Category Archives: Appetizers

Summer Veggie Tostadas and a Cauliflower Black Bean Salad

Just wanted to share these great recipes I found (and only slightly modified to fit what I could find at the grocery store and/or had on hand) and had for dinner last night! And leftovers of tonight. These were so good!! Definitely going to repeat them very soon!


Summer Veggie Tostadas


2 teaspoons canola oil
10 ounces cooked chicken breast, cubed
1 red onion, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1 large zucchini, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup salsa verde
4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
Cooking spray
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Fresh cilantro for topping, optional


Preheat broiler.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, corn, and zucchini to pan; sauté for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
Add chicken and cook an additional 2 minutes.
Stir in salsa and stir until most of the liquid cooks off, about 2 minutes.

Working with 2 tortillas at a time, arrange tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet; lightly coat tortillas with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon with 1/4 of the chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla; sprinkle each serving with 1/4 cup cheese. Broil an additional 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas, chicken mixture, and cheese. Sprinkle each with cilantro if desired. Serve immediately.




Nutrition Facts

4 Servings

Amount Per Serving

Calories 356.8

Total Fat 15.0 g

Saturated Fat 5.1 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 1.6 g

Monounsaturated Fat 2.7 g

Cholesterol 68.9 mg

Sodium 931.3 mg

Potassium 271.6 mg

Total Carbohydrate 14.8 g

Dietary Fiber 17.9 g

Sugars 2.5 g

Protein 31.8 g

Vitamin A 8.3 %

Vitamin B-12 4.5 %

Vitamin B-6 23.5 %

Vitamin C 12.3 %

Calcium 31.0 %

Copper 2.7 %

Folate 5.0 %

Iron 9.0 %

Magnesium 8.6 %

Manganese 4.3 %

Niacin 43.2 %

Pantothenic Acid 7.1 %

Phosphorus 17.8 %

Riboflavin 6.0 %

Selenium 18.5 %

Cauliflower and Black Bean Salad


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 medium chopped onion
salt, to taste
1 green pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-site pieces
1 can of black beans rinsed and drained


1. In a pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and cumin together for 1 minute.
2. Add the onion and salt; sauté for 6 minutes.
3. Add the bell pepper, garlic, pepper flakes and cook 1 minute. Add the cauliflower and cover, cooking for 6 minutes.
4. Add black beans; heat for 1 minute.
5. Serve warm or store in the fridge till cool and serve cold.

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 4
Serving Size: 1 serving

Amount Per Serving

Calories 122.2

Total Fat 0.7 g

Saturated Fat 0.0 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g

Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g

Cholesterol 0.0 mg

Sodium 384.4 mg

Potassium 346.5 mg

Total Carbohydrate 26.9 g

Dietary Fiber 7.5 g

Sugars 1.9 g

Protein 7.5 g

Vitamin A 2.3 %

Vitamin B-12 0.0 %

Vitamin B-6 14.6 %

Vitamin C 104.4 %

Calcium 7.3 %

Copper 3.9 %

Folate 13.9 %

Iron 14.4 %

Magnesium 4.7 %

Manganese 10.5 %

Niacin 3.1 %

Pantothenic Acid 5.6 %

Phosphorus 5.2 %




Easter 2013

Well, this is a few weeks late but time has been flying! I really love Easter and the little traditions that have formed since moving to DC 6 1/2 years ago (wow, time REALLY flies!).

Tradition #1: Sunrise service at Arlington National Cemetery
I absolutely love this part of the day. Of Easter events in DC, this one is never overcrowded and unmanageable. It is peaceful and perfect. There is nothing quite as wonderful as celebrating eternal life surrounded by so many of our nation’s heroes. It always gives me chills.

Tradition #2: Trip to get coffee post sunrise service. This is a must!

Tradition #3: A mid-morning nap which also serves as a time to warm back up under the cozy covers because Easter sunrise service in DC is generally 30-40 degrees and leaves one in a little bit of a popsicle state. Brrr!

Tradition #4: A mad scurry to finish all of the baking and making for Easter dinner (see #5) and inevitably making a game time decision to add more to the menu.

Tradition #5: Easter dinner! We usually have a big group of friends over around 2 dinner. We start with appetizers while the ham is still baking and then transition to dinner at about 3. We usually make the ham, an appetizer, and one (or more…..) desserts, then everyone else brings a dish (and/or the traditional Easter dinner sangria in the case of one couple who always comes). It is such a great time to celebrate with our great friends who are like family to us.

Here are a bunch of pictures from the day! We made Biscoff Cream Eggs and the usual Martha Stewart carrot cake with orange ginger cream cheese frosting and candied carrots on top. Then a game time decision was made to run to the store an hour before our guests arrived to get the ingredients to make bacon jam. The ham we made was a bourbon brown sugar recipe. And our friends brought broccoli salad, potatoes, we had homemade flatbreads with butternut squash, blue cheese and candied walnuts on top, then rolls, caesar salad, green bean casserole, and sangria!















Bacon Jam = meaning of life

I had a life changing experience when I got taken out to lunch by a rep at work before Christmas and was able to try a specialty condiment of the restaurant that was truly life changing. Bacon jam. Oh. My. Gosh! A week later I was home in Florida for Christmas vacation and a friend and I were going to spend a day hanging out and catching up and decided to make bacon jam. The recipe he found was amazing and I have made it several times since. It never fails to amaze me.

Here is the recipe I used – it is from Closet Cooking

1 pound thick smoked bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup coffee (brewed)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup bourbon
1-2 chipotle chilis in adobo, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
pepper to taste
Cook the bacon in a large sauce pan an over medium heat until the fat has rendered and the bacon starts to get crispy and set aside, reserving 1 tablespoon of the grease in the pan.
Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the vinegar and deglaze the pan.
Add the coffee, brown sugar, maple syrup, bourbon, bacon, chipotle chilies, cumin and pepper, reduce the heat and simmer until reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 1-2 hours.
Process the jam in a food processor to smooth it out a bit but not too much as you want to have the texture of the bacon.
If you do not finish it all in one sitting, store it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

Here are some fun process and finished jam, then jam and grilled cheese sandwich pics 🙂 enjoy!







Easter Dinner Party

A few weeks late, but here are pictures from our Easter dinner party:
















We had 15 people for dinner and it was a huge blessing to share such a special day like Easter with a variety of dear friends, old and new.

Cocktails and Cravings Baby Shower

After months of prep it’s finally time to show the outcome of all the baby shower crafting and creating! My brother and sister-in-law are expecting a baby girl in June and Ava Grace will be the first grand kid for our family! We’re so excited and I am ecstatic about becoming Auntie B! With my family in Florida I knew that the only way I could be sure I’d make it to a baby shower would be to throw one myself. So I timed it with the Sarasota half marathon and had a jam packed and awesome weekend! I even managed to get my best race time! So much goodness all around!

Before I take you to all the photos, here’s a run-down of the shower:

Invites, Favors, etc:
– I handmade giraffe print invitations
– Fabric flowers made from a coordinating felt then made into clothespin name tags
-mini popcorn treat boxes for a “she’s about to pop” favor
-and I made the thank you notes and brought the envelopes to the shower to pass around to ensure that the mom-to-be had everyone’s address **this was definitely a well-praised idea at the shower, everyone thought it was brilliant. If only I could take credit, I merely saw the suggestion somewhere else. But I’ll never throw another shower where I don’t do this!
-thumbprint giraffe guest sign-in

This was all centered around the mom-to-be’s cravings so I made little signs signs at each food and hand wrote a quick banner to put above the table.
And I made a simple vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and by taking the extra time to use an array of shades of pink in the batter and frosting it transformed into a truly magical cake. (sometimes I like to just pull up the photos of the cake and stare at them…sigh….)

This was (aside from the cake) (oh! And the onesies!) my favorite part of the shower.
The “mom”osa bar got a similar sign like the food table. Then I got matching carafes and filled them with 3 different juices and got champagne (a few non-alcoholic as well!) and some fruits and made a mimosa bar. It was a great success! The ladies all loved it and there was something for everyone. Again, this is a total repeat for almost any gathering.

Last but not least…the onesies!! The shower was 3 hrs which was perfect. Everyone had about 30 minutes to mingle then we got food and drink and sat down to decorate onesies! I got a variety of coordinating fabrics, cut out some simple shapes, and then I manned the ironing board while the guests cut out their designs. After I gave them a quick iron, they were hung on the clothesline for everyone to admire.

Then after an ooh and ahhh over the cake, we enjoyed watching the ever exciting opening of cute baby gifts while eating cake.

The day was better than I ever could’ve hoped for! A destination baby shower when you make everything, cart everything on the plane in your carry-on luggage, have a day to get the local things, run 13 miles only hours before and have an hour to set up everything is a little nerve-wracking, but with some awesome help it was a great success!

Okay, now the photos!
















Party Treats

For my friend Katherine’s birthday party on Friday I decided to make my official favorite (and what I think are the best ever) Chocolate Chip Cookies. Had the remaining few cookies at my house not met an unfortunate demise I would have probably eaten 2 for breakfast today. Maybe it’s for the best… =)



And then I made something I’ve been craving and wanting to try for awhile — Watermelon and Feta skewers:

  • 3 Cups watermelon cubed
  • 10 oz Feta cubed
  • 20 sprigs of Mint
  • Honey lime dressing
  • Wooden skewers

Place a watermelon chunk onto skewer, add a piece of Feta and then a mint sprig and repeat until skewer is ¾ of the way full. (Leave enough space on either end for guests to hold.) Drizzle dressing over skewers on platter and serve cold if possible.

Honey Lime Dressing:

  • 4 TBL honey
  • 2 TBL lime juice
  • Salt and Pepper

Mix to combine.


They were SUPER delicious. Your taste buds go on quite a journey processing all the flavor combinations. Definitely a repeat recipe!



And here are the cookies ready to go!