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!

perfect pumpkin lasagna

Let’s talk a little bit about pumpkin, shall we?

Pumpkin is good. It’s good in pie, it’s good in savory dishes, it’s good in soups, it’s even good in coffee as Starbucks would have you believe. Carving pumpkins is awesome, too.

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How about pumpkin in lasagna? No, that’s not a typo. “But wait,” you say, “lasagna is supposed to have meat and tomatoes and lots of cheese! How can you fit pumpkin into all that?” Well, dear reader, I encourage you to branch out from your usual ideas of lasagna, cause this stuff is damn good.

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a salad in san diego

It’s hard to believe that one week ago, I was getting on a plane to San Diego.

OceanAny time I’ve ever been to SD, it’s so hard to leave. I always end up going in the summertime, which of course makes it that much more difficult to leave the cool sea breezes in exchange for the never-ending drudgery of 100+ degree temps back in Phoenix.

While the weather was a nice bonus, the main goal of my trip was to visit with my dad. It had been over 2 years since I’d seen him last, and it was so great to catch up. He’s halfway through his chemo treatments and doing relatively well, all things considered! He’s had a few minor setbacks but so far it hasn’t been anything he can’t handle.

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tomato + ricotta tart

I’ve never had much luck with growing flowers or plants. Anything that requires regular watering or tending to, just isn’t for me. I think if plants could meow like cats do, then I might be reminded to water them on a regular basis. Instead, I notice them shriveled up and wilted after a week without water and I feel really guilty about it. I had moderate success this spring with a hanging basket of strawberries, but I’m convinced that was a fluke!

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panzanella salad with crispy parmesan

The salad so nice, I made it twice! Twice in the same week, that is. It’s amazingly simple, and perfect for summertime when you don’t want to turn on the oven very often, and when a big bowl full of ripe tomatoes, fresh basil and good crusty bread soaked in vinaigrette is all you’d want to eat.

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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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creamy mushroom soup

For a few years now, I’ve been a big fan of the blog Smitten Kitchen. Deb’s photos and food are absolutely stunning, and her posts are really engaging. What’s not to love?

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She originally posted this recipe for cream of mushroom soup way back in 2007. I’ve had it bookmarked for what seems like ages, and I finally got a chance to make it! I know right now in AZ it’s not exactly soup weather, but depending on where you are in the US, it still feels very much like winter. So, if you’re looking for something to take the chill away, or if you’re just looking for a simple and tasty lunch or dinner idea, you’ve come to the right place!

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brussels sprout salad with radish + feta

I live in a vegetable-challenged household. I do all the cooking, and my boyfriend and our roommate tend to be picky eaters, especially where certain vegetables are concerned. Sadly, this salad was not the thing that won them over to the world of green and crunchy veggies. I, on the other hand, loved it!

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radish + chive tartine

At Thanksgiving, I hosted my immediate family at my house for the big meal. It was my first time being solely responsible for the entire dinner, so I went all-out: various appetizers, roasted turkey, lots of sides, and two pies . One of the appetizers that I made was little squares of pumpernickel bread with chive and onion cream cheese, topped with some fresh radish slices and cracked black pepper. The tray of these little snacks went very fast, and I’ve been dreaming about them since. I wanted to turn those ingredients into a sandwich, so what better way than a classic French¬†tartine, or open-faced sandwich?

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