warm spinach salad with hot bacon dressing

the ultimate winter salad.  it’s warm, it’s semi healthy, and most importantly delicious.  i have to admit,  i wasn’t completely sold on trying to make a warm spinach salad because most of the recipes i found seemed so plain and boring.  brian was “seeing the vision” for this salad and said if i committed to making the dressing portion he would take care of rest.  easy enough in my mind.  he deserves the credit for this one.  the snow peas, pecans, and blue cheese additions were genius–thanks b!

snow peas
red onion
blue cheese
hard boiled egg
hot bacon dressing
2 tbsp bacon fat
3.5 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar

sautee mushrooms and snow peas together in 1 tbsp bacon fat for 5-10 min on medium low heat.  you want the peas to be a vibrant green and still have a little crunch to them.  add 1 tsp balsamic vinegar in with veggies and let coat, remove from heat.

hot bacon dressing: in the same pan you cook the bacon, keep around 2 tbsp of bacon fat in the pan.  over low-medium heat, add the red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, and sugar.  stir together and reduce heat to low.

in a large bowl, add spinach and the rest of the ingredients together.  drizzle dressing over top and stir together to make sure everything is coated nicely.  garnish salad with egg on top.


heytell-because hearing the voice never goes out of style

why is this one of my favorite apps?  it allows me to send personalized, short, voice messages instantly to my friends phones without having to call or text.  hold down the button and send your message over.  why do i like this?  when schedules are tough, i can talk to my family & friends all over the country/world without having to hope they are available when i am.  the only trick is that each person has to have this app in order for it to work.  hint, hint- friends!  great for travelers and for those times when you just want to hear someone’s voice.

vegetable quinoa salad with fresh basil and feta


this is one of my favorite “go-to” salads to make up that lasts for a week and pairs nicely with about anything.  you can use it as a main dish, throw it under spinach for a salad, use as a side dish with fish, spoon it into your mouth straight out of the bowl….you get my point.  super easy to make.




1 cup dried quinoa, cooked
1/2 minced jalepeno with seeds
1/2 diced red pepper
1/2 diced green pepper
1 cup corn
1 can rinsed red beans
1/2 red onion diced
4 cloves minced garlic
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp freshly chopped basil
dash of cayenne
salt & pepper to taste
fresh feta and sliced grape tomatoes for garnish

cook the dried quinoa on the stove adding 2 cups water to one cup quinoa.  bring to a boil and then cover with a lid, turn heat on low and let simmer until quinoa has absorbed the water.

toss all of the ingredients except for the quinoa into a bowl and let marinate 15 minutes in the oil, vinegar, and spices.

once quinoa has cooled a bit, stir it into the veggie mixture.  refrigerate for 1 hour prior to serving.  garnish with fresh feta and sliced grape tomatoes.

the perfect breakfast

lately i have been on a huge clementine and grapefruit kick.  nothings seems to taste better than fresh citrus these days–not sure if that is my subconcious telling me i need to go somewhere tropical or if the fruit is in season and too good not to pass up.  either way, my perfect breakfast right now:

homemade espresso and grapefruit

midwest chili

i love chili.  i think my favorite part about chili is that it improves in taste as a leftover.  food that ages well?  yes please.  here is my take on this lovely dish.

1/4 lb lean ground beef
1/4 lb italian sausage
one large onion
one jalapeño (seeded if you want less spicy)
1 green pepper diced
four cloves garlic minced
1 can original rotel
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can chili beans
1-2 cups sweet corn (or 1 can)
1 20 oz can tomato juice
2-3 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
optional add ins: 
few tbsp of tomato paste to thicken
2 tbsp ketchup

in dutch oven or soup pot, cook ground beef and italian sausage over medium heat until brown.  next, add in onion, jalapeño, green pepper, garlic, and chili powder and cook for about 10-15 minutes.  once cooked, strain everything to get rid of the excess grease from the meat.

add the remaining ingredients into the pot and stir everything together.  let simmer over medium-low heat covered for about 30 minutes.  uncover soup and simmer on low for another 30 minutes to let the soup thicken.

my other favorite thing about chili?  the variety of garnishes you are able to add to make it even more delicious: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, fritos, tortilla chips, saltine crackers, oyster crackers, hot sauce, green onions…and on and on.  have fun with it!