding myself to not start listening to Christmas songs until after Thanksgiving though. I had the itch to turn on holiday jams today but I restrained myself. Two whole months of listening to Mariah Carey is just a tad much. 

With the cold weather brings lots of staying inside and cooking up yummy things which makes my heart happy. I have loved seeing all of the beautiful Thanksgiving recipes start to come out from other bloggers! Thomas and I are having a mini Thanksgiving for ourselves this weekend, so I'm excited to share what we come-up with for you! 

But now can we talk about these little pillows of sweet-potato gnocchi heaven? MIND BLOWN. The last time I had good gnocchi was in West Hollywood with my friend Paige at Laurel Hardware. They were so freaking soft and pillowy I thought it would never be possible to make gnocchi as good at home. Well my friends, I was wrong. This recipe is simple, delicious, and is the perfect Fall/Winter pasta dish. They are tossed in a balsamic brown butter and topped with crispy sage and grated parmesan- I mean seriously. Permission to do a swan dive into that please? 


Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Balsamic Sage Brown Butter
recipe adapted from Salt & Wind


Ingredients
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (yams) halved lengthwise
- 1/2 pound Russet potatoes halved lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper as needed
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnsish
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups all purpose or white whole wheat flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 12 to 15  fresh sage leaves
- 2 medium shallots, quartered and thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

What to do

  1. For the gnocchi: Heat an oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil, season with a few good pinches of salt and a few cranks of pepper, place on a baking sheet cut-side down, and roast until fork tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Scoop flesh out of skins then mash with back of a fork) and stir in cheese, egg, honey, and the 2 teaspoons of salt. Mix in flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms. Taste and add additional salt, as needed. You've added enough flour when you touch the back of the dough and it is damp but not sticking to your hand.
  3. Turn dough out onto floured surface and shape into a square. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. Rolling between palms and floured work surface, form each piece into a rope (about 1/2 inch in diameter), sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky. (However, don't add too much additional flour, as too much will make for heavy gnocchi.) Cut each rope into 1/2 -inch pieces. Stop here or, as desired, using your thumb, roll each piece down over the tines of a fork to indent.
  4. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a slow boil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, simmer gnocchi until they float then cook and additional 30 (if fresh) to 60 seconds (if frozen). Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to a clean rimmed baking sheet. Reserve 2/3 cups of pasta cooking water and drain the rest.
  5. For the sauce: Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once it foams, add sage and cook until crisp and fragrant. Remove sage to a plate and return frying pan to stove. Add shallot and, watching it carefully and stirring often, allow the solids to begin to brown and the butter to become fragrant and nutty. Scrape along the bottom to prevent the solids from sticking and burning.
  6. When the butter is brown, immediately remove from heat, and carefully stir in the vinegar (otherwise it may sting your eyes). Stir in pasta and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water, return to heat, and cook until just coated in the sauce. Add freshly ground black pepper, taste for seasoning and finish with additional pasta water, salt, black pepper, the crisp sage, and freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.
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Our Go-to Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie + Homemade Magic Shell!

Helloooo! We meet again! How was everyone's weekend? Mine was uneventful/eventful if that's a thing? My weekend consisted of:

- Thomas and I sleeping in every morning past 9:30 which was heaven on earth after what seemed like the longest week ever. 
- We watched too many Friends episodes then I would like to admit and we watched Blood Diamond (have you seen it?! SO GOOD), SPLIT (which was weird but fascinating), and I may or may not have made him watch the first Sex in the City movie for like 10 minutes until I turned it off because I knew how mean/torturous I was being. 
- Besides countless hours on the couch doing nothing, I was also productive somewhere in there! I made homemade sweet potato gnocchi for the first time for you guys that's coming to the blog this week as well as a insanely good egg-in-a-hole breakfast skillet that fulfills all of your carbacious desires. 

Now it's back to Monday and I wanted to share our go-to smoothie recipe with you. I'm not kidding when I say that IT'S SO GOOD. I honestly feel like it's a treat every time I drink it AND it has all-natural healthy ingredients. We drink this in the morning heading to work, as an after-workout snack, or an after dinner dessert by adding chocolate and making it more of a ice-cream consistency.

One miracle I discovered this weekend is HOMEMADE MAGIC SHELL!!! All of my childhood dreams have come true! Did anyone else use to squeeze magic shell in their mouth when your parents weren't looking? No - Just me? Well I have found a slightly healthy version to jazz up your smoothies, frozen yogurt, or ice-cream at home. Scroll down to get the magic!

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Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Ingredients:
- 1 frozen banana ( I freeze all of my bananas as soon as they get too brown to eat)
- 1 heaping tablespoon of peanut butter (we use this no-stir crunchy peanut butter)
- 1/2 cup of almond milk (add more or less depending on the consistency you're going for) 
- 1 teaspoon of chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon flax seeds
- Toppings: Sliced banana, cocoa nibs, homemade magic shell
 

What to do

  1. Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth! 
    Note: If you want an ice-cream consistency for dessert, we freeze almond milk in ice-cube trays. 

Homemade Magic Shell

For 1/2 cup of chocolate shell, you'll need: 
- 1 cup good quality chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 heaping tablespoons of coconut oil

What to do

  1. Add the chocolate to a microwave-safe bowl or container along with the coconut oil.

  2. Microwave, in 30 second intervals, until completely melted.

  3. Pour it over ice cream and watch the magic happen (allow 30 seconds before you try to crack it.

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Caramelized Beef Ramen with Roasted Miso Squash

How was your Halloween?!

I hope you got into as much face-painted, monster-mashing, candy corn-eating, jello-shooting debauchery as we did. 

Our Halloween festivities started on Saturday night with a get-together at a friend's house where we drank jello shots out of huge syringes, boogied down with Napoleon dynamite and a slutty nun, ate my annual spinach "throw-up" dip out coming out of a pumpkin's mouth, and clowned around until the wee hours...solid party as you can tell. 

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On Sunday when all we were craving was comfort food, we cooked up a huge batch of this homemade ramen complete with melt-in-your-mouth caramelized beef and miso/curry crusted, acorn squash roasted to perfection. I mean Come-onnnn. Could there be a more perfect Sunday meal? I don't think so. 

I seriously dream of one day meandering my way through ramen shops in Japan and slurping my way through the country - but until then making it at home can be just as delicious and satisfying.  This is definitely not a weeknight meal - You want the meat to cook long and slow, so you don't want to rush it! However leftovers for the rest of the week? I'm down with that! 

Last night, for actual Halloween, we heated up bowls of this leftover ramen, popped open a bottle of wine, and watched Young Frankenstein. It was the most perfect mellow Halloween night. You really know you're an adult when a bowl of ramen is more delicious then a bowl of Halloween candy 😜

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Caramelized Beef Ramen with Roasted Miso Squash
 

Ingredients
SOUP
- 2-3 pound beef chuck roast
- 6 cups beef broth, plus more if needed (we use Better Than Bouillon) 
- 1/2 cup + 2-4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce <--Use low sodium
- 1/4 cup + 2-4 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons red curry paste
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce optional
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon sambal oelek chili paste, or to taste
- The juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon Chinese five spice (you can buy this or make your own at home!)
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 cups wild mushrooms left whole/sliced depending on size - or any other mushroom sliced
- 4 packs Ramen noodles seasoning packets discarded
- 4 soft boiled or fried eggs for serving
- sliced jalapenos, cilantro + green onions, for serving

MISO/CURRY ROASTED ACORN SQUASH
- 1 medium squash seeded + diced, acorn, butternut, or kuri squash are our faves
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon miso paste
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Pepper to taste

What to do

  1. Add the beef to a crockpot. Pour the beef broth, 1/2 cup soy sauce (adjust depending on your taste), 1/4 cup rice vinegar and fish sauce over the beef. Add the red curry paste, ginger, sambal oelek, juice of 1 lime, Chinese five spice powder, black pepper and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours (I recommend going low and slow).
  2. About 40 minutes before you are ready to eat, roast the squash. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  3. In a small bowl mix together the melted coconut oil, curry powder, cayenne powder, miso, brown sugar and a good pinch of pepper. Add the cubed squash to a baking sheet and pour the curry/miso mixture over the squash. Toss well. Bake for 30 minutes or so, tossing a couple of times during cooking. You want the squash to be lightly browned and crisp.

  4. Meanwhile, remove the beef from the crockpot and add the mushrooms. Cover the crockpot and crank the heat up to high. Lightly shred the beef with two forks or your hands.

  5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame oil. Once hot, add enough beef to cover the surface of your skillet, do not over crowd. Sprinkle a little brown sugar over the beef, add 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, toss. Allow the beef to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Stir and continue caramelizing, about 3-5 minutes total. Remove the beef from the skillet, repeat with the remaining beef. 

  6. Add the Ramen noodles to the crockpot and allow them to cook 5 minutes. Once the noodles are cooked, stir in only half of the beef. Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with extra caramelized beef, miso roasted squash and an egg. Season the egg with salt and pepper, Add the jalapeños, green onions and cilantro if desired. 

Happy slurping!

Moroccan Butternut Squash Soup

Hey, hi, hello. Happy Friday! 

Do you realize that we are already almost done with the month of October?! WHAT IS THAT??!!
There's so much left on my fall bucket list that I haven't checked off this year. Apple picking, pumpkin patching, lounging in my Pj's all day and having a Halloween marathon. I'm definitely going to be doing some of that this weekend. We have a party we're going to on Saturday night so on Sunday I am anticipating an all-day pajama fest. We're doing clown makeup so fingers crossed that it turns out! I'm going to practice on Thomas first... poor guy. Are you guys dressing up this weekend? If so please tell! You have to know by now that halloween weekend is one of my favorites of the year, so I want to know everyone's costumes!

To stick with my crazy Fall/Halloween lady vibe, I should tell you that I'm totally squash obsessed lately...I know I know, that is probably a weird thing to say and probably  even weirded that I would be obsessed with squash but it's the truth. In all of it's colorful, creamy, belly-filling glory it has been a component to most of our meals as of late.

We roast it, mash it, purée it, slurp it, put it in our smoothies...kidding. But maybe that's a good idea! This moroccan butternut squash soup is EVERYTHANG you want for a satisfying meal. It's such a healthy soup yet feels like you're splurging! It tastes like it has so much cream but it's just the silky butteriness of the squash mixed with the coconut milk. I made this one that was similar last year, but I love how this recipe is jazzed up with pomegranate seeds, goat cheese, and cilantro. I adapted this recipe from Half Baked Harvest! So, so good. 

I hope you guys have an amazing halloween weekend! I'll be around these parts sharing my favorite spooky treats from around the web - I'm also brewing up a witchy cocktail to share with you guys on Halloween day! 

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Moroccan Butternut Squash Soup


Ingredients
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 cups butternut squash peeled + cubed
- 1 teaspoon spicy curry powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
- 2 cups veggie broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 ounces goat cheese softened + more for topping
- roughly chopped cilantro for topping
- pomegranate seeds for topping

What to do

  1. Add the coconut oil to a large soup pot set over medium heat. Once hot, add the red pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes or until soft. Add the minced garlic, cubed butternut squash, spicy curry powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes then pour in the coconut milk and veggie broth. Bring the soup to boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the butternut squash is fork tender.

  2. Once the butternut squash is tender, add the crumbled goat cheese to the soup. Remove the pot from the stove and allow to cool slightly, then puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Return the soup back to the stove and heat through.

  3. To serve, ladle the soup into bowl. Drizzle cream over the soup and swirl with a spoon. Garnish with chopped cilantro and crumbled goat cheese. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Note: I mixed sour cream with a little almond milk to make a thinned cream to garnish the soup. You could do this with coconut cream as well!

Enjoy!

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Coconut Curry Shakshuka

Happy Monday!! I hope everyone is having a great October so far! Sorry I've been a little absent the last week or so - I feel like it's been so go-go-go lately. Two weekends ago we went to Black Butte, which is about 3 hours outside of Portland, and had the best couple of days with friends. We stayed in the cutest cabin, went on a snowy hike, and simply had the best little getaway getting to disconnect for a bit. This past weekend was spent wedding planning and researching our honeymoon in Bali! Please share if you guys have any suggestions on things to do/general travel tips in Bali. We are thinking of staying 1 week in an Airbnb and then splurging our final week in a pool villa at a resort!

On Sunday, I also had the pleasure of meeting a group of Portland bloggers and we all brunched at Tusk together. It was so great and if you haven't been to Tusk you have to get your booty there! The pistachio gooey butter cake is pure heaven and I could literally swim in the hummus if that was possible. 

Miraculously it's Monday again... I know right? Such a pity the weekend has to end - but I'm powering through my Monday with this Coconut Curry Shakshuka. I know I've told you this before, but Thomas and I make our normal shakshuka almost weekly. It's such an easy, comforting, healthy meal to make any-time of the week. For this recipe I spice it up with curry powder, bell pepper and a little jalapeño to give it a kick! If you don't like it as spicy, take out the jalapeño, but it definitely becomes milder after is simmers for a bit. Get yourself some naan, pita, crusty bread, or any type of carbalicious vehicle to sop up all of that spicy, coconut-y, tomato-y scrumptiousness. 

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Coconut Curry Shakshuka 


Ingredients
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded, and chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste ( I love the squeeze tube from Trader Joe's)
- 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 1can full-fat coconut milk
- 6 eggs
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Chopped cilantro or parsley for topping

What to do

  1. In a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the bell pepper,  onion, and jalapeño, and a pinch of salt and saute until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, curry powder, paprika, and ginger, another pinch of salt, a few turns of black pepper, and saute for a minute or two until fragrant.  Add the sugar/honey, tomato paste, tomatoes, and coconut milk; stir to combine; and simmer until the sauce thickens, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Crack the eggs and slide them into the sauce, distributing them around the pan. Gently spoon some of the tomato sauce over some of the egg whites to keep them from drying out. Cover and cook until the eggs are completely set, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Season with a last sprinkle of salt and pepper and top with chopped fresh cilantro or parsley. Serve with naan, pita, or crusty bread. 

Enjoy!

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