Chambord Kir Royale

Photography by Allyson Regan

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.

Photography by Allyson Regan

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?

Photography by Allyson Regan

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Top 5 Recipes from 2018

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.

Photography by Allyson Regan

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???

Photography by Allyson Regan

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.

Photography by Allyson Regan

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.

Photography by Allyson Regan

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!

Photography by Allyson Regan

I can’t wait to see what favorite new recipes 2019 will bring! Happy Cooking!

A Place For Us-Bookclub Guide

Photography by Allyson Regan

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!

Photography by Allyson Regan

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.

Photography by Allyson Regan

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?

Photography by Allyson Regan

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.

Photography by Allyson Regan

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!

Happy Reading!

2019 Reading List

Photography by Ally Regan

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!

Happy Reading!

Mango-Rum Lassi

Photography by Allyson Regan

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.  

Mango-Rum Lassi

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.  

 

Enjoy!

 

Photography by Allyson Regan

Salted Maple Apple Butter

Photography by Megan Punches

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.

Enjoy!