Fall is finally here!! It is my favorite season–cool, crisp weather, sweaters, scarves, boots, pumpkin lattes. Usually fall marks new beginnings for me since a new year of school starts–but this year is the first year in 20 years that I didn’t start school. Luckily, the great feeling of a fresh start didn’t fade this fall because I started my first, real job as a lawyer a couple weeks ago. Still, it’s odd not working on homework or spending time on OneNote.
Fall also means more heartier meals. Something to stick to your ribs. And this makes me think of eggplants. I always avoid recipes that require deep frying so making eggplant parmesan has never been something on my to-do list. Thank God I found this recipe! I still get to enjoy eggplant parmesan without all the deep fried hassle and high calories.
So many new things have been happening in my house. I got a job!! Only after a couple months after graduating law school, I got a position as an associate attorney at a law firm that specializes in banking and business law. I started last week and so far I am loving it! The firm has been so welcoming. It feels like I hit the jackpot.
And the day after starting work, Matt and I decided it was time to paint our kitchen cabinets. We’ve only had our house for a little over a year, and it definitely falls under the category of a “fixer-uper.” The kitchen had cheap, dark, wood cabinets. They added nothing to our kitchen. My mother-in-law suggested we paint them, and it was time for us to take her advice.
Still putting last minute touches on the newly, painted cabinets. So no “after” picture yet. With the new job and a diy project turning my kitchen upside down, cooking fell to the back burner. But after a week hiatus, it was time for a new recipe.
This weekend my in-laws came to visit. It’s a 6 hour drive from their place to ours so they usually do not get in until around 9 or 10. The visit always starts out with my father-in-law suggesting we get pizza. But because it’s around 9, all the places around us only do delivery and Matt and him debate whether delivery will take too long. And after discussing it for 20 minutes, a delivered pizza would likely already be on its way. So this time I decided to skip the whole first act and make something. This pizza bake was a huge hit. My father-in-law got his pizza fix, and Matt got his bake fix.
While I was studying for the bar, I wanted fast and easy homemade meals. Our freezer was full of ground turkey so I decided to cook it up, mix it together with pasta, cheese, and herbs and turn it into a bake. Matt feel in love with the meal, begging me to remake it. So after making various versions of the pasta bake, I decided it was time for a vegetarian bake.
Our fridge is becoming increasingly more full of fresh veggies from our garden every day so I cut up our multi-colored zucchinis, some basil, green onions, and jalapenos, mix them with some cheese, spinach, and dried herbs. and the cheesy zucchini bake was born!
Today was harvest day at the Cremona house. With my handy shears, I plopped tomatoes, cucumbers, jalapenos, serranos, green beans, and an orange pepper into my basket. When I was done, I looked like I raided a farmer’s market.
I am so proud of my orange bell pepper. Last year only my green peppers grew so I was thrilled when this year turned out to be different. I didn’t want my miracle pepper to go to waste. This pepper needed to be used in a truly fun recipe. Something unique where the flavors of the pepper stood out.
This twist on the traditional, tomato-based bruschetta was excellent. The orange pepper makes the bruschetta sweeter and crunchier. Next time I make this I think I’ll use different color bell peppers to see how that mixes up the taste.
The dreaded bar exam is lurking around the corner. In 16 days, I’ll be sitting down in a crowded, stuffy classroom, surrounded by over-stressed, nerve-ridden students waiting to take a two day-12 hour exam that will decide whether or not we are fit to practice law in Minnesota. Sounds great huh? Bring on the fun!
While I wait in anticipation of this joyous event, I have been cramming every single piece of law I can into my over-sized head. It’s gotten to the point that when I have conversations, they consist of me telling someone about a certain area of law. “Hey! So you’re never gonna believe this crazy piece of information! You can use prior inconsistent statements to impeach a witness. AND it can come in as substantive evidence.” Yeah, I know. Crazy. But it’s true!!
So since I can only speak in legal jargon, I’ve decided to stick to crock pot recipes for the next two weeks. Anything that takes more than 20 minutes to cook makes me feel guilty for reading something that isn’t cluttered with italic, Latin phrases. My poor summer fun reading list has been set aside (sorry Jessi Witkins!) And this recipe only calls for ingredients that most people have on hand at all times. No need for a grocery run.
The heat index in Minneapolis has started to decline (we live in house without air conditioning. the last couple days were less than pleasant) so using the crock pot isn’t completely unreasonable. Plus, after a full day of studying, a warm meal sure feels great! And hell, who doesn’t love chicky catch with some long ass rice (much love to my boy Tom Haverford).
I bought quinoa almost a two years ago. I tried to make it and completely failed. Either I cooked it too long, not long enough, or I did it right and couldn’t even recognize it. Either way, I gave up. Put the bag in my cupboard and forgot that I even had it at all. Until earlier this month. People kept pinning all these recipes with quinoa as the staple. It was time to bring my cupboard quinoa out of retirement and try to make something. So I picked some herbs from my garden, threw all the veggies we had in the crisper together, and tossed a dressing. It was delicious. Now I can see what all the fuss was about.
I may have an unhealthy love of basil. I use it almost daily, and my herb garden can’t grow it fast enough. To me, it’s what healthy eating is-fresh, bold, and poignant. My insides feel cleansed whenever it’s in my food. Might be all in my head.
As a lover of sandwiches, I’ve been trying to find great sandwich recipes that include basil and travel well. Like many students, my lunch is made at 7:00 a.m. No one wants a sandwich that is all soggy by noon. If that unsoggy sandwich includes basil, even better. This sandwich has only four ingredients that travel well so you can bring all the ingredients with you and easily assemble it when you are ready to eat. No need to live solely on pb&j’s anymore!
Matt has always been a huge soup person. Me, not so much. Since I’ve never been a soup connoisseur, I called in the reinforcements. My good friends Kelsey and Glenna came over for dinner to give me their honest opinion on this soup. They gave it two thumbs up. And I must say, after this recipe, I might be a convert.
I have always been a sandwich lover. From peanut butter and jelly to my “world famous” turkey, avocado, tomato stacked sandwich, I can always go for a sandwich. This chicken pita has a zesty, fresh taste that is perfect for lunch or dinner. With all the hype around the Hunger Games, I named this dish after my favorite character Peeta Mellark.