Tomato Sauce with onion and butter + Homemade pasta

I secretly wish that I was Italian (I also secretly wish I was Jewish because I'm jealous of the food they serve at holidays, but we'll save that discussion for a different post).  My Italian family would be large, boisterous, and pf course, amazing cooks.  Uncle Fabio would make the wine, Uncle Antonio would make the sopressata, Aunt Angela would press the olives, and grandma would make the pasta.  Our Sunday afternoons would be spent shucking fava beans, drinking wine and stewing tomatoes.  We would spend hours around the table telling stories of the mother land and all of our meals would be eaten in courses.  I mean, who wouldn't want this? Flash back to reality, my family is small and we are all German/Irish/English mutts.  Yes we love to eat, and drink wine, and we are pretty awesome cooks, but I couldn't help but think that my only hope is to marry into an Italian family.  My married name is Wojtowicz, so you can see how that worked out for me. 

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Italian Salsa Verde and Homemade Farfalle

Ask any runner and I would say at least half of them run so they can eat well. You like good food?  You want an excuse to eat carbs?  You should be a runner. The best part of any long training schedule is the taper week right before a race when you are instructed and encouraged to "carbo-load."  That is a technical term meaning to eat pasta as frequently as possible as a legal performance enhancer.

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Strawberry Dill Orzo Salad and my favorite Vinaigrette

What I wish Emily would have said in her last post was...

SPRING BREAKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Em was one of the lucky ones to escape winter's death grip by traveling south not once but twice in one month.  While her first adventure to one of our nation's greatest wonders was certainly Grand (see what I did there?), I would venture to say her second trip was certainly epic in its own way.

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Parlsey, Lemon and Tahini Chickpea pita + other travel foods

There are few things that I enjoy more than cooking and eating, but if I had to pick something travel would be at the top of that list.  Travel energizes me, invokes new perspectives and inspires my day to day life.  When too many months have passed between adventures Boredom kicks in and I long for an adventure.  It should come as no surprise that a lot of my travel memories revolve around the food that was eaten and prepared during the trip.  Usually the only research I ever do before heading off to a new spot is which restaurant the locals recommend.  It is not, however, the food I eat while en route that keeps me coming back for more. 

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Kale, mushroom and miso ramen

I am fortunate enough to have two days off during the week.  Although I love spending time with Travis on Saturdays and Sundays, my midweek alone time is wonderful.  I usually start my days by catching up on social media, news and food blogs while laying in bed drinking earl grey tea (pregnancy has prevented me from enjoying coffee, very annoying, did this happen to anyone else?) and the only thing that motivates me to get moving is a grumbling stomach.  But this is where the real fun in my day begins. When I am alone at home I love cooking for one.  Mostly because I can eat things that my husband would not count as a meal (which is essentially any plate of food that does not contain meat).  Radishes, sea salt and butter.  Poached egg and asparagus.  Apple sauce and homemade creme fraiche.  Figs, walnuts and goat cheese.  You get the idea, simple but high quality ingredients thrown together for the perfect meal for one.  These small meals have become a bit of a ritual for me, I always sit down at the table, or out on the deck in the summer, put away my phone and savor the moment.

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Wintery Spring Rolls and Kaffir Lime Whiskey Sour

It's no secret to many that winter is still alive and well.  And so not to anger my fellow mid-westerners, I won't dwell too long on the story of how these spring rolls were consumed whilst sipping a refreshing cocktail on the patio under a slowly falling sunset, temperatures hovering around 75 degrees, dainty pink blossoms peaking from the background on the peach tree. That would be insensitive.

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Homemade peanut butter cups

When it comes to my eating habits, I consider myself to be a mindful diner.  I watch what I eat, try to consume mostly fruits/veggies/nuts/whole-grains.  I avoid processed foods and mystery meats.  Blah, blah, blah.  Who doesn't say this these days?  Because there are also all of my guilty pleasures, which you may find a lot more interesting. I'm obsessed with jalepeno kettle chips.  I don't consider Culvers fast food, and have no qualms against throwing back a couple of butter burgers washed down with a strawberry shake.  On my commute home from work I often stop and buy skittles and coca-cola.

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Grilled citrus shrimp + Meyer lemon salsa

I do my best not to complain about life's most mundane.  But guys, it's freaking cold and I am longing for spring.  This announcement (or statement of the obvious) is coming from one of those weird sub species of human that loves winter.  I look forward to the dark days, the snow, skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, hearty winter meals, the list could go on.  You see, winter is my time of rest.  Before I lose all of our readership, rest assured that I enjoy summer.  It's just that during the summer months I feel this pressure to take advantage of every ounce of daylight and warm weather.  I love the busyness, and feel more productive when I am balancing 10 different side projects.  But I need the winter months to rest.  To lounge around reading books and catching up on movies.  Eating soup and drinking warm tea. 

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Cranberry curd pot de creme + orange saffron shortbread

I have a little confession to make: I love Martha Stewart.  As in my favorite day of the month is when the new Martha Stewart Living issue is available.   And I have all past issues archived by month in which I re-read them every year (I used to make fun of my mom for doing this).  And there is inevitably  a conversation each month between my sister and I that goes something like this "have you seen the recipe on page 59 of the new Martha Stewart? I am dying to make it!".  I used to be embarrassed of my love for all things Martha. Perhaps because I spent a significant amount of time during my adolescence giving Rachel crap for thinking Martha was so amazing.  So I would use the self-check out line to make my purchase, I hid the magazines when friends came over, and when I had dinner parties and someone would ask where I found the recipe for the chocolate souffle I would say I stumbled upon it on the internet .

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Grandma's gingerbread cookies

Cooking is a family tradition.  I'm sure many would say that.  Recipes passed down through generations. Learning age old techniques from Grandma or Mom (or Dad, let's not be gender biased around here.)  Often it begins with cookies.  What kid doesn't love cookies.  Especially the kind where you can squish it in your hands, use tools that are safe for little ones like rolling pins and cookie cutters, and maybe accidentally pinch off a piece and sample before they go into the oven and come out plump and cute. (A little bit like this one right here.)

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