In the Kitchen

chili

Is everyone else freezing today?! My goodness, winter certainly has arrived. To help add a bit of warmth to you and your homes, I wanted to share one of my favorite chili recipes. I found the recipe last year on Feed Me Phoebe. I have made it my own by making a few slight modifications. All in, this recipe takes about an hour to make. I promise, it is worth it!

Moroccan Chili with Sweet Potatoes, Chickpeas and Kale

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. harissa
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes {I always use San Marzano}
  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas {drained and rinsed}
  • 3 cups diced sweet potato
  • 2 cups water
  • bunch of fresh kale
  • 1 lemon

Directions

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil and saute onions over medium heat until soft. This usually takes about 5 minutes. Push the onions to the side of the pan and add the ground turkey. Cook the meat, breaking apart with a wooden spoon until browned and cook through. The onions will become incorporated as your brown the turkey. Add the garlic, harissa, cumin and sea salt and cook for 1 minute or until the spices have become fragrant.  Pour in the tomatoes {with the juice} and cook for about 15 minutes. Stir frequently and make sure to scrap up all the brown bits at the bottom of the pan. This is where the flavor is!

After the mixture has reduced, add the chickpeas, sweet potato, and kale. For the kale, I usually buy a bunch at the store and just tear the leaves off the stem. I think it works out to be about 3 cups when said and done. Bring chili to a boil, turn the heat to low, and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender and the chili has thickened.

Before serving, add in the juice of 1 lemon. To serve, I add in a little sour cream, grated cheese and finish off with a warm corn tortilla.

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Winter Bucket List

winter

The shortest day of the year… my goodness! With a new season upon us, I like to put pen to paper and come up with a few bucket list items. For a little perspective, I took a quick look at my 2013 bucket list.  Sadly I didn’t get to check everything off then so here’s hoping to do so in 2016!

  1. {Finally} Ice skate on Frog Pond. This has been on my list for years now and I really just need to do it.
  2. Host an intimate dinner party. I find it much easier to entertain during the summer months on our deck but this winter, I’d like to do an intimate formal dinner party for friends.
  3. Walk and Explore. During the winter months, I find it easy to hurry home after work and curl up by the fire place. This winter, I’d like to bundle up and explore this beautiful city of mine. So much has changes since I’ve been back.
  4. Unplug. I will admit, I am addicted to my phone and several of my apps. I am going to try and instill a new rule: no social media after 8 pm.
  5. Read. The pile of new books next to my bed is getting quite high. I try to read a book a month but would like to increase this to at least two, maybe three. Any recommendations?

I promise to keep you apprised as I check these off one by one!

 

Book Club

Book Club
I think I mentioned this in my last book club post, but thank god I have an affinity for being a bookworm as this little habit of mine has gotten me through what might just be the longest winter of my life. If you are looking for some suggestions, read on.

By NightfallMichael Cunningham
I was blown away by the simplicity and beauty of this novel by Michael Cunningham, best known for his 1998 novel The Hours, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Peter Harris, the protagonist, seems to have it all: a beautiful wife, a successful career as an art dealer, a daughter in Boston and a beautiful apartment in downtown New York. But one never really has it all, do they? His wife, Rebecca, has a 23-year-old brother Ethan, whose visit stirs things up just a bit. Dubbed early on as “the mistake” by their parents, he was unplanned, which has caused him a life of questioning. Ethan engages Peter in the midnight hour and makes him question himself for he, like Ethan is lost and searching for more. A thoughtful look at a marriage, desire, and family and a quick read too at only 238 pages, I highly recommend.

Me Before YouJojo Moyes
Once I started Me Before You, I simply could not put it down. What a beautiful love story (and you know me, I love a good love story). Set in a small town outside London, we meet Louisa Clark, a simple girl who has just lost her job at a coffee shop. Her family struggling to make ends meet rely upon her weekly wages for survival and thus she must find a job and fast. She responds to a call for a care assistant to Will Traynor, a quadriplegic. Their relationship, a bit bleak at first, over time becomes one of the most moving friendships I have read about. I promise, there will be tears, but good ones at that. Will and Louisa create a bond that allows them both to become their best selves. What all relationships should help us do.

One More ThingB.J. Novak
Do you miss The Office? I sure do. When I heard that one of my favorite characters and writers from the show, B.J. Novak, had published a collection of short stories, I knew that it was exactly what I needed in my life. A little humor. The stories in this collection, 63 to be precise, will have you laughing, disturbed and sometimes even shedding s tear or two. I learned one of the greatest lessons, though, from B.J.’s acknowledgments. “A clear voice is the best kind to aspire to have.” Words from his father that I will certainly take to heart. If I had to pick just one story as my favorite it would have to be “A Good Problem to Have.” Or wait “Never Fall in Love.” Shoot… I can’t decide. Pick up this genius work of art. It will certainly be one I go to again and again when I need a little pick-me-up.

Please accept my apologies in advance as it might take a little time for my next “Book Club” post as I have just started The Goldfinch and at nearly 800 pages I fear it will take me a bit of time to finish. But let me tell you, what a beautiful work so far. I’m mesmerized.

In the Kitchen

lunch
Have you all tried baby kale? It is simply delicious. I had it for the first time last year at one of my island favorites, The Boarding House, and have since realized that they not only stock it at my local farm but at Stop & Shop no less. I pulled together a really simple salad the other night for dinner that I thought I would share. Doesn’t take much time at all (except the roasting of the butternut squash). Give it a try and let me know what you think.

May’s Winter Salad
2 cups baby kale
1/2 cup roasted butternut squash (I cut mine up into 1 inch cubes, toss with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast for 25 minutes or so at 350 degrees)
1 to 2 Tbs. Dijon vinaigrette (recipe below)

Toss and enjoy. I had plans to add pomegranate seeds but the store was fresh out of them this week. Next time.

Dijon Vinagrette
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. champagne vinegar
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil (Once blended, I always do a taste test and sometimes I add just a little more oil to round out the flavors.)
1 tsp. honey
squeeze of lemon
salt and pepper

Whisk together and pour over your favorite greens.

Fresh

Fresh Products
I have never been a make-up girl… something about applying foundation and using eyeliner has always caused me some trouble. What I am, though, is a skin-care product girl and let me tell you, I have been a fan of Fresh for quite some time. My addiction to all things Fresh began in college while working at Beauty by the Sea, where I was first introduced to Hesperides, which to this day is my go-to summer fragrance. Since then, I have been an loyal customer. They may know me by name at the Newbury Street location, just saying.

With these cold winter days upon us, I try to keep my skin well nourished. My routine is quite simple. I begin and end the day by washing my face with their Soy Face Cleanser. I have been using this product religiously for nearly five years. This cleanser works for all skin types and contains nourishing amino acids, rich soy proteins, and soothing botanicals to hydrate, calm, and tone. And for those nights when I attempt eye make-up (very, very limited), this cleanser washes it clean away.

Moisturizing is key. My go-to winter moisturizer is their Black Tea Age Delay Cream. Wait, did I really just admit that I use a product with the words “age delay”…. my secret is out. This nourishing and soothing cream has restored a certain glow to my skin. I can’t tell you how many comments I have received lately and I owe it all to this product. I should note that I switch things up just a bit in the summer months and use the Lotus Youth Preserve Cream. A little less rich for those warmer days.

Once a week, I indulge in a little extra TLC and use their Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask. I apply this soothing cream and twenty minutes later, my skin is like new. Try it, I promise you will see instant results.

The great thing about this Boston-based company is that they are constantly introducing and improving their product line. While visiting their Newbury Street location last week, I was introduced to three new products: Black Tea Age Delay Serum; Black Tea Age-Delay Eye Concentrate; and Black Tea Age-Delay Instant Infusion Treatment Toner. As I admitted moments before, I am focusing more and more on “age delay”. These products, as the nice salesman told me, will do just the trick. Diminish fine lines, fight free radicals, hydrate. These are my major concerns as of late. I ended up splurging on the eye cream and toner and I’m very happy I did.

Are you a Fresh fan too? If so, do tell. Would love to hear your favorite product. And remember, use your moisturizer!

Book Club

Book Club
“We read to know we are not alone.” A sentiment I can certainly relate to these days. Things are very quiet out here on the island, which has allowed me ample time to get through the books stacked up on my bedside table. If you are looking for a good read, read on for my brief reviews. And please know, I’m always looking for suggestions too.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls – David Sedaris
This was my first reading of Sedaris, who is known for such works as Me Talk Pretty One Day and Naked. I was drawn to this work as it is a collection of short stories, which allows me to usually finish one before sleep. This collection includes hilarious stories from his childhood, a travel journal of interesting people met along the way and love stories about he and his partner. My favorite story was “Laugh, Kookaburra.” Overall, this collection is light and certainly an easy read. Beautiful prose. Not so much. But laughter for sure.

The Dinner – Herman Koch
My friend’s husband told me I had to read this book and I’m so glad he did. Praised as being the “European Gone Girl”, (although I don’t necessarily agree with the comparison), this book focuses on a family, two brother’s dealing with the actions of their offspring and how one act can forever change the course of a family. A true page turner, this novel will have you staying up at night to see just what happens. A must read!

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P – Adelle Waldman
A female author writing about a 30-something male author/hipster in Brooklyn? Tell me more. At least that’s what I thought. For much of the book, I felt for Nathaniel P. and his struggle to find love and make it work. But in the end, he disappointed me. He settled, like most men I know do. Well written but I will admit it left me a bit disheartened about what men really want.

Island Practice – Pam Belluck
Nantucket is certainly known as having a cast of characters and Dr. Lepore is certainly one of them. My physician since my teen years and father of my junior prom date, Dr. Lepore is just someone you want to know more about. If you want a taste for what life is like 30 miles out to sea, give this book a read.

Snow Day

Snow Day
For all you in the Northeast, I hope you are staying nice and warm and cozy inside today. What a storm. The winds out here on the island have been insane. I am catching up on several of my to-do’s that have been stacking up including:

– Setting up my Instagram account
– Writing my holiday thank you notes
– Reading “Island Practice” about my doctor Tim Lepore
– Packing for next week’s trip to Atlanta
– And of course my goals of writing and stretching. The others will follow soon, I’m quite sure!

How are you spending this snow day? Do tell. And remember, be safe!

Winter Bucket List

IMG_4381
Although the weather as of late feels like winter is upon us, the first official day isn’t till this Saturday. Gosh, I hope it goes by fast. To help pass these cold days by, I wanted to continue with my tradition of putting together a seasonal bucket list. Should any of you want to join me for any of these, you just let me know!

1. Ice skating on Frog Pond. It’s true. I lived in Boston for 11 years and never, ever went skating in the common. This needs to be remedied immediately, I know!

2. Catch up on the Classics. Casablanca, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Some Like It Hot… I can’t believe how many of AMC’s Top 100 Classic Movies I haven’t seen.

3. Explore a New City. Atlanta is on the docket for early January. I have been twice but never really ventured beyond the convention site. Recommendations welcomed!

4. Host Ladies Night(s). Downton Abbey, Girls, a New Year. There are plenty of reason to get the ladies together. Just need to make it happen!

5. Send the Love. Send at least four care packages over the next three months to brighten someone’s day.

6. Build a Gingerbread House. Again, something I have never done. Since the holidays are going to be a bit quiet this year, perhaps I shall spend the 25th being an architect for the day.

Any winter activities that you love that I may have forgotten? Should note, I’m not a skier!