Archives for December 2013

Recapping 2013 (if that is even possible)

This year. It will forever go down as life-changing.

2013 has has brought opportunities of a lifetime, has required me to work harder than ever, and has challenged me to prioritize my time and find a balance between family and work. A handful of kind and mentoring people have come into my life and a few new landscapes and seaside towns have stolen my heart. I’m working on projects that once seemed like wishful dreams and I am daily living out the life of an urban homesteader.

Now, on the cusp of another year, I find myself in a position of gratitude. This past year has set in motion a few changes, challenges and chances; many of which have unfolded right here on the blog. I loved Tsh’s prompt to  spend a little time reflecting on the year past, so I though we’d take a look at a few of the highlights. I’ll spotlight some of my favorite recipes along the way, as well as popular posts from the year.

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Silent Sunday: Our Christmas in photos

I‘ve taken a week over the holidays to spend time with family and friends, but am just popping in to share a few photos from our Christmas.

Here’s hoping your holiday has been special as well, filled with peace, joy and love.

Merry Christmas from the Bourque Family

Merry Christmas from all of us, even the grumpy boy in the middle!

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Creamy Broccoli Spinach Soup

I love the stretch of days between Christmas and the New Year. The holidays slow down again and there is a lot more time for relaxing and enjoying the family at home.

There is also a lot of time for eating and snacking . . . perhaps a little too much time! If you’ve already eaten as many candy canes and sweet rolls as I have this holiday season, this Creamy Broccoli Spinach Soup will help get you back on track.

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A quick appetizer: Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms

I have a love/hate relationship with appetizers preceding a holiday meal.

Ideally they should tantalize the tongue, awaken the palate, and leave the guest eager for dinner, but we can all probably agree that they are often carb-heavy or cheese-laden. This type of fare can leave us feeling bloated as we gather around the table, with Gougères being the light and fluffy exception to the rule.

That said, I don’t think we should do away with the appetizer. The cocktail hour is a wonderful time to socialize, and I arrive starving, that plate of nibbles can be a lifeline and prevent me from crashing while awaiting the meal. If I’m being absolutely honest!

Instead, let’s serve more pre-dinner snacks that are gluten-free and vegetarian, leaving room for turkey or roast lamb with dinner. Today’s recipe for Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms are kind of what I have in mind.

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My Christmas Dinner Tablescape: Neutral and Natural

We’re still finding our way for Christmas dinner traditions.

I suppose it will be so for some time to come, as is the case with blended families, comprising of member young and old, near and far. Some years we are fifty-strong at one set of in-laws for a hot turkey dinner with all the fixings, followed by an ample sweet table.

This year, we are hosting another side of the family around our table and my new range will get to perform Christmas dinner duties. I’m roasting a leg of lamb with Meyer lemon as a nod to my British background, not forgetting the Yorkshire pudding or the classic English trifle for dessert. We will be 14 at dinner, so you, know, a respectable number but still manageable.

With everything that is going on (book-writing, house guests, holiday prep and a houseful of kids) I wanted a simple yet festive holiday table.  It took some head-scratching, a little sawing and snipping, and an hour of scrolling Pinterest, but in the end, my Christmas tablescape came together with relative ease and the natural beauty I was hoping to achieve.

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