Basil Vinaigrette DressingPrint Recipe Print Recipe

 

Fresh herbs are my secret weapon. Errr… not so secret anymore. I find they tie a meal together beautifully! But don’t ask me to pick a favorite. It all depends on the meal or the flavors. Although, I think basil is in the top 5. Right?

Since I usually buy basil in bulk, I end up putting it in just about everything. There’s basil on potatoes, wrapped around mozzarella & tomatoes, IN cocktails, pesto (obviously), pasta, PIZZA, and everything else in between.

 

 

This is a great (& versatile!) dressing. Plus it’s easy, so there’s that.

I usually put this on salads, but it can also be drizzled over roasted potatoes, grain bowls or even salmon.

And you’re looking for some salad inspiration, you can check out a hashtag I started #neveraboringsalad. Have I told you the story behind that? Maybe that’ll be my next post. It’s a good one.

 

 

Basil Vinaigrette Dressing

makes about 3/4 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed basil leaves, washed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (extra virgin or regular)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 1/4 crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Place all the ingredients into a food processor or high powered blender. Blend or pulse until everything is incorporated and smooth.

This is great on salads, roasted potatoes, or a grain bowl.

Store in an airtight container and in the refrigerator for up to a two weeks.

Enjoy!

 

Artichoke Lentil Stew with Chicken SausagePrint Recipe Print Recipe

 

Sometimes, I freaking kick-ass at life.

For instance, I can menu plan and a grocery shop on Sunday – for the ENTIRE week. Weekly dinner (that wasn’t previously frozen) on the table for ALL four of us. Blow drying my hair, throwing on heels and still running our family out the door before 8am. Kick-ass at my (very full-time) job. Boys aren’t the last to be picked up from daycare. Never a backup of laundry baskets. Texting people back within 24 hours. Having diapers delivered the day before you run out. CLEAN HOUSE. And I haven’t run out of the gummy bears in my car that I use to bribe my kids to get in the car without major tantrums.

And then life throws a few curve balls and it’s more like, life kicks MY ass.

The thing is, I’m typically pretty laid back. It’s just, I’m not always a graceful juggler. And um, I have high expectations for… you know, myself.

 

I’m going to be very honest.

I feel a little like a super-hero when I make this dish.

I mean, it’s easy therefore I can basically juggle the other 15 things I need to do that night. And my husband has a slight obsession with this meal. No really, it’s probably the most requested meal in our house. The BONUS (super-hero material), both my kids will eat this as well, which is saying a lot! … small disclaimer, I have to pick out the kale for Mason. But whatever.

So, this was inspired by Couple Cooks original recipe a while ago and have continued tweaking and making our own version that we make all.the.time. It’s a perfectly hearty stew, packed with good for you ingredients. It’s the best comfort food.

I’m thinking I can get a few more batches in (maybe a few freezer meals) before the summer heat arrives.

 

 

Artichoke Lentil Stew with Chicken Sausage

adapted from Couple Cooks

Serves about 6 

Ingredients

  • 16oz chicken sausage – or any sausage you like
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper – optional
  • 1 cup of green lentils (uncooked)
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1 28oz can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15oz can quartered artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups kale, stem removed and chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Shaved parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken sausage and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Break it apart a bit with a spatula and then let it sit until it begins to brown. Stirring occasionally, until it’s mostly cooked through, remove the sausage with a slatted spoon, place into a bowl and set aside.

In the same pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and onions. Cook for about 3 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic, oregano, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Mix everything together – maybe 2 minutes. Add lentils, 3 cups water, can of tomatoes, artichoke hearts, kale and bay leaf. Note – you can add another cup of water if you want a little more liquid. Bring to a boil.

Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat, add in the sausage and let it simmer for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. Very importantBe careful not to over cook the lentils or they’ll be mushy. 

Remove from heat (& discard bay leaf). Give it a taste test and see if it needs a little more salt or pepper. Serve and top with a little parmesan cheese and enjoy!

*gluten-free

*dairy-free – if you don’t top with parmesan 

 

fighting the winter bluesPrint Recipe Print Recipe

Well, I had good intentions.

I thought I could get into a good routine, posting a few times a month, but then we all passed around this awesome cold. And then we thought it would be cool to pass it around again. Then there were computer issues (no Photoshop, etc.). Why not? Travel. Work schedules. Then we all get sick AGAIN. Obviously.

So yeah, life.

But I really, I am back. It’s just me taking baby steps.

No recipe today. BUT, I am in the process of testing a few so in the next few weeks, I’ll have something yummy for you. Here’s just a little bit of what we’ve been up to the last few months.

To be honest, I wasn’t all that comfortable taking both kiddos out on my own – like to Target, the grocery store, etc. until just a few months ago. For one, it was much more enjoyable WITHOUT them. Two, how am I suppose to carry everything?? And not lose a child. And three, I’m all about efficiency.

I hate to sound cocky, but I feel like I’ve got this. Only took a year, no problem.

Oh that other thing is that we decided to take the boys out 2x/week to a new restaurant. Well I guess you could say it’s for everyone. I love trying new things and I really want our boys to practice their manners. I’ve been pleasantly surprised. They’ve been awesome. Next up, traveling.

On the weekends, Mason and I have been baking together. From pancakes, muffins, cookies to banana bread, it’s been so much fun having an excited helper in the kitchen. As if weekends weren’t great enough.

I’ve recently become a plant lady. I’m pretty proud, actually. I’ve slowly filled the home with greenery. Just a few more larger plants to buy and then I’ll slow down.

Maybe.

But probably not.

My only birthday wish this year was to have a night in a hotel by MYSELF. Like I said, it had been a rough winter and I completely neglected myself. Ben was 100% supportive and it was the absolute best birthday gift EVER. Highly recommend.

While I waited for my room to be ready, I walked down to get my nails done (!!). Came back took a bath and then ordered room service because that’s the best thing about staying in a hotel. Then I rented a movie, and took another bath. The next morning I ordered coffee and READ A BOOK in bed. It was heaven. Then I shopped, got my hair blown out and later Ben met up with me and went out to a fun dinner. I just kept repeating how happy I was.

It’s amazing what some quiet time can do.

And then we cut both my babies hair!!

I cried.

I know it’s just hair, but mason had THE BEST hair. If I could rewind, I wouldn’t have gone so extreme with Mason. I think there’s a sweet spot, not too long and not too short.

We were all ready for a change. I’m probably next for a big haircut.

I have spent WAY too much time in the doctor’s office.

Between the flu, some real nasty colds, bronchitis and then the time they thought I had a blood clot. That was fun. That’s probably been the biggest reason why I haven’t been able to blog. Any time I think I’ll have extra time, I get hit with a nasty bug. Which also means, no appetite. And no appetite, means no recipe testing.

I’m now on a mission to hunt down a naturopath ASAP to help build my immune system back up because it’s been ridiculous.

Thankfully, it’s finally starting to feel like Spring! I didn’t realize how badly I needed some sunshine. I’m ready to put together our garden. Spend evenings at the park. Prop our doors open for some fresh air. Late nights. and breaking out the rosé.

Lastly, I just signed up for a workshop with my dear friend Lacy on Coping with Loss. We’ve done healing work together and it has honestly been life changing. If only I could bottle her up. I think there’s still a few spots open if you need a little support in your grieving process. Grief is so deep and painful, I would just love for everyone to experience her healing powers.

 

 

Pomegranate & Orange SaladPrint Recipe Print Recipe

So I have this thing with salads.

and not because it’s January and everyone and their sister has just kicked off their new health journey.

But the timing is convenient.

It’s actually been my thing for as long as I can remember.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’re fully aware of it. Or sick of it. But hopefully not.

Here’s my thing.

We’re a family of salad eaters. We grew up eating salads hearty enough to call dinner. Lunches always consisted of some sort of greens. If we ate somewhere fancy, it was basically mandatory to order a starter salad before a meal. Half the time we’d share. We could essentially turn any kind of leftover and make it into a salad. We’re basically a family made of salads.

However, they weren’t always great. But we’d still try them wherever we went.

Half the time, my mom would eat around the lettuce. She’d say, “It’s boring. I’m just eating the good stuff.”

NO MORE BORING SALADS. No more, people.

Not here, at least.

 


So, here’s your un-boring salad.

you’re welcome.

It’s loaded with oranges, pomegranates, almonds, and fresh basil. I will likely be eating this every week until pomegranate season is over. So good.

Oh and cheers to a happy and healthy new year! Many more salads to come.

 

 

Pomegranate & Orange Salad with a creamy basil-orange dressing 

Ingredients

Orange Dressing

  • 1/4 cup orange juice – preferably fresh squeezed, but bottled works too!
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 4 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced, if not using a food processor)
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • pinch of pepper

Salad

  • 4 cups butter lettuce (torn) or mixed greens
  • 2 small oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 1/2 cup pomegranates
  • 1/4 cup *almonds, slivered or chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • parmesan for topping – optional

Directions

To make the dressing, place everything into your food processor. Pulse until everything is blended and your dressing it nice and creamy. Pour into a mason jar or container that can be sealed.

To prepare the salad, add everything to a large salad bowl. When you’re ready to serve, add a little salad dressing at a time. Toss it together and add more dressing as necessary.

Feel free to sprinkle a little parmesan on top.

Serve and enjoy!

 

*note: 1. I love the lightly salted almonds from Trader Joe’s. I just chop them before adding to the salad. Also, this would also be good with avocado!