All I Want for Christmas...

This post is directed to no one in particular (I know you are done shopping mom & dad!), but I always love to do a post where I list everything I'd buy myself for Christmas if I could. My list always seems to be made up of coats, shoes, boots, and bags - of course. But I did throw a new computer on there this year though - my mac is ancient and I believe I've had it over 10 years at this point. Anyway... check out the below. May provide some good ideas for some after Christmas shopping, just in case you don't get everything you want...

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple & Parmesan

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It was one of those Sundays where I hadn't gone grocery shopping for the upcoming week, I didn't feel like doing so really, and yet I also didn't want to order out. I had a butternut squash sitting on my counter for over a week, so I decided I was going to do something with that for dinner. I did a little digging around my fridge to see what else I could scrape up... an onion, some garlic, apples, carrots... sounded like soup would be the answer! I looked at a couple recipes online, but in the end decided to go with my own.

This turned out even better than I could have expected. It's rich in flavor, filling, and quite healthy. The recipe below is the best estimate of all the measurements I used, since I just kind of threw things in a pot. Luckily, you don't need to have exact measurements for soup, as you would if you were baking something. Feel free to use what I used, or sub in your own ingredients - anything goes!

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Some of the ingredients below are entirely optional... I like to add collagen to everything possible to give my recipes a little health boost. If you haven't read my post about collagen, check it out here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 small red onion
  • 6-8 garlic cloves
  • 1 large carrot
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable)
  • 1 tbsp ghee 
  • 2 tsp truffle oil
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 scoops of collagen peptides powder (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel the butternut squash and cut into small chunks. Throw on a baking tray with 6-8 whole cloves of garlic mixed in and bake for about 20 minutes or until soft.
  3. While the squash is cooking, chop up the onion, apple, and carrot.
  4. Heat the olive oil and ghee in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrot, and apple and cook for about 10 minutes until onions are translucent. Add the bone broth and cook on low for another few minutes until the butternut squash is done roasting.
  5. Add the butternut squash and garlic to the pot and cook for another 5-10 minutes on low heat. Add the cinnamon (and whatever other spices you want), truffle oil, salt & pepper, and collagen, and stir.
  6. Pour the mixture into a blender and blend thoroughly until liquified.
  7. Top with parmesan cheese (unless you want to keep this vegan), and serve!

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Her

This is one of those holidays people seem to usually dread. You don't meet expectations... someone does way more than the other... nothing gets done at all... etc, etc. I view it as a day to show someone you love how much they mean to you (although I don't think that should be reserved to just one day of the year). This can be done so simply, or extravagantly - depends on your preference. It's one day out of the year people, it's not all that bad! If you're single, go grab dinner, do wine night or do a spa day with a girlfriend. It can be just as fun and special!

Below are some gift ideas for her if you're looking to get her a little something special... If you're not into physical gifts, I've also listed a few ideas for things you two could do together!

Although most of my specific selections below apply to all you New Yorkers, the idea can be used anywhere you may live!

  • Massage or spa treatment. I love to look at Gilt City and LivingSocial for some great deals on massages or facials!
  • Weekend getaway: If you're in the NYC area, there are a TON of fun places you can go for a day trip or to stay over night. You can find lists of some great getaway ideas here and here. I highly recommend Woodstock, NY; the Berkshires; a day trip to Cold Springs; Manchester, VT; Newport, RI; or the Connecticut area. And of course, check out Gilt City for hotel deals!
  • Dinner at a nice restaurant: A few of my favorite romantic spots are Peasant, Little Prince, L'Artusi, Bar Ciccio, Tartinery, The Musket Room, Sel Rrose, Hudson Clearwater, Louro, ABC, Upland and Aria.
  • Movie night: This new theater would be so fun to check out!
  • Concert tickets: The Bowery Ballroom is a great pick!