...based on an idea I saw on the blogosphere somewhere once upon a time and when I finally got around to making it, it was even more amazing than I thought it'd be.
When I first laid eyes on this sweet potato/black bean/cilantro/lime/avocado dish during a Pinterest vortex, I thought--I love all. these. things. But I never would've thought to put them together! Which is also why it took several weeks for me to actually make it... I kept forgetting to buy at least one ingredient. 

This dish was well worth the wait, though. I did a little tweaking of the original (can't not!), and the second time I made it, I forgot to buy a jalapeño—and while it does work without it if you're not a fan of heat, the jalapeño really gives the dressing a bright, fresh bite to it. Ahhhmazing. 
Sidenote on my use of the word dressing: it's not quite an accurate descriptor. Sauce might be? But still not quite. It's essentially a thick, creamy, Greek-yogurt-and-avocado-based topping with cilantro, lime, and jalapeño—but I thought that might be a bit of a mouthful. 
I'm excited to share this recipe—perfect for Meatless Monday—and let me know if you make it! 

 
 
...based on autumn's star flavors, plus healthy additions like spinach, kale, garlic, and ginger, and a little bit of spice.
I'm all for the sweet pumpkin treats during this time of the year. Pumpkin muffins, cookies, pancakes, pumpkin spice lattes, and of course, pumpkin pie. But savory pumpkin dishes are equally delicious, because—you know, it's a squash.

And if you can mix the pumpkin with savory and sweet, it is heaven. For real.

This is one of my favorite soups to make. It's full of so much healthy goodness, it all cooks in one lovely pot, and it makes your house smell amazing. Take that, Yankee Candle. I have pumpkin spice with a hint of cranberry on my stove.

 
 
...based on a simple recipe my dad made up once upon a time during my childhood.

Growing up, we always knew it was Sunday when we could smell pinto beans cooking on the stove all afternoon. My dad threw together this one-pot dish at some point while I was young, and it became a staple in our family. 
My husband was a little confused the first time I said I was making "pinto beans" for dinner ("Uh...just...pinto beans?"), but that's what my brothers and I always called this meal. I suppose, to be more descriptive, you might call it pinto bean soup

Served with some crusty French bread, it makes an easy, wholesome (not to mention inexpensive!) dinner that takes hardly any time to prepare.

 
 
...based on these insane waffles I saw posted a while back by Epicurious—which is a super dangerous (read: awesome) food blog to follow, let me tell ya.
OK, so the above picture is of these crunchy waffles that are perfection for a weekend morning. I spiced them up by doubling the cinnamon and adding pecans.

The below picture is of another moment of baking insanity for which I hold Epicurious responsible:
Picture
Husband's wicked birthday cake...
Picture
made with all things MAGIC.

(I will find an excuse to make this cake again.)


Alright, back to these incredible cornmeal waffles.
They have a comforting, full flavor, thanks to whole grain cornmeal, whole wheat flour, spelt flour, and hearty, old-fashioned rolled oats. 

A generous amount of cinnamon adds warmth to the taste, and pecans enhance the crunch effect you already get with the coarse cornmeal.

You should know, I had to eat a waffle in the middle of the day in order to get this post ready for you guys. Oh, the sacrifices I make...


 
 
...based on my hot-weather-necessitated adventure in How Many Ways Can You Vary A Salad—in which I have discovered that broccoli salads are an awesome variation of their lettuce-based siblings.
Some of you might agree with this awesomeness because you get bored with lettuce after a while.

I hear ya.

Some might agree because broccoli salads usually include bacon.

I hear ya.
Picture
mmm...bacon!
(I put up a classic Jim Gaffigan bit on the Laugh a Little page, fyi! It's a must see.)

Many of the broccoli salad recipes I found called for a crazy amount of mayonnaise, so I definitely wanted to make a lighter dressing for mine. Substituting plain yogurt plus a smidgen of mayo (olive oil mayo's my fave) goes a long way in making dressings lighter while keeping the familiar taste.

Fresh broccoli, crunchy veggies and pecans, crispy bacon—all tied together in a light, tangy-sweet dressing. Include some bowtie pasta and sprinkle some fresh Parmesan cheese on top, and you've got a complete dinner that should delight any crowd!

 
 
...based on my recent happy accident of purchasing fresh basil
and my recent/current/constant obsession with walnuts.
I have recently been using a lot of fresh basil in my cooking endeavors. There was a slight line-separation discrepancy in the please-pick-this-up-at-Trader-Joe's list I quickly jotted down for the husband a few weeks ago, and instead of having basil Italian sausage in our fridge we ended up with Italian sausage and fresh basil. 

Not complaining! Some miscommunications work out for the better, don't you think? 

One of these days we will start growing fresh herbs on our patio since it is sunny ALLTHETIME, but until then, this purchase will now be intentional. 
I'm also obsessed with walnuts lately. Usually we have pecans around but I have rediscovered that I think walnuts are the king of the stone fruits. (Which is the family nuts as a group apparently belong to...lock that little gem away in case you're ever on Jeopardy.) 

Missing protein on your plate? Try walnuts! Getting bored with your hot breakfast cereal? Try walnuts! Tired of chocolate on your sundae? Try walnuts! 

I'm kidding, that's crazy talk. Keep the chocolate--add walnuts.
To get the full recipe, click the button below!

 
 
...based on the time I ate meat several times in one weekend and just.needed.veggies.


I'm a fan of the "Meatless Mondays" trend around the interwebs. The kitchen in our house, though, tends to be Meatless Mostdays.

And why not, when dinner is this colorful?
I have long been what you might call an accidental vegetarian. I get protein from so many other things (dairy, legumes, nuts, etc.) that occasionally a few weeks will go by before I realize I haven't had meat on the menu in a while.

Since getting married, I do find myself using meat a lot more often. The time it takes to prepare it is a lot more rewarding when there's someone sharing it. (Let's be honest---a busy, single girl living alone has little reason to cook a pot roast every Sunday, amiright?) 

This Meatless Mondays/Meatless Mostdays dish is hearty and delicious. Full of fiber and protein, it includes wheatberries, kale, feta cheese, plenty of veggies, and just the right blend of sweet and tart flavors in the light dressing.  
For anyone wondering what the heck a wheatberry (also called a red winter wheat berry) is, it's the whole grain form of wheat, unprocessed and loaded with fiber. It has a nutty taste and a chewy texture. 

Wheatberries are also super versatile and work well both in savory dishes like this or as a sweet, warm breakfast cereal (or even baked into bread). 

They're pretty tough, so they take about an hour to cook. To save time, cook them the night before and keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you're ready to throw your salad together. 

To get the recipe, click below!