I love the cooler months for the feel of them, in every way. I love cold-weather clothing, and candles, and the idea of slower, soothing months, where life doesn't feel so hectic. I love the anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I love a good comfort food meal, that you can start in the afternoon, and let it simmer while doing laundry or a pre-dinner tidy of your home. This chili is that food for me. It's not altogether pretty, but you could always add some color by way of green pepper or jalepenos, etc. It's very mix-and-matchable and well-suited to whatever you have in your pantry. For us, that's chickpeas and lentils, since Nicholas isn't a huge fan of pinto/navy beans, etc. These ingredients afford a "traditional" enough chili for me, with a texture he enjoys as well.
Baked PB oatmeal or just "PB oatmeal" as we fondly call it, serves as our breakfast at least 300 mornings of the year. I've mentioned it about one million times on the blog, since I've been making is for us ever since Summer posted the recipe almost exactly five years ago, but I've never actually shared the recipe and how I make it. Over time, I've adjusted a few things and tweaked it to it's current state. I adore recipes like this that I can make again and again. We eat a lot of eggs for any meal of the day, and so it's nice to have an egg-free breakfast option. And I really love the idea of a make-ahead breakfast that will reheat easily and fill us up with both protein and carbs.
Yesterday, I stopped by my friend Jessica's house to see her and her son. I played with her little boy while she chopped veggies for a meal she was bringing to a friend that night. Whereas I prefer to follow a recipe, since I'm nervous that my kitchen experiments won't turn out, Jessica is naturally good at using up all the food in the fridge, coming up with new combinations and just "throwing together" a meal, or following a recipe with modifications, based on what she has on hand.
As the temperatures cool and the holidays approach, I dream about having a simple, savory, throw-it-in-the-oven, baked breakfast casserole. I had some specific criteria in mind:
Happy November, friends! I've never disliked broccoli, per se, but I'm not enamored with it. I'll eat it steamed, raw and dipped in ranch or something, or cooked as a side. But I never crave it and Nicholas won't go near it, so I rarely buy it.
I've been on a Christmas kick over here for over a month, but as it turns out, I feel a bit less odd, thanks to the whole Christmas in July phenomena. Yay! To get into the spirit, I played around with a cookie recipe, and thought I'd share it as tribute to this month and my favorite holiday, even if real Christmas isn't for another five months.
I haven't posted a recipe in quite awhile, but I wanted to share a meal that been in frequent rotation for the DeVries family lately. It's fast, satisfying, served in a bowl, and colorful, and these are a few of my favorite things. Also, the heat index in Austin today is like, 108 degrees, so....the less time I spend heating up the kitchen, the better.
I'm not what you would call a "smoothie person." I enjoy them, but I don't crave them. It's likely in part due to the fact that we don't own an awesome blender—just a food processor and an immersion blender. And so far, I haven't felt compelled to add yet another small appliance to our kitchen. But when I was sick with a nasty virus at the beginning of the year, things changed. I wanted fruits and greens without a lot of effort and I saw my friend Katie* post a smoothie recipe on her instagram. I gave smoothies another try, and lo and behold, they are pretty great. So, for the last several months, when the mood strikes (or a banana needs to be used ASAP, as was the case today) I now have a yummy, go-to recipe.
This is a family recipe, one my mom wrote out on a recipe card, and kept in the blue recipe box. When Nicholas and I got married and I had to make "grown up" recipes, I scanned it and added it to a three-ring binder with other recipes, but I love that I see my mom's handwriting whenever I reference it. It's comfort food—easy to put together and yummy (as most comfort recipes are). Now, I've heavily modified it to add a bunch of veggies and alter the crust*, to better suit it to our tastes and the usual contents of our refrigerator. I tried several iterations of the recipe before settling on this one. It's a versatile, veggie-packed, meal-in-a-bowl, warm-you-up-as-the-temperatures-drop kind of meal. Halfway through supper, Nicholas said, "Now this is my kind of meal." I'd put it in the comfort food category, just in time for fall. But if you're ever a guest in the DeVries household, you may find that we eat it year-round, as we think it's too good to save it only for the cold months.
Grilled salmon is a meal I frequently requested when I came home from college, as you do. College dining courts just didn't do food justice, especially fish, and so it was a special treat to have it at home. Just the name grilled salmon sounds flavorful, doesn't it? Baked salmon, on the other hand, doesn't have the same ring.
Before a workweek starts (this week, Sunday is my Monday), I need to do some work at home. Preparation. Otherwise, laundry completion is haphazard and I impulse buy frozen pizza and candy orange slices on my way home from work. Yes, really. Today was prep day; a day to get everything in order, so that when our week starts, I feel, well, prepared. It takes commitment, but it's worth it to feel ahead-of-schedule at the start of the week. Then, when household tasks fall to the wayside a bit during the week, we don't feel like our whole world is crumbling (cue the drama, I know). This is what I did today so that I feel more balanced tomorrow.
I never realized that I would be a fan of the big salads—you know—egg salad, chicken salad, potato salad. I'm not sold on potato salad, but with the others, the right mixture feels just a bit fancier than a regular sandwich. Perfect lunch fare, if you ask me. You don't need to serve this on bread; I really enjoy it with these homemade crackers for a little bit of crunch. It packs well, and can be prepared a day or so in advance. I make a batch of the fennel an hour or so before lunch and eat it the over next few days with crackers, cheese, or this egg salad. The flavor becomes even more complex (and tastier) overnight, so I'd recommend making it in advance if you're able to do so.