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A mostly healthy and budget-friendly cooking blog

July 28, 2014
by Erin Clarke
38 Comments

Summer Veggie Burritos

If I could write you a love song, it would be Summer Veggie Burritos.

Easy Summer Veggie and Black Bean BurritosNow, before you go all logical on me and point out that a burrito is a food and cannot, in fact, be hummed, chanted, or set to music, allow me to make my case. Good love songs have heart, they wrap you in warmth and emotion, and they make you feel giddy on the inside. Such is the case with Summer Veggie Burritos.

I’m not sure what it is about Mexican food that makes me think of serenades. Maybe it’s because every time I make it, Ben almost proposes all over again. Maybe it’s the warm fluffy tortillas or the fresh cherry salsa or the fact that Mexican food seems to result in fewer dishes. Maybe it’s the cheese. The cheese is definitely a factor.
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July 25, 2014
by Erin Clarke
32 Comments

Fresh Cherry Salsa

I’m not really a chips and salsa person. I’m a whatever vehicle most effectively shovels the salsa into my mouth and salsa person, particularly when Fresh Cherry Salsa is up for grabs.

Cherry Salsa Recipe

I have a fixation for flavors and textures that do a dance-off: sweet and salty (ahem, Salted Brown Butter Churro Crispy Treats); creamy and crunchy (Plum Crunch Steel Cut Oats anyone?); spicy and fruity (Chipotle Grapefruit Margaritas, please!). Fresh Cherry Salsa is a can’t-stop-won’t-stop boogie between burstingly sweet summer cherries, zippy lime, and kickin’ jalapeno. We’re talking chunky, fruity, and fresh.
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July 23, 2014
by Erin Clarke
50 Comments

Peaches and Cream Pancakes

It’s not every fruit that’s used as a term of endearment, favorable adjective, or controls 30% of my counterspace in the summer, but sweet, juicy peaches deserve the honor. You’re a peach, and life’s peachy keen, so let’s eat Peaches and Cream Pancakes in celebration.

Peaches and Cream PancakesI feel wrongfully punished by the brevity of peach season, an injustice I bear by purchasing peaches in irrational quantities every July. When I enter the checkout lane with my exploding bag of fruit, I assume the cashier believes I’m baking pies for a high school cafeteria, instead of feeding a household of two.

The peaches I don’t directly devour in their full-on, chin-dripping, finger-licking juicy glory—an attractive practice I’m sure my coworkers appreciate—find their way into our weekly menu. It’s peach ricotta pizza for dinner, peach shortcake for dessert, and Peaches and Cream Pancakes for breakfast.
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July 21, 2014
by Erin Clarke
42 Comments

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken Caprese

On Monday nights, I harbor fleeting hopes that dinner will cook itself. Until that miracle arrives, you’ll find me making Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken Caprese. It’s easy, cheesy, and as close to a zero-effort dinner as I can come, without involving the digits “711-PAPA.”

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken Capese

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken Caprese is a dinner for nights when the act of even thinking about cooking is exhausting, and all you want to do is call Papa John’s for pizza—and those fluffy wonder breadsticks (personal weakness alert!).

I adore cooking (and breadsticks), but some nights I barely have the energy to put together a peanut butter sandwich, let alone an entire meal (which is interesting considering that I always have the energy for a pan of brownies, but I digress). My mood not to cook, however, has zero impact on my mood to eat, which is a force as fierce and persistent as the rising sun.

Monday nights are typically when cooking sounds the least appealing to me, so I try to anticipate the agony with easy meals like this Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken Caprese. It’s simple, filled with sweet Italian flavor, and you probably have everything you need to make it in your pantry rightthissecond.
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July 19, 2014
by Erin Clarke
14 Comments

Lemon Pudding Cookies

I’d like to invite you over for a spot of afternoon tea. I’ll trim the crusts from our (PB&J) sandwiches, wear my best (baseball) hat, and have a little bourbon on hand in case you need a splash. Don’t worry—the Lemon Pudding Cookies will keep it classy.

Lemon Pudding Cookies with White Chocolate Chips. Pudding mix makes these the softest cookies ever!

In the words of my friend Sarah, Lemon Pudding Cookies are exactly what you would serve if you had Jane Austen over for tea. Though lemony bright and proper, the white chocolate chips add a creamy decadence that even the most reserved of ladies could not resist.

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July 18, 2014
by Erin Clarke
28 Comments

Double Crust Cherry Crisp

You. I know you. You’re that sneaky scoundrel who scooped all of the topping off of my cherry crisp. You took the buttery, brown-sugary baked oatmeal crisp magic for yourself, and you left the rest of us with naked, un-crispified fruit filling. I’m upset only because you beat me to it.

Double Crust Cherry Crisp - Crisp topping on both the bottom and the top!

I baked us a Double Crust Cherry Crisp, because we’ve all been where no decent person should be forced to go. We’ve spent the entire meal (or in my fruit crisp-obsessed case, the entire day) dreaming about that perfect, golden crisp topping and the hot, bubbly fresh fruit that waits underneath. We’ve arrived jubilantly at the dish, spoon and vanilla ice cream at the ready, only to discover that our dirty rotten brother/labrador/husband stole 90% of the crisp topping.

Leftovers are even worse. You know how good the crisp is and you return eagerly for a second round, only to discover someone has eaten off all of the topping and put the container with just the filling back in the refrigerator. Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Think about it. The greatest cherry pies—the pies of our mothers, grandmothers, and the bake sale ladies at church—all have two crusts. A cherry pie with only one crust would seem sad and lonely. Doesn’t cherry crisp deserve the same?
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July 16, 2014
by Erin Clarke
44 Comments

When a Dream Comes True

I’ve been struggling for a phrase that captures my time in France besides, “a dream come true.” The words I seek are more eloquent, less trite, and—if I can truly have my literary way—include alliteration.

Eiffel Tower NightI’ve consulted a thesaurus, deleted dozens of sentences, and poured myself an extra glass of wine. I’ve gone for a run to clear my mind (that was before the wine) and read a few phrases from some of my favorite authors for inspiration.

Eiffel Tower ReflectionNo matter where I take myself mentally or physically, however, I arrive back where I began: Our trip to France was a dream come true.

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