Black Bean Garden Soup

Black Bean Garden Soup 1

One of the best things about fall being here is that it is finally soup weather again! I love me a good soup!

Blazing sunlight and 90-degree temps didn’t stop me from making it here and there this summer. A need to use the chicken stock gleaned from the carcass of a spent rotisserie chicken was the impetus for the first draft of this Black Bean Garden Soup back in August. My fridge’s contents were fairly sparse that night, so I needed to create a recipe out of what was on hand. Happily, I had the chicken stock, onions, a few jalapeños, some black beans I’d cooked up, the last dregs of a jar of minced garlic, and a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes. I didn’t expect much from this cobbled-together soup, but man, did it turn out delicious!

Tomato, Zucchini, and Mozzarella Bake

Tomato, Zucchini, and Mozzarella Bake 1

Hello, all! Happy Monday! And happy October! I am so, so, so ready to start cooking with pumpkin and squash! But today, the million-dollar question today is: do you have any late-harvest zucchini lingering in your crisper? If so, HOORAY! This recipe is for you. And if you don’t have any zucchini lying around and just want to pop out to the store and grab some, believe me, you’ll be happy you did. This Tomato, Zucchini, and Mozzarella Bake is THERE-ARE-NO-WORDS good. Except maybe “amazing” times a million. Or times infinity. Times INFINITY infinity, even.

It’s really F’in good.

Peach, Radish, and Feta Kale Salad


Peach, Radish, and Feta Kale Salad 1

Happy fall, everyone! I was mourning summer until the official first day of fall last Thursday; then a flip switched in me. I am LOVING the cooler weather and coziness we are having here in Metro Detroit. It’s that perfect sweet spot where it’s in the low 70s during the day but cool enough at night that I get to break out my fleece sweatpants – YES!!! Fleece sweatpants, I missed you so!!! Who feels me on that one?

Strawberry-Peach Balsamic Spinach Salad with Pulled Roasted Chicken


Strawberry-Peach Balsamic Spinach Salad with Pulled Roasted Chicken 1

Hello, all! Happy Monday!

The Olympics is OVER! And I’m sad about it. I enjoy both the summer and winter games. I didn’t even religiously watch any of the coverage this year. I just liked having it on in the background; I found its presence comforting. I think it has to do with the fact that my parents always had Olympics coverage on in the house when I was growing up. It reminds me of childhood. 

Sausage and Fennel Quinoa Bowls

Sausage and Fennel Quinoa Bowls 1

Hello, all! Happy August!

I cannot believe how quickly the summer has passed. I created and photographed this recipe back in April. WAH WAH. This summer has been nuts for me, and August will be similarly as busy – but in a great way. I’ve got an upcoming trip to Nashville, a birthday celebration for a dear friend, a Tigers baseball game, and the wedding of another dear friend (with the reception in a lovely rustic barn!) to look forward to. And I’ve quit the second job I’d taken on for the summer, so there will soon be more space and time in which to refine the several actually warm-weather-themed recipes I’ve had in the works – hopefully before August is over!

Slow Cooker Salsa-Infused Ground Pork with Black Beans and Rice – in a Lettuce Wrap!


Ahoy, ACF readers! Happy summer! I have missed this blog so! It’s been over TWO MONTHS since I last posted here, which I’m definitely not proud of. I’ve been acutely aware every week over these last two months of the ever-growing chasm of time between this post and the last. But to be fair to myself, it’s been a pretty cray-cray few months.

Over the course of two weeks this May, I juggled working at my day job full time with completing a 40-hour training program that allows me to volunteer with a local women’s shelter. I’d been wanting to participate in it for well over a year, and this was the first out of the last three semiannual training sessions offered where all of the training dates fit into my schedule – so it finally happened! Yay!!!!! Then, because I’m insane, I also decided to pick up a part-time second job waitressing, which included a few weeks of intense training that started a week and a half after the shelter training concluded. So yeah . . . it was nuts. The dust is finally starting to settle, and I’m feeling better equipped to set up a regular writing schedule again. I am very much looking forward to getting back into the swing of things and sharing some new recipes with you!

Enough about me. Let’s talk about our featured guests, lettuce wraps! Lettuce wraps are great because a. they help eliminate carbs, which we all know are quite delectable but not the most cooperative buggers when it comes to staying summer-svelte; b. they help get rid of all that lettuce that is starting to run wild in your garden just now and c. everything is more fun to eat when it’s wrapped up in something! It’s an indisputable fact of the Universe.

And these lettuce wraps are even more awesome because the filling is cooked not by you, but by your handy-dandy Crock-Pot. Yes, it’s a SLOW COOKER RECIPE!!! 🙂

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Yogurt Breakfast Parfait


PB Parfait 1

Happy Monday, all! OK, I know Mondays are not the happiest days for those of us who have day jobs that don’t line up with the jobs in our head. In my head, I am an independent boss-lady creative phenom, holed up in my home office donned in jammies and leopard-print slippers, lovingly toiling over this blog and my other one, 100 Places in the D – and perhaps writing a novel or two while I’m at it (because why not?). So I totally get it. We all have our true passions, and being a cubicle rat working for The Man isn’t one of them! But we might as well make the best of where we are now, because gratitude is one of the prime ingredients that will shift us into being our truest, most authentic selves.

Well, gratitude and peanut butter. And chocolate. And some really yum organic yogurt.

Coconut Lemongrass Curry Stir-Fry

Coconut Lemongrass Curry Stir-Fry 1

Spring has sprung! The flowered trees finally blossomed here in Metro Detroit over the last week, and it’s magical! Seriously, I know that sounds cheesy, but I find flowering trees so beautiful and enchanting. Energy-shifting, on the cusp of powerful, wonderful change. Late spring, people – a powerful time! That full moon in Scorpio last week – it’s bringing some seriously powerful manifestations with it, I can just feel it!

OK, now that I’ve waxed all poetic and hippie-like, it’s time to get down to the practical nuts-and-bolts of why I am here: to relay a healthful veggie stir-fry recipe that will help to cleanse our bodies from all that rich winter comfort food we’ve been eating for months. 

White Bean and Bacon Soup

White Bean and Bacon Soup 1

I’m OBSESSED with this white bean and bacon soup. Seriously. I’ve made it twice over the last several weeks and plan to make it a third time this weekend. It’s so good!

At the risk of sounding too melodramatic, I must say, this soup has been a beacon of hope during these gray, chilly, rainy/snowy/sleety Michigan spring days, which are driving me half-insane at this point – and somehow making me miss winter, which at least doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t.

Spring is supposed to be sunshine, blue skies, and flowering cherry trees – and jaunting about in cute new open-toed sandals with a fresh, pretty pedicure!

Easy Spicy Sausage and Sweet Potato Chili

Easy Spicy Sausage and Sweet Potato Chili 1

It’s getting warmer, you guys! Spring has arrived to the Northern Hemisphere! Huzzah!

Here in Southeast Michigan, the early days of spring can often feel like what I’ve termed “Winter Lite.” Consistently warmer weather can take a while to get here; snow – at least a few whimpering, amount-to-nothing flakes – can be expected as far into spring as the end of April. So hearty meals such as this spicy sausage and sweet potato chili are still on the agenda for me.