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Last of the summer salad: corn, zucchini and orzo

15 Oct

Here in SoCal I was SURE summer was over when I had to get out the blankets and sweaters. We had a solid week of cool temps and it was amazing. It felt like LA was having a real fall. Everyone was talking about pumpkins and nutmeg and butternut squash and this time I could join in on the conversation because it wasn’t so hot that I could actually turn on the oven. My favorite time of year was finally here! …and then it got to record highs last week. 99 in downtown LA. 103 in the valley. Summer just took a short vacation, it’s not gone. So to try to stay in the summer mode here’s a salad made with summer goodness–sweet corn, zucchini, basil. All the good fresh stuff we are still enjoying. Even though I’d be happy roasting root vegetables and making squash soups this salad reminds me why summer is so great too. Everything is so fresh and delicious! Raw vegetables! No cooking! Why was I complaining again?

I’m living in a single household for most of the week while my other half is in Detroit working with Divas. No, literally. You know those snickers commercials with Aretha being a huge diva in the back of a car? He’ll basically be dealing with that. I wish him luck. In the mean time I’ve got to remember how to make meals for just one person. This salad was not a good example of that since I made about 12 cups worth. I’m trying to give it to my neighbor as I type. Yes, I’m that person. “I have extra lemons–TAKE THEM!” or “I made this cake–EAT IT ALL”. But I don’t hear many of you putting up a fuss. Well, those of you that are further than LA County. Sucks to be you. 🙂

Here’s the recipe. Enjoy it while you can. I hear fall is somewhere out there!

Flatbread Pesto Pizza

28 Sep

I wanted this to be “wordless” and just let you enjoy the photos but I had to ask if you’ve seen the Trader Joe’s Spicy Spinach Pizza’s? They’re really just little flat breads with spinach cooked into them and about 6 inches in diameter. They’re kept in the refrigerated section with the salads and humus? Does this ring a bell? I hadn’t seen them before so I grabbed them because we’re always looking for something new to eat. TJ’s can get a little boring if you shop there all the time like we do. It just so easy to fall back on to known favorites. Or just buy baby carrots and humus. Don’t judge me. Anyway, I made this pizza a few times this week and it’s a great lunch. Even Andrew liked this meatless dish. Although he did say “it would be better with prosciutto” but who didn’t see that coming? And with the temps being as high as 107 it’s the prefect size for the toaster oven. Gotta love it!

Delicious Wonders of the Crockpot

14 Sep

Ready to have your game-day world rocked?

Get ready to thank me. Or thank me for thanking the most awesome person who shared this recipe (You can find her and her adorable family here. I’m lucky enough to be called Aunt May 🙂 ). This was the easiest weekday lunch ever. It was also the most “middle america” recipe I’ve done in a long time. I’m allowed to say that since I am the epitome of a Middle American. You can take the girl out but you can’t take it out of the girl, right? And since my love for the Midwest runs deep so does my love for the simplicity of this recipe. And the ingredients, because you have to have some sort of midwest connection to love these ingredients, but we’ll get to that. Let get to the photos of this amazing lunch.

So you take that, which started as 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and toss them into the crock with a WHOLE BOTTLE of Franks Buffalo Sauce and half a packet of that powdered ranch stuff. Then, depending on if you want to eat it sooner or later, set the crock pot on low (for later) or high (for sooner) and walk away. Now we stepped it up from the recipe and chopped up some celery and got bleu cheese crumbles to add in. We strategically mixed them in at the end, outside of the mixture. It was more of a ‘add thin layer of chicken, sprinkle celery and cheese, add layer of chicken, sprinkle’ type of deal. Let me tell you, the celery is key. It’s like a plate of wings on a sandwich. ON A SANDWICH. Clearly this recipe has been life changing.

But seriously, doesn’t that look life changing. And it would be perfect for football games. Add in some Trader Joe’s Mac and Cheese bites and football just got a lot better. The one thing I like about football season this year (since Peyton Manning is out for whoknowswhen) is that it’s a day of fatness and an excuse to eat all of those things…at the same time! Expect to see the word “diet” on here 16 weeks from now 🙂 For those of you that didn’t read through my blabbermouthing, here’s the recipe:

Buffalo Chicken-ness

  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 bottle Franks Buffalo Sauce
  • 1/2 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Mix
  • Bleu Cheese Crumbles
  • 3 stalks Celery, chopped

Put chicken, half packet of ranch and buffalo sauce in crock pot. Turn to low to eat in 6 hours. Turn to high to eat in 3 hours. When time is up, remove chicken, shred, place back in crock pot and let sit for 1 hour. Mix in bleu cheese crumbles, place on hoagie roll, and top with celery and more cheese.

Wordless Wednesday: Farm Bloomington

11 May

Today’s post is a blast from the past. When I was still living in Bloomington (over a year ago now?!??) one of my favorite restaurants was Farm. It just felt like a breath of fresh air every time you ordered a meal there. It features local foods that Chef Daniel Orr displays in such a fresh and exciting way. Can I say it’s fresh one more time? Fresh fresh fresh! I really love it there–I’m sad it’s so far away now.  Farm of Beverly Hills just isn’t the same. Since I can’t have it for lunch today I’ll have to re-live a past lunch. Happy hump-day!

Red Pepper and Hummus Melt: Fantastic Fridays

6 May

Is it really Friday already? It felt like yesterday was Monday and I was getting up not wanting to face yet another week of work. Guess it wasn’t so bad if it felt like it flew by! Speaking of flying by, my lunches always seem to feel like they’re only 5 min. long when really I have an hour to go home, eat, maybe nap, and get back to the office. Today I threw together what we had left at home and out came a lunch I’ll be making again soon, inspired by Pinch of Yum who was inspired by A Nutritionist Eats. Don’t you love how it works like that? Inspiration everywhere!

Step 1:  Break out some unassuming bread.

Step 2:  Butter that bread with some hummus. Licking the knife afterward is strongly encouraged.

Step 3:  Pat on some black beans and make them stick reallll gooddd.

Step 5:  Throw on some roasted red peppers. Making it nice and neat is optional.

Step 6:  Almost there! Add some mozzarella and cracked pepper.

Step 7:  Turn your toaster oven to broil and throw that thing in there. Make sure you stare, drool and almost die of excitement waiting for the cheese to melt.

Step 8:  Transfer to plate and top with fresh basil and ENJOY!

I made two of these for photo purposes (don’t worry, I forced myself to eat them both.) and it was a pretty substantial lunch. Of course, in reality I could have eaten 4 of these and still had room for yogurtland. No, I didn’t go to yogurtland…but the day’s not over! Have a great Mother’s Day weekend and make sure to eat your share of delicious brunches. Have a great weekend!

April Strawberry Avo Salad

6 Apr

Well I certainly wouldn’t be eating this for lunch if I still lived in Indiana. The strawberries are getting good here and the avocado was perfect. Add in some blanched almonds and some champagne-orange-strawberry vinaigrette and my early April lunch is ready to go.

The dressing was easy; 3 sliced strawberries, a few tablespoons of champagne-orange vinegar (Trader Joe’s!), salt, pepper and a little olive oil. It’s one way to brighten up this dull, gray SoCal day!

El Tepeyac

28 Mar

If you go to El Tepeyac you have to consciously try not to fall into a food coma. Really. Look at these beasts. Those burritos are for ONE PERSON!

Andrew's Okie Burrito



Mom's Hasselbeck Burrito



My Chicken Enchiladas Rancheras

Grilled Cheese with Artichoke and Avocado

8 Feb

Busy busy busy busy. I’m glad I live close enough to work that I can come home for lunch. Today’s special is a grilled cheddar with artichoke and avo. mmm, lucky me.

Four Orange Salad

7 Feb

There were some beautiful citrus fruits at the farmer’s market. I added honey and ate this for lunch. Yum.

Farmer’s Market Salad

2 Feb

There’s something enjoyable about a simple meal. I think I mostly enjoy the rhythm in a simple meal; there’s no frantically running to here from there making sure this gets stirred and that gets mixed. It just you and the ingredients getting together for a nice little party in your mouth. There’s no pressure to impress but if you’re using quality ingredients you know you will anyway, even if it’s just you and the food. Sometimes I like it better that way. I made this salad for a quick work-day lunch with our fare from the Farmer’s Market.
fresh basil
cherry tomatoes
artichoke hearts
baby mozzarella (bocconcini)

Then I caught it being pretty

And then I sauced it with olive oil and balsamic

Then I ate it and lunch was over.