A's Sausage, Pesto, and Pepper Pizza

I like LOVE cheese, so the fact that a cheese-free pizza gets me so excited is a miracle! This recipe originates from the June 2012 issue of Every Day with Rachel Ray and was applauded by all who devoured it. I made some slight updates based on the ingredients I had on hand and to make it a little healthier, but I stayed pretty close to the recipe. It requires relatively little active cooking time (20-30 minutes), which is great for those of us who are super busy. And perhaps more importantly, the result is divine.

If you're not into meat, don't dismay. This recipe could easily be turned vegetarian/vegan by substituting well-seasoned tempeh or any other suitable substitute for the sausage.

A's Squash Laden Mac n' Cheese

What makes yummy mac and cheese so unhealthy? Unfortunately it's the mac AND it's the cheese.

In this version of the classic I eliminated the mac by substituting spaghetti squash and toned down the cheese by cutting it with healthy portions of butternut squash. The result? This dish cuts down on carbs big time (hello skinny human) making for a healthier but still yummy version of the ultimate comfort food.

I started with a recipe from the October 2012 Better Homes and Gardens magazine titled Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (thanks for the magazine, Ro!) and then tweaked it to put a healthier spin on the classic dish.

A's Easy Mashed Cauliflower

Potatoes are deceiving. You buy them in the produce section, so you feel like you're eating something healthy. I have news for you though... potatoes are a starch bomb making a beeline straight to your bloodstream in the form of simple sugar. Bad, bad news.
"But I looooove potato dishes like mashed potatoes," you say.

Who doesn't? They're delicious. I believe that mashed potatoes are too iconic of a food to mess up with a so-so substitution. That's why I like making cauliflower mashed potatoes. They are so much healthier (low fat, low carb, high fiber) and you can barely tell the difference! This recipe is husband approved too, because Adam really likes these.

A's Herbed Tofu with Mushroom Marsala

This delicious recipe comes from The Farm restaurant in Portland, Oregon. I knew when I saw this that I had to try it. After all, there's a video that explains how to make it, which is fun. Plus, it has that hearty fall flavor that I crave this time of year. Plus, it stars fried tofu, which I heart.

This recipe seems complicated, but it's really not too hard to make. And it's delicious. Really, really delicious.

I mounded my tofu and mushroom marsala on a pile of cauliflower mashed "potatoes." They were super yummy. I'll post that recipe later this week, so keep your eyes peeled.

A's Easy Tofu Potpie

Potpie is one of Adam's favorite meals. Luckily, it can be stinking easy to throw together.
And while some versions can be quite loaded with sodium and super high in calories, with a little tweaking potpie can be quite healthy. This veggie and tofu version is made simple because it uses Pillsbury pizza crust as the topping. It's delicious (and also vegan). Potpie is amazing because it is an entire meal in a single dish, so if it's also healthy, delicious, and easy to make what's not to love?
Feel free to switch up the ingredients as you see fit. Don't like celery? Omit it. Want to throw in some broccoli? Go for it. This is a really flexible and fool-proof recipe. If you don't want tofu, swap in some chicken, tempeh or beef instead. Or go 100% veggie. The world is your playground with this simple recipe.

I drew inspiration from a variety of potpie recipes, including theKitchn's tofu potpie, Meet the Shannons vegan chicken potpie, and the Curvy Carrot's vegetarian potpie.

A's Steak and Mushroom Fajitas

You know what they say: Everything is okay in moderation.

I love steak. Man, oh man, do I ever love steak. So this week I decided to make delicious fajitas and throw in my favorite: steak.

Of course, this is a healthy cooking blog, so I recommend going easy on the steak (that makes it better... right?). We're really not talking about a lot of steak here. I cut the steak into tiny strips and put 3 small strip pieces on each fajita, which I found to be sufficient to give me my steak fix without making the dish overly unhealthy. If you're not into steak you could easily replace the steak with a more lean option like chicken or even tofu. As for me... this week I'm eating steak.

This recipe comes from myrecipes, so pop over to myrecipes for the deets. I followed it exactly, except I used multi-grain tortillas instead of corn tortillas and I topped my tacos with cheddar cheese. 

A's Lima Bean Soup


I'm sending another slow cooker recipe your way this week. I've been too busy to cook, so I've been throwing ingredients together at night and letting them slow-cook while we're sleeping. Isn't it amazing? The crockpot is doing the work for me while I sleep. So this recipe goes out to all of the stressed people in the world. :)
  Most kids hate lima beans (and many adults too). I love them. Always have. Always will. This recipe brings lima beans front and center. They're cooked to a buttery-soft consistency and intermingled with all kinds of other good-for-you veggies.

A's Vegan Slow-Cooker Chili

Adam and I love chili all year around, but this time of year it's especially attractive. This chunky chili is loaded with healthy veggies and can please any palate, even if you're not vegan.

This recipe is all about being healthy, flexible, and time conscious.

First, let's talk about being healthy. This recipe has nothing but vegetables and beans in it. Boom. Instantly healthy.
And it's flexible. This recipe was MADE to be customized. If you don't like a veggie, omit it. If you feel like it's missing a veggie, add it. I think that I'll double the spinach the next time I make this and I'm positive that it will turn out delicious. If this recipe was a band, it would be rubber.
And perhaps most important, the crockpot makes it so. stinking. easy. Throw everything together in the morning and let it cook all day. Dinner is served! Or throw everything together at night and let it cook while you're sleeping. It makes a great reheatable lunch to pack for work. This recipe is as healthy, flexible, and speedy as you are busy.

Alina's Simple Chicken Caprese Sandwiches

This recipe is quick, simple, and foolproof. It's been a super busy week for me, so a recipe this easy was a lifesaver!

It's a classic recipe, and if you whip up some of these sandwiches you'll find that you can't go wrong.

Alina's Avocado Curry

I'm excited to announce that this post is our 50th, and a delicious one at that! 

My inspiration from this recipe comes from a recent visit to our favorite take-out Thai restaurant, Curry In a Box. I had their avocado curry and was pleasantly surprised. Instantly I knew that it was time to start searching for my own recipe so that I could make this again, and again, and again, and... You get the idea.

I found a great recipe from the Our Veggie Kitchen blog, which I only altered a little. The result was a creamy, delicious curry. Yum!!

Alina's Healthy Lentil "Coneys"

A "coney" is a Cincinnati-favorite. It's a hot dog piled high with heart-stopping chili, breath-mangling onions, and enough cheddar cheese that it only sort of melts. Check out this coney glamour shot from serious eats (and check out the link if you're curious to learn more-- such as what the differences between the Cincinnati and the Detroit brands of coney are):
This week my mission is to create a healthy dish that takes its influence from the iconic Cincinnati coney.

I know, I know. Two words that should never go together in a sentence include "coney" and "healthy." After all, the quintessential Cincinnati junk food is about as far from health food as you can get. When I was in college at Miami University (OH), I ate a disgusting amount of this Cincinnati favorite. I am fully aware that I might be putting my reputation as a foodie on the line here.... but I love them.

Today I was thinking about chili (a favorite in our house) and had a moment of inspiration. Why not make a healthy dish that pulls inspiration from the uber-unhealthy coney dog? Thus, the lentil "coney" was born.

Alina's Shrimp Avocado Wraps

This is a quick hor dourve with a high-class flair. Delicious, abounding with flavor, and can be enjoyed as finger food! What's not to love?!

As an aside, these are quite rich and should be enjoyed in moderation.

Alina's Colorful Beet Hummus "Pizza"

I'm not a huge fan of beets, but I'm a sucker for color. When I saw this beet hummus recipe, I couldn't resist whipping some up because it looked so pretty! I wanted it to be substantial enough for a meal, so I concocted a "pizza" of sorts.
As it turns out, the hummus flavor mellows out the beet flavor for a delicious and satisfying way to ingest such a super healthy (and beautiful) vegetable.

The beet hummus recipe comes from Simply Recipes and the inspiration for the hummus pizza comes from the Sabra website.

Mom's Cucumber Soup

My Mom makes a delicious cucumber soup that is as healthy as it is adorable. If you have extra cucumbers (exhibit A)...
Exhibit A
consider whipping up some of this simple soup (exhibit B):
Exhibit B
And if you really have an excess of cucumbers, you can use the extra to create some super refreshing cucumber water (exhibit C).
Exhibit C

Alina's Egg Topped Squash and Lentil Pizza

I love the movie Ratatouille. It has one simple message: "Anyone can cook."

And why not? As the main character Remy said, the right combo of flavors is "like music you can taste, color you can smell."

The trick is finding the right combo of flavors.
That's why I'm really proud of this recipe. Usually when I create a recipe I spend a lot of time brainstorming and planning and finagling, but this recipe just... happened.

I used only items I already had in my cupboard. Almond flour? Lentils? Eggs? Squash? Why not! 

This was one of my favorite creations to date. It had taste and color. There is no question about it. I'll make this dish again.

Alina's Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad

It's been a hot, dry summer, which is perfect for cucumbers. My parents have been sharing cucumbers from their garden, so I've been looking for creative ways to use them. I tweaked this simple recipe on Kalyn's Kitchen.

This salad is fresh and light, marrying juicy cucumbers with avocados and fresh-from-the-vine tomatoes. To me, it's the epitome of fresh summer cuisine.

Alina's Spice Infused Edamame

I've been eating a lot of edamame lately. What's not to love? It's tasty and fun to eat. It's simple to whip up some well-seasoned edamame and it makes a great side for salmon, sushi or stir fry.

Alina's Pineapple Overload Stir Fry

In college I ate at Miami's stir fry bar twice a week. I had my choice of about 30 toppings and so I tried all kinds of different combinations. Eventually I realized that my perfect stir fry always has pineapple in it. It's just consistently mouthwateringly delicious.

My meal this week takes it one step further and uses the pineapple juice as the base for the stir fry sauce. The result is succulent, sweet, and secretly healthy.

Alina's Grilled Salmon with Nectarine-Red Onion Relish

On the 4th of July I perused our local market, Brennan's, for foodie inspiration. It's a form of tabula rasa grocery shopping, if you will. There are recipe cards everywhere, so I pick those up, eat gobs of samples, and try to come with an open mind and a sensitive palate.

This time the nectarines were chin-dripping decadent, so I decided to make Brennan's suggested nectarine-red onion relish. The salmon was the perfect thing to integrate into our 4th of July cookout and the result was... pure fireworks.

Alina's Spanakopita Calzones

I'm a big fan of Greek food and spanakopitas are right at the top of my favorite foods list. This week I decided to make a calzone that pulls its influence from spanakopitas. Spanakopitas are Greek phyllo dough pastries stuffed with cheese and spinach. I decided to stuff mine with tofu and spinach and stuff it all in a calzone crust. The result is a delicious, healthy dish that hints of Greek flavors.

Baked Falafel and Hummus

When I studied abroad in Luxembourg every food joint cost way too much except for the falafel restaurant down the street. My roommates and I ate a lot of falafel sandwiches that semester, and I grew kind of fond of their not-so-healthy goodness. When I stumbled upon this healthier baked version on The Picky Eater trying my own hand at it was a no-brainer. The result was delicious and also managed to be truly healthy! Score!

Alina's Crab Cakes

I plan my recipes in advance, but I woke up on Saturday craving crab cakes with a cucumber sauce, and so that's what I made. I've never craved crab cakes before, but this recipe has changed that! These were really delicious.

I slightly modified this video recipe that I found on the Food Network website. Traditionally, crab cakes are loaded with mayo and other bad-for-you ingredients. My goal was to make them as healthy as possible, and so I mixed in plenty of veggies, baked them and only used a teeny bit of mayo.
I topped the crab cakes with a delicious cucumber and grapefruit salad.

Grapefruit and Cucumber Salad

I created this grapefruit, cucumber, onion, and jalapeno salad to compliment my delicious crab cakes. It's a zippy, slightly bitter salad that set the crab cakes apart from your average crab cakes. I made some slight modifications to the original recipe I found, such as substituting Greek yogurt for sour cream.

I'm not a big fan of grapefruit, but I decided to step out of my comfort zone for this salad and ended up really liking it! This went super well with my crab cakes, and there's a great chance I'll be whipping up another batch of this salad and some crab cakes again soon.

Alina's Yummy Coleslaw

Sometimes a summer day calls for a little coleslaw.

My dad gave me some radishes and scallions from his garden, and so I called upon my Vegetarian Planet cookbook again for a delicious way to use the radishes and scallions. I modified the Vegetarian Planet recipe slightly to make it a little bit healthier and to match the ingredients I had on hand. This straightforward recipe is super simple and makes a delicious slaw, so I would definitely make it again. I served it alongside some buffalo chili.

Alina's Tofu Pumpkin Seed Asparagus Wraps

My younger brother Dugan graduated from Grinnell College a few weeks ago. Here he is during the graduation march... doesn't he look excited?
His computer science department had a special breakfast the morning of graduation and while we were there one of his favorite professors gave him a cookbook that I recognized. I made a comment about it, Dugan told his professor I love to cook, and one thing or another led to the professor giving me a vegetarian cookbook: Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons.

This week I'm modifying the Tofu and Pumpkin-Seed Burger recipe from that cookbook, and so the recipe this week is in honor of my little brother- an intelligent, friendly, kind-hearted guy who has always loved to eat.

Alina's Spinach Tortillas

I've been reading some books over the last few weeks that have begun convincing me that we eat way too many carbs. I'm not necessarily advocating a carb free diet, but the simple fact is that carbs in any form turn to sugar in the bloodstream, and we have way too much sugar in our diets to begin with. As such, Adam and I have been making a conscious decision to eat less carbs overall.

One of my favorite foods is flour tortillas. Not kidding. I used to eat them with just butter and call it a meal when I was growing up. That being said, in the name of healthy eating I'm willing to try alternatives.

If you look at the nutritional content of a typical bag of flour there are about 22 grams of carbs in a quarter cup. I wanted to try my hand at making my own tortillas, and I wanted the tortillas to be healthier overall-- full of nutrients and devoid of the bad stuff. Here's what I came up with. Is it competely carb free? No. Is it much better than the typical tortilla? Absolutely.

Alina's Refried Bean and Corn Enchiladas

I decided to make another recipe from the Mitsitam Cafe cookbook, which is a cookbook devoted entirely to American Indian foods. This week I made Refried Bean and Corn Enchiladas, and they were a delicious success!

I didn't follow the recipe exactly, but I followed it fairly closely. This recipe brings some classic flavors together: tomatoes, corn, refried beans, peppers, onion, cilantro, garlic, and cheese. It doesn't have a standout ingredient, but everything works well together and in the end all of these commonplace ingredients merge into a fairly distinct flavor.

Alina's Buffalo Chili

My friend Blaire lent me this awesome cookbook (found here on Amazon) called the Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook. It's full of "recipes from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian." Super cool.

Marissa has been taking a class for the last few weeks that goes until 9 pm, and so she's been too busy to make and swap food. As such, I decided to make something spicy this week since Adam and I love spicy food but Marissa and Brad don't. I picked up some ground buffalo meat from the Madison downtown farmer's market. Buffalo meat is prized for its low-fat content and has a really great flavor. The result was this amazing chili.

Adam loved this chili. He initially ate three bowls of it and would have kept going if I wouldn't have reigned him in. All weekend he just wanted to eat the leftovers.
1 pm: "Isn't it time to eat dinner yet?"
2 pm: "Is it time for dinner now?! I want that chili!"
3:30 pm: "Okay, it's dinner time, right?"
5:30: "Yes!! Finally dinner time!!"

Alina's Red Velvet Pancakes

We had a pancake party at work on Friday (Star Wars Day! May the Fourth) and I was asked to make enough batter for 80 novelty pancakes.

You heard that right. 80 pancakes.

My best friend Cassidy and I enjoyed red velvet pancakes while in Las Vegas last month, so I decided to try my hand at making my own red velvet pancakes.

These pancakes were described by my co-workers as:
  • "Amazing!"
  • "A hit!"
  • "Absurdly decadent."
  • "Like nothing I've ever tasted before."
When I was testing recipes and I swallowed my first bite of these pancakes all I could do was gasp out, "Oh. My. Gosh. This is incredible." If I haven't convinced you to splurge yet, I never will. The white chocolate chips are what make these pancakes such a home run because they remain partially melty for about 5 minutes after they come off the griddle, infusing the pancakes with ooey-gooey exceptionally rich flavor.

Alina's Avocado Deviled Eggs

I love deviled eggs. As in an if-there-is-only-one-deviled-egg-left-and-you-eat-it-I-will-silently-die-a-little-inside kind of love. Of course, deviled eggs are always filled to the brim with mayo (which also happens to be my favorite condiment). This equals a less than healthy addiction.

You know what I also love? Avocados. I started brainstorming... What would happen if POOF! The most unhealthy ingredient in deviled eggs (mayo) was replaced by nature's delicious source of good-for-you fat (avocado)? I was willing to bet it would be pretty amazing (and I was right).

I did a quick google search and discovered I wasn't the first person to think of this substitution. The only problem is that every recipe I found still used mayo. I wanted to go completely sans mayo, so I did it my own way. Protein + healthy avocado fat = a delicious AND healthy deviled egg! Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles!

Alina's Super Green Soup

My super green soup is a mish-mash of good for you veggies, and since it's completely natural and exceptionally healthy this soup is an all-around winner. It reminded me a little of split pea soup, maybe because of the texture but also because of the taste. Adam said he would "definitely eat it again" and it was super easy to make. This dish was a healthy success!

Alina's Sweet Peach BBQ Salmon Wraps

Today was an unseasonably warm day, which wet my appetite for summer food. I started thinking about how delicious a BBQ sandwich would be, and that's when this recipe started formulating in my head. These salmon wraps pull most of their sweetness from the tomato paste and peaches, and the brussels sprout cranberry coleslaw is what really seals the deal. My dad is an amazing gardener, and he gave me some collard greens last week that I needed to use up. My mom doesn't eat wheat products, so she sometimes uses collard greens to make wraps, and I decided to do the same.

This wrap is packed with healthy nutrients. Wild salmon is considered to be one of the healthiest kinds of fish, providing over three times your recommended omega-3s. Collard greens pack a punch with tons of fiber and healthy portions of vitamins C, A, and K. Brussels sprouts are exceptionally high in protein for a vegetable, and also have above average levels of fiber and vitamin C. Brussels sprouts are also said to protect against cancer. Peaches are high in fiber and vitamin C. To top things off, one of the natural sweeteners in this recipe, cranberries, is high in anti-oxidants and is considered to be "one of the top foods with proven health benefits." Have I convinced you yet that this dish is chock full of nutrients? That's because it is.

Why beat around the bush? This is by far one of the tastiest original dishes I've come up with. It hints of familiar summer memories while standing proud as its own, unique dish.

Alina's Eclectic Sushi Rolls

This was the first time that cooking for this blog actually made me quiver in my boots a little. I've never made sushi before and it just seems so intimidating. Good news... it's not actually that scary! Now that I've made it once I could do it again easily.

I wasn't ready to take the plunge into raw fish yet, partially because Adam hates fish (actually he doesn't really care for sushi either, so this whole post is a bit of a stretch for him), so I can't imagine he would touch raw fish with a ten thousand foot pole. I made five types of sushi, and I'll post them all. I pulled my inspiration for the buffalo sushi from this article.

Experimenting with food is fun! I encourage you to play with your food this week and cook something bold and new. :)

Alina's Vegetable Raisin Calzones

This week was one of Adam and my favorite dishes I've made so far on the blog. Adam's always been big on calzones, but he usually won't come near a calzone unless it's heavily loaded with cheese and pepperoni. This version goes easy on the cheese and is stuffed with an abundance of vegetables instead of meat and yet he still loved it. Score!

Alina's Cumin and Lentil Quesadillas

Adam and I love quesadillas (who wouldn't like cheesy filling stuffed inside bread?). This version of quesadilla is stuffed with lentils, cumin, corn and just enough cheese to make a person go "yummmmmmm."

Alina's Veggie Tian

When I saw the veggie tian recipe on the For the Love of Cooking blog, I couldn't resist making it. It just looks so. stinking. delicious!

Marissa's Lentil Loaf

This recipe comes from food.com and can be found here. I just had to change the name of it from "vegetarian meatloaf" to "lentil loaf", because you have to love this dish for what it is. Love it because it's an awesome way to eat lentils & oats, not because lentils and oats are fake meat. Lentils and oats will never be meat. And that is okay. They are lentils and oats, not meat. Ok, down from the soap box...

Alina's Veggie Loaded Pizza on a Butternut Squash Crust

Now that's what I call veggie loaded!
A few weeks ago I made a walnut pesto and mushroom pizza on a butternut squash crust. I also made a veggie loaded version on the same crust. Adam and I thought this was a flavor packed way to get lots of veggies into our diet. We most definitely would make this again!

Check out this post to learn how to make the delicious butternut squash crust.

Marissa's Avocado Soup

Avocados are a staple in our home. My 9-month-old eats some avocado just about every day. And who doesn't love some delicious guac?

I found this book at the library called The 10 Things You Need to Eat, and I decided to make the soup on page 32 called "Avocado Soup with Cilantro, Coriander, Cumin, and Lime." I already had just about all the ingredients for it, which made it even easier.

Alina's Delightful Lentil Salad

My mom sent me a recipe for lentil salad that looked good. I usually meal plan a little, but this week I've been extra busy trying to get things wrapped up at work and home before I leave for two weeks of vacation (yes, you heard that right... TWO WHOLE WEEKS!), so I just needed to whip something together. I liked the idea of a lentil salad, so this is what I came up with based on the ingredients I had on hand.

Marissa's Vegetarian Bean Chili

I was feeling a crock pot recipe, so I decided to go with this bean chili recipe from the Food Network website. I'm typically not one to follow a recipe for chili, but I thought I would give this one a shot, and I was not disappointed.

Alina's Mashy Beans with Wilty Spinach

If you're like me, the idea of mashing up white beans and serving them like mashed potatoes might be a little foreign.

Really? Like mashed potatoes? Intriguing.

Really. Like mashed potatoes. And it's delicious.

Alina's Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Garlic Rosemary Pumpkin Seeds

This creamy pumpkin soup is a favorite of my dad's and so he encouraged me to try it. I love pumpkin dishes, so I was game. He told me that the more creamy you make this soup the better, but since I was shooting for healthy I tried to moderate the creamy factor. If you make this and aren't as concerned about it being super healthy, my dad strongly recommends adding as much cream as possible. I must admit, that would have been a delicious twist. I changed the recipe based on what I had on hand, but it's pretty close to the original recipe from my dad. This was easy to make and would be especially great as a fall dish.

Marissa's Parkey Stew

I found this recipe in the Penzey's catalog and have now made it twice, at the request of my husband. He likes to call it "butter stew" because "Parkey" reminds him of "Parkay". It's no doubt that he likes it, since it has kielbasa and he's 1/2 Polish. Our baby is 50% Italian and 25% Polish. That's pretty sweet. But I digress...

Marissa's Eggplant-Artichoke-Lemon Lasagna

I randomly found this recipe online from The Veggie Table for a vegan lasagna (this vegan recipe goes out to you, Ro!). I wanted to find something creative because Alina's dishes are always so creative and so she's pushed me to higher standards. :)

This recipe was by far the most labor intensive to make out of everything I've made so far. The amount of prep it took is enough to make me not want to make it again.

Alina's Tempeh Gyros with Tofu Tzatziki

I lived in Chicago one summer, and during that time I consumed an unimaginable amount of gyros. In my mind, gyros equate to summertime which is my favorite season by a landslide. As the snow falls outside (why do I live in Wisconsin again?) I've started to crave this summertime treat. Of course, traditional gyros have a tendency to make your hips expand and your heart chug harder, so my challenge this week was to concoct a healthier version that was equally delicious.

Traditionally gyros are stuffed with lamb meat. I've been wanting to make something with tempeh as of late, and realized that tempeh would be the perfect filling for a gyro. I also wanted a simple and healthy tzatziki sauce, and a quick search yielded a jackpot find from the blogger Vegan Dad. Most tzatziki sauce is yogurt based, which is fine, but I thought this guy's recipe was interesting because he used silken tofu instead. I don't actually like yogurt that much, so I was happy to sub it out. I omitted the parsley because I forgot to pick some up at the store. He also uses tempeh, but he turns the tempeh into patties, so his recipe is more complex. I think my straightforward way is delicious and requires much less effort, but his recipe would be interesting to try sometime too.

The final judgement? It was DELICIOUS! And oh-so-easy too. This is something easy, quick, and cheap enough to make regularly aaaaaand it's healthy, which is a nice diversion from traditional gyros. Score!

Marissa's Thai Tofu Lettuce Wraps

So naturally, as I was making this recipe, I was in a big hurry cooking because we were going to be late to whatever we had planned that night after dinner. So, my pix and process here leave a little something to be desired...

I decided to make tofu lettuce wraps because they are yummy. However, I just glanced at the recipe again and realized they are not all that healthy. 43g fat in one serving? Yikes. I'm going to give them 2 stars for health. I'm guessing it's because of the pb & mayo, mostly. I followed the recipe to a T, except I omitted the chili sauce and used cabbage because I couldn't find the other kind of lettuce. Here are some pics of my process:

Alina's Mushroom + Walnut Pesto Pizza on a Butternut Squash Crust

This post is inspired by one of the yummiest pizza restaurants in Madison: Cafe Porta Alba. I recently had a pizza there with a walnut puree sauce and my reaction was something akin to the entire Mormon tabernacle choir spontaneously breaking out in the hallelujah chorus in my head. Yep, that crazy good. Naturally, I wanted to replicate it at home. I mixed things up a little by setting the stage on a butternut squash crust that I found over at the diva-dish. This crust did not disappoint, and it ended up melding with the walnut and mushroom flavors perfectly! This was so much fun to make and easy enough that any dummy with a food processor could probably replicate it.

Alina's Chipotle Caramelized Onions and Guac on a Black Bean Throne

Last week Marissa made black bean veggie burgers, and they were quite yummy. I love making black bean burgers, so I decided to whip up some of my own. To spice it up, I added guacamole (healthy fat=good) and caramelized chipotle onion-- and when I say spice it up, I mean it. On their own, these onions were sizzling, but I didn't think they were unbearable on the burger because the guac helped mellow them out. Marissa told me they thought the burgers were delicious but the onions were too spicy, so if you don't like spice be wary!

The chipotle caramelized onion recipe comes from Kevin over at one of my favorite food blogs, Closet Cooking. Many of his recipes aren't particularly healthy, but they are always very creative. To be honest, this was just an excuse to try one of his delicious looking recipes.

The burger recipe is flexible, so I often just throw in whatever I'm feeling that day. This time I tried to make it in the "typical" way, but that's like telling the wind which way to blow. It just has to happen naturally. So if you try this recipe, don't be afraid to let your belly lead you.

Marissa's Turkey Minestrone Soup

Last Saturday was Thanksgiving in February at our house. In other words, my husband's parents were visiting so we went all out and made a Turkey dinner. So for this week, I needed a creative way to use some leftover Turkey. I searched "Turkey" on Allrecipes.com and found a recipe for minestrone. I used the soup base from this recipe, but I ended up changing the rest of the ingredients around, based on what we had in our fridge/at the store. Did I mention that Alina LOVES minestrone? Win.

Marissa's Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Hello again. For this week, I decided to make homemade black bean veggie burgers to have on my husband's (delicious) homemade sourdough bread. He is both the bread-winner and the bread-maker in our home. What a catch! :)

I started with a recipe from allrecipes.com. Below is a picture of the ingredients that I used. I omitted the hot sauce that the recipe calls for because I felt that with the cumin & chili powder they would be spicy enough for our preference. Instead of breadcrumbs, I followed one reviewer's advice and crumbled Ritz crackers instead. I also added some whole kernels of before forming them into patties to give them some extra color & texture.

Alina's Pumpkin Mole Enchiladas

I had this idea to combine two of my favorite things: delicious cocoa based mole sauce (yum!) with a savory pumpkin dish.

I've been tossing pumpkin mole enchiladas around in my head for a while now, and decided to finally take the plunge and make it. I scoured the Internet for an existing pumpkin mole enchilada recipe, but came up dry. All the pumpkin enchilada recipes I found were not suitable for a mole sauce, so I ended up improvising and modifying this recipe from the Peanut Butter Fingers blog. Basically I replaced the enchilada sauce with the corn based recipe I whipped up below. I also added zucchini and spinach for a little extra veggies. Altering this recipe that is apparently quite delicious might have been a mistake, because while conceptually it has a lot of potential (pumpkin and chocolate sauce has to be amazing) the result was sort of eh. I want to try again and make some renovations to the recipe. I still think this could be great with a little tweaking.