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Rainbow Chard Salad in Parmesan Bowls Recipe

I recently moved into a very tiny junior one bedroom apartment in San Francisco. If you have never heard of such a thing before, you are in good company. It is basically a studio that has a little separation, but no real separation. That said, I could not be happier! It is my little piece of heaven and the best part is that it has an awesome kitchen, perfect for hosting company!

This past weekend, I invited a few of my friends over to celebrate the new place, my new job, and life in general. I wanted to make something easy and fun that would require very little work when they arrived. This Rainbow Chard Salad in Parmesan Bowls recipe was the perfect appetizer. You can prepare everything before your guests arrive, as the bowls need time to get to room temperature. The slight bitter crunch from the rainbow chard pairs wonderfully with the creamy sweet avocado, and salty crunchy parmesan bowl.

I hope you enjoy and would love to hear about your favorite celebration appetizers!

Rainbow Chard Salad in Parmasen Cheese Bowls
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Winter Squash Salad


We are so sorry it has been so long, sometimes you need to just run away and December was one of those months. So boy did we run! First we both went to Connecticut, then we went to Florida, and finally I spent a few days in southern California before coming back home to cook with you. This time was very magical because we got to spend it with the people we love most, our family. Cooking, laughing, eating, and enjoying every last moment. This time was also very special to me because after months of training I ran my first half marathon! Now that we are both home in our comfy houses, together via FaceTime and Skype, we promise that we will never take such a long break again.

As I’ve said the holidays were great and now with the New Year it’s the perfect time to eat deliciously and healthily. Today we made a winter squash salad, that combines the salty smoothness of goat cheese, the sweet flavor of golden raisons, the nutty crispness of acorn squash, and the heartiness of kale. This is great as a meal or as a compliment to a pasta or meat dish!
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Pumpkin Casserole

Fall is great for many reasons: sweater weather, leaves changing colors, Halloween,
Thanksgiving, and pumpkins! Pumpkins are one of my favorite things to cook. They always make me reminiscent of childhood roasting salted pumpkin seeds with my family after carving silly faces on our pumpkins. We never were elaborate with our designs. Not only are the memories wonderful, the sweet taste of pumpkins is wonderful.

This pumpkin casserole is the perfect side for Thanksgiving. A sweet, savory dish that pairs well with turkey and stuffing. I used a pie pumpkin, smaller than your carving variety, but available at most grocery markets. You can also used canned pumpkin for any time constraints.


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Green Bean Almondine

I know I have said it before, but I cannot help to say it again. I love green beans. I could eat them every meal. Growing up we would buy pounds of green beans. For breakfast we would fry them with eggs, at lunch we would make a delicious salad with raw green beans, and then at dinner we would sauté them for a perfect side dish. It says a lot that I would not only not get sick of them, but that I would still crave them. I would love to hear how you enjoy your favorite green beans in the comments!

Thanksgiving is a perfect day to make all of your favorite green bean dishes. Especially with a big group, green beans are one veggie that is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. We have a lot of vegetarians in our family, so we are always looking for new ways to add filling dishes with protein to our holiday menu. Green bean almandine is a great way to do just this. It is delicious, salty, nutty, and crunchy making each bite the perfect taste sensation. I love garlic, so I added a clove to my recipe to make the dish a little more of my own. Feel free to leave it out! Either way it will be delicious!

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Green Bean Casserole with Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

I love Thanksgiving! I have always been a “give me all of the sides and hold the turkey” kind of girl. My favorites being the sausage stuffing, green beans, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, anything (and everything) cranberry… I am sure you get the idea. Thanksgiving vegetables are always the best vegetables, buttery and without concern over caloric content. I am always trying new fun ways to enjoy my favorite vegetables, so this year I have decided to make green bean casserole with a homemade cream of mushroom soup.

I have always been a little hesitant by green bean casserole because of the canned soup and canned onions. I knew a lot of people who loved the Thanksgiving side dish, however, which made me want to see what it was about this combination. I decided to make this dish by using all fresh homemade components. And, it was delicious. The snap of the green beans, the nuttiness of the mushrooms, and the crunch of the onions. No wonder this is a Thanksgiving favorite!


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Sweet Potato and Black Bean Veggie Burger

This year for my birthday my mom gave me one of the most thoughtful gifts – a few cooking classes of my choosing. This gift was really two presents in one. The first, was obvious, the opportunity to learn new techniques and skills. The second, and most special, was the opportunity for discussion with my mom about class choices, the lessons learned, and discussing how our eductions differed. I feel so lucky to be able to share this passion for cooking with my mom.

One of the cooking classes I signed up for was a knife class. I have experience with knives, but needed improvement in both technique and efficiency. If you have never taken a knife class before, I could not recommend it more. We cut onions, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, and even a grapefruit. Learning tips and tricks along the way. After leaving the class, I went to the store and stocked up on all sorts of funky shaped vegetables to practice what I learned.

After a lot of chopping, I decided to make veggie burgers to avoid wasting any of my practice material. These veggie burgers are hearty and rich. The sweet from sweet potato and red pepper, pairs nicely with the kick from the chili powder. These burgers are perfect alone, on a salad, or as plated below on a pretzel bun with pepper jack cheese and fresh mixed greens. I would love to hear how you enjoy them!

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Arugula and Honey Roasted Almond Salad

My dad loves making things. As a child, he built us a treehouse and dollhouses, throughout my adolescence he brewed beer, and now he is a beekeeper collecting delicious honey! He then shares the honey with us (my favorite!), uses it in food, and makes candles. I really enjoy this hobby of his.

Today using a special batch of his honey, I made an Arugula and Honey Roasted Almond Salad. The salad is light and summery offering a peppery bite from the arugula and a sweet, salty crunch from the almonds. The almonds also step this dish up a little offering a source of protein for a more complete meal!

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Plantain Guacamole Bites

There is nothing like sporting events to bring people together. As a Penn State alum, I believe that I gain 110,000 friends whenever I go and watch a football game at Beaver Stadium. Sporting events allow everyone to speak a universal language, one of pride, competition, and teamwork. Right now, in the midst of the Fifa World Cup, this sentiment is so strong.. Walking through the streets of San Francisco, I see so much USA pride and at game time, the city transforms itself to only teammates and friends.

Getting in the spirit of the World Cup, I made these Plantain Guacamole Bites to enjoy with my friends, as we watched the US play! The fresh flavors transport you to Brazil. Each bite offers a fruity sweetness from the plantain, a tart kick from the lime, and a little spice from the jalapeño. I would recommend making extras, because I know I could eat them all by myself!

Plantain Guacamole Bites

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Arugula Salad with Fresh Figs, Toasted Hazelnuts and Shaved Parmesan

This salad hits on all our taste sensations, the pepperiness of the greens with the sweetness of the fresh figs, the crunch of the toasted hazelnuts and the saltiness of the parmesan cheese. I love arugula, when my girls were small, I bought a case of it and we ate arugula twice a day till it was gone. It took a year before they even wanted to look at it again. Now they can’t get enough and would love it if someone brought them a case.

When I shop for fresh figs, I look for a little drip of liquid at the bottom or eye of the fig, telling me they are ripe. Somehow figs manage to be crunchy, sweet and chewy all at the same time. This effortless salad is delicious without them but figs take it to another level of flavor.  [click to continue…]

Summer Pasta Salad

Summer and the livin’ is easy. Well I guess I shouldn’t say easy, I still have to work, but summer and the livin’ is magnificient is more like it! Summer breeds countless days in the sun, parties, and outdoor gatherings. If asked, I would have to say my favorite summer activity of all is an outdoor barbecue with friends, fun games and great food.

While I’ve been known to scoff down my share of cheeseburgers, I am very partial to the sides. I mean what’s better for soaking up that one-margarita-too-many than a nice pasta salad. Summer pasta salad is the perfect name for this recipe because it has light, fresh flavors creating a happy summertime moment with each bite.

Please share in the comments your favorite summertime activities and treats!

Summer Pasta Salad
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