• Brunchin’ at Jack’s Wife Freda

    Jack’s Wife Freda

    To Brunch or to Booze is the Question

    I’ll bet good money Jack’s Wife Freda is on your list of places to brunch. Chances are, you’ve seen some quality avocado toast, courtesy of the restaurant, floating somewhere on Instagram. If, however, for some freak reason you haven’t heard of the American-Mediterranean grub hub, I, along with its many regular customers, will have to agree that you’re definitely absolutely unequivocally missing out. Like, seriously, hello! Their personalized sugar packets (with sayings like “Be Present” and “I Love You A Latte”) practically scream aesthetics.

    Regardless whether you’re more down for the boozin’ or the brunchin’ you can find their quality nomz in SoHo at 224 Lafayette Street or the West Village at 50 Carmine Street.

    Curious what I had? Here’s a sneak peak at their menu 😉

    Madame Freda

    Pressed sandwich with duck prosciutto, cheddar béchamel, gruyere and a sunny side up egg

    Perfect amount of crunch in the pressed sandwich!

    Jack’s Breakfast

    2 eggs (any style), grilled skirt steak, grilled tomato, pickled red onions and sourdough toast

    The green sauce was the most egg-cellent touch!

    A big thumbs up to both dishes! Oh, and the Cantaloupe Mimosa went amazingly well with both entrées. If you’re in town, don’t forget to stop by. They do dinner too!

    Tip: Go super early on weekends or be ready to wait around an hour to be seated.

    Happy Brunching, folks!

  • These Lemon Greek Yogurt Pops are the Perfect Summer Treat!

    Summer weather is here, and that means, I’m ready to get outside and enjoy the sunshine with my friends! I wanted a refreshing treat that would satisfy my guests and keep them cool while we hang out on the roof, so I came up with these Frozen Lemon Greek Yogurt Pops! These simple, homemade treats are made with 3 basic ingredients: Greek yogurt, lemon, and a sweet swap for sugar – SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener.

    I had a great time making these pops, and I encourage you to get creative with the different molds out there! I like this one but the design is up to you. Regardless of what you use, these pops are super easy to put together quickly for a party, your kiddos, or yourself as a late afternoon or after dinner snack. I used SPLENDA® Sweetener in mine, so that there is less added sugar. Add that to plain Greek Yogurt and lemon juice, and you’ve got yourself a sweet treat that gives you a little vitamin C, and packs a protein punch!

    Not only does the final product taste awesome, it’s also beautiful with the lovely pieces of lemon zest and thin lemon slices showing throughout the white pop. These pops are creamy, with just the right amount of sweet and tart flavor (not to mention they’re a healthy treat that you can feel great about!). Check out my video demo below! And check-out SweetSwaps.com for more tips and tricks for swapping sugar for SPLENDA® Sweetener Products.


    Lemon Greek Yogurt Pops 

    (Makes 6 Pops) 


    Juice from 2 lemons

    Zest from 3 lemons

    2 cups plain whole Greek yogurt

    1 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt

    1/2 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated

    6 thin slices of lemon

    6 pop sticks


    1) In a bowl collect the zest and juice from the lemons. Stir in the yogurts.

    2) Add SPLENDA® Sweetener and stir well.

    3) Using a spoon, carefully transfer the yogurt mixture into each pop mold. Gently tap the molds onto a countertop to sufficiently fill them. Insert a thin slice of lemon into each mold so that it sits at the base. Add the pop sticks and freeze for a minimum of 3 hours.

    4) When ready, run the pop mold under warm water for about 20 seconds, and gently pull each pop out.

    Nutrition Facts Per Serving (1 pop): 

    – Calories: 100

    – Calories from Fat:

    – Total Fat: 3g

    – Saturated Fat 2g

    – Cholesterol: 10mg

    – Sodium: 40mg

    – Total Carbs: 8g

    – Dietary Fiber:

    – Sugars: 5g

    – Protein: 11g


  • Eat with Me at Ramen Okidoki

    R U Okidoki?

    Summer Food Series

    Happy Thursday, LoDown fam! Today, we’re starting a new feature called the “Summer Food Series” where I’ll be taking you on some of my nommiest adventures.

    To start, I’m kicking this first post off with a gracious nod to ramen—my all-time favorite comfort food. While not exactly the healthiest option on the menu, the noodle-soup combo has always hit the spot whenever I wanted to treat myself.

    Located in Astoria, Queens, Ramen Okidoki is not your average Ippudo or Totto. While small with limited seating, it boasts a grand company of friendly staff and complimentary spicy pickled radish that is to die for.

    Their noodle options range anywhere from ramen, to cold noodles, to even Tsukemen (cold noodles you dip in hot soup). If I remember correctly, there are eight different types of ramen bowls to choose from, each varying in broth and meat. I personally like to go with pork when choosing my ramen, but I’ve tried their super spicy “R U Okidoki” before, and that too hurt my tongue in the most sensational way.

    On a very recent visit, I ordered this:

    On left we have a “BBQ Butaniku” ramen and on the right, an “In Tokyo” ramen. Both, of course, were delicious! If you’re someone who likes a stronger brother, I’d recommend the “BBQ Butaniku,” otherwise “In Tokyo” is a nice light alternative. If you’re more of the simple, classic Shoyu ramen type, Okidoki has the regular unfusioned flavors as well.

    You can find Ramen Okidoki at 34-05 30th Ave in Astoria, NY.

    Let me know if you have a favorite ramen place! Be sure to check back next Thursday for more restaurant recommendations 🙂

  • Bathing Suits Perfect for Every Body Type

    Just Keep Swimming

    In the right suit 😉

    Happy almost summer, you guys! That said, what better a way to welcome the warmer weather than by discussing what I find to be the most intimidating item of clothing? Yup, you guessed it: bathing suits!

    Spending hours in a dressing room trying on bikinis and one-pieces can be downright annoying and stressful. What looks amazing on your best friend might not always look as flattering on you. Luckily though, with the many different designs and creative cuts swim brands are coming out with, there’s a bathing suit to fit all body types.

    For my five two petite body frame, I gravitate towards swimwear that helps me create the illusion of a bigger chest (i.e. ruffles or cut outs). And, I also look for bottoms that hug my waist. My favorite brand? L-Space by Monica Wise.



    Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

    Here I am in a one-piece by La Blanca


    And here I am in a different one by L-Space

    If you’re the opposite of me and more top heavy, I recommend a suit with an underwire or thicker strap to give you that extra level of comfort and support. Long torso or athletic? Try a high-waisted suit! Not only are they the hottest trend on the market, but they also really flatter your curves.

    When purchasing a high-waisted bottom, pick one that rests slightly above the belly button to avoid any unnecessary pinching at the waist (a.k.a. love handles).

    Still unsure? Opt for a one-piece! They’re all over Instagram. Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, and Gigi Hadid have been known to sport one or two. With so many one-piece styles available—ones with deep v-necks, scooped backs, and mesh—I’m positive you’ll be able to find one that’s both tasteful and flattering on you!

    Feature image via Claudia Cox

  • Travel Guide: Eating My Way Through Los Angeles

    When East Meets West 

    (Half Of) What I Ate In LA

    It’s finally the freakin’ weekend, LoDown fam! If you’re reading this post at the office, the pictures here will probably make you salivate, so, beware!

    I recently took a trip out to Los Angeles and pretty much ate my way through the city. Back, alive, well, and nostalgic, I’m here to share with you some of my favorite spots. Make sure to take a mental note of them if you ever find yourself heading that way!


    Verve Coffee Roasters

    Location: 833 S Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014
    *other locations available

    Look at this gorgeous platter of juice shots. I wasn’t feeling coffee at the time so I decided to start my trip off with something healthy, you know, to “cleanse my body.”
    Joke’s on me though–I’m pretty sure I need another cleanse now that I’m back and properly stuffed.

    Here’s “The Flight,” a sampler of 10 of Verve’s juices that you drink in order from green to white in a zig-zag pattern. The flavors range from greens to ginger to sweet fruits!

    In-N-Out Burger

    *many locations available

    Yes, I had to stuff my face with  this beautiful tray of fast food. Every time I go to California, I make sure to stop at an In-N-Out. They might not be as good as the burgers we have here, but I still go because it’s only available on the west coast. Animal-style burgers and fries with some pickles and chili peppers on the side? Yes, please!

    Coffee Commissary

    Location: 3121 W Olive Avenue, Burbank, CA 91505

    After a day’s worth of walking, I decided to hang out at Coffee Commissary, a hipster spot that’s not too crowded. Bonus: they have amazing baristas.

    My vanilla latte definitely hit the spot. I recommend coming here to catch up with a friend, do some work, or even read a book.


    Location: 101 S La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036
    *other locations available

    Of course I had to check this place out when Lo mentioned them in two of her #LIVE streams! Since I wanted to take advantage of their nice weather, I decided to eat outside. I ordered hand-cut rolls: Cucumber, Toro (tuna), and Yellowtail. Guys, the hype is real! By far some of the best sushi I’ve ever had! A MUST!

    California Donuts

    Location: 3540 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90020

    Isn’t that panda doughnut pictured above just the cutest? California Doughnuts have these delicious doughnuts that are unique in both flavor and presentation. Gram-worthy too (if you haven’t noticed)!

    Unfortunately, CD’s only a stand and there isn’t any seating available, so be ready to take your dough to go! They also make customized donuts with letters and numbers, which is perfect for a birthday or a loved one.

    Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle

    Location: 2057 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025

    If you know me, I’m the ramen queen. I’ve tried most (if not all) of the ramen places in NYC, so I couldn’t not hunt down a restaurant when out in LA. To be honest, I ended up eating ramen twice, but hey, who’s counting?

    Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle had a bit of a wait time, but the noodles were well worth the wait. Their menu is simple. I recommend their Tonkatsu ramen with hard noodles. Their broth is light and tasty and the flavors aren’t too overwhelming. I wish they delivered across the country…

    Other Places to Check Out

    7475 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036
    *market-style restaurant that’s good for brunch

    177 Caruso Avenue, Glendale, CA 91210
    *well-known for their soup dumplings

    Thank you for joining me here on this mini food adventure! Let me know if you have any favorite LA (or NYC) eats in the comments down below. I would love to try out your recommendations. In the meantime, I’ll be eating cleaner?

  • This Dairy-Free Pasta Dish is Perfect for Spring

    #P A S S I O N F O R P A S T A

    There’s no denying that pasta is absolutely delicious.  But did you know that it’s also a good, complex carbohydrate that provides steady energy?  I’m certainly passionate about pasta, especially before a run and the the variety of ways you can whip it up is truly endless and it’s a perfect foundation for a healthy meal –   comforting, tasty, and nutritious all at once.

    If you read the blog often you may know that I’m not a huge fan of dairy, and am constantly searching for alternatives.  I love cheese and cream, but not the way it makes my insides feel, if you know what I mean.  More often than not however, pasta and cheese go hand and hand.  The flavor combination is undeniably gangbusters.  So how to indulge in a little spaghetti or ravioli that tastes satisfying without compromising the flavor?  Turn to citrus, ta da!

    Apart from a straight tomato sauce, citrus is a great element to incorporate into a pasta dish without the need for cheese or a creamy sauce.  Want citrus and a creamy element?  Pick up an avocado, also in season along with a fresh zucchini (a Farmer’s Market favorite of mine) for some of the tastiest, creamiest, brightest pasta you will ever eat.

    I picked up this Spaghetti with Zucchini and Avocado Sauce recipe from PassionforPasta.com and it checks all of my nutritional and taste requirements: has a creamy sauce that’s dairy-free, utilizes fresh vegetables, incorporates citrus (one of my fave flavors), and is a good source of energy before hitting the gym.  You can check out my video tutorial below that takes you through the recipe step by step and also reference the recipe below.  Enjoy!


    Spaghetti with Zucchini and Avocado Sauce


    1 box Barilla spaghetti

    1 large leek, sliced

    4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    1 ½ cups vegetable broth

    2 medium ripe avocados, peeled and pit removed

    1 tablespoon lemon juice

    1 large zucchini, skin only, julienned

    1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

    salt and black pepper, to taste



    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; season with salt

    2. Cook Barilla pasta according to package directions

    3. Sauté leek with 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat in a medium skillet for 3 minutes.

    4. Add broth, turn heat to high and bring broth to a boil

    5. Cook until reduced to half; remove from heat and let cool

    6. Blend cooled broth, avocado, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth; set aside

    7. Sauté remaining oil and zucchini skins over medium heat for 1 minute in the same skillet used for the leek mixture

    8. Toss pasta with avocado mixture and zucchini in a large serving bowl

    9. Garnish with parsley









  • These Lemon Bars are Perfect for Mother’s Day

    I Got It From My Momma

    Mother’s Day is around the corner, guys (Sunday, May 8) so it’s time to head into the kitchen and whip up a sweet treat just for her.  Lemon Bars are an absolute favorite of my Mother.  We had them all the time, so today’s new cooking video is really an ode to her.  I hope you enjoy the tutorial and these sweet and tart treats!!!  Recipe is below!


    Luscious Lemon Bars Recipe


    Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray

    1 1/4 cups Pillsbury BEST™ All Purpose Flour

    1/4 cup powdered sugar

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/2 cup Crisco® Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening (well-chilled)



    2 large eggs

    1 cup sugar

    2 tablespoons Pillsbury BEST™ All Purpose Flour

    1/4 teaspoon baking powder

    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

    2 teaspoons grated lemon peel



    1/2 cup powdered sugar

    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

    1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

    Powdered sugar




HEAT oven to 350ºF. Line 8-inch square pan with foil. Coat with no-stick cooking spray.


FOR CRUST: COMBINE flour, powdered sugar and salt in medium bowl. Cut in well-chilled shortening with pastry blender until evenly moistened. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Bake at 350ºF for 15 minutes.


FOR FILLING: WHISK eggs until blended. Whisk in sugar, flour, baking powder, lemon juice and lemon peel. Pour over partially baked crust. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown.


FOR GLAZE: STIR together powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon peel. Spread on hot lemon filling. Cool on wire rack. Chill until firm – about 2-3 hours. Remove from pan using edges of foil. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into bars.


  • This Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Is A Diet Miracle

    W O R K T H A T B O D Y

    If you’ve never tried a Roasted Butternut Squash Soup you’re seriously missing out.  The only ingredients are: squash, carrots, ginger, vegetable broth, herbs, olive oil, and a tiny bit of salt, and pepper.  That’s it!  Doesn’t get much better for your diet and waistline than that!

    Enjoy the tutorial video below with the recipe to follow!

    Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup


    • 1 Roasted Butternut Squash, halved
    • 1 Large Roasted Carrot
    • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger
    • ½ chopped onion
    • 5 cups of more of low-salt chicken broth
    • 5-6 parsley stems
    • 5-6 thyme sprigs
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 tablespoon black pepper
    • Crisco Olive Oil
    • Twine to tie herbs


    1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Take a baking sheet and cover in parchment paper.  Spray with Crisco Spray.  Cut squash in half and drizzle with Crisco olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Drizzle large carrot with olive oil and place on pan.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until very soft and a brown color has been achieved.
    2. In a large pot over medium heat, cook onions in olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add ginger and cook for a minute or two.
    3. Divide the squash and carrot into pieces and add to the pan. Add chicken broth, and parsley stems, thyme, and bay leaf tied together with twine.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 25 minutes.
    4. Remove the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Turn off heat.  Carefully pour the soup from the pan into a high-powered mixer and blend on high for 1-2 minutes.   The soup will be very hot so be careful when blending!!!
    5. Pour the soup back into the pan and season with salt and pepper on low.
    6. Serve in a beautiful bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and place a parsley leaf on top.  Enjoy!




  • Behold My Famous Mango and Guacamole Recipe!

    You Guac My World

    So Let's Avocuddle

    Yes, you heard me the first time: mango guacamole.

    It’s a no-brainer, really. I love mangoes and I love avocados. There’s no reason not to put the two and two together. I mean, after all, it does take two to mango 😉 .

    With spring here and summer just around the corner, you’ll be inclined to invite your girl squad over for some quality bonding. Treat them to my famous, top-secret, never before shared guac. I promise, for all you amateur chefs out there, it’s the next best thing to ramen.

    Disclaimer: If you’re more of a Netflix and Wine kind of gal, this dip is also perfect for a party of one.


    5 ripe avocados
    2 ripe mangoes, chopped
    3-4 limes, to taste
    1/2 red onion, diced
    cilantro (optional)
    salt and pepper, to taste
    lemon pepper (optional)

    What To Do:

    Combine all your ingredients in a mixing bowl. I like to start by scooping out my avocado and mashing it with a fork before adding the chopped mangos and diced onions. After mixing the avocado, chopped mangoes, and diced onions, season your guacamole by adding  the cilantro, salt, and pepper. Since I don’t really like cilantro, I substituted that with lemon pepper. In terms of lime, you can add as little or as much as you want. Remember, all of this really just depends on your taste buds and those of your friend’s. Once you’re satisfied with your consistency, scoop the guac out into a serving bowl, cut two thin slices of lime for garnish, and call it a day!

    Do you have any food puns to share? I’d love to hear it them! Also, take pictures of your mango guac and tag us on Instagram at @thelodownblog!

  • This Blueberry Pie is Perfect for Easter

    Fresh, Tart, and Crumbly

    Need a fresh treat to bring to your Easter gathering this Sunday?  Why not a blueberry pie with the crust made from scratch?  Delicious, yummy, fantastic.  I love the lemon that’s featured in this pie – it makes the filling perfectly tart and sweet simultaneously.  Check out the video tutorial below and the recipe at the bottom!



    Crust (crust recipe below is for one crust):

    • 1/2 stick well-chilled Crisco® Butter Flavor Shortening Baking Stick
    • 5 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 4-8 Tbsp cold water

    Pie Filling:

    • 8 cups of blueberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • Juice from half a lemon
    • 2 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 tablespoon half and half or milk



    1. Combine flour and salt into a bowl. Blend Crisco® Butter Flavor Shortening Baking Stick in using a fork or pastry cutter.  Continue to mix together until the mixture is the size of small peas.
    2. Sprinkle up to 8 tablespoons of ice cold water into the mixture until a dough starts to form as you combine everything together with your hands.  Once dough is formed, flatten it into a disk, cover in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
    3. Repeat same process as above to make the second crust.
    4. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
    5. After chilling dough for 30 minutes, remove from refrigerator and place the dough on a flat surface with a bit of flour on the surface and rolling pin. Unroll the dough by rolling out from the center. Using the rolling pin, place the rolled out dough over round baking dish.
    6. In a bowl, combine blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon.  Add butter and use a folding motion to combine mixture.
    7. Put blueberry mixture in pie crust and then add second pie crust on top with slits cut in to it (to let steam escape).
    8. Crimp pie edges together and apply egg wash.
    9. Place pie in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
    10. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    11. After pie has chilled for 30 minutes, bake the pie at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake an additional 45 more minutes until pie filling is bubbling and thick.
    12. Let cool completely before slicing.


  • Herbed Chicken with Blood Oranges and Lemon

    It’s That Citrus Time of Year

    My boyfriend and I are big fans of chicken, but it can get boring after a while.  Needing to mix it up I hit the fruit section at the grocery store.  The citrus selection is in full bloom right now and I wondered what could be done with blood oranges, a seasonal favorite of mine not only for their beautiful, rich coloring but because of their mild flavor.  A bit of spice always goes nicely with an element of citrus so I decided to pull together some chicken legs instead of breasts for their flavor, blood oranges, lemons, shallots, and some herbs for a richly flavored chicken dish that’s quite easy to make.

    It’s a one pan dinner – I love those!  Throw everything into your baking dish, pop it into the oven, and 45 minutes later out comes dinner.  I served this delicious dish with some arugula.  No need to get fancier than that.  As an added benefit this dish is gluten, grain, and dairy-free.  Great for you Paleo eaters out there or anyone looking to eat clean.  Let’s get to the recipe!  This is enough for 2-3 people.



    1. 4 chicken legs
    2. 1/3 cup melted coconut oil or ghee
    3. 2 tablespoons raw honey
    4. 2 teaspoons paprika
    5. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    6. 2 teaspoons onion powder or flakes
    7. 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
    8. 2 teaspoons black pepper
    9. 2 teaspoons lite salt
    10. 3 sprigs of rosemary leaves, chopped, plus more whole leaves for later
    11. 3 sprigs of fresh oregano leaves, chopped, plus more whole leaves for later
    12. 3 sprigs of thyme leaves, chopped, plus more whole leaves for later
    13. 1 1/2 lemons, cut into 8ths
    14. 2 blood oranges, cut into 8ths
    15. 3 shallots, cut into small pieces (but don’t chop – you want to eat delicious pieces of roasted shallots together)



    1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
    2. In a bowl, melt coconut oil or ghee in the microwave.  Stir in raw honey, paprika, garlic powder, onion flakes, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and the herb trio.
    3. Wash and dry your chicken legs, placing them into your baking dish.  Season them with salt and pepper on both sides.
    4. Drizzle the marinade over the chicken legs on both sides.  Add the lemon and blood orange pieces to the pan, squeezing out a bit of juice over the chicken and pan.  Add the shallot pieces as well.  Finally, cover the entire dish with extra leaves of oregano, rosemary, and thyme.
    5. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the juices run clear.
    6. Serve with an undressed salad of arugula.  The dish will produce enough juice to drizzle over everything.  Enjoy!


  • You Must Make Taste This Delicious Vegetable Quiche


    Spring is just around the corner.  Can you feel it?  I’m certainly seeing it at the Farmer’s Market in Union Square!  The place is poppin’ full of veggies for the new season, especially all kinds of squash and zucchini.  Today to celebrate the arrival of March and some warmer weather I’m showing you how to make one of my favorite quiches: Spring Vegetable with a Homemade Crust.

    If you’ve never made dough yourself there’s no reason to worry.  It’s actually quite simple and you’ll know by the consistency when it’s ready (not sticky, not dry and flaky).  Check out my video below along with the recipe!




    • 1/2 stick well-chilled Crisco® Baking Sticks All-Vegetable Shortening
    • 5 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 4-8 Tbsp cold water

    Egg Mixture:

    • 6 eggs
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 Tbsp black pepper
    • 1 Tbsp. thyme leaves
    • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced squash
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks
    • 1/4 cup crumbled bacon
    • 1 tsp Half & Half


    1. Combine flour and salt into a bowl and chop Crisco® Baking Sticks All-Vegetable Shortening into it using a fork or pastry cutter.  Continue to mix together until the mixture is the size of small peas.
    2. Sprinkle up to 8 tablespoons of ice cold water into the mixture until a dough starts to form as you combine everything together with your hands.  Once dough is formed flatten it into a disk, cover in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.  Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
    3. After 30 minutes remove dough from refrigerator and unroll the dough by rolling out from the center.  Place the dough on a flat surface with a bit of flour on the surface and rolling pin.  Using rolling pin, place the rolled out dough over round baking dish.
    4. For the egg mixture take 6 eggs and whisk them together with 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 Tbsp. black pepper, 1 Tbsp. thyme leaves, a splash of Half & Half, and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (but save some for the topping).
    5. Layer vegetables in quiche pan or round baking dish.  Use 1/2 cup thinly cut squash, 1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks, and 1/4 cup crumbled bacon.  Sprinkle in some of the remaining cheese, and then pour the egg mixture on top.  Move everything around a bit with a fork or spatula so it’s even.  Sprinkle the last of the cheese on top and it’s ready for the oven!
    6. Bake at 350°F for about 40 minutes or until the egg mixture is firm and the top is getting browned.
  • What on Earth is a Pulse and How Do You Cook It?

    Pulses – delicious, nutritious, and no, they’re not the thump, thump, thump, of blood passing through your veins.  Pulses are actually quite common, though not known much by this particular name.  Pulses are part of the legume family but the “pulse” part refers only to the dried seed.  Edible beans, lentils, dried peas, and chickpeas are the most common types – and they are officially the food of the year for 2016!

    I’m a huge fan of lentils and beans.  They’re a major part of my diet, especially on those days I’m trying to go meatless.  They provide an excellent source of iron, zinc, and phosphorus, and they’re quite high in protein and fiber – all micro and macronutrients are essential in any healthy diet.  To celebrate the year of the Pulse, I’ve decided to share a favorite recipe of mine that incorporates green lentils, white beans, and butternut squash in a delicious, low-calorie soup.

    If you want more info on pulses check out the handy guide below from Pulse Pledge.  Recipe at the bottom.  Enjoy!



    [ingredients title=”Ingredients”]
    • One yellow onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup parsley, minced
    • 4 cups butternut squash, cubed
    • 1.5 cups green lentils
    • 1 can of white beans
    • 8 cups of chicken broth or vegetable stock
    • thyme
    • parsley leaves to garnish
    • bay leaves
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • Ghee
    [/ingredients] [directions title=”Directions”]
    1. In a soup pan, melt ghee or coconut oil and gently cook onions on medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and parsley, and a small bit of kosher salt.  Cook for 2-3 more minutes.
    2. Add butternut squash and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
    3. Add chicken stock and lentils.
    4. Add a tablespoon of black pepper, 3-4 thyme stems, 5-6 parsley stems, and 2 bay leaves.
    5. Let cook on a medium boil for about 30 minutes until lentils and squash are soft.
    6. Add white beans.
    7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    8. Garnish with parsley leaves.
    9. Enjoy!

    This post was sponsored by USA Pulses and Pulse Canada.

  • Kitchen Essentials: How To Chop an Onion

    Truth be told, I didn’t know how to properly chop an onion until I attended culinary school.  My cuts were uneven and my pieces cooked at different rates.  That’s the reason why chopping an onion properly is so important: it cooks evenly in your pan and it looks nice in your food.  The sign of a chef with great knife skills are even, little tiny pieces of vegetables.  Check out the new video to see how it’s done, and welcome to Kitchen Essentials – a new series in which we’ll be sharing the basics with all of you.

    [directions title=”Directions”]
    1. Cut both end off of your onion.  Peel the skin off your onion using a paring knife instead of your finger nails.  Keeps your onions and cutting board clean.
    2. Next, cut your onion in half through both ends.
    3. Take one half and place it flat side down.  Begin slicing through the onion about 3/4 of the way through in horizontal cuts.  I like to place the palm of my non-knife hand on top to help control it.
    4. Then make cuts across the onion from right to left.
    5. Now it’s time to chop through the onion.  Start at the flat, exposed end and work toward the root or base.  You don’t need to cut through the entire onion, just go as far as feels safe.
    6. Repeat with the other half.
  • Mint Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

    Let’s get your weekend started off right, shall we?  Whip up these delicious Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies with a hint o’ mint to treat yourself and family to a little fun this February!  Check out the video and delicious and easy recipe below!

    [ingredients title=”Ingredients”]
    • Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
    • 1/2 cup Crisco Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening OR 1/2 stick Crisco Baking Sticks Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 tablespoon milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 large egg, separated
    • 1 oz. square unseated chocolate, melted and cooled
    • 1 cup All Purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
    • 24 mint chocolate kisses, unwrapped
    [/ingredients] [directions title=”Directions”]
    1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the unsweetened chocolate and mint chocolate kisses in 30-second intervals until nearly melted.
    2. In a bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening stick, sugar, milk, vanilla, and egg yolk at medium speed until well blended. Add melted chocolate and mix well. Combine flour and salt then add to the chocolate mixture and mix until blended. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
    3. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Coat the baking sheet with Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray.
    4. Form dough into 1-inch balls.  Beat egg white slightly with fork and coat dough with the beaten egg white. Place dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheet and gently press with thumb in the center of each cookie.
    5. Bake cookies for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and place mint chocolate kiss in the center of each thumbprint. Return the cookies to the oven for 1 minute. Remove to cooling rack.
  • TheLoDown