zucchini in spiced tomato sauce

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It is high time for my semi-annual haircut. I knew you’d want to know. I have this cave woman mop-like shag going on that is in desperate need of taming. I tend to wait until I catch an unsettling glimpse of myself in the mirror, and then I call my hair dresser in frantic desperation, pleading, “Can you get me in today?” My main goal is not necessarily to look trendy but to not scare children. Which is also why I always wear some form of makeup. I also struggle with coordinating my outfits. I once bought an outfit off a mannequin so I wouldn’t have to coordinate it. You do what you gotta do!

Justin and I have been attempting to incorporate more vegetables in our diet.  It is an ongoing battle. Just adding salt and pepper to vegetables is fine and dandy, but after awhile, it gets old. When looking for flavorful vegetable-based recipes, I took my cue from India because they are known for their flavorful vegetarian dishes; I was not disappointed.

This zucchini dish has layers upon layers of wonderful flavor.  You have turmeric and garam masala, which give the dish somewhat of a curry flavor. The chili powder makes it spicy, and the garlic, coriander, and cumin make up layers of delicious savory goodness. Then add the tomatoes and fresh cilantro, and you end up with a wonderfully complex tomato sauce. We ate this as a side dish with grilled chicken, but it can be paired with any kind of meat.

I first attempted this recipe in a wok, but I found it too small to really cook the zucchini. I quickly transferred it to a larger pot, which worked better. Vegetables cook best when they’re directly touching the pan to access direct heat. This recipe took 30-35 minutes to make, and it was well worth it! Enjoy!

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strawberry and spinach salad with honey balsamic vinaigrette

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Hear ye, hear ye! Let it be known that I, Lauren from the Speckled Spork, am posting a salad recipe. I know we’re nearly five months in, and this is my first salad post, but it’s better late than never, as they say. Perhaps with this post I can also dispel the totally unfounded rumor (please disregard all previous posts) that all we eat over here are carbs.  I mean, I ate a carrot just last month. Or was it the month before? Whatever. That’s not important. What is important is that this is a delicious salad and one I’ve been making for years. The tangy Gorgonzola cheese with the sweet strawberries, honey balsamic vinaigrette, and crunchy pecans make this one delicious medley. You can substitute feta cheese if you’re not a Gorgonzola fan. Stay tuned for when I post the next salad recipe in another five months! Bon Appetit!

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basic mac and cheese

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When I was making this recipe, I misread one of the quantities in the ingredients so instead of making 3 cups of elbow pasta, I made three pounds. Three pounds! We have pasta coming out our ears over there. It’s taken over the kitchen, the fridge, and Justin says if it makes its way to the bedroom we’re in real trouble. But, I mean, as far as problems go, having too much pasta on your hands is a good problem to have. I have been making all kinds of mac and cheese recipes, and I’m happy to announce most of them have turned out (stay tuned for future mac and cheese posts).

This week it seems I’ve been on an all-carb diet, and unlike past diets, I have had tremendous success sticking to it. I eat biscuits for breakfast and mac and cheese for lunch and dinner, and then I repeat it. I should probably throw in a salad in there somewhere. I feel I would eat salads more regularly if vegetables tasted more like bacon…or cheese or chocolate. Most days, I try to fit in at least one vegetable serving a day, but I have fallen off the health bandwagon and am eating all the golden mac and cheese I want. In an unrelated note, I have been looking up muumuus on Amazon…

I want to invite you to make the baked cheesy goodness that is this dish. There are a lot of steps to this recipe but they go pretty quickly. This is a basic mac and cheese recipe. If you’d like some spice, add a dash of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. You could probably also add Chipotle chile powder; just remember a little goes a long way. Regarding special equipment, this recipe calls for a food processor, but if you don’t have one, you’ll just need to cut up the bread with a knife to make breadcrumbs. Fresh or stale bread can be used. I think the breadcrumbs are a great addition because they give the dish a crunchy texture. Also, you can substitute different cheese combinations if you like. The following cheeses are recommended: Cheddar, plain or herb Jack, fontina, mozzarella, Asiago, provolone, Gruyere, blue cheese, and Comte. If you use Gruyere or blue cheese, keep these to less than one-fourth of the total cheese mix as these cheeses are very strong. Enjoy!

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pasta salad with marinated tomatoes

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I was recently told that it would be beneficial to my readers if I posted my July 4th recipes before the actual holiday so they could actually make them on the holiday. Sorry, first-time blogger here making first-time blogger mistakes. So for the week and a half we have left before the 4th, I will be posting more recipes than normal so I can get them all posted in time. I have been cooking up a storm much to Justin’s delight. Justin is my taste tester, a role he prizes (or at least pretends to [this is Justin, I love it, continue on]). He is also my editor, content consultant, dishwasher, and oftentimes, even my Amazon echo when I have a cooking question but have my hands covered in flour or oil or what have you. I shout all kinds of questions from the kitchen, which he graciously Googles for me.

“How many ounces are in a quart?” (32 ounces by the way)

“How can you tell when scallops are done?” (they should be white and non-transparent)

“Is this chicken supposed to be purple?!” (we were making coq au vin)

“How do you thicken whipped cream?” (put in refrigerator over night) Continue reading “pasta salad with marinated tomatoes”

farmer’s pizza

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I almost always want meat in my meals. If I don’t, I tend to think I’m coming down with a cold. But occasionally a recipe is so good that I don’t miss the meat. This is one of those recipes. I wasn’t sure how all the ingredients would play out, but I found the creamy mascarpone, spicy tomato sauce, and peppery arugula make this pizza just awesome. ‘Nuff said. Continue reading “farmer’s pizza”