Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Getting Festive In Philly

The Mr. and I took a day off to see the sights in Philly a few weeks ago.  We lucked out with mild weather (but not so lucky was my bad cold starting up!).
 Our first stop of the morning was Parliament Coffee .  This place was new to us and we loved the whole vibe of the place (and great coffee too!)
 Once the Christmas Village opened (Hello, Early Birds!) we explored the shops.
 You can see it was not very busy yet.
The zamboni was cleaning the ice rink at Dilworth Park.
 Our annual selfie in the winter garden.
 We headed over to Macy's for the noon light show.
 We had a great viewing spot this year!  Go on a weekday!
 After the light show we followed the signs to the Dickens Village. It was a walk through exhibit telling the story of A Christmas Carol. 
 Lunch was at Max Brenner, a place I've been wanting to try! My salad was delish!
 They are known for their chocolate creations but we didn't order any (this time!).
I need this mirror at home!
* * * *
I'll be taking a blog break to spend time with the family and enjoy the rest season. I may pop back on here and there but I'll see you for sure in 2018! Thank you for sticking with me to the end of this post and being a faithful blog reader. I appreciate you all.  Wishing a peaceful and joyful holiday season!! xoPin It

Friday, December 15, 2017

{Recipe} Baked Pasta Florentine

This might not look too pretty but it is delicious.  Pasta, spinach and a creamy white sauce made from beans and cashews?! Yep, it's a good one!
8 oz dry pasta (I used spinach fusilli but it's really good with shells and wagon wheel pasta too)
10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and sqeezed dry
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 3/4 cups water
1 15oz can white beans (I was out of cannellini beans so I used chick peas), rinsed and drained
1 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS white miso paste
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs

  •  Cook pasta until barely tender, about 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • Sauté onion in vegetable broth until it has softened.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.

  •  Place squeezed out spinach in a bowl and add drained pasta to it. Mix well.

  •  To make the sauce, place the cashews in a high speed blender and process until finely ground.  Add half of the water and blend until smooth. Add remaining water, cooked onion, beans, soy sauce, miso, dry mustard, lemon juice and cayenne. Process until very smooth.

  •  Pour sauce over pasta and spinach. Stir to mix well. 

  •  Pour mixture into 9 x 12 baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs.
  • Cove and bake at 350 F for 35 minutes. Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

  •  It goes quickly around here!

You will not be disappointed!
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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

{Wordless Wednesday} 12.13.17

We got our first snow fall of the season on Saturday.  It was the perfect day for a nice accumulation of snow (for us, at least).  We were able to get out earlier in the day but spent the afternoon and evening watching Christmas movies by the fire and baking cranberry bread.  Perfection!
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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas House Tour 2017 - Part 2

I'm back today sharing some more of our holiday home decorations.  I didn't do any special styling, just ran around the house snapping photos.  
 Looking down into the living room and entry from the staircase.
 Adding a little greenery, a rustic tree garland and some mistletoe to the kitchen window.
 Our mantle..hasn't changed much from prior years.
 The new buffalo check buck and buffalo check bunting in the den.
Our Christmas village and snow family.
Looking back into the kitchen from the den.
 I really love our bedroom's cozy glow!
This is my one of my girl's bedrooms (the one that doesn't live here, hence the neatness!).  I put her tree up and added a garland of vintage looking Parisienne postcards over the bed.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

{Recipe} Easy Weeknight Lentil Loaf

This is my third lentil loaf recipe on the blog but the other two were more "special occasion" loaves. This one is quick and easy for a weeknight dinner and more "meaty" like the traditional meatloaves I used to make.
1 1 /2 cups brown/green lentils, dry
4 cups of water
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 flax egg(1 TBS flax meal/ 2.5 TBS water, mixed)
2 TBS nutritional yeast (optional)
1 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko)
1 tsp onion flakes
1 tsp onion powder
2- 3 TBS catsup
2 TBS Dijon mustard
 1 tsp vegetable broth base (or bouillon cube)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
barbecue sauce (for top) 
 To make:
  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • Mix up flax egg(1 TBS ground flax and 2.5 TBS water) and let sit to gel.
  • Cook lentils in water until tender (about 20-30 minutes). Drain any excess water.  Set aside.
  • Sauté onion, carrots, celery and garlic in water until onions are translucent.
  • Add cooked lentils and veggies to food processor. Add seasonings (onion powder, onion flakes, Italian seasoning, vegetable broth base), catsup, mustard, nutritional yeast, flax egg and bread crumbs.  Process until just combined. 
  • Transfer mixture to the parchment lined loaf pan. Smooth out with spatula. 
  • Brush barbecue sauce over the top of the loaf.
  • Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes covered with foil.  
  • Remove foil and brush with more barbecue sauce, cook uncovered for 10 more minutes.

  • Let cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting.  Serve with your favorite gravy or by itself (this night we had roasted cauliflower & broccoli and a quick vegan gravy).
  • It's so good the next day and in a "meat" loaf sandwich.
More lentil loaves:
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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas House Tour 2017 - Part 1

 I started decorating the house early this year but I've still been putting finishing touches in every room.  Our decor doesn't change much from year to year but I thought I'd share it with you and highlight some of the new items.
 This throw was one of my early purchases from Cost Plus World Market.
 I like switching up the word art in this frame and I found this Elf inspired printable which I thought would be perfect for the holiday season.
 A view into the kitchen and our new table. I kept it pretty dark because I hadn't done much styling or straightening up.
 From the kitchen table out to the family room. This tray is full of holiday decor now. The light up chalet is from Cost Plus and the buffalo check K is from Target Dollar Spot.
 My dining room is really hard to photograph but I thought it looked pretty good in this shot.
 Peeking out of the living room into the entry and staircase.
 Another shot that includes the piano.
 My Starbucks cup angels are still serenading us.
{How to:}
A tray of snow people mugs just waiting for some hot cocoa.  I'll be back with more holiday rooms soon!
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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

{Wordless Wednesday} 12.06.17

Here's something I don't do every day!  (I was cleaning the water guns up for a play my daughter's theatre group was doing).
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Monday, December 4, 2017

{Recipe} Vegan Peanut Butter Cup Pies

I made these for our Thanksgiving dessert this year. They were great because I could make them ahead of time. I decided to make mini pies rather than one big one so I could test it out before Thanksgiving and because mini pies are so darn cute!
 The recipe can be found here.  I made some adjustments to my version. I used graham cracker crumbs instead of making my own. I had about 1 1/2 cups of crumbs (maybe a little more--I just used up what I had left).  The graham cracker crumbs are combined with melted vegan butter and pressed into pie tins (I had my tins leftover from this graduation party!).  Then they are baked for 10 minutes at 375F. My crusts were a little crumbly so I should have used more vegan butter to hold them together.
 The filling is whipped up in a blender: silken firm tofu (I used extra firm), peanut butter and agave or maple syrup.
 Then you whip up some coconut whipped cream and fold in the peanut butter mixture.
 Pour the filling into the crust and freeze until firm (about an hour).
 To make the chocolate topping, warm up some non dairy milk in a sauce pan, then add dairy free chocolate chips, let sit for 5 minutes then stir gently to combine.  Spread over the pies and sprinkle with crushed, salted peanuts. Return to freezer to allow to harden up.
After they were fully frozen, I wrapped them up individually and placed them in a freezer bag.  The filling tastes like peanut butter ice cream. You can let them defrost a little before serving or eat frozen. So good!
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