Asparagus Tart

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Last Sunday, Korena and Ian came over to celebrate the arrival of spring in Texas with a backyard barbecue. James used his Big Green Egg grill to smoke some heavenly ribs while I whipped up some icy margaritas for cocktail hour. Korena brought a yummy potato salad studded with poblano peppers and corn and, as a starter, an asparagus tart from our mutually favorite cookbook, The Forest Feast. The appetizer was beyond delicious. The asparagus was tender and the capers, pine nuts, herbs, and garlic packed such a flavorful punch. Korena used goat cheese instead of the recommended brie as the base of the tart and it added the perfect hint of decadency. Find the recipe here and if you try it out, let me know if you enjoyed it as much as we did. It would pair perfectly with a cold glass of rosé and a salad full of spring produce. And check out these gorgeous photos that Korena snapped during our barbecue and posted on her blog – aren’t they beautiful? (Sneak a peek at more of her pretty pictures here.)

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Recipe Testing

3e4d4c12ece789356fcc9905169ffc7eRecently I’ve been devouring my cookbooks as though they were novels, poring over them as I lie in bed each night. I take notes on which treats I want to try and, as a result, we have been cooking a lot lately. Reading my cookbooks has also inspired me to try out all of the recipes I’ve bookmarked online over the months (okay, let’s face it, years). We’ve discovered so many new kitchen staples, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite recipes that we’ve tried here. Nearly everything we’ve made has been a winner! Some are from those delightful cookbooks I’ve been pawing through (like The Forest Feast), and others have been gems discovered online. Take a peek at the list, and let me know if you try your hand at making any of these recipes yourself!

From The Forest Feast:

From It’s All Good:

From The Sprouted Kitchen:

From The Blogosphere:

  • Oven-Baked Chicken with Lemon & Thyme – Cooking chicken has always intimidated me, for some reason, but now I have a go-to method for making chicken that creates a flavorful, delicious, and juicy outcome. You must incorporate the lemon and thyme for extra special flavor that will have you coming back for seconds.
  • Soba Noodle Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing – This is delicious and light, and it gets better each day that it’s left mingling in the fridge. I really liked taking this to work for lunch for several days in a row.
  • Green Detox Smoothie – I crave this delicious blended concoction on a daily basis and, as a result, have been enjoying it every morning for breakfast. I was scared of using the spirulina at first because it smells terrible but you can’t taste it at all and the superfood’s benefits are mind-blowing. The pomegranate seeds on top are a must – they are so yummy!
  • Thai Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes – So much flavor! We ate these while I was cleansing so the sweet potatoes were perfect but the chicken mixture would be good on top of anything – rice, quinoa, noodles.
  • Chicken & Poblano Chili – If James had to pick a favorite from the bunch, I think this would be it. This chili is hearty and packed with great spicy flavor. (The original recipe calls for turkey, which would probably be delicious, too.)
  • Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies with Pretzels & Toffee – I mean, DELIGHTFUL.
  • Egg Muffins with Vegetables – Great for breakfast on the go.
 Image via The Everygirl

The Forest Feast

FF_printed_cookbook_001One of my favorite birthday presents was a beautiful copy of The Forest Feast, a cookbook that features deliciously easy vegetarian recipes, all of which are accompanied by whimsical watercolor illustrations and gorgeous photographs. The book itself was so lovely to receive, so pretty, in fact, that it was easy to leave propped up in a prominent place in our kitchen…and then left untouched. Until yesterday, when I realized what a travesty it was to leave the gorgeous book on the counter by its lonesome and proceeded to read the entire thing cover to cover, earmarking each delicious recipe that I want to try (essentially all of them). Everything looks so mouthwateringly-delicious, and each recipe contains just a few uncomplicated steps, illustrated brilliantly and clearly, which is perfect for visual learners like myself. Nearly every recipe contains basic ingredients that are typically on hand, paired with a few items from the produce section. It’s the perfect cookbook.

tumblr_m2nqa8k9AX1r4p2epo2_1280Coincidentally, Korena got the cookbook for a gift, too, so for the past 24 hours, we’ve been sending each other a flurry of text messages about the treats we want to try. I gave the Red Roasted Vegetables a whirl last night (using asparagus and tomatoes instead of carrots), and they were delicious – the cinnamon added such an unexpected kick. Korena raved about the Corn & Cauliflower Tacos, which I can’t wait to cook next, and tonight she made the Butternut Caprese, which looks unreal.

tumblr_m72nuht6qh1r4p2epo1_1280 tumblr_m72nuht6qh1r4p2epo2_1280 tumblr_m72nuht6qh1r4p2epo3_1280I can’t recommend this cookbook enough. The simple recipes, pretty illustrations, and the chapter devoted solely to cocktails make it absolutely worth adding to your collection!

Photos via The Forest Feast

Week & End

c12735c25dc99db51744e99506955f17Happy Daylight Savings Day, friends! I am thoroughly enjoying the extra hour we were gifted with today, aren’t you? This weekend has been full of so much fall goodness – a pizza party at our house on Halloween (which included all of our guests passing out candy to cute trick-or-treaters), a backyard movie night and pumpkin carving party at a friend’s house last night (complete with s’mores, local brews, and cool weather), and lots of long walks outside with Callie girl. I’m not ready for the weekend to be over, but I’m looking forward to a good week, which will include a cool workshop in Fort Worth, a lunch date with Korena, a crafting edition of girls night in (calligraphy and Prosecco will be involved), and lots more goodness in between.

Enjoy your Sunday evening, and if you’re in an exploratory mood, check out the links below!

Last night we watched A Nightmare on Elm Street, which I had never seen before. I loved it! I also loved this video that shared some fun facts about the movie.

Ina Garten is coming to Dallas in February! My girlfriends and I are planning on snagging tickets to see her speak – so fun!

Current titles on my to-read list: Yes Please, How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, and The Forest Feast.

I absolutely loved this post on Wit & Delight about leaving social media behind in favor of pursuing the richness inherent in the present moment. My favorite takeaway – “Here’s to less media and a more thoughtful way of being social.” Amen!

I made my favorite cookies this week using this recipe (which calls for cream cheese instead of eggs) and was out of chocolate chips. Since we had a plethora of Halloween candy on hand, I decided to use chopped up Reese’s peanut butter cups instead. This resulted in the best cookies I have ever made. Please try this recipe out for yourself asap!

Image via Instagram