Weekly Recipe Round-Up #3

Sorry last week’s recipe round-up was a little delayed… this past weekend was a very busy one filled with lots and lots of cookie baking! I’ll do a post on that soon, but suffice it to say that by last night my back was aching because of all the baking, and I went through more butter than I typically do probably the whole rest of the year haha. ¬†It smells great in my house though, and hopefully all the cookies will be enjoyed. I always bring in cookies to share with my co-workers, send some in to work with my husband, and bring the rest for Christmas with my family. I also enjoy eating a few myself ūüôā


Last week we had a variety of really yummy food! I am a huge fan of Indian food, so I was super excited to make Chicken Biryani this week via a recipe that a coworker sent to me. ¬†This particular recipe is for a weeknight Biryani, and it was very simple to make, and so tasty. I would definitely up the amount of chicken next time, and I did have to add a little more liquid than the recipe called for to fully cook my rice, but other than that, it was perfect. We also had garlic naan on the side… yum yum!

Tacos are one of my favorite things ever, and so I was so happy to have these last week, after being too sick to make them the previous week. I made a simple shrimp taco and they were so delicious. I seasoned the shrimp with chili powder and ancho Chile powder, and cooked them briefly in a skillet, until done. I made a quick red cabbage slaw with shredded red cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper, and made a chipotle-lime Greek yogurt sauce to top it off. I also had fresh jalape√Īo slices on mine.

Ron requested Italian grinders over the weekend, so I picked up some ham, salami and pepperoni. We had these on sub rolls with provolone cheese, pepperoncini peppers, a drizzle of red wine vinegar and olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. So good and easy!

Last up, we had pigs and blankets. I was at the grocery store over the weekend, and saw crescent roll dough, and suddenly got a craving for these. I always associate them with Christmas, as they were one of the snacks we enjoyed after Christmas Eve service growing up (and even to this day)! ¬†I don’t make them very often, but always enjoy them immensely when I do. I served these with Dijon mustard and ketchup for dipping. I would have put out barbecue sauce too, but sadly, we were out.

See you next weekend for another recipe round-up!

These are a Few of my Favorite Things: Food Blog Edition


This post idea comes from my best friend, Rebecca, and I am so happy to oblige! I can’t remember when I first discovered food blogs, but I have been reading them for years now, and I have so many that I read on a regular basis… some I’ve been reading for what seems like forever, and some I discovered more recently, but these blogs are such a great source of recipe inspiration, and sometimes life inspiration as well. I lean toward blogs that feature approachable recipes, and bloggers who seem like the kind of people I’d want to be friends with in real life.

Smitten Kitchen–¬† If you are any regular reader of food blogs, you probably know all about Smitten Kitchen. ¬†It’s been around for 10-plus years, and Deb has also written two fabulous cookbooks (Smitten Kitchen and Smitten Kitchen Every Day)- her latest came out just this past October. She calls herself an obsessive home cook, and works hard to perfect her recipes… and it shows. ¬†She has such a fun voice when it comes to her blog- it’s approachable, the recipes are reliable, and she can make anything sound mouth-watering! Some of my favorite recipes on her site include: ¬†Old School Baked Ziti; Sticky Sesame Chicken Wings; and Red Kidney Bean Curry.¬†

Shutterbean–¬†Not only are the recipes on Shutterbean reliable and mostly weekday friendly (my favorite type of recipe), but also features my favorite photography of any food blog I follow. Tracy is one of the most creative and artistic people I follow in terms of blogging, and her instagram account is also fabulous. In addition to the recipes, one of my favorite series on her blog is her “My Everyday Life” posts, which are a look into her life via her photography. She has the ability to make anything beautiful. Also- she loves cats! Some of my favorite recipes on her site include: Spicy Asian Salmon Noodle Salad; Chicken Lettuce Cups; ¬†and Turkey White Bean Chili.

Everyday Annie–¬†Annie’s blog has recently transformed from mainly a food blog, into a food and lifestyle blog. While food is still a main focus, she also has posts on her knitting and sewing projects, fashion and travel. She posts mainly healthy meals, although she has some amazing dessert recipes as well, and she loves Mexican food as much as me haha… always a good quality! Some of my favorite recipes on her site include: Mexican Rice; Chicken Taquitos; and¬†¬†Shrimp Tacos with Green Chile Adobo.

Pinch of Yum–¬†Lindsey is a clear lover of food. ¬†I love how excited she is about the recipes she posts. Her recipes, once again, lean toward the weeknight recipe side vs. project cooking, and while she has indulgent recipes, most tend to be fairly healthy. Many of her recipes also involve exciting flavors, and recipes that have nods to many cultures. Her photography is also mouth-watering! Some of my favorite recipes on her site include: The Best Detox Crockpot Lentil Soup; Spicy Sofritas Veggie Bowls; and Healthy Cinnamon Sugar Apple Muffins.

Joy the Baker–¬†As you can tell from the title of Joy’s blog, Joy’s blog focuses mainly on baking, but has a very good selection of ¬†savory recipes as well. She also occasionally writes a “Baking 101” series where she goes over in depth some baking basics which is very informative and fun, for someone who enjoys learning as much as I do. She also is the author of three cookbooks- Joy the Baker Cookbook, Homemade Decadence, and ¬†Over Easy! Some of my favorite recipes on her site include: Spicy Vegetarian Tortilla Soup; Brown Sugar Cookies; and Toasted Oat and Coconut Muesli.

In addition to these five fabulous food blogs, here are some others I love and read regularly!

Also be sure to check out Food52, Serious Eats and The Kitchn!

I hope you enjoyed the first post in a series on my favorite things! Keep an eye out for more entries in the future ūüôā

What I Ate at Disney World: Part 2

Here is the eagerly awaited second part of what I ate at Disney World!

Honeymoon Food #8

(Clockwise from top left)

Yak and Yeti–¬†(First two images) Seared miso salmon with coconut-ginger rice, baby boy choy and shiitake mushroom stir-fry; Wonton soup

Dockside Diner–¬†Min’s breakfast burrito with tater tots- unfortunately breakfast is only served there occasionally and so I cannot find this exact burrito on the menu anymore, but I remember that it had egg whites and pico de Gallo in it, and was really good!

The Hollywood Brown Derby–¬†(Last three images) Famous Cobb salad-Finely Chopped Greens, Turkey Breast, Bacon, Egg, Tomatoes, Crumbled Blue Cheese, Avocado, Chives, and Cobb Dressing; Derby cocktail with souvenir glow cube; Complementary mini champagne for our Honeymoon ūüôā

Honeymoon Food #9

Morimoto Asia–¬†(First three images) Tonkotsu Ramen-rich pork broth, egg noodles, roasted pork, woodear mushroom, pickled ginger; shumai- pork, shrimp and mushroom; spicy tuna and spicy salmon sushi rolls

Katsura Grill–¬†(images four and five) Shrimp and chicken teriyaki; Spicy sushi roll

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth- China РBlack pepper shrimp with garlic noodles

Honeymoon Food #10

Karamell-K√ľche in Germany at Epcot-¬†Rice crispy treat with chocolate and caramel

L’Artisan des Glaces–¬†Caramel fleur de sel ice cream

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth- France- La Passion Martini Slush

Coral Reef Restaurant–¬†Shrimp and grits-¬†Saut√©ed Shrimp, Cheddar Grits, Local Corn Succotash, Andouille Sausage, Creole Spice Emulsion

Main Street Bakery–¬†Cinnamon roll (Halloween version)

Aloha Isle–¬†Dole Whip

Honeymoon Food #11

Be Our Guest Restaurant–¬†(First three images) Cheese plate; Saut√©ed shrimp and scallops-¬†with Lobster, Mushrooms, and Seasonal Vegetables in a creamy Lobster Sauce over Pappardelle pasta; The “Grey Stuff” and lemon meringue cupcake

Pongu Pongu–¬†Night Blossom-Mixture of Limeade with Apple and Desert Pear flavors topped with Passion Fruit Boba Balls

Tusker House–¬†(Last two images) Selection of food from all-you-can eat buffet

Honeymoon Food #12

Grand Floridian Cafe–¬†Brioche French Toast with Madagascar Vanilla Bean-Butter with Bacon

Electric Umbrella–¬†(Second and third images) Three-cheese flatbread; Energy salad with roasted chicken-¬†Fresh greens topped with Roasted Chicken, Seasonal Fruit (we omitted the fruit) and Feta Cheese

Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’–¬†Art’s Famous Fried Chicken-Buttermilk-brined for 24 hours then perfectly fried and served with creamy mashed potatoes, a cheddar drop biscuit and love

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booths-

Africa-¬†Berbere-Style Beef Tenderloin tips with onions, jalape√Īos, tomato and pap

Hops & Barley- New England Lobster Roll

Honeymoon Food #15

The Lunching Pad–¬†Pepper jack warm stuffed pretzel

Gaston’s Tavern–¬†(Images two and three) Chocolate croissant; Warm cinnamon roll

Columbia Harbour House¬†–¬†(Images four and five) Shrimp Mac and cheese; Boston cream pie

Tony’s Town Square–¬†Shrimp scampi

Honeymoon Food #13

Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe–¬†Troll horn

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth-¬†Active Eats-¬†Loaded Mac ‘n’ cheese with pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, peppers and green onions

Restaurant Marrakesh–¬†(Images three and four) Moroccan coffee; Couscous with chicken

Cheshire Cafe–¬†Cheshire Cat tail

Trilo-Bites–¬†Buffalo chicken chips

Disney World Food Wrap-Up

As you can see, we really spoiled ourselves in terms of food on our Honeymoon! We knew that this really would be a once in a lifetime trip, and so made many reservations that we would normally forgo for eating mainly at quick-service places. Way before we left for our honeymoon, I made a list of all the restaurants we wanted to try, and I am happy to say we were able to eat at most of them, but there are sooooo many options for food at Disney, that we just scratched the surface of all the possible places to eat. Without further ado, here are some of our favorites from our trip!

Table Service– I think Ron and I both agree that our favorite table service meals were at¬†‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort, and¬†Tiffins at the Animal Kingdom.

The overall experience at¬†‘Ohana¬† was just incredible. We got to sit right next to the window looking out over the water and could see the castle at the Magic Kingdom in the distance. We also were able to see part of the “Electrical Water Pageant” on the Seven Seas Lagoon. The food was also awesome, and there was so much of it, I would definitely recommend going there with a big appetite- I wish I had been able to eat more than I did because they really will bring as much to your table as you want. Everything was good- Ron even liked the pineapple-coconut bread, which was shocking because he doesn’t like pineapple or coconut. The dumplings were awesome, and all the skewers- wow. The bread pudding for dessert though was one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth. I was so full by that point, but I just couldn’t stop eating it.

Tiffins is definitely a restaurant for a special occasion. It was by far the most expensive meal we ate, but the food was incredible. It was one of those restaurants that can make anything taste amazing. Ron ordered the Duo of Venison-¬†Ethiopian Coffee Butter-infused Venison Loin, Boerewors, Soubise, Chakalaka, Tamarind Barbecue, Leek Ash. He was a little unsure of how he would like it, because of all the “fancy” sounding accompaniments for the venison, but he ended up loving it all. My swordfish was awesome, but the forbidden rice underneath was my favorite part of the dish. ¬†The interior of the restaurant is also very interesting, with very unique artwork and a theme of travels around Africa and Asia throughout the restaurant.

Quick Service-¬†Ron’s favorite quick service restaurant is the Columbia Harbour House. It’s a nice relaxing place, with lots of indoor seating, to take a break, and eat some comforting food. The second floor of the restaurant is really the best place to sit in my opinion, as you get a great view of Liberty Square. It kind of feels like being at home in Connecticut, but better because you are on vacation, haha. The shrimp Mac and cheese was very cheesy and filling, and we got a complementary Boston cream pie for dessert. So nice! My favorite quick service restaurant that we ate at, by far, on this trip was the new restaurant in the Pandora section of Animal Kingdom, Satu’li Canteen.¬†In this restaurant you get to customize your meal by picking a protein, then a base, and a sauce. ¬†The wood fired chicken bowl that I got, with mixed whole grains and rice, and a chimichurri sauce, was reasonably priced, healthy, very generously portioned, and so so good. We also tried the cheeseburger steamed pods on a different day, which were unique and tasty. I wanted to try so many more combinations on the menu, such as the vegetable steamed curry pods, the sustainable fish bowl, and I really have to go back to try the desserts as well- I think if it had been up to me alone, we would have eaten here every time we visited the Animal Kingdom on our trip.

Snacks-¬†I think the favorite snack for both me and Ron, was the Pepper Jack cheese stuffed pretzel at The Lunching Pad… who can go wrong with cheese and carbs, right? We also love the buffalo chicken chips from Trilo-Bites! I enjoyed the cinnamon bun from Main Street Bakery as well.

Breakfast-¬†Ron and I didn’t eat many formal breakfasts on our trip, but we are in agreement the the¬†Grand Floridian Cafe was our favorite of those breakfasts. From the sophisticated atmosphere of the Grand Floridian, to the view of the gardens from the cafe, to the amazing food, this was one we would love to go back to. Ron had the steak and eggs- Sirloin Steak with Cheesy-Hash Brown Casserole, Two Eggs-Any Style, and Chimichurri Sauce,¬†which he loved, and I had the French toast, which was probably the best French toast I’ve had in my life- three words- vanilla bean butter- so yum!

Dessert- When I asked Ron what his favorite dessert from our trip was he said that he was always too full from our previous meals to be able to adequately judge, haha. He had ice cream from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor one day which he really enjoyed though, and we both enjoyed the ice cream sundae that we got from the Ghirardelli ice cream and chocolate shop!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival-¬†I think we did a pretty good job of trying out a bunch of food booths from the food and wine festival, although I really wish we could have tried them all… we really needed to stay a month, haha.¬†¬†I think the stand-outs that we had included¬†the Irish cheddar cheese dip with brown bread from¬†Ireland,¬†and the loaded Mac and cheese from¬†Active Eats.¬†I also loved the fresh potato pancake with smoked salmon from¬†Scotland… I really want to recreate that one! I did pick up the¬†Food and Wine Festival Cookbook while we were there, so hopefully I will be cooking up a bunch of the dishes offered at the festival in the future… I’m sure I’ll feature some here!

So that about wraps up our trip… just looking at all this good food is making my stomach growl. Time for a second Honeymoon?


Weekly Recipe Round-Up #2

This was one of those weeks where I had a plan in place for meals I was going to make, including tacos! … and then life got in the way, specifically a bug that I picked up from work. I won’t go into details, haha, but suffice it to say that I ended up making far fewer meals than I had intended. Despite being derailed, I still managed to make a delicious chili, a healthy soup for lunch throughout the week, a lazy pasta dish, and today I used up some very very over-ripe bananas, so at least the whole week wasn’t a loss!


This white bean chicken chili is from Shutterbean, and is one of my favorite chili recipes. It is perfect for a weeknight, because once it’s prepped, it only takes about half an hour to cook! It’s also pretty healthy, and I always love recipes that I’m able to customize with toppings. Here I added cheddar cheese, jalape√Īos and avocado, and I served cheddar bay biscuits on the side (not pictured), but other topping ideas include scallions, pickled jalape√Īos, cilantro, corn chips, tortilla chips, and/or sour cream.

For lunch I made the Hearty Lentil Minestrone that I posted about earlier in the week. It definitely lived up to the “hearty” in its name, keeping me full for hours!

For my lazy pasta dish, I cooked some shrimp, just simply seasoned with salt and pepper, added it to warmed up pasta sauce (use whatever you like)- I used Rao’s fra diavolo sauce, and then added that to some cooked spaghetti. Super lazy, but yummy!

Finally, with the super ripe bananas, I made a simple banana bread recipe. I admit that I didn’t follow the instructions to a tee- instead of creaming the butter and sugar together, I melted the butter first because my butter was still rock solid. I basically just mixed all the wet ingredients together, combined the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and then added them to the wet. Very good, but not my favorite banana bread that I’ve ever made- here are some links to ones I’ve tried and liked better:

Banana Bread from the Moosewood Cookbook

Crackly Banana Bread from Smitten Kitchen

Maple Olive Oil Banana Bread from Shutterbean

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread from¬†Lovin’ From the Oven

See you next week with another round-up!


What I Ate at Disney World: Part 1


So while I was away from this old blog, I got married!! Woohoo! We went on a fabulous and fun two week trip to Disney World for our honeymoon- riding all (well, most) of the rides, visiting all the parks, and eating all the food. It was so much fun and so delicious! I’ve been wanting to put together a post about all of the food we ate while we were there, but because we ate so much I am going to split this up into two posts. We were lucky to go during Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, which meant that there were even more delicious food options than normal. I would say that all of our meals ranged from good to great, minus a grisly steak that my husband Ron had, but I guess that can happen anywhere. We ate at many of the table service restaurants, as well as quick service places, and food stands. I would probably have gained 100 pounds if it wasn’t for all the walking we did as well. We averaged about 7-9 miles of walking a day- so it was not a lazy vacation by any means, but it was relaxing in that we got to worry about only ourselves for two weeks… it’s not often that we get to do that! So without further ado, here’s everything (well, most everything), I ate at Disney World, continuing in Part 2, coming soon. ¬†At the end of the second post, I’ll highlight a few of my favorite meals that we had!

Honeymoon Food #1

(Clockwise from top left)

Earl of Sandwich–¬†The Earl’s Club- Turkey, bacon, Swiss, Roma Tomato and sandwich sauce

Casey’s Corner–¬†Corn dog nuggets

Pinocchio Village Haus–¬†BBQ chicken flatbread

T-REX Restaurant–¬†Jamaican Rundown- chicken, andouille sausage, tr-color peppers, carrots, island coconut broth, served over white rice

Ample Hills Creamery–¬†Chocolate milk and cookies ice cream

Ghirardelli¬ģ Ice Cream &¬†Chocolate Shop–¬†Chrissy Field’s Cookie Bit Sundae-Vanilla Ice Cream ¬†(We got chocolate and cookies and cream ice cream instead of vanilla) nestled between Cookies ‘N Cream Ice Cream and smothered with homemade Hot Fudge. Topped with Whipped Cream, Colossal Ghirardelli¬ģ Chocolate Chip Cookie crumbles, and two Ghirardelli¬ģ Milk Chocolate Caramel minis.

Honeymoon Food #2

(Clockwise from top left)

Be Our Guest Restaurant(First three images) French dip sandwich with pommes frites; French onion soup; chocolate cream puff

Satu’li Canteen–¬†Chopped wood-grilled chicken bowl with crunchy vegetable slaw and boba balls, over mixed whole grains and rice, with a charred onion chimichurri sauce

Tiffins–¬†(Last two images) Selection of artisanal cheeses; Grilled swordfish with forbidden rice, Tsukemono, Trumpet Royale, and Carrot-Coconut Puree

Honeymoon Food #3

(Clockwise from top left)

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booths (First 5 images)

France– Warm goat cheese pudding with spinach

The Cheese Studio– Braised beef “stroganoff” with tiny egg noodles, wild mushroom, and Boursin garlic and fine herbs cheese sauce

Canada– “Le Cellier” Wild mushroom beef filet mignon with truffle-butter sauce

Scotland– Fresh potato pancake with Scottish smoked salmon and herbed sour cream

Ireland– Warm Irish cheddar cheese and stout dip with Irish brown bread

Caribbean beach breakfast buffet– Mickey waffle(!), cheesy hash brown casserole, sausage, bacon, biscuit, scrambled eggs with peppers and onions

Honeymoon Food #4

(Clockwise from top left)

San Angel Inn Restaurante–¬†(First three images) Queso Fundido- melted cheese with chorizo, poblano peppers and onions; Chips and Salsa; Tacos de Carne- Grilled sirloin, black beans and poblano peppers served with guacamole and corn tortillas

Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe–¬†School bread- sweet cardamom bun filled with vanilla creme custard, topped with glazed and toasted coconut

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant–¬†(Last two images) Boneless chicken wings with chipotle barbecue sauce; half a beef and blue burger¬†(Signature Blend of Beef on a Brioche Roll, topped with Blue Cheese, Onion Marmalade, Bacon, Lettuce, and Gourmet Tomato) and half a reuben¬†(Corned Beef, Sauerkraut, Swiss Cheese, and Thousand Island Dressing on Marble Rye Bread) with a pickle spear and fries

Honeymoon Food #5

Ohana–¬†(Whole collage) ‘Ohana is served family style, meaning you get platters of all the options delivered to your table and you can eat as much as you want! The meal includes pineapple-coconut bread, mixed greens salad with Lilikoi salad dressing, pork dumplings tossed in a garlic-ginger sauce, honey-coriander chicken wings, skewers of sweet and sour chicken, spicy grilled shrimp, and Szechuan sirloin steak, noodles in a teriyaki sauce and stir-fried vegetables. For dessert, you are served ‘Ohana bread pudding a la mode topped with caramel sauce and bananas. I also had a drink called the “Island Sunset”

Honeymoon Food #6

(Clockwise from top left)

The Wave… of American Flavors–¬†Breakfast buffet (egg white frittata, bacon, sausage, cheesy grits, hash brown casserole, Mickey waffle)

Frontera Cocina–¬†(Second two images) Guacamole and chips verde-Roasted poblanos, roasted tomatillo, toasted pepitas, cilantro, and onions; Red Chile chicken enchiladas-Just-made corn tortillas, chipotle chicken filling, guajillo chile sauce, Queso Chihuahua, crispy onions, black beans

Sprinkles Bakery–¬†Black and white cupcake and Black velvet cupcake

Sa’tuli Canteen–¬†Cheeseburger steamed pods

Restaurantosaurus–¬†Grilled chicken BLT sandwich with fries

Honeymoon Food #7

(Clockwise from top left)

Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen–¬†Nile Nellie’s noodle bowl with chicken- rice noodles in broth served with jalape√Īos and fresh herbs

Cinderella’s Royal Table–¬†(next four images) Castle salad- mixed greens with¬†Asparagus, Nueske‚Äôs Applewood-smoked Bacon, Pickled Pearl Onions, Marinated Tomatoes, and Poached Egg in a Bacon Vinaigrette; Pan-seared chicken¬†served over creamy Goat Cheese Polenta and Baby Rainbow Carrots with a Madeira Mushroom Reduction; The Clock Strikes Twelve-¬†Dark Chocolate Mousse with a Dark Chocolate Ganache served with a Raspberry Coulis; Special honeymoon cupcake ūüôā

Aloha Isle–¬†(special treat for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party) Chocolate tart filled with chocolate ganache and topped with Oreo panna cotta and a white chocolate Haunted Mansion-inspired portrait



Hearty Lentil Minestrone

I’m not sure if any of you have the same problem that I do, but seem to always wind up with bits and pieces of vegetables, pasta, grains, etc, lying around my refrigerator and pantry after I’ve used up a portion for a recipe. One of my ongoing goals is the fight against food waste… I’m better than I used to be, but I still tend to wind up with veggies that go bad, or jars with small amounts of grains in my pantry that sit there for months. Not only wasteful, but bad for my budget as well. ¬†This soup is the perfect solution. Not only is it delicious, but it is perfect to use up some of those odds and ends! This recipe comes from one of my new favorite cookbooks¬†Love Real Food. Written by the author of the fabulous vegetarian food blog “Cookie and Kate”, it’s one of those cookbooks that I flipped through and wanted to make all the recipes immediately. I’ve tried several so far, and have been impressed with all of them. Not only are they delicious, they are healthy as well!


I really try hard to always make a healthy lunch to bring to work during the week, and especially in the colder months, soups are the perfect thing. They last all week, are on the healthier side, are cozy and comforting, and are one of those meals that seem to improve as the days go by. Also, seeing as Ron doesn’t like soups or stews, making them for myself for lunch during the week is the perfect way to satisfy my pretty much daily soup craving.

Hearty Lentil Minestrone

Serves 6-8


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup butternut squash, chopped (or other seasonal veggies)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, with juices
3/4 cup lentils (green or brown)
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup pasta (orecchiette, elbow or shell), whole wheat or regular
1 15-oz can great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chopped Kale, curly or lacinato (aka Tuscan or Dinosaur), ribs removed
2 teaspoons lemon juice, more to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan (omit if Vegan)


  1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven (or soup pot), over medium heat, until shimmering. Add the onions, carrots, celery, tomato paste, and a pinch of salt, and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the veggies are softened.
  2. Add the butternut squash, garlic, oregano and thyme, and cook for a couple of minutes until you can smell the garlic and herbs, stirring often. Then add the water, vegetable broth, tomatoes with their juices, lentils, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and a few grinds of black pepper. Bring the soup to a boil over medium high, and once boiling, lower to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. While simmering, cover partially with a lid.
  3. Uncover pot, and add the kale, pasta, and beans. Simmer for another 20 minutes until the lentils are tender, and the pasta is al dente.
  4. Turn off heat, and remove the bay leaves. Add the lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more lemon juice if desired. Serve with some freshly grated parmesan if you’d like!

Source: Love Real Food by Kathryne Taylor


This soup can be varied in so many ways to make use of what you have in your fridge/pantry. Don’t have great northern beans, use cannellini or chickpeas! Don’t have butternut squash? Use potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, etc. You could throw in some fresh tomatoes along with the canned, or corn, or peas if you want. If you don’t have kale, I bet Swiss chard or spinach would be a good substitute. Don’t have lemons? I bet a couple teaspoons of red wine vinegar would work instead. Seriously, this soup is so versatile!


I’m Back! Weekly Recipe Round-Up #1

Hello readers!

After taking a very long break, I’m really excited to be back! My hope is that I can post here a few times a week… I miss this space, and having a place to share food I’ve been eating, and recipes I’ve been making, as well as randomness from time to time. Despite the fact that I haven’t posted here in years, I still continue to cook up a storm in my kitchen- cooking most nights, and trying new recipes from cookbooks and blogs constantly.

Here are some things I’ve cooked this week:


All great meals! The quesadilla was filled with chicken, mushrooms, spinach, onion and pepper jack cheese. Alongside it, we had my favorite Mexican rice from Everyday Annie and Cowboy Beans from Rick Bayless’ excellent cookbook Mexican Everyday! The quesadilla recipe was adapted from Chrissy Teigan’s cookbook¬†Cravings… she has a recipe for “Margarita Chicken Fajitas”, but because Ron is not a fan of fajitas (craziness), I adapted them to become quesadillas.

Next up was another recipe from Everyday Annie (check out her blog if you haven’t yet- it’s excellent!). I made her Thai Chili Glazed Salmon with Rainbow Veggie Fried Rice. So good, and healthy as well with all the veggies that are in it… and super pretty! ¬†I loved the combination of Brussels sprouts, peppers, onions and red cabbage. I would never have thought to add Brussels sprouts to fried rice, but it really works. Next time I make it, I think I’m going to add mushrooms, a hot pepper, and maybe an egg as well. This was also excellent with some sriracha for spiciness!

Thirdly, I made the Chicken Meatball Marsala with Egg Noodles from Deb Perelman over at Smitten Kitchen‘s new cookbook¬†Smitten Kitchen Every Day… as always, her recipes do not disappoint, and I just love her writing style so much! I added mushrooms to the recipe per an idea I got from Tara over at the Smells Like Home blog. She posted a picture of this dish on her Instagram with the mushrooms added, and I just couldn’t help copying her! So good!

So I think I will be posting a weekly round-up of recipes I’ve made during the week as a weekly feature! I will post some of the full recipes (especially if I’ve adapted them from a cookbook), but I will also do round-up posts like this with pictures and links to the sources of the recipes…. I always like to see what others are eating, so I hope you readers do too… and this will be a nice record for me when I’m lacking in inspiration and want to look back at what I’ve made in the past. From time to time I’ve started dinner diaries, but I never seem to be able to keep up, so maybe a visual journal will be better for me!


Steak Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

Months and month ago now, I went out to dinner with some former co-workers at a restaurant/slash bar here in CT (Eli’s on Whitney for those who are local/interested). One of my friends got a seriously amazing looking steak salad, which totally gave me entree envy. My dinner was good, but hers looked so delicious¬†that I just could not get it out of my head. This salad was composed of greens, candied walnuts, craisins, gorgonzola cheese, Granny Smith apples, and was dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette, and she had it topped with a perfectly cooked steak. I still have yet to have this specific salad, but I knew then and there that I would be putting steak salad on my dinner planning menu in the near future. Now, I knew Ron would not be thrilled about the craisins or apples in the salad (he’s not generally a fan of fruit, and especially not a fruit+meat person), but I knew he’d love the idea of steak in any form, so when I saw this salad in Rachel Ray’s magazine I immediately put it on our menu. She uses spinach and watercress in her version of this salad, but I decided to go with a more general baby greens mix, and I also changed out the Petit Filets for a more budget-friendly cut of beef. This salad turned out so well, that we immediately put in on the menu for the following week, and now looking at the pictures I wish I had the ingredients to make it again¬†tonight.

Steak Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

Steak Salad with Bacon Bits and Blue Cheese
Serves 4

6 slices bacon
2 lbs steak (Petit Filets are suggested, but use your favorite tender cut- I used sirloin tip steak and cut it very thinly against the grain)
1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar (you could use Sherry, champagne or red wine vinegar as well)
8 cups salad greens (I like using a mix that contains baby spinach)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup blue cheese crumbles

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a grill, or heavy (preferably cast-iron) skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil (for easy clean up), place bacon on sheet, and cook for 15-18 minutes. When cooked, remove to a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of excess fat. Crumble when slightly cooled.

3. Season steak with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Cook on grill or skillet until cooked through to your liking. The timing will depend on the type of steak used, but for a petit filet, about 4-5 minutes per side will cook it to about medium-rare. Let rest for 5-10 minutes once cooked, and then slice against the grain very thinly.

4. In a small bowl, or salad dressing mixer (pretty sure that’s not the real name of that haha), whisk together the lemon juice, garlic clove, mustard and vinegar. Slowly stream and whisk in the olive oil if doing this in a bowl, otherwise just add the olive oil and shake to combine, or use the salad dressing plunger.

5. Place about 2 cups of greens on each plate, split sliced steak, crumbled bacon, blue cheese, and sliced red onion evenly among the plates, and top with dressing.

Source: EveryDay with Rachel Ray, May 2014

Banana-Almond Smoothie

So this smoothie really isn’t much to look at, but its humble looks are deceiving. This is a speedy, satisfying, and healthy drink that is perfect for a weekday morning breakfast, snack, or post workout treat. Just 3 or 4 ingredients, a quick whirl in the blender, and bam, done. You could totally customize this to your liking- swap in peanut butter for the almond butter, use coconut milk (or other milk of your choosing) for the almond milk, add a handful of spinach, add a dash of cinnamon, the possibilities are endless!


Banana-Almond Smoothie

Serves 1


1 banana, broken into 3-4 chunks, frozen
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbsp almond butter
1/8 tsp almond extract (optional)


1. Place all ingredients in the blender, and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Source: Bon Appetit

Sticky Sesame Wings

I always know a recipe is good when Ron requests that I make it again as soon as we’re done eating… and I know it’s especially awesome when he requests I make it for his birthday dinner! This recipe from Smitten Kitchen is one of those awesome recipes. In my book Deb over at Smitten Kitchen can do no wrong… I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am that she’s writing a new cookbook! This dish is so simple, pretty much foolproof, and perfect for a weeknight dinner, or birthday feast!


Sticky Sesame Wings

Serves 4 (in theory……)


3 lbs chicken wings (I used the small party wings from Whole Foods- in my opinion they are the perfect size)
1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp honey (more or less to taste)
1 tsp sesame oil
Pinch of cayenne pepper or a dash of sriracha
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1 scallion, finely chopped


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with baking foil, and spray with nonstick cooking spray or oil.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, salt, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, sesame oil, and cayenne or sriracha. Add the wings, and mix until well covered with sauce. Place in a single layer on the baking sheet, and pour any sauce that remains in the bowl on top.

3. Bake for about 35 minutes, turning once.

4. When cooked through, toss with the toasted sesame seeds and scallions.

Source: Smitten Kitchen