Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup

Remember picture day back in high school?  It was such a big ordeal.  Picking out the perfect outfit, applying gobs of makeup, and finding a hair-style that’s just right.  Yes, very similar to Goldilock’s adventure.  Unfortunately for me, every year my pictures turned out the same.  Eyes mid-blink.  Uncomfortable smile. Messy hair.

pop can bangs. yes, i was that stylish.
pop can bangs. yes, i was that stylish.

Today, we had picture day at work.  Well, kinda.  See, our firm hired two new employees who needed photos for our website.  Since the photographer was already going to be around taking their pictures, I thought, “hey, this is a great opportunity for me to get a better picture.” Maybe I can just sneak in and get a new pic.  [no worries. I got the thumbs up from our marketing coordinator].

Spicy Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup

Why did I need a new picture you ask?  Yeah–I’m not the most photographic of individuals.  It wasn’t my best work.  Meaning I’m that girl who has been complaining about her work picture ever since it was taken.

Today was the third time I’ve had my picture professionally taken for work.  Move over, Beyonce.  There’s a new diva running this town.  But, channeling my inner celebrity paid off.  I got to look at my new work pictures, and while I won’t be auditioning for America’s Next Top Model anytime soon, I no longer looked frazzled.

Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup

Photographing soup has always been a bit of a challenge for me.  If it isn’t full of chunky ingredients, a creamy soup looks bland.  What I should do is buy some cute, unique bowls from Goodwill to jazz it up.  But its so easy to get lazy when it comes laying out colorful and eye-catching backdrops for my website.  Thankfully, this recipe is full of delicious chunky ingredients, so my fiestaware bowls sufficed.  This spicy soup was delicious, easy to make, and can be ready in twenty minutes.  The perfect meal after a long day of work! 

Continue Reading

Chocolate Cherry Marshmallow Crunch Bars

I had my first kiss when I was 14.  It was on the second day of a bike tour in a high school gym.  He asked if he could kiss me and then proceeded to count down from three.  I held my breath, and we kissed.

chocolate cherry marshmallow crunch

My first kiss when my husband was far less innocent.  After too many tequila shots and a full night of dancing, Matt and I finally kissed.  We had been friends for a year at that point.  And in the first month of our friendship, Matt came over for Chinese and tv.  Apparently, Matt considered that a date, and I considered it just two friends hanging out.  One year later, the timing was finally right.  And thanks to tequila and daylight savings time, Matt and I were finally on the same page.  Six years later, we are still together.

Chocolate Cherry Marshmallow

This recipe was another first.  I’ve never made anything with Rice Krispies.  I know.  That’s insane.  Rice Krispie treats are a baking staple.  You’d think that sometime I would have made this.  But between having a sister who kicks my ass at all things baking and having no desire to learn to bake, I never made anything with Rice Krispies.  Matt loves cherries and marshmallows.  When I saw this recipe, I realized it was time to try something new.  No tequila required.

Chocolate Cherry Marshmallow Crunch Bar

Continue Reading

Loaded Potato Skins

Whenever my parents came to visit me in college, the first thing we would do is go out to eat.  As a freshman, I always wanted to go to the same place–Friday’s–so we could eat loaded potato skins.  After reaching the freshman 15, my choice of appetizers had to change, and I haven’t had restaurant potato skins since.

loaded potato skin bites

My love of the saltiness hasn’t died.  And with my lack of desire to ever make side dishes aside, this weekend I decided to try to recreate an old college favorite. I am proud to say I only ate two potatoes–letting Matt devour the rest of the plate.  The two were just enough nostalgia for my taste buds.  Although, I suddenly had the urge to play some good old fashion beer pong…

Continue Reading

Caprese Soup

It only took six months, but I finally feel like I have a real handle on my job.  Instead of being perpetually on defense, I finally feel like I am on offense.  Now, I can anticipate what needs to be done, understand where I am in a file, and no longer feel like I am constantly asking my boss questions (although, he may not agree. haha).  It’s a good feeling.  Unfortunately, I am not infallible.  So I am not in the clear yet.  I still spend a good amount of time reading statutes and learning something new about banking law.  But, that’s the whole reason why I went into law.  Everyday, there is something new to learn.  (wow, yes.  that is correct.  i am that nerdy. gross).  So, I’m in a good place.

In that some vein, I am getting far more comfortable with my cooking skills.  I no longer stay clear of recipes that require multiple tools, crazy ingredients, and complicated steps.  This recipe is not hella complicated but it is amazing delicious.  It is a bit time consuming, but it is worth the extra time and effort.  After making this, I felt on top of the world.  Trust me, it’s a recipe you do not want to miss.

Continue Reading

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

Skinny Taco Dip

Ok. Truth time.  I do not like the movie Elf.  I find no redeeming qualities in the movie, irrespective of the reality that I love Zooey Dechanell.  The movie is just not funny.  There. It’s out there.  Just had to get that off my chest.  BUT even though I will not spend my Christmas season watching Elf doesn’t mean I’m not excited for winter because…

It’s party season!! And this girl LOVES parties.  Eggnog. Christmas cookies. Ugly Sweaters. Love Actually (now that’s a movie!).  Wow, my heart is fluttering as I type this.

With all these parties, it’s likely that you’ll get an invite to a party where you need to bring something.  Here is a great taco dip recipe that is SUPER easy and CRAZY delicious.  Million gustas.

Continue Reading