the great gatsby.

I don’t know exactly how I ended up searching for cocktails featuring Lillet Blanc – the French aperitif that is wine based, citrusy and almost floral. It’s SO light and refreshing – it’s probably best suited for spring and summer cocktails, but we roll our own way over here. And! The southern hemisphere is entering spring soon, so, it works. At any rate, my searching led me to a recipe for the great gatsby cocktail courtesy of serious eats, who credits the cocktail to Matt Gilpin of the Highland Bar and Grill. The cocktail got its name from being so light and airy, you’ll feel like Gatsby, ‘on top of the world’.

I like a little twist on mine to really amp up the citrus and use citron vodka. I find it really pairs well with the lillet and the fresh grapefruit juice. I also like a little sparkling water to top off if I am really feeling extra fancy.

the great gatsby cocktail.
adapted from serious eats.

1 ounce citron vodka
1 ounce lillet blanc
2.5 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

In shaker filled with ice, add the ingredients and shake well to combine and make cold. Strain into coupe glass. Makes one cocktail.

*please use organic/local ingredients wherever possible*

pasta amatriciana

Forgive me, but I’m not the biggest pasta eater. I like it just fine, but pasta-centric dishes from never tend to end up on my dinner menus. That may change however, once this delicious, complex-tasting yet simple dish came across my lap. This is likely not an authentic Amatriciana pasta dish – a Roman dish that is traditionally made with guanciale (cured pork jowl), but here is made with diced prosciutto and by doctoring up a jarred marinara sauce. You can obviously make/use your own red sauce in place of the jarred sauce; either works!

This dish is traditionally paired with bucatini, but I used short gemelli as it’s what I had on hand. I think rigatoni, penne or even farfalle would work here! Pancetta would be a good swap for the prosciutto if you prefer that as well. This sauce can come together in a half an hour, making it great for weeknights! I prefer to let it simmer lowly on the stove for the afternoon for at least a few hours, to let the ingredients come together and deepen.

This is slightly spicy from the jalapenos, but tempered by the agave, making it perfectly balanced. A fun spin on the pasta and sauce staple – I implore you try this out! It’s delicious and makes a ton – perfect for parties or large gatherings. Enjoy!

pasta amatriciana
adapted from Eating Well courtesy of Fabio Vivani.

1/2 cup/4 ounces of fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 cups jarred marinara sauce
4 ounces diced prosciutto
1 small red onion, diced
2 red jalapenos, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
16 ounces short cut pasta, any shape (I used gemelli)
1 tablespoon agave (to taste; use more or less based on your sweetness preference)
parmesan and/or basil for garnish

Heat a large dutch oven or deep skillet over medium heat and add diced prosciutto, cooking for 5-7 minutes until browned and crisp on all sides. Add red onion, jalapenos and garlic and cook for additional 3 minutes until the onions begin to soften and become translucent. Add wine and let cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until wine is reduced by half. Add in the fire roasted diced tomatoes and 2 cups marinara sauce along with salt, pepper and agave. Bring up to boil and reduce to low, covered, allowing to lightly simmer for at least 15 minutes (I allow this to cook for 2-3 hours). Taste and add additional salt, pepper and or agave as desired.

While sauce is simmering, cook pound of pasta to package directions. Drain and add to sauce and toss to combine. Add in torn basil leaves if using and top with shredded parmesan when serving.

Serves 8. *Please use local/organic ingredients where possible*

sweet + sour turkey meatballs (gluten + egg free!)

Super simple turkey meatballs with no dairy, eggs, or gluten? A sauce made with pantry staples? It can be done and it’s so easy! I’ve made turkey meatballs with no binder before, and these are delicious and ready for any sauce your heart desires.

These meatballs are browned in a skillet or pot with a little olive oil spray or a teaspoon of oil – olive or grapeseed or avocado – all are good! The sauce comes together in a snap and it coats and glazes the meatballs easily and beautifully.

Sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds, and some scallions if you have them! I served with roasted russet potatoes for an easy, packable and on the move meal! The glaze is thick and doesn’t yield a messy dish, so you can eat these with a toothpick like me. These would be great for a grazing table or an appetizer.

The chile garlic sauce can be either sambal oelek, or sriracha or even tabasco in a pinch! (use a quarter to start if using tabasco).

Enjoy these easy and allergen friendly meatballs for your next gathering!

sweet + sour turkey meatballs.

1 pound ground turkey breast
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons chile garlic sauce
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon coconut aminos (or GF soy sauce)

Heat a deep skillet or pot over medium heat and spray generously with nonstick cooking spray or a teaspoon of oil.

In a large bowl combine the ground turkey breast, sesame oil and minced garlic with some sea salt and pepper. Combine and roll into approximately 16 meatballs.

Cook for 12-15 minutes in the skillet, turning to brown on all sides. Remove from the skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Add water, ketchup, chile garlic sauce, oyster sauce, worcestershire sauce, rice vinegar, and coconut aminos. Stir well and cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Add the meatballs back in and cook on low heat for 15 minutes until the meatballs are coated with the glaze.

Top with sesame seeds and scallions if desired.

Serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as an appetizer.

*Please use local and/or organic ingredients wherever possible*

curried yellow squash + carrot soup.

This soup is almost embarrassingly simple but it is so lovely! In my last post, I mentioned I had picked up a basket of fruits and veggies that were deemed less aesthetically pleasing than their buddies, but they tasted perfect! The basket included a few yellow squash for whatever reason, yellow squash makes me think of curry – that warm, intoxicating spice that has more varieties than you could think of! I add some carrots, onion and garlic, and the curry and that’s it!


This is so velvety and rich without even a thought of cream – making it super low calorie, vegan and allergy friendly.

I hope you enjoy this – it comes together in and snap and is so comforting; perfect for these late summer days and evenings when the cool hints of autumn air start sneaking in!


curried yellow squash + carrot soup.
adapted from the pioneer woman via Food Network.

1/2 cup onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 yellow summer squash, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon curry powder (I use frontier co-op brand)
3-3.5 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a large soup pot, sweat the onions and garlic in some nonstick cooking spray or a teaspoon of oil. After onions and garlic are fragrant and are just beginning to soften (3-5 minutes), add the carrots and squash along with the sea salt, curry powder and black pepper. Sauté for an additional 3 minutes and then add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let simmer partially covered for 20-30 minutes until the carrots and squash are softened.

Remove from heat and puree in batches in a stand blender or with a stick blender in the pot until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add any additional salt, pepper or curry if desired.

Makes 4 1 cup servings. *Please use local and/or organic ingredients if possible* 

beef + cabbage stir fry.

A few weeks ago, I was on the hunt for a lot of peaches. It was during the week, and I ended up a local farm stand and came across a shelf full of baskets labeled ‘uglies’. WHAT?! I mean, I get it, but the basket was full of a hodgepodge of items: a few bruised peaches, some green and yellow squash, and a small to medium head of savoy cabbage – for four dollars! SOLD. I had destinies for all but the cabbage until I came across a recipe for a stir fry from Budget Bytes. Beth always has great ideas on how to stretch your budget and who doesn’t need that today?! True to form, I played around and made some tweaks to the recipe, and I have to say, this is a winner. It makes a ton, is paired perfectly with steamed rice, and on its own, it’s incredibly low calorie and filling. All wonderful things in my book!

Savoy cabbage is just a type of green cabbage, but regular or even napa cabbage would be great here! I add about a 1/3 cup of a bottled stir fry sauce I had hanging out in my fridge but if you don’t have any on hand, I would just double the sauce below. Enjoy!

beef + cabbage stir fry.
adapted from Budget Bytes.

1 pound lean ground beef
1 small/medium head of savory cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1/3 cup bottled stir fry sauce (optional)
1/4 cup tamari or GF soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon chile garlic sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds to garnish (optional)

Whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, chile garlic sauce, brown sugar and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Brown ground beef and break up until no longer pink (5-6 minutes). Add garlic, ginger onion, cabbage and carrots to skillet and cook until slightly softened or tender. Season with salt or pepper. Stir in prepared sauce and taste. If desired, add the prepared stir fry sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve with steamed rice.

Serves 6. *Please use local/organic ingredients wherever possible*

summer berry tricolor salad.

I love a salad filled with all the fresh summer produce that is filling enough for a main dish salad but light enough for hot summer days where your appetite seems to plummet due to the heat. This triple berry salad is easy, has protein thanks to the roasted chickpeas (make these in your air fryer if you have one and don’t want to heat up the oven!) and an addictive shallot vinaigrette that is sweet and delicious. Let’s make it!

I used the combination of blackberries, red raspberries and blueberries for this salad but you can use any combo of berries that you like and look good in your market! I suggest not adding the berries until right before you serve the salad and if you have leftovers, store the berries separately so they don’t start to break down.

summer berry tricolor salad.
adapted from HowSweetEats.

8 cups baby mixed greens
3/4 cup each red raspberries, blackberries and blueberries
1 medium cucumber, sliced into halfmoons
1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of cayenne
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon honey (agave or maple syrup for vegan)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup lemon olive oil
pinch of sea salt + pepper

chickpeas: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pat chickpeas dry with a paper towel. Place chickpeas on a baking sheet and toss well with olive oil, cinnamon, cayenne and sea salt. Roast for 25 minutes, tossing once or twice halfway though. Remove and let cool completely.

dressing: in a mason jar, add all ingredients and shake well to emulsify and taste for seasoning.

prepare salad: in a large bowl, add the mixed greens, and top with the sunflower seeds, chickpeas, cucumber and berries. When ready to serve, toss with dressing if desired or serve alongside.

Serves 8. *Please use local ingredients wherever possible*

easy healthy shepherd’s pie.

This shepherd’s pie is so easy, I’d wager it will become a weeknight staple for your dinner routine! It’s healthy to boot, which makes it easy on your waistline. It’s yet another winner from Skinnytaste, but I’ve modified it to fit my preferences and what I had in my fridge and freezer.

This is a great make ahead as well; I made the filling earlier in the day, cooled and covered it, and then added the potato/cauliflower mash when I was ready to bake it off.

This recipe is supposed to serve 4, but it definitely served 2.5 in my household – a definite winner! 🙂

easy healthy shepherd’s pie.
adapted from

nonstick cooking spray
1 pound 95/5% ground sirloin
1/2 cup onion (1 small onion)
4 garlic cloves
2 celery stalks, chopped
12 ounce frozen bag of peas and carrots
1 cup fat free beef broth
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
sea salt and pepper

potato-cauliflower mash:
2 small/medium yukon gold potatoes
ladle of cooking water
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 package birds eye frozen cauliflower mash
sea salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large sauté pan with sprayed with nonstick cooking spray add the ground beef over medium/medium-high heat and break up as it cooks. Season with salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Add onion, garlic and celery and sauté on medium heath for 6-8 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the frozen vegetables, beef broth, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce and mix well. Simmer on medium low for about 10 minutes.

While meat mixture is cooking, boil chopped potatoes until soft. Drain and mash with the ladle of cooking water and sour cream. Cook cauliflower mash according to package directions and then add to the potato mash and whisk together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add meat mixture to the bottom of casserole dish and top with the potato-cauliflower mash. Bake for 25-30 minutes then broil for an additional minute if desired.

Let stand for 5 minute before serving.

Serves 4. *Please use organic/local ingredients wherever possible*

rose coq a vin.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new recipe and I am sorry for that! I have a fun one today, especially as so many of us look forward to the beginning of spring that is right around the corner. This rose coq a vin is inspired by Jessica’s version over at How Sweet Eats and I tweaked mine to fit my personal preferences. Coq a vin has never been that attractive to me… but when faced with a bottle of rose from a wine club I am (I am SO picky when it comes to my rose wines; I like only the driest, lightest varieties) I decided to tackle coq a vin. The rose works so well here and I hope you try it and enjoy it!

rose coq a vin.
inspired by How Sweet Eats.

2 pounds bone in, skin on split chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
3 cups rose wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 ounces center cut bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves
2 carrots, chopped
8 ounces cremini mushrooms
1 tablespoon oil or butter
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon fresh parsley

Season chicken with salt and pepper in a bowl or bag and add the thyme, wine and chicken broth. Cover or seal the bag and refrigerate for minimum two hours or up to 12. Remove and pat chicken dry and set marinade aside for later.

In a large pot or dutch oven, sauté the bacon pieces for a few minutes until crispy and fat has rendered. Remove bacon and set aside on a plate. Add chicken breasts to the pot and cook on all sides, 3-4 minutes per side until seared and golden brown. Remove and set aside with bacon.

Add tablespoon of oil or butter and add onions, carrots and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until lightly soft and translucent (onions). Add mushrooms and cook for additional minute or two. Add tomato paste and cook for additional minute until it coats the vegetables. Add flour and stir well to incorporate for additional minute or two.

Add brandy and deglaze in the pan for 1-2 minutes. Add wine marinade and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture reduces by half. Add chicken and bacon back to the pot and cover, letting the mixture cook for 45-60 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through the cooking process.

Taste and season with salt and/or pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with toasted bread or rice/potatoes.

Serves 4. *Please use local/organic ingredients wherever possible*

gluten free cranberry orange oatmeal muffins.

Hey there! Can I ask, how is it already December 22nd? Each year I feel so ahead of the game and then the week before Christmas arrives and I realize just how much I still need to do. Usually all those things are food related, and today’s recipe was no exception! At the direction of a new doctor I am seeing, I am on a gluten free diet for eight weeks to determine if I have non Celiac gluten sensitivity as I’ve tested negative for Celiac twice. Of course this eight week period happened during the holidays and I’ve had to adapt so that I can enjoy some of my holiday favorites, sans gluten. This recipe tops that list as I LOVE cranberry orange bread, and it’s been a trial with different gluten free flour blends to find one that yielded a tender crumb.

I found that Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free flour blend has been the most successful for me along with certified gluten free oats from Trader Joe’s. While my doctor informed me that ‘having a cookie at Christmas won’t kill you’, I am trying my best to make it through these eight weeks gluten free. Now that I can have one of my favorite breakfast items for the holiday, I think it I can do it! If you have allergen sensitive people you’ll be hosting, I hope you try this recipe. These freeze super well, too! Mine are in my freezer now, just waiting for their 12/25 debut.

gluten free cranberry orange oatmeal muffins.
adapted from

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup nonfat yogurt (I used plain greek)
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 cup GF flour (I used bob’s red mill)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a bowl, add the oats and yogurt and mix together to moisten oats. In small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, powder and salt and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, sugars, oil and zest. Add oat mixture to wet ingredients. Fold in dry ingredients to the wet. Fold in cranberries.

Evenly distribute amongst the muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins. *Please use local and/or organic ingredients where possible*

apple cider chicken.

What a seasonally appropriate meal I have for you today! Apple cider chicken, basically sautéed chicken breasts with a delicious apple cider pan sauce with dijon mustard and sliced apples. So simple and easy enough to whip together after a long day!

These photos were taken a dark weeknight, but I promise this sauce is SO worth your time and effort. I used dried thyme, as that is what I had on hand, but if you happen to have fresh thyme on hand, use a tablespoon of that! I served with a generous side of roasted cauliflower – a huge head that overflowed the plates (no regrets) but if you want to soak up that sauce, serve with some wild rice or multigrain bread along the side.

Round this out with a simple mixed green salad and enjoy this perfectly October-esque meal!

apple cider chicken.

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium apple, sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 cup apple cider
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon plain yogurt or sour cream (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)
nonstick cooking spray

Season chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Heat one tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute chicken and cook, flipping once, until browned, about three minutes per side. Transfer a plate.

Reduce heat to medium. Add one tablespoon oil, apples, shallot, thyme to the pan. Cook, stirring, until softened, two to three minutes. Add dijon, cider and broth; bring to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about three minutes.

Return the chicken and any juices to the pan; adjust heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until chicken is cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter. Stir in parsley and remaining salt and pepper into the sauce. Spoon sauce over chicken and top with yogurt or sour cream if desired.

Serves 3-4. *Please use local/organic ingredients wherever possible*