salad jar shenanigans (happy blogiversary!)

Blogiversary

Today marks one year since my first blog post!! My one year blogiversary. Can you tell I’m excited?!
I’ve come a long way as a blogger in the last year. I started this site to share my recipes and all the fun stuff I create in my kitchen, and it’s been a total learning experience for sure. Of course, not everything came out perfect on the first try, and some recipes I’ve tested and then held back from the blog because I wasn’t fully satisfied with them. I’ve pushed the boundaries of my creativity and had a blast doing it. I hope you have enjoyed reading everything, and I hope you’ve been inspired by my creations! Here’s to another awesome year of pretty, tasty food. I have lots of ideas for 2014, and I hope you’ll enjoy what my brain dreams up.

It’s a new year, and in that relatively small window from January 1st through, say, February 13th, most people have at least a partial goal in mind to lose weight/eat healthier/get more active, or any combination of the three. Whether I verbalize it or not, I usually have some plan in mind to be a better version of myself as the year begins. Those aspirations are so easily shattered, especially once Valentine’s Day rolls around and every store is chock-full of heart-shaped, chocolate-coated everything. Basically, I have zero willpower when it comes to sugar.

Even if I can’t lose 20 pounds or run a marathon by the time this year is out, I can make little changes. Working in a bakery as I do, I’m not only constantly surrounded by sugary, fatty temptation (it’s mostly organic, so there’s that, anyhow), but I also don’t have a scheduled lunch break. I’m free to sit down and eat something whenever I have the time but more often than not, I simply don’t make the time. I feel much more productive in my work if I can just keep going straight through my 8 hour shift without much distraction. If I sit down and eat something for lunch, I have a hard time getting back to the same head space I was in before. It majorly derails my concentration, and ain’t nobody got time for that.

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hello, 2014!

The beginning of a new year usually means people are throwing on their running shoes, buying gym memberships, and searching Pinterest for healthy new recipes. What am I doing? I’m daydreaming about how I can re-create a gorgeous cheesecake dessert that I ate during my NYE trip to Vegas. Clearly I’m not like most people. If you happen to fit into the former description rather … Continue reading hello, 2014!

jack-o-lantern stuffed peppers

Isn’t Halloween one of the best parts of being a kid? It’s like that old Seinfeld bit, “What is this? What did you say? What did you say about giving out candy? Who’s giving out candy? Everyone that we know is just giving out candy?!”

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Going trick-or-treating as a kid was one of my favorite times of the year. My mom would help me and my sisters touch up our costumes after wearing them at school all day, and when the sun started to go down, we’d pile into our neighbor Eric’s mom’s van and go through our neighborhoods in search of glorious, free candy! Armed with plastic pumpkin buckets and green glow sticks around our necks, we’d get out of the van every so often and get candy from a few streets worth of houses before getting back in and repeating it down the next few streets. You dress up, and people give you free candy. What a time to be alive!

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vietnamese summer rolls with hoisin-peanut sauce

Recently I’ve begun a healthier eating plan and started a workout routine in an attempt to lose about 30 pounds before my 30th birthday, which is coming up in 6 months. I’ve had this recipe in my head for a while now, several years, in fact. I first had a Vietnamese-style summer roll at Pei Wei of all places, and I know that it’s not the most authentic of restaurants to experience a Vietnamese dish for the first time, but they had the basic elements down. I made a version of these at home about 7 years ago, but I have to say, these came out much more successfully!

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savory and sweet empanadas

Growing up in the southwest, I feel obligated to like empanadas. There’s just so many damn good variations of fillings one can cram into their flaky dough, that it’s almost impossible to not find something you’ll like.

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I know a lot of people who have really only eaten sweet dessert-type empanadas, pumpkin or pineapple being very common, but I’m partial to the savory fillings. I don’t know if I’d enjoy the common Spanish filling that includes green olives and hard-boiled eggs, but luckily making them in my own kitchen means I can fill them with whatever I’d like!

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meatloaf-lettes!

When I was growing up, I don’t really recall eating a lot of meatloaf. It’s a very basic, homey kind of dish, yet I do not have a lot of memories of my mom cooking it for dinner.

Once I started cooking on my own, it was not a dish I would have chosen if I had my pick. Red meat, while tasty, has never been my go-to entree of choice, primarily because I’d rather have something more healthy and more vegetable-heavy. For better or worse, ground beef is always generally inexpensive and that’s a definite plus when shopping on my limited budget. Save for the rest of the ingredients, which are generally pantry staples, one meatloaf runs a little over 4 bucks and can serve almost as many people. It’s great because you can still turn out an easy, delicious meal when hard times are upon you. I’m glad I decided to embrace the humble dish that is meatloaf. Now, it’s one of my bi-weekly staples for dinner, and I just love it. Try this version and I dare you to tell me that you don’t also love it!

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