Monday, May 11, 2015

Creole Shredded Zucchini with Feta

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It's officially Spring here in the South. 

The leaves are finally back on the trees, providing shelter for the Mamma birds and their new babies. The color is in full force with bushes sprouting out pinks, reds and bright blooms in yellows. And pollen blankets the city, my car... my dog. Making me realize more than ever, that the pain of 5 years of allergy shots far outweighs the fact that I've not had one sniff, one sneeze, or even one red, itchy eye since we landed in the South 17 years ago.

Spring. A time that still makes my heart sing, not just because of the beauty, but also because of the fresh produce. Strawberry stands begging you to pull off Southern back roads and stay for awhile. Corn, 10 for a dollar. And the abundance... or overabundance of one of my favorite vegetables- zucchini.

So, if you know me, you know I love, and rely on roasting vegetables. Especially throughout the cooler Fall, and all too often dreary Winter. But, when the temperatures rise, I look for other creative ways to prepare the bounties of the South.

I first read about shredding zucchini from Julia Child, and I played around with it from there. Adding a bit of flair with the Creole flavors. And some feta cheese to cut the spice and add some creamy goodness.

This dish has quickly become our mainstay side dish. Simple ingredients. Quick on preparation and cleanup. Plus healthy and addictively delicious.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Roasted Veggie and Chickpea Picatta Pasta #Vegan

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I'm totally into beans now. I'm not sure why I've never made them more of a centerpiece in my meals, because I've always loved the taste, texture, and the fact that they're such an inexpensive protein.

And this last week, I've been having beans just about every day, and you know what? I've felt better than I have in years. I've felt fuller, more satisfied, and had more energy... from beans? Yes, plain and simple canned beans.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Chicken Salad Lettuce Leaf Wraps with Roasted New Potatoes, Fennel and Olives #WeekdaySupper

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I feel like I'm constantly learning about food and flavors and how to put them all together.  In fact, I thirst for that knowledge... which is good for me, and not so good for my husband.  As I'd channel surf back and forth between Food Network and Cooking Channel every. waking. hour. if I could.

But recently, I heard something that was one of those culinary light bulb moments.  Something that was so simple, yet so profound... that I can't seem to get it out of my mind.  Like one of those songs that get stuck in your head from the 80's.  Like Zanadu, or Whip It... or This Little Light of Mine.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Salmon and Strawberry Spinach Salad with Kentucky Maple Vinaigrette #SundaySupper

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There are a few places that will always remain my favorite places on Earth.  Places that I could visit again and again, and each time, feel like I'm home.  One is back home in Santa Barbara- Alice Keck Park.  The second in Paris- Place de Vosges.  And another, here in Raleigh.  The Raleigh Rose Garden. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Week of 3/22/15- The Classics Dinners Meal Plan and my New Piano

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When I was 19, my Father told me I either had to pick another major and stay in school, or move out and find a job.  I opted to move out.  Looking back, it must have been difficult for my Father, but as always, his wise decision set the path for my future success in jobs and in learning how taking care of myself early on.

I was in nursing school, and after waiting for a year to get in, and taking all the prerequisites like anatomy and physiology (I smelled of formaldehyde every day- not attractive), a spot finally opened up.  But. 3 months in, I realized that nursing takes a special type of person, and it just wasn't meant to be for this sensitive person.

So, I faced the world head on, found a great job, and continued to finish up my degree after hours.  But, there were a few things I truly missed about living at home... my mom's cooking.  And my piano.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Week of 3/15/15- Healthy Dinners Meal Plan #RecipeRoundup

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It's funny how after you've started to eat healthier, your tastes change, and you actually prefer to eat healthier food.  It might take a bit to get to get to this dietary sweet spot, but once you do... that's when all the magic happens.

So, these last few weeks have been busier than normal.  I've been working on re-branding my blog, and have also rejoined Sunday Supper after over a year off... which has been a blast!  My husband has been crazy busy at work and getting home later each day than either of us would like.  And, we're preparing to get a new puppy.  Which as you know is super exciting, but will also require a lot of time, work, and potty training patience.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lime Roasted Root Vegetable Quesadillas and our Weekday Meal Breakdown #WeekdaySupper

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If I sat down and counted up all the meals I make from scratch in a week, I'd be exhausted.  Yes, 28 homemade meals a week, and yes, my feet are aching... and I've got dish pan hands. 

But seriously, not only has making our meals at home saved us a ton of money. It's also allowed me to have control over the amount of fat and salt in our dishes.  Plus the quality of meats, grains and vegetables in each of our meals.

So, for breakfast, just about every morning I make steel cut oatmeal, topped with organic or local honey, and some type of superfood like goji berries or raw cacoa powder.  Or, sometimes, I'll have a fried egg on Ezekiel Bread toast, drizzled with a bit of olive oil, and sprinkled with Himalayan pink salt.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Hummingbird Cream Cheese Cookies for Retro #SundaySupper #NutFree

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Lately, when I think retro, I think less about magic 8-balls, my pink '68 Karmann Ghia, or the unanswerable question of whether Rush or Supertramp is the greatest band of all time.

And, more about my retro self.  A time when I was perfectly happy sitting under the tree reading my latest Nancy Drew book all afternoon... without the distraction of electronics.  When we didn't think about working out, or dieting... we simply rode our bikes, walked, ran, rode our horses, played handball, and made sure we were home by 5 pm for our home-cooked meals around the table.  And dessert. Now, we didn't have dessert every day, but when we did, it was super sweet, and extra rich and comforting, just like Hummingbird Cake.

So, for this week's retro theme, hosted by Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks, I decided to make something based on this southern classic.  The original recipe for Hummingbird Cake was printed in Southern Living Magazine in 1978.  It quickly caught on first, as a way to use up extra bananas.  And then, as a special occasion cake, which is still enjoyed today.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Week of 3/8/15- Healthy Dinners Meal Plan #RecipeRoundup

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My food cravings have been in limbo these last few days, with the rapid changes in weather, and the coming change of seasons.  One day snow and black ice.  Then the next, 75 degree weather.  Birds chirping, and my cruiser bike staring at me from the garage, just begging to go on our next Southern adventure.

So, like the weather, this week I'm bringing you a culinary wintery mix.  Some comforting dishes, like Chicken Paprikash and Kielbasa and Cabbage Skillet.  And some lighter, and brighter dishes, like Bucatini with Burst Tomatoes and Salmon with White Bean, Leek and Asparagus Salad.

A few familiar recipes, but many new ones, thanks to the help of my blogging friends.  This week's menu is full of healthy, delicious dishes.  And I hope it inspires you to #cookathome!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Skinny Orange Sesame Crock Pot Shredded Chicken

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I've survived 16 winters in the South, now.  And I'm not sure if I'm just getting more and more used to them, or if they're getting milder each and every year.

Now, don't get me wrong, we still get a few big "milk and bread" storms.  But, Old Man Winter's been fooling us these last few years, completely bypassing the holidays (when snow would be much more appreciated, thank you very much).  And instead, hitting us up in February... at least when it comes to snow.  

So, today is one of those days where the fluffy white snow blankets the entire city, and my beloved cardinals, (whom have come to be known as Penelope, for the females and Raphael, for the males) line the snow-capped trees.  Waiting for their turn to swoop down to our feeders to stock up.  Similar to the lines of people trying to get through the checkout yesterday at my local Harris Teeter.  You see, in the South, when a big one's about to hit, you'll know it's really serious when folks are swooping in on the milk and bread aisles to stock up.  Well those, and the frozen pizza and beer aisles.  One can never be too prepared.

Monday, February 23, 2015

30 Creative and Delicious Roasted Veggie Recipes- Food Blogger Recipe Roundup

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I'm what you'd call a Super-Roaster, considering it's my favorite technique of cooking.  And I've tried everything from fruits like cranberries and pears, to meats, nuts, and even beans- like chickpeas  But, my first love of roasting has to be vegetables.  

And because I can always use more ideas on creative ways to roast vegetables.  Plus, recipes I can use them in, I asked for help from my blogging friends.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

{Video} 9 Ways to Save Big at CVS + Mini Haul- CoverGirl and Maybelline Makeup

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There's a bit more to couponing at the drugstore, compared to your typical grocery store.  But, once you know the store's guidelines, you can really cash in on the savings!

Today, I did a mini makeup haul at CVS and saved $21.75, or 64%.  Want to know how?  Watch this video, and then read on, down below, for even more ways to save.

Friday, February 13, 2015

PopSugar Must Have Box February 2015- Review

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I'm a girly girl, through and through... so it's no wonder that I get especially excited each year as Valentine's Day rolls around.  Roses, chocolate, and all things pink... yes, I proudly love it all.

And while I'm pretty easy to please, this month's PopSugar Must Have Box seems like it was picked especially for me.  This is my fourth box from them, but I've been watching YouTube unboxings and reading reviews for over a year now.  And I can confidently say that is by far my favorite box.  So I decided to try out the products and give you a review.

Monday, February 9, 2015

{Video} Vegan Cuts January 2015 Review- You've Got to Check out This Snack Box

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One of my top healthy eating tips, is to surround yourself with whole foods that can be easily prepared.  That and, if you're going to eat a snack, you might as well eat a healthy one that doesn't taste like cardboard... no rice cakes allowed.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed Peppers with Brown Rice and Spinach #healthyluxemeals

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It's so exciting to discover new favorite foods, especially when you haven't given them a chance in the past... and in this case, downright avoided them.

So, bell peppers.  I never liked bell peppers (the proof was in the pile of leftovers every time I got fajitas). But it turns out I just don't like the green ones. The red, yellow and orange ones are so much sweeter.  And well worth the extra price you pay for them... which may have been the reason why I passed them over in the first place.  But, these days I can't get enough.  I roast them for salads, chop them up to add flavor to soups and stews, and use the baby bells to dip in hummus. 

And my favorite way to use them?  Stuffed peppers.