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Food, Main Dishes, Vegetarian

Four Pepper Pizza + Date Night


In our home, the ideal “date night” doesn’t involve getting gussied up and wearing uncomfortable shoes to a lavish restaurant where we have to sit all stiff-like. Sure, my husband and I clean up very well, but there’s something about those types of places that makes me feel apprehensive and anxious. Am I sitting up straight enough? Should I have painted my nails red instead of turquoise? Did I make things weird when I told the waiter he could fill my wine glass to the top?

I guess that’s why the ideal date night in our home involves homemade pizza, a good flick, and grocery store-bought wine.

Fill that glass.

To me, there’s something incredibly romantic about cooking with that special someone in the comfort of a shared kitchen space. When I’m all floured-up and kneading dough on the counter with my husband standing next to me slicing toppings with great precision, it is downright swoon-worthy. Forget the pottery scene from Ghost; our pizza making is way more amorous.

And this Four Pepper Pizza? What a way to spice things up!

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Collaboration, Food, Sides, tapa-tizers + snacks, Vegetarian

Fresh Vegetarian Summer Rolls + Spicy Peanut Sauce

As much as I adore fall and its display of dark skies, the smell of smokey cedar, and the sound of crisp leaves crackling beneath our feet, I’m always eager to welcome spring with just as much enthusiasm. The sudden sight of lush landscapes and azure skies always fills me with a feeling of restoration… kind of like the default computer wallpaper of Microsoft’s Windows XP; nothing says “new beginnings” quite like that.

The weather here in North Carolina has been teetering sporadically between warm perfection and nippy disappointment, but the former is starting to outweigh the latter and I am oh-so-ready to get my terra cotta pots out, dig into some soil, plant some seeds, and admire the produce that sprouts. And then make delicious food with it.

One of my favorite things to indulge in when the days are blazin’ hot are these cool and crisp summer rolls with a savory, nutty, and slightly spicy dipping sauce which, simply put, is lip-smackin’ perfection.

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Food, Main Dishes, Sides, tapa-tizers + snacks, Vegetarian

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers With Lentils

So these are pretty bad ass (not to mention long overdue). This recipe was initially intended to be a plant-based spin on my meaty Best Stuffed Peppers — one of my most popular recipes from the pre-pescetarian days — but the pressure was just. too. much.

That old trusty recipe of mine received comments like “These were the best stuffed peppers I’ve ever had” and “Hubby, who swore up and down ‘I do not like stuffed peppers!’, devoured 4 of them!

How does one compete, or even follow up, with that? (You don’t. You just don’t.)

The thing that makes *those* peppers so special is the slightly-sweet-yet-hella-savory thing it has going on. The intriguing sweetness comes from the sweet sausage, and since I have yet to master seitan or tempeh, I wasn’t even going to go there. One day, but not this day. (And by all means, if you’re a meat-eater, I kept that recipe up on the blog for a reason. It’s dope, and you should head there now.)

Rather than set myself up for disappointment, I decided to kick the intention of “recreating” to the curb and instead, develop something fresh. Something that wasn’t meant to be compared to something else, but to be its own exciting thing.

These tender bells are brimming with a delicious plant-based mishmash that let this recipe be its own delectable thing.

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Food, Salads, Sides, tapa-tizers + snacks, Vegetarian

Refreshing Bruschetta Lentils With Feta

Here I am, at 4 p.m. on a Tuesday, sipping at a hefty glass of Pinot Noir while trying to shake off the last few days. Not that this is strange for me; I come from a home where 4 p.m. is better known as wine o’clock. It’s that time between a long day and a night of who knows what to decompress, loosen up, and reset. But for the past few days it’s been an excuse to numb the pain, because I don’t think there is any “resetting” after putting your beloved pet down — and much too soon, no thanks to a sudden seizure and an undetected heart condition.

I was not prepared for that.

I’m gutted, heartbroken, and trying to keep myself distracted with this *lifts laptop* and this *lifts wine glass*.

Work and wine. Wine and work.

(Don’t worry, I’m a lightweight. I’m good after two glasses.)

I know that grieving takes time, and I have to allow myself that time. But I have a personal rule in life: after two-three days of letting myself be a useless pile of ice-cream eating sadness, I must bounce back; I HAVE to bounce back.

And the past two days have been hella productive as a result.

I’m as excited for warm weather as everyone else, and this dish reflects my enthusiasm for spring, fresh farmer’s market produce, and eating your feelings with things that aren’t ice cream.

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Food, Salads, Vegan, Vegetarian

Bright Beet Salad With Quinoa + Toasted Pepitas

Hello; I am in love. I’d normally drop a joke about this tasty salad demystifying the belief that you “can’t make friends with salad”, but that joke has run its course — especially on this blog. I’m pretty sure I’ve used it in several salad posts, actually. I need a new line; I am just too predictable.

This salad, however, is anything but predictable.

This bowl of goodness is a dream for anyone that harbors a strong love and appreciation for earthy beets. These ruby gems are shredded, then tossed in a citrusy vinaigrette along with creamy chunks of avocado, carrots, edamame, hearty quinoa, and toasty pepitas.

Over the weekend, we hosted dinner for our recently engaged friends. Since I take great joy in hosting and feeding the ones I love, I always want something to be a colorful show-stopper. It’s similar to how Michael Scott from The Office treats the annual ‘Secret Santa’ — “I love you this many dollars worth”; only for me, it’s more along the lines of “I love you this much efforts worth”.

It’s not that this salad is a hassle per se, but between preparing hors d’oeuvres, a veg side and parchment fish packets, grating beets was the last thing I wanted to do. But it was oh-so-worth it. It’s also definitely worth mentioning that the leftovers are fantabulous.

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