The Local Ladle

Healthy Spaghetti Squash with Lemon, Thyme, Asparagus, & Ricotta

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So what’s this big trend around Spaghetti Squash?  This gorgeous yellow squash is available year-round in most grocery stores and can be considered both a summer or winter squash.  By adding this vegetable to your table, you will easily get hooked on this delicious treat and the several health benefits it can bring to your body.

That moment you realize you may have waited a little too long shed that winter coat and jump into that new tiny bikini… this summer squash might just be a life saver!   With only 42 calories and 10 carbs in a 1-cup serving of cooked spaghetti squash, this vegetable is a safe addition to any diet!

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Soba Salad with Seaweed & Miso-Ginger Dressing

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When I went to school in Ireland, I was lucky enough to live walking distance from the ocean.  It was the first time in my life I could ever say I lived by the smell of sea salt in the air.

At least 3 times a week, I would either walk or run to the water to escape the chaos of class and also at the same time do a little “grocery shopping.”  My favorite things to pick up along the way were blackberries that lined the streets and also my favorite… seaweed.  I was fascinated by the health benefits and also all the variety of uses it had in the kitchen!

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Citrus Ricotta Toast

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Artisanal toast… a trend that has taken off like crazy and even as much as I roll my eyes at the trend, I do admit I have a hard time passing up avocado toast on any brunch menu. The toast below uses ricotta, which is similar the creaminess of the traditional avocado. The creaminess pairs well with the citrus punch and earthiness of the pistachios and pine nuts!

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Classic Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cupcake

It’s Valentines Day and that calls for sweets… sweets.. sweets!

This past week I was able to stop by one of my most favorite boutique stores in Lakeview, called Foursided. It’s filled gorgeous posters, creative themed cards, a hilarious knick knacks! In my last trip I came across these adorable neon Valentine themed cupcake liners and I just had to whip out my red velvet cupcakes for the holiday!  Read more

Watercolor Sugar Cookies

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This recipe may not leave a clean kitchen… but it definitely creates a batch of cookies to talk about! These sugar cookies are a fun way to let your artsy side out. The saying “food is art” takes almost a literal meaning with this watercolor technique!

I also recently discovered Marshmallow Fondant! Instead of the several steps of normal fondant, the marshmallow fondant takes 3 steps and takes no more than 5 minutes to make! I was honestly amazed by the power of a microwave, marshmallows, and powered sugar!

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Dark Chocolate Balsamic Cookies

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Recently, I have been using balsamic vinegar, especially balsamic glaze in and on almost everything lately. It’s a fantastic way to bring a fresh acidity or sweet flavor to a savory dish.

With how busy I have been with work, I haven’t taken the time to experiment with baking. One of my favorite things with sweets is to play with tying in as many savory flavors as possible!  Balsamic vinegar being my new ingredient!

Surprisingly I learned, that vinegar actually pops up in a lot of baked goods as a quick and easy way to add an acid to a recipe. This allows a leavening agent like baking soda to get a little extra lift when added to the batter.

The balsamic vinegar in this recipe actually also gives the chocolate cookies almost a “chocolate covered cherry” taste!   Read more

Quinoa Risotto Stuffed Acorn Squash

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The ultimate healthy comfort food, this stuffed acorn squash gives you the creamy texture and rich taste with out any regrets. Delicious for lunch… dinner… or special event, this dish is a unique blend of flavors that will leave a memorable impression!

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Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup

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It’s finally snowing here in Chicago, which calls for a cozy blanket, holiday music, and a delicious hearty soup!

This Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup was created by my laziness to walk outside to get groceries in this snowy morning! The blend of spices are really what makes this soup special! All you really need are some canned chickpeas, canned tomatoes, and quinoa… pantry necessities!

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Double Chocolate Soufflé

Bourbon County Chocolate Souffle

I chose to wrap up my food and beer pairing experiment with Goose Island’s Bourbon County, not only because its personally one of my favorite beers, but because I find it fascinating that Goose Island actually pioneered the now so highly sought after bourbon-aged beer. Read more

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