savory sweet potatoes with lemon, feta & parsley

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you should feel really bad for me.
i live in a house with a spouse who does not like sweet potatoes. in any form.

if you’ve been following us for a bit, you know he did whole30 a month or so ago. (technically he did the whole40 because #OVERACHIEVER.) not using sweet potatoes in his “cleanse” was super hard because that’s one of the heartier veggies he was allowed to have, and the poor guy was starving. i thought for sure whole30 would send him over the edge, he being so hungry and all, and that he’d finally give in and give them another chance. didn’t happen. sorry sweet potatoes, don’t take it personally. (i still like you.)

this recipe originally came from one of our blue apron deliveries as a side, and it has become my new favorite way to eat sweet potatoes. they are prepared in a way that i had never tried – savory instead of sweet all the time – and i am a HUGE fan now. it’s like i’m seeing another side of an already awesome vegetable, one that has usually been pigeonholed as the thanksgiving side dish with brown sugar and marshmallows. OH I SEE YOU, sweet potatoes. [and i love this new, healthier side of you.]

(to make whole30 friendly, simply omit the feta cheese.)

savory sweet potatoes with lemon, feta, and parsley
serves 2-4 as a side dish

ingredients

3 large sweet potatoes, cut into spears and then halved

1 lemon, quartered & de-seeded

1/3 cup italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup walnuts

salt + pepper

directions

  1. preheat oven to 450. drizzle a rimmed cookie sheet with olive oil and rub around with your finger to coat it evenly. arrange sweet potato spears in a single layer on the sheet, skin sides up. drizzle tops with more olive oil and season with salt & pepper. roast for 20-22 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.
  2. while potatoes are roasting, heat a small skillet over medium-high until hot. add the walnuts and toast them, stirring occasionally, until they are fragrant, about 2-4 minutes. transfer to a large bowl.
  3. when the potatoes are done, allow them to cool for a few minutes, then add them to the large bowl with the toasted walnuts. squeeze in the juice from the lemon, and add the feta and chopped parsley. drizzle in a little more olive oil and season with salt & pepper. gently toss to combine.

coconut jasmine rice

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we love us some asian dishes around here..
this past month, i have been adapting all all of our go-to recipes for my better half’s whole30 challenge (which we have loved and highly recommend). i edited so many good ones from the blog and made the cinnamon bun muffins as a reward when he was halfway through. i even made this hearty baked potato soup whole30 approved! (check out the “whole30 friendly” category on the right side of the home page to check them all out.)
our favorites that we pretty much kept on repeat were these asian turkey meatballs and these chicken lettuce cups. now that the husband is about to cross the finish line on his challenge (which by the way he did wholeFORTY 😐 overachiever), i am excited to re-introduce a few things into our diet at home, including rice!

this recipe – IT’S AMAZING Y’ALL. it is not just your average side dish that comes to you in the chinese restaurant.. it’s super creamy and tons of flavor comes from the coconut milk. and i will tell you, i am not a huge fan of coconut itself, but cooking with coconut milk is totally different and i love the flavor of it. this is a super simple recipe and one that is sure to become a kitchen staple in your house too.

coconut jasmine rice
makes about 3 cups

ingredients

1 1/4 cups jasmine rice (uncooked)

1 14-oz can coconut milk (unsweetened; not “lite”), shake well before opening

3/4 cup water

a very generous pinch of coarse sea salt

directions

  1. in a medium sized saucepan, combine all ingredients. heat to boiling over moderate high heat. once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover. cook rice for 12-14 minutes until all water has been absorbed. fluff with a fork and serve along with your favorite asian main dish.

mixed greens salad with dijon champagne vinaigrette, toasted walnuts, and herbed goat cheese wrapped in basil leaves

via she likes to eat

a little over a year ago, my other half took me to a cooking class at whole foods for a birthday present. it was, truly, one of my favorite gifts he has ever given me.

we went together, after leaving the girls at home with my parents, and cooked an incredible menu with about 5 other couples. we laughed, ate well, drank good wine, and met new people while learning a few new things in the kitchen. for real, it was one of my favorite nights ever.

the menu included a wonderfully hearty beef stew with wild rice, a rustic berry tart, buttery biscuits, and this lovely salad. the whole technique with the goat cheese really intrigued me, as i had never seen it done before but thought was crazy brilliant. at our station we had a little bit of the goat cheese leftover after wrapping the rest in the basil leaves.. you can bet i ate that straight out of the bowl. and the dijon vinaigrette has become a staple in my house, one of my favorite basic vinaigrettes that can go on pretty much any salad.

mixed greens salad with champagne dijon vinaigrette, toasted walnuts, and herbed goat cheese wrapped in basil leaves
makes 6-8 salads

ingredients

6 cups mixed greens (i like to use a combo of bibb, romaine, and spinach), cleaned + rinsed

1/3 cup walnuts, toasted + chopped

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinaigrette

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tsp agave nectar, or honey

4 oz plain goat cheese, at room temperature

small bunch basil leaves (you’ll need about 8-10 large-sized leaves)

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped*

1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped*

olive oil

coarse sea salt & freshly ground pepper

directions

1. in a small bowl, stir together the goat cheese, lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil. (if your goat cheese is harder, add a little more olive oil to soften.) add a small pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper – a couple twists of the grinder. mix well, cover with saran wrap, and place in fridge to chill.

2. preheat oven to 350. spread out walnuts on a dry cookie sheet. roast in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes. place on drying rack to fully cool.

3. in a mason jar, mix 3/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, dijon, agave/honey, and another small pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. shake vigorously until well incorporated.

4. after the goat cheese mixture has had at least 15-20 minutes to chill, remove from fridge. on a clean surface or cutting board, remove stems from basil leaves and roll each leaf out flat. place a bit of goat cheese mixture onto the base of each leaf, and then roll the leaf up, wrapping the goat cheese mixture completely with the leaf. once rolled, using a serrated or very sharp small knife, carefully (saw the knife gently back + forth as to not break the leaf) slice the rolled leaf into small sections (you should get about 3-4 slices per leaf.) continue until all basil leaves have been used and sliced.

5. in six or so salad bowls, begin to assemble the salads. first the greens, then the basil leaf/goat cheese slices, sprinkle with toasted walnuts, and drizzle generously with vinaigrette.

*i stress using fresh herbs here, if possible.

central market’s couscous salad with feta, spinach, basil, and lemon

central market's couscous salad with feta, spinach, basil, and lemon
while home in austin for the christmas holiday, my mom and i went grocery shopping at central market (if you’re not familiar, it’s like the best grocery store ever – similar to whole foods). it was a gorgeous afternoon and we sat outside as we ate lunch before hitting the aisles.
yes outside. in late december.
just one of the 5,834,395 reasons i love texas.
we had grabbed a few of their prepared snacks for lunch, some sushi and this amazing couscous salad. we both would have licked the plastic container if there weren’t so many people there. i knew as soon as i got home, i would have to give it a go, and try to make it myself. and obviously, since i am posting the recipe, i am super happy with the results. (this is just my interpretation of the couscous – i didn’t get this recipe straight from CM.) a huge bonus: this recipe takes about 10 minutes to make. it is light and bright, with fresh basil and tangy lemon juice. the spinach adds interest and great nutrition + vitamins. and the feta.. oh the feta. i could put feta on almost anything.
#iloveyoufeta

central market’s couscous salad with feta, spinach, basil, and lemon
makes a little over 2 cups

ingredients

1 cup uncooked couscous

1/4 tsp coarse sea salt

1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup fresh spinach, chopped

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped or torn into small pieces

juice from 1/2 lemon

few dashes of white pepper (not black pepper, which would be too heavy)

directions

1. bring 1 cup water and 1/4 tsp sea salt to a boil in a small saucepan. once boiling, add 1 cup couscous and stir well. cover and remove from heat. let sit for 5 minutes.

2. once couscous is done, add olive oil, fluff with a fork or spatula and transfer into a bowl. add feta, chopped spinach, basil, and white pepper. squeeze the juice from 1/2 a lemon over top and mix well. serve chilled or at room temperature.

mexican rice with cilantro + garlic

if you have been to my house, you might have noticed i have a little problem with too many cookbooks. i will admit it, but i am far from getting into a program to help me quit.

every time i get a new cookbook, i will curl up with it that evening like i would a novel and look through it, reading the introduction, the contents, the entries, marking a few recipes that i want to make soon. i love to get a feel for the food inside of it, scanning the food styling and photographs, and letting my mouth water. so the last time i was at the bookstore, my eyes landed on tacolicious, this gorgeous cookbook by the chef at a popular san francisco eatery of the same name. the book is beautifully photographed and the design of it made me immediately pick it up. i only had to flip through it and see all of its mexican food loveliness and i was sold. or rather it was. to me. i have not had the cookbook very long, but i have already made a ton of recipes from it – and i highly recommend it. their rice recipe is my favorite so far – boldly seasoned and perfectly fluffy, after sautéing and then baking in the oven. comes out perfect every time. this makes quite a bit, so for a family night in, i would halve this recipe. but if you are hosting the neighborhood’s taco tuesday fiesta, you will have plenty.

baked mexican rice with cilantro + garlic
adapted from tacolicious by sara deseran

ingredients

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

3 large cloves garlic, minced

1 16-oz bag long grain white rice (about 2 cups)

2 1/3 cups water

1 cup canned tomato puree

2 tsp dried cilantro (or oregano)

1 tsp cumin

1 bay leaf

2 tsp coarse sea salt

a few grinds of freshly cracked pepper

directions

1. preheat the oven to 350.

2. heat the oil in a large oven-safe pot, covered, over medium heat. add in the onion and saute for 3-4 minutes. add the garlic and cook another minute more, until onion is translucent. reduce heat to medium-low, then add the rice and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until rice has browned.

3. add the water, tomato puree, cilantro (or oregano), cumin, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. stir to combine and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat. cover, transfer pot to the oven, and bake for 40 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender.

4. remove from the oven and allow to cool, first with the cover on, then remove and let cool a bit more. fluff with a fork and serve warm.

salt & vinegar kale chips

salt & vinegar kale chips via she likes to eat

yeah, that’s right. KALE CHIPS. and i’m super excited about them.

it’s pretty apparent that i’m totally turning into my mother.
i mean, the lady frequently wears a t-shirt that she bought from, where else, whole foods that says in big uppercase letters “KALE”. you know, like YALE.. get it? pretty sure it’s her favorite shirt.
for those of you who don’t know my mom, aka YaYa, aka The Mahm, she is a total hippie, living in the hippie capital of the south (austin texas) and to top it off, she’s an artist (no, i did not get any of her gifts in this department). she’s all over the coconut oil (don’t get her started, she’ll go on for days;) for every need possible, and she’s a really healthy eater. so you can imagine when i start making things in my kitchen LIKE KALE CHIPS, i kind of rise above myself in an out-of-body experience and think,
what. is. happening. here?
i’m turning into my mother. and i am 100% ok with that. actually i’m proud so say it:)

disclaimer:
be careful with these babies. they’re serious business.
i may or may not have eaten an entire pan in one sitting the last time i made these.

salt & vinegar kale chips
adapted via gimme some oven

ingredients

about 5 cups kale leaf pieces, ribs removed, washed & dried

2 tsp olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar

1/4 tsp sea salt

directions

1. preheat oven to 350. line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. place the prepped kale in a large bowl. drizzle in the olive oil, vinegar, and 1/8 tsp salt. mix with a hand or tongs to soften and combine. place leaves on the baking sheet in one layer without overlapping, but fairly close together (they will shrink as they are baked). sprinkle over top the remaining 1/8 tsp salt.

3. bake for about 8-10 minutes. remove from oven and let cool. (about 5 minutes after taking them out of the oven, i turn all the leaves over to help them dry out a bit and crisp up.)

enjoy!

goat cheese biscuits

goat cheese biscuits

if you are like me, i had you at “goat cheese”.

goat cheese is one of those things you pine for. i love cheese, all kinds, but goat cheese is on a different level. the creaminess, that tang.. it lovingly forces you to close your eyes after each bite and savor it. and these biscuits do it every justice. this recipe is adapted from my friend shauna niequist’s book, bread and wine. i have only made one small change (added a bit more goat cheese) for they are perfect as they are.

these biscuits are fabulous with a big bowl of hot chili, a hearty soup, or on a cold morning, lightly toasted, with butter and strawberry preserves. they have become a new tradition on our thanksgiving and christmas tables and i hope on yours too.

goat cheese biscuits
makes 12

ingredients

2 cups flour

3 tsp baking powder

2 tsp salt

1 cup plain yogurt

6-7 tbsp cold butter, divided

5 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

directions

1. preheat the oven to 425 and place a 10-inch pan or rimmed cookie sheet into the oven while it’s preheating.

2. in a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to incorporate. cut 4 tbsp cold butter into small pieces, then cut into the flour mixture. add the yogurt and goat cheese and stir to combine.

3. remove the pan from the oven and place a tablespoon or 2 of butter (depending on the size of the pan) into it. as the butter melts, spread it around, making sure it covers the entire pan’s surface. divide the batter into 9-12 biscuits (depending on how big you want them) and place them in the pan (in a smaller pan they will fit pretty tightly).

4. brush the tops of the biscuits with 1 tbsp melted butter. bake for 14-16 minutes until browned on tops and bottoms. about 2-3 minutes before they are done (when the tops are just beginning to golden) remove from the oven and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese (if it’s freshly grated, it melts much better). cook the remaining 2-3 minutes, and serve warm.

enjoy!