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!

PorkLettuceWraps3

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.

Chocolate, Raspberry, and Hazelnut Yogurt Breakfast Parfait

Chocolate, Raspberry, and Hazelnut Yogurt Breakfast Parfait 1

Happy Leap Day, all! We’ve got a little bonus day here, a last chance to cram some amazing goodness into February.

Lovely February! Confession: February has historically been my most hated month of the year, for reasons that are pretty obvious if you, like me, live in a northern part of the Northern Hemisphere. It is cold. It is gray. It is icy and snow-slushy and yucky. It’s the tail-end of winter, stillllll hanging on, with no feeling of the end in sight most winters (this winter has been pretty darn easy for those of us in the Detroit area, but still. It’s winter).

I hated February so much for so long that it became quite a drag to me that I hated it.

Italian S & I Cookies

Italian S & I Cookies 1

Happy Valentine’s Day, all! Appropriate to this holiday of love and appreciation for all of those who are special to us, I am featuring a recipe by someone who is near and dear to my heart, my grandmother. This is a recipe for Italian S & I cookies that she has passed down to me. You may be familiar with these delightful little alphabet-shaped cookies if you also have a grandmother of Italian heritage who likes to bake or if you’ve visited an Italian bakery; “S” cookies are definitely a staple there.

I have fond memories of helping my grandmother to crank out batches of these little guys – me forming the cookies and her glazing.

Spicy Cheesy White Bean and Sausage Dip

Spicy Cheesy White Bean and Sausage Dip 1

It’s bowl game season! The Big Game is only a little over a week away!

Confession: I could give a crap. I’m not a football gal (too long and tedious to me – I can’t get into all of the starts and stops). If my hometown Lions made it all the way, I would be ecstatic for my family, who have stood by them for decades, through all the disappointments, mediocrity, and downright atrociousness. But since they made it nowhere near the Big Game this year, I don’t have a ton of interest in it. I’ll be rooting for Denver, because I have family out there who roots for the Broncos (Hi, Aunt Ria!).

The only reason I do care a little that the Big Game is coming up (I keep saying “Big Game” because I think none of us is really supposed to say “Super Bowl,” right? I find that utterly ridiculous.) is for game-time snacks! I love game-time snacks! And this dip is everything you want in a game-time snack: rich and cheesy and spicy and fatty and probably not all that good for you.