Category Archives: Food

Random Things I Am Liking Lately

Hi — thank you for your encouragement yesterday with the One Room Challenge.  It’s time to motivate my husband to start painting!

Here are a few random things that I am liking lately.  Remember these posts from back in the day?

One Kings Lane has so many beautiful and accessible pieces of great art these days, including Michelle Armas, Brittany Bass and Jennifer Latimer, some of my favorite artists.  Check out this sale: In Fine Form.


{Bester by Michelle Armas}

This is my go-to summer t-shirt this season.  They are so soft, wash well and are the perfect length.  I used to buy Target and Old Navy tees, but found that they shrunk immediately, got stretched out after a couple hours of wear, and were so thin that they were see-through.  I have upgraded this year.  They come in a ton of colors and they are now on sale for $19.99!  If you order online, they run true-to-size (Ms fit me great).


{J. Crew Vintage Cap-Sleeve Tee}

Have you tried Blue Apron?  Each week they deliver the ingredients for three full meals to your door.  I have been loving it, especially the pre-measured portions and the minimal weekly meal planning.  Of the 9 meals that have been delivered so far, this one was the best!


{Blue Apron Beef Ramen Noodle Soup with Choy Sum and Enoki Mushrooms}

This bathroom designed by Sherry and John Petersik of Young House Love is seriously perfect.  I love that nothing is “to the trade” and all so accessible to everyone.  I seriously COVET those shower tiles.



{Photo source and full post HERE}

Have you read this book?  I loved it.  I am trying to whip this stressed-out voice in my head into shape and not let the small stuff constantly derail me.


And, finally, here is my new fave Tar-jay find for under $20.  He is prominently on display in our family room.  In person, mine is a little more distressed and imperfect.  Kind of like me.  🙂


{Nate Berkus Tortoise Shell Box, Target}

Happy Friday!  Have a fabulous weekend.  xxoo

What’s Cooking – Menu for the Week

Hi!  This week, I am starting this challenge to kick-start our dinner routine in the New Year – 7 new recipes in 14 days.  Here goes this week:


{Image via Dinner: A Love Story}

Sunday (New Recipe): Split Pea Soup with the leftover Christmas ham bone, crusty bread, simple salad.  This was really good!


{Image via}

Monday: Cooking Light Southwest Sausage and Rice and veggie platter with dip.


Tuesday: Giada’s Quick and Spicy Tomato Soup, superfast drop biscuits and Ceasar salad.

Wednesday (New Recipe): Baked Ziti with Sausage and Mushrooms (from Dinner: A Love Story cookbook).

Beef & Broccoli

{Image via Emily Bites}

Thursday (New Recipe): Emily Bites Slow Cooker Beef and Broccolirice.

Friday: Cooking Light Turkey Tetrazzini, Greek salad.  

Saturday: Out of Town

What’s for supper at your house this week?  I would love for you to share your favorite quick and easy dinner recipes.  I need 4 more new recipes next week to complete the challenge!

read this book!

Upon the recommendation from my foodie sister, I have been a loyal blog reader of Dinner: A Love Story for a couple years.  Jenny, Andy, Abby and Phoebe feel like my favorite neighbors, so without a second thought, I immediately pre-ordered Dinner: A Love Story, the cookbook/memoir.

Jenny and Andy are both magazine editors/executives and Jenny worked in the now-defunct (and sorely missed) Cookie Magazine.  I have been enjoying Jenny and Andy’s simple, real and fresh recipes on the blog for a while now, and I can attest that each one we have tried has been delicious and accessible.

But my favorite part of this book is the narrative.  I sat down and felt like I was having an easy conversation with my best friend over skinny lattes at my local Starbucks.  Jenny’s voice is pitch-perfect — not too judgey and not too kitschy.  I like her self-depricating snark mixed with her romantic notions of the family dinner table.   I also loved that Jenny meets readers where they are — whether you have never made a dinner from scratch or you are a “foodie,” her life lessons and recipes apply equally.

Below are two of my favorite excerpts that capture the essence and the message of the book:

“But my point is, even though the most important part of the family dinner is the family part, I do not want you to dismiss the role of caring in the equation.  The more you care, the more you’ll cook, and the more you cook, the better you’ll get, and the better you get, the more firmly the family dinner ritual will take hold.  It’s probably going to be a long time before my kids recognize in a conscious way that eating a meal with someone who loves them satisfies some psychological need.  But for now I’m pretty sure that they’re psyched to show up for the pork chops.  And I have no problem with that.”  (page 297)

Quoting with a friend with teenagers: “‘You know, when they were little, dinner was such a pain in the ass.  All the kids did was complain about what I cooked. It was such a thankless job.’  She went on, ‘Now that they’re older I’ll cook anything they ask for.  I’ll cook five different meals if it means they’ll all sit down with me for dinner.’….I call [this scene] up and then force myself to think : Lucky.  Feel lucky.  They are sitting at the table.  They are seven and nine years old.” (page 298)

(copyright 2012 Jenny Rosenstrach)

Watch this trailer, and I dare you not to develop an intense girl crush on Jenny!

We struggle with a picky preschooler and an early-to-bed infant every night, but on some sacred evenings, the stars align and the preschooler, the infant, and my hard-working husband and I are sitting at the very same dinner table that I used growing up, and Cheese-y Peas-y Chicken Orzo  is being enjoyed by all of the dinner participants who eat solid food, and it’s the most beautiful, lovely, happy moments of the day, the week, the month.

This book celebrates encourages and celebrates these divine occurrences.  Read it!

Random Things I am Liking Lately

Here are some random things on my “making-me-happy” radar screen lately:

Oversized Botanical Prints!  I love the idea of oversized botanical prints like these from Wisteria.  I can’t stop thinking about them.  They would be right at home in my dining room and already come framed….  Yesssssss.

Trader Joe’s (3 Minute!!) Steelcut Oatmeal!  As you can see, I hoard buy this in serious bulk.  I add a splash of milk, a dash of cinnamon and a banana…every morning and I never get tired of it! 


Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and ConditionerI got a tip on this from one of my favorite bloggers (thanks, Jackie!) and can’t use anything else now.  My hair has never been softer or smoother.  You can find it at the grocery store or Target for as little as $4.99 a bottle.  A serious steal.

Organix Sulfate Free Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo 13-oz..Opens in a new window

Gascon Malbec!  This $12 bottle of yummy goodness can be found at most grocery stores — I have also seen it at Trader Joes and World Market.  I am no wine expert, but I love the hint of mocha in the background. 

Birch Box!  I just got a subscription for my birthday — I can’t  wait to get my first Birch Box.  Let me know if you want an invite!

Instagram!  Are you on Instagram?  Come find me at ada_marie!

Instagram - Fast, beautiful photo sharing for your iPhone

Did I miss anything?  What’s on your radar screen today?

Weekly Menu

I promise that this is NOT turning into a menu-planning blog!  These posts are quick and easy for me, and that’s about I have time for these days! 

Here’s what was on the table last week (I may do these a week behind, so that you can get my two cents on the new recipes):

Monday: Cooking Light Orange Curried Pork, with yellow rice and roasted fennel (which was a new vegetable for me, so delish, sliced the bulb, put a little EVOO (1/2 tablespoon) and salt and pepper, in the oven at 400 for about 30 mins). 

Tuesday: New Recipe!  You’ve Got Supper’s Slow Cooker Barbacoa served in flour tortillas with store-bought mango salsa.  This was the STAR of this week’s menu.  Easy and delicious — it will become a regular on the slow cooker circuit around here for sure!

Wednesday: Cooking Light’s Chili with Pasta and Beans.  One of our favorite chili recipes – easy and quick.

Thursday: Tortellini and Banana Pepper Salad.  A favorite in the warm-weather months.  I love all of the flavors and that the dish is light, but really satiating.

Tortellini Pepperoncini Salad Recipe

Friday: New Recipe!  Weight Watchers Mini Feta and Vegetable Frittatas with steamed snap peas and bagel and cream cheese.  Everyone really liked these, even my picky 4 year old.  Spray or butter the heck out of the muffin tins because these stick!  I may see if it works equally as well with liners — the clean up was less than fun.

Feta and Vegetable Frittatas

Saturday: Salmon Burgers with green salad.  Another freezer staple in the spring and summer.  We throw these on the grill frozen, put them on potato rolls with grainy mustard, Claussen pickle chips and tomato slices, and it’s a yummy, good-for-you burger!  P.S. It’s equally as good wrapped in lettuce or over a salad.

Trident Seafoods® Wild Alaskan Salmon Burgers

What’s on your dinner menu?  Any inspiration you can share?

Happy Cooking!


Weekly Menu

Hello ol’ friends.  Things have been cray-cray around here with the new baby.  I am HIGH on inspiration and LOW on time.  My priorities right now go something like, FEED CHILDREN, BATHE CHILDREN, BRING BIG KID TO SCHOOL, TRY TO WORK, TRY TO EXERCISE, TRY TO SLEEP, and REPEAT.  My lovely little blog has fallen off the immediate priority list for now, but I am still going to pop in now and then to say HI and to hopefully share and receive some inspiration.

This weekend we went to our 10th year law school reunion (??!!), and I was so flattered that so many of my classmates read this blog.  One of those lovelies said that she liked and wanted more weekly recipe ideas (holla Jamie!), so I thought I would stop by quickly and post this week’s recipes.  OperationLoseBabyWeight is in full force, so they are even more on the healthier side than usual….

Monday: Cooking Light Pasta Jambalaya (a superfast tried and true favorite).

Tuesday: Cooking Light Chipotle Sloppy Joes with cole slaw (another tried and true).

Chipotle Sloppy Joes Recipe

Wednesday: New Recipe!  Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken and green salad(suggestion from a BFF, I used reduced fat cream of chicken and sour cream, served in a tortilla with banana peppers and topped with salsa verde — it was AWESOME.  It will join our usual rotation!).

Thursday: New Recipe! Weight Watchers Spanikopita Quesadillas and sauteed zucchini and squash.

Friday: Cooking Light Brown Butter Gnocchi (a superfast vegetarian fave around here).

Brown Butter Gnocchi with Spinach and Pine Nuts Recipe

Saturday: Cooking Light Red Pepper and Tuna Pasta Salad (my first pasta salad of the season — it’s a good one!).

Happy cooking!  I’m hoping to be back (soon?) with a little reveal of the lamps for the nursery and an update on the bathroom facelift.  Also, we painters are repainting the kitchen, so a post bidding farewell to my fun and beloved orange kitchen will also be forthcoming. 

Things are coming together around here…slowly!  Miss you all!

P.S. Are you on Instagram?  Instagram is the new Pinterest.  Haha.  I am looking for more exciting people to follow.  Please find me so I can follow you: ada_marie!


What’s Cookin’?

Life has de-railed my weekly menu planner series.  Between work, back-to-school, ballet classes, swimming lessons, weird food aversions, and evening fatigue, my family is lucky to get a home-cooked meal 2-3 times a week these days, instead of my goal of at least 5 days per week.  (We should be buying stock in Jason’s Deli, Chipotle and Panera….)  

But, I love that spark! readers enjoy the recipes and dinner inspiration.  So, these days, instead of full menu planners, I may just pop in here and let you know what my 2-3 pre-planned weekly meals will be.   Mini inspiration is better than no inspiration at all, right?  🙂

This week, I shopped for ingredients for 3 simple, pre-planned meals:

1. Cooking Light White Cheese and Sausage Bake.  I made this for dear friends who just had a baby girl and bought extra ingredients for a batch for us.  It’s simple and delicious and really only requires a few store-bought ingredients because you can substitute most any pasta for the ziti.  It looks kind of like this when it’s done:

{Image from Emily Bites}

2. Easiest Ever Crockpot BBQ Chicken from The Picky Apple on potato buns with cole slaw.  Ok, this is seriously the best recipe ever and only requires 1-2 pounds of chicken breasts and a bottle of BBQ sauce.  If I have it, I also add a thinly sliced sweet onion (Vidalia is best) first, then the (raw) chicken, then the sauce.  I also have found that I strongly prefer the thick, hickory BBQ sauce (generic brand tastes best for some reason!).  The Carolina-style sauce is too runny for this recipe.  When it’s done, just fork shred and let it sit in the crockpot until you are ready to eat.  You can start this as late as 1pm and still have it on the table for din-din.  So yummy and delish!

3. Cooking Light Quick Corn-Chicken Chowder.   Another easy recipe that requires only a few store-bought items.  I often use leftover rotisserie or grilled chicken, or even canned white meat chicken in this soup, so I just have to pick up a jalapeno pepper and a can of creamed corn at the store.  I usually have the rest of the ingredients on-hand.  This is a fall and winter fave around here!

Quick Chicken-Corn Chowder

I am hoping to be back later in the week with a post on updates around the house.  It’s been rainy and hard to snap any decent pictures, but things are a-changin’ around here.  I posted a recent development on the blog’s Facebook page last night — check it out and become a follower while you are there!

Happy cooking!

What are your favorites at Trader Joe’s? Discuss!

I realize that this post is a slight tangent from the usual blog content over here, but this is a burning question that needs answering!  I often find myself in a rut when I go into TJ’s and end up with the same things in my cart. 

I have been following two blogs (Dinner: A Love Story and What’s Good at Trader Joe’s) that use a lot of TJ products and have gotten some good inspiration from them, but I would love to hear what your faves are.  Please share in the comments!! 

Richmond’s TJ’s is a hike and a half from my house, so I only go about once or twice a month, but here is what is always in my cart:

Let’s start with sweets!

{Perfect as a housewarming or hostess gift.  I put raw sugar on top about 2/3 of the way through baking to give it a sweet, crunchy top.  I always get asked to send the recipe and then have to ‘fess up that it’s a mix!}

{This is a seasonal item in the Fall — it’s awesome and even better than the banana bread mix.  I serve it with Thanksgiving dinner.}

{I am never making any other type of brownies again.  These are amazingly moist, rich and I love the texture of the dark chocolate chips.  You can also use this as cookie mix, but I have never tried it made that way because the brownies are too darn good!}

{This is another seasonal item that I can’t keep in the house for very long.  They are DELISH with coffee for dessert or a decadent breakfast!}

{We love this yogurt, especially my 4 year old daughter.  I love it for a quick snack or dessert with vanilla wafers or graham crackers!}

{I grew up on 100% pure maple syrup and I can’t stand to serve anything but.  Although, it can get pricey for a bottle of pure maple syrup.  TJ’s offering is delish and affordable.}

Now on to savory:

{This is the best Salsa Verde I have found.  I love that it’s really tasty without being spicy.  I eat it with chips or add it to tomato soup, fish tacos or omelettes.}

{I love this easy, meat-free dinner and these freeze beautifully.  I think that you can cook them straight from the freezer.  No thawing required!}

{This is a great, spicy, easy, meat-free spaghetti sauce.  I love it by itself, or sometimes I add turkey sausage.}

{This is a $0.99 gem.  I put this puppy on my pizza stone and basically clean out the refrigerator — toppings can include olives, asparagus, tomatoes, onions, peppers, feta, parmesan, cheddar, leftover chicken, or all of the above!}

{Yummiest frozen corn around. tastes like it’s right off the cob!}

So please do tell — what are your faves at Trader Joe’s?


Weekly Menu

Sorry for the radio silence.  Things in real life have been busy!  I stuck with all “tried and true” recipes for this week.  Last week for hot soup!  Here in Richmond, Virginia, we are on the precipice of leaving hot soups behind and starting pasta salad and sweet iced tea season. 
Here’s what’s for dinner around here this week:

Sunday: Cooking Light Country-Fried Steak with Mushroom Gravy, mashed potatoes, steamed green beans.

Country-Fried Steak with Mushroom Gravy Recipe

Monday:  Giada de Laurentiis Quick and Spicy Tomato Soup, spinach salad with raw veggies and dijon balsamic (literally dijon mustard whisked with balsamic vinegar to desired consistency, salt & pepper).

Picture of Quick and Spicy Tomato Soup Recipe

Tuesday: Cooking Light Tex-Mex Calzones (using 1/2 package of hot turkey sausage), sliced vine-ripe tomatoes with chopped cilantro, salt and pepper.

Tex-Mex Calzones Recipe

Wednesday: Cooking Light Orecchiette with Sausage, Peppers and Feta (using the other 1/2 of the hot turkey sausage package), Caesar Salad.

Thursday: Evening Swimming Lessons, Dinner Out.

Friday: Pizza Adobe (take-off on Jason’s Deli version, which is not on the menu anymore but sometimes they will make it if you grovel ask).

Ada’s Pizza Adobe: Put thin-crust refrigerated pizza dough in the oven (preferably on a pizza stone, but a baking sheet works too) at 400 degrees for about 3 mins; take out of oven and cover the partially-cooked crust with about 1/2 cup thick tomato-based BBQ sauce, sprinkle about 2 cups chopped cooked chicken (confession: sometimes I use canned white meat packed in water – I just drain and fork-shred), cover with shredded cheddar cheese, top with red onions (sliced in rings) and jarred sliced jalapeno peppers to taste, and put back into the oven for about 9 mins (until cheese is melted and pizza crust is slightly browned).

Saturday: Breakfast for Dinner — Omlettes filled with Desert Pepper Black Bean Dip, shredded cheddar cheese and banana peppers, and topped with salsa verde; Trader Joe’s Triple Berry Muffins, and sliced strawberries with a dash of balsamic vinegar.

Weekly Menu

Here’s what’s for dinner over here this week:

Sunday: Cooking Light Corn and Shrimp Chowder, cheddar and banana pepper quesadillas, sliced fresh vine ripe tomatoes with chopped cilantro, salt, pepper and a dash of EVOO.

Southwest Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Monday: New Recipe!  Rachael Ray’s Vegetable Ravioli Lasagna, Caesar Salad.

Tuesday: Cooking Light Grilled Spinach and Turkey Burger with Goat Cheese Spread, Alexia Spicy Sweet Potato Fries.

Spicy Sweet Potato Julienne Fries

Wednesday: New Recipe!  Restaurant Style Chinese Chicken and Broccoli, with Asian Cabbage Salad (shredded Napa cabbage, sliced red bell pepper, sliced almonds and cilantro, dressing of soy sauce, dark sesame oil, rice vinegar and red pepper flakes).

{Photo Courtesy of Dinner: A Love Story}

Thursday: Evening Swimming Lessons, Eat Out.

Friday: Breakfast for Dinner — Eggs Made to Order, Giada de Laurentiis’ Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes, Salad with Mandarin Oranges, Pecans, Feta and Raspberry Vinaigrette.

Picture of Ricotta Pancakes Recipe

Saturday: Amy’s Spinach & Tomato Pizza, Cooking Light Tomato Basil Soup.

Tomato-Basil Soup