12.5-7: Weekend Recap


  home from work | Autumn dinner & bath | Price gets home | dishes | Autumn to bed | make dinner- soup | pumping | blogging & write yelp reviews | Grimm | bed @ 10.45

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get u at 7 | laundry and house stuff | breakfast- eggs and hashbrowns | Autumn takes her morning nap | get ready Knoll Christmas photo shoot | printing Save the Date labels | home | Autumn naps | DVR’d shows and playing around at home | dinner | Autumn gets bath & goes to bed | work while watching Sex Tape | bed just after 10pm

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up at 5.35 | breakfast- random leftovers | get ready | Sweet Meadow Farm for bunny hay | Target | back home | lunch- zoodles & chicken sausage with pesto |Price ran errands while Autumn napped | make dinner: roasted pork tenderloin with fennel, Brussels sprouts | salt ornaments | Autumn goes to bed | make cookies | work | bed

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Top 24 Recipes of 2012

What a year 2012 has been!! It’s been a crazy busy year for me. We bought a house, moved towns, had a summer filled with traveling near and far, and our later part of the year has finally allowed us to catch our breath. And now we’re getting a dog. We just never stop.

It was fun to go back through the blog to pick out 12 fan favorite and my 12 favorite recipes that I wanted to share again. Out of sight, out of mind… but these recipes need to have a special place in my dinner/dessert/drink repertoire. And I hope your’s as well.

So here’s the 24 recipes of 2012!


Fan Favorite: Spaghetti with Chickpeas

My Favorite: Spinach Salad with Shrimp, Avocado, and Grapefruit with Citrus Vinaigrette


Fan Favorite: Very Berry Sangria

My Favorite: Biscoff Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries


Fan Favorite: Quinoa and Brussels Sprouts Salad

My Favorite: Irish Coffee Blondies


Fan Favorite: Slow Cooker ‘Roast’ Chicken

My Favorite: Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream


Fan Favorite: Sugar Cookie Bars

My Favorite: Garlic Lemon Shrimp


Fan Favorite: Cheesy Garlic Knots

My Favorite: Garlic Butter Noodles with Scallions and Sambal


Fan Favorite: Baked S’mores Bars

My Favorite: Honeydew Melon Sorbet


Fan Favorite: S’mores Chex Mix

My Favorite: Mini Creamsicle Cheesecakes with Creamsicle Oreo Cookie Crusts


Fan Favorite: Spiced Black Bean, Grilled Avocado, and Goat Cheese Tacos

My Favorite: (I had 1 recipe post for all of Sept… WTF… ha!)


Fan Favorite: Bacon, Mushroom, Onion, and Cheese Stuffed Bread

My Favorite: Apple Pie Squares


Fan Favorite: Extra Cheesy Brussels Sprout Gratin

My Favorite: (Almost) No Baste Bacon Covered Turkey


Caramel Chocolate Kiss Cookies

Fan Favorite: Caramel Chocolate Kiss Cookies

sausage and lentil soup

My Favorite: Sausage and Lentil Soup


I hope that everyone has a fantastic time celebrating New Year’s Eve and that they have an amazing year ahead!

Extra Cheesy Brussels Sprout Gratin

I was recently going through old cooking magazines to organize them into a usefully system. System is still getting tweaked but at least I can more easily find some fun things to try. I dug up recipes from December ’11 from Martha Stewart Living and one of the things that jumped out of me was the Smokey Brussels Sprout Gratin. Cheese! Brussels Sprouts! More Cheese! Winner!!!!



I made some adjustments to the original recipe to better suit our tastes. It called for smoked Gouda to be used in the Bechamel, but I don’t like smoked cheeses. I don’t like very smoky things and a smoked cheese is pretty low on my list. So I just used regular Gouda in the Bechamel instead. You can also use Gruyere and fontina in the Bechamel and top it off with a coarsely grated Parmesan. Just work with what you have and like. Also, I doubled the amount of cheese. What!?! I wanted cheesy Brussels sprouts so I made CHEESY Brussels sprouts. I really like love Brussels sprouts so this was not about masking their flavor but making a really cheesy dish.




The end result is a pretty quick dish that you can whip together. Some things took more or less time than the original recipe and I think that all depends on how you cook and the ingredients you have on hand. For example, it said the Brussels sprouts would take 3-4 minutes to cook but mine took double. No fault to the recipe, I might have just had really big Brussels spouts. Let’s blame the Brussels sprouts! Aside from paying attention to things like that it was super easy.

Make it for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any dinner. It can actually be prepped in advance with the Bechamel being made 4 days in advances and stored in a airtight container in the refrigerator. The Brussels sprouts can be blanched ahead, allowed to cool and be refrigerated for up to 1 day. The assembled gratin can be refrigerated overnight as well. Bring the gratin to room temperature before baking.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces of freshly grated Gouda, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 8 cup (8×12) baking dish.
  2. Rinse and cut the bottoms off all the brussels sprouts. Depending on the size of the brussels sprout halve or quarter it. Set aside.
  3. To make the Bechamel, in a skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to blend the butter and flour together while the mixtures start to bubbles slightly but has not started to brown, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and the salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking often. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally. Cook until the Bechamel is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and add the cheese and stir until incorporated.
  4. While the Bechamel is cooking, cook the brussels spouts in a pot of boiling salted water. Cook until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Drain and put into the baking dish.
  5. To assemble the gratin, gently mix the Bechamel and brussels sprouts together. Top off with the rest of the cheese and an extra sprinkling of salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, until bubbling and golden, about 25-30 minutes.

3.30-4.1: Weekend Recap

I got home before Price | started on dinner of chicken tenders and sauteed brussels sprouts | Price did laundry | we picked up Mega Millions lottery tickets | watched DVR’d shows | didn’t win = sad face | bed| slept in | going to make banana bread but no eggs so I made muffins from a mix | lounged around | worked on Project Life | date day at the ICA | dinner at Legal Seafood Harborside | watched basketball | caught The Blindside on | bed | Price had work at 7 | stripped the bed, new sheets| folded 4 baskets of clothes | Price came back with coffees | filed photos on the computer | scrapbooked | watched NASCAR race | Price napped | made pasta for dinner | made spring cookie nests | watched Grimm | blogged | worked on PL | Mad Men



Quinoa and Brussels Sprouts Salad

I am going to be one of those people who argue the amaziness that is the brussels sprout. It can be raw in a slaw or cooked and eaten by the bowl full. You can saute it, bake it, or roast it. I don’t remember if I grew up hating them (mom?), but I can tel you now that I love them. I really think that if you hated them growing up you should give them a try again. And if you are a brussels sprout lover then you rock already.



While the season for Brussels sprouts if June-January, I get them whenever I can because we eat them all the time. I have really been enjoying them lately roasted or sauteed with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a bit or lemon. Brussels sprouts don’t take much time to cook properly, but if you get a little too distracted cooking away then you run the risk of developing a bitter taste if you overcook them. Besides overcooking them and tasting bitter, they loose a lot of their nutritional value when boiled and overcooked. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to have some Vitamins K and C!



I practically ate this Quinoa and Brussels sprouts salad for every meal while it was in our house. It makes such a large batch that you can easily halve it and still have plenty.  I enjoyed it both hot and cold but I really think it is best the next day when all of the flavors have meld together. The dressing is pretty tangy with the lime juice, vinegar and Dijon mustard. But really it is standing up to the quinoa and Brussels sprouts so it mellows out. If you wanted to get a little crazy then I would suggest cooking up a bit of bacon, cooking the garlic and brussels sprouts in some bacon drippings, and then crumbling the bacon back into the salad at the end.



Quinoa and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Serves 8-12



  • 2 cups of uncooked quinoa*
  • 1 pound of Brussels sprouts
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 2-4 jalapeno peppers, deveined and seeded, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 15 oz can of chick peas, rinsed
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of roasted pine nuts, optional


  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper


  1. Prepare the quinoa according to the directions on the box, set aside.
  2. Rinse the Brussels sprouts throughly and discard discolored outer leaves. Slice the Brussels sprouts thinly.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, while continuously moving around the skillet. Add the Brussels sprouts to the hot skillet and saute them until they have wilted and there is a nice golden brown color to some of the leaves. Turn off the heat.
  4. Add the quinoa to the skillet and mix thoroughly. Add the onion, jalapeno, and chick peas and mix to incorporate.
  5. Prepare the dressing by mixing together all of the ingredients in bowl. Mix until the mustard has been incorporated evenly. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and mix the salad to fully incorporate.
  6. Lastly, mix the cilantro and roasted pine nuts in.

*Now I know there are some people out there that don’t like quinoa and I don’t want you to be scared off this delicious salad! I would think you could substitute some orzo for the quinoa and still enjoy yourself.