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CREAMY PASTA WITH APPLE & SAGE MEATBALLS

Lauren Kelp | Creamy PastaHowdy, friends! Laurel here & I know, I know…it may be January, and shiny brand new resolutions may be popping out all over the place, but let me just gently reassure you here. One, it’s not going to be January forever, even if it feels that way, and two, you need this pasta in your life. Gym memberships and kale smoothie cleanses are all wonderful things, but this weekend, you’ve got a date with some good old-fashioned comfort food.

This creamy pasta was the very best thing I ate in the month of December, which is saying something considering that it was a month that also contained at least a dozen new cookie recipes and Christmas dinner itself. But this dish, oh baby, this was the hands-down winner! This delightfully creamy pasta with savory apple, sage & sausage meatballs is rich yet somehow light, brightened by lemon zest and generous handfuls of fresh chives. And while it may not be a virtuous kale smoothie, it’s packed with spinach and fresh herbs and guaranteed to help chase away your dead-of-winter-blahs with some warm, carb-laden comfort: this is the One Winter Pasta To Rule Them All. It’s worth putting on your stretchy pants for, even in the land of New Year’s resolutions.

Lauren Kelp | Creamy PastaINGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup chopped chives
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt & pepper
1/2 cup peeled & grated apple
1 tablespoon fresh sage
1 lb. mild Italian sausage
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 lb. rigatoni pasta (usually, one box)
3 cups baby spinach leaves

Lauren Kelp | Creamy PastaINSTRUCTIONS:

1. In a mixing bowl, whisk the sour cream and regular cream together.

2. Add chives, lemon zest and lemon juice, plus salt & pepper to taste, set mixture aside.

3. Squeeze grated apple between your hands to remove as much juice as possible beforehand.

4. Put fresh sage, Italian sausage and chopped shallot in a mixing bowl, add the grated apple, mix with your hands until just barely combined. Roll mixture into about two dozen meatballs the size of large marbles.

5. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add half the meatballs, cook until lightly browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside, do the same for the other half of the batch. Set all cooked meatballs aside.

6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with a handful of salt and add pasta. Cook until tender, then strain and return pasta to pot.

7. Add spinach and toss thoroughly while pasta is still warm, until leaves wilt and become soft.

8. Add cream mixture and meatballs, then serve.

Lauren Kelp | Creamy Pasta


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SUMMER ROOFTOP DINNER PARTY

ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0041Howdy, folks! Lauren here and I don’t know about you, but I feel like our Summer days are numbered. Not that I am sad to see the sticky summer days go, but I will miss the lazy afternoons spent on rooftops, taking in the sights, nowhere else to be but with your friends drinking rosé.

Chicago is full of rooftop decks that are in prime form in the summer. A nice city breeze, great people watching, not to mention a killer view whilst grilling. It’s basically the best way to dine outside with friends while drinking and eating all you want with you friends. So, that’s exactly what we did!
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Schedules are nuts in the summer, so the promise of good food and a rooftop hang usually helps people clear their schedules pretty quick. We rounded up some good friends, asked them to bring their favorite adult beverage, and gave them the address for where to meet us.
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We whipped up a few of our favorite low-key, slam-dunk meals and picked up some protein to throw on the grill from Whole Foods. Plus, we found these ADORABLE eco-friendly bamboo plates and silverware from Whole Foods and they are perfect for a picnic or a no-cleanup dinner party (which is totally something I can get behind). ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0013ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0015

Casual get-togethers are my absolute favorite. You round up whatever bowl, pan, or serving container can hold your dish and somehow it all comes together looking fabulous. Grab some dollar store candles, your favorite blooms, and set a table with love and full of friends and you can’t beat it!
3ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0025ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS00304I look like I am about to devour him, but let’s just take a moment to check out my hubs. I mean, such a hunk!ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS00455ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0039So, there you have it! Nothing beats a good rooftop dinner party hang with great friends. Grab a night (probably soon), text your friends, and make it happen. Summer is coming to a close and you should probably have a least a few of these rooftop dinners under your belt.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t even have to be fancy, it just has to be honest. When you throw a get together, tag us! We would love to see your dinner and celebrate the good times with you.

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CLEMENTINE AND ROSEMARY MIMOSA

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Hooray! It’s Friday! You made it to the end of the week & we think that is cause for celebration. Whether it was the best week of your life (in that case, CONGRATS!) or kind of crummy (we all have ’em), there is no better way to transition into the weekend than with a little cocktail. If you happen to be partial to citrus and fresh herbs, this cocktail is an absolute must. Perfect for a long soak in the tub, entertaining guests, or whipping up one for you and the roommate, the clementine and rosemary mimosa is absolutely divine.

So, what do you say? Meet us for drinks after work? We will have one waiting for you!
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CLEMENTINE AND ROSEMARY MIMOSA

INGREDIENTS:

Rosemary Syrup 

– ½ cup fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
– 2 cups granulated sugar
– 2 cups water
– Rind from 3 clementines, cut into thin strips & pith removed

 

Rosemary Clementine Mimosa

– 1 oz clementine juice
– ½ oz lime juice
– ½ oz rosemary syrup
– 3 oz prosecco

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INSTRUCTIONS FOR ROSEMARY SIMPLE SYRUP

1. In a medium sauce pan combine sugar and water, heat over medium high to high stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves and it comes to a low boil.

2. Remove from heat and add the rosemary and rind. Give it a good stir, cover, and let sit until it comes to room temperature.

3. Taste

4. If you want a strong flavor than refrigerate it over night before straining. If it’s to your liking, go ahead and strain it through a mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth.

5. Will keep indefinitely bottles in the fridge.

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CLEMENTINEMIMOSA0001INSTRUCTIONS

1. Stir the lime juice, syrup, and clementine juice together.

2. Pour prosecco into a glass and top with the syrup mixture.

3. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and a clementine twist.

4. Using a lit match, take small slice of orange peel and squeeze it in the direction of the lit match over the cocktail. The oil from the peel will leave a smokey citrus flavor.

5. Enjoy!

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RECIPE ADAPTED FROM BETH KIRBYconstance