Cheater Iced Coffee

Hello! How are you weathering the summer? It’s been pretty warm where we are…

For a place that is not usually hot or humid, we have been both this year! Even in the morning, we don’t always get the reprieve that I expect to come overnight. Lately, the mornings have brought tepid to warm temps rather than the cooler, crisp-ish ambiance that I have become accustomed to over the years.

Am I complaining? Well, perhaps a little. A (first world, admittedly) problem for me is that I require coffee to function in the morning and I have found it increasingly difficult to sip hot coffee after a hot shower on a hot morning. I also lack the time and funds to stop at coffee shop in the morning or purchase pre-made iced coffees.

As usual, “necessity is the mother of invention”…

iced coffee 2

Please excuse my son’s chalk drawings in the background.

Cheater Iced Coffee

4-5 ounces dark hot/warm coffee (can be instant, or from a coffee pot, or from my *I know* Keurig-but it’s so fast!)

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup or LIBERAL dollop of half and half or preferred cream

3-4 cubes, plus a generous handful of ice

Start with your preferred coffee in your favorite glass. Add the honey and stir until completely dissolved. Incorporate the half and half into the mixture before the ice so as to begin cooling the coffee. After well mixed, add 3-4 cubes of ice to cool down the concoction to desired temperature. If you like your iced coffee ice-cold, as I do, then add another handful of ice to fill the cup.

Here’s hoping your summer (or whatever season it is in your area) is grand!

Stay cool, and stay cozy!



Super Simple Chicken Burrito Bowl

It’s happened again, I’ve gotten off late from work and arrived home only to have no idea what to make for dinner. With a hungry spouse and a ravenous child (and a growling belly myself) waiting for me, what can I prepare that’s super easy, quick, and healthy?

Enter my latest creation, the Super Simple Chicken Burrito Bowl! (Otherwise known as what I threw together in a moment of hangry panic at a time when we happened to have some produce but no tortillas on hand…alas, I digress…)

chicken burrito bowl

Super Simple Chicken Burrito Bowl

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces (I prefer thighs, but any cut will do)

1 can of black beans

1 bag (2 cups) of frozen steamer-bag brown rice (or you can make your own)

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Adobo seasoning to taste (I like Goya’s)

Goya Adobo

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 avocado, chopped

In a large frying pan, sauté chicken in olive oil and add Adobo. Once fully cooked, add black beans and cooked rice. Stir mixture over low heat until combined; add Adobo to taste.  Top with tomatoes and avocados.

This meal was so quick to prepare, in part due to the steamer bag of rice. It was hearty enough and healthy enough to satiate a busy family on a hectic weeknight as well. Speed and nutrition are hallmarks of simple food in my opinion.

If you decide to try it I hope you enjoy!

Stay cozy!



Hearty Kale Soup

It dawns on me that summer is probably the wrong time to be talking about a warm bowl of robust, flavorful soup…but we’ve had a few “cool” days where I am, so I thought I’d take advantage.

As an experiment this year, my family and I tried growing a few fruit and vegetable plants in pots on our patio. The strawberries did well, we’re still waiting on the tomatoes, but the kale grew fantastically! So much so that even after making a giant pot of soup our miniature kale garden still only looks mildly thinned-out.

A couple of clouds this week sent me to the grocery store to get the rest of the ingredients for this hearty kale soup.

hearty kale soup

Hearty Kale Soup

1 pound of ground sausage – I like Italian pork sausage, though almost any kind will do.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

5 small-medium russet potatoes, chopped into large chunks

2 cans of white cannellini beans

2 large chicken bouillon cubes (I prefer Knorr’s)

6-ish cups cleaned and roughly chopped kale (or as much as you have/can stuff in the pot)

First, brown your preferred sausage in the olive oil and then add the cannellini beans and approximately 8 cups of water (depending on the size of your cooking vessel and your desired density). Bring to a very low boil. Add the bouillon cubes and the potatoes and allow to simmer/low boil for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are almost tender. Finally, toss in the kale and allow to simmer for about 10 more minutes.

Not only is this recipe super simple, but it’s also pretty flavorful thanks in large part to the spices already present in the sausage. Additionally, this is a dish that I find to be quite versatile. Hearty and rustic enough for family dinners, but sophisticated enough for guests. Add a baguette or salad on the side and you have a tasty (if non-traditional) brunch.

I hope you enjoy! (And I wouldn’t blame anyone for waiting until fall to try this recipe, I’m just impatient.)

As usual, stay cozy!



My Cheater Bolognese

I love Italian food. Bursting with flavor and robustness, and mingled with a rustic quality that invites us to think about a different time and place. There are few food experiences more comforting for me than a great Italian meal spent with those I love.

That said, I also love simple food and easy recipes that are famiglia-friendly and can be cooked up in a flash!

cheater bolognese

This is a dish that I’ve just starting making in the last few months, but so far it has been a big hit at the family dinner table.

Here’s my “cheater” version of a hearty, yummy, spaghetti Bolognese.

“Cheater” Bolognese

1 box dry spaghetti (I only use Barilla) or 1 pound fresh pasta (if you’re feeling fancy)

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 can diced tomatoes

1 pound ground beef (you could also substitute ground pork or lamb)

1-2 tablespoons minced garlic, to taste

salt and pepper to taste

Cook and drain pasta, set aside. In a large pot (I use the same pot I used to cook the pasta, while the pasta stays in the colander for a moment) add olive oil and ground meat. Flavor the meat with salt and pepper and brown completely. Add diced tomatoes and garlic, and simmer for a few minutes. Sauce should be very thick and chunky. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir. Allow the pasta to soak up some of the sauce for just a few more minutes. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

I think this dish would also be great with some fresh basil or oregano thrown in, if you happen to have those handy!

Enjoy! And stay cozy.




Greek-ish Tacos

What do you do with a few items from two seemingly very different cuisines? Put them together of course!

greekish tacos

My family has had Taco Tuesdays installed in the meal plan for awhile now. Although we always stick with a few regulars, like shells and tomatoes, we try to jazz it up a bit now and then. This week it was simply a matter of what was left in the fridge, I’m ashamed to say.

For reasons that will have to be hashed out in another post, I happened to have ground lamb and feta cheese in the fridge. As experiments go, I was pretty happy with this one!

Greek-ish Tacos

1 pound ground lamb

1 packet mild taco seasoning (I prefer McCormick’s)

1 diced tomato

feta chunks or crumbles

taco shells

Simply brown the meat and stir in the taco seasoning mix per the package directions. Then assemble, or let your hungry family create their own Greek-ish Tacos.

We tried a few of the usual suspects, like salsa and sour cream, and they did add some nice flavor. A few sliced cucumbers or some Tzatziki sauce would go nicely too. A quick, simple meal with a twist to keep those taste buds guessing!