Greek Salad

When my best friend Kristin studied abroad in Greece the summer before our senior year of college, she came back obsessed with Greek salads. I never really got it, because Greek salads in America are all canned olives, sub par feta, and probably contain lettuce and some kind of funky dressing. Well…Tim and I just got back from Greece, and I totally get it now. I am obsessed, I can’t get enough, I’ve had Greek salad (and only Greek salad) for dinner three nights in a row.

While we don’t have a Greek market in Paso, I have found olives and feta at the grocery store, and they have been more than acceptable (though still subpar to their official Greek counterparts). The trick is, apparently, to just buy the most expensive olives and feta that you can find. I think this Greek salad habit is going to get pricey…

The Greek word for what we call Greek Salad translates into “House Salad,” and as such, we had it prepared in many different ways. With green peppers and without, Feta crumbled or sliced or cubed, with parsley or without, already dressed or served with oil on the side… The salad in the bottom right photo was topped with capers (still attached to their leaves) that the owner had picked and jarred himself – they were amazing!

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Creamy Carrot Soup with Scallions and Poppy Seeds

Not that I am into crazy dieting schemes anymore, but I think a soup diet would be  an interesting idea and I’ve always wanted to try it. Obviously some soups can be fat bombs, but if you make them yourself, you can completely control every aspect. Veggies and broth have so few calories yet are so filling…hmm, 2011 resolutions anyone?

By this point, you probably think I subsist solely on soup. I really don’t, but soup is definitely one of my favorite things to order at restaurants and make at home. Soup is also a great meal starter because it is warming, filling, low-calorie, and usually a great way to sneak in a serving of vegetables and the nutrients they provide.

In my experience, I have found some carrot soups (even from the best restaurants) to be on the bland side. For this recipe, I used homemade stock, which automatically adds richness; the scallions and poppy seeds add even more flavor.

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Baby Bella Soup with Parmesan Croutons


Storm’s a blowin’ in California – we’ve got inches of rain on the way and severe wind warnings here in San Luis Obispo County.  I don’t know much about Harvest, but I feel like the remaining grapes must be blowing off the vines…there are tree branches down everywhere and the power is on and off.  Our driveway is even littered with paint that has literally been blown/power-washed off the fence.  Yikes.

So what does a terribly rainy day remind you of, besides for dangerous driving conditions and possible flooding?  To be honest, I’m considering popping open a bottle of wine – why not?  If you are not so inclined….soup is absolutely the next best thing!  Luckily we have propane out here in the country and my stove still works, because this is a delicious recipe for a miserable day.

mushroom soup

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Puff-Pastry Tomato Tarts

tart uno

Wow.  School season has begun again.  Oh, did you think that since I just spent three-and-a-half years getting my Bachelors at the most expensive school in New Jersey that I was going to take a break from education for a while?  Not so much…

Truthfully, I just can’t stay away.  I really love school.  I am taking two night classes (Children’s Literature, and Child Health, Safety, and Nutrition), which means I spend six evening hours a week in a classroom.  Which means that I am still working on the balance between website and school and work and having a social life and playing with Dolan.  Which means that I have to plan my schedule carefully to make sure I have time for cooking and posting…but so far, so good!  I promise I won’t leave you hanging!

I also promise that you are going to be learning a lot about children’s books.  Stay tuned – and get excited!

This is a great recipe to showcase your end-of-summer tomatoes.  The original recipe said to make six-inch rounds, but I wanted more of a side/appetizer portion…six onches of puff pastry gets pretty heavy.  I served it as a side alongside salmon and my family really enjoyed it.


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Soupe au Pistou

soupe au pistou

I love soup.  Come wintertime, the majority of recipes I post will probably be soup – I could probably live off of it.  Understandably, hot, hearty soups aren’t really a summer thing – why on Earth would you heat up your entire kitchen when it’s 100 degrees out?!  Well…maybe because you really felt like some soup.  Call me crazy, but as soon as I saw this recipe, I had to make it.  And I did, one warm central coast evening…..

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Grilled Gruyère-and-Zucchini Sandwiches with Homemade Pesto


Confession: I’m a vegetarian.  I eat eggs, cheese, chicken broth, and ahi tuna, but no actual meat (besides the raw tuna).  My family grills out a lot, especially in the summer, and sometimes I get sick of the old veggie burger routine (although I’ll never say no to a Morningstar Farms Garden Veggie Burger…so delish).  Tonight was one of those nights, so while the kids I nanny for were at swimming lessons, I looked up some good grilling recipes and found this gem.  Swiss Gruyere, Grilled Zucchini, Pesto, and an English muffin – sounded like perfection to me, and then I saw the wine pairing.  Robert Mondavi’s Fume Blanc!! My favorite wine!!  Just let me tell you, it was amazing, and so easy to throw together.  ENJOY!  You definitely will!!

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