Tuesday, December 15, 2009


When I got into work today, I had this email waiting for me from my BFF Courtney.

A Warm Refuge
Best Friends
By the time we reach adulthood, many of us have had the good fortune to have at least one best friend. If we have moved around or changed our life situation repeatedly, we may be lucky enough to have had several. The best friend relationship is often our earliest intimate peer relationship, and it can be a source of great warmth and connection throughout our lives. The details of best friendship change as we grow up and grow older, but the heart of it remains the same. Our best friends are a warm refuge in which we feel free to be fully ourselves, to share our deepest secrets, to rest when we are tired, to celebrate when we are happy—a place in which we feel utterly welcome to give and receive that most precious of all gifts, love.

intimate relationships hit bumps from time to time, and one of the hallmarks of an enduring best friendship is its ability to ride out the turbulence and remain intact even as it faces changes. Our best friends are those who manage to love us through all of our transitions, as we do the same for them. We find ways to embrace and appreciate the differences that set us apart and offer love and support no matter what. We allow each other to be exactly as we are at a given moment, even as we allow each other to change over time. In this way, best friends sometimes feel like family. We know we will stick together regardless of where our individual paths lead.

We may be on the phone with our best friends every day, or we may not have spoken for a year, yet we know that our bond will be strong and immediate when we do connect. This bond ties us together even when we are apart and draws us blissfully back into the warm refuge of each other’s company when our paths bring us together again.
Precious right! Court and I have been friends since 3rd grade. But we weren't always as close as we are today. We were always in the same group and we always lived in the same neighborhood, but I think we established being true best friends over the last three years when we realized how much we each relied on each other. I'm so happy to have Courtney in my life and I feel very grateful that we met a long long time ago at Nancy Kelly's Dance Studio.
Okay, on to some eats. Monday night I made Portobello Mushroom Melts with Sausage, Spinach and Mozzarella.
Grilled Portobellos Stuffed with Sausage, Spinach and Mozzarella

3/4 lb. turkey sausage
8 oz. fresh spinach leaves, stems removed and coarsely chopped
1/2 chicken broth
Salt and pepper
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, diced
6-8 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
1-2 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of onions
In a hot skillet, saute the mushrooms for 3 minutes on each side. Remove the mushrooms from the grill and place on a flat surface, cap side down. In another skillet over medium-high heat, brown the sausage and break it into small pieces. Add the sliced onion and cook until tender and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the chicken broth and cook until completely reduced. Add the spinach, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Fill the mushrooms with the sausage mixture and top each with one or two slices of tomato and the mozzarella cheese. Preheat the broiler and cook until the mushroom and filling have heated through, the cheese is melted and the tomato is soft, about 5 minutes. I served a salad and the stuffed shells I made on Sunday. This was a LOT of food.

Also on Monday, we had our department Chrismakkah Yankee Swap Party. I ended up with Rum from St. Marteen. Can't beat that! Everyone was asked to bring some food to the party. Here's the spread.
We had some home-made foccacia, a goat cheese and mushroom quiche, cold cuts, turkey chili, a delicious salad and the lasagna I brought in. We also had tons of desserts including my friend Carissa's Chocolate Mint Orea Triffle. Good job Little One! Yummy!
And Gretchen's Cranberry Tart. Remember Gretchen? She used to blog. Maybe she will come back soon and post this delicious recipe. Gretchen, hellooooooo are you there? We miss you.
Okay moving on to Tuesday night. I bought parsnips even though I wasn't really sure what to do with them. I looked up some recipes and this is what I came up with. I made Apple Cider Pork Tenderloin and Roasted Parsnips and Carrots, inspired by this website I found by using google.
Apple Cider Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Parsnips and Carrots

• 2 tbsp. apple cider
• 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tbsp. honey
• ½ tsp. horseradish
• ½ tsp minced garlic
• 1 lb. pork tenderloin
• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp black pepper

Combine apple cider, Worcestershire sauce, honey, horseradish, garlic and whisk together in a small bowl. Place the pork tenderloin in a large plastic storage bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 1 hour. (Clearly I didn't have an hour- how's 20 minutes work for you?!?!) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large skillet over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Remove the tenderloin from the marinade and pat dry. Season it with salt and pepper. When the skillet is hot, add the tenderloins and sear for about 4 minutes, turning to ensure equal browning. Transfer to the oven and cook for about 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 155 degrees. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes. To serve, slice the meat against the grain into ¾ inch slices. Serve on a large platter on top of the parsnips and carrots. Makes 4 servings.

Roasted Parsnips and Carrots

• 1 lb. parsnips
• 1 lb. carrots
• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 tbsp. honey
• Cooking spray
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the parsnips and carrots and slice into 2 inch by 1 inch pieces. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil and honey. Place the vegetables in a large roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Pour olive oil and honey mixture over the parsnips and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast vegetables, stirring occasionally, for 35-45 minutes or until tender.
I liked the sweet tang of the parsnips and carrots! This was tasty!
I also made a Potato and Parsnip Gratin. I thought this was okay. I didn't love the parsnips with cream and cheese. I liked it better sweet!
Potato Parsnip Gratin
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1 pound parsnips
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons garlic
1 tablespoon salt
Freshly ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/2 stick, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup shredded chedddar cheese
Heat oven to 425°F. Lightly butter a 10-inch round or oval, 2-inch-deep gratin dish or pie plate and set aside. Peel and trim potatoes and parsnips. Slice parsnips crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick rounds, pat dry, and place in a large mixing bowl. Slice potatoes crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Toss vegetables together and set aside. Warm cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering but not boiling; remove from heat. Place 1/2 of the vegetable mixture in the bottom of the prepared dish. Dot with 2 tablespoons of the butter and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the cheese. Top with remaining vegetable mixture, dot with remaining butter, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Pour warm cream over top. Cover the dish with foil and bake until vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork and the top is bubbling, about 35 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over gratin, pressing them down lightly with the back of a spatula so they absorb some of the moisture and don’t brown too fast. Return gratin to oven and bake until top is golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Remove gratin from oven and allow to rest at least 5 minutes before serving.

Doing something with apples, red cabbage and chicken tonight and my work Christmas party tomorrow!
Workouts thus far:
Sunday- 4 miles
Monday- off
Tuesday- Ran 3 miles + Boot Camp
Wed- Physical Therapy

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