Have you spent a Friday night rolling a couple dozen miniature meatballs? While preparing 10 different healthy meals for the kids lunch box photo shoot for Lucas’s new start-up, I did just that. I can now add “lunch box food stylist” to my resume. Marble-sized food stylist to be exact – I can confidently say that I’ve got the skills needed to make meatballs the size of both small marbles and bigger shooter marbles. Most notably, nimble fingers. For the shoot, I made the tiniest ittiest bittiest batch of a scaled-down version of these sun-dried tomato, basil, and mozzarella turkey meatballs. Then I ate them for lunch when we were done taking their picture. Duh.
Since we’re back in the US now, I thought I’d share a recipe that screams “America!” And what’s more American than Coca Cola, amiright? Really, I made these sliders the week before we left, but I’ve been saving the recipe. To be honest, besides my fresh fruit breakfasts, I hardly missed our standard American fare while abroad. Not even close to the amount I miss Japanese food now that we’re back in the states. Especially the wagashi confectionaries – I’m dreaming of mochi 24/7. Stay tuned for some remakes of the sweet treats we ate in Japan.
I accidentally ate mac and cheese this weekend. It was not a moment of weakness where I thought, “oh, screw it, I’m eating this.” It was an honest-to-goodness mistake. We had some friends over for some BBQ this weekend and one of them brought over some bacon-filled deli mac n’ cheese. My response? “Ooo – good call. This goes great with my potato salad!” (You know, because you can never have too many carbs at a BBQ). And I promptly took two bites before realizing what I’d done. It was as if for a moment I’d completely forgotten I’d given up gluten. I can’t say for certain if the stomach ache and massive headache I endured the next day was in direct response to those two bites, but I’m sure it didn’t help. I’ve suffered from a headache for about a week and a half now, but Sunday’s was even more intense…and coupled with an upset tummy. Now on to flushing it out of my system in preparation for our upcoming trip to Boston for Tina’s wedding!
Sometimes in the midst of chaos, you need a big bowl of comfort, a glass of orange juice, and good friends to sit around the dining table with. For Lucas, comfort tastes like Texas. And since, until last week, we didn’t own a grill and sopapillas aren’t on my gluten-free diet, I tried my hand at Texas-style chili…modified to simultaneously satisfy this California-born girl who wants lots of fresh veggies and beans. Oh, and to swap out ground beef for a leaner meat to make this dish wedding-diet friendly. So really, the flavor base boasts the essence of Texas chili, but the hearty substance screams California.
We’re getting ready to head North to my parents’ house for a Thanksgiving feast (and lots of card games), but first I want to share with you a totally non-Turkey related recipe I’ve been keeping from you. It’s appropriate that I share this recipe today since it comes from my dear friends Cas and Brian, who are heading up with us for our third annual Thanksgiving together. Save this recipe for about a week after T-day when you just can’t have another leftover turkey and stuffing sandwich. You’ll be happy you did.
With my head buried in books for the past few weeks I’ve had very little time to emerge to make dinner. On days when I decide crackers aren’t substantial enough for a full meal, I usually heat up Trader Joe’s tomato soup, toss together some semblance of a salad, or bake chicken thighs…OR beg Lucas to figure out dinner because I’ve waited so long that I’m now officially hangry. So, I shamefully admit that this is the first real meal I’ve actually cooked in a few weeks. When Lucas walked in to the smells of various spices wafting through the air last week (yes, I’m behind), he grinned, “it’s been awhile since you cooked!” And OH. MY. GAWD. What a dish to make a comeback with! Packed with veggies, protein, and rich spices, this homemade turkey chili makes a perfect pre-wedding meal. And the mere 15 minutes of hands-on time was a definite bonus for my busy study schedule.
Chicken tacos on warm flour tortillas are one of our trusty go-to weeknight meals. It’s comforting, it takes 10 minutes, and there are always leftovers. But sometimes, you crave something more than your everyday meal. You want to ramp it up a notch. These personal spicy black bean and chicken taco bowls step up the spice of your regular ol’ taco recipe and take the presentation to a whole new level.
Bite-sized party food makes me giddy. Itty-bitty cute packages of flavor that cause you to say “awww…adorbs” before digging in. The best part of fork-free party bites is that you can sample a bunch of different items from the spread without committing to giant portions…or …you can devour 20 of your favorite item without noticing just how much you’ve eaten. The latter was the fate of these lasagna bites. Even though I didn’t make them for a fancy soiree, a trip to China yesterday marked the first day of Lucas’s new job at Incase, which is definitely cause for celebration! And reason enough to scarf down a couple (dozen) of these addicting bite-sized spinach artichoke lasagna cups.