Salt and Pepper Zucchini

One of my old friends has a new woman in his life. They’ve gone on a couple cute dates, they have great chemistry, and he’s cooking her dinner this week! So sweet. I’m not using any names here, but my friend has been asking me for cooking advice. He knew he wanted to keep his menu simple so he could spend time with the girl and his dog, and he knew he wanted to start with a salad, and then serve lemon pepper chicken as his main dish (cooked on his new barbeque – fancyyy). Sides was where he was drawing a blank.

I suggested cous cous as the grain, because it cooks in literally five minutes; Near East makes a great one that I like to cook in chicken broth and add fresh, chopped rosemary to. We couldn’t decide on a vegetable though, partially because the salad took tomatoes out of the equation and he is kind of picky about vegetables (typicalll!).

One of my favorite easy veggies is this zucchini recipe. It is best made in the microwave…I know!….and takes under 10 minutes to prepare – perfect for what my friend was looking for! My parents used this recipe in their restaurant (I think sans-microwave, though) and have passed it on to me. It’s best in summer, alongside grilled entrees.

Of course, turns out my friend doesn’t like zucchini either. Oh well…more for us!

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Some people go through food phases. When my friend Lauren was little, she decided she liked cucumbers…until her parents gave her so many that, to this day, cucumbers are definitely not her first choice. I have pizza-and-wine-for-dinner phases that can last a week, but then I won’t have another slice for a month or more. When I started eating egg whites, I thought it would be another food phase…but I’ve had them almost every day for about three years now.

I remember dying Easter eggs with my mom in preschool. It might have been the first time I tried a hard-boiled egg. She told me to take a big bite of the whole egg, because the yellow part in the middle is the best. Umm…not so much for me, even at age four. I keep trying them, but egg yolks are just not something that I like. I’ve eaten regular scrambled eggs twice in my adult life, to be polite at breakfast gatherings (thank goodness they were covered in cheese both times!!).

Since we’re going on three years of egg whites here, I have found lots of ways to keep it interesting. Egg whites and cheese on an English muffin, egg white breakfast burritos, egg white omelets of many kinds, egg whites with different cheeses…the list goes on. Recently inspired by this post at Dine and Dish, which I discovered on The Kitchn, I created a very tasty eggadilla…featuring egg whites, of course.

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Perfect Hash Browns

I found the secret to the crispiest, most delicious home fries.

It all started with a late night binge. I was still hungry (or maybe just bored…) after dinner one night, so I decided to make a baked potato. While I was waiting, I snacked on about a million other things, and when my potato was ready, I wasn’t hungry anymore. The potato spent the night in the fridge.

While I was thinking about breakfast the next morning, I decided to see what I could whip up with the potato…and wow, if you want a quick and easy breakfast side, this is the way to go!

Serve alongside your favorite breakfast!

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Baked Potato with Oven-Roasted Broccoli

I’ve noticed something. Californians can be a LITTLE snobby about our weather. We’re all aware I do it (wahh it’s 70 and I’m cold wahh), it’s embedded in television shows (OC anyone? Californication? They’re in the pool all year!), and oh yeah, we can drive “to the snow,” just to visit. We’re ridiculous, and yet, I always get a kick out of telling my East Coasters about how I walked around town in a tank top in January (love you guys!).

Well, sometimes we get paid back for our holier-than-thou weather. When it rains here, we can’t deal. Traffic stops moving; crashes happen because what is this wet stuff falling from the sky?! And we get even more horrible things like floods and mudslides. Weather is dangerous, folks.

So you may have heard El Nino is in town, or so they say. Get ready for a week of humid, soggy, frizzy, business-busting weather. Please be careful out there on the roads, and if you can stay home and snug your pup, maybe roast up some delicious veggies to go along with it.

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Leek and Potato Soup

I think it’s safe to say that of all the months, January is the most perfect month for soup. January is all darkness that comes too early, windchill, and post-holiday pudge. Soups are simple, warming, and healthy. See the balance?

Some soups, like this one, take very little time to prepare. This is great when you’re getting home from a long day of work and it’s dark because it’s winter and you’re exhausted and hungry.

Soups are a great diet staple, whether you want to lose weight or just eat healthy. Soups are generally vegetable-focused, and we all know veggies provide fiber and good nutrients. Broth is basically calorie-free (just pay attention to sodium!).

Veggies + Low-Cal = great detox tool if you accidently put on three pounds between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve (yes, that’s right, three pounds in six days, folks. It happened to me!).

Try a bowl of this tasty Leek and Potato Soup – it should make your January a little cozier!

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Mashed Potato Pancakes

In my family, we love Thanksgiving leftovers. We make lots of extra everything so that we can eat Thanksgiving a few times over. Cool lives, I know. Leftover mashed potatoes lend themselves to a really delicious snack (or in this case, what I just ate for breakfast): Mashed Potato pancakes. These take about 30 seconds to put together and just a few minutes to cook. They’re crispy and delicious!

P.S. Speaking of potato pancakes, does anyone have a fantastic latke recipe? I loove them and have never made them myself. Thanks in advance!

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Three-Ingredient Broccoli-Potato Soup

3 ingredient broccoli potato soup

Well, well, well, Weather.  One day you are 100 degrees and the next you are 70.  What happened to a gradual change in seasons?!  Why did you have to take us all by such surprise?  WE’RE COLD!!

So it turns out fall is here.  It came very suddenly, and I still haven’t adjusted to the fact that from here on out I will be cold in my summer dresses. So unfortunate!

I don’t like cold, but I do like autumn. Autumn is pumpkins and spiders and hot chocolate and being cozy.  Autumn kicks off the holiday season: Harvest Wine Weekend, my birthday (I’ll be 22 in 22 days…oh my goodness!), and Halloween….and these are all very exciting things!

found this big guy today...tarantula season is actually in August, but they remind me of Halloween!

found this big guy today...tarantula season is actually in August, but they remind me of Halloween!

Soup season also officially begins when it gets cold!  Although I eat hot soup all year round, it’s officially acceptable when the cold weather rolls in.  This Broccoli Potato soup is the easiest soup I have encountered – THREE ingredients!  TEN minutes (maybe less!).  It’s divine – silky and flavorful.  Here we go:

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