Skillet Chicken & Sweet Potato Pie

Fall grub must have some hue of orange in it right? Isn’t that a prerequisite when deciding what to make this time of year?! All I want is sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut, roasted carrots, and candy corn. Yes, lots and lots of candy corn. Ok, maybe i’ll save the candy corn until Halloween night, maybe.

We had the the most relaxing (err..lazy) weekend ever and I managed to fill it with as much autumn-y goodness as possible. Friday night I made roasted spaghetti squash with mushrooms in a sage butter sauce, accompanied by cabernet and a cheesy horror flick. It was so off the wall that it was actually funny. Have you seen the The Visit?! It’s the one where the grandkids go to meet their grandparents that they’ve never met, and of course there’s a twist! Not great, but entertaining at least. On Saturday we slept in which was much needed, Thomas studied a little, I read and napped (tired much?!), and for a late lunch we wondered to a great new sushi place in our neighborhood Fish & Rice! If you’re in NW Portland you have to check it out!

Sunday’s are meant for a good meal. Whether that’s a fun brunch out with friends or a cozy dinner at home. I’m such a fan of slow cooked meals, but there’s also days where I just feel like doing something quick and easy but it still taste like you’ve put hours into it. This skillet chicken & sweet potato pie is exactly that! It uses rotisserie chicken to make your life easy and you only have to pull out one pan to make the whole meal. The BEST for lazy Sunday days.

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Skillet Chicken & Sweet Potato Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie chicken (skin and bones discarded)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion

  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced

  • 4 cloves of garlic minced

  • Fresh rosemary, chopped, about 1-2 tablespoons

  • 2 tbs tomato paste

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire

  • 1 cup of chicken stock

  • 1-2 large sweet potatoes, thinly sliced (use a mandolin to get them really thin!)

  • Onion and garlic powder to sprinkle over the potatoes

what to do

  1. preheat oven to 350

  2. In a large skillet (or big deep cast iron skillet), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté until they start to soften and get some color on them, about six minutes. Add the garlic and chopped Rosemary, along with a pinch of salt and pepper; sauté another 30 seconds or so, until the garlic is fragrant.

  3. Move the veggies over in the pan and add the tomato paste. Press the paste into the pan for a few seconds to get the flavor out. Add the Worcestershire sauce, shredded chicken and stock. Season with another pinch of salt, and let this simmer about 10 minutes, while you thinly slice the sweet potatoes.

  4. Evenly and lightly press the mix in the pan, so that the potatoes lay evenly on top. Layer the potatoes over the chicken mix, starting with the outside edge, overlapping each other. Once the potatoes are arranged, brush with the melted butter. Then sprinkle with the onion and garlic powder, and another small pinch of salt.

  5. Bake anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes (depending on your oven), until the potatoes are cooked through, tender, and starting to curl on the edges

Spiced Apple Cider Mules

Hap-happy Friday!

This week has been a busy one after getting back from vacation last Friday. Getting caught up at work, unpacking, getting the apartment clean, and trying to get back in a workout routine made the week go by lightening fast! I’m trying to savor as much as October as possible, but I feel like the month is just whizzing by!

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We were supposed to go to a friends cabin this weekend, but Thomas ended up having a big flight test come up earlier than expected, so now we are just going to have a quiet weekend at home. While he’s studying, I want to go explore some different neighborhoods in Portland, do a little shopping (I want some cute new props for pictures), and maybe have a picnic somewhere when he needs a study break since it’s going to be such beautiful weather! And you know what would be perfect for a picnic?

SPICED APPLE CIDER MULES! I

t’s basically Fall in a glass which is all I want this time of year. Bourbon, cinnamon whiskey, apple cider, and apple juice? Strong: YES, delicious: YES, goes down like water: YES, YES, YES. I like pouring all the ingredients in a mason jar and giving it a quick little shake before pouring it into the copper mug. I’m not sure, that might be a no-no in a bartenders eyes, but I thought it worked great since everything was mixed so well!

Have a great weekend ya’ll. I hope it’s filled with these mules, and all the cozy Fall Halloween-y things!

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Spiced Apple Cider Mules

Ingredients

- 3-4 Oz of apple juice
-4 Oz of hard apple cider
-1 Oz of bourbon
-1 Oz of cinnamon whiskey (I used Fireball, but any kind will do!
-crushed ice, cinnamon sticks, apple slices, and rosemary if you want to add a little greenery for garnish

  1. In a copper mug fill with crushed ice and pour all of the ingredients in a mason jar and stir, or pour all ingredients directly in the mug.

  2. Finish cocktail off with a garnish of lime wedges, cinnamon sticks and apple slices. Drink up!

How to Make Cozy Miso Ramen at Home

I am on a major ramen kick right now. Like I want to be slurping up noodles everyday kind of kick. Up until about a year ago, I had no idea ramen was anything more than plastic packages of dried noodles with a salty flavor packet. I had my first really good bowl of ramen at Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in Portland and I have been hooked ever since! I never realized there was so many variations- I dream of the day Thomas and I can travel to Japan hopping from spot to spot, slurping up bowls around every corner. Have you guys watched Ramen Head?! It’s a documentary about Tomita, one of the top ramen chefs in Japan, and it’s fueled my ramen fire even more!

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I am definitely all for take-out and sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and let someone else do all the work. But I wanted to see if I could truly make an authentic bowl of ramen, so I did and it was SO worth it. You should definitely have some time on your hands if you’re going to embark on this endeavor, but in the end a cozy bowl of slurpy goodness will be waiting for you 🍜

Shopping at your local Asian grocery store will make this a lot easier since you can find great fresh ingredients like miso and fresh ramen noodles. I pretty much followed Lady and Pups recipe besides tweaking a few small things and it turned out incredible! Like she says, the ingredient list may look a little long but the preparation is super easy!

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Miso Ramen

Recipe & notes from Lady & Pups

It’s important that you use unsalted, or minimally salted stock for this recipe.  I always store homemade, unsalted chicken/pork stock in the freezer as it gives me total control of the seasoning in the final dishes.  Whether you are using homemade or store-bought, if your stock already has a prominent saltiness to it, you’ll have to reduce the amount of spicy miso paste to accommodate which will reduce the miso-flavour in your soup.  You’d be trading flavours with salt, see?

The type of soy milk may also make a difference.  I prefer Asian-style unsweetened soy milk which tends to carry a stronger “tofu/soy bean” taste, but if that’s unavailable, American brands soy milk will do, too.  Just make sure it isn’t sweetened, or flavoured with vanilla or etc.

-The only variation to this recipe I made, is that I used a pork hock to make my pork stock and then shredded the meat afterwards and garnished the bowls as opposed to using ground pork in the recipe, but either way is delicious!

Ingredients:

  • Spicy miso paste: (enough for at least 8 servings)

  • shoyu soft-boiled eggs:

    • 4 large free-range eggs

    • 3 tbsp of soy sauce

    • 2 tbsp of dark brown sugar

    • 1 tbsp of water

  • Garlic and togarashi oil:

All of the above can be made beforehand and kept in the fridge until needed.

To make the spicy miso paste:  Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smoothly pureed.  You may need to stop and scrape the blender a few times to get it going in the beginning.  Transfer the mixture into a pot and set over medium heat.  Bring to a low simmer and keep cooking/stirring for another 5 min.  Let it cool completely and store in an air-tight container in the fridge until needed.

To make the shoyu soft-boiled eggs:  Gently place the eggs in a small pot and fill it with water until the eggs are covered by 1″.  Add a generous pinch of salt (not listed in the ingredient-list because it’s more of a superstition for easy-peeling than anything…) and bring the water to a bare simmer on medium-high heat, then immediately lower the heat down to low (only enough heat to keep it at a bare simmer/or if you want to be anal, 212ºF/100ºC).  The second the water reached the right temperature, set the timer at 4:30 min.  Gently move the eggs around a few times during cooking.  Once the timer goes off, immediately transfer the eggs into cold water and leave them to cool completely.

Combine soy sauce, dark brown sugar and water in a small sauce pot.  Warm up the mixture just enough to melt the sugar, then set aside.  Peel the eggs then submerge them in the soy sauce-mixture.  Turning them occasionally while marinating for 2~3 hours.

To make the garlic and togarashi oil:  Combine minced shallots, minced garlic, sesame seeds, salt and vegetable oil in a small pot and set over low heat.  Slowly cook/stir until the garlics are crispy and lightly browned, approx 5~6 min.  Turn off the heat and add the Japanese chili powder/togarashi.  Give the mixture a stir and let it sit for a few hours or overnight.

  • Spicy miso ramen: (for 2 servings)

    • 220 grams of fatty ground pork (or use a pork hock that you made pork stock with)

    • 1 tbsp of toasted sesame oil

    • 1/4 tsp of freshly ground black pepper

    • 1 tbsp of dried shitake mushrooms

    • 2 cups (475 grams) of unsalted chicken or pork stock

    • 1 cup (227 grams) of unsweetened, unflavoured soy milk (Asian brands preferred but if unavailable, this will do, too)

    • 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup of spicy miso paste

    • 2 servings of fresh ramen noodles

    • 4 tbsp of finely diced scallions

    • 1 sheet of nori/Japanese sushi seaweed, cut into rectangular sheets

To make the spicy miso ramen:  Rinse the dried shitake mushrooms to get rid of any sand/dirt.  Finely chop them and set aside (without soaking).

In a large soup pot, heat up 1 tbsp of toasted sesame oil on high heat and start browning the fatty ground pork with ground black pepper.  Once the pork has broken up, browned, and released its fat, add 1/4 cup of the spicy miso paste and cook for another min until fragrant.  Add the chopped shitake, unsalted stock and unsweetened soy milk and bring to a simmer.  Place 1/2 cup spicy miso paste on top of a very fine sieve.  Lower the sieve half-way into the simmering soup and use a spoon to slowly dissolve the paste into the soup (it may seem very thick and troublesome in the beginning but be patient, it’ll dissolve eventually).  You’d be surprised at how much “solids” within the paste will remain on top of the sieve, which if dumped directly into the soup, will make the soup very thick and “sauce-like”.

Discard the “solids” in the sieve and let the soup simmer for another 5 min.  If the soup tastes quite salty at this point, that is correct.  It’s Japanese ramen…  It is salty.

Cook the fresh ramen noodles according to package instructions, and drain well.  Divide the noodles into two large bowl and ladle the soup on top (you may have a bit more than needed).  For each serving, place 1 shoyu egg (cut into half), 2 tbsp of finely diced scallions, 3 rectangular nori sheets, and 2 tsp of garlic and togarashi oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Slurp away.

Fall Bucket List

Fall! My favorite time of year. Beautiful leaves, crisp cool air, and all things cozy! I swear the second October hits, I switch out summer scented candles for apple cinnamon & pumpkin spice, swap dresses for sweaters, and turn on the oven almost every day to make something warm and cozy. I try and fit as much into this season as possible, so a much needed Fall bucket list is order! "‘Fall-ow” along and you will definitely feel like you did the season right!

Fall Bucket List

  1. Go to the pumpkin patch and carve a pumpkin

  2. Watch all of the classics: Hocus Pocus, Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice, Halloween, Ghostbusters, and Young Frankenstein to name a few!

  3. Bake a pumpkin pie from scratch, homemade crust and all

  4. Go apple-picking

  5. Make caramel apples

  6. Visit a local brewery and try some of their seasonal beers

  7. Have a afternoon picnic complete with warm spiked apple cider in a thermos

  8. Make a pumpkin spice latte at home

  9. Have a cozy night in and make a Fall-inspired cheese board, light all the candles and pop open a bottle of red wine

  10. Make pumpkin pancakes and have breakfast in bed

  11. Go to a Halloween costume party

  12. Visit a scary haunted house

  13. Walk around the farmer’s market on the weekend and shop for fresh produce, seasonal flowers, and apple butter

  14. Go for a hike when the leaves are changing

  15. Have a technology detox day and spend the day reading and exploring the neighborhood

  16. Read a scary novel

  17. Make a pot of chili, like this one, and homemade cornbread

  18. Plan or attend a Friendsgiving

  19. Host a wine tasting with cute appetizers

  20. Send notes to friends and family for Thanksgiving telling them why i’m thankful for them

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Weekly Crumbs

Ok, we may look ridiculous but I’m really in the Halloween/dress-up spirit alright?!

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This was from coolest photo bus at my brother’s wedding in Tennessee this past week! It was such a beautiful and quaint wedding with around 50 people at the Dancing Bear Lodge. It was so great to be with my family since I hadn’t seen them since our wedding 6 months ago!

However we did have a little mishap before the wedding…

On the flight from Portland to Knoxville, we had a layover in Chicago and we accidentally left our garment bag on the plane that had Thomas’ tux and my bridesmaid dress in it! The worst mistake ever right before a wedding! After filing a lost and found report and some serious sweating and anxiety on my end, United Airlines shipped it directly to the lodge the day before the wedding!! Some serious praise is indebted to United for delivering it so quickly! I had major doubts that it would arrive before the wedding since most of the time things like that take forever to get back, but they definitely delivered. Thanks United! :)

Anywho, we’re back in Portland and I’m in full Fall/Halloween mode! And the weather in Portland right now is incredible- blue skies, cool air, and the leaves are changing! I hope you all had a great weekend - Here’s some things i’m loving this week!

- We watched all 4 episodes of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and it is my new favorite show on Netflix. So so good. I just want her job!!

- I’ve been scheming up my halloween costume for this year, i’m not revealing yet what it is since i’m not 100% sure, but I loved all of these in this slideshow!

- Loved this 40+ list of the best Halloween movies! The classics like ghostbusters, Adams Family, and Hocus Pocus are my favorite 🎃

- I stumbled upon this list of the coziest cabins in the world. Can I please make my way through this list?!

- I love this fall reading list. I needed a good new book, so this is a great place to start!

- the best chicken recipes of all time from Food52. Definitely bookmarked!

- Fall recipes that I’m planning to make from other bloggers this week:


Have a great week everyone!

Seared Scallops with Butternut Squash Purée

People are obsessed with all things Pumpkin this time of year. I mean OBSESSED! Have you walked into Trader Joe’s lately? Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin shaped pasta, pumpkin spice coffee creamer, and even pumpkin spice hand-soap! I have to admit, I did order a pumpkin spice latte today at Starbucks and I might have already decided what i’m going to be for Halloween, so I have no room to judge…

However, if you’re needing a break for pumpkin but are still wanting to give some love to the squash family, butternut is your guy (or girl?)! Normally i’ve ever just used butternut in stews or my favorite butternut squash enchiladas, but we puréed it up for this first time and it is silky autumn delectableness.

This was a random recipe we made and it ended up being a crazy delicious combo so I wanted to share it with you guys! If you’re wanting to make something that looks fancy but is super easy and quick to cook-up, this is for you!

And If you’ve never seared scallops, YOU GOTTA MAKE IT HAPPEN. Not only are they scrumptious and perfect sea vessels, but they are surprisingly simple to make. The trick is not to flip them right away and let them get a perfect golden crust. Do it, just do it alright?

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Seared Scallops with Butternut Squash Purée

Ingredients (recipe is for two people)

- 8 large scallops (about a pound)
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons of finely chopped shallot
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- 1 small butternut squash
- sautéed mushrooms (optional)

What to do

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350º. Peel the squash, scooping out the seeds and cutting the flesh into 1-inch cubes. On a foil-lined sheet pan, toss the squash cubes with olive oil and season with salt. Cover the squash with foil and roast until it's tender, 50 to 60 minutes.

  2. Purée the squash in a blender and then push through a fine-mesh strainer and add to a pot with a lid to keep it warm.

  3. To make the scallops, Pat scallops dry, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Add scallops, and sear about 2 minutes on each side. Careful not to flip until each side is golden. Transfer scallops to a plate, cover, and keep warm.

  4. Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and shallot; cook a few minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown. (Be careful not to burn the garlic.) Remove skillet from heat; stir in lemon juice and capers.

  5. Re-heat the butternut puree in the pot if it’s needed. Dollop the puree on a plate and slide it it with a spoon to create a base for the scallops. Place scallops down, spoon brown butter sauce over!

Enjoy!

Weekly Crumbs, Vol. 14

Last week nothing particularly exciting happened Monday-Thursday, so I thought I would just do a little recap of our weekend since it was such a good one! Every weekend is good, but this one felt exceptionally long and fun-filled! I hope you all are feeling just as rested and relaxed this Monday morning! 😌

Friday

Normally on Fridays I love nothing more that staying in, cook a yummy meal together and share a bottle of wine. But this Friday it was such beautiful weather all day, 70’s and not a cloud in the sky, so we knew that we should soak up every ounce of good weather while we still have the chance! Thankfully we live in the best part of Portland in my opinion, so we just wandered out our door a couple of blocks and sat outside of Jo Bar and Rotisserie on 23rd ave. We drank their new seasonal cocktails, a fig old fashioned for him, a reposado cocktail for me, snacked on the best oysters with a tequila mignonette, drank several glasses of bubbles, talked and laughed and people watched. A quick happy hour turned into an unexpected date night, which is the best kind!

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Saturday

Saturday we showed our support at the PurpleStride walk on the waterfront in Portland. Several of our friends parents have passed away from pancreatic cancer, so it felt good to be there to support them and help fund such an important cause.

Afterwards Thomas planned a surprise for one of our good friends’ birthdays - To take us all up in a plane! It was our friend Linzy’s birthday, and Thomas and Linzy’s husband had it planned for weeks and us girls had no idea! Unfortunately the weather ended up being too bad to go up once we were already at the airport, but she was still really surprised and we made a plan to make a day out of it the next nice day that we have in Portland! It will be my first time as well going up with Thomas in a plane, so i’m excited! We still had to kill time though since we were planning a surprise party for Linzy at her house, so we ended up going to Edgefield for a couple of beers before saying our “goodbyes” and then racing ahead of them so we could get to their house to be in on the surprise!

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Sunday

Sundays is definitely my favorite to sleep in and move extra slowly in the morning. We fell asleep at like 10:00 Saturday night since we had such a long day, so after sleeping over 10 hours we woke up feeling rested and refreshed!

If anything is on your agenda for this week it’s to make this toast that I made Sunday! Sourdough topped high with an herby dill and parsley yogurt, sun-dried tomato pesto, wilted spinach, fried eggs, crumbled goat cheese, and finished with more herbs and Everything but the bagel seasoning! SO good. Around noon we headed out to Cornell Farms which is a beautiful nursery and garden center right on the outskirts of NW Portland. We made a cute little herb garden and then sat on the porch at their cafe and had coffee, quiche and a blueberry granola.

Afterwards we decided to check out Uwajimaya, a huge Asian food market in Beaverton. I have been wanting to go for a while now and it did not disappoint! They have everything you could ever want and we definitely took advantage! We spent part of our future child’s college fund but no big deal, it was worth it 😉 I made traditional miso ramen from scratch for the first time and I will never do it another way again! Posting the recipe soon!

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Lamb and Butternut Squash Curry

It may be 85 degrees out today but I am in full-fledge fall mode and there’s no going back! It’s been cooling down more and more in Portland (besides today for some reason) and I am absolutely loving it! This time of year officially kicks off the holidays! Halloween which means changing leaves, lots of scary movies, fun costumes, and pumpkin-in-everything; Thanksgiving filled with all the best things in life: family, turkey, all the pies, and gravy, lots and lots of gravy; And last but not least Christmas, which is undoubtedly the best time of the year.

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In these months, there’s nothing more satisfying than coming home and making a warming meal. The smell of a stew braising in the oven, a pie baking, or mulled cider simmering on the stove with cinnamon are the best possible smells to fill your house. This lamb & butternut squash curry, the king of yummy smelling things, will literally make your burst into tears of joy. I have to say, it’s taken the cake of my favorite cozy meal.

Sometimes we make it with lamb shoulder, but this last time we used lamb shanks and I don’t think I’ll ever do it any other way again! So amazingly tender. The butternut squash makes it feel extra autumn-y and the coconut milk and kale top it off to perfection. Making this meal and sharing a bottle of red is one of my favorite date night meals for this time of year!

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Lamb & Butternut Squash Curry

ingredients

- 4 lamb shanks or 2 pounds trimmed boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 small-medium sized butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 cups chopped Tuscan kale
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
- chopped fresh parsley for topping
- basmati rice and naan bread for serving

what to do

  1. In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and cook over high heat until browned on all sides about 3 minutes. If the shanks or cubed lamb shoulder doesn’t fit in all at once, brown the meat in two batches.

  2. Remove the shanks and set aside. If you’re using the lamb shoulder keep it in the pot. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add the curry powder and cook for another minute until it’s all dreamy smelly. Then stir in the flour, then slowly pour in and stir the wine until smooth. Add the stock and bring to a boil, stirring, until thickened, 1 minute or so. Add the lamb shanks back in, cover and simmer over low heat until the lamb is very tender, about an hour and a half to two hours.

  3. Add the squash, carrot and coconut milk to pot and simmer over moderately low heat until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the kale and let simmer for another few minutes until kale is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Top basmati rice with the curry and serve with warm naan bread!

Enjoy!

Our Essentials for a Camping Weekend

Ok - we may be more ‘glampers’ than campers just to get that out there. I would like to think that I could carry just a backpack, hike 15 miles to our camping spot, and eat freeze-dried food but that’s just not appealing to me when I am wanting a relaxing weekend in the outdoors. All the more power to you though if you’re a serious hiker like that! I always tell Thomas I would like to do a backpacking trip someday…but for now I am good with coolers of food & snacks, our comfy tent with an air mattress, and lots of beer & wine, s’mores and board games!

Here’s our essentials for a camping weekend!

  1. Find a good camping spot. I love scouring The Outdoor Project for recommendations.

  2. Pack a couple of coolers to the brim with good food and drinks for the weekend! I love Yeti coolers as well as their ice packs to keep everything cold.

  3. Speaking of good food - meal plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so you bring the perfect amount. We usually do eggs and bacon for breakfast, sandwiches or hotdogs for lunch, and steak, veggies, and potatoes on the grill for dinner.

  4. Even though we love cooking over the fire, a Coleman stove is essential for making something quickly or boiling water for coffee in the morning.

  5. Speaking of coffee, a French press is great since it’s easy to just add boiling water and not deal with any filters.

  6. Board games - Yahtzee and cards are a must.

  7. An air mattress - we use a battery operated pump which makes things easy. It’s always hilarious when it starts to deflate and you both end up crammed in the middle!

  8. Libations - I love sitting by the stream or lake during the day with a cold beer, and then cozying up by the campfire with red wine at night. Or hot chocolate of course :)

  9. Bug spray and citronella candles. Those little suckers are intense! Our last camping trip there were a ton of wasps and I luckily had this natural lemongrass bug spray that actually kept them away from the camp!

  10. S’mores of course! Hershey’s chocolate all the way. I bought a thicker bar of chocolate last time that I thought would be good, but the chocolate didn’t get as melty as Hershey’s does.

  11. Dry shampoo. This is very necessary. 3 day- greasy-camping-head is not a good look.

  12. Something to read. Spending the quiet mornings and afternoons reading is my fav! This last trip I brought my newest issue of bon appétit and i’m also reading Sara’s Key which is so good!

  13. The last essential is to completely disconnect. Not that we have any service anyways when we normally camp, but regardless we always turn our phones off. Besides the occasional picture, completely disconnecting from social media feels so good for the weekend.

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Weekly Crumbs, Vol. 13

FALL IS HERE!!! Sorry to scream that at you, but I am so excited! Anyone who knows me knows that Halloween is my thing - but it’s also so much more than that. I love the crisp mornings and chilly evenings, the beautiful leaves saying goodbye to Summer and hello to Fall, making cozy meals at home, and yes, watching lots of scary movies and Hocus Pocus at least 3 times in true Halloween spirit. I have been researching everything I want to do on the blog for this month so i’m giddy with excitement at the thought of LOTS of pumpkin. Basic maybe, but you know you love it ;)

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In love with these decked out houses for Fall/Halloween

Thomas and I were house/dog sitting for our friends who were on their honeymoon, and it made me even more excited to buy our own house! The next place we settle we will definitely buy and I am SO READY. I love all of these cute Fall/Halloween decor ideas!
- chic not cheesy
- these fall front porches
- Halloween dinner party decor
- minimal fall mantles

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Cozy meals we’re making this month

Last week was the first week that I felt was cool enough to start making all of my fall favorites. We made my favorite lamb and butternut squash curry which I am putting on the blog this week! Here are some of the other recipes already on my mind:
- wine braised beef with parsnip puree is one of my favorites!
- steel cut oat risotto with butternut squash is the best comfort food
- roasted autumn salad is the best quick weeknight meal!
- butternut squash and black bean enchiladas

Fall cocktail game is strong

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- Boozy pumpkin hot chocolate
- Aperol pear cider spritz
- this apple-groni sounds amazing!
- apple cider bourbon cocktail
- I love a good sangria - this autumn version looks amazing!

Fall Staples I have my eye on

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- I really want a cool hat like this one!
- a cute mustard colored sweater
- I need a new jean jacket for layering and when it’s not too cold out.
- Always in need of an oversized sweater

Our Go-to Açaí Bowls

During hectic weeks when Thomas and I get home and collapse on the couch, we look at each other and say “how the heck do people do this with kids?!” Even though we are still a couple years from having a baby, it’s definitely more in our minds when it comes to how much we work right now. Props to all of you busy working mama’s out there, because I don’t know how you do it - I’m guessing it’s some magical mama energy that you get!

As a recruiter I’m flipping between two computer screens, talking to candidates with the phone glued to my shoulder, conducting interviews in our office, and doing what seems like 10 things at once. And as a pilot, Thomas usually has back to back flights and definitely has to be alert and ‘on’ all day - So you can imagine how we both value the chance to ‘turn off’ at night and especially on the weekends. That’s why Saturday and Sunday mornings are simply the best. I’m sure that’s the same for most people though! Having a quiet morning reading, catching up on blog posts, sipping coffee, and eating a good breakfast is what I look forward to after a crazy work week. When we really want to recharge and start the morning off right, our go-to is an açaí bowl!

It’s refreshing and light but filling when you add granola, sliced banana, and peanut butter! It’s Thursday, so are you already day-dreaming about Saturday morning? You know this girl is. :)

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Açaí Bowl

Ingredients

- 1 (100g) packet frozen acai berry packet
- 1 banana frozen (the riper the better)
- ¼ cup almond milk
- honey (optional) if the banana isn’t sweet enough

toppings
- peanut butter - melt with a little coconut oil so you can drizzle it
- granola - we use our homemade granola
- more sliced banana. You can also add strawberries and blueberries
- hemp seeds
- cocoa nibs

what to do

  1. In a high-powered blender, combine the acai berry packet, frozen banana, 1/4 cup of almond milk, and extra honey if needed. Blend until completely smooth.

  2. Pour into a bowl and top drizzle with melted peanut butter, granola, sliced banana, hemp seeds, and cocoa nibs.

Whole Baked Cauliflower with Béchamel

At this point in our lives with our busy jobs, small apartment, and the amount that we travel we’re not at a place to get a dog. We watch instagram videos all the time of cute puppies playing and I will literally be on the verge of tears from all the cuteness, but still, we want to be settled and have a house before we have any sort of pet. That’s why this past weekend was THE BEST, because we got to dog/house sit for our two friends who are on their honeymoon! They have the cutest golden retriever, Cooper, who is the chillest pup of all time. I swear he sleeps 18 hours a day at least and loves to be cuddled non-stop. It’s been so nice to get a glimpse of dog life, as well as use a big kitchen for once! With the Fall weather already here, we spent the weekend making cozy dishes like my favorite lamb & butternut squash curry, apple pie, and this whole baked cauliflower with béchamel!

At first I was skeptical just eating cauliflower for dinner. Your girl here has an appetite and I wasn’t sure this would be satisfying. I was so wrong. This is seriously one of the best veggie dishes we’ve ever made. Super tender cauliflower covered in a garlicky cheesy béchamel sauce and topped with crispy prosciutto, pesto and roasted tomatoes. Such a cozy meal for Fall and Winter!

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Whole Baked Cauliflower with Béchamel

Ingredients

-1 head of cauliflower
- 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese for the cauliflower
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese for the béchamel
- cherry tomatoes for roasting
- basil pesto for topping
- prosciutto

what to do

  1. To make the cauliflower, use a paring knife to cut the core out of the cauliflower: Flip the cauliflower over so the stalk is facing up. Insert the paring knife about 2 inches into the cauliflower, as close to the stalk as possible, and cut around the stalk. The goal is to leave the cauliflower intact while removing the stalk and creating a small hole where it once was.

  2. Heat a large pot of water to a boil, and boil the cauliflower for 10 minutes or so until it’s starting to get tender.

  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Transfer the cauliflower in a large oven-proof skillet and drizzle all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the cauliflower for a remaining 30 minutes or until the top starts to brown and a knife can easily slice into the cauliflower flesh. About halfway, sprinkle the cauliflower with grated parmesan and let it get golden brown.

  4. Halve the cherry tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish and roast in the oven with the cauliflower.

  5. While the cauliflower and tomatoes are roasting, make the béchamel sauce. Heat the milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until steaming but not boiling. Turn the heat down and keep warm over very low heat.

  6. Melt the butter in a separate saucepan over low heat. When it's bubbling, add the flour and whisk until it forms a golden paste, about 3 to 4 minutes. Whisking constantly, add the hot milk in a steady stream. Bring the milk to a gentle simmer and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg and the cheese.

  7. Fry the prosciutto slices in a skillet, transfer to a paper towel to dry, and chop into bite size pieces.

  8. Top cauliflower with pesto, roasted tomatoes, béchamel, and prosciutto! Enjoy!

French Onion Pot Roast with Creamy Polenta

It’s here, my favorite time of the year! Summer is magical in it’s own ways, but there is nothing better than Fall. It’s starting to get a little gray in Portland and I love it! I might not being saying that come January, but for now I love the breaking out my comfiest baggy sweater, pulling out the rain boots, and soaking up the season as much as possible. I think because I’m from Florida and the seasons have little variation, I appreciate each part of the year even more now.

And my favorite part of it all? Comfort food.

This french onion pot roast over creamy polenta is a game changer. Melt in your mouth meat that’s been simmering all day in the a glorious concoction of stock, red wine, lots of onions, and a surprise ingredient, celery root! Then to make even better it’s piled high on top of the creamiest parmesan polenta there ever was. If you’re a fan of grits, then you will LOVE this soft buttery polenta.

This is a perfect meal for a date night in, throwing a dinner party, or just when you need a bowl of happiness at the end of a long week. To top it off your house will smell absurdly amazing while this is cooking all day.

I am so excited to share more cozy Fall recipes with you guys! What’s your favorite comfort food to eat when it’s cold out. Gimme all of your suggestions!

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French Onion Pot Roast with Creamy Polenta

Ingredients

-2 1/2 pounds chuck roast (excess fat trimmed)
- 2 white onions thinly sliced
- 1 medium celery root, peeled and cubed
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 cup of red wine

Polenta
- 2 cups of milk
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of Polenta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup of grated parmesan
- salt & pepper

What to do

  1. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch oven or pot. Season the beef all over with salt and pepper. 

  2. Sear the beef until a nice brown crust forms on all sides, remove from the pot and add in onions, celery root, garlic, and thyme leaves, and sauté until onions start to become translucent.

  3. Place the beef back in the pot with onion mixture and top with Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, beef stock, and red wine. Add another big pinch of salt & pepper, and simmer mixture on low for several hours until the meat is falling apart.

  4. To make the polenta, bring the water and milk to a light simmer in a saucepan. Add in the polenta and stir on medium heat until it begins to thicken and get creamy, roughly 10 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the butter and parmesan and season liberally with salt and pepper.

Weekly Crumbs, Vol. 12

This week has been a jam-packed celebrating two of our best friends getting married! Thursday night was the rehearsal dinner at an amazing Italian restaurant Nicoletta's Table, Friday was the actual walk-through at the venue which was located at the beautiful Maysara Winery, and Saturday was the big day starting with hair, makeup, and mimosas at 8AM and then we danced the night away until Midnight. To say I was pooped out is an understatement, but it was the best weekend! I feel like I've been to so many weddings this year, including our own, that I should be a pro by now!

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 On Sunday we got up and had brunch in McMinnville at The Community Plate, which is always so good! Thomas got the heritage pork hash and I got an egg BLT on a homemade biscuit. They have an awesome lunch menu as well! If you're in Oregon and want a cute weekend getaway, I love McMinnville! You're in the heart of wine country, there's great restaurants and bars, and you can stay at either the 3rd Street Flats or McMenamins Hotel Oregon

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The rest of our Labor Day weekend was lazy to say the least. Sunday night I made Thomas watch Steel Magnolias for the 100th time and we made pinch of yum's vegan crunchwrap supremes. Healthier than Taco Bell of course, but not dousing mine in sour cream and guacamole isn't an option for me. I also packed mine so full that it ended up falling apart in the pan, not quite the pretty picture, but delicious nonetheless. On Monday we decided we would just stay home and relax since it was such a crazy weekend- We slept in, went for a quick run, made yummy açaí bowls, and in spirit of Labor Day and the kickoff of football season, we recipe tested oven-baked chicken wings with a spicy honey glaze! It's hard to beat fried chicken, but they are still pretty dang good! 

Have a good week everyone!!

Panzanella Salad

We needed to get out of Portland over the weekend for a little fresh air and R&R, so we packed up our car to go camping! It's too bad that you have to book a camping spot a year in advance in the PNW, but we decided to try our luck anyways. After driving for 4 hours in traffic and then in and out of campsites we finally found a pristine campground on Trout Creek a couple of hours outside of Portland. We may or may not have set camp on a site that was already reserved by someone else... but they never showed up so that's ok right?! We had a hilarious first night which is a good enough story for it's own post, but all around it was the perfect weekend getaway. Some people might not think camping is relaxing, but to us there's nothing better than sitting around a campfire under the stars, a cup of something strong in our hands, and talking until all of the coals have smoldered out. We grilled steaks and toasted s'mores over the fire, went on hikes, drank wine out of plastic cups, beat each other in Yahtzee, took dips in the creek when it was hot, cuddled in our sleeping bags when it was cold, and soaked up as much of the weekend as possible. 

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I've been exuding my desire for Fall for weeks now, however our little camping getaway made me realize that summer is something that you shouldn't wish to pass quickly. Once we got out of our hot apartment in the city and out into the peaceful outdoors it made me want enjoy summer to the absolute fullest. Which is why it's going to be camping, outdoor picnics, and wine on rooftops until it's time to pull out our parkas.

 So since I'm still on the summer train, that means I'm on the tomato train. You feel me? Hear me out! Two words, Panzanella Salad. It's tomatoes, and bread, and fresh basil-y deliciousness and it needs to be on your table stat. Let this not be confused with croutons. No no, it's way better than that. This is your favorite loaf of crusty bread that is crunchy on the outside yet a little soft from the tomato juices. It's as simple and summery as dishes come and you likely have most of the ingredients in your fridge. And a plus? If your bread is stale than that's even better!!

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Panzanella Salad

Ingredients

- 2 1/2 pounds or (3-4) heirloom tomatoes (different colors), cut into bite sized pieces. 
- Your favorite loaf of crusty bread (I use sourdough) cut into bite size pieces- about 6 cups worth
- 1 small red onion halved and thinly sliced
- 4-5 persian cucumbers chopped into bite-sized pieces (instead of Persian you can peel regular cucumbers and use those if need be) 
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 gloves of garlic minced
- lots of good olive oil for drizzling
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup of chopped fresh basil

What to do 

  1. Place cut tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, minced garlic, lemon juice, and a generous seasoning of salt and a couple grinds of black pepper in a large bowl. Gently stir to incorporate and let sit at room temperature while your bread cooks. 

  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F and adjust rack to center position. In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with a little salt. Bake until crisp and firm but not too browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

  3. Once bread is slightly cool, toss bread in the bowl with tomato mixture and add basil leaves and a generous drizzle of good olive oil. Toss everything to coat and season with more salt and pepper if needed. It's good if the bread soaks in the juice a little bit, so you can let your salad rest 10-15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Chicken Gyro's

I am all about the easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy lately. When cool weather hits, it's go time for slow braises in the oven, bubbling stews on the stove, and roasting things into submission - but in the summer 'ain't nobody got time for that'! Like today, I got home from work and we drizzled lettuce with olive oil and lemon juice, added Trader Joe's grilled balsamic chicken and topped with homemade basil pesto and BAM, dinner done in 5 minutes. Beautiful weather and summertime temps call for dinner on the table in a snap with as little time and cooking as possible. 

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These chicken gyro's are my summertime obsession right now. Juicy marinated chicken, tangy tzatziki, crumbled feta and a fresh cucumber tomato salad all rolled up in warm pita. Yes puhlease! It may seem like a lot of different steps, but you can let the chicken marinate the night before, and then the day of you can whip up your tzatziki, chop your veggies, grill the chicken, warm the pita and assemble!

Summer gives you permission to not try so hard - elaborate recipes are not necessary. Invite your friends over, pop a bottle, spread everything out on a table outside, and soak-up every last drop of summer.

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Chicken Gyro's


Ingredients


For the chicken
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 3 large garlic cloves , minced
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar (or red wine or apple cider vinegar)
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup Greek yoghurt
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- big pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper

Cucumber tomato salad
- 10 oz container of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 3 cucumbers , diced. I like to use Persian or English cucumber so you can leave the skin on
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
- drizzle of olive oil
- 1/2 lemon squeezed
- Salt and pepper

Tzatziki
- 2 cucumbers (to make about 1/2 - 3/4 cup grated cucumber after squeezing out juice)
- 1 1/4 cups plain Greek yoghurt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or more if you want richer)
- 1 small garlic clove , minced
- salt & pepper to taste

-Pita bread
-crumbled Feta

what to do 

  1. Place all marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag and shake and massage to mix. Add the chicken into the ziplock bag and massage to cover all the chicken. Marinate for at least 2 hours and no longer than 24 hours. 

  2. Make the Tzatziki. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Use a teaspoon to scrape the watery seeds out. Coarsely grate the cucumber using a box grater. Then wrap in paper towels or a tea towel and squeeze to remove excess liquid. Place cucumber in a bowl and add remaining ingredients then mix to combine. Set aside for at least 20 minutes for the flavors to mix. 

  3. Make the cucumber salad by mixing all of the ingredients together. 

  4. To cook the chicken, brush the outdoor grill with oil, then preheat on medium high. Or you can cook this on the stove by heating a little oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through (cooking time depends on size of chicken).

  5. Remove the chicken from the grill / fry pan onto a plate. Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing

  6. To assemble the gyros, top warm pita with grilled chicken, cucumber salad, tzatziki and crumbled feta! 

It's fun to lay it all out and let people help themselves! And you can also lay a piece of parchment down under the pita and roll and wrap it up on the bottom so it stays secured. Enjoy!

Stuffed Poblanos with Cashew "Queso"

One of my favorite junk foods and the ultimate football Sunday indulgence is "creamy tacos". It's what we would make in our house growing up anytime there was a party happening or when we needed a little junk food fix. What is it you may ask? It's a glorious, bubbling vat of velveeta cheese, ground beef, Hormel Chili, and spicy Rotel tomatoes. You crunch up Doritos on your plate and pour the "creamy taco" all over the Doritos. IT IS MONUMENTAL. I am telling you this because I am definitely not beneath shoveling Doritos covered in Velveeta into my mouth - However it's simply not good for you to eat whatsoever, so that's why I try to keep "Queso" in my life as much as possible but in healthier ways! 

ENTER CASHEW QUESO. 

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I was very skeptical of this at first, but with our new Vitamix I knew we could definitely get the creaminess factor going on. Now I will say this, nothing will replace the amazingness of gooey cheesy queso, so you have to think of this as more of an alternative. But for me, something that resembles queso, is creamy like queso, has a rich delicious taste, and is actually nutritious for you is an A+ in my book!

One of my favorite go-to meals is stuffed poblano peppers. A lot of times we make my old stuffed poblanos with chicken recipe, but lately I love tossing roasted sweet potato, corn, black beans, cilantro, and spices to make it meatless. Top with creamy cashew queso and you've got the golden ticket! 

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Stuffed Poblanos with Cashew "Queso" 

Ingredients

Poblanos
- 4 poblano peppers
- 2 sweet potatoes cubed
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic gloves, minced
- 1 (15 oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz) can of sweet corn, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- salt and pepper to taste

Queso
- 1 cup raw cashews , soaked for up to 4 hours and drained
- 1/4 cup water (plus more, if needed)
- 1 teaspoon salt + more to taste
- 1 lemon juiced
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional) provides more coloring
- 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes with green chiles

What to do

  1. Using a small sharp knife, cut a slit lengthwise along one side of each poblano pepper, then make a small crosswise slit along the top to create a T-shape, being careful not to cut off the stem. Carefully cut out and remove the core and scoop out the seeds. On a baking sheet, roast the poblanos and jalapeños under the broiler in the oven turning often until the skin is completely blistered. Transfer to a paper bag (or place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap) and let steam for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. To make the filling, preheat the over to 350 degrees. Toss cubed sweet potato with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and roast until sweet potato is golden brown and cooked through, stirring occasionally. 
  3. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, heat a large skillet over medium heat and saute onion until it starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in minced garlic cloves and cook another minute or two. Then mix in chili powder, cumin, a big pinch of salt and grind of black pepper. Mix in black beans, corn, and lime juice and cook another minute before turning off the heat and mixing in cilantro and roasted sweet potato. 
  4. To make the Queso, In a high-speed blender, or food processor, combine the cashews, water, salt, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, turmeric, and the liquid from the can of diced tomatoes and green chiles. (I was able to get about 1/4 cup of liquid from the can.) 
  5. Blend until a smooth and creamy cheese sauce is made, adding a little more water, if needed for blending. Transfer the cheese mixture to a small pot and heat over the stove until warm. I love serving it in a little cast iron skillet!

  6. To assemble the poblanos, fill them to the brim with the filling! You can either pop them in the oven to bake a little longer or leave them as is since everything is still warm! Cover in Queso :) 

Enjoy!