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05 Feb

February is the month to set your slow cooker on the counter and let it work its magic, transforming a tough hunk of meat into tender shreds, like it does in this downright delicious slow cooker beef soup with couscous, made with beef, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, tomatoes, herbs, and pearl couscous.

First, a confession: this was supposed to be a beef and barley soup. Buuuuuuut Daniel came back from the store with pearl couscous (he swore he grabbed the pearl barley), so I decided to go with it—and let me tell you, the results are delicious.

The soup has all the rich, savory flavor of a long-simmered beef stew, only it’s lighter and more brothy, with fall-apart-tender chunks of beef and an aromatic beef broth made with garlic, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, fresh thyme, and a bit of soy sauce, which works to enhance that umami beef flavor. The pearl couscous (also known as Israeli couscous) has a lighter texture than hardy barley but it works just as well here, providing a nice chew.

Slow Cooker Beef Soup with Couscous - This delicious slow cooker recipe has all the rich, savory flavor of a long-simmered beef stew, only it's lighter and more brothy, with fall-apart-tender chunks of beef and an aromatic beef broth made with garlic, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, fresh thyme, and a bit of soy sauce, which works to enhance that umami beef flavor.Slow Cooker Beef Soup with Couscous - This delicious slow cooker recipe has all the rich, savory flavor of a long-simmered beef stew, only it's lighter and more brothy, with fall-apart-tender chunks of beef and an aromatic beef broth made with garlic, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, fresh thyme, and a bit of soy sauce, which works to enhance that umami beef flavor.

Slow Cooker Beef Soup with Couscous

This delicious slow cooker recipe has all the rich, savory flavor of a long-simmered beef stew, only it’s lighter and more brothy, with fall-apart-tender chunks of beef and an aromatic beef broth made with garlic, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, fresh thyme, and a bit of soy sauce, which works to enhance that umami beef flavor.

Prep Time10 mins

Slow Cooker Time10 hrs

Total Time10 hrs 10 mins

Course: Beef, Soup

Keyword: easy slow cooker soup, slow cooker beef

Servings: 8

Calories: 283kcal

Author: Andie Mitchell

  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or 2 tsp dried thyme)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 2 lbs beef chuck roast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup pearl couscous (also called Israeli couscous)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • In the base of your slow cooker, combine the diced tomatoes and their juice, tomato paste, beef broth, soy sauce, stirring until well mixed. Add the thyme, bay leaves, onion, garlic, carrots, celery.

  • Season the beef all over with salt and pepper; add to the slow cooker, pushing it down to cover with the liquid. Cover and cook on low until the beef is so tender that it can easily be pulled apart with a fork, 9-10 hours (or cook on high for 6-7 hours)

  • Transfer the beef to a large plate or cutting board and use two forks to shred into bite-size chunks, discarding any pieces of fat and gristle. Discard the bay leaves.

  • Stir the pearl couscous into the soup in the slow cooker. Cover and cook until tender, 10-15 minutes. Return the shredded beef to the soup. Add the parsley. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired. Serve.

Credit: Source link

01 Feb

I’m not much of a football fan (I can barely tell you who’s playing on Sunday). All I know is it’s not the Patriots, because everyone in Massachusetts has been in a funk for weeks. And the only football talk I have heard around here is questioning if Tom Brady is coming back. All this to say, my Super Bowl focus has never been the game or even the commercials. It’s the food! Super Bowl Sunday is the second biggest eating day of the year after Thanksgiving and there’s a good reason for that. There are so many delicious foods that pair perfectly with the big game. Here is a selection of some of my recipes that would work perfectly (last minute!) for your Super Bowl party!

Delicious Dips

I like to make a few dips when I am entertaining. Lay out a bunch of different breads, chips, veggies, and anything else dippable you can think of on a table of some delicious dips.

Greek Dip– So much flavor, with a layer of smooth, savory hummus, a layer of cool, herby tzatziki, and toppings like feta cheese, chopped fresh cucumbers, sweet tomatoes, and briney capers and olives. A wonderful addition to any app table.

Spinach Artichoke Dip– Classic recipe bursting with flavor. Serve with chips or even vegetables if you are looking for a lower carb option.

Pepperoni Pizza Dip– Cheesy and gooey and hot from the oven. It has all the Italian flavor of pizza: from the cheese to the sauce to the toppings.

For the Buffalo Chicken Fans

One of the classic Super Bowl foods is buffalo chicken. I have you covered!

Buffalo Chicken Rolls– These are an all time favorite for me and many readers. Easy to make and serve, and they pack a lot of flavor.

A lighter version of typical buffalo chicken fingers. Baked instead of fried if you want to make them at home with easier clean up.

Healthier Baked Buffalo Chicken Nuggets– These are great for kids who like spicy food.

Other Awesome Apps

Lighter Chicken Nachos– My all time favorite app food is nachos, so this is probably what I will be eating. They’re piled high with tortilla chips, delicious (and easy!) slow cooker Mexican shredded chicken, seasoned black beans, melted cheddar cheese, and all the fixins.

Guacamole– A simple mix of avocado, lime, garlic, onion, tomato, and cilantro. Pure, fresh, and impossible to stop eating!

Petite Lasagnas– These are super cute and tasty. Easy to make in a muffin tin and bring to a party.

Credit: Source link

27 Jan

Soups are some of the best things to make in the colder months because they pack a slew of delicious flavors into one warm and soothing meal that tends to get more flavorful the longer it sits. And flavors can go way beyond what you find in a Campbell’s can. This vegetarian lentil and chickpea soup is the perfect example. It’s a Moroccan twist on lentil soup that’s packed with fiber and vegetarian protein.

Vegetarian Lentil and Chickpea Soup - a vegetarian lentil soup recipe full of rich Moroccan-inspired flavors that’s packed with fiber, veggies, and protein! Great for meal prep!Vegetarian Lentil and Chickpea Soup - a vegetarian lentil soup recipe full of rich Moroccan-inspired flavors that’s packed with fiber, veggies, and protein! Great for meal prep!

It’s a nice break from traditional warm winter flavors, too, with the spice and zing of fresh ginger, the richness of coriander, smoked paprika, cumin, and the warmth of cinnamon. I like the hardiness of kale in this soup but feel free to swap it for and sturdy green—even spinach. And if you can’t get your hands on green lentils, brown lentils work just as well. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Lentil and Chickpea Soup - a vegetarian lentil soup recipe full of rich Moroccan-inspired flavors that’s packed with fiber, veggies, and protein! Great for meal prep!Vegetarian Lentil and Chickpea Soup - a vegetarian lentil soup recipe full of rich Moroccan-inspired flavors that’s packed with fiber, veggies, and protein! Great for meal prep!

Vegetarian Lentil and Chickpea Soup

A vegetarian lentil soup recipe full of rich Moroccan-inspired flavors that’s packed with fiber, veggies, and protein! Great for meal prep!

Course: Main Course, Soup

Keyword: lentil soup, vegetarian recipes, vegetarian soup

Servings: 6

Calories: 199kcal

Author: Andie Mitchell

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dried lentils (brown or green)
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in the coriander, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.

  • Stir in the broth, chickpeas, and lentils; increase the heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover (keeping the lid slightly open for steam to escape), and simmer until the lentils are just tender, about 20 minutes.

  • Stir in the tomatoes and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the kale and continue to cook, partially covered, until the leaves are tender, about 5 more minutes. Take the Dutch oven off the heat and stir in the fresh cilantro and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated “Moroccan Lentil and Chickpea Soup”

Credit: Source link

22 Jan

This slow cooker chicken and rice soup is healthy, flavorful, and fuss-free, made with boneless skinless chicken breasts, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, fresh thyme, bay leaves, chicken broth, and instant white rice (for extra convenience).

Chicken soup is classic—a food so powerful it has become a metaphor for warmth, healing, and love—and this slow cooker chicken and rice soup is all of those things. It’s the winter cure-all.

The best part? It’s EASY. Of course there’s something to be said for slowing down with some unhurried, all-day-long cooking, but there’s also something to be said for letting your slow cooker do that unhurried, low-and-slow cooking for you. My slow cooker chicken and rice soup is completely fuss-free and fabulous. Combine boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped onion, carrots, celery, garlic, fresh thyme, bay leaves, white wine, and chicken broth in your crock pot, walk away, and 4 hours later you’ll have a cozy bowl of chicken soup with all the taste and none of the hassle. I use instant white rice because of the extra convenience, but you can add any grain or pasta you want—or skip the grains altogether to make it lower carb. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chicken Rice SoupSlow Cooker Chicken Rice Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Soup

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time4 hrs

Total Time4 hrs 10 mins

Course: Chicken, Main Course, Soup

Cuisine: American

Keyword: easy chicken recipe, slow cooker chicken soup recipe

Servings: 6

Calories: 219kcal

Author: Andie Mitchell

  • 1 ½ lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, finely chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup instant white rice
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • In the base of your slow cooker, combine the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, parsley, bay leaves, white wine, broth, salt, and pepper; stir. Add the chicken breasts (make sure they’re covered with the liquid).

  • Cover and cook until chicken is tender, about 4 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and use 2 forks to shred chicken into bite-size pieces. Discard the thyme sprigs and and bay leaves.

  • Stir the instant rice into the soup in the slow cooker. Cover and cook until tender, 10-15 minutes. Return the shredded chicken to the soup. Add the parsley. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired. Serve.

Credit: Source link

16 Jan

The last time I wrote, James was just 7 months old—an eon ago! He’s a different kid! A sweet, funny, affectionate little boy who talks and walks and sleeps ON HIS OWN. (I said ON HIS OWN!) He’s always smiling, always making us laugh, and always on the move. He continues to be the greatest joy of my life, my whole world, and that’s putting it lightly.

My mom (Nana) and James

Below I’ve got details on the milestones and memories we made over the last 9 or so months but here’s the most meaningful change that’s happened to us since I last wrote:

In late October, my mom transitioned out of the job she’d had for 20 years (spoiler: no, she’s not retiring—we wish!) and it was the first time in my entire life that she wasn’t working 60 hours a week, the very first time I’d ever seen her home for more than 1 week. It was the best thing that could have happened to Daniel, James, and me, because as fate would have it, I miscarried that same week and I needed help more than ever. James has spent so much time with her since, which has been so helpful and so, so special. She cherishes him. He’s crazy about her. Together, they’re the cutest duo I’ve ever seen 🙂

Here’s a glance at how the past 9 months have gone:

Months 7-9

Back in May I bought an inflatable pool for $10 at Target, set it in the backyard, and James and I started “swimming” in it all the time. We got so much use out of that cheap little pool. James squealed with joy when I’d squirt the hose against the side of the pool and he never ever seemed to mind how absolutely icy the water was (can’t say the same for me).

At 9 months, he started saying “hi!” and “hi dad!” and waving to everyone and everything he came across—even store mannequins. Daniel and I lived for the way he put his whole arm into the wave and how he really nailed that last “d” in DAD.

Swim Lessons!

In June, we started swim lessons at the YMCA nearby. James was the oldest in the class by a month or two, the only boy, and seemed to enjoy it right away. He didn’t even seem to mind when I dunked him on day one.

Another major development at 9 months: James cut down to 2 naps a day and began sleeping on his own. It was a hard won milestone and certainly as hard for us as it was for him. Once I realized it might be the end of the days of holding him, I was the one crying like a baby.

Months 10-12

In September, James turned 1! Our family and friends came over for a nautical-theme birthday party, a decision I made because he loves the water so very much. We had pizza, pasta, and apps galore, all from Primavera, our favorite restaurant and the place where I had my baby shower, bridal shower, and a party to celebrate publishing my memoir. The cake was precious—a white cake with white frosting from White’s Bakery—covered in blue fondant with a whale and a life raft on top.

When we sang “Happy Birthday” to him, we set a smash cake in front of him (a cute mini version of the big cake) and he just kind of sat there, stunned and unsure of what to do. He smiled and clapped but, despite all of our attempts, he didn’t want any part of that cake. Ha!

Meeting my bff’s daughter!

My best friend Sabrina and her husband came in for the party, all the way from New Jersey, and it made the day all the more special. James got to meet their beautiful baby girl, Violet, too! They held hands immediately, and later James tried to hug and kiss her half a dozen times (what are boundaries again?).

Our little lion on Halloween!
We didn’t realize it until after taking this picture, but he actually broke through that wrapper 🙂

James loves to roar like a lion (or a dinosaur depending on which book we’re reading) so that’s what he was for Halloween. We took him trick-or-treating at my parents’ house and over to our neighbors’ house across the street.

Speaking of roaring, he also enjoys mooing like a cow and gets a big kick out of saying “hoo hoo hoo ha ha ha” like a monkey.

Months 13-16

At 13 months, James started talking up a STORM. It started with mama, dada, hi, bye bye, book, belly, hug, kiss, milk…and by 15 months he was picking up a few new words every day: cheese, bagel, water, hummus, cracker, binkie, good girl (to DeeDee the pug), deer, and so much more. He strings together a few sentences, too, like, “No dada! Hug!” when he doesn’t want Daniel to put him down in his crib.

He has the best time playing “Where’s James?,” our form of peek-a-boo, where he puts his hands on his head, we ask “where’s James?” and begin looking around to find him, then he takes his hands off of his head and we shout, “There he is!” and he smiles and laughs.

Squishing my belly

Another favorite activity? Lifting Daniel’s and my shirts to see our bellies. He pokes our belly buttons, squishes the soft spots, and laughs like it’s the funniest thing ever.

Christmas morning!

For Christmas we got him a play kitchen with a gazillion pieces of toy food (why did I do that again?) and he has been playing with it nonstop ever since. Hopefully he’ll start cooking dinner for us soon 🙂

Aaaand he’s walking! He took his first steps around 12 months but continued crawling most of the time because it was faster and more efficient for him. But now! Now we’ve got a tiny drunk guy barreling through the house. Heaven help us.

Credit: Source link

07 Jan


I might as well copy and paste this goal on all my future New Year’s resolutions lists because it’s been a goal for years and let’s be honest, it’s a lifetime project. Mindfulness isn’t something I can achieve, or a state in which I’ll magically arrive; it’s a practice. A daily one. An hourly one. A minute-by-minute, second-by-second one. I must remember this: when I think it’s too hard or my mind is just too scattered or I don’t have time, that’s when I need it most.

Read more.

Books are food for the soul, but similar to my on-again/off-again relationship with compulsive eating, I’m either reading constantly or not reading at all (except for the articles I read on my phone). This year I’d like to carve out time each day and week to read a book because I enjoy it. And hey, they say if you want to become a better writer you should read more, so there’s that, too.

2020 resolutions2020 resolutions

Get better sleep.

I might be in my bed for 7-8 hours most nights, but considering that I wake up exhausted every morning, I don’t know how restful or restorative it really is. For one, I wake up between 3 and 6 times to pee, which is just as crazy as it is infuriating. I’m going to try to cut off liquid a few hours before bed…maybe at 6:30 or 7 and see if that helps. I’m also going to try to wean off of Unisom. During my pregnancy with James I started taking Unisom (along with vitamin b6) to help with nausea. I don’t know if it helped with the nausea, but it did help me sleep—so much that I have kept on taking it every night for the past two years…yikes. Maybe I’ll never solve sleep, but I can improve it I’m sure.

Be accepting of the time I spend organizing, sorting, decluttering…

All of these things sound productive, yes, but they’re not always the most productive way I could be spending my time. And trust me, I have spent years reprimanding myself for doing my little tidying jobs when I could or should be writing. “Stop procrastinating!” I’d scream at myself. What I’ve come to realize, though, is that the time I spend cleaning/organizing is also when I feel the most “flow,” and the most peace internally. So I have to ask myself—of all the things I do that aren’t exactly “good” for me, is it so bad that I just love house projects? I’m certain someone could argue YES (heck I’ve taken that stance for years!) and it’s only left me feeling guilty and down on myself, so this year I’ll try taking the other side of the argument, that maybe I should allow for—and even nurture—the “unproductive” things I do that make me feel at peace and in order.

What do you resolve to do in 2020?

Credit: Source link

06 Jan

Two months ago I had a miscarriage. I was 11 weeks along, just days from telling you, when I started bleeding. It was very light spotting at first—the slightest tint of pink. I was scared, but then again I’d heard that spotting can be a part of normal, healthy pregnancy, so I tried not to panic. I called my doctor and went to an appointment that day. The NP didn’t seem concerned and said light spotting in the first trimester isn’t too unusual. She wanted to give me a shot of RhoGam (crucial when you have a negative blood type like I do) and do an ultrasound to make sure, but they weren’t sure if they could fit me in and since it was Friday, I’d have to wait until Monday. The spotting seemed to stop after the appointment so I was feeling less worried. But on Sunday, it returned and was a bit heavier, more like light bleeding. On Monday, I had the ultrasound and right away the woman said the fetus looks smaller than 11 weeks and then confirmed there was no heartbeat. I was devastated. Lying there on the table as she finished the exam I just kept thinking about the future I had imagined. I loved the idea of having another baby, and so soon. I pictured James growing up with such a close sibling. I loved how it gave us some flexibility in thinking about whether we wanted to have more than two children. I was excited to do the baby stage again even though I knew it’d be tough. I was grieving for my sweet baby but also trying to make peace with a future that wouldn’t happen as I planned.

one week before miscarriage

We talked about the options. The doctor felt like I probably didn’t need surgery and prescribed cytotec and sent us home. On the way out of the office, I went to the bathroom and was bleeding worse. Daniel said that it was like my body was holding onto the baby until I knew for sure it wasn’t alive. Over the next few hours the bleeding became so severe that I had to go to the emergency room. I bled through three pairs of underwear, three pairs of pants, a dozen pads, all over the stairs and the bathroom. The bathroom in our bedroom is all white—white tile, white walls—and by the time Daniel came upstairs to check on me it was like a crime scene. I was faint. We drove to the emergency room. I was bleeding constantly, through the thickest, doubled-up pads, down my legs as we checked in, releasing these massive, grapefruit-sized clots that made me woozy. As it turns out, I was hemorrhaging, so badly that I lost consciousness. The on-call OB was able to give me something through my IV that slowed the bleeding. A nurse, the kindest, most gentle angel, washed me down, changed my johnny, put a diaper on me, and I remember lying there, unable to help her at all, thanking her over and over, turning my head while I tried stifling a sob at all her grace when I had none.

Hours later, I was able to go home, with meds to finish the process.

waiting to go home

All of it left me heartbroken, in a darker place than I ever could have imagined. I’ve had depression for decades and yet this wave of it hit me like something new, and worse. As much as I could recognize that yes, of course, it made sense that I was feeling sad—I lost my baby—I have to believe that a lot of the darkness was hormonal because it wasn’t just grief. It was joylessness and anxiety and intense fear that I’d never feel any different than I did then. I tried, over and over every day that followed, to “let myself be sad” like everyone in my life rightly told me to, but inside I was screaming, I can’t! I can’t be here with this feeling for even a second longer! It felt impossible to sit with my pain because that pain felt like fire all around me, urging me to get up, get out.

I talked to Daniel about how bad I was feeling, probably a hundred times a day. I talked to my mom, my sister-in-law, my best friend. It helped in the moment, but it’s always very hard for me to reveal whatever pain I’m in. I wish it wasn’t, but I guess to me it feels like I’m laying this massive problem before my loved one. The codependent in me can’t just leave them with it, unsolved and somehow burdened, so I work overtime trying to show them—prove to them—that I’ll be fine, that I see all the logical, rational ways I could reason my way out of it. I don’t feel this with Daniel, but with everyone else I do. And I guess the reason is, I just don’t believe that anyone can fix me when I’m broken down (a flawed belief, but still).

Maybe during the first week after my miscarriage it was easier for me to be kind to myself, understanding that I was processing a loss, but that justifiable understanding was quick to leave. I hated that I couldn’t pull myself out of this pit of despair I’d fallen into. I thought often about all the thousands—millions!—of women who’d suffered far, far more traumatic and heart-shattering losses, which was less a way of shaming myself and more an attempt to find peace in perspective.

I should mention—I don’t have a way to button up this post. I haven’t felt right since, even though there have been many, many moments of joy and fun and excitement. I still feel as though I’ve lost that baseline contentment I had before miscarrying. The only thing that has helped or healed is…time. Of course. Time is so good like that, isn’t it, buffing all the sharp sides of pain to softer nubs that you can at least hold in your hands without cutting yourself.

I don’t have a lesson or a point, really, just more compassion, understanding, and space in my heart for all the women who wish their babies were here.

Credit: Source link

04 Jan

Break out your cast iron skillet and make these delicious pan seared lamb loin chops with beautiful crusts and juicy centers. Deglaze the pan with dry red wine and whisk together a quick red wine pan sauce with aromatics like garlic and shallot and fragrant, piney rosemary and thyme. To finish, serve the dish with a handful of rich and fruity kalamata olives.

This post is sponsored by Superior Farms American Lamb.

I have a dozen or so classic recipes I make for each season, year after year. But I try to balance those old favorites with new ones, because what’s the fun in making the same things over and over? One way I do it is by swapping in new ingredients. This season, instead of making beef for all of our big winter dinners, I’ve begun to love cooking with lamb (I made Greek lamb meatballs last night!). I love the cozy simplicity of these seared lamb loin chops with red wine and rosemary. They’re quick enough for a weeknight and yet special enough to serve friends.

If you aren’t used to cooking lamb, I promise it isn’t difficult at all. In fact, it’s not much different than cooking beef, but the flavor is really something special. I particularly like lamb loin chops, which I used in this recipe, because they’re easy to find in most grocery stores or butcher shops and easy to prepare, while still being tender and delicious. Plus, lamb is a delicious and nutritious alternative to chicken and beef. It’s a lean, red meat with nearly five times the essential omega-3 fatty acids and alpha linoleic acid of a serving of beef.

Lamb Chops with Red Wine and RosemaryLamb Chops with Red Wine and Rosemary

For this recipe, I give the chops a simple seasoning of salt and pepper to add a bit of flavor without masking the taste of the lamb itself. Then, I sear them in a heavy cast iron pan for about 4 minutes per side—just enough time to create a beautiful crust while keeping the centers of our chops juicy. Because the cooking time is so short, it’s important to get the cast iron screaming hot before adding the chops.

And to complement the sweet and mild flavor of the lamb, a little red wine adds richness and depth. I deglaze the pan and whisk together a quick red wine pan sauce with aromatics like garlic and shallot and fragrant, piney rosemary and thyme. For sauces like this, I always use a dry red wine like Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot. A good rule of thumb when choosing a wine to cook with: if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it 🙂 To finish, I like to serve the dish with a handful of rich and fruity kalamata olives.

The lamb loin chops that I used here are produced by Superior Farms American Lamb, the leading purveyor of ranch to table American lamb. They partner with family farmers and ranchers across the U.S. who raise their lamb naturally, kindly, and sustainably. I always respect and appreciate brands that dedicate themselves to the well-being and care of their animals and Superior Farms believes good things come from putting the flock first.

If you are looking for something new for your regular dinner rotation, or looking for the perfect recipe for guests this winter, give lamb a try. It’s a delicious and versatile red meat that can be served on more than just special occasions!

Lamb Chops with Red Wine and Rosemary

Break out your cast iron skillet and make these delicious pan seared lamb loin chops with beautiful crusts and juicy centers. Deglaze the pan with dry red wine and whisk together a quick red wine pan sauce with aromatics like garlic and shallot and fragrant, piney rosemary and thyme.

Prep Time5 mins

Cook Time25 mins

Total Time30 mins

Servings: 4

Calories: 418kcal

Author: Andie Mitchell

  • 8 lamb loin chops each about 1-inch-thick
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • ¼ cup dry red wine (I like Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot)
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp butter
  • kalamata olives pitted, optional
  • Season the lamb chops all over with salt and pepper.

  • Place a foil-lined baking sheet in the oven and preheat the oven to 200°F (the pan will preheat as well).

  • In a large cast iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat until very hot. Add half of the lamb chops and cook until a well-browned crust forms, 4 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked chops to the baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven. Add the remaining tablespoon olive oil and cook the remaining chops (4 minutes per side); transfer to the oven with the rest of the chops to keep warm while you make the sauce.

  • Lower the heat under your cast iron skillet to medium-high; add the garlic and shallot and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add the wine, chicken broth, rosemary and thyme; bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up the crispy bits on the bottom of the pan, and then simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter.

  • Remove the chops from the oven, transfer to a platter, and pour sauce over them. Serve immediately, with kalamata olives, if desired.

Credit: Source link

17 Dec

I absolutely love the holiday season. I am the person who starts pulling out the Christmas decorations the day after Halloween. There is a house in our neighborhood that leaves Christmas lights up year round and it never fails to bring a smile to my face. But as much as I love the season, I inevitably get stressed out. A Christmas-related freak out is as much a tradition in my house as making cookies for Santa. There are some things I’ve learned over the years that help reduce holiday stress. 

Gifting Stress

Gifts are supposed to be a wonderful expression of friendship, community, love, or appreciation. And yet they can cause an awful lot of anxiety. It can be hard finding the right gift and if you have a lot of people in your life, it can get expensive. Some good tips I have learned are:

Don’t put too much effort into finding the “perfect” gift. Especially for lower priority gifts like things you get for a coworker, mailman, or your kid’s teacher. This is why gift cards exist. Or you can always go with a consumable that most people like. Focus your attention of the more important relationships where you can pick out something a little more unique and meaningful. 

James and his first presentJames and his first present

If you don’t want to break the bank, homemade gifts are almost always acceptable and appreciated. I have gotten the most compliments after giving away packages of homemade holiday treats. This is an especially good gift because you can spend a Sunday making huge batches of treats. Then buy some cheap tupperware or cookie tins, dress them up with parchment paper inside and ribbons outside and you can put together gifts for most of the people on your list. 

Receiving gifts can also cause anxiety. I get uncomfortable opening gifts in front of everyone. I feel pressure to give the person the reaction they want and also I always feel bad when someone spends their time and money on me. I like to remember that people who give gifts do so because it makes them happy to show their appreciation for other people. So I make sure to open the gift, show it to the room if others are around, and give the person a sincere thank you. If it’s particularly special, I will follow with a note. But generally if both people exchange gifts, I don’t think thank you notes are needed. 

Learn to Say No

You don’t have to go to your second cousin’s company Christmas party just because she asked. You don’t have to choreograph your niece’s preschool holiday pageant. Be realistic about your holiday obligations and don’t commit to more than you are comfortable doing. 


Let go of the idea of the perfect holiday moments. Life isn’t a Hallmark movie. Daniel and I spent about 10 minutes trying to get a photo with James on Thanksgiving where we were all looking in the general direction of the camera. At some point, I started to get frustrated but then just remembered how silly it was trying to get a 14 month old to pose for a picture. I look back at the terrible photos now and it is still a happy memory. Try not to cling to expectations about how everything is supposed to go. Just enjoy the time you have with the people you love. Try your best to have happy holidays.

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16 Dec

This hearty baked oatmeal recipe is topped with an irresistible ooey-gooey pecan pie topping, making it the perfect holiday breakfast recipe to make for overnight guests or bring to brunch! (260 cals or 8 WW points)

This post is sponsored by American Pecans.

During the rush of the holiday season, it’s easy to forget that not every meal can consist of cookies, pies, and gingerbread houses. We need real, substantial meals to get us through the baking marathons, the gift shopping and wrapping, the parties (and party prep), and all the little to-dos that pop up along the way. This pecan pie baked oatmeal is just that: a whole-grain breakfast with fiber and protein you need to keep your energy up and your holiday spirit flowing through New Year’s. Bonus: it’s also completely irresistible, thanks to an ooey gooey pecan pie topping.

Pecan Pie Baked OatmealPecan Pie Baked Oatmeal

Pecan Pie Topping for Oatmeal

This pecan pie topping is sweet, nutty, and rich, with deep caramel flavor. To make it, you’ll need just 5 minutes and 4 everyday ingredients:

  • Butter
  • Light brown sugar
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Pecans
homemade pecan pie topping homemade pecan pie topping

Combine the butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup in a small saucepan, bring the mixture to a bubble, then stir in the pecans and cook until glossy and thick. Yes, you bet it’s rich, but it’s also surprisingly nutritious because of the abundance of pecans. The mix of fiber, protein, flavonoids, and essential minerals, including 60% Daily Value of Manganese and 35% Daily Value of Copper, all work together to make American Pecans a superfood. And because they have a naturally balanced sweet and savory flavor, they’re versatile enough to work in almost any recipe, any time of year.

basic baked oatmeal recipebasic baked oatmeal recipe

How to Make Baked Oatmeal

The baked oatmeal itself is simple, satisfying, and completely nutritious, made without any added sugar (that’s where the pecan pie topping comes in!) and 7 good-for-you ingredients:

  • Old fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
  • Unsweetened almond milk (any dairy milk or milk alternative will work!)
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Baking powder
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Salt
ingredients for baked oatmeal ingredients for baked oatmeal

It’s thick, hearty, and creamy, with a hint of warmth and natural sweetness from the vanilla and cinnamon—the perfect wholesome base for any number of toppings.

Pecan Pie Baked OatmealPecan Pie Baked Oatmeal

Pecan Pie Baked Oatmeal

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time35 mins

Course: Breakfast, Brunch

Servings: 8

Calories: 254kcal

Author: Andie Mitchell

Baked Oatmeal

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt

Pecan Pie Topping

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup pecan halves, roughly chopped
  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray the bottom and sides of an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Add the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and mix well.

  • Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes. (It will go back in the oven with the topping).

  • While the oatmeal is baking during that first 15 minutes, prepare the pecan pie topping. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup to a boil, whisking constantly to prevent the mixture from burning. Once it has thickened (after about 1 minute), stir in the pecans. Remove the pan from heat.

  • Remove the oatmeal from the oven (after the 10 minutes), spread the pecan mixture over the top, and return to the oven to bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed, and the center is set.

  • Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving alongside milk or yogurt. You can serve it warm or at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days.

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