When we lived in Japan, there was something we called a “vegetable vending machine” just down the street from our apartment. It was made up of little cubbies that were always filled with vegetables that had been grown on the very same block. You had to take you yen- usually 50¥ or 100¥- and place it in the money slot on the door holding the produce you wanted. Once you paid, the door would unlock and you could take your reusable bag, plop the freshly picked vegetables in, and be on your merry way. I used to go see what was there, enjoying the short walk in our peaceful neighborhood, pondering what I would make for dinner that night. We don’t have “veggie vending machines” here in Denver, but we are lucky enough to live just down the street from a couple markets that source local, Colorado-grown produce. The other day, I went to my favorite market with my mom to pick up some Hatch chiles and came across some beautiful ears of corn. The kernels were bright yellow, plump, and just begging to be added to a chowder recipe. So, slow-cooker corn chowder with hatch chiles was born! We may not have been able to experience the Japanese vending machine, but at least it conjures the memory.
Maybe I should start my own vegetable vending machine.
Being pregnant makes me want to eat all the carbs. Just keep ‘em coming because I can’t get enough. I don’t indulge myself as often as I’d like but sometimes there is just no denying the need for something noodle-y, potato-y, bread-y…you get the idea. This sweet corn carbonara fulfilled my craving the other day and had me falling in love with sweet corn all over again. There is something so wonderful about twirling long, creamy noodles around the tongs of a fork and seeing bright yellow corn kernels and vibrant green arugula joining the fray. Each bite is a beautiful combination of flavors and textures: crisp, sweet corn…peppery, delicate arugula…crunchy, salty bacon…and smooth, creamy pasta. You really cannot go wrong. Continue Reading →
I’m having a little love affair with breakfast. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning and I always want something hearty, sweet, and involving cinnamon in some way. These healthy baked apples with muesli crisp are the perfect solution. I’m going to eat them every day once apples are in season for real. It’s gonna have to happen. With a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt sweetened with honey pleaseandthankyou.
It’s good that I’m obsessed with something so wonderfully healthy because I seem to be putting on a little weight. Can you tell?
Yep! Baby #2 is growing in that there bump and it wants all the comfort food in the universe (seriously, all of it. send mashed potatoes and gravy). Continue Reading →
Brad turned 30 a couple of weeks ago while we were in Minnesota. We had a quiet dinner celebration there before returning home to Colorado. With the help of our friends, I was able to orchestrate an almost surprise party. I say “almost” because he knew people were coming over but had no idea it was to celebrate his birthday. He spent the day golfing with a friend and when they returned, we were ready to welcome him home with balloons, noise-makers, and the sound of our lovely voices singing happy birthday. It was really great watching these people, who have known Brad since middle school or high school, show him so much love after all these years. And what better way to celebrate than with a DIY Hot Dog Bar?
This was one of the most fun parties we’ve thrown for a couple of reasons: 1) who doesn’t love hot dogs and lots of delicious toppings, and 2) it was easy on the hostess (that would be me). To make this even easier for all of you to do yourselves, I’ve put together some tips on how to host your own DIY Hot Dog Bar!
My sister, Rebecca, is back with an enchanting story of the Paris Stranger and a cocktail with the same name for this week’s Cocktail Friday! These posts make me want to sit on the deck with her, chatting about all of the things. If only Minnesota were a little (or a lot) closer…
This summer, I read a book by Kristin Newman called What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding. It’s a hilarious account of Newman’s real life travel adventures as a young, single comedy writer. It was funny, fun, and full of surprisingly wise observations about life and travel.
One of her travel edicts is to do the thing you are supposed to do in the place you are supposed to do it in. You know, eat pretzels in Germany … ride camels in Egypt … drink vodka in Russia … etc.
As I read, I thought about all of the places I’ve been and all of the times I didn’t do the thing I was supposed to do in the place I was supposed to do it.
For example: Continue Reading →
What on earth are you doing posting a soup recipe during the dog days of summer?!? Yes, I can hear you. But trust me when I say that this soup is worth making all year round. The past few days have been rather mild compared to last year when I thought I would certainly melt. We’ve had cooling rain showers that have left us with soup-worthy temperatures at night and this easy, fast cheesy roasted cauliflower soup was the perfect solution to my midsummer’s soup craving. I used orange cauliflower in place of regular white to help trip my brain into thinking there was lots of cheesy goodness when in reality I was quite conservative. A dash of cream and a drizzle of olive oil made a perfectly lovely soup fit for a weeknight meal or the first course at a dinner party. Continue Reading →
I’m starting to get that feeling that summer is winding down. There are no sad feelings because I have been able to enjoy some super sweet moments with my family. Watching Riley change from a baby into a boy has been fascinating and terrifying and more wonderful than I could have ever imagined. He loves bugs, roaring, making up stories with us, and talking non-stop. There is never a dull moment and even though it’s exhausting there isn’t a moment I would trade. Sometimes, in the midst of it all, I neglect to put together a healthy and complete meal for myself. On those days when I’m lost in the wonder of watching a little boy explore the world around him, this whole grain salmon & avocado bowl is a serious lifesaver.
There are no frills with this one-bowl meal but I did make one change to the typical rice bowl: instead of using white or brown rice, I used a whole grain medley. Most grocery stores sell whole grain medleys in the rice aisle or the bulk section. The particular one I chose to use was a combination of brown and wild rice, bulgur wheat, and quinoa. The combination of textures and nutty flavor is perfect with the flaky salmon and creamy avocado. For a little brightness, I added some simple pickled red onions but you could use any kind of pickled vegetable you like. This time of year would be the perfect time to try some pickled zucchini. Continue Reading →
I remember the first time I ate a fig. It was actually in Japan. Before that, the only figs I had tasted were inside of a cookie, so this was kind of a big deal. If you’ve never tasted one, I recommend tasting them fresh first. Just take a bite of the soft flesh and get to know the naturally beautiful sweetness as it sits on your tongue. After that, try it in all it’s best forms: jam (duh), stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in prosciutto, sliced on a grilled cheese sandwich, or simply broiled with a lovely miso glaze. Yes, Miso Broiled Figs are worth trying. They have the same salty-sweet combination you would get from wrapping them in prosciutto or bacon but it is slightly more subtle and takes a lot less work. I’ve decided that this just might be the perfect new addition to a cheese platter with a nice crisp glass of rosé.
This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite traditional Japanese dishes, nasu dengaku, or Miso Broiled Eggplant. The miso glaze is simple to mix together and not only works wonderfully on figs and eggplant, but can be used to glaze fish, chicken, pork, or beef. I like to make enough to use several times throughout the week. Continue Reading →
Hey there, caprese band wagon. I am on you.
Caprese is in all the places right now but it’s for a good reason: it’s delicious! Fresh tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and bright basil are a combination we seem to never tire of. It’s a classic. This Healthy Caprese Pasta Bake is just another excuse to enjoy this trio of flavors in a complete, one pot (yep, ONE pot) meal. It all gets stirred together, baked, and served from just one dish. It’s a dish-washing-haters miracle! And it’s pasta. I could eat pasta all the time and be perfectly fine with that. Are you a GF person? Good news! I made this with brown rice pasta (I recommend Jovial) so you are A-OK! Not eating added sugar? I’ve got you covered! Have hungry, picky toddlers to feed? Check and done.
I cannot say too many good things about this dish because it really is that good and oh so easy you could make it any night of the week for your entire family. Continue Reading →
We are in Minnesota for a much needed family vacation. I have to admit that it hasn’t all been smooth sailing and that’s mostly thanks to my body deciding that vacation = fall apart. I got a pretty epic summer cold and then my neck and left shoulder seized up, leaving me immobile for the past 3 days, thanks to a seven year old car accident injury. Did I mention that we drove from Denver to Minneapolis? Yep. It’s been quite the trip so far. On the plus side, Riley is having a blast with his Minnesota grandparents, we all seem to be breathing a little easier now that we’re getting settled in, the weather is perfection, annnnnnd there’s this Wild Rice Salad. So it can’t be all bad, right?
I love wild rice. It’s so beautiful and satisfying in a variety of dishes. Casseroles? Um, yes. Soup? Duh. Salads? Absolutely. Plus, it is one of Minnesota’s claims to fame (for good reason). Here, I’ve taken cooked, chilled wild rice and tossed it with some baby spinach leaves, beautiful red strawberries, and a creamy, citrusy tahini vinaigrette. It’s an ideal summer lunch that packs tons of flavor, countless health benefits, and it is 100% added sugar free. WIN. Continue Reading →