• September 14, 2016

    Tabbouleh Inspired Quinoa Salad

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    Now that summer is winding down and fall is nearly upon us, I’ve gotten a little obsessed with this simple, hearty meal.  Using tons of veggies right out of the garden with a little quiona and feta… this has to be one of the best things I’ve come up with so far!  And the great thing is, you can use this alone for a lunch or light dinner or you can serve it alongside a nice steak or pork chop!  It’s easy, versatile, and super healthy… what more could you want?  *grin*  I hope you love it as much as I do!

    Tabbouleh Inspired Quinoa Salad Recipe

    By Erin Published: September 14, 2016

      Now that summer is winding down and fall is nearly upon us, I've gotten a little obsessed with this simple, hearty meal.  Using tons …

      Ingredients

      Instructions

      1. suppliesGather Ingredients.
      2. Cook the quinoa (Rinse 1 cup quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, then put in pot with 2 cups water (or 2 cups broth if you prefer) and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. When done, remove from heat at let stand 5 minutes.)
      3. Cook the edamame according to the packaging and cut the other veggies.
      4. When the quinoa is done, add the edamame, chickpeas, tomatoes, green onion, parsley, mint and feta to the pot. Toss to combine.
      5. 4. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour into the bowl with the quinoa and toss until combined. Season with additional salt to taste if desired.
        yum
    • July 6, 2016

      Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

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      I’m an emotional eater.  I always like desserts, but I especially crave sugars when I’m sad or stressed.  I’ve eaten a lot of ice cream lately, partly because it’s been rough going for a while and partly because my recipe is delicious.  I’m experimenting with new and different flavors, but if you want the tried and true, all-American vanilla, here is my favorite recipe:

      Supplies

      1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream

      1 pint Half and Half

      1 cup Sugar

      1 Tablespoon Vanilla

      Toss it all in your ice cream maker, following the instructions for your device, and wait.  My ice cream maker requires that I combine the ingredients and chill in the freezer before starting.  Once it’s chilled, I can transfer it to the ice cream maker bowl and turn it on.  After it’s done, I pour the ice cream into a new storage container and then freeze it for a while to set.  Yours may be different, but it’s pretty easy-peasy!

      Pour

      If you want to add pieces of fruit or chocolate chips or whatever, you can do that when you transfer it into the storage container – just make sure to stir it up well enough that you don’t end up with everything on top or bottom.  I think you can also add it while the machine is stirring, but double check what your machine requires.

      Yummy

    • May 4, 2016

      Infused Water Recipes

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      If you are anything like me, you struggle to drink enough water every day.  And if you are like me, this next piece of information is going to blow. your. mind.: the old idea of 8, 8oz glasses of water every day is bunk.  It doesn’t take into account your height, weight, activity level, or anything!  A 100lb woman who works out for an hour every day won’t need the same amount of water as a 300lb woman who never works out, or a 300lb woman who does work out every day.  Makes, sense, right?

      So, how much water do you actually need to drink?  To find out, take your weight and multiply it by 67% (or .67) and the total is the number of ounces you should drink if you are not working out or spending the day in the sun.  So, if you weigh 130lb… 130x.67=87… 87oz of water every damn day!

      For reals.  And that’s just the base level – you should drink another 12oz for every 30 minutes you work out!

      When I learned this, I about died.  I mean, I don’t drink that much of anything in a day, let alone just water!  It felt so insurmountable at first that I almost gave up before I even tried.

      But then I didn’t.  I didn’t give up.  I tried really, really hard for longer than I care to admit and finally reached my goal water consumption!  I defiantly don’t hit it every day, but I’ve changed some habits and made water a priority, so it’s way better than it used to be.  To help me reach that goal, I tried lots of different things, one of which was flavoring my water like they do in fancy spas.  Mmm… fancy water.  Here are my two favorite water flavor combinations:

      Strawberry Cucumber Basil Water

      Strawberries

      • 1/2 sliced cucumber
      • fresh basil leaves
      • 5 strawberries, sliced

      Strawberry-Water

       

      Ginger Pear Water

      Pear-and-Ginger

      • 1 sliced pear
      • fresh ginger

      Pear-and-Ginger-Water

      Let ingredients mingle for a few hours and enjoy!  Hopefully having fancy spa water will help inspire you to drink more water and actually enjoy it!

    • March 16, 2016

      Easter Eggs

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      Dying eggs is my most favorite Easter tradition and reminds me of quality time I had with my mom and a good friend of ours while I was growing up.  I don’t remember how my mom’s friend got involved, probably because her boys had outgrown the tradition, but she became an integral part of our celebration.  It has now been years since I last dyed an Easter Egg, but it’s such a beautiful tradition, so I decided to learn a little more about the history behind it all and try my had at naturally coloring some eggs!

      My research has shown me that, like Christmas, many Easter traditions were borrowed from pagan celebrations and repurposed into something new.  Eggs symbolize fertility and rebirth, so early Christians adopted them as a symbol for Christ’s resurrection.

      Understanding the coloring part of the tradition is a little less obvious as there are many different theories as to how it all got started.  Some believe eggs were decorated simply to beautify them in celebration of Lent coming to an end – eggs were not allowed during Lent.  Other’s believe Mary had eggs at the crucifixion and Jesus’ blood dripped on them – coloring them red – and so we color eggs red in remembrance of his sacrifice.  Other legends claim that Mary had the eggs with her and they miraculously turned red when she saw the risen Christ or, alternatively, when she told someone he had risen and he replied that Christ had no more risen than her eggs were red, so they turned red.

      Whatever the historical reason, I enjoy the tradition because it reminds me of home, of simple joys, and of familial closeness.

      Now, on the “show” part of this little show and tell!  *grin*  Because we try to eat cleanly and don’t buy dyes or foods containing dyes, we were determined to try and color some eggs naturally this year!  I didn’t have the time or desire to test lots of different recipes – frankly, I don’t even really like hard boiled eggs all that much – so we’re going to try good old Martha Stewarts recipes out and see what happens!  *grin*

      We decided to try to achieve pale yellow, light blue and chartreuse for our eggs.  There are a lot of other colors that require different ingredients and techniques listed on the website, so I would encourage you to check it out!

      Following the instructions given, we simplified them a bit and came up with the following:

      Pale Yellow: Bring 1 quart water, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, and 3 tablespoons turmeric to a boil.  Once it has boiled, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Strain dye into a bowl and place already hard boiled eggs into solution and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

      Turmeric

       

      Light Blue: Bring 1 quart water, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, and 4 cups chopped cabbage to a boil (add more water and vinegar in their correct proportions if needed to cover the cabbage).  Once it has boiled, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Strain dye into a bowl and place already hard boiled eggs into solution and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

      Cabbage

       

      Chartreuse: Use the dyes already used for pale yellow and light blue.  Soak eggs in the turmeric dye for 30 minutes and remove.  Then, place in the cabbage dye briefly – about 5 minutes.

      Coloring-Eggs

       

      Eggs

      Pro Tip: When removing the eggs from the color, pat them dry with a paper towel – don’t rub!  If you rub too much, the color will come off!

      Expect a bit of variation with your eggs.  I don’t know what makes the color stick or not stick, but some defiantly turned out better than others and they were all done the same.

      Cabbage, turmeric, eggs, and vinegar all stink, so try to plan your egg dying time for when you can have an open window!  Otherwise your house will stink and everyone will wonder what kind of mess you’re making for dinner!

      I hope ya’ll give this little project a try!  I was very pleasantly surprised by the vibrancy of the colors and how easy it all actually was.  Way more interesting and fun (as an adult at least… though, you could totally turn this into a mini science lesson for your kids) than the little kits you can buy!

      Easter-Eggs

    • March 9, 2016

      Greek Salad with Lamb

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      Sometimes you just need an easy meal that is healthy and quick, you know?  That’s not an easy combination to come up with, so I end up making my go-to easy meals kind of a lot.  I’m ok with that, especially with this Greek salad recipe!  The lamb makes it hearty enough for dinner, but the veggies keep it fresh and crisp.  I especially love this meal after a good work out at the gym.

      Greek Salad with Lamb Recipe

      By Erin Published: March 9, 2016

        Sometimes you just need an easy meal that is healthy and quick, you know?  That's not an easy combination to come up with, so I end …

        Ingredients

        Instructions

        1. ComponentsGather Ingredients.
        2. Cook-it-upCook ground lamb and season with oregano and dill.
        3. Greek-SaladFill bowls or plates with lettuce, top with cooked lamb, feta, olives, tomatoes to taste. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and enjoy!

        Pro Tip: If you can’t find lamb or it’s too expensive, you can substitute ground turkey.  Or, for a more traditional and vegetarian option, leave the meat out altogether!  Just toss the oregano and dill with the lettuce and you’re golden!

        Pair with a yummy glass of pinot grigio or merlot and you’ve got yourself a classy meal that you can really impress your friends with!

      • February 10, 2016

        Romantic Fondue for Two

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        Ready for something really fun?  And easy?  And romantic?

        *grin*

        I really love fondue and am so excited to share my favorite cheese recipe with you!  This is a pretty basic one which is nice because you can totally add different seasonings, spices, and dipping ingredients depending on what you feel like doing and what you have on hand.

        You’ll need a fondue pot – we use an electric one similar to this and it’s been great!  I like that we don’t have to have an open flame at the table and that we can raise and lower the temperature easily as we cook and eat.

        I hope you have a romantic evening soon where you can enjoy this delicious meal.  If not, though, you can totally make this for a group of girlfriends too!  I mean, it’s mostly cheese and who doesn’t like cheese?  ha!

        Romantic Fondue for Two Recipe

        By Erin Published: February 10, 2016

          Ready for something really fun?  And easy?  And romantic? *grin* I really love fondue and am so excited to share my favorite …

          Ingredients

          Instructions

          1. IngredientsGather ingredients.
          2. Cheese-and-Corn-StarchCombine cheeses and cornstarch together
          3. Wine-and-SpicesPour wine and spices into fondue pot and heat over medium heat until bubbling
          4. CheeseStir in cheese - stir continually until melted to a smooth consistency; Lower heat to as needed to prevent burning while still keeping the fondue warm
          5. Dip desired foods into the cheese mixture and enjoy!
            Fondue
           

          Pro Tip: My favorite fondue dippers with this cheese are: granny smith apples, grapes, broccoli, and artichokes. 

          Keep an eye on the cheese so it doesn’t over heat and burn to the pan.

          Since you only use 1 cup of the wine, be sure to get one you really like so you can break out the fancy glasses and drink the rest!  This is a romantic meal, after all!  ;)

        • November 4, 2015

          Thai Chicken with Mushrooms and Leeks

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          I was at the farmers market this weekend and came across some beautiful leeks that I just had to make something with!  This led me into some experimenting and we came up with a new favorite meal.  The best thing is that it is super easy too!  Now is a great time to find leeks since they are in season, so I hope you’ll give this little dish a try!

           

          Thai Chicken with Mushrooms and Leeks Recipe

          By Erin Published: November 4, 2015

          • Yield: 4 Servings

          I was at the farmers market this weekend and came across some beautiful leeks that I just had to make something with!  This led me …

          Ingredients

          Instructions

          1. Gather Ingredients.
          2. Mix garlic, cilantro, tamari, and sesame oil together and let chicken marinate for 15 - 20 minutes. While the chicken marinates, prep your grill for use.
          3. Cook chicken on the grill, searing on both sides to help keep the juices in.
          4. While the chicken cooks, heat olive oil in a saucepan. When hot, sauté leeks and mushrooms together.
          5. To serve, top chicken with vegetable mixture and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Serve hot.

           

           

        • October 7, 2015

          Stuffed Bell Peppers

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          Happy October, ya’ll!  I’ve probably said this more times than anyone cares to hear, but I love fall!  I love the changing colors, the chilly mornings, the warm drinks, and the tall boots.  I also love the yummy treats and meals that are coming in season now!

          One of our favorite fall meals is stuffed bell peppers.  I use quinoa to add protein without necessitating cooking meat along with everything else that goes into this meal.  I also like to mix and match ingredients depending on what I have on hand.  This recipe is my favorite, though, and I hope you like it as much as we do!

          Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe

          By Erin Published: October 7, 2015

          • Yield: 4 Stuffed Peppers (4 Servings)

          Happy October, ya'll!  I've probably said this more times than anyone cares to hear, but I love fall!  I love the changing colors, …

          Ingredients

          Instructions

          1. Set oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, cook quinoa: Rinse 1 cup quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, then put in pot with 2 cups water (or 2 cups broth if you prefer) and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. When done, remove from heat at let stand 5 minutes.
          2. Cover a baking sheet with foil and place all pepper bottoms and tops on - let bake for 25 minutes.
          3. In a separate pan over high heat, add olive oil and sauté the thyme, garlic, leek, and kale.
          4. When quinoa is done, combine veggie mixture in pot. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
          5. When peppers are done, remove from oven and stuff with the quinoa/veggie mixture and top with the pepper's top. Serve warm and enjoy!

           

          Pro Tip: If you’d like to add meat to this meal, it’s super easy!  Just cook  up some ground sausage while the quinoa is cooking and mix it all in at the end!  You will probably want to halve the quinoa/veggie mixture, though – or bake a few more bell peppers – so the filling to pepper ratio works out better.

          You can also beef up the filling with black beans, corn, peas, nuts, cheese, dried cranberries, etc. depending on your own tastes and what’s in your cupboard!  You really can’t mess this one up.

        • September 2, 2015

          Blueberry Buckle

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          The following recipe was adapted from a recipe my Grandmother’s dear friend, Gwen, gave to her many years ago.  This recipe has been a family favorite since I can remember and definitely takes me back to sunny summer days with my aunt.  I always fancied myself an elegant pastry maker whenever I was in my aunt’s kitchen and I’m so glad to have those fun memories now.

          I hope this recipe brings you and those you share it with great happiness and that you might build your own fond memories with it.

          Blueberry Buckle Recipe

          By Erin Published: September 2, 2015

            The following recipe was adapted from a recipe my Grandmother's dear friend, Gwen, gave to her many years ago.  This recipe has been …

            Ingredients

            Instructions

            1. IngredientsGather ingredients and set oven to 375 degrees.
            2. DoughMix first 4 ingredients completely. Stir in flour, salt, baking powder.
            3. Fold-in-BlueberriesFold in berries taking care not to smash them in the process.
            4. Ready-to-BakeSpread in a 9" pan.
            5. Topping-IngredientsCombine topping ingredients to create a crumbly topping.
            6. Crumble-ToppingTop cake mixture with crumble mixture and bake for 45 - 50 minutes.

             

            Pro-Tip: Try not to over blend your crumb topping.  Ultimately, what you really want is chunky bits of butter covered in sugar.  This is not a health food.  *grin*

          • August 12, 2015

            Cold Brew Iced Chai

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            This summer I have been completely obsessed with cold brew tea – especially chai served with lots of ice and milk!  There is nothing like an ice cold drink on a hot day to revive and refresh a person.  The best thing is that this is super simple and pretty healthy too!

            You see, I adore chai, but the concentrates have way too many calories and sugars to drink every day.  But I want chai every day.  So, I discovered that I could make my own cold brew chai and cheat the system!  Tea usually doesn’t have many calories, so its all in the milk and sugar you choose.  Try coconut milk for a more tropical flavor with fewer calories or agave nectar if you are trying to avoid too much sugar.  That’s the great thing about making your own at home, you can experiment and cater to your needs as well as knowing exactly what’s going into your drink!  Plus, it costs a fraction of what Starbucks charges, so you’ll save a ton of money too!

             

            Cold Brew Iced Chai Recipe

            By Erin Published: August 12, 2015

              This summer I have been completely obsessed with cold brew tea - especially chai served with lots of ice and milk!  There is nothing …

              Ingredients

              Instructions

              1. Fill a pitcher with water at room temperature.
                Ingredients
              2. Toss 1 tea bag per 8 oz of water into the pitcher and let brew in the fridge overnight.
                Brewing
              3. To drink, poor cold brew over ice into a cup and add sugar and milk to taste. I prefer about a teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 cup of milk per 1 1/2 cup of tea.
                Yum!

               

              Enjoy!