Tomato Pesto Soup

It’s that time of the year where everyone is either sick, getting over a sickness, or is about to be sick.  No gusta.  This sickness cloud sat over our house for a couple days last week.  Matt couldn’t get out of bed.  I went home from work early (a true sign of sickness–I’ve never called in sick or went home early from work since I was 16).  Now that we can stomach food again, I had the urge to make some comfort food.

With my health back, I was ready for a challenge.  I’ve been wanting to make homemade tomato pesto soup for quite some time after having a delicious tomato pesto at Crave, a local restaurant.  And this recipe not only met my expectations, it surpassed it.  To my surprise, this recipe isn’t as challenging as I thought it was going to be.  Sure, there are multiple steps.  You need a hand blender.  And lots of tomatoes.  But most of the work involving waiting rather than mincing and chopping.

goal of recreating this soup: check.
goal of recreating this soup: check.

Honestly, this soup may be the best thing I’ve made thus far.  It tasted like Italy.  So natural, fresh, and basily. Perfect. I couldn’t stop bragging about it.  I texted pictures to family and friends.  Blabbed about it at work.  But it was so fucking good.

Ok, enough of my shameless face shoving.  Go make your own batch so you can do the same!

Continue Reading

Olive Pesto

Matt is a big snacker.  This snacking habit has only been encouraged by my particular “house rules” when it comes to dishes in the wood shop.  No glass, no fiestaware, and no silverware near the power tools.  So Matt made his own wood bowls that he fills with chips (that later become full of wood chips. somehow that doesn’t deter him from eating his potato chips).

Periodically, I like to surprise Matt with new dips for his chip addiction.  Last week was Matt’s half-birthday so I decided to try this olive pesto.  I know, I know.  Who celebrates half-birthdays?  But it all started several years ago when Matt went out to his friends for a couple beers.  It just so happened to be his actual half-birthday.  Somehow, the guys started saying it was Matt’s actual birthday and despite the reality that bartenders look at your ID–the bartenders bought it.  He had a night of free drinks, dancing on the bar, and running around ringing the birthday bell.  Ever since, we celebrate Matt’s half-birthday.  Complete with a half-cake and special dips.

Olive Pesto

This olive pesto was a fun twist on the traditional pesto that I love so much.  It was quick and easy to make, and it would probably taste delicious mixed with pasta.

Continue Reading

Buffalo Meatballs

Wow. Has it really been that long? Since my last post, we celebrated a new years, a birthday, and a month of working far over 200 hours.  To say the least, it’s been busy.  And yet, despite early mornings, late nights, and not enough sleep, I have no complaints.  January kicked ass.

starting out 2013 on the right foot.

First, January is my birthday month.  I never say no to a reason for a themed-party so this year my birthday party was Prom.  Complete with a cheesy background and spiked punch, we slow danced, played beer pong, and slammed shots. One of the greatest parts was my actual prom date from my junior prom came–so I was wearing the same dress, the same jewelry, same shoes, same tiara, and the same date. We had to reenactment our prom photo.  That and a bunch of friends that were willing to dress up with me in prom dresses, suits, and tuxes and just let loose, get drunk, and play some beer pong until 4 in the morning.  It was the perfect birthday celebration.

prom
the husband and my prom photo.

And well, with working and planning a prom, not much time was left for cooking.  So we survived on salads, pasta, and cereal.  No new recipes.  No grocery shopping–seriously–we didn’t go grocery shopping for a month!  But now it’s February.  And while work hasn’t slowed down, my party planning has so I finally have some time to try out some new recipes.  And I have missed it!

Since this weekend was the Superbowl, I decided to make a healthier version of buffalo wings–buffalo meatballs made with ground turkey.  It was delicious, easy to make, and no where near as messy as wings.  Hopefully you all will enjoy it as much as we did!

 Buffalo Meatballs

Continue Reading

Taco Flatbread Pizza

I am starting my second round of p90x.  And this time my focus is on nutrition.  Which is particularly challenging during this holiday season.  But so far so good!  Especially with delicious meals like this taco flatbread pizza!

IMG_0386

For me, the hardest part of eating healthy is not living alone.  When I lived by myself in law school, healthy eating was never an issue.  I controlled what food was in my fridge and what cluttered my cupboards.  Now as husband and wife, grocery shopping is a team sport.  Since Matt is a woodworker, he is all about the snack food that’s easy and fast to eat–which basically means unhealthy (but delicious) food that is rather hard to resist.

IMG_0389

So finding meals that are healthy but still have that snack-like taste can be difficult.  This taco flatbread pizza was an excellent compromise–full of protein, little bit of veggies, and still falls into the pizza family so both Matt and I were happy.  This has definitely made it into our recipe rotation.

Continue Reading

Chinese Take-Out Beef and Broccoli

I grew up in a small town with a Kozy Kitchen and two American fast food burger joints.  Any food that isn’t served in a diner is not served in my hometown.  So when I got my driver’s license, my best friend and I drove to the “big town” a half hour away and ate at a Chinese restaurant.  It tasted of freedom.  Salty freedom followed by a fortune cookie.  After three plates of chow mein, chicken, beef, and veggie dishes, we shoved 10 crab ragoons in our purses and munched on them on our parentless drive home.  Ever since, Chinese food has always had a special meaning to me.

easy beef and broccoli

This beef and broccoli dish is easy to make and easy to prep in your crockpot to enjoy after a long day of work.  The joy of a warm dinner with the freedom of no cooking.

IMG_0362

Continue Reading

Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Breasts

Christmas time is here! Wow, that was fast.  Wasn’t I just picking out costumes for Halloween and picking fresh veggies from our garden? Gah, life has a way of catching up with me!  So I spent the past weekend going to Kohl’s and stocking up on new Christmas decorations.  My living room, kitchen, and tv room are slowly becoming decked with jiggle bells and mistletoe.

Christmas Dining Room.

And in that spirit of giving, my husband bought me a new purse, wallet, and clutch for winter.  I’m a big believer in having a summer purse, a fall purse, a spring purse, and a winter purse.  I blame my mother.  Her purses were always inspired by the weather.

so spoiled.

I wanted to show my gratitude by making something special for Matt.  Matt loves wings.  Whenever I find a recipe that has some spin on buffalo wings, I bookmark it. Of course, I also have a wing tooth–I love the salty, spicy flavor of a good batch of wings.  Unfortunately, so do my thighs.  Hence, looking for the same tasty flavors minus the hefty calories.  This stuffed chicken is exactly that! A low-calorie option to deep fried wings.

Continue Reading

Berry Baked Oatmeal Bites

Breakfast has always been my favorite meal.  Every morning, I wake up with my stomach grumbling and really can’t get much accomplished without having a good breakfast.  And one of the many things I love about the law firm I work at is Friday breakfast.  Every Friday, someone brings in breakfast for the entire office.  Last week it was my turn.  I used it as an opportunity to try a new recipe.  I got good feedback from everyone and will definitely be making this again!

One fun thing about this recipe is you can switch up the ingredients.  Toss in raspberries, blueberries, apples, strawberries.  Whichever you prefer or whatever you have on hand.  Also this recipe can easily be made with or without chocolate chips.  So play around with this recipe and make it your own.

I’ve also joined the world of smartphones.  Which means I’ve been talking pictures of everything!  I was at a restaurant with a great friend last weekend and had to take a picture of this amazing soup–a tomato pesto.  New goal: figure out how to recreate my own tomato pesto soup.  Hopefully soon I’ll be posting my first recreation recipe!

Continue Reading

Caprese Pizza

I PASSED THE BAR!! You have no idea how good it feels to write that.  After months of waiting, worrying, and some more waiting, I got the coveted letter from the Bar of Law Examiners Friday morning at 11:00 and screamed in excitement.  So loud that one of my co-workers came into my office to see if I was ok.  Ha.  I was shaking with excitement for a good hour. The final hurdle standing in the way of my legal career has finally been conquered.

Now that I’ve lawyered the bar exam, my next feat will be working with yeast.  I have a long list of recipes I want to try that work with active yeast that I have putting on the back burner to try “someday.”

Well, that someday wasn’t today.  (hey, I passed the bar.  I figured I earned myself a break)  But next week I am going to overcome my fear of yeast and give it a good college try.  This pizza was so delicious that it will probably be one of my first recipes I’ll make using yeast.  Figure even if I fumble a bit, the powerful basil and mozzarella flavors will overpower any mistake I may make.

 

Continue Reading

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Boats

Yesterday was Thanksgiving.  Well, at least in Canada.  And since I married a Canadian, it meant it was Thanksgiving in our house.  We invited some of our favorite friends over for a full-out Thanksgiving meal.  As expected, we all went around the table and said what we were thankful for.

It made me realize something.  I have the greatest life. I grew up in this quinessential small town where when you go to the grocery store, you know every single person there.  I was raised by a mom and a dad and a brother and a sister–a family who doesn’t always agree but always believes in the importance of standing up for what you believe in.

Forced family fun required special glasses–my mom, sis, and me
my brother and dad on vacation in mexico. ps. happy birthday brother!

I married a man who loves me just as much as I love him.  Who honestly would do anything to make me happy-including toying with the idea of buying me a french bulldog despite his so-so feeling about owning a puppy.  I married into a family that is extremely loving and welcoming.

sisters

My cellphone is filled with numbers of friends from across the states. Sure, some numbers haven’t been dialed in months, but the voices at the end of line are comprised of friendships that allow us to pick up right where we left off. I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s what it means to have a solid friendship.  And all  of that, equals the greatest life.  Sure, there are things that could make my life easier, better, less of a hassle.  But I’ve never wished for a perfect life.  Just a happy one. And there is nothing greater than that.

five years and counting!

And just as Minnesota is notorious for, we skipped straight from summer to a cold fall. Because of the early morning frosts, our garden had it’s last harvest.  I completely stripped my plants from any and all usable ingredients.  It was overwhelming how fruitful my hall was!  I felt so lucky to have so many fresh veggies to work with at this late in the season.

 

Per usual, my jalapenos grew out of control!  I wanted to figure out something fun to make with them!  And that’s how my bacon-wrapped jalapeno boats were born!

Continue Reading

Sesame Encrusted Baked Chicken

I finally have joined the rest of the world–I own a smart phone!  After years of free phones that can hardly text, my phone is fully functional, complete with GPS and Words with Friends.  But the best part of having a smartphone is the camera!  For the past couple of years, I’ve had to bug Matt for his phone whenever the urge for a photoshoot struck.  Now I can whip out my own phone without the hassle of convincing Matt to fork over his.

My last recipe required so much prep work and cooking time.  This recipe is much more worker-friendly.  The ingredients are all ones that you can normally find in your cupboard.  It was a simple, yummy meal that I recommend on those busy nights.

Continue Reading