Friday Favorites

Trader Joes Harvest Tea

I’ve been enjoying the Harvest Blend Herbal Tea from Trader Joe’s.  I have a cup every morning after Cathrine leaves for work.  It’s perfect for 5:30-6 in the morning.  It just smells like fall and has a lot of flavor.  I can’t get enough of it.

Born Shoes

My old black flats have seriously seen a better day.  The material is obviously fraying around the heel and toe.  They also have almost no cushioning, so I always had to walk slowly so I didn’t put too much pressure on my heel.  A replacement was imminent and necessary.  These Born black flats are quickly becoming my favorite shoe.  They are comfortable, have the padding that my other pair lacked, and fit perfectly with a pair skinny jeans.

Chan Luu Scarf

When Cathrine first gave me this Chan Luu scarf, I thought I would never wear it.  I thought it was silly expensive and too bulky.  I left it with my other scarves for a while.  I’d try it on and eventually end up choosing another.  However, now I’m so glad I gave it so many chances.  I love it and wear it any opportunity I can.  It’s soft and just substantial enough that it feels cozy around your neck.

Heath-Pitcher-Turquoise-Aqua-123-0207-731by607_7

I had always admired Heath Ceramics and dreamed about owning one of their pieces.  Perhaps eventually even a set of dishes.  But for now, I’m satisfied with this pitcher.

Workout Pants

These capri workout pants in black from Athleta are my absolute favorite.  I own two pairs and base when I need to do laundry on whether or not they are clean.

Cathrine is travelling this weekend, you can track her travels here, so I’m off to cuddle up on the couch with a copy of The Circle.  I joined the Blend book club that Caitlin from the Healthy Tipping Point is organizing and I’m afraid that I’m very behind.  I just got the book last week.

Happy Friday!

Anatomy of a Party

This past Saturday we hosted what’s becoming our annual fall party.  A party where we pretend it’s not 80 degrees outside with palm trees and flowering bougainvillea but rather there is the perfect crispness in the air, a blanket of crunchy leaves on every lawn and sidewalk, and the aroma of spices warms each household.  We filled our home with oranges, burnt reds, and subtle yellows and brought elements found in nature inside.  It’s an evening where we soak up all things fall.

Table

We kept the decorations simple and used as many natural elements as possible, most of them originating in Massachusetts.  On my last trip, I brought as many pine cones and pine needles as my carry on bag could hold.

For the table, we filled mason jars with acorns and Mexican Pumpkin votive candles from World Market.  We a jar in the center with fall colored flowers and surrounded it with candles, mini pumpkins, gourds, and pine needles.  We used this table runner from World Market as well.  In person it’s a bit more burnt red color.  Very simple but it left enough space on the table for food and drink.

candles, pumpkins, and gourds

For the side table, leaving room for people to set their drinks, we filled a glass circular vase in pine cones and placed two birch candles on either side.  We also had a leaf tray with candle corn, but being new to blogging, I forgot to take a before picture…..guess we all have our weaknesses.  There were liquid amber leaves for a bit more color.  

SIde Table 2

We had quite the spread of food.  I wish I got a picture of everything.  For appetizers, we had:

Chese Plate 2

Cheese and cracker plate (as I mentioned earlier, I forgot to take a picture on the actual day….from Trader Joe’s cracker assortment box, we originally served the vegetable, wheat, and original crackers.)  We have these cloth cocktail napkins and we just love them.

Tortilla chips with homemade pico de gallo using Against All Grain’s recipe (it’s so delicious!)

Baked polenta with agave ricotta (Slice polenta, bake at 400 degrees on a piece of parchment paper for appoximately 15-20 minutes or until crispy.  Once baked, let cool.  In the meantime, mix about 1 cup of ricotta with agave until it is the desired sweatness.  Once the polenta has cooled, scoop a little less than a tablespoon of the ricotta mixture on top each slice of polenta.)

Almonds

For the main course, I made two batches of sweet potato and sausage soup.  For the meat eaters I used Mulay’s Mild Italian Sausage and for the vegetarians, I used Field Roast’s Italian Sausage.  This is the best non-meat sausage we’ve found.  I love that it doesn’t have soy and is made from real ingredients.  I used vegetable broth for both.  Cathrine just loves this soup…..I made her a batch before I went to the east coast earlier this month and she happily ate it for many days in a row.

We also made a delicata squash with kale and white beans salad.  I frequently do what most people say not to but this was the first time we’ve made this salad and we served it to other people.  But we love delicata squash and were fairly confident that it would come out!  We used cannellini beans instead of cranberry.

For drinks we had a couple bottles of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and hard cider.  For our signature drink, we made a mulled cider and served it with a shot of Maker’s Mark bourbon.  These seemed quite popular.  There also was the usual selection of liquor and mixers.

For dessert we had two different kind of grain free pumpkin cookies.  I started off making pumpkin pie sugar cookies but I burned half of them and didn’t have enough ingredients to repeat the recipe, so I made a half batch of almond pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to fill out the plate.  Both were tasty!

Cookies

All in all, it was fun getting ready for it and even more fun spending time with friends.  Even if part of the conversation was dedicated to Cathrine explaining mileage running with lots of FlyerTalk lingo….Our friends did ask.

Simple Egg Salad

Over here we’ve been continuing to get back into the groove of having salads for lunch.  With an upcoming trip for the both of us to Washington, D.C. next weekend, a couple international mileage runs for Cathrine, and a Thanksgiving trip, the next month or so will be filled with travel so I’m feeling like we need to make our time home count and eat lots of nutritious meals.  While we both really enjoy travelling, it can be hard to stick to healthy eating and make time to exercise, no matter how lofty my pre-travel goals are.  We’ll talk about my holiday/travel goals soon.

This egg salad has been a staple in our household for a while now.  It’s refreshing, filling, and simple to make.  Great for a weekday lunch or when you don’t have much in your fridge.  You can make it the night before and keep it in the fridge or you can put it together right before.  My preference is to make it the night before because it gives some time for the eggs to cool.

All put together

Simple Egg Salad

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Pepper

1 carrot

5-6 cherry tomatoes

Handful of mixed baby greens

Small bunch of microgreens

Steps:

Place two eggs in a small pot and add water so the eggs are fully submerged.  Bring the water to a boil.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Drain eggs and let cool before peeling.  Once eggs are cool, peel 1 egg and chop in quarters.  Peel second egg, discard the yolk, and chop egg white in quarters.  Place both chopped eggs in a small bowl.  Add 1 peeled and diced carrot, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to the bowl with the eggs.  Using a knife, mix and chop the eggs so it is all combined.  I like to still have a crunch in mine, so I leave my carrots a bit on the bigger side.  Sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper on top.

Egg Salad

 

Place a handful of mixed baby greens and top with a bunch of microgreens in a bowl.

Lettuce and Micro GreensAdd the egg salad and top with 5 to 6 cherry tomatoes cut in half.

photo (39)Then enjoy!

Any recommendations for must do/see in D.C.?  We’ll only be there for the weekend.

 

 

Lime Avocado Salad with Red Pepper and Tomatoes

Whenever I’ve been travelling, I always look forward to getting back into eating healthy when I get back.  I certainly let myself indulge a bit while I am away.  Sweets and carbs are probably the places where I splurge the most.  And I’m known to take advantage of the free snacks and drinks offered in the airport lounges and eat things like cheese and crackers, yogurt covered pretzels, salty snack mix along with a glass of white wine.  It helps with any flying jitters.    

We have been travelling quite a bit lately and while I enjoy exploring news places and nice dinners out, what I was calling my “summer of indulgence” has turned into a “fall of indulgence” and I’m feeling like it’s time to get back on track.

For the past two days, I’ve made this simple salad for lunch.  It’s quick to make with the perfect amount of citrus to give it a pop of flavor when you take a bit.

Lime Avocado Salad with Red Pepper and Tomatoes

(Inspired by Whole Living Avocado with Bell Peppers and Tomatoes recipe)

Salad

Ingredients: 

1/2 a red pepper

1 avocado

Splash of lime juice

Pinch of salt

5-6 cherry tomatoes

Handful of mixed baby greens

Small bunch of microgreens

Steps:

Slice avocado in half and scoop the filling into a small bowl.  Chop half of a red pepper into bit size pieces and place in the bowl with the avocado.  Pour a splash of lime juice on top of the avocado and red pepper and add a pinch of salt.  Mix thoroughly.  Put a handful of baby greens and a couple pinches of microgreens into a bowl.  Place the avocado and red pepper salad on top.  Slice 6 cherry tomatoes in half and place them on the top.  Enjoy!

*Serves one