Tag Archives: recipes

entertaining tips.

My mom gave me the best birthday present last year. She read through the wonderful book, Bread & Wine, and wrote notes all through out it on what she felt personally spoke into my life. This insight has given me a new picture of what community and the table is all about. The messages in this book by Shauna Niequist spoke so directly to my heart, and my mom’s underlining and scribbles made it all the more meaningful.

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I was just looking over this book tonight as sometimes I revisit the chapters and the incredible recipes at the end of each chapter. I was just glimpsing over the appendix, and Shauna shares her best entertaining tips that truly help the idea of the table being the heart of the home. Not to mention, they really spoke to my OCD neat freak tendencies ha! I couldn’t help but share with you guys. See the point summaries below.

  1. Find a way to entertain that works best for you. Hospitality is about love, not about performance. Everyone should have a simpler meal and a happier host.
  2. When the doorbell rings, have yourself ready (aka hair dried and clothing on), music on, candles lit, something to eat, something to drink. It’s okay to have some food that’s not done, but you don’t want people to think that you are not ready for them.
  3. Be prepared and make a detailed plan. Time it out and create lists if needed so you don’t feel rushed and overwhelmed. Helpful note: allow yourself 30 minutes to putter around lighting candles, putting on music, putting on lipstick, having a glass of wine.
  4. Develop a repertoire and make only one last-minute dish per meal. Avoid trying new recipes for a dinner party. Stick to recipes you are really comfortable with. Tips: choose an appetizer that can be prepped early, an entree that can be in the oven when guests are arriving, easy salad and bread, and a dessert that’s already prepared.
  5. Accept help. Let people bring things, help you cook, clean up – again, it’s not a performance. People love to help. It makes them feel included and at home.

Gatherings around the table are not about what will look great on Pinterest or Instagram later. It’s about loving the people in your life by gathering them close into the private spaces of your home, about giving them soft places to land in hard seasons, about meeting their needs for food, for listening, for peace, for rest.

image via pinterest 

greek-style meatballs

As most of you know, Michael and I just bought our first house back in March and have been working hard to fix it up and make it feel like home. One of our favorite things about owning a house now has been inviting people over for dinner or get togethers. We both love having people into our home, the conversations shared in these walls, and the laughter that fills the rooms.

One thing that still gives me slight anxiety though is the dinner part. I will be the first to admit that I’m not the greatest cook. I so enjoy it, but I’m not awesome at it. Last night we had my brother & sister-in-law over for dinner and I made these Greek-style meatballs I’m sharing with ya’ll today. They are so unique and yummy, and on top of that, super healthy and easy to make! It’s become my go-to when we’re having people over for dinner and I want to get a little fancier than chicken, but not spend a ton of time on the meal. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Greek meatballs

Greek-style meatballs

  1. In large bowl, mix 1 lb ground beef, 3/4 c. crumbled feta cheese (I used reduced fat!), 1/2 small red onion, grated, 1/3 c. Italian-style bread crumbs; 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley, 1 lg egg, lightly beaten; 2 tsp dried oregano; and 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper
  2. Form into 12 balls and thread onto skewers
  3. On cookie sheet sprayed with olive oil cooking spray, roast meatballs at 425 degrees, 15 to 20 mins, or until cooked through.
  4. Serve with lemon slices and 1/2 c. prepared tzatziki (I just bought mine premade from Trader Joe’s!)

For the side dishes, I just did roasted red potatoes and a kale salad. But you could really do anything you want with it! Enjoy! xx

dinner made easy (and healthy!)

In case you don’t know this about me already, I am a major foodie. I love good food, I love great restaurants, and I love desserts. I’ll be the first to admit though, I’m not the greatest cook in the world. Baking – I love. Cooking – not my strong suit. I’m trying to get better though & find more recipes that are healthy and easy!

I recently found this turkey burger recipe (from The Pioneer Woman) and thought it looked simple and delicious. I tried it last night and both my husband and I loved it! The goat cheese/pesto spread was amazing, and the entire meal took less than 30 mins to make. (The Pioneer Woman recipe has the turkey burger on a toasted everything bagel. My husband had his on a toasted bun, and I did mine just on a bed of spinach! She also put more butter in her’s than I used. So, the recipe below is my version of her original) Enjoy!


Ingredients (This is for 8 servings – if you have a big family or just want lots of leftovers!)

  • 8 whole Everything Bagels (Again, I used a bun for my husband, just spinach for me!)
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 ounces, weight Goat Cheese (chevre)
  • 2 Tablespoons Pesto
  • 2 pounds Ground Turkey
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (more To Taste)
  • Plenty Of Black Pepper
  • 8 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 whole Egg Yolk (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 4 whole Roma Tomatoes, Sliced
  • 3 whole Avocados, Sliced
  • 16 whole Large Basil Leaves

Preparation Instructions

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and grill the cut side of the bagels until golden brown and slightly crisp. Set aside.

Stir together the goat cheese (or cream cheese) and the pesto until smooth. Add more pesto if you’d like!

Combine turkey, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and egg yolk (if using) in a large bowl. Stir or knead together with your hands, then form into patties.

Heat canola oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the patties on both sides until totally done, with no sign of pink in the middle, at least 4-5 minutes per side.

To serve, spread a good amount of the pesto spread on each bagel half. Place the burgers on the bottom half, then top with tomato slices and basil leaves. Lay avocado slices on the top half, using the spread to make them stay put. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the avocados, then place the top half on the bottom half, smush it together…and dig in!

Breakfast Recipe: Wake Up and Eat Some Oatmeal Souffle!

Remember those super cute painted shoes called Merry Janes? To refresh your memory go here! Well, the founder of this company, Jane Alvarado, was kind enough to share her breakfast secret with me a few weeks ago, and it’s definitely one for the recipe archive. This bowl of spiced oats is such a warming breakfast on those cold weather mornings, and it is easy to whip up in no time! Plus, it’s a great mixture of protein, carbs, and fiber.

Serves 1

What You’ll Need:

1/4 C steel cut oats

1tsp baking powder

1/4 C skim milk

1 egg white

3 TBSP unsweetened applesauce

Pinch of salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp brown sugar



1/4 C. dried cranberries

3 TBSP chopped walnuts

1 tsp honey

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp brown sugar



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a ramekin with fat free cooking spray. Combine all of the above ingredients in the ramekin stirring well to mix thoroughly.

Bake for 10 minutes until top is lightly browned and lightly set around the edges.

While the souffle is baking, combine all indgredients for the topping.

Top souffle with the cranberry mixture when it is finished baking.

Drizzle with a TBSP of skim milk


Photo styled by Lisa Kasberg and photographed by Lora Winkle

A Recipe from Rachel Gutierrez: Quinoa Pizza Crust

Not only is she the manager at one of Dallas’ favorite boutiques, Cotton Island, but Rachel Gutierrez is a lady of many well-rounded talents and passions, which include but are not limited to health, new out-of-the-box recipes, and creative cooking methods. Her excitement about the purpose of food in relation to the health of our body is contagious, and today she has shared with us one of her favorite recent recipes!

Quinoa Pizza Crust

Makes 2 thin 8 inch crusts

What You’ll Need:

1 1/2c. quinoa, soaked overnight and drained

1/2 – 3/4 c. pure water

1 tsp. celtic sea salt

1/4c. olive oil

(of course you are using organic ingredients!)


Preheat oven to 450º F. Place the quinoa, water, and salt in a blender and blend until creamy. The consistency will be thick ( like pancake batter). Start with 1/2c. water and see if you need more.

Divide the olive oil and cover the bottom of 2 8-inch cake pans. Place the pans in the oven until they are shimmering hot (not smoking). Remove from the oven. At this point, you can add some minced garlic and/or herbs if you would like. Divide the quinoa mixture evenly. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip the crusts over and return to bake another 10 minutes.  They should be brown and crispy.

The Final Touches

At this point, let your imagination take over. Top with classic pizza ingredients, or try something new. I have recently renewed my love of pesto, but not your typical pesto. This one is made of arugula, parsley, walnuts, olive oil, hemp oil, and garlic. Delicious! Pesto is a nutrient dense food that assists the liver in detoxifying the body and helps lower blood fats. So, on went a hearty layer of pesto. I topped this with some caramelized onions and sauteed red chard, mixed with some pine nuts. Lots of vegetables! That deep red color is so good for us.

The “icing on the cake” is a few dollops of kefir cheese. I strained some goat’s milk kefir to get the liquid whey for some fermenting that I am doing this week. What is left is a thick sour cream like substance that is delicious! AND it contains lots of good bacteria/probiotics.

Rachel’s Personal Review

I tried this recipe over the weekend, and it’s so insanely easy and DELICIOUS!! I split the recipe in half to make just one pizza crust, and it came out perfectly. I only had a 9″ round cake pan, and it was a really good size. After I flipped the crust I cooked it for about 5-8 minutes, put on the toppings and stuck it back in the oven for a few minutes.  I have had it twice now, once with a pesto topping and the other Margherita-style.


Kale: Why You Should Eat It Often (Recipes Inside!)

It has been a few months since I incorporated this leafy green into my eating habits, and now I can’t imagine my diet without this extraordinary veggie. What’s better: it is a powerfully healthy food. So, why is kale such a necessary addition to your lifestyle? Read on to find out why you should become a fan. P.S. Whether it’s kale chips, kale salad, or black bean kale soup, it’s hard to get bored with this versatile power plant. Don’t miss the finale of recipes to try!

The Art of Digestion
One cup of kale has only 36 calories and zero grams of fat, which makes it a great weight loss helper. In addition, one cup contains nearly 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber, which promotes regular digestion, prevents constipation, lowers blood sugar and curbs overeating. Now for the medical jargon: kale contains the glucosinolate isothiocyanate (ITC) that fights the formation of H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori), a bacterial growth in the stomach lining that can lead to gastric cancer.

A Bowl Full of Antioxidants
Kale is a superstar when it come to carotenoids and flavonoids, two powerful antioxidants that protect our cells from free radicals that cause oxidative stress. The key flavonoids kaempferol and quercitin (not to dismiss the 45 other distinctive flavonoids in kale) have also been shown to specifically fight against the formation of cancerous cells. With the addition of high doses of well-known antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, and manganese, kale is without-a-doubt a smart choice in the battle against cellular oxidation.

The Anti-Inflammatory Agent
One cup of kale provides about 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids that helps regulate the body’s inflammatory process. A megadose of vitamin K further aids to fight against excessive inflammatory-related problems, such as arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and asthma.

A Shield Against Cancer
Not only do kale’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities work together to prevent and even combat cancer, a healthy diet of kale also provides glucosinolates, which have been shown to prevent colon, breast, bladder, prostate, ovarian cancers, as well as gastric cancer.

A Top Cardiovascular Supporter
The high fiber content of kale lowers cholesterol by binding with bile acids that the liver produces from cholesterol for digesting fat. Because many of these bile acids are coupled with fiber, the liver is charged with producing more bile acid to digest fat, and therefore requires more cholesterol to do so, ultimately lowering the amount of cholesterol within our bodies.

A Natural Detox
The isothiocyanates (ITC) from glucosinolates found in kale aid in both phases I and II of the body’s detoxification process. The high sulfur content of kale has further been shown essential for phase II of detoxification. It aids in clearing out toxic build-up!

A Strong Dose of Vitamin K
Kale provides a whopping dose of vitamin K (providing 1327% of the RDA in one cup), which is necessary for the synthesis of osteocalcin, a protein that strengthens the composition of our bones. Vitamin K also prevents calcium build-up in our tissue that can lead to atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Finally, vitamin K is essential for synthesizing sphingolipid, the fat needed to maintain the myelin sheath around our nerves, and therefore our nervous system as a whole.

A Boost of Vitamin A
With over 192% of the RDA of vitamin A, one cup of kale is an effective antioxidant, boosts immunity, maintains healthy bones and teeth, prevents urinary stones, and is essential to our reproductive organs.

A Dose of Vitamin C
Vitamin C, which one cup of kale heartily provides (over 88% of our RDA), is not only a powerful antioxidant, but also lowers blood pressure, ensures a healthy immune system, and fights against age-related ocular diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

Kale-iscious Recipes!

Kale Salad with Raisins and Pumpkin Seeds 

What You’ll Need:

Kale (preferred amount)

1/2 cup raw pumkpin seeds

1/2 cup unprocessed, fresh raisins

1 Tbsp. fresh goat cheese

Homemade dressing, see LOLO suggestions here!

Directions: Combine all ingredients, and enjoy!

Toasted Kale and Coconut Salad with Sesame Oil

As printed in Super Natural Every day by Heidi Swanson.

What You’ll Need:

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 TSP toasted sesame oil

2 TBL shoyu, tamari, or soy sauce

3 ½ lightly packed cups of chopped kale, stems trimmed, large ribs removed

1 ½ cups of unsweetened large-flake coconut

2 cups cooked farro or other whole grain (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F with two racks in the top third of the oven.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sesame oil, and shoyu. Put the kale and the coconut in a large bowl and toss well with about two-thirds of the olive oil mixture.

Spread the kale evenly across two baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 18 minutes, until the coconut is deeply golden brown, tossing once or twice along the way. If the kale mixture on the top baking sheet begins to get too browned, move it to the lower rack.

Remove from the oven and transfer the kale mixture to a medium bowl. Taste. If you need a bit more dressing, add some and toss. Place the farro on a serving platter and top with the tossed kale.

Serves 6.