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It seems that I'm in a rut of only posting about food. But with Thanksgiving a day away, it's timely, right? I will work on some more creative subjects for future posts, but I have to get another food post out of my system!

We've been enjoying soups and stews lately. They seem to be the perfect meal for the colder months - easy, relatively quick to make, and delicious! Our friend Meredith has caught the soup bug and has been making some incredible soups for us and our friends, including this escarole and meatball soup and this asian dumpling soup.

We recently tried out this recipe for spicy tomato and black bean soup that I found on a random blog and loved it! I have never had chipotle peppers in adobo sauce before, but I am a new fan!
Oh, I had a breakthrough the other day and created a meal without a recipe (shown at the top of this post). It was a proud moment for me, since a few years ago my extent of making a meal was microwaving a hot pocket (sad, but true). I threw together the following ingredients to make a quick curry:
-1 can chickpeas
-1 can diced tomatoes
-Broccoli
-Yellow pepper
-A bit of tomato paste
-Around 2 tsp curry powder
-Red pepper flakes
-Fresh parsley
It was incredibly delicious, and I will definitely be working this into the repertoire more often. It's not a stroke of genius, but it's a big step for me :)
Tonight we'll be preparing to host our first holiday in our new home...more details to come.
Happy Thanksgiving!
~Sonja

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Somehow it's already fall...and well into it at that! We took this picture two weekends ago, and all of the leaves on these trees are now in a damp mess on our lawn.

We did enjoy the season, while it lasted. We had our annual fall get together at Alex's mom and stepdad's house, complete with picking apples and making our own cider with a cider press! We had a great time - click here for pictures from the weekend.

We've also been enjoying time with our new puppy...

...and fall wouldn't be complete without comforting fall foods! We had two great fall-inspired meals last weekend, one we cooked ourselves, and another cooked for us by our friends. I'll let them blog the recipes from the meal, but it was an incredible four-course feast that included potato and leek soup, pear, walnut and gorgonzola salad, spice-rubbed pork, mushroom and edamame risotto, lemon madelines, and dark chocolate with dried fruits. AMAZING.
The night before, we attempted a simple fall dinner (at least, all the recipes were simple on their own - I'm always surprised at how compounding "simple" recipes exponentially increases the time and effort in the kitchen...)
Anyway, I picked two recipes randomly from epicurious.com, and I was pleasantly surprised at the results! I based the first course on a similar salad I had recently at R Bistro, my most favorite restaurant in the world. I will save singing R Bistro's praises for another post, but let me just say that it is the BEST food you can get in the area, and is the establishment that introduced me to the creativity and artistry that is possible in the culinary arts.
First course: Persimmon, Cashew and Goat Cheese Salad
Recipe: Peel and slice persimmons (drop them in boiling water for a couple minutes to loosen their skins) and place on lettuce with cashews and cheese (the original recipe used French feta). My recreation wasn't half as good as R Bistro's, but it was still very good!
Second Course: Tilapia with Creamy Leeks

Recipe: Click here. This was SO good, and healthy at that! The leeks were amazing.
Dessert: Chinese Five-Spice Roasted Pears with Toasted Almonds

Recipe: Click here. This was also SO good! I am now addicted to Chinese five-spice. The toasted almonds and ice cream were the perfect addition.
Now I'm on to brainstorming ideas for our Thanksgiving menu, which we're excited to be hosting this year!
~Sonja

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We had the pleasure of a visit from my parents a couple weeks ago. The four of us had a great time exploring Indianapolis, visiting the Art Museum, Zionsville, Locally Grown Gardens for their excellent hog roast (check it out if you're an Indy local), and Kahn's for their wine tasting and excellent beer selection. One of our favorite parts of the visit, of course, was the excuse to cook! We decided to go with a French-inspired theme since my parents love the cuisine (and were probably jealous of the French meal we cooked for our friends)!
Since I have promised to blog about these recipes for several weeks (I don't know how my friend Erin manages to post in such a timely fashion about all her meals), here they are! (Unfortunately I just had two meals this weekend that I am itching to blog about, including another Smiley dinner, but first things first...)
Menu

Vegetable Tian
Salmon with Lentils
Spinach and Frisee Salad with Radishes
Bananas Foster
(not French, but slightly related...and so good)
Lavender Infused Chocolate Truffles

Both the Vegetable Tian and Salmon with Lentils recipes were from Ina Garten's (of Barefoot Contessa fame) Barefoot in Paris cookbook, and turned out to be EXCELLENT. We will definitely make both again, especially the lentils, which are my new favorite food (though I do say that about a lot of things...).

Vegetable Tian
Recipe
 
Salmon with Lentils
Recipe

Bananas Foster
 
Lavender Infused Truffles
~Sonja

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Many of you have probably heard our big news (I've learned to be careful saying that when you are married - people tend to assume things), but in an attempt to be semi-timely about documenting the events in our lives...we got a puppy!

Yes, I cannot believe Alex convinced me to get one. I have always loved dogs (see my previous post on our beloved family dog), but I figured the soonest I would actually own one would be around 2025 or so. However, somehow a visit from our friend Lauren's foster Pomeranian put the idea in our heads that it would be fun to have one of our own. After accidentally visiting some Pomeranian puppies at a breeder, we immediately fell in love with a very tiny red Pomeranian puppy that looked more like a fox than a dog. I tried to hold out and be the practical one who said that we didn't need more responsibility in our lives (especially one that you have to commit to for 15 years), but like I said, Alex can be very persuasive. Thus, Luna entered our lives!

Here she is on the day we got her, looking like a puppy calendar pinup...



So far having a dog has been more fun than stressful, actually (despite my earlier apprehension). She is totally hilarious and incredibly smart - she's already learned come, sit, stay, shake and play dead in her 2 weeks of living with us. Somehow she's melded seamlessly into our lives and seems like a natural part of them. I look forward to watching her grow and experiencing the joys (and drawbacks) of dog ownership!
Click here for our Luna photo album
~Sonja