Spring has Sprung… and Vegetable Phyllo Rolls

Hi everyone!¬† I am happy to report that it FINALLY feels like spring around here… first, a recipe, then I’ll tell you all what else has been going on ūüôā

Moroccon Vegetable Phyllo Rolls

This is a fantastic recipe for using up whatever veggies you have on hand… that’s how this gem was created!¬† The combination of spices give the rolls a bit of a Moroccon flair… I love that subtle sweet and spicy flavor.¬† Serves 3-4.

  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • lots of fresh spinach (I used almost a whole box, approx 10oz)
  • 1 cup cooked white beans
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 tsp curry,¬†1/8 tsp¬†cinnamon, 1/4 tsp paprika, few dashes cayenne
  • 8 sheets phyllo dough
  • olive oil to brush dough

Okay, I know phyllo¬†can be intimidating, but I promise, this isn’t too hard!¬† Start by creating the filling.¬† Chop and sautee¬†all of the¬†vegetables, holding the spinach.¬† Once the other veggies are nice and soft, add the spinach to wilt (a few minutes).¬† Stir in the beans and smash everything together a bit.¬† Add raisins and spices and stir.¬† Give the mixture a little taste test and adjust spices to suit your preference.

The key to working with phyllo¬†is being sure the dough is completely thawed so it doesn’t crack.¬† Line the countertop with parchment paper and lay out the phyllo dough.¬† I worked quickly and did not cover the dough.¬† Carefully lift one sheet and place on the parchment paper.¬† Lightly brush with olive oil.¬† Layer a second sheet on top.¬† Add a scoop of the mixture to the bottom part of the sheet, leaving a few inches at the bottom and on each side (I’m sorry¬†readers, I¬†really wish I’d taken more pics… next time I do rolls, lots of pics, I promise!)

Now tuck the sides of the dough and roll up like a burrito.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Repeat to make 4 rolls.  Brush the outside with olive oil and bake at 375F for 25 minutes.

phyllo(I’ll admit, not the best picture ever… some of the rolls split during cooking, but the finished product was absolutely delicious!)

In other news, Jonathan and I had a really lovely, relaxing spring day.¬† Our new Sunday routine consists of morning yoga at Zev followed by breakfast at Ceres Bakery.¬† In my humble opinion, Ceres has the¬†most delicious¬†baked goods in town and the very best egg sandwiches, probably because it’s served on freshly baked bread, toasted.¬† Also a great local hotspot for lunch ūüėČ

We then hit York beach for a walk…..

york 24marWe still had to bundle up a bit, but at least it’s not completely arctic anymore!!¬† While at the beach, we saw a crazy lovely old¬†lady feeding the gulls.¬† I HAD to get a picture (Kathleen, this one’s for you)

birds

And, I’m very happy to say the snow in our front yard is melting.¬† In fact, I spotted a little purple bud peeking¬†out of the garden.¬† Upon closer inspection, Jonathan and I realized that there were a bunch of plants trying to peek out.¬† The gardens have this black cloth layer a few inches down… I think it’s supposed to stop weeds, but it looked like all of the plants were getting trapped.¬† So what started as ‘hey look a flower’ turned into a garden overhaul, including ripping out the black cloth layer and redistributing the dirt.¬† It felt great to play in the garden and¬†enjoy some crisp fresh air.

This is our first spring in the new house, so we have no idea what is planted… can’t wait to see what comes up!!

Early signs of many flowers to come (at least, I hope so!)

spring has sprung

Here’s our little buddy that started it all…

 crocuscrocus2

Aaaahhhh a crocus… that means spring is truly here!!¬† ūüôā

xox, Kristen

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Cold weather and bean soup

Hi everyone! ¬†Although it’s only been a week, it feels like ages since I’ve blogged! ¬†I guess it’s been a busy week ūüôā

I played hooky from work and hit the slopes with the girls! ¬†Well, it wasn’t really hooky since I requested the day off in advance… but being off on a random weekday still felt rebellious and awesome.

slopeside

Here¬†I am with Heather and Sheila¬†at Sugarbush, which is quickly becoming one of my very favorite places!¬† Wow, the picture makes the trail look so flat… must be an optical illusion.¬† Seriously, it felt much steeper!¬† ūüėČ

In other news, Jonathan and I had a great weekend, we spent time with both of our families, plus had a fun date night in Boston. ¬†We went to Life Alive for dinner… we both love this place so much that we’ve already decided what to try next¬†time we go! ¬†(Life Alive owners, if you happen to be reading this, pretty please open up a restaurant in Portsmouth. ¬†I promise, I’ll be there all the time!!) ¬†After dinner, we saw a comedy show with Janeane Garofalo, which was hilarious, I love her smart humor. ¬†And then…….

cannoli

We totally indulged!¬† In fact that less-than-gracious picture is me holding¬†a chocolate chip cannoli… no plate…¬†no napkin (!!)…¬†just cannoli, straight up!¬†¬†In my humble opinion, Mike’s Pastry has the BEST cannoli in the North End, as proven by the ever-present line out the door.

Mike's!

By the end of the weekend, we were both pretty tired. ¬†Plus, the last few days have been cold and a bit dreary here. ¬†A perfect time for a big ol’ pot of soup!

No-Limits Bean Soup

The great thing about this soup is that no bean is off limits! ¬†You can use any combination of dried beans… as many different types as you like. ¬†I used Bob’s Red Mill brand mixed dried beans, or mix and match your favorites. ¬†This recipe does require a little planning as you will need to soak the beans overnight… not a ‘spur of the moment’ meal, but totally worth the extra time! ¬†And dried beans are far yummier and healthier than canned.

beans

  • 1 cup dried beans (expands to about 2 cups after soaking)
  • 3 small leeks, about 2 cups chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalked, chopped
  • 1 lg. can of tomatoes
  • 4¬†cups vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • avocado (optional garnish)

Begin by soaking the beans overnight.  Be sure to cover the beans with a few inches of water as they will expand.  Rinse the beans after soaking.

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, sautee the leek, carrot and celery until slightly soft.  Salt and pepper to taste.

beans2

Add the vegetable stock, canned tomatoes, and soaked beans.  Bring the soup to a boil and reduce to simmer for approximately two hours.  After cooking, add water or vegetable stock if needed to thin and more salt and pepper to taste.  You can always add hot pepper, but I kept the recipe mellow.  Serve topped with sliced avocado.

Now, it was a particularly cold day and true comfort food was in order… so we ate the soup with mini grilled cheese sandwiches.¬† Mmmmmmm!!¬† As there are only two ingredients, I won’t walk you through a grilled cheese recipe, but I will say this: get really good bread and good cheese… and you can’t go wrong.¬† We used roasted garlic baguette and smoked gouda.¬† And it was ‘so gouda’¬† (you like what I did there)¬† ūüėČ

bean soup

The longer cook time on this soup really lets all of the flavors melt together.¬† Nothing like grilled cheese and soup to ward off the freezing weather!¬† And this guy…..

ice moose

15 days til Spring!!  Hang in there friends!!  xox  Kristen

Surviving the blizzard

Hi friends.¬† It’s official… a weekend¬†away is the BEST way to survive a snowstorm!!¬† Jonathan and I had already planned a weekend getaway, so we¬†got on¬†the road early on¬†Friday and arrived at our destination before the storm really hit.¬† In fact, we arrived early enough to explore North Conway.

We had a late lunch at a great little spot called the Stairway Cafe.¬† I loved the eclectic vibe… they used dishclothes as napkins and served milk in a little glass bottle.¬† So cute!¬† And the fruit with house-made granola was refreshing and delicious!

stairway fruit and granolaLuckily we only saw ONE bear the whole weekend…

bear!… at Zeb’s Country Store in town.¬† They had the largest selection of local treasures.¬† I resisted the million-things-sugar¬†but did¬†pick up some lavender¬†bath salts. (did I mention our room had an oversized¬†soaking tub?)

We were back to the Inn, just as the snow really picked up.¬† We kept¬†warm as best as we could…

woodstove feetsWe also camped out in front of the huge fireplace and played cribbage… three-zero (I’ll let you all guess who won)¬† ūüėČ

fireplace

That night we enjoyed dinner in.  Dinner was superb and the snowy view from the tavern window was beautiful.  (we were glad to be staying toasty inside)

snow out the window

On Saturday, we adventured out on our snow shoes!!¬† The snow was light and fluffy.¬† We opted for the path less traveled ūüėČ

fresh snowy woods

We were the first to lay tracks!!  The woods were gorgeous and we both got a killer workout.  Turns out knee-deep powder = intense shoeing!!

snowshoe headshotThere we are!¬† We also took a ride to Cathedral Ledge… breathtaking!¬† But we’ll have to wait for the snow to melt to hike that one!¬† We did make it pretty far ‘offroading’ in the Subaru ūüėČ

cathedral ledge winterAfter our adventure, we decided some sweets were in order.¬† I had the MOST delicious Mexican hot chocolate with at McKaella’s Sweet Shop.¬†¬†No surprise, Jonathan had peanut butter hot chocolate.¬† And we¬†further indulged with cookies…. and a cupcake.

sweets!!That night we had dinner at a really great restaurant called Thompson House Eatery in Jackson, NH.¬† We started with a creative appetizer called Zorba¬†the Grape!¬† It was like a Greek antipasta¬†and included ALL of my favorites: local herbed¬†goat cheese wrapped in a grape leaf, roasted¬†red peppers, sun-dried¬†tomatoes, olives, roasted onions, a mint and olive tapenade (sounds weird, but was awesome), marinated greek beans, grapes and toasted bread.¬† Like I said… everything delicious on one plate!

zorba the grape!!

From there, I had their Fungus Among Us… mushroom ravioli with spinach and roasted tomatoes, and Jonathan had a¬†14oz¬†sirloin with squash and broccolini.¬† We both loved our meals!

Our last morning at the Darby Field Inn, the storm had fully blown out and we were able to appreciate the mountain view over breakfast.

darby field inn mt view

A great weekend!!¬† We returned home to two feet of snow. (sadly, it did not melt while we¬†were off having¬†fun)¬† It was overwhelming, but Jonathan powered through it with the new snow blower.¬† In fact, he blew the whole driveway and a path out¬†to the garage… then¬†he got part of the road and¬†did a walkway out back.¬† He loves his new toy!¬† ūüėȬ† And I shoveled the walkway.¬† And made lunch.¬† After our weekend of indulgent eating, we were both dying for a nice big plate of green!¬† And there were some sad looking fruits and veggies in the fridge to use:

salads

Voila, greens with mango, apple, cranberries, figs, pecans, celery and fresh raspberry vinagrette.  Now we are off to enjoy the last of the sunshine and get ready for the week.  I will be attempting a new dinner, so just may be back with a recipe if things go well.

xox!  Kristen

I LOVERMONT

Hi friends.¬† It is official, I¬†LOVE¬†Vermont!!¬† I love the fresh mountain air, I love the hippie-alternative vibe,¬†I love the¬†focus on¬†local sustainable food and¬†the¬†abundance of¬†healthy options.¬† I must have said “I love Vermont” over 100 times this weekend.

On account of the zero-degree weather, Jonathan and I got a ‘late’ start Friday morning,¬†heading to¬†Sugarbush.¬† This means we left at 7am (one of¬†our duo calls this a late start, the other was just glad she’d packed the night before).¬† Sugarbush. Is. Awesome.¬† The trails are nice and wide and not too steep… just right for me!¬† (They have lots of advanced terrain too)¬† We got to ride where they were making snow, which I absolutely loved.¬†¬†The snow was¬†super-fluffy and powdery.¬† I love Vermont!¬† (I also love that I spent¬†most of the day riding down the mountain on my board, like a real snowboarder… meaning¬†less time¬†skidding down the mountain on my butt, or in a full-on helicopter-style roll)¬† Yay! ¬†ūüėČ

sugarloaf view

After we were sufficiently tired and frozen, Jonathan and I drove up to Burlington for the night.¬† We had dinner at the Farmhouse Tap and Grill.¬† I was psyched to see two different veggie burger options on the menu… I decided on the portabella¬†mushroom burger, which is made with white beans, walnuts and greens.¬†¬†Still being on the cleanse, I ordered¬†that¬†without a bun… the waitress asked if I would instead like it served on a¬†bed of garlicky¬†saut√©ed¬†kale… um, YES PLEASE!!¬†¬†(I LOVE¬†Vermont)¬† Jonathan ordered a burger with beef from a local farm… he said it was definitely the best burger he’s ever had!¬† I stole a few of his handcut¬†fries and sampled the house-made stone ground mustard and habanero¬†hot sauce… delish.

We were pretty wiped out and settled on a late movie… they¬†have freshly brewed Green Mountain coffee at the theater… AND hot herbal tea!!¬† I love Vermont!¬† We saw the new Marky Mark movie, which was, of course, great!

For breakfast, we tried the¬†Skinny Pancake…¬†being early risers paid off and we¬†beat a huge rush.¬†¬†I always stalk a restaurant’s website and menu before going.¬† The Skinny Pancake’s mission is to change the world by building a safer, healthier and more delicious food¬†shed while creating everyday enjoyment.¬†¬†Yes please, count me in!¬† They offer traditional crepe fillings as well as tons of fun veggie options, and,¬†get this,¬†they have both vegan and gluten free crepe batter!¬† I love Vermont (and vegan GF crepes)

buckwheat crepeAfter fueling up, we went for a hike around Indian Brook reservoir.¬† Like NH, most of VT is snow-free right now, so our snowshoes sat this one out.¬† It was a beautiful hike.¬† The groundwater created a frozen waterfall effect… I’ve never seen¬†anything like it.¬† I love Vermont.

icicle waterfall

indian brook reservoir

The reservoir itself was snow-covered, but you know I wouldn’t dare go out there ūüėȬ† I love how this picture came out, with the tree shadows.¬† I love Vermont!!

Lunch was at a great place called Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup.¬† You can create your own plate from their hot and cold bars.¬† I did the only thing one can do when confronted with so many options… I tried nearly everything!

stone soup lunchLet’s see if I can remember it all… curried seitan¬†with brown rice, baked eggplant and tomato, spicy cauliflower, BBQ tofu, steamed kale, beets, marinated mushrooms, olives, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, house-made hummus… and there’s a bed of greens hiding under there!¬† Whew!¬† A plate of heaven.¬† It’s not shocking that I would love a place like this… the real news-worthy bit is that Jonathan¬†loved it too!!¬† Have I mentioned that I love Vermont?

After lunch Jonathan and I browsed town a bit and went to a community owned grocery store, City Market.¬† It was the coolest shop ever… if there was one nearby, I would be there constantly!¬† It¬†was like¬†a Whole Foods,¬†but possibly even¬†better, if you can imagine such a place.

city marketThere was a HUGE bulk food section, which is one of my favorite things.¬† And a make-your-own nut butter station!!!¬† Jonathan was literally jumping for joy. ¬†Here’s Jonathan making almond butter (jumping not caught on camera)

city market almond butter

They had tons of fresh produce and local meats, cheeses and baked goods.  City Market even had local Kombucha on tap!!  I love Vermont!

hippie cooler

We picked up a few snacks for the trek back to reality.¬† We spent the ride home planning our next visit.¬†¬†Oh, and speaking of the ride home… there is free fresh brewed Green Mountain coffee at the rest stops in VT and one¬†even had comfy handmade wooden rocking chairs.¬† Wow, I lovermont!!

lake champlain

Early morning clouds over Lake Champlain, known by me some people as the sixth Great Lake!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

xox, Kristen