Category Archives: Main Dishes

Stuffed Acorn Squash

We rung in this fall this past weekend with a total winner of a recipe! Stuffed acorn squash! Easy and delicious! 

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Yield: 2 servings


  • 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 2 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed (or ground) sage, divided
  • 1/2 lb turkey or chicken sausage, removed from casing
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • ½ a celery rib, finely chopped
  • 2 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ cup peeled and chopped apple
  • stale bread, cubed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large egg, beaten


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the squash halves cut side up on the baking sheet. In a small dish, combine the melted butter, minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of the rubbed sage. Using a silicone pastry brush, brush the butter mixture onto the inside and outside of each squash half. Roast in the oven for 50-60 minutes until tender.
  2. Bring a large skillet over medium heat and add the sausage. Cook, breaking up with a spoon, until meat is cooked through. Remove meat to a mixing bowl and place the pan back on the burner. Add the onion, celery and mushrooms to the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the apples and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Turn off the burner and add the onion mixture to the sausage in the mixing bowl. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of sage, the panko crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Add the egg and stir until well combined.
  3. When the squash halves are finished roasting, evenly pile the sausage stuffing into the two halves. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 18-20 minutes.

Italian Orzo Salad: The Summer of Salads continues

Rejoice!!!! Broccolini Season is upon us!!!! I had to grab some right away and then figure out what to make with it. We’re well into the Summer of Salads (#summerofsalads) and last week featured the broccolini!

(I love how it is described: “A delicious cross between broccoli and Chinese kale”)

Broccolini Glamour Shot!

Italian Orzo Salad

(makes 6 meal size servings)


8 oz (1/2 box) of Orzo, prepared according to package instructions (rinse after prepared to wash off excess starchiness, and also to help cool to room temp)

1 lb fresh broccolini

8oz container of small baby mozzarella, chopped into small pieces

2 cans of white beans (Great Northern or Cannelini), rinsed and drained

1 package baby spinach, cut into thin strips

1 pint grape tomatoes, seeded and quartered

1/3 cup olive oil (or a little more if needed to thin it out a bit)

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 tbsp shallot, finely minced

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper


1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a pinch of salt. Add broccolini and allow to boil for 2-4 minutes. Meanwhile prepare a large bowl of cold water with ice cubes. After broccolini has cooked, drain water from pot and put broccolini into the ice bath. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then lay out on paper towels to dry. Chop into small pieces, both head and stalk.

2. In a small bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, shallot, parmesan, salt, and pepper.

3. In a large bowl, combine orzo, broccolini, mozzarella, beans, spinach, and tomatoes. Add dressing and toss until fully incorporated.

4. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate – enjoy for up to a week!

More summer recipes I’m loving!

I’m waiting for a recipe fail to happen soon because I feel like these past few weeks have been full of so many recipe wins! Here is what I’ve been loving so far this week:

Breakfast: Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffin

Lunch: Greek Farro Salad

Dinner: Zucchini Lasagna

Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins


(makes 10 large muffins – I wanted these to be breakfast worthy and filling, but smaller muffins would make a snack-sized serving)


1 15oz can of pumpkin puree

2 large eggs

1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

pinch of salt

3 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup coarsely ground oats (or oat flour – I used Scottish Oatmeal that was basically just a fine oatmeal)

2 tsp baking powder

Optional streusel topping

2 tbsp canola oil

2 tbsp light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup crushed pecan pieces


1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a muffin tin (or use liners).

2. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine pumpkin, eggs, sugar, syrup, extract, spices, and salt. Mix on medium until smooth.

3. In a separate bowl, mix oats, oat flour, and baking powder.

4. Slowly incorporate the dry mixture into the pumpkin mixture, mixing until just combined.

5. Fill muffin tin with heaping 1/4 cups of batter.

6. In a small bowl combine streusel topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly amongst muffins.

7. Bake 20-23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

IMG_1795 IMG_1796


Nutritional Info:

Calories: 300, Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 37mg, Sodium: 20mg, Potassium: 90mg, Carb: 49g, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 20g, Protein: 8g, Vitamin A: 108%

Greek Farro Salad


(Makes 6 meal-sized servings)


8-9oz package of farro (1 1/2 cups), prepared according to package instructions and cooled to room temperature (Trader Joe’s has a great 10 minute Quick Farro)

1 large cucumber, diced

1 large zucchini, diced

1 cup (10-15) grape tomatoes, diced

1/2 of a large red onion, diced 2 15oz cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and dried*

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Red Wine Vinaigrette to taste (6tbsp is my suggestion)  Directions

1. Combine ingredients in a large bowl and add dressing to taste! Pretty darn easy!

*If you want to roast the garbanzo beans in the oven with some seasoning before adding them, that is a tasty option as well!


image1 image2

Nutritional Info

Calories: 381, Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 660mg, Potassium: 220mg, Carb: 50g, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 16g 

Zucchini Lasagna

Recipe HERE

I can take no credit for this recipe — I saw a great Buzzfeed article a couple weeks ago and this recipe is a total winner. I kid you not, I have had this for dinner 6 out of the last 14 nights. It’s just so good! There are a lot of great recipes on this site that I can’t wait to try! Also, just a tip – we baked it in a glass square pan, it was easier to store the leftovers for a second night and easy reheating. Plus it can get a little liquidy during baking so the pan keeps it all in one place.

IMG_1800  image3    

Nutritional Info

Calories: 120, Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 19mg, Sodium: 500mg, Carb: 10g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Protein: 9g

And there you have it! The recipes I am loving this week!

Summer of Salads!!! The first 3 recipes

In a quest to eat more vegetables at lunch while not getting tired of the daily prep that goes into eating a regular lettuce-based salad (I know it seems dramatic, but I really get tired of the salad prep!), I have been exploring slightly non-traditional salads that can meet the following:

  • can prepared on Sunday afternoon
  • last nearly the whole week
  • be eaten cold
  • contain vegetables, a grain, and some variety of bean

I read an article and then heard shortly after on the NPR TED Radio Hour, all about the studies of National Geographic writer/explorer Dan Buettner. He has spent a long time studying the lifestyles of people in what he has termed “Blue Zone” areas, where people live longer than anywhere else on Earth (it shouldn’t surprise us that our American way of life is costing us about 12 years on average from our life expectancy). Here is his Ted Talk if you want to listen and the full Ted Radio Hour show audio is here – but the Ted Talk by Dan was the best part. Super fascinating! Here is an article with an overview of the biggest takeaways that go beyond just diet.

The biggest food takeaways were:

  • 2 to 3 servings of meat per week (I don’t like to eat much anyways, so this isn’t a problem)
  • daily red wine (can I get an Amen?!)
  • coffee (another Amen!) and tea
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of beans a day as a cornerstone of one’s diet (as well as nuts)
  • dessert for special occasions only (but can’t EVERY day be special?!!)
  • plant-based diet (vegetables are about 80% of their food intake)
  • whole grains (love)
  • fish (meh)
  • water water water

The biggest lifestyle takeaways were:

  • large, thriving social networks – surrounded by healthy people who have positive long-term impacts on one’s behaviors
  • families come first
  • lots of walking – intentional physical activity based on destinations, stairs to get to/from home, gardening, chores, etc – activity centers around things that are enjoyable, an hour a day of usually gentle low-impact physical activity. No one exercises like we do!
  • focus on resiliency and thankfulness
  • faith
  • love

So here are the salads that I’ve enjoyed thus far!

Strawberry Broccoli Salad


(makes 8 meal-sized servings)


3 large heads of broccoli, chopped (about 6 cups)

2 pounds strawberries, sliced (about 4 cups)

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup feta crumbles

1/2 cup diced red onion (optional)

2 cups garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup (or more, depending on your desired dressing coverage) of a creamy poppyseed slaw dressing (I found a great one in the refrigerate dressing section of Whole Foods)


1. Mix it all together in a giant bowl. Done. Eat. 🙂

Southwestern Barley Salad


(makes 6 meal-sized servings)


1 1/2 cups barley, uncooked

1 large avocado, pitted and diced

1 large red bell pepper

2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup sweet corn

1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved or quartered

4 stalks green onion, sliced thin

1/4 cup fresh cilantro


Juice of 2 large limes

1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/4 tsp granulated sugar

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 ground black pepper

Kosher salt to taste


1. Prepare barley according to package directions. After draining, give the cooked barley a good rinse in cold water to remove the excess starch.

2. In a large bowl, mix all remaining ingredients. Incorporate barley. Cover salad and refrigerate for an hour before serving. And enjoy!

Southwestern Broccoli Slaw


(makes 4 meal-sized servings)


2 bags of pre-package broccoli slaw

2 cans (or boxes if you like to avoid tin cans like I try to) of black beans, rinsed and drained

1 bag of frozen sweet yellow corn, thawed and drained of any excess water

1 large avocado, pitted and diced

3-4 tbsp of a southwestern style ranch dressing (I used the Bolthouse Chipotle Ranch)


1. Mix it all together and enjoy!

Goodbye May, Hello June!

Lots of fun stuff happening lately!

First off – donuts. Oh how I love donuts! The DC area is getting in on an Outer Banks beach vacation treat: Duck Donuts! These were excellent! I can see what everyone is talking about when they rave about these!




The annual PBS Memorial Day Concert on the lawn of the Capitol Building was awesome as always! 



If you have never been to Harper’s Ferry, VA/MD/WV, I highly recommend it! All 3 states converge at this beautiful spot and there are historical sites, outdoor adventure activities, and much more!


I am trying to eat more veggies at lunch, I get tired of a typical salad and then realize that I end up in a rut of eating basically nothing green at lunch for weeks at a time! So this is the #summerofsalads that are of a non-traditional variety! This tasty combo below lasted the whole week and was so yummy! Strawberries, broccoli, almond slivers, get crumbles, chickpeas, and a poppyseed slaw dressing. 



Last week I had the pleasure of getting to attend a VIP pre-opening dinner at Arlington’s new Tupelo Honey Cafe! Usually I hate Facebook ads, but seeing the ad was what led to getting on the list for this event!  I know this is a popular chain throughout the south and I can see why! Every single thing I ate was so tasty! Can’t wait to go back again!

Last weekend I said goodbye to May with another year of running the Virginia Wine Half Marathon. It was hot and humid but luckily overcast! 

I love you, wine!

And wine tasting back at one of my fave wineries afterwards was a largest way to celebrate a great run!

Oh! And last but certainly not least! A HUGE thank you to everyone who shopped my Stella & Dot eBoutique in the month of May! Thanks to you, we were able to make a donation of $400 to Nepal earthquake relief !

That’s all for right now! Be on the lookout for another post very soon, I just finished a really great book that I can’t wait to share about!

Weekend Trip: Charlotte, NC

This past weekend I took a road trip to Charlotte, NC to spend the weekend with one of my best friends from college! It was such a perfect weekend! We had awesome food, got to relax, squeezed in a barre class, and I did a Stella & Dot trunk show for her friends! 

The trip down from DC took a little longer than planned on Friday, so a coffee stop was much needed as we neared the last couple hours of the drive! A quick internet search (by my copilot!) found a recently opened coffee shop just a few miles off the highway, so we headed there! Totally worth the little detour!! The Blend & Co in Burlington, NC is amazing! Fun menu (including some fun variations mochas) and a great interior! 

We made it to Charlotte just in time for dinner on Friday and were treated to the magic that is Viva Chicken! A Peruvian chicken place, but better than any place I’ve been to before! Okay, real talk, I never ate chicken, but what I did eat totally blew my mind!! 

I didn’t take a pic so I am borrowing this from Instagram. Friends, if you’ve never stuffed quinoa into an avocado half and then topped it with all this other amazing stuff, then you’re not really living. 🙂

Saturday morning we did a barre class and walked to get some donuts from a local truck, Sugar. We basically tried all the donuts between Saturday and Sunday and they were all fantastic! The Banana Fritter may have been my favorite mostly because it’s so unique! And I love banana 🙂 The Maple Bacon rivaled all others maple bacon donuts I’ve ever tried — I’d go so far as to say it was the best one I’ve experienced. 


Then after an awesome trunk show where the guests all picked some awesome spring accessories we went to dinner!

Dinner was at Maverick Rock Taco — very cool and happening place in a fun little neighborhood. 

Awesome interior!

And the food…..oh my gosh! I love street tacos! I had the Fried Avocado taco and the Roasted Cauliflower taco with the side of street corn. All of it was soooooo good!!!! 

Then we finished the weekend with a little morning coffee at Rush Espresso in my friend’s neighborhood. Coffee was great, and the little individual creamer vessels were adorable! 

And that was it! Such a great visit to a new city to visit an old friend!

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 %