My Black Friday Christmas List

Black Friday is the day after tomorrow. I know this because my mailbox, email inbox, and voice mailbox are full of offers promising to save me all the dollars, on all the things, for all the people, forever and ever amen. I’m exhausted just thinking about all the savings.
To help me sort through it all, I’ve put together a Christmas shopping list. Perhaps you’ll find it useful as well, should you also need help wading through your gift-giving and purchasing processes.
Happy day-before Thanksgiving!

MY BLACK FRIDAY CHRISTMAS LIST:

• Wisdom as I try to better love, nurture, feed, educate, and raise my Littles in a world that values their pocketbooks more than their creativity, their bodies more than their minds, and their contributions more than their ethics.
• Skinny jeans that aren’t jeggings, leggings, or tights; that don’t gap in the back when I bend over, and that don’t have glitter on the back pockets. My butt doesn’t need glitter, thank you very much fashion industry.
• A paid-in-full mortgage on the place I call home.
• Sleep in any form—free from extra children in my bed, late night cries for water, bad dreams, snoring, and random fire-alarm beeping due to low batteries.
• Words at the tip of my tongue when I need them, as opposed to two days later in the middle of the night.
• Grocery carts that don’t flip when being ridden upon by four small children.
• Car seats that buckle and unbuckle themselves.
• A checkbook that balances itself.
• A checkbook that balances.
• Balance.
• Someone to decorate my house like JoAnna Gaines’s house.
• JoAnna Gaines’s house.
• JoAnna Gaines.
• Netflix shows that have a longer than 14-second next-episode countdown, so I can actually work up the willpower to stop. watching. at. 2am.
• Willpower. Of any kind.
• Greater empathy, deeper kindness, expansive generosity, more certain convictions, faith that never wavers, and a love that never fails the people I care about the most.

What’s on your Christmas list? I’d love to know! xo

 

Eggnog Pie Crust

There’s eggnog everything, right? Kinda like pumpkin spice? I don’t know. I’m not as cued into Starbuck’s influence on the tastebuds of the world as I used to be.
But of one thing I am certain: Eggnog is yummy. And the more ways I can incorporate it into my holiday eating experience, the better.
It was from this belief that eggnog pie crust was born.
Is there any better accompaniment to a pumpkin pie? Any better duet than with a caramel apple pie? Chocolate silk pairing?
Thanksgiving is upon us and Christmas right on its heels. Baking will be required! Pies! Let this be your go-to crust recipe.
Enjoy

EGGNOG PIE CRUST

1/2 cup butter, chilled and sliced
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp Eggnog, chilled

In a food processor, pulse the flour, the cold butter (sliced), and the salt until crumbly. With the preprocessor whirling, slowly pour in the eggnog until a crumbly dough forms. Empty the crumbles into a clean mixing bowl, and using your hands, meld together until a smooth ball forms. Press into a circle and roll between waxed paper.
Each batch makes one crust. Double the recipe if you have a food processor large enough to handle the job!

Blitzkuchen

I think all of my childhood memories orbit around food.
*thinky face*
I’m not sure if this is good or bad. But Blitzkuchen (blitz-koo-chin) is one of my favorite memories. It means “Lightning Cake” in German because it’s so simple and so quick to make. Imagine something that crosses the bridge between a perfectly soft sugar cookie and a spongy pound cake, and there you have it.

When I was little, Mom would whip up this cake right in the middle of math (worst subject ever, even for this homeschool kid) and just when long division was becoming unbearable, it was ready. Vanilla and cinnamon would waft through the house, and I would know with certainty that I’d survive math after all. Lightning Cake to the rescue. I think the world needs a big pan of it.
Enjoy.

BLITZKUCHEN

1 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups flour

In a mixing bowl, melt butter and stir in sugar and vanilla.Add eggs, whipping each one into the butter and sugar until smooth. Add flour and blend completely. Pour into a well-greased cake pan, sprinkle the top generously with cinnamon and sugar, and bake at 400 degrees until an inserted knife comes out clean. About 20 minutes.

Tortellini Soup

Yes, I know. I am blogging two soup recipes back-to-back. In some circles this is a crime. In my opinion, this is winning.
And if ever there was a soup with which to commit aforementioned “crime” this is it. A perfect addition to a windy fall day. Three-cheese tortellini soup with roasted red tomatoes, wilted spinach, and enough fresh Parm to make your heart sing. Throw in an accompanying glass of red wine, a side of fresh bread with great swaths of butter, and basically, life is made. Or, yaknow, dinner.

This soup is tremendously easy to make, comes together in a matter of minutes, and looks (and tastes!) like you slaved. It’s one of those dishes you can serve to guests, or to the regular lovely faces that gather at your table.
Enjoy!

TORTELLINI SOUP

1 tbsp garlic, diced
1 onion, diced
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp Balsamic Vinaigrette (or a splash of red wine!)
1 15oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
2 its broth (vegetable, chicken or beef)
several handfuls of fresh spinach
1 package of tortellini, fresh or frozen (not dried)
parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, melt butter and add garlic and onions. Cook until caramelized. Prepare yourself to be blown away by the gorgeous aroma. For real.
Throw in a dash of balsamic vinaigrette or a splash of red wine to amp the flavor up a notch.
Add one quart of broth. I like chicken broth for this recipe, but you can use beef for a more hearty flavor, or vegetable for a more delicate flavor (and as a meat-free option of course).
Heat through, and empty one can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes to the pot, as well as the second quart of broth. Heat until boiling.Toss the tortellini noodles into the boiling soup and cook until they are all soft and floating atop the broth.
Add spinach and stir until the greens wilt.
Serve topped with fresh parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

savory pumpkin soup

Fall is definitely in the air.
Cool nights. Crisp mornings. Sky so blue it hurts my heart.
And I am loving every second.
Not that I’m rushing anything. Seriously. Here in northern Minnesota we typically have winter from the end of October till early May. So much fun. *heavy sarcasm*
Even so, I am in love with fall, and soup and I are basically bffs.
This savory pumpkin soup is warm and smooth with coconut milk, but bright with a hint of apple. If you crave a more hearty flavor, substitute beef broth for vegetable.
Enjoy!

SAVORY PUMPKIN SOUP

2 tablespoons clarified butter
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon diced garlic
1 apple, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
a generous dash of cinnamon
a dash of rosemary
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (canned is fine, though making your own is a snap).
1 quart broth (vegetable, chicken, beef)
3/4 cup coconut milk

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt clarified butter and caramelize onion, garlic and apple together until translucent and fragrant. Add spices (salt, pepper, cinnamon, rosemary) and a splash of broth. Heat to boiling and simmer for a few minutes until you can’t even handle how good your kitchen smells.

Add pureed pumpkin, half the broth, and the coconut milk. Heat through, and then either with an immersion blender (Best Invention Ever) or by transferring the contents of your soup pot to a blender—in batches if necessary— whirl until smooth. If you’ve used a blender, transfer soup back to the pot and add the remaining broth.
Stir gently until texture is consistent.

Serve warm with crusty bread (or without if you happen to be doing whole 3o *cries all the tears*)

sweet potato with sautéed tomatoes and figs

Eating clean is an experiment in texture and flavor. You experiment with combinations you wouldn’t usually try because usually you’d have a Everything bagel slathered with cream cheese. Eating clean takes discipline.
mmmm. cream cheese . . . 

Ahem. Right. Clean eating.

It’s September second and the inter-webs are flooded with words about and recipes for pumpkin spice. I was initially thrilled, (because PUMPKIN SPICE!) and then amused, and then alarmed. My thoughts of adding to the glut here at EatWriteRepeat dissipated because of the overwhelming backlash. I had no idea pumpkin spice was such a heated topic! I mean, I know it’s all about rushing the season and what not, but good grief. No one grows this worked up over Christmas decor before Thanksgiving. The injustice!

Anyway. I’ll spare us all the drama. Here’s a sweet-potato recipe instead. Be warned though, I’m working on a savory pumpkin soup recipe for as soon as the temperatures dip a bit. And there’s a good possibility I’ll run by Starbucks this afternoon. *wink*

BAKED SWEET POTATO WITH SAUTÉED BABY TOMATOES AND FIGS

2 sweet potatoes
2 teaspoons clarified butter
1/2 cup baby tomatoes—halved (the Constellation mix is my fav)
6-8 fresh figs—halved
dash of salt
dash of pepper
dash of cinnamon

Bake sweet potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Until the skin is slightly crisped and the potato pierces easily with a fork.

In a pan, over medium heat, melt 2 teaspoons clarified butter. Toss tomatoes and figs into the pan with salt, pepper and cinnamon. Sauté until soft and the juice from the fruit is beginning to caramelize.

Spoon over baked sweet potato and serve warm.

• Makes two servings

tomato basil salsa over chicken breast

I wish I could say something poetic about the glut of tomatoes in my garden this year. But alas, I can not. Because I got a harvest totaling six tomatoes. Six. I had twelve plants of all different varieties, but between the unnaturally cool spring, the obnoxious amount of rain we’ve had, and my lack of attention to the garden as of late, the tomatoes plants all bit the dust.

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So. The six fruits I managed to grow are precious to me.
I felt like I needed to prelude with this because there are a myriad of ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes. (Tomato sandwiches are one of my favorite!) And yet I have chosen to take four of my six and blend them into a sautéed tomato and basil salsa.
But fear not. It’s that good and worth each precious fruit I spent. In addition to which, this recipe is whole 30 friendly.

I mixed up the salsa one morning in about twenty minutes (before I made coffee even!) and stuck it in the fridge for later use. Tonight it was simmered over medium heat until it began to resemble a sauce more than a salsa, and poured lavishly over grilled chicken breast. Summer in its zenith.

The key to eating clean is simplicity and preparedness. If a recipe takes too long to make or is too fussy, then I’m liable to cram fistfuls of chips or thick slices of cheese into my mouth while I’m making dinner because I’m too ravenous to wait. There goes Whole 30. Oops.
So:
Be prepared.
Keep it simple.

This recipe does both. I used a food processor to finish the dicing process for me and pulsed the ingredients below a few times before tasting and adding salt and pepper. You can use a knife and dice each item on its own as well, combining everything in a mixing bowl. Either way, this recipe is diverse, keeps well in the fridge, can be used hot or cold, and is worth the expenditure of four precious garden tomatoes.
Enjoy!

TOMATO BASIL SALSA

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4 medium tomatoes, cubed.
1/2 cup basil leaves
1 whole onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
dash of salt
dash of pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil