Lots of Lemons

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lemon dill biscuits


Complaining rarely works this well. After grumbling about my lack of a lemon tree, I opened up emails from three different friends offering me lemons the very next day! Since I have yet to incorporate “no” into my vocabulary, piles of lemons now occupy half of my kitchen countertops.


Although lemon cake is probably the most popular dessert in my family, I wanted to use the lemons in a more savory application too. I nixed the traditional option of a marinade for fish—too many picky eaters—and settled on buttery biscuits instead.   Continue reading for recipe.


February 20, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss, Satisfying Sides. 14 comments.

Bending the Rules

microwave popcorn

I’m not allowed to keep bags of popcorn kernels in the house. It’s a safety-comes-first type of rule. The temptation is just too great to pour them into a pot, heat it uncovered on the stove, and watch as the fluffy white morsels explode out and rain down on the kitchen floor.


Instead, I’m required to have adult supervision whenever I make a popcorn snack. No picking super small pots or hiding all of the lids. (Yes, I’ve tried…)   Continue reading for recipe.

December 20, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals, Satisfying Sides. 11 comments.

Daddy’s Thanksgiving Tradition

100% whole wheat rolls

Before I was born, Dad began the tradition of baking bred on Thanksgiving morning. He developed his whole wheat rolls recipe while in grad school, but that sweet moist bread quickly became every person’s favorite dish on the holiday table.   Continue reading for recipe.

November 21, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss, Satisfying Sides. 6 comments.

What’s in Your Salad?

Last month, a close friend of mine flew home to the Midwest to attend her 96-year-old grandmother’s funeral. It was a bittersweet trip; for years she had called her grandma every Wednesday evening to chat, even if she had to skip out on girl’s night to do so.


When she returned, we met up and she told stories of both her memories of her grandma and the week in South Dakota. She explained that at the memorial, at least 13 people brought homemade salads, but none of them contained any leafy greens! After living in sunny and healthy California for so long, she forgot about the potato, pasta, and jello (yes, jello!) salads of her youth.   Continue reading for recipe.

July 3, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals, Satisfying Sides. 3 comments.

I Didn’t Get Pinched!

I nearly forgot yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day. Only after seeing green shirt on every grocery shopper and hearing my neighbors blare their party music (rap, not Gaelic) did I remember. While most of my green clothes lay in the hamper, making my holiday compliance slightly difficult, a few green vegetables sat in the fridge, begging to be incorporated into a festive dish.


With all of the rain pouring down lately I craved soup instead of the traditional corned beef and potatoes. Since I rarely want soup, I left the potatoes alone as I pulled out a pot to heat up broth on the stove. Not long after, I dipped my spoon into my creamy vegetable soup and polished off the whole bowl.


This may be a day late for St. Patrick’s Day, but maybe you’ll enjoy it for the next “green” holiday—Earth Day!   Continue reading for recipe.

March 18, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals, Satisfying Sides. Leave a comment.

Can This Italian Tradition Take the Heat?

When my dad’s coworker first suggested a local upscale Italian restaurant, we took careful notes on the entrées he advised. We ordered their pollo saltimbocca (chicken topped with ham, mozzarella, and a white wine sauce) and gnocchi gorgonzola to split between three people, ensuring that everyone ate bites of both.


But before we polished off the main dishes and mopped up the last drops of sauce with fresh warm bread, we bravely branched out to try an appetizer. The waiter recommended the insalata caprese, and within minutes, it arrived at our table.   Continue reading for recipe.

March 10, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Satisfying Sides. 6 comments.

Choose Your Chips Wisely

Almost every Friday night, my parents drive downtown to eat dinner at “The Pub.” Located in the old cheese factory, they serve stereotypical pub food: juicy burgers, salty fries, onion rings, meat-packed sandwiches, and lots of local beer. While Daddy branches out to pick entrées from different pages of the menu, Mom sticks to her three favorites.


When I went home for dinner last week, Mom ordered one of her standards: nachos. Since no one in my family objects to sharing, I grabbed a couple of cheesy chips to munch on in between bites of my fresh salad. I picked the flour tortilla chips, which Mom left untouched, even ones loaded with beans, jalapeños, and salsa.   Continue reading for recipe.

February 5, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals, Satisfying Sides. 4 comments.

The Black Sheep of TV Programs

We all know the effectiveness of infomercials; there’s a reason they’re run at 3 am when we’re so tired that every gadget looks like the best idea ever. Really, who couldn’t use a Snuggie for their dog or a different Bumpit for every day of the week? I started turning off my phone whenever I watched TV to avoid the overwhelming temptation to call now and get my second Ginsu steak knife free (plus shipping and handling).


Okay, maybe not.


But cooking up a pot of Jules’ simple carrot soup quickly became an infomercial in its own right. With just a dinky little 2-cup food processor, my soup never reached a smooth consistency, regardless of how many times I pulsed (or how much liquid squirted through the cracks in the lid). After mopping up half of the soup from the counter, I sat down at the computer and purchased an immersion blender.


As soon as it arrives, my soup bowls will come out from hiding in the cupboards again!  Continue reading for recipe.

January 31, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals, Satisfying Sides. Leave a comment.

Battle of Drips to the Death

This past weekend, the rains invaded, pelting the windows and laying siege to my humble home. As the assault continued, my food stores dwindled, but the rains’ vigorous persistence prevented me from escaping to the grocery store to buy more provisions. With a craving for soup quickly growing, I opened the fridge for a last-ditch effort to satisfy my unhappy stomach.


A ripe orange stared back at me, and a brilliant strategy began to form in my mind. The rain still taunted me outside, but I could create my own little bowl of sunshine inside my kitchen. Within minutes, the blender whirred out my battle cry, and I eagerly slurped up my citrus soup. Although it lacked the sun’s warmth, it still lifted my dampened spirits and brought a smile to my face as I waited out the rest of the storm.   Continue reading for recipe.

January 24, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Midweek Meals, Satisfying Sides. 2 comments.

Flour Girl

My childhood rice cooker needed a little extra love. While normally sensitive, its personality easily slid to temperamental, and it would click off and refuse to finish the rice until after the dishwasher scrubbed our dinner plates squeaky clean. Unless we forced the lever down with duct tape, the uncooked starch would simply turn the water a milky white, so we retired the rice cooker to a shelf to collect dust.


I still rarely eat rice. I hold no grudges; I just prefer other carbs. So when I discovered my favorite Indian place in town consented to swapping naan for the rice that normally comes with an entrée, I nearly began dancing in my seat! (Anyone who dines with me knows that if they want a piece, they better order their own. I can eat a whole basket by myself!)   Continue reading for recipe.

January 16, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Baked Bliss, Satisfying Sides. 4 comments.

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