friday favorites

18 Oct

TGIF! Happy Friday everyone!!

Oh and GO DODGERS!! Tonight’s a huge game, fingers crossed!

Favorite Slurp: Spiced Cider Punch


Favorite Dough Ball: Pumpkin Spice Beignets


Favorite Over-the-Top: Cider Bourbon Apple Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crumble

Favorite Burger: Epic Crispy Quinoa Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries, Beer Caramelized Onions + Gruyere


Favorite Breakfast: Mini Pumpkin Sticky Buns


Favorite Ice Cream: Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream

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Favorite One-Pot: Chicken Cacciatore


Favorite Pasta: Pasta Bolognese

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creamy butternut squash pasta

17 Oct

Dodgers Update

Woohoo! That was such a great win for the Dodgers yesterday! I have a good feeling about the next game since Kershaw is pitching. I always feel so much more confident when I know he’s our pitcher. It also doesn’t hurt that he is very easy on the eyes! Two more wins and we’re on to the world series! Woop!


Last night’s post-victory dinner was awesome. I had roasted asparagus, green salad, Trader Joe’s spinach & fontina chicken sausage, and quinoa pasta with roasted butternut squash sauce. It is super creamy and luxurious, and the fried sage leaves really add a nice touch!

Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta

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1 medium butternut squash, peeled & diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 sage leaves
12 oz quinoa spaghetti/linguine or whole wheat linguine (or other pasta)
1 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt + black pepper, to taste


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the butternut squash. Cook until soft, about 12-15 minutes.

While the squash is cooking, fry the sage leaves. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until surface is shimmering slightly. Add a few leaves at a time and cook until crisp, but still bright green, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Season with salt. Set aside.

Using a large slotted spoon, carefully remove the squash from the water and place in a large bowl. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions.

Place the cooked butternut squash in a large food processor or blender. Puree the squash until smooth. Add water or broth and puree until the sauce reaches your desired consistency. You may need a little more or a little less water depending on the size of your squash.

In a large deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add pureed butternut squash. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Add the pasta and stir until pasta is well coated. Chop two of the sage leaves and stir them into the pasta. Serve the pasta with remaining fried sage leaves and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

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Buon Appétito!


well, that was disappointing

16 Oct

Dodgers + Dinner

The Dodger’s performance last night was extremely disappointing. I’m not going to lie, I had a really good feeling about the game coming off of last night’s win; I even went to Susie Cakes on my lunch break and bought some celebratory cookies and cupcakes, but I guess that was a little presumptuous. I’m going to be unrealistic positive and say we still have a chance…

Well, at least my dinner was far from disappointing. Actually, it was the exact opposite. It was insanely good, mostly because of this baked spaghetti squash and cheese casserole. As soon as I saw this on Skinny Taste, I knew I had to make it and I am so glad I did. I made this gluten free by using GF all-purpose flour, but if you’re not, you can, of course, use regular flour.

Baked Spaghetti Squash + Cheese

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5 1/2 cups cooked spaghetti squash (from about 2 small)
1 tbsp earth balance butter or regular butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup gluten free all-purpose flour (I used XO Baking Co.)
2 cups unsweetened almond milk or skim milk
1 cup fat free chicken broth (vegetable broth for vegetarian)
8 oz Sargento 2% reduced fat mild cheddar
Salt + pepper, to taste
4 cups (about 4 oz) baby spinach
1/8 cup grated parmesan


Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise; remove and discard seeds. Place squash on a baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 1 hour. Separate the strands of squash with a fork and place in a medium bowl; discard shells. Maintain the oven temperature.

Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook about 2 minutes. Stir in flour. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring continually 3 – 4 minutes.

Add milk and chicken broth and continue whisking, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil and becomes smooth and thick, about 2 minutes stirring; season with salt and pepper.

Once it becomes thick, remove from heat, add cheddar cheese and mix well until cheese is melted. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, add cooked spaghetti squash and baby spinach, pour into a baking dish and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Bakeuntil bubbly and golden 25 to 30 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste

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Buon Appétito!


doyers + cauliflower mash

15 Oct

Happy Tuesday! I can’t believe it’s already Tuesday! Yesterday went by so fast and I’m sure it’s because I was so busy at work, but hey, I’m not complaining!

BTW, how amazing was the Dodger game last night?! Everyone at my house was nervous the entire game, but super happy about the win! Let’s hope we have another repeat of last night!Go Doyers!

Cauliflower Mash

After my long run on Friday I was craving something a little starchy and more filling, but I didn’t feel like potatoes. Instead, I decided to whip up something a little lighter by making cauliflower mash with thyme & caramelized onions.

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1 head cauliflower

1/2 medium sweet or red onions, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, finely diced

Leaves of 5 sprigs of thyme

1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth

1-2 tbsp. unsweetened almond milk

1/4-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt + pepper


Heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over low heat. Sauté onions and thyme until dark golden brown. Add garlic for the last 5 minutes, careful not to burn it.

While caramelizing the onions, steam cauliflower for 10-15 minutes or until very tender.

Put cauliflower in a large food processor, adding chicken broth & almond milk until it reaches your desired consistency. Blend until very smooth. Season with salt + pepper. Remove from processor into a medium bowl & combine onion, thyme & garlic mixture and Parmesan cheese with the cauliflower puree. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil & extra cheese (optional).

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Buon Appétito!

swiss chard rolls

14 Oct

These swiss chard rolls are a perfect combination of healthy yet indulgent. The goat cheese and turkey sausage feel really luxurious, while the quinoa and spinach help to lighten up the dish.

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Swiss Chard Rolls


4-5 Swiss chard leaves

3 oz. goat cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Quattro Formaggio cheese blend (or Parmesan cheese)

1/2 cup cooked tricolor or white quinoa

1 26 oz. jar marinara or tomato basil sauce

3 sweet Italian turkey or chicken sausage links, casings removed

12 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt + pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with PAM or other cooking spray.

Remove the thick stem from the center of the leaves. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the leaves and cook for 30 seconds. Remove and rinse with cold water. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook sausage and break up with a wooden spoon for about 15 minutes, or until dark golden brown.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cheeses, quinoa, 1/4 cup marinara sauce, turkey sausage, spinach and salt + pepper to taste.

Spoon 1/3 cup mixture of the filling onto the end of each leaf and roll like a jellyroll.

Spoon 1 cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the prepared pan. Arrange rolls seam-side down in a single layer on top of the sauce. Spoon the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with more cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 25 minutes or until cheese begins to brown and rolls are heated through. Cool for 5 minutes and serve.

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

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Buon Appétito!

the lost vine + 9 miles

11 Oct

The Lost Vine

Last night, my mom and I had dinner with our really good family friends. Actually, they’re really more just like family. We had originally wanted to go to this Greek restaurant we have been dying to try for months now, but of all nights, the restaurant was shut down because of a bridal shower. Such a bust! However, one of my favorite organic coffee shops, The Lost Bean (but definitely second to Kean Coffee) recently bought the space next door and turned into a wine bar called The Lost Vine. It is super cute inside with really neat bar stools and a couple cozy booths with tons of pillows.

To start, of course, we all ordered a glass of wine. We then ordered the avocado mash, which is basically guacamole, caprese salad and a cheese plate.

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While I loved the interior and thought the wine bar was really cool inside, I think next time I would just go for a glass of wine. In my opinion, their food was a little underwhelming but the wine was delicious! And I mean, I couldn’t have had better company! Sometimes just spending a little time with some truly great people can really turn your week around. I cannot wait for our next girl’s night!

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After my long run today I was craving something cool and refreshing, so I decided to make this super delish protein shake! It’s the perfect recovery drink after a long workout!

  • 1 scoop Designer Whey double chocolate protein powder
  • 1 scoop Sculpt Lean Physique Protein Powder
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tbsp. crunchy original Nuttzo (the BEST)
  • 1 scoop amazing grass greens
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 3-4 almond milk ice cubes
  • 3 ice cubes
  • Enough light coconut milk to get it all going
  • Cacao Nibs (optional for garnish)

Blend and enjoy!

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Buon Appétito!

apple fritter bread

10 Oct

In honor of Peanut Butter Finger’s  Fall Recipe Roundup post yesterday, I decided to do a post on the best bread EVER. In fact, I found this recipe on her blog a year ago yesterday. This bread is out-of-this world! I think I consumed at least half of the loaf while it was still warm from the oven. This recipe was somewhat labor-intensive for me because I do not have a stand-up mixer with a dough hook, so I ended up kneading the flour by hand. You only need to knead the bread (say that five times fast) for about 5 minutes, so it’s really not that bad. In fact, I actually prefer it. Call me crazy but I really enjoy the process of literally making dough by hand. Anyways, this bread is great on a cool fall morning with a nice cup of hot coffee, maybe even a pumpkin spice latte if you really want to be festive. Make this bread and I promise you will not be sorry!

Apple Fritter Bread



3 cups flour

1 package yeast

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup water

1 egg, beaten

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup butter


6 small apples, peeled & diced

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. butter

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tbsp. cornstarch


1 tbsp. butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 cup powdered sugar

3 tsp. half & half (or milk)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 5 bread pan.

In a skillet, cook apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, vanilla, butter, cinnamon & cornstarch until mixture is thickened.  Set aside to cool.

Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles; remove from heat. Add the butter and stir until melted; set aside.

Put flour, yeast, brown sugar and salt in a bowl, mix well. Add the water, egg and milk/butter mixture. Mix until dough forms into a ball; knead for an additional five minutes.

On a well floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle. Evenly spread apple mixture over dough. Cut dough into even squares (I got 20 from my dough). Carefully stack pieces of dough onto each other forming four piles.

Place piles of dough into prepared pan. Bake 45-50 minutes; until golden brown.  Immediately remove from pan.

Mix butter, vanilla and powdered sugar into a bowl.  Add half & half; stir until you get a creamy consistency. Pour on glaze and allow to setup for a few minutes. Pull some apart and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Flour Me With Love


Buon Appétito!