Off to Asia!

Off to Asia!

Hello friends!

This morning my mom and I are heading off to Asia! We are taking a 3-week trip through Japan, South Korea, and China!

While I’m off exploring new places, trying new foods (like bugs… maybe), and soaking up the different cultures, we won’t have much internet, so my blog may be a little neglected.

I’ll be back April 18th, so expect long updates and an overwhelming amount of Asian-inspired dishes upon my return.

Lemon Cookies

Lemon Cookies

These lemon cookies are dedicated to my friend Tess, who astutely pointed out to me that most of my latest pins on Pinterest were of lemon baked goods. “Are you throwing a lemon-themed party?!” she asked, and I, not realizing my pinning trend, had no idea what she was talking about. But she was right. Lemon cupcakes, lemon cookies, lemon cakes, lemon parfaits, lemon puddings… it was getting out of hand. My favorite color IS yellow and one of my favorite flavors IS lemon, so I decided to go ahead and make lemon cookies in her (and spring’s!) honor.
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Mexican Black Beans and Quinoa

Mexican Black Beans and Quinoa

I love this dish. The idea came to me on the walk home from the gym when I needed a quick, protein-packed dish that could cook on its own while I took a shower! I had less than an hour to eat, shower, and head back off to class, so those were the rules my lunch had to live by. Black beans and quinoa seemed like the perfect combination.

There was some trial and error the first few times I made it. I cooked the quinoa separately and added it to the bean mixture at the last minute, but that left the quinoa too flavorless, and the beans too dried up. Next, I tried cooking the quinoa with the beans, but left the lid on like you normally do with quinoa. It puffed up just fine, but there was too much liquid leftover that had to cook off in additional time. I’ve also added bacon to it before. Crisped up the bacon, then crumbled it and cooked the veggies in the bacon fat. You can add the bacon on top for a salty, delicious crunch. But, the bacon is also extra time (and money!), and I’ve found that it’s perfectly fine without.
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For the Week (3.17.13)

For the Week (3.17.13)

Spring’s almost here, right? That’s what people were saying at the beginning of March. Maybe that’s true in some parts of the country, but I swear that the spring doesn’t make it to Chicago until May at the earliest. Last year on St. Patrick’s day, Chicago was 70 degrees and MANIC. Not only is it the city’s biggest holiday, but it was also t-shirt weather! Everyone was outside and ridiculously happy, which is the only response to a freak “heat wave” in March. This year, however, it’s in the 30s. Typical. My spring skirts are still tucked away, my sleeveless blouses waiting for an afternoon to see the sunshine.

Until brighter days, I’ll leave you with a few links and some flowers. Hopefully it’s warmer where you are!

Spinach Avocado Pasta

Spinach Avocado Pasta

It almost feels like I’m cheating when I make something so simple, yet so good. Like… it shouldn’t be this easy. Have you ever gotten an assignment or an exam that was so easy that you thought it must be a joke? Like the teacher was going to snatch it back with a malicious laugh and pass out an absurdly challenging assignment? I usually think I’m doing something wrong if something seems that simple…

This spinach avocado pasta? It IS that simple. You can’t mess it up. Okay, maybe you could, but then I might have to reconsider our friendship. Just kidding, I will cook it for you.

The most time-consuming step of spinach avocado pasta is cooking the pasta. I kid you not.
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