November 20, 2013

Winter Puppy Things

Snow is coming. Weather reports are saying that Thursday will be the first official snow fall and I cannot wait! Ellie, on the other hand, has yet to experience snow in all its 2-foot glory. A couple weeks ago when it sleeted, all she did was try and eat the flurries. We see dogs at the park with outwear but haven't decided if she needs it quite because 1. she has quite a bit of fur. 2. will she hate us for it? 3. Joe totally hates the idea. Though the full on coat may be out of the question, I think she still might need some winter booties. Here are some things I've been eyeing.

winter dog gear


September 19, 2013

Aimee's Braised Green Beans

These green beans. These green beans are inspired by Saffron - the restaurant I went to for my birthday last year and was recommended by my friend Aimee. Ever since visiting Saffron, we've both talked about their slow cooked green beans. Then one day, Aimee came into work and said that she finally found a good re-creation and sent me the recipe. So here it is! You can just let these green beans sit on the stove on Sunday evening and have that smell warm up your home.

Aimee's Braised Green Beans
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 12 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 whole garlic cloves, smashed but still intact
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 cinnamon
  • Pinch of all spice
  • Black Pepper

In a large skillet w/ straight sides set over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion, garlic and pinch of black pepper. Cook the onions down, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, coriander, cumin, cinnamon and all spice. Stir and cook for a few minutes. 

Add green beans and stir well, making sure to coat beans in oil and spices. Stir in crushed tomatoes and 1/2 cup water. Cover pan, reduce heat to low, and cook for 50-60 minutes -- no need to check on them.  If you want to reduce the sauce a bit after braising turn up the heat to medium high, remove the lid, and reduce to desired consistency. Serve hot or cold. 

August 13, 2013


Shakshuka is an Israeli dish where eggs are poached in a spicy tomato sauce. Since I had some leftover chunky tomato sauce, I opted the next morning to make some shakshuka for breakfast and it was the perfect way to start the morning. But you could opt to serve this any time of the day.

  • 2 tbsp ghee (or butter)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (I used this leftover sauce)
  • 1-2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Basil (optional)
  • Zoodles, cauliflower rice, or paleo-friendly pita bread. 
Heat ghee in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and garlic in ghee until fragrant. Pour in tomato sauce and stir to combine. Bring to a little simmer. 

Once simmering, crack eggs over the sauce. Season with salt and pepper and cover the skillet until the yolks set, about 5 minutes. You can leave it covered longer for a harder egg yolk but I like them runny. 

Top with fresh basil and serve. I used the Shakshuka on top of leftover cauliflower rice but you could serve with pita bread for dipping into the sauce. 

August 9, 2013

Basil-Lemon Chicken

Simple marinades are something everyone needs to have in their back pocket. Usually, I never have time to marinade as I don't give myself enough thought the night before but when my mom handed me a bag filled with basil, I knew I needed to come up with something quick and easy for us to enjoy.

Basil-Lemon Chicken 

For the marinade:
  • 1 lb bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juice set aside
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, basil, salt and pepper.

Put chicken into ziplock bag. Pour marinade over and cover all the chicken. Let marinate in the fridge anytime between 2 hours and 12 hours. Longer than 12 hours and the acid has some effect on the chicken.

Prepare the chicken as you wish - we opted to roast the chicken based on time but it would be tasty grilled as well!

August 6, 2013

Garlicky Cauli-Rice

I grew up eating a lot of rice. Now, living on my own, I don't eat a lot of rice since it takes so much time to cook and I don't own a rice maker. I was looking for a new way to serve up the head of cauliflower I bought and mashed cauli wasn't cutting it. In came recipes for cauli-rice. Super fast, easy and delicious! I went the buttery-garlic route this time but I think I may take on a Chipotle style in the future and do a cilantro-lime cauli-rice! Now to plan for a taco night!

Garlicky Cauli-Rice
makes 6 cups
  • head of cauliflower, chopped into peices
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely 
  • 2 cloves of garlic,  minced
  • 2 tbsp ghee (or butter if you are not Whole30-ing)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt-free seasoning (I used Trader Joe's Seasoning Salut)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Put the cauliflower pieces into the food processor and pulse until they are the size of rice grains. You can do it in two parts -- I had to. Next, in a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in the melted ghee and coconut oil for about 5 minutes. Make sure the garlic doesn't burn. 

When the onions are soft, add the cauliflower grains and stir to mix it all together (fats, onions, cauli!). Add seasoning, salt and pepper to taste and then cover the skillet. Let the cauliflower cook for 5-10 minutes and then serve it up! 

August 5, 2013

treats everywhere

So if you follow me on instagram, you already know that joe and i brought home this sweet little pup home two weeks ago. Little Ellie is a Blue Merle Australian Shepard and she has been such a doll to have around, albeit she has had two accidents inside the house (we're getting there though!). 

She is a complete ball of energy, as many Aussies are. Some days when she's cooped up in her crate for 7-8 hours, we come home and take her on long evening walks so she gets active. The nice thing is that she has an "off" switch -- if we need to do our own thing and leave her alone, she tends to fall asleep or minds her own business until we want to pay attention to her. 

As any puppy, she is in her nippy/teething stage but Joe and I hope to nip that in the butt soon - hopefully when her puppy school starts! She's learned how to sit and come when called though sometimes when she is just too pumped she won't pay attention. Or she sees you pull a treat and she just sits right down since she knows what comes next. What a little ham! 

So now our house is filled with puppy treats, poop bags (sorry) and little toys. I've been noticing we have treats in all the little nooks and crannies of our house - even in the car! Lucky for Wiz, Ellie has some awesome salmon treats that we found her stealing right out of the bag. 

July 17, 2013

catching up!

it's been a while... so let's catch up! 

|| NYC ||



|| Summer things ||






|| Good eats ||



*been cleaning up our eating habits! 

and finally... prepping for something special to join us on Friday!

happy news, pinky promise. 

May 31, 2013

n y c

see you in 30-ish hours! 

May 28, 2013

weekend update

hope you had a pleasant long weekend! 

took a little road trip to Des Moines to celebrate the marriage of two of our friends! so amazing to see some of these ladies again -- cannot believe I haven't seen some of them in over 2 years! 

we came home Sunday and did a little yard work. not sure if the guy before us even bothered picking up weeds/dandelions in the backyard because they are EVERYWHERE. our backs were aching by the end of the night and we were starved so we went to a favorite irish pub of ours for some drinks and appetizers. i think Joe could eat those fish bites dipped in sriracha mayo for days. they had 80s music bingo going on and while we didn't pick up any boards, we would have won for sure. 

I am and will always be a fan of lazy mornings. We woke up Monday, stirred up some chocolate chip pancakes and scrambled eggs. We spent most of the day outside; working on my car and grilling with some friends. 

May 17, 2013

nom nom :: Stuffed Salmon with Sriracha Cream Sauce

So typically, Joe doesn't like teriyaki sauce. He says he can taste the ginger and it's just not his thing. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't like ginger either (unless its with sushi) but I'm so use to the flavor, it isn't something that sticks out to me. I was a little hesitant to try this recipe for that reason but decided that it looked too delicious to pass up. I adapted it from this recipe but made a few changes like swapping out the sweetend condensed milk for almond milk (it's what we had in our fridge) and wouldn't have even known the difference. After we finished dinner, I asked if he was okay with that teriyaki sauce and he said he didn't even realize that was what I used. Guess I know this is going to become a repeat dish in our house... YES! 

Start the Stuffed Salmon with Sriracha Cream sauce by marinating it in your favorite teriyaki marinade. I used Trader Joe's Island Soyaki since I noticed the original recipe called for a bit more pineapple flavors. Let it marinate for at least 30 mins.

After it is done marinating, slit the sides of each filet and create a long pocket to stuff. Insert about a tablespoon of cream cheese - I used whipped cream cheese as it was easier to push into the pocket. 

Heat a medium sized pan on low-medium heat. Add about a tablespoon of oil. Set the fillets in there skin side down and cook for 10 minutes. I put the cover on and let it steam for a bit. I did not flip it since I wasn't sure if the cheese would spill out but it turned out just fine. Drizzle with the Sriracha cream sauce (recipe below) and ta-da!

Stuffed Salmon with Siracha Cream Sauce
adapted from The Boogie Blog
1 cup teriyaki marinade (Trader Joe's version is a fave)
2 salmon filets
2 tbsp whipped cream cheese
1 tbsp oil

for sauce
2 tbsp Sriracha sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp almond milk, vanilla

1. Marinate salmon filets in teriyaki sauce of your choice for at least 30 minutes.
2. Slice sides of filet to create a pocket
3. Stuff salmon pocket with cream cheese, do not overstuff. I used 1 tbsp for each filet.
4. Heat a medium sized pan on low-medium heat. Add oil to coat. Set the fillets in and cook for 10 minutes with cover. Serve once salmon is cooked
5. For sauce, mix all ingredients together. Add more sriracha for more spice.

May 8, 2013

my go-to green smoothie

the last couple weeks, I felt like I wasn't getting enough greens in my diet. This is probably due to the fact that I was throwing out our box of baby spinach from Costco week after week and trying to figure out why we didn't go through it. Cause: not enough lunch toting and salad eating. But what do you do when you are just not in the mood for some leafy greens? 

Throw it in a smoothie, of course. 

Go-To Green Smoothie

2 cups spinach, fresh
2 cups water
1 cup mango, fresh or frozen
1 cup pineapple, fresh or frozen
1 bananas, fresh or frozen
1. Blend the water and fresh spinach until it is a liquid. This will make sure you don't drink leafy bits. 
2. Add the remaining fruit in and blend until smooth. 
Tips: You'll want to use one fruit frozen to make the smoothie cold. I typically use a fresh mangos and pineapple and a frozen banana. Usually when I see bananas getting too ripe, I peel, slice and freeze them for smoothies or banana bread. 

May 6, 2013

nom nom: easy chicken parmesan

Some days, you just don't want to turn on the oven. Today was one of those days. The weather was beautiful and as spring is coming, no one wants to turn on the hot oven! Joe and I both got home at around 9:30 PM and had decided to wait to do dinner together. He went to a car show with some friends and I went for a walk with some girlfriends so an easy quick late night dinner was the plan. Easy Chicken Parmesan is just that - quick and easy and ready in 20 minutes.

This version of Chicken Parmesan skips the breading but keeps the cheesy mozzerella. Instead of baking the chicken, it's cooked right in the sauce so that it stays juicy and tender. Topped with mozzerella, you do have to turn on the broiler and get the cheese nice and melty. Simple go-to meal for those late night dinners.

Easy Chicken Parmesan

4 chicken tenders
Olive Oil
Salt-free seasoning (I used 21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe's)
2 cups of marinara sauce 
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried italian seasoning (or basil)
4 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
4 servings pasta, any kind (I used brown rice penne pasta)
  1. If you have the time, marinate the chicken tenders in olive oil and salt-free seasoning. 1/2 hour is plenty. Overnight is great. 
  2. Get the water boiling for the pasta. 
  3. If there is no time to marinate, brush the chicken tenders with olive oil and season with salt-free seasoning.  Heat a large, oven-safe skillet over medium. Spray with non-stick spray and add chicken. Cook until golden brown but not all the way cooked through - about 6 minutes total. 
  4. Remove the chicken from heat and put on a plate. Let the skillet cool down.
  5. Return skillet to medium heat. Add marinara sauce to skillet, mix in italian seasoning and parmasan cheese. Put the chicken tenders into the sauce mixture and place lid on top. Cook for 10 minutes. 
  6. During this 10 minutes, cook the pasta (the water should be plenty boiling at this point)
  7. Once the chicken is cooked through, top each chicken with some sliced fresh mozzerella. Broil until golden brown and bubbly - about 5 minutes. 
  8. Serve the chicken over each serving of pasta. Enjoy!

weekend snapshots



this weekend, we said goodbye to Joe's grandpa + took a road trip to wisconsin to see our friend Anna.

the boys played football in the park and i sat in the grass, enjoyed the sun and read my book.  

April 17, 2013

in this kitchen

loving these bright colors for a the springtime, whenever it decides to come! That kitchen's beautiful mosaic backsplash is just amazing and it reminds me that I really need to get started on fixing up our kitchen. I'm slackin'! 

April 4, 2013

nom nom :: skillet lasagna

Hate to say it but I have been slaaaaacking the last couple of weeks to get some blog posts up. But even when I wasn't updating, I did try and do my best to snap some photos of the meals we've been cooking up and I will slowly make my way to posting them here. The last couple of weeks have been plenty busy: celebrating a bride-to-be, basketball games, friends visiting, getting sick (ew) and some much needed shopping! Yes, after twelve weeks of no shopping, I finally was able to make a few purchases to add to my spring wardrobe! Win for me (and my wallet).

Another new year's resolution was to cook more at home and spend less meals dining out. I thought we were actually doing a pretty good job of this until I started tracking my spending and realized we spent a ridiculous amount of dollars out on the town. The number was up there, and I was a little disappointed that it was so high but I learned alot from monitoring my budget -- this month's goals is to stick to my budget (yay for being an adult).

That being said, when I came home from work yesterday, cooking dinner was not on my mind. I had all the ingredients ready and had even did some prepwork the night before, but all Joe and I both wanted to do was head to Costco, grab a few things and  get cheap Costco hotdogs. And we werethisclose to doing just that but decided we shouldn't waste a meal pre-prepped and to be good and eat at home. So Skillet Lasagna it was. Comfort food, a delicious meal and easily cooked in less than 30 minutes!

Skillet Lasagna
1 tbsp olive oil
1 jar pasta sauce
1 lb ground turkey
4 lasagna noodles 
6 oz fresh mozzerella, sliced
1 cup cottage cheese
2 tsp dried parsley

heat oven to 425 degrees F.

1. In a medium-large oven safe skillet, brown ground turkey with dried parsley  salt and pepper in the olive oil. Cook until brown, 6-7 minutes. Drain excess liquid.
2. In a separate pot, prepare water for pasta and bring to boil. Once water is boiling, drop in the lasagna noodles. You can break them apart but I left them whole. 
3. Now that the turkey is cooked through, pour in the jar of pasta sauce and heat until bubbly. 
4. At this point, noodles should be cooked. Remove from the water and set aside. 
5. Scoop half of the warm sauce mixture into another bowl. 
6. Time to assemble the lasagna  Add two lasagna noodles over the remaining sauce mixture. Spoon scoops of cottage cheese and half of your sliced mozzarella on top of the noodles. Cover with the remaining two noodles. Take the rest of the sauce and pour over the noodles. Add more sliced mozzarella on top. 
7. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted. Take it out of the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes and serve!