Butternut Squash Baked Risotto

A Feteful Life: Butternut Squash Baked RisottoHappy World Vegetarian Day! While I may not be a vegetarian, every year I get closer and closer to taking the plunge. I’ve cut out pork, almost all red-meat and I still eat chicken and fish once or twice a week but I almost always prefer vegetarian meals.

I find it easier in the summer when there’s an abundance of fresh produce and I crave lighter meals. As the cooler weather rolls in during the start of fall, I start craving heartier dishes that often involve meat. But, recently I stumbled upon this baked risotto from Martha Stewart and it perfectly encapsulated my craving for a hearty meal with my desire to eat a more plant based diet.

It is delicious, elegant and so very simple. Make it for a weeknight meal or for a dinner party. It is excellent either way!

A Feteful Life: Butternut Squash Baked Risotto

A Feteful Life: Butternut Squash Baked Risotto

A Feteful Life: Butternut Squash Baked Risotto

Butternut Squash Baked Risotto (from Martha Stewart Meatless Cookbook)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, leaves
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 medium butternut squash (2 pounds), peeled and diced medium (4 cups)
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 bunch black (Tuscan) or curly kale, tough stems removed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick strips
Grated Parmesan, for serving

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium Dutch oven or heavy ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium-high. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until opaque, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add wine and cook, stirring, until completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add squash and broth; bring mixture to aboil. Stir in kale.

Cover, transfer to oven, and bake until rice is tender and most of liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with Parmesan.

Campari + Orange Cocktail

A Feteful Life: Campari + Orange CocktailIt took me a little while to join the Campari bandwagon but once I did, there was no looking back. At first glance you may think this pretty red aperitif is sweet like cherries but it is anything but. It is bitter with hints of grapefruit and herbs and adds the perfect antidote to those sweet, sugary cocktails (e.g., the mai thai) that you usually come across when the weather turns warm.

Campari + Orange Cocktail (adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients

1 ounce Campari
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon simple syrup, recipe below

Directions

Fill a glass full of ice. Add the Campari, orange and simple syrup. Top off with club soda.

Lemon Simple Syrup

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
zest from 1/2 lemon

Directions

Combine the sugar, water & lemon zest in a small pan. Heat over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let it cool completely before using.

 

 

I Scream, You Scream… We All Scream for Ice Cream

Happy 4th of July! I hope everyone has some fun plans to get outside and to celebrate our independence and catch a glimpse or two of fireworks.

While July 4th is obviously the most well known holiday that we celebrate in July, it definitely isn’t the only one. Just 10 days later on July 14th it’s National Ice Cream Day! And, if you’re anything like me, you’ll agree that this is definitely not a holiday that we should overlook. I love ice cream and have been wanting to throw a party in its honor for a while now. Here are some of my favorite ice cream party ideas…

A Feteful Life: Ice Cream Party Round-up

  1. You don’t need much cutlery for ice cream but spoons are a must, especially these dressed up tassel spoons by Studio DIY.
  2. You could serve the ice cream in a bowl but why not make some homemade cookie cups, like these from Sugar & Cloth, instead. Don’t they look delicious?
  3. These pre-made ice cream balls on a stick, from Martha Stewart, are genius. You could either pre-dip the ice cream in toppings or let your guests do it themselves.
  4. While I’m not usually a big fan of sweet cocktails, this sorbet & sparkling wine cocktail (made with homemade peach & mango sorbet!) might change my mind. It looks so refreshing!
  5. Kids and adults alike will have fun with these printable waffle cone wrappers by Oh Happy Day. Yay!
  6. I love hostess with the mostess’s idea of using these acrylic containers and scoops to display the toppings for an ice-cream sundae bar. They are modern, simple and let the beauty of the ingredients shine.

 

 

Tomato, Corn & Avocado Salad

A Feteful Life: Tomato, Corn & Avocado Salad

Happy Memorial Day! On this day, the official kick-off of summer, there’s no better way to celebrate than with a backyard BBQ with friends and family. Whether I’m hosting a BBQ or just attending, I’m always trying to search for the perfect side dish and this simple and fresh one by Martha Stewart is just the ticket.

It comes together in a flash with a few simple ingredients but bursts with flavors that scream summer. There’s no cooking required – even the corn is raw and gives the dish a crisp sweetness. The only word of caution with this dish is that you really need to make it the day of the BBQ. Even with the lime juice in the dressing, the avocado starts to brown a bit after a day. So, whip this up the morning of the BBQ and serve that day.

A Feteful Life: Tomato, Corn & Avocado Salad

A Feteful Life: Tomato, Corn & Avocado Salad

Tomato, Corn & Avocado Salad (adapted from Everyday Food)

Ingredients

2 ears of corn (husk and silk removed, tip cut off)
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved or quarted
1 avocado
2 green onions
2 tablespoons lime juice (from about 1 lime)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
coarse salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Invert a small bowl into a large bowl and stand ear on top of the small bowl; with a sharp knife, carefully slice downward to release the kernels. Discard cob. Add tomatoes, avocado, scallions, lime juice, and oil to bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and toss gently to combine.

A Feteful Life: Tomato, Corn & Avocado Salad

 

 

Cucumber-Radish Slaw

A Feteful Life: Cucumber Radish Slaw

I originally intended to make a risotto for this post (and I’m sure I will at some point in the near future) but when I was at the grocery store last week I came across the most beautiful rainbow radishes and I couldn’t pass them up. On top of that, we had such a gorgeous weekend in store that I couldn’t bear the thought of being cooped up inside stirring my risotto. This simple slaw was just the ticket and was a beautiful addition to the flank steak we threw on the grill. Fresh, colorful, acidic and crisp. I think this may be my go-to slaw for the foreseeable future.

A Feteful Life: Cucumber Radish SlawA Feteful Life: Cucumber Radish SlawA Feteful Life: Cucumber Radish SlawA Feteful Life: Cucumber Radish Slaw

Cucumber-Radish Slaw (by Everyday Foods)

Ingredients

1-2 english cucumbers (I used one very large one)
4-6 radishes (to equal 1 cup)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
ground pepper
2 tablespoons finely minced red onion

Directions

Peel English cucumbers. Halve lengthwise; scrape out any seeds with a teaspoon. Slice cucumbers very thinly on the diagonal.

Thinly slice radishes. In a large colander, toss vegetables with coarse salt. Top mixture with a plate that fits inside colander; weight with a heavy object. Drain in sink 20 minutes; squeeze vegetables in paper towels to dry.

Transfer to a bowl; toss with minced red onion, cider vinegar, olive oil, and 1 teaspoon sugar; season with salt and ground pepper. Serve immediately.

A Feteful Life: Cucumber Radish Slaw

Date Night In: French Fondue Night

Thirteen years ago this month, Jim and I were a couple of kids in college headed on our first big trip together – Paris, France. We were poor college students, so we mostly stuck to eating French street food rather than at fancy 5-star restaurants, but we did make a few dining splurges during the trip. One evening we happened upon a little hole-in-the-wall fondue restaurant as we were strolling through the Saint-Germain-des-Pres District. I don’t even remember what it was called and I doubt I’ll ever be able to find it again but it will remain one of my favorite meals with my husband.

Ever since we had kids, we don’t get to go out as much as we used to but we still like to have a special date night in every once in a while. In honor of our trip to Paris so many years ago, here’s my inspiration for this month’s date night in. Fete on!

A Feteful Life: Date Night In - Fondue

  1. I love this vintage yellow fondue pot from Haus1215 and here’s a recipe for a classic french fondue.
  2. Sip a classic Saint-Germain and champagne cocktail.
  3. Whip up some of these easy french pastry puffs filled with ice-cream and covered in chocolate for dessert.
  4. There’s no need to get overly dressed up for a date-night-in but that doesn’t mean you should be wearing your sweats either! Stay comfortable but looked polished with this French-style sailor shirt from J.Crew.
  5. I got a pair of these white jeans from J.Crew last spring and I love, love, love them! They are comfortable, hold their shape and they go with EVERYTHING!
  6. Amelie is one of my favorite quirky romantic comedies. It’s funny, sweet, romantic and very French!
  7. Lighting a candle (or more) instantly adds romance to an evening. Especially a candle that smells as amazing as these candles by diptyque.
  8. I love these Pointed D’Orsay Flats from Old Navy. So cute and currently on sale for $23!

 

 

Garlic-Herb Pinwheels

Garlic-Herb Pinwheels

I’m always on the hunt for a recipe that fits the AFL moto — always simple, never plain — and this pinwheel recipe hits the mark. They are incredibly easy to prepare and were a huge hit at Jim’s Speakeasy party over the weekend. The best part is they can be made up to a day in advance and stored in an airtight container. If I were you, I’d definitely plan on making these for your holiday party this year.

Garlic-Herb PinwheelsGarlic-Herb PinwheelsGarlic-Herb PinwheelsGarlic-Herb Pinwheels

Garlic-Herb Pinwheels {from Martha Stewart}

Ingredients

1/3 cup finely minced herbs, such as chives, parsley and mint
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine herbs, garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. On a lightly floured work surface, unfold puff pastry. Spread pastry with herb mixture and roll up. With a sharp knife, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Arrange rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until puffed and golden on edges, 15 minutes. Let cool on sheet on a wire rack, 10 minutes.