Crunchy Lentil Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette
Recipes / September 19, 2019

Serves 6 1 1/2 cup lentils 2 cups water 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 1/2 teaspoons salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard 1 tablespoon maple syrup 1 clove garlic, minced 1/4 cup minced shallots 1 English cucumber (about 2 cups, diced) 1 red bell pepper 1/2 cup parsley 3/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries 3/4 cup sliced almonds (optional) Combine the lentils and water in the Instant Pot and secure the lid, moving the steam release valve to Sealing. Select Manual/Pressure Cook to cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes to fully cook the lentils. While the lentils are cooking, stir together the vinegar, olive oil, salt, several grinds of pepper, the mustard, maple syrup, garlic, and shallots in a large bowl to make a dressing. Dice the cucumber and add it to the bowl of dressing to a marinate. Seed and dice the red bell pepper and add it and the parsley to the bowl of dressing to marinate. After 10 minutes have passed, move the steam release valve to Venting to let out remaining…

Crispy Chickpeas and Pumpkin Seeds
Recipes / August 29, 2019

Serves 2 1 1/2 cups canned chickpeas, drained 1/2 cup pumpkin or winter squash seeds 1 teaspoon butter, melted 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons any combination of ground spices* Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, better, salt, and spices in a bowl. Mix to coat every chickpea and seed with the spices. Spread the chickpeas and pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and turn the chickpeas and seeds with a spatula. Put the baking sheet back in the oven until everything is crusty and golden, about 10 more minutes. Let the chickpeas and seeds cool for 10 minutes. Scoop into a bowl and serve. My notes: This is the perfect snack: inexpensive, healthy, and tasty. Also, it’s so easy to make that my 13 year old made them himself. *One suggested spice blend is a half teaspoon each of coriander, turmeric, cumin, and cayenne pepper. We used a Penzeys spice blend. Adapted from Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown

Mack and Cheese
Recipes / June 1, 2019

Serves 4 to 6 2 tsp salt 1 pound elbow macaroni 2 cups whole milk 1 cup heavy cream 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 5 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese 2/3 cup sour cream 1 teaspoon black pepper 2 teaspoons dry mustard 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, with a rack in the middle position. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch backing dish and set aside. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente, about 1 minute less than the package instructions. Drain and set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk and cream, being careful not to boil. While the milk heats, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk constantly for 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the warmed milk. Cook for 2 minutes, whisking frequently, or until thickened and smooth. Gradually add 2 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese, whisking until fully incorporated and smooth. Add the sour cream and whisk until smooth. Add the pepper, dry mustard, cayenne, and Worcestershire sauce. Season with…

Chicken Burrito Bowls
Recipes / May 1, 2019

Serves four 1/2 cup Greek yogurt 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tablespoon lime juice 2/3 cup white or brown rice 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 pound ground chicken 1/2 teaspoon chili powder 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/4 teaspoon onion powder 1/4 teaspoon paprika Salt and pepper 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed 1 3/4 cups corn (frozen, canned, or roasted) 1/2 cup pico de gallo 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional) 1 lime, cut into wedges For the chipotle cream sauce: Whisk together the yogurt, chipotle pepper, garlic, and lime juice. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Cook the rice according to package instructions. Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the ground chicken, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, onion powder, and paprika; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken has browned, 3 to 5 minutes; drain excess fat. Divide rice into meal prep containers. Top with ground chicken mixture, black beans, corn, and pico de gallo. Will keep covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Drizzle with chipotle…

Food for Thought: Mother’s Day Ideas
Favorite Things , Holidays , Recipes / April 19, 2019

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Here are some gift ideas and some recipes if you want to pamper your mother, which I’m sure you do! This recipe for Homemade Strawberry Cake looks pretty easy and yummy. I would love it if someone made this for me for Mother’s Day! Serving brunch! Use this frittata template to cook up a simple dish with things you already have in the fridge. I have been making this for dinner a lot. Here are a bunch of ideas for the stylish mom: Over 40 Lovely Mother’s Day Gifts Ideas Flowers are always a good idea! 18 Best Flowers for Mother’s Day And here’s a great list of movies to watch with your mom: 25 of the Best Movies to Watch on Mother’s Day. I’m partial to Bad Moms! LOL I hope you all have a great weekend! See you next week.  

Easter Menu Ideas
Holidays , Recipes / April 17, 2019

So I meant to try out a recipe from my latest issue of Southern Living, but I can’t even find the magazine! Anyway, I decided instead to just work on a menu plan for this weekend and share it with you. Appetizer: Deviled Eggs So for starters, I have to make deviled eggs. The first link is for a pretty standard recipe that I usually make. The second link is a complete deconstruction of the deviled egg. I think I would get in a lot of trouble if I don’t make the standard eggs, but the Bon Appetit recipes does seem easier. Deviled Eggs from A New Turn in the South Deviled Eggs Are a Waste of Time. There, I Said it! Main Dish: Ham I think ham is the only thing I have ever eaten at Easter, but I assume there are other things you could eat. I usually don’t do anything to fancy, because ham is pretty easy. This recipe for Glazed Easter Ham from the Pioneer Woman looks promising. But I may try to cook my ham in the slow cooker this year: Crockpot Brown Sugar Ham Side Dish: Potatoes I think I have mentioned several times…

Crisp, Lemony Baby Yukons
Recipes / April 10, 2019

Serves six 3 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes 3 cups chicken stock 1-2 lemons 2 cloves garlic, smashed olive oil sea salt Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the chicken stock into a medium-sized pot and stir in the zest of a lemon or two and the garlic. Add the potatoes, bring to a boil, cover, and cook for about 12 minutes. Drain the potatoes, reserving the lemon zest from the stock, and allow them to cool a bit. Gently flatten each potato with large knife, rolling pin, or small skillet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and the lemon zest, and put in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are crisp. Sprinkle with lemon juice and a bit more salt. My notes: These are yummy. Make them as soon as possible! My only note is that I cut the recipe down and all of my liquid was used up pretty quickly, so keep your eyes on the broth. Adapted from My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichel

Brown Rice Bowl with Edamame and Tamari Scallion Sauce
Recipes / March 2, 2019

Makes enough for 4 to 6 1 cup sliced scallions (green onions) 1/4 cup rice vinegar 2 tablespoons orange juice 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil 1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce Cooked brown rice, 2 to 3 cups 4 cups shelled edamame 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional)  Make the sauce: Throw the first five ingredients into a food processor or blender and let it run until the sauce looks sorta smooth. You should get about 2/3 cup of sauce. To assemble the bowl, spoon equal parts brown rice and edamame into a bowl and drizzle a tablespoon or two of sauce all over it. One serving is about 1/2 cup each of rice and edamame. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top for extra crunch. You can make this s*** all on Sunday night and heat it up all week. My notes: The cookbook authors suggest this as a breakfast dish. It’s a little too oniony for me to eat early in the morning, but I did enjoy this for lunch. It’s a simple, but healthy dish and can be eaten warm or at room temperature. Adapted from Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook. Next, I’m going to try the Sweet Corn…

Parmesan Pesto Zucchini Sticks
Recipes / February 15, 2019

  Serves 6 to 8 3 medium zucchini, trimmed 1/2 cup store-bought pesto 8 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley 2 large garlic cloves 1 1/4 cups panko bread crumbs 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes Kosher salt and freshly ground black peppe Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Cut each zucchini in quarters lengthwise through the stem and then cut each quarter again in thirds lengthwise. In a medium shallow bowl, whisk together the pesto and 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and set aside. Place the parsley and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until they are finely minced. Add the panko, Parmesan, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper plus the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil. Pulse only until all the panko is moistened with oil. Pour the mixture onto a dinner plate. Dip the zucchini spears first into the pesto mixture, turning to coat completely, then place each one in the crumb mixture, pressing and turning to coat thickly. Arrange the sticks in rows on the prepared…

Blueberry and Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake
Recipes / February 2, 2019

Makes 2 cakes 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature 4 cups cake flour, plus 1 tablespoon for blueberries 1 teaspoon salt 3 teaspoons baking powder 2 cups sugar 6 large eggs 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1 1/2 cups buttermilk 1 1/2 cups blueberries Zest of lemon Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 (9 x 5 inch) loaf pans and set aside. Sift the flour with the salt and baking powder into a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, use a mixer to cream the butter and sugar until pale in color, about 5 minutes on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the vanilla and beat until combined. Slowly add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, beating until only just combined. Toss the blueberries in flour and fold in with lemon zest. Pour batter into the prepared pans, making sure to divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Level tops with an offset spatula or smack on the counter a couple times. Bake for about 1 hour, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the…

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