Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Smoothie

One of the benefits (among many) of having four sisters is that we often trade new recipes on a.  It's hard to get in a food rut when you have emails coming to you regularly with new ways to try food.  Usually the recipes are ones that one of us has happened upon, tried, and approved.  Every now and then, though, one of my sisters gets creative.  I'm not creative because, like I said, I'm a rules follower, which translates into recipe follower.  My sisters, though, got the creative gene.  This recipe is a prime example of such creativity on the part of my number two sister.  By number two, I mean two chronologically.  I don't have a favorite.  Duh.  It's also a prime example of why you should wish you have four sisters.  It's okay, though.  Not everyone can have four sisters.  That's why snacks and desserts is here.  To share the benefits of my many sisters.

You're welcome.

This morning I was making this very smoothie for breakfast.  The hubs asked what I was making and when I told him he said "is that the one with chocolate in it?"  A bit defensively I said, "I mean, it has some chocolate in it, but it's not like I'm eating chocolate for breakfast."  His response?  "And if you were it would be perfectly ok.  We're adults.  That means we get to eat chocolate for breakfast." 

All you single ladies out there, do yourself a favor and marry someone like my husband.


1 banana -- frozen or not.  I cut mine into small chunks and freeze it the night before.  If your banana isn't frozen, just add a bit of ice.
3/4 cup milk (preferably raw)
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips (I use an 88% dark chocolate bar and chop it into chunks)



Add banana, milk, walnuts, and honey to your blender. 

Blend until smooth.  Add chocolate chips and blend briefly.  You want to add the chocolate chips at the end because otherwise they'll sink to the bottom.

*This recipe is a very forgiving one.  I added specific proportions (after I figured them out!) because I figured some of my readers might be the same rules/recipe following kind of a person I am.  Feel free to experiment, though.  One of my sisters used greek yogurt instead of milk and left out the honey.  She (and her children) loved it.  One day I was short of walnuts so I added a spoonful of almond butter.

Pumpkin Honey Pie

Along with the cranberry salad I made for my family's Thanksgiving, I made this pie.  I've actually never had pumpkin pie before, so I wasn't sure what I was getting into.  But Nina Planck, whom I mentioned here (have you read her book yet???), posted the recipe to her facebook page so I thought I'd give it a try, especially because I knew it would be all real ingredients.  I hated the idea of letting everything I believe about real food go just because it's a holiday.  Some exceptions here and there are fine (all things in moderation) but I didn't want to blow it out.

When I served the pie, my brother-in-law was the only one who was really excited about it.  He asked for a big piece.  He said pumpkin pie was one of his favorite desserts so he was thrilled with the dessert choice.  Everyone else was pretty apathetic about it, except my uncle who specifically asked for a very small piece.  I cut the pie into ten pieces, so the pieces were relatively small.  Not tiny but not huge.  When I gave my uncle his piece he said "this isn't small."  I responded that I was glad to cut it in half for him and he said "no, I don't mind eating just a few bites, I just didn't want to be rude and leave uneaten pie."  When he cleaned his plate I was a bit surprised but didn't really think anything of it.

The rest of the table said that it was good.  I agreed.  My brother-in-law loved it, which was a good sign me since he knows his pumpkin pie.  A few minutes after we left the table my uncle confessed:  "I don't like pumpkin pie.  At all.  That's why I asked for a very small piece.  But it was so delicious, I surprised myself by eating the entire piece!"

So the recipe experiment was a success!  And on top of the satisfaction of knowing everyone at the table loved it -- it's easy peasy to make.  I didn't meant to sign up for two easy recipes (but I'm secretly glad I did!).  Easy + delicious = win win. 

As an aside: I made my own pie crust (also v. easy -- see recipe below) but Whole Foods has a whole wheat crust that you might get if you'd prefer to leave a step out.



1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter, preferably unsalted
2 tablespoons milk


3 eggs
1 can (16 ounces) organic pumpkin
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup milk (preferably raw)
1/4 cup whipping (heavy) cream
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Preheat oven to 400. 

Mix together crust ingredients thoroughly including flour, salt, butter, and milk. Squeeze the dough into a ball to make sure there is enough moisture.

If it crumbles into pieces too easily then add another splash of milk.  Shape the crust by thinning it out with your fingers/hands until the pie dish is evenly covered (pictured above). Feel free to make the edges look “fancy."  Or maybe not so fancy (see my attempt at fancy below).

Beat eggs slightly in large bowl, using hand beater. Beat in remaining ingredients. Pour into crust-lined pie plate. Cover edge with 2- to 3-inch strip of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning (remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking.)

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes.  Refrigerate until chilled. Serve with sweetened whipped cream sprinkled with nutmeg if desired. Refrigerate any remaining pie.

(Crust recipe from, Filling recipe from

Cranberry Salad

I've mentioned my grandmother, before, right?  Meemaw?  Meemaw was way ahead of her time.  She was "organic" before organic was cool.  As in the 1950's.  She ordered a book and taught herself yoga in the 60's because she had read about it but couldn't find classes anywhere.  She was amazing.  She made up this recipe.  As long as I can remember our family had this cranberry salad at every Thanksgiving (and Christmas) meal.  When I was really little we ate it at Meemaw's house.  When my sisters and I got old enough that our family stayed at home for holidays, we had it at our house.  The tradition continues, so when we got the menu from Muth this year, I signed up to make this dish.  It is so easy and so good.  My uncle was at our Thanksgiving dinner today and when he tasted it he smiled and told me I had done it perfectly.  I was so pleased that I conjured up memories of his holidays growing up with his mother (my Meemaw).  In reality, though, it would've been impossible not to do it perfectly.  It's that easy.  So next time you have to volunteer to take a dish to a meal in the fall (holiday or otherwise) try this one.  It will be a hit.  I promise.

From my family to yours . . . happy Thanksgiving!


1 bag fresh cranberries
1 orange
1 apple
Fresh pineapple chunks (approximately 1 cup)
Honey to taste
Handful of pecans or walnuts


Place pineapple chunks in a food processor and blend until coarsely chopped.  Add remaining ingredients, except nuts.

I usually chop my apple and orange like this (although it certainly isn't absolutely necessary):

Blend ingredients together until it reaches the consistency you desire.  Add the pecans or walnuts and blend briefly.  The final product will look like this.

Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce

I love this recipe for several reasons.  1) It looks v. fancy.  2) It's v. easy to make.  3) It's a new way to enjoy eggplant.  I have to confess that I let several eggplants from my CSA go bad over this summer because I didn't have any new ways to make it and I was kinda burned out on just plain eggplant because it's not that interesting (or that good!) to me.  Awful, I know.  Then the hubs bought me a new vegetarian cookbook and this recipe was on the cover.  I figured, being on the cover and all, it would be difficult to make because it was just so pretty.  Turns out I was wrong.

For those of you who are scared of eggplant, I promise this recipe is worth trying.  I, too, was an eggplant skeptic.  I remember one time when I was little someone brought us a dish for dinner and my sisters and I all loved it.  Muth told us later it was eggplant and we immediately decided we didn't like it after all.  I mean who likes eggplant?  The name itself just sounds gross.  It conjures up images of:


How can that produce this:

Furthermore, how can an oval purple vegetable be good?  All to say, I, too, was a skeptic.  So were my sisters.  The night I made this recipe, one of my sisters came over to eat with us the night I served this and she gobbled it.  So did the hubs.  And so did I.  This recipe exorcised or eggplant demons.  I think it will yours, too.


2 eggplants
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 /2 teaspoon lemon thyme leaves*
Sea salt and black pepper
1 pomegranate
1 tsp za'atar**

Sauce ingredients:
9 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 cup greek yogurt or plain yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or olive oil
1 small garlic clove crushed
pinch of salt

* I couldn't find lemon thyme so I used regular thyme and fresh lemon juice, which I just eyeballed.

** I couldn't find za'atar so I sprinkled oregano, basil, thyme, and sesame seeds on top.


Preheat the oven to 400.  Cut the eggplants in half length ways, cutting straight through the green stalk.  (Note: the stalk is for look, not for eating!).  Use a small knife to make three or four parallel incisions in the cut side of each eggplant half, but don't cut all the way through the skin.  Repeat at a 45 degree angle to get a diamond shaped pattern.

Place the eggplant halves, cut side up, onto a baking sheet lined with foil (or silpat).  Brush them with grapeseed oil, continuing to brush until all of the oil has been absorbed by the flesh  Sprinkle with thyme, lemon juice (if you couldn't find lemon thyme), salt and pepper. 

Roast for 35 to 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

While the eggplants are in the oven, cut the pomegranate in half horizontally.  Hold one half over a bowl, with the cut side against your palm, and use the back of a wooden spoon or rolling pin to gently knock the pomegranate skin.  Continue beating, with increasing force if necessary, until the seeds start coming out naturally and falling through your fingers into the bowl.  Once all the seeds are out of the skin and in the bowl, sift through the seeds to remove any bits of white skin that came off in the process.  Set aside.

To make the sauce, whisk together all of the ingredients.  Taste for seasoning, adjusting to your preference.  Keep cold until needed.

To serve, spoon buttermilk sauce over the eggplant halves (without covering the stalks).  Sprinkle za'ater (or oregano, basil, thyme, and sesame seeds) and pomegranate seeds on top and garnish with thyme.  Drizzle with olive oil.

(Recipe slightly adapted from "Plenty" and can be found here)


If this doesn't scream "fall" to you, I don't know what will (except maybe football and knee boots).

Chili and cornbread.  Two of my favorites.  This chili recipe in particular is one of my favorite chili recipes I've ever tasted.  Not only is it easy (which is key) and keeps well (also key) but it tastes like just chili.  Nothing fancy, no secret ingredients.  I had a Christmas party a few years ago -- very laid back, but pretty big crowd -- and needed something easy and yummy to serve.  A friend gave me this recipe and trusting her culinary skills like I do, I didn't even do a test run.  Good news: I wasn't disappointed.  Neither were any of the guests.  Several even told me I should enter it into a chili contest.  I think at the end of the day, people like just plain chili with, of course, whatever toppings they prefer.  I topped mine with raw cheddar cheese.  And I dipped my cornbread into it.  (Make sure you save enough cornbread for cornbread milk later!).  Delish.

The day after I made this chili, I took some of the leftovers to lunch at work.  A guy I worked with told me he doesn't like beans in his chili. I personally like beans, for their flavor and their nutritional value, but if you're like he is, no big deal.  Just leave the beans out.  Beans or no beans, it's sure to be a hit whether you're making it for your family or for a tailgate or for a party.  So make a pot of chili and find the silver lining in the cold weather that's headed our way.


1 yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped

4 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 1/2 pounds grass fed ground beef
1 large can diced tomatoes, with juice (I use organic)
1 large can tomato sauce (I use organic)
2 cans beans, drained (kidney, pinto, great northern -- your choice)


Saute onion, celery, and bell pepper in a large pot until soft, stirring occasionally.  Add chili powder, cumin, and ground beef, stirring to combine.  Cook until the ground beef is no longer pink. 

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beans. 

Stir to combine.  Reduce heat to low and simmer no more than 2 hours.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate (or Mocha)

***Addendum: I've recently changed this recipe.  Instead of pumpkin spice I add a few drops of peppermint extract.  I also add a few drops of peppermint extract to the whipped cream (if I do whipped cream, which I don't always do).***

Just last week the hubs and I had the following conversation:

(As per the usual, the hubs was trying to be funny.  Bless his heart, he married the only person in the world who doesn't think he's that funny.  But I think it keeps him humble!)  It's true, though.  I was in line at Starbucks and for some reason I got a huge craving from their pumpkin spice latte.  Maybe because it was the first grey day in awhile.  It just looked like fall outside, and what tastes more like fall than pumpkin?  But I stuck with a regular latte.  Whole milke, espresso, and honey.  Can't go wrong with that.  Although I usually love a Starbucks latte, I was pretty disappointed that day because I couldn't get pumpkin spice out of my head so the regular latte seemed bland.  Alas, being committed to eating non-processed ingredients requires sacrifices, right?

Wrong!  Imagine my delight when I got to the office that very day and saw a post on one of the blogs I follow for . . . wait for it . . . pumpkin spice hot chocolate!  Very exciting!  I couldn't wait to try it.  Two nights later the hubs (who doesn't like chocolate -- what is WRONG with him???) was out of town so it was the perfect opportunity.

Community (like a modern day Saved by the Bell.  And who doesn't love Saved by the Bell?) and pumpkin spice hot chocolate.  Perfect evening home alone.

Ingredients (adjust to your own flavor preferences)

2 teaspoons honey
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (found on the baking aisle of most grocery stores)
1 - 2 teaspoons unsweetened dark cocoa
1/2 - 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup milk (preferably raw, if not lightly pasteurized whole milk)
homemade whipped cream topping*
Optional: 1 shot espresso, which will make the drink a mocha)

* Homemade whipped cream is so easy!  Pour cream into a small bowl and whip with a handmixer until it is stiff.  If you prefer sweet whipped cream, stir in some honey after it is stiff.


Pour milk into a small saucepan and warm over medium heat.  Mix together the honey, cocoa, and vanilla in a mug.  Add hot milk (and espresso if desired).  Top with whipped cream.  Serve immediately.

Black Bean Soup

For the past 10 days, if I haven't had to be at work I've pretty much been in bed with a t.e.r.r.i.b.l.e. cold, which explains my lack of blog posts.  So sorry!  But I do mean terrible. 

Photo from here

Ok, that's not really me.  But it might as well be because that's what I felt (and probably looked) like.  I typically have a freakish immune system.  While the hubs gets sick several times a year, I've had one cold in the past five years.  One.  Until 10 days ago.  10 days ago made the second cold.  And I guess my immune system wanted to make up for the last five years of hard work because it really shut down.  The hubs had had the same cold two weeks prior.  I kept asking him what he needed me to do for him.  What could I do to make him feel better?  His response: "Just don't ask me to rub your back or your feet.  That's all I need."  (I'm not sure if that makes him really sweet or me really high maintenance.  But that's neither here nor there).  Well, when I broke down with the cold, I needed much more than that.  (I guess it means I'm high maintenance).  I obviously needed him to scratch my back.  And of course I needed him to make me grilled cheese and soup.  For some reason that's all I wanted to eat when I was curled up in bed.  Sweet hubs obliged.  Until he went out of town.  Then I was on my own.  Although, thank goodness my dog Janey was at home to lie around with me.

Yes, she sleeps on a pillow.  Cutest dog ever.

So while the hubs was gone, I went to the grocery store to see what kind of soup I could find.  Naturally I looked at the canned soups because I just didn't feel up to cooking much, but even the organic selection had sugar in it.  Why does everything have sugar in it???  Then I remembered this very easy black bean soup recipe I had at home.  Better yet, I already had all the ingredients on hand.  Even better still, it's almost as easy as warming up soup from a can.  It was just what the doctor ordered.  Figuratively speaking.  Try it and let me know what you think.  It might even make you excited about the inevitable colder weather coming.  Might being the operative word. 


2 15-ounce cans organic black beans, undrained
1/2 cup salsa (fresh and local if you can find it)
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 cups free range chicken broth
shredded cheese
organic sour cream
chopped green onions
chopped fresh cilantro


Place beans and liquid in a medium saucepan. Partially mash beans with a potato masher. (Full disclosure: I couldn't find my potato masher so I used my hands and it worked just as well). Place over high heat. Stir in salsa, chili powder, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Ladle into bowls. Top with cheese, sour cream, onions, and cilantro, if desired.

(Recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Light, October 2003)

Enchiladas Fantastic

***Addendum: a friend saw this recipe on here and tried it the first time following the directions exactly.  The next time she made it, she left out the cream cheese.  She said it was equally delicious both ways.  I haven't tried it without cream cheese, but I trust her, so I'll try it that way next time I make it.***

This recipe is one of my favorite go-to recipes.  I pronounce it "enchiladas fantistique!" in my head for some reason.  Who knows why.  Regardless of how you pronounce them, they really are fantastic.  They're easy to make and can be frozen and then cooked individually (which is why they're a good go-to).  I haven't made them recently and then happened upon the recipe again last week and remembered how much I like having them on hand. 

Perfect example of why: last night the hubs was teaching yoga (singer-songwriter, carpenter, yoga instructor...I mean is he a renaissance man or what???), and I knew he'd be hungry when he got home at 8:00.  Dinner was a quandary, though, because I was leaving at 7:45 to meet my sisters to play "use it or lose it" in one of their closets with my friend over at  (She has a business on the side and for a mere $25/hour she'll go through your closet with you, help you decide what to keep and what not to keep and put together outfits for you.  She did it for me a few weeks ago and in one hour came up with about 12 v. cute outfits I would never have put together.  At $25/hour that's much cheaper than buying 12 new outfits.  Y'all should check her out!)

But back to the hubs' dinner quandary last night.  Turns out it wasn't a quandary after all.  Since I had these delicious go-to enchiladas in the freezer, I just pulled a couple out, popped them in the oven when I left, and he was there to get them out 20 minutes later.  Voila!  A hot meal waiting on him and I wasn't even home.  Crisis averted! 

Then today at about noon I got this text message from him:

Given that I was asking him something totally unrelated to his dinner last night (or apparently his lunch today) I guess he'd agree that I need to start making them regularly again.  If you don't believe the hubs, ask my friend from Texas.  I took a batch to her family when they moved houses (we all know moving is the w.o.r.s.t.).  The hubs said taking a TX family enchiladas wasn't a great idea since they were, no doubt, Mexican food snobs.  And who can blame them, right?  I guess he was wrong because she emailed me and asked me for the recipe.  She especially loved that they have spinach in them.  "Sneaky veggies are the best," she said, when feeding children.

Bottom line: try these enchiladas.  I think you'll end up keeping them in your freezer, too.  Easy and good = win win.


1 pound grass fed ground beef
2 cups fresh salsa, divided
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 8-ounce package organic cream cheese
12 whole wheat tortillas (7-inch)
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
optional toppings: shredded lettuce, black olives, diced avocado, sour cream


In a large skillet, cook ground beef until no longer pink, breaking into small pieces with a spoon.  Drain and return to skillet.  Add 1 cup of the salsa, the spinach, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cumin, and salt.  Cook and stir 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. 

See?  Sneaky veggies!

Add cream cheese, stirring just until melted.

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the filling down the center of each tortilla. 

Roll up and place seam-side down in a lightly greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish. (*At this point, I usually freeze them and disregard the rest of the recipe.  Because I typically cook one or two at a time, I don't fool with the tomatoes but just top them with salsa after they are cooked.  The only real difference is that the tortillas are crunchy instead of soft. See note below about how best to freeze.  If you choose not to freeze them, follow the rest of the recipe).

Combine tomatoes and remaining 1 cup of salsa and 1/2 teaspoon cumin.  Spoon over enchiladas.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until hot.  Sprinkle with cheddar.  Return to oven for 2 more minutes.  Top as desired.

*To freeze: line enchiladas up on a cookie sheet (making sure they don't touch each other) and place in the freezer. 

After they're frozen put them in a zip lock bag.  They can then be pulled out individually or all together for cooking.  To cook frozen enchiladas, put them directly into the oven from the freezer.  The cooking time is basically the same, maybe 5 minutes more for the frozen ones. 

Potato Salad

The hubs and I are headed to dinner at some friends' house, and I was tapped to bring a side dish to go along with pork tenderloin.  I still have a lot of potatoes left over from our summer csa...

photo from here I knew I wanted to do a potato side dish.  Typically I would go for roasted potatoes to go alongside pork tenderloin, but for some reason I was craving this potato salad instead.  Perhaps it's because it's football season and potato salad is a standard tailgating dish.  Or perhaps it's because I haven't had this particular potato salad in about a year (when a friend of mine served it -- hi Lauren!), and I remembered how good it is.  I don't know where she got the recipe but I do not that I'm still thinking about it a year later.  Either way, this potato salad won, and I'm taking it along to dinner with friends.  Fingers crossed they like it!

The eggs are the secret ingredient (except not so secret since you can see them!).  They add a creamy texture without adding more mayonnaise.  Not that we're not mayonnaise eaters in our family.  Because we are.  But it's still nice to have something a little unexpected in the potato salad.  The sweet relish also gives it a nice sweet and tangy flavor without being overpowering.  Bottom line: delish. 

So whether you're going to eat with friends, going to tailgate, or just have a lot of potatoes left over from your summer csa, you can't go wrong with this recipe.  Enjoy! 


2 lbs new potatoes
3/4 cup mayonnaise (not "light" and preferably organic)
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or regular vinegar if it's what you have on hand)
4 heaping tablespoons sweet relish (or more!)
2 eggs, hard boiled and smashed
1/2 white onion, diced
1 teaspoon celery seed
salt, pepper, and paprika to taste
dash of Cajun seasoning if you have it (I didn't so I left it out and it was still v. delish)


Put potatoes in large saucepan and cover with water.  Bring water to boil and boil potatoes until tender about 20 minutes. Remove from water, cut into cubes, leaving skin on, and put in large bowl.

In a small bowl add mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, sweet relish, celery seed, salt, pepper, and paprika (and Cajun season if you're using it.  Stir to combine.

Add mayonnaise mixture, onion, and eggs to potatoes.  Stir carefully (you don't want potatoes to mash!).  Cover and place in fridge until ready to serve.

Mini Caprese Bites

Cutest.  Appetizer.  Ever.

Like I said last week, I'm on a tomato roll.  Lots of tomatoes around our house that need eating before they go bad.  That includes cherry tomatoes.  Coincidentally, I came across this recipe just a day before my mother gave me this:

Block o' cheese.  Fresh mozzarella cheese to be exact.  I would've been exited to receive said block o' cheese even if I hadn't just come across this recipe because it is delish on the homemade pizza the hubs and I might be found eating on any given Friday night.  I was especially excited, though, because I think these mini caprese bites are the cutest things ever.  I mean, an entire plate of them sitting out as an appetizer would almost be too cute to eat.  And they are super easy to make.  All you need is a knife and some toothpicks and voila.  Cutest appetizer ever.


1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes
Fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste


Thread one basil leaf, 1 tomato half, 1 cube of cheese, and another tomato half onto a toothpick.  Place prepared toothpicks in a shallow dish.

Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Drizzle oil mixture over toothpicks.  Remove from shallow dish to get rid of any extra oil and vinegar.  Place onto serving dish and serve. 

(Recipe from

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

What does one do when one has this many tomatoes?

Naturally one makes a lot of recipes with tomatoes in them.  Tomato tarts.  Tomato sanwiches (on whole grain bread, of course).  Tomato sauce for homemade pizza.  Caprese salad.  I could go on and on. 

This recipe is perfect for your abundance of tomatoes.  Easy to make and versatile.  Good alone.

Good cut into strips for a salad.  Good tucked into a grilled cheese sandwich or on top of cheese toast.

They're almost like sundried tomatoes.  But not.  Give them a try and let me know your favorite way to eat tem.


Grapeseed or olive oil


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Slice tomatoes in half or, if tomatoes are larger, into thick slices. Drizzle with a tiny amount of grapeseed or olive oil. Bake at 300 for 2-3 hours, until edges begin to caramelize and most of the liquid is evaporated. They will not be as dry as sun-dried tomatoes, but nearly. Store airtight in the refrigerator, drizzling the top with more oil if you think they need it.

Greek Pasta

Someone asked me a few weeks ago what my go to recipes are.  It's nice to have go to recipes, don't you think?  Something for which you can be pretty sure you have all the ingredients in your pantry/refrigerator at any given time.  Because let's be honest, sometimes dinner inspiration is lacking and I find myself in a rut.  This recipe is one of those go to recipes that I like to make when I'm in a rut.  I don't make it so much that it becomes my rut, but I make it enough that it can be considered go to.  It's not fancy.  But it is good.  And easy.  As in, it doesn't take more than about 10 minutes to prepare.  You can make as much or as little as you want and if you make extra it's just as good for days to come.  I often make this recipe and save the leftovers for the next day or two for lunch. And it's good hot or cold. 

The best part?  I made it on a whim one night (when the hubs and I were in dire straits for a quick meal) so the ingredients aren't set in stone.  Pick the toppings you might like and enjoy.  Don't like olives?  Leave them out.  Don't like feta cheese?  Add parmesan cheese or goat cheese instead.  Craving a little meat?  Add some chicken.  It's a very forgiving recipe.  And I like forgiving.  Especially when I'm in a cooking rut.


Whole wheat pasta (I use whatever kind I have on hand -- penne, spaghetti, etc.)
Kalamata olives
Feta cheese (or any cheese of your preference)
Olive Oil
Grilled chicken (optional)


Cook pasta according to package instructions.  While pasta is cooking, sauta spinach for a couple of minutes so that it reduces just a bit (not too much).  Chop tomatoes and olives.  When pasta is done, drain it and put it in a mixing bowl.  Add spinach, tomatoes, olives, and cheese.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Stir and enjoy.  Top with chicken if desired.

Balsamic Glazed Tilapia

I asked the hubs, my number one taste tester, (via text message) what recipe I should blog about next, either some fish we had last week or a recipe I was going to make tonight (real foods nutella, recipe to follow in the weeks to come).  His response?  "Dude.  Stick with what you know is awesome.  That fish.  Your entry will be quick, too.  'I don't naturally care for fish.  I love variety.  We had this fish two nights in a row.  Nuff said.'"

I don't know if y'all think that's as funny as I do, but it made me laugh to think about a blog entry that said nothing but those four sentences followed by a recipe and some pictures of fish.  It especially made me laugh that he thought I should say "Nuff said."  Am I the only one who laughs at her husband/thinks it's cute when he tries so hard to be helpful?

He's right, though.  I don't naturally like fish.  I'm teaching myself to like it because of the myriad of health benefits.  (Like when I was little and my mother made me eat things I didn't like.  You'll learn to like it, she said.  99.9% of the time she was right.)  I do love variety, as opposed to the hubs who has a very addictive personality.  And we did have this fish two nights in a row.  And I don't mean leftovers.  I mean I made it two nights in a row.  It's that good.  Soooooo, I guess this is where I should say it. 

Nuff said.


1.5 pounds fresh tilapia (not farm raised)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
2 Tablespoon honey
2 cloves garlic


In a zip lock bag, combine marinade ingredients (everything except the fish).  Shake the bag carefully to mix the ingredients.  Rinse fish and pat dry. Place fish in zip lock bag, covering the fish completely with the marinade, and let stand 10 minutes. 

Turn the oven to broil. Remove fish from zip lock bag, reserving marinade.  Place fillets down on well oiled foil on a broiler pan.  If you're like me and don't have a broiler pan, don't worry!  I put a wire rack normally used for cooling cookies on top of a cookie sheet and covered it in foil.  Like this:

Place in oven at least three inches from the top of the oven.  Cook 5 minutes and then carefully lower the pan to the next rack and cook another 4  minutes.

While fish is cooking, place marinade in small saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce liquid for 5 minutes. Transfer broiled fish to serving dish and top with reduced marinade.

(Recipe adapted from