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Stephanie Izard’s Mixed Mushroom Ragout

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I saw this recipe in the latest issue of Food & Wine, and I have been meaning to make it for the better part of two weeks. Of course, I was far too busy freaking out to do any cooking last week, so we ate out way too much. Now that the pressure is off and I’ve realized I don’t have to study again for quite some time, I was free to cook this evening.

I had leftover organic chicken breasts in the freezer, so that’s what I paired the ragout with, but the serving suggestions include fish, scallops, and pasta, so I think this is one of those recipes that can be reinvented depending on what you serve it with. The real reason I felt drawn to this recipe (other than my love of mushrooms) is how many different flavors it had! Coconut milk, with mushrooms, capers, miso, and raisins? I had to try it. The ragout was easy to make and didn’t require a ton of prep work, which is always nice.

Oh, and made with veg stock like I did, this ragout is vegan too! I kept telling Brent how interesting it tasted while we were eating, which I know does not sound like a ringing endorsement, but I really did like it. I’ve just never quite tasted anything like that with all those flavors. I definitely recommend trying it if you’re a mushroom fan. I halved the recipe and we got 3-4 servings of the ragout, so I’m planning on having some over pasta for lunch tomorrow.

Does anyone else’s dog do this?

Lucy does this several times a day and just stares at me with her goofy upside down face.

The job hunt begins tomorrow!

On the Mend

I’m starting to get “the new semester has really started” school stress, so I asked Brent to help me out by making one or two dinners a week. Tonight was one of his meal nights, and he decided he wanted to make beef stroganoff. He used this recipe, scaled down, but substituted 8oz ounces of baby bella mushrooms for the canned.

I’ve never had stroganoff before, so I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not, but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not a dish I would probably pick, but I really liked it. Total comfort food, which went well with the new fall crispness in the air.


Lucy’s surgery went well yesterday. By well, I just mean they accomplished what they said they would. Brent and I apparently did not get the full picture of what to expect after the surgery though. I didn’t realize how awful it would look. Poor Lucy looked so miserable!

She hates that cone, but it is vital that we keep it on her for at least a week. She’s been running into walls and getting confused about where she is. It’s heart breaking to see her so mopey, but I think it’s just the anesthetic. At least I hope it’s that, and not that she secretly hates us for doing this to her.

Lucy actually went for a full walk around the block this afternoon and gets to resume her normal eating schedule tomorrow, so I hope that means she’s on the mend!

Catching Up is Hard to Do

I always find it difficult to muster up the motivation to blog after an absence, even one as short as a week. It’s not that I don’t want to blog; it’s simply that I don’t know where to start. I hate trying to squeeze everything into a massive post, but I don’t blog frequently enough to update you on everything, so alas. I usually just jump into it and skip what has already passed.

Brent and I ate wheat berries for the first time last week. Brent was not a fan. He referred to them as “weird and chewy.” I don’t know what his problem is. Weird and chewy are two of my favorite adjectives when it comes to food! I wasn’t sure what to do with them, so I made them into a salad with black beans, red bell pepper and mango. The salad recipe is a quinoa salad recipe from Veganomicon, but I just subbed wheat berries. I thought their chewiness went well. I really loved it.

What is perhaps even more exciting, is that I made my first soup of the fall season this weekend! I was so excited about the cooler temps, I was determined to celebrate by making soup. So glad to have it back in my life! I made some of my minestrone along with some unpictured Artisan Bread.

I’ve been busy with things other than soup-making as well. School is starting to pick up the pace, and today I spent the day volunteering at the MDA Telethon. Unfortunately one of the things keep me busy has been our German Shepherd, Lucy.

That photo cracks me up every time I see it! Lucy has developed an ear hematoma, which means her ear has filled with blood, as a result of her chronic ear infections (she was abused when she was younger, and has a “broken” ear, which is prone to infection as a result), and she’ll be going in for surgery tomorrow morning. She’ll have to be put under general anesthesia for the surgery, which is always a little worrisome. I’m hoping the procedure goes well and will prevent the hematoma from recurring. Wish Lucy good luck for tomorrow!

Birthday Breakfast

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Hey guys. I’m 24 today! That’s still “early twenties,” right? Brent and I are headed to Denver today! We’re staying with his brother Jon, and while we’re there we have lots of fun stuff planned, so expect an exciting recap. 🙂

To get my day started right, Brent and I headed out for a run this morning, followed by me doing some hip-opening flow yoga. Afterward I made myself a delicious birthday breakfast of french toast! I used some cinnamon honey whole wheat bread I made. It was this recipe with a swirl of cinnamon in it. For the syrup, I cooked blueberries and water with a bit of agave until the berries burst and the mix was a pourable consistency. Loved it!

IMG_0057All together with coffee. Have I mentioned agave is now the only coffee sweetener I’ll use? I love it. And I just ran out! Better restock. Does the picture look clearer to you? I got a new camera for my birthday and I’ve been playing around with it. Of course the first photo I took with it was of Larry and Lucy.

IMG_0050The flash on this thing is so bright! I definitely need to learn all the settings and play around some more. That’s all for now. We’ve got to finish getting ready to leave!

Eggplant Parmesan Pizza

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We spent a lot of Saturday out of the house running errands at the mall, and a very exciting trip to the dog park! We used to take Lucy to the dog park in Redondo Beach all the time because we didn’t have a back yard, but Larry has never been to one. I was a bit nervous to see how the trip would play out since it was all new to Larry and Lucy, well… Lucy can be picky about the dogs she likes so it can be kind of a crap shoot.


Luckily both of them really had a lot of fun and they even met a new friend — Charlie the Beagle.

IMG_0087I think this might be the only photo in existence of Lucy actually running. It’s a pretty rare occurence.

IMG_0088The car ride back is always much calmer. I love when they’re pooped out.

After our busy day running around, I wasn’t feeling like making something for dinner, but I knew I had food to use up so I went with pizza. Pizza seemed like a good way to use those adorable eggplants, so I decided to make Eggplant Parmesan Pizza. I made some marinara sauce with a can of tomatoes and layered that on top of the dough. I topped the sauce with thin slices of grilled eggplant.

HPIM3825Then sprinkled with mozzarella, Parmesan and chopped basil. I really loved it!

HPIM3827Doesn’t that look tasty? And doesn’t Brent look cool in his new sunglasses? He’s never worn sunglasses before!


Hope you all had a great weekend! Now I’m off to relax and enjoy the rest of my Sunday evening before Monday morning rolls around.

The View From The Roof

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I hope you all had a fun Fourth of July! Brent and I had a good time just hanging out at home. We made a delicious dinner on the grill. I had wild Sockeye salmon (Brent had a NY Strip steak), grilled herbed corn on the cob and a salad with a delicious Feta dressing.

HPIM3658The dressing was tasty on the salad but even better as a sauce for the salmon! I loved every bite of it and I want to eat it again very soon.  For the corn on the cob I mixed together some Earth Balance, chives, parsley and thyme and then peeled back the husks to apply the butter. I pulled the husks back up and they were grilled for about 15 minutes. The fresh corn is definitely not at it’s peak yet, but the herb butter is a treatment we’ll be repeating. 🙂

After dinner and some XBoxing, we got ready for some fireworks. I climbed out of our bedroom window onto the roof of our house and settled in with blanket while Brent set off some bottle rockets and fountains below on the driveway.

HPIM3683From my tree top view I was able to see a lot of different shows going on, most of which I think were put on by some of our more enthusiastic neighbors. I couldn’t believe how huge some of these were, coming from someone’s backyard!

HPIM3699When the shows really got going, the dogs ran upstairs because they’re terrified of the fireworks. Lucy seemed ready to come onto the roof with me, but luckily Brent was able to calm her down.

HPIM3753Being on the roof did have its perils though. While Brent was out there with me, he forgot where he was for a moment and put his chips and dip down on the angled roof! I watched in horror as my cute bowl from Anthropologie slid down the shingles and shattered on the driveway. 😦

HPIM3743It was a wonderful long weekend, but it’s back to reality tomorrow morning so I’m going to read a bit more of my book and then head to bed.


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My goal for yesterday was to use up some of the herb collection growing in my fridge from the CSA. First up, I made the rosemary and onion foccacia from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The only difference I did with mine was that I used my half whole wheat version, which uses 2 cups whole wheat flour and 4 cups AP flour. I also used the fresh rosemary rather than dried.

HPIM3528I probably cooked my onions a bit too much but this came out really well. I loved it. I ate some as an afternoon snack yesterday and then I sliced it in half horizontally this morning and made an egg sandwich with it. Yum!

I also found a perfect recipe for dinner to use up all that green stuff in the fridge: Fresh Herb Risotto! I love the recipes for health from NYT. I think it’s fun they focus on a different food every week. In this risotto I used the rest of last week’s arugula, oregano, rosemary, basil and chives. Told you I was overrun with herbs!

HPIM3531This was very tasty, and light for a risotto – no butter and only a small amount of cheese. On the side, I threw in some roasted green beans. Brent is such a guy. He was like, “Umm. This whole meal is carbs. I need protein for my muscles.” Lame.

Now for a face only a mother could love:

HPIM3525He’s such a ham! His older sister is much more calm, cool and collected:


So I still have a ton of herbs left. I’m thinking of just throwing them all into a multi-herb pesto and freezing it, but let me know if you have a better idea! I’m very open to suggestions.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

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I am draaaggging this morning, but I’m not quite sure why. I just feel out of it and foggy. I probs just need caffeine. I haven’t had any since Monday! Yikes. 

Anyway, for dinner last night, I made another Isa recipe, this one from Vegan with a Vengeance. It was the Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quinoa, Black Beans and Mushrooms. I thought they turned out very well. I would have liked to use red bell peppers, because I enjoy them more, but the green ones are like a fourth of the price.

hpim30671I would definitely make these again. I asked Brent what he thought, and he said “Yeah pretty good for a bunch of healthy junk.” Don’t mind him. That’s just how he talks. Truthfully, that’s how I talk too, but the peppers were very good. I put some cheddar on top of Brent’s to melt in the oven, which he enjoyed. And we got to eat outside! It was glorious. Today is kind of whatever though. Not super nice, and it is supposed to rain later. I’m contemplating getting my hair cut after work, but I may not have enough time.

I leave you with this random photo of my dogs hugging each other. It’s kind of difficult to see because of the sun, but I thought it was adorable.



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It’s really nice out! I said that this morning to Brent, as I was forcing him to get out of bed and walk the dogs with me. It wasn’t exactly accurate at 7am this morning, but this afternoon the sun made an appearance and it’s nearly 60 degrees!

My “lunch” was kind of pitiful. I had an apple and an Almond Brownie Balance Bar. I bought a few different food replacement bars to keep in my desk drawer, because often I’m asked to work extra hours with no notice. I actually kind of liked the bar, even if it was heavily processed. It was basically like a Little Debbie brownie from my childhood, but you know, with a slight protein powder after taste. I would eat it again though for sure, and it was probably a better solution to my 2pm chocolate craving than my normal handful of baby Snickers from the candy jar.

hpim2951When I got home, I was starving, and wanted some bread, obviously, but I decided to try to be more well rounded. I steamed some broccoli that needed to be eaten and a carrot, and put a little red wine vinaigrette over it. Along with bread and stock/broth, salad dressing is on our list of things we don’t buy anymore. It’s way too easy to make at home. Our current go-to is canola oil, red wine vinegar, spicy mustard, honey and salt and pepper (and a bunch of sriracha for Brent). Whisk, and it’s done. The bread was calling, so I had a small piece with some PB&J too.

hpim2958And because the dogs and I were so excited for the warm weather, I leave you with a few pictures of them frolicking.

hpim2953 hpim2957

Birthdays – They Grow Up So Fast

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Both of our dogs were adopted from shelters after being taken in as strays, and we have no idea when their actual birthdays are, so we celebrate them both the first week of February. The photos that follow show the story of yesterday’s celebration. (Lucy was involved too, but she is much shyer around the camera). Lucy is somewhere between the ages of 5 and 8. We really have no idea how old she is. Larry is 2 this year.

First, Larry got a much needed bath.

hpim2780He loves getting wet, and being pet and rubbed, but apparently combining the two really saddens him. You can’t tell really from the photos, but he was quite miserable. We kept promising him wonderful treats when he got out, but unfortunately he doesn’t have a firm grasp on the English language, so he thought we were just torturing him for the fun of it.


Once Larry finished his water torture, there was in fact a big treat waiting for him and Lucy: their second annual birthday steak. This is all Brent folks. He doesn’t want you to know it, but he really dotes on these dogs. hpim2791

Once the steak was preparing to their liking (seared but still pretty rare and seasoned liberally with salt and pepper), the dogs chowed down.


I couldn’t even get a photo of it. They downed it so quickly.


They definitely loved the steaks, even if they didn’t taste them. Now they have to wait a whole year before having another one.