Category Archives: Food & Drink

Food & Drink

Mango Jalapeno Mock-Margarita and aN Outdoor Seating Area

April 17, 2018

I’m really excited for the warmer weather that is headed our way. I’m ready to spend long evenings outside and have friends over for BBQs. We have a really gorgeous backyard, it’s huge, so we really needed some areas with seating and just a place to hang out. We have some seating on our porch, but the rest of the half acre has nothing. Right out our back door is a large old mandarin tree, it provides a nice shady spot. Last year, in an effort to reduce our water use, my husband took out some of our grass and added this gravel spot. I actually really love this pea gravel, it’s clean and really easy to care for.

I decided it was time to find some outdoor furniture. You know I’m a fan of the hunt, and Tuesday Morning is a great place to go hunting. I love that every time I step through the doors, there is so many new things. Tuesday Morning really has a little of everything. They carry  quality brands and designer names from all over the world. And the best part is, they are always at a great price. I found so many great outdoor pieces. This pair of white adirondack chairs jumped out at me. I’ve always been a fan of this classic shape and in this bright white finish, they felt modern and clean. And to make them even more comfortable, I also bought a couple outdoor fabric pillows.

If you are going to have a couple of chairs, you definitely need a side table to set a drink on. I LOVE this little geometric table I found. It looks adorable outside with my new chairs, but I like so much, it might make its way inside as well.

Tuesday Morning doesn’t only carry furniture, I also picked up a pretty citronella candle, a couple of pretty square terra-cotta planters, and these fun oversized mug glasses and a pitcher.

To create this little backyard living room, I brought in some new pieces and also gave some old pieces a little new life. Last year, we had a tree die, so I had my husband keep some stumps for me. I knew they could be some great additional seating. So, finally this last weekend, I took a few hours to chisel away the bark and then I sanded and sanded and sanded. Then I painted the tops of the stumps white to give a nice clean seat.

This weekend we are having friends over for dinner. I think a lot of the get together will be outside. We will light the little fire pit and enjoy this little outdoor “room”.

And if you are going to have company over, a yummy drink is a good idea, and you know I love a Mocktail! So, with warmer weather headed our way, I decided I needed a fun, refreshing drink to serve at my next get together. This Mango Jalapeno Mock-Margarita is surprisingly spicey

Mango Jalapeno Mock-Margarita

  • 1 liter of mango juice (about 5 cups)
  • Jalapeno Lime Simple Syrup (see recipe below)
  • ice
  • club soda
  • lime slices
  • thin slices of jalapeno
  • one mango diced
  • Tajin

In a large pitcher, mix the mango juice, mango pieces, lime and jalapeno slices and simple syrup. Rim the glasses with Tajin. Garnish with limes and jalapeno slices.

Jalapeno Lime Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • juice of 5 limes plus enough water to make 1 cup
  • zest of 5 limes
  • 2 jalapenoes sliced

Bring the ingredients to a boil and boil one minute. Pour into an airtight container and chill.

Right now, our citrus trees are blooming, and there really is no better smell on earth. All week, I’ve spent my evening out in this spot.

Be sure to check out your local Tuesday Morning.  I’m sure there are some treasures waiting there for you.

This post is sponsored by Tuesday Morning, thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible. 

Food & Drink

Homemade Golden Turmeric Milk

March 8, 2018

Homemade Golden Turmeric Milk

As some of you might know, I’m trying my very very best to eat healthy. Actually, I really do eat very healthy most of the time, I just have some treats now and then. But, this month I’ve been doing a reset diet with Reformed Metabolics. I really just want to be healthy and fit. I’ve kind of given up on the hope of a skinny body, and I think that’s ok. I’ve earned this 40 year old mom body, and I’m pretty proud of what it is capable of. I work this body hard. But, I’m trying to eat things that help me feel my best. And there is only good things in this Golden Turmeric Milk recipe.

I love this warm, spicy, creamy drink. Not only does it taste great, turmeric is also has anti-inflammatory properties. This is great for my, always sore, hips and lower back. But, let’s but 100% honest, I really drink it because it tastes great. And really, it’s the perfect drink before bed, because there’s no caffeine.

Homemade Golden Turmeric Milk

If you’ve shopped around, a turmeric latte or golden milk in a coffee shop is just as expensive as a fancy coffee. And there are mixes out there you can buy, but I kind of love the idea of knowing what you are putting into your body. So, I came up with my own recipe. Mine is a little spicy, but that’s the way I like it.

Homemade Golden Turmeric Milk

  • 3 tbsp. ginger
  • 3 tbsp. turmeric
  • 2 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. cardamom

In a bowl, combine all the spices above. Whisk together the distribute the spices evenly. Store in an airtight container.

Add 1-2 tsp. of the turmeric mix to a cup of steamed milk of your choice. Whisking it in works well, but for best results, I pour it all into my blender and just pulse a couple of times. I have tried it with both regular milk and almond milk. And if you want it a little sweet, a teaspoon of honey is really nice.

Homemade Golden Turmeric Milk - Make this inexpensive mix ahead of time and then just add to steamed milk when you want a warm, spicy drink.Homemade Golden Turmeric MilkHomemade Golden Turmeric Milk

It ‘s really such a pretty drink. Now cheers, and let’s drink to our health!

Homemade Golden Turmeric MilkHomemade Golden Turmeric Milk

Food & Drink

Lemon Lavender Shrub

February 19, 2018

My latest obsession is shrubs or drinking vinegars. There is something super interesting and about this sweet and sour combination. If you’ve never had a shrub, they are fruit infused sweet vinegars. Shrubs are the perfect addition to a cocktail or just add a little sparkling water for a perfectly refreshing mocktail.

We are in the peak of citrus season. Our lemon tree is absolutely loaded. So, I’m looking for creative ways to use all this fruit. Yes, we are drinking a pitcher of lemonade everyday, but it’s fun to play with some new recipes and uses for all our fruit. This week I plan on making some marmalade and also drying some more lemon slices.

Lemon Lavender Shrub Mocktail

Lemon Lavender Shrub

  • 6-8 lemons, cut in 1/4’s
  • 2 tbsp. dried lavender
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

In a glass bowl, place the cut lemons, salt and lavender and cover with sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on the counter for 1 day. Stir a couple of times throughout the day. After 1 day, add the vinegar, stir and cover again with plastic wrap. Allow it to sit another full day. Stir a couple of times throughout the day.  Pour the entire contents of the bowl into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and boil for just one minute. Remove from the heat and pour through a fine metal sieve, press a wooden spoon against the lemons, to remove all of the liquid. You may need to pass the liquid through a sieve more than once.

Store the shrub in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.

Lemon Lavender Shrub Mocktail

For this super simple mocktail, I simply added 2 oz. of the shrub to a glass and then topped off the glass with cold sparkling water. Then, I garnished each drink with a couple of camomile flowers and a slice of lemon.

Lemon Lavender Shrub Mocktail

Cheers! Hope you enjoyed a little down time this long weekend.

Lemon Lavender Shrub MocktailLemon Lavender Shrub Mocktail

Food & Drink

Chocolate Raspberry Baked French Toast

February 13, 2018

Chocolate Raspberry Baked French Toast

Ok, I know it’s kind of last minute, but you are definitely going to want to make this for your sweetheart or your whole family this Valentine’s Day. I’m serving this as a decadent breakfast, but this yummy Chocolate Raspberry Baked French Toast is really just a rich bread pudding. Calling it French Toast makes it feel a little more acceptable as a breakfast food. But, let’s be completely honest, this is DESSERT served for breakie. But, if there is any day of the year that you can serve something sweet, first thing in the morning, it’s Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Raspberry Baked French Toast

Chocolate Raspberry Baked French Toast

  • 1 loaf of brioche bread
  • a pint of fresh raspberrys
  • 1/2 cup of dark or semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1/4 tsp salf
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Start by melting the 1/2 cup of butter in small sauce pan, add the brown sugar and stir to combine. Place 6 oven safe ramekins on a baking sheet. Divide the butter and brown sugar mixture evenly into the ramekins.

Cute the brioche into 1 inch cubes. Adding in layers, divide the bread, chocolate and raspberries into the 6 containers.

In a bowl, beat the eggs, add the salt, vanilla and half and half. Beat until smooth. Pour the egg mixture over the bread, dividing it evening.

Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight. When you are ready to bake, allow the the french toast to come to room temperature. Then bake in a 350 F oven for about 25 mins.

Serve warm.

Chocolate Raspberry Baked French Toast

Chocolate Raspberry Baked French ToastChocolate Raspberry Baked French Toast

I hope you have a fantastic Valentine’s Day and feel love and appreciated for who you are.

Food & Drink

Spiced Grapefruit Spritzer

February 1, 2018

Have you been wondering where I went? I know, Brandwell has taken up so much of my time this month. But, you guys, the workshop was SOOOOO GOOD! We will talk about it more I’m sure. Now, let’s return to our regularly scheduled program and have a mocktail or two.

Grapefruit, oh it could possibly be the best of the citrus. Crisp, tart and always refreshing – grapefruit is the perfect base for a pretty mocktail or cocktail. This Spiced Grapefruit Spritzer is just the right balance of sweet, spicy and tart. Spiced with a bold simple syrup of cardamom, ginger and cloves, this spritzer feels right at home with the Winter weather we are still having.  Spiced Grapefruit Spritzer

Well gosh, pink grapefruit juice does make a very pretty drink. We have a neighbor with a grapefruit tree. I had to add that little detail. It’s a thing Californians like to do, especially in the winter months, to make everyone else around the country jealous.

Spiced Grapefruit Spritzer

Spice Grapefruit Spritzer

  • Fresh Pink Grapefruit Juice
  • Spiced Simple Syrup (see recipe below)
  • Sparkling Water or Seltzer
  • Ice
  • Grapefruit slices, cloves and cardamom pods for garnish

In a glass filled with ice, add 1-2 oz. of Spiced Simple Syrup. Fill the glass half way with freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice. Stir and then top off the glass with sparkling water. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit and float a clove and a cardamom pod on top of the drink.

Spiced Grapefruit Spritzer

Spiced Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. freshly ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. whole cloves
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger thinly sliced

Place all the ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Allow the syrup to cool completely. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.  Place the syrup in an airtight container and store in the fridge.

Spiced Grapefruit Spritzer

Cheers friends! Here’s to a brand new month. Also, what the heck happened to January? That definitely flew by.

Food & Drink

Juniper Berry Cranberry Tonic

January 18, 2018

Juniper Berry Cranberry Tonic Mocktail

It’s about time a shared a new mocktail. I know many of you are attempting a Dry January, so maybe a little treat well help you through. This Juniper Berry Cranberry Tonic is the perfect nonalcoholic drink. It’s sophisticated and full of unique flavors, you definitely won’t feel like you are missing out.

I don’t know about you, but I’m just not ready to be done with cranberries. This wintery mocktail is refreshing and earthy all at the same time and juniper berries and rosemary are perfect for this season. Mocktails really are for everyone, but tonic water give this drink a grown up taste and feels like so much more then just a spritzer.

Juniper Berry Cranberry Tonic Mocktail

You can find the full recipe for this yummy mocktail over on Bonterra’s beautiful blog. Take a minute and look around, there are some really fantastic recipes there.

Juniper Berry Cranberry Tonic Juniper Berry Cranberry Tonic Mocktail



Food & Drink

Ground Turkey Korean Rice Bowls

January 10, 2018

Ground Turkey Korean Rice Bowls

Happy New Year!

Usually, I start the new year with a good health and fitness plan, but this year the I’m not there yet. There has been no trips to the gym yet. I’m starting with baby steps – a few new healthy recipes to add to add to our weekly menus. As the main cook in our house, I find myself getting into ruts and struggling to find fast, healthy meals that my family will actually eat. But, these Ground Turkey Korean Rice Bowls, made with Foster Farms Organic Turkey are a winner. This recipe literally takes less then 30 mins to make and it’s soooo delicious. This is not a boring meal, it’s full of flavor and packs so many veggies into one bowl.

My kids aren’t really picky eaters, but having choices definitely gives them a little more control. I added the rice and turkey to their bowls and then they topped with with all their favorite vegetables.

Ground Turkey Korean Rice Bowls

As you may know, I’m married to a Biology and Environmental Science teacher. I wrote a lot about it here, with this yummy Turkey Meatball Gyro recipe. It’s a long story, but we are always looking for ways to eat in a way that creates less of a negative impact on our environment.

That’s why Foster Farms Organic Ground Turkey is great choice for our family. Ground turkey is a healthy, leaner and lower calorie alternative to ground beef and is an easy substitute for leaner meals. Foster Farms Organic Ground Turkey is USDA Certified Organic and raised free-range on organic land. It’s100% natural with no antibiotics, no GMOs and no added hormones or steroids. The land on which the flocks are raised has been certified organic. This requires a 3-year transition during which time the land must be managed under organic methods (or lie fallow). The land is farmed without synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. These are all things that make the nerd I’m married to very happy.

I trust Foster Farms for their organic ground turkey, they are the leading producer of organic turkey in the Western United States. And for me, they are even local, Foster Farms turkeys are raised right here in California’s Central Valley.

Ground Turkey Korean Rice Bowls

  • 2 lbs. Foster Farms Organic Ground Turkey
  • 1/4 soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. coconut sugar (brown sugar can by substituted)
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce

In a fry pan, cook the ground turkey completely. Use a spoon to break apart the meat as it cooks.

In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients listed above. Pour the mixture over the cooked ground turkey. Stir and cook another 5 mins on medium heat. You want to make sure the garlic and ginger is completely cooked.

Ground Turkey Korean Rice Bowls

  • 3 cups of brown rice
  • carrots, shredded
  • green onions, sliced
  • radishes, thinly sliced
  • red cabbage, shredded
  • baby spinach
  • black sesame seeds
  • Spicy Cucumber Salad (see recipe below)

You can really add any of your favorite veggies. I think bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms would be super yummy with these bowls as well.

Cook the rice however you normally cook rice. I got a rice cooker for a wedding gift almost 20 years ago and it’s the only way I make rice. But, you can definitely make rice in a regular pot, the old-fashioned way.

In a small frying pan, with tbsp. of vegetable oil, saute the spinach until it is just wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Ground Turkey Korean Rice Bowls

Assemble the bowls. Start with a bed of rice, add about 1/2 cup of the ground turkey and then either arrange the veggies in little piles or let every top their rice bowls with all their favorite vegetables. Garnish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds, green onions and a little Korean Sweet and Spicy sauce.

This recipe serves a family of 4 (or 5 in our case).

Ground Turkey Korean Rice BowlsGround Turkey Korean Rice Bowls

Spicy Cucumber Salad

  • 1 cup sliced cucumber (1 small cucumber or about 1 cup when sliced)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. coconut sugar (brown sugar can be substituted)
  • 1 tsp. sesame seed oil
  • 1 tsp. black sesame seeds

These spicy cucumbers make the bowls. They are sweet, spicy and tangy. These can be made in the morning or up to a day before.

Slice the cucumbers in thin rounds. Place in a bowl and sprinkled with salt. Allow the cucumbers to sit for about 15 mins. Then drain off the water. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir, cover and place in the refrigerator.

Ground Turkey Korean Rice Bowls

I hope your New Year is off to a great start. Here’s to eating healthy and having dinner together as a family!

This post is sponsored by Foster Farms. Thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible. 


Food & Drink

Curry Frittata and Chai Tea Lattes

November 30, 2017

If you know me, I really like to cook and I cook a lot. But, I’ve actually been using the same pots that I got as wedding gifts almost 20 years ago. And I can’t even count number of cheap fry pans I’ve gone through over the years. I’ve been wanting to upgrade my kitchen hardware (pots and pans) for a while now, so when Made In Cookware asked me to try our their products, I was excited.

After using their 5 quart Stock Pot and 10″ Fry Pan for the week, here’s what I love about Made In. They make premium cookware and believe great cooking experiences are for everyone. There slogan is, “Professional cookware at an amateur price.” I love when great kitchen products are attainable to the average home cook. Because, that’s me! I love how these pans heat evenly, no matter what kid of stove you have (because mine might be the worst). I have a few pans in my cupboard right now that only brown in the very center of the pan, so have to keep moving my food around to get everything evenly cooked. No more cheap non-stick pans for me. You guys, this 10″ Fry Pan came out sparkly clean with no elbow grease at all, and that was after frying potatoes and baking a frittata with cheese in it. If you know your way around the kitchen, I’m sure you are impressed. And one more thing, all this cookware is American-made!

Now, I’m sure you all are feeling the holiday stress mounting like I am. I don’t know how it happens, but December just is CRAZY. I see our calendar filling up, and every evening seems to have some sort of event, party, or activity that we have to be at. I need simple dinners that are healthy and don’t take very much time to make. A frittata is the perfect weekend breakfast, or even better, an quick and easy dinner. And it’s the perfect recipe for testing out the 10″ Fry Pan, because you start this recipe on the stove top and then finish it in the oven.

I decided to give this frittata a little taste of India. This Curry Frittata has just the right amount of spice and lots of veggies to make it a great balanced meal. I really can’t eat Indian food without having chai tea as well. So, sticking with the theme, I also made Chai Tea Lattes.

Curry Frittata

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 half and half
  • 1/4 tsp. each of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. each Curry Powder and Garam Masala
  • 4 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 a red onion chopped finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 potatoes sliced thinly
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 feta
  • 2 Roma tomatoes sliced
  • a bunch of fresh cilantro

Start by heating 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a fry pan. Add the onion and garlic, cook on medium high heat until the onion is translucent.

In a bowl beat the eggs well with a whisk. Add the salt, pepper, curry, garam masala and half and half and mix well. Add the cooked onions, garlic and peas.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil and place the potatoes in a single layer. Cook on medium high heat and fry each side of the potatoes until they are golden brown.

Pre heat the oven to 350 F. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes. Turn the heat to medium and cook for about 5 mins, or until the sides of the frittata start to pull away from the side of pan. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the top of the frittata and place the tomato slices on top. Place the frittata in the oven and bake for about 15 mins or until the frittata is cooked completely through (you can check by placing a knife in the center, and if it comes out clean the eggs are cooked through).

Slice into wedges and top with the fresh cilantro.

I need to give credit to my brother Ash for this recipe. He has spent a lot of time in India and even lived in Sri Lanka, so his chai is pretty dang good. This is an easy one pot recipe the will make sure everyone in the family gets a generous cup or two.

My kids love chai, and while it does have a little caffeine, I think a little tea now and then is totally ok.

Chai Tea Latte

  • 5 cups water
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 loose black tea leaves
  • 1/4 honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a 1 inch piece of ginger root, cut into this slices
  • 8 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 star anise

Place the 5 cups of water in a large sauce pan. Add the cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and star anise. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 mins. Add the honey and stir until dissolved. Add the milk and bring back to a boil. once the chai boils, turn the heat of immediately. Pour the chair through a fine metal sieve to remove the loose tea leaves and spices. Serve immediately.

The 5 quart Stock Pot was perfect for this chai recipe. This is a pan I will be using all the time. It’s just the right size for cooking almost everything. It’s not too big, but also plenty big enough for a big pot of soup.

Is there someone on your Christmas list that could use some new pots and pans? Made In Cookware would make a fantastic give. Or maybe you are cooking big holiday meals, now is a good time to upgrade your cookware. Be sure to check out their full collection of cookware I’ve got me eye on the 2 quart Sauce Pan, I think it would be perfect for cooking my morning poached egg in.

This post is sponsored by Made In. Thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible. 

Entertain / Food & Drink

Sweet 16 Spa Sleepover Party

November 20, 2017

This post is sponsored by OLLY, thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible. 

Well, I’m officially old, I have a 16 year old. Ya, that happened. I’m all about a good birthday party to celebrate another year of life on earth. I teamed up with OLLY again and Denali invited 5 of her bestie girlfriends over for a “spa” themed sleepover. Encouraging healthier hair, skin and eating seemed like a good way to kick off turning the big 16!

We set up the guesthouse, so that the girls could have a fun night all to themselves. And actually, this was one of the easiest parties I’ve ever put together. I kept the food simple and the gift bags were a cinch to throw together. We just set of them up with a projector for watching movies and I bought a pack of charade cards, which they ended up playing with for a good couple of hours.

In keeping with the spa theme, I tried to provide snack that were on the healthier side. I set of a “spa water” station with fruit, cucumbers and fresh mint for the girls to add to their water. For movie snacking, I put out a big bowl of kettle corn and a pretty platter of berries, dark chocolate and nuts.

I filled little cosmetic bags with face and hair masks, hair ties and clips, and tweezers. Then I wrapped a cute fuzzy eye mask around the outside of the bag. The girls all treated themselves to a face mask while they watched movies.

In the morning, I served the girls raspberry banana smoothies, lots of fresh fruit and little individual Creme Brulee French Toasts.

Spa Themed Sweet 16 Birthday Party

OLLY Girl Multivitamins are already a part of Denali’s daily routine. These yummy, chewables are made especially for girls 12-17 years old. OLLY Girl Multivitamins support strong bodies and bones, immune system health, and energy production. They are formulated with biotin to help with hair and nail growth and work for the inside to support clear, healthy skin. It’s really never to early to start pampering your skin and hair.

Now, who’s going to throw me a spa sleepover party? I NEED one in a bad way. Doesn’t this feel like something you’d like to do with your girlfriends, even if you turned 16 a couple decades ago?


Food & Drink

Host a Relaxed Friendsgiving

November 18, 2017

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

Friendsgiving is such a fun new tradition. I love it’s laid back, casual vibe. All the pressure and stress of hosting a perfect Thanksgiving dinner, is not associated with this simpler get together. This year I’m keeping it as simple as possible, so that I really can just can enjoy a few hours with friends.

I usually like to over think and complicate menus, but this year it’s as easy as can be. I’m serving a hearty Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup, yummy Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins, and Apples Fosters and buttery Cranberry Rosemary Shortbread for dessert. I’m serving double dessert because I have friends who’s diet’s require them to eat gluten free. So, Chef Sam Talbot’s Apples Foster recipe is perfect. Oh, and one more thing, who doesn’t love a pretty cheese and charcuterie board? I almost always put one out before a meal when I have company. It’s a guaranteed way to keep guests happy while you finish up the final touches of a meal. I tried to take all my favorite Thanksgiving flavors and pack them into this easy to-make menu.

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

I gave my table a little Thanksgiving, Fall Harvest touch with some really pretty pieces from Pier 1 Imports. I love adding a couple items to what I already own to freshen up the look for the season. And the star of the table setting is definitely these adorable pumpkin tureens. Soup just got so much better when you can eat it out of covered pumpkin shaped dishes. You are going to want to visit your local Pier 1 or just hop their website before Thanksgiving is here.

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

Here’s some of the pretty things I used to bring a little harvest cheer to my table:

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

I lined the inside of this pretty utensil holder with plastic zipper bags and florist oasis, then I filled it with a wild arrangement of flowers, leaves and wheat. I think it makes a really pretty center piece.

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins. Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

These gorgeous etched glass hurricanes will probably stay out all year long. And these tall smoke colored glasses really are quite elegant.

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

The Menu

  • Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup
  • Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins
  • A Pretty Charcuterie Board
  • Cranberry Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
  • Apples Foster
  • Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktail

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup

  • 2 lb. (or about 4 cups) butternut squash (peeled and cubed into 1 inch pieces)
  • 3 tbsp. each fresh sage, rosemary and thyme finely chopped (divided)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil (divided
  • salt + pepper
  • 3 lb. Turkey breast
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 quarts turkey stock
  • 2 cans fire roasted tomatoes (14.5 oz. cans)

Start by roasting the butternut squash and turkey breast. Toss the butternut squash with 2 tbsp. olive oil. Place them on a baking sheet. Place the turkey breast in the center butternut squash. Rub the 2 tbsp. of butter on the outside of the turkey breast. Season everything well with salt + pepper and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. each finely chopped fresh sage, rosemary and thyme. Place in a 375 F oven for 1 hour.

While the turkey is roasting, you will want to cook the wild rice. In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil, add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until the onion starts to turn translucent. Add the wild rice and water and bring to a boil. Once the rice comes to a full rolling boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for about 1 hour, or until the liquid is gone and the rice is tender.

At 1 hour of roasting, remove the butternut squash. The turkey may need to roast a little longer, depending on how big it is. Turkey is done when a meat thermometer reads 165 F. Allow the turkey to rest at least 10 minutes before shredding it with two forks. Remove all the meat from the bones and discard any skin.

Now that the rice is done, add the turkey stock, fire roasted tomatoes, butternut squash, turkey and remained 2 tbsp. each finely chopped fresh sage, rosemary and thyme. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10 mins on medium heat. Season well with salt and pepper. This makes a lot of soup, so you can be generous with the salt, there is nothing worse then flat, bland soup, don’t you agree?

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins. Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins

You will need 2 packages Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix or 1 package Trader Joe’s Cornbread Mix. Follow the directions on the box but instead of using milk, substitute canned pumpkin instead.  Also, add 1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice and 1/4 cup roasted pepitas. If the batter seams dry, feel free to add up to 1/4 more pumpkin puree. Mix well and place in paper liners in a muffin tin. Sprinkle with a few more pepitas and bake according to the directions on the box.

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

Cranberry Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • a pinch of salt

I made this recipe with my food processor, but if you don’t have one, don’t fret (see the instructions in the next paragraph). Start by chopping the rosemary and cranberries first. Then remove them from the food processor and add the butter and sugar and mix until smooth. Then add the flour and salt and pulse until the dough comes together. Finally, add the rosemary and cranberries back in and pulse until the dough is mixed completely.

And if you don’t have a food processor, follow these instructions. With an electric mixer, beat the butter on high for a minute. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add the flour and salt and beat again until smooth. Add the rosemary and cranberries a mix until it is incorporated evenly.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. Roll out the dough to 1/4″ thickness on a well floured surface. Cut out 1 inch by 3 inch rectangles. Prick the tops of the cookies with a fork. Place the cookies on parchment lined baking sheet. Place the cookies in the freezer for at least 30 mins. Preheat the oven to 350 F, bake the cookies until just golden brown on the edges, about 12 mins.

Cranberry Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Apples Foster With Coconut and Whiskey Caramel

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 firm apples, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick rings or wedges (about 2 cups)

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium. Whisk in the sugar. Remove the skillet from the heat, and add the whiskey. Carefully ignite the fumes just above the mixture with a long match or long multi-purpose lighter. Let the flames die down. Return the skillet to the heat, and add the coconut milk, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to have the viscosity of caramel, about 4 minutes. Add the apples, and cook, stirring often, until the apples are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. (You’ll know the sauce is done when it easily coats the back of a spoon.) Pour this over warm biscuits or some dairy-free ice cream or gelato.

Excerpted from 100% Real by Sam Talbot. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Apples Foster Apples FosterHost a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins. Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins. White Pumpkin Tureen

Not only are these pumpkin tureens adorable, but they actually keep your soup piping hot. I paired them with my everyday dishes, and they look great! That’s the beauty of white pumpkins, they go with everything.

Fall Florals

I hope you feel inspired to host a friendsgiving this year. It doesn’t have to be decadent and over the top, keep is simple with soup and bread and I guarantee your friends will approve.

Harvest / Fall Table Setting Fall / Harvest Table Setting

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