Featuring: The Foundry

Here is a photographic spotlight on a Minneapolis favorite.  The Foundry is an amazing boutique shop, supplying the perfect household items.  Each good is hand picked by the owner (who was also working  the shop whenever we stopped in), and is chosen with great intention and care.  Basically, living in the shop would be like living in Kinfolk (so dreamy).  Though you can't shop the store online, it is full of great inspiration and happiness, so take a wonder over there and see what the shop is all about.  It is the kind of place that makes you breathe deeper, you know?

Hope your week is happy and calm.  We've almost made it to Friday...


Cheese Tasting

Cheese is one of the greatest foods ever.  Its perfect for anything, but I especially love it as an appetizer.  Surdyk's, my local cheese & wine shop in Minneapolis, helped me pick out great tasting cheeses for beginner, intermediate, and advanced cheese lovers. 

Beginner: The cheesemonger at Surdyk's recommended something soft, like a buttery goat cheese or a French triple cream brie.  

Intermediate: A Spanish Manchego was up for the intermediate food taster - made from raw sheep's milk, it had a distinct salty flavor that would pair well with every kind of fruit spread imaginable as well as a garnish on main dishes. 

Advanced: Surkyk's recommended something with a complex flavor, like this Swiss Gruyere.  The cheesemonger liked serving something with a mushroom-y flavor to the advanced cheese taster.  It was smooth, strong, and memorable. 

Would you host a wine and cheese tasting party?  What type of cheese do you typically go for?  


Target Design Collaboration: Kate Young

Right after we get a peek at Prabal Gurung's collection for Target, the next design partnership is announced: Kate Young for Target.

Target released some sketches that hint at the future collection - what do you think??  I'm personally loving the sophisticated vibe of each look! 

The collection arrives on April 14!


{No-Cream} Creamy, Velvety Root Vegetable Soup

In need of a {creamless} creamy, healthy winter soup recipe? Look no further! This recipe does a great job exchanging cream with vegetables by blending starchy white vegetables to make the soup creamy and luxurious.  I promise you won't miss the cream here!

An extra bonus: it is literally as easy as chop, boil, blend.  Plus, though white foods tend to get a bad reputation, did you know that white vegetables are actually super nutritious, and have cancer fighting properties? Let's dig in...

Creamy Cauliflower and Celery Root Soup

1/2 cup French lentils
2 bay leaves
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 head of cauliflower
1 small celery root
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt, Pepper to taste
Optional toppings: olive oil/truffle oil, paprika, chopped hazelnuts

1.  Boil one pot of salted water.  Once boiling, add lentils and 1 bay leaf.  Simmer until lentils are tender, approximately 30 minutes, and drain.
2.  Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes.
3.  Add cauliflower and celery root to onion mixture, stirring to combine.  Fill the pot with water until the water barely covers the vegetables.  Season with cumin, salt, and pepper, and add remaining bay leaf.  Simmer until vegetables are tender, approximately 15-20 minutes.
4. Puree vegetable mixture in a blender until smooth.  Careful with the heat here- vent the lid or cover with a towel to ensure you don't have a soup mess on your hands!
5.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Add lentils, and stir to incorporate.
6.  Serve topped with a drizzle of good olive oil (or truffle oil!), a sprinkle of paprika, and some chopped hazelnuts for crunch.  Enjoy!


Don't Eliminate, Exchange

Did you make a New Years resolution? Though we are almost to the end of January (can you believe it?), it's never too late to make some resolutions to make small changes that can make a big difference in the overall health equation.  Whether it is adding a short walk during the lunch hour, one less cup of coffee, or one more piece of fruit everyday, making a small habit that can stick can have a huge impact.

That said, there isn't always a need for deprivation or completely taking out the luxuries that make life great.  I am a huge fan of swapping in healthier choices that feel just as special as the originals.  Sometimes the swap ends up being more satisfying and more fun to enjoy!

Swap #1: Pure Dark Chocolate for Candy
Candy might satisfy that sweet tooth, but it is definitely not doing your body any favors.  Dark chocolate is rich and velvety, and a small amount can be super satisfying.  It has beneficial antioxidants and flavanols, and has less impact on blood sugar than other chocolate varieties or candies.  Forget those Sour Patch Kids... bring on the Ghirardelli!

Swap #2: Banana Frozen Yogurt for Ice Cream
Have you heard of the banana ice cream revolution? It started with a post from a vegan blogger, and took over the cyber world.  I have tried it, and it's great! Just freeze a few peeled bananas (one per serving) until frozen solid, and blend them until light, fluffy, and smooth.  For fun, add some dark chocolate chunks (see swap #1!), cinnamon, or vanilla extract.  This swap decreases sugar, fat, and dairy intake, provides fiber, and adds to your daily fruit intake.  What's not to love?

Swap #3: Vegetable Blended Soups for Cream Soups
There is no time for hearty soups like January.  Instead of packing in the calories and fat with a cream soup, try making a pureed soup using vegetables for the "creamy" component! Some successful recipes: potato, cabbage, and leek; celery root and cauliflower; butternut squash with ginger; and white bean.  It's easy- boil chopped vegetables in broth or seasoned water until tender, blend with a blender or immersion blender e voila! Creamy soup! Be sure to use potatoes, beans, cauliflower, celery root, or another starchy vegetable/legume to up the creaminess.
(Bonus: look for a creamy vegetable soup recipe next week!)

Swap #4: Honey for Sugar 
Do you use sugar in your tea, coffee, on your cereal, or perhaps to add sweetness to fruit? This is a beyond easy swap.  Use honey! It is as sweet as sugar, but is natural and minimally processed.  There are more benefits too if you choose a raw, local, organic variety.  Honey may decrease regional allergy symptoms (since pollen is the basis of honey, your body develops a tolerance to regional types), and is a natural antibiotic.

Swap #5: Red Wine...
Kidding! Why would anyone want to swap out wine? Plus there are beneficial antioxidants, as long as you choose red varieties.

Have you made any healthy swaps this year? Are there any foods/drinks that you want to swap out for a healthier choice?


Minneapolis, City of Sisterly Love

A few highlights of our sister time in Minneapolis.  It was insanely cold, but we managed to keep warm with shopping and pastries.  And wine.  There is always wine.


Indoor Herb Garden

What's the best way to beat winter blues?  Start an herb garden in your apartment!  I have parsley, thyme, and rosemary making my apartment smell awesome lately.  Just add a plant lightbulb if you're low on natural light, and you've got fresh herbs on hand!


Lentil and Farro Salad, 3 Ways

I love leftovers; not having to cook but still getting a homemade meal?  Yes please.  But they can get redundant quickly.  Which is why I love this recipe for Lentil and Farro Salad.  It's a super yummy, filling, and vegetarian dish that I love to make in a large batch and use throughout the week for multiple dinners.  The trick is that you can repurpose the dish into 3 different and quick-to-make meals once you start from the lentil salad you made once: Stuffed Acorn Squash, Crispy Lentil Burgers, and Lentil Soup.  You can also use it as a hearty side dish.

Lentil and Farro Salad
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 yellow onion (or half if it is big), chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup green French lentils (or your preferred variety of lentils), rinsed
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 cup farro
1 bunch spinach

In a medium pot, sautee carrot, celery, onion, and garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes.  Add rinsed lentils and stir, then add curry, cumin, and a pinch of salt & pepper. Stir to combine.  Add enough water to cover the lentils by 1 inch, then turn up heat and bring to a simmer.  Let simmer about 15-20 minutes until most of the water has evaporated and the lentils are tender to your liking.

Meanwhile, bring farro and 2 cups water with a large pinch of salt to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes, until tender.  Drain and add to the lentil mixture when it is ready.

Add spinach to the lentils and farro.  Mix over medium low heat until the spinach wilts.  Add liquid if necessary, and taste at this point to adjust seasonings if needed.  Adding freshly grated parmesan here is optional.

Dinner #1: Stuffed Acorn Squash
  • Cut an acorn squash in half, scoop out the middle & seeds, and rub cut sides with olive oil and some salt and pepper.  Roast cut-side up in 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until you can easily push into it with a fork. 
  • Fill each half with lentil salad.  Grate some fresh parmesan or gruyere on top of it and stick it back in the oven for a minute or two until the cheese is melted. 

Dinner #2: Crispy Lentil Burgers
  • Mix 1 cup lentil salad with 1 lightly beaten egg, 1 tablespoon-ish finely grated parmesan, and some flour if your batter is too runny. 
  • In a frying pan, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  When hot, drop some lentil batter and fry it up until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes per side.  Serve on a bun or with a dollop of sour cream, greek yogurt, ricotta, or a poached egg. 

Dinner #3: Lentil Soup 
(I don't have a picture because we ate it too fast)
  • Put your leftover lentil salad from your previous lentil dinners in a medium pot.  Add broth (chicken or vegetable, whatever you have on hand) until lentils are covered and it looks like soup.  Bring to a boil and simmer for up to 10 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste; to lighten it up, add some water to taste as well.  I added some fresh chopped parsley to freshen the flavor.  
  • Puree half of the soup in a food processor or blender.  Add back to the pot and stir well to combine.  



Dress: Gap; Shirt: J. Crew; Necklace: J. Crew; Shoes: Target

This weekend was an impromptu sister bash in Minneapolis.  We dressed up, ate pastries, and checked out local boutiques.  The perfect way to refresh.  Here's to a great week ahead!