February. The month of grey. The month of cold. The month of hearty stews.
Bon Appetit’s February cover recipe did not disappoint. I made its Chicken and Dumpling with Mushroom stew. My house smelled amazing. My mouth and stomach? So, so happy. Make it, eat it, love it. Do it!
March’s recipe? A short rib pot pie. I can’t say this is a recipe I’d be tempted to make without this challenge – it’s not quite my thing. I know I can’t eat this all on my own, and I don’t think it will freeze as well as stew. Anyone feel like a dinner party?
A home-made cookie tastes great any day. But a Christmas cookie? There’s something about baking batches of cookies for friends and family that make them taste just a little bit better than a regular cookie.
This year I’m dusting off the stand mixer and making two of my favourites: the sugar cookie and the Linzer cookie. I’m also trying a new recipe out – any cookie that combines cocoa, pistachios and sea salt has to be good, right?
As most of the dough needs to chill for at least a few hours, I like to make my dough one day and then chill or freeze it until I’m ready to bake. It breaks up the overwhelming amount of work that making, baking and decorating cookies can seem to be if you try to do it all in one day. Careful planning and a glass of wine also seems to help the process.
I’m pumped to finish all my baking this week – they’ll be done just in time for friends and family to gobble them up this weekend.
Oh, and Bon Appetit has some great tips on making that perfect sugar cookie.
I’m all about quick snack food. Veggies and hummus? Check. Sweet potatoe fries and chile mayo? Check.
My favourite easy snack is roasted chickpeas. They are heaven. Or crack. You won’t stop eating them once you start.
I adapt this recipe depending on my mood. I love them fresh from the oven with black pepper cracked on them. Or tossed onto a salad for extra crunch. Or sprinkled in a soup.
Really, you should just eat them.
Here they are – ready to be roasted. I sprinkled them with ginger, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
Hot crispy roasted chickpeas. I ate a quarter of the tray before I managed to take a picture.
I don’t know about you, but frigid weather always means soup. And I don’t mean soup out of a can. I’m talking about real, homemade soup.
I don’t use a recipe. I make my “kitchen sink soup” based on whatever I have in the house. I promise you this soup is so easy you’ll wonder why you ever would buy soup again. Make it vegetarian with vegetable stock and seasonal veggies. Change up the spices to dramatically alter the flavour. Add different meats, add different grains. It’s really, really hard to mess up soup. Use flavours you love and you will always have a winner.
Here’s my recipe from today’s meal:
As I haven’t done groceries in a couple of weeks (oops) I grabbed chickpeas, quinoa, and frozen veggies. At the last minute I subbed roasted chicken for the quinoa.
I cooked the veggies in a couple teaspoons of vegetable oil for about five minutes. Then I added my broth and water. I use three cups of broth and two cups of water. At this point I also added my chickpeas and seasoning of choice. For today’s soup I used two teaspoons chile flakes, ginger and coriander, and one teaspoon rosemary and chile powder. I wanted something spicy to warm me up! I also tossed in a tablespoon of soy sauce for colour and zing.
The I let the stove do the work. It needed to simmer for half an hour. This is the time I get antsy and ready to eat. I recommend you open a bottle of wine, pour yourself a glass and paint your nails.
When my nails were dry I threw in my chicken and simmered for ten minutes more.
Then I added freshly ground pepper and devour. See? Easy peasy. This batch made me about four servings. The other three are in my fridge, and will act as meals for the weekend, although it can just as easily be put in the freezer.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. A new home means new places to decorate – this year I went with a ‘rustic glamour’ seasonal vibe. This means outdoor elements like pinecones, birch branches and owls paired with glitter, mercury glass and twinkle lights. Here’s a peek into my nest.