Corn chowder with scallops

It's corn time! Fresh corn straight out of the fields is quite the luxury ... after you've shucked it, fended off all the hungry caterpillars, and gotten all the silks off the corn, that is. I had about 15 ears in the kitchen a few weeks ago and decided that I couldn't get it all into the meal plan so I put this corn chowder on the meal plan and put the rest in the freezer so I could save the corn bounty.

I used this Pioneer Woman Corn Chowder with Chiles as inspiration but kind of winged it as I went along. I snapped phone pics throughout the prep and will share them too. Everything I did was approximate so keep that in mind as you read through.

Corn Chowder with Seared Scallops

1. Begin by sauteing (about 3 strips) diced bacon. Once fat has rendered add in (1) diced onion and (1) diced and seeded jalapeno.

2. After the onions and jalapeno have softened add in (about 1/4 cup) chopped sun-dried tomatoes and (about 2 cups, blanched) corn.

3. Next add in (1 cup) chicken stock and (1.5 cups) whole milk plus salt and pepper. Mix (1 tbsp) cornmeal with a small amount of water and add to the chowder. This will thicken it.

4. Finally, top with seared scallops.

Buttermilk pancakes with warmed maple peaches

Double team brunch! This buttermilk pancakes with warm peach topping brunch is a great example of Patrick and myself working together in the kitchen. Sometimes we split up different parts of a recipe and combine things together, sometimes one of us is "in charge" and tells the other how to chip in, or sometimes, as in this case, there are two different components to the meal and we can work independently as we both prepare our portion. While Patrick made the pancakes I worked on the peach topping! 

Buttermilk Pancakes with warmed maple peaches inspiration from Cook's Country Cookbook &
Serves 2

   For the pancakes
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 egg
3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
vegetable oil
   For the peaches
3-4 peaches, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp lemon juice
good sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice (or combination of cinnamon and nutmeg)

   Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl to combine. In a separate bowl whisk the egg and melted butter into the milk until combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; pour in the milk mixture and whisk very gently until just combined with only a few lumps remaining - do not over mix.
   Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot (about 3-5 minutes). Add 1 tsp oil to coat the bottom of the skillet. Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake and cook until large bubbles begin to appear (1 1/2 to 2 minutes). Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown (will need slightly less time than the first side). Serve immediately with peach topping.
   While the pancakes are cooking, prepare the peach topping. In a medium skillet over medium heat melt butter. Add peaches, maple syrup, lemon juice, and pumpkin pie spice. Toss to coat evenly and simmer for about 5-10 minutes. The peaches will soften and a sauce will come together.
   Top with whipped cream - shaped in a heart if you made these for your significant other!

It's Always Caturday
Dupree being Patrick's sous chef

Sauteed chicken with yellow grape tomatoes

This recipe caught my eye because it is so simple! It's so simple and easy that after reading it you just might think "oh wow I could've thought of that" or at least that's what I did anyway. It's sauteed chicken with grape tomatoes, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and topped with fresh basil. We tossed it all with orzo to complete the meal! It was fantastic and a keeper for sure.

Simple sauteed chicken with yellow grape tomatoes inspiration from epicurious & Bon Appetit
   Recipe as written serves 2; add in the orzo and it can serve 3-4

2 tbsp olive oil
2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
   (we used a small package of chicken breast tenderloins that we diced)
1 cup yellow grape tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

   Heat olive oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; add to skillet. Sauté chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to 2 plates. Add tomatoes and garlic to skillet; sauté 1 minute. Add balsamic vinegar; sauté 30 seconds. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Add chicken back to the pan.
   While preparing the chicken we cooked 1 cup orzo according to package directions. Once cooked we added it to the pan after the chicken.
   Divide into dishes, sprinkle with basil and serve.

Corn and black bean quesadillas

Patrick and I love quesadillas but from the looks of the blog and a lack of posts you may not have known we loved quesadillas. The only post I could find in our archives are for charred cauliflower quesadillas (which were amazing). Mushroom quesadillas are usually my go-to when ordering at a Mexican restaurant. 

I imagine the reason we don't have many quesadilla adventures in our kitchen is because nachos are so much easier and are a quick "throw together" weeknight meal for us. Either way these corn and black bean quesadillas were quite the treat and a great use of fresh corn when we had dozens of ears in the kitchen too!

Corn, Black Bean, & Cheddar Quesadillas inspiration from Susan Middleton's The Fresh & Green Table
Serves 4

   For the filling
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
salt to taste
1 1/2 c fresh corn kernels
1/2 tsp Mexican spice blend
1/4 c black beans
   For the quesadillas
1 1/2 c extra sharp cheddar cheese
8 small whole wheat tortillas
2 tsp unsalted butter
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

   Make the filling - in a medium heavy nonstick skillet heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion, pepper, and a little salt. Allow the onion and pepper to caramelize a bit (about 10 minutes) and then add corn. Cook for a few minutes more. Stir in the Mexican blend spice and cook for about 30 seconds then add the black beans.
   Assemble quesadillas - take one tortilla and layer a handful of cheese, scoop of the corn-black bean mixture, another handful of cheese, and a second tortilla for one quesadilla. Make the other 3 quesadillas.
   Cook the quesadillas - in the same skillet you used for the filling, melt a small pat of butter with a drizzle of olive oil and place one quesadilla to brown. After that side has browned, about 3-4 minutes, flip it over and brown the other side. Once the quesadilla has browned on both sides place it in a 250F oven while finishing the other quesadillas.
   Slice into quarters and serve.

We served with sliced avocado, sour cream, and a quinoa rice blend.

Meal Plan Monday Post

So much produce goodness! We have been rocking and rolling in the kitchen - cooked most every night this week. We took a weekend trip to the lake and did takeout pizza on the evening of our arrival so we could have a relaxing night. This upcoming week is the last week of our summer CSA. They'll take a month off and then do a fall CSA. It's nice to have a little break from the overflowing produce box but I know we'll miss it. We've been particularly enjoying corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, zucchini, eggplant, and peppers.

Meal Plan for Monday July 20 - Sunday July 26

Monday - Asian style baby back ribs, soba noodles with corn and spinach

Tuesday - Heirloom tomato panzanella and salmon

Wednesday - Eggplant parmesan

Thursday - Ground turkey stroganoff

Friday thru Sunday - weekend at the lake
   Friday dinner - Pizza takeout, salad
   Saturday brunch - Cheese quiche, zucchini bread, bananas, dunkin donuts munchkins

   Saturday dinner - BBQ sandwiches (BBQ and slaw from Q-Shack), chicken salad, baked beans, potato salad, carrots and hummus, corn on the cob, potato chips, and fruit

   Sunday - bagels for breakfast and then leftovers for lunch with my parents

Sunday dinner - brought back pizza leftovers

Lake snapshots

We watched a beautiful sunset Saturday evening. We had a joyous day with friends on the lake and so glad that we were able to host Friends Day at the Lake. Thanks are in order - first to my grandparents for allowing us to enjoy the cabin for the weekend and invite friends up and then to all those that traveled up for the day and spent some time on the water with us. We truly are surrounding ourselves with good people and good times. And then a very special thank you to a college friend who came down from over a state away and brought their 3 month old - what a pleasure it was to meet the little one.

Peach Ice Cream

To me peaches are the best produce of summer! There's nothing I love more than a tasty peach in July. I thought peach ice cream would be the perfect dessert to share with neighbors and so I embarked on finding a delicious peach ice cream. This recipe is great but the peach flavor is a bit more subtle than I was expecting. We served the peach ice cream with snickerdoodle cookies which complemented the peach ice cream with its cinnamon-sugary sweetness perfectly. Even though the ice cream isn't quite as peachy as it could be it's still worth a share and certainly worth effort to make!

Fresh Peach Ice Cream from brown eyed baker
   Yield 1 quart | 30 min prep time | 8 hours total
1½ to 2 lbs fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped finely into tiny pieces
¾ c granulated sugar, divided
4½ tsp lemon juice
1 c whole milk
2 c heavy cream, divided
Pinch of salt
6 egg yolks
¾ tsp vanilla extract

   Combine the peaches, ½ cup of the sugar and the lemon juice in a medium bowl. Stir well, cover and refrigerate overnight.
   Warm the milk, remaining ¼ cup sugar, 1 cup of the heavy cream and the salt in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
   Pour the remaining 1 cup heavy cream into a large bowl and place a fine-mesh sieve on top. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly pour the warmed milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan.
   Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly with a rubber spatula, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula, a few minutes. The mixture should register 170 to 175 degrees F on an instant-read digital thermometer.
   Pour the custard through the fine-mesh sieve and stir it into the cream. Stir in the vanilla extract and place the bowl over an ice bath. Stir occasionally, until the mixture is cool. Cover and transfer the custard to the refrigerator until completely chilled, at least 8 hours or overnight.
   When ready to churn the ice cream, place a fine-mesh sieve over the bowl with the custard and pour the peaches into the sieve, allowing the accumulated juice to strain into the custard. Whisk the juice into the custard and set the peaches aside. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions, adding the peaches when the churning is about three-quarters complete. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and store in the freezer.

Snickerdoodles from Smitten Kitchen and Martha Stewart
   Yields three dozen 3 to 4-inch cookies
2 3/4 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
16 tbsp (2 stick or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 c sugar, plus more if needed
2 tbsp ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
2 large eggs

   Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs, and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients, and beat to combine. At this point, I chilled the dough for an hour (or you can overnight) before scooping it, because I otherwise found it too difficult to scoop into balls and roll but the original recipe doesn’t find this step neccessary.
   Preheat the oven to 400°, with one rack in top third and one rack in bottom third of oven. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.
   Once dough has chilled, in a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon. Use a small ice-cream scoop* to form balls of the dough, and roll in cinnamon sugar. Place about two inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after five minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool about five minutes before transferring the cookies to the rack.

Smitten Kitchen note: Martha recommends a size 30 (1 1/4 ounce) ice cream scoop but I used a size 40 (3/4 ounce) and they came out 3 to 4 inches across, or plenty huge.
Eibl note: I used a heaping tablespoon and they were nicely sized.

We hosted neighbors that live a block over from us and are a young couple! We enjoyed getting to know them and look forward to more get-togethers. We served this turkey pesto meatball and homemade tomato sauce with orzo and a side salad. Unfortunately I forgot to snap a pic of the buffet but here's the table setting:

It's Always Caturday
Dupree relaxing after evening play chasing the mouse.

Smashed potatoes

I've mentioned a few times before on the blog that we like to experiment with veggies from the CSA that we don't always get or aren't quite as familiar with. We've tried blue adirondack potatoes only once before and thought it would be fun to give them another try! I decided a smashed potato recipe would be interesting to try out too since we've never done anything like it before. I followed a Pioneer Woman recipe and paired them with a chicken dish we've had before and really liked. Read on for the recipes!

Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot Potatoes
   Time Prep 30 min, Cook 25 min | Serves 6

12 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes)
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
few twigs of rosemary

   Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.
   On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.
   With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.
   Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)
   Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

We served the smash potatoes with creamy mustard chicken and green beans!

Wellness Wednesday - Tidying up

I'm so excited to share this post with you today! This was the post I had typed up a few weeks ago when the blog ate it, we had a few days of technical difficulty black-out, and we switched back to blogger. Whew! Glad that's over and we can get back to blogging being stress free (for me anway).

Have you heard of Marie Kondo's the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing? I imagine you just might have. It's sweeping the country with spots on morning talk shows and various news media featuring articles on it. As I type this I'm trying to think of my first introduction to the book and I can't quite recall what it was but as soon I learned the premise of the book I knew I had to read it!

Since the book is about decluttering I thought it best to check it out from the library. I will say though the temptation to buy from Amazon for less than $12 and have prime deliver it to my doorstep in two days was almost more than I can handle. Especially when I learned that all of Durham County was just as excited as I was to read this book - there are 44 copies of the book in our county library system and when I put a hold on the book I clocked in on the wait list at #133. So, like I said, ordering off Amazon was very tempting but I wanted to make the right decision! I didn't need to have this book and I certainly realized when I was done reading it hopefully it would do its job and I wouldn't need it any longer. 

Three months later...

I had a copy in my hands! It's a quick read and very impactful. A few of the premises of the KonMari method detailed in the book include only keeping things that "spark joy" and analyzing all the items in your house by category (not by room).

Today I'm sharing a few before and afters of our main closet. I'll share a bit more after I've tidied the whole house!!



So much tidier! The before pictures are my portions of the closet (Patrick had a bar too and some things in the office closet - as did I). What is most amazing to me - after Patrick and I both completed the decluttering method in the book - is that all of our hanging attire fit on one bar. That's right folks ... in the after picture on the right you are looking at both my hanging clothes and Patrick's hanging clothes. We had an empty half closet so I was able to use one bar for my scarves and then hang some hooks on the wall for my pocket books.

I would estimate that about 1/3 of our clothes didn't "spark joy" and were removed from the household but the majority of our clothes are now folded in drawers and not hanging up. They're tightly folded and then stored vertically in drawers so when we open the drawers we can see all the shirts or pants at a glance.

Stay tuned for more thoughts on Marie Kondo and decluttering! In the meantime you might enjoy either one of these articles that I found interested - one from One Kings Lane and then another from Huffington Post.

Decluttering is empowering! So embrace it and go check out the magic of tidying up!

Spaghetti with garden sauce

This simple spaghetti with garden sauce was not originally in my meal plan. It's the result of what happens when your kitchen becomes overrun by vegetables and you need to regain control of your refrigerator and counter top. A few weeks ago after we had gotten a CSA box my dad so kindly offered us many vegetables. I am not one to turn down vegetables! After I picked up the vegetables I looked at the meal plan and quickly decided some shuffling needed to happen so that we could accommodate our current vegetable stock. 

And that's when this spaghetti with garden sauce came about. I sauteed every fresh vegetable that I thought would work in this dish that wasn't going to be used up in the remainder of the meal plan. I also added in some ground beef and used our fresh tomatoes as the sauce!

Here's what we did
   Saute 1 lb ground beef; once it loses it's pink color add the veggies.
   We added (all sliced and diced appropriately) - 1 zucchini, 1 onion, and 2 carrots. Add a bit of salt and pepper to the mixture.
   Meanwhile in your blender place cored and seeded tomatoes (we probably used about 8 medium tomatoes) with 2-3 cloves of garlic.
   After the vegetables have softened a bit add the blended tomatoes to the pan. Simmer for 10-15 minutes to reduce the liquid and cook your spaghetti.
   It's worth noting that this will not in any way resemble a spaghetti sauce you're used to unless you add a thickening agent. We chose not to and let the tomato and veggie sauce simmer with the lid off while the spaghetti cooked. This reduced the sauce quite a bit and left us with something we were pleased with.

It's Always Caturday
Dupree playing with a felt flower

Meal Plan Monday Post

It's been a busy week around here! We did lots of cooking and enjoyed some new and old recipes this week. My mom came to visit at the end of the week and we were glad she was able to come. Not only was there lots of cooking this week but lots of preserving too. We got 40 ears of corn from our CSA that we froze in 2 cup portions and then a 10 pound box of canning tomatoes at the State Farmers Market that we froze in 3 cup portions.

Meal Plan for Monday July 13 - Sunday July 19

Monday - Orecchiete with roma beans

Tuesday - Eggplant pizza with homemade dough
Thursday - I went to an evening tomato canning class and picked up Wendy's as a late dinner for us
Friday - Dinner club; brought a pesto pasta 
Saturday - Brunch Savory mushroom and spinach crepes
   Dinner Movie [Pitch Perfect 2 at the Varsity] and a dinner [Spicy 9]double date
Sunday - Breakfast Bacon and eggs, toast, cherry tomatoes with basil
   Dinner Tomato Pie and salad

Farmers Market find
Aren't these mini bell peppers too cute?!

Homemade pasta with beets and arugula

The plan for this meal was simply "beet pasta" which left me the option of either integrating the beets into the pasta dough or making normal pasta served with beets. I chose the latter for a few reasons. First, pasta dough is finicky enough when it's just egg and water; adding in beets with all of their water and fiber throws another wrench in that can make the process more frustrating. Second, there's not much advantage to beet pasta over regular pasta; it seems like a lot of the color (and probably the nutrition too) leeches into the water when boiling, leaving you with a pink version of regular pasta that was harder to make. Third, I enjoy eating whole pieces of beet with my pasta.

So the choice was obvious, and I got to further refine my pasta-making skills with a simple egg/flour fettucine while we roasted the beets on the side. I turned out great!

As for what specifically we did, we made pasta, and probably made a sauce out of some olive oil, pasta water, and parmesan cheese. Then we tossed the hot pasta with arugula and roasted beets.

Crab cakes

These crab cakes were a spur of the minute decision. The meal plan designated "fish" for supper which meant I could make any selection I wanted to at the seafood counter. I know Patrick loves crab cakes and we don't make them a whole lot so I thought it was the perfect evening for them. Patrick was pleasantly surprised when he got from work and learned what we were having for dinner!

For the crab cakes
   (Amounts estimated, do what looks right and adjust as needed to get a cake that holds together without being really wet and sloppy.) Combine 8 oz. crab meat, 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, 2 tsp. mustard, 3 tbsp. mayo, an egg, and a sprinkle of old bay. Form into cakes and coat in breadcrumbs for an extra crispy exterior before pan frying in vegetable oil on both sides until golden. Would have been really good with tartar sauce, but didn't have it on hand or make any.

For the green beans
   Boiled in chicken stock and water (1:1 ratio) until crisp tender - probably about 10 minutes.

For the squash
   Diced squash and an onion and sauteed in olive oil over medium heat - probably for about 15 minutes. The longer you saute the softer the squash becomes. Sometimes we'll do it shorter for a more crisp squash but on this particular evening the longer cook time was wanted.

Wellness Wednesday - Block Party

It's time for a neighborhood block party! A few weeks ago we shared this recipe for thumbprint cookies. I served the cookies at a planning get-together for the block party. I knew that input from our neighbors would be needed because I didn't really know how to throw a block party! Turns out the neighbors didn't either but we were able to bounce all our ideas off one another and figure out logistics. And now we all know how to successfully throw a block party!

I placed two rounds of invitations in everyone's mailbox - the first was about a month and a half before the event and was essentially a "save the date" flyer and the second was the official invitation with all the details. This official invitation included a link to a personalized sign up genius site. We planned the block party as a picnic potluck and the sign up genius allowed everyone to login, RSVP for the block party, and designate a dish they would bring to the party.

The food spread did not disappoint! There were all sorts of fruits and vegetable sides, savory sides including potato salad and chips and dips, some yummy main dishes including sloppy joes and roast chicken, and of course some delicious sweet desserts.

One neighbor even rolled their grill to the cul de sac and grilled hot dogs for everyone!

The turnout was amazing! I couldn't believe how many neighbors wanted to come to the block party. We had one neighbor who has able to contribute a speaker and music for the event and another set of neighbors who brought lawn games that we set up in the cul de sac. Even though there were a few of us who planned a bit more everyone helped out on the day of with set up and clean up. What a great community we're in! It was an afternoon of great fun and merriment. I'm hoping we can do it again in the fall when the weather is a bit cooler.

Since Patrick and I bought our house and are settling into our neighbor we thought it would be very beneficial to know our neighbors on more than a "wave and say hello when you walk by" basis. This promotes our social wellness as well because we are developing more meaningful relationships with those around us.

22nd month

Last month Patrick and I put the kitties in their safe room and enjoyed an anniversary dinner to celebrate 22 months of marriage and savor an evening with good food, good conversation, and a few less meows than normal. We also had a bottle of champagne on hand so it seemed like the perfect thing to do!

For dinner
Homemade pasta with pesto, cherry tomatoes
Side salad with cranberries and almonds, balsamic vinaigrette

For dessert
Pioneer Woman's French Silk Pie

Meal Plan Monday Post

Alrightie - we are back in business!! Patrick has worked tirelessly the past few days to get the blog set back up the way we were doing it. I'm a happy camper! As you probably know Patrick is the chief IT officer around here and gets an ear full every now and then from his wife trying to figure out technical things. I think he finally heard too much and fixed everything. So a big THANK YOU to Patrick!

And now on to your regularly scheduled programming - Meal Plan Monday! Lots of cooking last week. We are enjoying our CSA box and getting an abundance of good veggies from the farm. Each meal features a fresh veggie - tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, squash, corn, green beans, okra, cucumbers, AND peaches!!!

Meal Plan for Monday July 6 - Sunday July 12

Monday - Fresh tomato meat sauce with veggies, spaghetti

Tuesday - Salmon with thyme and lemon, green beans, couscous

Wednesday - Marinated chicken, squash casserole, okra cakes

   Hosted friends for game night; they brought Banana Pudding Trifle!

Thursday - Corn and black bean quesadillas, brown rice

Friday - 23rd Month: Filet, roasted garlic potatoes, green beans and mocha pudding cakes

Mocha pudding cakes
Saturday - Breakfast Hash browns (leftover potato from Friday), eggs, and quick guacamole (avocado, sliced cherry tomatoes, and lime juice)
Cider tour at Bull City Ciderworks
   Dinner Corn chowder and scallops

Sunday - Brunch Buttermilk pancakes topped with warm maple peaches

   Dinner with the neighbors; brought a tomato-cucumber salad

 Sunday paper - Patrick & Nacho

Welcome Back

If you're reading this it means that our technical difficulties have been resolved and you have landed back at our old blogging platform (Blogger). Hooray! You should notice that things are snappy again and some things should be familiar from before the original switch to theeibls. Whitney and I should be able to resume normal blogging now with greater productivity and reduced stress.

If anyone is interested in the details of what happened, when we were going to switch the blog over to, I already had a web hosting plan with it for the old wedding website, so I thought it would be fun to move the blog over to be self-hosted rather than point the domain at Blogger. I liked the idea of having more control over the site rather than having Google running everything behind the scenes. Because Blogger is not available for self-hosting, I decided to use WordPress, which at the time I figured was pretty much the same feature-wise and it wouldn't be a big deal to switch.

That was my big downfall; we had several problems with WordPress, and the only thing I used my extra self-hosting powers for was to hack up the php to try to fix things that just worked in Blogger. WordPress is slow, and seems like it can only be made workable with a combination of fast (aka pricey) hosting and a kludge of third-party speedup solutions. That kind of headache is just not worth it for a blog with a handful of readers. The other major problem with WordPress is that the post editor is terrible; the visual (WYSIWIG) editor frequently inserts weird formatting that you do not ask for, and doesn't permit certain formatting techniques that are easy in Blogger. On top of that, the html-style editor is not actually html, making it very difficult to fix the things that the visual editor screwed up, whereas Blogger gives you the real html.

All of that made it worthwhile to go back and port a few months of posts back to Blogger and to apply some of the stylistic updates we had made to the WordPress site (before the move I hadn't realized how flexible the Blogger templating is). Hopefully you appreciate the move as much as we do!

Technical Difficulties

I was a bit delayed with the next installment of Wellness Wednesday and wrote it last night after dinner. Right after I hit "save draft" to preview and edit, the blog ate it! It disappeared! The autosave had last happened after I inserted pictures and before composing the post so there I was staring at a blank screen. And now, with that said, I'm throwing up my arms for technical difficulties and taking the rest of the week off.

Unfortunately this was our new blogging platform's last straw. We have not been pleased with the move and over the next few days Patrick is going to make some changes to get it back to the way we were blogging before.

Fortunately for you, aside from a few days of missing our ramblings, nothing will change except maybe a few visual features. The blog will remain at and will continue as you know and love it!

So come back on Monday for some meal planning! Hopefully there will be some happier Eibls too (it's draining my wellness :-p haha).

Gnocchi and chard

Chard may be hard to find in July but it was quite abundant in our spring CSA boxes. We made this at the end of May and were probably catching the end of the chard season. Chard will be popping up again in the fall so you can hold on to this recipe until then if your taste buds are intrigued.

I was drawn to this recipe because most things come out of the pantry with the exception of the chard. The gnocchi, onion / garlic, canned diced tomatoes, and canned white beans were all purchased ahead of time and whenever I had the chard I would be able to make the dish. This also means that this dish is prepped quickly and ready within 30 minutes. That's great on a busy weeknight!

Eating Well's Skillet Gnocchi with Chard and White Beans
Serves 4-6 | Total time 30 minutes
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c water
6 c chopped chard leaves, (about 1 small bunch) or spinach
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
1 15-oz can white beans, rinsed
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 c shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 c finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat, for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add chard (or spinach) and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans and pepper and bring to a simmer. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes.