Dinner

Grilled Salmon on Coconut Rice

As promised, here is a great meal that is only made greater with the addition of Mango Tango Sauce! This has a little bit of everything – savory, sweet, protein, carbs and even fruit!

Even though coconut isn’t my favorite, I still enjoyed eating this (but don’t tell Steven Michael because I don’t want to give him any coco-nutty ideas 🤐). Coconut is tricky for me. Generally speaking, I don’t like it at all. But there have been a few things, usually mixed with a ton of sugar a la coconut cream pie, that make it bearable. Apparently, this rice joins the list as well.

What’s something that you don’t typically enjoy eating but you’ve found okay in some cases – a.k.a. What’s your coconut? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Dinner

Thai Peanut Bowls with Tofu

It’s official, we have a Kindergartener! Ellis started school last week, and is LOVING it so far. He is especially fond of the bus, and has been known to give high fives all the way up the aisle on his way out the door. In other words, Ellis gonna Ellis. 🤷‍♀️

The school year brings us more consistency in our schedule, and therefore, more at home dinners that we can turn into blogs. Lucky you! This week, we’re sharing Thai Peanut Bowls with Tofu that were fantastic! Steven Michael actually tried this a while ago and it wasn’t quite right. So, he took some notes, made some changes and really nailed it!

These were quick to make after a long day, and exceptionally tasty. It has a little bit of everything that you need – fat from the peanut butter, carbs from the noodles, and a load of veggies. It’s also a much better use of Peanut Butter than the Peanut Stew Incident of 2021. Trust me.

What are some of your favorite quick meals during the back to school craziness? Share in the comments below!

Dinner

Cheesy Spinach Pasta

I grew up in a Yankees house. My dad and brother watched all of the games, and even had a friendly rivalry going with some of our Mets fan relatives. My sports relationship has always been kind of like my cooking relationship. If it’s on, I’ll watch – but I won’t participate.

Fast forward to 2021 and I’m a full fledged Phoenix Suns fan, enthusiastically watching every game and rooting for the players by name. Before you accuse me of jumping on the bandwagon of a winning team, let me give you some background. Steven Michael has always been a Suns fan. In fact, every single picture that I’ve ever seen of him as a teenager has him clad in one or more pieces of Suns clothing. So I guess I did jump on a bandwagon of sorts, but when I jumped on, they were losing – bad. As I’ve explained to Steven over the course of this year, clearly my tuning in changed the tides and I am the sole source of luck for the Phoenix Suns. You’re welcome.

Ellis has also caught the basketball bug. He’s taking lessons every weekend, and loves nothing more than going to the park to play S-H-O-T with Mom and Dad. Last weekend, we got a free broken hoop from a neighbor, and after we fixed it up he was finally able to play on it today! I see many hours of driveway hoops in our future.

It’s totally going in …

We have found ourselves in need of a quick meal a few times this summer. With work, our rehearsal/practice schedules and Ellis’ activities, there are times when we just need something fast and satisfying. This Cheesy Spinach Pasta is tasty AND fast. Winner!

What’s your team? Let us know in the comments below!

Dinner

Big Mac Nachos

Hello, strangers! We took a few weeks off to enjoy some much needed family time. We spent a week with my parents on Long Island, played a lot of basketball, and Ellis started summer camp! Now that we’re refreshed, we’re so happy to be back sharing recipes with all of you!

We’re coming back with a bang … you read that right – BIG MAC NACHOS. Steven Michael has some wacky ideas, and I’ve learned to run with them over the years. Sometimes, wacky is exactly what hits the spot!

I’ll admit that I’ve never actually had a real Big Mac. I’m not a meat person, or a fast food person, so it just never happened for me. I am, however, looking forward to the upcoming Beyond Big Macs that are being teased to compete with the Impossible Whoppers, especially now that I’ve tasted that magical Big Mac Sauce.

I know that I’m late to the party, but let’s talk about Big Mac Sauce. It is SO GOOD! These nachos were fantastic in general, but every saucy bite was just spectacular. We had some left over and used it for Big Mac Pizzas the next day as well. Pair that with caramelized onions and you’ve got me hooked!

What is your favorite fast food staple? Let us know in the comments and Steven Michael just might figure out how to make it at home!

Dinner

Spinach Pesto with Cheese Tortellini

I don’t know about you, but I have been feeling really good lately. As I mentioned in the Fish Foil Packet post, when my hip surgeon originally told me that my running days were over, I felt like I had lost a piece of myself that I had worked incredibly hard to get in the first place. But, ordering that spin bike and starting virtual classes has changed everything for me!

When I was training for my half marathon, I was running three times a week, doing a YouTube arm video five times a week, and taking a runners cardio class once a week. All of that activity, along with family walks and hikes, made for a pretty active lifestyle. At the time, that was new for me, and I was so surprised at how good I felt. I had spent my entire life in a sedentary state, and I didn’t know what I was missing.

Today, I feel like I’m on my way back. With the Peloton app (this is not an ad, just my thoughts), I’ve been able to take a variety of classes to see what works for me in my new, post surgery body. I have really been enjoying pushing myself and seeing improvements each day. I finally have hope that I’ll be alright again!

Steven Michael is a long distance runner and runs most days of the week. Ellis has even caught the active bug and started his first running class last night! With all of this activity, we don’t always have time to cook an elaborate meal at the end of the day. This Spinach Pesto with Cheese Tortellini is the perfect solution. The whole thing takes 15 minutes to make, and it is incredibly delicious. It’s so easy that I could probably cook it without the help of my personal chef, Steven Michael. Though, let’s be honest, I’m not going to! 😂 Technically, this will give you four servings, but with all of the physical exertion and my lack of self control, we each ate two. Oops!

What kind of activities do you enjoy? What makes you feel good? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on our social media pages!

Dinner

Fish Foil Packet

SPRING IS IN THE AIR! Here in Rochester, New York, we’re finally getting a taste of Spring that looks like it might stick around. This entire week will be in the mid sixties, and people all over town are doing happy dances! This was a long, cold winter and, compounded with COVID, it was hard to stay positive. This burst of sunshine is exactly what we all need!

In a happy accident, I took Monday and Tuesday off from work without knowing what the weather was going to be. On Monday, our dog Sawyer and I took a long walk, and I cleared off our back deck for the season. Today, I plan to walk again and spend some time reading outside. Just being in the open air with the sun on my face is putting some much needed pep back into my step.

The weather turning around has me thinking about some positive changes that I need to make for myself. As I’ve mentioned before, I have been recovering from hip surgery for the last few months, but it has been a full year since my initial injury. Consequently, I haven’t been able to take care of myself the way that I wanted to as far as exercise is concerned. Since my surgery, I have been working towards being able to run again, as that was my main form of exercise for the past few years. I trained for almost two years to run a half marathon that I completed in November of 2019, just before my injury. Unfortunately, my doctors recently advised that running is not a viable long term form of exercise for me, based on the condition of the cartilage and soft tissues surrounding my hip joint post surgery. Initially, this was very difficult for me to hear. I spent an entire year striving towards one thing, being able to run – and now that is gone. I gave myself a few days to eat my feelings, my coping mechanism of choice (see Party Time Pudding), and then started to figure out my new plan.

This coming Wednesday, my new stationary spin bike is being delivered. My doctors recommended that I find a low impact alternative to running like biking or using an elliptical. After a lot of research into different bikes and the Peloton craze, I purchased a Sunny Magnetic Cycling Indoor bike and plan to use the Peloton App on my tablet. Steven Michael and I cleaned out a space for me in the garage and for the first time in a while, I’m excited about the physical activity in my future.

The food part is all on me, not my injury. Bad choices have led to bad results, and I need to take responsibility for that. So, I am publicly pledging to make better food choices going forward, starting with today’s blog. I’ve said this before, but after a few sugary or grease filled meals, my body craves real food. This fish foil packet does have some fat in it because of the butter, but it is all actual, not garbage, food. I’m back on the WW (formerly Weight Watchers) train, and counted this meal at about 13-15 points (blue plan) depending on how much tartar sauce you use. While that sounds high due to the carbs/butter, it’s all about balance and I was able to do that by eating more zero point foods (fruits and veggies) earlier in the day.

Here’s hoping that just like the weather, my resolve to do better is here to stay. Our blog will still be a mixture of healthy and not so healthy foods, don’t worry! Even while making good choices, a cheat meal here and there is a welcome treat. I would love to connect with you in the comments below or on any of our social media platforms to hear about how you have found a good balance in your diets. Tips are greatly appreciated!

We’ll see you later this week with another great recipe!

Dinner

Goat Cheese Quesadillas

I have a confession to make. I had absolutely nothing interesting to write about today. Such is the pandemic lifestyle I suppose, but usually I’m able to pull something entertaining out of the day to day minutiae. So, as I sat here watching the cursor blink on a blank screen, I texted my bestie for advice. She immediately replied, “Ok, how can I help?” – and that’s when inspiration struck.

As random as this post may seem for a food blog, I like to think it’s appropriate as it is Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day was just yesterday. I can almost guarantee that every woman that you hear being honored this month has one very specific thing in common. They all have a bestie to reach out to when they get stuck. If they are lucky, they have a team of other women who hold each other accountable and lift each other up to celebrate achievements big and small. I consider myself fortunate to have just that.

Kirstin and I have been friends since high school. Our friendship has survived AP European History, going to separate colleges, that time I forgot her birthday (oops!), countless traditions and rituals, living 1500 miles apart and everything in between. Though we have always been close, this past year of pandemic living has brought us closer. We spend every morning together on the phone, her in Florida and me in New York, laughing and catching each other up on the little things. We operate in what we call the Cone of Honesty where we always tell each other the truth, no matter what. Recently, she finished her first novel, something that I am ridiculously proud of her for. Whenever she needed me, I was there to read and critique honestly. In turn, she is the first person to read all of my blog posts, helping me to shape them into something I hope all of you enjoy. As I am getting back into running after hip surgery, she stays on the phone with me and uses her desk cycle while I run up and down the street. We support each other in everything, as good besties should.

I also have the honor of having a group of local women who have become like family to me. Fun fact about me, I’m in an all female a cappella group called 5 Second Rule. We have been together since 2008, and in that time have become so much more than a group of friends. Though we haven’t been able to actually sing together in almost a year now (thanks, COVID), we still make it a point to set aside our rehearsal time each week to virtually get together and joke around, play online games and just be there for each other. Our time together is an escape from the craziness that can sometimes infiltrate our everyday lives, and is probably the main reason I have kept my sanity through lockdown. It is a place where we can breathe, relax and just laugh. We have worked through some difficult life changes providing a space that is free of judgement and full of support. There is absolutely nothing that I wouldn’t feel comfortable bringing to these ladies, and that kind of relationship is a true blessing.

I consider myself incredibly honored to have these women in my life. They, along with my Aunts, Cousins, Grandma and Mom (who is so much more than just an onion hater), have helped to shape me into the woman I am today. History is full of women with bold achievements, many of which would not have been possible without the help and encouragement of their own personal teams of besties and family. We need to lift each other up so we can all share in the sunlight. Whether that is reading a friend’s first draft of a novel, spreading the word about a food blog that’s also kind of not about food, reading your niece’s children’s book idea, driving eight hours to help your daughter heal from surgery, or just listening to a friend who needs you. We as women all play an important role in giving each other strength and purpose.

In other news, here is a recipe for Goat Cheese Quesadillas that was neither created, cooked nor cleaned up by a woman. (HA, now that’s a transition!) In all seriousness, these are so good. The goat cheese gives them just the right amount of tangy sweetness, mixed with the acidity of the Pickled Red Onions and the saltiness of the sautéed peppers. This is a fast, easy dinner for any night of the week that is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

I would love to hear about your besties/teams in the comments below or on any of our social media platforms! If you like what you read here each week, you can subscribe via email as well. I truly appreciate you listening to my rants and hope that in some way, my words resonate with you!

Dinner

Greek Chicken Pitas

When you decide to have kids, you picture all of the snuggles and kisses, and them lovingly calling you “Mama”. You see them melting into your arms at the end of a long day at school, because you are their safe space. You think they’ll confide all of their problems to you, and you’ll help to shape them into not just well functioning, but confident, kind and thriving adults. Not once in my journey into motherhood did I ever imagine that I would be starting my day with a stuffed pig calling me ugly. Bear with me, I’ll get there.

This morning, Ellis called me into his room early to let me know that Piggy, the stuffed version of the pig from If You Give a Pig a Pancake, told him that Mom and Dad love each other more than they love Ellis. If you’ve read the story, you know that this particular pig is greedy, entitled and rude. Still, you never really see this kind of behavior coming, you expect more from people, and pigs. So, Ellis was upset because even after he told Piggy that just wasn’t true, Piggy insisted that it was. After assuring Ellis that Mom and Dad love him more than anything in the world, and that all three of us are a family and will always be there for each other, I gave Piggy a stern look and told him to be nice. How silly of me to think a look would be enough …

Fast forward about 30 minutes, I was standing in the kitchen making Ellis a bowl of cereal. Ellis walked in with that freaking pig and said, “Mama, Piggy said that you’re ugly.” Remaining calm, I explained that we don’t say mean things like that in this house and took Piggy to time out in the living room. I may have seated him in what looked like a very uncomfortable position on his chair, because f#$% that guy. Ellis finished his breakfast, got an apology from Piggy, and we were off to school. When Ellis asked if Piggy could join him, I said as long as he could be nice, he was welcome to go to school. Really, I just didn’t want to look at his smug little face while I work, so off to school for Piggy!

You’re probably asking yourself what any of this has to do with Greek Chicken Pitas. The answer is absolutely nothing, but someone had to know about the pig with the mouth, and now you do. Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let’s talk pitas. This is a really delicious, fresh, homecooked meal that will be a treat for any family. Steven Michael has tweaked this recipe over the years, landing on what is really one of my favorite staple meals in our house. The chicken is juicy and well flavored, the Tzatziki is incredible (and you’ll have some leftover for dipping pitas – SCORE), and the crisp veggies make this taste super fresh and satisfying. Pair that with the salty goodness of feta cheese, and you have a real winner!

I am really enjoying sharing my life and experiences with all of you, and I hope that you have enjoyed reading them! I would love to hear from you in the comments below, or on any of our social media platforms. This afternoon, I’ll be having some conversations with Ellis about hiding behind his stuffed animals to say mean things. In the meantime, here’s hoping Piggy gets “lost” in the classroom!

Dinner

Grilled Mahi Mahi Sliders with Mango Aioli

We had a guest chef in our house last night. Who, you might ask? I’ll give you some hints. 1) He is over seven feet tall. 2) He is an NBA legend and host of NBA on TNT. 3) He might be a genie. 4) Last but certainly not least, he has a great shoulder wiggle. I think you know who I’m talking about …

Here is the back story on how Shaquille O’Neal came to cook dinner for us. A few weeks ago, Steven Michael went grocery shopping and had an idea while walking the aisles. You see, we have had this great Mahi Mahi Slider recipe on deck for the blog, but it requires a grill and we perpetually have like 30 feet of snow here in Rochester, NY – conditions that don’t lend themselves to grilled fish for like half the year. Enter … THE SHAQ SMOKLESS GRILL AND PRESS. While at the grocery store, Steven Michael passed a similar countertop grill which sparked this epiphany, but being the thrifty shopper he is, he stopped at Target on the way home and discovered our new buddy, Shaq. (This is not a paid advertisement, we just really like it! #notanad)

And so, with our newfound favorite kitchen appliance, Steven Michael figured out how to make us these delicious fish sandwiches in the dead of winter. Truth be told, they are extra super amazing on a charcoal grill, as they are meant to be cooked, but we’re in week 67 of winter so …

I get really excited when Steven Michael makes these because they are filling but still light, and the sauce is just incredible. It’s creamy and fruity and everything a slider sauce should be. We paired these with some roasted brussels sprouts, carrots, mushrooms and onions. This is a great meal to have in your family repertoire because it is so fast and easy to make!

We appreciate all of our readers so much and hope you are enjoying our weekly content. We would love to hear from you in the comments, via email or on our social media! Don’t forget to subscribe with your email address to get new blogs sent right to you as soon as they come out. See you again soon!

Dinner

BBQ Tofu Bowls

Sometimes you just need to eat something healthy. Let’s say you just started a food blog, and you’ve been cramming your gullet with things like Stuffing Topped Mac & Cheese, Waffles Benedict or Pistachio Dessert Waffles (Coming Soon to a Food Blog Near You) for weeks … your body will be begging you for some vegetables. Enter – BBQ Tofu Bowls!

The last few weeks, it has been hard to stay on track because everything is just so damn good! We wanted to start our blog off with a bang, including some of our favorite recipes. But those high fat, high sugar, high get-in-my-mouth-right-now foods aren’t for every day. We absolutely enjoy a good cheat meal in this house and look forward to savoring those extra scrumptious, extra bad for you, extra delicious foods, but eating like that is not sustainable for long stretches.

Thankfully, Steven Michael has figured out how to make healthy meals just as satisfying as the bad ones. These delicious, veggie filled bowls are a staple in our house. We probably eat them at least two or three times a month because they are quick, easy, healthy AND tasty. They literally check all of the boxes. In fact, when I ran my first half marathon last winter, we had these BBQ Tofu Bowls as my pre-race dinner the night before. They are packed with lean protein, tons of vegetables, and balanced with some sweetness from the BBQ sauce.

This is an easy Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce recipe. If you prefer, you can swap out the one cup of Brown Sugar with one cup of Honey, whatever floats your boat! We actually started this recipe using honey, but sometimes sub the brown sugar to make it completely vegan. We tend to eat a lot of vegan meals as we have a lot of friends who follow a strict animal-free diet, and so our recipes have evolved over the years. Or, if you want a super lazy meal, just grab your favorite store bought BBQ sauce and call it a day. No one is judging you in your own kitchen!

Before you jump into the recipe below, remember to pop over to our blog on Perfectly Textured Tofu for instructions on how to cook your protein. We promise, you won’t be disappointed!

If you have enjoyed our posts so far, subscribe via email to get new content delivered right to your inbox. You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for teaser posts throughout the week. If you make any of our recipes, please drop us a comment and let us know how it turned out!

We’ll see you next Tuesday with a fresh new dish!