Tuscan barley dinner

This was actually the first time I’ve ever had barley.

I heard it was similar to rice – but with a heartier texture, nuttier taste, and a decent amount of protein. Sounds like a carb I could get used to.

However, I didn’t really know what to pair it with. I searched online for some recipes, but nothing really jumped out at me. Since a plain carb is somewhat of a blank canvas I decided to liven it up with sausage, peas, onions, and cheese – as if it were a pasta dish.

The result was absolutely delicious & super filling! My husband and I practically licked our plates clean, and I’m definitely looking forward to making this again.

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Recent eats: BEST of SUMMER Pt. 1

So this shirt basically sums up my mood for this summer:

yup, that’s my favorite shirt.

For me, summer is officially over. I know it technically isn’t, but as far as I’m concerned it is. My first day back at school was on Thursday (even though it was just meetings – it still counts) and I meet my kiddos for the first time this Tuesday. Hello teaching, goodbye free time.

As you may have noticed, I do the majority of my cooking and eating in my own home… but I do like going out for food as well. Here are a few restaurant highlights from this summer. These aren’t all of the places I’ve eaten, but these are definitely the best places.

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Italian sausage & pepper burgers

I love a good hamburger from the grill, but lately I’ve been getting bored by the standard burger. I’ve been switching things up a bit – occasionally I’ll make chicken burgers instead of beef, I’ll experiment with different cheeses, and I’ve done pretty well with trying a variety of toppings. I’ve gone from the staples of lettuce, tomato, and pickles to pulled pork, hot peppers, and fried eggs.

The other day I found sweet Italian sausage patties in the grocery store and I just had to grab them. It’s been a long time since I’ve had sausage & peppers (one of my favorite comfort foods), and I was determined to turn one of my favorites into a burger. I decided to kick things up a notch by giving my burgers some classic garlic bread buns.

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Hasselback antipasto chicken breast parmesan

Lately I’ve been on an Italian food kick.

I keep craving it.

Something I truly love is a good chicken parmesan – fried golden brown cutlets, drowning in marinara sauce, and oozing with mozzarella cheese.

This was something I needed to eat. I didn’t have any chicken cutlets, only chicken breasts – and I did not feel like pounding them out. I had an abundance of fresh basil and fresh tomatoes from my yard that I wanted to use, and I also have a ton of homemade sauce that my husband froze in batches a few weeks ago. Mozzarella cheese? Check. I also noticed that I had some bonus pepperoni in my cold cut drawer. This was gonna be good.

In my efforts to lighten up my food, I decided to revamp the chicken parm we all know and love. I went the low-carb route, and didn’t use breadcrumbs or fry the chicken… and it was still delicious.

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Zoodle pesto rosso with crumbled sausage and roasted cauliflower

zoodle pesto rosso with sausage and cauliflower
low carb deliciousness

 

Three of my good friends came over last night, and we decided to cook dinner together.

Like me, Andrew has certain dietary restrictions. He too is lactose intolerant. He is also on a health kick, and has lost a significant amount of weight in the last few months by going low-carb, low-sugar, and working out.

We wanted Italian food, but didn’t want the guilt of eating pasta. We went over to the grocery store, loaded up on zucchini and some other items, and headed back. With the help of a spiral cutter, we were going to have zoodles.

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