{Cook} Skinny Cauliflower Soup + A Secret Ingredient

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All the talk of the snow up North has put me in a Wintry mood, so last week I whipped together this yummy soup and pretended it was a snow day. I love cauliflower soup, (I really love all soup) but sometimes it can be a bit boring, unless it's loaded with cream and butter. Well, seeing as bikini season is around the corner down here in Pensy, I went ahead and skipped the butter and cream but added a  different cheeky ingredient to boost richness and flavor: sherry! It adds a depth to the soup that just kicks it up and makes it feel a little decadent. Check out the recipe below, grab all your ingredients, and see for yourself! 

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The Gallivant's Skinny Cauliflower Soup

Serves: 6


2 12oz bags of frozen cauliflower

4 cups of chicken broth

1/2 cup water

1 minced white onion

1 minced shallot

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup Sherry


1. Cook cauliflower according to instructions on bag, save saucepan

2. Sautthe onion and shallot in olive oil until softened and fragrant 

3. Put all ingredients except sherry in blender and blend until smooth (or just shy of smooth if you like a few chunks)

4. Pour into saucepan that you cooked cauliflower in, add sherry,  and heat on medium heat until just beginning to bubble, stirring every once in a while.

5. Pour into mugs and enjoy by a roaring fire (Lap top fires count)

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PS. HOW BOUT THOSE PATS?! Did you watch? Most exciting 4 minutes of football I have seen in a while. 

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{Gallivant Reads} On Writing

Happy Monday Friends! How was your weekend? It felt like we achieved the perfect combination of spending time with our friends, while also hanging out and relaxing at home, capped off with some great joint cleaning and organizing to start the week off on the right note. Also, funny thing, John and I spent way too much time on Zillow last night exploring real estate options in various places we may live next. Soooo far in the future (at least 1.25 years) but it is fun to dream! 

I have been reading Stephen King's memoir, On Writing,  and wanted to mention it on here because I have been enjoying it so much. Confession: I have never actually read a book by Stephen King because horror isn't really my thing, but I have seen The Shining and Shawshank Redemption. Regardless of whether or not you are a huge fan of Stephen King, though, if you aspire to write than this is a must-read. After all--the guy has been turning out novels for decades. I have found that he writes eloquently about writing itself, as well as being a writer. His suggestions and advice are approachable and practical, plus learning about his process is fascinating. Beyond the writing,  I have been surprised by how interesting his life has been, and particularly enjoyed reading about life before his big break and where his motivation comes from. I haven't finished On Writing yet, but I have read enough that I would strongly recommend it. Let's just say that every time I put it down I feel that fire to write. Eureka! 

On a totally different note--lets hear it for easy week-night dinners! Nothing beats getting home from work at 5:30 and knowing that dinner is going to be delicious, quick, healthy, and easy to make. We had this for dinner last night, and it was so yummy. Totally scratched the take out itch, but was 10 million times better for us! It's only Monday so you have plenty of time to go out, grab the ingredients, and whip it up one night this week. You can thank me later. Also, if you have any favorite week night meals I would love to hear about them! Share in the comments section below, and we can all benefit!

Have a great day Lovelies.



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{Bake} Homemade Blueberry and Cinnamon Scones

Remember those gorgeous blueberries I picked last weekend? Well, I decided to bake up the most scrumptious blueberry scones with a twist--a hit of cinnamon sugar! They were fantastic..not too sweet, but with lots of fresh blueb flavor and a bit of warm spice. Perfect to enjoy with breakfast or an afternoon cup of tea. Or, if you feel like going the more decadent route (like we did) go ahead and whip of some homemade vanilla scented whip cream to serve on top of a warm scone, along with a mound of fresh berries. 

Blueberry-Cinnamon Scones


4 cups + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour

1/4 cup + 1 tbsp sugar, plus additional for cinnamon sugar

2 tbsp Baking Powder

2 tsp Salt

3/4 lb. cold unsalted butter, diced

4 Extra large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup cold heavy cream

1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 frozen blueberries*

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp cinnamon

1 egg, beaten w/ 2 tbsp water or milk, for egg wash

Cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling

*help keep dough cold, and retain shape while mixing dough. 


Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in the cold butter and mix until it is in broken into small pieces. (If using electric mixer than use lowest speed) 

Combine eggs and cream, than add them to the flour mixture. Mix until just blended. Toss bluebs with 1 tablespoon of flour and then add them to the dough. If you feel like the dough is warming up than stick it in the fridge for 20 minutes before the next step. 

Dump the dough (probably pretty sticky--you are going to want to liberally flour rolling pin, hands, counter, etc) onto floured surface and roll it out until 3/4 inch thick. If you see lumps of butter that means you have done everything right and are on the right track! Cut into squares, and then cut in half to make triangles. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper. (If you don't have enough room on a sheet or two for your scones, than just refrigerate the triangles until they are ready to go in the oven. )

Brush the tops with egg wash and then sprinkle (liberally!) with cinnamon-sugar. Pop in oven and bake for at least 17 minutes--check for doneness. The outsides should be crisp and golden. If they are not quite there yet than just keep an eye on them for another 2-3 minutes, or until desired look is achieved. 




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{Gallivant Reads} The Kinfolk Table

Have you all heard of Kinfolk? Kinfolk is a really cool magazine, written by and for creatives, focusing on food, art, travel, and international living. In October, they published their first cookbook, entitled The Kinfolk Table, and it is incredible! I had been eyeing it for a few months, and received it as a graduation present a few weeks ago.

As their website aptly describes it, the book is "one third cookbook, one third narrative tale and one third international adventure" as it chronicles founder Nathan William's adventures in breaking bread with people from all over the world. With an emphasis on deconstructing the way we think about entertaining, The Kinfolk Table focuses on fresh, simple, and inexpensive recipes, and engaging both host and guest alike in the process of coming together and enjoying each other's company while sharing food. 

Sweet Potato Hash from  The Kinfolk Table  | Photo: Author

Sweet Potato Hash from The Kinfolk Table | Photo: Author

We haven't had a chance yet too try many of the recipes, but I did whip up the Sweet Potato Hash a few days ago, and it was so yummy. The mix of kale, tomatoes, garlic, and sweet potato tasted fresh and healthy, and the addition of a poached egg and italian sausage on top made for a decadent and adult "breakfast for dinner." We will deff be adding that to the rotation. 

If you are looking to spice up your cooking (see what I did there?) or just enjoy reading about foodie adventures, a la Julia and Julia, then I can't recommend this book enough.

Happy cooking! 



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Drink: Ginger Peach Smoothie

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The other day I realized I had run out of frozen berries for my breakfast smoothie, and all I had left in the freezer was a bag of frozen peaches. Now, I love peaches, but I was looking to kick it up a notch. I realized that I had a hunk of fresh ginger in the fridge, and voila--the ginger peach smoothie was born. 

Those of you who know me know that I weirdly adore ginger in all of its forms: chocolate covered, in thai food, cookies, ramen, tea, etc. Not to mention, this warming spice has anti-inflammatory qualities and is great for digestion. This smoothie may sound like a weird concoction but trust me--the combination of sweet peaches, zinging ginger, vanilla greek yogurt and chia seeds is good for you, so yummy, and a great way to start your day. 

*For those of you whom I can't convince to love ginger, I am sure you could substitute cinnamon for a similar but a little less pungent hit of spices. 

Ginger Peach Smoothie

5 Oz. Vanilla 0% Greek yogurt

1 Cup frozen peaches

1 Inch fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces

2 Tbsp chia seed

1/2 Cup water or almond milk

Stick all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust liquid to desired consistency. You can also add a scoop of vanilla protein powder for an extra shot of protein. Enjoy!

Happy Monday Everyone!



{Cook} Easy + Healthy Pad Thai Recipe

Its Monday. Are you going to slide into this week or seize it? Let's seize it. Wake up earlier, work a little harder, eat healthy, claim your peace. Friday will come when it comes. 

Here is a banging recipe to start Monday on a delicious note....


Easy (and better than take-out) Pad Thai

Pad Thai may seem ambitious for a monday night but let me tell you...this is so easy, and so worth it. It's comfort food with a twist.  Its exciting and different and reminds you of those nights that you have spent sitting with friends over Thai take-out with glasses of wine and dishing. Or, alternatively, you can enjoy with your husband in front of season 2 of House of Cards and almost fall out off the couch into your plates when you-know-who pushes you-know-who into the you-know-what...am I right?!!

Serves: 4


4 Tbsp. Canola Oil

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

3 Shallots, thinly sliced

8 oz Chicken (around 2 breasts), sliced

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 pkg Pad Thai noodles (cooked, drained, and rinsed)

1 cup fresh bean sprouts

1 cup chopped red and green cabbage and carrots (cole slaw mix)

1/3 cup roasted peanuts (crushed)


2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp fish sauce

1.5 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp white sugar

dash of sriracha



1. Sauté shallots and garlic in large frying pan or wok, until softened

2. Add chicken, cook until cooked all the way through and slightly browned. Set aside

3. Scramble eggs in pan

4. Add noodles, coleslaw mix, chicken and shallots, and sauce. 

5. Toss in pan for another 5-7 minutes until mixed together and cabbage has softened slightly.

6. MIx in peanuts and sprouts, toss for another 2-3 minutes. 

7. Enjoy! We had a side of kale with ours, which added extra yumminess and veggies. 





{Cook} Healthy Homemade Ramen with Kale, Broccoli, and Tofu (And a Reflection on Snow)

I know that this statement is going to make many people roll their eyes, but I am suffering from 'snow day jealousy.' I know I know I live in Florida and everyone up North wishes they were here, but although it's sunny out, (which I am simultaneously grateful for) hearing about all the snow in Virgina and New York and Boston makes me a tad homesick. I can't deny it--I hail from the land of extreme seasons and although one half of me worships the sun, the other half is full on snow bunny. 

Truth be told, I despised winter when I was younger, excluding Christmas of course. I don't like being cold, and the lack of daylight was tough for me, especially when I lived in Scotland and it got dark around 2:30 pm. Ugh. But then when I lived at home in Massachusetts and worked in Boston over my year off--something changed. That was the year that we had consistent snow days four Tuesdays in a row. There was so much snow. And I realized that there is something insanely wonderful about the stillness of a snowstorm. The quiet. The magic of curling up in a chair with warm socks on and a dog at your feet, sipping tea and reading a book. Bundling up to go outside and cross-country ski across fields blanketed in white, fields that just the day before were muddy and brown and ugly. Yes, there is something insanely wonderful about how God can take even the darkest part of our year, our barest, darkest season, and make it beautiful

So, I am a little jealous. I know it may not be pretty everywhere right now, and its freezing, and there may be slush--but somewhere, if not outside your window than not too far, it is that beautiful. So go to the closest park, or a field, or stand at your window just for a minute. Do it for me. And then come inside and put the kettle on, and think about making a yummy, steaming bowl of this delicious homemade ramen for dinner...

Healthy and Quick Homemade Ramen with Kale, Broccoli, and Tofu

I always crave Ramen when I see it in the grocery store, but every time I have to remind myself how insanely loaded with sodium and msg it is, and how bereft of nutrition. Last week though, when I saw a deal on Ramen (5 for $1.00) I embarked on a mission to create a healthy recipe for the noodles without using the flavor packet, but still achieving that savory asian taste. After a little experimenting, I got the recipe below Johnboy-approved, and voilá! Healthy Ramen, complete with veggies and a punch of protein. 

Prep Time: 10 Min     Cook Time: 15 minutes     I    Serves: 4


1.5 Qt. organic beef broth

1 inch Fresh Ginger Root, grated

 1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp miso

2 tsp Sesame Oil

1 cup broccoli 

1.5 cup kale

1/2 cup mushrooms

3/4 cup diced firm tofu (large diced)

2 Ramen Noodle packets, without the flavor packet (throw that sodium bomb far, far away)


1. First, sauté the mushrooms and tofu in a small pan with the sesame oil and half the miso, until slightly browned. Set aside.

2. Put the broth, broccoli, and ginger into a pot and bring to a boil.

3. When the broth begins to boil add the noodles, kale, mushrooms, tofu, soy, and the rest of the miso. Let simmer for 5 minutes. 

4. Serve in big bowls and enjoy! 

* you could definitely make a few substitutions in this recipe to fit your dietary needs or whats in your pantry, ie. chicken or vegetable broth instead of beef, low sodium broth, chicken or beef instead of tofu. Make it work for you!



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{Cook} Smoked Paprika Edamame Hummus

Source: Emily Richey

Source: Emily Richey

Recently, we have been experimenting with different snacks here in the Chateau de Soleil. If I could, I would snack solely on cheese (maybe with some chocolate here and there, a glass of wine at the right hour, etc), but in an attempt not to clog our arteries before we turn 25, we have decided that we need to restrict our cheese intake a bit. Sigh. 

John loves hummus, and I don't mind it, so I have been experimenting a bit with homemade recipes this week, and I think I may have stumbled upon something, dare I say it, genius. Edamame, you say? Smoked paprika? Together? Yes, my friends. Yes. Add a dash of sea salt, a bit of tahini, a pinch of minced garlic, a few generous tablespoons of olive oil, and you have yourself a yummy spin on the classic mediterranean dip. It's perfect for your husband who always comes home starving from flight school, or even to serve to your friends as a yummy appetizer when they come over! Heck--toss it into a bowl, surrounded with whole-wheat pita chips or some gluten free birdfeed, ahem, seed crackers. Then stick it on a tray with some veggies and maybe a bowl of almonds, and you have quite a lovely little spread for a cocktail party. Voila!

Check out the full recipe here.