Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese {via Delish.com; I added caramelized onions and shallots}

Stuffed Tex Mex Yellow Squash {via Martha Stewart}

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad {via Taylor Takes a Taste}

Husband’s Healing Stew {via Oh She Glows}

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup {via All Recipes}

Ginger Clam Soup {via Rasa Malaysia}

Slow-Cooker Lentil Chicken Sausage Stew {via Simple Nourished Living}

Creative Marketing

image

Trader Joe's advertising in the freezer section

Zappos ad bin security at the airport. Genius!

Candles

Gluten-Free Cookbooks

Another Christmahanakwanza present from my sister- Gluten-Free on a Shoestring. How perfect for me!

Footie Pajamas

I'm the proud/ashamed owner of the pink ones on the right. The girls and I had a footie night the other day- just hanging out and sipping wine in our onesies!

Seasonal Teas

Candy Cane Lane and Nutcracker Sweet are my absolute favorite teas. I have to hunt them down early every holiday season so they're not all gone! They make great gifts too :)

Party Themes

The Raleigh Forum is hosting a party on January 26 but I can't tell you the theme quite yet. Want to be sure you score an invite? Contact me!

Photo credits: here, here, here, here, and here

I logged into Pinterest recently and was inspired by all the pictures posted by my Pinterest friends- so much so that I decided to make a “holiday pinspiration board” to keep track of all the things I want to do/make/appreciate over the holidays!

{To see all the photos I pinned, click on the image below}

P.S. Remember when I blogged about “

Peppy, enthusiastic, inspired Cristina is back! I had one of those weeks, but now I am just itching to get back to blogging. I have a growing list of blog entries I need to post, which includes several recipes.

During my hiatus, I asked my sister

Updated: WOW! This soup is seriously incredible. Easily one of the best soups I’ve ever had. Try it and let me know what you think!

I’m trying to fit in as many hearty winter-y soups before spring hits DC (which I am really looking forward to!).

I bought 400 Soups at Borders at 18th and L, where everything is on sale because they are going out of business!

photo credit: amazon.com

Leek & Potato Soup
1/4 cup butter
2 leeks (washed and chopped)
1 small onion (finely chopped)
2 medium potatoes (peeled and chopped)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1/2 of the butter in large pan over medium. Add leeks and onion and cook until softened (about 7 minutes). Add potatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes (until potatoes are tender). Season to taste and remove from heat. Stir in remaining butter. Serve hot with warm, crusty bread.

Note: I used my immersion blender on this one! I liked it better that way.

photo credit: marthastewart.com

This is one of my two favorite soups (the other is carrot ginger soup), courtesy of Ms.Martha Stewart. I just realized I never posted this recipe!

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 dried hot red chiles, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon caraway seeds [optional]
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 can [15 ounces] chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed canned tomatoes, with juice
  • 1/2 cup drained jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed or 1 roasted red pepper, peeled and chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock [I use broth]
  • Sour cream, for serving
  • Parsley sprigs, for garnish

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, chilies or crushed red pepper, salt, coriander, and caraway; cook until just softened, about 3 minutes.

Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and stock. Simmer, stirring often, for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in a blender or with an immersion blender. Rewarm if necessary. Divide among bowls, and top each with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of parsley.

Notes: I haven’t been able to find caraway seeds anywhere, so I leave these out. The soup is still full of flavor! In addition, I use a home-roasted red pepper in lieu of the jarred kind. Lastly, I use chicken broth instead of stock, simply because TJ doesn’t carry stock. This can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth

Enjoy :)

Since I’m leaving for Israel soon (WOOHOO!), I decided to whip up carrot ginger soup (courtesy of Real Simple) to use up the carrots in my fridge. As a side note, a girl who regularly orders from GW Bites said that it was her favorite dish so far.

Photo credit: RealSimple.com

Ingredients

  • 1

Feeling down? I’ve been sick and feeling irritable lately, so I found a helpful article from Discovery Health on beating the winter blues. Here are my favorites from the list of

I had leftover sweet potatoes from my Moroccan Chicken and Potato Stew, so I searched for an easy recipe containing sweet potatoes. I stumbled upon this slightly sweet, slightly savory, and wholly easy recipe for soup.

Ingredients 

Photo credit: welldonefillet.com

  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet

North Carolina: Road trip with Mom. Lots of laughs with Sissy and Mommy. Nattie Green’s food. Found our dream office. Caribou study dates.

NYC: Hours of play with baby nephew. Alvin Ailey modern dance show. Delicious brunch. NYC all lit up. Rockefeller Center. Exchanging gifts. Blizzard. Snowed in in Brooklyn. Sound of Music.

Connecticut: Snowy drives. Endless scary movies. Lazy days. Taboo. Anthropologie.

North Carolina: New Years Eve fun.

Virginia: Skiing. Taboo. Phase 10. Gin Rummy. Games galore. Hot chocolate. Family time. Bruised tailbone. “Jew-Ann” and “Quay-so.”

DC: Tailbone recovery. New TV series The Dollhouse. Hotel with Mom. Vietnamese food. Bonding time.

All in all, a fantastic final (eek!) winter break, minus the unfortunate bruised tailbone incident.

 

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+Cristina Roman