Butternut Squash, Arugula and Bacon Quiche

This Butternut Squash, Arugula and Bacon Quiche recipe is simple to prepare, and full of the most amazing combination of flavors. A definite breakfast treat.

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Carnitas Caldo (Carnitas Soup)

I mentioned on Instagram¬†recently that my family is unashamedly obsessed with Mexican food. We love it local, we love it authentic, we love it good, and we love it OFTEN. So of course, even while we were in Chicago celebrating Thanksgiving for a few days, we had to get our Mexi fix. So we ended up trying XOCO, one of Rick Bayless‘ restaurants. The line on Black Friday was practically out the door, but we were freezing and once I saw the long menu of caldos (soups), I was hooked. I had a minor crisis trying to decide what to order (they literally ALL looked amazing!), but I read that the XOCO carnitas caldo was the most popular soup. So I had to try it. Let’s just say that my family was a little stunned when I finished¬†the entire bowl. It was massive. But holy cow – I had to. This soup was insane. Based on the most yummy spicy broth, this soup had everything from tender carnitas, to yummy avocado, these amazing little potato-masa dumplings, amassive bunch of fresh cilantro and arugula on top, and all garnished with lots of lime. Without a doubt, one of the best soups I’ve had in my life. (And I don’t say that lightly.) So of course, I had to come home and try to recreate it. I would never presume to top (or match) a Rick Bayless recipe, since the guy is a Mexican food genius. But I have to say that this recipe turned out pretty awesome. I even succeeded with the little potato-masa dumplings! (Although you could easily just use diced potatoes.) ;) It definitely took a bit of time to prep when making the carnitas from scratch. But let me tell you, the final product is completely worth it. And it’s also one of those soups that tastes better and better each time you warm it up for leftovers.

What are some of your favorite Mexican soups? Has anyone been to XOCO?

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Sauteed Shrimp With Spinach & Tomatoes

My cherry tomato plants are still kickin’! So of course, we’re continuing to look for new ways to use them! :-)

One of my favorite tomato recipes I’ve tried lately was actually from Martha. My mom recently gave me a stash of her Martha Stewart “Everyday” magazines from the past few months, and (not sure why I was surprised) I’ve totally been enjoying them!! So far the five or so recipes I’ve tried from them have all been a success, and nearly all of them have only used a handful of ingredents. You know how I roll — love it! :)

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Grilled Peaches, Arugula & Feta Salad

Wow, it has been a busy week! Definitely a good kind of busy — with kickoffs at work, lots of people to see, friends’ weddings to prepare for, and on and on. Seems like my slightly-more-relaxing summer schedule is now long gone.

But even though the “fall semester” may have begun, it’s still summer. And all of the season’s delicious fruit and produce is still in abundance! As is the summer heat — no longer in the triple digits, but still hot enough that I have zero desire to heat up my oven. So in the midst of all the craziness this week, have been relying on fresh salads to get me through the days. Since fresh peaches are still in season around here, decided to try grilling some up (very briefly on my stove in the grill pan!) for a tasty arugula salad. I was feeling like a traditional balsamic vinaigrette, and ended up loving how it paired with the sweet (and ever-so-slightly charred) grilled peaches, the tangy cheese, peppery arugula, and hea-ven-ly nutty toasted pecans. A fantastic combination…and so simple!

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