down home beauty treats


I can safely say I've never used a cup of salt for anything... until now.

I've always been intrigued by home beauty treatments. I've been known to get excited about deep conditioning my hair and wrapping my head in saran wrap because I feel like it makes a difference. 

So for a while I've been looking for a good home project and decided that today was finally the day to attempt one. I ended up mixing two together a bit (this one and this one) and came up with a winner.

So, let me introduce you to my lemon thyme (and slightly almond) scrub. I'm honestly not sure I've seen my sister's eyes light up for something besides mussels before. She was quite excited.

Next project? A face mask. I think it'll be this one

But seriously this was really easy. Like I'm never buying body scrub anymore ever again easy.

(Step 1) Measure the kosher salt and dump into the bowl. 

(Step 2) Add in the olive oil until it has the consistent of wet sand. You want the salt to be all oiled up so that it doesn't dissolve in the lemon juice. Tricky tricky!

(Step 3) Add in about 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme and the zest one lemon... like the whole thing. You won't regret the effort.
(Step 4) Now juice that whole sucker. Mix it up.

(Step 5) Optional but amazing... add a  smidge (1/2 tsp) of almond oil.
And you are done. Feel free to add more of anything to match your desired consistency. It's really easy to play around with it. The almond oil is totally optional but it made me feel like I was running a spa in my kitchen. Kinda great.

Shopping List
1 cup Kosher salt
1/3 - 1/2 cup (or more) of olive oil
1 lemon (juice and zest)
2 T fresh thyme (don't you dare use dried)
1/2 tsp almond oil

on yoga


I’ve heard before that a person’s hormones change approximately every 7 years. This is the reason for sudden onset allergies to shellfish, gluten, or whatever. Some women even attribute it to a change in hair texture. I did some quick googling to try and corroborate this with some scientific research but gave up when I was being pointed to Yahoo Answers pages. Those are just dumb.

Eight weeks ago, I took my first yoga class since maybe 2007. Before that it was Spring 2003. Yep, I remember it that specifically. I remember because in 2003 I went with a boy named Sam that I thought was moderately cute. Up until eight weeks ago, I was pretty convinced that I hated yoga. It was "too slow". I didn't get "enough" of a workout. I don't "like to meditate". Etc. Etc. Etc.

I've changed my mind. 

Don't get me wrong. I love how a good solid run feels on my body. And whenever I'm done running, I look at my feet and I can't believe they carried me for x number of miles. Nice job feet.

But. In yoga, I thank my whole body. (Thanks body.) For the first time in my life, I feel like I'm doing something that helps me own my body. I swear I never would have thought I would say something like that and I'll be honest, I don't even regret it. (Somewhere in LA my friend Kristin is fist pumping in glory). I like the changes that I feel happening and my only explanation is I'm a different person than I was in 2003, 2007, and most certainly 2010. It's not just that I've grown as a person but I've grown to be more patient.

Oh, and this is what I made for dinner tonight. Orecchiette pasta with cherry tomatoes sautéed in reduced balsamic vinegar and asparagus .... with freshly grated parmesan .... and fleur de lis from my fancy pants friend Meghan who got it in PARIS. Yep, this is what I eat after I savor a little yoga.

P.s. The class I went to last night had a THEME and it was courage. Remember when I wouldn't do oooooms? Well, now I'm apparently okay with themes. 

Stuffed Peppers and Failed Rice


I'm not sure what made me think of attempting stuffed peppers .... but I'm pretty sure the giant mound of them at the market had something to do with it.

When we were growing up I remember how much I really loved the Stouffer's Stuffed Peppers that we would dominate as a family. I'm pretty sure just one was considered a serving and I always wanted more.

I wasn't sure exactly what I was envisioning for these babies but a quick search on Punchfork yielded a big variety of options. Ok, big might be an exaggeration but there were options. 

I decided to go with a "Mediterranean" flavor for these peppers and thankfully I already had a bunch of the ingredients in my fridge. Win! I mean these really couldn't have been easier. Well, they could be if I knew how to actually make rice. I'm terrible at making grains.

I actually made these on Sunday January 8th and froze them as a meal for theoretically the next week. If you are doing the math... that is 2 months back. So, if you decide to cook them fresh - or from the fridge - I'd estimate you'd set the oven to 400F for maybe 25-30 minutes. Since I was heating from the freezer, I cooked mine for 35 minutes. All of the ingredients are already cooked so you are pretty much just reheating.

Tips on freezing: If you want to freeze them (or put them in the fridge for a day or so), the GladWare tall entree container is perfect for 2 half peppers stacked up. I simply folded a piece of tinfoil for a layer ... which I then used to line the pan for cooking. Win and win.

So, this is how it all comes together. Ready? Set? Break.

(1) Rice is going to take the longest (if you know how to make it). So, make the rice. You need about 1/2 cup of uncooked rice for 4 pepper halves. So do your own math and make your own rice. 

(2) Now. Make your mixings. Saute those onions right up, toss in the ground beef, season with some garlic powder, salt and pepper. Tastes good right? No. You aren't done yet.

(3) Here comes the faux Mediterranean flavors. I diced up some baby tomatoes and calamata olives. Toss it on it. Better right? Now..... add a dash of red wine. I really mean a dash. Like a little more than a sip. Swoosh that business around. Toss in as much feta cheese as you want. I'm not judging.

(4) Cut the peppers in half from top to bottom. Not horizontally. Clean those babes right out and add a spoon full of rice to the bottom. Then add in the ground beef mixture and pack it in. Like, I really mean pack it in. Use that spoon to fill those crevices. 

Shopping List
1/2 cup of rice
1 cup cherry tomatoes cut as small as you want (at least in quarters)
1 tsp-ish garlic powder
1/2 cup chopped calamata (or black) olives
2 T of red wine
Feta Cheese
1/3 lb lean ground beef

not just zucchini bread


Five zucchinis for a dollar. I'm serious.

I swear if I tried to cook as much as I do while shopping at Whole Foods... I'd be broke. My wallet would like to thank the weekend market at Haymarket.

I'm not sure what prompted the zucchini bread but it is definitely a winner in my book. Plus, even though I know how much butter, flower, and other goodness is in this baby.... I still feel healthy eating it. I feel like it goes great with a cup of tea and a cloudy day. Both of which are happening here in Boston.

Zucchini is a pretty weird veggie in my mind. Its like watery, but not. Kind of gritty, but not in a bad way.  I'm most certainly on board for trying it in other recipes after this initial attempt with it. When I was perusing the interweb to see if there was any special technique to shredding zucchini, I came across a woman who said she kept her extra zucchini shredded in the freezer for other recipes... which I think is genius. So that's exactly what I did. I feel like it'll be a great add to pasta some night. Maybe not.

I didn't feel like making just zucchini bread, so this is lemon rosemary zucchini bread, which is obviously better.

Anyway. Here's how this goes:

(Step 1) Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare two 4x9-inch loaf pans, either coating with butter or spraying with baking spray.

(Step 2) Shredding the zucchini is the most time intensive part of this recipe - so I wanted to do it first. Watch those fingers. I personally love having ten fingers, but you wouldn't know that given how carelessly I use a grater.

(Step 3) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and rosemary.

(Step 4) Beat the eggs in a mixer (or by hand) until frothy. Beat in the sugar. Beat in the melted butter and olive oil. Stir in the lemon zest and grated zucchini.

(Step 5) Add the dry ingredients to the wet, a third at a time, stirring after each incorporation.

(Step 6) Divide batter/dough into two loaf pans. Bake in a 350°F oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Test after 40 minutes. 

(Step 7) Remove from the oven. Cool. Eat. Love.

Shopping List
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoons salt (only if using non-salted butter)
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
3 cups grated zucchini (from about 1 pound of zucchini)

pictures of my day


I've been waking up these days much earlier than necessary. My commute to work is quite literally less than 5 minutes and yet, I wake up sans alarm at 6:30. That's fine and dandy until it's the weekend and I'd much prefer to sleep until a bit later. 

Alas, sometimes it's okay because it means I get to have a very full Saturday. Like today. Which is a win in my book.

9 AM Yoga class. One of the best I've been to. The name tag in the corner is leftover from a beginner's class that I've been going to on Wednesday nights. I promise. It's not my way of introducing myself to my fellow "yogis". I think thats what "we" call ourselves. Ha. 

Took an adventure to Cambridge for plants on the recommendation of my friend Dave. 

One of my favorite things about spring and summer is feasting on greek yogurt loaded with fruit. This one has orange, blueberries, pomegranate, walnuts, and honey. Amazing.

I tend to be drawn to things that are just $1 at the Market, but I have no idea how I would open a coconut in my apartment. Instead, I loaded up on fruits and veggies. Avocados, eggplant, leeks, (more) oranges, zucchini, and artichokes. 

It quite literally takes my landlord about 10 minutes to get in the door to our building and up the one flight of stairs. He's 71 and so you can only imagine how long it takes his 91 year old mother. So, I killed my 10 minute wait in the Copp's Hill Burying Ground checking out all the daffodils. Needless to say I'm a fan (of the flowers ... not the waiting).

It was a good project day including this terrarium that I finally completed. It looks much better with a plant than it did collecting receipts. Let's see how long this plant manages to stay alive...

Not pictured? A million things. But specifically my customary trip to Polcari's Coffee, where they actually  gave me a new blend to try for free. (Holla for being a regular!) The line was super long... and largely tourists ... which makes me very wary of when it's legit tourist season. 

On the schedule for tomorrow? All my favorites. Seals, cooking, and perhaps some spring cleaning. By spring cleaning, I hope I really mean cleaning and not watching DVR all day like I did last Sunday. That was just not productive.



For a few hours today, I forgot how happy I was being just me.

But I was quickly reminded of it as I listened to someone else wax on and on about their personal life. And how much they are trying to orchestrate their future. It just seemed so complex and not fun. Then I remembered, I was just happy being me. And that, I'd been very happy being me for awhile.

It's weird how easy it is to forget what makes you happy sometimes.

Goals for the next week?
  • Make my landlord and his 91 year old mother a dinner. I know that I pay rent but if your (presumably) hoarder 71 year old widowed landlord admitted that he was trying to learn to cook... but there were just too many steps. You'd want to make them a meal too.
  • Eat dinner by myself in a restaurant. It's been awhile and fundamentally I actually enjoy the challenge.
  • Fix the light in my closet. It hasn't worked since I moved in.... and if you are keeping track folks, that'd be in October.

Bonus goal? I'd like a plant. Hopefully something that I won't kill because it craves a specific light / shade percentage. Hopefully something that blooms. Hopefully something that looks amazing next to a cup of coffee.

spicy (but buttery) amazing mussels

I think there are a few meals out there that people think are like way amazing and challenging... and they just are not. People like myself hate to break up this charade because, hey, I like to look cook when I make a simple meal that impresses.

On this list? Red Velvet Cake, Roasted tomatoes.... and mussels.

This wasn't my first time making mussels, but it was my first time making SPICY MUSSELS. That's different right?

I actually wanted to make this on Valentine's Day this year but the age ole issue of grocery shopping at 7pm and inventory got in my way. Who knew mussels would be romantic? Not me. But! Friday night was the night and they were amazing. Like. Go make some more friends and buy some more mussels immediately.

My baby sister loves mussels. So, I guess I was cooking for an biased crowd, but none the less this meal comes together super fast and with rather limited clean-up. In the past I've always made mussels in a foil pan on the grill (even easier clean-up) so this was my first indoor attempt and it was just as easy.

So here's how it goes.

(Step 1) Soak your mussels in a bath of cold water mixed with the flour. In all the times I've made mussels, I've never done this before.... so honestly I had to give it a shot. I'm not sure if it made a difference but I trust it had some impact. Make sure the water is cold because otherwise your mussels will start to cook and open up. Not what you want. So soak these suckers for 20-30 minutes.

(Step 2) While your mussels are bathing, dice up your shallot, garlic, and onion. The original recipe called for all shallot, no onion but just substitute for what you already have. It's not that big of a deal.

(Step 3) Melt some butter in a medium heat pot / skillet, big enough to hold all your mussels and mix them around a bit. Add in the diced goodness and sauteed for 3-4 minutes.

(Step 4) Toss in some finely chopped scallion, the red pepper flakes, and white wine. Bring this to a simmer and reduce liquid for 4ish minutes.

(Step 5) Transfer your clean mussels (rinsed from flour water and de-bearded) to the pot and cover. You'll only need to steam the mussels for 2-3 minutes before they are done. You can either shake the pot a few times to get everything covered in the juicey flavor goodness - or use a wooden spoon to gently mix/stir.

Now you are pretty much ready to eat. So start toasting your bread.

(Step 6) Transfer the mussels to the serving platter and reduce the liquid that remains a bit if there appears to still be too much. I know that isn't very specific but you'll just know and too much liquid isn't a bad thing... I just didn't want it spilling over the edge of my amazing whale platter.

(Step 7) Pour the juice on the mussels and serve with toasted bread (broil with drizzles of olive oil and sprinkled kosher salt).

That's it. Not hard at all.

Shopping List (good for 2-3 people)
2 pound mussels
2 tablespoons flour
8 tablespoons butter
1 shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves
1 small/medium sized onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
1 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (scale it back to 1 teaspoon if you’re adverse to spicy)
1 cup dry white wine

oh hello there Spring


Welp, my hard drive died yesterday.

Let's all take a minute to mourn it. Thankfully, it's a best possible situation (so far) in that... I have Apple Care and I had recently done a back-up. So hopefully all is not lost... and I can get started on my taxes soon.

BUT! Today is the first day of Spring.

And, it's amazing. I'm having one of those days where (get ready this is corny) my heart feels so full. I don't even really have a great reason for it. I'm just happy. Novel concept right?

This morning I got up and lounged for a bit with a cup of coffee before deciding that was a waste of a great day. So, I quickly put on some running clothes and my new sneakers and headed toward the Harbor Walk. On my way, I could see the gorgeous morning sun peeking in between the building and I just knew it was going to be so pretty.

Spoiler alert? It was.

The run itself could have gone better. Apparently taking a few weeks off while I attempted to sort out my new shoe situation hindered my stamina. Boo to that. But, I honestly enjoyed just some off and on running while I made my way around the harbor ... and of course to the seals.

I mean this guy is precious right?
So. Funny story. Last night when Baby Sister and I were visiting the seals, I said that I kind of hoped one day the seals would recognize me. So this morning when I swung by, they were so adorable and inquisitive at the glass. I felt like the "seal whisperer". Then, the woman next to me informed me that the two people who had just left were actually the seal trainers. Oops. Well, Chacoda the seal is still adorbs.

Bonus Picture? It's definitively Spring. No long pants. No wool tops. So refreshing to not be covered in layers.

simply amazing chocolate chip cookies


If you thought that when I gave up bacon for lent, I'd lead a clean healthy life .... you were majorly off base.

I've just merely substituted bacon for chocolate and cheez-its. But not together. That just seems wrong.

The candy jar in my apartment has been stripped clean of all my favorites. I started with the Mr. Goodbars, then cleared out all the white chocolate mini Reese cups, and then polished off the Krackle bars. This past week, I resorted to eating the plain milk chocolate bars. Don't worry. All of these are the "mini size"... as if this makes the behavior any better.

So last night after a moderately failed workout (I think my new sneakers are killing my knees), I fully intended on going to Whole Foods for some yogurt and other life essentially (sneak peak... its Irish Soda Bread season). But... instead.... I stayed on my couch and made some roasted brussel sprouts sans pancetta. Then, the chocolate monster came.... and I flashed back to this blog post  from the adorable Mary at Tulips & Flight Suits about the most amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe. 

You know how the rest of it goes. Butter melted, flour added, dough taste tested, chocolate chips added, dough taste tested again. End result? This might actually be the best chocolate chip cookie dough recipe I've ever had. Toss your Tollhouse recipe in the trash cause this is the winner.

Before I give you the rundown, I'll let you in on a two little accidental experiments I conducted during the baking process:

(Experiment One) My lovely North End temperamental oven is very hard to get to the right temperature.... so the first batch cooked at 400 F where as the second batch cooked at 325 F. The end result is (obviously) two totally different cookies from the same batter.
  • 400 F results in cookies that are a bit "taller" and more resemble slightly melted ice cream scoops, super melty chewy in the middle with a slightly crunchy exterior shell
  • 325 F results in cookies that are more traditional in shape, flatter, less "soft" after 2 hrs out of the oven
Obviously you cook the cookies for different amounts of time as well (see below for those details) - but I feel an odd sense of victory over this one. This local sandwich shop makes these amazing CC cookies that make my Mom bananas... and now I know how to make them. They are the 400 F option.
Top and Side views of the cookies.... The left cookie is the 400 F, the right cookie is 325 F

(Experiment Two) I tend to prefer mini chocolate chips in my baking because I don't like my cookies to be *full* of chocolate. But, I only had about a cup of the mini chips... so I went halfzies on mini and regular sized chips in this recipe. And. It. Was. Perfect. It's like there's a little bit of chocolate *everywhere* but not in this overpowering and obnoxious "i'm a chocolate chip cookie for real" sort of way.

So pick your poison my friends and enemies because you will love these cookies and eat a fair amount of the dough as well.

Here's how it goes:
(Step 1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees or 400 degrees, based on your preferred cookie style. grease cookie sheets. 

(Step 2) Are you a fancy organized baker? If yes, sift together the flour and baking soda; set aside. If you aren't, then you'll just add these ingredients into the wet ones in Step 4. 

(Step 3) In a separate bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. 

(Step 4) Add the dry ingredients (flour and baking soda) into the wet mix. If you are a person who likes to play with the consistency of dough, add in the flour in batches. I used more butter in my batch (1 cup vs 3/4 cup) and as a result needed more flour (approx 1/3 cup).

(Step 5) Add in the chocolate chips. If you are like me, by this point.... you've eaten about 2 cookies worth of raw dough. But the upside is... your soul feels amazing. 

(Step 6) I like to use my cookie dough scoop to drop the dough so I get evenly sized cookies. So drop these suckers on the sheet evenly spaced and get ready to toss them in the oven.

(Step 7) If you chose the flatter, slightly more crisp cookie ... bake for about 15 minutes at 325 F. If you chose the rounder, dough-ier cookie ... bake for about 6-7 minutes at 400 F.

Shopping List (makes 34ish cookies)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup salted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips - regular size
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips - mini size

(brief) beach life.


Last night I got home from the airport at 10pm. the previous three nights, I went to dinner at 10 pm. Yep, ladies and gentleman I was a bit of a baller.

That is if your definition of a baller is staying up until 1 am, taking cat naps by the pool, and at one point noshing on some gold. Yes, I said gold.

My long weekend in Miami was just what the doctor ordered. We haven't had an incredibly tough, or even moderately tough for that matter, winter in Boston ... But there is something renewing about laying in the sun with some besties and gossiping your heart out. I feel like an Ikea table that someone just refinished and is now going to sell on Craigslist at a profit.

While I compose my somewhat witty thoughts on our Miami adventures, I'll share a few pictures of things that made my heart go pitter patter over the last few days.

Stay tuned for adventures including backless outfits, pool butlers, and day naps on giant poolside beds.

savory shiitake asparagus and artichoke risotto


Sometimes, life is about patiently stirring some rice in a skillet and making risotto. 

Sometimes, life is about realizing that your "collection" of cotton sundresses that are totes perfect for New England are "totes not perfect" for your weekend in Miami. Blurg.

That is the reality that I'm coming to at 10:30 on a Monday night. I've had weeks to prepare for this but instead I was making soup, seeing seals, and I'm not sure what else. Probably watching Downton Abbey. I do that alot.

So, the downside for tonight is the fresh hell that I'm so unprepared for my exciting and awesome weekend away. Even if I skip going to yoga tomorrow night, I won't be able to make it anywhere for anything. Double blurg.

The upsides? I'm three days away from pillow talk with some besties and I made a delicious risotto on a weeknight. I almost made this risotto twice this weekend but just keep putting it off and I'm glad I did. I savored this creamy delight tonight while I guilty watched "The Bachelor". 

I didn't take many / any pictures of this process.... except of the amazing onions getting all warmed up with the butter. They were just too pretty for words. When you put real butter on diced onions you just know it's going to be a good dish.

(Step 1) Bring broth and water to a boil in a pot. Add asparagus and cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Theoretically you should then transfer asparagus with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain and pat dry. That's the plan. It seemed like a lot of work to me, so I put transfered them to a bowl. Easy peasy. But, keep the broth at a bare simmer. Don't get rid of all that hard work.

(Step 2) Heat oil with in a pan over moderately high heat and saute mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 4 minutes. I just tossed them in on top of the asparagus. All the business in a bowl, you know how I do.

(Step 3) Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Then pop the rice in the pan and cook, stirring, 1 minute. 

(Step 4) This is when you start to do some serious work / stiring / nothing else in your kitchen. Ladle in 1 cup simmering broth and cook at a strong simmer, stirring, until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue simmering and adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is just tender and looks creamy, 18 to 20 minutes. Since I never measure anything.... I just kept going with the broth until I liked the consistency. I ended up having to add a little water to the "asparagus broth mixture" from earlier. No biggie. Also, you will want to save a bit of leftover broth for thinning in a bit.

(Step 5) Almost eating time I promise. Remove from the pan from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese, remaining tablespoon butter, and salt and pepper to taste. I honestly didn't need any salt because the broth was rather salty. Gently stir in asparagus, artichokes and mushrooms, then cover pan and let stand 1 minute. Since I used canned artichokes, I made just to try and really mix those in so they wouldn't be like cool or anything. I'm weird. It doesn't even seem like that's really possible since they are so thin. 

(Step 6) Now you can eat! If desired, thin risotto with some of remaining broth. Scoop some of this business in a bowl and top with grated parmesan. You won't regret it.  

Shopping List
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices, leaving tips 1 1/2 inches long
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
3 artichoke hearts from a can (go ahead judge me)
1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

cauliflower is delicious


Hey, guess what isn't photogenic? Cauliflower. Like for reals.

Hey, guess what is totally delicious? Cauliflower. Like for reals.

I'm not sure what brought this delicious wonder to my computer screen, but it looked so good and it turned out that I already had the cauliflower in my fridge. Win! I'm not sure I've ever really had this much cauliflower before ... I feel like I've only ever had it as an appetizer with a side of dip. But, it's rather phenomenal and totally easy.

Plus. At the Haymarket Market.... a head of cauliflower is ... ONE DOLLAR.  Yep, so this soup is crazy cheap to make and it makes you feel a little fancy.

Funny moment? The original recipe says you only need one head of cauliflower and it'll be about 3 pounds. Well, I roasted one head and then realized it probably didn't weigh 3 pounds. So I took out my bathroom scale (yep, from the floor of my bathroom) and weighed a backup head of cauliflower. It weighs like a bit more than a pound. So.... you'll probably need two heads of cauliflower or one head and a bathroom scale.

So this is how it goes.

(Step 1) Preheat the oven to 450 F. Trim up the cauliflower into florets and toss on a baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil - kinda heavy-ish - and then sprinkle with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Toss those babies around to coat and shove in the oven. Roast for about 40 minutes or until the edges start to brown. I roasted mine a bit longer (i.e. more brown) and I was really happy with the flavor.

(Step 2) While the cauliflower is roasting away, get it's bath all ready. Heat the oil in the pot and saute the shallots and garlic for about 5 minutes to soften. Add the vegetable broth, dried thyme and vinegar. The recipe originally called for white balsamic vinegar but well I didn't have any of that. So, instead I used the champagne vinegar that we used on NYE. So tasty.

(Step 3) After the cauliflower is cool (as in temperature, not popularity), add it to the bath and give it a good swirl. Then add the mixture to the blender or use immersion blender. Process until you like the consistency. I tend to like my soups a little bit chunky.... so I go light on the pulsing.

(Step 4) Soup is now ready to eat!

(Step 5) Assembly time. For toppings, I toasted some neighborhood bread (i.e. Italian or something) with some olive oil, salt and pepper in the oven. Oh, and I chopped up some hazelnuts. These made me feel fancy but I honestly didn't really feel like there was a difference.... you can leave these out if you want. I won't tell. Don't leave out the shaved parmesan. It was a key add.

Recipe adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

Shopping List
2 Head Cauliflower (about 3 lbs total)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. Fresh Grated Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
1 Large Shallot, chopped
1 Clove Garlic, chopped
3 Cups Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
1 tsp. Dried Thyme
1 Tbsp. Champagne Vinegar
Ground Pepper
1/2 Cup Toasted Hazelnuts, Chopped
Shaved Parmesan

french spring soup (almost)


With a trip to Miami looming in the coming days, I wanted to make something a little bit "lighter".

There isn't much excitement to this soup but it was light yet filling. Plus hey, I got to use leeks for the first time and if that isn't exciting.... well I'm not sure what is. It's the little things right?

So if you are crazy hungry, then this isn't the soup for you. But if you are craving spring and there is a bikini in your future... then this is the soup for you.

I'm not exactly sure what "french spring soup" really means... but I made enough modifications to this sucker that I feel like I can't call it "french spring" anymore. The original recipe called for straight water and spinach right before serving. I added chicken broth and left out the spinach ... despite having bought some just for this recipe. Oh well.

So here's how it all goes down.

(Step 1) Melt the butter in the pot and add in the leeks and onion. I didn't really feel like there was enough butter so I added in some olive oil to help along the process. I cooked these babies really slow on a lower heat while I chopped up the rest of the ingredients and they almost like caramelized. It was amazing and such a value add. Totally worth the extra time and patience.

(Step 2) Add in salt, carrots, potatoes, and asparagus.... and the broth/water mix. The original recipe called for just water but I decided to shake it up a bit. Instead of straight water, I did probably like 3:1 broth to water ratio (i.e. 6 cups broth, 2 cups water).
This was also the point where I cut my finger roughly peeling the potatoes. I *knock on wood* never cut myself cooking... but this was a bit of a cut. I'm def not meant to be a nurse because I got nauseous from the cut as I attempted to finish the recipe. That is also the reason there are like no pictures to go with this recipe :)

(Step 3) Add in the rice and bring the soup to a boil. After it boils, reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes or until the veggies are tender and the rice is cooked.

(Step 4) Just before serving, add in the cream.

And... now... eat.

I ate my soup with a piece of sourdough toast .... which was perfect.  Bread really does make everything better. I promise.

Shopping List
1/4 cup butter
Smidge of Olive Oil
1 pound leeks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 quarts water/chicken broth combo
3 large potatoes, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/3 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
4 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup light cream

Digital History

taken at Marina Beach Reserve in October 2011

I'm not really one to talk about purging history. 

I quite literally have shoe boxes of cards, ticket stubs, and receipts hidden in my bedroom at my parent's house. I blame my mom. Ever since we were little - or I guess as long as we were pre-College - she saved mementos of our academic (and summer) years. They were called memory boxes and I feel like we bought them from Lillian Vernon. It was just that kind of thing.

I used to sit on the floor of the cedar closet where we kept them and would pull out a year and look at what was inside. I had a fondness for seeing my old report cards and what the teachers had to say about me... probably the root of my lifetime quest for gold stars. Whatever. 

As we get older, and life becomes more and more digital, it becomes so much easier to do this. My Google account is essentially my memory box from Spring 2005 to current date. I've lost my "digital history" a few times - but never with the Goog, rather with old work emails or lost cell phones. I felt so attached to those bits of history. I felt so compelled to take care of those text messages or emails despite knowing that I wasn't attached to those relationships anymore. I wonder why we do that? I think it's probably the same reason that I like to read my old blog posts. (Is that narcissistic? I don't care) 

But, I think we need to be careful with history. It's a tricky mistress. History is only good if we don't get wrapped up in it and forget all the lessons that we learned. It's a double edged sword - history can teach us lessons but at the same time keep us from learning them. I’ve been working on learning this myself.

I guess that's the moral of the story for the day.

Why all the thinking you ask? Well, it’s my blogaversary and my 400th post... this (blog) baby has just turned two years old. Amazing all the things that I've felt okay sharing with the interwebs for a person that never successfully kept a diary during her formative awkward teenage years. I was chatting with my friend Carrie the other day about how the voice of this blog has changed in 399 posts. In the beginning, I mainly wrote to be “funny” or perhaps vent about something I thought was absurd. Somewhere before I hit #200, I began to feel more comfortable sharing my daily activities and interests. But it was in #300, that I declared that I was forever a Bostonian and officially needed to not live in a Hilton.

As the blog has evolved, I think I’ve evolved too. I know more and more what makes me tick and what I want from life. I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty great. I'm more comfortable in my own skin than ever. I want to continue to take adventures, cook to my hearts content, stretch my wings with new challenges, and maybe just maybe share some of these adventures with a like-minded individual. The like minded-individual will have an affinity for fleece, the ocean, bacon, and believes in holding hands. That person will also give me all the really good lime Tostitos chips because they are my favorite. 

In the mean time, I'm going to keep falling in love with the North End, visiting the seals at the Aquarium, and drinking wine in my bed.

Happy 400 blog post to me.
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