Slow Cooker Coconut Red Curry Vegetable Soup

With this being only our second winter in California I am pleasantly surprised this year by the cooler weather and the rain. It really feels wintery to me (in comparison to our usual warm and sunny days). As much as I know we needed the rain and I of course wanted it, I really just was starting to believe it didn’t actually happen here.

Last year was pretty much just hot and sunny the entire winter season, very little rain, it basically just felt like a continuation of the rest of the year. I assumed that was the norm and was really only bummed about it because I was missing comforting winter foods like soups and stews and other winter weather favorites.

Slow Cooker Coconut Red Curry Vegetable Soup

This year we have had some wonderfully welcomed grey and chilly days, complete with rain and the need for cozy-time. I’m talking a hot fire, lots of blankets and comforting hot foods and drinks. I have made lot of soups and my love of hot drinks has been taken to a new level. In fact, while I write this, I am sipping away on a steamy mug of dairy-free hot cocoa, while under a cozy blanket, in front of the roaring fire place. I know, I know, those of you dealing with single digit temperatures and loads of snow, probably think this Southern California girl who hails from Buffalo, NY, should shut up about rainy 50º weather, but it’s all relative, friends. Promise.

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Baby Kale and Quinoa Salad with Dates, Avocado and Citrus Hibiscus Vinaigrette

Even if I eat the very best that I can during the holidays, the minute the celebrations are over, my body craves greens, salad, soups and anything else healthy and comforting it can get it’s hands on.

This year, the morning after Christmas the hubby and I hopped into the car with the pooch and headed off to Palm Springs for a much-needed, relaxing 3-day getaway. We stayed at the Ace Hotel, which we simply adore. Despite the chilly desert weather, we enjoyed the time away, snuck in some pool side cocktails, a couples massage and lots of laying around.

The best part about getting away for me, is letting other people do the cooking, for once. As much as I enjoy doing it, it has still become a job, of sorts, for me and oftentimes I look forward to those moments when someone else is serving me something delicious and nourishing, that I didn’t have to slave over.

Baby Kale and Quinoa Salad with Dates, Avocado and Citrus Hibiscus Vinaigrette

While we were away, one morning I had a delicious kale and quinoa salad for breakfast at the King’s Highway, the fab diner at the Ace. I had it topped with a poached egg and it was exactly what I needed. But as usual, I immediately started dreaming of ways I could make it better. I obviously cannot take total credit for this, but this salad is my take on their dish. I changed some things around, I opted for baby kale, rather than regular raw kale (which I find can be slightly bitter, at times), I also added some sliced avocado and chose toasted, spiced, shelled pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for crunch rather than Marcona almonds, the caramelized shallots replaced onions. Also, I feel like I can say this, my vinaigrette puts theirs to shame.

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Roasted Potato, White Carrot and Garlic Soup

Hey guys! Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were perfect and amazing. After a busy final few months of the year, I decided to take the holiday time away from all the work and projects and simply enjoy my husband and our life. Really relish in the magic of the holidays, one of my favorite times of the year. We went to Palm Springs for a few days, went on hikes, to the beach, lots of walks and bike rides in the neighborhood and all that good stuff. It was a break I needed very much and I was happy to get grounded in what really matters this time of year.

I came back to it all yesterday feeling refreshed and excited for this new year ahead. I had time to get organized and focus on what my goals are for this new year. It always feels good to step away and bring an awareness and clarity to the important things in life.

Roasted Potato, White Carrot and Garlic Soup

I made lots of comforting and healthy food during the break, with just a little indulging here and there. We worked our way through all of our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) goodies from our box from Beachgreens. With these beautiful organic Russian banana fingerlings potatoes and the unique organic white carrots, I was simply going to roast them, one of my favorite ways to enjoy veggies this time of year, but with the cooler weather a bowl of comforting soup was calling my name. I had some chicken bone broth in the freezer from one of the chickens we got from our farmer a while back, so it was perfect.

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How-to Make a Mulled Wine Kit

by Beth @ Tasty Yummies

Tutorial Tuesdays // Tasty Yummies How-to Make a Mulled Wine Kit

How-to Make a Mulled Wine Kit

For all of you last minute Christmas elves, this simple-but-sweet tutorial on How-to Make a Mulled Wine Kit is great for the wine lover on your list and it also makes a wonderful, thoughtful gift for any hostesses/hosts of holiday parties and other celebrations this season.

You can easily grab what you need from your pantry and the local grocer and pull this together in minutes. You can even skip the wine and the alcohol all together and send this along with a quart of local apple cider for a mulled cider option.

How-to Make a Mulled Wine Kit

Mulled wine is such a comforting and festive drink this time of year or really anytime from the fall through the winter. It’s easy to make and this kit makes it even easier. Besides the simple recipe for the mulling spices and the instructions on the different ways you can package your gift, I even created printable tags and instructions for the gift recipient, for you to include in your kit. So, literally all you have to do is pull your ingredients together, hit “print”, fill your name in and your gift is done! Simple as that. Grab a cute box or wooden crate, or a beautiful gift bag, some cute ribbon or twine and voila, a thoughtful, handmade edible gift!

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