You're not going to believe what's in this smoothie. You're probably not going to like the sound of it. You're probably going to be enticed by the pictures. And you're probably going to have to trust me when I say you should try it!! I don't know how these ingredients all ended up in a smoothie except that I had too many beets to know what to do with and wanted to use some of my parsley so I could trim back my plant that was becoming a jungle. Work has been pretty busy lately so I thought maybe aiming for something drinkable would be convenient since I knew I wouldn't have time for a fork and knife. But beets in a drink? I wasn't so sure. But why not try, right? I added a banana to keep up with my eat-more-fruit campaign and figuring maybe this could go into the smoothie category? And then I thought some cinnamon might offset the earthy beet, so I added that too:) I was very pleasantly surprised and have made one of these almost every day for the last two weeks!

beet, banana, parsley, and cinnamon smoothie

1 beet, roasted or boiled
1 banana
5-7 sprigs of parsley
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup soy milk

Blend all ingredients using a blender. Store it in a 12 ounce mason jar and bring it with you for a healthy snack when you're in a time crunch!


We're snowed in. Big time! Baltimore is in the middle of Storm Jonas, one of the greatest winter storms on record in the Mid-Atlantic. The streets haven't been plowed, businesses are closed (except for a few wonderful bars who we're more than happy to trek through the snow a few blocks to frequent!), and we're crossing our fingers that our electricity doesn't go out! All this snow called for a nice cozy breakfast:) Like every other Baltimorean, I stocked up on groceries before the snow hit. But of course, I forgot about the fact that I'd probably spend my weekend baking and didn't buy any milk to cover my bases! Not that milk is needed for everything, but it's good to have on hand if you're planning on baking and haven't decided what you're baking yet. I woke up this morning and had my heart set on some sort of sweet dough bread loaf... Yesterday my housemates and I were talking about how we have a full gallon bag of half-used baking chocolate bars that we should try to use up, so I figured I'd branch the two by adapting a Smitten Kitchen recipe one of my old housemates used to make. Trouble was, I still didn't have milk. But, I did have Greek yogurt! So I did a little experimenting and it actually turned out to be fantastic!

jonas's chocolate swirl brioche

1/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/8 cup flour
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely chopped chocolate (also use the shavings that pile up when chopping!)

egg wash

1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons water

Combine the warm water and yeast in a glass measuring cup. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a standing mixer. Add the yeast mixture, yogurt, and egg and mix with the paddle attachment on medium-low speed for about ten minutes. Add the butter and beat for five more minutes. Then add the chocolate and mix until well combined. Transfer to a oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for two hours. Then roll out the dough into a log, about 28" long, on a slightly floured surface. Make the log into a U shape (facing you), then wrap the tips of the U around each other once so that they are loosely twisted together. Then fold the twisted ends towards you so that the tips end up at 5 and 7 o'clock and your log looks like a pretzel. Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Make the egg wash by lightly beating the egg with salt and water using a fork. Then brush a thin layer over the dough. Let rise for 15 minutes while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees. When you're ready to bake, brush another thin layer of the egg wash over the dough before placing the loaf in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown on top. Serve warm to stay warm on a wintery day!

You can't really see the snow since we're on the fourth floor, but trust me, it's out there!


I think this might be one of the most anticipated Stems and Savories posts! The pressure to write a perfect first sentence was too great, so I reached out to my housemates for some ideas to lessen the intimidation. The reply? In a stereotypical Italian accent, though said by an actual Italian, "What's the first thing an Italian family does when they all get together? They make the food. Well they pour the wine. Then they make the food." So if Italian families make food and we all made food last night, does that make us family? Or does it make us Italian? :) Either way, it's been in the works for a month: homemade pasta night. And did we have a crew! I think there were 13 of us total?! Luckily our hosts had a huge, beautiful kitchen island that we could all crowd around to get our hands sticky with dough. In addition to the wine, cheese plates, music, and good company (of course!), we enjoyed 36 eggs and 9 cups of flour. Yep, 36 eggs and 9 cups of flour. It was quite the adventure! We did have a few "eggsplosions" when our retention wall of flour gave way (pictures to come) and an unfortunate clogged sink/dishwasher disaster (no pictures to come haha), but overall it was a fantastic night spent with wonderful people:) And my housemate was exactly right (even though we couldn't take him completely seriously at the time with his Italian accent): cooking brings people together! Get ready for a very long but fun-filled post with too many to count step-by-step pasta making pictures! I'm going to do you a favor and third the recipe for you so you don't need to buy 3 dozen eggs or cram 13 people around your kitchen table. Though if you're looking for a a fun evening, I'd highly recommend multiplying the ingredient list by 3 and finding 12 friends to start making this pasta with:)

homemade pasta!!!

3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
8 egg yolks

Clean off a large surface for mixing and kneading your dough. Measure your flour out onto the clean surface and use your hands to make a large well in the middle of the pile.

And get ready to separate some eggs!

You'll need 4 whole eggs and 8 egg yolks! You can add the whole eggs straight to the pile, but separate the egg yolks into a bowl first!

It's a bit tedious, but not if you have 26 hands to help:)

You won't have this many eggs in your well, but I couldn't resist showing how many we used:)

Make sure you've got someone on flour-retention wall duty. You have to keep building it up so that the eggs don't leak over the top.

 Unless you want an "eggsplosion" like we had!

Once you've added all of the eggs, start to swirl the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour.

Once all of the flour has been incorporated (or as much as you can get!), begin to knead the dough. And knead. And knead. Maybe switch off with your sous chef so your arms don't tire? This is when our large chef numbers came in handy:) 

When you think you might be getting close to a dough that is smooth in texture and has no inner layers or bubbles, slice the dough through the center with a knife.

If you can still see layers and bubbles like in the picture above, keep kneading:) 

After kneading for what seems like eternity, try the slicing trick again!

If it looks like the picture above, you're finally good! There are a few pockets, but relatively few, and the dough is almost leathery. Now cover the dough with plastic wrap and let sit for about an hour. Then you're ready to roll the dough! Separate the dough into smaller balls and slightly flatten out with your hand so that it will fit through the pasta roller.

Roll the pasta through on the lowest setting, then fold in thirds and roll it through again.

Roll all of your dough on the lowest setting twice before decreasing the width of the roller. Roll all dough through this setting twice as well. 

Now you're ready to cut it! We made pappardelle, so we rolled each of these sets of rolled dough onto themselves, sliced the log with a knife so that each piece would be about 1" thick, and then unraveled the slices of pappardelle. 

Isn't it beautiful?!

It was like a factory in that kitchen with all the people working on the different stages of the dough!

Try to keep the sliced pasta spread out as much as possible. We made the mistake of piling too much on top of itself that it became hard to separate the strands when we wanted to start boiling the pasta. So, I'd line them up on a cookie sheet rather than dump them into a bowl! You can also sprinkle a little bit of flour over them to make sure they don't stick to each other.

Once you're ready to cook the pasta, bring a generously-salted, large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta in batches so as not to crowd the pot and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes. Strain and drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking.

 If you make pappardelle, serve with a thick, robust ragu (I'll try to post the recipe soon!) since the sauce will nicely cling to the long, wide ribbons.

Oh man. It was AMAZING. So incredibly delicious. And so much fun! It's going to be hard for me to not make this all again this next weekend!

A huge thanks to everyone for their help and great company!!


This has been on my to-make list for over a year! I got the inspiration from a foie gras pizza I had at a restaurant here in Baltimore. You may have seen it on House of Cards actually... it's a beautiful spot on the water called Wit & Wisdom that has amazing, harbor-side outdoor seating in the summer and cozy warm wood-burning fireplaces crackling in the winter. Not to mention some amazing food and drinks! This foie gras pizza was by far the most amazing thing I've eaten there. I've only had it once last fall, but I thought about ordering it probably ten times. It was one of those instances where I didn't want to ruin the magic of it by ordering it too often, so I told myself that I had to wait until after the holidays last year (meaning.. early 2015) before I could order it again. Sure enough, by the time 2015 had rolled around, I had missed my chance and they had taken it off the menu. I was literally heartbroken! What I would give to have one more bite! At least the memory of how impressive it was still lingers on my tongue. But it was definitely a lesson regarding making moves... sometimes you just gotta make them because if you wait too long you'll miss your opportunity! This is a majorly adjusted attempt at recreating this pizza given that I wasn't brave enough to attempt cooking with foie gras, but as long as I try to wipe the rich, buttery flavor of foie gras out of my mind, it compares pretty well! You really can't go wrong with mascarpone, ricotta, and honey, can you? Plus it's cute served in a mini cast iron skillet:)

mascarpone, ricotta, and honey skillet pizza with roasted pear and arugula

1 red anjou pear (aren't they beautiful?!)
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup ricotta
1/8 cup mascarpone
dough for one pizza
honey for drizzling

Slice the pear very thinly and coat with oil and sugar. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, flipping halfway, until nicely browned and beginning to caramelize. Press your pizza dough into an 8" cast iron skillet. It should be a relatively thick crust. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven and dollop the ricotta and mascarpone over the crust. Place the roasted pears on top and then drizzle with honey. Bake for another 30 minutes until the cheese begins to bubble and brown. Top with arugula and serve warm!


Given that we left off with resolutions... I figured I'd share my two goals with respect to nutrition: eat more fruits and eat more legumes! I've always loved fruit, but the whole legume thing is new. It's probably a bit of my body telling me it needs more protein and a bit of me realizing how delicious and fun legumes can be, but I've been hooked on them lately! Hummus, black bean tacos, lentils on my salad... it might be borderline addiction. It all started with a random craving for red beans and rice. And seeing as I've already made this recipe twice since the new year and we're only halfway through January, I figured I had to share. It does take a bit of time, but since it's been so cold out lately, you may as well let this simmer on the stove while you're cozied up on the couch!

red beans and rice

1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1 cup dried red kidney beans
1 1/2 teaspoon sage
1 1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
7-8 cups water
2 andouille sausages

Sauté the diced onion and green pepper in a large skillet over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the minced garlic, kidney beans, sage, thyme, oregano, cayenne, and salt and stir well to combine. After about a minute, add the bay leaf and 7 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 2 1/2 hours, adding another cup of water at the end if the beans aren't yet soft and the water has all evaporated from the pan. Once the beans are completely tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, slice the andouille sausage and brown before adding to the beans. Serve over brown rice (and I like to serve that over a bed of spinach!). 


New Years resolutions can be difficult. Difficult to form, difficult to sustain, difficult to share. I also find them funny- funny in that shouldn't I resolve to be a better person every single day? Yes, of course. But it's easier to get lost in the day-to-day hustle than to maintain a mindful intention to improve ourselves and act on that intention. I'm generally not a procrastinator, but I think it's easy to postpone acknowledging our weaknesses and taking action to improve the way we treat ourselves and other people. We like to stay comfortable. We don't exactly welcome change. So maybe we do need a day of the year that reminds us to do so. The new year comes quickly, but maybe the way to welcome change is to ease into it, to welcome it slowly and sustainably? A lot of people set health-related resolutions come New Years, whether it be to exercise more or to eat less or to gain muscle or to lose weight. But it's very easy to slip up on unrealistic resolutions, so it's important to set specific, achievable goals. I know I have a lot to work on in 2016, so I'm trying to set small, specific goals that build on each other.

If you happen to be making a resolution this year that relates to diet, this recipe is here to try to help you out. This recipe/my two cents related to diet-related resolutions focuses on sustained wholesomeness rather than ephemeral dieting. Our mom always says, "everything in moderation," and I think she's right. Your body will tell you what it needs. And it needs a little bit of everything! So taking one component, whether it be fats or sugars or meats or anything else for that matter, away abruptly is going to throw your body out of balance. So rather than abruptly and completely removing something from your diet, try to scale down first. First try to eat the item you are trying to remove from your diet in smaller portions, then eat it less often, then only eat it to the point where you still feel healthy when eating it. We all know how we feel after eating an unhealthy meal. Try to wean yourself down until you can completely avoid that feeling! Then you know you are truly eating it in moderation and you are in a healthy place.

That being said, this recipe tries to help you do that. Breakfast is a very important meal that people often skip thinking it will help them lose weight. But, in fact, breakfast is critical for gearing up your metabolism for the day and helps you avoid overeating later in the day. So, rather than skip breakfast, try to eat a quick, healthy one- like these oatmeal muffins! To be honest, these are more on the baked oatmeal side of the spectrum than the muffin side. But that's good because they are still flavorful and fun to eat like muffins, they are just really healthy for you! And you can make a batch on Sunday and have them for the rest of the week! There is no flour, no added sugar and lots of protein! And they really do still taste good, I'm not lying:) So start your small diet changes with these guys and see how your body feels!

healthy oatmeal breakfast muffins

2 cups oatmeal, processed to flour
1/4 cup almonds, processed with the oats
1 T flaxseeds
1 T chia seeds
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
3/4 cup chopped pitted dates
2 eggs
1 cup yogurt
1/4 t cinnamon

1/4 cup craisins

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Spoon into muffin tins and bake at 350 for 20 minutes! That's all there is!! Enjoy!