Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili

5 Jan

Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili

The hubby and I have been headed into a more vegetarian lifestyle for the past few months– accumulating recipes, playing around with flavors, and me attempting to mimic something that tasted amazing but that I just threw together. With the joy of the holidays comes the self-indulgent and typically not too healthy food parade right into your mouth. We weren’t too bad this year, but by the time NYE came around and we found ourselves in Cincinnati for the night, we were looking for light, vegetarian, tasty food.

Enter Metropole, the restaurant in our fabulous 21c Museum Hotel, serving farm to table food with a creative flair. We fell in love with almost everything we ate and enjoyed sitting at the salad/dessert station and chatting with the chefs. Long story short, this dish is inspired by their sweet potatoes with toasted pistachio, pomegranate, fresh mint, and fresh burrata. The base of the chili mostly came from Milk Free Mom.


one 29 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
one 6 oz can tomato paste
32 oz vegetable stock
1 red onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 chipotles in adobo, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
1 cup dry quinoa
salt and pepper to taste
creme fraiche, pomegranate seeds, fresh mint for garnish


Heat the oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium low heat. Add onions, and cook until soft and they start to turn brown (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the beans, stock, and potatoes, and season with salt and pepper . Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the quinoa. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes – 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until quinoa and potatoes are cooked and the chili has thickened. Add a bit of water if the chili becomes too thick for your liking. Top with a dollop of creme fraiche, a heaping of pomegranate seeds, and some fresh mint.


Top Tracks of My Summer

8 Aug

Some people love music…I Love Music…I’m marrying a man who LOVES MUSIC. Every month he downloads a couple hundred tracks and judges them with his thumb on his iPod. I tend to explore at a slower pace– looking for inspiration on Pandora, from friends, and when the fiancé feels like he’s found something he thinks I’ll be into.

On my iPod these are dubbed as “Summer 2013” even though they weren’t all released during the past few months. I believe that there is always room for discovering music– both old AND new– throughout our lives. Who says a song by Fleetwood Mac from 1974 can’t be on my Summer 2016 playlist? With that in mind, here are the five most heavily rotated songs on my iPod:

1. “Thunder Clatter” by Wild Cub

A ridiculously fun song with wonderfully textured lyrics and a mantra at the end that just kills me every time I hear it. It’s totally not in my range and I sound terrible when I sing along with it, but I love it. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m getting married in two months, but the lines are so lovely.

I hear it call in the center of it all
You’re the love of my life
I hear it all in the center of my heart
You’re the love of my life


2. “Verona” by Geographer

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for a synthesizer and this song doesn’t disappoint. I find myself enjoying the upbeat chorus but looking forward to the quieter parts of the song. The subject matter is full of longing and melancholy, yet remains vibrant.


3. “Red Light District” by Midi Mathilda

I can’t get enough of the falsetto and the cadence of the singer. The ever-changing tempo and focus of the music keeps me interested and I’ve fallen in love with this EP. Really looking forward to their next offering and if you like them, check out “Day Dreams” from the same EP.


4. “Closer Than This” by St. Lucia

Tam.Bour.Rine. TAMBOURINE! Lady voices. Beats. Catchy and sweet lyrics.


5. “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities

This song came out in 2011 and for some reason is insanely blowing up right now. The future husband was playing his music on random and this came on– instant attraction. Synth beat and BUGLES. What more could a girl ask for? It’s all over Pandora and I’ve been walking in West loop and hearing cars blare it. Good for them, it’s a great track. We’ll see what else they come up with.

BONUS TRACK: “The Tale of You & Me” by Wild Child

Morbid topic. Lovely duet. Stellar mantra ending.

Sleep good and hold tight,
just know that I’ll make it right

Cheesy Grits with Sweet Bacon and Poached Egg

17 Jun

Cheesy Grits


Whether created at home or out somewhere lovely in the city, weekend breakfasts are a special joy in our house. Recently inspired by Takito Kitchen’s polenta dish, we attempted to make it at home with grits instead. Serves 2.


Trader Joe’s Grits (plus 1/3 cup milk; 2/3 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, grated)

Peppered bacon (2 strips, diced before frying)

Green onion (1 stalk, chopped)

1 tbsp Gardeniera (minced)

1 tbsp Maple syrup

2 Fresh eggs (poached)


Prepare grits as instructed. During the last 10 minutes after milk has been added, begin to boil water for the eggs. Poach the eggs when the water reaches a soft boil. In the meantime, throw bacon into small frying pan over medium heat, cooking for a few minutes until it begins to crisp up. Add green onion,  gardeniera, and maple syrup to the pan and cook for an additional few minutes, making sure to mix all of the elements together. Drain items in frying pan on paper towels after cooking long enough that the bacon is cripsy.

Mix cheese into grits after you put the eggs into the water. Everything should come out at about the same time. Serve up grits, top with poached egg and bacon mixture…and enjoy! So savory with a little heat from the gardeniera and a sweet undertone from the syrup.


Mushroom and Leek Frittata

29 May



Leeks. Intimidating at first– which part is edible? how do I cut it? what the heck do I use them in?– but an incredibly worthy food! Enter this lovely woman who showed me how to navigate this wonderful vegetable and this blog, which inspired the recipe.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium leeks, whites and pale green parts only, chopped
  • 8 ounces crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces Canadian bacon, diced (optional if you want to keep it vegetarian)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme
  • 1/3 cup shredded Fontina cheese, divided
  • 1/3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese, divided
  • 1/3 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 350°. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add leeks; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and thyme and cook, stirring often, until softened and all liquid has evaporated, 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a large bowl; mix in about 2/3 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Pour the egg mixture and Canadian bacon over the mushrooms, shaking the pan to evenly distribute mixture. Cook the frittata, without stirring, until its edges begin to set, about 5 minutes. I’d recommend stirring up the bottom a bit right after you add the eggs– I had a lot of mushrooms and leeks stick to the pan.

Sprinkle remaining cheese over eggs and transfer skillet to oven. Bake frittata until golden brown and center is set, 25-30 minutes.

I served it with a simple salad and various colored cherry tomatoes and lemon dijon vinaigrette. Brunch is served, my lovelies.

Lemon Chicken Picatta

6 Apr

Lemon Chicken Picatta

I’ve been really getting into Pinterest lately (shocker, I know) and found a few variations for lemon chicken picatta and basically grabbed a little from each of them. The amount that I made serves two people.


  • 4 chicken thighs, skinned, boned, and pounded to ¼-inch thickness
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh ground  pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose gluten free flour, for dredging (like King Arthur)
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • juice of 1/2 large sized lemon
  • 1/2 lemon sliced
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley (I didn’t have any on hand, but I think it would work well)
  • 1 cups of chicken broth
  • gluten free pasta (like Bionaturae)


  1. Cook pasta just short of al dente, drain, set aside.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Dredge the chicken in the flour.
  3. Heat the oil in a large 12″-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, and saute until golden in color. (Be careful not to burn the garlic or it will taste bitter).) Remove the garlic from the oil and chop, set aside.
  4. Quickly add chicken thighs into the frying pan and saute 3 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.
  5. Add the white wine and chopped garlic, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to incorporate any of the small bits that have collected. Cook until the wine is gone.
  6. Add pasta to the pan, along with the lemon juice and chicken broth. Toss until coated.
  7. Place the sautéed chicken thighs that you have set aside back into the frying pan, snuggled in with the pasta. Cook until pasta is al dente.
  8. Serve up pasta, top with chicken, a slice of lemon, capers, and parsley.

Pickled Shallots

29 Mar

Pickled Shallots

I love these! I’ve already used them on steak tacos last night (pictured above) and on my breakfast (GF crumpet, poached egg, pesto oil) this morning. Really easy and quick to make, while adding such a wonderful flavor and texture. I will note that a little goes a long way– I definitely had to remove some from my tacos because they were overwhelming the other ingredients.


  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced rounds
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt


In a small sauce pan, heat up the vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer. Add the shallots and remove from the heat. Let the shallots sit in the brine for about 15-20 minutes. Drain and serve.

Gluten Free Meatballs in Red Sauce

18 Mar

GF Pork Meatballs


For the red sauce:

  • olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 28-oz can roasted tomatoes

For the meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/4 c almond flour or almond meal
  • handful finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp whole cumin
  • 1 tsp whole coriander
  • 1 tsp whole fennel
  • 2 big pinches of salt

1. Coat the bottom a large pan (I wish I had a Dutch oven) with olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, pinch of salt, and bay leaves and cook until just beginning to brown on the edges, then add the tomatoes and stir. If using whole roasted tomatoes, crush them with your hands as they go in, or use a wooden spoon to break them up as they cook.

2. While the tomato sauce begins to reduce (or in my case, the night before because I knew my evening before cooking would be insane), use a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder) to grind the cumin, coriander, and fennel. Mix the spices and the rest of the meatball ingredients together in a medium bowl and combine with your hands until about evenly mixed. Form the meat mixture into balls – I like them slightly smaller than a golf ball, makes them more manageable.

3. Nestle the meatballs in the tomato sauce, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook about 30 minutes, flipping the meatballs at about the halfway point. You can check for doneness by cutting into one of the meatballs to see if it is cooked all the way through. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Serve over pasta or polenta, or keep it grain-free and serve alongside steamed or roasted veggies. I topped our gluten free pasta with green onion and some shaved parmesan.

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