Skinny Popcorn Shrimp + $50 Visa Gift Card and OXO Giveaway

So, you know how I talked in my last post about being on a taco kick in my last post? Well, apparently I tend to cook in waves, because this week has also been shrimp-o-rama here at my place. First I made a batch of lightened-up shrimp scampi, which is coming on the blog next week. Then last night I made my very first-ever homemade shrimp paella with my neighbors from Spain. But the recipe that started it all was my lighter version of a classic — Skinny Popcorn Shrimp!

I know. Hold the phone. Skinny popcorn shrimp?!?

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Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

One of my favorite things about holiday baking is bringing out my cookie cutter collection.

When I moved into my loft with practically zero storage, I had to do some serious kitchen downsizing. Just about anything that was not multi-functional and/or used within the past 6 months got the boot. It was kind of sad for a food blogger, but simplifying still always feels so good. One of the few practical exceptions I made was for my massive cookie cutter collection. It takes up way too much space in my tiny pantry, and I admittedly mostly only use it at Christmastime. But whenever the occasion arises, it makes me so happy to go digging through the set on a scavenger hunt for that “perfect” cookie cutter.

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Baked Salmon & Lentils

One of my favorite places in my neighborhood market is this fantastic Middle Eastern market, always overflowing with fresh pita bread and naan, endless $1 spices by the scoop, and all of the nuts, grains, and everything Middle Eastern you could dream of. But more than anything, I love the great guys who run the place. And now that I live across the street, we get to see each other wonderfully often.

So yesterday when I walked over to pick up a few scoops of lentils, they of course asked what was on the menu. As soon as I mentioned “salmon”, their elderly mother who was sitting behind the counter immediately started talking a million miles an hour in her native language. Her son translated, “She says you must cook salmon and lentils this way — cumin, coriander, cilantro, salt, pepper and a nice bit of lemon juice. It is the best way. You will love it.”

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Hummus-Crusted Chicken

This past week while standing around on a photo shoot, my coworkers and I noticed that our conversations somehow kept circling back to food (as often seems to happen!). I was getting ready to go grocery shopping that night, so asked if anyone had any blog-worthy chicken recipes to recommend. My friend, Jen, immediately lit up and told us about this hummus-crusted chicken recipe she had recently tried and loved.

Um, “hummus-crusted”??? Sign me up!

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My craving for fresh and light dishes in the midst of our bleak Kansas City midwinter (three days in a row of single-digit temperatures!) continues. So for a fun and healthy recipe this week, I decided to make a batch of delicious tabbouleh!

Pretty much everything about this dish screams “fresh”! It’s packed with fresh herbs, scallions, tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, and some oh-so-healthy bulgur. From what I’ve read (although I’m sure some will beg to differ), “authentic” tabbouleh has a much higher herbs to bulgur ratio — which I happen to love. But if you’d like more, feel free to double the bulgur in this recipe.

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Apple Cider Cups

Since I’m on such an apple cider kick this fall, thought I would end this week of apple recipes with a fun presentation idea….apple cups!

These are really much simpler than they look, and are such a charming way to enjoy your favorite apple cider! The only requirements are some apples, a paring knife, and a spoon. (Although if you have a melon baller, it’ll make the scooping slightly easier!)

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Red Sangria

Summertime = Sangriatime. :-)

So for a happy hour with some friends at my place last week, I decided to put some fresh fruit to use and make some yummy pitchers of sangria for everyone to enjoy on the deck! Unfortunately, though, our crazy Midwest weather kicked the temperature over the 100 degree mark that day. So we ended up enjoying a lovely evening together…in the air-conditioning. :-)

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Stuffed Artichokes

Pretty sure fresh, delicious, gorgeous artichokes were on sale at our local grocery store last week for $0.99. Um…YUM. Definitely a deal I couldn’t pass up. :)

But rather than going with my usual steamed artichoke and buttery dipping sauce combo, decided to try stuffing an artichoke for the first time! I imagined it would be pretty time consuming and challenging, but it was super easy!! And don’t be fooled by the long recipe instructions – stuffing the artichoke was also super speedy.

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