Sunday, January 26, 2014

Award-winning Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

*Cue applause

Thank you, thank you. THANK YOU. 

Yes, my recipe for creamy butternut squash soup DID win 3rd place. 
At my apartment complex's cook-off. 
Where there were only 8 entries. 
And I forced my boyfriend to vote for me. 
Even though he really wanted to vote for the meatballs. 

BUT's delicious. 

Before I reveal the recipe, let's talk about butternut squash. Now, you could buy it whole, or you could buy it already peeled and cubed. Please pay close attention to the visual display below: 

1. Breaks knives. 
2. Evokes tears. 
3. Wastes hours of your precious life. 
4. More tears. 

1. Worth it. 
2. Worth It. 
3. Worth It. 
4. Worth it. 

Now that that's all taken care of, here is the recipe: 

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper,  or more if you're crazy
  1. Saute onion in butter until nice and tender. 
  2. Add squash and potato - stir around until coated in butter/onion mixture and cook for about 3 minutes. 
  3. Add water, bouillon granules, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Then, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. 
  4. Cool slightly, or don't, because you're hungry. In a blender, cover and process soup until smooth. 
  5. Return to pot, stir in evaporated milk, and heat through. Add nutmeg and cayenne pepper until you achieve the desired taste/spiciness. 
  6. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A New Obsession...Steamed Lentils.

WHOOOAAAA I almost forgot how to create a new blog post.

Lucky for you, Eric was here to help me!

As you may or may not know, Eric and I recently moved to a new apartment complex in good old Charlottesville. Right next to TRADER JOE'S. I've fallen in love with so many of their products, even the gross looking Green Plant juice. Trust me on this one - drink it out of a non-see-through glass, and it tastes delicious - like a pink or purple juice!

Another item I've fallen head-over-heels in love with is the steamed lentils! Again, they look a little gross, but they are very very yummy. TRUST. Recently, I used them to create a recipe I will share with you today called....

(drum roll please...)


This recipe is super easy and guaranteed to be a husband/fiance/boyfriend pleaser! Eric loves him some lentil sloppy joes, and he is super manly. I mean, check out his beard.

It's a snow day, I'm still in my PJ's, feeling super lazy is a picture of the recipe!

I thought these were a little too sloppy for sandwiches, so we had them open-faced. If you want to get a little crazy though, feel free to make a sandwich! Let me know what you think!
I know you're laughing at my picture right now, because it looks like poo....literally. BUT, you're missing out if you don't give these lentil sloppy joes a try.....

Monday, April 22, 2013

Creamy Avo-Fredo Sauce

Not to brag or anything, but I just made the best pasta sauce EVER.

It was so good that when Eric wasn't looking, I licked my bowl. And spoon. And food processor.

It all started when I had one lonely avocado ripening quickly in my fruit/vegetable/candy basket. Of course I couldn't let this thing go to waste, and I didn't have the rest of the ingredients for guacamole, so I looked around the kitchen, threw a few things in the food processor, and came up with this delightfully light, but sinfully delicious...
Creamy Avo-Fredo Sauce!! 

I served my sauce over some whole-grain rotini noodles, but any pasta would work! I would give the whole-grain noodles a try though, especially with this sauce. It makes a yummy combination! 

Here's a picture of the pasta I used, in case you want to be a complete copy-cat: 

Now for the good stuff...

Creamy Avo-Fredo Sauce
Servings: 2

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup half and half (I used fat free!)
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic (or 1 medium clove of fresh garlic) 
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice (or the juice of half of a lemon) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

  • Scoop out all the meat from the avocado and place in food processor. Put the rest of the ingredients in, and process until smooth. 
  • Resist the urge to eat it directly from the food processor. 
  • Serve over your pasta of choice, sprinkle with parmesan if you'd like, and enjoy! 

**I served the sauce over freshly cooked noodles that were still warm, so it warmed up the sauce a tad. You can heat up the sauce if you'd like, but I think it's awesome just straight out of the food processor. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sweet Clementine Chicken

Who loves her slow cooker?

Meeeee!! Hopefully you do too, because yesterday while my boyfriend was busy being sick and lazy, I created a new slow cooker recipe...

Sweet Clementine Chicken! 

Eric and I love clementines so much that we buy a whole box and pretend like we can eat them all before they go bad. Most of the time we actually succeed. Clementines for breakfast, clementines for afternoon snack, clementines (and Nutella) for dessert...that's how we roll.

Yesterday I thought - Why not clementines for dinner? With chicken? In the slow cooker?

Feel free to use oranges instead of clementines - also I bet adding some zest would be fantastic. Unfortunately, my cheese grater didn't work too well as a zester on these clementines.


  • 3-4 chicken breasts or 6-8 chicken breast tenderloins (I used frozen chicken because it's the bomb.)
  • 1 cup honey
  • juice of 3 clementines
  • 21/2 Tablespoons soy sauce (I used low-sodium.)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha (Use more if you'd like it spicy!) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 head of broccoli (or more) - chopped into florets
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  1. Combine honey, clementine juice, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, Sriracha, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Test to see if you're OK with it's sweetness, spiciness, etc. 
  2. Spray bottom of slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken in slow cooker. 
  3. Pour sauce over chicken. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top, if interested. I was interested. 
  4. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 7-8. If you're using frozen chicken, you MUST cook on high. I checked my chicken after about 21/2 hours on high and it was done, but I'm pretty sure my slow cooker is freakishly fast. 
  5. Once your chicken is done cooking, reach in there with 2 forks to shred or cut the chicken into bite-size chunks. Then, add broccoli and cook on low for about 20-30 minutes. Just enough time to make some coconut rice! Enjoy!

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Sukyaki! (Sue-key-ah-key-exclamationpoint)

Or as my brother used to say - "Sukyucky." I was always the better child.

When I was young, my favorite chef was Mom and my favorite meal was Sukyaki. Not much has changed, except that unfortunately, I'm the chef in my household, so I must make the Sukyaki. Tonight while making said Sukyaki, I made an exciting change! I switched out icky green peppers for broccoli! I asked Eric if I should now call it Beef and Broccoli. He said, "No. Sukyaki is too much fun to say." I agree.

So, with my mother's permission, here's how it's done...


  • 1 lb Top Sirloin - cut into strips OR if you're too lazy(guilty!) to cut it into strips, buy some beef stir-fry instead.
  • 1/2 small onion - cut into strips
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar (or less if you must)
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 head of broccoli crowns (or kick it old school and use a small green pepper cut into strips)

   1. Brown meat in oil over medium heat. 

Mmmmm....bubbly oil.

    2. Add onion slices and broccoli crowns. Stir around and cook until tender (about 4-5 minutes).

     3. Add sugar, soy sauce, and dissolved cubes/water mixture. Stir, cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for about 15 minutes. 

     4. Serve over rice (I used brown) and enjoy! 

Now, you be the judge. Is it Sukyaki or Sukyucky? :) 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Slow Cookin' Sunday

I have a major crush on my slow cooker. In turn, Eric has a huge crush on me because of the yumminess that comes out of said slow cooker. I feel like anything I throw into my slow cooker comes out tasting INCREDIBLE. Also, so many times I don’t have the exact ingredients that a recipe calls for, or maybe I don’t have the right amount, but somehow, it always works out. Magic!

This weekend has been one of the best weekends ever. Friday night E and I decided to have a relaxing night in. Well, it wasn’t too relaxing since we were absolutely FREEZING in the living room. You see, ever since we decided to go anti-heat this winter, the living room is the coldest room in our apartment. The bedroom is the warmest. So at about 7:30, we decided to stay there for the rest of the night with all of the blankets we could find and pop in The Dark Knight. The only problem was – how were we to properly eat snacks in bed? That’s when we decided we need to buy this:

The MALM Occasional Table from IKEA! It comes with wheels so you can keep it at the foot of the bed, and roll it up when you need something to set your laptop, book, breakfast in bed, movie snacks, etc. on.

On Saturday, my lovely parents came to Charlottesville to do lunch and of course go to the UVA vs. Boston College basketball game. I looooove my Hoos! We are impressively good this year, especially with a team full of freshmen. It makes me excited for the years to come! Eric got really good tickets from his work and UVA won, so it was a great game. 
Yeeaaahhh Joooeeeeyyy!!
(to be screamed at least once at every game)
Justin Anderson is super fun to watch.

Picture credit goes to Matt Riley

Also, when Dad wasn’t looking, Mom slipped me a $20. Wooohoooo!! With our newly found riches, Eric and I decided to do dinner and a movie!

Like many other Charlottesville residents, E and I are obsessed with Marco and Luca’s. It’s amazing how yummy something so simple and cheap can be! I usually get a double order of dumplings, BUT since I’m trying to be healthier, I stuck with a single order. Eric got dumplings and sesame noodles, and we each got a bottle of water. Guess what our total was? Only $12! I love delicious bargains.

We’re not done yet – we came across another great deal. Since we missed Skyfall in the regular theater, we were stoked to see that it was now showing at Carmike, home of the best popcorn. Get this: We got 2 tickets, a medium popcorn, and 2 medium drinks for $12.25.

So now you see, with all our basketball-watching, money-saving, movie-watching madness this weekend, we needed a lazy, slow-cookin’ Sunday!

I present to you: Slow Cooking Mac and Cheese

I actually got this recipe from Six Sisters’ Stuff and made just a few changes! It was so creamy, delicious, and filling. Eric even asked if he could bring some leftovers for lunch tomorrow! Usually I’m the one forcing leftovers on him. This mac and cheese was THAT good.

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated monterey jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions: Boil the elbow macaroni in lightly salted water until al dente, about 5-6 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in both cheeses and stir until melted. Spray slow cooker ( I used 6 qt.) with non-stick cooking spray. Combine cheese mixture (it’s OK if it’s a glommy mess of solidified cheese and butter), soup, sour cream, milk, dry mustard, salt, and pepper in prepared slow-cooker. Stir in the drained macaroni. Cook on low for 2 hours, stirring after about 1 hour, and then again when there are about 30 minutes left.

Serve and enjoy! We enjoyed it so much that I totally forgot to take pictures of the finished product in the slow cooker. I do however have a picture of Eric’s precious leftovers!

Yummm….so creamy! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Easy and Versatile Wreath

First of all, let me say that I’m a little embarrassed to be writing this post.

Why? Because some of you bloggers and Pinterest freaks (by the way – follow me!)  out there are super duper crafty and will laugh at my creations. 

BUT, I don’t even care. Maybe, just MAYBE, this post will help someone who is a little craft-challenged like myself.

So, if you’re laughing at this, you’re welcome.

If you’re inspired to make your own versatile wreath, you’re welcomer.

How it all started…

One fall day, after a few glasses of wine, my BFF Whitney and I decided to be cute little wifeys/girlfriends and make wreaths for our house/apartment. She’s the wife in the house, I’m the girlfriend in the apartment….but hey, I’m not jealous of her awesome life or anything.

I must have had on monster heels! 

I was using this burlap wreath tutorial as a guide, but I quickly turned into a grumpster-dumpster when my wreath was looking NOTHING like the tutorial. So, I ditched my metal wreath form for a simple Styrofoam wreath form. Then, I simply wrapped the burlap around the wreath, bunching it up and pinning it as I went. 

The wonderful thing about a burlap wreath is that it’s SUPPOSED to look not-perfect, so I succeeded! Also, you can stick straight pins right into the Styrofoam wreath. How fun is that?

(There would be a picture of my plain burlap wreath here, but I didn’t take one. Blame the wine.)

Now came the time to decorate! I got all of my fall decorations at JoAnn Fabric. Then, I learned my lesson and got cheaper winter/Valentine decorations at the Dollar Tree, Kmart, and Pier 1. WAY cheaper, but still cute!

Part of me really wanted an excuse to use the hot glue gun, BUT at the last minute I had a thought – If I continue to use pins for the decorations, I could use this wreath for the REST OF MY LIFE. So, I highly recommend pinning on your decorations for easy removal. Remember, you’re smart and using a Styrofoam wreath form, so it’s easy to stick in pins!

My Christmas bows and snowflake ornament came from Kmart. I first made the wreath without the “Welcome” sign, but then I missed it, so I pinned it back on. Now, it’s there to stay.

I just recently updated my wreath for Valentine’s Day. I got my cute hearts from Pier 1. Also, while I was there, I picked up an owl ornament for my Christmas wreath NEXT year. It was only 54 cents. Original price = $5.95. Winning!

The Valentine’s Day wreath could probably look a little bit better….but like I said, I’m craft-challenged. Deal with it. Feel free to brag and show me YOUR Valentine’s Day wreaths so I can get some ideas for next year!

I’m looking forward to decorating for spring. Tulips? Birds? Bunnies? What do you think?