We’re getting into the spirit of the season just like everyone else. In addition to the gingerbread men, peppermint delights, and traditional Christmas cookies, we love to include an adult treat in our Holiday repertoire of goodies. I enjoy eggnog as part of my winter routine. Chrystal, on the other hand, is not the biggest fan of dairy, boozy drinks. Being that many of my in-laws have a Swedish heritage, I thought a glogg recipe would be the perfect alcoholic seasonal beverage to share.
Not too long ago, we celebrated two years of this website’s existence, and we opened the doors to your constructive criticism. We enjoy finding ways to make our blog stand out and also be better. To that end, we wanted to know what you enjoy, what you could do without and what dishes you’d like to see. You guys were so encouraging, which is always nice. A couple of our readers got straight to the point and asked for healthier recipes. This was valid. It’s not always cupcakes and cookies over here, but we do make a number of more decadent dishes. That being said, we’re going to try to shake in a few more well-rounded meals, so you don’t think we survive on ice cream and pop tarts alone.
How many times have you been so focused on doing something that you miss a very important step? Like adding butter to your cupcakes. There must be lots of heads shaking right now–either because you agree that that was very silly or, hopefully, because you’ve done it too. Maybe Pandora was playing a favorite song that just begged to be belted out. Or maybe Oprah was emphatically yelling the name of her daily guest, and one had to see what was going on. It’s also possible to put the blame on the butter not being on the counter. But no, the butter was on the counter. Oprah was not on. Pandora was playing, but it wasn’t that loud. The butter was just forgotten–forgotten in all its room temperature glory. When they went into the oven, there was a small prayer said with the hopes that these cupcakes would survive 20 minutes of baking. Would they shrivel up into a dry brick of beet? Only time would tell.
This has been an exhausting month. We’ve been celebrating new jobs, birthdays galore, the arrival of good friends, checking out new restaurants and just enjoying all things fabulous about fall. Somewhere in there, we’ve been expected to cook. It’s possible that little piece of the pie fell through the cracks. Of course, we enjoy cooking, but perhaps this is one of those times when it felt like we had to make something. For the sake of the blog, for the sake of our readers. Is this how it feels when people get a bit of the blogging blues? If there’s one thing we both want to avoid, it’s the feeling that cooking is a chore. Some activities are hard to enjoy when they feel like obligations. When times like this arise, you find an easy way to solve the problem.
If you’re the kind of person who equates salad with lettuce and only lettuce, then today’s recipe will be a lovely change of pace for you. If you are the kind of person who adores couscous, then today’s recipe will be one that you must make now. Don’t waste another second. Two friends hosted a Moroccan-themed dinner party, and the side dish requirement needed to be filled. Couscous is a versatile, quick grain that you can make in less than 5 minutes and dress up however you like. Plus, it’s good for you! You can’t go wrong with this one. That’s why you can’t go wrong with this salad.
This dessert is not 100% ours. We admit that fully. This dessert came about after eating these amazing walnut, date and orange wontons after we assisted another class at Hipcooks. Fried dough stuffed with sweet dates, bright orange flavor and crunchy walnuts…heaven! There was extra filling left over after class, and instead of letting it go to waste, we were allowed to wrap it up and bring it home. Ding ding ding, we had an idea. Cookies? No. Fruit bars? Eh. Pancake filling? Maybe next time. We both love tarts to death and decided to make good use of this premade filling for a little sweet nibblet. Voici la galette!
It was Sunday. Time for the usual–relaxation, wine and three hours of ABC’s killer line up. Oh, and dinner too. It is nice to have a good meal while you’re doing all of the above, right? We set about to whip up a little something zesty–a main dish and dessert that would be pretty quick and most definitely tasty. The star in both dishes is orange. Oh how we love citrus! It’s been said time and time again, but it can’t be said enough: We love citrus. We drop the flavor of lemon into savory and sweet platters often enough, but orange is another one that really holds its own in a dish, so we gave him another chance to do his thing. In less than an hour, we were sipping on a glass of red, forking up a good meal and watching the absolutely preposterous and very desperate housewives on Wisteria Lane. And yes, we were glad. Glad to enjoy a few more hours before another manic Monday.
A big thanks goes out to Nature Valley, Quaker Oats, and even Kudos (please don’t deny you’ve ever had a Kudos) for supplying us with hand held snacks during our school days. We shoveled these bars down like on tomorrow. When you were a kid, you didn’t think too much about high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil, but occasionally those sneaky buggers did find their way into some of your snack foods. Including some granola bars. Considering what actually goes into a granola bar, it’s nice to know that you can whip them up anytime at home. And you can put whatever it is you want into them and leave whatever you want to avoid out of them. Like high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil. Easy enough right? Right.
The winter season is well upon us though sometimes it’s difficult to tell in mostly pleasant Southern California. What’s better during the winter months than a whole pot of warm, savory, comforting deliciousness! We made this chili to hit that very spot. A hearty stew loaded with meat, beans, and vegetables. Of course we had to kick it up a notch. What ingredient better to enhances all of those flavors than fresh citrus, adding a hint of sweet and tangy. We hope this chili leaves you as warm and comforted as it has us. It was so good, we weren’t at all ashamed it had us licking the bowl clean!
That red and green dotted brick of sugar known as a fruitcake is not the kind of gift we think one should give now that the holidays are truly upon us. We love fruit, and we also love cake, so it’s easy to think of ways to combine the two in a way that will not only be appetizing but also pretty. Should you choose to dish out sweets rather than gifts this year, try this cranberry and orange quick bread. It’s the new holiday fruitcake. We suggest doubling this recipe and freezing a loaf for later. You never know when a cranberry craving will kick in.