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What is it about delicious food?

Food, for me, is not only a source of nutrition and energy, it is a major source of joy. I love to cook, entertain, and (of course) eat.

So, on this cold evening in January I went back through the archives to show you the recipes that I think you have to make. Today. Right now.

OK, if not today… Please make them this week. Or this weekend.

These are chosen for different reasons, but mainly because they are easy, delicious, and filling.

Easy Peasy Spinach

I make this recipe about once a week. It truly is as easy as can be. It is nutritious, and most of all- it is a delightful way to enjoy spinach. I promise that you will like this if you try it. You. Will.

Change Your Life Burger

I must admit, I don’t think of making burgers very often in the winter. However, I plan on making an exception this week. I’ll be either popping these guys into a skillet or onto my stove top griddle. I dare you to stuff a burger with bacon, cheese, and onion and not fall in love. It cannot be done.

And I mean it when I say that this burger will change your life. And it will change it for the better.

Strawberry, Blueberry, Banana Bread

Ooooh, another good one. It also happens to remind me of summer. I only ever think of making banana bread when I look at our bananas and realized they have gotten all soft and brown and otherwise inedible. That happened to me this week, and I was happy to have strawberries and blueberries on hand to make this loaf of yummy goodness.

Oooo-eeeee. It is good!

Greek-ish Spanikopita

This is my all time, hands-down favorite vegetarian meal. I could eat an unbelievable amount of this stuff if given the opportunity. I love it fresh out of the oven. I love it cold for breakfast. I love it toasted up as leftovers. Oh. My. I think I am going to have to make this myself this week. I’m currently crossing my fingers that I have all of the ingredients on hand.

I posted the more greek version with onions and feta for this recipe, but truth be told I like the cheddar cheese version myself.

The Perfect Breakfast

This make ahead crock pot steel cut oatmeal can coax you out of bed even when a cup of Joe can’t. Imagine waking up to the smell of warm apples and cinnamon. I’m telling you… you will be jumping out of bed to greet this goodness for breakfast.

If you read this blog regularly, you know I LOVE a make ahead breakfast. So, to have a warm bowl of cereal awaiting you is perfection.

And the Perfect Pairing for the Perfect Breakfast

I also love a little savory for breakfast. So, make this quiche in the evening. Allow it to cool for a bit after you pull it out of the oven. Then, slice it and cover it and pop it in your fridge.

In the morning, grab your oatmeal and a slice of the quiche. Microwave your quiche for about a minute and enjoy!!

Because I’m usually not hungry at 7:30 in the morning, I love to wrap up a piece of quiche and pop some oatmeal into a small Tupperware container and bring it to work to heat up there. You shall make all of your coworkers jealous while they smell your deliciousness cooking.

Game Day Treats

I hear there is a big football game coming up. Save yourself some time, energy, and money, and make these little guys for your game day celebration. Even if you aren’t into football (like me), I am into football food!! That works out nicely for both me and my man.

Crock Pot Chili AKA Go-To “I’m working all day and I don’t want to come home and cook” Dinner

I completely underutilize my crock pot. I’m the first to admit it. However, my crock pot has lovingly cooked and warmed this delicious and SUPER DUPER EASY chili time and time again. And, the cheese bread? Fuh-get-about-it.

Frozen Key Lime Pie

Brownie Pudding

These recipes are not my own. I do not excel at desserts at all. My idea of a good dessert are those break and bake cookies you can buy at the grocery. I also love peanut butter chocolate chip United Dairy Farms ice cream. And from time to time, I’ll make some sort of dessert ¬†using someone else’s recipe! That is the case with these guys… Ina Garten is my idol. She can cook and bake and entertain. And she has the most amazing kitchen in the Hamptons I have ever seen. I want to be her friend.

And when we’re friends, she’ll make me these desserts herself. And then I will eat them. We’ll walk through her herb gardens talking about our latest trip to Paris while we nosh on lobster. It will be magical. For now, I’ll just enjoy my replications of her masterpiece recipes.

Picture of Frozen Key Lime Pie Recipe

Picture of Brownie Pudding Recipe

Hope you are all having a fabulous week so far.

XO,

Leah

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I made chili.

And while making chili, for some reason I found myself thinking about the movie The Favor.

Remember that classic hit starring Brad Pitt?

It is a fine piece of cinema.

When I was in 9th grade, I watched this movie basically on a loop with my friend Jill.

Jill loved the movie because she loved Brad Pitt.

Let’s be honest.

Who didn’t?

In the early nineties when he splashed onto the scene, he stole hearts of women everywhere.

Including mine.

He is a beautiful man.

Jill loved The Favor because there is a line in it where Brad says “Just Chill”.

She was convinced he was saying “Just Jill”.

I think we wore out that section of the VHS tape.

And lucky for you, I found this clip to share.

I told ya.

Cinematic masterpiece.

Believe it or not, it gets better when the lumberjack Tom enters the scene.

So, today in honor of Brad Pitt, I give you Just Chill Chili.

It is also in honor of the start of football season.

And the start of sleeping with the windows open season.

And the start of slippers in the morning season.

This is the easiest chili.

It is done in a crock pot.

The crock pot is God’s gift to the busy home cook, non?

I made this on a Sunday, but other times I have prepped everything and loaded up the crock pot the night before a work day. I stick it in the fridge, and then before leaving for work- pop it on the counter and turn it on.

Here is what you’ll need for 4 people (or 2 very hungry people):

1 lb ground sirloin (go for the lower fat stuff here, you can get away with it)

1 14 oz can chili beans

1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes

1 onion

1 large green pepper (or 2 small)

1-2 jalapenos (depending on how hot ya like it)

2-3 cloves of garlic

chili powder

cayenne pepper powder

cumin

salt and pepper

Brown your beef.

And chop up your onion, green pepper, jalapeno/hot pepper, and garlic.

Dump that into your crock pot.

Now, for our chili beans.

Beans, Beans… the magical fruit.

The more you eat…

Well, you know the rest.

Add in your crushed and diced tomatoes.

Lets spice it up!

2-3 Tablespoons (my handful below is about a tablespoon).

Cumin. Mmmm. Smoky. Savory.

Lets do 1 1/2 teaspoons.

Ready for some heat?

How about some cayenne red pepper?

Yes, please!

About a teaspoon. It adds a little heat, but it is not overwhelming.

Finally, salt and pepper.

About 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and one teaspoon of pepper.

Stir it up, little darling.

Put a lid on it.

Put it on low for 8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

If you have a super sonic crock pot like me, you may need to add in extra liquid.

I think my crock pot gets hotter than the average crock pot, so if I were making this on a week day I would add in a beer or 12 oz or water. That way, some of the liquid can cook down throughout the day.

There ya have it.

Just Chill Chili.

I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you what the main man and I always eat with our chili.

I first experienced this treasured treat when my mother-in-law made it for us.

Cheesy bread.

Oh, cheesy bread.

Cheesy bread unlike any cheesy bread you  have ever had.

And like everything else I make, this one is pretty simple too!

Here is what you’ll need:

A loaf of french bread

A stick of softened butter- did I mention this bread is extremely healthy?

One jar of Old English cheese- this is usually found near the processed, non-cheese cheese (think Velveeta) section

Put your butter and the cheese in a bowl.

Look at that cheese.

Doesn’t it just look like it is good for you?

It tastes good.

Promise.

Use a fork and start mashing the butter and cheese together.

Keep mashing and mixing until it is combined.

Now for the bread.

Slice it in half like this:

Slather it with your sauce.

Mmm hmm.

That’s right.

Just like that.

And put it back together again.

Now cut it in half again like this:

And now slather that with the cheese sauce.

Oh yes, you heard me right.

And put it back together again.

You may think that it can’t get any better than this.

But you are wrong.

Cause here we go.

Lets slice the bread:

You know what I think this bread needs?

Yep, you guessed it.

More cheese.

Pick up the first slice.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Slather away.

Both sides, if you please.

Keep on going through all of the slices.

And then put the loaf all back together again.

Carefully transfer it to some foil.

Wrap it up, and put it in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

While that is cooking, serve up your chili.

I like mine topped with some cheddar, sour cream, green onion, and avacado.

Pull that bread out of the oven.

Take a moment to marvel at your masterpiece.

Ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness.

Throw some of that bread on your chili, near your chili, in your mouth, on a plate… wherever!

Yum-Yum-Dang-Diggity.

Just Chill.

And eat chili.

And maybe think a little bit about B. Pitt.

Yep, he’s still got it.

Happy Monday!

XO,

Leah

I baked.

Don’t fall out of your chair.

For those of you that know me, you know that baking is not my forte.

Don’t get me wrong, I love baked goods. I just don’t love making them.

I know what I’m good at, and baking is not it.

The exact science of it all stresses me out.

However, there comes a time in every girl’s life when she decides she needs to make a delicious breakfast compliment for her weekly quiches.

And I have done just that. Meet my Strawberry, Blueberry, Banana Bread.

Yes, I said Strawberry, Blueberry, Banana Bread. Eat your heart out Marty Stewart.

This is based off of a very basic banana bread recipe that I found online. I have amped it up because really what fun is plain ole banana bread ?

So, here is what you will need:

Flour, brown sugar, 2 eggs, butter, baking soda, salt, vanilla, 3 overripe bananas, 1 cup of blueberries, and 1 cup of strawberries sliced.

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, 1 t. baking soda, 1/4 t. salt, 1 t. cinnamon.

Now, set that aside for a moment.

Get out your mixer. Or roll up your sleeves and get out your mixin’ spoon.

In a separate bowl, cream 1/2 c. butter and 3/4 c. brown sugar.

Crack your eggs. I’m such a bad baker, that I crack my eggs into a separate bowl for fear of an eggshell bomb in my final product.

Yes, I have made cookies, cakes, and breads with some extra crunchy egg shells included for my guests’ dining pleasure.

So, if you enjoy an egg-shelly, crunchy texture, feel free to drop some in. But I don’t recommend it.

Peel your bananas and break them up a bit, and let them join the party.

Add 1 t. of vanilla- I like the good stuff. I buy it in Mexico. None of that weird artificial nonsense.

Now, MIX IT!

MIX IT reminds me of FIX IT. FIX IT reminds me of this SNL gem:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/38477/saturday-night-live-update-thursday-fix-it

FIX IT starts at 2:08. You are welcome.

Back to the bread.

Time to combine the wet and the dry.

Take your banana/butter/sugar mixture and dump it into the flour mixture.

MIX IT! together by hand.

Now for my favorite of all favorites part of the recipe.

Add in a cup of sliced strawberries and a cup of blueberries.

At this point, you can go ahead and start eating this with a spoon.

Or you can finish making your bread by carefully folding the berries into the batter so as not to smush and smash and smish the berries.

Oh boy, that batter.

That looks good.

I should become a baker.

Yes, I think I will.

Take the batter and pour it into a lightly greased loaf pan.

Now pop it in the oven for 60-65 minutes.

Now, sit in your kitchen and smell the baking bread for the next hour.

The smells that accompany baking help me understand why people get into it. Honestly. It is homey and comforting and feels like a party all at once.

After an hour, this is what you get:

Wowsa. Me Likey. Doesn’t that look so good?

Everyone in your life will thank you if you make this and share it with them.

Happy Baking,

Leah

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