Basics · comfort food · dip · easy · Party food · quick · snacks · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Lazy Spinach Dip

The first time I ever tasted this dip was when I lived in New York. My former college roommate (and very dear friend), Pam, made it for me. At the time I was completely incapable of cooking for myself. I can’t fucking stress that enough… I was literally eating bologna sandwiches, instant ramen, and easy mac (not even the boxed stuff) on the regular. I WAS BUYING CABBAGE THAT I THOUGHT WAS LETTUCE. THIS WAS MY REALITY.

It was a dark time.

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But then Pam made me some spinach dip over drinks at her place one night, and I was floored by how easy it was to make. I remember being fucking hammered one night (she didn’t drink much, so her boo and I would drink for her), and having the last mouth full of spinach dip STILL IN MY MOUTH when I realized there was another batch and I shouted, “OH MY GOD, THERE’S MORE!” It was the truest expression of pure joy.

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Not long after that night, I decided to have another friend over to watch the Oscars (this was the one and only time I pretended to care about that shit). Trying my very best to be a real adult, I prepared snacks. This spinach dip was the star, but I would like to note that I also served cheese and crackers like a seasoned hostess. It was still BYOB though, because this bitch isn’t made of money.

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Lazy Spinach Dip (found here or on the back of all Lipton’s Vegetable Recipe Mix packaging)

10 oz frozen spinach

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

1 packet (1.4oz) Lipton’s vegetable recipe mix (previously known as Lipton’s Vegetable Soup Mix)

Fill a medium sauce pan with about 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Add in frozen spinach and simmer for a few minutes. Drain and squeeze out excess water. Mix spinach with all other ingredients. Chill in fridge for 2ish hours. Or just eat that shit right away because you’re fucking starving and this shit is delicious.

Serve with veggies or chips. I recently started making this dip again, and T is addicted. We serve it every time anyone comes over, and also sometimes just for us. Fuck sharing.IMG_20190203_124333.jpg

 

Asian food · broccoli · comfort food · corn · dinner · easy · healthy · lunch · mushrooms · pasta · Ramen · vegan · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

“Homemade” Vegetarian Ramen

It can be difficult to find good ramen as a vegetarian. I’m lucky to live in an urban area with access to various ramen restaurants, but 90% of what is offered is meat based. Then again, 90% of all restaurant foods are meat based. The struggle is fucking real.

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Fry those little fuckers on every single side. Trust me, it’s worth the wait.

When Cortney came to visit last summer, I decided to take her to United Noodles, which is an Asian market in Minneapolis. It’s the one that T first took me to back when we were still figuring out if we were dating or not (check it out here). At the time I was completely fascinated by all the products, and ended up focusing hard on the sweets. Mochi is one of my favorite foods, but it can be hard to come by in the Midwest. This place housed a plethora of mochi options. None of which were as good as the fresh shit in Hawaii, but I digress. Despite not serving fresh mochi, it’s the best Asian market in the cities as far as I know. Since Cortney is Hawaiian, I knew it would be of interest to her. We ended up deciding to make ramen at home, which I didn’t think was possible. She had a plan, and showed me exactly what we’d need. Without her, this recipe wouldn’t exist. She knew the good miso paste to purchase, and which noodles were best (I didn’t take a pic of those – sorry!), as well as how to add the “right” toppings. Of course, we also loaded up on all the bomb-ass Asian snacks (Ube mochi to be specific, as well as Pocky sticks, and various cookies). It was a goddamn feast when we got home!

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Last week T got a hankering for ramen, so we made the trip back to United Noodles. I picked up all the ingredients to make some veggie ramen at home (even opting to omit the tofu to speed up the process – that shit can be time consuming), all while he was loading up on the prepackaged dried shit. When he said he wanted ramen, he meant instant. It still blows my mind how frequently he’s counting those as a meal without adding a single vegetable. Is anything really a meal when a vegetable isn’t included? Oh wait, this is America. Sigh. Nevermind.

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This is the good stuff. If you can find this, use it. If not, don’t panic. It’s just soup. Calm the fuck down. Any miso paste should be fine. 

If you want to simplify things, you can always leave out the tofu. If you eat meat, you can always add in meat. It’s not that fucking difficult. This is a sort of “figure it out as you go and don’t be a dumbass” type of recipe. It’s not specific amounts meticulously measured out, but rather a lot of throwing in things that you think will taste good. If it’s something you enjoy in other things, add it here. Some people think it’s weird that I like to add corn. To those people I simple say, “Fuck off, and make your own ramen.”

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“Homemade” Vegetarian Ramen

4 oz extra firm tofu

4-6 tablespoons miso paste (to taste)

4 cups water

Salt and pepper

16oz Noodles (dried or fresh are fine – can easily be found in any Asian market, or the Asian foods section of larger grocery stores), follow cooking directions on packaging

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Any or all of the following optional toppings: boiled egg, green onions, enoki mushrooms (see photo to right), bok choy, seaweed, frozen corn, bamboo shoots, any dark leafy greens, broccoli, chili oil, sriracha, etc (the sky is the limit – go nuts)

Bring water to a boil and add in miso paste. Stir and simmer until fully dissolved into water. Taste to see if you need a little more (I like mine a bit stronger). Simmer for a few minutes.

For the tofu: Place between 2 layers of paper towels and place a heavy plate/pan/book on top. Wait about 20 minutes to allow the weight of the plate to squeeze out the excess water. Cut into 1-2″ cubes. In a hot skillet (over medium to medium-high heat), drizzle enough oil to cover the surface (I like to use olive oil with a splash of sesame oil for flavor) , and evenly distribute the cubed tofu. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Fry for a few minutes on each size, trying not to move things around too much. It can get smokey depending on the type of oil you use, so be aware of that and lower the heat if needed. After a few minutes, those little fuckers should be browned on one side. That’s when you flip ’em all over. I like to brown all sides of the cube, but that’s up to you. I just love ’em extra crispy.

Place a handful of cooked noodles into a large bowl. Ladle over some of the miso broth and top with tofu and veggies of choice. Drizzle with any hot sauce or chili oil you like, and dig in!

Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? Anyone else have a go-to recipe that is a lot easier than it looks? Comment below!

Did you make this recipe? Post a photo and tag @kelseyskitchen23 on Instagram!

casserole · Cheese · comfort food · dinner · easy · Hot dish · lunch · potatoes · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Tater Tot Hot Dish and Stolen Laundry

Last week I was trying to do 12 things at once, which included laundry. I have lived in my apartment building for 7 years (!) and have always left my laundry in the dryer (and sometimes washer when I’m forgetful) longer than is appropriate. But! I am also of the belief that if someone’s clothes are in the way, it’s totally okay to take their clothes out and put them on top of the dryer. Anyone that is opposed to that is a fucking baby. Like, why? It’s fine. If you don’t want people touching your clothes then live in a nicer building with in-unit laundry, you goddamn princess.

So I started laundry one night last week. Once it was in the dryer, I went to T’s place for the night. Again, I do this all the time. And I’m not alone! Lots of people leave their laundry down there. When I got home the next morning and went to grab my laundry, it was gone. The reusable dryer ball that I use was placed on top of the machine, but there wasn’t a single item of clothing to be found. I called T immediately, fuming. I was pacing the halls and loudly bitching to him on the phone at 6:30 in the morning. I almost started pounding on doors, but T assured me that I did not want to be “that person.” In lieu of knocking on every door, I decided to make signs for the laundry room and front doors warning the rest of the building that we had a laundry thief among us, and to call me if they knew anything. After putting those up, I was still seething with so much anger that I decided every fucking apartment door in the building needed a sign. I ripped out notebook pages and wrote notes to tape on every single fucking door.

After putting up all the signs, I went to work in old ass scrub pants (since all my good ones had been stolen). I had also texted my landlord and maintenance person to see if they could do anything about it. Turns out there is a camera in the laundry room! Nowhere else, of course, because no one is at all concerned about the homeless person that had been living in a storage unit, but I digress. There was at least a camera where I needed it in this moment.

It ended up not coming to that, though. A few hours later, I got a phone call from one of the guys that lives in the basement units. He doesn’t speak much English, but stated that he was “very sorry” and that he would “put back.” From the little bit I understood, it sounds like it was an accident. Or at least that’s what he’s claiming. I’m sorry, do my hot pink pants and lace underwear look like the clothing of a middle aged man? And why would he make sure to remove the dryer ball? I don’t trust anyone. It sure seems like that fucker was legit trying to steal my clothes. I like to think my aggressive notes all over the building made him realize he shouldn’t fuck with me.

This recipe feels ill timed, as it is the time of resolutions. That means most people have resolved to lose weight, which makes me sad. Instead of focusing on weight, let’s focus on feeding our bodies good food. Sometimes that means food with lots of cheese and tots, and sometimes it means tons of fresh veggies. Today, for me it meant something easy and comforting. It’s been a long and hectic holiday season, and it’s cold as fuck outside here in Minneapolis. That means it’s hot dish season. I didn’t grow up with tater tot hot dish, like a “normal” Minnesotan. My mom (and extended family) is from Wisconsin, so we always called this kind of thing a casserole. And we never used tater tots. The first time I ever even ate tater tot hot dish was when I made it for my roommates in New York at the age of 23. Before that the only casserole I’d had was noodle based and had tomato sauce and ground beef.

Since becoming a vegetarian I have discovered Morningstar Farm meatless crumbles work great in any recipe that calls for ground beef. The texture is pretty spot on. Plus, it made this recipe even easier, as I literally just had to dump a bunch of bags and soup into a bowl. I did not bother cooking the crumbles beforehand, as they would have plenty of time to warm up in the oven. The whole thing took maybe 5 minutes to throw together. The preheating of the oven took longer.

I have to thank Sarah for this recipe. She comes over to hang out with T and me sometimes, and almost always makes us some fucking delicious hot dish. I like to put an egg on it for our hungover asses the next morning.

Tater Tot Hot Dish

2 bags (12oz each) Morningstar Farm meatless crumbles (or 1.5 pounds of cooked ground beef)

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 cup milk

1 bags frozen mixed veggies (I used 10oz bags and they were a mixture of peas, green beans, and corn)

1 pound frozen tater tots (you’ll have leftover)

2ish cups sharp cheddar cheese (enough to cover)

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl mix together the meatless crumbles, veggies, soup, and milk (plus a little salt and pepper). Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish and cover with shredded cheese. Finally, line up all those cute little tots on top. Throw it in the oven for 45-60 minutes. The tots should be crispy and delicious.

Put an egg on it for breakfast, especially when hungover. Then get your second sleep to avoid a full day of your hangover’s bullshit.

comfort food · dinner · easy · healthy · pasta · Sauces · squash · vegan · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta

Ya’ll know how I feel about fall, right? It’s not my jam. I just don’t give a fuck about the leaves. They end up all over the streets and sidewalks, which means I step on them, and little bits inevitably get stuck in my legwarmers. I know what you’re thinking… But, Kelsey, the colorful leaves are just so pretty. Ugh. (Insert eye-roll emoji) I really couldn’t care less.

I do, however, love love love butternut squash. I discovered it only a few years ago while making simple vegan soup, as well as some bomb ass mac and cheese. This was not a food I grew up with, as the number of veggies my mom likes could probably be counted on one hand. The one time I had any type of squash was at my high school best friend’s house, and it was covered in cinnamon, and around Thanksgiving. While I liked it in the moment, I don’t love when squash is made to be very sweet (which is also why I generally don’t like sweet potatoes, because I always think they’re going to taste like regular potatoes, and then I feel like I’ve been fucking lied to). It feels like they should all be savory, so I’m completely thrown off when they’re sweet.

Last week was Thanksgiving, which, as a foodie, is my fucking jam. I love the start of the holiday season so much. Especially because it also signifies the end of autumn, so everyone can just shut up already. T thought it’d be fun to have all 4 of our cats under one roof for the holiday weekend. He suggested it several weeks ago, but claimed ignorance when I reminded him last Sunday, full on acting like I was a goddamn nutcase for suggesting such a thing. To which I responded with, “Not my problem, man. We’re doing this. It’s already decided.” He may or may not have had a few drinks when initially thinking it was a good idea, but that’s not my fault. So we did it. I lugged over my 2 cats, along with all their shit, and all the ingredients for the full spread of food I insisted on making for Thanksgiving despite the fact that it was only the 6 of us (and 4 of us were felines). I absolutely could not be talked out of making every single side dish. I even made pumpkin shaped (sort of) dinner rolls from scratch, which was enough of a project on it’s own. Since I’m terrible at reading the recipe all the way through before starting, I accidentally ended up with 30 motherfucking dinner rolls. THIRTY. Let me remind you that there were a mere two humans to feed, and we had a full menu of vegan turkey (the only thing I didn’t make myself, and by far the least delicious thing on the table), mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, and some fucking homemade apple pie in addition to those dinner rolls (for pictures of the end product, check out my instagram – @kelseyskitchen23). We also had 3 cats and one monster of a kitten to work around in all of this (Let’s be real, Bourdain had to be put away for most of the cooking, otherwise he’d have sneaked off with all the butter).

I had no real plan or order to things when I started cooking, and I was doing it all in T’s tiny ass box of a kitchen with no windows. This also meant that I had to bring over every single ingredient, since, of course, he doesn’t have and fucking standard pantry staples outside of salt and pepper. He also had 1/3 of a bag of flour, which we had to use for the dinner rolls, gravy, and pie. We used all but maybe 3 tablespoons of that bag of flour, and I am simple NOT okay with cutting it that fucking close. When it got to be time to mix the pie filling together, I realized I had forgotten the cinnamon and nutmeg at my place. This led to a full-on melt down fueled by the fact that I was starving and hadn’t had any wine yet. I mean, what kind of fucking holiday was this? I fell into T’s arms on the couch, crying and yelling about his lack of kitchen supplies, as he reassured me that it was going to be okay. He said that we didn’t have to make pie. This sent me into a full on feeling of pure rage. Of course we’re going to make the pie – I already have a dozen apples in the fridge! And the pie crust was made last night! What the fuck am I supposed to do with it if we’re not making pie today?! WHO DOESN’T HAVE CINNAMON IN THEIR HOUSE?

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We drove back to my place to get the spices. When we got back to his place, I downed a glass (or two) of wine, and immediately felt better. We got that fucking pie into the oven, and I went to work on the side dishes.

Of course, then the pie filling dripped onto the bottom of the oven, which subsequently started billowing out smoke. I turned off the oven, and T held a giant fan above his head to blow the smoke away from the smoke detector. He had to hold it there for a long time (it wasn’t light) to clear out all the smoke.

I poured myself another glass of wine.

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I think even Bourdain was okay with the lack of butter.

This recipe is creamy and decadent without an ounce of cream or butter. I know – it blew my mind, too. When it’s the star of the recipe, I don’t often know how to handle a squash’s sweetness. This recipe goes full-on savory with onions and garlic. It really would have been at home on the Thanskgiving table last week, but I was too proud to cook something “simple.” Don’t be like me. Make this your next holiday tradition.

Anyone else have a frustrating (or fun) Thanksgiving cooking story? Leave a note in the comments.

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Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta (originally found here)

1 medium butternut squash, cut into 1/2″ cubes (about 3 cups)*

Olive oil

A handful of chopped fresh sage

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 cups veggie broth

12oz linguine (or long pasta of your choice)

Salt and pepper (always)

Place a large pot of salted water over high heat in preparation for the pasta. In a separate large pot, drizzle some olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in the sage and let it fry to a crisp, stirring a couple of times. Once it’s crispy, transfer to a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Set aside. Using the same pot, drizzle a touch more olive oil, and throw in the squash and onion. Let it cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Toss in the garlic and let it cook for another few minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until it has reduced by about half. The squash should be soft at this point.

While the squash mixture is cooking, boil the pasta until al dente (following instructions on package, or be fancy as fuck with some fresh pasta). Reserve 1 cup of the pasta liquid (don’t forget like I did!).

Take the squash mixture, and blend it in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste (be generous!). You may have to do this in batches. In a large skillet, place pasta + sauce over medium heat. Drizzle in some of the pasta water and toss until the pasta is evenly coated with sauce. Keep adding pasta water to thin it out. Mine still ended up being super thick, but that’s okay. Try not to judge yourself.

*Pro tip: Roast those squash seeds with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Then throw those little fuckers on top of the pasta for some added crunch! (Follow my recipe for pumpkin seeds)

 

 

comfort food · dinner · Eggplant · Italian · Lasagna · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Eggplant Parmesan and Being Basic

It’s prime farmer’s market season, so T and I have been going wild with the fresh produce. In addition to a huge haul at the farmer’s market the other week, my friend also gave me a ton of shit from her garden. I was PSYCHED. She gave me these beautiful little chubby eggplants, and I was bound and determined to make eggplant parmesan. Except it was hot as fuck outside, so I wasn’t so into frying everything in a pan. It takes fucking 45 minutes just to get the eggplant ready to layer, and I was not fucking having it. Plus, as you recall from my corn fritters fiasco, I’m fucking terrified of hot oil. That shit jumps everywhere, and my anxiety just cannot.IMG_20180818_155711

Aren’t they adorable?

T was over when I was making this, tolerating not only my need to constantly have a project, but also my love of the Bachelor in Paradise. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but I can be real basic. Case in point: I had my first pumpkin spice latte of the season this morning, but I digress. We’ve been watching Bachelor in Paradise more than I care to admit, but, in our defense, we only just discovered it. We had a similar obsession with Naked and Afraid a couple of months ago. Watching people willingly put themselves in harms way? Sign me the fuck up. I love that shit. I love when they cry on the show about how it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done, and boo-hoo poor them. Like, bitch, please. You literally signed up for this your damn self. No one held a gun to your head. And you’re never in any real danger, because the crew is right fucking next to you. I have similar reactions to Bachelor in Paradise when they cry about their boo kissing someone else. I mean, they’ve been on one fucking date. Also… isn’t that the whole point?! If you don’t fuck your way through that show, it seems like you’re doing it wrong. What do I know, though? I found love on Tinder. Maybe it’s possible to find it on TV, too (insert eye-roll emoji).

The friend that gave me the eggplants also gave me a tons of cucumbers, a mutant zucchini, and a bunch of tomatoes. I pickled and baked my way through that weekend, and then had a panic attack Sunday night when I realized I wouldn’t have time to finish everything and that some of the produce will inevitably go bad. We all have to accept that this is going to happen, and calm the fuck down. When all was said and done, I only ended up wasting 5 cucumbers. This sounds like a lot, but I was given BAGS OF THEM. So, basically, I fucking killed it that weekend. But there was no telling me that Sunday night when I was in full-blown panic mode, sobbing on the phone with T. He was like, “Breathe. You need to just sit down and watch some Bachelor.”

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Eggplant Parmesan

1-2 eggplants, sliced into ~1/2″ rounds

Lots of Mozzarella (LOTSSSSSS), shredded or thinly sliced

1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce*

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 egg, beaten

Salt and pepper

Take your sliced eggplant, and layer it over some paper towels. Sprinkle some salt on both sides, and let ’em sit for something like 20 minutes. This draws out the water. We don’t want soggy eggplant parm, right?

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish and a large baking sheet. Place the beaten egg in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Dip the eggplant, one by one, into the egg, then the bread crumbs. Make sure to thoroughly coat everything. Place them in onto the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 35 minutes, flipping halfway through. Once they’re done, you’ll start layering. In the 8 x 8 baking dish, first spread out about 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce. Place a few of the eggplant slices over that, then more sauce, then cheese, then eggplant, then sauce, cheese, eggplant, etc. End with the cheese. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the cheese is all melted and gooey. You can either slice it like lasagna, or scoop up individual slices. I was trying the individual slice method, but I don’t recommend it.  Baking this took way longer than it should have, and that is when I discovered that my oven runs cold. It turned out way better when I made it at T’s place, but his lighting is for shit.

Serving suggestions: over pasta (super carb-y), with a side salad (keeping it light), with some buttery garlic bread (extra super carb-y), or just on it’s own. Now that the weather has cooled down in Minneapolis, this is the perfect time to start carb-loading. It’s also less of a pain in the ass to have the oven on.

*It can be nice if you saute some other veggies and add it to the sauce (mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, etc). Also, it should be noted that I did not use nearly enough sauce (or cheese) in the pictures. Don’t be like me. Sauce it up.

broccoli · brunch · comfort food · dinner · easy · gluten free · healthy · mushrooms · potatoes · sides · vegan · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Wrestling · Yummy

Lemon and Dill Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

So I went to a wrestling match the other day. It was at Bauhaus Brewery in Minneapolis. I don’t really do beer, but was in a drinkin’ mood, so I downed 2 within the first 30 minutes. I mean, if I’m watching “wrassling,” as T calls it, I better be hammered. HAMMERED.

I’m 5’5 and T is 6’3, but I matched that fucker beer for beer.

Have y’all ever been to a wrestling match? Now, I don’t mean proper wrestling as a sport. I mean “wrassling” as a performance (think WWE). It is a weird hodgepodge of humans that enjoy this shit. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is fucking entertaining.  But some of these people are obsessed. And their excitement is contagious. I mean, fuck, towards the end of the show I was full on meowing with the performer… complete with making my hand into a claw and “scratching” the air in front of me (he had a cat theme going, so I was on board). I mean, honestly, get a few drinks into me and I can get excited about anything.

They only had one women’s match, which is a bunch of bullshit. At least the women they chose were badasses. I was rooting for the shorter, plainer looking girl, because, I mean… obviously. But then the traditionally “hot” girl started putting all this crazy lipstick around the outside of her lips and acting full-on INSANE, and I was like, “Murder that little plain bitch!!!”

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I mean… LOOK AT HER.

Also, wrestlers are fucking HOT. Most of the dudes that performed were beefy as fuck. We made our rounds at the end of the show to meet all the wrestlers. I don’t know why (beer), but T insisted I be photographed with everyone (because beer). He kept telling them how excited I was to be at my first show, so they were all super sweet to our drunk asses.

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T was about to take the picture when he stopped everything and said, “Hold on… hold on… Something’s not right…” I honestly thought something was wrong with his phone or something. But then he said, “Hey man, do you think you could take your shirt off for her?” And that’s when I knew I was in love.

There was one guy that acquired some sort of head wound during his match, and it caused blood to pour down his face. You better believe that fucker left the dried blood all over his face for the rest of the night. I’m sure it was for dramatic effect… and photo ops. I fell for it. Obvi.

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This was literally 2+ hours after that head injury. No one could get him a towel?

My only complaint was that this event was held on a Sunday. I mean, why? WHY? I was hungover at work the next day, which is the fucking worst.

We have tickets for another wrestling performance next month, and I’m fucking psyched. Who knew?

We like to contradict stereotypes, so we watch wrestling and shop at the farmer’s market. That’s where we got these delicious little fingerling potatoes. They make everything feel a little fancy, and they’re easy to make.

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Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

2ish pounds Fingerling potatoes, washed and sliced in half

1 head broccoli, cut into florets

As many mushrooms as you want (I used around 8oz, but wanted more)

Juice from 1/2 lemon (or about 2 tablespoons)

Garlic powder

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Fresh dill (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Bring a pot of water to boil and add in the potatoes. Boil for about 10 minutes (just to start the cooking process). We don’t need them to be cooked all the way, but want to cut down on roasting time. After 10 minutes, drain and rinse potatoes and dump into a large mixing bowl. Add in the broccoli and mushrooms. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon. Toss with a sprinkle of garlic powder, lots of salt, and a bit of pepper. Make sure it’s all mixed well before spreading onto a baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring things around halfway through. Once done, top with a bunch of fresh chopped dill. Serve with whatever you like! I serve everything with an egg. Sometimes I add some green beans, too.

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LOL

Cheese · dinner · easy · healthy · lunch · quick · salad · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Farro Arugula Salad

There was a time in my life when salads were a type of punishment. As a teen, I would routinely eat minuscule salads every night, iceberg lettuce drizzled in flavorless fat-free Italian dressing (15 calories per serving!). I discovered ranch dressing around the age of 16 at my first waitressing job, and didn’t learn about arugula until I was twenty-three when I worked at a higher end French cafe in New York. It opened up a whole new world (cue the song, please).

At the age of 18, I lived in New York with several lovely ladies. A few of them knew how to cook, or were at least good at having real food around. I was at a loss for how to put together proper meals. My undeveloped 18-year-old brain just couldn’t fucking handle it. I mostly ate canned clam chowder, breakfast cereal, bagels from a street cart, sandwiches, and the occasional salad. Now, let’s be clear about these salads. They consisted of iceberg lettuce (ew), pre-shredded cheddar cheese (ew), croutons (fuck yes!), and ranch dressing. If I was feelin’ fancy, I’d throw a boiled egg on top, or maybe even a microwaveable vegan chicken patty.

I took home-ec in high school, and vaguely remember learning how to make scrambled eggs in a microwave (WHY) and rice crispy treats. But no one ever taught me how to make a meal with raw ingredients. Outside of eggs, the first “proper” meal I learned how to make consisted of cream of chicken soup, white rice, chicken breasts, and a packet of dried onion soup mix. I was just fucking stoked to be using the oven at all. Seriously, what was the point of home-ec?!

In fact, I was so clueless about food that I literally purchased a head of cabbage instead of lettuce on one of my first shopping trips in New York. My mom had always purchased it for me, so I didn’t know the difference. It gets worse. I proudly took that head of cabbage home with me and immediately made a salad with it, gloating to my roommates that I knew how to prepare healthy food. I then ate the entire salad before noticing that I had purchased the wrong thing. I mean, let’s be clear, I knew it didn’t taste right. I’m not a fucking moron. I suspected something was off, but was too embarrassed to say anything. Then my roommate brought it to my attention that I was eating a bowl of fucking cabbage. Let me tell you – it doesn’t matter how much ranch you douse it with… it’s still fucking cabbage.

My salads have come a long way since then. I’ve learned to genuinely love them. While I still have a weakness for ranch dressing, I usually opt for something lighter and homemade. This salad is dressed very simply with a little olive oil, lemon, and salt and pepper. It can be served warm or cold, though I prefer warm. It never occurred to me that a salad could be warm until I started exploring food outside of my comfort zone, which is something I highly recommend. Not sure where to start? Find a recipe that peaks your interest (maybe this one), write out a list of ingredients, and go for it.

And for the love of all that is holy… if you aren’t sure what you’re buying, just ask someone at the store. If they’re a dick about it, tell them to fuck off. We’ve all got to start somewhere.

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Farro Arugula Salad (inspired by HelloFresh)

3/4 cup farro

1 yam (or sweet potato), peeled and cubed

1 medium onion, sliced into larger chunks

1/2 lemon

1/4 cup dried cranberries

Olive oil

3 cups veggie stock

Arugula (as much as you want)

A small handful of sunflower seeds

Goat cheese

Salt and pepper (to taste)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss the cubed yam and sliced onion with some olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread it out on a baking sheet and bake for about 30-40 minutes, stirring it around halfway through.

While the veggies are roasting, bring the stock to a boil in a medium pot and add the farro. Simmer for about 30 minutes, but keep checking it. You want to make sure it doesn’t overcook, or run out of liquid and burn the shit out of the bottom of the pot (this has definitely happened to me more than once). Once the farro is fully cooked, drain out any excess liquid in a colander and return to pot. Add in the yam and onion mixture, along with a handful of sunflower seeds, the cranberries (this doesn’t really need to be measured), the juice from half of a lemon, a heavy drizzle of olive oil, and a little salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything together and scoop over a large handful of arugula. Sprinkle with some crumbled goat cheese.

Serve this to your friends while pretending to be fancy as fuck, and maybe they’ll forget about the fact that you used to not know the difference between cabbage and lettuce. Or that you still don’t know the different between a yam and a sweet potato.