Merry Christmas! Santas and Cookies and Casseroles!

I want to wish a Portland Merry Christmas 2017 to everyone! If you’re in Portland, you know we got a surprise on Christmas Eve during the day in which we got snow! That snow stuck (along with icy rain layers) to make for a white Christmas, yay! I had purchased some Christmas flowers for myself and left it out for 5 minutes or so to get the contrast of the snowflakes.
Christmas flowers in the snow Christmas flowers in the snow

For fun, I just wanted to write a quick post on our plans this year. 2 years ago, F and I spent Christmas in Japan, and last year we spent it apart while I was in LA with my new 3 month old niece and family. This year both of us are staying in PDX, though it isn’t as fun as I hoped because he currently is sick and is congested and gross. Thankfully, I have Santa displays from town to keep me in a cheerful mood.

Here’s one from North Mississippi – Snowman vs Santa – which asks whether you are #TeamSnowman or #TeamSanta #illuminatedpdxmas2017 at the All American Holiday Window Display
Snowman vs Santa - are you #TeamSnowman or #TeamSanta #illuminatedpdxmas2017 at the All American Holiday Window Display Snowman vs Santa - are you #TeamSnowman or #TeamSanta #illuminatedpdxmas2017 at the All American Holiday Window Display Snowman vs Santa - are you #TeamSnowman or #TeamSanta #illuminatedpdxmas2017 at the All American Holiday Window Display

Another Santa display this year was by Pioneer Courthouse Square, the Santa Clones. The Santa Clones have been around Portland for several years, where everyone doesn’t exactly disclose the address but you get hints at where they are, so it is a mini quest to find them.
The Santa Clones - a collection of Santa figure lights that appear with only hints to the location that you then have to find. #thesantaclones2017
The Santa Clones - a collection of Santa figure lights that appear with only hints to the location that you then have to find. #thesantaclones2017 The Santa Clones - a collection of Santa figure lights that appear with only hints to the location that you then have to find. #thesantaclones2017 The Santa Clones - a collection of Santa figure lights that appear with only hints to the location that you then have to find. #thesantaclones2017 The Santa Clones - a collection of Santa figure lights that appear with only hints to the location that you then have to find. #thesantaclones2017

Last year for the holidays I made a Biscuit and Sausage Gravy Egg and Cheese Casserole. You can find the recipe here, but here’s a picture just to get you in the mood – super easy to prep the night before if you want so you pop it in the oven and enjoy in your PJs all day. This year for New Year’s Day brunch I’m planning on making a Savory Shrimp and Oatmeal, lots of crispy bacon, and a Croissant Breakfast Casserole.
Biscuit and Sausage Gravy Egg and Cheese Casserole Biscuit and Sausage Gravy Egg and Cheese Casserole

For Christmas Day I’m all about Dorie Greenspan’s 3-Ingredient Almond Crackle Cookies which were super fast to make and only 3 ingredients – though I ran out of almonds so I also mixed in some chopped pecans so technically I guess my cookies were 4 ingredients. They are not the most beautiful cookies because of the dough being thin so they tend to be free-form shaped, and they are thin and crispy. I won’t reprint the recipe here, but I did link to it.
Easy Christmas Cookies - from Food 52 I followed the Dorie Greenspan's 3-Ingredient Almond Crackle Cookies recipe Easy Christmas Cookies - from Food 52 I followed the Dorie Greenspan's 3-Ingredient Almond Crackle Cookies recipe

My mother in law also sent us these amazing Juustoleipa (yoo-stoh-lay-paa), which means “Bread Cheese”, a buttery flavored baked cheese that has been produced in Finland and Sweden for over 200 years. And this adorable plate is from West Elm.
Juustoleipa (yoo-stoh-lay-paa) means Bread Cheese, a buttery flavored baked cheese that has been produced in Finland and Sweden for over 200 years. And this adorable plate is from West Elm Juustoleipa (yoo-stoh-lay-paa) means Bread Cheese, a buttery flavored baked cheese that has been produced in Finland and Sweden for over 200 years. And this adorable plate is from West Elm

What are you doing for Christmas and/or New Year’s?
Christmas Tree at Pioneer Square

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Recipe for Lentils with Roasted Tomatoes and Horseradish

I’ve shared my thoughts on the Anna Jones cookbook A Modern Way To Cook previously, as well my favorite recipe from the book for homemade crackers. This cookbook brings together more then 150 vegetarian recipes in unique flavor combinations, and one that had caught my eye and that I was saving for summer tomato season was one for Lentils with Roasted Tomatoes and Horseradish.
Recipe for Lentils with Roasted Tomatoes and Horseradish Recipe for Lentils with Roasted Tomatoes and Horseradish

Lentils are super affordable and healthy, full of nutritional benefits such as high dietary fiber, lean protein, iron, folates, vitamin B6, manganese, thiamin, selenium ,and more. This makes them great for heart health, helps fight fatigue, can help with weight control since it helps you feel full, the fiber is good for digestion, and the selenium in lentils (not found in many foods) can improves immune response to infection by stimulating the production of disease-killing T-cells and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body.
Recipe for Lentils - healthy for you and delicious

This dish is also, importantly, delicious. It is tasty with the creaminess but healthy comfort of the lentils, the cold contrasting shock of the horseradish sauce, the burst of the roasted grape tomatoes, and the crunchiness of the breadcrumbs. The only expensive ingredient is the horseradish sauce – the recipe calls for cottage cheese, but you can use silken tofu, vegan mayo, or vegan cream cheese too.
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Amazing Crackers + A Modern Way To Cook Cookbook Review

Today, I’m going to give you my thoughts as part of A Modern Way To Cook cookbook review, as well as share my favorite recipe I’ve made from the book so far, simple but super tasty Amazing Crackers. I’ve been cooking from Anna Jones’ a Modern Way To Cook for a while because it has so many recipes. The cover promises 150+ recipes which I think underestimates all the idea potential here. Several recipes list variations to substitute a certain seasonal ingredient for another, such as switching out tomatoes with beets. And there are definitely lots of flavor combinations to make tasty dishes.
Anna Jones cookbook A Modern Way to Cook Amazing Crackers recipe by Anna Jones for her cookbook A Modern Way to Cook recipe by Anna Jones for her cookbook A Modern Way to Cook

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Salted Almond Butter Chocolate Bars + Easter Recipes Roundup

Easter is here already? It really seems April is speeding by for me this year – though perhaps part of this is helped by how much is on my calendar this year, I think this Easter weekend is actually the only weekend that isn’t packed with plans already. I also just had my second food list published on Eater P – in January it was the PDX Essential Ramen List and now I have a list of Hottest Portland Popups.  But I still squeezed some new recipe trying from a cookbook.  If you have a little free time and some extra chocolate bunnies, have you ever considered re-purposing the chocolate into making your own chocolate treats? Like say, Salted Almond Butter Chocolate Bars? I also will highlight some other possibilities for Easter recipes.
Recipe for Salted Almond Butter Chocolate Bars, a vegan chocolate bar you can easily make in 30 minutes, adapated from A Modern Way To Cook by Anna Jones

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Recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Muffins

I’ve always preferred the savory over the sweet, so the “muffins” I’ve made almost always are cheese muffins or mini pot pies. For the upcoming St Patrick’s day I decided to go for something green, so today I’m sharing how I made Broccoli and Cheese Muffins. They only require a handful of ingredients and I prefer if I have to make something green to use something already naturally colored green like broccoli rather then food dyes. I’ve also shared other recipes that would be perfect for St Patrick’s day and are naturally green previously plus a mini Reuben recipe to get bites of your corned beef perfect for a party.
Recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Muffins, a natural green food for St Patricks Day or any day. You can make muffin sized ones which are nice and portable snacks, or do mini muffin ones for a party. Recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Muffins, a natural green food for St Patricks Day or any day. You can make muffin sized ones which are nice and portable snacks, or do mini muffin ones for a party.

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