Strawberry Picking & Preserves!

There are few things I enjoy more on a Saturday morning than visiting a U-Pick farm.

Seriously. I’m not kidding.

I love to pick stuff. Berries, leaves, mushrooms – whatever. Harvesting food is awesome.

It probably comes from when I was a little kid, and would go hiking all over southeast Michigan with my mom. My parents owned property near an area filled with wild raspberries and blackberries, and every time my mom saw any, she would get excited, and we would have to stop and pick them. Even if we were in a hurry. Or if it was raining. Or if the berries were down in a ravine filled with poison ivy.

Well, it rubbed off on me, because I’ve learned to forage for all kinds of things when I’m in the woods. But when I’m not in the woods…I visit U-Pick farms. Continue reading “Strawberry Picking & Preserves!”

Indian Inspired Chicken & Quinoa

I think it’s time to share a recipe on here. A FABULOUS recipe for a 1-skillet meal filled with Indian spices, chicken, and delicious, nutty-tasting, protein-filled quinoa.

However, I really can’t take credit for inventing this recipe. I made a Mexican version of this, which is also very good, and Matt used that as inspiration to make an Indian dish. I actually think his is better, though that may be because Indian food is my all-time favorite. Continue reading “Indian Inspired Chicken & Quinoa”

Best Chocolate Cake Ever

My mom’s birthday is tomorrow, so this weekend I decided to practice an old

A half recipe of delicious chocolate cake with buttercream frosting.
I made a half recipe, which makes a loaf-pan sized cake. This is perfect since there was only four of us! My mom even had about half of it left to eat over the next couple of days.

tradition: Making her favorite chocolate cake recipe.

Conveniently, it’s also my favorite chocolate cake recipe. And now I’m sharing it with you. Continue reading “Best Chocolate Cake Ever”

Meatloaf Pie

I grew up in a blue-collar family, and meatloaf was a staple. Actually, it was a favorite staple – I loved it. I would ask for it if we hadn’t had it in awhile. Is that weird?

Either way, when I became an adult, I took several meatloaf recipes with me, and tweaked my favorite to become perfectly tailored to my taste. There was one problem…

Making meatloaf was annoying, because it had to bake for an hour.

That may not seem like a long time – and it’s not – but when you get off work, get to the gym, then make dinner, you want dinner ready in LESS THAN an hour, from start to finish. I found myself not eating meatloaf as often as I wanted.

That is, until my then-boyfriend (now-husband) invented meatloaf pie. Continue reading “Meatloaf Pie”

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

With a busy week ahead, last night I decided to make a double pot of stuffed cabbage casserole – an easy, delicious, and filling meal that lasts several days. I often serve it with a side salad and fresh bread, though it can be served alone as a meal in and of itself. This recipe serves 4 adults if it’s the only thing on the table, and can serve 6 if accompanied by sides. My husband and I usually get 2 dinners and 1-2 lunches out of one batch of it. This time, I made a double recipe with the intent of eating it all week (no time to cook this week…).

This recipe only takes about an hour total, plenty of built in down time while it is cooking to do other things – like make salad and do dishes. In other words, it’s great for a weeknight! Continue reading “Stuffed Cabbage Casserole”

Irish Soda Bread

Remember how when I shared my meal planning techniques, I told you to be flexible? Well, this week I was flexible! I didn’t intend to make any bread to go with my chicken tortilla soup, but I had the day off (SNOW DAY! Sometimes being a teacher is great), and decided that warm bread with butter would make a nice addition to our dinner. Since this is a SUPER EASY Irish soda bread recipe that takes LESS THAN HOUR (including cook time!!!), I thought I’d share! Continue reading “Irish Soda Bread”

Hearty Split Pea Soup

As you may have seen on my meal plan, I made Split Pea Soup (and Irish Soda Bread) on Monday. It was Martin Luther King Day, so I didn’t have to work, and we had just been buried in a heap of snow, so it was the perfect day for a long-simmering soup. I made it the way my mom used to, with a few additions of my own, and thought I’d share.

Don’t worry – it’s a long recipe, but it’s not hard and it’s definitely delicious.

If you want the short version, scroll down to the end of the this post. 🙂

WARNING: This recipe takes 2 1/2 hours MINIMUM and can take up to 4 1/2 depending on what stock you have available. A lot of that is hands-off time, and I had plenty of time to make my bread, do all the dishes, and clean my bathroom while the soup was simmering…but be prepared!

A bowl full of hearty, split pea soup.
I don’t think split pea soup can be photographed in an appetizing way, but I assure you that this dark green sludge-y soup with ham bits and vegetables is AMAZING. You can see some half-eaten bread chunks behind it….my husband tore into that way too fast for me to get a picture of the pretty, round loaf!

Continue reading “Hearty Split Pea Soup”