Welcome back friends! This week we’ll be cooking Remy’s Ratatouille from one of my favorite Disney and Pixar films, Ratatouille!
This recipe is featured near the end of the film when Remy is preparing a meal for the food critic, Anton Ego. It is referred to briefly as a “peasant’s dish”, but Remy’s version ignores all labels and boils down to good food that comforts the soul.
Ratatouille is warm and comforting; the perfect main or side dish for a cool or cold day. The arrangement of vegetables within the baking dish is creative and fun to do, although give yourself enough time to mise en place before beginning! Anyone can cook, bon appetit!
2 eggplant, trimmed and very thinly sliced
6-8 Roma tomatoes, trimmed and very thinly sliced
2 yellow squash, trimmed and very thinly sliced
2 zucchini, trimmed and very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
Pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons of fresh thyme
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Slice the eggplant, tomatoes, squash, and zucchini into approximately 1-mm rounds (I used a mandolin when possible), then set aside.
To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in an oven-safe pan over medium-high heat.
Sauté the onion, garlic, and bell peppers until soft (about 10 minutes), then season with salt and pepper.
Add the crushed tomatoes and stir until the ingredients are fully incorporated, then remove from heat, add the basil and stir again.
Pre-heat the oven for 375 F.
Arrange the sliced veggies in a repeating pattern (squash, zucchini, eggplant, tomato) on top of the sauce from the outer edge to the middle of the pan, then season with salt and pepper.
To prepare the herb seasoning, mix together the basil, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl.
Brush the herb seasoning over the arranged vegetables.
Cut a circle of parchment paper and place it over the vegetables in the pan, then bake for 40 minutes.
Remove the parchment paper, then bake for another 20 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.
Welcome back friends! Do you crochet? I dabbled in crochet off and on for a few years, always fascinated, but never fully catching on. I kept at it, and suddenly, it clicked! I feel calm and cozy when I’m crocheting, and fiercely proud whenever I complete a project.
It’s that time of year for enjoying hot beverages! Let’s protect our hands from said beverages and add our own flair to the cups by crocheting our own cup cozy, or zarf!
Crochet hook (size 5.0mm)
Medium yarn (size 4)
Create a slip knot and then chain 30 stitches.
Careful not to twist the chain, bring both ends together and slip stitch into the first chain stitch to join them into a circle.
Chain 1 stitch and then loosely slip stitch into the back bump of each of the 30 chain stitches, then join with a final slip stitch.
Chain 2, then turn the work around so you’ll be working around the outside of the circle. Double crochet in each of the 30 stitches around, then join with a slip stitch.
Chain 2 and front post double crochet in a stitch and then double crochet in the next stitch. Continue alternating around the circle, then join with a final slip stitch.
Chain 2 and double crochet in a stitch, then front post double crochet in the next stitch. Continue alternating around the circle, then join with a final slip stitch.
Repeat steps 5 and 6, four or five more times around and at the end of round 8 o 9, slip stitch to join.
Chain 1 and loosely slip stitch in each of the 30 stitches around, join and tie off the yarn.
Flip the cozy inside out and weave in the loose ends using your yarn needle.
Flip the cozy right side out and you’re done! Enjoy!
*This pattern will fit a Starbucks reusable travel cup. Before getting too far into this project, I recommend slipping the joined chain onto the cup you are making the cozy for. If it doesn’t fit well, adjust how many chain stitches there are up or down to fit.
Welcome back friends! Who would like some warm and comforting, homemade cinnamon rolls on one (or more) of these cold winter mornings? Maybe at a table with some coffee or tea and a good book? Or maybe a good movie or show? I know I do, so let’s bake some!
1 cup of warm milk
2 1/2 teaspoons of instant dry yeast
1/2 cup of salted butter, softened
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup of salted butter, softened
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1 cup of heavy cream, divided
1/3 cup of salted butter, softened
6 ounces of cream cheese, softened
2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
Pour the warm milk into a large bowl and sprinkle it with the yeast.
Add the butter, eggs and sugar, then mix until well combined.
Add 4 cups of the flour and the salt, then mix until well combined.
Scrape the dough off the beater blade and knead for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and smooth.
Spray another large bowl with cooking spray and use a rubber spatula to remove the dough from the mixer bowl and place in the greased bowl.
Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes to an hour).
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the soft butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and 1/2 cup of heavy cream; mixing it until well combined, then set it aside.
Once the dough has risen, sprinkle a pastry mat generously with flour, and turn the dough onto the mat. Sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour.
Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough to about 24” x 15” rectangle (though it does not have to be exact).
Use a rubber spatula to smooth the filling over the whole dough rectangle.
Starting at the long end, roll the dough up tightly.
Cut the roll into 12 slices and place in a greased 9×13” baking pan.
Cover the pan and allow the rolls to rise for 20 minutes or until nearly double.
Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
Warm the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream until the chill is off, then pour if over the risen rolls, allow it to soak in and around.
Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until gold brown and the center rolls are cooked through. Time will vary so keep an eye on them! If they are getting too brown, cover with aluminum foil.
While the rolls are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a large bowl combine the cream cheese and butter, blending well.
Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar, then beat until combined.
Spread the frosting over the cooled rolls.
*To save time in the mornings, you can also prepare the dough the night before. Make the dough and proceed to the second rise when the rolls are in the pan. Once risen, cover them up again and put them in the refrigerator until morning. In the morning, remove them from the refrigerator and allow them to sit for about 30 minutes before baking.
Have you ever intentionally created a family tradition? I haven’t, until now!
My family and I grew up watching the Charlie Brown/Peanuts holiday specials around this time every year with our parents; they all have a special place in my heart, but none more than It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Brown Christmas!
Continuing on with these good feelings and memories, embellishing it to make it our own, here is our new Christmas tradition:
The Friday before Christmas we will make our own marshmallows and hot chocolate, then sip it while we watch A Charlie Brown Christmas!
It’s simple, yet fun and heartfelt like any family tradition should be! Create happy feelings and the happy memories will follow! Feel free to use this idea for your own family tradition, or take it and change it to make it your own!
Have you ever had a pastry wrapped, baked apple? It’s like having our own personal apple pie and if you stuff it with something you love? Pure delight!
These pastry wrapped, baked apples are stuffed with something I love, Nutella! I also added some granola for texture, but you can go full Nutella if that’s what you’re into! This does take some work in preparation time, but it will be well worth it to eat! Enjoy it my friends!
PASTRY WRAPPED BAKED APPLES WITH NUTELLA & GRANOLA
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon of water
4 Granny Smith apples
1 package of frozen puff pastry
Set out the pastry dough to thaw enough to work with while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar and ground cinnamon, then set it aside.
In a separate small bowl, beat the egg and the water together until combined, then set it aside.
Peel the apples and then use a melon baller to scoop out the cores, leaving the bottoms intact.
Coat the outside of each apple with the cinnamon sugar mixture and set them aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out a pastry sheet to about a 9 by 10 inch rectangle, then cut the rectangle into 9, 1 inch strips.
Repeat step 6 with the second pastry sheet.
Starting at the bottom of the apple, begin winding a pastry strip around and up, slightly overlapping the edges of the pastry. Once a strip ends, align another strip and continue winding until you reach the top of the apple. Strips can be attached to one another by wetting your finger with water and smoothing dough together.
Repeat step 8 with each apple until they are all wrapped in pastry and place them all on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.
Use the extra dough to create leaf shapes and attach them to the top of each apple by wetting your finger with water and smoothing the dough together.
Lightly scoop some Nutella into the hole in the apple, then press some granola in and add more Nutella on top of the granola.
Repeat step 11 with each apple.
Lightly brush the pastry dough with the egg wash.
Chill the apples in the refrigerator for 20 to 25 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Remove the apples from the refrigerator and bake them for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
Welcome back friends! Autumn is my favorite season and while pumpkin spice has its charms, I prefer apple cider!
My family and I are starting a new Halloween tradition this year that includes drinking apple cider (check back on Friday for more details) and I thought it would be special to create our own!
Please feel free to use this recipe to create some delicious apple cider for you and yours! This cider is sweet and spiced; I used all Honeycrisp apples, but you can experiment with the combination of apples to change the flavor!
HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER
10 medium apples, quartered
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons of ground cloves
4 – 6 tablespoons of sugar
Place the apples, cinnamon, cloves and sugar into a crockpot, then add enough water to cover the apples.
Cover the crockpot and cook the contents on low for 6 hours.
Once the 6 hours have passed, use a spoon to gently crush the apples, then allow them to cook for 1 more hour.
Once cooked, turn off the heat and allow the contents to cool slightly.
Slowly ladle and strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a large pot or pitcher, then strain it a second time; discard the solids.
My family and I have created a playlist of cozy, classic Christmas music for you and yours! Christmas may be celebrated a little differently this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t kindle a little Christmas spirit!
This year we’ve decided to focus on the “tried and true” classic Christmas songs that leave a cozy feeling in your heart and soul. Primarily Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, with a few other artists sprinkled in, including Seth Macfarlane who, although a modern artist, fits in handsomely!
Please let us know if we missed or left out any of your classic Christmas favorites you feel should be included! We’d love to hear from you!
Cozy Classic Christmas Playlist 2020
CHRISTMASTIME IS HERE| Vince Guaraldi Trio
IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS|Perry Como & The Fontane Sisters
THE CHRISTMAS SONG |Nat King Cole
IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF YEAR | Andy Williams
MISTLETOE AND HOLLY | Frank Sinatra
SILVER BELLS | Bing Crosby & Carol Richards
WHITE CHRISTMAS | Rosemary Clooney
SNOW | Seth MacFarlane
THE FIRST SNOWFALL | Bing Crosby
LOOKS LIKE A COLD, COLD WINTER | Bing Crosby
BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE | Seth MacFarlane & Sara Bareilles
A WINTER ROMANCE | Dean Martin
I’VE GOT MY LOVE TO KEEP ME WARM | Dean Martin
YOU’RE ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS| Bing Crosby
SLEIGH RIDE| Ella Fitzgerald
LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! | Seth MacFarlane
WINTER WONDERLAND | Bing Crosby
A MARSHMALLOW WORLD | Seth MacFarlane
LITTLE JACK FROST GET LOST | Seth MacFarlane & Norah Jones
FROSTY THE SNOW MAN | Bing Crosby
WARM IN DECEMBER | Seth MacFarlane
CHRISTMAS DREAMING | Seth MacFarlane
I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS | Seth MacFarlane
O TANNENBAUM | Vince Guaraldi Trio
O FIR TREE DARK | Bing Crosby
THE CHRISTMAS TREE ANGEL | The Andrews Sisters
IS CHRISTMAS ONLY A TREE | Bing Crosby
DECK THE HALL | Nat King Cole
CHRISTMAS CANDLES | The Andrews Sisters
THE CHRISTMAS SONG | Seth MacFarlane
HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS | Judy Garland
A HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS | Burl Ives
(EVERYBODY’S WAITIN’ FOR) THE MAN WITH THE BAG | Seth MacFarlane
SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN’ TO TOWN | Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS | Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
JINGLE BELLS | Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
I’D LIKE TO HITCH A RIDE WITH SANTA CLAUS | The Andrews Sisters
JING-A-LING, JING-A-LING | The Andrews Sisters
CHRISTMAS DINNER, COUNTRY STYLE | Bing Crosby
CHRISTMAS ISLAND | The Andrews Sisters
MERRY CHRISTMAS POLKA | The Andrews Sisters
TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS |Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
I WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS |Bing Crosby
DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? | Bing Crosby
THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY | Bing Crosby
MY LITTLE DRUM | Vince Guaraldi Trio
HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING | Bing Crosby
THE LITTLEST ANGEL | Bing Crosby
O HOLY NIGHT | Bing Crosby
WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEW YEARS EVE? | Seth MacFarlane
Welcome back friends! This week we’ll be cooking up Little John’s beef stew featured in Disney’s animated feature, Robin Hood!
This recipe is featured when Robin Hood and Little John are taking a break in the woods. Unfortunately Little John leaves Robin to tend the stew, and Robin starts daydreaming, effectively burning the stew (don’t worry we won’t burn ours). Friar Tuck shows up while Little John is trying to salvage the food; he tries the stew, coughs a bit, and comments “well done, ain’t it?”
I love a good, hearty stew! I thought burning it would be in poor taste (#momjoke), so I kept an eye on it. I also feel like Little John takes pride in his cooking so I kept it simple based on ingredients they may have been able to obtain, but not so simple as to insult his enthusiasm.
2 tablespoons of butter
1 pound of beef stew meat, cubed
1 large onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon of basil
1 teaspoon of black pepper (plus a few sprinkles more to season the meat)
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (plus a few sprinkles more to season the meat)
1 teaspoon of thyme
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 cup of tomatoes, diced
2 cups of water
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 potatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons of flour
1/4 cup of water (additional)
Melt the butter in a dutch oven or large pot on medium heat.
Season the stew meat with a little salt and pepper, then add it to the pot and brown all sides.
Once browned, remove the meat and allow it to rest on a plate with its juices.
Add the onions, basil, black pepper, oregano, rosemary, salt, and thyme to the meat drippings within the dutch oven and sauté for about four or five minutes.
Add the garlic and celery, then sauté for another two to three minutes.
Deglaze the pan with a little water (enough to loosen up the food particles left behind from cooking the meat and aromatics) and stir, then allow everything to cook for another five minutes.
Add the beef (and its accumulated juices) back into the pot, along with the diced tomatoes and two cups of water.
Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half, or until the beef is fork tender.
Add in the carrots and potatoes and bring the liquid back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for another thirty to forty minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour into 1/4 cup of cold water and add it into the stew.
Continue cooking and stirring the pot until the sauce has thickened (about 10 more minutes).