Friday Faves, Black Friday Edition

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{stockings for Coop and Baby (Girl) N – stockings, jammies, bottles (with candy!), ornaments and ornament kit (here, here, and here), personalized book, teethers, toys – and I’m just getting started!}

Happy Black Friday! I hope you’ve recovered from yesterday’s festivities (green smoothie for breakfast?). I had one of the best Thanksgiving nights in recent memory thanks to the Seahawks game (and this hilarious post-game interview).  And now we need to gear up for Christmas!  I’ll be spending my Black Friday on the couch with my laptop – so many good deals out there, and not one single crowd/line/parking nightmare to deal with. In case you need more convincing:

  • 25% off at Madewell (thru Sunday).
  • 30% off at J. Crew (plus 40% off sale and 50% off Factory, thru Sunday).
  • 30% off Lucy (thru Sunday).
  • 40% off C. Wonder (thru Monday). Sorry Tory! So many cute gift ideas!
  • 50% off at Gap/Banana/Old Navy (Gap: today only; Banana: 50% off only one item, the rest is 40% off; Old Navy: in store only, although lots is on sale online).
  • 25% off at Hanna Andersson (for my mommy friends – or if you’re a crazy auntie like me). This one is in store only, which is a bummer. But potentially worth it, depending on how many kiddos in your life need Christmas jammies!
  • 50% off at Kate Quinn (also for moms/baby gift givers – thru Monday).

photo 1 {not to brag, but: my most successful pie crust to date!! 100% from scratch! (I finally figured out how to keep it from shrinking during par-baking and am pretty proud of myself. I’m sure 99.99% of you don’t care, but if you’d like my newfound secrets let me know)}

photo-85 {for when you need a break from shopping: happy hour red + glassybaby at Liam’s in the village}

photo-88 {my favorite christmas treat}

photo-91 {baby genius, all tuckered out from his first Thanksgiving!}

Friday Faves

photo 2{pumpkin ice cream with toasted marshmallow}

Happy rainy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? I’m hoping to get back on track in terms of my Thanksgiving preparedness…..and in that vein, I found some links that will hopefully be helpful for all of us. I get to go see John Oliver as an early birthday present from my dad (he is the best!!), and I’m also hoping to carve out some time to see this movie (and that we can still get tickets!). If I can squeeze in a manicure as well, I’ll be a happy girl (it’s a rough life, I know). Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!

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{‘Evelyn‘ glassybaby in memory of my grandma Evelyn’s birthday earlier this week}

photo 1{view from the train}

photo-84 {coop’s thanksgiving present – dorky but I just can’t help myself}

photo-83{love these dimples}

Pumpkin, Sage, and Browned-Butter Bread

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There’s a certain little holiday coming up next week, are you ready? Confession: I am nowhere close. Most years, I have my recipes all picked out by this point, my grocery lists written, all non-perishables purchased, and homemade pie crusts ready and waiting in the freezer. This year, I haven’t given any of it a second thought. That’s what this weekend is for, right? No matter where you are on the spectrum, though, consider adding these mini loaves to your “to make” list – while they may not belong on your Thanksgiving table, they definitely belong in your fall baking repertoire.

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I hesitated to try this recipe as I firmly believed that nothing can beat my aunt’s pumpkin muffins – but since anything with brown butter and sage sounds pretty delicious, I gave them a try. And I’m so glad I did, because they are equally yummy, but in a completely different way.  The brown butter and sage flavors add a savory richness, and the fried sage pieces contribute a fun little crunch. While browning the butter and frying the sage are additional steps, I still whipped up the batter pretty quickly. [Browned butter tips here. Sometimes I find browning butter easy, sometimes I find it more challenging – but regardless my finished product always ends up delicious).]

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The recipe is supposed to yield eight mini loaves, and I doubled it in the hopes of making twelve – and ended up with six. So I think when Martha says eight, she means eight “mini mini” loaves, which you would bake in something like this (which I have now purchased and will be sure to use next time).  I baked these in “large” paper mini loaf pans (is there such thing as a large mini loaf pan? Let’s pretend there is), which were adorable and looked gorgeous all wrapped up for party favors, but I think they would also be adorable as “mini mini” loaves, as muffins, or even as a regular loaf. However, the recipe as written would yield about eight muffins or one small loaf, so you may want to consider doubling.

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Pumpkin, previously: muffins, cookies, granola, bread pudding, soup, cake, pie

One year ago: My First Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin, Sage, and Browned-Butter Bread, from Martha Stewart Living 

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1/4 cup fresh sage, cut into thin strips, plus whole leaves for garnish (optional)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter eight 4-by-2 1/2-inch loaf pans; dust with flour, tapping out excess (I use PAM for baking here). Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add sage strips; cook until butter turns golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl; let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, and sage-butter mixture. Add flour mixture; whisk until incorporated. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans; smooth tops with an offset spatula. Place pans on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto rack to cool completely. (Cakes can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature overnight or refrigerated up to 5 days.) Garnish with whole sage leaves before serving, if desired.

Friday Faves

photo 3-14 {late night happy hour}

Happy Friday! What are you all up to this weekend? I’m looking forward to my “book club” tonight – we don’t actually read books (thus the quotation marks), but I think this evening we’ll be discussing my favorite subject, serial. What better way to unwind from a long week than with girlfriends, wine, and true crime? Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend – stay warm and drink lots of gingerbread lattes! xoxo

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{gingerbread is back, thank goodness!}

photo 2-21 {fun birthday present delivery}

photo 4-11 {how adorable is this pumpkin pie cupcake}

photo-73 {this face!}

Friday Faves

photo-75 {fall colors}

November might be my favorite month of the year.  Or at least second favorite, after October. I don’t love the part where it’s dark by five pm, but November finally brings boot weather, sweater weather, flannel shirt weather, fire in the fireplace weather, Mrs. O’Leary’s BBQ nail polish weather…..I could go on and on. Also it’s my birthday month. And while my November downtime is normally reserved for trying out new Thanksgiving recipes, I have an absurdly packed social calendar this weekend so my pumpkin cheesecake will have to wait. Which is probably for the best.

Have a wonderful weekend! Some fun links and pics:

  • Making these for my next cocktail party!
  • I’ll always love brunch, but this article made me laugh.
  • Obsessed with these pumps (thanks, Mindy!)
  • My sister sent this to me last weekend and it renewed my love for all things Taylor Swift.
  • Can we start a letter-writing campaign to bring back the GBL?!? (This seriously makes me so sad!)

photo 2 {loving my new “catchall” (earrings here, ring here)}

photo-74 {this book is hilarious!}

photo-76{can’t beat this rainy day lunch}

photo.PNG {halloween selfie with my little cuddle bear}

Green Chili Posole

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Last February I was lucky enough to spend a few days at the most amazing resort in Arizona with my mom, sister, and sister-in-law. We stayed in a five star villa, practiced yoga every morning in a studio overlooking the desert and the mountains, took amazing classes, got massages each afternoon – and yet somehow one of the best parts of the trip was the food. Everything was fresh and healthy and seasonal and beautifully prepared, and pretty much made me wish that I was Oprah so that I could go home and immediately hire the chef to come work for me (or maybe just move to Miraval permanently). Breakfast and lunch were served buffet style, and we ordered off of a menu at dinner.  This is one of those times where I wish I kept a diary so that I could better remember all of the meals we had, because they were all pretty incredible (I took a lot of pictures, but they’re all on my old phone). There were usually four entrée items on the dinner menu every night, as well as four (teeny tiny) desserts, and our foursome had so much fun ordering one of each and trying everything – and it was all so good we could never pick a favorite. I ordered both cookbooks as soon as I got back, and have made quite a few things from them since (including a delicious arugula salad, raspberry lemon cookies, and chocolate peanut butter meringues). However, everyone’s* hands down favorite meal was the green chili posole we had one day at lunch.

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There’s an asterisk after “everyone” because I never actually ate the posole – it was made with pork, and I don’t eat pork so didn’t even try a bite. But my mom, sister, and sister-in-law all went back for seconds and then thirds – which is kind of funny since Miraval is big on small portions and “mindful eating.”  They made an exception for the posole, though, and have talked about it ever since (and in their defense, the bowls they give you in the buffet line are really small).  The posole recipe is in one of my cookbooks, so I’ve been meaning to make it for some time. I finally got motivated the other weekend, and I made a double batch – one pork (which I promptly delivered to my sister’s house as a thinly veiled excuse to see my baby nephew), and one chicken so that I could try some too.

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Posole is a Latin American soup or stew made with hominy, chili peppers, onion, and garlic. It’s traditionally made using pork, although – fun/terrifying fact – per Wikipedia, the Aztecs used to use meat from humans killed in ritual sacrifice.  Once cannibalism was banned, however, they switched to pork. How lovely. I’m sure anyone who tried both of my versions would tell you the pork was their favorite, but since I don’t know any better I thought the chicken was delicious. I used fresh tomatillos, but they can be hard to find (especially now that the farmers market season is mostly over) so you could use canned tomatillos as well.  If using fresh, you need to husk them and then rinse them really well as the husks leave a sticky residue. The poblano peppers gave the soup a bit of a kick, but if you can’t find poblanos I think green bell peppers would work fine too. I’ve only ever seen hominy canned (although to be fair, I’ve never looked for hominy until I made this), but I’ve heard you can find it dried in Mexican specialty stores. If you’re just going to a regular market, you can find both canned hominy and canned tomatillos in the Mexican food section (or “international foods” aisle), although it can be hard to find so you may have to really search for it.

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Aside from hunting down a few ingredients, posole is pretty easy to make. Sauté your onions, celery, garlic, and peppers in olive oil (note: it seems like this recipe calls for a lot of garlic, which made me nervous, but it somehow turns out not too garlicky at all), dump everything else in, and simmer for 40 minutes. While the soup simmers, prepare your toppings – all of my google research said the toppings are the most important part of posole. This recipe called for red cabbage, cilantro, cojita cheese, and lime zest and wedges, but I also saw recipes that suggested avocado, radishes, oregano, grated cheddar – basically anything you can think of that sounds good. I think fresh cilantro adds so much to soups, and I also loved the lime zest and juice. A couple recipes I came across also suggested serving the posole with flour tortillas or tortilla chips.  Just make sure to eat your tortilla chips mindfully.

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One year ago: curried butternut squash soup

Green Chile Posole, from the Miraval Mindful Eating cookbook

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup garlic, minced
1 cup poblano pepper, diced
1 lb. lean boneless pork loin, cut into 3/4″ cubes (can also use chicken breast)
1 1/2 cup fresh tomatillos, chopped
1 cup canned hominy, rinsed well and drained
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
4 teaspoons chili powder
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
Red cabbage, thinly sliced, for garnish
Cotija cheese, crumbled, for garnish
Lime wedges and freshly grated lime zest, for garnish

Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Lower the heat to medium-high, add the onions, and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the celery, stir, and cook for 45 seconds. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 45 seconds. Add the poblano pepper and cook one minute longer.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and stir well. Add the pork (or chicken) and cook, stirring to sear on all sides, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatillo, hominy, two tablespoons of the cilantro, the chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper; stir well and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock, stirring to scrap any bits from the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat and bring soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until meat is tender and cooked through, 40 minutes.

Remove posole from the heat and stir in the remaining two tablespoons cilantro. Garnish with more cilantro, the cabbage, cheese, and lime zest; serve with a lime wedge.

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