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food

FOOD + DRINK

Last Minute Inspiration – Food for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and if you haven’t already decided on what you’re preparing this year, chances are – you’re already stressed out. In today’s blog post, the topic is all about food – different ideas to inspire you to spruce up this year’s menu aside from the traditional aspects of Thanksgiving like the turkey.

Before you leave, be sure to let us know what your favorite of these are in the comments!

 

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Bree's Blog

4 healthy recipes we’re going to try in 2017

Bree here, from Home Zone Furniture.

Did you make a resolution to eat better in the new year? You’re not alone!

The recipes we look forward to trying in our home this month are not only healthy, but delicious and easy to make, too. Your whole family will rave about these tasty dishes the next time you sit down at your dining table!

Caprese Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 8 oz. diced mozzarella
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced thin
  • 1 diced avocado
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Cook quinoa in a large saucepan according to package directions, then set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, avocado and pine nuts. Stir in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Serve salad immediately.

Mediterranean Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large chicken breast cutlets, pounded or thinly sliced
  • Juice of half a lemon, plus 4 slices of lemon
  • 2 large sliced garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup sliced, pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/3 cup pitted green olives
  • 3 tbs chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp butter
  • Fresh pepper

Directions:

1. Combine flour and cayenne in a shallow bowl, and heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

2. Cover the chicken in the flour mixture and shake off any excess. Place the chicken in the hot skillet and cook 3 minutes or until golden.

3. Turn the chicken over, add the lemon juice, lemon slices, garlic, olives, 1 1/2 tbs of parsley, and salt and pepper. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, and stir the mixture gently to avoid burning the garlic.

4. Add butter to the pan, and shake to combine the sauce.

5. Place the chicken breasts on a place, then pour the olive mixture on top. Garnish the dish with the remaining fresh parsley.

Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cups chopped onion
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 5 whole black peppercorns

Directions:

1. In a large pot, bring stock, salt, pumpkin, onion, thyme, garlic and peppercorn to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.

2. Puree the soup one cup at a time in a food processor or blender.

3. Return the pureed soup to the pan and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for another 30 minutes uncovered. Slowly stir in heavy cream. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with fresh parsley.

Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2-3 Tbsp matcha green tea powder
  • 1/4 cup pitted medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum

Directions

1. Place coconut milk, almond milk, matcha, dates and honey in a blender and blend until combined. Add xanthan gum and mix again. Add more green tea powder, dates or honey, depending on personal preferences.

2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and let chill for a few hours. Pour into a pre-chilled ice cream maker and operate according to instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container, cover, freeze and stir or whisk every hour to aerate.

3. Once the mixture finishes churning, you can eat it soft-serve, or transfer it to a freezer-safe container and let it harden for 4-6 hours.

4. Set the ice cream out for 20-30 minutes before serving to allow it to soften. Serve alone or topped with cacao nibs or fruit compote. This ice cream is best when consumed fresh, but will keep in the freezer for a week or so.

Happy cooking!

Bree

Bree's Blog

Everything you need for Fourth of July family fun

Bree here, from Home Zone Furniture.

July 4 is right around the corner! Whether you’re planning a barbecue or just a day by the pool with your nearest and dearest, this field guide will give you some ideas for festive recipes, crafts for kids of all ages and where to view the best fireworks in North Texas.

RECIPES

First, set a festive table with a simple tablecloth and plastic dishes for easy clean up. Incorporate patriotic colors wherever you can, and don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns. This is a relaxed, family-oriented holiday and this should be reflected through your decorations. Add in additional punches of color and texture by tying some patriotic ribbon around glass votive holders and filling vases with seasonal flowers. You could even try making bouquets out of sparklers and mini American flags.

As for food, Fourth of July celebrations are synonymous with decked-out hotdogs. Put a summer spin on the traditional grilled dog by offering seasonal vegetables to add on top. Throw crunchy lettuce, cilantro-flecked corn kernels, tomatoes, avocado and a few jalapeños slices on top for the ultimate July 4 concoction.

For the kids, a star-shaped fruit treat is a fun addition. You’ll need a watermelon, a few apples, a carton of blueberries, two sizes of star cookie cutters, some skewers and patriotic paper straws. Cut a large, 1-inch thick star out of the watermelon using the cookie cutter and then fit a slightly smaller star of apple inside. Cut a small hole in the center of the apple star to wiggle in a single blueberry. Finish the recipe by skewering your stars and adding a paper straw over the skewer for a colorful, wand-like treat.

Every good celebration needs a signature drink. An easy all-ages drink to make and sip is the patriotic cube spritzer. Make three trays of ice cubes, one with cranberry juice, one with water and the other with Powerade Mountain Blueberry Blast. Once the cubes are frozen, put them in separate buckets and allow guests to put together their own drink using the colorful cubes and plain seltzer.

CRAFTS

After bellies are full and before pool time can resume, turn to the craft table. Even if you don’t have outdoor furniture, you can turn your dining table into an outdoor craft table. Protect the surface (and decorate while you’re at it) by adding a red, white and blue tablecloth that you don’t mind getting messy. For even quicker cleanup, go with a material that you can easily wipe off or that’s disposable. While the table designated for food can be enhanced with flags, candles, flowers, etc., keep the surface of the craft table clear to maximize space for kid creations.

Is there a Fourth of July parade in your town? Help your kids get creative by making some homemade drums. Cover the open end of a recycled coffee can with a Tyvek sheet (or mailing envelope). Put rubber bands around the can to hold the covering down, then seal it with duct tape. Cover the rest of the can with strips or cut out shapes of duct tape. Pin a thick ribbon down on either side of the drum and tape it down so it hangs at a comfortable length around your child’s neck. Kids can tap the drum with their hands or chopsticks.

Don’t know about you, but my kids love the thrill (and mess) of confetti. If you dare, show them how to craft their very own July 4 confetti popper. First, cut the bottom 3 inches off a clean plastic bottle, then cover the cut edges with tape. Stretch a balloon over the bottle’s opening and pour confetti into the funnel of the bottle. You can make confetti out of a mixture of sequins and diced-up paper of all different colors. To release the confetti, hold the bottle’s neck in one hand, pull down on the bottom of the balloon with the other hand, let the balloon snap and then watch it rain confetti!

Another one of my favorite Independence Day crafts is decorating the yard with flour. Sounds crazy, I know, but the outcome is actually quite beautiful. Cut a star stencil out of cardboard and set it on the grass. In the star-shaped opening, first wet the grass with water from a spray bottle. Afterward, and without moving the stencil, sift flour into the damp star. Remove the stencil, repeat and soon you’ll have a yard full of stars just like your very own flag!

FIREWORKS

And finally, the Fourth of July wouldn’t be complete without an impressive display of fireworks. Lucky for us, North Texas has a pretty great lineup of firework-watching venues. The ultimate show in our neck of the woods is Kaboom Town! in Addison Circle Park. The July 3 event offers an evening of musical acts, air shows and 30 minutes of fireworks. If you’re not convinced yet, remember that it’s free and rated one of the top five firework shows in the United States!

For an all-day affair, visit Dallas Fair Park’s July 4 event, Fair Park Fourth. During the day, enjoy musical performances, discounted admissions to nearby museums (ones that the kids will love) and an array of other family-friendly activities. Once the sun sets, take in a classic fireworks show in this historic Dallas location.

Have a fun (and safe) Fourth of July with your families!

Bree