Winter

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

It’s no secret for me that blogging has become a scarcity in my life. You know, life happens sometimes and you get really busy drinking beer, petting puppies, and occasionally going to a specific location where collaborative fitness happens. Ya know? But, I don’t have to tell you that because YOU have a V (how kids are saying “very” these days; saves TONS of time) busy life too!  Thanks for understanding, girl!

This has become one of my favorite soups for the winter months. I’ve always loved it but decided to put my own spin on it. Plus, this easy, minimal-effort method leaves plenty of time for Netflixing in pajamas or whatever weird stuff you do in the winter months.

You. Do. You. Boo.

Rosemary & Cranberry Moscow Mule

You know what really sucks a toe? Going back to work after a lovely Christmas. That’s what really sucks a big, stinky toe. Especially when your Christmas holiday was filled with joy, calories, giggles, and lovely cocktails. Heavy emphasis on the latter.

I don’t know about you but, I know that I’m probably the only active Christmas participant who looks forward to trying/crafting new recipes for special occasions. Especially around the holidays as it is always my personal goal to have someone say, “WOW REMINGTON YOU REALLY IMPRESSED MY TASTEBUDS WITH YOUR MAGIC CULINARY SKILLZ N THINGZ.”

Related: I’m currently reading a book that talks about our “metrics” by which we judge our happiness…well, that’s mine. Count it all joy….when people think you’re awesome.

Not that I don’t get these types of compliments CONSTANTLY, because I don’t, but this recipe did receive a similar accolade. Probably without the caps-lock, though.  Think more along the lines of, “slight nod of the head and smirk of approval.”

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Rosemary & Cranberry Moscow Mule

1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary

½ Ounce Cranberry Juice (not cranberry cocktail)

1 Ounce Tito's Vodka

Ginger Beer, to taste

Cranberries for Garnish, optional

In the bottom of your copper cup or rocks glass, muddle the rosemary and vodka rigorously. Don’t go "Hulk-Smash" on it, but go hard enough to break the rosemary leaves so the flavor gets nice and released.

Add cranberry juice and adjust the ratio to your liking but, whatever you do, do not use cranberry cocktail. That stuff is science juice and will give you cancer. Probably not but, I’m not convinced otherwise.

Top with Ginger Beer, ice and a few Cranberries for garnish and enjoy!

This is a PERFECT themed-drink for the holidays but also, year round. So get at ‘em, lay-deez!

Jalapeno-Honey Cornbread

Jalapeno-Honey Cornbread

When I was a small child, my grandparents lived in Graham, Texas. As that small child, I remember taking road trips for what felt like 2.5 years in the car to go see them. But once we got there, it was magical. Because, duh. It’s the grandparent's house.

My grandpa had the most amazing garden, always. Specifically, he planted “snapdragons” every year. If you don’t know what those are, they are the most majestic flower because they snap when you squeeze them just right. And if you’re a small child, that will really get you going.

Anyway, my grandmother kept a really cool “den” area where we always had our big, family meals. One specific meal I remember, we had cornbread. And for some reason, when I had this piece of cornbread, it made me cough. Cough, not choke. As a child, I was a weird, weird human. But for some reason, that moment has stuck with me for my whole life. And my family was known for delicious meals, but that moment scarred me for cornbread forever. From that point, cornbread was the food that forever betrayed me.

Anyway, 700 years later, I’ve discovered a way that I LOVE cornbread. See? People can change.

Also, I'm still slightly inclined to exaggeration. Kinda love it.

Jalapeño-Honey Cornbread

1 Stick Butter

1 Cup Milk

1 Large Egg

1 ¼ Cups Yellow Cornmeal

1 Cup All-Purpose Flour

½ Cup Granulated Sugar

½ Teaspoon Salt

1 Cup White Cheddar Cheese, shredded

1 Can Sweet Corn, drained and rinsed

2 Jalapeños, Seeded and diced

2 Tablespoons Honey, approximately

Jalapeno-Honey Cornbread

In a large mixing bowl or Kitchen-Aid, combine Flour, Sugar, Cornmeal and Salt until they’re thoroughly mixed. Melt ½ of the butter and mix in along with the egg and milk. When it is thoroughly combined, mix in the corn and shredded cheese.

This recipe is great for a cast-iron skillet. If you do not have a couple of BFF's or Grandparents who would gift you with a cast-iron skillet, use a regular cake pan or casserole dish. But, I’m going to continue as-if you are using a cast-iron skillet. Modify as necessary with your little bitty brain cells. You can do it.

Add diced jalapeño to the skillet with just a “smidge” of olive oil and cook over medium heat until they just begin to brown.  Mix in the cornbread batter so that the jalepenos get incorporated all the way through, and bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Melt the remaining butter and stir in honey. Drizzle all over the top of the cornbread so that you have an even coat, and continue baking for 5 more minutes.

This recipe goes GREAT with literally any soup or this chili.

D's Green Chili-Chili

 I’m going to be honest with you here. And if you have any kind of sense about you, you’re probably going to be the opposite of shocked. Honestly, this is probably going to sound like a waste of my precious little finger-strength. But, just stick with me for a minute.

Food is huge to me. *Shocker* I have a handful of my very favorite recipes and each of these recipes has a special place in my heart, for whatever specific reason.

During the winter months, chili has always been my favorite. Even though my sister was possibly just a tiny bit spoiled and we ate more “chicken and dumplings” and “potato soup” than I would ever have preferred because it was her favorite…It’s no big deal and I’m completely healed from that. Chili was my favorite and it still is.

This is my grandpa’s recipe, as a lot of my favorites are. Following his life model, I’ve made a few changes and I’m not going to lead you astray: this chili will knock your soul right into alignment. I don’t want to make any promises, but if you think your life might be falling apart just a little bit, this chili might just fix it up a little bit. No promises. Don’t cancel any appointments with your therapist.

D’s Green Chili-Chili

1 Pound Cubed Stew Meat

1 Pound Italian Turkey Sausage

1 White or Yellow Onion, diced

2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced

1 Poblano Pepper, roasted and skinned

1 Large Can Tomato Sauce

1 Large Can Stewed or Diced Tomatoes

1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste

1 Heaping Tablespoon Cocoa Powder

1 Can Red Kidney Beans, optional

Salt & Pepper, to taste

1 Teaspoon Cumin & Paprika or Cayenne, approximately

If you are using a fresh poblano pepper, roast it so that you will have a developed flavor and can remove the tough, bitter skin. If you’ve never roasted peppers or have no idea what I speak of, click this video. If you feel in your soul that this is just too much for you, use green chilies in the can. If you go with the fresh poblano, be prepared for a seriously awesome flavor. The choice is yours. Live your truth.

Using a heavy stew pot, brown the turkey sausage and stew meat over medium-high heat with about 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. When it is cooked through, transfer to a plate or dish covered in paper towels, to drain off any excess grease.

Next, throw the onion and garlic straight into the stew pot and cook until tender, stirring often. When the veggies are translucent, dice the poblano and mix it in. Stir in the browned meat and season the mixture with salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne pepper (If you don’t like “spicy,” smoked paprika is a great substitute for cayenne). Follow your heart on measurements but make sure and go just a little bit heavy. Nothing is better than a “robust” chili when your insides are frozen from the devil of winter (also known as: snow) so don’t skimp on flavor!

Stir in the tomato sauce, paste and kidney beans. Before I throw in the beans, I like to give them a good drain and rinse. It reduces the amount of sodium you are adding to your food and maybe just makes you feel a little healthier. And really, that’s what it’s all about. How you feel.

And the fact that the phrase “how you feel” makes me want to start rapping Drake should really not be judged at this point.

Stir so that your chili is combined and add water as necessary. It’s really up to you on how “hearty” you want this to be. Stir in a heaping spoon of cocoa powder and let the chili simmer on low for about an hour, or until you’re ready to dive in.

If you’re not already aware of this trick, cocoa powder tenderizes meat and brings out all of its natural flavor. It is delicious and will not “alter” the flavor of the chili. So don’t be afraid, my little turtle dove.

Serve this chili over a slice of cornbread that’s as big as your face and think of me the whole time.

Minestrone Soup with Ground Turkey Sausage

I really think we can collectively agree that winter should be over. I mean, she made a pretty stately debut for 2015 and it was good. Good job, girl. But we’re done with you. I literally have not heard one person say, “Gosh I love this weather!” No. Because you don’t.

You don’t love being locked up in your house, forced to cuddle your adorable dog, watch Netflix, and drink wine until you run out and have to go to the store again.

Wait. I kinda love that.

Just hold the snow.

However, if you’re locked in a house and need a delicious soup recipe to warm the cockles of your heart and soul (as much as they can be warmed, since it is still winter and your soul is dark), then this is it.

Minestrone Soup with Ground Turkey Sausage

Minestrone Soup with Ground Turkey Sausage

1 Package Ground Italian Turkey Sausage

2 Tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

½ White Onion, diced

2-3 Stalks Celery, diced

3 Cloves Garlic, minced

14.5 oz. Can Diced Tomatoes

14.5 oz. Can Cannellini (White Kidney) Beans

1 Russet Potato, diced

1 Zucchini, diced

1 Bundle of Swiss Chard, roughly chopped

32 oz. Beef Broth

1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

1 Sprig Rosemary

1 Bay Leaf

Start by browning the Turkey Sausage in a large stew pot. Depending on the fat content, you may want to add a little more EVOO than just 2 tbsp.

When the turkey is just about done, mix in the celery, garlic, and onion and cook until tender, stirring often. Add tomatoes, beans, potato, zucchini, seasonings and beef broth and bring the soup to a steady boil. Season with Salt and Pepper and stir often for about 5 more minutes. Turn the heat down to a simmer and all those flavors will get good and robustly.

This is an excellent time to open a bottle of wine. Did I say excellent? I meant necessary. Silly auto-correct.

When you’re a few minutes away from dinner time, stir in the Swiss Chard and remove the bay leaf.

 If this soup doesn’t give you even the slightest bit of joy then I genuinely don’t know what else I can do for you.