Weekly Menu: January 25-31, 2015

French Lentil Salad

Sunday: French Lentil Salad and Grilled Chicken
Monday: Leftovers: Curried Cauliflower & Chickpea Stew
Tuesday: Work Dinner at Pican
Wednesday:   Leftovers: French Lentil Salad & Grilled Chicken
Thursday: Work dinner at E&O Kitchen
Friday: Leftovers: French Lentil Salad & Grilled Chicken
Saturday: Date Night!
Another busy week ahead, but this one with a few work dinners and events.  So I'm stretching my leftovers from last week into this week as well and then making one of my favorite dishes from the detox I did in January of 2013...French Lentil Salad. Healthy and delicious!

As always, if you need a few more recipes  visit my menu archives and recipes to find other meals to round out your week. Happy cooking...
Weekly Menu: January 18-24, 2015

Curried Cauliflower & Chickpea Stew

Sunday: Patriots Game with Friends!
Monday: Curried Cauliflower & Chickpea Stew
Tuesday: Dinner with a friend
Wednesday:   Leftovers: Curried Cauliflower & Chickpea Stew
Thursday: Hopalong Board Meeting
Friday: Dinner Party at a Friend's House!
Saturday: Date Night!
This week is a busy social week but I am managing to squeeze in one home cooked meal...and it's one of my favorites! I have a slight obsession with chickpeas and this week's dish with a subtle, spicy heat from the curry powder is just perfect. Not too many ingredients and pretty quick and easy to pull together.  Enjoy!

As always, if you need a few more recipes  visit my menu archives and recipes to find other meals to round out your week. Happy cooking...
Weekly Menu: January 11-17, 2015

The Key Components to Garlicky Red Lentil Soup

Sunday: Garlicky Red Lentil Soup
Monday: Fish Tacos with Spicy Grapefruit-Avocado Salsa
Tuesday: Leftovers: Fish Tacos
Wednesday:   Date Night!
Thursday: Leftovers: Red Lentil Soup
Friday: Leftovers: Red Lentil Soup
Saturday: Date Night!
I'm back from my yoga and meditation retreat and have decided to stick with a mostly vegetarian diet this week to ease back in and keep all of that goodness going. Last week got unexpectedly hectic so I never ended up eating my frozen Garlicky Red Lentil Soup so I'll be eating that this week. I'll also be cooking up some Citrus Pepper Cod from Omaha Steaks and turning them into fish tacos.  You know me and my tacos! For the salsa I'm just mixing together some segmented grapefruit and chopped avocado with minced scallions, cilantro, a bit of lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.

As always, if you need a few more recipes  visit my menu archives and recipes to find other meals to round out your week. Happy cooking...
Kicking off 2015 Right!
Yoga at Amansala Bikini Boot Camp, May 2014

Yoga at Amansala Bikini Boot Camp, May 2014

I love January.  As much as I love the holidays (and wow, do I LOVE the holidays!), January is never a let down for me. Why? Because there's nothing I love more than a fresh start. A chance to re-examine things, make some changes and believe that you can stick to them. Now, I'm not talking about resolutions per se...I've never really been into those...but I am talking about habits and lifestyles and changes for the better both big and small. I truly believe that every day I wake up is a new opportunity to be the best version of myself, and January is like the ultimate new day! Not surprisingly, a lot of the changes that I start thinking about each January have to do with food, health and fitness.

This year, however, my focus is a bit more on mental health than on food, physical health or fitness.  Why?  Because I feel like I inadvertently dabbled in this space a lot in 2014 as I went through my hardest year yet.  And every time I dabbled, it felt really, really good.  So good that I want to make this focus a more central part of my life and routine.  In 2014 I crossed an item off my bucket list and went to Amansala's Bikini Boot Camp, I took a 6-week meditation class, I got back into therapy after 10+ years off, I read a couple of really empowering and fantastic books (The 5 Things We Cannot Change and Nonviolent Communication for those interested) and I just genuinely focused on improving myself in areas where I was feeling a bit shaky.

So to start off 2015 I'm heading to a 3 day yoga and meditation retreat to try to lock in all of that cumulative goodness that I acquired in 2014 and really start this year off right. I'm super excited to take a solo and leisurely drive up the coast, have a few days with no cell service, practice lots of yoga and meditation, eat all organic, vegetarian meals, have time to hike in beautiful Salt Point State Park and then cozy down each night with a good book and a warm bubble bath all while surrounded by the beauty that is coastal Northern California. I mean really, doesn't that sound divine?

But before I head out, I thought I'd leave you with a few links to my blog posts, below, summarizing what I focused on in January 2013, two years ago. That year the focus was on food, so I did the 3-week Whole Living Detox which was amazing. A lot of prepping and cooking each Sunday, but so worth it as you'll see in my four summary posts below which are chock full of all of the amazing recipes and photos.  And the three habits that seemed to make such a difference for me back then, I'm proud to say are still 80% a part of my life 2 years later! When I return from my 3-day yoga and meditation retreat I'll be picking out a few of my favorites from that detox to include in my weekly menus throughout the rest of January to keep my healthy momentum going, so stay tuned.
Weekly Menu: January 4-10, 2015

Roast Chicken

Sunday: Roast Chicken with Leftover Lucky 2015 Black Bean Salad
Monday: Garlicky Red Lentil Soup
Tuesday: Leftovers: Chicken and Black Bean Salad
Wednesday:   Leftovers: Red Lentil Soup
Thursday: Leftovers: Red Lentil Soup
Friday: Yoga Retreat with healthy, yummy food!
Saturday: Yoga Retreat!
It's the first week of 2015 and I'm starting it off right with some healthy, delicious favorites and then ending the week by heading up towards Mendocino for a 3 day yoga retreat! So to start getting used to normal eating again I'm making a roast chicken to eat throughout the week alongside my lucky New Years Day black bean salad.  Yes, I know that a roast chicken is slathered in butter, but baby steps here!  Plus, I'm a big believer in all things in moderation so a little crispy, delicious chicken skin won't kill anyone. Then I'm making one of my favorite hearty winter soups...Garlicky Red Lentil.  Super easy to make and soul satisfying. Enjoy your first week of 2015...here's to a year filled with a good mix of healthy and indulgent deliciousness!

As always, if you need a few more recipes  visit my menu archives and recipes to find other meals to round out your week. Happy cooking...
Lucky New Years Day Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Good luck for the year if you eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day!

Good luck for the year if you eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day!

Every New Years Day for years now I've been making something with Black-Eyed Peas.  It's a Southern tradition that eating them on New Year's Day brings good luck for the year, and while I'm certainly not Southern I like fun food traditions so I've adopted this one as one of my own. Unfortunately, most of the recipes I've tried over the years have underwhelmed me.  They've either been too complicated for the end result, too unhealthy with loads of bacon, or just downright bland.  Until last year!  So since I've finally found a go-to Good Luck recipe I thought I would share:
Weekly Menu: December 28, 2014 – January 3, 2015
New Year's Eve Osso Buco

New Year's Eve Osso Buco

Sunday: Dinner at the 49ers v Cardinals Game at Levi Stadium
Monday: Dinner with a friend at Maven
Tuesday: Leftovers: Beef Barley Soup
Wednesday:   New Year's Eve! 
Thursday: Cioppino Boil at Montara Beach with a friend
Friday: Leftovers: Beef Barley Soup
Saturday: First party of 2015 at a friend's place!
One more week of crazy, busy holiday socializing ahead of us and I can't wait!  This last week has been perfect as far as holiday seasons go and instead of being exhausted by all of the activity as I often am, I'm feeling energized.  So bring on the last week of 2014 and let's ring in 2015 right! Of course, all of this socializing means I'm not much help in terms of a cooking dinner menu this week.  And the couple of days I do have to eat at home I'm pulling some beef barley soup I made over the weekend to use it up and save on groceries. It was a total impromptu, DIY recipe using things I had on hand...so chopped up beef that I marinated in an old bottle of red wine in the fridge, smashed garlic, black pepper and rosemary.  Then I dried it off, tossed it in some flour, salt and pepper, browned it and then deglazed the pan with a bit more red wine.  From there I simply added beef broth, cooked barley (that's been in the freezer forever!) and chopped up carrots, corn, peas, string beans, fingerling potatoes and spinach. Season to taste and there you go...easy breezy, delicious soup to use up some of those leftovers and feed you for days to come! Typically for New Year's Eve I cook one of my all time favorite meals, Osso Buco with Cheesy Polenta. But honestly I have a few options to consider for this year and while I'm not sure which one I'm doing just yet a dinner party doesn't appear to be in the cards.  While usually a girl of traditions like me would be sad about this, this year I'm embracing it.  Out with the old and in with the new!  You all know I've had a really tough year so I'm looking forward to 2015, a new me and new traditions to make this one of the best years yet.  Happy New Year everyone...be safe, happy and healthy...and may 2015 ring in a year of fantastic cooking and eating for you and all of those you love! As always, if you need a few more recipes  visit my menu archives and recipes to find other meals to round out your week. Happy cooking...
Weekly Menu: December 21-27, 2014
Sunday: 60s Holiday Cocktail Party
Monday: Veggie Stir Fry 
Tuesday: Dinner and a Movie with a friend
Wednesday:   SavoryGirl's Christmas Eve Fondue Party!
Thursday: Late Christmas Brunch at Top of the Mark 
Friday: Leftovers: Veggie Stir Fry
Saturday: Dinner Date
The holidays are here! The holidays are here! Yeah, SavoryGirl loves the holidays. Even if this year is my first year doing the holidays on my own, can't take the cheer out of me! So while my weekly menu isn't all that helpful this week with all of the celebrating, partying and socializing the Christmas Eve Fondue Party is one to consider if you haven't decided what you're doing on Christmas Eve just yet.  Otherwise just trying to squeeze in some healthy veggies in between all of the indulgence when I do have a night to eat at home.  Happy Holidays everyone...I hope they're filled with love, happiness and, of course, fantastic food!

As always, if you need a few more recipes  visit my menu archives and recipes to find other meals to round out your week. Happy cooking...
Cookie Party 2014!
SavoryGirl's 2014 CookiesOne of my all-time favorite nights of the year...my annual Cookie Party! I've been hosting a holiday cookie party for almost 15 years now. The idea originally came from my ex-husband's mother who always hosted a Cookie Party for her neighbors but over the years I've evolved it a bit and made it my own. The funny thing is, as my website name suggests, I'm more of a Savory than Sweet girl. So while I love the cookies and the energy that my guests put into one-upping their cookies from the year before what I really look forward to is the cheese and meat. This year my guests pressured me into a formal vote for the tastiest and most creative cookies...we've never done that before so it added a new competitive element that I'm sure will drive the cookies to even greater heights next year!

Here are some photo highlights from this year's party, starting with the photo collage above. SavoryGirl's 2014 cookies!  I always make 3-4 cookies for my party but typically 2 of them are old family traditional cookies.  This year, however, I decided out with the old and in with the new and mad all new cookies! So I made Chocolate Pistachio Thumbprints with Chocolate Ganache which I thought were a delicious combination of salty sweet and while they look fancy they're actually quite easy to make.  I also made Tahini Cookies rolled in black sesame seeds and demera sugar.  I was pretty excited about the idea of these but they underwhelmed me in texture although others seemed to like them.  Lastly I made Chai Spice Cookies which were divine...and they just happened to be gluten free too. These actually won the informal "tastiest cookie" award at the party so they're definitely a keeper.  Super easy and really delicious! Jacob & Chad's Salted Choc Chip, Birdnests & Icebox Cookies
Next up, Jacob and Chad's cookies...they had to go and match the host and bring 3 cookies!  Love it.  Jacob's Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies gave my Chai Spice Cookies a run for their money in the "tastiest cookie" contest.  Don't worry...I'm working on getting the recipe! They also brought along BirdNests which you see in the middle there. These were quite yummy but really decadent so after a bite or two I was done! Their third cookie was a classic, buttery icebox cookie.
Weekly Menu: November 30 – December 6, 2014

Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich

Sunday: Leftovers: Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich!
Monday: Leftovers: Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich!
Tuesday: Warriors Game!
Wednesday:   Leftovers: Lentil Country Supper (from last week)
Thursday: Drinks and Dinner Out
Friday: In San Diego!
Saturday: In San Diego!
Well...I'm useless this week. Still have lots of leftovers in the fridge from Thanksgiving and even a bit of leftovers from last week still. So I'll be finishing those up before heading out of town to go catch the Patriots play the Chargers in San Diego for the weekend. For those of you who need a little Thanksgiving leftover inspiration though, my classic leftovers sandwich photo above should get your mouth watering!

As always, if you need a few more recipes  visit my menu archives and recipes to find other meals to round out your week. Happy cooking...