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Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Food plays such an integral role in my relationship, to the point where I may apply romance to things that don’t necessarily ooze love, passion, and all that good, mushy stuff. Every New Year’s Day we order takeout for dinner from our favorite Chinese restaurant and lovingly share noodles from styrofoam containers while we watch old movies in our PJ’s. Sundays for us are usually filled with errands and chores and I sometimes don’t have time to prepare a hearty dinner to prepare us for what’s in store that week; in a pinch, we turn to Taco Riendo for my favorite burritos. Joe’s preference, if asked what he wants for dinner, is always pizza, and the oven baked, Italian flatbread has been a main character in our love story. Read More…

Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salsa

My parents live in a neighborhood adjacent to a development with several windy, hilly roads and not too much traffic, perfect for a run when the weather is decent enough. I’m not one for combining physical exercise and the beaming heat of the sun, so my brother and I take advantage of this area for outdoor training in the evening and occasionally in the morning, as it tends to be a little cooler. It may be more of a workout for me, as he tends to put his cross country skills on their low setting when I ask to run with him. Still, my brother and I each get a lot out of not only spending time together but working at our shared interest of running.

The lengths of our runs vary; although I always ask how long he is interested in venturing out, my energy level tends to dictate our mileage. My brother, on the other hand, seems like he could run forever, quickly, and happily. Even though I always give myself something to train for, like a 5K, the Broad Street Run or the upcoming half marathon (yes, I’m crazy and no, I’m not ready) the biggest reward for me is the time I get to spend with my little brother. We always have an interesting conversation, or at least I listen and gasp for air while he tells me about all of the fun, exciting things he is experiencing in high school. It’s not always a deep, philosophical conversation but at our finish line I’m always left confident the kid has a good head on his shoulders.

Here and there our runs are interrupted by my heavy, burning calves in need of a good stretch. More often, though, we pass a few houses with the sweet scents of a hot grill wafting in our direction from their back yard. Whatever my brother and I happened to be talking about is forgotten, and our run concentration is broken. We then find ourselves discussing steak, burgers and anything else you can throw on the grill grates as we both imagine our dad working hard on our grill, preparing a summer feast for us to replenish our overworked leg muscles upon our return.

Summer scents always bring to mind a handful of my favorite memories, like these evening runs with my little brother. In a few weeks, though, those scents will be shelved until next year. Though my palette is raring to go for a warm pot roast, fall beers and Sunday football, every other nerve in my body is holding on for dear life to the summer of 2011. To help ease the transition, I cranked up the grill, grabbed some soon-to-be out of season ears of corn, and practically bathed in the delicious smells that traveled off of the gas-powered outdoor cooker. Read More…

Crunchy Asian Slaw

Due to learning to plan ahead, “Can Can” sales at Shop Rite, and maybe a dash of impulse, the canned and dry-good section of my kitchen cabinets is stocked. I justify most of them as emergency items, but I can’t really foresee a crisis occurring that can only be saved with the power of canned sauerkraut or evaporated milk. Until I’m actually forced to utilize my “fallout shelter” of products, I enjoy finding alternate uses for them in recipes.

One of the items we constantly buy, and actually eat as opposed to allowing to pile up, are Ramen noodles. Not only are they irresistibly cheap, they are extremely useful. In their intended form (that is, boiled noodes with a powdered flavor packet), they are a quick, small meal. The fact that this version almost tips the sodium scale has led me to utilize only the noodles (without the flavor packet) in various Asian dishes, adding vegetables and a protein to get more miles out of the recipe. Never did I think, though, that they would work perfectly as a salad topping.

Several years ago, I was drawn to an Asian cabbage slaw recipe from the archive on the Kraft Food’s website. Everything about it seemed right up the alley for what I was looking to bring to one of my best friend’s wedding shower: a cool, light salad with fresh ingredients and a ton of flavor. The Ramen noodle topping, though, was what prompted me to commit – strange, but intriguing, I wondered if the slaw was going to be a hit or a bust.  Read More…

Quinoa Avocado Salad

It seems like I was just hoarding tickets from Thrift Way to get my free Thanksgiving turkey and planning menu items for holiday parties. I’m in disbelief that Memorial Day weekend is upon us, mostly because that means I’ll be doing sit-ups and eating salads from now until then. Still, I can’t complain – whether it’s weekends in Wildwood or summer in the city, I’m really looking forward to the next few months of warm, sunny weather.

Even though we have a handful of holidays in the summer, a weekend without one doesn’t mean there won’t be a celebration. There’s never a better reason to have a cookout or small get-together than having no reason at all. Last minute or impromptu gatherings are usually the best kind and as long as you have a few recipes set to the side in the event that a spontaneous bash starts to take shape, whether you’re crashing a friend’s Saturday night or people happen to show up at your house, the planning and preparation can go just a smooth as your seated, four-course Thanksgiving dinner. An interesting side salad, like this Quinoa-Avocado dish, can be whipped up in no time at all. Read More…

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