Holiday Gifts for the Home Chef

I cannot believe how soon until Christmas will be here! The stores are playing holiday tunes. Christmas lights are now on trees outside. People are starting to post pictures of their home decorations. And shopping season is in full force. Yesterday I received an email from Pinterest looking for the best holiday gift idea boards, and of course I have to participate in this because:

1. I love Christmas!
2. I have some great gift ideas for this year!

So here are my gift list for the home chef:

1. Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi

2. The Sexy Vegan's Happy Hour at Home: Small Plates, Big Flavors, Potent Cocktails

3. Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle's Plum Bistro

4. Vedge: 100 Plates Large and Small that Redefine Vegetable Cooking

5. Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts

6. Kitchen iPad Holder: It keeps your iPad off the counter and away from spills!

And for the big ticket item:
20. Vitamix

What are you holiday gift ideas this year?

Thai Butternut Squash Red Curry

A little known fact about me is that Thai curry ranks on my top favorite foods list. Over the years I have made so many curries at home, unfortunately none rocked my socks off like they do at my local Thai dining establishments. Finally, I have created a competitor: butternut squash red curry with chickpeas and baby bellas!

3 small butternut squash
1 package baby bella mushrooms, quartered or halved, depending on the size of the mushrooms
vegetable or olive oil
2/3 c. Thai red curry paste
3 - 15 oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 - 15 oz. cans coconut milk
1 bunch fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
2 T. sugar in the raw (you could use brown sugar here too)
sea salt

1. Peel the squash, cut it lengthwise in half, and scoop out the seeds. Cut into 1/2-1 inch cubes.

2. Heat a large heavy pot. Add the oil, then the curry paste. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the squash and stir to coat with curry paste. Stir in the chickpeas and season with salt. Add the coconut milk and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes or until the squash begins to soften.

3. Stir in the sugar in the raw, cilantro and mushrooms. Simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. The squash should be tender but not falling apart. Season to taste with salt.

4. Serve over a bed of organic brown rice and enjoy!

This recipe is so easy yet has unbelievable flavor. It packs a little bit of heat with a sweet creaminess. You won't regret trying this recipe out and you'll definitely have enough for leftovers!

My 28th Year

Each year when my birthday rolls  around, I cannot believe another year has passed. The time between 27 and 28, a lot has happened:

I traveled to 6 different countries and a few places around the US. 
Moved out of Husband's and my first apartment where we started out marriage. 
Purchased our first home. Yay for first-time mortgage holders. 
Grew our little family with a sweet little pup, Braxton. 
Received a promotion at work. 
And so much more in between!

In my 28th year, I am going to release my restless soul, and it is going to be incredible. I am going to expand my boundaries. I am going to create and design when my heart speaks. I am going to write when the words are in my head. I am going to experiment in the kitchen to open new worlds of flavor. I am going to launch. I am not going to hold back. I am just a two mere years away from thirty and there is no sense in holding back the true me. Life is short and goes so quickly. I am going to allow my soul to be free - in whatever manner it may need. There is no use in waiting...Here I am world. 

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It's the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows and the beauty of a woman only grows with the passing years. - Audrey Hepburn

So here's to a passionate 28th year. Cheers!