Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I shared this little piece of my heart four years ago on YouTube... just saw it has 23,000+ pageviews.  Little Marshallese superstars, right here <3

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Life is Like... (Caprese Chicken Sandwich)

Life is like a box of chocolates, right?  You never know what you are going to get inside.  Or maybe life is like a roll of toilet paper; the closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

How about this one?  Life is like a piano.  What you get depends on how you play it.

Life is like a turtle.  You won't get anywhere unless you stick your neck out.

My favorite?  Life is like a hot bath.  It feels good while you're in it, but the longer you stay the more wrinkly you get.

So, what do all these life metaphors have to do with this sandwich?

Nothing.  I just like them, as I like life.  And I like this sandwich.  There's a whole lot of 'like' going on.

Help me finish the sentence below in the comments: Life is like...

Inspired by Everyday Food’s Pesto Chicken Burgers


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. grilled chicken breast (from the deli section – or make your own)
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 4 pieces of focaccia, halved

  1. In a food processor, puree basil, spinach, garlic, pine nuts, oil, and 1 tablespoon water.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Sliced the chicken breasts into four flat pieces.  Heat.
  3. Assemble sandwiches with pesto on the top and bottom slices of focaccia, chicken, tomato, and mozzarella.

COST: $11.99              COST PER SERVING (4): $2.99

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Real Life: Bife a Role (Steak Rolls)

I don't know if I have mentioned this or not, but we had a house full this summer.  FULL.  Seven people came from Brazil, a combination of family and friends... for a month.

Yes, we might be a bit crazy.  Maybe.  But it's what you do when half of your world is, well, half-a-world away.  You maximize the time you have together.

Meaning, you blow up lots and lots of air mattresses and know that your home is not your home for the next 30 days, but just home.  Home to many, but home nonetheless.

This, of course, throws off your schedule greatly.  As in, the word 'schedule' is probably not a part of your daily vocabulary, in English or ever-progressing-Portuguese.  And your normal habits and preferences? They are replaced with field trips to Ross and then quick runs made to Target.  Because every Brazilian loves Ross, and every American loves Target.  You gotta keep it balanced.

Of course, bigger things happen.  Road trips around California; going camping with people who have never done it before; laughter ringing out from the table that usually seats two but can seat four, yet somehow manages to seat nine when you are really trying...

In the midst of all this, life continues to move forward. Some people head off to work while others head to the pool and bills are hopefully remembered and paid on time.  But at the end of the day (and a couple times before then), everyone needs to eat. A few gather in the kitchen to chop and dice, saute' and grill. You quickly figure out that feeding nine on a daily basis is a much bigger task than feeding two, while cleaning up sure does go faster when you have so many helping hands.

This goes on in the kitchen --

-- while Skip Bo is taking place in the living room with pillows falling off the couch, and a guitar is being played somewhere else while a few others sit around a computer watching a film clip in Portuguese --

-- and you realize that it's OK that you have Robitussin in the background of your food pictures and everything doesn't look so perfect.  Because this is real life.  And real life does not look like our food blog pictures.

It looks like this... perfectly imperfect.


(No, I don't have any finished pictures for you.  After all, this was real life, so we sat, ate, and enjoyed each other's company.  If you would like to see what it it looks like, you can click here to be taken to a Google search.)

From my mother-in-law’s kitchen


special items you will need:
  • a pressure cooker
  • toothpicks
  • 10 thin slices of Silverside beef, about 5 inches wide and 10 inches long
  • 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 5 bacon slices, cut in half (I prefer beef bacon as I don't eat pork bacon, but you can use whatever you like)
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  1. In a dish, season the meat with the juice of the lime and the salt, using your fingers to rub it into the meat.  Set aside.
  2. Chop the tomato, onion, bell pepper, and carrot into 5 inch-long slivers -- ten of each vegetable.
  3. Taking one piece of meat at a time, place one piece of bacon and one of each of the vegetable pieces.  Roll like a burrito, tightly wrapping it so each end is covered and nothing can fall out.  Secure with toothpicks (2 to 3). 
  4. Add the oil to the bottom of the pressure cooker.  Place the beef rolls inside.  Cook in the pressure cooker on medium-high heat for about 20 minutes after the pressure builds up.  When it is finished, be careful to let the pressure die down before you open the lid.

 COST: $16.70     COST PER SERVING (5): $3.34
(Serve with beans and rice to make a complete meal, coming in under $4 per serving.)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer Squash Soup (Farmers' Market Friday)

Being out and about this summer was great.  I got to do things I have never done before: stay in a B&B in the Rockies, hike the Appalachian Trail, watch Brazil play against Japan in a Brazilian bar in NYC, walk the Freedom Trail in Boston...  And then I got to share places I love with people I love visiting from Brazil. Disneyland. San Diego. Santa Barbara. But with all this, I missed out on one of my favorite times of the week: going to the farmers' market.

Yes, that truly is one of my favorite times.  When else, or where else, do you surround yourself with people rubbing shoulders, exchanging cash instead of swiping plastic, talking with familiar strangers?

I had plans to go while I was on the East Coast, but each attempt failed.  Besides, what would I do with fresh produce in my hotel room, really?  Yeah... not much.

Finally, after two months, I headed down to the market with my usual $12.  I don't know where I got the number 12 from, but it has become my norm (grab a ten and two ones... I seem to always have that laying around).

I must admit, the summer selection has some of my least favorite things.  I actually miss the kale and the butternut squash that winter and early spring provide.  The berries and stone fruit are nice, but I never get that many. Maybe because I know my $12 won't spread very far if I buy fruit... so I pretty much stick to the veggies. (Luckily for me, we have a ton of farm stands nearby that sell fruit for cheaper than the farmers' market, even though they are many of the same vendors.)  This week my bag filled up with leeks, beets, green onions, and a bunch of summer squash.

But then I had a problem: What do I do with this squash? Other than cook it and through some garlic salt on it, I had never really done anything with this vegetable...

Yay for readers who follow along on Facebook!  I threw the question out there and got three DELICIOUS ideas, one of which I had all the ingredients on hand already.  And so, Summer Squash Soup, compliments of Donna, was set out for dinner. Easy and fresh, the perfect way to enjoy my farmers' market produce!

I guess the farmers' market isn't the only place you rub shoulders with others...

Recipe slightly adapted from blog reader, Donna.  Thank you!


·        Large white onion, chopped
·        Large leek (white and light green portion), thinly sliced
·        2 tablespoons olive oil
·        6 cloves of garlic, minced
·        6 summer squash of any variety, peeled and cubed
·        2 cans (14 oz) reduced-sodium chicken broth, such as Swenson’s
·        4 fresh thyme sprigs
·        ¼ teaspoon salt
·        2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
·        ¼ cup shredded Parmesan, to top
·        ¼ cup green onion, chopped, to top

  1. In a large saucepan, saute onions and leek in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add squash; saute 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the broth, thyme and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until squash is tender.  Discard thyme sprigs. Cool slightly.
  3. In a blender, process soup in batches until smooth. Return all to the pan. Stir in lemon juice and heat through. Sprinkle each serving with cheese and green onion.

 COST: $6.76      COST PER BOWL (4): $1.69

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Lemon Linguini with Peas & Prosciutto

I cooked.  And I took pictures.  I guess that means I'm back.

Back from where? From ten different states, 14 different beds (plus one tent), more than 40 days away from home.  From hosting seven guests from Brazil, from translating EVERYTHING, all day long... I'm back from writing math curriculum on the East Coast, being a bridesmaid in Denver, and traveling up and down the West Coast.  From attending four different weddings and shooting one -- my very first.

Yup, I'm back. My husband even said so last night when he came home to a house that smelled of good ol' homecooking... "Ahh, Babe, you're back."

Adapted from EVERYDAY FOOD, June 2006


·        12 ounces linguini (I used Trader Joe’s garlic-herb linguini for extra flavor)
·        2 tablespoons butter
·        2 shallots, finely chopped
·        1/2 cups of whole milk
·        ½ tablespoon flour
·        1 small package of frozen peas, thawed
·        8 sliced prosciutto, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
·        1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
·        1 tablespoon zested lemon peel
·        ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, make sauce: In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat; add shallot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add milk, flour, peas, and prosciutto; bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Simmer until peas are heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in lemon zest and juice. Pour sauce over pasta; add Parmesan, and season generously with salt and pepper. Add enough reserved pasta water to thin sauce as desired. Serve immediately; top with additional Parmesan, if desired.

 COST: $10.45     COST PER SERVING (4): $2.61

Nutritional Information
calories 338.1   •    total fat 16.2g    •    fiber 2.8g    •    sugars 4.3g   •    protein 17.5g

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