...so i'm a featured publisher...


As of late last week I've become a Featured Publisher with Food Buzz.  I'm pretty excited about what this means for this here blog.  Food Buzz is a community of passionate food bloggers and I'm honored to join the team as one of their featured publishers.  That said, you can also find my profile with them here.  Here's to much more blogging in the days ahead!

...lacy's shrimp tacos with fresh pineapple salsa...

(photo from Whole Foods)

Last week it warmed up and was an incredible tease.  We had dinner at a friends house where they made delicious shrimp tacos with equally delicious pineapple salsa.  I sadly didn't take any pictures so this here shot is thanks to Whole Foods.  The recipe itself is also thanks to that fine store.

When the weather heats up again I'll be making these myself.  So fresh and healthy and definitely a crowd pleaser.  Until then we've had snow and the heater is back on.  So over winter right now.

Serves 4

This recipe can be prepared a day ahead and assembled right before serving since allowing the shrimp to pickle and salsa to marinate overnight enhances their flavors. 


1 pound frozen cooked and peeled baby shrimp, thawed 
1/2 cup finely chopped white onions 
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar 
1/4 cup lime juice 
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic 
1 teaspoon lime zest 
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds 
Salt to taste 
2 cups finely chopped pineapple 
1/4 cup chopped cilantro 
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
8 corn taco shells, prepared according to package directions 
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced


In a large bowl, combine shrimp, onions, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, zest, cumin seeds and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine pineapple, cilantro, pepper flakes and salt. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or preferably overnight. 
Serve up the tacos as you'd like with the pineapple salsa, avocado slices, and whatever other fixings you'd prefer.  Thanks, Whole Foods & Lacy- good work!

...salmon salad...

Sometimes you just need a big salad.  Hopefully you want it to, but either way it's good to get away from potentially the salad you grew up with and create one that you would have in a restaurant.  With some spinach, red pepper, gorgonzola and tomatoes on hand we were well on our way to making a great salad.

I had poached some salmon in white wine and capers the night before and enjoyed the left overs cold on this beauty.  Satisfying, healthy, and delicious.

...green drink...

Green drink has been made by family friends of ours for awhile.  When I nannied for the girls I failed to remember how to make it and maybe thought they wouldn't ask for it while their parents were away.  Well, they did ask and I had to admit that I didn't know how to make it.  I know now- my Mom and I made it today.  It's super healthy and tasty.  Not at all like green juice from the store that sometimes really doesn't taste good.

If you have an awesome blender that would be, well awesome.  We used a regular old blender and it worked fine although there was some more work involved just making sure it was all incorporated.

Here's your recipe.  I highly recommend this drink- super healthy- refreshing- and a great way to get in those vitamins and greens!

1 banana
1 apple, cored, chopped- skin on
1 pear, cored, chopped- skin on
2-3 handfuls of spinach
thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon honey


1.  In your blender put just 1/4 cup water and a little crushed ice.  Add 1 banana broken up, 1 apple cored and cut up, 2-3 handfuls of spinach, 1 pear cored and cut up, ginger, and on top put some honey and more crushed ice.  Blend through and enjoy!

You may want to add more ice or water to your liking, but the above should work out well especially if your pear is ripe.  It'll be super green, and super delicious.

...your valentine menu...

Only you know what your Valentine would like to eat on Monday.  Whether that Valentine is a friend, child, family member or special someone, what do they love?

Does your man love meat?  Then I might go with this:

Herb Crusted Steak

A chicken lover?

Roast Chicken in Creamy Tarragon Sauce

Vegetarian all around?

Wild Mushroom Risotto

And for dessert?

Classic French Chocolate Mousse


Chocolate Mousse Cake

or not as obvious in looks but the name says it all, Boy Bait

Whatever you end up making, I hope you and they enjoy it.  Here's to not being able to get away from this lovey dovey holiday.  Hey, see it as a day to eat something you love!

...quick sausage and mushroom lasagna...

I made some lasagna the other day.  I'm not the biggest lover of lasagna, but when I saw red wine and that oh-so-affordable pork in the lasagna, I was in.  Another recipe thanks to Bon Appetit's collection of Everyday Meals.

This recipe makes a lot.  So much in fact I should have used a loaf pan to make the third layer.  To say the least I packed it all into my 9x13 and paid for it later by having to clean my oven.  Always listen to the little voice in your head that tells you to put a cookie sheet under the huge dish of lasagna you just put in the oven.  Also, when you are fearing the worst, listen again to yourself and check on it before your house has filled with some smoke.  Oh, and it's 25 degrees outside so airing out your house with freezing air rushing in is just really as fun as it sounds.  We all make mistakes.

This recipe was really good though. So good I got second helpings and a true Italian who had some raved about it.  To me, that was success.

Recipe loosely adapted from and thanks to Bon Appetit

Ingredients You'll Need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 8 ounce packages sliced cremini (baby bella) mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon each oregano, tarragon, thyme. (think italian seasonings you have)
1 pound Italian sausage- casings removed
1 1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1 cup dry red wine
4 2/3 cups marinara sauce (2 26 ounce cans)
1 9 ounce package no-cook lasagna noodles
1 15 ounce container ricotta cheese
1 8 ounce packages Italian blend grated cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 400.  Heat oil in heavy pot over high heat.  Add the mushrooms, onion and your seasonings.  Saute until vegetables soften, about 6 minutes, then add sausage and saute until it's broken up and browned, about 5 more minutes.  Add garlic and stir for a minute, then add wine and cook until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 2-5 more minutes, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

2.  Spread 2/3 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of your 9x13.  Place noodles (about 4) over the bottom forming a layer.  It's ok if they overlap and depending on how many you have, just know you need enough for 4 layers.  Top with 1/3 cup ricotta then 1 cup grated cheese.  Spoon 1/3 of the sausage mixture on top and then cover with more noodles, ricotta, cheese, and sauce 2 more times.  Cover the top with your remaining noodles, remaining 1 cup sauce and 1 cup cheese.  Cover with foil, tenting in the middle so the cheese doesn't stick.

3.  Bake for 45 minutes and remove the foil.  Bake for another 10 minutes until bubbly and nice and brown on top.  Wait for it to cool a little then dig on in and enjoy!

...game day spicy cheese dip...

What did you make for the big game?  At the last minute I decided to make something to bring to our friends to watch the game.  I opted for this recipe because it looked simple enough, and more so because we had mostly all of the ingredients already.  We varied the recipe a bit to give it a bit more kick, and overall it turned out great.  It was however competing with Velvetta and Rotel.  When I tasted that concoction it brought me back to working the snack stand at high school football games.  Memories.

Recipe loosely modified from and thanks to Southern Living

Ingredients You'll Need:
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 12 oz jar roasted red peppers, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped- seeds and ribs removed

Mix the above ingredients- adding a dash or more of hot sauce to your liking

Shred 8 oz of cheddar cheese and 8 oz of spicier pepper jack cheese and add to the mixture.

Blend everything together and place into a greased 2 quart baking dish.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until bubbly.  Garnish with some more green onion tops and serve it up with chips.

...coupon cutting...

The time has come to cut coupons.  I've been putting it off thinking it would not save us any money because I'd end up buying things we didn't eat or need, but not so.  I've got a stack of clipped coupons thanks to some sites I'll tell you about here, and am ready to go shopping.  Even if it's a few bucks I save, as my friend recently told me, "hey- you go find that on the street.." making the point that there is in fact no money growing tree.

My friend Lacy sent on her favorite sites and then over at Young House Love I clicked on some more.

Here are the one's Lacy suggested:

Start with Krazy Coupon Lady - she has a whole section on how to beginning couponing, which is really helpful.

Then, I snag most of my coupons from these sites:
Red Plum
Smart Source: 
Coupons dot com: (this one is my favorite)
All You Magazine: 

Then, I follow a lot of blogs which link to printable coupons. Krazy Coupon Lady is good, as is Totally Target. Target has store coupons that you can combine with manufactures coupons to save a lot of $$$. I also like Your Green Helper because she does a weekly round-up of the best organic/healthy coupons available.

Ok people, to the websites we go. Get your scissors ready and let's save some money.  Something we can all agree is really fun and also makes me sound really old...but awesome.

Maybe if I get really into this I'll bring this awesome coupon caddy with me to the store.  Probably not, but I wouldn't put it past myself

...tortilla soup...

I have had a hankering to make tortilla soup so when I saw PW posted this recipe, I was quick to want to make it. Then, Leslie told me how great Rick Bayless' recipe was, and I was all of the sudden in a pickle.  I went with PW's this time, but next time I'll make Rick's.  I just have to track down this special pepper his recipe calls for...

This recipe was fairly easy and very delicious.  In fact, just writing this makes me want to have it again soon.  When you make the chicken for it, I'd say it's a great thing to learn and way to cook chicken even just for fajitas. Mmm fajitas.  Ok, it's becoming dinner time and I want Mexican food!

Anyways, I would recommend this recipe as a great heartier tortilla soup.

Recipe thanks to Pioneer Woman

Ingredients You'll Need for the chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the rest:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup diced red pepper
3 minced garlic cloves
1 can Rotel (yes, I bought it again...)
32 ounces chicken stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups hot water
2 cans black beans, drained
3 tablespoons cornmeal
5 corn tortillas, cut into strips

sour cream, cheese, avocado, onion- you know the fixings..

1.  Here we go!  Preheat your oven to 375.  Mix the spices for the chicken with the salt.  Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil onto the chicken the sprinkle on some of the spice mixture- you'll save some for later.  Work it in all around both sides and then place on a rack in the oven for 20-25 minutes until done.  Shred the chicken and set aside.

2.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot then add onions, peppers, and garlic.  Stir together for a few minutes then add in the rest of the spice mixture.  Stir in the shredded chicken and combine everything together well.  Now, pour in the Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.

3.  While it's cooking mix cornmeal with a small amount of water.  Pour that into the soup after 45 minutes and then simmer for an additional 30 minutes.  Check the seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if needed.  Turn off the heat and serve right up, or if you want to be a rule follower let it sit for 15 minutes, add the tortilla strips with 5 minutes to go, then eat up.  We just added the strips, waited for them to combine into the soup, then ate up!

...easy chicken masala...

If you like some of recipes I post that are more easy and delicious than anything else, you're going to like this one.  And, I think you'll have a lot of the items in your pantry and only have to run out for a few things.  Well, if you don't have the spice garam masala you'll need that, but you'll want to make this again so it's worth the investment.

This recipe is thanks to Bon Apetit and I think was such a winner.  A marinade that was super easy to make, some time to let it hang out- 2 hrs or overnight- and then throw it in the oven over some onions, make some rice, and you're golden.

Ingredients you'll Need:
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 package of whole chicken cut up (they sell this at trader joes- about 8 pieces) or get a mix you prefer
2 onions, cut into slices

1.  Mix yogurt, cilantro, olive oil, garam masala, salt and garlic in a 13x9 inch baking dish.  Add chicken one piece at a time, making sure it's all nice and coated.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 400.  Arrange onion slices on the bottom of a roasted pan, then add the chicken pieces to the top of a cooling rack.  Discard the rest of the marinade.

3. Place in oven and check after 20-30 minutes depending on how large your chicken pieces are.  Mine cooked for about 30-40 minutes and because the skin was on, it crisped up nice and left the meat extremely juicy.

I think I might make this recipe again soon, really soon.  I think you should too!


We went to Philly this past weekend to see the brother, the sis-in-law, and the nephew to be in her belly.  Benjamin had never been so we made our way downtown to see Independence Hall and of course, the Liberty Bell.

It was a good quick trip- I'm not one for history- but he is.  When we go back and the weather's warmer we can get him a Philly Cheese steak.  As far as this trip went we hung out with the family and realized (again) how expensive it is to live in DC compared to pretty much most other cities.  Oh life.

Recipes up next...