Vote! Vote!

Joel and I just headed to the polls to vote like our lives depended on it. I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m worried. I’m all of the above. This day can’t go fast enough!

Also, I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night lately with a dreadful thought that this baby might come early. I mean, it could-! Oh dear Lord, please don’t let it come early. I haven’t had a chance to get anything ready yet for this child. If it’s a boy, it will have no clothes. It has nothing to sleep in. I haven’t packed for the hospital yet. Etc. Etc…

Thankfully, there’s food to sustain me in these uncertain times. Oh, and we hosted a lovely dinner party for friends last weekend. Friends are the best.

The Menu


Fall Fest!


Creamy Pumpkin Spaghetti with Garlic Kale (recipe from Pinch of Yum)

This recipe requires a few pans, but it is so worth it. Turkey, pasta, pumpkin, sundried tomatoes, and a touch of cinnamon. What’s not to love? Mixing the hot pasta with the sauce right before dishing it up slicks each lovely noodle with creamy sauce that just begs to be slurped up. Top with a flurry of grated parmesan and pair with the garlic kale. This belongs in your fall repertoire.

Sides: Sliced apple


Baked Lemon Cod & Garlic Herb Sweet Potato Fries

(recipes from What’s Gabby Cooking)

This was a lovely dinner and it took less than an hour to make (whoo hoo!). The cod was well seasoned and pleasingly tart. It paired well with the garlic sweet potatoes.

Sides: Whipped Cauliflower

To make the cauliflower, cut one head into florets and steam until tender. Throw in a handful of broccoli florets or raw spinach, if you like. Transfer the cauliflower to a food processor and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Whip until purred. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.



Happy Halloween!

Shredded Beef Chuck Roast (recipe from Martha Stewart)

Excitement was high and we needed a quick dinner before our little Supergirl headed out for Trick – or- Treating. I threw the roast in the oven around 10:30 in the morning and it emerged tender and fragrant around 4:30 pm. There are many good shredded beef recipes out there, but I like that this one calls for a hefty dose of both rosemary and oregano. The flavor profile is slightly Italian.

Sides: Chips with guacamole, sliced apples, & pepper strips


Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry (recipe from Dorothy Davis at Bon Appetit via Epicurious)

Ok, I was clearly not paying attention when I took a picture of this meal. The photos are terrible! Regardless, this is a favorite in our house. I’ve made it many times. I prefer to substitute sherry vinegar for the dry sherry, because it’s All About That Tang. Not the Bass. Also, I added sliced celery and topped the stir fry with toasted almonds.

Sides: Roasted parsnip fries (the crisper was low on veggies)




Dinner Party! I was too deep in cooking and serving to take a picture, but here’s a terrific menu for your next dinner party:

Roast Pork with Apples and Cider- Cream Gravy (recipe from Ben & Birdy)

Note: I do not follow the recipe for the cider- cream gravy. Instead, I heat the roasted apples, onions, and pan drippings over medium heat and add dollops of Dijon mustard and pours of apple cider vinegar until I’ve reached a delicious sweet- tart balance. I let the pan simmer until the sauce thickens before adding a bit of salt and pepper.

Creamy Parmesan Polenta (recipe from Ina Garten at Food Network)

Tender lettuces with Champagne- Shallot Vinaigrette (recipe from Chez Panisse Vegetables via Alexandra’s Kitchen)

Mollie Katzen’s Chocolate Eclipse (recipe via Alexandra’s Kitchen)

Note: At 38 minutes I overcooked my chocolate eclipse (why?!). It was still good, but it would have been even better had I removed it sooner from the oven. So sad!


(Oct 28th, 2018 – Nov 3rd, 2018)

Fall Fest

Joel and I found ourselves high strung with work stress last week. Fortunately, we had my in-laws annual Fall Fest party at the lake for a group of friends and family to look forward to at the end of the week. There was a bonfire and a doughnut eating contest but really the star of the event is always the food! There were three kinds of cheese balls, two kinds of chili, sweet potato chorizo soup, a pot of Columbian black beans, roasted vegetables, hasselback butternut squash, salad with shallot vinaigrette and candied pumpkin seeds (me), cornbread, chocolate cupcakes, oatmeal pumpkin cookies, and Halloween Chex mix (me). I think I ate most of the Chex mix. Candy corn, man. It gets me every time.

The Menu


Dinner at the in-laws


Laila’s Stewed Beef with Creamy Cheese Grits (recipe from Laila Ali at Food Network)

I cannot give an honest review of this recipe, because I left out the poblano pepper, didn’t have a red pepper, and had to substitute chicken broth for beef broth. #dinnerfail. My rendition wasn’t very flavorful. Also, the grits required a whole lot of salt. I like the concept of this recipe so, if you try it, left me know if it’s good.

Sides: Salad with vinaigrette & sliced cucumbers


Homemade Brown Sugar Baked Beans (recipe from Pinch of Yum)

Who says baked beans only belong at a BBQ? I happily dig in to them all year long, and this was a quick take on the classic. Canned beans make this recipe easy to throw together, bacon lends smokiness, and brown sugar adds a touch of sweetness.

Sides: Buttered toast, steamed broccoli, & salad with vinaigrette topped with sliced apple and fennel


Creamy Dijon Chicken (recipe from Simply Delicious)

Terrible photo, but a delicious recipe for chicken Dijon. I substituted chicken legs and added extra salt and lemon juice to taste. It requires few ingredients and packs a ton of flavor. Plus, who doesn’t love creamy chicken over rice?

Sides: Brown rice, roasted carrots, & sautéed swiss chard with garlic and a splash of red wine vinegar.

Cooks Illustrated Molasses Spice Cookies (recipe from With Two Spoons)

This is a repeat recipe from last year. I make these deliciously spiced cookies every fall. I skip rolling the raw cookie dough in granulated sugar. The powdered sugar glaze, however, is a must. Sneak one in the morning with your cup of coffee and call your day off to a good start.


Impromptu date night at Big Bowl


Pizza at my parent’s house


Taco Night (no recipe)

(Oct 21st, 2018 – Oct 27th, 2018)

Flower Girl

Last week was busy. Joel flew out of town on Thursday for a friend’s bachelor party and Bear and I moved in with my parents for the long weekend. Bear also debuted as a flower girl at my cousin’s wedding on Saturday. I was one proud mama. She walked down the aisle all by herself, holding her flowers, and bowed at the alter before taking her seat. We had a minor melt down after the ceremony over tights, but as soon as we got to the reception she was at the bar with the best of them ordering orange juice with extra straws.

The Menu


Chicken and Butternut Squash Skillet Pot Pie with Sage Biscuit (recipe from Meredith Deeds at StarTribune)

Ooh, this is a family favorite! Chicken and sweet butternut squash submerged in a luscious gravy under a buttery biscuit crust. I like to substitute fresh rosemary for half of the sage in both the filling and the biscuit topping. It makes the dish smell like Thanksgiving. Also, as opposed to standing at the counter for 20 minutes shredding a rotisserie chicken, I find it easier to chop up three salt and peppered chicken breasts that I’ve baked in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Sides: Steamed broccoli


Peanut Rice Noodles with Pork and Collard Greens (recipe by Chris Morroco at Bon Appetit)

A new favorite. It’s light, quick and easy. The peanut flavor is more of a whisper and the greens, which may seem like a lot at first, cook down to almost nothing.

Sides: Roasted brussels sprouts

Pumpkin Bread (recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

Pumpkin bread with a cinnamon sugar topping. Need I say more? Oh, wait, how about one-bowl?!


Cheddar BBQ Meatloaf Muffins (recipe from Food Network Kitchen)

Meatloaf muffins sound positively awful, but these are so good. The muffin tin crisps and caramelizes the edges of each meatloaf and BBQ – cheddar is always a good combination. I suggest you run the pan under the broiler for a few minutes at the very end to brown the cheesy topping.


Mashed Sweet Potatoes (recipe from Martha Stewart)

Roasted Broccolini (recipe from Ina Garten at Food Network)


Roasted Cauliflower Burrito Bowls (recipe from Pinch of Yum)

This was not the original dinner I had planned. After a recipe for shrimp curry was vetoed by both Joel and Bear, I scrambled to come up with something else. Luckily, I had everything on hand for these roasted cauliflower burrito bowls, minus the pico. This is a terrific recipe to have on hand for those nights when you may not feel like cooking or your dinner plans suddenly change. Frank’s RedHot Original Hot Sauce also makes the bowl extra yummy.


Away – No cooking!!


Away – No cooking!!


Away – No cooking!!

(Oct 14th, 2018 – Oct 20th, 2018)


I had forgotten about the perils of insomnia during pregnancy until recently. Last week had some of the worst strikes yet. I found myself lying awake for hours on end, tossing and turning, while the baby kicked and kneaded my side. I fear this might be a foreshadowing of this little person’s sleep habits to come. On one particularly harrowing night (I’m looking at you Tuesday), I finally turned on the light at 4:30am and pulled out Annia Ciezadlo’s Day of Honey. It was so delicious, I read the following passage three times:

“The waiter brought us Bolani Kashalu, crisp oily little turnovers packed with soft potatoes and herbs and blistered brown on the outside. Next came banjan burani, charred buttery eggplant slices buried under yogurt sprinkled with dried mint. Finally the kebab arrived, tender and smoky, flanked by light brown basmati rice, grilled Afghan flatbread, and salad drowned in creamy white dressing flecked with herbs.”

I fell back to sleep with visions of Middle Eastern cuisine swirling through my head and promptly awoke to revise the menu to include our favorite riff on chicken shawarma.

The Menu


Leftovers + Movie Night (The Incredibles) after an afternoon walk along the Rice Creek North Regional Trail.


Beef, Leek and Barley Soup (recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

Adapted from Laurie Colwin, this is a simple- no frills soup. It tastes mildly of leek and pure boiled beef. We liked it for what it was, a classic preparation of simple ingredients. The recipe doesn’t tell you to add salt, but I found myself adding quite a bit.

Roasted Delicata, Arugula and Raddichio Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing (recipe from Pinch and Swirl)

This salad was delicious, although I must admit I made a couple of changes. First, I wanted a sweeter salad, so I added maple syrup to the dressing. I also used green leaf lettuce in place of the radicchio and arugula. This is one of those salads where the sum of all parts, eaten together, is best. Be sure to toast those walnuts. It makes a difference.


No-Boil Stuffed Shells (recipe from Food Network Kitchen)

This recipe for stuffed shells was a family pleaser and it was so easy! I knew I had to try it as soon as I read “no-boil.”

Sides: Roasted broccoli and asparagus, which I slid into the oven during the last 20 minutes of the pasta’s baking time, sprinkled with extra salt and a squeeze of lemon juice after it emerged from the oven.


Sheet Pan Chicken and Cauliflower Shawarma (recipe from Alexandra’s kitchen)

Roasted and spiced chicken and cauliflower, wrapped in soft pillow-y naan, and dunked in a lemony yogurt sauce. I dream about this recipe. It’s perfection, always disappearing quickly from our table.

Sides: Roasted Beets


Family Pictures (39 degrees!!) + leftovers

Thank you Katie!!


Nachos (Chips + taco meat + refried beans + cheese + sour cream + lettuce + guacamole + hot sauce). Happy weekend to us!


Leftovers after spending the day in Stillwater. Not only did Bear get to jump around to her hearts delight in a bounce house at the Stillwater fall festival, but we also got to drop off more Cubles at Valley Bookseller!! Check out Joel’s business at and think about what great Christmas gifts/stocking stuffers Cubles might make for those little one’s in your life this year 🙂

(Oct 7th, 2018 – Oct 13th, 2018)

Kitchen Mishaps

My kitchen was against me last week. I had so many kitchen mishaps I don’t even know where to start. I truly believe that my emotions work themselves into my food and, if I’m having an off night, I can taste it the food that springs from my hands. In the case of last week, I know with certainty, that I was too wrapped up in the Brett Kavanaugh fiasco to focus on anything else. MSNBC looped in the background, as I frantically searched online for answers and updates. While many of my dinners didn’t turn out, there were a couple of winners and, blessedly, lots of chocolate. I hope you can find something you like.

The Menu


Hamburgers + sweet potato fries + frozen broccoli

We spent the entire afternoon playing at an indoor play gym with friends and hardly had enough time to run to the grocery store.

For quick and easy hamburgers, mix one pound of ground hamburger with 3 chopped garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Shape the mixture into four patties and sear them in a hot frying pan in glug of oil – 2 minutes per side. Next, top the burgers with slices of cheddar cheese and slide the entire skillet in the oven at 375 degrees until cooked through.


Simply Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas (recipe from Debs Recipes via Genius Kitchen)

A classic, Americanized enchilada recipe that doesn’t rely on store bought enchilada sauce. Not only did we love this recipe, but it really was a cinch to make. Simply fill 6-8 soft flour tortillas with sautéed chicken and browned onions, roll, and place seam side down in a 9 x 13 pan. Next, smother the rolls in a rich sour cream-based sauce flecked with green chilis.

Sides: Salad + frozen corn


Father’s Day Pork Chops (recipe from Jenny Rosenstrach & Andy Ward via Bon Appetit)

These breaded pork chops fried up beautifully, but the red wine vinegar brine was a tad sweet for our liking. The recipe worked and we dutifully ate the leftovers for lunch the following day, although I’m not sure that it will be a repeat in our household.

Braised Root Vegetables and Cabbage with Fall Fruit (recipe from Alain Ducasse via Food & Wine)

This is a mild side dish. I couldn’t find baby turnips this time of year and substituted 1 regular turnip, diced. I like turnips, but the flavor was so strong it overpowered the delicate fruit and cabbage. I would suggest omitting the turnips if you are not a fan and are unable to locate more subtly flavored baby turnips.

Sides: Buttered & salted farro


Leek and Parmesan Quiche (recipe from Once Upon a Chef)

I made this quiche for the first time last summer and quickly awarded it the title of best quiche I had ever made. In it’s glory, it’s a light eggy custard studded with sweet leeks and wisps of salty parmesan. However, when I made it again tonight I could hardly eat it. The leeks were too bitter and the custard was dense. Chop the leeks finely and be sure not to let them brown in the hot oil.

Sides: A terrible sweet and sour cabbage concoction that went terrible awry + roasted acorn squash


Lentil Soup with Sausage Chard and Garlic (recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

This recipe for lentil soup with sausage and chard is one of my all time favorite cold weather soup recipes. One which I have written about before. But tonight my lentils decided to take up arms against me in protest. What should have taken forty minutes to soften those very lentils took 3 WHOLE HOURS. We thawed leftover chicken and made burritos for dinner instead.

Classic Apple Crisp with Oat Crumb Topping (recipe from Kelsey Nixon)

Fortunately, I had the foresight to cobble together a delicious apple crisp as I brooded over my stubborn lentils. What I love most about this recipe for apple crisp is that uses less oats and more flour than previous recipes I’ve tried. The crumb is light and buttery and the cinnamon- spiked apples are juicy.


Big Bowl takeout with friends


Monthly couple’s night hosted by friends

(Sept 30th, 2018 – Oct 6th, 2018)