Showing posts with label Recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Recipe. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

{recipe} vegetable and quinoa stuffed zucchini

Today has been quite the day. I tried to wake up a few hours before it was actually necessary for me to get up in order to get some stuff done, only to be lured back to sleep by extremely rare morning rain. Instead of having enough time to write a blog post and reply to emails before work, I had just enough time to shower and eat some leftover banana pancakes before scampering out the door. I went to work and enjoyed a game of Scattergories with my oldest students, until the moment I had to give a stern lecture as to why using a specific word that starts with N is not an acceptable answer for the category Things that are black. Iyiyi. I came home with grand plans to workout, but those fell through because... um. I'm lazy. I spent the rest of the day replying to emails, planning my trips to Switzerland and Greece (any advice friends?!), listening to some great Spotify playlists, and watching the crazy weather go from sunny one minute to raining the next. Needless to say, it wasn't terribly exciting, but I did have lots of time to think about the next few months and everything that is going to change when I move back home.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

{recipe} mediterranean edamame salad

Dear friends, meet your next lunch. Hi, lunch!


I made this salad just before I left for carb, gelato, and cannoli heaven in Italy for my big kid version of spring break -- I love teaching! (Lots of Italy spam to come on the blog. Get exciiiited!) I had a bunch of random ingredients I wanted to use up before I left, and a huge block of feta cheese sitting in my refrigerator that my roommate brought back from Greece. She is so kind for sharing it, isn't she?! I know that edamame typically only goes in Asian dishes, but trust me on this one. They add a sweet little crunch to the salad, but even better -- lots of protein. Did you know that just 1/2 a cup of shelled edamame has 11 grams of protein in it? Solid.

This salad is extremely quick and easy to whip together and travels really well. We don't have a refrigerator at my school for teacher use, so I have to bring snacks to work that won't go bad. In my opinion, the flavors actually get better if you let the salad warm up to room temperature a bit. I threw it over some arugula I needed to use up, but you could also top a grilled chicken breast with it as well! That actually sounds super delicious now that I think of it.... 

Friday, March 21, 2014

{recipe} 3 minute oatmeal

There are soooo many things I need to blog about. For example, my trip to Prague (in November of last year!!!), an awesome food tour I went on in Madrid, my first solo trip to Zaragoza, Spain, a beautiful hike in the Spanish countryside, my travel plans for the rest of the year (I'm so excited), and of course my wonderful boyfriend's law school spring break trip to visit little ol' me in Madrid. But currently my laptop is sadly broken. The cooling fan has gone kaput, so it is now time to put some of these English teaching euros aside for a computer repair. Womp womp womppppp. Anyways, you didn't click on this link to read about my troubles in blogging paradise. Amirightttt? Alas, it is finally time for the most perfect oatmeal recipe around. And it only takes three minutes to make. (No really, it took me longer to make my cafe con leche than it did to churn out this delicious recipe.)

I have had a really hard time finding the chewy rolled oats I am used to eating at home in Madrid. The box I bought from the grocery store looked promising, but had an incredibly goopy, soupy texture. Ick. What can I say? I'm a texture girl through and through. I found these oats at a natural food store near my flat, called La Magdalena de Proust. I was like a middle aged man in a Ferrari showroom the first time I walked in there. It takes all of my willpower not to buy everything in sight. I have to keep reminding myself, "Do you want this bag of chia seeds or do you want to eat chocolate in Switzerland?" Priorities, obviously. When I saw a 500g bag of rolled oats for 2€ at this store though, all bets were off. I was so happy after leisurely waking up and rolling out of bed to be able to make a favorite breakfast item from home. So what makes this particular oatmeal so special? A very awesome addition of a mashed banana to the oats/milk mixture. It thickens the oatmeal and adds a natural sweetness. Usually I dump a bunch of brown sugar into my oatmeal, but I didn't need any additional sweetness with this recipe! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

{recipe} lentejas con chorizo

You guys... I have the winter blues. I know, I know. I can't really talk to you northerners and midwesterners about my #spainproblems considering the whole Polar Vortex thing has been dumping way too much snow on you this winter, but I really do. If it isn't raining, it is cloudy. If it isn't freezing cold, then it's windy. If there is sun, well... that's a miracle and you will definitely find me outside. Winter in Madrid is certainly not the coldest, wettest, or snowiest place to be, but it certainly gets old after a while.

The Spanish dish that is absolutely my number one comfort food during the winter months is lentejas con chorizo (lentil soup with chorizo). There's nothing quite like curling up in a window seat in a warm restaurant with a glass of Rioja and a huge bowl of lentejas. I have attempted Spanish lentils before and failed miserably. But this recipe? This one tastes exactly like my favorite restaurant's soup.

Ps. Do you want to know a secret about comfort food? It never photographs well. Get past the beany texture in the photo and make it for yourself. You won't be disappointed, scout's honor.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

{recipe} red velvet chocolate chip cookies

I love the holidays. Every year I get so pumped up for Halloween and Thanksgiving to roll around. Pumpkins, cider, and cinnamon brooms... oh my! I love football season and chili in the crock pot. I love the colors of autumn and the crisp smell of the seasons changing in the air. But man... do I love Christmas. I am the one person in my house who still insists on a real Christmas tree. Can't be havin' any of that fake tree nonsense. There is something magical about the time of year when you get to decorate the house, listen to all of your favorite Christmas tunes, and give presents to your loved ones. And there's the dessert, of course. Ohhhh, the dessert.

Hi pretties.

Every year growing up as a kid my mom would ask me what kind of cake I wanted to help her bake for Christmas. RED VELVET PLEASE MOM! Then my birthday would roll around and she would ask me what kind of cake I'd like for my party. RED VELVET PLEASE MOM! Yeah.... I was that kid. I remember, at one point, my mom being like.. ummmm can we make something new this year please? But really... why mess with perfection?

Monday, October 7, 2013

{recipe} spiced lentil vegan burgers + weekend shenans

Hellllllo beautiful people. I'm back with another veggie burger. Surprise, surprise.

But first, weekend shenanigans!

I so wish that weekends never had to end... Especially weekends with absolutely perfect weather. In Madrid, we are currently in the paradise temperatures in between summer and fall. We're talking low 70s during the day and low 60s at night. Absolutely delightful. We decided to spend this weekend exploring our neighborhood a bit. Once my roommate and I find a place we reallllly love, we tend to go there... again, and again, and again. There are so many great restaurants and bars nearby that we just kind of skip on by every weekend. We decided to make up a little tapas crawl of our own based on blog recommendations written by Spaniards. Fun was had. :) Even if we had to eat anchovies.... yuck.

Poor little anchovy's spine.

On Saturday, my roommate and I went to the modern art museum, Museo Reina Sofia, with a new friend. We spent a few hours in there cracking up at all of the "art." Don't get me wrong, I appreciate a good artistic effort, but some of the pieces on display were so wacky. We also got to see some... interesting... performance art take place. Um. We were giggling uncontrollably. 

Onion... on a wine bottle. Typical Reina Sofia display. :)

It was such a wonderful weekend! Unfortunately on Sunday I woke up with a throbbing in my mouth. My wisdom tooth decided to break through and is now causing some issues. I'm terrified to go to the dentist here but it definitely has to happen. Accepting all positive thoughts for that situation... eek!

Okay, back to the yummmmmy burger. Since I was feeling a bit too under the weather to get out and enjoy the beautiful day yesterday, I decided to cook. I was going to make lentil soup, but then I discovered this recipe and that idea went right out the window. These burgers are super filling and delicious. I definitely recommend you smother them with some sriracha aioli. nommmmmm.

And just because you are really great and actually read this entire post, you get a bonus recipe for baked steak fries! Woooo, go you! PS. Don't freak out if you don't have all of the right spices for this recipe, I adapted the spices from the original recipe to use what I had in my kitchen. Play around with your spices!

Spiced Lentil Vegan Burgers
recipe adapted from
Makes 6 regular sized burgers

  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • splash of water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash seasoning (or favorite seasoning)
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
  1. Before you chop everything up, start to cook the lentils. Gently boil them in enough water to cover them by 2 inches, with no salt. They will take about 30 minutes to cook. Make sure you can mash them up a bit before you take them off of the heat. I had to add a little bit more water during the process until they got to the right consistency.
  2. While lentils are cooking, dice the onion and grate the carrot into a big bowl.
  3. Drain the cooked lentils and pour them into the bowl with the onion and carrot. Mash them a bit, but not too much, and add enough flour to the point where the three ingredients will stick together. I added the flour 1/4 cup at a time, and mixed it thoroughly. Add a splash of water if the flour isn't getting it to the right consistency.
  4. Season the mix with the spices, salt, and pepper.
  5. With your hands, form the burgers. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to a heated pan, then add the burgers. Leave them on for about 10 minutes on one side, then flip to cook for 5-7 minutes more on the other side.
  6. Serve smothered with sriracha aioli (mayonnaise and sriracha mixed well), spinach, and tomatoes.

Baked Steak Fries:
One serving of fries

  • One small potato, rinsed and scrubbed, and cut into wedges
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 450*F
  2. Coat potato wedges with a bit of olive oil, salt, and paprika.
  3. Put in oven for about 35 minutes or until at the right crispiness.
  4. Serve with some mooooooore sriracha aioli... duh.

Bon appetite my lovely readers!

xx, Jen

Friday, August 23, 2013

{recipe} quinoa black bean veggie burgers

Say hello to your next dinner.

I made these a few weeks ago, but naturally have slacked like crazy on blogging the recipe. I know that these will 100% be put into my cycle of easy weeknight meals from now on. They are packed with protein and fiber, and low in sodium and fat. And they're pretty. Win, win situation people.

When I was eating this veggie burger, the word that kept popping up into my head was "substantial." Weird, but true! These burgers are nothing like your run-of-the-mill frozen who-knows-what-is-in-here patty from the grocery store. They are... substantial. And fill you up like crazy! So, when in doubt.... make your own veggie burger!

Quinoa Black Bean Burgers:
Recipe found on Inquiring Chef
  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup oat flour (made by running 1/4 rolled oats in the food processor until flour texture)
  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a fine-mesh strainer until water runs clear to avoid a bitter flavor once cooked. Place rinsed quinoa in a small saucepan with 1 cup of water. Set saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan, and cook 10-15 minutes until the water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Add 1/3 teaspoon salt and saute the onions until they are softened, about 5-6 minutes. Place the mixture into a large bowl. Add black beans to the bowl and using a potato masher or fork, mash together until a pasty mixture forms. 
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, egg, corn, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, and remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Stir in the cooked quinoa, oats, and oat flour until well mixed. Form the mixture into 6 equal patties.
  4. Place the patties on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap. If you are planning on eating the burgers the night-of, stick the tray into the freezer for about 30-45 minutes. If you can wait, put them in the refrigerator for a few hours or over night. This step helps to hold the burgers together when cooking.
  5. When ready to eat, place the tray directly into a pre-heated 400*F oven. Cook 10-12 minutes until the patties are golden brown and crispy. Flip them over and cook for another 10-12 minutes.

These burgers are incredibly versatile. We ended up serving them with guacamole and sauteed onions, but I think they would be delicious with a sriracha-mayo sauce too. You could even switch out the cilantro for a different herb like parsley or basil and serve these puppies with some roasted garlic, goat cheese, and grilled onions. YUM. Also. They are great over a salad as well. Just saying.

xx, Jen

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

{life} a roaring good time - ciro's speakeasy & supper club

I love getting dressed up. Whether it is in a silly costume from my costume bag for sorority functions, or all glammed up in heels and a dress, I'm all about it! I also happen to be slightly obsessed with the 1920s, so when I heard about a fun new restaurant and bar open in Tampa that is themed as a speakeasy I knew I had to try it out. I threw a little wine and apps party with my best friend and college roommate at her new adorable apartment for a group of our girlfriends, and then we headed on over to see what Ciro's was all about!

{dress} H&M in Madrid {heels} TJMAXX - old

My best friend!

One of the appetizers I threw together before the girls came over! It is super easy & delicious. I also made my go-to spinach balls and an addicting jalapeno popper dip by Closet Cooking.

Black Bean, Corn, & Feta Salsa:

  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 bunch green onions
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 oz. feta cheese
  1. Combine sugar and apple cider vinegar. Whisk until sugar has dissolved. Whisk in olive oil.
  2. Combine corn, black beans, and green onions in a bowl. Stir in dressing. Add cheese. ENJOY!
I served this dip with tortilla chips, but I have a feeling it would be delicious on top of fish or chicken. 

So after enjoying some {cheap} wine & appetizers, we left the apartment to make our 9:00 reservation at Ciro's. In true speakeasy fashion you have to make a reservation in order to get that night's password. When you knock on the front door of the secluded restaurant, you then have to whisper the password to the door guard. So much fun!

The drinks and food are definitely not in my budget for a weekly visit, but they were just right for a fun night out with friends. Ciro's likes to stay true to their era and specialize in drinks with gin, whisky, bourbon, and rye, but you can also find vodka, tequila, beer, wine, and the likes on the menu as well! 

I ordered two gin drinks. They were ridiculously delicious.

So, after entering the restaurant with a password, we were whisked down a dark hallway to the large private room at the end. After our waitress left, she closed the curtains to ensure our privacy. We were all seriously gushing about what a fun environment it was!

I can't wait to go back in December when I'm home again for the holidays!

Have you ever been to a speakeasy or 20s themed restaurant?

xx, Jen

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

{recipe} raw dark chocolate almond butter cups

Today is the day that I bring you dark chocolate. Dark chocolate mixed with sinfully salty and sweet almond butter to make a grown up Reese's PB cup. That's right. No sharing allowed. You'll thank me later.

As a kid I was constantly reaching for the peanut butter and chocolate mixture when my sweet tooth wouldn't stop aching for some treats. I loved to mix peanut butter and chocolate sauce into vanilla ice-cream, absolutely adored Reese's Pieces, ate my weight in Reese's Eggs & Pumpkins during their respective holidays, and slathered peanut butter onto my Oreos (still a favorite of mine - YUM!). I don't know what it is about that magical combination of salty and sweet but I couldn't, and still can't, get enough! So, when I saw this recipe on my favorite vegan blog, Oh She Glows, I knew I had to try it!  Her blog is always my go-to when I feel like making a creative and yummy vegan dish. 

Not only are these delicious, but they are also a healthy, no-bake alternative to your favorite sinful sweet. They aren't quite as sweet as a PB cup, but that's why I love them! They are really quite easy to make, as long as you have a food processor. I don't have one in Spain, so I'm using my parents' as much as I can while I'm home. :)

These are best kept in the freezer because the chocolate layer starts to melt onto your fingertips as soon as they are out. But.... that's okay. That just means you have to eat them more quickly. No problem there!

Raw Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups
Adapted slightly from Oh She Glows
Yield: 8 regular sized cups or 1 dozen mini cups

for the base:
  • 3/4 cup raw almonds, ground into a meal
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats, ground into a flour
  • 2 tablespoons raw nut butter
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil, warmed if necessary
  • 1.5 tablespoons agave nectar (or pure maple syrup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • pinch of fine grain sea salt, to taste
for the topping:
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, warmed if necessary
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
  • pinch of fine grain sea salt, to taste
  1. Add almonds and oats into a high-speed blender and blend on high until a flour forms. Dump into a large bowl and break up any clumps with your fingers.
  2. Add the nut butter, coconut oil, agave (or maple syrup), cinnamon, vanilla and salt into the bowl. Stir until thoroughly combined. The dough should be fairly sticky like cookie dough.
  3. Line a regular muffin tin with paper liners. Portion the dough into each muffin cup and press down until even and smooth.
  4. To make chocolate sauce: Whisk together the coconut oil, sweetner, cocoa powder, and salt until no clumps remain. Spoon the sauce over top each of the cups, distributing evenly.
  5. Place in the freezer in a flat area for 30-45 minutes, until firm. These are best consumed straight from the freezer.


PS. I'm guest blogging over at my sorority sister's blog, MC Squared, while she's on vacation in the Florida Keys. Go check it out. :)

xx, Jen

Monday, August 5, 2013

{recipe} crustless goat cheese cheesecake with mixed berries

I love cheesecake. Peanut butter cup cheesecake. Pumpkin cheesecake. Bourbon pecan pumpkin cheesecake. Any cheesecake really. Cream cheese and I are pretty much best friends in the kitchen.

I didn't think cheesecake could get any better... but then I decided to take my beloved cream cheese out and switch in some goat cheese. Yeah. It happened. And it was delicious.

The flavor was great! It was a little bit lemony, and the light sugar coating at the bottom of the cake was a lovely surprise. You could just taste the goat cheese without it being overpowering. The texture was the same, but it was much lighter than a typical cheesecake. I'm definitely not going to try to stretch the truth and call this "healthy," but you won't feel like you oversplurged as much as you do when eating a traditional cheesecake.

This cheesecake was a little more challenging for me to make than the ones I've made in the past. Mainly because of the pesky addition of beaten egg whites. They are finicky little ingredients to include. You have to wait until "soft peaks form" before folding them into the rest of the cheesecake batter. But it's fine. I succeeded and so can you!

crustless goat cheese cheesecake with mixed berries
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetite magazine

cake ingredients:
  • unsalted butter (for pan)
  • 3/4 cup sugar plus more for pan
  • 12 oz. fresh soft goat cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
topping ingredients:
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. blueberry preserves + a bit more for color
  • drizzle of agave
  • 1 1/2 pints mixed berries of choice
  • sugar
special equipment: 9" diameter springform pan. electric mixer.

cake directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Butter springform pan and dust with sugar, tapping out any excess.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat goat cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and 3/4 cup sugar in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add 2 egg yolks at a time, beating to blend and scraping down sides of bowl between additions. Reduce speed to low, add flour, and mix just until blended.
  3. Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Fold 1/4 of egg whites into goat cheese mixture just until blended. Scrape into prepared pan and tap pan to level batter.
  4. Bake cheesecake until top is set but still jiggles slightly in the center, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool in pan.
topping directions:
  1. While cheesecake is baking, wash and drain berries. Pour into a bowl and coat with a little bit of sugar. Put back into the refrigerator.
  2. Once cake is cool to the touch, mix together greek yogurt, blueberry preserves, and agave. Add enough blueberry preserves to create the color you would like.
  3. Spread yogurt mixture evenly onto the cake, and then place the cake into the refrigerator for an hour or longer. 
  4. Just before serving, decorate the cake with your berries. Serve the extra berries on the side.


xx, Jen

Friday, August 2, 2013

{recipe} whole wheat banana bread pancakes

Happy Friday! You look like you deserve pancakes.

Hi, I'm Jen. I suck at spooning batter onto pans and flipping pancakes to make perfect little circles. Also. Sometimes I let one of the sides get a litttttle too brown because I'm scared of ruining my pancake forever mid-flip. But it's okay. We don't have to be perfect around here. 

Flavor is everything. And guess what? These just happen to taste exactly like your favorite loaf of banana bread, except you don't have to deal with the heat stroke you have when turning on your oven in the middle of the blistering hot summer. You can even throw in some chocolate chips if that's your thing. It's usually mine, but I wasn't thinking clearly yesterday. Next time. :)

Stack 'em high, throw some walnuts on top, and saturate in syrup. As Rihanna would say, "cheers to the freaking weekend." 

Whole Wheat Banana Bread Pancakes
Recipe adapted from Mega Bite, who adapted from the cookbook Pancakes by Adrianna Adarme

**The reason why my pancakes are whole wheat is because I only had about half a cup of all-purpose flour left and was feeling too lazy to go to the grocery store. I subbed half a cup of whole wheat flour and made them healthy! ;) So feel free to use one cup of all-purpose if you don't have whole wheat flour.


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 T light brown sugar
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t kosher salt.
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananans (about 2)
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t vanilla extract
Mix ins and toppings:
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • maple syrup and butter to top
  • butter or oil for the skillet.

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl whisk together the wet ingredients. All at once add the wet to the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in the walnuts.
  2. Preheat your skillet over medium heat and brush with butter or oil. Using 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the batter onto the warm skillet. cook for 2-3 minutes or until small bubbles form on the surface of the pancakes, then flip. Cook on opposite side for 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown.
  3. Serve with butter, maple syrup, and more walnuts. Enjoy!

PS. I've created a Facebook page for this blog. I'd love you if you would like it. :)
xx, Jen

Monday, July 29, 2013

{recipe} sweet potato hash

I woke up yesterday with a determination to cook something delicious. I once again have a real kitchen, stocked with all of the pots, pans, and utensils I could ever want or need, and more importantly --- all of the ingredients I could ever want or need.

Potatoes? Check. Veggies? Check. Eggs? Check! Sausage? Check again!

I didn't even have to go to the grocery store to make this meal. Ahh.... it's good to be home.

This breakfast was absolutely delicious! We paired our sweet potato hash with a sunny side up egg (click here for detailed instructions on how to make these eggs), fresh peaches, and breakfast sausage, but we decided that this recipe would be great as a dinner side as well!

My potatoes didn't end up being super crispy and fried like the ones from Cracker Barrel, but it was totally fine. Don't worry if it isn't perfect - it will still taste delicioussssss.

One tip I will give before beginning this recipe is to prep all of the ingredients prior to cooking. It will help things run much more smoothly.

Sweet Potato Hash
Recipe from The Food Network


  • Two large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 5-6 mini sweet bell peppers or one large bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions, light and dark green parts
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  1. Prep all of the ingredients before beginning.
  2. Add the potatoes to a large saucepan of salted boiling water and simmer until tender. Drain and dry completely with paper towels.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the red onions, bell peppers, green onions, and garlic, and saute until tender and lightly golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove to a bowl.
  4. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons oil to the skillet, and then add the drained and dried sweet potatoes. Cook in a single layer, stirring occasionally, on medium heat until they are tender, about 6 minutes. Increase the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until the potatoes are golden and crisp, about 2 more minutes. 
  5. Sprinkle with the smoked paprika and gently stir in the onion mixture and parsley.


PS. I've created a Facebook page for this blog. I'd love you if you would like it. :)

xx, Jen

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

{recipe} marinated cucumber salad

Soo..... my roommate and I ate this salad so quickly that I don't even have any evidence of it existing. You get a picture of a fruit and veggie stand I took in Pike Place Market in  Seattle instead. :)

I absolutely adore the prices of fruits and vegetables in Spain. You can get $20 worth of produce for about 8 euros. I swear! It is insane. I have always bought the majority of my groceries from the produce section of the store, but I do even more so now because of how cheap it is in Madrid. I had a few cucumbers, some chopped onion, and peppers left over in the fridge from when my roommate and I made pasta salad earlier in the week, so I decided to make a marinated cucumber salad. This recipe is perfect for the summer because it is super light and refreshing. You could definitely add fresh herbs and more veggies to this salad for a more hearty version.

Marinated Cucumber Salad:
Adapted from Not Without My Mom

2 cups cucumber, chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced
1/2 small onion (red or white), chopped
1/2 medium-sized red pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. white vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp sugar
Optional: Sriracha

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Let veggies soak up the liquid in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes (longer if you have time!) Serve with a squeeze of sriracha for a hint of spice.


PS. I've created a Facebook page for this blog. I'd love you if you would like it. :)

xx, Jen

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

{recipe} thai noodle soup

Remember  that time when I had all the time in the world to bake cookies for my roommates and put things in my crock pot all week long? Or even that time when I posted recipes on the blog in general....? Yeah. Sorry bout that ladies! I'm baaaaaaaack.... for now. :)

The weather in Madrid has been absolutely crazy the last few weeks. Sunny and warm one day, rainy and cold the next. This is not boding well for my immune system... (not to mention the fact that all of my friends are sicky children too!) I knew it was time to make a huge pot of super comforting, homemade soup. I wasn't feeling the prospect of having to go to the meat store to pick up some chicken for chicken noodle soup, so I decided to go a vegetarian route and make an Asian noodle soup.

This soup could not have been any easier to make. It only took me about 20 minutes, which is perfect on a cold, rainy night filled with extra work tasks and pages of Spanish homework. The first spoonful was instantly comforting - it reminded me of being at home with my parents again. :) 

PS. Don't be intimidated by the ingredients - I changed the recipe up quite a bit from the original. Use what you have and what you like! 

Thai Noodle Soup:
Adapted from Domestic Fits

  • Splash of oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 package extra firm tofu, drained and diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 6 oz rice noodles (XL kind)
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • a few squirts of sriracha, to desired spiciness! 
  • a spoonful of chili-garlic sauce, to desired spiciness!
  • 1 tablespoon mushroom sauce (can also use fish, teriyaki, or other dark sauce)
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons pickled ginger, sliced

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and stir. Add the tofu, cook until lightly fried, about 3 minutes. 
  2. Add the broth, noodles, soy sauce, sriracha, chili-garlic sauce, and mushroom sauce. Cover pot with a lid and bring to a slight boil on medium-high. I let my broth cook out a little bit while the noodles softened. Add the light green section of the green onions, stir into soup.
  3. Serve topped with the rest of the green onions, sliced pickled ginger, and a few more squirts of sriracha. Enjoy!
xx, Jen

Friday, November 2, 2012

{recipe} bourbon pecan pumpkin cheesecake

So... um... this happened on Halloween. Who cares that I have a million and one pieces of candy floating around my house because the children did not show up in large masses like expected. Who caressss that my parents could only eat this for two nights before they leave for their big anniversary trip? ...which means that I am stuck with half of this cheesecake.. just staring me in the face every time I open the refrigerator.

Y'all. I've made cheesecakes before. Making one of them is a really great way to use up all of those pesky peanut butter cups you have laying around. The other is actually another pumpkin cheesecake recipe. Both were delicious. This one is... phenomenal. And it has bourbon in it. Need I say more?

Seriously. Already planning on including it into our Thanksgiving line-up. I'm not going to lie and tell you that this is not time intensive. It really is. The great part about cheesecake though, is that you have to chill it for hours before it is ready to be served. Make this the day before Thanksgiving and stick it in the refrigerator overnight. Easy as pie.

Click on through to Smitten Kitchen's blog to see pictures that actually do this cheesecake justice! The sun had already set by the time I could take the springform off of it.

Bourbon Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake:
recipe adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen


For crust:
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from five 4 3/4 - by 2 1/4 inch crackers). I just buy the box of graham cracker crumbs. Way easier!
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted & cooled
For filling:
  • 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons half & half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 (8 oz) packages 1/3 less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
For topping:
  • 2 cups light sour cream (20 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
Garnish: pecan halves

Directions: First, set out your cream cheese so that it will come to room temperature and melt your butter so that it will cool.
  • To make crust:
    • Lock side of springform pan and butter / spray.
    • Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust in refrigerator for one hour.
  • Make filling and bake cheesecake: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350* F.
    • Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a medium bowl until combined.
    • Stir together the granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
    • Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy & smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.
    • Poor filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50-60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. Leave oven on.
  • Make topping:
    • Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 additional minutes.
  • Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.
  • Place pecans as garnish and sprinkle some cinnamon on top.
  • Chill, covered, until cold at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and ENJOY!

*Notes on my changes. I always make cheesecakes with less fatty ingredients. I just can't consciously put whole fat cream, cream cheese, and sour cream into mine. I know a lot of people will say that it makes the cheesecake texture different, or make it taste weird, but I'm here to tell you that it doesn't! I'm all for indulging a little bit healthier. :)

In case you were wondering what the sour cream layer is for, it covers the cracking top layer of the cheesecake and adds a tartness that cuts perfectly through the sweet pumpkin layer. I hope that you enjoy this recipe! It is definitely one that I will be coming back to many times throughout the years.

xo, Jen

Thursday, November 1, 2012

{recipe} hearty spicy chili stew

Is there anything more relaxing than cooking a huge pot of chili with all of the windows open on a beautiful fall day? Um.. let's add listening to the Mumford & Sons Pandora station on the surround sound. Yup. That's what I'm talking about. 

For my family, yesterday was not only Halloween. It was also my parents' 30th wedding anniversary! They are truly even more in love today than they were 30 years ago at their wedding. They are precious. :)

We enjoyed our Halloween evening out on the patio with a bottle of Dutton Goldfield Zinfandel and this delicious chili stew. I'm calling it chili stew because it has all of the makings of a chili but we like to use stew meat around here. After dinner we went outside, sat on our driveway, drank a beer, and handed out candy to the kids in our neighborhood. Pretttty awesome Halloween if you ask me!

Hearty Spicy Chili Stew:

  • 4 lb. beef, cut into 1/2-inch cubes. (my grocery store sells "beef for stew" already cut into chunks.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bottle of beer (I used a Yuengling Black & Tan)
  • 10 oz. beef broth
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 4 jalapeno chilies, seeded & minced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chili powder, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
  • 2 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
  • salt to taste
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen corn

  1. In a large pot over medium high heat, brown beef in olive oil, stirring constantly. Add beer & beef broth to cover meat. If necessary, add water or more broth to make enough liquid.
  2. Add chopped onion and simmer for 30 minutes. 
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients (except for corn) and lower heat. Cover and simmer for 3 hours or until meat is tender.
  4. Just before serving, stir in frozen corn until warmed through.
  5. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a dash of tabasco. 

Make sure to stop by tomorrow for a dessert including pecans, bourbon, and pumpkin. :)

xo, Jen

Thursday, October 11, 2012

{recipe} peanut butter banana oatmeal

Meet my new favorite breakfast.

The oatmeal is naturally sweetened with peanut butter, a slightly caramelized banana, some delicious fall spices, and vanilla extract. Chia seeds thicken the oatmeal and make this morning treat even more filling and nutritious. You should enjoy this sitting on your porch or patio with a cup of coffee like I did this morning. Bonus points for bringing your Kindle along.

PB & Banana Oatmeal:
Recipe by Oh She Glows
One serving


  • 1 large ripe banana, peeled & roughly chopped. (I used a frozen banana - let thaw for a few minutes if you do!)
  • 1 tsp butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp chia seeds (or ground flax)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 - 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • toppings: anything your heart desires! I sprinkled sliced almonds and granola, and drizzled honey on mine.
*Make it easier to make in the morning by combining oats, spices, salt, and chia seeds in a bowl the night before.

  1. In a medium pot over medium heat, cook banana in the butter or oil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Stir in 1/2 tbsp peanut butter, and then add oats, chia, spices, a pinch of salt, and milk. Whisk well until combined.
  3. Bring to a low boil and then reduce heat to a simmer, stirring often for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  4. Scoop into bowl, add toppings, and enjoy!

Other breakfast recipes from around the web that I am craving:

What is your favorite breakfast? 

xo, Jen

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

{recipe} strawberry banana frozen yogurt

I keep going through these phases of "I WANT IT TO BE FALL SO BAD OMG" & "summer, you aren't so bad when you dip a bit below the 95 degrees temperature gauge."

Right now, I'm in the second phase. Tampa is so lovely and enjoyable when it is in the 80s. Too bad 98 degrees rings in at the high every day May-September. With no Nick Lachey to ease the pain either. Ugh.

This frozen yogurt is incredibly easy to make and is a yummy treat that you can enjoy morning, afternoon, or night. That's right... it's HEALTHY! :) I mean... froyo is obviously always the "healthier choice" compared to normal ice cream, but this stuff has no added sugar or weird ingredients that you can't pronounce. 

The secret is to use frozen bananas that were put in the freezer at their most delicious peak of ripeness. We don't necessarily want bananas that were frozen after all of the brown spots showed up to play. Save those for banana bread and muffins. Freeze your bananas just as they are beginning to ripen for frozen yogurt... while they are still mainly yellow.

My momma is an expert banana freezer. I always used to just throw cut-up bananas into tiny ziploc bags, but they always ended up turning a darker color in the freezer. My mom individually wraps each banana in saran wrap & then throws them all into a huge ziploc. (see below!) Doing so keeps the bananas fresh and ready for smoothies or frozen yogurt.

Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt:
Makes 4 servings

  • 2 frozen bananas, cut into chunks
  • 3 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 2/3 cup yogurt of choice (I used 2 peach Activia cups)
  1. Process in blender until mixed together thoroughly.

Enjoy every spoonful.

xo, Jen

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

{recipe} vegan peach + nectarine muffins

Oh yeah, these also are made using whole wheat flour and oatmeal, and are naturally sweetened with mashed bananas and honey. nomzzzzz.

PS. Sorry for the really awful picture! It has been raining almost non-stop all day. Of course this happens on my ONE day off for the next 6 days. Wooooo! Luckily, today met all of the requirements of my ideal rainy day. As in: wear PJs all day, read my Kindle, drink hot tea, and cook/bake.

These muffins are perfectly sweet without adding actual sugar granules. Make these ASAP before all of our delectable peaches and nectarines go out of season. 

Whole Wheat Vegan Peach & Nectarine Muffins:

  • 1 1/4 cup white whole wheat (or whole wheat or spelt) flour
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 1 lb peaches & nectarines, sliced 1/4" thick & then cut into thirds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350* F.
  2. Whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. In another bowl blend together the honey, oil, and mashed bananas.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry and combine. Gently fold in peaches & nectarines. Stir only until combined.
  4. Fill greased muffin tins with batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.

Look at alll thhhee fruuiiit. 

PPS. Sorry for the lack of an actual post. I am having blogging block (as evidenced by my disappearance for a few days.) Enjoy these muffins & I will be back before you know it!

xo, Jen

Thursday, September 13, 2012

{recipe} toasted sesame quinoa with grilled chicken

You know what really stinks about graduating from college as a sorority member? 

Graduating from college and becoming an alumnae of your sorority means early mornings spent cramming in breakfast, coffee, makeup, hair, outfit, and packing a lunch. Ugh. Growing up is so cruel. Yes, I might have complained more than a few times about the lunch options for the week at the house in my time. Fried food? AGAIN?! Well, at least there was always salad.

Now that I actually have to pack a lunch to stay alive during the days (I REFUSE to pay for mediocre food at lunchtime), I have started to get creative. This means less sandwiches and crackers, and more nutritional options. Pasta and quinoa salads are a great way to switch up the lunch grind and add in a more balanced meal. 

This quinoa salad has delicious Asian flavor without the (cough-FAKE-cough) American Chinese food that is played off as authentic in most Tampa restaurants. And probably 1/4 of the sodium. Win-win for us all!

I adapted the original recipe a bit by adding grilled chicken instead of shredded chicken. You can make this a super quick meal by shredding some rotisserie chicken too! (click here for my chicken shredding tutorial)

Toasted Sesame Quinoa with Grilled Chicken
Recipe slightly adapted from How Sweet Eats

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 grilled chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 6 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce

  1. Heat saucepan over and add 1/2 tablespoon of sesame and olive oil. Add in garlic and quinoa and stir to coat, then toast for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in chicken stock and increase heat to high, bringing quinoa to a boil. 
  2. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed and quinoa can be fluffed with a fork. Whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside.
  3. Add in chicken, green onions, dressing, and sesame seeds, tossing well to coat.

This can be eaten warm or cold. Make the night before and pack for your lunch! It is filling and delisssh.

xo, Jen