Spring Minestrone Soup | 20 minutes to a fresh spring dinner
Ali Hedin | Spring Minestrone Soup

When I was a kid, we ate minestrone soup at every family gathering because my aunt made it for every birthday party. She made that and spinach dip. The spinach dip that’s made from frozen spinach and vegetable soup mix. I just made it for St. Patrick’s Day and it was as epic as I remembered as a child.

I’ve made the minestrone in my book - the real original minestrone that my aunt used to make. And I made a version with winter vegetables in the app and you can find the recipe here.

This version is for spring. It’s a celebration of everything at the farmer’s market right now. A celebration of everything that arrives in the CSA box this week. It’s perfect for those spring nights that are a little cool but you’re still looking forward to summer.

Ali Hedin | Spring Minestrone Soup
Ali Hedin | Spring Minestrone Soup

The brilliant part of this soup is that it cooks in literally 20 minutes. Once the veggies are softened and a little crispy, it takes a few minutes to bring to a boil, then the tiny little orzo pasta cooks in minutes. Like three. Literally, it cooks so fast.

Ali Hedin | Spring Minestrone Soup

SPRING MINESTRONE SOUP

serves 4

STEP 1

Chop all vegetables into basically bite sized pieces and cook in a stock pot with olive oil until a little brown on the edges.  Season with salt.  

 

STEP 2

Pour in garbanzo beans and stock and bring to a boil.  Season with oregano and basil.  

 

STEP 3

Add asparagus and pasta to the pot and cook 3 minutes until the pasta is done.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

 

STEP 4

Serve with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

1 zucchini, about 1 cup chopped

1 fennel bulb, sliced

1 leek, whites sliced thin

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 bunch asparagus

2 cups green beans, chopped

2 tbs olive oil

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 can garbanzo beans

4 cups vegetable stock

1 cup orzo

2 tbs fresh basil

¼ cup parmesan cheese

Salt & pepper

Ali Hedin | Spring Minestrone Soup
New Cooking Classes!
Ali Hedin Cooking Class

I am so freaking excited to host these next classes because not only are we cooking really good food, but I have partnered with some amazing people to bring you the best parties ever! These are totally over the top. Sign up quick because they have limited space!


MARCH 28

Join me and A|R Workshop at the Fire Station for a totally Hygge evening. I’ll show you how to make a cozy spring soup using loads of vegetables from the farmer’s market and my friends at A|R Workshop will help you make a chunky knit blanket. The blanket is so darling and cozy!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP

Ali Hedin | Mother's Day

MAY 4

Just in time for Mother’s Day, my girlfriend and phenomenal photographer Kim Hildebrand and I are hosting a Mama and Me morning. I will show you how to cook a simple brunch that you and the kids are both going to love and in between, Kim will take portraits of you and your littles!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP

Hedin Family by Kim Hildebrand
Alexandra Hedin
A Fun Family St. Patrick's Day
Ali Hedin | St. Patrick's Day

I adore a good holiday that isn’t really a “holiday” - these days when you don’t get a day off of school or anything, but it comes with a great color scheme, pun-ny jokes, and clothing requirements. It’s also the only time of year when I buy Lucky Charms so my kids get really excited about that too.

These are the days I like to celebrate all day. It’s fun to start the morning off with a quirky breakfast - even a bowl of Lucky Charms is a fun way to kick off the day! While you have the box of Lucky Charms out, pop a handful on the top of a mug of hot cocoa - and since it’s a Sunday, why not spike the cocoa with a splash of Frangelico? Get really Irish from the start!

Ali Hedin | St. Patrick's Day
Ali Hedin | St. Patrick's Day

The problem with St. Patrick’s Day food is that corned beef takes FOREVER to cook. FOREVER. It literally has to braise and boil and everything else before it’s done and it takes forever. But corned beef is the epitome of St. Patrick’s Day. That and soda bread - and a good (very) dark beer.

St. Patrick’s Day does fall on a Sunday this year so technically you do have time to go through the entire process of making corned beef. I usually buy mine at Metropolitan Market when I buy it already seasoned. It takes a few hours and the instructions are always on the package. There are lots of other ways to cook corned beef, but I’ve never had any issues when I just follow the instructions on the package.

But if you don’t have time, a Reuben Sandwich is the perfect substitute! You get to have the glory of corned beef, but purchased from the deli and cooked for you.

Ali Hedin | St. Patrick's Day

A reuben sandwich is my favorite meal every single time. If it’s on a menu, I will order it. Every time. The best I have had was at a roadside dive restaurant on our way to Montana last summer. It was the perfect ratio of meat to sauerkraut and super greasy with extra thousand island on the side. Epic.

I like to make these sandwiches on small rounds of bread so I end up with manageable sized sandwiches that don’t fall apart when you lift them up. The biggest issue with a Reuben is when it falls apart when you lift it.

REUBEN SANDWICH

 

STEP 1

Combine together mayonnaise, ketchup, and lemon juice.  Let rest.

 

STEP 2

Butter one side of each piece of bread.  Spread the other side with Dijon mustard.  

 

STEP 3

Layer a slice of cheese on top of four slices of bread (on top of the Dijon).  Add pastrami equally divided amongst sandwiches.

 

STEP 4

Top pastrami with sauerkraut and another slice of cheese.  

 

STEP 5

Top cheese with remaining slices of bread and toast the sandwiches over medium heat in a skillet.  

 

STEP 6

Slice and serve with homemade Thousand Island dipping sauce.

1 lb sliced pastrami 

8 slices rye bread

2 tbs butter

2 tbs Dijon mustard

1 cup Sauerkraut

8 slices Swiss cheese

½ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup ketchup

2 tbs lemon juice

Ali Hedin | St. Patrick's Day
Ali Hedin | St. Patrick's Day

End the night with a fun martini that’s on theme. Any one else hate a really thick beer? I can’t handle more than a sip or two of a heavy beer, but anything that’s green in a cocktail seems nasty too.

Then I discovered that if you muddle basil, it dyes the drink green! Shaken with Hendrick’s Gin - which has an herbal quality to it - it’s a perfect martini! You can serve this with any dinner - including a reuben sandwich.

Ali Hedin | St. Patrick's Day
Ali Hedin | St Patrick's Day
Ali Hedin | St Patrick's Day

Alexandra Hedin
Oscar Popcorn Party + the easiest popcorn bars
Ali Hedin | Easy Popcorn Oscar Party

Watching the Oscars is so fun. So glamorous. So exciting to see who will win! I haven’t seen many of the movies - unless you count the animated series where I am literally rocking the category! It never seems to matter to me if I do know any of the movies; I love seeing the stars in their gowns, the beautiful jewelry, and all of the glitz.

When Pearl was three I had the Oscars on and she came and sat beside me. She was enamored with the same things I am - the glitz, the glamour, the spectacle. Practically one minute into it, she declared “I’m going to be up there one day.” Who knows if that will ever be true. But isn’t that what we all dreamed of as a little girl? Getting to walk a red carpet in a stunning, custom made gown, loaded with gorgeous jewels and drinking champagne?

It’s no movie star party without popcorn. All of the popcorn. I could literally make this my dinner. And I have - on occasion - made popcorn my dinner! This is the night to take popcorn up a notch with every mix-in you can find.

Ali Hedin | Easy Popcorn Oscar Party
Ali Hedin | Easy Popcorn Oscar Party
Ali Hedin | Easy Popcorn Oscar Party
Ali Hedin | Easy Popcorn Oscar Party

There’s a simple way to host this party - make a popcorn bar! You can even do this for just your little family - the kids will think it’s a real kick. If you’re making this for the kids, then choose toppings that they will like. But if you’re doing it for a crowd, you can get a little more interesting and daring. Unless your kids are daring? Mine are not. Mine would pick only the candy and nothing salty or savory, but I cannot recommend enough adding bacon bits. And wasabi peas. And toasted pecans. OMG they are so good!

Ali Hedin | Easy Popcorn Oscar Party

Here’s the ultimate (and incomplete) list of popcorn mix-ins:

  • Mini Chocolate Chips

  • Toasted Pecans

  • Wasabi Peas

  • Bacon Bits

  • Rasinettes

  • Crumbled Butterfingers

  • Goldfish Crackers

  • M’n’M’s

  • Crushed Oreo Cookies

  • Mini Marshmallows

  • Parmesan Cheese

Ali Hedin | Easy Popcorn Oscar Party

What movies are you rooting for? I’ve only seen a few so I’m not really in for the movies. I’m in for the popcorn and the gowns. Tell me how you celebrate! Are you a fancy gowns type party person or a sweat pants type person? Can’t wait to hear!

Ali Hedin | Easy Popcorn Oscar Party
Ali Hedin | Oscar Party &  Simple Popcorn Bars

EASIEST POPCORN BARS

These are basically like Rice Krispie Treats but with popcorn which makes them delicious and - in my opinion - better than your basic Rice Krispie Treat. Sprinkled with a little salt over the top they are EPIC. There are no tricks, no secrets, etc. It’s just easy.

4 tablespoons butter

10 ounces marshmallows

1/2 cup un-popped popcorn

STEP 1

In an air popper, pop the popcorn until totally popped. Let cool.

STEP 2

In a pan, melt together butter and marshmallows over medium heat until totally melted.

STEP 3

Combine the popped pop corn and the marshmallow mixture until totally coated. Spread in a greased 9x12 pan and pack in a little bit but don’t push too hard. You don’t want to break the popcorn. Let rest about 1 hour until cooled completely. Cut and serve.

 
Ali Hedin makes easy Popcorn Bars (+ recipe!)
 


Valentine Cocktail Party + 3 simple appetizer recipes
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party

There are so many options for how to spend Valentine’s Day, but a fun way to celebrate with all of your friends is with a simple cocktail party - after all, Valentine’s Day is on a Thursday this year! Instead of celebrating just as couples, invite everyone over for drinks and small bites and celebrate together. This is especially great if some of your group is ‘coupled up’ and some of your group isn’t. And the planner-ahead-ers can pop over before their dinner reservation!

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party

I have found when you’re hosting a party that the best thing you can do for appetizers is pick three good ones and go ALL IN! So be prepared to make tons of them because no one will dig into a partially empty buffet. I usually make one batch of each of these per every 10 people. But if you are cheese lovers, then maybe add a little more.

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Baked Camembert
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Baked Camembert
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Baked Camembert
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Baked Camembert

BAKED CAMEMBERT

1 wheel of camembert cheese

10 sprigs rosemary

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a bed of rosemary sprigs on a baking sheet and place the unwrapped wheel of cheese on top.

Bake 30-35 minutes until the cheese browns on top. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes.

Move the cheese to a serving dish and discard the cooked rosemary branches. Drizzle the top with honey and sprinkle with walnuts.

Serve with slices of bread or crackers.

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party

I found all of these serving platters at Anko - my new favorite obsession because everything is darling and really well priced. I picked up these pink platters because they’re pink but not PINK. I was friends with a guy who used to call PINK menopause pink because when he was growing up in the south, every woman around 50 years old remodeled her kitchen and added those pink appliances that were so hot for a while. It was the ‘60’s after all. Ever since then I have been super picky about my color pink. I DO NOT WANT menopause pink in my life.

These are not. These are awesome. There are dinner plates and bowls too.

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Pesto Gorgonzola
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Pesto Gorgonzola
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Pesto Gorgonzola

PESTO GORGONZOLA

Undoubtably the simplest appetizer you will ever make. Two ingredients; ten minutes; served hot or cold!

1/2 cup pesto

1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese

1 baguette, sliced

In bowl, mix together the pesto and gorgonzola until evenly mixed. Spread on the top of toasted bread. Toast again for 2-3 minutes in a broiler - or serve cold. Delicious either way.

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Candy Cocktail

CANDY COCKTAIL

1 packet grape poprocks

slice of lemon

1 tablespoon chambord

champagne

Rub the edge of a champagne coupe with the slice of lemon and rim with poprocks. Pour in chambord and top with champagne. Serve quickly!

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Candy Cocktail

I love combining new things with my collection of vintage barware. These champagne coupes are from the 1950’s and I adore them. I use them all the time because there is literally never a time when gold rimmed champagne coupes aren’t appropriate. If you can find some yourself, I highly encourage you to grab them! I set them on top of a marble board from Anko. I like to have everything grouped together - the marble is a great landing place for glassware ESPECIALLY if you have marble countertops. The slab creates a spot that’s unique but won’t damage your real marble counters in the event anyone spills.


Pin these for later!

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party

Valentine Round Up
Alexandra Hedin
Family Valentine Game Night + Heartthrob Pasta Recipe
Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner

There is not only one good way to spend Valentine’s Day but I think this is the best way - with your family at home. This is the best way for loads of reasons: 1. Going out for Valentine’s Day is expensive. 2. Most restaurants have a prix fix menu, servers that are grumpy, and are overly busy. 3. Your kids will feel super special if you spend this day with them instead of out on a date. 4. You can go out on a date tomorrow night when everything is back to normal and you can get a seat at a restaurant.

For our family game night I made a fun dinner everyone will eat - but also made it a little bit cheeky and really leaned into the ‘valentine’ theme. Kids love it. And, let’s be honest, I love it too.

HeartthrobPastaRecipeDetailPage.jpg
Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner

Our family’s new favorite game is this hilarious combination of pictionary and being blindfolded - it’s called Googly Eyes. It is hilarious! You roll to land on what color glasses you’ll wear while you attempt to draw something as simple as popcorn. The glasses make it surprisingly challenging. Unless you are Pearl and I - we are a dream team.

Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner
Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner

HEARTTHROB PASTA

serves 4

STEP 1

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Slice the beets in half and add them to the water as it begins to boil.  When the water has come to a boil, add the pasta.

 

STEP 2

When the pasta is nearly cooked, turn the heat off and let rest for 30 minutes.  

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

 

STEP 3

Unroll the package of crescent dough and press together all of the seams.  Slice the dough into strips.  Twist the dough and form it into a heart.  

 

Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

 

STEP 4

Heat a skillet with the olive oil.  Cook the peppers, onion, and garlic over medium heat until softened. Remove the beets from the pasta, remove the skin with a paper towel (by rubbing it off), chop them and add them to the skillet.

 

STEP 5

Drain the pasta – reserving at least one cup of pasta water – and toss the pasta with the peppers.  Add the pasta water and toss until a sauce has formed.  Remove from heat and sprinkle parmesan on top.  

          

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 sweet onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tbs olive oil

2 beets

½ lb pasta

½ cup parmesan cheese

1 package crescent dough

Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner
HeartthrobPastaMainMenu2.jpg
Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner

CUPID SPRITZ

1 ounce pomegranate juice

1 ounce vodka

DRY Sparkling Lavender

In a glass filled with ice, layer vodka and pomegranate juice. Top with DRY Sparkling and serve! For those without booze, just skip the vodka and don’t forget to garnish with a cherry.


THIS IS A SPONSORED POST. ALEXANDRA HEDIN HAS RECEIVED PAYMENT OR PRODUCTS IN EXCHANGE FOR PROMOTING. ALL OPINIONS STATED ARE MY OWN AND I ONLY PROMOTE PRODUCTS AND COMPANIES I LOVE.

weeknight party | super bowl
Ali Hedin Super Bowl Party

Are you hosting a Super Bowl party this year?  It's such a fun excuse to have a party.  The struggle of course, is that it's an all day type thing.  You start at kick off, claim your spot on the couch, and it lasts until well after the awards ceremony.  

Ali Hedin Super Bowl Party

Here's how I'm making Super Bowl super this year.

Ali Hedin Super Bowl Party
Ali Hedin Super Bowl Party
Ali Hedin Super Bowl Party
Ali Hedin Super Bowl Party
 

Shop the party

 

Behind the Scenes | January Cooking Class
Ali Hedin  |  Cooking Class

I was encouraged to teach cooking classes last spring by a friend who has been in the food business for about 100 years. She knows her stuff and so I took her advice. Here I am, seven classes later and I LOVE IT! I’ve taught classes to kids and adults, friends and strangers who have become friends.

Ali Hedin  |  Cooking Class

The January class was supplied dinnerware by Anko - and each vase got to take home a vase at the end of the night! If you don’t know Anko, I’m mildly obsessed. It’s a company out of Australia who’s moving in to the US right now! They have pop up shops in Bellevue Square and Mill Creek Town Center and they’re getting their US flagship store ready to open this spring at Alderwood.

Ali Hedin  |  Cooking Class
Ali Hedin  |  Cooking Class

I picked out these pink plates because they are perfect for February dinners - but they are also SO ON TREND with dusty pink being the color of everything right now. Because the Anko products are really inexpensive (dinner plates are $2.50!) you can not feel guilty about buying something that is SO ON TREND. Usually I don’t go for trendy but are you kidding me with these plates? They’re so cute! And, let’s make a note, not every shade of pink looks good with red. I love my red. These dusky pink plates are the perfect compliment to red!

Ali Hedin  |  Cooking Class
Ali Hedin  |  Cooking Class

I am having so much fun with these classes and I hope you’ll join me for the next one.

 
Click here to register!

Click here to register!

 

THIS IS A SPONSORED POST. ALEXANDRA HEDIN HAS RECEIVED PAYMENT OR PRODUCTS IN EXCHANGE FOR PROMOTING. ALL OPINIONS STATED ARE MY OWN AND I ONLY PROMOTE PRODUCTS AND COMPANIES I LOVE.

Alexandra Hedin
2 Perfect Champagne Cocktails for New Year's Eve
Ali Hedin | Champagne Cocktails
Ali Hedin | Champagne Cocktails
Ali Hedin | Champagne Cocktails

Ali Hedin | Champagne Cocktails
Ali Hedin | Champagne Cocktails
Ali Hedin | Champagne Cocktails
Cocktails, PartiesAlexandra Hedin