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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
On today’s menu: chicken tenders! But not the janky diner chicken tenders you ate by the bucketful when you were a teenager (if you were anything like me). OK, those chicken tenders were actually pretty good a lot of the time – except when they didn’t deep fry them thoroughly enough and they were still kind of cold in the middle. Then yuck. But these chicken tenders are not yuck and are much more healthful, because for one, they are gluten-free – yay! The “breading” is made from raw almonds and is really, really quick and easy to make.
I was supposed to go out to brunch Sunday, but a little bully of a snowstorm derailed that. It wasn’t a blizzard, but it was enough slick roads and nastiness to keep me from getting on to the freeway and sliding around like a bumper car. After a high of about 50 degrees and walking around outside without a coat on Saturday, we are now sporting average highs around 20 degrees, blasting gales with wind chills in the single digits, and this lovely, freeze-y, arctic tundra landscape. Winter is finally upon us in Detroit! We’d been pretty spoiled so far this season with only one big snow prior to this last week. Reality check! Wah wah. But the one positive thing about inclement weather cancelling my plans on Sunday was that I got to stay home and make coconut chocolate banana granola.