This week on A Cozy Kitchen we’re getting super healthy! Yes, I know. I’m putting away the butter and sugar (for now) and giving you recipes to eat when you’re in the mood to be good.
I used to be one of those psycho people who could go hours, HOURS without eating anything in the morning. I’d totally skip breakfast, drink coffee instead (of course) but by 1pm I was a demon. A total hangry little demon.
This past Wednesday I had one of those epic food days. I ate sushi for lunch; there was a over-priced (but worth it) fresh-pressed cucumber juice for a late afternoon drink situation; dinner was a decadent Italian meal, proceeded by a warm buttered rum as a nightcap. Oh and cookies and milk!
I’m not sure if I’ve had a better food day than that, ever, but it’s coming to a screeching half, ladies and gentlemen, because the month of March is all about eating healthy (for me). Don’t worry, A Cozy Kitchen won’t be turning into a Paleo blog but I will be sprinkling in healthier recipes from time to time, this one you see as my first.
For this post, I teamed up with McCormick Gourmet to give you a healthier take on cottage pie (also known as shepherd’s pie). It’s for St. Patrick’s Day or any day when you’re looking for a healthier but still comforting dish to make.
December is for cookies and pies and appetizers, specifically meatballs. I love meatballs.
January is for recovery. Honestly, I always feel a little silly and cliche posting healthy recipes at the beginning of the year, but right now I’m actually craving vegetables and broth and nourishing foods. December wrecked my body. I ate and drank a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it (no regrets!), but this state of recover is really necessary.
Enter: this potlikker (pot liquor?) soup.
I first learned about potlikker while watching PBS’s A Chef’s Life with Vivian Howard. Have you seen it? Oh man, she’s my new obsession. Every show ends and I’m so inspired to make the stuff she’s making. She’s fun to watch, too. Vivan strikes this perfect balance of being knowledgeable, relatable, and vulnerable. And all her ideas are really smart and interesting…even if she doesn’t think they are at first.
I feel like we all might need a bit of a sugar break. Not for like FOREVR, but for today. This recipe is one of those one-pot situations my mom cooked for me us all time back in the day. It’s completely stress-free, fuss-free and even gluten-free, if you’re into that sort of thing.
It’s cozy, too, as most meals should be in the month of December. I know we’re sort of in that frenzy right now, just trying to reach the calm of Christmas day when we all wish time could stand still. I can’t wait for the quiet of the holidays. I need it, this year especially.
This past weekend was ALL about girl time. And by girl time, I mean Amelia and I hanging out on the couch, going on hikes, going to the park, binge-watching Orange Is The New Black and driving around running errands.
My dude went on a dude-camping trip and I wasn’t invited. Even if I was invited, I’m not a big camper, if you hadn’t guessed. I like nature, I like waterfalls and the scenery and all that but I also like taking showers and being able to charge my phone. The real-deal camping is a lil’ tough for me.
Also, this means I can’t binge-watch Orange is the New Black, which I’m thoroughly enjoying. Doesn’t it make prison look like fun?! I know prison isn’t fun but the show doesn’t make it seem all that bad. But mainly I like that the characters are flawed and interesting and are usually really good people, just people with off-kilter ethical compasses who made bad decisions.
Ok, less talkie about TV and more talkie about this asparagus.
When roasting, I always try and go for the thicker asparagus. I find it less stringy and fibrous than the super skinny asparagus.
I mixed a bit of white asparagus in this, too. But you definitely don’t have to.
The mayonnaise! AHH! This dish is technically paleo because paleo peeps looove a good homemade mayonnaise. I personally like how paleo ppl make mayonnaise too. No blender. Just one of these immersion blenders.
Add everything to the jar or cylinder container and then pulse. Everything will come together. It feels magical. Hazelnut oil is a little expensive, so if you don’t want to use it, don’t! The actual hazelnuts will make it super nutty.
I’m pretty sure this has been the first year where I actually do a big time spring cleaning. Most years I just fantasize about spring cleaning, wishing I was one of those super organized people with a label-maker and the energy to organize everything. But most of the time, organizing overwhelms me. This year, as in this past Saturday, I took action and murdered three of the most disorganized, embarrassing closets I’ve ever had in my life.
I called them the “death closets” because if you opened them, who knows what could happen. An avalanche of stuff might just pour out, crushing you to death. Death closets.
They’re gone, now. They don’t exist. The only thing that exists are three very tidy closets, ridden of all of the junk they were holding; junk I didn’t need, use or like. UGH, BE GONE.
Have you done any spring cleaning? I swear it’s good for your soul.
These thing-ies. These lettuce cups are literally what I eat nearly every single night. I know that may seem like an outrageous claim but it’s not.
I eat them because they’re healthy and delicious and spicy. They’re the perfect 15 minute dinner that you can eat by yourself at the end of a warm day. That’s not a glamorous picture, but it’s a real one.
Lots of hippie-dippie things are going on in the world right now and I figured we should talk about them.
To start, birkenstocks are back in style. I bought a white pair last week and I’m currently expecting their arrival. Pretty excited about ’em, you guys. I might even live on the edge and wear them with a cute pair of socks. Sue me.
And Tevas!! Also back in style. Not sure how I feel about this return. They kinda bring back some terrible 90s nightmares.
Speaking of Colorado-type things…granola! Grain-free granola is totally a thing. No grains. No gluten. And while we’re at it, no refined sugar. You would think I’d be leading you down a depressing healthy hole of complete nonsense but seriously this is my favorite granola in the entire world. Yes, I’m absolutely serious. There’s a good chance that after this I won’t ever return to oat-based granola. Why would I? I don’t need them. I have nuts like almonds, walnuts and macadamia, and seeds like sunflower and black sesame. And a bunch of delicious fruit like golden berries and goji berries.
I’m in love. Today’s post is my ode to granola-y-type things.
Last night I “slept” with rage in my heart and a pillow tightly pressed against my ear. Somewhere in the abyss, also known as the mini forest thingy right outside my bedroom window, was a dog that clearly was not happy about being put outside. So he or she barked. And then barked and barked for a solid four hours straight, maybe longer. At first I didn’t hear it but then it was ALL I could hear.
After hour one of said dog’s incessant barking, realizing it wasn’t going to end, I started to run down scenarios in my head.
Do I drive my car to the house and knock on the owner’s door at 3am?
Will they murder me? Do I call the police?
Do police even care about dogs barking?
Or do I just get ear plus because knocking on a stranger’s door at 3am sounds like a murder waiting to happen? Probably get ear plugs. Who likes confrontation? Not me. Poor dog.
If it happens again tonight I have no idea what I’ll do….ahh! What should I do?!
Amazing things always happen to me when I’m at Michael’s. This one time I saw a Marisa Tomei and I was freaking out because I grew up loving her. My Cousin Vinny? I was way too young to waatch it but that didn’t stop me from taking peeks from the hallway. I would do that as a kid: sneak out of room at night, sit in the hallway that allowed me to peer straight into the living room while still being out of sight, and watch the movies my parents watched. They had no idea that their “date for two” in front of the TV actually included a third wheel.
Then there was this other time that I saw an older gentlemen in a fly fisherman’s outfit have a meltdown because the coupon on his phone wasn’t working–it was a sight. And then yesterday, as I was shopping for candy-making materials, I turned around to see an old dude slap his wife’s behind. She laughed and playfully slapped him back. While it was a little awkward to witness, it actually made me smile. When you’re young it’s hard to imagine what being married for a long time must be like. Everything is so new and fresh and first-timey at this age. But when you’re older, perhaps flirting with each other is even more important.
I went on my run and thought about them, imagining how much life they’ve lived together, how many kids they’ve raised and wondered how many hardships they’ve survived. I do that sometimes: imagine people’s “stories.” I sometimes think going through that much life together can either tear you apart or bond you in a way that is unbreakable. We all wish for the latter. So, him slapping her ass made me happy is all…haha. It made me believe that perhaps love lasting a lifetime really can happen.
I came home and made a rendition of this smoothie bowl. It is, after all, what I have most days either immediately after my workout or for breakfast.
My Sunday rituals are strong. They usually start with an early trip to the farmer’s market, followed by lots of recipe testing. I love cooking on Sundays. And then, TV. Lots of that too.
The past few Sundays, I’ve spent watching Game of Thrones and I’m gonna lie, I barely understand what’s going on. Still. But I keep watching, thinking someday I’ll understand every single character, their family, etc. It’s wishful thinking, really.
Silicon Valley is more my steez. Lots of awkwardness and a CEO who wears those tennis shoes that slip on like socks. Those are so strange. Why do those exists?! I don’t get it.