His and Hers: 2015 Foodie Goals

Today we’re doing things a bit differently on the blog. I write a lot about Tim and our adventures together, but he’s never actually contributed content beyond his help with recipe creations to F&F before. Please welcome this new little series and Tim today!

His and Hers: 2015 Foodie Goals

Since we love cooking together, participating in a CSA, trying new restaurants, etc. Tim and thought it would be fun to come up with some foodie goals for 2015. Tim really came up with his on his own, and he verbally told me what he wanted to include in this post. Since writing is not his strong point, I took what he said and turned his thoughts into grammatically correct English. I’m still trying to convince Tim to write a guest post for F&F (I seriously think it would get the most hits out of any post I’ve ever written because story of my life), but we’ll settle for baby steps first. Here we go!


1. Make homemade red pesto. Red pesto is something that’s pretty new to me. Athena gave me a small jar of red pesto in my Christmas stocking, and we recently used it as the sauce on a grilled eggplant and arugula pizza. Due to being more tomato based instead of herb based like a green pesto, it had a higher acidity level, but still tasted fresh. I really like making different types of sauces, and since I enjoyed the jarred version of red pesto so much, now I just have to make it myself.

Red Pesto

2. Smoke a large piece of meat. Over the past couple of years, I’ve tackled a lot of different cooking methods. We grill all the time, but I’ve never really done the traditional BBQ thing. I really want to just smoke a brisket or something. I like smoky flavors, and I recently made a chipotle BBQ sauce, so I want to bring it full circle. Might as well give it a shot. Maybe Athena will even let us register for a smoker along with my #1 coveted registry item, a deli slicer.

3. Bake more of our own breads. Finding healthier bread options is a difficult area to navigate if you are uneducated. For example, whole wheat bread doesn’t always mean whole wheat bread just because it’s labeled that way. I made homemade rolls with our Kitchen Aid mixer once, and they were pretty good. Seeing that sandwiches are still my #1 favorite food, and I actually wish every meal could be a sandwich, hopefully making our own bread more often will open up the opportunity to eat more sandwiches without feeling as guilty or gross afterwards.

Tim making bread

4. Order more mindfully when out to eat. When I’m cooking at home, I have no problem staying away from salty foods and making meals that use fresh ingredients. However, when I go out to eat, my first reaction is to always order French fries, a bacon topped burger with lots of cheese, or a chicken cutlet sub (see sandwich obsession above). Something I need to be more mindful of is bringing my healthier habits from home into restaurants when we’re out to eat. The first step is probably just switching up my order of French fries for a side salad more often.

5. Pickle something. This one kind of stems off going out to eat. When I do order something healthier at a restaurant, I like when my entrée is topped with something like pickled onions or when there’s a pickled side option like beets. With the CSA program that we do, pickling the vegetables is a great way to both make them last longer and bring in a new depth of flavor. This will help us continue to be creative with our recipe creations, and I know Athena will like this so we have an excuse to buy more mason jars.


1. Make more homemade items. Last year, Tim and I started making a lot more food at home instead of buying it at the store. Doing this helps us have more control of what goes into our food! Some examples of what we stopped buying include chicken broth, salad dressings, jarred salsas and guacamoles, sauces, and granola. This year, I just want to expand this list. I really want to make my own nut butters, hummus, and ice cream, as they are three things I’ve never made from scratch before. One of MY most coveted registry items is the ice cream maker attachment for our Kitchen Aid mixer!

Homemade Pineapple Salsa

2. Feel more comfortable cooking meat and fish. I blame this one on Tim. Before we moved in together, I used to cook chicken and ground turkey/beef all the time. After moving in together, we kind of just settled into a routine in the kitchen, where I’m responsible for the packed breakfasts, snacks, and baked goods we take to work each week, and Tim tackles most of our dinners. We kind of split lunch up depending on the week and what it is, but somehow I find myself making the vegetarian dishes more and leaving the meat ones for Tim. I want to get back to feeling comfortable cooking meat and fish without needing Tim to adult supervise everything I’m doing. He always tells me I need to get my confidence back!

3. Eat five new to me items. I tried more new foods and products in 2014 than I ever have before. I tried sushi for the first time and actually enjoyed it. While out to eat, I wasn’t afraid to order something like octopus cooked in its own octopus ink. I expanded my palette and can now handle spicier foods, so I introduced items like Thai chili paste into our cooking. Through various blog partnerships I got to try new products such as Ancient Harvest quinoa flour, and I’m always scoping out the new items at Trader Joe’s. One of my favorite Trader Joe’s finds this year was coconut sugar! The CSA program at work also helped us branch out, as I had never eaten collards, tangelos, lemon balm, black radishes, or dandelion greens before. I want to continue expanding my palette and foodie knowledge in 2015, so I’m setting out to try at LEAST five new things!


4. Learn to cook traditional Greek dishes. Despite growing up in a Greek family, I never really learned how to cook some of the traditional Greek meals. There aren’t many of them that are healthy, which is probably why I haven’t tried, but this year I want to learn how to make a few… and then make my healthy take of course. We have some of my grandmother’s and great aunt’s homemade favorites at home, so maybe my mom will share?! If you are looking for some Greek inspired dishes to hold you over, check out my lightened up moussaka, my avgolemono soup, and these spanakopita bites.

Spanakopita Bites

5. Snack more mindfully at home. In the past few months, I’ve really embraced a morning workout mentality. I’m loving getting my workouts out of the way before the work day starts, I feel more energized and productive all day long, and it is thrilling to come home right after work and have free time to spend blogging, wedding planning, or just hanging out with Tim. However, one downside to my new schedule is that I come home and snack on everything in sight! I do a great job with making mindful decisions throughout the rest of the day and when out to eat, so I really want to adopt similar habits from 5-8pm as well. Two strategies I’m trying out are to 1) eat a high protein snack at the end of the workday, and 2) do some foam rolling/light stretching as my post work “workout” to hopefully negate just wandering aimlessly around the kitchen.

Readers, let’s chat! What are your 2015 foodie goals? Make sure to leave some love for Tim today so he’ll do this again! 😉 

Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms

Whenever I go to a party that I’m not hosting, I make sure to bring something on the healthier side with me. This doubles as a 1) a nice gesture, and 2) a backup option for when there aren’t a lot of foods being served that I want to eat. Successful moderation and healthy eating is all about being prepared, and I find that being ready with a healthy dish in social situations helps me balance out the not so great for me snacks and indulgences that I know I’ll have too.

So while everyone else is posting recipes for nachos and chicken wings this week, I want to post a different kind of recipe for you. These Mediterranean stuffed mushrooms are the perfect healthier appetizer to make for whatever Super Bowl party you are going to this weekend. I think stuffed mushrooms are a crowd pleaser too. Don’t people always seem to get weirdly excited about them? Just make sure to call them Mediterranean stuffed mushrooms instead of quinoa stuffed mushrooms, and you’ll be all set. Nobody will judge you for not bringing along a ranch dip or 4 bags of Doritos.

Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms

Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms

Makes a dozen stuffed mushrooms


  • 12 large cremini mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel and with stems removed
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked per package directions
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, cut or crushed into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp dill
  • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooking spray of choice


  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, then arrange the mushrooms with the holes facing down. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over the mushrooms, and season with salt and paper. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • While the mushrooms are baking, mix the cooked quinoa, the diced red onion, walnuts, white wine, parsley, dill, sun-dried tomatoes, crumbled feta, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  • When the mushrooms finish cooking and have cooled, stuff them by scooping a spoonful of the quinoa mixture into each cap. Top with extra feta if desired.
  • Bake again in an oven preheated to 350 for 10-12 minutes or until heated through.

Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms

Although stuffed mushrooms are made with a veggie base, a lot of the time they use a creamy filling to bind the stuffing ingredients together. I like that this recipe is light and doesn’t need that. The lemon zest brings out a nice flavor among all the other Mediterranean based ingredients, and the quinoa is a healthier protein-packed substitution for bread crumbs. Plus, you can never go wrong with feta! I made these for Friendsgiving at Slesh and Will’s apartment last year, and everyone gobbled them right up.

Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms

This recipe yields 12 stuffed mushrooms, but just a warning, it definitely makes more stuffing than necessary. I ate the leftover stuffing up for lunch the next day as a Mediterranean quinoa salad, and it was delicious! You could also double the amount of mushroom caps if you want to use up the rest of the stuffing and bring a larger quantity of stuffed shrooms along.


Readers, let’s chat! What are you doing for the Super Bowl this weekend? What’s a must have Super Bowl food or snack in your home?

If you’re looking for more Super Bowl food ideas, check out our Super Bowl party menu from when we hosted two years ago.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Pomegranate Pumpkin Dressing

Yesterday during our afternoon off from work, Tim and I got crafty in the kitchen. We received giant sweet potatoes in our CSA last week, and we also had a ton of pomegranate seeds left over from last week’s food prep, so we wanted to make a lunch for the week that used both. Here’s what we came up with!

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Pomegranate Pumpkin Dressing

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Pomegranate Pumpkin Dressing

Serves 4-5 as a main meal or 6-8 as a side dish


For the salad:

  • 6 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into one inch cubes
  • Half a small red onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (or a quart container of mini peppers)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the dressing:

  • 6 tbsp pomegranate juice
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seed oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Salt and ground pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, toss the cut up sweet potatoes in 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to two large baking sheets. Roast in the oven for around 30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Make sure to check on them halfway through and flip so the sweet potato cooks evenly.
  3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, make your dressing. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the pomegranate juice, red wine vinegar, pumpkin seed oil, maple syrup, and salt and pepper.
  4. When the sweet potatoes are done, transfer to a large bowl, and add the onion, pepper, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds, and cilantro.
  5. Pour the dressing mixture over the salad and mix well. Make sure to pour slowly and taste as you go to avoid over-dressing. I recommend pour and tasting about 2-3 different times.
  6. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds, and enjoy!

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Pomegranate Pumpkin Dressing

You might be thinking that pomegranate and pumpkin aren’t flavors that go well together, but when you take one awesome flavor and combine it with another awesome flavor… yeah. Double awesomeness. Using pumpkin seed oil in the dressing provides a nice contrast against the sweetness of the sweet potatoes, pomegranate seeds, and pomegranate juice. The diced peppers, pomegranate seeds, and pumpkin seeds add a nice crunch, and of course, I like anything with cilantro in it. For those of you who don’t like cilantro, you could sub in parsley, and for those of you who might not have pumpkin seed oil at home, feel free to use olive oil instead (may have to add a little more).

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Pomegranate Pumpkin Dressing

I love how colorful and nutritious this dish is, and I can’t wait to have it for lunches this week! If you make this, snap some pretty pictures and post to social media. Would love to see your versions!

Readers, let’s chat! What’s your favorite flavor? A-sweet potato, B-pomegranate, or C-pumpkin?!

Luckily, this dish doesn’t make you decide. 😉