Soulful Soups…

Fall is fast upon us in New England with its cool and crisp air, leaves starting to show their new tawny hues, shorter days and chilly nights, farm stands packed with pumpkins and apples, warm sweaters, wool blankets and cozy fireside chats.  During this transition from summer to fall my thoughts always turn to pots of soup bubbling on the stovetop.  Soups are nurturing to the soul, warm you up on a cold day, and are packed with goodness.

I like to experiment with different flavors and textures in my soups and if you make a big pot of soup it can feed the family for days.   I love all kinds – big pots of chili, winter squash soups, beans and rice infused soups, asian inspired soups, and especially good old fashioned tomato soup with a grilled cheese on the side.  I’ve shared some of my favorites here with links to recipes and the makers.  Enjoy!

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Peruvian Chicken Cauli Rice Soup from The Clean Plate
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Pumpkin Soup by @kraut_kopf

 

Getting back into the Groove…

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You may find that after the slow, lazy days of summer it’s hard to get back into the fall groove of schedules, routines, meal planning, earlier bedtimes, homework and more.  With all of the transition, stress can sometimes creep in and you may feel like there is no extra time, especially for a fun, healthy meal around the dinner table.

I have a few tips here to help you move past stress and allow space for you and your loved ones.

First, it really helps to write everything down on your calendar or planner for weekly events, practices, appointments, meals and more. My friend Mia created a gorgeous planner called FLOW planner and I love it. (You should check it out!)  The Flow planner has sections for you to map out your daily events, work, weekly meals as well as special quiet time for you and fun times with the family.

With all the busyness it’s really important that you take care of yourself.  If you do not care for yourself, you cannot care for others or be fully present and live the life of your dreams. I often speak of mindfulness – I’m constantly striving to be more mindful in each moment myself.  Remember to pause and respond with intention when you are in a given moment – often our minds react to something in the present which raises our stress levels.  If you pause and take a deep breath and picture something you love, it will raise your vibration and push the stress away.

To help you get back into your routine and ward off stress you should schedule time for yourself each week to unplug, exercise, drink loads of water, meditate and make good choices around snack time.  And of course, connect with loved ones as much as you can.

Sending you love and light during this fall transition.

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Carrie Allen created this site as a way for people to share stories about things they love.  She loves chasing quiet, authentic moments and sharing them with her family and friends.  Read more about her inspiration here. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Labor Day Weekend Picnic Inspiration

Labor Day weekend is this weekend and signals the end of the summer for me.  Over the long weekend we try to get outside as much as possible.  I always love a picnic from the lavish and elegant to the simple and rustic.  I thought I’d share a few photos I found on pinterest to spark your imaginations.  Have a great weekend and get outside if you can.

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Carrie Allen created this site as a way for people to share stories about things they love.  She loves chasing quiet, authentic moments and sharing them with her family and friends.  Read more about her inspiration here. 

Banana Blueberry Muffins

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I love muffins!  I’ve been making them for years and am always adapting and tweaking my recipes – the variations are endless. They are super easy to make, you can pack them with fruit and feel great about serving them for breakfast or snacks at any time.  Lately, I start with a basic banana bread recipe and have adapted it to add even more fruit, or sometimes chocolate chips, depending on what I have on hand.  You can go even further and add a lemon icing – delish! I’ll share my basic banana blueberry muffin recipe here.  Enjoy!

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Sometimes I use paper mini loaf pans instead of muffin tins!

Banana Blueberry Muffin Recipe

  • Muffin/Cupcake paper liners
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 – ½ cups blueberries
  • 1-2 teaspoons granulated sugar, if desired
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin tin with paper liners
  2. Beat together the butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a standing mixer until well blended. Add the bananas and mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the mixer.
  4. Place 3-4 blueberries in the bottom of each paper liner. Add most of the rest of the blueberries to the batter, mixing with a wooden spoon. Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups and place remaining blueberries on top.  Sprinkle with a spoonful of granulated sugar on top if desired.
  5. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, watching closely towards the end. Make sure a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool and serve.

For variations, add chocolate chips instead of blueberries or add a mix of fruit – raspberries, cherries, blackberries.

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Banana Blueberry Muffins with Blackberries

 

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Carrie Allen created this site as a way for people to share stories about things they love.  She loves chasing quiet, authentic moments and sharing them with her family and friends.  Read more about her inspiration here. 

 

Anisa Sabet – The Truffle Farm

Black truffles have an earthy, slightly woody, intense flavor.  They are hard to find and usually require a dog or animal with a good sense of smell to sniff out the delicacies, which grow under a certain type of tree in the roots, then the truffle hunter must dig them up.  I love truffle oil and the hint of fresh truffles in savory foods.  Anisa Sabet shared photos from The Truffle Farm in Canaberra on her blog in her Shoot Diary and I will share some of them here.  They are lush and gorgeous.  Truly works of art.

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All photos by Anisa Sabet

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Carrie Allen created this site as a way for people to share stories about things they love.  She loves chasing quiet, authentic moments and sharing them with her family and friends.  Read more about her inspiration here. 

Slow Roasted Tomato Ketchup

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It’s grilling season and when planning what to grill for your next gathering, it’s fun to also think about special condiments for your table.  In keeping with last week’s post about summer fresh tomatoes, I thought it would be fun to share Anisa Sabet’s Slow Roasted Tomato Ketchup recipe.

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Anisa Sabet is one of my favorite bloggers and instagram accounts to follow.  She is a photographer and stylist and her photos and settings are just gorgeous.  She also creates recipes, which are amazing.   I have made my own tomato jam in the past and nothing beats homemade ketchup, which can be used at your next cookout or as a special sauce paired with cheeses on bruschetta.

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Recipe for Slow Roasted Tomato Ketchup by Anisa Sabet.

Ingredients (makes 500ml):

  • 1kg ripe tomatoes (anything goes), halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt & pepper
  • Handful fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 cup vermouth or white wine
  • Dash Worcestershire
  • To season: sea salt, pepper, bit more brown sugar

    Method:

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Toss tomatoes in olive oil, with the sugar, tomato paste, garlic, sea salt, pepper & basil, then spread over prepared baking tray. Bake for approximately 90 minutes until slightly charred.

2. Pour roasted tomatoes into saucepan with wine / vermouth and cook until reduced (about an hour).  Add the Worcestershire, and more sea salt, pepper & brown sugar to taste. Pour into a sterilized jar.

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All photos by Anisa Sabet.

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Carrie Allen created this site as a way for people to share stories about things they love.  She loves chasing quiet, authentic moments and sharing them with her family and friends.  Read more about her inspiration here. 

 

 

 

Ode to the tomato and easy recipe ideas

Photos above by @Tartinegourmande

If you’ve ever tasted a fresh picked, ripe tomato right off the vine, with it’s delicate scent and sweet juices, then you have tasted happiness.  During the summer, when local tomatoes are prolific, you can be creative as the tomato is very versatile and easy to use.   I’ll highlight a few favorite recipes…

Krister’s Aunt Liz reached out to me over the weekend, saying she enjoyed reading the post about Cantaloupes,  and wanted to share that one of her favorite sources for finding recipes is Southern Living.   Since it’s tomato season they had recently posted 47 Ways with Fresh Tomatoes.  Liz’s current favorite from the list is Tomato, Watermelon, and Feta Skewers with Mint and Lime.  I can’t wait to try it!

Also from Southern Living’s list of 47, these Open-faced Tomato Sandwiches with Creamy Cucumber Spread look simple and delicious!  According to the Southern Living Test Kitchen, cut your tomatoes with a serrated knife so that you do not damage the flesh when cutting the skin and lose the juices.

These remind me how easy it is to make variations on this for summer cocktail parties.  You will never go wrong with the super combo of fresh tomatoes and basil on toast, bruschetta or crackers.  Drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top with a sprinkling of sea salt and oh my.

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Photo by @brookelark

I have always loved making a tomato pie and this recipe on the Southern Living list looks gorgeous – Tomato, Cheddar and Bacon Pie.  You can always leave out the bacon if you wish.

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Photo by Hector Sanchez Tomato, Cheddar and Bacon Pie Recipe

One of my favorite recipes to make year round is Cherry Tomato Tartlets Tatin by @tartinegourmande and her cookbook La Tartine Gourmande.  You slow roast the cherry tomatoes before assembling the Tatin to bake.

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Cherry Tomato Tartin made for my love on Valentine’s Day!

With this recipe I often have leftover roasted cherry tomatoes and they are delicious on their own or added to other recipes.

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Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes by Plan Simple Meals

Thomas Jefferson was one of the first Virginians to grow and eat tomatoes.  Since tomatoes are in the nightshade family most Americans were afraid they were poisonous and did not eat them. Legend has it that Thomas Jefferson first ate them in front of a crowd near Lynchburg, VA at his retreat Poplar Forest and later in 1806 served them to guests at the President’s house which led to their popularity as an edible fruit in addition to a decorative planting.

“Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can’t buy
That’s true love and home grown tomatoes.”

John Denver, ‘Home Grown Tomatoes’
(from a song written by Guy Clark)

 

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Carrie Allen created this site as a way for people to share stories about things they love.  She loves chasing quiet, authentic moments and sharing them with her family and friends.  Read more about her inspiration here.