Wednesday, September 6, 2017

B is for: BBQ Beans in the Slow Cooker

I've found myself thinking a lot about my Grandma Joyce recently. She was my dad's mom, and truly one of the best people ever. My heart broke in half when she died of cancer when I was in 8th grade. She was so giving, so selfless, so full of life and love. She was sassy and funny too.

I miss her every day.

As I was getting ready to host a casual backyard BBQ for my birthday a couple weeks ago, I decided my Grandma Joyce's BBQ beans would be the perfect compliment to our spread of wings, burgers, steak and chicken.

I think she would've loved the party and I'm excited to share her recipe with you here on the blog.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

A is for: Artichoke Jalapeño Hummus

All summer, I've been sort of obsessed with artichoke hearts. I've discovered the frozen variety at Whole Foods, and I love tossing them with olive oil and grilling them alongside my chicken or steak.

I'll throw the grilled 'chokes on salads, eat them as a side dish or dip them in tzatziki sauce or hummus.

And then it dawned on me the other day... (with the help from my friend Megan's IG post)...

What if I put them IN the hummus?!?

(For some reason that reminds me of Zoolander... the files are IN the computer.)

Anyways, so I made some hummus. With artichoke hearts. And jalapeños from my modest little garden. I brought it to two different girls outings and it was a hit, so I'm sharing here on E is for Eat.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A is for: #Alpacamybags {Peru, Part II: Machu Picchu}

When I returned home from Peru, I often got asked: "What was your favorite part from the trip?"

I know it sounds obvious, but without a doubt the highlight of this trip is Machu Picchu. Yes, we ate some incredible meals in Lima, yes I got to snuggle an alpaca, but nothing compares to that "take your breath away" moment when you first set eyes on these ancient ruins (and the hundreds more of those moments you will experience throughout your time there.)

There is a certain energy about the place that is hard to describe in words and photos, but I will do my best to show you why this place was so magical.

There has been talk of more regulation, and perhaps shutting it down altogether in order to preserve the site, so my recommendation is to visit ASAP!

A is for: #Alpacamybags {Peru, Part I: Lima}

I guess you could say my appetite for International travel started at a very young age.

When I was just two years old, my parents and I traveled to Peru to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins, who were living in Lima for a year.

In case you hadn't figured it out yet, that's me in the middle there with the sweet outfit, bottle in hand, and sassy attitude. To be honest, I don't remember much of anything from this trip, but I believe it was there that I was bit by the travel bug.

Nearly 35 years later, I made my return to this beautiful South American country, trading in the bottle for Pisco Sours and very badly in need of an adventure.

As many of you know, I was laid off by ESPN in April. When I called to tell my
friend Dana, one of her first reactions was: "Come to Peru with Devin and me!"

As you know, Dana has become my travel partner in crime the last couple years. In our short time of knowing each other, we've visited South Africa, the French Riviera, Singapore, Thailand and Montreal together.

I was originally invited to Peru with her and Devin, but at the time couldn't justify taking that much time off work due to a France trip I had booked for later in the summer (more on that soon!)

But, as it turned out, I suddenly no longer had a job and found myself with endless vacation time. I didn't need much convincing. I booked my flight just a few days later. Or in the words of our trip hashtag... #alpacamybags!

Unlike most of my trips, I did almost zero planning for this one, as Devin and Dana had done all the leg work. For maybe the first time since my Greece trip, I sorta just showed up and was along for the ride!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Z is for: Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed with Ricotta

I've been wanting to make stuffed zucchini blossoms on the blog for quite some time now.

But here's the problem...

Because their life span once harvesting is so incredibly short, they are almost impossible to find at the farmer's market or in stores. (though you may get lucky!)

Honestly, the best and easiest way is to harvest them from your own garden (if you are fortunate enough to have one!)

For the first time in my adult life, I have a verrrrry small collection of herbs and plants this year, and one of the things I planted was zucchini!

So when I saw them start to bloom, I knew I needed to try making these.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Y is for: Yellowtail & Mango Ceviche with Leche de Tigre

For those of you who follow me on instagram, you already know that I had the amazing opportunity to visit Peru earlier this summer. (For those who don't, I will be posting an in-depth recap soon!)

While there, my friends and I spent a couple of days in Lima, where I had undoubtedly the best ceviche of my life. (Fitting, considering it was the Peruvians who basically invented it.) We also had a chance to make some of our own in a class during our trip, so I knew I wanted to create a version to share on the blog.

Traditionally, it's made with a white fish such as sea bass, sole, or mahi, and often a mix of other fish such as octopus or shrimp. Since I was coming up on the letter "Y," I decided that Yellowtail would be a perfect canvas for this delightfully fresh dish.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

X is for: Xiao Long Bao {easy Shanghai Soup Dumpings}

Whenever I explain to people the concept of my alphabet-themed food blog, one question that inevitably comes up:

"What do you do when you get to 'X'?"

I'll admit, I didn't exactly think it through when I launched the blog, obviously not accounting for difficult letters like "X," or having to go through the alphabet multiple times and deal with it on each pass.

(Confession: sometimes I skip it altogether.)

But it's also produced some of my prouder moments, like: Xacuti (a spicy Indian curry) and eggplant with XO sauce. Sticking with the Asian theme, I decided to tackle something I wouldn't have even considered six years ago (or maybe even last year): Xiao Long Bao, AKA Shanghai Soup Dumplings.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

W is for: Wasabi Potato Salad & Wagyu Beef

For some reason, this specific blog post has been staring at me from my "to-do" list for longer than I care to admit.

And I don't really know why exactly. Both recipes turned out awesome, so I know it's not that. Justin took the photos, which are beautiful, so it's not that either.
If I'm being honest with myself, the reason is probably fairly simple. 

Life.

Sometimes life happens. And it changes plans and sucks your energy and adds things to your to-do list that are more pressing than a wasabi potato salad.

As many of you know, I was laid off from my job at ESPN as part of the mass talent cuts made on April 26th. For anyone who has ever been laid off, you'll understand me when I say it's a punch to the gut. They can tell me all day long it's about business and money and changing times in the industry. But at some point during that HR meeting, your eyes glaze over and the people talking start to sound like the teacher from the Peanuts cartoons. And all you really hear is "you're no longer needed here."

Friday, March 31, 2017

V is for: Veggie Tots

"Give me some of your TOTS."

"No, go find your own."

That's pretty much the conversation you will have if you make these delicious veggie tots. You may or may not hoard them in your cargo pants like Napoleon Dynamite, but you will definitely not want to share them. ("I'm freakin' starved!)

I'm calling these "veggie tots" because you can pretty much make these with any veggie. I made them with cauliflower to mimic the look of their potato cousins, but you could also try broccoli or sweet potatoes.

Now, will they exactly mimic tater tots? No, I can't promise that. But they will provide you a much healthier and lower carb snack by subbing cauliflower and baking in the oven.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

U is for: Uni Carbonara {Sea Urchin Pasta}

I have a weird love-hate relationship with Uni.

I feel like it's a very "foodie" ingredient and I'm supposed to be obsessed with it and order it whenever it's on a menu.

But the truth of the matter is, I don't love it.

Most of the time, it tastes to me like I'm taking a big bite of the ocean, and if you've ever been crushed by a wave and taken in a mouthful of seawater, it's not always the most pleasant experience.

That said, there are some instances where I can enjoy and appreciate the unique flavor and "umami" it brings to a dish. For example, one of my last nights in Greece a couple years ago, we ate at a nice Italian restaurant in Mykonos for my friend Josh's birthday. They had an uni pasta dish so I decided to try it. And lo and behold... I liked it! That said, it was still very rich and I couldn't finish the whole serving (especially after wine and appetizers), but I liked it enough to try my own version here on the blog.

Monday, January 30, 2017

T is for: Travel! {Montreal}

This always happens.

As soon as I return home from a really awesome trip, I immediately must start planning another one.

Remember when I went to Greece? I came back and instantly started mapping out my visit to London.

Or how about my epic trip to South Africa? I went to Tulum just a few months later. France planning bled right into planning for Singapore and Thailand, and once I returned home from that vacay (and recovered from my bacterial infection), I frantically felt the need to go somewhere cool for New Year's Eve just a few short weeks later.

I considered somewhere warm like Miami, or a ski weekend in Vermont, but thankfully my travel partner in crime (Dana) texted me with the same urge and said "Let's go to Montreal!" Done and done.

Monday, January 23, 2017

T is for: Tomato Tarragon Soup with Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese

My addition is real.

And for once, it's not food related.

I know I'm about 5 years behind on this, but I finally started watching Game of Thrones. And I now understand what all the fuss is about.

I've been meaning to start for about a year now, and finally decided that winter of 2017 was the right time. (Winter is coming... heh.)

Problem is, it's consuming my life. I watched 17 episodes my first weekend. I'm now through the first three seasons (so 30 episodes in all) with 30 to go.

The rest of my life is somewhat suffering because of it, specifically the blog. So I'm implementing a self-imposed "pause" from my GOT binge to get caught up on a couple blog items... starting with this very season-appropriate comfort food dish: grilled cheese and tomato soup. (Ironically, I actually made this during the first weekend of binge watching, so I did manage to tear myself away from the show for a couple hours then. A girl's got to eat, you know?)
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