Fresh, Fruity Summer Porridge

This past week I was in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with my husband’s family. They rented a beautiful house on the inter coastal, with the beach within walking distance. We had a few really nice warm days which allowed us to go to the beach, lay by the pool, and take walks outside. On the cooler days we went to Lion Country Safari, shopped, and took a water taxi ride, giving us a the perfect view of incredible yachts and real estate! By the way, if you ever get to this area, Lion Country Safari is a must. It’s known as the first cage-less zoo, allowing you to drive through the grounds while the animals roam freely. Having zebras and rhinos walk right in front of a car was exciting for the toddlers and adults, alike! I went as a child, and it was fun being able to take my own child now. The entire vacation was great, and it was so fun getting to see our son take in all the new surroundings that Florida offers!

The warm weather was such a treat and a tease, since coming home to single digits was not easy. I now have summer on the brain and cannot wait to shed these sweaters and ditch the hearty meals and move on to lighter everything! In dreaming of warmer temps, I made Fresh, Fruity Summer Porridge, which is essentially overnight oats. I love eating the yogurt, oats, and fresh fruit in the morning out of the mason jar; its a delicious and nutritious way to start the day. What makes this recipe different from others like it is the liquid in this version comes from grated apple. This does add an extra step, but its worth it. Until the snow melts and the temperature creeps back up, I am going to be eating this Fresh, Fruity Summer Porridge, pretending that its just around the corner.

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Fresh, Fruit Summer Porridge

Recipe from: The Family Cooks by Laurie David

What You Need

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not "instant")
  • 3 cups plain yogurt (whole or low-fat) or kefir
  • 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 2 large apples (not peeled), grated
  • 1 cup mixed fresh fruit, such as sliced kiwi or strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries (save a little extra for garnish)

What To Do

  1. Combine the oats, yogurt, honey, apples, and mixed fruit in a bowl, making sure that the apple is completely folded into the yogurt .
  2. Divide the porridge evenly among six 8-ounce glasses or mason jars, cover tightly with wrap or lids, and refrigerate overnight. Have a good night's sleep.
  3. Garnish the porridge with more fresh fruit and enjoy.


If you do not want to grate the apple, you can replay with 1/2-3/4 cup of milk of your choice. May need to adjust sweetness.

Vegetable Tacos with Red Chile Sauce

Super Bowl Sunday was a blast! We had friends over for a potluck to watch the game; I made a big crock pot of chili and everyone brought an appetizer or dessert. After several hours of eating everything from baked salami to pepperoni pull-apart bread, Meatless Monday could not have come soon enough!

I made Vegetable Tacos with Red Chili Sauce, and I was pleasantly blown alway by how delicious and flavorful they were. I did not miss the meat at all! The earthy mushrooms, sweet red pepper, and fragrant onions all came together to heft up the tacos. I topped the tacos off with avocado, which is a must, queso fresco, and a Red Chili drizzle. With many of my favorite veggies, plus all the extras, I should have known they were going to be a touchdown (wink wink)! Since everyone in my house was pleased with the  tacos, these are getting added to the Monday night rotation immediately.

I hope you had a fun and delicious Super Bowl Sunday!

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Vegetable Tacos with Red Chili Sauce

Yield: 6 tacos

What You Need

  • 1 small red pepper, diced small
  • 1 small zucchini, diced small
  • 1/2 red onion, diced small
  • 4 oz mushrooms, diced small
  • 1 small green chili pepper, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Juice from 1 lime, divided, plus extra lime wedges for serving
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon red chili sauce (I used a Frontera spicy red chili sauce)
  • 6 6-inch corn tortillas
  • Avocado slices
  • 2 ounces queso fresco, crumbled

What To Do

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and chopped onion and sauté until fragrant. Add red pepper and green chili, and sauté until cooked al dente. Add zucchini and mushrooms, and continue sauteing until the mushrooms and zucchini are cooked through.
  2. Sprinkle vegetable mixture with cumin, parka, juice from 1/2 lime and salt and pepper. Sauté until all the vegetables are coated, and allow to cook for 5-10 more minutes to let the flavors set in.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine Greek yogurt, red chili sauce and juice from 1/2 a lime. Stir to combine.
  4. To serve, heat the tortillas in a small pan. Divide the vegetable mixture evenly among the 6 taco shells. Garnish with avocado slices, crumbled queso freso and a drizzle of the red chili sauce.

Spaghetti Squash Fritters with Sriracha Mayo

Happy Monday, I hope you had a fabulous weekend! Our weekend was great; we had friends visiting from Chicago. The unusually mild January weather allowed us to go to the zoo on Saturday morning. We also enjoyed brunch out, as well as Saturday night drinks and dinner with a group of friends. Like most weekends with guests, I felt like I was in an eating competition. First off, our friends brought my favorite guilty pleasure from Chicago, Doughnut Vault! We literally devoured the doughnuts with coffee before the zoo. I was in sugar heaven. Then, Saturday night was a fried chicken dinner and all the tasty sides at Old Standard. It never fails that I find myself trying to get back to healthier eating come Monday! Does everyone go through this crazy cycle, or is it just me?!

To start off the week, we’re eating Spaghetti Squash Fritters with Sriracha Mayo from Cooking Light. I’ve been loving spaghetti squash lately because of its versatility. It can be topped off with any sauce, eaten with other veggies, or even with just a little olive oil and parmesan. The fact that I’d never prepared spaghetti squash in fritter form was what drew me to this recipe. Plus, I knew that the sriracha mayo dipping sauce would interest my husband! I’ll be serving the fritters with a big salad, but they would also be great alongside a bowl of soup. I love that these were unique, not difficult to make (although they do take a little time), and that I can cook the spaghetti squash in advance and prepare the rest at another time. I’m certain that spaghetti squash lovers and skeptics would enjoy these fritters!

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Spaghetti Squash Fritters with Sriracha Mayo

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine

What You Need

  • 1 (2-pound) spaghetti squash
  • 1 (8-ounce) package baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 5 teaspoons canola mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha (hot chile sauce, such as Huy Fong)
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

What To Do

  1. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds; discard. Place squash halves, cut sides up, in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave at HIGH 20 minutes or until tender. Let stand 10 minutes. Scrape inside of squash with a fork to remove spaghettilike strands to measure 4 cups.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach to pan; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Place squash and spinach on a clean dish towel; squeeze until barely moist. Coarsely chop squash mixture, and place in a large bowl. Add panko and next 4 ingredients (through baking powder), and toss well to combine. Beat egg in a separate bowl and fold egg whites into squash mixture.
  3. Fill a 1/4-cup dry measuring cup with squash mixture. Invert onto work surface; gently pat into a 3/4-inch-thick patty. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture, forming 10 patties total. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add 5 patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove patties from pan; keep warm. Repeat the procedure with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and squash patties.
  4. Combine mayonnaise and remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Serve with fritters.


I did cook my spaghetti squash in the oven at 400 degrees for 1 hour, then I cut it in half and scraped out seeds and then squash. I included the microwave directions from the original recipe for those who would like to save time. Make sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. You may need another tablespoon of oil for frying the fritters. Also, Cooking Light reviews did say that adding sautéed onion to the fritters added great flavor. I did not make mine that way, but would like to try that next time.

Thick Turkey Chili

You know what’s really sad? Not like sad sad, but more just unfortunate? When your favorite lipstick color gets discontinued. Or when you go to Trader Joe’s specifically to buy shredded brussels sprouts, and then they’re fresh out. Or when your neighborhood restaurant with the best turkey chili EVER either goes out of business or changes their recipe. This last “tragedy” has happened to me twice, once in Chicago and now in St. Louis. Isn’t this like lightning striking twice in the same place?! What’s a girl to do?!

I set out on a mission to find a turkey chili recipes that rivals the two now unattainable bowls of chili. What I loved about the restaurants’ chili is the thickness, flavor and uniformity. I prefer my chili to be the same throughout, not having tons of big chunks. Although the recipe that I found is pretty darn amazing, I still haven’t mastered the exact texture that I’m aiming for. However, I’ve started adding an extra step that helps me get close: I put the cooked turkey meat in the food processor. Hear me out here. I know this sounds bizarre, but no matter how long I stand at the stove and try to break up the meat in a pan, I still can’t get the finely and uniform bites that I prefer. So, putting the ground turkey in the food processor and pulsing it just two or three times helps me get what I want out of my chili. Of course, you don’t have to do this extra step, but its completely worth it from my perspective, and I hope you agree!

I’m still mourning the loss of my favorite places to get turkey chili, but until I discover another restaurant that has it down, my version will be serving as a great stand-in.

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Thick Turkey Chili

Recipe adapted from

What You Need

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow sweet onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans in chili sauce (do not drain)
  • 1 (12 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 3 (10 ounce) cans tomatoes and green chilies
  • Shredded cheddar cheese and onions for garnish

What To Do

  1. Chop all vegetables into small pieces.
  2. In a large pot saute the vegetables in olive oil until soft. 15 minutes.
  3. In a separate pan, cook ground turkey until fully cooked. Do not worry about getting the meat into very small pieces. When the meat is done, add it to the bowl of a food processor. Using the Pulse function, pulse the meet about 3 times, until the meet is ground into fine, tiny pieces. We're not trying to liquify it or anything! If you do not care about bigger chunks of meat, you can skip this step.
  4. Add the meat to the cooked veggies.
  5. Stir in all seasonings; cumin, oregano, paprika, chili powder, black pepper, celery salt, kosher salt. Mix well to incorporate all the seasonings.
  6. Add tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and pinto beans with the chili sauce.
  7. Mix all ingredients well. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 1 hour to meld all the flavors and thicken the chili. Stir often. Be sure to taste the mixture to see if it needs more salt, pepper or chili powder to your liking.
  8. Ladle chili into large bowls and garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and finely chopped fresh onion.

Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables

It’s official: the holidays are over and it’s back to reality! This past week was a lot of fun with New Year’s Eve and my husband’s friend in town. For New Years we stayed in and cooked a feast with our friends. We ate our hearts out, dining on crab legs, flank steak with chimichuri sauce, Caesar salad, roasted brussels sprouts, steak fries, and chocolate lava cake with vanilla gelato for dessert! Needless to say, like most people beginning their New Year’s resolutions today, I’m ready to get back to healthier eating and to get started on my resolutions.

So, on the first Monday of the year, I wanted to start the week right with some good “Meatless Monday” food in the fridge. I made a Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Fontina so I could have a veggie-packed dish that would still satisfy after eating all the rich and heavy food last week. If you’ve never had farro, it is a hearty, nutty grain that is sort of like a cross between barley and rice. This dish combines many of my favorite veggies, and is topped off with balsamic, olive oil and chunks of creamy fontina cheese. The best part is, you can add whatever combination of veggies that sounds good to you. I’m looking forward to having this in my fridge for the next few days.

I hope your year is off to a great start!

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Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Veggies and Fontina

Yield: 3-4 servings

Recipe from The Kitchn, with slight adaptations

What You Need

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes (I sliced mine in half, but can leave them whole)
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, cut into small chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered (or minced if you don't like garlic chunks)
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup farro
  • 2-3 ounces fontina cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • small handful of chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

What To Do

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, and onion in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper, chopped rosemary, and toss to coat. Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper, and roast for 20 minutes, stirring once.
  3. Meanwhile, rinse and drain the farro. Bring 2 cups of water to boil, season with salt, and add the farro. Cook for 10 minutes, (or according to package directions) until soft but still chewy in the center. Drain.
  4. Combine the cooked farro and vegetables, then add the fontina and parsley. Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the balsamic vinegar, seasoning with salt and pepper, and drizzle over the farro mixture.

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