Fall Comfort Food Recipes…

…from the Boston Globe. There are more than 50 featured, so I selected my favorite vegetarian (and seafood) options from among the group:

Pizza with butternut squash, onion and spinach

Courtesy: Boston Globe.

Fish roasted on caramelized onions

Courtesy: Boston Globe.

Baked Shrimp with Feta & Orzo

Courtesy: Boston Globe.

Seared Sea Scallops with Parsnip Puree

Courtesy: Boston Globe.

Click each picture for the full recipe. I’m trying the pizza one this weekend!

News · Tips and Tricks

Gojee Goes Mobile

Guys…my favorite visual recipe site, Gojee, HAS FINALLY RELEASED an iPhone app. Up until now, they weren’t supported AT ALL on tablets or smart phones. This is a life changer! Watch the nifty video to see why I like Gojee so much for finding new recipes and drink ideas!

Gojee lets you type in the ingredients you have on hand, and it matches them with recipes from the best of the food blogging world. You can even look up smoothies and cocktails (or mocktails), and the photos are amazing. Best of all? The apps are free.


My other hobbies

Someone asked me recently what I do in my free time, when I have nothing at all to do except kill an afternoon by myself (rare, I know…can you tell I don’t have kids yet?) Well, obviously I love to cook, but I love to eat out just as much. So when I have a vacation or a date night with the husband, I like to try new restaurants. And, on a road trip or vacation, I love to knit and read a good book — narrative non-fiction is my favorite (think Dark Tide, In Cold Blood, Isaac’s Storm, Devil in the White City, etc.) But if I’m home, procrastinating cleaning the house, and truly looking to vegetate?

A favorite on Tumblr: The Glamour fashion editors.

{Assuming there’s no trashy reality TV on} … I read fashion mags & style blogs.


La Vie Petite

Kendi Everyday

C. Style

Bill Cunningham On the Street

On The Racks

A Cup of Jo

see jane.

Extra Petite

Into the Gloss

Panzanella from A Cup of Jo’s “The best…you’ll ever have” recipe series. Because any self-respecting fashionista loves to find a good new recipe, right?

How about you — what do you do to relax? I wonder if you’re like me: you have “day alone” hobbies and time-wasters, and “with the spouse” activities. When Mark’s around, we might go for a walk or hike, garden, or catch up on the TV shows we can’t watch together because he works nights (Mad Men, anyone?). But when I’m hangin’ solo it’s me + Tasha + iced coffee & Vogue on the porch! If you have any favorite fashion blogs, leave them in the comments!

And if you like fashion too, let’s connect on Pinterest ~ here’s my style page.


Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chili

It’s been raining a lot this week, and work these days is a ball of stress wrapped in a germ-infested box…cue the comfort food and a night on the couch watching Friday Night Lights.

This recipe is a set-it-and-forget-it speciality, inspired by something I saw in Real Simple Magazine (love). You can leave it in the slow cooker all day on low and come home to a cozy vegetarian meal that is hearty enough to leave carnivores satisfied, too. Personally? I liked serving it with a dollop of low-fat sour cream and some multigrain tortilla chips, like these.

Other good topping ideas include shredded sharp cheddar, scallions or chives, a splash of hot sauce, sliced radishes, and even a drizzle of some high-quality olive oil. Do your own thing with it.

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chili


  • 1 large  sweet potato, peeled and diced into medium chunks
  • 1 onion, diced (I used yellow; next time I’d definitely do red)
  • 1 can of kidney beans (15.5 oz)
  • 1 can black beans (15.5 oz), rinsed
  • 1 28-oz. can of fire roasted diced tomatoes (such as Muir Glen Organic)
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 TBSP chili powder (or, sub red pepper flakes or hot sauce)
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I had a small piece of stone-ground chocolate from Taza hanging around, so I used that instead!)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

*Note: Mark really hates kidney beans, so I subbed cannellini beans plus a handful of lentils to replicate the flavor and heft.


Combine all ingredients in a large (4 to 6 quart) slow cooker, including the liquid in the cans of tomatoes and beans, and heat on low for 7 or 8 hours (or on high for 4 or 5 hours to shorten cooking time). When it’s done, serve warm with your favorite chili toppings.

Did you buy a bag of sweet potatoes for this recipe, and now you’re not sure what to do with the leftover spuds? I love this recipe from Aggie’s Kitchen for Burritos with Black Beans & Roasted Veggies. This gal roasts everything together then slaps it into a sprouted tortilla with melted cheese, and YUM.


Traditional Shepherd’s Pie

It’s getting cooler, which makes me think about Fall recipes again. This comforting, home-style Shepherd’s Pie has lean ground beef, chopped onions, creamed corn, sweet corn and mashed potatoes — that’s it. Simple, stick-to-your-ribs fare. I made it last weekend before a visit to Mark’s 90-year-old grandfather, who gets Meals on Wheels because he is legally blind. How depressing! Whenever I can, I bring him a home-cooked meal to enjoy.

Shepherd's_Pie copy

This is an easy one to pull together. The only time-consuming part is the 45 minutes it spends in the oven; if you make it on the weekend or in the evening before bed, it’s ready to go for the next few days. This is one of Mark’s favorites, and has been ever since my Mom taught me how to make it (in miniature ceramic baking dishes) for lunches when I had my first job out of college. By the way, you could do the same thing — just buy those handy single-serving bakers or ramekins and adjust the cooking time as needed.

Start off by coarsely chopping a small onion and cooking it over medium heat in a medium sized skillet until translucent, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. (Is it me, or do my fingers look REALLY pudgy here? Sigh.)

Then you are going to add the pound of lean ground beef into the pan, breaking it up with your spoon and stirring until the meat is just browning. Don’t overcook it, because it will continue to cook through in the oven.

Remove the cooked beef and onions from the heat and get out a large glass baking dish. I like my Anchor Hocking bake n’ take set because it comes with a matching cover and carrying case, which is great for transporting and storing in the fridge (it’s especially handy around the holidays).

Pour the ground beef into the baking dish, spreading out in a very thin, even layer. Don’t be concerned if it just barely covers the bottom of the dish. It’s supposed to be that way.

This is a redundant picture. A certain fuzzy assistant photo-bombed me.

Add the creamed corn next……..

…………followed by the sweet corn.

Now you’re ready to add the mashed potatoes. Full disclosure: I used to make the mashed potatoes from scratch, but one time I cheated, and Mark said “you HAVE to make it this way from now on.” Well…I’m not going to complain about a shortcut tasting better. So from then on, boxed potatoes it is.

Either way you do the potatoes, make sure you add a lot of butter and milk so it stays moist. I find it’s easier to spread the potatoes onto the Shepherd’s Pie in big blobs that you push outward with two forks to cover the whole surface. If you try to drop the whole mess of potatoes into the center and spread outward, you’ll just end up dragging up loose corn and making a mess.

Then, take your hand and just pat it down all over so the potatoes are roughly even in the pan. Anything sticking up will just burn, and you don’t want that.

Cover with foil, pop it in the oven at 350 for about half an hour, then check on it. If it hasn’t browned yet, continue cooking uncovered for about 10 more minutes, checking back frequently so that you take it out when it’s just starting to brown at the edges and bubble up. You don’t, obviously, want to burn it.

If it needs more than 10 minutes, so be it! Just keep an eye on it, and the browning potatoes will tell you when it’s done for your oven. Once it’s not boiling hot anymore, it’s ready to eat! I like it warm, not steaming hot, and it makes unbelievable leftovers. Enjoy.

Shepherd’s Pie


  • About 1 lb. of ground beef (I used 85% lean)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 can of sweet corn
  • 1 can of creamed corn
  • 1 box of instant mashed potatoes, prepared
  • Milk and butter for the mashed potatoes
  • Olive Oil for sauteeing the beef
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Chop the onion and saute in a skillet over medium heat until translucent. Season with salt and pepper and add the ground beef. Cook, stirring, until just browned.

Pour the onion-beef mixture into a large glass baking dish. Pour in one can of creamed corn and spread into a thin layer on top of the beef.

Add the can of sweet corn and distribute evenly over the creamed corn layer.

Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare your instant mashed potatoes if not done already.

Top the corn with the potatoes, spreading out in an even layer. Cover with foil and place in the oven.

Cook for half an hour, remove foil and cook 10 minutes uncovered or until the top is browned and bubbling. Enjoy!

Tip: If you are going to reheat this, I would suggest adding a dollop of butter to the top before you put the cooked pie in the fridge. That way, when you pop it in the microwave, the butter will melt and re-energize the potatoes a bit. I highly suggest setting some aside for leftovers if you can — it’s honestly even better the second day.

Tips and Tricks

HOW TO: Store fresh berries

This method will keep raspberries, strawberries and blackberries from going bad for up to 10 days in the fridge.

All you need is a salad spinner (Ikea makes a great apartment-friendly option that’s smaller than most), some paper towels, and a glass storage container with lid. You’ll also use a solution of water and vinegar to rinse them. Now go enjoy your fresh produce!


Pear-Apple Sauce

I started out making a smoothie, and I accidentally made a super tasty “applesauce” that happens to have pears and pureed lettuce in it, too. The timing was prophetic: when we had alfredo noodles with beans the next night, this concoction saved me after I discovered (right before plating dinner, of course) that my new-ish can of applesauce had already gone bad. I realized how clutch this recipe could be in the summer when you don’t feel like boiling apples into sauce. I will definitely be making this again (on purpose!)

Pear-apple sauce


  • 1 or 2 very ripe apples (bruised are OK), sliced and cored
  • handful of iceberg lettuce, ripped into pieces
  • 1 can of sliced pears
  • coconut water to taste/thickness
  • juice of 1 small organic lemon for tartness if necessary


Adding liquid first, add all ingredients to blender (leaving the skin on the apples) and blend until chunky and not completely smooth. Taste for tartness and add more lemon juice or water/applesauce to achieve desired thickness and taste. Serve as a condiment with your favorite poultry, kielbasa or pork chops (or veg dish, of course!)