“Hello from the other side…”

Which side, you ask? The weird universe you all know as Colorado, in which it snows all spring long. Or, the non-existent blog post world. I’ll leave you guessing (thanks Adele). 😉

Even though winter continues to successfully overpower the warmth, we’ve slowly been moving out of our soup phase and back into lighter meals like lettuce wraps and salads. And this kale caesar salad is the perfect spring dinner (for those of you that have it… I’m not jealous or anything!).

I followed Ali’s lime caesar dressing recipe to a T, skipped the croutons and added tomatoes and breaded parmesan chicken instead. Even Mr. Steak and Potatoes himself enjoyed this lighter dinner… so, thumbs up all around over here.

Get the caesar salad recipe here, and the chicken recipe below.

Chicken Caesar salad

Parmesan Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2-3
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • ⅓ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 T Italian seasoning
  • 1 t garlic salt
  • ½ t pepper
  • 1 T olive oil
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. To prep the chicken breasts, slice each one in half the long way to make them thinner and easier to cook in the skillet (so really, you'll have four thin breasts). Next, set up three dishes for breading the chicken. The first plate is for the flour; the second plate/bowl is for the egg, and the third is for the panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.
  3. In that order (flour, egg, bread crumbs), coat the chicken breasts and set them to cook in the hot skillet. Sprinkle each side with the Italian seasoning, garlic salt and pepper. Flip several times, until browned and cooked through. Serve on top of your salad!




Hello, cupcake genius Candace.

Thanks for sharing the best cupcake recipe ever with the rest of us wannabes!

Sprinkle's strawberry cupcakes _top

Have you tried Sprinkles cupcakes? We love them! They have a location in Scottsdale, so sometimes when I’m home we’ll go get a variety of flavors and cut them up to sample bites of each one.

So as both an obsessive baker and Sprinkles lover, I knew I had to try this recipe for Sprinkle’s strawberry cupcakes when I found it online! I mean, who knew they were sharing their secrets?

Sprinkle's strawberry cupcakes

These cupcakes might be the best I’ve ever made (*bowing to Candace*), and they also happen to be the perfect (natural strawberry!) pink color for Valentine’s Day. It’s meant to be. Now, I just have to find their other recipes out there 😉

Get the Sprinkles strawberry cupcake recipe here. 


Homemade sriracha hummus

Happy Friday (and Go Broncos)! The Super Bowl is a pretty big deal around here this year for obvious reasons.

Admittedly, I’m not anywhere close to being an avid football fan. I worked on my computer (and maybe did some online shopping…) during the last game, occasionally poking my head up to watch a big highlight. But, I always love a good reason to cook or bake for people!

And this Sriracha hummus is a great healthy game day appetizer. I served it with carrot sticks and plantain chips, and could not stop sneaking bites… these pictures almost didn’t happen.

sriracha hummus

Sriracha Hummus
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ C tahini
  • ¼ C olive oil (plus 1 or 2 more T for desired consistency)
  • 1 T water
  • 1 T Sriracha
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Blend well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep refrigerated and enjoy!


“What’s our plan?”

As a former military man, Ryan is all about plans and schedules. And don’t even get me started on timing: if we aren’t 15 minutes early? We’re late.

I’m pretty much the opposite… I like to be on time, but sometimes it just isn’t going to happen. And sometimes, I just want to play it by ear. C’est la vie.

So, clearly we’ve had a big lifestyle adjustment over the past four years. The amazing thing we’re learning, though, is how we can balance each other out to make life more fun. I’m learning to appreciate timeliness and planning ahead, and Ryan is learning to relax a little 😉

One of my favorite things to plan now? Dinner! I’ve embraced the idea of meal planning (a few days ahead, not weeks… baby steps) and actually look forward to it. But occasionally, it’s the random dinners that are the best! You know, that meal you throw together with whatever you have… and end up loving the unexpectedness of it.

I was craving Mexican food one night, but we had just gone out to dinner the night before. In an attempt to be healthier and save money, this Mexican chicken quinoa bowl was born!

If you want to plan a healthy Mexican meal more in advance? Make this. If not, hello delicious Mexican chicken quinoa bowl. Add whatever else you have on hand and enjoy!

Mexican chicken quinoa bowl

Mexican Chicken Quinoa Bowl
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2-4
For the chicken:
  • 1 lb chicken breasts (2-3 breasts), cubed
  • 1 packet or 2-3 T taco seasoning
For the quinoa:
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cup chicken or veggie broth
For the guacamole:
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • ¼ onion, diced
  • ½ jalapeno, diced
  • 1 small tomato, diced
For the rest:
  • 1 can cooked black beans
  • 1 cup corn, cooked
  • ½ cup shredded cheese
  1. Bring the quinoa and chicken/veggie broth to a boil in a medium sauce pan or dutch oven. Reduce to simmer and put the lid on. Let cook for about 15-20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender.
  2. While that's cooking, dice your chicken breasts. Cook with olive oil and the taco seasoning in a large skillet for about 10 minutes (until the chicken is fully cooked through and browning).
  3. Heat up your black beans with seasoning of your choice (I used garlic salt, pepper, cumin and paprika). Cook your corn (in the microwave or on a baking sheet in the oven at 400 degrees with olive oil) and make your guacamole.
  4. When the quinoa and chicken are both done, assemble your bowls with the guacamole, beans, corn, cheese and anything else you'd like. Enjoy!



Let’s get the elephant out of the room and acknowledge these two facts up front:

  1. These brownies have black beans in them.
  2. You make them in a blender.

Seriously? I was so intrigued by this recipe that I had to give it a try… and these black bean brownies ended up to be even better than I could have imagined!

We had friends come over right after I made them, so I gave them the brownies without mentioning the fact that they were made out of beans (and no butter!). And no one could tell any difference from “normal” brownies! Success.

Black bean brownies

They’re very rich, with a cake-like consistency (and no trace of bean flavor). Of course, I also added more melted chocolate chips on top as a frosting, because Siri did. Why not?

Get the recipe here. 

After enjoying confusingly wonderful 60-degree weather last weekend, we’re back to our regularly scheduled blizzard. And as it’s gotten increasingly colder and snowier around here, we’ve gone into hibernation mode.

What is it about winter weather that makes you want delivery or take-out food? Or soup, but after a long day at work — where you realized you forgot to put anything in the crock pot — it’s more likely delivery. And we usually choose Asian food of some sort. It’s so comforting! And also so greasy! I love it, but not the stomach ache after.

Which is where this orange-ginger chicken and veggie bowl comes in. I pulled the recipe out of Self magazine a while ago, and it’s one that we go back to frequently. It’s just a great healthy, quick weeknight dinner.

orange ginger chicken stir fry 1

Healthy ginger orange chicken & veggie bowl
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2-3
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (2-3 breasts), cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 T reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 T orange juice
  • 1 T minced ginger
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 C broccoli florets
  • 1 T sesame seeds
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  1. Chop up your chicken breasts into cubes and put in a large ziplock bag. Add the garlic, soy sauce, orange juice and ginger to the bag and shake. Stick it in the fridge to marinate while you prep the rest.
  2. Heat a large skillet with olive oil (and a splash of sesame oil if you have it) over medium-high heat. Throw in your green onions, peppers and broccoli. Add 1 T water, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Once the veggies are barely tender, dump them out of the pan into a large bowl.
  3. Add a little more oil to the same skillet and pour in the chicken and marinade. Stir well, cooking for 8-10 minutes until the marinade is reduced and the chicken is done.
  4. Add the veggies and sesame seeds to the skillet with the chicken. Mix together and serve on top of your rice. Enjoy!


Who wants to eat pie for dinner?

And by pie, I mean turkey and bean chili with a cornbread crust. That’s what you were thinking too, right?

This chili cornbread pie recipe comes from a cooking class Ryan and I did recently at Stir Cooking School! It was a really fun class focused on winter weeknight dinners, and this is one of the five recipes we all cooked together. When we made it again at home, I modified it slightly by using ground turkey instead of beef, adding in kidney beans and going with a boxed cornbread mix instead of homemade (because it’s a weeknight dinner, am I right?).

chili cornbread pie

And lesson learned: chili pie does not photograph as well as “normal pie.” But, it’s so delicious that it doesn’t even matter 😉

chili cornbread pie

Chili Cornbread Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
For the chili:
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped (or crushed)
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 t coriander
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1 T paprika
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • + salt and pepper to taste
For the cornbread:
  • 1 box cornbread mix
  • + whatever the mix calls for (ex: milk and eggs)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof saute pan (or a skillet and then transfer your chili to a baking dish to go in the oven). Add your onions and carrots and season with salt. After about five minutes, stir in your garlic, seasonings and tomato paste. Add in the ground turkey, stirring and breaking it up into small pieces.
  2. Once the ground turkey is cooked (about 5-10 minutes), add the tomatoes with their juices and the beans. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Whip up the cornbread mix. Take the chili off the heat and spoon the cornbread mixture on top of the chili (in the ovenproof pan or transfer to a baking dish). Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the cornbread is firm and starting to brown. Enjoy!


If Joy the Baker tells me to bake something, I usually do it.

Banana bourbon cupcakes with chocolate frosting

Someday, I hope to have a cookbook library. But for now, I just have a small selection of my favorite cookbooks on an Ikea bookshelf in the living room (which is basically also the kitchen #citylife). And, Joy the Baker’s first cookbook is one of the few on there.

I also have one of Pioneer Woman’s, Seriously Delish, Skinnytaste, The Pillsbury Cookbook, The Boozy Baker, and a few others. Plus, I’m always looking for more.

What’s your favorite cookbook? I’d love any suggestions!

I reach for Joy’s often, not even necessarily to bake (because I’d end up eating pie for every meal… my willpower wavers), but to read her stories. She’s the food blogger I’ve followed the longest, and I’ll always trust her recipes and advice.

So, when I was looking for a recipe to use up all of my bananas? I knew I had to try the banana cupcake recipe in Joy the Baker’s book!

Banana bourbon cupcakes

The recipe in the cookbook is actually a banana rum cake, but we didn’t have any rum. Because of Ryan’s love of bourbon, we always have that, and I thought it would pair well with the banana flavor too! Feel free to use rum or whiskey for these banana bourbon cupcakes if you have that on hand.

Banana bourbon cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 24
For the cupcakes:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2¼ t baking powder
  • ¾ t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1½ t ground cinnamon
  • ½ t nutmeg
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¾ cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 bananas)
  • 3 T bourbon
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup plus 2 T buttermilk
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
For the chocolate frosting:
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar (more for thicker frosting)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare your cupcake pans (spray or line).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter and sugar for a few minutes, until light and fluffy. In a small bowl, mash the bananas, then add to the butter and sugar mixture. Add the bourbon and mix. Then, add the eggs and blend.
  4. Add half of the flour mixture to the large mixing bowl, then add all of the buttermilk and stir well. Add the rest of the flour mixture. Finish mixing by blending in the nuts.
  5. Bake your cupcakes for 8-10 minutes, until firm to the touch and barely browned.
  6. To make your frosting, mix the powdered sugar and cocoa powder together first, then add the rest of the ingredients. You may end up adding more powdered sugar for thicker frosting.





Happy Friday! Let’s continue our made-up Spaghetti Squash Week celebration.

I found this Southwest Spaghetti Squash recipe on Siri’s blog, and immediately wondered how I could make it a more filling, complete meal for us (let’s be real — I’m pretty sure Ryan would cry if I tried to introduce meatless nights!). So, I added ground turkey taco meat, onion and avocado on top. I think I’ll also throw in some frozen corn before baking next time.

This taco spaghetti squash bake is an easy, healthy dinner. Enjoy! And you can find more details on cooking spaghetti squash here.

taco spaghetti squash

Taco Spaghetti Squash Bake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 3-4
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 14 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced (for topping)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray (I use an 8x8) and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, cook the ground turkey for about 10 minutes - stirring and breaking up the meat into small pieces.
  3. Cut the spaghetti squash in half length-wise, then scrape out the seeds in the middle. Place both halves face down in a baking dish and add a little water -- then cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 10 minutes.
  4. Once the meat in the skillet has browned, add in the taco seasoning and a little water. Mix well and then pour into a large mixing bowl.
  5. When the squash is done, let it cool slightly, and then shred with fork into the mixing bowl with the meat. Add in the tomatoes, beans, onion, half of the cheese, cilantro and seasoning. Mix it all together, then pour into the baking dish. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes. Serve with diced avocado on top.


Happy Spaghetti Squash Week!

Ok, I actually just made that up.

Does spaghetti squash week exist? If not, let’s create it! Because I have two favorite spaghetti squash recipes to share today and tomorrow. They’re warm and cheesy, but better for you than the sausage broccolini pizza I wish I was eating (I miss you, Pizzeria Locale). What?

But seriously, when I’ve made a recipe twice in one week, I know it’s a keeper.

sausage broccolini spaghetti squash

This sausage broccolini spaghetti squash bake is so easy and delicious — a perfect healthy weeknight meal. Well, mostly healthy, because all of the cheese probably counterbalances the spaghetti squash 😉

I adapted it from this Eating Well recipe. For some reason, a majority of spaghetti squash recipes tell you to cook it in the oven. I always do it in the microwave, because that takes about 10 minutes, compared to 40! Love kitchen hacks. For a step by step view, read this or this.

Sausage broccolini spaghetti squash bake

Sausage Broccolini Spaghetti Squash
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 3-4
  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 lb mild sausage
  • 1 bunch broccolini, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ t crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 2 T water
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 C shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ C shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  1. Preheat the oven to 450
  2. Cook your spaghetti squash in the microwave.
  3. Cook the sausage in a large skillet, breaking it up into fine pieces.
  4. While the sausage is cooking, heat olive oil in a medium skillet and add the broccolini, garlic and red pepper (if using). Stir for a few minutes, then add the 2 T water. Cook for another few minutes, then pour into a large mixing bowl.
  5. Once the sausage is done, drain the excess grease, pat the sausage dry and add to the bowl as well.
  6. When the spaghetti squash is done, scrape the "noodles" out of the squash in the large mixing bowl. Add in ½ of the mozzarella cheese, the Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and mix well.
  7. Pour the mixture from the bowl into a greased baking dish (I use an 8x8) and add the second half of the mozzarella cheese on top.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes.