Farmer’s Market Friday: Carrot Love

Springtime carrots

Let me start off by saying that I am NOT a carrot person.

I was the kid that hid cooked carrots in a secret nook under our dining room table for years before my parents discovered the stash under there.

So, when I attended a recent cooking class with Chef Virginia Willis and I saw carrots were on the menu, let’s say I was less than jazzed about it.

She did an excellent job of making them look appetizing. I will give her that. Rather than chopping the green tops off, she sliced each carrot thinly and delicately the entire length and left the top part green.I’m not that fancy or patient, so mine were a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 in prettiness. I’m working on it.

But those carrots truly were the  most delicious menu item in that class.

I attribute it to the gobs of honey and the fresh herbs. Plus, a world-class chef who was on Chopped made them for me.(Sidenote: She was “”chopped” when her spoon got sucked into the ice cream make in round 3 ! Embarassing…but…hilarious.)

Anyway,my husband had the same blah reaction when he saw I was serving carrots, then his face lit up when he tried them. We kept going back for second-helpings . Then he paused and asked in all seriousness if eating too many would make us orange and returned to eating them.

Good news: Neither of us turned orange and I will be making these in the future again.

Why buy carrots at the Farmer’s Market? They do not  hold much of a resemblance to the bagged ones you see at the grocery store! There are  huge knobby ones the size of my arm, and then the delicate multi-colored organic bunches. All are beautiful, delicious, pesticide-free, and unique. Growing your own would have the same benefits.

I should never have doubted an award-winning chef who is a contributor to my favorite food magazine, Eating Well. Sorry, Virginia, Never again.

Herbed Ginger Carrots

Serves 10
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Side Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Lydia D. Chef Virginia Willis
These sweet herbed ginger carrots are a perfect accompaniment to any meal and guaranteed to please non-carrot lovers, too!


  • 1/2 cup fresh, flat-leaf parsley (chopped)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 quart (chicken stock or vegetable stock)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large piece ginger (approx 4 inches long, 1 inch wide (or 2, 2- inch pieces). chopped into thin matchsticks)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2lb carrots(2 bunches)


Step 1
In a medium saucepan over high heat, boil the chicken broth with half of the parsley, bay leaves and thyme. Then lower heat to medium.
Step 2
Meanwhile wash and peel the carrots. Cut them long-wise , leaving stem on top intact.
Step 3
Bring broth back to a boil, add chopped carrots to the water, and reduce heat to medium-low.Simmer 4 minutes until carrots are tender.
Step 4
Remove carrots and save the stock for another use.
Step 5
In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add the butter. Add ginger and saute about 2 minutes.
Step 6
Stir in the carrots and honey and cook until carrots are glazed, around 3 minutes. Add rest of fresh herbs, salt, and pepper.


One Year

It occurred to me 24 hours ago that I posted my first recipe on this blog exactly one year ago.  Between wedding planning, getting married, the honeymoon, the Holidays, and buying a house, a great deal of change has happened over here.

I realize some of you have not been reading my blog that long, so I thought it would be fun to look back at the best recipes and posts to re-share since summer is just around the corner. You can also see how my photography has improved...thank goodness.

This Pasta Salad with Basil Vinaigrette is a tasty, light Spring/Summer side dish you can take to a party.

How about this rich and decadent Chocolate Zucchini Bread to use up all of that leftover zucchini?

A take on Robin Asbell’s Chickpea Fritters with Romesco Sauce.

Or you could try the best healthy Chocolate Chip Cookiesaround town.

An easy and healthy Jamabalaya recipe.

A moist, low-sugar Banana Bread.

Those straight-to-your-hips Snickers Fudge Bars.

And who can forget the wedding day post?

Fun stuff!

I hope the next year of blogging is overflowing with even more recipes and travel posts and love from you guys:-) Thanks for sticking around.

In love and health,




Leek and Chard Tart

So, I really want to show my love for local food and Farmer’s Markets as much as possible on my blog, preferably weekly. From here on out I am going to attempt Farmer’s Market Friday’s . Each week I will highlight something I picked up locally at the market with an original recipe. On weeks I am just to busy to get my booty into gear, I will at the very least give you some photos! Deal?

We have a plethora of eggs and gnats, so many gnats, as of late.

I’m not complaining about the eggs though. Instead I am turning them into a delicious tart, the same tart I have made not once, but THREE times in 2 weeks. You would think if I made it 3 times I would have some fantastic pictures of this tart, but no, my poor camera has bitten the dust(it’s not focusing…).  I am left with this stupid iphone camera. So bear with me, people.

I digress. Back to the food! Leek and Swiss Chard Tart with a Sesame-Oat Crust to be exact…

swiss chard

Swiss chard is one of those foods I spent 20 something years without, but on one fateful day I decided to take a leap of faith and replace spinach with some beautiful rainbow chard.

I don’t think I can ever go back to spinach as long as chard is nestled there next to those other greens at the Farmer’s Market. What a DELICIOUS alternative to kale or spinach! Do try it, friends. You will absolutely love it.

Okay, on we march to the recipe.


I don’t want any of that white flour or 2 sticks of butter in my quiche crust. I want wholesome grains and flavor, but plenty of flakiness. The best part of this  crust is 1) whole-grain crust 2)no rolling out the crust.  This is a soft crust you simply press right into your pie plate or tart pan.Can you tell I am excited about this? Because I am.  It’s revolutionary in the quiche/tart world, really.

This is such a simple, fast, and quintessential springtime Farmer’s Market recipe.

So next time you are heading to the Farmer’s Market for a lazy Saturday, pick up some leeks, rainbow chard, and grass-fed whole milk and cream and in a pinch you can have this meal on the table. Fresh whole dairy makes the creamiest, melt-in -your-mouth tart you can imagine.

This is best eaten outside on a sunny, spring day with a glass of white wine:-)


In love and health,


Leek and Chard Tart

Serves 5
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 10 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable
This gluten-free Leek and Chard Tart is the perfect healthy Springtime brunch.


  • 3 Large leeks (sliced thinly, use white parts only)
  • 1/2 bunch Swiss chard (removed from stems, sliced thinly and washed well)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
  • 7 Large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (chopped finely)
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup unflavored almond, soymilk, or water
  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup cream


Step 1
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.Spread the sesame seeds out onto a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes.
Step 2
Transfer the oats and seeds to a food processor. Add in flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Process until the oats are finely ground.
Step 3
In a medium bowl stir together the almond milk or water with the sesame oil. Then with a wooden spoon mix in the processed flour to the wet oil/milk mixture. Stir until you have a consistent ball of wet crust.
Step 4
Press the mixture into a greased tart pan or pie plate. Cover with plastic wrap and chill while you make the filling.
Step 5
In a large non-stick saucepan on medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add leeks and thyme. Cover and cook until leeks are tender,around 10 minutes.
Step 6
Stir in chard and cook 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
Step 7
In a large bowl stir together 7 beaten eggs, milk, cream, and salt and pepper. Mix in cooled chard mixture.
Step 8
Pour the liquid filling into the refrigerated crust and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 more minutes. Test for doneness by carefully shaking the pan . The center should be set.





Sweet Potato Roasted Pepper Soup

You can tell a great deal about a person by what lies in the depths of their refrigerator.You know you do it, snoop through someone’s refrigerator while visiting.

The “empty-fridge person”? That just blows my mind. How do manage to eat out 3 meals per day? And never snack?

Then there is the beer-only fridge…I won’t name any names since some of my former roommates may or may not read my blog.

The there is my mother-in -law’s fridge, that perfect fridge. You know….the one that is bright white and all the tupperwares match and are perfectly stacked by size. The vegetables are in the crisper where they are supposed to be the foods are labeled and dated. The sauces look nice and tidy in the fridge door, nary a drip or drop anywhere to be seen around the caps.

And then.

You have my fridge.

About once I week I find myself cursing as I reach into the back trying to find that darned piece of ginger wrapped in foil and my hand hits something sticky. The soy sauce spilled back there somewhere. My dog is sticking his face in there trying to lick it up, amidst the small stacks of leftovers haphazardly packaged in foil and plastic wrap. You can see  an  open-air bowl of noodles my husband placed on the top shelf with no cover on it. Random piles of vegetables are placed haphazardly on every space available. Even though I clean it out every 2 weeks, it looks as if it hasn’t been organized in months.

I’m just that messy apparently.

I dislike wasting good food. Sometimes it’s a struggle to use up all the fresh veggies we have in the fridge before they go bad, so I survey the fridge as the end  of the week nears and use past-due foods  in the best way I know how: a soup! Whatever doesn’t make it into the soup goes to chickens as long as it is not moldy.

I made this soup with leftover sweet potatoes and a bag of peppers that was about to bite the dust.  This has to be one of the easiest soup recipes I have made to date.

sweet potato red pepper soup

Roast the veggies, dump in the pot, puree.


A clean recipe that will get you into swimsuit-ready shape.

Top with pepitas (pumpkin seeds), feta, or sliced avocado and a side of crusty bread .


In other news, the Barred Rock ladies are officially hitting puberty.


Barred Rock Chicks in November

Barred Rock Chicks November 2012


grown barred rock hen

Barred Rock Hen April 2013

Our first tiny brown egg appeared in the coop yesterday after 4.5 months of waiting. It’s entirely too cute to eat. Don’t you agree?

The first  2 tiny brown eggs.

The first 2 tiny brown eggs.




Roasted Sweet Potato Red Pepper Soup

Serves 6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
This low calorie and flavorful roasted sweet potato red pepper soup is the perfect fast weeknight meal.


  • 2.5 cups red bellpepper (chopped)
  • 2.5 cups peeled sweet potato (cubed)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon chinese 5 spice powder
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
  • 5 cups no salt added chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


Step 1
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1/8 t salt and toss well. Place mixture on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
Step 2
In a soup pot or large saucepan, combine the roasted veggies,chicken broth and another 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Place half of the mixture in a blender. Cover blender with a towel and puree. Repeat with remaining veggies in the pot until mixture is smooth. Top with rosemary, feta cheese or pumpkin seeds. Serve,




New York through the Lens



sunshine…donuts…girlfriends…grit bowls…chai  lattes…stroll through Central Park…Union Square…Rock of Ages on Broadway…late-night diner food…Times Square…ChinaTown…Stoop sittin’…Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)…Rockefeller Center…Michael Kors…Halal food truck…the G-Train…

I was so inspired by all of the flavors and activities of New York!

I wont lie, though, it feels good to be home again and see green everywhere!

In love and health,


Scratchbread grits topped with egg, bacon, kale-dandelion pesto

Scratchbread, Brooklyn, grits topped with poached egg, thick -cut bacon, & kale-dandelion pesto





MahiMahi Tacos-in Central Park

MahiMahi Tacos-in Central Park


Greenmarket in Union SquareGreenmarket in Union Square



Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen

Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen


Easter Godiva chocolates

Easter Godiva Chocolates













Easter festivities

Easter, Passover, Springtime. Whatever you are doing or celebrating this weekend, you can still make these fun treats! Get the kids involved in this project or make these just because you want an excuse to have fun in the kitchen.

cookie nest close-up

I baked these precious sugar cookie nests for our new neighbors. Ok, actually they have been our neighbors for 3 months now and my lazy butt has not met everyone yet….slacker.

I learned a few lessons in the kitchen making these. Read:I failed miserably on the first go-around.

Lesson #1:You cannot miniaturize the nests by using a mini muffin tin. It. won’t. work. The mini nests will turn into muffins, not  nest- shapes. Oops. Use a full-sized muffin tin or  you can just make simple round cookies like the ones below. If you are short on time, these cookies are the way to go. You could use a store-bought sugar cookie dough to save time, but you know I would never advocate such a thing. psshhh.

cookie nests

Lesson #2: Lock up your dogs so they don’t swipe the sticks of butter off of  the counter.

Ok, now that I just saved you from trying those bright ideas, let me give you another idea to celebrate the season!

Natural egg dyes.

Why not use what you have in the fridge and avoid those unnatural dyes?

Onion peels from both red and white onions, beets, greens, carrots,  and turmeric can create such rustic and gorgeous dyed eggs.

Have you ever seen an herb-stenciled egg?  I was planning to make mine herb-stenciled  and then realized it requires pantyhose. Who the heck wears those anyway in this day and age?

Happy Easter and Happy Springtime, Friends,


Sugar Cookie Bird Nests


  • 2 batches of your favorite sugar cookie dough(or make your own with this recipe)
  • 1 bag dark chocolate chips (12 oz)
  • 1 bag sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 10 drops green food coloring
  • 1 bag M&M eggs or other small candy egg

Sugar cookie dough

  • 1.5 cups butter, room temperature
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 4.5 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt


Step 1
Make your homemade sugar cookies -see steps 6-10! If you are using a pre-made dough, follow step 10 and bake your cookies. Meanwhile, melt the bag of chocolates in the microwave slowly, stirring every 30 seconds, or in a double boiler over the stove.
Step 2
Let the chocolate cool . Place bag of coconut in a bowl, and dye the shredded coconut with the food coloring. Stir until coconut is green.
Step 3
Let the sugar cookies cool and then spread the surface(or base of nest) with a neat, circle of melted chocolate. Drop one spoonful of coconut "grass" onto the chocolate and cover the chocolate patches with coconut. Repeat for all the cookies.
Step 4
Dip the very tip of the bottom of a candy egg in the chocolate. Place the chocolate end of the egg onto the coconut nest on the cookie. Place 1 more egg onto the nest after dipping it in chocolate. Repeat with all the cookies.
Step 5
Let the cookies sit at room temperature for a few hours to let the chocolate dry and the eggs set on the "grass".
Sugar cookie dough
Step 6
Beat together the softened butter and sugar with a mixer until fluffy.
Step 7
Beat in eggs 1 at a time.
Step 8
In another bowl combine dry ingredients(flour, salt, baking powder).
Step 9
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Add vanilla.
Step 10
Drop balls of 2T of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Or alternatively(if you want cookie nests) roll out the cookie dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut out circles of dough with a biscuit cutter ( 4-5 inch diameter circles of dough) and press these into greased muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes or until they are slightly browned.


A Sunny St. Pat’s

st. pat's collageSt. Patrick’s Day does not pass quietly by in Savannah. Nor in my life.  I don’t remember a year that I have not been downtown for the Parade. Perhaps in college I missed a few, but for the most part of my tween and teenage life  I distinctly remember getting up early, painting my nails and toenails green, braiding my hair in pigtails, putting entirely too much glitter on my face, wearing a trendy outfit that I would probably regret wearing now, and scouting out cute boys in the crowd with my best friend, Leia.

We caught the CAT bus from the mall, munched on green bagels, and made our way through the crowds to a few house parties with delicious breakfast foods before plopping down to watch the parade and eat again afterwards.  St. Patrick’s Day has always been more focused on food for me.  And celebrating the start of Spring!

Imagine my surprise when I found out that when you grow up, it is really about getting wasted before 10 a.m….ha.

I don’t usually partake in that other than a drink or two , but I do bring a few fun St. Patty’s foods for the revelers.  To get into the spirit I made some Pinterest-Inspired-Oreo-Brownie- bars. They are everything you can imagine. Tasty. Sweet. Sinful. And definitely a once-per-year kind of thing.

I should call them Green Fatty Bars. Because these babies are going straight to your hips!

Just Kidding.

Let’s call them Green Party Bars.



Green Oreo Bars

I guess I have been craving baked goods lately because I also made this delicious Meyer Lemon Pound Cake a few days ago for absolutely no special occasion. I just saw these gorgeous Meyer  lemons and wanted to so something with them!lemon pound cake

meyer lemon

I love their beautiful orange  hue.


Anyway, as  you can see, I do not have an original recipe for you, but just a few photos of my baking endeavors and Springtime on the urban farm. (The Oreo-Brownie-Bar recipe is linked above) . The lemon cake? I am not even going to try to recall all that went into that! It was a multi-step process that involved homemade Meyer lemon curd and a pound cake base.

In case you haven’t noticed, I have been blogging less. I value time spent with my husband, working in the garden, catching up with friends and family and just unplugging , but I hope I can continue to share more here at least weekly! I miss my blog family.

Plus I have quite  a few gardening/chicken posts in the works!


In love and health,





Panang Curry Meatballs

It was on off week. This is how my husband, I , and my dog Lucy felt after watching the Downton Abbey season finale online.


WHAT?! How could ____ be dead?!

Then it was  the sudden real (not television) death of one of our beloved chickens. She had a happy life and to our knowledge did  not seem sick , but death is part of  chicken ownership I suppose.

But on the fourth day of this moping around I knew it was time to get back in the kitchen.

A friend of ours recently invited us over some Panang Chicken. She told me how to make it, and we rushed to the Oriental grocery to explore. I honestly could have spent hours perusing the aisles, and brought home some pickled quail eggs, galangal, panang paste, palm sugar, and frozen chopped lemongrass!  The store carries fresh veggies like bok choy and bean sprouts, and I don’t think I will ever buy any Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese ingredients anywhere but there at Viet Huong Oriental Grocery .

Panang curry paste is a  mixture of dried chilies  ground into a paste that lends flavor without calories and can be stirred into a sauce or liquid. The can will keep in the fridge a few months.

panang curry paste

You can control the spiciness of any dish by how much panang you add.

Enjoy this take on Panang Curry with some broccoli and cauliflower stirred in for your veggies!


panaeng meatballs

 Friends, I hope you are looking forward to more posts on starting a garden and urban farming. Spring is just around the corner and our guest bedroom is basically a greenhouse right now!

In health and fitness,


Panang Curry Meatballs

Serves 4
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Meal type Main Dish
Meatballs served over brown rice in a creamy, fiery panang sauce.


  • 1lb ground beef (grassfed)
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 lime (large)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped finely )
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger (minced or grated)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons panang paste (red in color)
  • 1 egg (large)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar ((use brown sugar as subsitute))
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cups brown rice (cooked)


Step 1
Mix the ground beef in a bowl with ginger, salt, pepper, chopped red pepper, and 1 egg.
Step 2
Roll the beef into meatballs , approx 2 inch diameter.
Step 3
In a large saucepan(that has a cover), heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Place all the meatballs in the pan. Brown for 5 minutes on each side (do not disturb or move the meatballs around between flipping them).
Step 4
Meanwhile in a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk and panang paste over medium heat and stir until fully combined. (NOTE: Use only 1 tablespoon of panang to keep this dish more mild. You can always add more if you want more heat later.)
Step 5
Pour this liquid into the saucepan with the meatballs and add a 1/2 Cup water. Simmer them 10 minutes on medium high-heat covered.
Step 6
Stir in fish sauce, lime juice, and palm sugar as best you can and simmer another 5 minutes.
Step 7
Serve over cooked brown rice.









A Skinny Banana Bread

Well hello there! I’ve missed you.

Things have been nutzo lately, but finally I have a calm week to sort out  recipes and blog a bit. Big changes are happening over here. I can’t say  much more yet. I can tell you that we are considering adding 2 ducklings to our growing menagerie though. February/March is that time of year I become overly excited about Spring and begin to plan garden beds, order plants and seeds, start seeds, and dream of what else we can add to the homestead to make it more sustainable. Little baby chicks start hatching, the feed and seed store puts out fliers, herbs start sprouting, and my wheels start spinning. Just last night my husband and his buddy spent several hours preparing vegetable seeds for planting, placing them in paper towels dipped in a seaweed fertilizer, into a plastic bag and put into indirect sunlight in our guest bedroom. We are ready for Spring!

The more I research ducks, the more I believe they would be a perfect fit for our urban farm. Did you know khaki campbell ducks lay nearly as many eggs as chickens? I had no idea that ducks could be good layers, but apparently, this specific breed lays eggs throughout the year and can co-habitate with chickens. They are friendly, enjoy splashing in mud and water(umm we live on a marsh!), and are a domesticated, non-flying breed.

photo from

photo from

Long story short, I want some.

I also want a piece of this banana bread  right now.

banana bread skinny

Banana bread is really a breakfast cake, not a health food. It usually contains sugar, butter/oil and flour and very little of the healthy stuff, bananas. Why use butter and sugar when you can make a delicious bread without them? Even Paula Deen is catching on (finally) after her diabetes scare.

In this recipe whole wheat flour replaces white flour, orange juice replaces the sugar, and overly- ripe  bananas replace nearly all the fat.

I eat mine for breakfast spread with almond butter and a side of fruit or as a pre-run snack!

Happy eating!

I will update you on the duck situation soon. I hope to have 2 cute little balls of fluff soon, but may end up with 5 balls of fluff because that’s usually the minimum order number. Would anyone want a few ducklings?

Skinny Banana Bread

Serves 8
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 10 minutes
Allergy Egg, Peanuts, Wheat
Meal type Breakfast, Snack
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable
Try this naturally -sweetened and ultra-moist skinny banana bread for a light breakfast or snack.


  • 3 bananas (very ripe)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 egg (large)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 can organic garbanzo beans
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


Step 1
Blend the chickpeas, bananas, peanut butter and egg in a food processor until smooth.
Step 2
Pour the banana mixture into a bowl. In another bowl combine the dry ingredients.
Step 3
Stir dry ingredients into the wet mixture and pour into a parhcment-paper lined loaf pan.
Step 4
Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. (may require a bit longer-test the center for doneness).



Quinoa Paella

Last weekend was spent with friends and delicious Cajun foods. I was excited to finally throw a Mardi Gras party at the new place and cooked for about 50 people last weekend. Hence, there was very little blogging time and zero photos. I must practice taking photos before friends arrive next time. We served some stuffed ‘shrooms, crawfish- stuffed deviled eggs, crawfish dip, spinach dip, tomato soup, beer bread, chicken and sausage jambalaya, coleslaw, King cake from Keller’s bakery, boudin from Best Stop Grocery in Lafayette Louisiana, brownies, and cupcakes.

I absolutely love having friends over to our place and it just feels like “home” already!

After an exhausting work-week prior to the party, I was planning to go have some fun today in New York City for 3 days. That darn winter storm Nemo is ruining it by cancelling all flights to New York! I got a phone call at 10 p.m. with the bad news. I think I am more sad I won’t be getting to see my friend, Katie, than the visiting the Big Apple ,but we are planning on making up this weekend in the next month or two, sans blizzard. I am bit down today, but I know I will get to New York eventually. Hey, maybe I can get there tomorrow and stay through Monday night! Who knows…

On to my next completely unrelated point, which is that I was thumbing through cookbooks (Whole Grains for Busy People by Lorna Sass) looking for food ideas a month ago, and came across this recipe, a paella made with quinoa instead of rice.

I tweaked this a bit, added more chorizo,  and a new staple in our household has been born:

Chicken and Chorizo Quinoa Paella


Chorizo is a meat I buy every so often because it just lends  a delicious flavor to dishes: tacos, enchiladas, jambalaya, stuffed mushrooms, and burritos to name a few. I bought a pack of 6 for $5 in the “Mexican” section of the grocery store… note that Mexican chorizo is different than Spanish chorizo. It should be eaten sparingly, no more than a serving a week , because it is a fatty meat. What makes chorizo different from other sausages are the spices and slight sweetness. If you are feeling adventurous and have absolutely nothing else to do, you could get some high quality pork and make your own. Read here for more on that.

Quinoa on the other hand  is a healthy grain, crammed with essential proteins and amino acids and the varieties vary: white, red, or black. I prefer the red and black, but all of them work fine with this recipe. The recipe above is made with red quinoa that I packed in my suitcase straight from Peru. I am reminded of it constantly because the grains have subsequently has found their way into every nook and cranny of my suitcase, clothing, and lingerie because the bag busted while were traveling. Every so often, I reach down into my  shirt, and ” oh’look a piece of quinoa”! Lovely. Sarah B of My New Roots has an interesting and informative blog post on the health benefits of quinoa and explains how to store it and rinse it. Please, please rinse it well!

Enjoy! Folks in New England, make a snowman for me and stay safe in Nemo (since when do we name winter storms?)..

To Your Health,


Chicken and Chorizo Quinoa Paella

Serves 8-10
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
This deeply flavorful and smoky Chicken and Chorizo Quinoa Paella makes a healthy and fast weeknight dinner.


  • 1lb chicken thighs (chopped into 1 inch pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked spanish parika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups quinoa (rinsed several times)
  • 1lb chorizo (removed from casing)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup roasted red bellpepper (sliced thinly)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
  • salt and pepper to taste


I used fresh red pepper because I had no roasted bellpepper on hand and it was still delicious. Saute it with the garlic if you decide to use fresh red bellpepper.

Half the amount of chorizo if you are concerned about the fat content.



Step 1
Brown the chorizo in a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Spoon out the cooked chorizo and set aside on paper towels to drain. Get rid of most the excess fat in the pan.
Step 2
Season chicken with salt and pepper and brown about 2 minutes each side in the saucepan on medium-high heat. Transfer to a plate.
Step 3
Saute the garlic in the juices for about 1-2 minutes, then add in paprika and red pepper flakes. Then stir in the broth, scraping up any brown bits. Stir in the tomato paste and bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa. Cook 12 minutes on medium heat, covered.
Step 4
Season with salt to taste, then add chicken and chorizo. Simmer until quinoa is done(no opaque white dot in center ) and the chicken is cooked through. If the mixture seems too dry or too wet, you can simmer longer or add a bit more broth.
Step 5
Stir in the peas and roasted red pepper. Top with herbs to serve.