Tag Archives: yum

Gourmet Instant Food You Need In Your Life

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Gourmet Instant Food You Need In Your Life

The words “gourmet” and “instant” don’t usually go together. But in our high-tech world of technological voodoo, that’s no longer the case in the realm of food. Today there are all sorts of instant gourmet options available. And it’s taking instant gratification to a whole new level:

Cheese Stuffed Burgers:

Why put cheese on top of your burger patty when you can put it inside, instead? That’s the idea behind cheese-stuffed burgers. As a home chef, you just cook the burgers as you usually would. Then when you bite into them, the cheese oozes out, and you get a massive dose of flavor.

What’s nice about these burgers is how runny the cheese gets when you cook it this way. The meat prevents evaporation, so you wind up with a sous-vide-style experience. These burgers tend to work best with semi-sweet sauces, like BBQ, but you can also pair them with coleslaw or onion rings.

Gourmet Calzones:

Call up your local late night pizza delivery services these days and they will probably offer gourmet options around the clock. Today, it is a completely different experience. Takeouts know that their patrons want quality ingredients and new taste sensations. The standard options are still popular. But there’s also a big market for the finer flavors.

Today, gourmet calzones are a big hit. That’s because you can fit more quality ingredients in them than you can a standard pizza. Goat cheese, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, and roasted peppers are all par for the course. And the taste experience is dramatically improved for foodies with sophisticated palates.

Specialty Ramen:

If you thought that ramen was just for students on microscopic budgets, think again. It turns out that multiple vendors are now making gourmet versions that harken back to the original Asian dish. With these meals, you’re getting much more than just some cheap noodles suspended in MSG-filled water. Many come with things like king shiitake mushrooms, wholefood glass noodles, sugar snap peas, black fungus, and marinated tofu. In fact, the number of options is quite spectacular. If you haven’t checked out the market yet, you definitely should!

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Mac n’ Cheese With a Twist:

This classic American dish is usually something you put in the microwave and enjoy steaming hot a few minutes later. But even this “plain” dish is going through a revolution.

The standard version is just a cheese sauce with refined macaroni pieces. It’s comforting, but it’s not healthy food. Today, though, people are discovering that they can create a better experience by combining flavors and using whole food ingredients. So, instead of using refined pasta, they’re using specialty wholemeal versions. And instead of using cheese sauce, they’re replacing it with cashew and nutritional yeast. A lot of budding chefs also like to char some broccoli with soy sauce before mixing into the main meal.

Bean Sausages:

Finally, we’re seeing the rise of bean gourmet sausages made with fresh ingredients. In these recipes, the base is always beans and wholemeal breadcrumbs. People are then adding their choice of herbs to create a variety of flavors to keep them interested throughout the month.

Is your mouth watering yet? Use the ideas above and transform your family dinner tonight!

Featured Image By: Pexels

An Apple A Day

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An Apple A Day

Hello!! For those of you who don’t know, my big girl job is as an Independent Provider for people with special needs. I love my job always but in the summer and fall, I feel particularly thankful because I am constantly being spoiled with produce from gardens and apple orchards. Each family I work with does a garden every summer and, I swear, I never went a week without delicious, homegrown veggies in my apartment these past few months.

This past week, a client and his family visited an apple orchard and I had such fun hearing about his outing. Fast forward to when I was about to pull out of their yard to go home and his mom comes running out to stop me with a huge bag of apples. SO sweet!

All of the families I work with consider me an “honorary” member of their household and it is an honor for me. So, to come home with a bag of apples or veggies is special to me because it’s a reminder of how much we all care for each other. I would be so lonely without all of the wonderful families I get to help out and, god forbid one of us gets sick or goes on vacation, because we all end up missing each other like crazy!

Like I said, my client’s mom ran to my car with this beautiful bounty and it was like getting the most fantastic hug. Small and simple acts of kindness are often the best so be sure to offer an apple (pumpkin or gourd!) a day to someone you love if you visit an apple orchard or pumpkin patch this fall. You have the Lil Red Guarantee that it will be oh so appreciated. ❤

What was the last random act of kindness you made? What do you like to grow in your garden? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Morning Star Meals

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Morning Star Meals

Hello! I have been a strict vegetarian for the closer part of two decades and literally could never imagine eating meat again. Although I have a different diet than Johnny who loves cheeseburgers, bacon, and hot dogs we still both eat the “fake” meat by Morning Star pretty regularly. Check it out:

I have never been one of the vegetarians who are put off by people eating meat so I was tickled when Johnny wanted to try my vegetarian chicken nuggets and sausage patties. I was even more thrilled about the fact that he liked them just as much as me! In fact, I consider it a rarity to have a boyfriend who is excited about me making a veggie option and not asking me to make “regular” meat for him – even though he knows I would be happy to.

We are both huge fans of the Morning Star buffalo chicken nuggets and, this past shopping trip, I got us the buffalo patties for him to try. I was about to start prepping our meal when Johnny took it upon himself to make it, instead. He air fried our patties, then buttered and toasted the buns. We topped it off with lettuce and ranch and my heart kind of melted when Johnny said “it tastes just like a spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s”.

My Johnny is just so dear to me and him being willing to always try new things is one of the many things I love about him. I know it seems like a little thing but Morning Star meals with my non vegetarian boyfriend will never cease to put me in all of the happy feels. I’m a lucky girl. ❤

What is the most recent new food you tried? Which other brands make the best “fake” meat? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red & The Best Anniversary Ever

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Lil Red & The Best Anniversary Ever

Hello! On September first, Johnny and I celebrated our one year anniversary of dating. This past weekend, we celebrated officially by the most wonderful surprise that Johnny had been working on: A specially prepared dinner by a chef friend that I got to choose.

Originally, I wanted something bold like Pad Thai or Indian food but Johnny is not a fan of either so I went with an old favorite of fettuccine Alfredo, garlic bread, and a salad. This was sure to go over well with the both of us and on Saturday I was banished from the apartment while our mystery guest and Johnny got to work.

For a few hours I visited my parents and brother as well as their next door neighbor, Alice. But, the entire time, I was eagerly awaiting a text from Johnny to tell me I could come back home. I had butterflies in my stomach the whole time I was away and I was freaking giddy when I was allowed to start heading over.

I opened the door to our apartment and was greeted by the most delicious aroma of garlic bread you could ever imagine, a cleaned off kitchen table, and our friend Jimmy standing in the kitchen! Jimmy plays in The Outside Voices with Johnny and is an exceptional chef so Johnny hired him to prepare our anniversary feast.

I was literally speechless when I saw Jimmy because I had no idea who Johnny was talking about this whole time. Between that, my kitchen table being cleaned, and Johnny looking so damn fine I was completely floundering, lol!

Around seven, our meal was ready and Jimmy poured us both a healthy glass of wine and left us to begin our celebrations. Saying our dinner was to die for was an understatement. The fettuccine Alfredo surpassed anything I’ve ever had before (Take that, Olive Garden!). The rosemary garlic bread was so crisp and had enough garlic to kill a vampire but that’s exactly how I like it. And, finally, the salad was gorgeous – fresh greens with mozzarella cheese, blackberries, sliced almonds, onions, and an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Can you say, YUM?!

We ate like royalty and immediately after, we retired into our comfy clothes to begin the relaxation portion of our celebration. All night, Johnny and I listened to music, poorly did imitations of our favorite TV characters, and laughed. It was the best day of my life.

Johnny’s anniversary date night was one of the nicest things that anyone has ever done for me and I am never going to forget it. The following morning I told him I thought I gained a pound from dinner but that food baby was just a small price to pay for the most beautiful day! ❤

How did you celebrate an anniversary this year? How about a birthday? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Feeling Snacky

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Feeling Snacky

Hi! It has always been important to me to have healthy food and snacks in my apartment. I rarely eat sweet treats as I prefer the savory but Johnny, on the other hand, requests something in the dessert department whenever I go grocery shopping. And, when that time of the month rolls around, I am oh so happy when there is chocolate or cookies handy compliments of Johnny’s sweet tooth! ❤

When Aunt Flo comes for a visit, my primary craving is ice cream. However, I can’t justify buying a tub of ice cream that I’m barely going to eat. My solution? Frozen Greek yogurt!

Living that #YOGURTLIFE in the words of Terry Crews from Brooklyn 99!

My newest snack craze has been sticking a yogurt in the freezer and crumbling a chocolate chip cookie for the topping. I love the ice cream like texture of the yogurt once it freezes and with that extra bit of cookie it feels like I am eating a low calorie sundae.

Your topping preference is up to you but for the yogurt I definitely prefer the Light & Fit by Dannon. The vanilla Greek yogurt is so rich, creamy, and flavorful and it’s seriously hard to believe that it’s only eighty calories! I like how filling it is and sometimes, if I’m not snacking sundae style, I will have a yogurt with my medication before bed.

The Dannon Light & Fit yogurts were actually not my first choice but Johnny brought them home from the grocery store as my primary option wasn’t available. He is always getting me to try new things and this one just happened to become a staple at chez moi!

What is your favorite snack? Do you crave sweet or salty? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Breakfast Burrito Bonanza

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Breakfast Burrito Bonanza

Howdy! My boyfriend, Johnny, is somewhat of a breakfast aficionado and I revel in when I can actually make breakfast for him over the weekends. A few days ago, however, breakfast for dinner was the move and it ended up being one of my favorite things that I’ve made in a long time. So, get your orange juice and coffee ready because we are talking breakfast burritos!

The last time I went to the grocery store, I went a bit wild because we literally had no food in the apartment. In this “we’ve gotta stock up” stupor, I had no problem purchasing all of the goods to make delicious meals at home. A girl has gotta eat. 😀

One of the things that I love about Johnny is that he is willing to try new things. For example, I am a strict vegetarian while he is the furthest thing from it. While there is meat at our place for him, there is MorningStar veggie sausage patties and chicken nuggets for me… And for him too, because he likes the vegetarian products as much as I do!

I decided that breakfast burritos would be a delicious way to go and something that Johnny would love. So I purchased tortillas, shredded cheese, shredded hash browns, vegetarian sausage patties, and eggs for the filling. In fact, when I mentioned it to him when I got home from shopping he asked me if I could make them right at that moment, lol!

I didn’t make the burritos right at that moment but when I did the following day they were a huge hit! In one pan I scrambled eggs and in the other I combined the hash browns and sausage together, breaking apart the patties into pieces once they were cooked enough. After everything was prepared, I mixed the eggs, hash browns, and sausage into one pan and then I put some shredded cheese in each tortilla. Then, I added the filling and wrapped them up. Breakfast for dinner is served!

While I preferred some salsa on mine, Johnny liked his plain. Either way, they were SO yummy and I definitely plan on making breakfast burritos again. Next time, I might consider different toppings like sour cream, guacamole, or cheese sauce. I also might add some sliced red peppers for a tangy crunch. However you dress your breakfast burrito, it is sure to be a hit no matter what time of the day you eat it. 😀

What is your favorite meal of the day? How about your favorite meal to cook? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Grocery Shopping Fun

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Grocery Shopping Fun

Hello! I don’t know about you guys but I have always loved going grocery shopping. From tagging along with my mom in my youth to stocking up the cupboards in my apartment, there’s just something about picking out tasty food that is so enjoyable to me. I normally only try to go shopping one time a month and knock everything out that I need and it has always worked for me. In fact, it works even better now in COVID times because who wants to go to the store every single time they run out of something?

My shopping extravaganzas were put on pause for the past month or so because Johnny made a few smaller trips. I was so thankful he did because I really didn’t feel like it but his shopping trips just didn’t hit the same. No offense to my MAN because I definitely was not as specific on the shopping list as I could have been, lol! This past week, I finally did a big shopping trip after we deemed our apartment as having “nothing to eat” and it was a blast!

In my neck of the woods, we have Giant Eagle and if you’re lucky it’s a Market District one like I have by me. The Market Districts are DOPE because they have literally everything you could ever want including all of the things you didn’t even know you needed. When it first opened five or so years ago, it was actually the place to be as there is a bar where you can get a drink and walk around with it while you shop. They even had live music playing for the first handful of months.

Not only does the Market District have a bar but they have all kinds of food stands where you can pick up specialty items – everything from gelato and sushi to stir fry, soul food, and delicious prepared pasta salads, soups, and antipasto. Like I said, all of the things you didn’t even know you needed.

I love going grocery shopping because it feels good to take care of myself and Johnny. Of course, I get everything we need on the list but I picked up plenty of treats for myself like vegetarian sushi, my favorite grapefruit beer, and yummy fruit popsicles. Johnny, on the other hand, got a lot of the breakfast items that he eats but didn’t make a special request for. I got them anyways because I wanted him to have variety. 🙂

Adulting doesn’t always have to suck and I think my deep love for grocery shopping is a prime example of that. Don’t tell anyone – but it can actually be kind of fun!

What is your favorite adulting chore? How about your least favorite? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Fun Family Fiesta

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Fun Family Fiesta

Hello! Sometimes my schedule can change at the drop of a hat. Clients might cancel and I am left with a huge chunk of free time. For example, a few Wednesdays ago I only had to work with my morning client and not my afternoon one so I decided to go to my mom and dad’s place afterwards. Johnny would be at work and then band practice and I didn’t particularly want to spend all evening playing Animal Crossing… Again!

After I was done at work, I headed to chez parents. During the drive over, I gave my sister a call and she happened to be free too, which meant her and her daughter could join all of us for some family fun and a Taco Bell dinner party, as per my request. We spent time outside in my dad’s gardens but, mostly, we all just hung around and enjoyed each other’s company.

It is always such a treat when several members of my family can get together at one time and I know everyone had just as great of a time as I did. Since COVID, I still see my friends through Skype and social distance hang outs but that doesn’t happen often. However, I see my family numerous times throughout the week and that definitely helps. Even the shortest visits lift my spirits and, afterwards, I never fail to have an extra pep in my step.

A family Taco Bell night seems like such a simple pleasure but I am still looking back at it fondly a few weeks later. It was just so fun and the impromptu Hump Day dinner party kept me in a happy place as I finished up my work week. While going out frequently is not an option for me with such high risk clients, I have learned how to still have a good time with nights in. And you know what? Those nights in are awesome!

If these crazy times have you in a slump, you might need some quality family time to get yourself back in gear. Schedule a take out dinner “party” of your own and enjoy!

What is your favorite restaurant? How often do you get take out? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Smoky Cauliflower Bites Recipe

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Smoky Cauliflower Bites Recipe

Hello! As I get older, I have definitely been trying to eat more healthy. AKA more fruits and veggies and less Taco Bell, lol! But, seriously, sometimes it’s just a hassle to make a healthy meal – especially after a long day at work. Quick and easy recipes are the name of the game in my household and this super simple/speedy recipe for Smoky Cauliflower Bites makes for a delicious and ultra fast appetizer for your fam:

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets

Directions:

  1. Combine all of your dry ingredients and mix into the olive oil, then pour over your cauliflower florets. You might want to let it sit for a few hours, shaking every so often to let the flavored oil sink in on all of the areas it might have missed.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 and transfer into a baking pan and roast until tender – about 15 to 20 minutes. This recipe is by Courtney Stultz of Weir, KS and I have no rights to it!

My client’s brother makes these cauliflower bites often and it is my absolute favorite treat. Last week, he so generously bought a head of cauliflower for me and mixed up the dry ingredients into a zip lock bag so all I would have to do is cut the veggies and heat it up at home. It was such a sweet gesture and I was eager to make it because it is so delicious in every sense of the word.

After fifteen minutes of roasting in the oven, my cauliflower was ready to eat and it was just as good as when my client’s brother makes it. I love all of the seasonings that drench the cauliflower because they add quite a bit of heat to it but it was never overpowering. Johnny and I dipped our bold and smoky cauliflower bites in Ranch dressing and enjoyed it as a side dish with our dinner. Ranch or sour cream is a good bet to have handy with you just in case there’s a little too much “oomph” for anyone at the table.

Easy as pie to make and tasty any time of the day, make these Smokey Cauliflower Bites to spice things up at your next family dinner!

What is your favorite veggie recipe? How do you eat healthy at home? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Garden Goodies

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Garden Goodies

Hi! I looove having lots of fresh fruits and veggies at my apartment and, during the summer, I am never lacking in that department. My dad as well as all of the families of my clients have gardens and I always seem to be returning home from work with surplus veggies. It’s freaking awesome and I haven’t been without cucumbers, zucchinis, tomatoes, peppers, and green beans in weeks.

I know that all of the families I work with are up to their ears in produce and they have entire gardens but, shit, I am too! I can’t even get to the bottom of my crisper drawer until it’s filled up again with all of the garden goodies I am constantly being gifted with. The last thing I am doing is complaining about it, though!!

My appetite changes drastically in the summer because I get nauseous when it’s really hot. I find myself craving light dishes as I think I would keel over even thinking about eating a heavy meal in my hot ass apartment. Having a never ending supply of veggies has been a game changer because I can snack on them all day totally guilt free and it has added a lot of variety to my cooking.

This past week, I had an overflow of produce that I needed to purge from my fridge – cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, lemon, and lots of garlic. So, I decided to prepare a cucumber salad with the ingredients I had available. My recipe went as so:

Lemon Cucumber Salad

  • 2 large cucumbers with the skin peeled and cut in slices
  • 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • Multicolored grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • Juice from one lemon, with some of the pulp added too
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning to taste

I am obsessed with the salad I whipped up and have been eating a few servings daily. I just love the tart lemon mixed with the tang of the balsamic vinegar and when it’s poured over crisp veggies it is an absolute treat. Get creative with your cooking and try making a salad recipe of your own next family dinner!

How has your garden been doing? What do you have growing? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah