Happy Valentine’s Day lovely readers! I hope that your snowy Thursday is filled with love, laughter, and hopefully not too many sweets. Isn’t it crazy how many treats just pop up on holidays like today? If you find yourself craving some amazing cookies though, try making these beauties today for your Valentine! I don’t usually get really into Valentine’s Day, mostly because I like to love on my husband and family/friends year round, but I’m definitely into the whole Leslie Knope-Galentine’s-making it a holiday-type of thing that happening on social media. Yay women lifting up other women!
So I’ve been started training recently for a 5k run. Last year, my husband, mom and dad, sister and brother in law all ran in the Irish Jig 5k and we had a blast! But after the run, I really struggled to stay motivated to actually get my butt to the gym and run. So I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to just keep signing up for races to keep myself motivated. And this works perfectly for one of my resolutions this year, to run a 10k, which I’ve never done before. Also, one of my life goals is to run a marathon but that feels way too crazy for 2019. Maybe 2020. Anyways, we are all running in the Irish Jig this year and I can’t wait! It’s seriously so fun and there’s so many people that run in it. You should totally sign up too! Yay free shirts!
Our second winter storm has hit good old Grand Rapids. Hopefully we won’t lose power this time! It’s supposed to warm up today to almost 40 and then drop below freezing so we might be seeing some more awesome ice photos from around Michigan. I’m looking forward to staying inside with my fuzzy slippers and playing Sushi-Go with my husband until the storm passes. If you haven’t played this game yet, seriously go get it. It’s so fun!
I’ve been really into podcasts recently (I forget now if I brought this up last week…) but I would love to hear what your favorite podcasts are! Please comment below because I would love to check them out. I also always am on the lookout for new books to read, but my stack is growing taller everyday so those might just get plugged into my amazon wish list. Speaking of books, be on the lookout for a book review for the Bee Keeper’s Lament in the next couple of days! I hope your day is filled with love!
We made it! Made it through January that is. While it’s still cold outside, we did get a little taste of spring in the last week. The temperatures actually almost reached the 50s! The sun was shining, I got to run outside on dry pavement, snow was melting, I considered bathing suit shopping, grass was visible, and I think I even heard birds chirping. And then it dipped below freezing and everything froze, like mid melt frozen. Currently, everything is covered in a thin layer of ice, which, while it’s incredibly gorgeous, it’s a bit of a pain. Also, our power is out and it looks like it won’t be on again until Sunday.
This crazy weather is pushing me inside and I’ve been really trying to avoid getting sick this past week. It seems like everyone at work is coming down with some kind of sickness and I’m not about that life. I absolutely hate being sick. I have some tried and true tricks that help me personally avoid getting sick. I try to drink tea, especially echinacea tea, which helps to naturally boost your immune system. They also make echinacea supplement pills but I hate the flavor of those and its quite a big pill to swallow. I also try to make sure I get as much sleep as I possibly can. Naps on repeat. Adding in nutrient packed juices is something I’ve recently started trying out and it’s worked so far. Every time I got sick growing up, my parents insisted it was due to a lack of regular exercise. My parents are big believers in sweating out a cold or sickness. So sticking to a workout regime is something I want to do in the new year to help out my immune system and to feel healthier all around.
I’m almost done with Michelle Obama’s book,Becoming, and I can’t wait to share how much I love it! So so good!
Hello! And welcome to the brand new-est page on the Nutmeg Blog! I’m super excited about this part of the site! I’ve been wanting to have a section where I can just ramble and share tidbits without always attaching a recipe. Also, I don’t know about you, but I hate having to scroll through a story about someone’s dog just to get to the actual recipe on a blog. I really prefer to preface a recipe with information about how I came up with the recipe or interesting information about the ingredients or the recipe. So, the thought behind this page is to create a lifestyle/online journal mostly for myself, but also for you if you want to read about it! I plan on sharing things that are happening in my life, as well as health and wellness tips, crafts, life hacks, or really anything that pops into my head! Every Thursday, I’m going to share a little update as well as cool things I’ve seen on the interwebs and things I’m really into right now, called Thursday Thoughts. I’m also going to share articles, posts, or whatever you want to call it about different topics sporadically. If there’s something specific that you’d like me to discuss, feel free to leave a comment below!
My gorgeous sister, Allyson Regan, took a few headshots of me specifically for this new section. I have to admit that I was super nervous to be the focus instead of my food. It’s been a rough year and my confidence has been lacking. But Ally was great at capturing my personality and I’m so excited to share these photos! If you want to get out of your comfort zone, I highly recommend getting some photos of just yourself taken. Check out her website here!
If you live nowhere near the Midwest, congrats, you’ve made an excellent life decision. The last couple days have been brutally cold with sub-zero temperatures. I went to work two out of the past three days and each time I’ve been out on the roads, my 30 minute commute has taken over 90 minutes. They even closed the highways on Tuesday due to two different pile-ups. Even just looking out my window, I could barely see the woods across the street! Yesterday, I was home and got a lot of stuff done around the house and even tested a few recipes. I also listened to Rachel Hollis’ podcast called Rise and if you haven’t heard of her, climb out from under your rock and prepare for your life to be changed. Seriously. I’ve been listening for the past month and I started from the very beginning with the first episode. I like to listen to it on my way into work and it’s just so inspiring and motivational. She usually interviews women in business who have done incredible things with their lives and the advice that comes out of those interviews is so valuable. Her book, Girl Wash Your Face, is coming up in my book list and I can’t wait to read it! Seriously, check her out.
Well that’s it for now! If you’re new to my little corner of the internet, feel free to pop on over to the About page to learn more!
Can we just start by acknowledging how weird the word brussels is spelled? Like it kind of makes sense on it’s own, and then you go adding sprout after it and all of a sudden, it feels like you should drop the ‘s’ but you don’t. So when you want to write more than one brussels sprout, you call it brussels sprouts. Double s’s. Weird.
Anyways, no matter the reasoning behind that, raw brussels sprouts are one of those things that I think is extremely under-rated. Raw sprouts are rarely used and people normally avoid brussels sprouts or extremely over cook them. What a shame! I love brussels sprouts and when they are raw, they have such a unique flavor that’s so good in salads.
This is one of my absolute favorite salads right now. It’s fresh, crunchy, tangy, a bit spicy and a bit sweet. It’s a perfect make ahead salad and it’s great to have in the fridge after the holidays.
Kale Brussels Salad
1 pound of fresh Brussels sprouts
1 bunch kale
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1/2 cup almond slices, toasted
1 small yellow onion
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cayenne
1 cup oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
Begin by trimming the bottom of the sprouts and shredding them. You can do this by hand or in a food processor if you have the shredder attachment. Shred the kale and run through a salad spinner to remove the dirt. Add the Parmesan and almonds to the Brussels and kale.
In a tall container, combine the onion (chop up a bit so it mixes better), mustard, lemon juice and zest, sugar, salt, cayenne, and pepper. Mix using an immersion blender, and once the base is combined, add the oil in slowly to create an emulsion. Taste before mixing it into the rest of the salad. If you don’t like a spice, start with 1/4 tsp of cayenne. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and mix well!
This salad is great to make ahead of time and will just get better as it sits! It will last for 6 days.
New Year’s Eve is just a few short days away, so I wanted to share this tasty cocktail. It’s one of those drinks that looks awesome, and feels classy but is super simple to make. If you’ve never had a kir royale, like me lol, it’s classically a french drink served as an apertif before meals (thanks Google!). It contains creme de cassis, which is a black currant liqueur and wine. More times than not, the wine is white and it is sparkling.
I wanted to put a slight twist on this classic French drink so we swapped out the creme de cassis for Chambord, which is a raspberry liqueur and topped it off with prosecco. I also added a squeeze of fresh lemon to balance out the sweetness.
The result? This perfectly pink drink, that’s slightly sweet and full of awesome berry flavor. Chambord really does taste like raspberries. You only need about a teaspoon of liqueur per glass and plenty of prosecco. The lemon really helps to bring out the true raspberry flavor. Garnish with a couple fresh raspberries and a thin lemon twist and you’ve got yourself a party-starter! Let’s add Drink more Prosecco to all of our New Year’s Resolutions, mkay?
You guys! You are so sweet to read my blog, I seriously appreciate it so much! Today’s post is about the 5 most viewed recipes by you! It just so happens that these recipes are also some of my personal faves and are definitely enjoyed frequently in our little home.
Number 5 on the list is Chipotle Butternut Squash Risotto, which was one of my favorite posts, especially because after we were done shooting it, my sister and I ate the rest right out of the pan! This was the perfect cozy fall dish, and used some pantry items that most people already have. Plus, goat cheese, which automatically equals cozy and fall. Who doesn’t love these kinds of recipes???
The number 4 most viewed post was Burrata: The Better Mozzarella. I was so excited to research for this post because I’m OBSESSED with burrata. I mean I’ve always loved cheese, but I first had this cheese when I was working at a country club as a cook. We served it as an appetizer with fresh heirloom tomatoes, crusty bread, basil, balsamic, and plenty of salt and cracked black pepper. Then, when I went to Italy to film that TV show, we actually went to a factory that produces mozzarella and I got to see first hand how its made! Isn’t it crazy how food can transport you back through time to those fantastic memories?
Third on the list are these Boneless Chicken Wings, and at this point, I could probably make them in my sleep. My household went through roughly 12 boxes of panko crumbs during 2018. Just kidding, I have no idea but we ate this so much this year! Not that I’m complaining, at all! This is the perfect thing to make for a bunch of guys or for any kind of sporting event. Pair it with a cold beer and you’ve got yourself a crowd pleaser.
Number 2 is the Chicken Tikka Masala from just a couple weeks ago! I loved making this dish! I think it was so popular because its one of those recipes that you might be wary of trying to make at home but my recipe is fairly simple. If you are nervous about trying a new recipe, just give it a shot! Worse case, just order pizza.
The Most viewed post from 2018 is….. drumroll please…… Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies!! Of course, the most delicious looking photos just drew viewers to my site and I don’t blame you! These cookies are so good, I’ve continued to make them since posting it. I even made them for our Christmas Cookie boxes. If you’ve made this recipe, or any recipe from my blog, I’d love to see how they turned out! Don’t forget to tag me in your photo on social media, or comment with a picture below!
I can’t wait to see what favorite new recipes 2019 will bring! Happy Cooking!
My mom, Bev, my sister, Ally, and I absolutely love to do bookclub together. There’s just something about reading a book that someone else has also read while it’s still semi-fresh in your head that provides a connection that we adore. I can’t remember when we first started doing this, but since my sister and I both live in Grand Rapids, and my mom in St. Joseph, we try to do this a couple times a year.
Our bookclubs have become semi-legendary over the years. We usually kick out the boys, make/go out for some great food (preferably a cuisine that fits in with the theme of the book), and have plenty of wine. Since we enjoy these bookclubs so much, I thought that I would share what we ate, what we talked about, and what we drank!
Let’s talk about the book first. We all really liked this book! I think my mom chose this pick for us. Sarah Jessica Parker started SJP for Hogarth which is her new publishing company. This is the first book that she’s published and I think this is why we heard about it in the first place. And I’m so glad that we did!
A Place For Us is skillfully written by Fatima Farheen Mirza. In her debut novel, she takes us on a journey through an Muslim-American family trying to balance faith, family, and the crucial different between right and wrong. The book opens up with a wedding for the eldest daughter and continuously returns to the scene. Throughout the novel, it’s almost as if we are peeking into the families memories in no certain order. We get to see memories that shaped the events that happen at this wedding, from a variety of perspectives.
Overall, the consensus was that we really enjoyed this book and it was a great read! This bookclub was really fun because we were able to discuss the theme of family as it was seen in the book compared to our family.
Some of the questions that we brought up during our discussion are listed below. These are great starting points, but feel free to add your own! When I lead the questions, I also like to start with some broad questions which helps to get the conversation started.
What was your overall impression of the book?
Why was this book chosen?
Did you like the fragmented style that the narrative was laid out?
Would you pursue future books written by this author?
Do you think that showing a brief example of how 9/11 affected Muslim-Americans added to the story line?
How do you interpret the strained relationship between the children and their father?
Because the storyline between Amira and Amar was very Romeo & Juliet-esque, do you think it became a doomed love story?
What could have pushed Rafiq to come to the realization that he experienced in the final section before Amar disappeared again?
How could their family dynamics have differed if they weren’t Muslim?
How much of the Amar-troubles could have been avoided if they had a more open dialogue between the children and the parents?
The menu for our bookclub included this thick and sweet Mango Rum Lassi, delicious and comforting Chicken Tikka Masala, warm naan bread, and a nice warming bottle of Rioja wine. We chose the lassi because it’s something that was featured in the book, without the rum of course, and we had never tried one before! It was quite sweet, and I think each of us only had one small glass before we switched to wine. The Tikka Masala is one of my favorite things to make at home, and since it was also mentioned int he book, it was a natural fit. The naan bread seemed fitting too, and we just warmed it up for a minute or two in the oven before serving. I also made a coconut basmati rice to serve under the tikka. This rice was super easy, just replace all of the water with coconut milk and add in salt, pepper, and fresh or ground ginger.
Because my sister is a vegetarian, I also made a simple cauliflower tikka masala, which I basically just made the same recipe without marinating the chicken. It turned out so good and the cauliflower pieces just steamed in the sauce and absorbed all that flavor.
If you have any other questions about this book or about how to host a book club of your own, feel free to drop a comment or send me a message! I’d love to hear from you!
I’ll be the first to admit it, there a quite a few holes in my literary education. I haven’t read anything by Jane Austen, Margaret Atwood, or even all of the Harry Potter books. I know, its terrible. But I love to read! So when thinking about what books I want to read in 2019, I put together a list of classics, nonfiction, memoirs, and new releases. If you want to up your reading game, feel free to use this list and let me know about it by using the hashtag, #nutmegreads2019 so I can see it! I think 2019 is going to be a good year for readers!
Be aware, this is a long post. If you just want the new releases list, feel free to search for my 2019 Book List on Amazon to see what new releases I’m excited about!
(1) Becoming by Michelle Obama
First on my list is the most recent book that I’ve bought, that was just released a month or two ago. This is definitely one of those bandwagon books that I’ve seen all over social media. I’ve always been a big fan of the Obamas, and I haven’t read any of the books that they’ve written. Maybe I’m just missing them being in office so I feel compelled to read this book, but I’m also intrigued at the idea of getting a closer look into Michelle and what it was like for her to be the First Lady.
(2) Golden Child by Claire Adam
This next book is going to be released in January of 2019. I found this book on Oprah’s list of the Most Anticipated books of 2019 so it’s probably going to be a great read. This book is published by Sarah Jessica Parker’s new publishing house and if this book is anything like her debut book, A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mizra, it will be very well written. It tells the story of a mother choosing between her two sons, set in Trinidad.
(3) Severance by Ling Ma
I know, I’m a little late to the Ling Ma train, but better late than never, right? Published towards the end of the summer, this book quickly caught the attention of book reviewers and even NPR. In her debut novel, the main character lives in NYC but ends up fighting for her life in an apocalypse-type situation. Not quite the usual reason people leave the Big Apple. While I love movies that have this same fight-for-survival theme, I’m interested to see how it plays out on the page.
(4) There There by Tommy Orange
The striking orange cover with black artwork is what drew me to this book, and the reviews are what prompted me to add it to my list. In fact, this book was on the New York Times Book Reviews 10 Best Books of 2018 list. Orange’s debut novel tackles of theme of home through the eyes of Native Americans’ set in Oakland, California. Hopefully, it’s a great read!
(5) The Handmaid’s Tale
I’ve been meaning to read this book for years now. In a sense, I have read parts of the books, through the lense of Sparknotes, apologies to my Honors English teacher! This book is finally being pushed to the top of my reading list not only because I want to finally watch the series on hulu, but also because Margaret Atwood is coming out with a sequel to this book in 2019! If you also haven’t read this classic dystopian novel, it’s the story of a world where womans’ freedoms are limited and women are only valued for their fertility.
(6) In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
This is another book that’s been on my shelf for a while, but I’m pushing it near the top of my list for next year. I’m obsessed with food, not sure if you noticed) and I’ve been told that I should read this multiple times. In this nonfiction book, Pollan delves into the idea of what we should actually be eating and how, over the years, food has left natural food items and turned into products of food science. I’m looking forward to this book and it will be a timely read when so many people are trying to be healthier in the New Year.
(7) Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs
I first heard about this book on NPR and I was immediately interested. I don’t know much about Steve Jobs or even that he was married!
(8) The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Pt. 1, 2, and 3
I’ve seen the movies… so I should really read the books!
(9) The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald
I found this book on another Most Anticipated List, it might have been Oprah’s again. This chilling story is definitely a huge step out of my comfort zone for books. I avoid scary movies at all costs and I hardly ever read thrillers. But this book sounds so intriguing that I just might give it a shot.
(10) My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
This is one of those books that I picked up a while ago at a little bookstore in Grand Rapids cleverly called Books and Mortar. Written by an Italian author, I bought this because I was intrigued by a story that takes place in Naples. I hope it was a good purchase!
(11) Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
I don’t read many memoirs, but one of my goals for 2019 is to read more memoirs by people that inspire.
(12) More Than Words by Jill Santopolo
(13) Atonement by Ian McEwan
(14) All The Birds in The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
(15) Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
(16) American Prison by Shane Bauer
(17) Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken
(18) The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray
(19) The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
(20) All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
(21) The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer
(22) The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano
(23) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
(24) After you by Jojo Moyes
(25) The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey
(26) Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi
(27) Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
(28) Era of Ignition by Amber Tamblyn
(29) How to Change your Mind by Michael Pollan
(30) Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks
(31) The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
(32) The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
(33) The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates
(34) The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani
(35) Choice Cuts by Mark Kurlanksy
(36) Sourdough by Robin Sloan
(37) Normal People by Sally Rooney
(38) Frederick Douglass by David W. Blight
(39) Feast Your Eyes by Myla Goldberg
(40) Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan
(41) The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
(42) The Farm by Joanne Ramos
(43) Farmacology by Daphne Miller
(44) City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
(45) Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
(46) The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
(47) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
(48) The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
(49) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
(50) I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
I just might add to this for the second half of 2019, as most of the new releases I found are being published in the first six months of the year. Plus, I’m sure I’ll come across a few classics that I desperately need to get under my belt!
Sweater weather is definitely here and while I adore the snow, I am craving just a bit of sunshine. Or maybe I just need some Vitamin D…
This recipe came about from a book club get-together with my mom and my sister. We love to get together and chat about a book we’ve all read, enjoy some good food, and usually a cocktail or at least some wine. This time we read A Place for Us, which is such a good book! If you’re hosting a book club for this book, look for a full post on it coming soon!
This was my first ever Mango Lassi, or Lassi in general, and in true Nutmeg-style, I added booze to it. A Lassi is a traditional yogurt drink from India that usually contains water, sugar, fruit, and yogurt. To keep with the tropical vibe of the mango that I chose for this version, I added rum, which felt all too natural. Because I don’t really care for overly sweet drinks, I chose honey over the sugar for this recipe.
2 cups frozen mango chunks
1/2 cup whole milk greek yogurt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup white rum
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Taste to make sure you have the sweetness correct because every bag of frozen mango can have a different amount of sweetness. This recipe make enough for 4 people, however it is a small glass for each. For my mom and my sister, it was just enough for us because the drink is very thick and rich with that yogurt.
Did November fly by for anyone else? No? Just me then. I literally did not post anything in the month of November and for that I am sorry! I was super busy with starting a new job, getting together with family and friends, and overcoming an amazingly long cold. But this apple butter totally makes it all better!
This salted maple apple butter is THE perfect thing to have on hand during the Holiday season. It’s a set it and forget it type of recipe that can also be used for quick and easy desserts. I love using my crockpot for prep items and this is a huge time saver for this recipe that takes a long, long, long time to finish. And who wants to stand over the stove for 10 hours stirring?
Salted Maple Apple Butter
1 1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 Tbsp salt
6 pounds apples, peeled and cored
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Combine all ingredients in a large crockpot. I used a combination of golden delicious apples and honeycrisp apples. Cook on high for 3 hours, then cool on low for 5 hours. The mixture will darken in color quite a bit. Blend well using a blender or an immersion blender, and taste. You want the consistency to be thick, even when hot. If needed, continue cooking in the crockpot on low, or transfer to a pot on the stove if necessary. Makes about 5 cups of apple butter.