Creamy Carrot and Pea Rice, Roasted Flounder and Asparagus: Cooking For Two

Creamy Rice, Flounder and Asparagus-1-32
Cooking for two is not as easy as it sounds. When I was an enthusiastic new wife, I had such a hard time scaling down recipes to serve just my husband and myself, since I was used to cooking for 8. Making a tiny portion of soup looked so wrong, so we would be stuck eating the same meal three days in a row until be both couldn’t look at it anymore. I’m sure I’m not the only one with this problem. Not only are there many households with only two people, there are many who have graduated to Cooking For Two when becoming empty nesters.

Most recipes online and in cookbooks are created to serve at least 4. Yes, there are some foods that taste great as leftovers, but there are some that no matter what you do, will still taste dry and just not have that fresh taste and texture the next day.

Cooking for two shouldn’t be such a challenge. Fish is a perfect option for a wonderful meal for two people to share. The creamy rice sort of reminds me of a risotto, or a savory rice “kasha”. The fish and asparagus cook so quickly in the oven and take just about the same amount of time to cook. This is also perfect for cooking for two, since you will only need one small saucepan and one baking sheet for the entire meal. The less dishes to wash and the less cooking steps involved, the better. It looks and feels so elegant, it would be a perfect option for a romantic date night. … 

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29 Things I Am Thankful For

29 Things I'm Thankful For-1-19June 3rd was my birthday. I have so many things to be thankful for, I wanted to take the time and write at least some them down. Since I’m just a brand spanking new 29 years, a list of 29 seemed appropriate. Although on the one hand I feel like I’m way younger than 29, on the other hand A LOT has already happened in my short 29 years of life…. 

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Cucumber Melon Drink

Cucumber Melon Drink-1-6Summer time is the best time for refreshing beverages. Drinking enough water is so important all year long. I am a big believer that if you drink enough water, you will feel SO much better and avoid lots of headaches and other unpleasant health maladies.

Even though we drink water 98% if the time, sometimes it’s nice to change things up  and mix up a concoction. We love Mint Lemonade, Raspberry Peach Iced Tea and flavored water. Flavored water is a really easy way to add some flavor and eye appeal to the most basic beverage. We love adding berries, mint and citrus to water and this time I decided to use a combination of cucumber and melon.

If you’re not a fan of regular water and it seems too boring and plain for you, give this a try. If you just like delicious, thirst quenching drinks, this one is perfect for you too. … 

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Loaded Nachos

Loaded Nachos-1-18Loaded Nachos are always a crowd pleaser. They are such a great appetizer for a party or a low key, casual dinner, especially during the hot summer months. I love that the most time consuming parts of this awesome appetizer can be made ahead of time. You can also customize the toppings to whatever you or your family and friends like.

The crispy chips, the fresh tomatoes and herbs in the Pico de Gallo, the ooey-gooey cheese sauce and the creamy avocado all come together in the perfect bite.  On the rare occasion that I felt good when I was pregnant, I found myself craving these Nachos quite often. … 

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Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo-1-5I absolutely love Pico de Gallo. If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s basically a fresh tomato salsa. The main difference between Salsa and Pico de Gallo, at least from my observations, is that Pico de Gallo is always made with fresh tomatoes and is chunkier than salsa. Salsa is sometimes made with cooked or canned tomatoes and can have a thinner consistency. Many recipes for salsa will have you make it in the blender. Since tomatoes are probably my top favorite vegetables, I love them both:). What can I say, I can’t hurt either of their feelings. … 

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Almond Apple Puff Pastries

Almond Apple Pastries-1-22Thank you so much for all your warm comments, everyone! I am so touched by how many caring people are reading my blog and have been praying for us and encouraging us since the birth of our baby. I am doing much better, but would appreciate all your continued prayers so I can make a complete recovery. You guys are the best!

I am back today with a great recipe to share. I know how much many of you love desserts, so this is just for you. This recipe is such a cinch to prepare. Homemade goodies are the best and you can use some store bought ingredients to give you a head start. In this recipe, store bought puff pastry and almond paste make this recipe especially easy and convenient. You can also make the puff pastry and the almond paste from scratch.

These pastries are so beautiful and elegant. They are very quick to prepare too. One of the nice bonuses about this recipe is that you can keep all the ingredients on hand and when you have unexpected company or want a simple baking option, this is the recipe to reach for.

I love flaky, tender puff pastry. It’s a great staple to have on hand for both savory and sweet food. Almond paste and apples are a great combination for this very humble sweet treat. You can even use pears for another delicious option. … 

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After a Month Long Absence….

Family Life Pictures 2015-1-73I’m back!

Wow. It’s been over a month since I last posted a recipe. I don’t think I’ve ever been away from blogging for more than a week since I first started. That certainly wasn’t the intention. In fact, before I had my c-section, I made sure to store up about a month and a half worth of blog posts in advance to post while I was recuperating…. 

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Beef, Shiitake, and Green Bean Stir Fry

Beef, Shitake and Green Bean Stir Fry-1-24Sergi and I both really enjoy green beans and I serve them as a side dish almost every week. I decided to make them the star in a beef stir fry, which just happens to be my favorite protein to use. With just a few other simple ingredients, this dinner is just chock-full of flavor.

Stir frys hardly take any time at all to be cooked. Cutting and preparing all the ingredients takes more time than the actual cooking process, and since there aren’t that many ingredients, you can be sure that this dinner should be to on your menu for busy days. One of my biggest time savers is to cut up all the ingredients in advance and then it all comes together so quickly. The flavors are spot on and 50 times better than any take out you can ever get. … 

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Chicken, Mushroom and Buckwheat Casserole

Chicken, Mushroom and Buckwheat Casserole-1-15As a girl with strong Slavic roots, I grew up eating buckwheat and I still love coming up with different recipes that will incorporate this nutty, flavorful and very nutritious grain. Even though my favorite way to enjoy buckwheat is as a kasha with mushrooms, I wanted to come up with a way to make it into an entree. Cooking the entree and the side dish at the same time is such an awesome idea. Not only do you save time, but there are less dishes to wash.  I can appreciate that for sure. 

I made this dish many months ago when I was still pregnant, and my husband and I both loved it so much, I knew I had to share it with all of you. The fluffy buckwheat groats are flavored with both dry and fresh mushrooms, which is a match made in heaven, in my opinion. I topped the buckwheat with juicy, lean chicken and it’s all baked together under a golden, cheesy crust.

You can even assemble it ahead of time and then just finish baking it in the oven. That’s especially convenient for Sunday dinners, when we come home from church hungry, but don’t want to spend hours preparing a meal. Of course, there are plenty other days of the week where a prepped dinner is such a life saver. … 

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Pasta with Artichokes, Fennel and Onions

Fennel and Artichoke Pasta-1-32Sometimes, I like challenging myself to play the “pantry game”. I like to spend at least one week per month, not buying anything new, but using up whatever I have. This can seem a little bit depressing, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s actually a lot of fun to see how creative and resourceful you can be. The trick to saving money on groceries is to have fewer trips to the grocery store. Not only will you save money, but you will also save so much time. With a well stocked refrigerator, freezer and pantry, you can go for a few weeks without having to go to the grocery store, as long as you plan well. One of my favorite tricks is to use up perishable ingredients first, leaving the ingredients that will stay fresh longer to be used during the later weeks. You can cook many delicious dinners that will not make you feel as poor as a church mouse. You can create many ingenious dinners that taste really fresh and even gourmet.

I’m always well stocked up on pasta of all shapes and sizes. Adding vegetables to a pasta dish is a very easy way to make it more interesting and add lots of flavor. You can keep canned baby artichokes in your pantry for dinners just like this one, or you can even use frozen artichokes instead. Fennel, onions and garlic are pantry ingredients that will stay good for weeks without spoiling, so they are the perfect ingredients to add fresh flavor.

Roasting vegetables gives them such a great caramelized and savory taste. Adding the roasted vegetables along with all the aromatics to the pasta creates a really memorable meal that even looks and tastes fancy. Crunchy and golden breadcrumbs add even more interesting taste and texture and fresh herbs is another trick that I like to use to make any dish fresh. Do you want to know how to store fresh herbs so they will last longer? I’ve got you covered.

Ever since I had the baby and we came back home from the hospital, I’ve not been feeling well enough to leave the house much. Besides, all my tubes, IVs and other medical equipment make it extra difficult. My husband does almost all the grocery shopping and I’ve only been to a grocery store once, which I deeply regretted on the way home:). Meals like this one are especially appreciated during times like this. Even when I’m perfectly healthy, meals like this are very convenient for unexpected company, extra busy times or when you just don’t have the energy for something really time consuming. … 

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