Easter brunch

Easter Brunch 2016

We enjoyed a delicious Easter brunch at home, complete with what has become our traditional Easter menu of frittata (we made this one with cilantro, roasted poblano pepper, bell pepper, and onion) and savory swirls (we made this batch with store-bought biscuit dough and used this to flavor the Upton’s Chorizo Seitan), as well as roasted asparagus with lemon zest, breakfast potatoes, and the cutest little petit fours we picked up at a local market here in town. The Lenten Rose/Hellebore in my yard is doing very well and I was delighted to be able to cut and bring in several blooms to enjoy in vases in our house. It was sunny and not too cold out, so we enjoyed a bit of time outside in our patio chairs listening to the birds sing. Wishing you all a very happy Easter Sunday!

Easter Brunch 2016b

Easter Brunch 2016a


by Valerie | 03.27.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

spring forward


We’ve had unseasonably warm weather here recently and even pulled out the grill for the first time this year for dinner last night, but as we set our clocks ahead an hour for the time change today, we woke up to cooler temperatures and rain outside – which made it a perfect day to make this for lunch. Now seems like a good time for a rainy Sunday nap on the couch, or for watching a good movie under a warm blanket, or both! With St. Patrick’s Day coming up this Thursday, I couldn’t resist picking up this sweet little Oxalis plant, some Bells of Ireland, and a big bunch of tulips. The crocus and snowdrops are blooming in our neighborhood and the buds on my lilac bushes in the backyard are getting bigger every day – there are signs of spring everywhere.

bells of Ireland


by Valerie | 03.13.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Recipes | No Comments »

weekend haps

There was a big game on yesterday, which I did watch portions of; but my favorite part of Super Bowl Sunday has always been the commercials and the Puppy Bowl. Here’s one of my personal favorite commercials from this year’s big game (see above or follow this link). What were your favorites?

And in our kitchen last week, we made Tuscan Ribollita Soup with Soft-Boiled Eggs & Lacinato Kale, Creamy Lemon Linguine with Caramelized Onion, Chard & Walnuts (one of our favorites so far!), Shrimp & Pineapple Fried Rice with Toasted Cashews & Sambal Oelek, and Goat Cheese & Kale Quiches with Butter Lettuce & Chive Salad. For Super Bowl Sunday, it was guacamole and chips, oven-baked fries, and chili dogs!

Wednesday night dinner at home - cooking & listening to Italian hip hop. Tuscan Ribollita Soup #blueapron

Creamy Lemon Linguine with Caramelized Onion, Chard & Walnuts http://dlink.blueapron.com/SPBc/KmkHUqUxEq #blueapron

Shrimp & Pineapple Fried Rice with Toasted Cashews & Sambal Oelek http://dlink.blueapron.com/SPBc/W3lLVhQ5Aq #blueapron

Goat Cheese & Kale Quiches with Butter Lettuce & Chive Salad #blueapron

by Valerie | 02.08.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Recipes | No Comments »

weekend haps

garden rose & ranunculus

We spent a productive weekend doing lots of cooking at home (2 more Blue Apron meals – Chicken Meatballs & Creamy Polenta with Tomato Sugo & Lacinato Kale and Cod & Potato Brandade with Watermelon Radish Salad & Garlic Toasts – as well as an original tomato, roasted vegetable, and noodle soup that Ryan put together…“mmm noodle soup”), running errands, and cleaning house. And I picked up these gorgeous roses and ranunculus for myself…just because.


Melody is looking extra cute in her Valentine’s Day collar, by the way!

my buddy and me

my buddy and me

by Valerie | 01.25.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants, Recipes | No Comments »

home cooked

Excited to try Blue Apron!

We received a free week (3 meals) of meals from Blue Apron as a Christmas gift from my brother and sister-in-law and I was excited to receive our first delivery to our doorstep yesterday. It’s pretty simple, you start by signing up for an account in which you specify your plan type (2-person, family), dietary profile (i.e. vegetarian, pescetarian, omnivore), you pick the day of the week that works best for you to receive deliveries, and you select the 3 recipes/meals you’d prefer for that week. They ship everything you need to make the meals and the printed recipes to follow. Last night, we cooked our first Blue Apron meal and it was a success! We made this salad, with a few alterations of our own to suit our tastes; we substituted Parmesan cheese for the blue cheese and used a French vinaigrette dressing in place of the creamy one it came with the ingredients for. At first, I was worried it wouldn’t be filling enough for dinner, but the portion size was more than enough and with the bread and potatoes it came with it was just right. I’m really excited to try some new things – we often eat out or order in and when we do cook it is often the same things, so it’s nice to not only cook more at home, but also get out of our cooking rut and try something new. I’m looking forward to another new recipe and a home cooked meal tonight!

Apple & Parmesan Cheese Panzanella Salad with Smashed Purple Potatoes - our first Blue Apron meal

Apple & Parmesan Cheese Panzanella Salad with Smashed Purple Potatoes - our first Blue Apron meal

by Valerie | 01.17.16 | For Funsies, Recipes | 1 Comment »

Christmas cheer

another Ryan Molloy original, coming to a mailbox near you 😊

Our Christmas cards (another Ryan Molloy original!) are in the mail and, short of treating myself to a glass of soy eggnog,  I am ready…bring on the Christmas! I’ve got a whole box of holiday movies ready to be watched; here’s a few of my favorites…

Thinking of doing some holiday baking?

Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays!

by Valerie | 12.18.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

garden goodies

garden onions

We pulled all the onions from our garden, cleaned them up, and put them in a basket to use in cooking; I really love the color of these onion skins too – aren’t they lovely? And we found this pretty, gold-rimmed glass at an estate sale last week and I thought it looked quite nice filled with these dark red alstroemeria.

Speaking of cooking, Ryan used up most all of our garden tomatoes making a green zebra gazpacho (he used a version of this recipe, with a combination of green zebra and granny smith tomatoes we grew) and our garden peppers making hot sauce – yum, I’m looking forward to enjoying all of this!

by Valerie | 09.13.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Recipes | No Comments »

Super Bowl snacks

Turkey avocado guacamole sandwich

Not only do we have some yummy chili to look forward to for dinner tonight, we also made some fresh guacamole, turkey avocado guacamole sandwiches for lunch, and a skillet cookie cake which we followed this recipe for. It’s been a good day to stay busy cooking up delicious eats in the kitchen; Ryan is outside right now shoveling our sidewalks and driveway again and the snow is still piling up.

Super Bowl Sunday guacamole

Cookie cake!!!

by Valerie | 02.01.15 | For Funsies, Recipes | No Comments »

sweet and spicy stupor bowl chili

Homemade veggie chili

It’s a very snowy Super Bowl Sunday and nothing goes better with being “snowed-in” and watching people talk about deflated ballsKaty Perry, and occasionally puppies than a nice comforting bowl of chili.


  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted then diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, roasted then diced
  • 1 small white onion, roasted then diced
  • 1 large jalapeño, roasted then minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can of red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil (we used a chipotle infused oil)
  • 2 tbsp dark chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp smoked chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tbsp molé spice
  • 1 heaping tbsp (about 1-2 tbsp) of good chocolate shaved
  • salt to taste

Heat an oven to 350. Slice the onion into large slices. Put the onions and peppers in a large roasting pan/dish, then coat with some olive oil. Place into the oven to roast. Roast them until the peppers start to brown/blacken. Flip them occasionally to make sure they roast evenly. Set aside to cool. Once cooled peel the skins of the peppers, deseed, and dice. Dice the onion as well.

Heat a large pot to medium heat. Add the oil into the pot, let heat up then add the garlic. Cook until it starts to brown. Add the onion and peppers. Cook for about another minute. Add the chili powders and chocolate. Cook until everything is well incorporated. Add the the tomatoes. Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes (or more). Add the beans and cook for another 5 minutes. Salt to taste. Serve to your liking. We’ve got a bag of Fritos ready to go for some Frito pie.

Super Bowl chili

by Ryan | 02.01.15 | Recipes | 1 Comment »

uh oh spaghetti-os

We decided to make some soup to warm us up from the cold weather that finally arrived. So I made  a spin on a classic, spaghetti-os. It is a simple roasted tomato & red pepper soup with circle shaped pasta, anelli, added to it.

Homemade spaghettios


  • 1 package of anelli pasta (or any other circle shaped pasta)
  • tomatoes on the vine (about 24 small/medium sized ones)
  • 6 red bell peppers
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine + a little more to splash in later
  • a heaping tablespoon dried oregano
  • a heaping tablespoon of course ground black pepper
  • enough olive oil for roasting the red peppers and tomatoes and cooking the onion and garlic
  • salt to taste

Roast the tomatoes and red peppers, lightly coated with olive oil, in an oven at 350° for about 35-45 minutes or until they start to blacken here and there. Set aside to cool. Once cooled enough to the touch core the tomatoes and cut the stems and deseed the red peppers. Cut the red peppers into strips (if your blender is powerful enough no need to do this). Put the tomatoes and red peppers in a blender and puree. Add some olive oil to a large soup pot over medium heat. Sweat the onions and garlic, about five minutes. Add the red wine and bring to a boil. Cook until the red wine reduces. Once reduced add the tomato and red pepper puree. Add the oregano, pepper, and a few extra splashes of red wine. Simmer for at least 10 minutes to get the flavors to mix. Salt to your taste preference. You can puree the soup again at this point, or just let the onions and other ingredients add a bit of texture to it. I’m lazy so I just left it as is.

In a separate container cook the pasta according to the directions. Once cooked you can add it directly to the soup. The pasta will soak up some moisture in the soup when stored, so if you can’t eat it all when you make it I recommend coating the pasta in some olive oil with a sprinkle of sea salt, storing it separately, and just add the pasta to the soup before serving. “The greatest invention since the napkin.”

Homemade spaghettios

by Ryan | 01.11.15 | Recipes | No Comments »

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