New Year Salad

We love the tradition of black eyed peas at the beginning of the New Year.  Even though we could definitely use some prosperity in the next twelve months, we are also feeling the effects of this recent season of overindulgence. And feeling like it is time to lighten things up.  We are not for resolutions, but do think, at least in our house, there is an eagerness to shake off some of the accumulated bad habits and start fresh.

 It was our thought to try and bridge the gap between form and function.  Make a very traditional dish healthy but still taste good; something manageable enough to handle in one hand, while balancing a stiff New Year's cocktail in the other. So, here's to a prosperous 2013, filled with good intentions for healthy living, and realistic expectations for being really bad at it sometimes. Cheers!

Black Eyed Pea Salad
  • 3 cups cooked black eyed peas
  • 1 cup chopped hearts of palm
  • 2 tablespoons kalamata olives, minced
  • 1/2 cup green onion
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed sweet peppers, chopped
  • a handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  •  juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • romaine hearts for serving
In large bowl combine peas, hearts of palm, olives, onion, parsley and sweet peppers. Set aside and prepare dressing.
In a small bowl, add mustard, lemon juice, sugar and salt. Whisk well.  Slowly stream olive oil, whisking continuously to emulsify.
Mix the salad and dressing, reserving a few tablespoons of dressing.
Spoon salad into romaine hearts.  Before serving drizzle additional dressing if desired.


year in food.


Our Christmas.

Our Christmas was mostly wonderful.  I don't know about you, but sometimes I fall victim to the idea that holidays are supposed to be something they are not.  There is a lot of anticipation, excitement and pressure that comes with Christmas.  I love giving gifts to the people I love, and being in those small moments of a huge day.  But let's face it.  Holidays aren't perfect and our loved ones aren't perfect.  A five year old is not going to appreciate all of his gifts no matter how cool they are.  My almost teenager is going to prefer anything video game related and disappear into the void of his prepubescent lair.  My relationship with my mother is not going to miraculously change into something it is not, and my husband is only going to tolerate my uptight  (and frankly, bitchy) attitude for so long.  This is the reality of our house during the holidays.

After taking a moment and realizing that I needed to make peace with all of that, I also realized that it would be weird if everybody morphed into the perfect family for a day.  I love these people most in the world, and these very characteristics make our family what it is. A somewhat dysfunctional group of strong personalities who love each other A LOT.

After this realization all expectations were let loose and we had a wonderful day together.  Truly. Giggles, inappropriate behavior, bickering, video games and all.  I wouldn't want it any other way.


Best Days.

It has been really quiet here this week and we sincerely apologize.  The past days have been insane.  Out of town friends to visit with, holiday orders to fill, Christmas parties, marathon sewing sessions all topped off with a bout of probable food poisoning for the boys.  

On the bright side the boys are feeling better this morning and I managed to get all the gifts finished that I was making.  They are far from perfect, but I hope that just adds to the charm.  Yeah, we'll go with that.

I love Christmas eve.  The boys are filled with excitement and we have our little family traditions which I look forward to every year.  Pizza and driving to look at the lights. New pajamas for the boys and a fort which is built with the intention of sleeping in, but it never actually happens. After the boys are asleep, J and I are left with the task of readying everything for Christmas morning.  This is probably my favorite thing of all.  A few cocktails and our anticipation of seeing those sweet faces the next morning.  Chaotic and perfectly imperfect. 

I posted our Christmas card last week, but I thought I would leave you with a few more pics of the boys.  Merry Christmas!


the kitchen >> simple christmas breakfast

I love to cook almost more than anything else, but there are definitely times when spending time out of the kitchen is more important to me.  Christmas morning is one of those times. When Nicole and I were planning our next idea for this series, it seemed only logical to do breakfast for the morning after santa.
This breakfast is perfectly easy, delicious and special.  It works for everybody.  It keeps you out of the kitchen and spending time with your family. Did I mention there is a Christmas-morning-appropriate-boozy drink?  So, buy a coffee cake, or even those tube cinnamon rolls that I don't usually approve of, and get into that paper storm!

Spicy Maple Bacon
  • thick sliced bacon (as much or as little as you would like)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syup
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place bacon on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake until cooked but still floppy.  Remove from oven and drain on paper towels.
Combine maple syrup and cayenne.  Brush on both sides of bacon.  Place in broiler and broil until crispy.
Remove and add freshly ground pepper to taste.

    baked eggs in tomato sauce
    • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 garlic clove, smashed
    • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
    • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
    • salt tt
    • crushed red pepper tt (optional)
    • parmesan cheese

    Bake at 400 degrees. 
    In a food processor or blender, add all ingredients and puree.  Remove to a sauce pan and cook over medium low heat for 10-15 minutes.  Sauce should be reduced and thickened.  Ladle sauce into oven safe ramekins or bowls.  Crack one to two eggs into each and cover with parmesan.  Place on a baking sheet and bake until the whites are set, about 15 minutes.

    Pink Mimosas
    • 1 bottle of champagne
    • 2 1/2 cups orange juice
    • 3 oz grenadine
    Mix in a pitcher.  Enjoy!  You deserve it!  

    *Be sure to check out Nicole's post about our breakfast date! 


    Merry Christmas!


    best days.

    Full on prep mode! This was the theme of the weekend. Preparations for not only ourselves, but for our friends as well. An unholy amount of sugary treats for a holiday party commission. A baby shower for a lucky little dude. Not to mention, the beginnings of our seemingly insurmountable yearly list of DIY gift making. Not much time for relaxing, and we loved every minute of it. So, cheers to another great weekend, and to the coming week of late nights and big surprises.

    1 >> making marshmallow is a favorite.
    2 >> smashing candy canes.
    3 >> cashew brittle.
    4 >> leisurely sunday brunch.
    5 >> lone marshmallow and bourbon caramel.


    for my love.

    1 >> wooden six pack.
    2 >> small duffle.
    3 >> wall bike mount.
    4 >> chef's roll.
    5 >> for dirty mechanic hands.


    mocha meringue cookies

    There is no grand back story for these cookies.  One day I found myself with a bunch of extra egg whites and decided to experiment with some meringues.  This recipe does have a fair amount of sugar, but it is gluten free and low in fat in comparison to a regular butter based cookie.  I must admit that I still prefer a full fat cookie, but these guys also have a place in my recipe index.  They are crunchy, sweet and cocoa-y, and therefore delicious. And meringue is fun to make!

    mocha meringue cookies

    • 3 egg whites, room temperature
    • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 cup of sugar
    • 3 tablespoons cocoa, sifted
    • 1 teaspoon finely ground, good quality coffee

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
    Combine whites, cream of tartar and salt. Beat on low speed until frothy and foamy.  Start adding a tablespoon of sugar at a time and increase speed to high.  Beat until stiff peaks form.  Do not over beat.  The whites should maintain their shape but not be dry.
     Add the cocoa and coffee in three batches.  Fold in until well combined.

    Fill a pastry bag with the tip of your choice, and pipe onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. If you don't have a pastry bag, use a tablespoon and drop cookies onto the cookie sheet.
    Bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes or until crisp.
    Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack and cool completely.  Pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy!
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