Wednesday Eats: Chocolate Chipotle Chicken Chili + Irish Soda Bread

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Get ready to salivate! This recipe is awwwesome and it’s perfect for Fall and Winter and whenever you need some serious comfort food.

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Sara made the chili I made the soda bread. It ended up tasting a lot like corn bread, maybe it’s because I used spelt, but maybe not. I never had soda bread before so I don’t know if it’s supposed to taste like corn bread, but it doesn’t matter because it turned out perfectly and tasted great with the chili!

The Soda Bread

I followed the recipe from Let’s Dish Recipes.

What you’ll need:

4 cups flour [I used 2 cups spelt flour and 2 cups whole wheat flour]
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups buttermilk

Spelt flour is the non-hybrid version of wheat flour and I want to start using it a whole lot more.

What to do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease and flour a round cake pan. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually stir in the buttermilk until the dough comes together in a slightly sticky ball. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead gently a few times. Form the dough into a ball and then press into the prepared pan so that the dough resembles a large disk. The dough should reach the edges of the pan, but may spring back slightly. Cut an X into the dough with a sharp knife, about 1/4 of an inch deep. Cover the pan of dough with another round cake pan turned upside down. Bake for 30 minutes, covered, then remove the top pan and bake uncovered for about 10 minutes more or until the crust is dark golden brown.

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It came out so awesome looking you could mistake it for being made in one of those huge brick ovens directly from Ireland. I had fun smelling it. I loooove the smell of freshly made bread, but maybe not as much as I love the smell of freshly kneaded bread dough. 😀

The Chocolate Chipotle Chili

Get the recipe at Half Baked Harvest!

Sara said that you won’t need to use as much chicken broth. Use just enough to get the consistency you want. I think Sara made the chili in just the right amount of liquid and thickness. She also added both black and pinto beans. When it comes to beans, use your favorites and mix them up. Sara used canned beans and cooked everything in a large deep skillet. She poached the chicken. Doing that it made the chicken perfectly moist!

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Sometimes we find recipes and adapt them to our own interests, sometimes we make up recipes completely, and sometimes we copy completely. We find a lot of our recipes on Pinterest. It’s an awesome place to fulfill any curiosity that happens to pop in your had at any given time. It’s certainly an excellent way to find ample meal options on a day when you just can’t think of anything.

We enjoy getting to share all the different recipes we find and love. Happy eating!

– MaryAnne

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Wednesday Eats: Spicy and Sweet Pumpkin Soup!

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What you’ll need:

2 carrots
1 celery stalk
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 cans chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 cans pumpkin (or roast and use an actual pumpkin!!)
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 – 4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 – 3 tablespoons brown sugar
A heaping spoonful of peanut butter
1 cup soy milk (or milk)
3/4 cup plain yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

It seems like a lengthy list of ingredients, but half are spices and you’ll most likely find all of the above ingredients in you pantry or fridge.

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Chop your vegetables into small and equal sized pieces. Saute the mirepoix (carrots, celery and onion) on medium heat in a little coconut oil until softened. Then add the garlic and your spices. It’s easiest to measure out all the spices and sugar and mix them together in a bowl beforehand so as not to burn anything. Now is a good time to add a dash of salt and pepper as well. Cook for a minute then add the chicken broth, pumpkin, and peanut butter. I find that peanut butter is an ingredient that’s really complimentary in dishes, as long as you are careful to not over do it. It can add another subtle dimension of sweetness and earthiness. Bring to a boil and the turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Then add the milk and yogurt. Stir to incorporate and taste. If you feel it could use a little more spice, sweetness, or salt; add some. Cook for a few more minutes. Now is the tricky part. Unless you have an immersion blender, in which case I envy you. That’s right, we are going to blend it, making it smooth and creamy and somehow even more delicious! If you have an immersion blender, I’m sure you know what to do with it. If you have a standard blender you’ll simply pour the soup in and give it a quick whirl. If you are like me and only have a tiny magic bullet… well then be prepared for a mess. In any case always be extremely careful because you are dealing with hot soup. I’d recommend waiting until the soup has cooled, if time permits!

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I topped my soup with brussels sprouts which I roasted with sesame seeds and pecans. I just tossed the three ingredients with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted them in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Yummy on it’s own, but wonderful with this soup!

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– Sara

 

Wednesday Eats – Sunset Picnic at the Lake

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Salmon Pasta + Roasted Veggies

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Sara and I found out we were both craving pasta last Friday when we were having coffee before heading out to celebrate our friend’s birthday. We wanted something that wasn’t heavy or as unhealthy as the normal white flour pasta can be. I told Sara about my recent visit at the lake and how nice it was and how it had a real beach and not too many people go there very much. Taking both ideas we decided to plan a picnic at the lake on Monday. I happened to have some salmon that I had thawed out that weekend so Sara made the pasta and I made the salmon and we put the two together along with capers and crème fraiche, mmmmmmmm.

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We were on the side of the lake that is surprisingly remote and a lot of people don’t know about it. It was peaceful and calm sitting on the soft, velvety sand that reminded me of the sand in Florida.

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We had our dinner with Jamaican Ginger Beer. It’s ridiculously refreshing and way yummy and a healthier alternative to soda.

We stayed until the sun was just about gone and as the sun light dimmed and the lake got a darker blue pelicans began to fly in. They came in groups, soaring across the lake just above the water and clustered together just far away enough that we couldn’t get any decent photos of them. It was a peaceful night and we both really needed something like that – calm, laid back, and super delicious!

This recipe has been slightly adapted from Joanna Goddard.

What You’ll Need:
½ lb fusili pasta (we used a quinoa and rice flour pasta)
½ cup crème fraîche
A few spoonfuls of capers
6-8 ounces baked salmon (we seasoned ours with sage and turmeric)
Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

Bake the salmon on 425 degrees for about 18 minutes. Before putting the salmon in the oven I drizzled Newman’s Own Lite Italian dressing over the top and sprinkled Sage, oregano, Italian seasoning, a little turmeric, and pepper on top.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Let it cool then add the crème fraîche and capers. Flake the cooked salmon into bite sized pieces and add it to your pasta. It’s as simple as that, but seriously addicting when you’re in the mood for pasta.

For the veggies: slice them up, coat them with oil and seasonings and pop them in the oven at 425 degrees until you can pierce them with a fork.

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The quinoa and rice flour pasta tasted and had basically the same texture as your standard pasta, but with a healthy kick. It is even more similar than a whole wheat pasta. A pleasant surprise for sure!

Happy Eating!

– MaryAnne and Sara

Chicken Biscuit Bake

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Comfort food that can be made with the rest of the rotisserie chicken you bought yesterday or last week and it’s about to go bad so you better put it into tonight’s meal!

The first thing you do is cook the veggies. You can choose whichever veggies you want. I decided to use frozen peas, fresh celery, fresh carrots, and an onion. I chopped the veggies and put them in a big pan on the stove with 1 can of chicken broth and some soy milk, adding the broth periodically as the veggies cooked. You can use regular milk, half and half, or sour cream [put them in midway]. Even plain Greek yogurt could. Cook them on medium or so till you can pierce them with a fork.

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees. Pour the veggies in a baking pan, then add the chicken. Pull all the meat off the rotisserie chicken and shred it and throw it in with the veggies. Sprinkle on the seasonings, add more broth or milk if desired. I didn’t, but you may feel the need to.

For the seasonings you can try using a few or all of these: garlic powder, pepper, Italian seasoning, onion powder, sage, basil, dill weed, turmeric, cayenne pepper. It’s really up to you what seasonings to choose. I tend to go with whatever I am in the mood for and typically use garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning and pepper. The others add a bit more kick and can really enhance the flavor. I’m a big advocate for seasonings and I use them a lot!

Mix the veggies, chicken and seasonings together, then sprinkle cheese on top. I used mozzarella. Cheddar or Jalapeño jack would be super tasty too.

Now make the biscuit mixture.

For this you’ll need 1 cup flour, 2 tsp baking powder, oil [use what you want, I used olive oil], half cup milk, a pinch salt and a sprinkle of garlic and onion powder.

In a small mixing bowl pour in the flour, baking powder, salt and the garlic & onion powder. Add milk and 2 tablespoons of oil. Mix it up and add a little more oil until the mixture turns into a thick paste. Use a spoon to scoop globs of the mixture on top of the cheese and cover the entire pan in an even layer. Sprinkle on more pepper and place pan in oven. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

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It doesn’t matter if you use a small pan or a large pan to bake your meal in, the biscuits will work for both. You can make enough for you and a special someone or for the whole family! It also tastes good the next day. Happy Eating!

MaryAnne

Wednesday Eats – Sweet Potato w/ Goat Cheese & Roasted Grapes

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IMG_9784 I made this recipe for my parents and my grandmother when we had a dinner + scrabble night at my dad’s house last week. With it I made grilled Salmon and green beans on the side. They were intrigued by the unusual grouping of goat cheese and roasted grapes with baked sweet potatoes. I’ve been really into trying out recipes with roasted grapes lately and another I want to try in the future is a whole wheat pie using roasted grapes cooked with apple cider vinegar. Using the vinegar gives the grapes the flavor of cooked cherries and that made me think they’d taste really good in a pie using a whole wheat pie crust.

Thanks to The Wicked Noodle who posted this recipe on Pinterest, I was able to find a unique take on a sweet potato recipe using roasted grapes. The original recipe is here. I followed the recipe exactly and my family was very impressed with the result. The only thing I did differently was cook the grapes with apple cider vinegar, but you can use whatever sauce or oil you want.

Other ideas to try: When mixing the contents of the sweet potatoes mix in caramelized onions. Make a balsamic reduction and drizzle it over the top of the finished sweet potatoes.

For the salmon I had the oven at 425 degrees and lined a pan with aluminum foil. Make sure to line the pan with the grapes too. With the fillets waiting in the pan I coated them with creamy Italian dressing [I used Newman’s Own] then added my seasonings. I like Sage on fish and Savory is good too. Cayenne pepper is good if you like a bit of heat. I always use Italian seasoning as well and lastly I used pepper. Then I put the salmon in the oven to coke for 15 – 18 minutes. You can cook the grapes at the same time as the salmon, while the sweet potatoes are cooling.

Check out the link to the original recipe to get full instructions on how to put together the sweet potatoes and get them to look as cool as they do in these pictures.

IMG_9779 If you like goat cheese a lot you’ll like using all of it. If you don’t care for such a strong taste, you’ll want to use less. Perhaps just omit putting the remainder on top. Happy Eating!

MaryAnne

Wednesday Eats – Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

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Today I’m going to share a super simple and healthy recipe. It’s my go to meal when I have fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden in the summer. It is flavorful, full of different textures and so satisfying. The quinoa, cheese and olives make it feel hearty, but the veggies help to lighten it and make it fresh. I love the combination. And the dressing! That is what really makes the dish yummy. Annie’s did all the hard work for us!

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1 cup uncooked quinoa (I used red)
1 whole cucumber
about a dozen or so cherry tomatoes, more or less depending on your preference and their size
1/2 an 8 ounce block of feta…. so 4 ounces
a handful of pitted kalamata olives
Annie’s Goddess dressing

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Cook your quinoa according to package directions. It’s typically cooked just like rice. While it is simmering away, dice your cucumber and feta and halve your tomatoes and olives. Remember to get the pitted kind. I don’t know why olives are ever sold with their pits. It’s a total pain get those suckers out! (Yes, I’ll admit that I made this mistake, even though I knew better.) Also always get feta in a block! It truly is so much better than the pre crumbled kind. It’s less dry and much more flavorful. Trust me, I’ve had a lot of feta.

Once everything has been chopped and the quinoa has cooled, combine everything in a large bowl and add the dressing. The amount is definitely a personal preference sort of thing. Personally, I go a little crazy and use about half a bottle. But this could be a bit much for others. Finally, serve yourself a dish, grab a glass of lemonade and head outside to enjoy under the summer sun!

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– Sara

Wednesday Eats – Carnitas Tacos

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1466rsThis week I made Carnitas Tacos for me and my husband and I came up with some interesting ideas for what to add to them. To my mouth’s delight, my interesting ideas worked out. One of the ideas was to include roasted grapes. Yes, roasted grapes! And instead of cooking them with olive oil, I cooked them with organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar. It gave them an added apple flavor and a bit of tart that mixed with the sweetness really well. I don’t have any specific amounts for you to use for this. All you need to know are the steps and you can decide how much or how little of each item you want to use. When it comes to the olive oil I used very little, just enough to coat things.

1463rsWhat I used:

Fully Cooked Traditional Carnitas from Trader Joe’s
Red Pitted Table Grapes
Organic Yellow Squash
Sweet Peppers
Homegrown White Onion
Organic Garlic Cloves
Green Onions used from the garden
Organic Carrots
Serrano Salsa
Avocado
Minced Garlic

You’ll also need: Olive Oil, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, Sage, Cumin, Chili Powder, Pepper

Preheat oven at 425.

The first thing I did before anything else was cook the grapes since they taste really good at room temperature. Put them in a pan and coat them with a small amount of apple cider vinegar. Cook to the consistency you prefer, about 10 to 15 minutes.

While the grapes are cooking cut the carrots into semi-large sections and slice the sweet peppers. Place them in a single layer on a roasting pan. You can put aluminum foil over the pan for easy clean up after. Coat the carrots and peppers with olive oil then sprinkle pepper, sage and/or savory over them. When the grapes are done and put in a bowl to cool off cook the veggies in oven for  15 – 18 minutes. If there’s room on the pan or if you have room in the oven for an additional pan you can cook the squash in the oven too, however, I cooked my squash on a skillet with a little olive oil. Season the squash to your liking.

Once the veggies are roasting in the oven chop the white onion and the garlic and shred up the carnitas with a fork. Put all three in a skillet on low to medium heat, mixing often. Add a little olive oil and sprinkle on the Cumin, Chili Powder, and Pepper. I used quite a bit of seasoning. Onion powder is also okay to use too and any other seasonings you fancy. Cook until the flavors are blended and the onions are soft. You can add a little chicken broth to avoid the carnitas from getting dry and add some more flavor, but it’s only optional and not needed.

1458rsOnce the food is pretty much ready, finely chop an avocado, and mix it with salsa of your choice [the Serrano Salsa at Trader Joe’s is super good] and minced garlic [we had a small jar of minced garlic on hand, but if you need to mince your garlic make sure to do it during the same time you are chopping up cloves for the carnitas]. You can also add fresh squeezed lime juice.

1465rsYou can put it all into a small whole wheat tortilla or you can keep the carrots and squash on the side. Add the chopped green onions and enjoy.

The grapes tasted awesome with the pork. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with how my ideas turned out.

1471rsI eat grapes in a lot of things – mixed with Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, in salads, and now with pork! In an upcoming Wednesday Eats I’m going to make a recipe I found on Pinterest with Sweet Potatoes, Goat Cheese and Roasted Grapes, as part of my food adventure with grapes.

Happy Eating!

MaryAnne

Wednesday Eats – Lentil Loaf + Roasted Potatoes

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0711rsWe wanted to try vegan and vegetarian versions of traditional comfort foods and this is the second vegan twist for this week! Instead of meatloaf we made a lentil loaf and it looked and tasted just like it, if not better! It was also just as filling! We got sooo full!

We roasted red potatoes with some seasonings such as Italian seasoning, pepper, garlic powder, and sage, and coating the chopped potatoes with olive oil. We baked them in the oven on 425 for about 25 minutes.

For the entree we stuck pretty close to the recipe we found by The Simple Veganista, however we didn’t use use celery, carrots, the cumin, or the thyme, and we didn’t have broth so we just used water. We did use 3 small sweet peppers [one red, one orange, and one yellow], and one white onion, which can be a lot so you will need to like onions quite a bit if you use the whole thing. We weren’t able to make the glaze either though it probably would have tasted pretty awesome. We did use ketchup though and it was scrumptious.

0698rsWhat we like about this recipe is that it’s simple and basic, but tastes super good and really hits the spot. We have been wanting to try the flax seed substitute for eggs and it’s so easy to do as long as you have flax seed mill handy. And unlike the lentils in the Vegan Taco Meat recipe you will want more water because in this recipe mushy lentils is good and we ended up cooking them a bit longer.

0707rsWe give this recipe for Lentil Loaf our 100% approval. It should even please the meat eaters in your family.

We totally want to make this again! Next time we’ll make the glaze too and maybe change up the veggies and add the cumin and thyme and see how it turns out that way.

Happy Eating!

– MaryAnne & Sara

Wednesday Eats – Vegan Tacos & Homemade Salsa!

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This week there is two Wednesday Eats! Both recipes are vegan versions of traditional comfort food.

We collaborated on this post for Wednesday Eats. I made the vegan tacos and Sara made the homemade salsa. Everything was amazingly good. We were particular impressed with how the vegan taco meat came out. It tastes exactly like taco meat, yet it’s made with lentils, walnuts and black beans. I did not use any oil, salt, sugar or any pre-packaged taco seasoning and it was extremely easy to make. It took me less than 30 minutes! Below is my spin on the vegan tacos, adapted from Oh She Glows.

0675rsVegan Taco Meat

1/2 cup Lentils – washed and drained
2 to 3 oz walnut halves – finely chopped [using a food processor or automatic food chopper]
1 can low sodium black beans – mashed [using a fork]
diced tomatoes – I used one can of diced tomatoes with herbs, but you can dice as much as you’d like. make sure to drain out as much water as you can.
1 to 3 spoonfuls of a salsa of your choice – I used Trader Joe’s Serrano Salsa Fresca

For the seasonings use a lot of cumin, turmeric, chili powder, cayenne powder, pepper. Optional seasonings – onion powder, garlic powder or add chopped garlic, Italian seasoning.

For this recipe you don’t really want the lentils to get too mushy. For 1/2 cup lentils in a small pot add 3/4 cups water [think 1 and half parts water to every 1 part lentils]. Bring to boil and then let simmer until just when the water is gone. You can taste test it to see if they are cooked enough and fit the density you desire. Remove from heat immediately and dump the lentils into a skillet. Add the rest of the ingredients and seasonings. Cook out most of the moisture so it’s not too watery. Serve right away.

For the final touches we used soft corn-wheat tortillas instead of hard shells and I found it really tasty. We also added avocado, sliced red onions, black olives and a little more salsa. You can certainly get more creative and add more variety to the taco filling, as well as the toppings.

0693rsThe main thing about salsa is all about chopping and mincing and creating the customized blend of flavors to fit your individual taste. Sara’s salsa was awesome so if you’d like to try out her recipe here it is:

Homemade Salsa

a heap of tomatoes (5 or so)
1 bell pepper
1 hot pepper
1/2 onion
3 cloves of garlic
half a bunch of cilantro
cumin & chili powder to taste (I used a few teaspoons of each)
salt to taste

Chop of all your vegetables. Sara used a food processor. It’s not necessary to chop the vegetables too finely. Put all the chopped veggies and spices into the processor at once. All it took was a few pulses to get the optimum salsa consistency. Don’t over mix or you’ll end up with spicy soup that is basically undipable. Remember to let it sit for at least a few hours in the fridge to allow the favors to meld together.

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We have been interested in trying out vegetarian and vegan spins on classic comfort foods. These vegan tacos were basically amazing and could even please a meat lover. They taste awesome and are very satisfying. We could barely eat more than one!

Happy eating!

– MaryAnne

Wednesday Eats: Almost Korean Cabbage Soup

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As part of our 5 Day Probiotic Meal Plan, which you will be able to read about in an upcoming post, for our Wednesday Eats we made a cold Almost Korean Cabbage Soup and salad with homemade creamy lemon dressing. We say Almost Korean because the true Korean recipe isn’t as easily created in America and we didn’t use the complete list of traditional ingredients like anchovies.

Sara made the soup the night before and we added sauerkraut to it the next day and ate it cold. It was supremely delicious and better than I have ever personally tasted. Here’s what she wrote about how to create this yummy Summer probiotic soup:

Almost Korean Cabbage Soup
Adapted from http://aeriskitchen.com/2011/04/napa-cabbage-soybean-paste-guk/

4 cups napa cabbage (10 oz)
5 cups vegetable broth
1/2 packet of dehydrated miso
½ yellow onion
2 green onions
½ hot pepper
3 tablespoon soybean paste
3 cloves minced garlic
a few splashes soy sauce

Bring vegetable broth to a boil; add the soy bean paste and miso. While it’s heating up chop your vegetables. You’ll want your cabbage about a 1/2 inch thick and your onions and pepper into 1/4 inch strips, roughly. When the soup starts to boil again add your cabbage and onions. Cook for 15 minutes. Add the garlic, green onions, pepper, and soy sauce. Cook for an additional 5 minutes on medium and then turn off the heat. We ate ours chilled with a spoonful of fermented sauerkraut mixed in.

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Here is the sauerkraut we used:

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And the salad…

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To make the creamy lemon dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 clove minced garlic
2-3 spoonfuls of plain yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste

Put everything into a jar and shake. Pour onto a simple green salad. To our greens, we added fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden, a few olives, and some cooked and cooled lentils.

And like with all recipes you can tweak it to your liking. Try different seasonings and add or take away ingredients. Some days a meal might come out perfect and some days it might be less than stellar, but it’s always an adventure. An adventure you can eat!

Happy Eating!

MaryAnne & Sara