I have been woefully negligent in the upkeep of this space since before Thanksgiving, and there are no true explanations.
I got a little sick over Thanksgiving break. It made me fully appreciate what it means to be hydrated. (My newest love = Zico Coconut Water … yum yum delish).
And work has been a little bit of a time-suck. That’s about all I have to say about that!
I promised myself that when December 1st rolled around, I would start on a fresh page and blog all my Christmas favorites.
But …. I dropped the ball again. December, I have found, is a little hectic when one has a few balls in the air. Additionally, and this most profoundly affects the man, December happens to be the birth month of most of the significant females in our joint family. His mama, me, my mama and my mama’s twin. (I can almost hear the collective & sympathetic ‘oy vey!‘).
The truth is, what with work, and feeling slightly under the weather (and therefore infinitely less on the ball) plus having a To-Do list a mile long that includes Christmas cards (I’m boycotting the politically correct “Holiday” substitution), birthday pressies, Christmas pressies, holiday decorations, travel plans for NYE and … the man and my first Annual Christmas Party … things have just sort of spun out of control.
So, here I am, halfway through my second favorite month (weirdly, October out-ranks December for me by a nose!), finally taking a minute to update my sad, cobweb-laden blog with a few fun, holiday things.
But to start, a new recipe that the man and I have enjoyed a few times recently … most importantly on my birthday (which was Monday).
Everyday Colorful Gnocchi
What You Need:
1 bundle fresh asparagus
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow squash
1 pkg button mushrooms, sliced
1 bag large pre-cooked shrimp
2 pkg Gnocchi (I buy mine from Trader Joe’s and I use one regular, and one whole-wheat)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan (+ a little extra)
3 Tbsp Butter (separated into individual tbsp portions)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil (+ some extra)
Salt & Pepper to taste
What to Do:
1. Preheat oven to 375. Defrost shrimp and drain. Put water on stove to boil for gnocchi.
2. Cover a cooking tray (you can use a cookie sheet or anything flat) with aluminum foil, and spray with non-stick spray.
3. Chop asparagus into bite-size pieces, disgarding the bottom of the stalks (which are inevitably stringy and have zero flavor). ***I usually use just the tips.
4. Cube zucchini and yellow squash.
5. Place asparagus and squash on cooking tray, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with some olive oil. Set aside until mushrooms have softened (below step). Place in oven on top rack for approximately five minutes (or until you hear sizzling).
6. In a medium sauce pan, place sliced mushrooms and season with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder. Drizzle some olive oil. Cook until mushrooms are softened over medium heat. Fold in shrimp to season and warm up.
7. Cook gnocchi according to package instructions. Drain.
8. In large bowl, combine gnocchi, veggies, mushrooms and shrimp with 1/3 cup Parmesan, 3 tbsp butter (which should be separated) and 1 tbsp olive oil. Add additional Parmesan and butter until the sauce reaches your desired cheesiness. Season with salt & pepper if you’d like. Mix carefully … the gnocchi is delicate!
Other Optional Ingredients:
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Roasted Red Peppers (a favorite of mine, but the man doesn’t really love roasted red peppers)
Fresh English Peas (I loathe peas, but I know lots of people who don’t)
**My main guide is to add color to the dish. A lot of nutrition guides offer the advice that you should be eating the whole rainbow color spectrum. While the butter and parm sauce sort of negate the healthiness of this meal, I still like thinking I’m getting my veggies. And as I’ve mentioned before, mushrooms make everything better for me! Also, the man and I use shrimp, because he’s not a fan of cubed chicken -he thinks it’s almost always dry- and I can’t say I totally disagree. BUT, if you want to make it healthier, you could make this dish with chicken, and a tomato sauce made by reducing fresh tomatoes in a saucepan, adding olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano and/or basil.
We enjoyed the birthday dinner in our living room, with the tree lit, “Holiday Inn” on the boob tube, and some truly fantastic wine in our ‘good’ goblets. Any eastern Pennsylvanians, take note of Va La Vineyards. The man and I have been a few times, but this bottle came courtesy of my Mother’s Day tasting excursion with Zia Leni, and was a present for the man. He very generously agreed that it was an excellent choice ~ Cinderbox 2008 (a now defunct vintage). Delish. Finishing it was bittersweet … but will now necessitate another trip to Va La to find something new to enjoy.
Coming Soon …
Top Ten Classic Christmas Movies (according to the man and I)
Jennie J’s Christmas Cookies (I hope … still haven’t found recipes yet)
John & Gwyn’s First Annual Holiday Party
And … SimplyGwyn in Indiana!
Happy December Everyone! ‘Til next time … xoxo.