Hot Buttered Rum

Drinks

For most people around the world, fall and winter are marked by cool temperatures, warm cobbler and even warmer fire places. Naturally, with only two weeks left until spring, this weekend south Florida was finally graced with winter weather. Seeing highs of 73- 74, and windy weather like you wouldn’t believe— I dare say it was practically blizzard.

In honor of this delayed Christmas miracle, tonight I want to throw it back to the holiday season when Jon introduced me to Hot Buttered Tum. Although this sweater weather will vanish by the morning, I’ll be dreaming of be sleigh bells and roasted chestnuts for the rest of the night!

H O T   B U T T E R E D   R U M

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons dark rum

1/2 Cup boiling water

1 Cup butter

1 Cup brown sugar

2 Cups powdered sugar

1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1 Cup whip cream (we didn’t have cream and used 2 % milk instead)

Process

1. Place 2 cups of water into a tea kettle. Set the stove on high until steam begins to whistle.

2. In a medium sized bowl, beat together softened butter and brown sugar. When smooth, add powdered sugar, cream (or milk) along with the spices.

3. Scoop 2-3 tablespoons of the butter mixture into each mug,  pouring 2 tablespoons of rum on top.

4. Fill the remainder of each cup with boiling water stir. If available, add a dolop of whip cream and sprinkle with an additional pinch of cinnamon.

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Since this drink is a little on the sweet side, I recommend a biscotti or digestive for a neutral sweet treat!

Butternut Squash & Brussel Sprouts

Sides

butternut-squash-and-sprouts_complete3Much like pumpkin, butternut squash has become a quintessential ingredient during the fall. After seeing these little orange cubes sprinkled across magazines, restaurant menus and Pinterest posts, it occurred to me it was time to jump on the band wagon. Prior to the pre-spiraled noodles I used during Whole 30, I’m not even certain I had eaten butternut squash outside of a Lean Cuisine ravioli!

Several inspirational mental notes later (squash + faro + seeds+ cranberry;  squash + pear+ feta + arugula;  squash + lintels + pomegranate) I settled on the butternut squash and brussel sprout recipe you’ll find below.

I started this experiment off with a quick trip to Whole Foods. I had been eying their on-the-stalk display of brussel sprouts for a while and this was the perfect reason to take a bouquet home! (Although looking back the regular bagged kind is cheaper and less labor intensive). I also grabbed 1 medium sized squash (little over a pound), 2 pink lady apples, and  1 small scoop of roasted pumpkin seeds (no more than 4 ounces).

butternut-squash_prep3

Although the preparation for this recipe is super simple, I handled the bulk the prep work over the weekend (as I am usually less ambitious during the week). I plucked the brussel sprout buds off the stalk, then washed, dried and halved them before placing them into a Tupperware container. For the squash, I peeled (which I’m not sure why I had to google that), then chopped, then scooped out seeds (apparently there’s a little cul-de-sac of seeds at the bottom end…) and then placed these guys into a separate Tupperware container.

Whether or not you do this in one day or two, the only tasks left at this point is chopping the apples into cubes and dressing the veggies (I had leftover bacon on hand from breakfast but at some point you’d need to cook that too). For the brussel sprouts, I simply tossed this in 2 teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. I placed the sprouts directly onto a large baking pan and then set it aside. For the squash, apples, pumpkin seeds and cranberries, I lined another pan with foil and tossed these ingredients in a mixture of maple syrup, cinnamon and a pinch of salt.

Music up, lights lit, and ornaments out, the 50 minute cook time was just the perfect window for Tam, Jon and I to finally decorate our tree!

butternut-squash_oven

christmas-tree

B U T T E R N U T   S Q U A S H    &    B R U S S E L

S P R O U T S

Ingredients

5 Cups brussel sprouts

1 1/2 Pounds butternut squash

1/ 4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds

1 / 2 Cup cranberries

2 Apples

2 Teaspoon olive oil

1 Teaspoon cinnamon

1/ 3 Cup maple syrup

1 Tablespoon honey

4 Bacon strips (optional)

Salt

Pepper

 

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Rinse brussel sprouts thoroughly and chop into halves. Toss in 2 teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place sprouts face down on a baking sheet and set this aside.
  3. Peel, remove seeds, and chop one butternut squash into 1/2 – 3/4″ cubes.
  4. Rinse and chop 2 apples (you can peel the skin or leave it on) in the same size cubes as the squash.
  5. Combine apple, squash, pumpkin seeds and cranberries with maple syrup, cinnamon and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Once everything is coated evenly, place the contents of the bowl on a large sheet pan (I lined mine in foil for fear of sticking). Place the sheet pan into the oven for a total cook time of 50 minutes.

Note: If you do not already have cooked bacon bits, now would be a great time to whip up a few slices! Once your strips have cooked on the skillet, pad down with a paper towel to remove excess grease and chop the strips into bits.

6. At the 20 minute mark, place the baking tray of brussel sprouts into the oven to cook for the remaining 30 minutes. If you are using two shelves, place the sprouts below the squash.

7. At the 40 minute mark, add the crumbled bacon to the squash baking tray. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of honey on top of the pan and mix everything around with a spatula.

8. At 50 minutes, remove both pans from the oven and combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Be sure to give it a good toss with the spatula so all of the flavors are nicely mixed.

butternut-squash-and-sprouts_complete

Apple Roasted Chicken

Hello, Whole 30, Mains

Like most women (for better or worse), being competent in the kitchen is something that’s always been somewhat important to me. In fact, I think for most adults, learning how to host and hold their own is a right of passage we’re all a little intrigued by. For me, the following are a just a few scratch items high on my list to master…

kitchen-competencies

With this list in mind, when the opportunity to host a small dinner with my roommate and her boyfriend arose I figured there was no time like the present to start working on my Roasted Chicken game.

After scouring the internet for fall flavor guidance, I decided my “fun” ingredient of choice would be apples (instead of heading in a standard lemon-pepper technique) and I’m really glad I did! Sweet but savory is always the perfect combination for my palette and thanks in part to the sugar free Apple Cider brine, this chicken really fit the bill. My first whole roasted chicken experience went off without a hitch and now you and I both have a scrumptious, whole 30 approved (yep!) recipe that can stored in the cue for years to come. Childless, unwed, and still somewhat of a nomad— I obviously have plenty of time to figure out how to crush a full blown holiday meal but at least this is a start!

 

A P P L E    R O A S T E D   C H I C K E N


Ingredients

1 Whole chicken (about 6 – 7lbs)

2 Apples

6 Fresh Thyme

6 Garlic Cloves

1/2  Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon pepper

1/4 Teaspoon powdered sage

4 Tablespoons ghee

4 Carrots

2 Onion

1 Tablespoons olive oil

For the Brine (Optional, night before)

1. Remove the giblets from the inside of the chicken.

2. Place chicken in a large pot or brining bag with 2 quarts of Apple Cider (check your ingredients for sugar), 1/2 cup salt, 1 table spoons black pepper corns, 6 bay leaves, 6 cloves. Leave this in the fridge overnight for 12 – 18 hours.

Process

For the Meal (Day of)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2. Chop 2 apples into quarters (I used green and honey crisp) and 1 yellow onion into quarters.

3. Take the chicken out of the fridge and place it into a large roasting pan. Tilt the chicken up and dump a little salt, pepper, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, 2 apple quarters, 1 onion quarter and 1 garlic clove inside the cavity.

raw-chicken

whole-30_potatoes-for-chicken

4. Rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil  and season chicken (don’t forget to flip) with salt, pepper, and a little bit of powdered sage. Slide your hand under the chicken skin and rub a few ghee shavings along with 1 teaspoon of garlic.

5. Place carrots, remaining onion, thyme, and remaining apple quarters into the roasting pan, drizzling 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Put the roasting pan into and oven and place a few apple slivers on top of the bird. Let this cook at 450 degrees then turn oven down to 350.

6. After 15 minutes, turn oven down to 350 degrees. Allow chicken to cook for 20 minutes per pound.

whole-30_roasted-apple-chicken

 

Pumpkin Soup

Mains, Sides

mains_pumpkin-soup2

Do you ever get cravings for things you’ve never even had before? That is exactly what happened to me last week. Out of the blue, pumpkin soup was on my mind and haunting me for days. Now, on the one hand, I am major soup lover. I’m the sort of person who drinks soup year round because I love the warmth and the I love the flavors you can cultivate. On the other hand— I’ve never really gotten into the spirit of “Pumpkin Season”.

Unlike most, Fall as first generation American (parents are British) in Florida is always somewhat watered down: The weather barely changes. Halloween is still somewhat baffling. Thanksgiving is always delicious (turkey, stuffing, cranberry, roasted potatoes, dinner rolls, apple pie…)  but kind of basic (nothing fried, no crazy casseroles, no pumpkin pie, no pecan pie). Even my first Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte was a little anticlimactic because I found the flavor to be a little too sweet!

All this to say, while I couldn’t tell you why pumpkin soup was on my mind but man am I glad it was! After consulting google and Pinterest for a few recipes, I decided the flavor profile I wanted to achieve would be similar to butternut squash soup (there were a few recipes that called for coconut milk and chives which also sounded good so I may try that too).  During the process I also decided I wanted the soup to have a tinge of sweetness to it to balance out the salty in the bacon and cheese it would be dressed with on top (it was almost an even split between recipes that called for sugar/honey and recipes that did not).

mains_pumpkin-soup

P U M P K I N   SOUP

Ingredients

1 ½ Cans pumpkin puree

4 Cups chicken broth (my boyfriend and I tend to use Kitchen Basics because there’s additives in there)

1 ½ Teaspoons salt

1/ 2 Cup chopped onion

1/2 Teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 Teaspoon minced garlic

8 Whole peppercorns

1/ 2 Teaspoon ginger paste (or fresh ground ginger)

1/ 4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 Teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/ 4 Cup honey

1/ 2 – 1/3 Cup heavy whipping cream

4 – 6 Pieces of cooked bacon

Optional:

1 / 2 Cup Cheese (I recommend parmesan but we had feta in the house and just used that),

1 Bagel (or bread of your choosing) for croutons

1/2 Tablespoon Ghee (or butter)

Process

1.      In a large pot, combine pumpkin puree, chicken stock, salt, thyme, garlic, pepper corns, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Turn the stove to high until the pot begins to boil. When this happens, turn temperature to medium-low and place the lid on. Stir periodically.

2.      In a sauté pan, fry 4- 6 strips of bacon on medium temperature. When the bacon is crisp, remove the meat from the pan (do not wash it though) and place bacon onto a plate of paper towels as to absorb the excess grease.

3.      Turn bacon pan to medium-high and sauté onions with a pinch of salt and pepper. When the onions begin to caramelize, pour the contents on the pan into the large pumpkin pot. This will add some more savory flavor!

4.      Add honey to large pot, turn the stove to low and place the lid on. Let this cook for at least another 30 minutes or so to really let the flavors mix. (I deep conditioned my hair that night, so I let my soup go for about an hour and a half)

5.      Slowly stir the heavy whipping cream into the pot. Leave this cook for a final 5 minutes.

6.      When the soup is complete, serve each portion with crumbled bacon strips, a pinch of cheese, and croutons*.

*During the soup’s final 10 minutes, chop one bagel (we had some frozen, but the bread is up to you) into 1” cubes. Place bread into a sauté pan with ghee (or butter) and season with a pinch of salt and set this on medium high. When the bread turns toasty and golden brown you’re all set to go!