Tag Archives: food

Green Beans and Cantaloupe

It was time to sauté the green beans…but the cantaloupe sitting on the shelf whispered excitedly “me too, me too!”

Peculiar mixture, but I obliged.

It was delicious! Throw in a few big basil leaves at the end, also.

Sauteed green beans and cantaloupe

Sauteed green beans and cantaloupe


Billowing Brown Curtain

Sitting and waiting at Friedman’s Lunch for my dining partner yesterday morning (yes, we came to a place with “lunch” in the title for breakfast!), I looked around the dining area at the quaint yet sleek, cool vibe. The dark, heavy brown curtain that hung hovering over the doorway would billow every time someone walked in. Sitting so close to it, sometimes it would caress my thigh or knee. I really liked the fabric and its velour heaviness. The way the curtain made a show of presenting each person who entered through the door was slightly captivating. The whole experience was one that caught my senses.


Throughout the summer, the bushes lining the parking lot at our local gym (which is on the grounds of a nature trail) had been bursting with raspberries. It did not seem like many were taking advantage of this luxe freebie, but we managed to snag several handfuls of delicious berries. It made going to the gym far more fun.

I even started to bring a container to put them in so I could take them home.

fresh, raspberries, fresh raspberries

Bonus- look really closely and see if you can find the heart-shaped one!

It was definitely a highlight of the summer. I loved the feeling of the waxy contours against my fingertips as I picked the berries, the instances when a little too strong of a touch released some of the juices, the little burst of flavor upon eating them.

I’ve found myself missing the days of those bright juicy berries once they were gone. I now have a reason to actually look forward to summer. I should probably start collecting a few recipes so I’m all ready once the raspberries pop up again for the season.

Fresh Stuffed Shells on Charcoal Grill

In an effort to experiment with taste and cuisine, I’ve let my creativity wander towards some pretty interesting flavor combinations. One of my recent brainstorms was, “why not put fresh stuffed shells on the grill?! That would surely taste amazing!”

We tried it a few weeks ago, to rave reviews. It was delicious! We used vodka sauce and lots of fresh basil. The fresh stuffed shells went into an aluminum pan and heated on the grill to impart that deliciously smokey flavor.

This time around, we opted for marinara sauce (but stuck with the loads of fresh basil) AND… we took the leap and put the shells right on the grill this time. Heaven. It’s just such a wonderful taste. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner!

These fresh stuffed shells were cooked on the grill!

These fresh stuffed shells were cooked on the grill!

I should have taken pictures of the perfectly charred underside of the shells. As a consolation prize, here’s a pic of the plated shells at our Sunday dinner table:

Sunday dinner with fresh stuffed shells, charred by the grill.

Sunday dinner with fresh stuffed shells, charred by the grill.

The Italian Specialty Market

Do you have one of these in your area? I always enjoy going to an Italian specialty foods market to indulge in the sights, scents, and culinary possibilities…along with a little stroke of nostalgia. Growing up in an Italian family, prosciuttosoppressata, and broccoli rabe (my grandmother called it by its brand name, Andy Boy) were frequent staples at the dinner table…and sure you can get these in a “regular” grocery store, but it’s just not the same as collecting these items in a specialty store.

On my way to work yesterday, I had a hankering for a sandwich with fresh mozzarella. Not wanting to rely on the local big-name grocery store, I decided to take advantage of the newly-opened Livoti’s not far from the office.

It was my first time in there and it was without a doubt a special treat. Delicacy after delicacy in the deli case. How could I choose from among the marinated artichokes, eggplant parmagiana, and stuffed peppers? Then there were the homemade soups (Italian Wedding) being one of them.

I decided on the marinated Brussels sprouts (not very Italian, but I needed some vegetables) and the marinated artichokes to go along with my honey-maple turkey sandwich with fresh mozzarella, pesto spread, and balsamic vinegar. I also was compelled to try the “homemade hummus”. Tahini fever! The hummus has a strong tahini flavor which was really pleasing to me. The marinated artichokes were adorned with a glazed balsamic, perfectly sweet and sour.

My tastebuds were in a reverie yesterday!

Cinnamon and Peaches

A few weeks ago, I had a hankering for comfort food in the form of pancakes (or flapjacks, if you prefer). I could clearly envision them topped with lightly sauteed peaches. Could practically taste them. So of course, I went about making my enthusiastic, good-natured argument of “pancakes for breakfast!”

We used Kodiak Power Cakes to make sure we amped up our protein intake. S made the flapjacks and I went to work on our nearly-unusable peaches. Nothing a little butter in the pan and cinnamon can’t fix!

Cooked peaches to adorn our breakfast-for-dinner flapjacks!

Cooked peaches to adorn our breakfast-for-dinner flapjacks!

The aroma was heavenly. The taste was delightful. I felt rejuvenated and cared for, sensuous and fragrant while eating this meal. When was the last time you had breakfast for dinner? What are your favorite “breakfast for dinner” recipes?

Fresh herbs- Tarragon

When I’m looking to make a meal quickly, I sometimes reach for Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Triangoli. I boil them as directed on the package, then quickly saute them with a little butter and cinnamon (mmm)! This time, I added some fresh tarragon to the mix. It added a nice spin to a familiar flavor for me.

Butternut squash triangoli (Trader Joe's) sauteed in butter with cinnamon and fresh tarragon.

Butternut squash triangoli (Trader Joe’s) sauteed in butter with cinnamon and fresh tarragon.

I always enjoy experimenting with flavors and this is a combination that I may try again in the near future! I also like how the tarragon looks on top of the triangoli.

Bringing a Taste of Home to the Office

These days, it’s quite common to spend one’s lunch hour eating in the office at one’s desk. What are some things you do to create a more homey environment? What can you do to make your daily lunch a more sensory experience? 

Even the simple action of bringing leftovers from home rather than ordering takeout can make lunch a more “homey” experience, but I try to take it a few steps further. No little salt and pepper packets for me. I bring a salt and pepper grinder (purchased at Trader Joe’s for an affordable $1.99 each) to engage in the experience and give my meal more of a “freshly prepared” feel. 

trader joes pepper salt grinder

Salt and pepper grinders (“Everyday Seasoning”) from Trader Joe’s.

I use sturdy, reusable containers rather than the “typical” takeout containers and use a colorful placemat. REAL flatware also makes a huge difference! I also bring in fancy printed napkins so I have something nice to look at while I eat. 

homemade lunch real flatware

Homemade lunch and REAL flatware!

These subtle, easy, and quick tweaks make such a difference in engaging the senses and making an at-the-desk lunch much more appealing! Try it some time and let me know what you think!