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Showing posts from May, 2018

Tuned In

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This past week I visited Highlands Ranch, a suburb of Denver Colorado. For months, I looked forward to spending most of the visit outdoors. As I arrived, the expansive scenery of the Rocky Mountains, green pastures, and deep blue skies struck a cord in my heart. My initial instinct was to embrace nature which then heightened the sense of continuous meditation in the rolling green hills and majestic mountains.

One afternoon, while driving to the store the sun started to set, a beautiful display of different colors in the sky was mesmerizing. Thirty minutes later, the sunset left behind a midnight blue sky, brightly lit by the moon.

The following day, on an afternoon walk, I noticed a drove of horses by our walking trail. I walked up to the fence as the wind chimed in the air in perfect rhythm with the birds singing. Only to be highlighted by the Golden Hour. Free of thought, I stopped taking photos and became more attuned to the present moment. The wind whispered even more beautiful tune…

Jumbo Shrimp Stuffed with Cilantro and Chiles

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 55 min
Active: 20 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
8 jumbo shrimp, in the shell (about 1 1/4 pounds)
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped
Juice of 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 large jalapeno, with seeds
2 scallions (white and green parts)
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Directions
Prepare an outdoor grill with a medium-high fire. Without removing the shells, slit about 3/4 of the way through the shrimp down the ridged back and remove the vein that runs down the center. Rinse and pat the shrimp dry. Whisk thyme leaves, lime juice, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and black pepper, to taste, in a shallow nonreactive bowl or dish. Lay the shrimp cut side down in the lime mixture and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a food processor, pulse the garlic, jalapeno, scallions, r…

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of the Day: Memorial Day Edition

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Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

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Braving The Endings...And Beginnings

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We are the authors of our lives. We write our own daring endings. We craft love from heartbreak, compassion from shame, grace from disappointment, courage from failure. Showing up is our power, story is our way home, truth is our song. We are the brave and brokenhearted. We are Rising Strong.  --Brené Brown

Brené Brown’s words are pings, beeping, and encouraging me to sit comfortably in the story of my life and do it without shame or fear of its imperfection. I ran into a woman I’ve known since high school and asked how her sister was doing. She said, “I’m done with her! I’m tired of her judging me and telling me how to live my life.” I told her that I feel that way almost all the time! I have disagreements and fights with the women in my life, we stop talking to each other because we can’t share what’s really bothering us. There’s no trust, compassion, and no way to share our stories without hurting each other. Most of the time, we can’t show up for ourselves, let alone others.

A woma…

Sticky Pecan Pull-Apart Bread

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This sticky, crunchy and gooey pull-apart bread is perfect for a crowd. Pumpkin pie spice, caramel and pecans combine to make it your new fall favorite.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 1 hr 40 min
Active: 20 min
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
Nonstick cooking spray, for coating the loaf pan
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Two 8-ounce cans refrigerated crescent roll dough
All-purpose flour, if needed, for rolling
6 tablespoons caramel sauce
1 cup pecans, chopped

Directions
Special equipment: a 9-by-5-inch glass loaf pan.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Coat a 9-by-5-inch glass loaf pan with cooking spray. Mix together the sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl.

Unroll the dough from each can and stack them on top of each other to make a double layer of dough. Press them together and roll the dough into a 12-inch square. Spread 4 tablespoons of the caramel evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the spiced sugar over the caramel, then sprinkle the pecans in an e…

Butternut Squash Noodles with Prosciutto and Sage

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With the help of a spiralizer, butternut squash becomes the noodles in this sweet-and-savory, satisfying dish that's impressive enough for a dinner party, but easy enough for a weeknight meal.
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Total: 30 min
Active: 25 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto (about 4 slices)
5 fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan (about 2 ounces)

Directions
Special equipment: a spiralizer

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Cut the bulbous end off the squash and reserve for another use. Remove the stem, then peel the remaining squash and cut in half crosswise. Using a spiralizer, shave the squash into ribbons.

Put the squash on a baking sheet and toss with the oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and roast until tender but still firm, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 t…

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of the Day

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Lemon Elderflower Cake à la the Royal Wedding

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Recipe courtesy of Ana Calderone

Ingredients
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups plus 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided
Zest of 2 lemons
8 large eggs
2 cups sour cream, at room temperature
6 Tbsp. lemon juice, divided
¼ cup elderflower liqueur (such as St. Germain)
Frosting:
8 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 (1 lb.) boxes confectioner’s sugar
4 tsp. vanilla extract
8 tbsp. whole milk

Directions
Green, yellow and pink gel food coloring

1. Make cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Mist two 9-inch round cake pans and two 6-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter until soft. Gradually add 2 cups sugar and lemon zest and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping once to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well before each addition. Stir in ¹/3 of fl…

Quote of the Day

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S'moreos

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Say good-bye to graham crackers, your s'mores just got sandwiched by a new kid in town -- the chocolate sandwich cookie! It's the perfect place to house a toasted, gooey marshmallow and melted chocolate. And thanks to your broiler you can say farewell to the campfire too.

Total: 10 min
Active: 5 min
Yield: 12 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
12 chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreos ®
12 marshmallows
12 squares milk chocolate candy bar (about 1.5 ounces)

Directions
Preheat the broiler.

Twist the tops off the cookies. Arrange the cookie bottoms, cream-side up, on a baking sheet. Put a piece of chocolate on the cream filling and then top with a marshmallow, laying on its side.

Broil, watching closely, until the marshmallows are golden, about 30 seconds. Sandwich each with the remaining cookie tops. Eat while they're melted and gooey.

For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com

Thai Beef with Peppers

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Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
Total: 16 min
Active: 16 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 package pad Thai rice noodles or linguine
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons sherry
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon red chili paste or a few dashes red chili oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, halved
1 pound flank steak, sliced very thin against the grain
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced into rings
1 tablespoon diced fresh jalapeno or 1 teaspoon diced hot pepper
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Directions
Cook the noodles according to the package directions.

In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, sherry, cornstarch, brown sugar, ginger, chili paste, garlic and the juice of half the lime. Pour a third of the marinade into a bowl with the sliced beef and toss to coat. Reserve the rest of the marinade for later.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil …

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Bestiegram: Mother's Day

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Here's a free downloadable BestieGram for Mother's Day!

Quote of the Day

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Belonging To Myself

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True belonging is not something that you negotiate externally, it’s what you carry in your heart. It’s finding the sacredness in being a part of something and in braving the wilderness alone.-Brené Brown (Braving the Wilderness)

This is the first year since becoming a mom, sixteen years ago, that I feel peace in the days leading up to Mother's Day and finally look forward to celebrating it. Every year around this time I get anxious because I haven’t had a relationship with my mother for almost fourteen years. I’ve felt guilty celebrating a holiday that was meant for her too. Late last year, my mother reached out to me. Every word she said during our conversation was a shackle that kept releasing until I was completely freed from her grip at the end of our conversation. I understood her more. I saw her as a woman who wishes to be loved but hasn’t learned to accept love. Every time I tried to get close, she traumatically cut me down to an unworthy state of being. It’s her life patte…

Instant Pot Salmon with Garlic Potatoes and Greens

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 30 min
Active: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 1/4 pounds small red-skinned potatoes, halved or quartered
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 5- to 6-ounce skin-on center-cut salmon fillets (3/4 to 1 inch thick)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus wedges for serving
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups packed mixed baby spinach and arugula (about 31/2 ounces)

Directions
Put the potatoes in the bottom of an Instant Pot. Add 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Place the pot's steam rack over the potatoes.

Rub the top and sides of the salmon fillets with the paprika and lemon zest and season generously with salt and pepper. Place skin-side down on the rack. Put on the lid, making sure the steam valve is in the sealing position, and set the cooker to high pressure for 3 minutes. When finished, carefully turn the steam valve to the venting pos…

Roman-Style Chicken

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Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
Total: 1 hr
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 40 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
4 skinless chicken breast halves, with ribs
2 skinless chicken thighs, with bones
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Directions
Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers and prosciutto and cook until the peppers have browned and the prosciutto is crisp, about 5 minutes…

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

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Good vibrations...

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When the infinite vibrates. The worlds appear to emerge. When it does not vibrate the worlds appear to submerge.” -Deepak Chopra

A friend was taking her baby to a daycare that wasn’t working out for him. He was unable to sleep and it was hard to continue taking him to a place where he was so unhappy so she started looking into other places. I mentioned to her that when my son was younger, there were lots of kids in his class that wouldn’t nap. I’d volunteer often in his class and was able to tell which kids had adjusted to the rhythm of the class and which hadn’t. I suggested for her to pay close attention the rhythm of the facility because he’ll most likely connect with that rhythm too. And if anything was off, to try to pick the closest place that vibes with her the most.

I didn’t realize it then, but I was trying to describe what Deepak Chopra quoted in one of his meditations about vibrations. A happy world emerges when we connect to the vibration of a place or group of people. And …

Broccoli Cheese Soup

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Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
Total: 45 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 35 min
Yield: 10 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
4 heads broccoli, cut into 1-inch pieces
Olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 whole onion, diced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
2 cups half-and-half
Pinch nutmeg
3 cups grated cheese (mild Cheddar, sharp Cheddar, Jack, etc.), plus more for garnish, optional
1 cup chicken broth, optional

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove 2 cups of the broccoli florets, cut in half, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet cut-side down and bake until the florets begin to crisp and turn slightly brown.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on top. Stir to combine and cook until the flour is absorbed and smells lightly toasted, 1 minute or so. Add the milk and half-and-half. Add the n…

Spicy Egg-Topped Avocado Toast

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What You'll Need: 1 ripe avocado + 1/2 lime + 2 slices crusty toasted bread + 2 eggs, fried + Sriracha + chopped cilantro

What to Do: Cut avocado in half and remove the seed. Squeeze lime juice in each half of the avocado. Mash in its shell and spread over both slices of toast. Top each slice of toast with a fried egg, drizzle with Sriracha and sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro.

For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com


Pesto Pasta with Shrimp

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 25 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Directions
Pulse 3 cups fresh basil, 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts and 1 garlic clove in a food processor. Pulse in 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt and 2 tablespoons each grated Parmesan and olive oil until smooth. Cook 12 ounces bucatini; reserve 1/2 cup cooking water. Toss the pasta with the pesto, 1 pound steamed chopped asparagus, 8 ounces sauteed shrimp and the reserved cooking water. Top with toasted breadcrumbs.

For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com