Oh, hello.

I missed you.

I’ve been writing this blog for nearly 5 years, and I think this may have been the longest I’ve gone without saying hello?!

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I must admit, we had a glimpse of the perfect spring in Boston!…

…for  about 5 days…

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It was glorious!  Our windows were open (finally, we could breathe some fresh air into our home!), we went for long walks, and took our first hike of the year!

Then, the chilly weather, rain, and snow (SNOW!) returned.

You better believe I was spending those brief glorious moments outside, rather than in front of my computer!

But, alas, the temperature has dropped again, and today I’m keeping warm indoors.  Which means I can finally share this delicious recipe with you!

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It comes from one of my favorite cookbooks to flip-through, Jerusalem.  It is a humble and quite unassuming dish.  At first glance, it looks nothing more than a bit of cooked rice with chickpeas.  However, the combination of two types of rice, fried onions, raisins and warm spices add a depth and complexity to each bite that make this dish completely standout!

Basmati and Black Rice with Chickpeas, Raisins and Fried Onions

by Simply Life

Keywords: fry entree side vegetarian vegan chickpeas raisins rice Mediterranean

Ingredients (4 servings as side dish)

  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup black rice
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • Cumin, to taste
  • Curry powder, to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tbs. chopped chives

Instructions

1. Using a rice cooker, mix together basmati and black rice with 2 1/2 cups water. Cook until rice is tender and cooked through (if you do not have a rice cooker, cook rice according to package directions; you may need to cook rice blends separately according to package directions).

2. Meanwhile, prepare the onion by mixing with flour, to ensure that onion slices are slightly coated in flour. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. When oil is very hot, carefully add onion slices and fry 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Add chickpeas, cumin, curry powder, salt and pepper, and cook together for additional 1-2 minutes.

3. Mix cooked rice with chickpeas and onions. Toss together with raisins and dill. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve and enjoy!

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~What is your favorite type of rice?

{ 8 comments }

Pasta with Goat Cheese and Asparagus

by simplylife on April 9, 2014

Since I’ve started eating more seasonally, I’ve become more aware that certain foods have an incredibly short “season.”  Asparagus is the first one that comes to mind.  I have literally been buying bunches of asparagus weekly, knowing that the season is short-lived.

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I’ve enjoyed it roasted and sautéed, over toast and under poached eggs, on salads and as sides.  This pasta dish was actually one of our favorite ways of enjoying this stalky vegetable.  It couldn’t be easier to prepare, and was the perfect way to celebrate the weather finally feeling like spring!

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Pasta with Goat Cheese and Asparagus

by Simply Life
Adapted from Elly Says Opa!

Keywords: entree side vegetarian asparagus cheese pasta spring

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. short whole wheat pasta
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 6 oz. goat cheese
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped
  • Fresh basil, to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

Instructions

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water.

2. Meanwhile, in separate pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add asparagus, mix in lemon juice, cover and cook about 8-10 minutes, under tender.

3. Drain pasta. Immediately add cooked asparagus, and goat cheese, breaking it up as you stir it in with the pasta. Slowly add reserved cooking water 1 tbs. at a time, until you’ve reached desired consistency. Toss together with scallions, basil and red pepper flakes. Serve and enjoy.

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~What is your favorite spring fruit or vegetable?

{ 9 comments }

Broccoli Rice Bowl with Poached Egg

by simplylife on April 2, 2014

Prior to our departure for Tokyo, Japan, I was imagining all the delicious meals we would be eating.  I was ready for sushi roll after sushi roll, noodle bowls and lots of tea.

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While I was definitely accurate in these predictions, there were also a few surprises I was delighted to encounter:

  • Coffee vs. Tea.  There was as much fresh coffee as there was tea.  I am an avid coffee drinker. I can’t remember the last morning I had without a cup (probably because I wasn’t thinking straight whenever that day occurred ;) ).  While I definitely enjoy a cup of hot tea in the afternoon, I don’t need it miss it like I do coffee.  This was a very pleasant surprise during our trip!
  • Ramen.  I had NO idea Ramen Noodle Bowls would be such a popular meal, and that they would be SO incredibly fresh!  I am now regretting that I wasted so many years not eating ramen, because I assumed it meant dried noodles in a package prepared with a packet of overly-salted seasoning.  My, how I was wrong.  We ate at several restaurants where the Ramen Noodles were prepared on-site, and they tasted as good as fresh pasta enjoyed in Italy!
  • Runny Eggs.  This was another common occurrence I was surprised to find on many menus.  We saw burgers, noodle bowls and even pasta dishes that were topped with a runny egg.  I started to realize how this can perfectly bring together many components of a meal, and add wonderful taste and texture to every bite with just a small amount of effort.

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So, when I was trying to make a simple, yet healthy and filling meal, I remembered the key of adding a runny egg! Brown rice and broccoli topped with a poached egg made an ordinary meal into one that was much more fun and memorable to eat!  Plus, attempting to eat rice with chop sticks always makes the meal more entertaining. :)

Broccoli Rice Bowl with Poached Egg

by Simply Life

Keywords: saute entree vegetarian broccoli eggs rice Japanese

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 4 tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbs. teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tbs. sesame oil
  • Ginger, to taste
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 tbs. sesame seeds
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar (optional)
  • 3 scallions, chopped

Instructions

1. Cook rice according to package directions. In small bowl, mix together soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, sesame oil and ginger; heat half of mixture in large saucepan over medium heat. Add broccoli and saute, 5-7 minutes, until broccoli is tender. Stir in remaining sauce and adjust to taste. Mix in sesame seeds.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the eggs. Heat pot of water to boiling, then reduce heat so that water is no longer boiling. Add rice vinegar to water. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl, then gently drop into water; use a spoon to gently nudge eggwhites closer to yolk. Repeat with remaining egg. Turn off heat, cover, and let sit for 4 minutes.

3. Place rice in bowl, top with broccoli and then remove poached egg with a slotted spoon and place on top. Repeat with remaining bowl. Top with chopped scallions. Serve and enjoy!

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~What foods/meals have you been surprised by when traveling?

{ 9 comments }

Pappardelle Pasta with Artichokes and Olives

by simplylife on March 24, 2014

We all need quick dinner ideas ready to go in our back-pocket.  The ones that don’t require measuring cups or an entire afternoon spent in the kitchen and still taste great.

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When it comes to quick dinners, I typically resort to pasta.  All it requires is a pot of boiling water.  Mix it with just about any leftover cheese and a few toppings lying around in your pantry or fridge, and you have yourself a meal.

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This was one of those dinners that came together in a jiffy, was an unplanned mix of ingredients found throughout the kitchen, and tasted like I had spent hours preparing.  Using pappardelle pasta takes this to an entirely new level, while not requiring any extra prep-time. Win-win.

No measuring spoons required (eye-balling ingredients is really the best way to go here).  Everything can be cooked and ready to go by the time the pasta is ready.  And all the leftover ingredients make perfect pizza toppings for later in the week. ;)

Pappardelle Pasta with Artichokes and Olives

by Simply Life

Keywords: saute entree side vegetarian artichokes olives pasta Mediterranean Italian

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 5 ounces egg pappardelle pasta
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

Instructions

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and artichoke hearts and cook 2-3 minutes, until artichokes are warmed through.

2. Drain pasta and mix into skillet. Add olives, goat cheese and red pepper flakes and toss gently. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Using Random.org the winner of the $50 Albion giveaway is Holly B!
~What are your favorite ingredients to mix with pasta for a quick meal?

{ 12 comments }

Mushroom Machego Lasagna for Two

03.19.2014
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I’m Italian.  I’m pretty sure it’s a requirement of my heritage to be able to make a good pan of lasagna. Yet, somehow, it’s the one dish that I haven’t even attempted, let alone mastered. A large pan of lasagna always seemed way too complicated to make for just my husband and I (while I […]

15 comments Read More!…

Chocolate-Hazelnut Tart

03.12.2014
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You know those recipes that you save, hoping to make one day, but they’re never quite right for what you’re looking for in the moment? Yeah, this is one of those.  I saw it in a Food Network Magazine in March 2011 (that’s THREE years ago!), and have been saving it ever since!  Every time […]

15 comments Read More!…

Kale & Egg Salad

03.07.2014
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Spring is sooooo close!  Sunny skies, windows open and afternoons spent outdoors…I can feel it just around the corner! The forecast is finally starting to warm-up, and while I normally wouldn’t consider 45 degrees to be “warm,” I’m thrilled to see that number in the forecast!  It’s all relative, right?  Once spring hits, my taste […]

12 comments Read More!…

Albion Fit $50 GIVEAWAY!!!

03.04.2014
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As I’ve decreased my number of weekly posts, I’ve also decreased the number of product reviews and giveaways offered.  This means that I’ve become much more choosy about the companies I work with and reviews I provide. That said, Albion Fit was at the top of my list!  I was absolutely thrilled when I was […]

40 comments Read More!…

Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks | Why I Blog

02.24.2014
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You may have noticed over the past months my posting has been more sporadic and less frequent than the previous few years (I still cannot believe I’ve been writing this blog since 2009!..my, my, how things have changed! )! Since I started this blog, I’ve changed jobs, moved twice and had many other life changes. […]

19 comments Read More!…

Favorite Kitchen Items & Small Appliances

02.17.2014

My husband and I got married at a young age.  I had barely lived on my own when he popped the question, and while I loved cooking, I had a rotation of about five recipes I knew how to cook. When we found ourselves registering for wedding gifts, like many others I scanned through friends’ registries, […]

20 comments Read More!…