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Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes

There is nothing I don’t love about fall. Pumpkin everything. Last week we enjoyed a pumpkin walnut cranberry loaf. This week it’s brown butter pumpkin cupcakes. How did I know these would be such a slam dunk with my husband, you ask? Well I didn’t–but when I handed him a beater,  and then he followed me back to the kitchen to clean the bowl, and then turn my icing bag inside out to clean.. well I knew we had a winner. The recipe for these Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes, originally Fine Cooking’s Layer Cake, can be found here.

Besides baking we had a great time in Chattanooga this weekend. Any excuse for a roadtrip to see the leaves changing color across Tennessee. It really is the most beautiful time of year here. We did a little hiking, took in the downtown food scene, fell in love with the art district, reminded me of Seattle–and on the way back I saw my first cotton field! I thought the cotton was really cool. Grant.. not so impressed, but he still pulled over so I could photograph it (and pull some off to pay with).

I hope you had a great weekend. Anything fun, exciting, or delicious to report?? Do tell!


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Fit To Indulge on Facebook

Hi Friends!! In order to share more great recipes and nutrition news I created a Facebook page. There are simply way too many topics to cover and recipes to share all on my own. Here you will find links to hot topics in nutrition and delicious foods I find on the web. Please like my page to keep up with FTI happenings. Thanks for following!!



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Married At Last

After a year long engagement, and countless hours obsessing over wedding blogs, I am finally married to my best friend. No more falling asleep with Bride magazine, or shopping Etsy until 1am (well at least not for wedding-related items)! It has been 18 days of amazingness, and I have to say that as much fun as we had planning the wedding, we are so ready to  move on to the next thing… err.. I mean enjoy the moment. So without further adieu, allow me to share a few highlights from our very special day.
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A Night to Myself

A night to myself… in the kitchen of course. I find that my new life in Nashville leaves little time for solitaire cooking. And as much as I love my soon-to-be husband, nothing inspires my inner-blogger like a little me time. I left my office tonight practically skipping to the grocery store to stock up on supplies for dinner. Over lunch I had been scrolling through my Facebook news feed and came across a recipe I’d been waiting for.. Polenta with Pepperonata. If you’re like me you subscribe to all kinds of foodie Facebook pages for regular culinary inspiration. I am never without a new recipe to try. This came from Herbivoracious Click the link for recipe. Its a rich sauce made of caramelized onions and roasted red bell peppers over a bowl of savory polenta (aka grits). I added grilled chicken for a well-balanced meal.

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We’re In Nashville

Wow!! Has it really been six weeks since I’ve blogged?!? We are finally settling in to Nashville—and couldn’t be happier. After driving 2,427 miles –with lots of Starbucks and Subway stops, plus one night at a Nebraska steakhouse where fried gizzards and rocky mountain oysters are perfectly normal entrees–we finally arrived, and have been exploring our new home ever since.

Over the weekend we had our first night out. We met friends for dinner at Puckett’s Grocery. I had my first ever shrimp and grits. The verdict–spicy, creamy, and sooo delicious. I felt very southern. 🙂 Grant had a steak with a side of bacon wrapped green beans. I’ve found that bacon can pretty much be added to any dish and be transformed into southern cuisine. It’s magic.

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Peach Caprese Salad

Sweet, juicy peaches are in abundance right now and I’m trying to figure out how to hit my quota of one-a-day, because they’re just that good. With caprese salads being equally as irresistible in the summer months–creamy mozzarella, fresh-from-the-garden basil, generously drizzled with balsamic and olive oil–how can I not indulge? Hence the ingenious combo of Peach Caprese Salad. Yes. Please. And thank you!

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Lamb Chops with Olive & Pomegranate Tapenade

Delicious! Enough said. I’ve been wanting to make some version of this tapenade ever since seeing it used in an episode of Worst Cook in America. I discovered the show over the holidays and was instantly hooked. It’s totally amusing and surprisingly educational, eeeeeven for the novis homecook. In this particular episode I remember the contendants separating lamb chops from a full rack, having to slice each one exactly the same so that they would cook evenly. What pressure. I decided to skip this part. Instead, I used my fancy-shmancy new chef vocab and asked my Whole Foods butcher to split a rack (which always has 8 ribs) into double ribs with frenched ends. It worked like a charm. He didn’t  even look at me cross-eyed, and I felt super cool placing my order. 🙂

So this tapenade, it calls for pomegranate seeds, and I know better than to search for a pom in March, so when I found  frozen pomegranate seeds at Trader Joe’s I was uber-excited and suddenly reminded of this recipe. The added perk was no dealing with citrus splatter. Yippy!! Unfortunately, when I thawed the pom seeds they looked and tasted thawed. This called for improvisation. Before I had a chance to consider my options the boy had his shoes, keys and was out the door to find me a pomegranate (I think my heart just skipped a beat). But with no luck, he returned with Pom, 100% pomegranate juice. Brilliant. Even better than pomegranate seeds.. straight up pom syrup! Recipe as follows. Please, do enjoy.

Lamb with Olive & Pomegranate Tapenade
1 cup Greek olives
3/4 cup walnuts
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2/3 cup pomegranate juice
1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 T extra virgin olive oil
dash of salt

1 rack of lamb
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper

Start t with a rough chop  of the olives. Add the walnuts (first chopped and dry toasted over medium heat for 4 minutes). Add garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, and olive oil. In a skillet, heat the pomegranate juice and allow it to reduce to half the liquid, pour over tapenade.

Rub chops with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let them rest at room temp for an hour before cooking. Then, in a hot cast iron skillet brown on each side for 3 minutes. Move to the oven and cook for 5 minutes at 375 (for medium rare). Plate and enjoy.

This was a fun Sunday afternoon lunch. And although I forewent pasta (my first love) I did not abandon my love for Mediterranean cuisine. This has the Med written all over it.. lamb, olives, nuts, citrus.. delish! Also fun, was shooting with my new Nikon D3100. Love. It. One of my favorite ways to spend a lazy evening is ogling food photography. Now I can work on making my own photos ogle-worthy! *one can hope*  I do adore photos by Jessica at How Sweet It Is and Olga and Mango and Tomato among other food blogs. Well, have a fabulous, fabulous day, and tell me, what are you cooking up this weekend?


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Celebrate. Cake Batter Truffles.

Starbucks calls them “cake pops”. I call them cake batter truffles. Who doesn’t love cake batter? And truffles? Case in point. I got the idea from Bakerella before ever seeing these amazing little morsels at Starbucks. And since dessert is my favorite meal of the day.. They pretty much changed my life. What was the occasion?? Well forget that my birthday just passed. I finally graduated!!! So. Excited. After three years of total nutrition immersion, I’m finally rejoining the world, and as a nutrition profession. Aahh, not quite the same ring as “RD” but I’m working on it.

For friends and family who are wondering where I’m scampering off too.. nowhere! I’m committed to staying in Seattle at least until applying for my dietetic internship next fall. I got an apartment. Decorated. Furnished it. And now I can cook, sing, eat, drink, and be merry all the days of my life. 🙂 I hope its as nice as it sounds. Wait, it will be. There will be no more lymphoma case studies, vitamin D research papers, or class presentations to prepare for. Its me time. How satisfying.

And an update on how my first week of “me time” went..

  • Spent all last weekend with my grandparents. No homework. Guilt-free.
  • Monday night cooked dinner with my sweetie
  • Tuesday night I caught up on my cooking magazines and finally cracked my latest cookbook: My Calabria. I’ve been dying to curl up with a blanket, glass of wine, and this book. It takes me back to Italy (and I assure you I had sweet dreams after falling asleep with it)
  • Wednesday I took a bubble bath, gave myself a pedicure and watched an entire season of Jamie Oliver
  • And last night I rolled out pasta. I wasn’t hungry. Didn’t eat. Just felt like kneading, singing, and making pretty shapes. 🙂

I am so excited to to rejoin the bloggy network! Oh how I’ve missed reading and writing about kitchen adventures, mishaps, and ingenious moments. Today I’m off to island explore. Praying for sunshine. I’ll report back soon. Have a fabulous weekend everyone!!!  🙂


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Market Day in Ballard

January at the farmer’s market brings lots of root vegetables. Still, never a dull basket. As mom and I shopped for soup ingredients I couldn’t resist taking a few photos. What a food nerd I am. 🙂 Quick, no one’s looking, take a picture! But I can’t help that the purple carrots and golden beets are my kind of beautiful.

And a little beet advice– if you’re adding fresh beets to a broth-based soup, expect everything to turn purple/red. I should have known better. My poor chicken and white beans were camouflaged as beef and pinto beans. Not so pretty. But my it was delicious. Still a rookie at using beets. How do you like yours? Beets are such a rich source of folate, magnesium, potassium, antioxidants and phytochemicals, I’m determined to fit them into my diet somehow.

Don’t all those fresh winter veggies make you want to cook up a pot of comfort food? I’ve got stew on the brain. Also really excited to share that I finally got set up with Full Circle for a biweekly delivery of local organic produce. I’ve been meaning to look into it, so when Groupon offered a good deal I took it. Do you shop at your farmer’s market? Or get CSA produce deliveries? I think its a great way to get exposed to fruits and vegetables I wouldn’t normally buy. If its in the fridge, I’ll find a way to use it.

My tulips are having a wild hair day. Gotta love their playfulness.

Well, off to start my Wednesday..


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Handmade Christmas Pasta

Tradition is something I cherish. It’s the one thing you can count on to be constant when life is always changing; whether its making my mother’s cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, or starting my own baking tradition, like chocolate cranberry biscotti. I love the comfort that comes with knowing au gratin potatoes will grace our dinner table every year (thank you, Ryan, for making a fuss that one year so that mom will forever make them), and the spiral ham my dad’s company sends home on Christmas Eve. It makes Christmas, Christmas. I love Christmas Eve service, singing carols and praise by candlelight.. and although its not really a Christmas movie, I have to watch While You Were Sleeping every December.

Gift shopping is such a challenge though. What do you buy adults who can shop for themselves?? I started hand-making gifts several years back–tamales, cookies, candies. This year I decided on hand-made pastas. Ravioli is my favorite, but since gifts had to be shipped, I needed a simpler pasta. I still wanted them to be more than egg noodles though. So after surfing the internet I had an idea: flavor infused pastas: cocoa, arugula and lemon!

Handmade pasta really is a  labor of love. Rolling out dough is time consuming. It takes patience, but at the end of the day, nothing brings more joy than watching people devour the fruits of your labor, making it all worthwhile. Italian women traditionally get together before the holidays to make pasta for Christmas.. lots and lots of it. It can be a whole day affair. Sometimes I romanticize about the day I’ll be able to roll out pasta with my daughters. A tradition I will no doubt incorporate into my own family holidays.

Photo shoot..

Adding lemon juice and zest to the mix

Keeping bow ties shapely was a tedious task

I should have asked for an Imparia for Christmas. I cut pappardelle noodles using a pizza cutter

Overnight drying

Cocoa orrecchiette & arugula farfalle

This batch didn't turn out, but I still thought it was a pretty picture 🙂

Getting down to business

Personalized recipe cards

Lemon Farfalle

Cocoa Pappardelle

Want my recipe for handmade pasta? Stay tuned. I’ll post recipes later next week. In the meantime, have a very merry Christmas. I hope your day is filled with joy, spent with family and friends in remembrance of the Lord’s never ending blessings.


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