everyday inspiration

Posts tagged “food

Food Picturebook: Minneapolis + NYC

[ M I N N E A P O L I S ]

B A R   L A   G R A S S A

This place was PHENOMENAL. I cannot recommend it enough. Top picture is their famous lobster + soft egg bruschetta – I was definitely skeptical, but I will definitely be getting it every time I go back. Next was a mushroom pasta that transported me back to Italy.

Y O U N G   J O N I

I read amazing reviews about this place and it was named one of the top 10 restaurants in the country, so you’d say I had pretty high expectations … that were not met. The pizza was very good, but nothing special. However, the place was very cool with a hidden bar and trendy vibe.

P S Y C H O   S U Z I E S

Even though this isn’t food, I had to include this one because the cup is cute and the place was so fun. A full-blown tiki bar on the river – how could you go wrong?!

[ N Y C ]

M A S S O N I 

Okay, so this isn’t a food pic either, but the food was SO delicious and we were SO hungry from traveling that I couldn’t get one in time. However, it needs to be accounted for because it was one of our favorite things we ate on the trip – buffalo chicken pizza with blue cheese crumbles. Oh my gosh. This will haunt my dreams.

S O T T O   1 3

Hands down, the best breakfast pizza I’ve ever had. Ever. Ever. This was also a great brunch deal with a lot of food and delicious rose sangria in an adorable location.

M A G N O L I A   B A K E R Y 

I’ve always known about this place, but only recently did I learn about their banana pudding. You guys. You think you know banana pudding – or you think you don’t like banana pudding – but you don’t know banana pudding. We literally got one of the last ones and devoured it in minutes.

K E S T E  P I Z Z A  + V I N O 

Another meal that reminded me of Italy – this pizza was fantastic. The mushrooms and prosciutto were divine and paired with an Italian bottle of wine was exactly what we needed after getting unexpectedly drenched in the rain.

L A   E S Q U I N A 

Another one where I did not get a photo of the actual food, but the place must not be forgotten. This was a Mexican speakeasy where you walk through this “Corner Deli”, down the stairs, through the kitchen to get to a dark, loud, trendy bar/restaurant. While it wasn’t conducive to holding a conversation, it had fabulous queso, tacos and the best ever street corn.

I’ll be posting more NYC trip pics soon!

xo xo


Food Picturebook: NYC + Houston

[N Y C] 

B R O W N ‘ S   B A G E L S 

Bagel is obviously a must in the city. I only got one, but could have eaten here every day. It was a cute little bakery with amazing coffee.

M A S S O N I 
at Arlo Nomad

Unfortunately I started feeling sick about halfway through the trip – cold, allergies, probably both – so one night I grabbed a pizza in the restaurant in my hotel and ate it in bed. How could you not, with these views?? The pizza was not traditional thin crust new york pizza, but it was incredible – pepperoni, jalapeños and honey. Wowww.

L E V A I N  B A K E R Y 

If you know me at all, you know I have to fit Levain in to any NYC trip. I’m drooling again just thinking about how amazing this cookie was from just last week.

E A T A L Y 

Snagged one more pizza before leaving the city in one of my favorite spots – and all I could think about was how I’ll be eating REAL Italian pizza in a MONTH!

A I R P O R T   F O O D 

Yes, you read that right – airport food. This was basically cheese toast with prosciutto and arugula on top. Did I mention I was stuck in the airport for 7 hours? I should have ordered another one, because this is some of the best airport food I’ve ever had.

[H O U S T O N]

G U R U   B U R G E R S  +  C R E P E S 

With a name like that of course we had to get a burger and a crepe! (and shared both!) Burger was delicious, crepe was okay, but beautiful.

N I N F A ‘ S 

Okay if you’re ever in Houston this is the MUST-GO place. It is super authentic and absolutely delicious. You see (and smell) them making the tortillas as you walk in. I got Tacos Al Pastor with fresh grilled pineapple and it was the best thing ever.

T O R C H Y ‘ S   T A C O S 

Does this look familiar from my Austin Food Picturebook? Ha – Torchy’s is officially a favorite! This time I got the Trailer Park “trashy” again and tried The Independent loaded with veggies. Both were amazing as usual, and so was the queso, as usual. Who can I petition to get a Torchy’s in NWA?!

xo xo

You might also enjoy: Food Picturebook: Austin, Food Picturebook: LA

Food Picturebook: Austin

Introducing a new blog series – Food Picturebook. Because I love traveling, I love food, and I love taking pictures of food.

You can see the first food picturebook here when I went to LA a few months ago and ate amaaazing food, and I knew Austin would be just as amazing, if not better. And it was. And I may have a few extra pounds to show for it.

Enjoy the photos, try not to drool and add these restaurants to your must-eat list!

P E R L A ‘ S 

To be honest, at first I was a little disappointed that my first meal in Austin was not BBQ or Tacos, but the second I tasted this Shrimp & Grits it was all over. It was some of the best I’ve ever had – and that’s saying something because I’ve had a lot of amazing Shrimp & Grits! It had a cajun kick to it that made it just a little more special than usual and absolutely amazing. Isn’t it also pretty??

T O R C H Y ‘ S   T A C O S 

This place was exactly like the picture says – DAMN GOOD. This was a quick-serve restaurant, but still had way better tacos than any restaurant we have in NWA. I got The Democrat and The Trailer Park “trashy” – the latter was my favorite of the two. That’s a fried chicken strip in there! Also a must-get is the queso and quac. I can’t wait to go back and try more of the taco’s. And get more queso.

A B O   Y O U S S E F 

We know Austin is known for their food trucks, but this one seemed a little too authentic at first and was in a random part of town. But, I had heard great reviews from a friend and everyone on Yelp so I decided to try something different. The grilled chicken, rice, tabbouleh and hummus was incredible – perfectly authentic. Definitely not what I expected from Austin, but I’m glad I tried it!

B U R R O 

Food truck #2 was a huge success. How can you go wrong with a grilled cheese truck? Specifically when you order the mac and cheese grilled cheese?? This picture does not do it justice at all, but it was so freaking delicious I can even still taste it …

C O O P E R ‘ S   B B Q 

So this BBQ joint was actually not on the original list of recommendations we received, but, as we checked several of them out (Franklin’s has an 8+ hour wait, Salt Like was a bit of a drive out of town) we needed something different. Luckily, our “Uber” driver gave us this recommendation, and after validating it with a local friend, it was decided. The patio was amazing and the food was just as incredible as I anticipated. Pictured: Brisket, Beef Rib and Jalapeño Mac and Cheese. I may or may not have eaten my cold leftovers before boarding the plane the next morning ….

What’s your favorite restaurant in Austin? I’m already planning my next trip – all about the food!

xo xo

For the love of food

“Food and music have the ability to bring back memories long forgotten.

I’ll take a double order of both.”

-Krayl Funch


I love food.

I can never understand people who eat purely for calories/nourishment and not for the pure joy of eating.

Yes, gluttony is a sin, and I’m working on not overeating and eating healthier the majority of the time. But food just makes me so happy, and usually that food is not a salad.

As I was reading Bread & Wine (read my review! then go buy the book!) I started thinking about some of my fondest memories with food. You know, those special memories in special places with that food that makes you drool just thinking about it, or that brings back such a wonderful memory associated with it.

I wanted to share a recent food memory with you, partly so I don’t forget it and partly to get you thinking about your fond food memories. I truly think we’re the most happy when we’re sharing good food and good drink with good people.


On a whim, we decided to spend one of our Parisian nights at the Moulin Rouge. I went as a child and thought it was SO scandalous, but several years later fell in love with the movie of the same name and decided I had to go back as an adult. As a serious trip planner, this was a very spontaneous decision. We literally printed out our tickets in our Paris hotel that day … what?!

I went on Yelp and found the restaurant with the best reviews within walking distance of the venue. When we got out of the cab and walked the block from the Moulin Rouge to the cafe I was starting to doubt my decision. It was literally a hole-in-the-wall cafe that couldn’t have held more than 20 people. We sat cramped next to the window as a brusque waitress took our drink order. “This was the top rated place on Yelp?” Husband asked curiously, as scantily clad women walked the streets steering tourists in to their cabarets.

You guys. I will never forget that place. Not just for the location, but for the best duck I’ve ever had in my entire life. It was so flavorful and cooked perfectly and came with pomme frites, and I was seriously in heaven. It was literally the best thing we ate in Paris, and possibly the entire trip. And I just love that it was on a shady block in Montmartre before going to the Moulin Rouge. (Which by the way, we loved. Where we drank champagne, and got in trouble for taking pictures, and met two sisters from England who couldn’t believe we were taking only 2 weeks for a vacation! Isn’t it funny the things you remember?)


Other fond food/memories –

Little Debbies will always make me think of my grandfather Pops. Wasabi of my Dad in Florida (when he thought it was guacamole). Pimento cheese + oyster crackers of my grandmother’s house. Poppyseed chicken of my college roommate and best friend. Oysters of Mom and NYC. Jerked Shrimp of Husband and St. Lucia. Powdered coffee of camping in Botswana. Saddlebock Farmhouse of the Summer of 2014. And on, and on, and on.

There are so many other memories I could tell you about that revolved around a great meal and great company. What is your fondest food memory?


xo xo


Whole30: Week 3 Recap

It gets easier.

Week 3 was far and above easier than week 2, when I felt like I was constantly craving things I couldn’t have. I still want things (like gooey-cheesy-goodness macaroni and cheese from The Tavern, thanks to a friend’s picture on Instagram…), but I’m not obsessing over it or thinking about it as much as I was a week ago. Yeah I still want a cappuccino some mornings, but I’m very content with my black coffee. Yeah I still want some chocolate after dinner, but I’m very content with eating some fruit instead if I’m still hungry.

My relationship with food has changed dramatically. I use to think about every meal almost obsessively and about how I could make it as delicious as possible with cheese and butter and sister schubert’s rolls and more cheese. But now, I’m just thinking about what to eat that will fill me up and give me good nutritional value. Of course I still want it to taste good, but dinner doesn’t have to be phenomenal every single night. I think that will make those cheat days even better, right? (I can’t say because I haven’t had one in 3 weeks, but that’s what I’m thinking…) But it’s not like we’re eating bad food. Last week I shared a recipe we both loved, tonight we’re making steaks, and check out husband’s breakfast from yesterday! It was pretty damn delicious (and healthy!).

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 11.37.18 AM

I’ve really learned a lot about myself and my body, and I’ve learned to say no. My willpower has shocked the heck out of me. I honestly didn’t know I had it in me. This is our final week of Whole30; however, we’ll be changing what we eat quite a bit even after the 30 days. I’ll share more about that in next week’s recap.

Hope you all have a wonderful week! (Enjoy some mac and cheese for me)
xo xo

You might also enjoy: Whole30: Week 1 RecapWhole30: Week 2 Recap

Pumpkin Butter Cake {recipe}

There is so much butter and powdered sugar in this recipe it’s scandalous.

Seriously, scandal in the Alderman household!

But who doesn’t need a little scandal now and then, especially if it’s as harmless (and delicious!) as this Pumpkin Butter Cake? As I was searching for a sweet treat to serve to our community group this week, this recipe via Pinterest made me salivate. It’s simple and has two of my favorite things in the title.

Even though I’ve already started decorating for Christmas (so early, I know!) and it’s already winter weather outside, I thought I’d retain a little bit of Fall with this perfect seasonal recipe.

P U M P K I N  B U T T E R  C A K E

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 10.10.40 PM

For the crust:
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2c melted butter
1 egg, slightly beaten

For the filling:
15oz can pumpkin
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2c melted butter
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
16oz (1lb box) powdered sugar 


Mix crust ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray and press crust into the bottom evenly. Beat pumpkin, cream cheese, melted butter, and eggs until creamy. Add vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Gradually add powdered sugar, beat well. Spread filling over crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes (center will still be slightly jiggly).

Serve with whipped cream and sprinkles or vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy! xo xo

You might also enjoy: Bourbon Apple Cake, Pumpkin Bread

sunday inspiration

1c405da59d888c9b9803a9a21bd911e8{simple fashion – stripes + army vest}


{capturing beauty in a wine glass}




{fall recipes – goat cheese + walnuts + honey}


{clean and classic decor}


{passionate love, humphrey bogart + lauren bacall}

xo xo

Mamma Migas! {recipe}

Some days, I just want to cook. Usually those days are on the weekend and not during the busy work week. After a relaxing weekend {hanging with friends, watching The Good Wife, getting a mani/pedi} I was ready to spend some time in the kitchen. We typically rise early on Sundays to make the coffee for first service at our church, so by the time we get home we’re starving. After perusing The Pioneer Woman breakfast recipes, I landed on migas.

I am not an egg eater, but will eat it if it’s mixed in with a bunch of good stuff, like fresh peppers, tomatoes, onion and cilantro, so I thought this would be a safe bet.

After making the recipe, husband and I decided to add two things for next time – ground turkey and black beans. Then it will be perfectly delicioso!

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 12.39.58 PM

Migas via The Pioneer Woman
Servings: 2-3
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes, Cook Time: 15-20 minutes


  • 3 whole Corn Tortillas
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Finely Diced
  • 3 whole Plum Tomatoes, Roughly Chopped
  • 1/2 Green Pepper, Roughly Chopped
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper, Roughly Chopped
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 6 Large Eggs
  • 1 cup Cheese, Grated (we used Colby Jack, but she called for Cotilla, which would be delicious)
  • 1/3 cup Cilantro, Chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/8 cup Half-and-half

Preparation Instructions

In a bowl, whisk together eggs and half & half. Salt and pepper eggs, then set aside.

In a small skillet over medium heat, heat oil and fry each corn tortilla just until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Chop tortillas and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the olive oil with the butter. Add onions and bell peppers and cook until starting to turn brown/black, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add in diced jalapenos and stir to combine. Add tomatoes to the skillet and stir around, then add tortilla pieces, stirring gently to combine.

Reduce heat to low.

When the heat has decreased, pour egg mixture into skillet. Stir gently to cook with the peppers, folding mixture very gently as it cooks. Add in grated cheese and chopped cilantro, and stir to combine.

Happy brunching! xo xo

You might also enjoy: One-Pan Enchilada Pasta, Tomato, Avocado + Feta Salsa

One-Pan Enchilada Pasta {recipe}

With our beautiful, new kitchen and the unboxing of all of our pots and pans and appliances, Husband and I have been spending more time in the kitchen cooking together, and we love it. It’s such a relaxing way to end the day – pour a glass of wine, cook together without the TV on or any distractions, and talk about our day at work.

As we’ve been cooking more, I’ve been trying out new recipes and the one I’m sharing today has been a HIT. We’ve already made it twice in the last month and it will now be a staple in my recipe repertoire. It’s easy, delicious and you can add or remove things to make it just for you. Oh, and it only takes one pan!! That’s my kind of cooking.

O N E – P A N  E N C H I L A D A  P A S T A 

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 5.59.41 PM



  • 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 of a small onion, diced
  • 1.25 pounds of ground turkey meat
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 19oz can of red enchilada sauce
  • 8oz (about 2 1/2 cups) of dried rotini pasta
  • 2 cups of freshly shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • toppings: black olives, diced tomatoes, jalapenos, green onions, southwestern crunch bites


  1. In a large sauté pan, onions in olive oil over medium low heat until softened.
  2. Add ground turkey meat and and taco seasoning and cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon until browned.
  3. Once turkey meat is cooked through, add pasta, chicken broth and enchilada sauce to pan.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduced heat to low and cover.
  5. Cook on low, with pan covered for about 15 minutes.
  6. Then remove lid and let simmer for additional 5 minutes until pasta is tender and sauce has reduced.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of cheese.
  8. Top pasta with additional cup of cheese and place lid back on pan and let heat from the pasta melt the cheese.
  9. Garnish with your toppings of choice.

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 5.38.18 PM

xo xo

You might also enjoy: Pepperoni Rolls {recipe}, Labor Day Weekend Huevos Rancheros, Good ol’ Spaghetti {recipe}

Snowpocalypse Meal Plan

If you live in NWA, you know there’s an impending snowpocalypse on it’s way. We’re supposed to get 5-7 inches of snow and several inches of ice within the next 48 hours.

It just started sleeting at our house, making it the perfect time to start the crockpot of chili for tonight. What’s better than chili on a snow day?!

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, boy do I wish I was back in school when snow days come around. It’s not quite the same when we’re working and have laptops and portable phones to keep us busy during a snow day.

{You can read more of my thoughts and memories about snow days here: Grownup Snow Days and What I’ve Learned in College, Snow Days Edition}

Let’s talk food. When it comes to snow days, you want to have enough food and drink in case you get snowed in. It needs to be delicious comfort food, and it does not necessarily need to be healthy. Below is our meal plan for the next few days.


Italian Meatball Sliders (kings rolls + frozen meatballs + provolone + marinara = amazing)
Leftover Green Bean Casserole (officially the end of our leftovers, don’t judge me)


Chili! You can get Mille’s Chili recipe here.
Salad (simple – lettuce, baby tomatoes and balsamic)


(we love the tyson pre-cooked and cut chicken and steak for tacos,
add sliced peppers to the pan and it’s just like a restaurant)


Pepperoni Rolls (recipe below, one of our favorite meals ever, so delicious!)
Salad or veggies, for good measure

Fingers crossed we can leave our house Saturday, otherwise it will be peanut butter sandwiches.
Others fingers crossed the power doesn’t go out, otherwise it will also be peanut butter sandwiches.

Stay safe and warm out there, and full! xo xo

* * * * *

Pepperoni Rolls {recipe}


2 cans biscuits (we prefer the small biscuits, but any would do)
block of colby jack cheese
italian seasoning
grated parmesan
Optional: jalapenos

a080d3aeb217e3a1f5a7ae1e87081020-1{photo cred: The Gunny Sack}

Set oven to 350 degrees.
Flatten the biscuits on a baking pan.
Inside each biscuit wrap 2 pepperonis, piece of cheese and jalapenos if you wish.
Fold up.
Sprinkle italian seasoning and parmesan cheese on top.
Bake as directed on the can of biscuits.
Serve with marinara dipping sauce.

True Grit{s}

It’s a rare lazy Saturday in our household. One to cherish before Thanksgiving. The house is clean, reminding me of the relaxation that comes along with tidiness. The coffee is brewing, eliciting smells of vanilla nut and awareness of autumn comfort. The morning rain stirs suddenly and briskly, adding depth to the muted gray skies.

Faintly, I hear the sounds of husband and his ritualistic Saturday morning video games in the other room, but I sit peacefully alone thankful for the open day ahead.

Rustling through the kitchen to find something to subside the hunger pains, I find a leftover batch of 5-minute grits from the parents’ visit a few weekends ago. As we always say, if you don’t like grits, then you just haven’t had them cooked right.

So, I decided to cook ’em right.

To make grits less, well, gritty and more delicious, you just need five ingredients: salt, garlic, butter, cheese and a southern palate.


I don’t have a recipe to share, because I don’t quite know how much of everything goes in the recipe. This is where the southern palate comes in. But if you don’t have a southern palate and want to give it a try, I’ll give you this tip: Go sparingly on the garlic and heavily on the butter. (Did I grow up watching Paula Deen???)

Something my grandmother does with her grits, that I did not do this morning, was put the cheese on top, put it in a casserole dish and bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes. #DoesntGetBetterThanThat


From my southern family to yours, I hope your Saturday is just as restful and your grits are just as tasteful.
xo xo

Pumpkin Cheesecake {recipe}

Catharsis:  the act or process of releasing a strong emotion or tension, especially by expressing it in an art form

My art form this week has been baking. I enjoy baking when I have the time and a specific reason, and I had THREE specific reasons this week. Yes, my kitchen has been a disaster all week, but I’m very happy with how all of my desserts turned out.


{Red velvet cupcakes for our Walking Dead premiere party}



{Pumpkin + cream cheese cupcakes for our community group fall festival. I won’t tell you what happened to them in the car on the way over there … let’s just say I was glad I took a picture beforehand.}


{Pumpkin Cheesecake for a dinner party … and a leftover piece for breakfast}

This recipe is so quick and easy and tastes delicious. In all honesty, it tastes more like pumpkin pie than cheesecake, but it does add a little creamier texture than traditional pumpkin pie. I’ll definitely be making this again for Thanksgiving.

P U M P K I N  C H E E S E C A K E

Puree 1 c pumpkin, 8 oz. cream cheese, 1/2 c sugar, 3 eggs, 1/4 c each sour cream and maple syrup, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and a pinch of salt into a food processor or blender.
Pour into 9-inch graham cracker crust.
Bake at 350 until set, 45 minutes.
Serve with whipped topping.

Enjoy! xo

You might also enjoy: Pumpkin Lovin’, PB&J Bars, {Almost} Better Than Sex Cake

{Labor Day Weekend} Huevos Rancheros



Corn tortillas
Black beans

Additional toppings, optional:
Shredded cheese
Sour Cream

1. Cook the bacon. Chop into small pieces.
2. While cooking bacon, warm the beans.
2. Brown the tortillas in the skillet, just a few seconds per side.
3. Cook eggs sunny side up.
4. Put beans as first layer on two tortillas, top with egg, then pile up the toppings!

And since it’s a long weekend, naptime after brunch is always a necessity. xo


PB&J Bars {recipe}

I’ve always been a fan of peanut butter. I could eat it straight out of the jar, with apple slices, in a pie, on a gooey-gobbler, but I’m pretty sure this recipe takes the cake.

If you’re a pb fan, make this recipe and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

PB&J Bars 


1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2c raspberry jam
1/2c fresh raspberries, mashed
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4c sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1c crunchy peanut butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. Line with parchment paper.

Combine the jam and raspberries in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder.

Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the peanut butter and beat until combined.

Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing on low until just combined. Press half the dough into the prepared dish. Top with the raspberry mixture. Add the other half of the dough on top.

Bake until the top is golden brown, 35-40 minutes.

Cool in the dish for 30 minutes, then cut into squares.


Tip: Enjoy with vanilla ice cream for dessert or eat for breakfast – it has fruit and pb so it’s totally okay!

You might also enjoy: {Almost} Better Than Sex Cake, Oreo Brownie Delight

Good ol’ spaghetti {recipe}

Last night I had a really weird craving – spaghetti with a really good meat sauce. I’m not a big spaghetti eater. I’d typically rather have a light pasta with veggies and pesto. But for some reason last night was the exception. I also happened to be in a cooking mood, again – rare, so I found a recipe and whipped it up.

photo 23


1lb ground turkey
3 -4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
3 teaspoons fresh basil
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup red wine (a good Cabernet!)
1 lb thin spaghetti
parmesan cheese


In large, heavy stockpot, brown ground turkey.
Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and water.
Add basil, brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper.
Stir well and barely bring to a boil.
Stir in red wine.
Simmer on low, stirring frequently for at least an hour. A longer simmer makes for a better sauce, just be careful not to let it burn!
Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
Spoon sauce over drained spaghetti noodles and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Serve with texas toast and a glass of that Cab!


You might also enjoy: Linguine with Summer Vegetables + Goat Cheese

Linguine with Summer Vegetables + Goat Cheese {recipe}

I think I’ve said once before how much I enjoy Sunday evening dinner. I rarely cook and when I do it’s certainly not a production. Except Sunday evenings. I try very hard to make a big, wonderful dinner on Sundays so that our bellies and hearts are full for the upcoming week. (Note: glass of wine while cooking is a necessity.)

This week I tried a recipe from Real Simple that looked amazing on the cover of this month’s issue. It tasted just as good as it looked with fresh veggies and my new favorite cheese. (How have I gone this long without goat cheese?!?!)

I didn’t find the time to make homemade ice cream this weekend like I’d hoped so instead we’re settling for fresh peaches over vanilla ice cream for dessert. Yum!

I hope your bellies and hearts are just as full as ours for the week. xo

Linguine with Summer Vegetables and Goat Cheese

photo 3

Total time: 20 minutes

Serves 4

1/4 pound linguine
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups fresh corn (from 2 ears)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 small zucchini, cut into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler (didn’t have a vegetable peeler, so just thinly sliced)
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (unfortunately Walmart was out of oregano when I went, so none for us)
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Cook the pasta according to the package. Reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, 8-10 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until the corn is tender, 2 to 4 minutes.

Add the corn, tomatoes, zucchini and 1/2 cup of the cooking water to the pasta. Cook over medium heat, gently tossing, until the liquid slightly thickened and coats the pasta, 2 to 3 minutes (adding more cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce.)

Serve sprinkled with the oregano, walnuts and goat cheese.

You might also enjoy: Houlihan’s Inspired Bacon Mac and Cheese, French Dip Crescents, Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

life lately

IMG_9334{celebrating Samantha’s birthday – a few pics from over the years}


{Easter with family}


{eating this deliciousness made by my mom while in town}


{LOVE sign making class with my community group girls}


{wonderful Friday afternoon with my mom – pictured here: champagne + blackberry mango pop at First Friday on the Square}


{Hawaiian bridal shower for the beautiful Nicky, and getting ready for her bachelorette party tonight <3}

xo xo

Oreo Brownie Delight {recipe}

Husband loves Oreos. I mean looooooooooves them. He has to have his Oreos + milk every single night. Even still, the other day he told me there weren’t enough Oreos in his life, so I decided to create a special dessert just for him adapted from a Pinterest recipe.


{how can you go wrong with these ingredients?!}


{be generous with the ice cream, friends}


{stuff as many of those double-stuffed Oreos in there as you can}

Screen Shot 2013-03-31 at 5.56.50 PM


1 box Brownie Mix
eggs & oil (as called for by the brownie mix)
1/2 c. (6 oz) Cookies & Cream ice cream
1/4 c. hot fudge topping
1 pkg Oreos

Preheat oven & spray an 8×8 baking dish generously with cooking spray. Combine brownie mix, eggs, and oil as directed on the back of the box, but do not add the water. Add ice cream and hot fudge to the brownie batter and stir to combine. Pour half of the brownie batter into the baking dish, layer with Oreos, then top with remaining batter. Bake for 40-45 minutes or as directed on the back of the box.

xo xo


Weekend Picturebook: St. Louis

IMG_9598{wine + brie waiting for us at our midnight arrival, followed by a 3 1/2 hour catch up session}

IMG_7145{Pioneer Woman breakfast}

IMG_9555{beautiful, cold day}

IMG_9177{beer tasting, Schlafly Bottleworks}

IMG_5969{restaurant from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives

my entree: Schnitzel + Spaetzel, husband’s: off the menu Oak Roasted Pork = delish}

IMG_7412 IMG_5492{Book of Mormon at the Fox}

IMG_1430 IMG_0268{chocolate martinis + banana split, Bailey’s Chocolate Bar}

IMG_7188 IMG_1120

{Sunday brunching + house coveting}


{such a WONDERFUL host for the weekend}

xo xo

You might also enjoy: Weekend Picturebook: Las Vegas, Weekend Picturebook: New York City

Gluten Free for 40 Days

Gluten via Wikipedia: a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye.

Gluten via Urban Dictionary: while your friends eat oreos, cake, and other hallmarks of the wondrous American diet, you must crunch dry rice cakes and order salads without croutons or most dresses.

(or this one via Urban Dictionary: To be used as another word for Drama, Bullsh*t, Haters, i.e. I don’t want any more Gluten in my life. — irrelevant, but hilarious.)

* * *

I decided to give up gluten for Lent for two reasons:

1. I had been eating very poorly, putting a lot of junk inside my body and I just wanted to get it out and eat clean.

2. I wanted to challenge myself.

What is gluten in you ask? Oh just about everything. So instead I’ll tell you what it’s not in: fruit, veggies, lean meats, potatoes, beans, rice.

After doing some research, I decided I would not go the path of replacing my regular foods (bread, pasta, etc.) with the gluten-free variety that are now plentiful in most stores. To compensate for gluten, most products include more sugar and thus, people typically gain weight on a gluten-free diet. While I’m not doing this to lose weight (though it would be a positive side effect), I do not want to add any more unnecessary sugar in my body. See reasons above.

Here’s my typical gluten-free day menu:

Breakfast: Yogurt (some are gluten free and some aren’t), fruit

Lunch: Salad packed with veggies and a lean meat

Dinner: Lean meat, veggies, potatoes/rice (We made these Southwestern Stuffed Peppers the other night and they were perfect)

Snacks throughout the day: fruit & peanut butter, veggie crisps, nuts


The hardest part for me has been the inconvenience of eating gluten free. For breakfast I often grab a Special K bar, for lunch a sandwich or pasta for dinner. I have to plan ahead and be very mindful of what I’m eating, which is exactly what I wanted to make myself do.

Since I don’t have Celiac Disease and eating gluten doesn’t harm me, if I accidentally eat some here or there because I don’t recognize it in the ingredients, I’m not beating myself up about it. (Or if I’m STARVING and the only thing in our 5-hour meeting is a cookie … :)) I am also allowing myself Sundays as cheat days, typical of Lenten sacrifices. What did we eat last Sunday?? Pizza and beer and ice cream. NOM.

IMG_7718I’ll keep you posted… 31 more days to go! xo xo

The Three Week Cooking Challenge // Conclusion

WHEW. It was a long three weeks. In part because we were cooking every single night (a rarity in the Alderman home), but also in part because I was so eager to get to my birthday weekend in Vegas! In all honesty, I have no clue what we ate for Week 3 of the challenge, but we held on strong and ate in every night.

By the end of the three weeks, we were craving eating out (are we the only ones like that?? is that strange??) and luckily we were headed to a city with some of the finest and most diverse food you can find within a 2 mile radius. As I ate other people’s creations, I was reminded how much I love food and why I love eating out so much. It’s not the fact that cooking is difficult (sometimes it is) or that you have a lot to clean afterwards (usually it is) or that you have to plan ahead every single day what you’re going to cook (yes it is), but the fact that my cooking isn’t nearly as good as others. There’s not much fun in my cooking or much “brava.” It’s just food. But aren’t we supposed to really enjoy food? Well, I really enjoy food when it’s cooked by someone else.

All that to say, I don’t think I’ll ever be a master chef, but I have realized it’s not as difficult as I thought it was and it’s doable to cook every night. It also helps that I got a PERFECT new cookbook for my birthday from a dear friend – Robin Takes 5: 500 recipes, 5 ingredients or less, 500 calories or less, 5 nights a week at 5:00 pm – I mean, is there a more perfect cookbook for me?!

* * *

Now, enjoy some food porn from our Las Vegas vacation …


{sausage balls, XNA}


{vanilla + nutella creme puffs with banana gelato, Scarpetto}


{arugula + parmigiano reggiano salad, sausage + peppers pizza, Otto Enoteco – Mario Batali}


{housemade beer brat, Public House}


{brunch, The Wicked Spoon}


{decadence, Jean Phillipe Patisserie}

xo xo

You might also enjoy: The Three Week Cooking Challenge // Week 1, The Three Week Cooking Challenge // Week 2

life lately {fall}

{fall hair color}

{fall meal at Eleven – autumn bruschetta, butternut squash soup & apple pie moonshine}

{fall mani – OPI Russian Navy}

{fall toy – iPhone 5 & new case}

{fall inspiration}