collection || recipes for rainy days

At the risk of being a complete broken record here, I'll say it again:

I love all things cozy.

In my estimation, rainy days are perched high atop the list of what makes a day cozy. Now, the very best of rainy days are when they are accompanied by cool temperatures, sweaters and flannel blankets, a classic read or a classic film, and your hands wrapped around the warmth of a mug full of something delicious. So when the first rainy autumn days make their arrival I thrill. My husband knows this so well about me that when he spots such days coming on the weather app he'll send me the forecast via text with some sweet comment about just how happy he's knows this will make me. 

I love cozy rainy autumn days.

Yes, it is true. And forever it shall remain. Those other may mock me or be shocked that I could love such a day (and they have) I will stand steadily by this love of mine.

So when I spotted some more days bearing this description in the forecast for this week and next I thought I would share with you lovelies some of our favorite rainy day recipes. Some of our go-to's when that chill in the air is accompanied by those pitter-pattering sounds. 

50EEA508-D1E2-46E6-9BCC-8EDEC5E33C20.JPG

Soups and stews are musts in this list. This Irish Stew is the very definition of comfort food and when you make it -- because you must -- it must be paired with a good (as in chock full of butter and other dairy products) mashed potato recipe and a crusty-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside bread.

This chicken gnocchi soup is like a warm hug. Our favorite roasted tomato soup recipe paired with an oozey grilled cheese. And no stew list would be complete with a nod to dear Julia's beef bourguignon. The woman was just a fountain of foodie wisdom.

Pasta. Always pasta. This spaghetti with white wine and roasted tomato cream sauce has such great flavor from those roasted tomatoes. This marinara sauce is so simple and quick and makes for a delicious combination with a warm baguette and heavy sprinkles of parmesan.

Finally, the baking. You must always have baking. The apple crisp in the picture up there we made twice in a couple weeks period. So simple and tasty, especially paired with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. These pumpkin donuts are so good, like really really. Up the spice amount a bit and just dip them in melted butter and cinnamon/sugar if you don't want to worry about the caramel glaze and you'll be oh so happy.

My precious mama's pumpkin bread is the best of all the pumpkin breads. Just look at the amount of spices she puts in. She knows her way around a kitchen. If you like, you can make a little cream cheese/powdered sugar concoction to spread across the top of your slices of pumpkin bread and then you shall achieve pure fall bliss.

These carmelita bars. Gracious, they are yummy. These with a fresh cup of coffee and you'll be closing your eyes and making all the "mmmmm" sounds with the best of 'em. I discovered these bars on pinterest a few years ago and tried them on a whim for a Christmas party for J's work. They were devoured and highly requested afterwards. A favorite was born.

Lastly, the biscotti recipe from my lovely friend, Rachel's. She lives in Minnesota now and I miss so much our long chats over cups of coffee and pieces of fresh biscotti while our littles play. But I love how making a recipe like this stirs up memories and so many reasons to be thankful.

I think that's why recipes become dear to us. Along with the fabulous tastes and the comfort of spending time in your kitchen you build memories around recipes as you share it in that moment in time with family and friends. Sometimes tears fall into a bowl of soup, sometimes you come close to choking on a bite of pumpkin bread because you're laughing just that hard, sometimes you share news or clink celebratory wine glasses together over a plate of pasta, but always, you are building up those memory blocks. Then the next time you are trying to think of something warm and wonderful to make you find yourself drawn to that particular recipe because it's so much more than a good blend of ingredients.

Stay cozy, lovely ones, and Bon Appétit!

 

recipe || chicken gnocchi soup

Good Morning, you lovelies.

Happy Monday to you!

I will not lie to you, this morning has not started off in the most bright and sunshine-y of ways in our little home. It was a less than stellar night with the furry member of our family and when I did sleep I was dreaming of large amounts of stink-bugs (which I hate!!) dangling from our ceiling in a surprisingly organized pyramid formation. And then our Little's start to the day immediately began with tears and disobedience, requiring heart talks from two groggy, sleep-deprived parents. 

On mornings like this there lies a strong temptation to be resigned to "hard" for the rest of the day and throw the towel in right at the start. How many times I've done that, not even fighting to think rightly or be patient or choose joy because "it's just going to be one of those days." Let's parse that statement for all the sinful responses that are there, goodness. 

Praise Jesus, there's that glorious "but." That "but" that is ours in Christ Jesus, "because of His great love with which He loved us." Throwing in the towel isn't the only option, with which reminder He gently prompted my heart with this morning. After tearfully hugging J goodbye for the day, fighting the urge to grab him around the legs and beg him to stay home, I trudged back to our bedroom. As I tidied the bed, with a still struggling 5 year old in the next room, tears flowed as I just begged the Lord for His help. And the verse that came to mind was one of my favorites:

"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

There it is, that wonderful, glorious "but." That reminder that His love never ceases, His mercies never end, His faithfulness is great! Even if the day is full of "hard" I have hope. I have every reason to fight for those right thoughts though I just want a pity party, to pursue that patience that is dangling by a thread, and to choose that joy even when the tears fall. And that can be done, not through my individual weary efforts, but because of His sufficient grace, because of that strength that is make perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Days like these are edged with such beauty, when I get outside of myself to see it, because they are pictures of a good Father who lovingly brings me to the end of myself and says, "Be content with weaknesses. For when you are weak, then you are strong."

So we are laying our tears and our weariness and our sleeplessness at His feet and choosing to see His work, to recognize His loving ways, and to "leave all resultings, do the next thing." 

So, dear ones, I hope that you have a lovely day, resting in the truest things about you. And here's a cozy recipe to write into your dinner menu this week. It's especially perfect on a rainy day. 

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and grated*

4 stalks celery, chopped

6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1 rotisserie chicken + 1 cup reserved broth from bottom of the chicken container**

7 cups water

8 chicken bullion cubes

1 (16 ounce) package potato gnocchi

4 cups half and half

1 1/2 cups spinach, chopped

1 teaspoon thyme

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup cold water

5 tablespoons cornstarch

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons butter

Directions

Get your onion and garlic peeled and chopped, your carrots peeled and grated and your celery chopped. Heat a large pot up over medium high heat. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in it. When the oil is hot toss your chopped veggies into the pan. Cook them over medium high heat, stirring occasionally for about 5-8 minutes or until the onions are translucent.

Take the rotisserie chicken out of the package and set it on a plate. Pour the broth that is left in the bottom of the chicken package into a large measuring cup. You should have about 1 cup of broth from the pan. Pull the skin off of the chicken, and take the meat off of the bones. Chop it up with a sharp knife. When your veggies are done cooking pour the broth from the chicken and 7 cups of hot water into the pot. Add 8 chicken bullion cubes and give it a nice stir. Add the chopped chicken and bring at the soup to a boil.

Open the package of gnocchi and pour it into the pot. Let the soup come to a boil again and allow the gnocchi to cook for about 3-4 minutes. The gnocchi will be cooked through when they float to the top of the broth. It should happen pretty fast. Chop up about 1 1/2 cups of spinach and toss it into the pot. Pour in 4 cups of half and half, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir it around a bit and let it come to a boil. 

In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup cold water and 5 tablespoons of cornstarch. Mix it well and pour it into the soup pot. Bring the soup to a boil, while you stir. It will thicken as the soup reaches a boil. Taste it and season it to your liking with salt and pepper. 

Enjoy, my friends, in all its coziness!

Original recipe via Pinterest

*I don't peel the carrots, I chop them. Go crazy.

**I use a rotisserie chicken or chicken breasts that I've baked with olive oil, salt, and pepper. And I always use chicken broth from its own container. 

***I half the recipe for J and I. It makes plenty!