Christmas is just around the corner and I’m so excited! This past Friday we officially kicked off the holiday season with a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with friends Marit and Kelvin and my son-in-law (well, it kind of feels that way already!). After a huge turkey dinner, we all cozied up on the couch to watch one of my favorite Christmas movies, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation — so, so funny! It was a lovely evening with a highly festive feeling. We even had eggnog and twinkly lights!
There are a lot of cooking plans brewing in my head, and today I want to share one that I tried this morning — my easy cinnamon rolls made with ready-made croissant dough! This recipe saves you a lot of time, so it’s definitely one to keep in mind this busy holiday season. I hope you’ll like them as much as we did!
Easy Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 8 rolls
- a tube of ready-made croissant dough (340g)
- 40g butter (20g melted, 20g softened)
- 50g light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 60g softened cream cheese
- 40g powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180C. Open the tube of dough on a well-floured surface. Cut it in half with a sharp knife and join the two sheets to make on large sheet of approximately 31 x 11 cm. Brush a little of the melted butter over a round Pyrex dish. Brush a little more of melted butter over the dough. Mix the sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the dough. Roll up the dough into a log, from the small side. Place the rolls in the pan with the seams touching and brush with the rest of the melted butter. Bake for 25 minutes. Make the glaze by whisking the softened butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Spread this over the rolls as soon as they come out of the oven. Delicious!
One of the best things about working from home is allowing myself the time to have a proper lunch. After walking my dog at noon, I return home energized and head to the kitchen to feed him and make myself a salad with lots of leafy greens, good proteins and my standard dressing which consists of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, fleur de sel and cracked pepper. This afternoon break is essential for me and keeps me alert and focused the rest of the day.
On days when I have a little more time (like today), I like to make soups and warm salads, especially with quinoa. Today I made a gorgeous quinoa bowl with roasted butternut squash and kale. So healthy and vibrant! I even ate it outdoors as is was a ‘balmy’ 15C in my garden. Though I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.
The lunch, on the other hand, was a VERY good thing!
Here’s the recipe:
Quinoa Bowl with Butternut Squash and Kale
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried garlic
- fleur de sel
- cracked pepper
- 120g quinoa
- handful of finely chopped kale
- 1 small red onion, halved and finely sliced
- 1/2 pomegranate
Preheat oven to 190C and line a baking sheet with baking paper. In a bowl, mix the butternut squash with the olive oil, turmeric, cumin, garlic and salt and pepper. Spread the squash over the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. In the meantime, cook the quinoa according to package directions, adding the finely chopped kale during the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Stir the butternut squash and red onion through the quinoa and kale and divide over two bowls. Garnish each bowl with the pomegranate seeds, a drizzle of olive oil and fresh pepper.
I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving is next week. We ordered our turkey yesterday, and I am looking forward to serving a nice meal again this year. A meal that I start preparing the day ahead by baking the cornbread that goes into the stuffing and the pumpkin pie served for dessert. My stuffing, made with sausage and sage, has always been a big hit. I think people like it more than the turkey! This year, I will be serving eggnog as a welcome drink, though a cranberry-Prosecco cocktail may also be a good idea.
But before all that festive feasting, there’s a magazine that needs to be finished! My days are very busy, which means that dinners need to be quick — and delicious. I seriously crave comfort food after a long day of editing!
Yesterday I made a really tasty dinner of orzo with roasted brussels sprouts and feta. Roasting sprouts gives them incredible flavor! Just make sure you use small ones, because the big ones are not as tasty, in my opinion.
Here’s the recipe:
Orzo with Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- 5 tbsps olive oil
- 500g small brussels sprout, cleaned
- 1 tsp herbes de Provence
- 1 tsp dried garlic
- freshly cracked pepper
- fleur de sel
- 3 small red onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 150g feta, cubed
- 1 tbsp chopped chives
- 300g orzo
- semi-sundried tomatoes, to serve
Preheat the oven to 190C and line a baking sheet with baking paper. In a bowl, toss the cleaned sprouts with 3 tbsps of the olive oil, herbes de Provence, garlic and salt and pepper. Spread them over the baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes, shaking them every now and then. In the meantime, heat the remaining 2 tbsps of the olive oil and gently sauté the onions over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the orzo for 7 minutes or according to package directions. Once the sprouts are baked, let them cool slightly and tip them into a large bowl. Add the cubed feta and chopped chives to the sprouts and stir well. Drain the orzo and stir (using a fork) through the sprouts and feta. Divide over three bowls and top each portion with the caramelized red onions and a few semi-sundried tomatoes.
November already? Yes — fall is slowly slipping into winter, and the holidays are not that far off anymore. I always look forward to this time of year; planning my Thanksgiving dinner, the anticipation of Christmas, celebrating my daughter’s birthday. There’s so much to look forward to. This year, I am also hoping for a real winter. Although I’m not a fan of cold weather or snow (I can’t walk on snow!), I think it’s time for nature to get back on track. The chances of that happening are pretty slim though. I’m not so sure we’ll ever have a white Christmas again. One thing I can always count on, however, is spending a delicious end of the year with my family, cooking the foods we’ve always loved and coming up with new recipes.
Last Friday I decided to get into the spirit a little early and spent the afternoon listening to Christmas music while baking a cake. I came up with a recipe that I’m sure you will love as much as we did: a lemon-cranberry loaf. My husband, who doesn’t really like sweets and desserts much, keeps telling me how good it is every time I serve him a slice. With its bright red cranberries and tangy glaze, it’s a pretty cake, too. I think it would be perfect for breakfast or coffee this holiday season, so keep it in mind, especially if you’re having family staying over.
Here’s the recipe:
- 230g all-purpose flour
- 6 1/2 tbsps ground almonds
- pinch of salt (preferably fleur de sel)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- zest of two lemons (you will need the juice of 1 1/2 lemons for the cake, the rest for the glaze)
- 200g soft butter
- 200g sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 100g dried cranberries, plus extra for decorating
- 125g powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 28 cm rectangular cake pan with baking paper. Mix flour, ground almonds, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Stir in the lemon zest. In a standing mixer, whip the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one to the butter and sugar mixture while letting the machine run. Fold in the dry ingredients in three batches, stirring thoroughly after each addition. Stir in the lemon juice. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool thoroughly on a wire rack. To make the glaze combine the powdered sugar and about 1-2 tbsps lemon juice until the mixture reaches a nice consistency, neither too thick nor too thin. Allow to stand for 15 minutes. Give the glaze a good whisk and pour it over the cake using a spoon. Decorate with the extra cranberries.