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One of my favorite days of the week is Sunday. Sleeping in, going to church, coffee and the newspaper, farmers market, grocery shopping, phone calls with the parents and in-laws, and weekly menu planning!

Along with trying to have a fully stocked pantry, a key to being prepared is planning out our meals for the week. This helps, not only with planning leftovers, but with fewer stops at the grocery store during the week and taking advantage of sales and coupons. We are then well prepared to deal with the week ahead until the next lazy Sunday!

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Changes

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change -”
― Heraclitus

How true is this statement. So many changes since my last post- new job, a European vacation, more classes completed towards my degree, and just completed my longest-race yet (10 miles!). No matter how large or small the changes one thing that always calms my mind and spirit is spending time in the kitchen. I thought it was time to get back to sharing my latest cooking adventures- with a bit of a change.

While I love to try new recipes, a majority of creativity in the kitchen comes from the day to day reinvention of our leftovers. My new job allows me to work from home but when I was commuting I would bring my lunch almost every day and the hubby continues to do so. I have always found new ways to transform last night’s meal into something new for lunch and even beyond. My ideas, while simple, keep us from eating the same thing constantly and (I hope) will inspire you to do the same.

I look forward to sharing my latest creations, tips, tricks, and (who are we kidding) special treat recipes that you can incorporate into your  busy schedule full of changes.

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We have had a few teasers of warmer weather approaching- a day in the 80s, tulips starting to bloom, and the first ice cream recipe in the ice cream mixer. Unfortunately snow flakes returned to the air and the recipe wasn’t quite there. Just a few reminders of the warmer weather and better ice cream recipes ahead.

What is better than ice cream? These cake pops that look like tiny  ice cream cones are a close second! I first discovered Bakerella’s wonderful blog a few years ago and received her cake pop cookbook for Christmas. Take some time and make these treats and dream of summer that is oh so close!

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I had never had red beans and rice until I went home with my hubby. This recipe is a specialty of his mom’s and she was nice enough to pass along this recipe to me. We survive on this meal in the winter as it warms the house and our stomachs with spicy goodness. I have to admit that I also make this during the warmer months when I am seeking a comforting, full meal. It is also great as leftovers the next day. Set aside some time to make this meal and your stomach will thank you!

P.S. Sorry for the poor photo below. I was really excited and started eating before I remembered I needed to take a photo!


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My hubby and I do not have kids but we do  not let that stop us from occasionally snacking on goldfish crackers. Sometimes those “snacks” turn into eating an entire bag for dinner. So when I saw this recipe for homemade goldfish on Smitten Kitchen’s blog I knew I had to try them. My hubby actually surprised me with them one night after I got home late from work. We  made another batch a few days later. These are just as addicting as the store bought crackers if not more so. Make some today for a snack- or your dinner- I won’t tell!

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Yes. You read the title correctly. I have found a way to serve beer as a side dish! Kinda. I am known at work for my creative and daring use of leftovers. I try to always bring my lunch because I am budget-minded (cheap!) and really love cooking and reinventing what I make. This takes leftovers to a whole new level.

My husband started home brewing his own beer after I bought him a kit for Christmas 2009. Since then we have had many fun brewing adventures in our kitchen and in visiting microbreweries across the country on our travels. This was his first time brewing with a partial mash. This basically means that he placed a large bag of grain in a straining bag and heated over a pot of water to extract sugars instead of using malt extract. This description is from my very untrained point of view of “helping” while watching the Oscars.

What I do know is we had a lot of cooked oats and barley left over (a little over 3 lbs) that were a shame to waste. The technical name for this is spent grains.

There are several recipes for spent grain breads, cookies, and even dog treats! After tasting I thought it would be a shame to only use them in baking. Instead I have highlighted these grains in a side dish as a pilaf with mushrooms, onions, carrots, and celery. The final result was great. The nutty flavor of the grains combined well with the savory flavor of mushrooms to create an umami taste similar to soy sauce!

I froze the rest of the spent grains to use in baking later so look for more to come!Keep experimenting in your kitchen and you never know what you will come up with!

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I love love. And showing my love for those I love…friends, family, and (of course) my hubby. One way I show my love is through food. Especially heart shaped food! The February 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living showcased many Valentine’s recipes in cute heart shapes.

I always make my hubby something special for Valentine’s Day involving hearts from cookies to french toast to eggs. This year I saw the heart shaped ravioli and couldn’t resist! The use of wonton wrappers makes the process easier and provides a very delicate shell for the fresh crabmeat that is highlighted by the lemon and butter.

Make this or your favorite recipe for those in your life that you love- and make it heart shaped -no matter the time of year!


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