Veggie Fried Rice

Fried Rice Bowl

I regularly find myself standing in front of the fridge trying to figure out what to do with all the little leftover odds and ends in my crisper. Halves of bell peppers, lonely carrots, three baby bellas that didn’t make it into a salad earlier in the week…

Inspiration finally struck as I was struggling to find a way to use up two cups of leftover jasmine rice pilaf. I am not really a rice person; I am not even the kind of person who thinks every meal should include a starch. So that Tupperware container of rice had been staring at me for almost two weeks.

And finally, as I was trying to plan a meal to make with my mom, who can’t have wheat or dairy, a light bulb clicked on over my head. Fried rice!

You can use any kind of cooked rice and any vegetables you want when you are making fried rice. So why not jasmine rice baked in veggie broth with a few shallots already tossed in? And all those veggies hiding in my refrigerator drawers were a perfect match.

This one-pot meal came out so delicious that my husband ate about four servings of it. I won’t stress about how much white rice he consumed in one sitting…I will just use brown rice next time and rejoice that I’ve finally found a simple Asian dish I can make at home for him!

Let’s make a meal out of all our leftovers!

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Glazed Cinnamon Buns

Glazed Cinnamon Buns

To read the updated post about making perfect cinnamon buns, complete with tips and tricks and much improved photos, click here! 

These cinnamon buns represent one of the worst kitchen meltdowns I have ever had.

Let me be clear…the cinnamon buns were amazing. Which makes me think they are idiot-proof (yay!).

But me in the kitchen at 2:00 in the morning with melted butter oozing all over my counters? Not so amazing. I huffed and puffed about how horrible the buns were going to be and what a failure I was, and my poor husband just kept sprinkling sugar and trying to keep me from going off the deep end and using my giant knife for something more sinister than slicing the buns.

Note to self: If you are making something you’ve never made before, and you intend to share it with a large room full of hungry moms the next day, don’t wait until 10:00 pm to get started.

Despite the fact that my cinnamon buns leaked their filling all over the counter, that they flattened completely when I was cutting them apart, that I only ended up with 36 unevenly sized buns when I was hoping for 50, and that I forgot I needed to make the glaze while the buns were in the oven…they honestly turned out perfectly! I scooped the cinnamon sugar over top of the buns, which rose and filled out until you couldn’t even tell they were once oblong and somewhat different sizes. And the slight delay in glazing the buns didn’t seem to make a bit of difference—they were still moist and sweet and pretty much the best things I have ever put into my mouth.

You should make them for yourself. And all of your friends (because who needs 3 dozen cinnamon buns in their fridge, just waiting to be eaten?). Seriously. These babies are delicious!

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Mushroom Ravioli in Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Mushroom Ravioli in Brown Butter Sage

I think homemade ravioli might be my favorite food. That’s a pretty hefty statement, you know, because I love food, and I love so many different foods. But homemade ravioli is indulgent without being overwhelming. It requires a bit of dedication and love to make it, and I appreciate the craftsmanship. I love the thin-rolled fresh pasta and the flavorful fillings. I love swiping a bite of ravioli through the sauce. I love everything about fresh ravioli!

So naturally for Valentine’s day, my thoughtful husband, who knows me well, requested that I make ravioli with mushrooms (because mushrooms are his favorite).

Before I share this recipe with you, I should warn you that you will never want to eat packaged ravioli again. I should also warn you that ravioli is a multi-step process, and especially so if you don’t have a pasta roller, but even then I think it would be worth it!

Let’s just say that this ravioli is amazing. And I do not think you should just take my word for it. You must test this dish out immediately! Don’t delay! Make yourself and your family and your friends some fresh ravioli. They will adore you. You will lick your plate. The world will be a happy and loving place. Just like it should be every day.

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Carrot Soup with Tahini

Carrot Soup with Tahini

This month for the Secret Recipe Club challenge, I was assigned the blog Searching for Spice. I knew immediately that I wanted to try out this carrot soup. I mean, what is better than a vegetable soup for lunch on a winter day?

My good friend Sarah over at Well Dined came over to make this soup with me. Outside, the ground was glittering with fresh snow, and inside, our bellies were warmed by several bowls full of this delicious soup, sweet and a little bitter with just a hint of heat.

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Tarte Noire

Tarte Noire

Chocolate and I have long been having a rather intense love affair. (Okay, maybe it’s a bit one-sided…)

If you enjoy letting deep, dark chocolate melt in your mouth and slide seductively over your tongue, then this tart is going to blow your mind. It’s just chocolate, plain and simple! It’s like if you took everything that’s amazing about chocolate and multiplied it by a thousand and poured it into a cookie…

Plus, super easy to make!

So if you love chocolate, and if you love your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/any other kind of friend, you should bring your two loves together and serve this tart to that special person immediately.

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Spaghetti Squash Black Bean Tacos

Spaghetti Squash Black Bean Tacos

Wow. Today was really a day, if you know what I mean. It started out with very few hours of sleep, became more harried and more chagrined as I rushed off to an early morning meeting that turned out not to be today, and was compounded by my darling son spitting up on my crotch in front of an old friend. Twice.

Do you know what made today really shine? (Aside from the cutest giggles and looks of delight Jake shot my way after he plastered me awkwardly in white goo…)

It was these tacos. Yep. Great texture, bright flavors…what more could a girl ask for?

Now, I know it sounds weird to combine spaghetti squash and black beans, but this colorful, quickie meal just works! I promise these tacos will really light up your day! (Plus, if you are finding yourself tired of the sweetness of winter squash, and can hardly bear to think about how long it will be until asparagus or broccoli come your way, this is a great meal to change the pace and still incorporate seasonal ingredients!)

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Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole

My mom’s birthday was a few weeks ago, and I got to host her dinner for the first time ever!

Making meals for my mom can be a challenge because of her food allergies: no dairy or wheat allowed. In fact, when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday meal, she sadly replied that she didn’t really have a favorite meal anymore, since many of the foods she has loved her whole life are now off-limits.

After a bit of thought, she requested Shrimp Creole, which I had never had before. Shrimp Creole is basically a bowl of rice topped by a spicy, flavorful tomato sauce full of veggies and, of course, shrimp!

I did a bit of research on the dish and found that creole dishes classically include onions, green peppers, and celery, and that most of the recipes around really leave the combination and amount of spices up to the cook. How challenging for someone who’s never made creole food before! I almost had no idea where to begin.

In the end, I decided to use Virginia Willis’s recipe from Bon Appetit, Y’all  as a base and to wing it with the spices (with a little help from suggestions I read in many other recipe reviews). And it turned out delicious! Just a bit of heat (okay, enough to make my nose run a little) without being overwhelming, and great Cajun flavors. I wrote down what I did, so now, finally, I can bring you a recipe for Shrimp Creole that comes with the complete spice profile.

You will love this dish! So easy to make—you can forget it on the stove for as long as you need—and it’s a great alternative to the same old pot of chili you make every year. The Cajun flair will seal the deal!

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