Tuesday, April 30, 2013

turkey sausage and spinach stuffed mushrooms

as of late, husband and i have began experimenting with the paleo way of eating. we are cutting out processed foods, dairy, gluten, and most sugar. the reason is two fold for me... i am looking to clear up my skin (a constant battle for me) and get more energy to make it through the school year. husband is just along for the ride...he eats what i we cook. thankfully, he has been extra excited about what has been coming out of the kitchen these days... well, aside from the whole chicken drummy situation. drummies are apparently not his cup of tea. 

we are by no means going hardcore with this way of eating. i hesitate to even call it a diet for us. we are just trying to be more conscious about what we are putting in our bodies. we are not going full blown paleo on this one. we love coffee, beer, and a sporadic homerun inn frozen pizza far too much for that nonsense.

here is a recent recipe we tried from michelle over at nomnompaleo.com. if you haven't been to her site, you must change that. go visit michelle, she knows a thing or two about whole food eatin'.

>> spinach and sausage stuffed mushrooms <<


6 portabella mushroom caps
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 ounces of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1- 1 1/2 pounds of spicy italian turkey sausage (uncooked), removed from casings
        (or any other type of sausage you fancy)
2 teaspoons herbs de provence
sprinkling of garlic powder
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp coconut flour (breadcrumbs or another type of flour will do)
2-3 Tbsp melted coconut oil (or another oil of your choice)
salt and pepper
1-2 cups of spaghetti sauce (we really enjoyed newman's own)


preheat oven to 400 degrees and begin prepping the mushrooms. wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth and trim stems down to the cap. remove the mushroom gills with a spoon and slice an x on the outside of the mushroom cap with a paring knife. brush the mushrooms with coconut oil (or the oil of your choice) on both sides and place gill side up on a foil-lined baking sheet. sprinkle with salt and pepper.

roast mushrooms in the middle rack of your oven for seven minutes. flip the mushrooms and bake for an additional 5 minutes with the gill side down.  remove mushrooms from oven and allow to come to room temperature.

meanwhile, prep the filling. add a couple of tablespoons of oil to a large saute pan on medium-high heat and saute the onions with a sprinkling of salt and pepper until translucent, about seven minutes. add the spices and sausage to the pan. saute for about another three minutes. take the onion and meat off of the heat once the meat starts to turn color.  (do not cook the meat all the way through...it will finish in the oven) 

once the meat has begun to cool, add it to a bowl with the flour, egg, spinach, and a dash of salt and pepper. get down and dirty and mix with your hands...meatloaf style. transfer the roasted mushrooms onto another baking sheet lined with foil (the original baking sheet still had lots of mushroom liquid on it) and pile the stuffing onto each cap — pressing down to make the stuffing more compact.  

return the stuffed mushrooms to the oven and bake for another 7-9 minutes at 400 degrees. at that point, get your broiler fired up and broil for about 3 minutes. remove the stuffed mushrooms when they have begun to evenly brown. top your stuffed shrooms off with a tomato sauce of your choice and serve immediately.

this is definitely one for the recipe rolodex.

happy eating.

Monday, April 29, 2013

weekend warriors + curtain call

my deepest apologies for the sparseness of posts as of late. buying a home making a house a home during the busiest time in the teaching year is quite the undertaking. we have gotten ourselves into quite the project. oy vey. 

husband and i spent the weekend outdoors. we raked leaves and brush that hasn't been touched in some time and began designing our backyard splendor. we trudged 15 bags of brush to the dump, trimmed hedges, and transplanted plants a plenty. we have the blisters and sore muscles that accompany this toil. i wouldn't have it any other way.

we have finally gotten five minutes to sit down and my mind drifts to interiors. i am having the toughest time trying to find curtains for our dining room. anything that i do seem to fancy is never long enough. it may come to yet another diy undertaking.... fabric and sewing machine it just may have to be. 

until then, i will continue to be inspired by these fine curtain wonders.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

kale and chickpea detox soup

husband and i call this our detox soup and this recipe tends to make the rounds after those weekends where we tend to fall off the health wagon. this gets us right back on track and it will do the same for you. try it... your insides will thank you.

>> kale and chickpea detox soup <<


2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
4 small-medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1/4 head of green cabbage, roughly chopped
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 small bay leaves
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
pinch of saffron (or turmeric powder)
1/2 tsp salt
5-6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
2 big handfuls of fresh kale, chopped


heat a large pot over medium heat. add olive oil and add chopped onions, carrots, and cabbage. cook until tender, about 7-10 minutes. add fennel seed, ginger, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon powder, bay leaves, saffron, and a pinch of salt. cook for a minute just to develop flavors from all spices. add drained chickpeas with the vegetable broth. stir and bring to a gentle simmer. cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes. discard bay leaves and add handfuls of fresh chopped kale. stir and allow kale to wilt for 5 minutes on simmer before serving. add red pepper flakes for a bit of heat if you desire.

many thanks to kiran for her recipe inspiration

Monday, April 22, 2013

beautifying hardwood floors

image source

flooring played a big supporting role in the decision we made towards making a home purchase. husband and i are not huge fans of carpet (though it is easier to clean when one of your family members sheds enough hair for the making of one wig...per day, no less), so naturally we preferred a home with hardwood floors as natural and gorgeous as those pictured above belonging to the the enviable jenna lyons. we must really like torturing ourselves with the cleaning.

after all the paper work was signed and we walked into our empty home we were thrilled that this space was ours to make a home. what we weren't too excited about was the condition the floors were in. we weren't anticipating having to redo the flooring prior to painting and moving in our furnishings. pain in the bottom...no thank you.

sanding and refinishing was unfortunately out of the question. too time consuming for the little time we had to make the transition into our home. husband and i weren't about to give up on it though. not our style. after all, we didn't totally hate the color of the floors, really all they needed was a little freshening up. 

this is where rejuvenate came in. rejuvenate is the bomb and so incredibly easy to apply...or so i have been told (from a very trusted source). honestly, if i speak the truth (and i do!)  i wouldn't know first hand. you heard me right. i did not treat my floors...my uber handy, super helpful godsend of a mother worked her magic while husband and i were at work teaching. she singlehandedly finished the floors in our master bedroom, guest bedroom, living and dining room in two days. the whole process probably took her about four hours or so. she is also meticulous, so this just goes to show you how easy and quick rejuvenate gets the job done.

rejuvenate is a floor "refresher" of sorts. basically, you clean your floors (ours are hardwood...there have been mixed reviews on other types of flooring) and remove all furniture. next, apply the rejuvenate floor cleaner with the rejuvenate microfiber bonnet. (follow instructions on the bottle). once the floors have been cleaned, you may apply the professional satin finish wood floor restorer with another bonnet. let dry. i would recommend waiting for a day and half to two days time before bringing any furniture back in.

we are thrilled with the results. the satin finish is just what we were looking for. not too glossy, just a nice little sheen. (i cannot attest to the results of the glossy option). we have pictures....somewhere. when i find where i put them...they may still be on the camera, i will include them in this post. until then, you are gonna have to put a little trust in me. if not me, then certainly my mother. my mom was so impressed with her skills that she decided to freshen up her own floors at home with the same refresher system. she is good, that one.

rejuvenate...i give it two thumbs up.
(this is not a sponsored post)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

san francisco

"leaving san francisco is like saying goodbye to an old sweetheart. you want to linger as long as possible." -walter kronkite

spring break was a dandy time for both husband and i and quite frankly, not enough of it was spent in san francisco. we hit many a sight, but two days is simply not enough. through it all, husband and i are quite inspired and are itching to paint the exterior of our homes. i just swoon over the color combinations. 

we can't wait to go back, but will relish these photos in the meantime.

when we travel, husband and i tend to stray away from hotels. we prefer the comfort of a bed & breakfast (who doesn't like having breakfast included!?) or the casualness of staying in someone elses' home. we frequently utilize airbnb.com to find a well-reviewed private abode to park our luggage and rest our heads. if you haven't visited their site, run on over there right quick.

this go, we really nailed it. husband and i stayed at the chateau tivoli, a restored victorian mansion in the heart of the alamo square neighborhood. the keepers were gracious and hospitable, only to be outdone by the majestic interiors. best part about it....we paid $115 a night...breakfast included. this is a STEAL for san fran. we highly recommend it. below we have some of the beauty and character found within the walls of the chateau tivoli.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

saffron cauliflower puree

saffron...a true delicacy for the ages. husband and i picked up a bundle during our recent honeymoon in turkey and we jump at the chance to incorporate it into our weekly menus. this side dish is so light and the flavors meld beautifully. give it a shot. we paired ours with a delicate tilapia and red pepper relish. score.

>> saffron cauliflower puree <<


1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into florets 
1 1/2-2 cups of low sodium organic vegetable broth, warmed
    1 teaspoon of saffron powder
    juice of half a lemon
    2 Tbsp. olive oil
    salt and pepper to taste


heat saute pan over medium high heat and add olive oil. add cauliflower to pan and saute for 10 minutes, or until cauliflower begins to brown. pour in warm veggie stock and cover for 3 minutes. remove cover and continue simmering until cauliflower is soft and stock has reduced, about 7-10 minutes. add saffron and lemon juice and simmer for two more minutes. remove cauliflower from pan and add cauliflower mixture to a food processor or blender. blend until smooth. if mixture is too thin, you can add it back to the saute pan and simmer over low heat to remove some moisture. if cauliflower is too thick, add more veggie stock to the processor to help thin out the puree. if it is just right, grab a fork and dig in!
serves 2-3

Monday, April 15, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

conservatory of flowers

visiting the conservatory of flowers in golden gate park was certainly a sleeper hit on our recent trip to san francisco. although not on our original agenda, husband and i were thrilled for the respite, beauty and history it offered after a somewhat long, chilly walk throughout the city.

the conservatory of flowers was built over a century ago and is the oldest wood and glass conservatory in north america. pretty impressive stuff. we highly recommend making a pit stop here if you find yourself in the area. just don't expect your hair to look the same upon exit...quite steamy up in there. we visited on a tuesday and were welcomed with free admission. please and thank you. 

here is some of the beauty that awaits you upon your arrival....

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

soy and wasabi kale chips

with health slipping through the cracks after a crazy month of moving and traveling, husband and i have been itching for a delicious snack to get us back on track.  this kale chip recipe does more than the trick. only problem is, they don't last long. you should probably just go right ahead and get crazy, double this recipe.

>> soy and wasabi baked kale chips <<


1 large bunch of organic kale
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1- 1 1/2 teaspoons wasabi paste (depending on your heat preference)
2 1/2 teaspoons  lite/low sodium soy sauce
sesame seeds


preheat oven to 350 degrees. thoroughly rinse and dry kale leaves. remove leaves from stems. tear kale into chip sized pieces. in a large mixing bowl combine olive oil, sesame oil, wasabi paste, and soy sauce. whisk until combined. add kale to the bowl and massage soy mixture into the kale until thoroughly combined (yep, use your hands!!). lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and spread one layer of kale on the cookie sheet. sprinkle the kale with sesame seeds. bake kale for about 8-10 minutes depending on the heat level of your oven. take chips out of oven once edges have darkened.

happy and healthy snacking!

Monday, April 8, 2013

back from cali and back to reality

husband and i really took this whole break thing to another level. we truly did break away from our normal day to day and didn't touch school stuff (or blogging material) until yesterday. spring break we did... and it was glorious. 

having a vacation planned prior to our home purchase really was a blessing in disguise. husband convinced me that if we hadn't gone to california, we would have spent our entire break working on the house. as much as I would like to put a drop in that bucket, we needed to get away and relax already. thankfully, husband and i did manage to get a little r and r in.

we traveled to california for a short visit in monterey with some dear friends and managed to get in a short jaunt to san francisco on the way out. we ate too much, drank too much, and walked too much. as it should be, i guess. husband and i thoroughly enjoyed the monterey area....with carmel, big sur and a brief run-in with a redwood as highlights.

this vacation marked a first trip to san francisco for the both of us. we stayed in a marvelous b and b (highly recommend the chateau tivoli...super reasonably priced to boot!!) for a couple of nights and managed to hit up many of the sights and neighborhoods recommended by many. our only regret was not having more time there to explore.

here are a few of our favorite shots from the monterey area.

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