{recipe} brussels sprouts and radicchio salad with lemon-mustard vinaigrette.

regrettably i’ve never been much of a salad person. you know, it’s like, i like the idea of eating a salad, but i don’t actually want to eat it. i blame the way too many browning iceberg lettuce salads with mushy cherry tomatoes and ranch dressing that i consumed during my years at Creighton in lieu of the other even less appetizing options. anyways, so, i’m working on the salad thing and i enjoy coming up with less traditional combinations that don’t feel quite as in-your-face-salady.

i’d like to say i thought this one through and had it all planned out in my head, but, like 90% of the time when i come up with the recipes that i share here, it was more of a function of what we had what was going bad in the fridge. a half head of radicchio from a salad earlier in the week, a giant bag of brussies that i had big plans for that never came to fruition, some scallions on their last leg. i kind of threw everything together in hopes that it would work, and it totally did! i love salads that have both raw and cooked components, so i kept the radicchio and scallions as-is but sautéed the sprouts in some garlic and olive oil to give the salad a little complexity. this salad would work just fine with a basic olive oil & balsamic dressing, but i took an extra step and added some lemon juice and red pepper mustard, which turned out to be great additions. we had this salad along with roasted salmon, quinoa, and our first glasses of sauvignon blanc of the season, and it was a wonderful combo and the perfect spring meal to enjoy out on the patio.

ingredients

for the salad:
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1/2 head radicchio
-3 scallions
-about 15 brussels sprouts, ends removed
-3 cloves garlic, minced

for the dressing:
-1 tbsp sunflower seed oil
-1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
-1 tbsp mustard
-1 tbsp lemon juice
-salt and pepper to taste

notes:
-regular olive oil can be used in place of sunflower seed oil
-regular balsamic can be used in place of white balsamic (although i might use a little less, as white varieties are more subtle)
-i'm not sure how this would work with regular yellow mustard, so i'd recommend a dijon if you have it. i used a red pepper version from trader joe's that i'd highly recommend as well.

directions

1. trim ends from brussels sprouts and thinly slice sprouts. heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add minced garlic, cooking until fragrant. add sliced brussels sprouts and cook over medium heat until softened but not mushy, about 7-10 minutes.

2. meanwhile, thinly slice radicchio and scallions and add to a large serving or salad bowl. set aside.

3. to make dressing, combine oil, vinegar, mustard, and lemon juice in a bowl. whisk to combine, and add salt and pepper to taste. (if you like your dressing more oily/vinegary/mustardy/acidic, add a little bit more of that ingredient to suit your taste - i ended up adding quite a bit more lemon juice).

4. once brussels sprouts are done sautéing, add to the remaining ingredients in the serving bowl. serve with dressing on the side so that any leftovers don't get too soggy.

variations:
-use cooked asparagus in place of brussels sprouts
-for a more filling main dish, serve salad and dressing atop cooked quinoa or other whole grain (this was great the day after with cold quinoa!)
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happy weekend / currently

a few snapshots of life, lately…

01 / the giant bags of grapefruit and oranges that we got from costco last week that we’re making fresh squeezed juices with are helping to cure me of my california citrus homesickness this time of year.

02 / i’ve been slowly stocking up on a few essentials for our trip to san francisco in a couple of months – so far, a supersoft striped (of course) scarf and a light rain jacket.

03 / very excited to start seeing some summer seasonal beers hit the shelves. shiner ruby redbird is a perennial favorite.

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04 / loving the cookbook from the white on rice couple that ashly sent to us last week. we’ve already made the smashed cauliflower sandwiches and their foolproof pizza dough recipe!

05 / that’s our basement floor! we made a ton of progress last week thanks to k’s mom, and we’re looooving how it looks so far. it’s exciting to see this space finally come together.

06 / our next half marathon (lincoln) is less than a month away, so we’ve been ramping up our training this past week with track workouts full of sprints and stairs. hoping for good weather for our 10-11 mile run this weekend!

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happy friday! hope you all have something fun planned for your weekend. we’ll hopefully be finishing up our flooring and if it’s nice outside, i hope to squeeze in some weeding and garden prep. have a great weekend, everyone!

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on Lent.

DeathtoStock_Cozy10[photo via death to the stock photo]

growing up, i always struggled with the meaningfulness of giving something up for Lent. maybe that’s because the most common things to give up are typically certain foods or food groups, and while ditching your diet coke habit for awhile or laying off the sweets is probably a good idea in general, i just personally have trouble drawing a spiritual connection there, which makes it less purposeful for me.

after many admittedly half-hearted years of “sacrificing” certain things, i decided this year that i’d really like for kevin and i to do something intentional, and after lots of thinking, we decided that something intentional would be to give up watching tv (which for us includes netflix and hulu plus, since we don’t have cable). on the surface it probably sounds just as superficial as giving up your favorite food, but i think it’s bigger than that, and here’s why.

a typical weeknight evening in our house goes something like this: walk in door, hang up coats (ok, throw coats on ground or nearest piece of furniture), put on pajamas (at 6pm? yes, really), make dinner (unless it’s monday, which is obviously burrito + Bachelor night), pretend that we’re going to eat said dinner on our beautiful wood table from west elm that i just had to have, and without words unanimously decide that no, let’s sit on the couch, turn tv on, and proceed to stay passively planted there for most of the rest of the night.

it hasn’t always been this way. and in fact, i think i can blame (or at least explain) a lot of it on the weather. we’ve survived without cable for years and barely turn the tv on in the summer, but in the winter – and especially this ridiculously cold winter – it’s been a problem. in fact, i’ve noticed myself internally deciding that we can’t do because show is on. we can’t work on the basement because Scandal is back on this week, duh! we can’t go on a run tonight because it’s The Women Tell All show. since when did a tv show being on count as having actual plans? #lowpoint

the thing is, we know better. i like tv. i like following certain shows. i like that kevin and i watch almost everything that we watch together. but i also know that sometimes we’re choosing tv because it’s the easy, passive choice. it doesn’t require any thought. even though there are other things that i genuinely enjoy doing, those things require thinking, planning, work. and it gets easier and easier to just say no. as i’ve gotten older, i’ve realized that just as important – and maybe more important – as choosing something to not do, is choosing something to do.

so, in an effort to live more intentionally this Lenten season, and hopefully beyond, we’re saying no to tv and yes to all the things we’d really like to be doing instead and consequently, saying yes to each other (because both of us scrolling through our iPads while the tv is on hardly counts as quality time).

here are a few things we’re looking forward to focusing on over the next 6 weeks:

  • finishing our basement floor, putting the furniture back in, choosing new decor together, and spending time together in a new space we can be proud that we refinished all by ourselves
  • redesigning the blog to include a new feature that we’re pretty excited about
  • continuing to teach ourselves coding and web design
  • running more regularly in preparation for the lincoln half marathon in may
  • dusting off our big camera and leaving our iphones behind some days, instead of the opposite
  • spending time reading and working through recipes from the giant modernist cuisine cookbook that we purchased months ago but have barely opened
  • sending more snail mail and calling friends that we don’t call enough
  • and whatever else comes up!

if you’ve made it all the way through, thank you. i try not to get “religious” very often on here, but i wanted to write this in hopes of inspiring others to do something similar, to take a look at whatever it is that’s holding you back, to just say no to whatever that is, and to spend some time living more intentionally – whether it’s for Lent or just for life.

p.s. no scandal spoilers, please.

 

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{recipe} potato, white bean, and kale soup with mascarpone.

sometimes you just need a little bacon in your life, can i get an amen? anyone who knows me, knows i love bacon…almost as much as i love baseball. (in case you haven’t guessed, this is k). this soup/stew/bowl of amazingness that was created saturday night was something i needed to write about. to be honest, i can’t take much credit for this. in fact, i can’t take any credit. all i can say is that with every bite of this, i fall in love with it more and more. is it the bacon? is it the potatoes? is it the mascarpone cheese? for those wondering, i classify this soup as healthy, since it has kale in it. anything with kale is healthy, right? right.

let’s be real for a minute here. i can really only describe this as a party of flavor in my mouth. how everything plays together is so incredible, it’s hard to even describe it. if this were the last soup on earth, you had better believe i would be the one licking the bowl at the end. yes, that’s how i feel about this soup. as we like to say in our house, h really #nailedit. we’ll be seeing a lot more of this in our future.

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ingredients:
-few tablespoons canola oil
-4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
-1 yellow onion, diced
-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
-3 russet potatoes (we used 2 russets + a handful of purple fingerlings)
-2 15-oz. cans of cannellini beans, drained
-a few handfuls of kale, washed and chopped
-3-4 cups vegetable broth
-4 oz. mascarpone cheese
-salt, pepper, cayenne to taste

directions:
1. heat a few tablespoons of canola oil in a large pot. once hot, place bacon slices in the pot and fry until they reach your desired crispiness. remove bacon from pot and set aside, but reserve grease in pot.

2. meanwhile, par-cook your potatoes so that your soup will cook faster. i do this by slicing the potatoes into bite-size pieces, placing in a single layer on a plate, and microwaving for 3-5 minutes, or until they start to become soft-ish when poked with a knife.

3. place onions and garlic into pot with bacon grease and cook for a few minutes, until onions start to become translucent and fragrant. then, add sliced par-cooked potatoes, 2 cans of drained white beans, and about 3 cups of vegetable broth. give everything a good stir. bring soup back up to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer at medium-low until potatoes are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.

4. after potatoes are cooked mostly through, add chopped kale to the pot and use your judgment to determine whether additional vegetable broth is needed. i liked having this be a thicker soup, but still added another 1/2 cup after putting in the kale. totally up to you. continue cooking soup until kale starts to wilt, about 5 minutes.

5. remove soup from heat and stir in 4 oz. mascarpone cheese and the bacon pieces you set aside earlier. add salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. serve with crusty broiled bread. bon appetit!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

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happy weekend / currently

storyboard001

eating / the past couple weeks we’ve made big batches of these falafel patties (recipe via a couple cooks) and these black bean burgers and have been having them in our lunches. i love recipes like this that you can make in bulk – we even made extras and put some in the freezer. we’ve been having these with whole wheat pita pockets, mixed salad greens, and plain greek yogurt or creamy goat cheese, but the possibilities really are endless.

searching / i’m in a love/hate relationship with finding the perfect throw pillows for our sectional that will go back to the basement once our remodel is complete. i’ve been scouring society6 for options and have been pinning a few that are in the running, but let’s be honest, this one is my absolute favorite and is absolutely happening.

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misc. links to things i’ve recently enjoyed….

my birthday is 4.5 months away, but i already know that i want to have a grilled cheese party just like this one. all the cheeses. all the breads. yes.

the airport-inspired shirts and art from pilot & captain are so awesome. i especially love the european airport tag print.

these nutella brownies only have 4 ingredients and look super easy and super delicious. #itshappening

a cool DIY lighting idea (that you could probably do even cheaper). i think edison bulbs would go really well in our basement, so we might do this for over the bar area!

what’s everyone up to this weekend? temps here are supposed to be in the single digits with negative windchills, so i think we’ll mostly be staying inside and trying to stay warm – i think a big pot of soup and some red wine are in order. we’re also hoping to do the last big project to finish our basement this weekend – installing the flooring! we finally got around to painting last weekend, and although i know there is lots of controversy around painting paneling, i am so happy that we chose to do it. it’s SO much brighter and happier down there. anyways, hopefully we’ll have a (re)finished basement to show pictures of after this weekend. have a great weekend, everyone!

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