creamy onion dip + crunchy crudités

january 24, 2016

homesweet

Middle school is my first real memory involving football. Mr. Thielman's PE class, 7th grade, and a whole lot of time spent running up and down the field, usually without any idea of where, exactly, I was running to. I guess you could say that field sports have never really been my thing, especially football. Playing it, throwing it, even watching it has never really stuck. I was the string bean with her head in the clouds practicing her fouette turns and pirouettes on the turf, to Mr. Thielman's dismay, and I much preferred my version of football to his. I just remember thinking that there were so many rules, so much stopping and going, and I just didn't have the patience for it. 

I have the attention span of a gnat when it comes to watching sports games, but the combination of friends and (always) good food gets me in the spirit and excited for the occasional game. Growing up, my dad would take me to see the Padres play on Sunday afternoons. We'd zip over to San Diego, mitts in hand, and I'd be contemplating the treats I planned to eat. There were always charred sausage dogs with peppers, onions, and a whole lot of yellow mustard. We'd sometimes get nachos, cotton candy (always blue, per my request,) and would almost always finish the day with a massive cone of swirled soft serve. I loved these Sundays with Dad, and they're absolutely the root of my love for game time treats. 

While I absolutely love all of the foods listed above, and then some, I always appreciate a lighter option to crunch on while a game is on. With Super Bowl Sunday coming up quick, I've started thinking about what I'll be bringing to the party this year. Enter: this onion dip. It's creamy, simple, and a total crowd pleaser. You can enjoy it with raw veggies, crackers, or salty potato chips (my achilles heel), making it the perfect snack platter to bring to a gathering, sports related or not. It's deceivingly healthy, so whip up a bowl and dig in without even thinking twice. 

What snacks are you cooking up for Super Bowl Sunday this year? Be sure to share your thoughts below! 

Happy snackin' :)

creamy onion dip + crunchy crudités

serves a crowd

ingredients - 

  • 2 cups plain greek yogurt (my go-to is Fage, full fat or 2%) 
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • 4 medium yellow onions, chopped finely
  • 1/3 cup olive oil 
  •  2 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • scallion, finely chopped 
  • fresh black pepper, to taste 
  • sea salt, to taste 
  • fresh veggies of your choosing, crackers, and/or potato chips 

Heat a large cast iron pan, pour in a few glugs of olive oil (~1/4 cups). Add chopped onions and a pinch of salt. Adjust heat to medium. You're caramelizing your onions, which will take some time and patience. Stir your onions frequently and do not increase heat. Your onions will slowly being to deepen in color. The onions are done when they are a rich brown color. This process will take between 15 - 30 minutes, longer if you crowd your pan. *Note - if your onions begin to burn, reduce your heat a bit and add a splash or water, wine, or balsamic vinegar to your pan and continue to cook. 

When the onions are near done, add garlic and allow to cook for a few minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in your Worcestershire sauce. Allow the onion mix to cool. 

Combine your onions and greek yogurt in a medium mixing bowl, stirring until evenly mixed. Fold in a generous amount of fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste. Top with a handful of chopped scallions.

Enjoy your onion dip right in that moment, or store in the fridge for up to two days. The dip tastes the richest and creamiest if it's allowed to sit for a few hours before consuming, in my opinion. :) Enjoy!

sunshine power bowl + turmeric citrus dressing 

january 13, 2016

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It's been a crazy long time since I've posted on here, but it's been a wonderfully full and happy month away as well. I spent the holidays back home in California, and it was just what I needed. There was a whole lot of family time, days spent away from my computer, and some...tons, of seriously good tacos. ** Dear Boston, up your taco game now por favor! The salty air, sunshine, and fresh-squeezed orange juice (thanks Dad!) re-energized me, while fireside chats with family and long beach walks with friends centered me. 2015 was brought to a sweet close, and 2016 started with some of my favorite people in one of my favorite places on earth, and I was feeling all sorts of grateful for the slow and easy days.

Now back in Boston, I've been settling in as another winter settles into the city. I've been in serious nesting mode, gettin' cozy for the chilly and gray days ahead. I'm determined to fill my space and my body with as much warmth and light as possible this season, and for me that all starts with food. The sun can hide for weeks at a time around this time of year, so I try to stay active and brighten my days with colorful and nourishing foods. This bowl is one of my go-to's in the winter months, and is so simple to throw together. It makes you feel good from the inside out and can be modified and mixed up however you please! Assemble one of these power bowls to warm your bones and to lift your spirits.

So, light a candle, wrap yourself up in a big blanket, and tuck into some color. You'll feel cozy to the core.   

sunshine power bowl + turmeric citrus dressing 

ingredients - 

  • 1 large handful spinach, rinsed and dried
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried
  • 1 cup black rice
  • 1 3/4 cup water 
  • 1 avocado, sliced lengthwise 
  • fresh feta cheese, crumbled 
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, skinned and diced 
  • roasted walnuts, handful 
  • olive oil 
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

turmeric citrus dressing

  • 2-inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled and diced
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice, more or less to taste 
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp greek yogurt - Fage 2% is my go-to 
  • 2 tsp honey 
  • 2 tsp all natural, unsalted peanut butter 
  • dash of cayenne pepper 
  • black pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Evenly spread sweet potato pieces out on the baking sheet. Drizzle with a healthy amount of good olive oil, tossing each piece to coat evenly. Sprinkle generously with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Roast in the oven for 40 - 45 minutes.

Next, bring rice and water with a pinch of salt to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat. Once boiling, cover, reduce to a simmer, and let cook for 35 minutes or until most all water has been absorbed. 

While the potatoes and rice are cooking, prep your other ingredients. 

For the turmeric citrus dressing - Combine the turmeric, garlic, lime juice, greek yogurt, honey, peanut butter and 1 Tbsp of olive oil using a blender or food processor. At this point, this mixture will be thick. Once combined, continue to add olive oil in small amounts until desired consistency is reached (~4 Tbsp olive oil total.) Taste, and season with a dash or two of cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt. You may need to adjust the amount of lime juice to your liking. Blend until smooth and set aside. 

Once the rice and potatoes are done it's time to assemble your power bowl! Place a big handful of spinach in a bowl, and top with desired amount of roasted sweet potatoes, feta cheese, walnuts, black rice, chickpeas, and sliced avocado. *You'll have plenty of left over potato wedges, chickpeas, and rice for your next power bowl. Next, drizzle with turmeric-citrus dressing and dig in! 

Happy eating :)

cheddar apple ale soup + sage toasts

october 20th, 2015

homesweet-soup

It's been awhile since I've had a weekend wide open to relax and catch up. While I love weekend road trips and exploring new corners of New England, there sure is a whole lot to be said for waking up slow on a Saturday morning, long riverside runs, and taking the time to re-energize and simply be. A change in season always helps to remind me to slow down and savor the simpler things.

When the temps outside begin to drop, I tend to seek comfort and coziness. The down comforter is broken out, wool socks are donned, and hearty food is roasted and warmed. The fall colors this year have got me like woah, and I decided to make something to match the golden leaves on the trees outside my window. This soup is creamy and decadent and warms you up from your fingertips to your toes. Enjoy a big bowl of this cheddar apple ale soup with crispy sage toasts to dunk and crunch on. 

Eat, drink, and be cozy :)

cheddar apple ale soup - 

serves 4

ingredients - 

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter 
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup leeks, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 cup pale ale of choice 
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp worchestershire sause 
  • 1 1/2 cups light cream 
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated (cabot seriously sharp is my favorite)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • sage leaves
  • flakey salt 
  • 1 loaf fresh crusty bread

In a large dutch oven melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic to the pot. Cover and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes, add diced apples, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until vegetables are softened. Stir in the flour for a few minutes, then add the ale and stir. Next mix in the light cream, worchestershire sauce, and vegetable broth. Turn up heat to medium-high to bring soup to a simmer. Once simmering, cover and reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 - 12 minutes. 

Remove soup from heat and puree contents in batches or with an immersion blender until smooth. Place the soup over medium-low heat and add the grated cheddar cheese to the pot in handfuls. Stir constantly to evenly melt throughout soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover until ready to serve. 

toasts - 

Heat oven to broil, drizzle bread with olive oil, and place in the oven for 5 minutes. These will crisp up quick so keep an eye on them! While the toasts are crisping, pour a generous amount of olive oil into a small skillet. Once oil is hot, add sage leaves. The oil should pop and bubble when the sage leaves are added. Heat for 2-3 minutes and remove from the skillet. Take the toasts out of the oven, sprinkle with crispy sage and flakey salt, and serve on top of or on the side of soup.

Be sure to follow @homesweet_mary on instagram and tag #HSrecipes when you try out a recipe!

pumpkin spice & walnut granola 

october 9th, 2015

homesweet-pumpkin

Lately, I've been desperately trying to slow down the hours, days, and weeks. It's my favorite time of year (much like everyone else in New England) and I'm savoring these crisp and sunny days before the winter air settles in. It can be easy to let this time of year pass you by in the city. You see trees with scarlet and gold leaves here and there, but the colors don't overwhelm you the way they do in the mountains.

This past weekend I zipped up to my old stomping grounds in Vermont, and boy, do I miss it there. I moved to Burlington when I was eighteen, and quickly fell in love with its mountains and its people. Vermont felt like home right away. My first fall there was basically my first fall, ever. I remember walking down to Lake Champlain, looking out to the Adirondacks and thinking that their slopes and ridges looked like they were on fire. The colors burned so bright they blazed, and it took my breath away year after year. Still does. From September to November I was determined to spend as much time as I possibly could outside. There were sunrise and sunset hikes on Camel's Hump, weekends in the apple orchards, pumpkin picking, and long solo runs along the lake. Though the air grew cooler and the days shorter, I always found myself feeling indescribably warm this time of year. A combination of beautiful views, good company, and the sweet and spicy scents often floating from the kitchen made for happy memories in one of my happy places. 

So, this granola. While it can't take me back in time, it sure does bring back a whole lot of happy memories with it's warming, nutty, and spicy flavors. It's cozy and inviting and makes both your heart and belly feel full. I like to make big batches of it to sprinkle on yogurt, add to oatmeal, and to snack on morning, noon, and night. I hope you enjoy this simple recipe as much as I do :).

pumpkin walnut granola

ingredients - 

  • 3 cups rolled oats 
  • 1 1/3 cups raw walnuts, halved or chopped
  • 1/3 cup raw pepitas
  • 1 Tbsp flax seeds 
  • 2 dashes of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice 
  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup honey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine oats, flax seeds, walnuts, pepitas, spices, and salt.

In a small pan, melt the refined coconut oil and then whisk in pumpkin puree and honey. Mix well until the contents are evenly combined. Add to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until all dry ingredients are coated. 

Spread half of the mixture evenly on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 7 minutes, stir contents around a bit, rotate, and place in the oven for another 7 or so minutes. *Keep an eye on it! It can go from crispy to burnt to a crisp quite quickly (speaking from experience.) 

Once golden brown, remove your granola from the oven and let it cool. Enjoy warm over yogurt, with a splash of milk, or store in an airtight container to enjoy at a later time. 

Let me know how your pumpkin granola turns out by tagging #HSrecipes on instagram, and be sure to follow me @homesweet_mary. Happy baking! 

harvest barley bowl + maple cider dressing

september 22nd, 2015

homesweet

On Monday I woke up cold. It was 5:30 am and this wonderful, crisp, breeze was blowing through my window. I burrowed under my down comforter and snoozed for another hour before hopping out of bed to warm up with a cup of tea. Slow and cozy mornings like this are my favorite, and they're downright rare on a Monday. It's September 21st, and a year ago today I moved into my little Beacon Hill apartment. 

Time flies. It really does. This year has gone miles a minute at moments and crawled by at others. A year. How is it possible that a year ago I was driving up the gravel road on the farm, teary eyed and feeling so so heavy-hearted after a difficult goodbye. The chill in the air yesterday took me right back to those moments, and I felt all sorts of nostalgic. Seasons seem to have a way of doing that. The length of the days, the way the air feels, and the produce popping up in farmers' markets brings about new routines in the day to day. 

It wasn't until I moved to the Northeast that I truly learned what cooking and eating seasonally meant, and I soon fell in love with the rich flavors and warm colors fall brought about in the market and in my kitchen each year. This weekend I moseyed through the Boston Public Market, a Sunday pastime that has quickly become part of my weekly routine. I ate a cider donut because it was finally below 70 outside (and because why not), munched on some Vermont cheeses, scooped up a small bouquet of dahlias, and found myself obsessing over all of the colorful winter squash varieties that have popped up overnight. I had at least 5 different kinds in my arms before I zeroed in on these adorable "sweet squash," a miniature version of the butternut squash.  Promising to be a gorgeous orange hue and just sweet enough, I grabbed a few and went on my way. 

Eager to test out the texture of these babies, I decided to roast them simply and mix them in with a few favorites. This warm barley bowl is bursting with color, tasting and smelling warm and spicy as well. It boasts baby kale and dried cherries, hints of thyme and cider vinegar, and is topped off with a poached egg and parmesan for creaminess. It warms you up from the inside out, and is the perfect dish to welcome the new season. 

Happy Equinox friends :)

harvest barley bowl + maple cider dressing

serves 3-4 

ingredients - 

  • 1 cup barley
  • 2 1/2 cups water 
  • 2 "sweet squash" or 1 small butternut squash, peeled, roasted, & diced
  • generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch or two of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • a few sprigs thyme
  • salt & ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 handfuls baby kale
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • handful pepitas
  • 3 - 4 eggs (dependent on serving size), poached
  • a bit of parmesan cheese, shaved

dressing - 

  • 1/3 cup really good extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup, the real stuff
  • 1/4 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper to taste 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Bring barley and water to a boil in a medium pot and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the water has been absorbed completely, 35 - 45 minutes. *Check every 10 minutes or so to be sure you don't overcook. 

Place your whole squash on a cookie sheet and roast at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. This will soften the tough skin, making it easier to cut into chunks to roast. Remove and let cool. Careful not to burn your fingers, cut the squash in half length wise and peel. Remove the seeds and cut into bite size pieces. Spread the squash out on your cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toss with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Top with thyme sprigs, and roast in the oven for another 30 minutes, until a bit browned and tender. 

While the squash cooks whisk together the dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper. 

Once the barley and squash are done, combine in a large bowl with baby kale, dried cherries, pepitas, and dressing. Top off this grain salad with a perfect poached egg and some sharp parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

frittata + goat cheese and spring greens

may 13, 2015

Spring has finally sprung in the Northeast. I know I sound like a broken record at this point, gushing about the sunshine and warmth we're finally experiencing here in Boston, but after such a long and cold winter I feel I've earned the right to obsess. Boston is in full bloom, and it feels like an entirely different city. Suddenly there are all sorts of open air markets and art walks popping up in every nook and neighborhood, lending the perfect excuse to soak up some sun and explore this city.

The longer days have made me feel lighter, with morning runs and sunset walks along the Charles River becoming a part of my daily routine. All of this activity and energy has (obviously) led to an increase in appetite as well, and I've found myself craving something bright and satisfying morning, noon, and night. After some time spent weaving through the market I filled my bag with what looked the best and most fresh, asparagus, tuscan kale, and chives. As much as I love veggies on their own, I decided to add some eggs to make a healthy but hearty springtime meal. This frittata is versatile, light, and a snap to whip up. It's full of good greens n' things and topped with goat cheese, chives, and lemon thyme right from my little window box. Enjoy this frittata in good company for breakfast, lunch, dinner and anytime in between. Bon appetit!

spring frittata -

serves 4 

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp refined coconut oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 handfuls tuscan kale, ripped into pieces 
  • 8 spears asparagus, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 tsp lemon thyme, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chives, minced
  • 2 oz crumbled goat cheese 
  • salt to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste 

Preheat your oven to 400°.

Prepare the onion, garlic, kale, and asparagus as instructed above. Quick tip - asparagus has a natural breaking point. Bend each spear until it snaps, discarding the root side of the stalk. 

Melt the coconut oil in an 8 inch cast iron pan over low heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the asparagus and cook until bright green. Next, add your kale and cook down until wilted. In the meantime, whisk 6 eggs together in a medium bowl, then adding the milk, salt, and pepper. Once the kale has cooked down, pour the egg mixture evenly over the sautéed vegetables. Increase heat to medium, and allow the eggs to cook until the outside edges begin to set, roughly 5 minutes. *Do not stir or shake at any point! Remove from heat and crumble any desired amount of goat cheese on top (go wild if you're a cheese lover like me). Top it off with a sprinkling of minced chives and lemon thyme, then placing the frittata in your oven to bake for 15-20 minutes. It's done when it appears golden-brown and has completely set in the middle. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Enjoy warm or at room temperature anytime of the day!