Monday, October 29, 2012

on pumpkin white hot chocolate...

I've been meaning to make this for quite sometime now. I don't know what it is about white chocolate and pumpkin together but I seriously think this combination was meant to be! I was really surprised how delicious it was and even more surprised how Sebastian fell in love with it too! I made enough for two mugs and so Sebastian and I shared some on the couch after dinner watching Madagascar 3 last night. It's like a liquid dessert. Perfect treat to end our night.

Ingredients: 2 servings 
2 cups milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 0z white chocolate chips
4 teaspoons cocoa powder

1// on low, heat milk and white chocolate chips in the saucepan while whisking it until the chocolate is completely melted 
2// whisk in pumpkin, spices, vanilla and cocoa. Mix until everything is combined. 
3// keeping stirring until it comes to a simmer. 
4// pour into mugs and top with whipped cream & cinnamon. 

You will love this velvety smooth sweet treat! I'm going to cook some up for everyone to enjoy on Halloween night after trick 'or' treating. Have a great Monday everyone!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

on sweet potato kale soup...

I'm sure you all already know that Hurricane Sandy is creeping up on us here on the East coast. Well, I was up at my usual time starting on my long to do list earlier. I cleaned, cooked and baked plus showered and folded laundry all before noon. Who knew a Hurricane named Sandy could motivate me so well! But it did and now I've got a clean house and some really yummy things to look forward to eating. Win win. This will be a perfect soup for ya'll who are going to be stuck at home tomorrow to make due this Frankenstorm we have coming or really for any cold Fall/Winter night. I'm just glad I whipped up a nice sized pot of this hearty & healthy Sweet Potato Kale Soup just in case the power goes out! Hey, why wait until tomorrow, go on and make a pot of it tonight. Play it safe. This was inspired by my step-mom (who is in Hawaii with my dad by the way!) who made something similar while I was out in Seattle. Enjoy!

1 cup of kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup lentils 
2 sweet potato
1/2 pound Italian sausage 
1 (48oz) can chicken or vegetable stock 
2 tablespoons Italian dressing mix
salt & pepper

First, dice onions and chop sweet potatoes into cubes. 

Heat olive oil and saute onion. Meanwhile, cut open the casing on the sausage and add the meat into the pot along with the onion. Break up the sausage with your spoon or if you're like me then use an old school mash potato masher to separate the meat. What! It saves so much time!

Mince garlic and add Italian seasoning and give it a good stir. Then simply add the rest of the ingredients. In goes the stock, kale, sweet potato and lentils.

Combine ingredients together and then cover the pot. Let everything simmer on low for about 30 minutes or until the lentils and veggies are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and then you're ready to serve!

I just adore kale especially in soup. It's just so yummy. The best part is that it's such a wholesome meal and so full of super-foods that it's no wonder I can't get enough of it. And for those of you that are on special diets, I bet you can totally eat this soup. I know because my step-mom is on an extreme diet where she can't have any grains or gluten and this is one of her first recipes that she tired after starting said diet. High five to that. Okay, enough, get in your kitchen. Now.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

on a book is born...

Boy did my time in Seattle go quick! These things usually do so I don't even know why I'm complaining. It was quite a treat and I really needed it. Now, if you didn't already know the whole reason I flew out to Seattle was to celebrate that lovely lady's (above) new book! Julee has been writing a whimsical Christmas themed children's book for some time now and after a crazy nine months of grueling hard work she finally got 'er done! I am so extremely proud of Julee, more than she could possible understand.  So, I was out in Seattle for her. To celebrate this tremendous achievement.

Another thing you have to know about Julee is that she throws a great party. DETAILS. This women loves details. Not just the big ones but the small ones too! I am so in love with that. The celebration was last Friday and unfortunately her book wasn't present but she sure made it fun and exciting. Julee posted some really neat and for me thrilling facts about her book all around the house, even in the bathroom! Plus her home was totally decked out in Christmas already. So much fun.

 Great food and lots of people and when I mean lots I really do mean a packed house!! Golly. I am so happy with all the wonderful people that are supporting and believing in everything that Julee has done since we all know she deserves every bit of it!

The Search for South Pole Santa by JingleBelle Jackson is NOW available to buy on Amazon. Get your copy now! I've ordered mine and should be here soon. Christmas is just around the corner and this book will be what your child will cherish after finding it sticking out of their stocking on Christmas morning. Christmas is such a magical time of year especially for our children and I seriously can't wait until Sebastian is old enough to read so I can pass this book along to him.

Also please visit Julee's website with all things book related! When you visit, click on the "books" tab and read the first chapter. I seriously had to remember to breath again as I started reading this little expert.

Please like Author JingleBelle Jackson on Facebook and share this link on your Facebook.

Let's make this book into a MOVIE :)


Friday, October 19, 2012

on hello seattle...

Hello Seattle! I flew in around 10am yesterday and ever since I've been soaking up every minute with  my family. Yesterday after my father picked me up from the airport, and what a sweet reunion that was!, we stopped at the Colman Ferry where my baby sister works at the Subway. I surprised her and of course we jumped in each others with tears and all! It was awesome.

I got some lunch with my family and had some Red Mango frozen yogurt that I always have to enjoy since we don't have that back in Philly. The rest of the day was a relaxing one. Since I felt like I had been up forever we took it easy with some shopping and movie watching. Just what my soul needed.

Today, I woke up at 8! Yes, eight O'CLOCK! I am so rested and feeling ready for another wonderful day in the rainy Seattle. I'm very excited for today since I'll be heading over to my lovely fairy godmother's house to celebrate her soon-to-be book release! Hurrah! I am so happy for Julee and so so proud of her. I know how hard and long she has been working on this whimsical book and I just really can't wait to get my hands on it. She means the world to me and I don't think anyone will fully understand  the connections I have with her. She has always been like a mother to me. I swell with happiness and can't contain myself with all the emotions that are flowing through me since my feet have touch Seattle soil.

Let's not forget that my best friend Tanya and a few other girls are taking me out tonight. I will say one word. TROUBLE! That being said I've got a Pumpkin Crumb Cake in the oven for this very special day that I need to check on and start pampering myself so I can get started on this fun filled day. I hope to be back tomorrow with proof of all the fun.

Get out there and do something that will bring joy to your soul. I know I am.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

on currently...

Watching: Vampire Diaries. I am freaking out that the new season starts today. There's going to be a whirl wind of things happening this new season with the main character Elena turning into a vampire! Plus I've been aware that there's some new characters joining too. I have been hooked to this show since before it even aired. I couldn't get into the books but am in absolute love with this show. Plus it helps that Ian Somerhalder is a complete babe. 

Reading: The Breathing Series by Rebecca Donovan. Book one is called Reason to Breathe and the second is Barely Breathing, which I am currently half way through. This series is a serious page turner about a young girl in high schooled named Emma who is living with a terrible secret. It's super gut wrenching and of course a sweet love story. You fall for the characters as well as feel terrified about the things that go on in Emma's life. Highly recommend it if you want a quick easy read that will have you investing a lot of emotion. I can't wait to finish the second book! I'm hoping my next book will be The Search for South Pole Santa :D

Thinking about: How much I want to be the best mother, wife, daughter, friend and person that I can be! I'm always challenging myself to do more and be more for all my loved ones. It can be stressful business but I wouldn't change that about me. For me it's what gives my life meaning and I'm not talking about the big things in life but the little things as well.  A text sent to say I miss you. Or a extra hug to a little boy who had a rough day. Or just thanking my husband for doing the dishes last night. I know so many people that don't do the small things and for me it feels so alien. I always think about how different I would be if I was showed more affection or if there was more love in my household. But honestly I think the lack of it growing up is why I am so passionate about love now. I know it sounds corny but really love is such an important thing for all of us to have and feel. Hurrah for love, showing love and feeling love. 

Looking forward to: SEATTLE! This time next week I will touch Seattle and I am jumping in glee about it all. I will be seeing my papa bear and little sister who I've miss more than anyone can really fathom. Seeing all my friends and celebrating a very important person becoming an author! This I can't wait for but other than that I'm just looking forward to just soak up as much time as I can with people that I miss. It is what my soul needs! 

Something new: I've starting to open earlier at work so most of the week I'm getting up at 5am and starting work at 6:30am. It's funny how people take pity on me when they find out that I have to wake up so early but in reality I actually think it's the greatest thing! I know...I'm not normal. I've always been a morning person so this is actually a bonus for me and because I start early I also get out earlier which is super sweet. I have a few hours to myself before I have to pick Sebastian up and it's been a treat to get some much needed errands done or slip in a manicure! Joy. 

Excited about: writting my first article on Living with Picky Eater on A while back I was confronted by a lady that I met a BlogHer who got me in touch with and here I am with my first article published on the world wide web. Eeeek! Totally amazing and super rewarding. If you are a momma you have to go and check this website out, so many fun things to read. Whenever I visit I get lost in all the article and best of all there's recipes! Like them on Facebook and Twitter


Monday, October 08, 2012

on blackberry chipotle sauce...

I stumbled on this recipe via Facebook after one of my friends (Hi Gina!) posted a lovely picture of her dinner. I instantly ask where she got this recipe and because she knew I love spicy things was super happy to pass the recipe along. Blackberry Chipotle Sauce. I mean, doesn't that sound so intriguing? I was so curious about this combination that I just had to try it! I'm not a huge fan of fruit but I've made it my goal to try more things that involve fruit and let me tell you that I've falling in deep deep love! I followed this recipe for the most part.

2 cups fresh (or frozen) blackberries
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, chopped (start out with less and add more as you go, this stuff is spicy!)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon Kosher salt

Start out with combining the blackberries and sugar together in a pan over medium heat. Let it simmer, cook and turn the heat off after it starts to bubble. Take a potato masher and mash the blackberry in the pan. 

Use a metal mesh strainer to strain the blackberries. I used my handy dandy noodle maker which I love so much because obviously it has multiple uses! Toss the solids and keep the liquid which you should have about 1 cup of in the end. Start sauteing the onion and garlic and then add the blackberry juice, chipotle chilies, balsamic vinegar, and salt to the onions. Simmer in a skillet until contents thicken and reduce. 

When making this sauce I already had the idea of drizzling it over pan seared pork chops and it was beyond delicious! I highly recommend it. Enjoy.


Thursday, October 04, 2012

on mushroom bisque...

'Tis the time for soups! I love soup. I can eat just soup and a thick slice of crusty bread and call it a night. My husband on the other hand isn't much of a soup lover so it's my job to create and cook up soups that will charm his taste buds. Mushroom Bisque does the trick. This quick and easy bisque with a healthy twist to it makes dinner a breeze. Amen to that!

1 pound mushrooms (I used bella & button mushrooms)
salt and pepper 
1 can cream of potato soup
1/2 cup chopped leeks, a mix of both the white & green parts
2 tablespoon butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 sprig of fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary 
1 cup milk 
2 cups water
1- 7oz Greek yogurt (I used Fage) 
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
1 teaspoon lemon juice 

Spread the mushrooms on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven on 400 for about 15 minutes. This way your mushrooms cook but don't necessarily release all their juices like they would when sautéing. Instead they go into the soup yummy flavors and all! Winning.

Meanwhile, melt the better and saute the leeks in a large pot. Saute them until soft and then add fresh rosemary and garlic.

Stir for about a minute and then add the cream of potato canned soup, water, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, milk, Greek yogurt and mushrooms (leave some to garish!). Let soup simmer for about 10 minutes and then cut the heat off.

Next use a hand blender to puree the soup. If you don't have a hand blender, well, get one! Just kidding. Actually no I'm not but I guess you can use your regular blender and puree soup in batches.

Add some mushrooms and rosemary to garnish with a pinch of cayenne to give it a spice and va-va-voom you're set to eat a healthy creamy soup on a cold Fall day. Enjoy!


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

on who I am...

I am...

...a brunette. I decided to go dark for the fall and winter months. I am in utter love yet again for my rich deep cherry brown hair! Hurrah.

...feeling a bit behind on sharing things here and over all behind on everything. It's funny because in reality I'm not really that behind on anything but it just feel like it. You know? Either way I'm determined.

...drum roll please, taking a trip back home to Seattle in a couple weeks. It was an all-of-a-sudden thing that happened and I'm happy it did. I have some really wonderful people in my life who have gifted me with so many blissful things that I can't but be forever grateful for who they are and what they bring to my life.

...pretty fed up with this ridiculous weather we have going on in Philadelphia. Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold. Just make up your mind. No wonder I can't shake this nasty cold, because Mother Nature is playing games.

...sad to lose one very important person at work. She is moving on to bigger and better things, although what's better than working with me? She has been at my little coffee shop since the beginning and it has been hard. But you know what, you have to let them go. Let them spread their wings and fly away. She is pretty much my bff around here so all is well and the best part is she still works a skip and a step away which makes all this better (sort of).

...excited that it's October. Have you put up your Halloween decorations yet? I'll be doing it this weekend. It's basically the only holiday I really decorated for.

...adoring some new shows on the television. Revolution was one that I wasn't anticipation on watching yet I caught the first episode and fell in love. The only reason it caught my eye is Bella's dad (Billy Burke) from Twilight is one of the main characters. I know, a super nerd thing. Also hooked on 666 Park Avenue and there's only been one episode so far! Gahhh. I am dying for next week for that is when all my favorite shows will be back in my life. Plus Glee is awesome. Okay enough of that because everyone knows I can just go on and on.

...telling you that you must go see Hotel Transylvania. Best kiddie movie EVER. Sebastian loved it and has been nagging me to go see it again! Super funny for all ages. The movie brought laughter to the theater non-stop.

...lucky to have such a loving and supportive husband, for a healthy and thriving son, for people that believe in me, for pumpkin spice everything, for all the small things that keep life happy. And most of all I am beyond thankful for this place to share, create and be myself all the live long day :) Thanks.