Last weekend the weather was so warm, we were walking outside with short-sleeve t-shirts on and enjoying brunch at a restaurant that had all of the windows open. This weekend? Back to boots and sweaters and bundling up baby with temperatures in the teens. I’m ready for that spring weather to make a come back, but if it’s going to be arctic-cold for a little while longer I’m going to make the best of it. We had some friends over for lunch this weekend (life with a newborn guys, lunch dates are the new dinner date!) and took advantage of these chilled temperatures with a crackling fire in the fireplace and a hearty lunch menu. I was craving something warm like a homemade soup, and decided to test a new recipe with tons of my favorite soup ingredients: hot Italian sausage, white beans, carrots, spinach, and some tasty cheese tortellini. read more

I tend to hit a cooking slump during this time of the summer. It has been terribly hot the past few days and I glance over to look at the stove like it’s going to bite me if I turn it on. Instead of phoning it in though (literally, I considered phoning in a pizza), I’ve been trying to take this heat wave as a cooking challenge — can I create tasty treats that also keep me cool? That’s where this idea came in! I took the elements of a nice chilled antipasto plate and made them into dippable skewers, laced with some chilled provolone, tortellini, tomatoes and olives. I made my own pesto for the dipping sauce (I just throw in garlic, basil, pine nuts and olive oil and keep adding until the consistency looks right) — try Ina Garten’s recipe if you like to be exact with proportions! They chilled down in the fridge for a bit until they were ready to bring to a friend’s pool party and proved to be the perfect cool snack.IMG_3985 read more

I am absolutely terrible at packing my lunch for work — I try to bring leftovers every once in a while, but I tend to prefer heading out for lunch to get something fresh. When a copy of Mason Jar Salads and More showed up in my mailbox though, I figured it was good motivation to make something tasty to bring along with me to work this week. The book has lots of good tips for layering salads and meal ingredients in mason jars to keep them fresh and crisp (dressing on the bottom, and pack down ingredients over it to keep other ingredients from getting soggy!). I took inspiration from the book’s caprese pasta recipe and made my own version: spinach tortellini with pesto, mozzarella, grape tomatoes, red onions, grilled corn, and more tortellini on top — the flavors melded together great!

ADSC_0177ADSC_0198AAA ADSC_0195

I am not feeling so hot this week, I’ve come down with a pretty terrible cold and just can’t seem to bounce back! So I made it my mission last night to get on the road to recovery with a pot of homemade soup. I took a stab at a tortellini soup I saw in the most recent issue of Food Network magazine and made a few modification like adding in chopped onions and extra garlic to the recipe (and omitting the water they suggested). And it was just want the doctor ordered, a totally delicious soup can do wonders. Find the full recipe here.

20140128-184606.jpg