Friday, again, and a three day weekend at that – what lucky people we are!

What I'm Eating #6 | Garlic, My Soul

On Friday when I left you, we had Chicken Enchiladas for dinner with a couple of friends (Hi, friends!) and Ana’s Kale Salad. As always, they were delicious.

On Saturday, a bunch of ladies and I went to Disneyland, so it was chicken fingers and fries for me! Not pictured, of course, because we were too busy gabbing away.

What I'm Eating #6 | Garlic, My Soul

On Sunday, Jeff made us pizza for dinner. I think this was one of the best yet: basil, onion, pancetta, sun-dried tomatoes, and a smidge of burrata.

Monday was pizza leftovers, which was delicious, with leftover kale salad, which is basically still my favorite thing, good thing Ana shared it with me.

Steak Fajitas | Garlic, My Soul

On Tuesday, we had Carne Asada Fajitas. And trust me, they were delicious. But I gobbled them up like a savage, so this photo of other fajitas will have to do.

What I'm Eating #6 | Garlic, My Soul

On Wednesday, Jeff made us wicked grilled cheese (with mozzarella, so good!) and I also had some avocado as well as a green bell pepper full of tomato soup because WHY NOT?

What I'm Eating #6 | Garlic, My Soul

And of course, last night, like every Thursday, I had Mendocino Farms. It was my last soccer game, so Thursdays are going to be a slot that’s switched up from now on – or maybe I’ll just keep making it at home for the stability.

So that’s it around here! What are y’all eating? Any favorite recipes that are really popping for you? Tweet me @GarlicMySoul or comment here!

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If you’re anything like me, Valentines’s Day is an over-exaggerated Hallmark holiday meant to force you to spend time thinking about how great your conscious coupling is. For those of us in relationships, it can feel a bit forced, and for those of us not, it can feel (a bit lonely. But a couple of years ago I thought, is it really so bad to look at your partner and be like, “Hey, I like you a lot. Thanks for your commitment to us, here’s some delicious food.” I mean, I think in the world we live in sometimes it’s a nice reminder to look at the people we love and just remember how lucky we are. Even if it doesn’t always feel like it.

The way I show my love is through cooking, and if you’re into that too, here are some ways to show your partner, friend, kids, family, coworkers, whoever, that you appreciate them, Hallmark holiday or not!

Valentine's Day Wines | Garlic, My Soul

Let’s start with the wine. Here is a sampling of great wines to have at home with your meal – cook together and drink while you cook, for a relaxing evening of you-time!

Valentine's Dinner | Steak and Potatoes | Garlic, My Soul

Love steak? So do we. For a simple meal that’ll definitely show the love, try this Steak & Potatoes meal, guaranteed to make everyone full and feeling comforted.

Baked Lemon Pasta | Garlic, My Soul

We talk about this Baked Lemon Pasta a lot, but you guys, it’s so good, so easy, and perfect for an easy night of dishes. Add chicken on if you want, or some veggies – what your heart says.

Chocolate Bread Pudding | Garlic, My Soul

For dessert, try this Chocolate Bread Pudding and check on this post for other ideas on what to make if nothing already has your mouth water.

We hope you look at your person(s) and say “HEY I LOVE YOU YOURE MY BOO LETS EAT” this Valentine’s Day – and every day, too!

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Guys, Valentine’s Day is this weekend – well that sure snuck up on us, and fast! This year we didn’t make a heart cake, but we still want you to have the option to make one if that’s your thing. In 2013, we made a red heart cake with Mary (of Mary Costa Photography), in 2014, we made a black heart, and last year we made a smaller mint colored heart. Over the years we’ve pulled in various friends of various talents to help us shoot this fun cake, and we encourage you to make this with a friend, your family, or your Valentine!

Garlic, My Soul | Mint Heart CakeBlack Heart Cake | Garlic, My Soul HeartCake_0867 The tutorial is here and explains just how to cut and carve your way to a three or four layer cake of hearty goodness (I can’t stop/won’t stop these puns!).

Garlic, My Soul | Mint Heart Cake Garlic, My Soul | Mint Heart Cake HeartCake_0458 Black Heart Cake | Mary Costa Photography | For Garlic, My SoulBlack Heart Cake | Garlic, My Soul Thanks to Mary for most of the above photos! If you make a heart cake, let us know! Tweet at us and use our hashtag, #GMSForRealLife! Happy almost-Valentine’s Day, lovers!

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Hey guys! This week was a doozy, and I will report that our eating was not so hot, but what are you gonna do with a busy work week?

On Friday night, we had take-out sushi with Ana and Eric and watched Ex-Machina. I love sushi so it was a nice treat for me – that paired with popcorn made for a perfect double date night.

On Saturday night we had pizza as we prepped for Traci’s epic 30th Birthday Party which was held in our magical backyard (photo above by Ana!) Then we had tons of snacks and a cookie cake that was delightful – I’ll have to make it again for y’all.

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Pizza Cooking Class | Garlic, My Soul

Sunday, I taught a cooking class on pizza, and managed to have some leftover calzone to eat for dinner. Basically it was all pizza all weekend.

Monday and Tuesday Jeff made dinner for us and saved the day – we had Chicken Sausage with Bowties and red sauce, and Ravioli and Meatballs respectively.

On Wednesday we both worked late, so we had Poquito Mas (I had fish tacos!).

Mendocino Farms | Garlic, My Soul

And, as always, last night I went to Mendocino Farms before my soccer game and got my Kale Caesar. Up this weekend is a double date tonight (with cheese enchiladas!) and a trip to Disney tomorrow, followed by a quiet Sunday and another busy week – this time hopefully I’ll organize dinner plans on Sunday and we’ll make a few new recipes.

Happy weekend, everyone! Let me know what you’re eating for dinner – tweet at me @GarlicMySoul or comment on this – I love to know what’s making you happy.

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Happy New Year Folks!

With the holidays past us and the craziness calmed, we wanted to focus on new endeavors and new goals for this year. With the success of our first two test kitchens in the fall of 2015, Jennie and I decided it was best to keep this new and exciting tradition going, this time with seafood. With so many delicious choices to choose from, with nothing too heavy or rich, we were leaving the holiday season behind and headed toward healthy goals in 2016.

For those of you that are new to the blog, our goal for these dinners is to try out fun and exciting recipes and to spend great times with friends – this time we had Lauren and Ryan on board (along with Jeff, per usual.) We’re all from the east coast, so the sea calls to us. We had a wonderful evening filled with great food, amazing drinks, enlightening conversation, and of course a few after dinner games! We hope our experiments inspire your imagination in the kitchen as well. Here’s what was on our menu:

Alaskan Crab Puffs | Garlic, My Soul

Appetizer 1: Alaskan Crab Puffs with a Cucumber, Lemon, Dill Vodka Martini

For this appetizer we started out with a cocktail recipe of my own creation that really enhanced the sweetness of our puff pastries filled with Alaskan crab and cream cheese. We tried these like wontons as well as more of a ravioli, and determined both ways is delicious but the ravioli were easier to keep contained.

Vodka Martini | Garlic, My Soul

Appetizer 2: Scallops with Couscous and Arugula with a 2014 Brecon Estate Viogner/Grenache Blanc Blend

For this dish, we wanted to compliment the sweet and citrus notes of Brecon Estates 2014 Viogner/Grenache Blanc Blend with the earthiness of the bacon and arugula and the sweetness of the pan seared honey-glazed scallops. Served over buttered couscous, this appetizer could have been a meal by itself, but we didn’t want to stop there!

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Main Course: Dry-Rubbed Salmon with Broccolini and Dill Potatoes with a 2012 Kenneth Volk Vin Gris Pinot Noir Rosé

Fresh Atlantic salmon is one of my favorite dishes to cook and eat. When you get it right it’s an extraordinary dish. I wanted to make sure that the salmon had a wonderful crust, but also a citrus undertone.

Before dry rubbing the salmon with selected spices to add a little kick, I let the top of the fish rest in some freshly squeezed lemon juice (we’re talking off-the-tree fresh!) for about 15 minutes. Fun fact: the acidity of the citrus caused the top layer of the salmon to almost begin cooking, and once you apply the dry rub you have an infused taste that’s phenomenal.

This dish, along with the dill-sprinkled potatoes and orange-zested broccolini, complemented perfectly with the bold and balanced rosé. (Jennie’s note: there is no photo of this dish because we ate it too quickly AND because we were having too much fun. And too much wine. That’s my bad.)

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Dessert: Pots de Creme with a 2010 Halter Ranch Vin De Paille Dessert Wine

 We used the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Pots de Creme, adding a little orange zest to bring in the hint of citrus, and this was quite a crowd pleaser. Extra points for whipping the cream at the table (although our guests may have missed it because we were focused on our game!)

We look forward to our next test kitchen in early March and would love hear about any exciting recipes you’re trying with your friends – the best meals and spirits are those shared with the people you care about, am I right?

Good Spirits Folks!

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