Brown Butter Noodles with Spring Greens

One of the blogs I follow did a series last month on meals with five ingredients, and this one stood out. I adapted the recipe to what we had around and it turned out delicious. It's definitely going to be added to our rotation!

1/2 pound orecchiette noodles (half of the box)
bag of Trader Joe's spring mix
1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
4 chicken tenderloins
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tsp. minced garlic

1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add orecchiette and cook for 8-10 minutes.
2. While the water is boiling, defrost chicken and cook. Season with salt and pepper.
3. In another pan (I used my dutch oven), brown the butter.
4. Put greens in a colander. When the noodles are done cooking, empty the water and the noodles over the colander with the greens. Move the greens and noodles to the pan with the browned butter. Add garlic, pine nuts, chicken, and salt to taste. Sprinkle with parmesan before serving.

First Day Student Teaching

Yesterday was my first day of student teaching. When I walked in the classroom, my mentor teacher informed me that my desk was in the front of the room and that the students had made me welcome notes. I walked over to my desk and found it covered in the sweetest messages - some hilarious, some kind, and some completely random. I'm loving these sixth graders already.

Southwest Couscous Salad

I normally cook with quinoa, but I saw this recipe for a Southwest-inspired salad with couscous and thought I'd give couscous a try. Evan and I were both pleasantly surprised/reminded how delicious couscous is - I will have to figure out some other recipes (maybe this?).

1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 Roma tomato or (what I used) half of a can of diced and fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup frozen roasted corn from Trader Joe's
1 red pepper, diced
1 sweet potato, diced
1 can black beans, drained
2 Tbsp. minced red onion
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
2 small limes, juiced
3 Tbsp. olive oil
salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees. Dice sweet potato and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 30 minutes.
2. Into a small bowl, juice limes and add garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, 3 Tbsp. olive oil, and onion.
3. In a small saucepan, bring broth, salt, and butter to a bowl. Remove from heat. Add cup of couscous to the water and stir. Set aside.
4. Heat a little butter in a cast iron and cook roasted corn from frozen until warm.
5. Put roasted veggies, tomatoes, beans, and dressing in the saucepan with couscous. Stir everything together and add more salt as needed.


Mortar & Pestle

For my birthday Evan got me Rosemary Gladstar's book on herbalism and herbal recipes as well as my choice of a mortar and pestle. After doing my research I settled upon a Milton Brook 5.25 inch porcelain mortar and pestle. I really like the length of the pestle and the porcelain doesn't retain the flavor of whatever I last made in it. I decided to make my own adaptation of Gladstar's Miracle Cleansing Grains since I ran out of my face cleanser. I've used it for about a week now and it works at least as well, if not better, as my LUSH Herbalism, so I'd say this is a success!

1/4 cup oats
1/8 cup raw almonds
1 heaping Tbsp. lavender 
1/2 cup bentonite clay 
quality honey

1. Grind the oats in the mortar and pestle until finely ground, but still with a bit of a texture (not as fine as pastry flour). Set aside. Repeat with the almonds (make sure there aren't any sharp pieces of almond) and lavender. 
2. In a bowl, stir the oats, almonds, lavender, and clay together with a whisk. Take out two heaping tablespoons of the mixture and put in a small jar (I just washed and reused my Herbalism container). Put the remaining dry mixture in a glass jar and keep somewhere cool. 
3. Add roughly a tablespoon of honey and a few drops of water to the small amount of mixture you've set aside. Stir together until the mixture makes a paste. Add more honey as necessary. 

To use, rinse face with water and then put a pea-size amount of the mixture on your palm. Rub onto face. It takes a little bit of massaging for the cleanser to melt a bit and evenly cover your face, but a little goes a long way. It can be left on your face for a few minutes as a mask or you can wash it off. The honey moisturizes, the grains and almonds gently exfoliate, and the clay heals and pulls toxins from the skin.  

Green Minestrone Soup

Ellie made this soup when we were stuck inside due to the snow and it was so tasty! Here is the recipe:

2 tsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken broth
3-4 red potatoes, cut in small pieces
1 1/2 cups macaroni noodles
1 1/2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into pieces (I used frozen French String beans from Trader Joe's)
5 oz. greens like kale, spinach, etc.
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan for serving
optional add in: ham

1. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in saucepan or dutch oven. Add onion and celery and cook until translucent.
2. Add garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and cook for about one minute.
3. Add chicken broth, potatoes, and 3/4 tsp. salt. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Turn down to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Bring a separate pan of water to a boil and cook pasta for ten minutes.
5. Add greens, green beans, and white beans. Continue to simmer until potatoes are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve topped with parmesan cheese and, ideally, buttermilk biscuits. 

Pesto Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables

I stumbled upon this concoction when I invited Rachel and her roommate Erin over for lunch. We didn't have that much around - a green bell pepper and lone sweet potato in the veggie drawer, half of a jar of pesto in the fridge, and a jar of quinoa in the pantry - but I threw what I did have together and it turned out quite tasty! Evan and I have had it multiple times since then. 

bell pepper
one large sweet potato 
minced garlic 
optional: carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, chicken

1. Preheat the oven to 415. While the oven is heating up, cut up veggies in small pieces (the smaller they are the faster they will roast), spread out on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Put in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. 
2. Put two cups of water on to boil. When boiling, add in 1 1/2 cups of quinoa, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Set the timer for 15 minutes. 
3. Remove veggies from the oven and scrape off into the saucepan with the quinoa. Add about 1/2 cup or more pesto and stir. Add a small scoop of minced garlic. 
As always, this recipe makes two lunches and two dinners. 


Flower Foraging

Last week before the snow storm hit, I had the day off and Evan was at work. I got in my crazy organize-everything-I-own mode and spent the whole day going through all of our stuff, dusting bathroom fans and shelves that hadn't been dusted since we moved in (hah, whoops), and going through paperwork. It was so satisfying and I would have kept going but I ran out of stuff to organize (perks of living in a tiny space and when your parents graciously store a lot of stuff for you). I felt like something was missing, though, and I realized we needed some more greens in our apartment, especially considering the sad state of our IKEA palm. I needed to walk to school to return a long overdue book anyway, so I figured I'd bring some scissors along and sneakily snip greens along the way. I mostly clipped bundles of rosemary, red berries, and a few other bushes from the school since I didn't want to ruin anyone's personal landscaping and the school had plenty of plants anyway. I made two bouquets and they have lasted well so far!

Macaroni and Cheese Stir-Fry

Our local grocery co-op had Annie's white cheddar macaroni on sale for a dollar each, so guess what we have been eating a lot of? Macaroni stir fry! Thankfully it is delicious and quick to make.

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Cut up veggies, starting with the ones you're roasting (I like carrots) and then the ones you're stir frying (I like broccoli, mushrooms, and onion).
3. Put a pot of water on to boil.
4. Put the carrots in the oven and stir fry the others in a cast iron with a bit of olive oil.
5. When the water is boiling, add two boxes worth of shell noodles and cook for 10 minutes. Add the two cheese packets, a bit of milk, and 3 Tbsp. of butter. Stir until the cheese sauce is mixed in and add the veggies on top. This makes four servings.

Buttermilk Biscuits

The local grocery co-op (our only easily accessible food source in this ice town) has been out of bread all week, but luckily I had bought some buttermilk and made some biscuits...a few days in a row.

2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into tiny chunks
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450. Mix the butter into the flour. Add baking soda, powder, and salt. Stir in buttermilk until the dry ingredients mix together (sometimes this takes a little bit more than a cup). I skip the fancy process of rolling out the dough and cutting them into perfect little circles and instead just plop them on a baking sheet. I actually like the texture better that way! Bake for 10-12 minutes. Makes 8-10 biscuits depending on how big you make them.

Snow Days

We have been off of school/work for seven days and counting. Last Tuesday we got 8+ inches of snow and it has been adamant about sticking around. It's been so beautiful and Evan and I have enjoyed walks in the snow and game/movie afternoons with our friends. I've gotten some good reading done (I read Inner River by Kyriacos Markides and a book about Maria of Olonets), Evan and I have watched an embarrassing number of X-Files episodes, and I am trying to work ahead on some school projects. Overall, though, I'm ready to get back into a schedule! I find I get so much less done when I don't have some sort of structure in my day.

Easy Pizza Dough

I usually like to plan meals ahead of time, but with the snow days we have had to get creative with what we have around. I found this quick pizza dough (15 minutes!) online and have made it multiple times since. It isn't quite as flavorful as dough that you let sit overnight, but with some garlic powder and chili flakes it is pretty darn good.

1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp.)
1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. chili pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 425. Mix warm water, yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Let rest for 10 minutes or until frothy. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and stir into a ball. Let rest for 5 minutes. Add a bit of olive oil and corn meal to the bottom of a baking sheet and stretch the dough out. It should make enough to fill the baking sheet.

Toppings: (the best variation we've made)
diced tomatoes
sautéed mushrooms and onions
minced garlic
chopped kalamata and/or spanish olives
sauteed greens (spinach, kale)


Hood River

After Christmas my parents rented a house near Hood River and we stayed for a few days. It was so fun to try snowshoeing, get to read good books, listen to the wood stove, and spend time with family. We had amazing weather and everything looked so pristine in the snow! 



For Christmas this year, Evan and I got a projector. It is perfect for our little space - we don't have to store a TV anywhere and it puts our giant white walls to good use! We've started Documentary Saturdays with our friends - we take turns picking the documentary - and we have gotten plenty of use out of the projector already.


Visiting Greenville

It was so good to be back in Greenville. There were a lot of things to do and people to see, but I felt like we got a lot in and were able to have a lot of good time with people we love. I celebrated my birthday in Greenville with some yoga, monopoly, Pasta Fagioli, and the most amazing fruit custard! We also got to see the new Star Wars movie, Rogue One, visit the Greenville art museum (where Evan and I discovered magnifying glasses in the gift shop), have a sleep over with Evan's nieces and nephew, worship at St. George, and enjoy lots of late-night conversations.