This post was originally published here on February 4, 2015. I’ve since updated the recipe slightly and added new (and better!) photos. Enjoy!
And just like that, we’re right smack into the middle of January. Seriously, how does this time go by so fast? I feel like I say that as we approach the end of every day/month/year. But it just seems to be true. Time flies when you’re having fun, right?
So how are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? It’s a damn good thing that I didn’t make any regarding food, because whoa nelly would I have broken them all this weekend. Shattered them, actually.
I don’t know what got into me. Well, I know exactly what got into me: a couple of bags of Valentine’s Day candy. Seriously, I don’t know what it is about Valentine’s Day candy, but it’s my favorite and I can’t ever seem to resist it. And with the stores pushing the Holiday’s earlier and earlier each year, I’m doomed from the start of January until mid-February.
Side note: My friend Christina wrote a little Valentine’s Day candy review this past week and it’s a fun read, if you’re into that sort of thing.
So it’s back to soups and smoothies for me for the next couple of days. And this Kale and Apple Soup is one I’ll be enjoying on the regular.
Now, don’t go and immediately write this soup off as some weird dieter recipe. Sure, it’s packed full of greens and it can certainly be labeled “healthy”. But it also has a little bacon, which gives it a rich, luscious taste. And it’s not at all thin, watery and one-dimensional. Those are not good characteristics for soup, or otherwise. Nope. This Kale and Apple Soup has body, a touch of sweetness from some maple syrup and a little bit of heat from a heavy sprinkling of red and black pepper flakes to finish it off. It’s a recipe that I’ve been making for a couple years now. And it’s one I always go back too when I feel the need to be a little bit kinder to my body.
The soup recipe itself is dairy free. Although I do love adding a little drizzle of heavy cream on top. But you can certainly skip that part, if you prefer. No big deal!
Recipe adapted from The Kitchn
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Stonewall Kitchen. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands and companies that help to keep my little kitchen afloat!
It’s no secret that I love appetizers. Just sit me down in front of a spread of bite-sized foods and I’ll be pretty happy. I can easily skip the main event all together. Cocktails, finger foods and desserts are where it’s at, in my humble opinion. No need to go to all the trouble of roasting up a whole turkey just for me!
And you know what? I kind of have an inkling that you all might be feeling exactly the same way. So today, I’m bringing you these adorable Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney for all your snacking pleasures. You’re welcome.
My go-to appetizer is usually some kind of toasty bread piled high with cheese and ALL THE toppings. But this year, I really wanted to create something gluten-free. And while I certainly could have just used gluten-free bread, that seemed like a bit of a cop-out. Then I remembered my friend Sarah’s polenta bites from the Summer, and I decided to try my hand at creating a festive Fall/Winter version that would be appropriate for Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday entertaining. My rendition has whipped ricotta cheese with fresh herbs, a flavorful chutney, a few crumbles of bacon and everyone’s favorite seasonal vegetable – brussels sprouts.
There are a few separate steps required to make these polenta bites. But none of them are particularly taxing or time consuming. The polenta gets baked in the oven (no stirring required!), and can be prepared up to a day or two in advance, which is a huge time saver. And you can even separate out the brussels sprout leaves ahead of time as well, storing them in your refrigerator until you’re ready to crisp them up.
I should warn you that these crispy brussels sprout leaves are highly addicting. Once you start munching on them, it’s hard to stop. You’ll be amazed at how quickly an entire pan can disappear!
But the real star of the show is the Holiday Chutney from Stonewall Kitchen. With it’s blend of fruits (including pears, cranberries and rhubarb) and warming spices, it provides the perfect tart-sweet balance to offset the other savory-salty ingredients in this recipe. Which ultimately makes these polenta bites one heck of a well rounded appetizer.
Both literally and figuratively. You know, because they are round.
Ugh. I’m the worst. Sorry.
Stonewall Kitchen’s Holiday Chutney is also a great addition to any charcuterie or cheese plate (these Simple White Crackers are my favorite!). And it’s a wonderful topping for baked ham, pork or chicken. I like to keep a jar on hand at all times, because it totally helps me bring my A-game to the table around the Holidays!
Recipe inspired by The Kitchn