My journey to get here, what I have learned, and tips for how to handle the situation as a friend
For those who have been around for the past year or so and follow my IG stories, you know this is a topic I’ve been dealing with for awhile now: “sober-ish” living. About a year ago I wrote a pretty in-depth piece before regarding my thoughts on, and relationship with, booze; discussing, mainly, that it is possible to live a “healthy” and “balanced” lifestyle while still enjoying alcohol and how to go about that. However, as expected, my life has continued to evolve since writing that piece. While I still believe and support all of the statements made, I now find myself facing different struggles and adjusting my life accordingly. Most importantly, whenever I discuss this topic on my account it seems to resonate with many of you, so here I am sharing more.
A light and fresh take on #FFTacoTuesday
It is safe to say that majority of my Taco Tuesdays are focused around some type of red meat or poultry option for the protein. So, when I’m faced with a pescatarian, or looking for a little bit of a lighter and fresher option, fish is where I turn to. However, in typical #FFTacoTuesday theme, I have to keep things interesting. I can’t just serve any fish taco, it has to be different. That is why I created these tropical salmon tacos: complete with some delicious spiced fish, the crunch of cabbage and romaine, and tropical hints of a delicious fruit focused salsa. Hell, you may even believe in you’re in the Caribbean midway through the meal (we can all dream…)
Eat your way through NashVegas
Nashville is much more than the country music capital of the world; it also has an insanely delicious, and ever growing, food scene. While this was only my second time visiting this vibrant city, I feel a sense of ease and welcomeness that I haven’t experienced many other places. Maybe it is because I’ve had family living there for the past 6 years, or maybe because the live music at every bar just makes me happy, but whatever it is, I’m here for it. Whether you are planning a family trip or a bachelorette party… or, a strange combination of the two, which is what we did… I’ve got the recommendations to make your trip worthwhile. A special thanks to my Instagram followers who provided many recommendations of spots I, unfortunately, wasn’t able to check out!
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Joe’s best addition to FF
As if you all can’t already tell, I’m enduring a serious love affair with all things lamb. Sure, I always liked lamb chops – an appetizer at any wedding or event you can guarantee I’m chasing after – but recently, it’s been taken to whole new levels. By trying different cuts of lamb, my eyes have been opened to endless possibilities and I am so ecstatic about it and ready for this ride of all things Greek dishes. The other week, when I mentioned to Joe that we should work on clearing out our freezer that happens to be filled with different cuts of meats, he suggested lamb meatballs. Truly, I’ve never loved him more. Usually he is a “whatever you’re in the mood for” kinda guy, which, I always appreciate, but there are nights where I need direction and this was one of them. Fortunately, we happened to have the majority of the fixings needed for this dish in our fridge so it was a no-brainer. He was at first not into the idea of pesto pasta as the base, but I’d say his cleared plate and request for seconds was the real sign that he enjoyed the meal. If you’re intimidated by cooking lamb, this is the perfect dish to start with!
a Jazz Fest weekend filled with more food than music
This past weekend I had the pleasure of finally checking out New Orleans, Louisiana – a city that has long been on my bucket list to visit. When my parents proposed a double date weekend trip to check out Jazz Fest, it seemed like a no-brainer. Sure, festival weekend is usually focused on the music, and we saw some absolutely incredible performances, but take me to a city like NO, and I am solely focused on the food. Below I’ve outlined where we stayed, all of the restaurants we visited, the dishes we ate, and the drinks we drank. Thanks to all of you, this list is even more extensive with recommendations of spots we didn’t have time to check out. While we definitely packed it in for just a 3-day visit, I could’ve spent a week there seeing all there is to see and eating at all the restaurants on my extensively long list that we didn’t get to hit. If you’re going any time soon, feel free to find room in your suitcase for me!
The change-up you never knew your tacos needed
There is maybe only one thing that Joe loves more than Taco Tuesday, and that is buffalo chicken. So much so, that when Sweetgreen took their buffalo chicken salad off their menu, it may have been the saddest day of his year. Last week, when I was at a loss for what to throw together for that week’s TT experiment, with the nostalgia and heartbreak of the Sweetgreen salad still fresh, Joe’s eyes lit up with love when he proposed the idea of buffalo chicken tacos. Although not a personal favorite flavor of mine (I know, the blasphemy), there was no way I could deny the request after seeing that type of spark of joy. I am proud to say, that not only were this a huge hit in his opinion, and, potentially, helped him forget about his lack of salad lunch option availability, but I also fell in love. Looking to switch up your taco spread with an unusual combination but one that everyone loves? Look no further.
Whole rack of lamb, vegetable quinoa medley, and a kale salad
I’m a big fan of lamb no matter the day, but I specifically love that Easter provides a tradition, for many families, to roast a whole rack. Now, while this dish is, and always will be, the star of this meal, you can’t forget to dress it up with some delicious sides. While I was creating this recipe I realized that, about five years ago, Freckled Foodie was truly born on Easter weekend. My mother was traveling somewhere and we had somehow become responsible for hosting over 10 people for an Easter lunch. Instead of cancelling on everyone, I, not quite knowing what I was doing yet, decided to step in and run with the task at hand. That Easter was the first time I confidently prepared a meal for a large group of people; proving to myself that I was not only able to, but also that I loved it. This meal is the prime example of a pretty effortless and healthy Easter spread that will impress your guests, taste delicious, and not break the bank. With the lamb being the center of attention, you are able to pair it with some delicious, yet affordable and quick, sides. If you’re in charge of cooking, here is your answer!
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My favorite meal for a crowd
People often ask me, “what is your favorite dish to make?”. As someone who know cooks at an extremely frequent rate, that is an extremely difficult choice to make. How the heck can I choose just one dish!? After spending some time debating and reassessing all of my favorite foods, there is one meal that I always come back to: whole roasted chicken with root vegetables. There is something so comforting, loving, and warming about this dish. To me, it feels like home, so it is the perfect way to welcome people in to mine. When I was making this dish for a Sunday night dinner in a few weeks ago, I was shocked to see I hadn’t posted a recipe on my site yet. How can I claim this is my favorite thing to make if I haven’t shared it with all of you yet!? Here is to hoping that you too enjoy this meal as much as I do and that it not only fills your home with delicious scents that I can only label as “cooking”, but also warms your soul.
A few days in nature’s heaven
As a New Yorker who constantly craves nature and all things outdoors, Joshua Tree was more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. An extremely small and quaint town, with not much, if any, of a night life, allows you to relax, enjoy some peace and quiet, and focus on the real reason you came here: the national park. Grab some food for the road and focus your days on the park and all it has to offer. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
I did this trip as a solo excursion and have never felt so relaxed in my life. The breathtaking views, energy, and overall calmness were exactly what I needed. If you’re someone who is interested in solo vacation / exploring, I highly suggest it! Although traveling with friends, family, or significant others is also wonderful, it is an extremely rewarding and relaxing feeling to travel somewhere on your own. You are able to go without a set plan, do whatever you truly feel like doing, move at your own pace, and truly connect with yourself. Joshua Tree was the perfect place for this. With such a low-key town, there is no pressure to be out at night. Also, the hikes and trails are all very well populated so I never was technically “alone” or felt at risk.
Like most people, one of my favorite food combinations is banana, chocolate, and almond butter. Truly, is there anything better? I’m always looking to get my fix in somehow and majority of the time that method is through dessert. As a lover of all things cake, this recipe seems like a no-brainer, so I am quite confused how it took me this long to create something like this. Nonetheless, I am excited to have this recipe in my back pocket for any dinner party to come. It is so easy to throw together and is the perfect dessert to toss in the oven while your crowd is enjoying dinner. Not only does it cook itself, but it leaves your apartment smelling like a delicious ball of heaven.