Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Soup

December 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

Channeling-Contessa-Creamy-Sun-Dried-Tomato-Soup

I’m quite convinced this soup is about to become the obsession of all food bloggers. I’m definitely obsessed with it, and the lady behind the recipe!  Love & Lemons has recently become one of my favorite food blogs- not only for Jeanine’s super healthy but insanely tantalizing recipes, but also for her stunning food photography. I can’t get enough of the clean lines and that marble white background. She’s also got one of the most incredible kitchens I’ve ever seen. I have a feeling the majority of people are in post holiday detox mode, so it’s worth noting this soup fits that bill perfectly. Despite the term creamy it’s actually vegan. The creamy texture and richness comes from coconut milk and ground pine nuts. I kid you not, this is truly one of the best things I’ve made in months. So in short you need to make it- immediately!

Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start. Any big NYE plans? We’re having a dinner party with friends, which is my favorite way to ring in any holiday.

More soup:

Channeling-Contessa-Sun-Dried-Tomato-Soup

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Soup slightly adapted from Love & Lemons

serves 2-3

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T oil from jar of sun dried tomatoes
  • 5 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk (I used full fat), plus more if needed at the end
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (from a jar, packed in oil), minced
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • red pepper flakes
  • handful of coarsely chopped fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoons or so maple syrup or a pinch of sugar (optional, to taste)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional, but adds a nice richness)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. .Add shallots and cook for 8-10 minutes until translucent and soft. Add in garlic, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 more minutes until fragrant.

Add wine, stir, and let the wine cook out for 5 minutes (until reduced by about 1/2). Add broth, coconut milk, and sundried tomatoes and a pinch of dried oregano and red pepper flakes. Stir, then reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat, add a handful of basil and blend the soup until smooth. Jeanine recommends a Vitamix- I used my immersion blender and that worked fine.

Taste and add balsamic, maple syrup or sugar, and pine nuts. Give the blender just a few pulses. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with an extra swirl of coconut milk, some chopped basil, and a few red pepper flakes on top.

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Best Reads of 2012: Part Two

December 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

channeling contessa best reads 2

 

I’m excited to add onto Clara’s recommendations, and give you four more books that I loved this year. Looking back, I’ve noticed that each selection I’ve made corresponds to a certain point in time over the past year. For example, I read One Fifth Avenue while sitting on the beach at Sandy Hook, and reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette (by candlelight, no less) got me through the Sandy power outages. I can’t think of a better post to end the year with.

1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette: I think everyone needs to read this book! This was by far my favorite book in quite some time, and I read it in two days. The main character, Bernadette, is hopelessly chic, always armed with oversized sunglasses and silk scarves. I’d have to describe this book as quirky- in the best possible way, and the fact that it’s composed as a series of letters adds to that fact. As someone who loves a good cover, I was happy to find that the story lived up to the beautiful artwork on the outside.

2. The Family Fang: If you’re looking for something different, I would highly recommend this book. It’s not your typical novel, but I loved that about it. The story follows Annie and Buster Fang as they try to distance themselves from their parents, who are entirely devoted to their work as performance artists.

3. Complications: One of my favorite classes while in school was a course called Science, Medicine, and Ethics. I’ve never been had any desire to go to med school, but I did love exploring the ethical side of things. My love of that class inspired me to pick up this nonfiction book, beautifully written by a surgeon. It explores the human aspect of medicine, through a series of case studies. I promise you, it is definitely not boring!

4. One Fifth Avenue: I’ve had this book for a while, but reread it recently, and remembered how great it is. It’s definitely a beach read, but one of my favorites to date. It follows the intertwined lives of the residents inside One Fifth Avenue.

I’m definitely in need of recommendations for 2013, so if you haven’t shared, please do!

Favorite Reads of 2012

December 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

 

channeling-contessa-favorite-reads

Aaaahh… hi friends! How are you? Still in a holi-daze? I must admit, it’s been pretty nice to step away from this blog for the past few days and enjoy some much needed down time. Slowly but surely my body seems to be feeling the effects of vacation (read lots of sleep and TV time on the couch), but it’s clear I’m going to need a few more days of this schedule  before I’m fully up for embracing 2013. In the meantime, I wanted to pass along a few of my favorite reads from the year. It’s been an exceptionally good year in books and I’m so excited to share my picks with you. But more importantly, don’t forget to do your part and tell me all that you’ve been reading in the comments so I can start compiling my list for 2013!

1. Wild I loved this book you guys, just loved it. If I had to choose one book out of this list to make you go and read, I think it would have to be this one. Wild tells the story of Cheryl Strayed’s journey hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. Not an experienced hiker in the least, Strayed decides to hike the trail after a tumultuous series of life experiences. The story closely follows her time on the trail- the ups, downs, and truly terrifying experiences. But in the end, it’s those experiences that seem to heal her.

2. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? This one is not so new, but I finally got around to reading it this year and I’m so glad I did. This book made me absolutely fall in love with Mindy Kaling. The peak inside her life and bits of wisdom and advice she offers in a whole host of areas had me laughing out loud (to the point where it was difficult to read this book in the subway!). I personally liked this book better than Tina Fey’s memoir… but that’s just me!

3. Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow This one I’m actually still in the process of reading, but can already tell will be one of the most influential books I read this year. I really wasn’t seeking a book of this kind, but a blogger I follow closely snapped a pic on instragram and the title caught my attention. One Kindle sample download later and I was totally lost in the personal stories of Elizabeth Lesser’s and numerous other’s journeys through death, divorce, illness and more, and how it was these difficult experiences that broke them open- allowing them to come into touch with who they were truly meant to be in life.

4. The Happiness Project Another kind of dated work, but as a bit of a self help junkie, I couldn’t help but read it. The thing is though, if you’re not so into this genre, I still highly recommend this book. Gretchen Rubin’s account of the year she dedicated to making herself happier is anything but contrived. It’s witty, refreshing, and filled with incredible wisdom and tips on how to actually get greater joy out of everyday life.

Alright guys- your turn!

Have A Warm & Cozy Holiday

December 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Channeling-Contessa--Happy-Holidays

Oh Friday. Thank goodness you’re here. I woke up last Sunday with a terrible sore throat and have continued to rock a cold and mild flu all week long. I think this is my body’s way of telling me that it’s 100% necessary for me to take the next week to sleep, spend lots of time on Netflix and Hulu, and drink hot cocoa like it’s my job. So excuse me while I go do just that.

Sarah and I will be back later next week sharing our best reads of 2012. I read some amazing books this year so I’m really excited to dish on that topic- but I’m just as excited to hear from you guys and get lots of reading recommendations for 2013! So be sure to drop in for that. Beyond that, here are a few thing for you to cook, do, listen to, and read over the holiday:

  • Entertaining? You really totally need to host this holiday bagel brunch.
  • Did you know CC has it’s very own holiday playlist? Get it here. Mariah and Frank Sinatra all the way.
  • This particular Biz Notes post was one of my favorites. It’s a really good read- wherever you are in your life.
  • Ina Garten tasted and loved (!) these ginger cookies– I think that’s good enough reason for you to make them.
  • Lessons in blogging- here are my big ones from 2012.
  • Still shopping for gifts- we made three awesome gift guides for you this year. Get 12, and 3!
  • Enough with the cookies and candy canes- you totally need this holiday kale salad in your life.
  • I’ll be making a gingerbread house this weekend! Got any tips or tricks?

However you’re celebrating, I hope your holiday is filled with great food, family, and friends. Thanks so much for all your support this year and making my little corner of the web part of your daily life. It means more to me than you can imagine!

xo Clara

Image Credit (photo via Breakfast at Toast)

Our Blog Crushes of 2012

December 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

I was so excited when the idea for this post came up, because, well, I LOVE blogs. I remember stumbling across my first one while I was feeling hopelessly uninspired as a biology student, and I haven’t looked back since. I wanted to share some of my favorite blogs with you (at this moment in time, anyway). Some are being highlighted on our sidebar, but many haven’t been specifically mentioned before. I do hope…

Biz Notes: Where You Are Is Just Fine

December 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

Every month I host a meet up for a bunch of wonderful girls. The shared thread is that we’re all small business owners, freelancers, bloggers, or people just looking to make that jump. The meet up (officially called Business in the City) was started by my dear friend Jess in Chicago, and now has a home in NYC. I love this group. Every time we gather I leave feeling lighter, more inspired, and excited about the entrepreneurial path I’ve chosen. Thanks to our girl Katie, we’ve now also added hors d’oeuvres and wine to the mix, so that’s clearly a plus too.

Our December get together was an exciting one. One of women…

NYC Entertaining: A Holiday Bagel Brunch

December 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

I am so excited to bring you guys the next edition of our NYC Entertaining series! When Jen and I were dreaming up concepts for our holiday post, we got really fixated on the idea of doing a bagel brunch. The concept obviously feels very New York, but I also love it, because…

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