Category Archives: Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sam and I are running the So Others Might Eat Turkey Trot 5K this morning- I hope everyone has a great run or walk!  I can’t wait to find out what you all are having on your Thanksgiving tables!

As I’m getting older, I’ve been able to appreciate holidays more- concentrate on what matters: time with family and friends, delicious food, and a whole day focused on gratitude!  Have a great holiday!

If you’re in search of any last minute Thanksgiving ideas, here are some of our favorites we’ve posted in the past:

Appetizers:
Apples, Blue Cheese & Honey
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Entree/Sides:
Deep Fried Turkey
Pomegranate and Kale Orzo Salad
Cauliflower Soup with Croutons
Butternut Squash & Pomegranate Panzanella Salad
Leafy Brussels Sprouts with Nuts

Dessert:
Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with Cranberries
Cranberry Cake

Fall Granola

Everyone is running around to finish up their Thanksgiving shopping list- it’s a little hectic!  Although Thanksgiving may not be one of my favorite holidays (my Birthday is #1), it’s definitely up there near the top.  It’s the one time out of the year that everyone considers what/who they are grateful for, and shares the day with loved ones.

Sam and I will be staying in D.C.- after a long honeymoon, our annual leave has to be replenished.  We’re starting off Thursday morning with a Turkey Trot- it’s been our little tradition since we first started dating.  We’ll be running the So Others Might Eat Turkey Trot 5K!  Are any of you running tomorrow?

Since all of us may be eating too much during the day, I thought a great way to start the morning would be with some fall granola!

The fall flavors in this granola are slight, and a perfect pairing with Greek yogurt, or mixed with fresh milk.  This recipe is very flexible- if you don’t have a specific ingredient, feel to swap what you do have in your cupboards this fall day.

Fall Granola
Adapted from: Eat, Live, Run

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp brown sugar
4 cups old fashioned oats
1 tsp salt
1 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup dried cranberries

In a small bowl mix together the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice to make the spice mix.  Set aside.

On a skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter.  Then add the pumpkin seeds and 1 tsp of the spice mix.  Toast seeds for about 3 minutes, or until they are lightly browned.  Then add the honey and brown sugar.  Continue to cook until they are incorporated, for another 3-4 minutes.  Next, spread out the seeds onto a sheet tray, allowing it to cool for at least 15 minutes.  Once it’s cooled off, break it apart using a spatula.

In a large bowl mix together the rest of the spice mix, oats and salt.

Add the maple syrup and coconut oil into a small saucepan over high heat.  First, bring to a boil and then simmer for an additional 2 minutes- continue to stir.  Pour the maple syrup sauce over the oats mixture into the large bowl.  Toss well until everything is evenly coated.

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.  Spread out the oats onto a sheet try (or two).  Bake for 25-30 minutes, moving and flipping the oats every 5 minutes.  Allow the oats to cool.

Lastly, toss the pumpkin seeds, oats mixture and dried cranberries together.  Eat it as a snack, or over yogurt.

Happy 4th of July!!!

I hope you all enjoyed the BBQ’s and fireworks today!

Thanks to our friends who had a great barbeque, we enjoyed the 4th!

Book Club: S’more Cookie

I hosted my Book Club at our house last week, there were 8 of us here to talk about The Corrections, and catch up on what’s going on in our lives.  Check out what else was on the Book Club menu!

I’ll skip around the book club menu a bit to tell you all about the dessert.  I do have a reason- today it’s my Dad’s birthday, and I think he’d love this dessert.  Happy Birthday Dad!  One of his favorite desserts are chocolate chip cookies, and this is equally good.

I found this recipe thanks to Pinterest, I kept seeing recipes for s’more bars or cupcakes, and since it is an American dessert, I thought this would be perfect.  Although s’mores tend to be eaten near a bonfire or while camping, this is the perfect indoor substitute.

Growing up I spent a couple of summers at Cedar Lodge Summer Camp, in a tiny town of Lawrence, Michigan.  It’s mainly a horseback riding camp, but there were some that attended and didn’t ride.  I have very fond memories of my summers there, especially at the campfire at the end of each week!

Every Saturday night, all the campers and staff would gather around the bonfire with their blankets, bug spray, flashlights and sticks to make s’mores.  First we would eat dinner (burgers, hot dogs, or sloppy joe’s) and then we would find a great place to sit to hear stories.  My first week there, I remember Eddy, the owner of the camp, told us a scary ghost story which kept me awake that night in the cabin.  After he passed away, Amy (his daughter and Camp Director) continued to keep us entertained.  With night settling in, all of us would make s’mores and huddle together.  It was the perfect way to close a week of camp, before the new set of campers arrived.

S’more Cookie
Adapted from: Wit & Whistle

I basically did the same recipe, although I made it in a bigger pan.  It’s possible to make it smaller as well.  Best served when it’s cooled off, maybe with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 6-8 blocks)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 King-sized Hershey’s chocolate bars
3 1/2 oz marshmallow puff*

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Using about a tablespoon of butter, grease a 9’x13′ baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the butter and sugar.  Add in the egg and vanilla, beat well.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.  Slowly incorporate it into the large bowl, mixing at a lower speed until it’s combined.

Divide the dough in two chunks.  Press the half into the baking pan, an even layer.  Then place the chocolate bars on top, try not to break the bars.  Spread the marshmallow puff onto the chocolate in an even layer.  Press the remaining dough onto the layer of marshmallows.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is lightly brown.  Cut into pieces after this has cooled off.

*Do not use melted marshmallows!

Spring Vegetable Tart

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, many of you have already ordered flowers or presents for their mothers.  But for those of you who might be making brunch for them, I’ve got the perfect dish.

A couple of weeks back I was strolling through the Penn Quarter Farmers Market when I saw these giant and gorgeous spring onions:

Spring onions are are bigger than green onions.  The bulb is more defined (very round), and the flavor is a little stronger.  While green onions are available year-round (you can even grow them in your window sill), spring onions are only available in the spring (now)- find them and cook them, you won’t be disappointed!  They can be added to salads, roasted whole, or simmered with meat.

Although Sam and I ate this for dinner, this dish is perfect at any brunch table- it can be a substitute for a frittata or quiche.  More vegetables and less cheese!

Spring Vegetable Tart
Adapted from: Cooking Light (April 2009)

Rather than cooking potatoes, use mashed potatoes if you have them available.  This tart can be whatever flavor you’d like to to be, some substitutes/additions can be: mushrooms, shallots, prosciutto or parsley.

1 1/2 lb potatoes (1 big, 1 small or about 3 cups mashed potatoes)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 of big onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
1 spring onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
4 cups chopped spinach
1/4 cup Half ‘n Half
1/4 cup shredded fontina cheese
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2-3 tbsp breadcrumbs
1/4 cup shredded pecorino cheese

Place peeled potatoes in a pot full of water, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Drain, allow to cool slightly.  Puree potatoes in a food processor, or mash with a potato masher.  Add to a large bowl.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, allow to cook until it is translucent.  Then add the garlic, jalapeño and spring onion; cook for another 2 minutes.  Stir in lettuce and spinach, cook for a couple of minutes until the greens wilt, stirring frequently.

Turn off the heat and pour into the bowl with the potatoes.  Then add the half and half, fontina cheese, eggs, salt, and pepper.  Stir all of the ingredients together.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Coat an 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray, then dust with breadcrumbs.  Add the potato mixture to the dish.  Bake for 25 minutes, until the top is slightly brown.  Remove from the oven, let stand for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with pecorino cheese before serving.

The first ever Fifth Floor Kitchen Giveaway winner is comment number 4- Virginia!  Her favorite kitchen appliance is the Kitchen Aid stand mixer- excellent choice!

Please send an email to: fifthfloorkitchen@gmail.com with your full name and mailing address.

Thank you to EVERYONE who entered the giveaway! Love getting comments & new readers!  Come back next week for another giveaway!