grape endive salad

April 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

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I may be a bit of a competitive person. Some people I know might think this is an understatement, which in all likeliness it is. But I have calmed my competitive edge over the years, so at least I am not as bad as I use to be. I am still very competitive when it comes to any athletic activity or watching any sporting event. While board and card games only bring out little spirits of competition in me.

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When Ross and I have a little extra time at lunch or dinner we usually try and play something together, our games of choice being backgammon and cribbage, with a mix of rummy every once in awhile. While both of these games involve a lot of luck, Ross and I both have our stance on what is luck and what is skill. (I should add that although Ross thinks he’s not as competitive as me, in all honesty he is.) We playfully argue about how he always rolls doubles in backgammon and how I always get better cards in cribbage. There are some winning streaks where one of us will go on a tear for a week or two but for the most part our wins are split 50-50.

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It’s hard when you get older to continue to have opportunities to be competitive. When I was young I participated in all kinds of sports and loved the competition that came along with them. Now every time I can get a glimpse of competition I enjoy it just the same.

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Inspired by La Tartine Gourmande
Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side

Salad
One large or two small heads of endive
1 cup grapes, sliced in half
1.5 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and lightly chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

Dressing
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of honey balsamic
1 clove of garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Toast walnuts at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or so, just until they are slightly browned and fragrant.

In a small bowl whisk together all the dressing ingredients, olive oil, honey balsamic, garlic, salt and pepper.

Chop off the bottom inch of the endive head and peel back single leaves. Assemble individual leaves on a large platter. Top the endive with the grapes, goat cheese and walnuts. Drizzle the dressing on top and finish with a sprinkling of basil.

good morning granola

April 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

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I have a wonderful brother-in-law. He spoils me constantly with gourmet food goodies, most of them homemade. It began just a few years back when he made me vanilla and stuck it in my Christmas stocking. I was not only happily surprised, but impressed too! Last year I was gifted homemade gingerbread syrup, perfect for pancakes and oatmeal in the morning. And most recently, he surprised me, for no reason at all, with honeycomb, just oozing with honey. He cutely pointed out that honeycomb aids digestion. I smiled and hugged him and was so happy for the awkward but lovely gift. The next weekend it was on my morning toast, just as tasty as the creamed honey it had replaced.

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I didn’t use the honeycomb in this granola recipe, but it got me thinking about good breakfast food. This granola is so easy and so tasty, and hearty too! I promise it will keep you full until lunch.

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Inspired be Thrive
Makes 3 cups

1 cup old fashion oats*
1 cup steel cut oats
1/4 cup shredded coconut, sweetened
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons flax seeds
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients except the cranberries and raisins. Mix until everything is coated. Lightly spray a baking sheet and evenly spread the granola in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes, until just slightly golden brown.

Remove from the oven and stir the granola around, so it doesn’t stick to the baking sheet. Allow to cool completely. Once cooled, stir in the cranberries and raisins. Store in an air-tight container and keep refrigerated. Enjoy with milk or yogurt.

*Note: You can use 2 cups of old fashion oatmeal instead of 1 cup of old fashion and 1 cup of steel cut, if that’s all you have.

30 in nyc

April 4, 2014 § 1 Comment

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New York in March may not be the most ideal getaway, we were caught in what seemed to be a small hurricane our first night there, with umbrellas working against us and the rain pounding down on our cute outfits and high heels, but we still made the best of our rainy weekend. My sister turned thirty this month and decided that the best way to celebrate was to treat my mom and I to a fantastic weekend at her place, all we had to do was get there. She spoiled us with an itinerary that was classic New York.

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The weekend began in the rain, jumping into a taxi to get to our first meal at East Pole. We indulged in brunch food, scrambled eggs and a sweet potato frittata; finishing the meal with a shot of espresso, with just enough kick to get us to our next stop, The Frick. The Frick is a beautiful home that has been converted to a full museum, reminding me of the Gardner Museum in Boston. We lingered among the paintings for a while and then headed back to the Palace Hotel, for a little relaxing and some time inside from the rain. We snacked on nonpareils and prettied up for dinner at A Voce and an evening at the Philharmonics. A Voce is classic Italian food. We snacked on fresh focaccia, salty olives, roasted red peppers and mozzarella to start. And then I went for it and had seafood stuffed ravioli with a lobster bisque sauce, just heavenly. Perfectly full and happy to be so, we headed to the Philharmonics.

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It is an absolutely beautiful thing to hear so many people play at the same time. My mom likened the music to “jazz”, all over the place, nothing she could understand, but she liked it nonetheless. I might have closed my eyes for just a minute and then pinched myself to open them. (Mind you the second song was a whopping 59 minutes long.) I think my sister said it best, “It would be wonderful background music to have on at home.” Then came the hurricane I mentioned before, but we plunged our way through the rain and back to our poufy beds.

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Sunday was all about brunch. We sat in Lafayette for almost 2 hours, sipping coffee and tea, snacking on an almond croissant and indulging in nutella banana waffles and berry lemon pancakes. Brunch is always my favorite, it could have been all about the food, but instead it was all about our lives. We didn’t stop talking for a single minute and finally got to chat about the really important stuff, job shifts, wedding and pregnancies, where we are going in our lives. These chats are critical to my sanity and I cherished every minute of that time.

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New York wouldn’t be complete without a little shopping and a Broadway show. Saks was calling us first and then we finished up the day in an intimate theater, chuckling our way through A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. More food at Fig & Olive, left us stuffed on our train ride out of the city, back to reality, the girls weekend away almost over.

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I have a wonderful sister for planning such a fun weekend for us, each year she has become more beautiful, more caring and is always so generous. I hope she had a fabulous thirtieth birthday!

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