chocolate dipped sweet potato chips

it’s no big news that salty + sweet = delicious. here’s an easy dessert/snack that is the perfect combination of the two.


adapted from minimalist baker.

makes about 50 chips, depending on size of sweet potatoes

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate
  • 1/8 cup soy milk (or regular milk, if you prefer)

preheat oven to 375. slice sweet potatoes into 1/4 inch rounds. in a bowl, toss with olive oil, sea salt, and cinnamon. place sweet potato chips onto baking dish in single layer. bake for 30 minutes, flipping chips half way through.

when sweet potatoes are almost done, begin to melt chocolate in a small pan on the stovetop. once chocolate becomes soft, add milk and stir. remove from heat once melted and well mixed. remove chips from oven, and let cool for a couple minutes. then dip chips halfway into chocolate, you may need to use a spoon to help cover. set on a plate to cool and for chocolate to harden.



book by its color

when jason and i moved in together, we had to combine our book collections. when there is a pile of things that need to get organized, you bet i get excited. so i did what any person would do, i spent three hours organizing the books by author’s last name, naturally. that was about a year ago. we’ve collected more books over the year, and then there was the bat incident…(a bat somehow lodged itself between two bookshelves and broke it’s wing…and we had to take off all the books and trap it in a pot and pan. true story.)

so things have generally gotten a little less organized on the bookshelves. i had a thought of organizing by color, but then thought no, that would be crazy. then i saw what the finished product could look like on little green notebook. and i thought hey, it’s 8:30pm on a thursday night, sounds like a great time to start taking everything off the shelves…


and at about eleven thirty, after sorting the books into piles by genre (which i later nixed) and finding lots of funny things we’ve used as bookmarks in the past, i decided it was bedtime. as you can imagine, i was very pleased to come home to this after work on friday (jason is traveling, thank god). but the end result makes the ocd part of me very happy. what do you think?



and these little guys i picked up at goodwill for $2 were added to the mix:


here’s the view form above:


pretty great, no?

wilted greens and pasta with a poached egg in a browned lemon butter sauce

yes, the title is long. i couldn’t figure out how to summarize. i tried taking out the egg, but that didn’t feel right, because that was my favorite part. i removed the browned lemon butter sauce, but i put it back because it’s important (and i knew it would catch your attention). the pasta and wilted greens are the base, so…long title it is.


and the dish tastes complicated. but i promise, it’s not that hard. with a little pre-planning and the wherewithal to wash a couple extra dishes at the end, you’ll find this meal to be very rewarding.

i know i showed this earlier this week, but i can’t get over how beautiful the chard looks.


only barely adapted from the kitchn.

makes 2 servings

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 lasagna noodles
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch swiss chard (i used rainbow again), stems removed, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • juice from 1/4 of a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

in a medium sized pot, bring water and salt to a boil. add lasagna noodles and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. meanwhile, fill a medium sized bowl with warm water and set near the stove. when noodles are cooked, remove from stove and transfer to bowl.

do not get rid of the pasta water in your pot. bring the water back to a boil. crack an egg into a measuring cup (you’ll need at least 1/3 of a cup) and gently slip the egg into the water. poach the egg for 4 minutes for a nice, runny yolk (my favorite). while the eggs are cooking, heat olive oil in a large pan and wilt the swiss chard. once wilted, add in garlic and red pepper flakes.


once the eggs have poached, use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to the bowl with the noodles.


next, melt butter in a small pan. once it starts to brown, add the lemon juice and a pinch or two of salt. finally, assemble the dish. cut the lasagna noodles in half lengthwise. layer two pieces on the bottom of two shallow bowls or a plate (unlike what is pictured here – it would have been easier to eat from something wider). add the greens to the two bowls. top with the poached egg and the remaining noodles. and lastly, pour the browned lemon butter on top.


* when i make this meal next time, i am not going to use lasagna noodles. they’re a little bit too big and clunky (maybe my problem was the bowl). i think a penne or a smaller noodle would have done nicely for this dish. either way, it’s tasty.

pillows of shame update

just wanted to share an update on our pillow situation, since i know you have been dying to hear about it. i had a chance to go back to the sewcial lounge this week and finish up my pillows of shame. good news: i significantly picked up my speed in making pillows. bad (or more like ‘meh’ news): i don’t like the combo of the headboard and the pillows together, so these babies are moving upstairs to the living room. check them out, don’t you just want to put your head on them?


and i’m liking the amount of texture we got going in our living room. although this picture makes it look like that yellow chair is just wedged in there, i don’t know how i feel about that:


oh and look! it’s winter again! it snowed 5 inches yesterday. i wish the weather would just make up it’s mind.


and the other side of the living room. with my favorite light fixture.


greens, beans, and shrimp

you know how i was complaining about the frigid, frigid cold last week? well today it was 55 degrees. in wisconsin. in january. walking outside this morning i was thinking that i’ll never get to use my cross country skis again, but don’t fear – it’ll drop down to the negatives by thursday. and there are people who don’t believe in global warming? is this real life?


anyways, this meal was inspired mainly by the beautiful rainbow chard at the grocery store this weekend. then add the beans, and the shrimp, and you’ve got something worth eating in 55 degrees in january.


makes 2-3 servings

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large bunch rainbow chard (or just swiss chard), stems removed and chopped coarsely
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cannelloni beans, soaked overnight and drained (or you can use canned)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 15-20 shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

in a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. cook onions and garlic until translucent. add in greens, salt, and pepper and stir until chard has wilted. remove from pot.

heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil. add beans, cumin, and paprika and stir. turn heat up high, then cook beans without stirring so they fry (but do not burn) on one side, about 5 minutes. remove beans from heat and mix with chard mixture.

lastly, cook shrimp in same dish. add lemon juice, rice vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. once shrimp have turned pink, pour vegetable mixture back into pan and mix to combine.


red lentil dhal with rice

yesterday it was russian food, tonight it’s indian. why i chose this meal tonight? i’m feeling a little lazy and this recipe requires no chopping. you don’t even need to pick up a knife – well, except to cut a lime in half. i can live with that.

adapted from pinch of yum.

makes 5-6 servings

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups rice, uncooked
  • 2 1/2 cups red lentils, uncooked
  • 3 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • juice from 1/2 a lime
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped for garnish

boil 3 cups water in a medium pot. add 1 tablespoon butter and rice. cook rice until tender.

in a separate and larger pot, boil 5 cups water. melt 1 tablespoon butter and add lentils. took for 15-20 minutes, until lentils are soft and water is mainly reduced.

meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients (except parsley). mix thoroughly. when lentils are cooked, add spice mixture to lentils. mix well, taste, and adjust seasoning or lime as needed.

serve lentils over rice with parsley garnish.

пельменей (pelmeni)

pelmeni are russian dumplings. like many other types of dumplings, they have a thin dough on the outside and a delicious treat on the inside. the recipe is a russian classic, although i am sure there are slight variations amongst different regions or even families. despite being russian, i typically do not prefer russian food – too heavy, too salty, or too much mayonaise. but i’d never say no to pelmeni. they are perfect, especially in the winter.

makes 80-90 dumplings

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon salt, plus more for boiling water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 peppercorns
  • sour cream, to serve
  • vinegar, to serve

in a food processor, pulse together flour and 1 teaspoon salt. add in eggs and pulse. add in water, 1/4 cup at a time, until dough forms. dough should be tough and elastic. knead with your hands for 3-4 minutes. place dough in a bowl coated with a little bit of olive oil and cover with a damp towel. let dough sit for 20 minutes.

meanwhile, prepare the filling. in the food processor, puree the onions. transfer to large bowl and mix with meat, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.

once dough is ready, cut into quarters. place three of the pieces back into the bowl and cover. take the remaining piece of dough and roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/16 of an inch. it should be thin but still hold some weight. using a glass or cookie cutter, cut out circles with a 2 inch diameter. take the scraps and return them to the bowl with the remaining dough.


scoop 1/2-1 teaspoon of meat into the center of each circle.


using your fingers, pinch the dough closed, making sure that the meat stays in the center of the dumpling. repeat with the remaining dough, including the scrap pieces.


once you’ve sealed your pelmeni, put them into the freezer on a baking tray for at least 1/2 an hour. once they are ready to cook, bring heavily salted water to a boil. add in a bay leaf and peppercorns for taste. drop pelmeni into water in batches, making sure not to overcrowd them. cook for 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally. once done, lift them out of the water with a slotted spoon.

serve immediately with some vinegar and sour cream (about 1 teaspoon of each, but it’s a personal preference).

braised moroccan chicken with couscous

this is the second time i’ve made this meal, and it doesn’t disappoint. the combination of spices is literally perfect. i wish i could blog the smell as well as the photo. sometime in the future, that will be possible.


slightly adapted from food52.

makes 4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 7-8 chicken thighs (i used skinless/boneless, but you do not have to)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 pinches saffron
  • 1 cup green olives
  • 2 perserved lemons, pulp removed, cut into strips (or 3 tablespoons citrus-y marmalade, like the one i used here)
  • 1 1/3 cups dry israeli couscous
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

heat oil in a large dutch oven. season chicken with salt and pepper. add to dutch oven and brown on all sides. remove chicken from pot. add in onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. add ginger, cumin, paprika, tumeric, and cayenne pepper. mix well. add chicken back into pot and cover with chicken broth.


bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. simmer for 20 minutes. enjoy the smell, it should be coming together. in another pot, cook couscous following the directions from the packaging.

to the chicken pot, add in olives and preserved lemon or marmalade and cook for another 10 minutes. finally, remove chicken from pot, turn the heat on high, and reduce sauce for 10-12 minutes.

serve chicken and sauce on top of the cous cous with some chopped cilantro. the chicken is so tender, it’ll fall apart on your fork, you’ll love it.


pillows of shame

you may remember that we upholstered a headboard last month for our guest bedroom/study. you may also remember that the original fabric couldn’t be used for the headboard due to the direction of the pattern, so, it was designated for pillows of shame. today, i made my first pillow of shame.


let’s start off by saying that i don’t know how to sew. that’s not to say that i haven’t used a sewing machine before – back in high school i was obsessed with the show “trading spaces.” i think i attempted a couple of things to no avail and gave up quickly. i wanted to learn how to properly use a sewing machine. it just seems like a good life skill.

anne joined me in taking a beginner’s class at the sewcial lounge – a local fabric shop owned by a really nice (and patient) girl who recently came back from her honeymoon in costa rica, so we had that in common.



while the class is three hours, it really does cover the fundamentals well. and now i have pillows of shame. and anne has a dinosaur pillow, which is so damn cute.

winter stew

well it’s still cold, but unlike last night, it’s stew time. for us, it’s venison stew. if you’ve read this blog, you know how much venison is in our freezer. but if you don’t have venison because you’re a normal person, you can make this with a different red meat.

adapted from epicurious.

makes 4-5 servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lbs vension roast (or other red meat), cut into 1/2 – 1 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 4 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 6 potatoes, peeled and cut into big pieces
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch

heat olive oil on high in a large pot. add in meat with pepper, oregano, garlic powder, and flour. brown meat for about 10 minutes.

add in garlic, onion, and carrots and scrape the brown bits of meat off the bottom of the pot. cook for another 10 minutes.

add in bay leaves and red wine. give the bottom of the pot a final scrape and then add in broth. simmer for an hour and a half, on medium-low. add in potatoes and corn starch and simmer for another 30 minutes.