Pesto Veggie Farro


I am a big fan of salty items. I’ve  never met an olive I didn’t like. I was aimlessly roaming the aisles of Trader Joe’s today trying to figure out what to make for dinner, and came up with this meal. I have been cooking with the 10 minute farro from Trader Joe’s for a while now and I really love it. Its a nice alternative to brown rice and has 10 grams of protein per serving. It makes a great base for any meal. If you want to make this meal vegan simply don’t add the feta and romano and if you wanted to add fish or meat to this meal I would recommend salmon, shrimp or steak and chicken. It stands all on it’s own as a vegetarian meal and is extremely hearty, between the farro and the butternut squash you will be stuffed!

Ingredients:

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  • 1 1/2 cup of farro (or one bag of Trader Joe’s farro– if you can get it)
  • 1 large red onion chopped
  • 2.5 cups of butternut squash cubed. (I buy these pre-cut 12 oz bags)
  • 2 cups of quartered Brussel sprouts
  • 2 cups diced orange peppers
  • 1 box  of mushrooms (around 1 cup)
  • Chives (to taste)
  • 1 cup of pitted marinated Kalmata olives
  • 1/2 cup of marinated artichoke hearts -chopped
  • Feta (to taste)
  • Grapeseed oil (drizzle)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 5-6 cloves fresh garlic pressed (if you don’t have fresh garlic about 1 tablespoon minced garlic)

For the Pesto: ( I used about 3 heaping tablespoons – you will have extra)

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  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 cups packed basil
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil
  • 1/2 of lemon squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons of pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup of filtered water

Steps:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Take a large baking sheet and line with foil. Add the brussel sprouts, peppers, onion, olives, artichokes, mushrooms, garlic, squash, peppers and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper. Place in oven for about 20 minutes. (I have to cook my mushrooms separate because my hubby doesn’t care for them)While the veggies cook cook the farro according to package directions. I like to cook mine in veggie broth for added flavor, but water is just fine too. Drain and set asideIMG_1673IMG_1680
  2. If you decide to make the pesto (store bought pesto works just as well if your’e not feeling up for it!) start by adding the basil in a food processor or blender, then add the grape seed oil (olive oil is fine too), lemon, pine nuts and avocado. Blend and add the water in slowly until you reach a nice creamy consistency. Pour into a bowl and sprinkle with pepper and lemon zest.
  3. Take 3 heaping tablespoons of the pesto and mix with the cooked farro. Add chives and feta (the amount is up to you!)
  4. When the squash and veggies are fork tender I like to put the oven on a high broil for a few minutes to give everything a nice golden crisp.
  5. Mix the veggie squash mixture with the farro and ENJOY!
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*This dish is also really great to bring to a party and can be served cold.

Green Lentil Soup


IMG_1632After finally getting my little man down for a nap I felt like I needed to regroup after having an overall defeating day. Having a toddler that refuses sleep can be one of the most frustrating things as a momma because you know they so badly need it! Plus let’t be honest we can use the break!! Anyways SOUP has always been a go to for me my entire life. I consider it a meal and love all soups. I find it so comforting to the soul and even when I am personally super sick I will still take the time and energy to make my own homemade soup, because there is something about the whole process of cooking it yourself that I find nourishing. I needed to find some comfort today during the stormy afternoon so I pulled everything I had out in my fridge and pantry and came up with this soup. It was simple, easy and delicious. I’ll drain the broth out for my son and let him eat this over brown rice for a heartier meal!

Ingredients:IMG_1619 (1)

  • 2 small zucchini
  • 2 small yellow squash
  • 2 small sweet onions (or 1 large)
  • 1 cup of small whole green lentils
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic (fresh would be better- didn’t have any)
  • 32 oz. box of organic vegetable broth
  • 2 cups of filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons Frank’s hot sauce  (add as little or as much as you’d like)
  • 1 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup cup of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper -diced
  • Grapeseed oil (olive oil is fine too)
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon adobo
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon parsley (spice trick- I like to pour the spice in my hand and rub together to awaken the flavor)

Steps:

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  1. Start by coating a medium to large sauce pan in oil and adding the diced onions over medium heat.  Saute onions for about 5 minutes or until they turn clear.
  2. Add the celery, carrots, red pepper, garlic and tomatoes. Add in the pepper, cumin, adobo, chili powder and parsley. Lower heat to medium low and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cumin
  3. Add the vegetable broth, water, Frank’s (If you like spice) and lentils. Cover over low heat and let simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it starts boiling too much I like to leave a little crack in the lid for some airflow.
  4. Add in the diced zucchini and squash, stir and turn the heat up to medium- let cook for another 25 minutes or until zucchini and lentils are cooked through. IMG_1624IMG_1627

 

Vegetable Pasta


55710473343__59EEA365-BA01-4554-9C97-8A569F8E8678Hello there! It has been a hot minute since I have blogged. My amazing and spirited toddler has kept me super busy and I just haven’t had the energy to share my recipes with everyone. It’s something I really miss doing and decided it was time to get back at it! I’ll be moving into a new home soon and I’m looking forward to having a new kitchen and work space to inspire me. This recipe was exactly what our family needed after a few sleepless nights…comfort food at its finest. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:
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  • One bag of cauliflower (washed, ready to go…because “mom life”)
  • One bag of broccoli
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 cup of fresh torn basil
  • Herb and garlic goat cheese (to taste)
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese (to taste)
  • Romano cheese (to taste)
  • 1 cup of chopped campari tomatoes
  • 1 jar of arrabiata sauce
  • 16 oz of mezze rigate pasta
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Steps:
  1. Start by taking a large baking sheet and line with foil. Place the broccoli, cauliflower, basil, onions, garlic, capers and tomatoes on the pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, mix together. (I like to tear apart the cauliflower and broccoli if the pieces are too big.)
  2. Place in oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes or until fork tender and veggies have a nice golden crisp.
  3. While the veggies are cooking cook the pasta according to package directions.
  4. When the pasta and veggies are done combine together in a large saucepan and add the arrabiata sauce.
  5. Add a few chunks of goat cheese and mix together in the saucepan.
  6. Place the pasta mixture back on the baking sheet and lay flat sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake in the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
  7. Sprinkle with fresh basil, romano cheese and red pepper flakes!

 

Nursery Decor


When I found out I was having a baby I felt a strong urge to nest and make everything perfect for his arrival. I think it’s a way of trying to gain some control in a very changing environment. Everything is unchartered territory when you’re pregnant with your first and there are so many things that are out of your control so it makes sense that women feel a strong pull to research everything to death and nest.

I knew I wanted to do a “gender neutral” nursery even though we knew we were having a baby boy. My husband and I bought a fixer-upper condo a year and half ago and have been doing a ton of work to it. I have had so much fun picking out everything from granite to furniture and really make this place our home. Our condo is very warm with soft colors and I wanted the nursery to tie into that.

Pinterest was where I began for my nursery inspiration, its a great starting place for a novice for ideas and “themes.” I was gravitating to grays, wheats and creams and lots of texture. I wanted to incorporate some type of “beach theme” since we live very close to the water and it’s a big part of our lives. With any theme you run the risk of overdoing it or making it cheesy so I wanted to do in a subtle way that wouldn’t overwhelm the space. I also knew that I wanted to put a daybed in the room for those late nights with my little prince, but wanted to make sure it looked like it belonged there and wasn’t out of place.  I absolutely love the way it turned out and it is now my favorite room in the house.

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I linked everything below that is still available for purchase
Paint Color: Benjamin Moore Gray Owl (needs two coats!)
Crib: BassettBaby Premier Somerset Convertible Crib from Wayfair
Crib Mattress: Secure Beginnings Safe Sleep Mattress in white Base with white pad
Daybed: World Market (found barely used on Craigslist for $200- score!!)
Rocker: Best Chairs Sutton Swivel Glider in Linen
Bunny: Jellycat (sooo soft!)
Ottoman: Restoration Hardware Knit Cotton Square Pouf in Dove
Sand dollar sign: Bed Bath and Beyond
Changing pad cover: Burt’s Bees Honeybee in Sky
Diaper Pail: Ubbi in Gray
Watercolor whale print: Etsy (frame purchased from HomeGoods)
Cream Knit Pillow: Bed Bath Beyond Kenneth Cole Reaction Chunky Square Knit in Ivory
*All of the remaining pillows are from HomeGoods: the large white pillows are by Hotel Collection, the large gray ones are by PiuBelle, the smaller tan and blue pillows are by Calvin Klein.

Summer Zucchini Minestrone


This easy soup recipe is the perfect way to incorporate fresh local veggies during the summer season.
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Ingredients:

  • 28 oz. can of San Marzano tomatoes
  • 4-5 small zucchinis, diced
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 large vidalia onion
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 3 fresh cloves minced garlic
  • 2 cups of organic spinach
  • 1.5 teaspoons of organic chicken soup base
  • 3-4 cups of filtered water
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 – 15 oz. cans of organic cannellini beans

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Steps:

  1. Start by taking a medium sized sauce pan and coat the bottom with olive oil, turn heat on medium and add the onions, basil and parsley stirring frequently for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and reduce heat to medium-low and let cook for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes (if they are whole cut them into bite sized pieces first), beans, water, salt and pepper and the soup base.
  3. Cover the pan and let simmer over medium to low heat for 30-35 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with parmesan and red chili flakes.

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Avocado Toast


My husband always orders this at a local breakfast place we go to and I decided to replicate it at home. What I love about the flavors in this dish is the sea salt and fresh lemon. It’s so simple to make and keeps you full for so long. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 eggs over easy or poached
  • Olive oil spray (to coat the pan)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 small lemon
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. of your favorite oil (I used avocado oil)
  • 1 slice of your favorite multi grain bread
  • 1 small tomato sliced (optional)

Steps:

  1. Start by dicing the avocado and place into a bowl, add the oil, sea salt (to taste) and a little bit of fresh squeezed lemon and mash until you have received guacamole like texture.
  2. Toast the bread.
  3. Take a medium sized skillet and coat with olive oil spray. Cook the eggs to your liking.
  4. Smear the avocado onto the bread, place the tomatoes (if you’re using) on top of the avocado and finally the eggs. Sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with fresh lemon. NOM! IMG_0962

My first week with Blue Apron


I’ve been curious about Blue Apron for a while now and my friend Elisa sent me a free week of meals so I finally tried it out! My menu for the week (I opted for the vegetarian recipes) consisted of three meals; three cheese calzones, winter squash and baby kale quesadillas and curried cauliflower steaks. First off I was really impressed with the packaging. A box arrives right to your doorstep filled with food and it has really pretty 8×10 menu cards (see below) that I plan on hole punching and putting in my recipe binder! I was shocked at how fresh the ingredients looked. The kale was so green and beautiful. Each recipe comes with a little knickknack bag filled with perfectly proportioned  seasonings, sauces and what not. I really love this concept because so many times you have to go and buy full sized items that a recipe calls for and then you end up wasting it.

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Now for the actual recipes I really only liked 2 out of 3. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the three cheese calzones, mainly because I like to cook healthy during the work week and I thought the dough was hard to manipulate. Basically if I’m going to indulge I would rather have pizza or parm and order out, but that’s just my personal feelings, and obviously doesn’t apply to everyone.  I also felt like the recipes were a bit long and that it stifled my creativity in the kitchen.

However I absolutely loved not having to worry about what I was going to prepare for dinner that night and knowing that I didn’t have to go to the grocery store. I also tried recipes that I probably wouldn’t have thought of on my own, which keeps it interesting. Blue Apron definitely  has pro’s has con’s depending on how you feel about cooking. I am going to try it out for another week, and report back. The price is really affordable $60.00 for three meals which serves two, so $9.99 per serving.  Have any of you tried Blue Apron? Would love to hear your experience with it!

Sunny side eggs over arugula


I really like incorporating greens into my breakfast. This dish is so simple but there’s something that feels really gourmet about it. The flavors are fresh and distinguished and it’s  just delicious! This would also be great for lunch and a light dinner too.

Ingredients:

  • Farm fresh organic eggs (however many you want)
  • Avocado oil (to drizzle)
  • 1/2 of a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I like pink Himalayan salt)
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese (to sprinkle)
  • Olive oil spray (to coat the pan)
  • Arugula (desired amount)
  • Grape tomatoes (desired amount)
  • Green onions (desired amount)
  • 1 tsp pesto

Steps:

  1. Start by taking a medium sized pan and coat with olive oil spray over medium heat. After the pan has warmed up add the eggs.
  2. While the eggs are cooking take the desired amount of arugula onto a plate. Drizzle with avocado oil, lemon and parmesan cheese.
  3. In the same pan the eggs are cooking add the green onions and tomatoes and let cook for 3-5 minutes to bring out their flavor. Cook your eggs to your desired consistency and place over the arugula.
  4. Top with the tomatoes, green onions, salt and pepper and pesto. I happened to have homemade pesto in my fridge but you can buy any store brand for this. Enjoy! image

Panko crusted halibut


When I was home over the holidays I wanted to treat my family to a yummy home cooked meal. Naturally I went to Wegman’s because I miss not having one nearby now that I live in Florida. The halibut that I got there was literally out of this world. My mom even said it was the best fish she had ever tasted! I don’t normally cook with butter, but I felt like since I was splurging on a beautiful piece of fish I had to indulge a little. I used Wegman’s lemon butter sauce, and it was so delicious. If you can’t find this product or something similar then just make your own by melting some butter, lemon, garlic powder and salt and pepper.

The sides are self explanatory I steamed some asparagus (I like to keep them crunchy) and drizzled some olive oil, lemon and fresh Parmesan cheese over it. For the mushrooms I used a tiny it of butter, pan seared some shallots and garlic and let them cook for about 5-7 minutes. This dish turned out amazing, restaurant quality for sure. It all came back to the quality of the fish, you’ll definitely want to make sure you find fresh fish for this recipe to turn out right.  If you can’t find halibut I just recently made this same recipe with Cobia and it was very similar to Halibut- white and flaky.  Ask your grocery store what they have available, here is a list on seafood that you may find helpful.

Ingredients:

  • Halibut (however much you need)
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggwhites
  • Lemon (as needed)
  • Lemon butter sauce (drizzle as needed)
  • 1 tsp butter

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Take the fish out and rinse, pat dry and set aside.
  3. In a non-stick skillet warm up the butter over medium heat.
  4. While the butter is melting, dip the fish in the egg whites first and panko breadcrumbs second.
  5. Carefully place the fish on the skillet and let cook on each side for 3-5 minutes or until its golden. You can add more butter to the pan if necessary.
  6. Take a baking sheet and wrap with aluminum foil and smear some butter on it. Place the fish on the pan and take the lemon butter sauce and drizzle it on both sides. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Do not walk away from the fish keep your eye on it, when the color is a bright white it’s done. Serve with a fresh lemon wedge. fish

One Pot Veggie Penne Pasta


I have seen these one pot veggie pasta dishes on Pinterest for a while now and have been dying to try it out.  Most of them are inspired by Martha Stewart’s One Pot Meals cookbook. I was a little skeptical at first because I love sautéing my veggies, but I figured I would give this method a try. I just used the vegetables I had in my fridge. This recipe turned out delicious, my husband said it taste like a vodka penne which is good considering I didn’t use any cream- just cheese. I prefer my normal method of making veggie pasta, but this one pot pasta dish is tasty and easy so I would still recommend it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet onion diced
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1 organic zucchini -quartered
  • 12 oz grape tomatoes -quartered
  • 4 large basil leaves torn
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon -squeezed
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (I was out so I used a few cubes of this)
  • 12 oz of whole wheat penne
  • 4 cups of veggie broth (I had to drain a little out at the end)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red chili flakes to taste (if desired)

Steps:

1.) Add the penne, tomatoes, zucchini, basil, Parmesan cheese, veggie broth, onion, salt and pepper, chili flakes, garlic and lemon.

2.) Bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat stirring frequently. Let cook for 10-12 minutes or until the pasta is tender. If all of the broth hasn’t evaporated then strain out the remainder.

3.) Add the mozzarella cheese and stir until melted, serve and enjoy! image

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