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.
As a child, my very favorite kind of cookie we made were Choco Mint Snappers. I've always loved the name—they sound a little feisty, don't they? The recipe is from my godmother's family, and they are forever a crowd pleaser with their magic blend of chewiness + peppermint + cinnamon + chocolate. Although we made them year 'round, they always seemed a little bit christmasy to me. I always crave them when the weather starts to cool off and Christmas preparations begin.
We're really into roasting food over here. One food we like to roast is squash, and when we do, I always roast the seeds and it feels like a little bonus treat. About week ago, Nicholas came with me to the grocery store and when he saw the squash in the produce section, he didn't ask if we could have squash, he specifically requested roasted squash seeds. I can't blame him. I crave these salty, crispy, golden brown seeds too. Needless to say, we brought two acorn squash home with us only after a brief discussion about the necessity of eating both the seeds and the squash fruit itself.
I've been watching a fair amount of Call the Midwife lately. One of the many things I enjoy about the series is the culture, specifically, the practice of offering tea to all visitors. I appreciate the little rituals of hospitality and how second-nature they become if you practice them frequently. If you came to visit us, I'd make you coffee or tea—your preference—but I'd also want to have a little something ready to munch on as your enjoy your drink. Last time we visited my family in Minnesota, my mom made us homemade zucchini bread. I love the idea of having a go-to recipe for when we have guests (see this recent post for more of our favorite go-to recipes). And for our visitors? I think that homemade zucchini bread is just the thing (thanks, mom, for the inspiration)!
Not too long ago, I wrote a post on how and why I meal plan. In that post, I said I'd write about our favorite, frequently made meals. While I enjoy trying new recipes, I love having a set of "go-to" recipes that we know we love. Also, as dorky as it sounds, I like the idea of making a recipe frequently enough that I know which baking dish is the the perfect fit.
Happy Wednesday, friends!
I wanted to share a meal that is quickly becoming a staple in the DeVries home. Of course, it involves eggs, because we like inexpensive, nutritious, protein-based meals. And it's a fast meal, because life is busy (a lot), but that doesn't mean we should eat unhealthy (and not-very-tasty) food in haste.
It's no secret that breakfast food is one of my love languages. Eggs, pancakes, waffles...they're all my favorite foods. That being said, I'm not 100% on the granola bandwagon. I generally don't crave it and we rarely buy it. The blend of textures has to be just right. But this granola is a game-changer. Each time I make it a little differently, but this was my favorite batch yet. It has a lot of crunch, and it's not too sweet (my biggest objection to most store-bought varieties). Next time I'm tempted to think, I don't like granola very much, I need someone to remind me of this granola, okay? And nothing will make your home smell so, so good while it bakes in your oven.
I love lists, I always have. So, it seems fitting to make another list, and post it here. This is my list of can't-live-without-it and I-use-it-every-day in our kitchen. We habitually assess what we own to avoid excess accumulation, so it only makes sense to do this in our kitchen. And honestly, our kitchen is one of the areas of our home where generally speaking, we have what we need and no more. This keeps our kitchen cabinets uncluttered and makes the kitchen a pleasant work area, since I do spend quite a bit of time there. A list of essentials is entirely subjective, but these are my personal favorites and what I consider indispensable:
In the spirit of that last practical intention from my previous post about 2015 intentions, here's a "recipe" of sorts that I came up with the week after Christmas when I was motivated to use up food we already had in the fridge and pantry. This was good discipline for me! It's not that we didn't have any food, there was plenty, but just not a combination of ingredients in my comfort zone. We frequently have cooked rice in the fridge, and the other ingredients are pantry or fridge staples (canned beans, eggs, etc.). I loved the mixture of flavors and textures, and how filling this meal is, whether you make it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
We enjoyed a brief but lovely camping trip at Inks Lake State Park this past weekend. We thought of it as a belated anniversary getaway, of sorts. Despite our mutual love for camping and countless camping trips over the years, this was our first camping trip together since we've been married.
These brownies. Oh, my. Since we've mostly cut back our consumption of refined sugars, we've found our tastes changed. We both still love our dessert, but when we're in the mood for chocolate, we now reach for dark chocolate. There are countless brownie recipes and textures out there—cakey, gooey, dense—and everyone has a favorite. But lately, we're loving these rich, dense, not-to-sweet, dark chocolately (and gluten-free) brownies. And I love that this recipe makes a smaller pan...because if there are brownies at our house, we will eat them.