Tag Archives: yummy

Sarah’s Vineyard Date Night

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Sarah’s Vineyard Date Night

Hello!! The fall is when Johnny and I thrive and we have been making the most out of the lovely weather through weekend date days. This typically involves taking OOTD pictures, running an errand or two, and then going out for a late lunch or dinner. It is the best! This weekend, we decided to go to Sarah’s Vineyard for dinner and it was delightful and delicious! Check it out:

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There is nothing like some quality time with my main squeeze to lift my spirits and we had a blast at Sarah’s Vineyard. It is a beautiful property and we both haven’t been in years. Also, whenever I have gone with my friends, it’s strictly for the wine and not the food lol! I was so excited because everyone in my neck of the woods raves about the vineyard’s wood fire pizzas and I couldn’t wait to have a slice or ten. πŸ˜€

I don’t know about you guys but whenever Johnny and I go out to eat, I look at the menu hours in advance. This gives me ample time to decide what I want because it can be overwhelming to choose from a menu I haven’t experienced yet. It didn’t take me long to know what I wanted from my pre-screening and everything was just as good as I imagined it to be.

For wine, Johnny went with the not too sweet Sweet Elisa, which kind of tasted like church wine but was still pretty tasty. We also got to make use of the vineyard’s bottling service since Johnny haphazardly ordered a full carafe SMH! I was disappointed that my favorite, their white sangria, wasn’t available so I chose the sweetest option, Golden Solstice. It was light, refreshing and much better than my usual Barefoot!

Normally when we go out to a restaurant, we never order appetizers. However, I just couldn’t say no to the Artichoke & Asiago dip. Sign me up for anything that involves artichoke and cheese because I love it oh so much. I’m glad I tried it out and it was SO yummy but I wouldn’t order it again next time. I hate to be the one to complain about prices but I thought ten dollars was steep for the tiniest bowl ever of the dip. Hey, sometimes you just have to live a little. πŸ˜€

As our main dish, I got the Margherita pizza and Johnny got the Pepperoni & Banana Pepper. In fact, he’s currently eating his leftovers for breakfast as I write this! Johnny really liked his pizza and I was happy overall with mine. It actually tasted much better the next day. The garlic oil sauce and toppings on mine were so light that my pizza just tasted kind of doughy. Next time we go, I plan on just doing a cheese pizza with a couple of veggies on top and I think that I’ll like that much better.

Johnny and I had such a great time at Sarah’s Vineyard and we are eager to go back – especially since it’s close to our apartment. The vineyard has such a charming, cozy atmosphere and it really is the perfect date night setting!

Where was the last place you went on a date? What is your favorite restaurant? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Too Many Tomatoes? Try These Recipes!

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Too Many Tomatoes? Try These Recipes!

Hello! My dad’s garden was so bountiful this past summer and it is still currently producing a TON of tomatoes. The red fruit has basically taken over my parents’ kitchen so I was called in for cooking reinforcement. We were all sick of spaghetti sauces and salsas so I turned to Pinterest for new recipes to lighten the tomato burden. I made a tomato pie found on Biscuits & Burlap as well as a tomato butter compliments of Kitchn. Both of them turned out really good! Check it out:

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I had two full bowls of tomatoes to work with and these two recipes used them all up, which was awesome. They were also SO incredibly easy to make. The tomato pie by Biscuits & Burlap took me about twenty minutes to make and my dad and I liked it a lot. We both agreed, however, that it definitely needed more to it.

When I cook a new recipe, I tend to follow the directions exactly. Then, if I like it enough, I add my own twists the next time around. When I make the tomato pie again, I plan on using a Pillsbury crust and will be adding an extra tomato and cheese layer. I also will be using a lot more fresh basil, garlic, and onions. The tomato pie would taste even better with spinach so I’ll add that into the mix too.

The tomato butter by Kitchn was a recipe that I was somewhat ambivalent about making but I am glad I did. It is so unique and will be a perfect addition to grilled cheese sandwiches, spaghetti, and French bread. I was worried after I used the food processor to blend the broiled tomatoes, herbs, and butter because the consistency was like tomato soup! After a day in the refrigerator, it formed into a whipped spread and that was more like it lol.

Like the tomato pie, the butter was good but it needed something extra. The butter was a bit on the bland side so if I make it again, I will be adding a lot of garlic (Which the recipe didn’t call for) and fresh basil. Despite not being as flavorful as I would have liked, I love the idea of this recipe and it is such a fresh and different way to use up a tomato harvest.

If you have Too Many Tomatoes, then do be sure to give these recipes a try and let me know what you think! πŸ˜€

What have you been making with your garden veggies? What do you like to make with tomatoes? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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The Best Grilled Cheese EVER

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The Best Grilled Cheese EVER

Hello! I pride myself on my cooking and I LOVE making dinner for my husband and family whenever I can. It feels so good to make something that everyone enjoys and it is a true labor of love. This past week, however, the tables turned and my sweet Johnny ended up making dinner for me. I was craving a grilled cheese something fierce all day and he definitely delivered:

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^^^ He was so pleased with himself for “plating it up” for me!

Last week was a whirlwind between work and helping out at my mom and dad’s house. Every day when I got home, I pretty much just sank into the couch and prepared to do it all again the next day. By Friday, I had averaged a solid 11,000 or so steps per day and walking up the stairs to my apartment was a monumental feat on my aching legs. I was also freaking STARVING.

Rather than become one with my couch, I had to make my way to my office to finish some billing and online work. I am one of those people that can’t do anything else until all of my work is completely done but the rumbling in my belly was proving troublesome. So, I decided to ask Johnny to make me a grilled cheese to which he replied “of course” even though he was worried it wouldn’t turn out as good as mine!

By the time I finished my final tasks for the day, my dinner was ready and I couldn’t wait to chow down. It looked AMAZING and it tasted even better. Food always tastes better when someone else makes it for you and this sandwich was a true testament to that! I was so thankful to Johnny for lending me a hand but he was even happier that he could cook for me for a change. He was so proud of himself and, damnit, I was proud of him too. ❀

With so much going on in my life, Johnny told me that he will cook anything that he is capable of for me. AKA eggs and, now, grilled cheese. It was the sweetest thing and I really do have the best husband/grilled cheese chef ever!

What is your favorite simple thing to cook? What is your go to comfort food? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Breakfast For Dinner

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Breakfast For Dinner

Hello! I am a huge fan of breakfast food and used to love cooking big breakfasts for myself and Johnny over the weekend. This hasn’t happened in a while because now we usually just skip to lunch lol. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have breakfast for dinner, instead! This past week, I whipped up our favorite spread when I got home from work and it hit just right:

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My go to breakfast foods for me and Johnny are dippy eggs, MorningStar sausage patties, biscuits and gravy, and hashbrowns for Johnny. Biscuits and gravy was something that I always wanted to try but never got the opportunity to because it’s always made as sausage gravy in restaurants. However, inspiration struck several months ago and I finally thought to look up a vegetarian recipe for it.

During my search, I found this recipe by ammiface and it is, easily, one of my favorite dishes morning or night. The white gravy recipe is SO quick and simple to make with only six ingredients. It turns out amazing every time and tastes just as good leftover as it does freshly made. Not only is it a must make for me but I now have to make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners because the other vegetarians and meat eaters alike in my family love it too.

I suppose I could incorporate MorningStar sausages into this gravy recipe but I like it so much as is that I never have the heart to. Regardless of any tweaks you might make, the vegetarian white gravy is perfect for breakfast, dinner, or in this case – breakfast for dinner. Enjoy!

What is your favorite breakfast food? What is your favorite vegetarian dish? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Yummy Asian Cabbage Salad

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Yummy Asian Cabbage Salad

Hello! Johnny and I have several favorite go to meals that I make pretty much every time I do grocery shopping. This is all well and good but it can get kind of boring cooking the same things with no variation. So, I have made it a point to try making new side dishes to enhance the meal even more. It’s amazing how much the dinner transforms with just one different thing, like when I made a pot of cilantro lime rice with a taco dinner.

To keep going with this, I decided to try a new salad recipe when I cooked a veggie lo mein meal for my entire family. I found the recipe for Asian Cabbage Salad with a peanut ginger dressing on Well Plated By Erin. I had scoped out many Asian salads on Pinterest but I went with Well Plated’s because it used the fewest ingredients and looked so easy to make. Check it out:

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I love going on Pinterest but it can sometimes be disheartening because there are a plethora of recipes that I would like to try but use SO. Many. Ingredients. I just can’t justify buying twenty plus things for a dish that I might not even like. I already had about three fourths of the ingredients that I needed for this salad so it was the obvious choice to go with and I am glad I did!

This Asian Cabbage Salad was to die for and, much to my surprise, Johnny even liked it. That is really saying something because I truly thought that he was going to tell me that there were too many vegetables in it lol. The salad had so much crunch, flavor, and texture and it was delicious as a side or mixed into the veggie lo mein. It also kept for several days leftover and that was another huge plus because of how much the simple recipe made.

I definitely plan on making Well Plated By Erin’s recipe again but there is one thing that I will be tweaking. While I liked the peanut ginger dressing well enough, it didn’t pack much of a punch against all of the colorful veggies. I would have liked for the dressing to have a bit more bite and I’m not sure if that can be solved by making more of it or adding something new. I’m thinking of substituting a tablespoon of the honey for brown sugar and adding one more tablespoon of soy sauce to see if that will make a difference.

Overall, I am really pleased with this new recipe and it was a hit at dinner… It was also a hit every time I had it leftover too and you can’t beat that!

Where do you like to find new recipes? Have you cooked anything new recently? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Delicious Guacamole Recipe & Cilantro Lime Rice

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Delicious Guacamole Recipe & Cilantro Lime Rice

Hello! This past Saturday was a very busy one. We visited my mom at the Cleveland Clinic, I cooked up a feast, and watched my niece while her baby sister was born. For dinner, I treated my dad, brother, and Johnny to homemade Cheesy Gordita Crunches. This is the second time that I have made them and the meal turned out excellent. And in the words of Emeril Lagasse, I definitely kicked things up a notch.

The last time I made Taco Bell style Cheesy Gordita Crunches for dinner, I used the beef crumbles by MorningStar. While I didn’t care for it, Johnny liked it well enough so I just decided to use real beef for the guys and vegetarian refried beans for me. I have never cooked ground beef in my life and apparently it turned out good lol. Not that I was surprised because, I hate to toot my own horn, but Johnny says I cook bacon better than someone who eats meat. GREAT SUCCESS! πŸ˜€

Not only did I make all of the fixings for our taco dinner but I also prepared some extra additions to enhance the meal. I made a new Pinterest recipe for cilantro lime rice, which can be found here at Downshiftology. I also whipped up a batch of my own personal recipe for guacamole that I think is simply the best. Check it out:

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^^^ Obviously I should have taken a picture of my guac before we chowed down!

Of course, Taco Bell was the source of inspiration for this meal and my life in general. However, I was also trying to serve major Chipotle vibes. The recipe that I used for the cilantro lime rice claims to be a Chipotle taste alike and I completely agree. It. Was. Delicious. The zingy lime and cilantro balanced out the garlic and salt perfectly and I honestly think that I could have ate the entire bowl. I highly recommend making it during your next taco dinner!

I also hate to toot my own horn again but I truly believe that my guacamole is a Chipotle taste alike too. It is SO easy to make with minimal ingredients and tastes divine. This is my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 mashed avocados
  • A small portion of red onion, finely chopped
  • Juice, pulp, and zest from one lime
  • Several sprigs of cilantro
  • Course sea salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste

While you can add anything you please to your guacamole like chopped olive or tomato, I always say that simple is best. All of the different flavors and textures in my recipe blend together so well and that extra dose of lime in the zest and pulp sends it over the top. I also just mash up my avocado with a spoon, which makes it very similar in texture to Chipotle’s, which is definitely more chunky. Now, if only I could make a taste alike for their tortilla chips. YUM!

As you all know, I love cooking for Johnny but it was SO nice to be able to make a meal for my dad and brother too. Cooking soothes my soul and watching people enjoy what I make makes it even better. ❀

What are some of your favorite taste alike recipes? How do you prepare the perfect taco? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Homemade Salsa Recipe

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Homemade Salsa Recipe

Hello! My dad’s magnificent garden has been providing an endless supply of tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers, and herbs. I tried to ease the burden of putting a dent in his harvest by making some spaghetti sauce. It turned out a bit lackluster but at least I used eight tomatoes with it lol! This past week, my dad and I made salsa together and came up with our own recipe. It turned out great! Check it out:

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Our Recipe:

  • 22 small to medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 of a red onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 of a green pepper, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves pressed garlic
  • 2 cubanelle peppers, finely chopped
  • Very small pieces of serrano pepper – *Warning* they are very hot
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Several sprigs of cilantro
  • Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

I had an absolute blast making this salsa with my dad! I couldn’t tell you the last time we collaborated in the kitchen and it was so much fun to make salsa magic together. The day before we made our concoction, my dad scoured different recipes but we decided to just wing it and see what happens. We delegated different tasks to each other, taste tested along the way, and ended up being really happy with what we came up with.

Salsa is a cool thing to make because you can adjust it as you go to your liking. Whether you want more heat, extra onions, or super garlicky is your prerogative. My dad and I agreed on something more mild after tasting the extreme heat of the serrano peppers from his garden. This was an excellent call because not only was my mouth on fire but my hands burned until the evening just from chopping them. Not to mention the suffering I experienced when I had to take my contacts out. Ouch!!

Minus the serrano incident, I couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon with my dad. We definitely plan on making our salsa again and I hope that all of you enjoy the recipe too!

Do you like to follow recipes or wing it? What do you have growing in your garden? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Easy & Delicious Dinner – Fake Fish Wrap

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Easy & Delicious Dinner – Fake Fish Wrap

Hello! I am a very strict vegetarian and have been for close to two decades. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t get cravings every now and then and will forever miss the spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s and the fillet o’ fish from McDonald’s. Thankfully, both MorningStar and Gardein make awesome substitutes – it’s definitely not the same as your favorite fast food order but, hey, it’s good enough!

One of my favorite Gardein products is the fake fish fillets, which I love using for both sandwiches and wraps. Johnny likes it too and that’s another huge win! This past week, I made fake fish wraps for dinner and, as always, it was SO delicious and super easy. Check it out:

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I Used:

  • Birds Eye Southwestern style rice
  • 2 Gardein fish fillets
  • Butter lettuce blend
  • Mexican cheese
  • Ranch dressing
  • Tortilla

The ingredients that I listed are the staples that I use but you could doctor your wrap up any way you like. Strips of red pepper, red onion, chipotle sauce, or real meat would also do just fine! I sometimes like to make my wraps with the buffalo chicken by MorningStar, which is also really good. These wraps can be made so quickly and are really filling, making them an ideal meal after a long work day when you come home famished.

If you are a vegetarian, I cannot recommend the Gardein brand enough – especially if you are feeling “been there, done that” with MorningStar. Believe you me, I get that. My other favorite Gardein fake meat is the mandarin chicken, which I make when veggie lo mein is on the menu for dinner. Gardein also has “meatballs” that Johnny loves for spaghetti and subs. Yum!

During the work week, quick and easy meals are the name of the game and my world famous wraps will be sure to please! πŸ˜€

What is your favorite meal to make during the work week? What do you use in your wraps? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Spicing Up Spaghetti

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Spicing Up Spaghetti

Hello!! I absolutely LOVE cooking in my new apartment and have the best time making delicious meals for me and Johnny. I try to cook an actual dinner at least a couple of nights per week but sometimes nothing hits better than an oven pizza or a simple spaghetti dinner. This past Monday, I was craving spaghetti something fierce and whipped up a pot of angel hair and some oven cheese filled bread sticks. While Johnny just wanted Alfredo sauce, I made a little something extra for me to spice up the dish:

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Pesto is my absolute favorite pasta topping and I had a lone tomato sitting in my crisper drawer. So, I decided to make a super easy addition to my spaghetti with four ingredients: tomato, mozzarella cheese, basil, and a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Of course, fresh mozzarella and basil are the best but I only had shredded cheese and dried basil so you work with what you’ve got!

All I did was slice the tomato, top it with cheese and basil, and poured some balsamic on top. Then, I let it broil in the oven until the cheese browned and bubbled and the tomatoes were tender. This process took about ten minutes in total and I couldn’t believe that I haven’t done this all the time when I make spaghetti.

I have made this pasta add on a few times before in the past and it was just as good as I remember it being. It was a little something that I dreamed up but I am sure you can find fancier recipes on Pinterest. Next time I make it, fresh mozzarella and basil will be the way to go but what can you do when your supplies in the fridge are minimal?!

There are so many ways to spice up a classic spaghetti dinner and this is just one of them. Fresh veggies and cheese go a long way in making a no fuss meal something to blog about!

What is your favorite pasta topping? How do you improve upon classic dishes? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Hibachi Japan Double Date

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Hibachi Japan Double Date

Hello!! This past week, Johnny and I went on a double date to Hibachi Japan with my best friend Lea and her husband Brandon. We had the best time and the food was delicious!! I have not been to this restaurant in close to five years and out of the blue, I had a HUGE craving for it so I was really looking forward to this outing. πŸ˜€ Take a look:

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Hibachi Japan is such a fun date night restaurant to go to because the chef expertly prepares your food right in front of you. The random bursts of fire, patrons at the table trying to catch pieces of shrimp, and exciting atmosphere all make for a perfect evening out. The restaurant window shades also added a touch of ambiance and made the fire seem even brighter! The chef prepared meals are also great because it includes two appetizers and dessert, which is an awesome value!

To start off our meal, we ordered drinks and Johnny and I both got the signature cocktail called Purple Rain. It is basically a Long Island Iced Tea with raspberry and it is delightful but strong – I couldn’t finish mine! Then, along came the appetizers which consisted of soup and salad. Unfortunately, the soup uses beef broth so I was given two salads and that was fine by me because the peanut salad dressing is to die for. I actually had three salads because Johnny barely ate his. πŸ˜€

After appetizers, our chef came to begin cooking our entrees. I got the tofu and veggies with rice and the rest of our table ordered rice with chicken, steak, or shrimp. The portions were huge, as you can see, and no one could finish their entire plate! I am usually not the biggest fan of tofu but it just hits different at Hibachi. It is crispy on the outside and soft in the middle and I savored every bite.

In all honesty, we couldn’t have ate another bite but how can you say no to pineapple sorbet for dessert?! It was DIVINE. The bold pineapple flavor was complimented with the creamiest texture and I wish I could buy it by the gallon. It was also especially yummy with broken up pieces of fortune cookie on top.

Once we all officially couldn’t move, it was time to head home after a wonderful double date. A marvelous time was had by all and I will definitely not be waiting another five years to go back! πŸ˜€

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