Tag: Le Creuset

Authentic Bolognese Sauce

Authentic Bolognese Sauce

Like many pasta sauces there are many that are native to a particular region, such as Bolognese, a traditional Italian sauce originating in Bologna, Italy.  The meat is the focal point along with a variety of other ingredients such as onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes, olive […]

Beef and Butternut Squash Tagine

Beef and Butternut Squash Tagine

Hello my friends, here it is already the second month of 2017 and I’m sharing a recipe for the first time in eight months.  Yikes!  Now that was a painful admission.  But now that I’ve confessed my sins, let’s get on to more important things, […]

Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse

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Many people have traditional holiday dishes they prepare year after year with no thought of deviation.  I don’t fall into that group of people because;  A) I’m not traditional and B) every holiday throughout the year is an opportunity to try something new and Christmas eve is no different.  My daughter and I take turns hosting holidays and this Christmas eve it was dinner at my house.  Deciding on what to cook is never a dilemma because I always have a stash of recipes I’m yearning to take a stir at.  As you can imagine, when I cook on a holiday it’s quite a dramatic production from gourmet food to a table set for a queen or a bloggess!

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I begin giving thought to the menu months before the actual holiday.  Back in October I visited a friend in NYC and we went out for a light dinner before a show and I had bouillabaisse at a French restaurant in Manhattan.  I have yet to get the rich flavor of the broth out of my mind, so I decided bouillabaisse was going to be the focal point of our holiday dinner, 2015.

And there’s no one better than Julia Child to take the lead in my kitchen with her recipe for this Mediterranean fisherman’s stew along with a couple of sidesteps to simplify the process without sacrificing flavor.  Let’s get started….

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Sausage Soup

Sausage Soup

[shareprints gallery_id=”4984″ gallery_type=”masonry” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_100″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]It’s been an unusually warm December, who’s complaining, right?  Thank you El Niño, us Minnesotan’s are enjoying your wave of warmth!  But while the milder-than-usual winter weather is anathema to skiers […]

Classic Seafood Paella

Classic Seafood Paella

This tasty feast is widely regarded as Spain’s national dish, but most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish.  I saw a lot of paella being served up at markets throughout France and interesting enough, even though we all regard it as a […]

Top Ten Unique Christmas Gift Ideas

Top Ten Unique Christmas Gift Ideas

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‘Tis the giving season and since I love to give gifts, I thought I might clue you in on a few of my top picks for those hard to buy for people in your life.  I know we’re getting a bit close to Christmas but if you order online this week, you’re sure to receive your purchase by December 24th.  If you wait much longer you’ll be paying for air freight.

Since I like to give gifts unique to the personality or interest of my recipient, I thought I’d share with you my list of Top Ten Unique Gift Ideas for Christmas.  I’ve included links so to make it easy for you to order those last-minute gifts.

1.  The PocketMonkey.  Seriously, I WANT this!  Twelve functions packed into one millimeter of stainless steel.  It’s the size of credit card, so you can easily carry it with you at all times and can act as a bottle opener, a phone stand, screw driver and its uses go on and on.  Any guy would love to receive this handy-dandy little tool.  Check out the PocketMonkey, it may be just the thing you’re looking for, for that guy who has everything.[shareprints gallery_id=”3904″ gallery_type=”squares” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_70″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]9.  A few years back I discovered a company called Bottlehood.  They take liquor and wine bottles and turn them into tumblers, candle holders and cool pieces of jewelry.  I purchased the Grey Goose on-the-rocks glasses for my son-in-law and a necklace for myself.[shareprints gallery_id=”3932″ gallery_type=”squares” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_70″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”4″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]7.  For the traveler on your list, delight them with a Pacsafe Backpack.  It’s the perfect size backpack that keeps your items secure and has slash-proof stainless steel wire between the fabric to prevent bag slashers from slicing through and running off with your gear.  It also features state-of -the-art RFIDtec material that blocks out transmissions and stops personal information from being accessed by identity thieves if you have your credit card in your pack.  This pack isn’t cheap $250, but honestly well worth every penny if you’re travelling abroad.  I picked mine up at REI.[shareprints gallery_id=”3938″ gallery_type=”squares” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_70″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”4″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]6.  A journal for someone like me who likes to jot things down.  Whether it be a list of places to go, about a current travel destination or personal thoughts, a journal makes a great gift.  [shareprints gallery_id=”3940″ gallery_type=”squares” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_70″ image_size=”large” image_padding=”4″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]5.  Silly Socks.  I have a thing for buying socks as souvenirs when I travel…I bring home a pair for each of the grandkids.  It started a few years back when I got the idea from a friend of mine who did that for her grandson.  Brilliant idea that has stuck with me ever since.  Who doesn’t love socks?  I’m partial to SmartWool for running, hiking or everyday wear to keep my naturally cold feet, toasty.  Socks make a perfect for anyone you want to pick up a little something for.[shareprints gallery_id=”3943″ gallery_type=”masonry” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_80″ image_size=”large” image_padding=”4″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]6.  Le Creuset Salt Crock  Some people call them salt cellars or salt boxes, but any way you shake it these are cool.  If you have an aspiring chef or foodie on you Christmas list you’re sure to hear squeals of delight when they unwrap this treasure.  They come in all colors and are ready to sit on the kitchen counter filled with kosher salt or fleur de sel.[shareprints gallery_id=”3948″ gallery_type=”masonry” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_80″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”4″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]5.  Sea Salt.  There are literally a gazillion varieties out there that you can purchase at Williams Sonoma or head into TJ Maxx or Homegoods and you can find it for a fraction of the cost.  Right now I’m hooked on the smoked variety that makes a ribeye or fresh tomato soup come alive with a pop of smokey flavor.  A gift of sea salt is perfect for someone who likes to cook or eat and makes a good stocking stuffer too!

4.  Craft Beer.  It seems to be the latest rage in our neck of the woods and I have to say it’s quite fun sampling the different kinds.  For your craft beer lover you can give them a membership to the Craft Beer Club where they’ll receive 12 beers per month for $39 per month.  You can sign them up for 1 month, every other month or quarterly.  Cheers to this gift idea!

3.  Scarves.  This fashion trend is sure to be around for a while and this is one piece that makes a statement and dresses up any outfit.  And for those of us in cold climates, it keeps us warm too!  As I’ve posted before I love Anthropologie…lock me in and throw away the key…they have a great selection in both traditional style scarves as well as the infinity type.  Scarves work for men or women.[shareprints gallery_id=”3954″ gallery_type=”masonry” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_80″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”4″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]2.  A Mushroom Log.  Now how cool is this for the farm-to-table individual on your list.  Each hand-cut hardwood log is inoculated with spores that will sprout organic shiitake mushrooms or Phoenix Oyster mushrooms.  Start the growing process by soaking the log in water, and you’ll be able to grow multiple crops for up to 3 years.  I WANT!  These are priced right too at only $32.[shareprints gallery_id=”3960″ gallery_type=”masonry” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_100″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]1.  An Alpaca Throw.  Alpaca is a super-soft wool and this adorable stripped throw makes the perfect gift that wraps the recipient with love, all-year-round.  So what’s the big deal about alpaca?  Alpaca wool is the natural fiber harvested from an alpaca.  It’s light or heavy weight, depending how it’s spun.  It is soft, durable, luxurious and is a silky natural fiber.  While it is similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer, not itchy, and has no lanolin which makes it hypo-allergenic.  [shareprints gallery_id=”3963″ gallery_type=”masonry” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_80″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”4″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]If you don’t see what you’re looking for here but want to find a unique gift, check out Terrain.  This website is chock-full of so many great ideas for everyone on your Christmas list.  You’ll also find a link to their blog that shares wonderful holiday decorating tips.

Gift-giving doesn’t have to be work if you take a few minutes and think about your recipient;  their interests, collections, passions….the ideas will come if you put just a little thought into it.  It’s so much easier to give a thoughtful, unique gift than to receive a gift you have no use for.  Which brings me to re-gifting.  By all means, YES!  If it’s an item that is new and in its original packaging it most certainly can be re-gifted.  Just be sure it’s going to be an item enjoyed by your recipient or they’ll be re-gifting it next year…and hopefully not back to you!

You can shop local for unique gifts and support a retailer in your community or if you’re short on time you can shop online.  Either way, make it a fun experience and remember you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to find a unique gift, you can easily stay within your budget and pick up something for under $25 or whatever your budget may be.

Happy holiday shopping…ho, ho, ho!!!

Lynn

 

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Music, Food and Friendship

Music, Food and Friendship

You pretty much know by now how my weekends roll…a little fun and a lot of food.  For fun last weekend I didn’t have to stroll too far from home.  Our community hosted Lakefront Music Festival so friends and I enjoyed live music just blocks […]

Top 10 Favorite Kitchen Tools

Top 10 Favorite Kitchen Tools

After recently selling the cabin and hauling all my kitchen items home I realized my kitchen tools look like they’re about to embark on Noah’s ark because I own 2 of everything. It forced me to trim down, clear out and prioritize my kitchen cupboards […]

Respect and Honor

Respect and Honor

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On a recent business trip I called a friend along the way to see if she could meet for a cup of coffee. Meet Darcy. An amazing woman; wife, mother and business professional. It started a couple of years ago when we met while I was shopping for a Le Creuset Le Creusetcast iron pan. We exchanged phone numbers and have remained in contact since that day.

Always happy to see each other and eager to get past the “how are the kids” and onto deeper subjects. Life, learning, encouragement and mentoring. This particular day Darcy was most concerned about my love life, when am I going to find a good man. Funny thing, my friends seem more concerned about it than I am. I feel like I’m ready to give love another twirl, but I’m just not sure about how much freedom I’m willing to relinquish.

Darcy is so wise for her young years, she said you have to find a man who honors and respects you! Darcy shared examples of how her husband demonstrates his honor and respect. Geez, I must have chosen losers because I’ve never experienced what she described. It’s no wonder why they have a strong marriage…they both have made the commitment to keep their marriage growing and do whatever they can to keep it fresh and exciting while being dedicated and loyal to each other.

Sometimes I think because I’m so capable of being on my own I really don’t need a man in my life. But with the way she described her husband and their marriage it made me feel like maybe I am missing out on something. Something beautiful and deep. Is that even realistic, do the majority of married couples love that deeply?

Later that day I met up with my friend Curt for happy hour. He was enjoying his final day of “freedom” before his girlfriend returned from vacation in Mexico. He was telling me how much he missed her and that he would do absolutely anything for her because he loved her so much. And when he was telling me this, his voice had an amazing passion, he was practically in tears. I don’t think I’ve ever loved or been loved that much.

As I have these completely unguarded conversations with my friends, I know these people have been put in my life for a reason. I’m listening intently on the message and while I would rather throw caution to the wind my internal GPS is leading me away from the corner of Lying and Cheating to the intersection of Respect and Honor.

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