Coconut Curry Ramen

I’m back with some creamy, spicy noods! We’re still comfort-fooding a little bit over here after saying goodbye to our sweet dog, Caesar, and omg does this Coconut Curry Ramen hit me right in the food feelz. It’s basically the sweet and spicy coconut curry sauce of your Thai takeout food dreams, made into a broth for ramen noodles, topped off with crispy mushrooms and an oozy, soft-boiled egg. Top to bottom, this recipe takes less than 30 minutes; most of your time is spent browning the mushrooms, which you could even skip if you’re in “don’t care, need food now” mode.

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Nourishing Grief

Joey and I are grieving the passing of our sweet dog, Caesar. We called him Bear most of the time… he looked like a bear with his enormous head. We said goodbye to him early Monday morning at 12 1/2 years old. I haven’t posted any sweet goodbyes to him on social media and have barely talked to friends or family about it because I can’t find the words to do him justice and because people’s honest and heartfelt condolences sometimes just make me sadder.

But, I find I can get on here and write in this place where I’m used to expressing joy and enthusiasm. I have so much of those two feelings for Bear. Today, they’re just accompanied by pain and loss. And that’s ok. New things are warming my heart this week: the Mexican food and flowers dropped off by our friends. The cards, warmth, and sympathy from coworkers. The steadfast support of our parents and families. And all the sweet memories of Bear. I am so grateful for his 12 1/2 years here and am overwhelmed with gratitude that we got to spend them with him. He was so good to us.

cane corso sunbathing on the deck

I am grateful for every second of his life and in the moments before he left his body, I am grateful that he opened his eyes and saw us and made soft noises. I am grateful that the doctors made him so comfortable. And I am grateful for the compassion these times expose in us afterwards. Despite the sadness, I treasure the rawness. Looking over at Joey and seeing him so sad but he’s looking back at me to see if I’m ok.

I am grateful for the many happy memories that come rushing back from Bear’s puppyhood, ones that have long been buried in the cracks in our minds. Him sleeping on top of our heads because he felt weird about sleeping in the bed when he was little. Him hiding under the bed when he saw his first raccoon on the deck. His healthy body running alongside the truck on the beach. His sweetness, playfulness, and kindness will live on in our hearts forever. He will live on with us forever.

If you’re reading this thinking gosh, she’s acting like she lost a family member. You’re right. And if you’ve never had an animal that sparked these kinds of intense emotions when they passed, I hope you someday do. Their impact on our lives is priceless. Their lives and their deaths are meant to make us grow and teach us things about ourselves. What Bear has taught me at this moment is to not be afraid, to take life as it comes, with grace. And to love those around me unconditionally. If you’re reading this, thank you and I ❤ you.

Creating something is therapeutic, cooking is a release, and sharing a meal helps us heal. These old recipes I’m sharing today are the comfort foods we so desperately need at times like these.

comfort food to nourish our hearts

*Because Caesar got really sick on a Sunday, we had to take him to a 24-hour emergency vet in Virginia. The staff at Blue Pearl Animal Hospital in Chesapeake were the most caring, attentive, and helpful people we’ve ever dealt with. They treated Caesar with such care and love, we couldn’t have asked for a better team of people to help us during such a difficult time.

Balsamic Steak and Apple Salad

Oh man, am I a sucker for a salad. Good salads. Like, reaaaallllly really good ones. This is because, I have a finely tuned Salad Lame-dar which easily detects such disappointing features as wateriness, blandness, and lack of crunch and contrast. Enter, my new sweetheart: Balsamic Steak and Apple Salad. Cannot get enough of this! Thinly sliced, seared flank steak, sauteed apples caramelized with a little brown sugar and balsamic vinegar, tossed with arugula, green onions, funky/salty blue cheese, and pralines… Aggghh! I can’t with this. I love it so much.

steak and apple salad with arugula, blue cheese, and chopped pralines in a green bowl with a fork
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Bacon Mushroom Swiss Burgers

I see you, temperatures above 60 degrees… I’m here for you random daffodils popping up on the corner… And I am living for you, flip flops! It’s springtime! Fire up the grill, give me an icy cocktail, and turn the music up, pleeeeeaaazzze! We’re putting the bacon on the mushrooms on the swiss on the burgers today. Specifically, a bacon/mushroom/onion/beer reduction. Mouth: watering. And guess what? It’s super simple. Cook bacon, sizzle mushrooms and onions in the fat, slosh in some beer and let it bubble for a minute or two. Ta da: the best burger topping you’ve had all year. 2019 is still young, there may be some legendary burgers yet to come, but today – this one’s it for me.

chopped bacon, mushrooms, and onions in a cast iron pan with a wooden spoon
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Chorizo Potato Breakfast Tacos

Breakfast for dinner fans – hands up🙌! Okaaaaayyy, living life on the edge today and having breakfast tacos for dinner. Joey and I watch a show on A&E called 60 Days In, where people volunteer to go to jail, undercover, for 60 days to gather information on jail operations. The last episode we watched, the participants who’d done their time were released to a hotel room where the producers had arranged takeout food to be waiting for them- whatever they had requested that they’d most like to eat after having jail food for 2 months. It got me thinking what I’d request… At the time I thought a fried chicken sandwich but I think these Chorizo Potato Breakfast Tacos might be my actual truth. My spirit meal. My one true food love.

Chorizo Potato Breakfast tacos topped with avocaso, cheese, and cilantro in metal taco holders on a board
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Indian Chicken Curry

🎶Turn on your light now baby and stay with me awhile… and rock steadyyyyy 🎶 Shout out to Bad Company for that banger of a song. It’s stuck in my head today, probably due to this rock solid recipe for Indian Chicken Curry. It’s kind of a big deal, guys, ’cause it’s a copycat recipe from our one and only amazing local Indian restaurant, Masala Bay.

Yup – they gave us a recipe. Or, at least a version of a recipe, that is definitely not their exact, top secret recipe, full of special Indian ingredients and techniques. But, with one or two tiny tweaks, it’s pretty darn close if you ask me. I’m a self-proclaimed expert on the food at Masala Bay; half of my thoughts on a day-to-day basis are centered around their chicken curry and vegetable fritters. So, I can safely say, if you love curry from Indian restaurants, this recipe will meet your at-home curry needs.

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Chicken and Broccoli Bowls with White Wine Pan Sauce

It’s me, back again with the broccoli! I can halfway promise you these broccoli recipes will taper off as we inch towards spring/summer. Maybe. For now, I can’t not share these chicken and broccoli bowls that are SO easy, completely delicious, good for your body, and yep – totally suitable for meal prep!

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Roasted Garlic Miso Butter Noodles

You guys: prepare yourselves to be seduced by this bowl of Roasted Garlic Miso Butter Noodles. This is a going-back-for-seconds-and-thirds situation here. Miso is synonymous with umami – it’s made from fermented soybeans, rice, or barley and has the world’s most perfect funky, savory flavor. It’s rich, salty, tangy, and amazing in soups, sauces, noodles, and eggs. So, no big deal, let’s just mix this flavor dynamo into some soft butter with my personal food superhero, roasted garlic, swirl in some pasta, and call it a day, hmmmm? Yes, please!

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Chicken Shawarma Nachos

Sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, and Chicken Shawarma Nachos! So excited to bring these to light today, guys. Along with this recipe, comes to light my love of couch-eating off a big platter or, in this case, sheet pan. There are other ways to eat nachos but they’re no good, I promise. The best way is seated on the couch, with the coffee table pulled up to your knees, hunched over a hot pan of colorful, crispy Chicken Shawarma Nachos, devouring them with your husband/partner/best friend/imaginary friend (the extra body there helps you feel like it’s a super fun thing you’re doing and not just a weird, messy, stuff-your-face session). So now you know what Joey and I did on Saturday night while we caught up on TV. This is pretty much an ideal night for me.

colorful chicken shawarma nachos on a sheet pan with a glass of wine and a hand grabbing a chip
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