Hey chickadees, hello and happy Easter! Easter to me means eating lasagna and sitting in my house/backyard with a bunch of friends celebrating springtime. This year is no different, although I am making baked ziti instead of lasagna.

Anyways, the point is, we’ve reached a new milestone – spring has sprung and we’re solidly into longer nights and warmer days. And I feel like I’m also emerging from a long, dark winter where (in case you haven’t noticed) I haven’t been around. And I’m here to tell you why: because I am four months pregnant!

Guys, I never knew a lot about pregnancy before getting pregnant. Sure, I’d read here and there and was familiar with morning sickness (hint: not in the morning) and being tired (but what does that really even mean? Aren’t we all tired?) and food aversions (I bet those people are just picky, right?) BUT, OH GOD what a shock and kick in the ass when I found myself EXHAUSTED (have you had mono? It’s like that) and NAUSEATED ALL THE TIME (food? No, thanks) and grossed out by ALL FOOD.

What’s a food blogger to do when they can’t eat anything but breaded chicken tenders and french fries from Trader Joe’s? And goes to bed at 8 pm every night after eating said dinner quietly and very slowly, so as to a) not move too much and b) not throw up? Boy was I not ready for the first trimester.

I will say, in case any of you are pregnant or looking to get pregnant, something that saved me was REALLY COLD fruit smoothies. Here are some ideas for you:

Blueberry Cucumber Smoothie – Cucumbers were one of the only veggies I ate for the 8 weeks I was really down and out. They were in the “safe” list along with edamame and sugar snap peas. Things that were absolutely disgusting? Anything leafy – keep lettuce, arugula, spinach, etc. away from me – no thanks!

Secret leafy greens were mostly OK, like in this Avocado Tangelo Smoothie. I was really into SWEET smoothies which is the opposite of what I usually crave, so this carrot and citrus smoothie worked it for me.

Other than smoothies and chicken and fries, I was really only eating cucumbers and sometimes pirate booty and maybe a sandwich with chicken and a lot of mayo. It was a food blogger’s worse nightmare (but my 12 year old self’s dream, I suspect.) Also there was definitely pregnancy chocolate ice cream because the colder, the better.

But, lucky for you and me, here we are, solidly on the other side and sliding into the second trimester. I can say I am back to eating almost everything (I even had Indian food the other night, one of the very first foods to skeeve me out) and I am relearning how to carry my largest cast iron with one arm (guys who knew I had built up those muscles because of cookware?)

I’ve been reposting some winners from year’s past, and I’ll likely do that again while I get a good backlog of recipes up for you. Please be patient with me! In the meantime, I will leave you with tried and true dishes I know you’ll love.


GUYS, we’re moving on up and SPRING is on it’s way. Here’s to berries to come (starting with the strawberry, love seeing the Cali grown ones around!) and the start of some great veg. Here’s our list:

Asparagus
Avocado
Basil
Beets
Broccoli
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Citrus
Cucumber
Green Beans
Mushrooms
Onions, Green
Strawberries

And, as always, here are some of the best recipes to try:

Guys, this is my fave way to make broccoli. Roasted with Lemon. Get at it.

Need sides? Try this Southwestern Side Salad with green beans. It’s great with anything grilled, and I recommend chilling it for a bit before serving. It’s also great as a dip, just add a little salsa to it!

Strawberry Avocado Salad. This is an easy go-to salad for work or weekend. It’s vegetarian but go ahead and add some chicken if you want. Or serve with burrata. This is great for people like me who prefer their strawberries in things instead of out-of-hand.

Steak Fajitas | Garlic, My Soul

An of course, a solid fave is steak fajitas – serve with lots and lots of avocado instead of adding sour cream. Or add both, live a little.

I hope your April is going well and that you’re cookin’ up a storm! XO


I made this back in 2015, but I also needed it this weekend because it was sunny and bright and I needed to gulp down a ton of liquid but water sometimes is a little overrated. I hope you enjoy! 

**********

Strawberry Basil Lemonade | Garlic, My Soul

Mondays can be hard. Coming off a weekend of sunshine and great weather and hanging with friends, sitting in your office (or wherever you work!) might not seem as…well, free. This weekend I worked on some wedding stuff for my friends A and E, and I also spent some time in my kitchen whipping some new items up for you.

Now that Monday has rolled around, I wish I was back outside in the sunshine, spray painting things gold…but a glass of strawberry lemonade someone makes the world seems a little brighter, like I am still sitting outside making my Pinterest dreams come true.

Strawberry Basil Lemonade | Garlic, My Soul

I don’t often drink sweet drinks, but something about strawberries makes me want to sip ice cold glasses of lemonade and dream of long summer evenings.

This recipe is pretty similar to my Rosemary Blueberry Lemonade, but you know, with strawberries and basil. The point is this: get an herb you like, and a berry you like, and you’re on your way to a drink that’ll make Mondays seem like the new Thursday (even I can’t make Monday a Friday.

Strawberry Basil Lemonade | Garlic, My Soul

Ingredients:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup lemon juice (about 8 lemons, see below)
8-10 leaves basil
1 cup strawberries
water, to taste

Directions:

1. Mix the sugar with one cup of water over medium heat. Once all the sugar is dissolved, add your basil leaves and turn off heat.
2. While your basil simple syrup is melding, prepare a pitcher with a handful or two of berries, and lots of ice.
3. Freshly squeeze lemons to get about one cup of lemon juice. I used about eight lemons, but honestly this can vary depending on the size and juiciness of your lemons. The good news is you can never have too many lemons, so just grab a bag and you’ll be OK.
4. Put your lemon juice in the pitcher. Remove the basil leaves and add your simple syrup to your pitcher. Now, add water to taste – keep in mind that the ice will dilute the drink, too!

Strawberry Basil Lemonade | Garlic, My Soul

Happy Monday, y’all. Let us know what you do on Mondays to make them a little shinier – we’re all in this together, after all.


April! Springtime! Wahoo! We love April in Los Angeles because things are waking up – the birds, the trees, the cacti (ok maybe they were already awake) and the sun is shining for more and more hours each day. April means May and SUMMER are just around the corner, and we’re starting to think about sundresses, sandals, and beach days. With that comes this sunny desktop calendar celebrating peas, my fave fall veggie, and a great recipe for Shells with Ricotta and Peas that I need to make ASAP. (PSST….here is the Tablet Version, and here is a horizontal iPhone version!)


I made this back in 2013. The photos are horrible, I’m so sorry. I am bringing it back because y’all said you could use more easy dinners in your life. I am a helper. This is quick. It’s delicious. It’s full of veggies. But also chicken, because #protein. And, this was hilarious to read because you guys, I still eat chicken tacos like once a week. Whatever. I can’t change. I won’t! #chickentacosforever

******

I’m not really a casserole person. I don’t like the idea of all my foods together because I like a plate of diversity, so I can take little bites of everything. Need we discuss the Chicken Spaghetti disaster of 2010?

But this was easy. And basically like mac and cheese. And it had 2 veggies in it. And Jeff loved it. Did I mention it was done in 30 minutes? This is added to the wheelhouse for us – good because I was getting sick of chicken tacos (just kidding, I will never be sick of chicken tacos. Chicken tacos forever.)

Chicken Casserole + Peas | Garlic, My Soul

Chicken Casserole + Peas | Garlic, My Soul

Here’s what you’ll need: spinach (or kale or some other leafy green) and peas (or broccoli or some other wilting veggie in your fridge), and chicken (or not if you’re a veg, you get the idea), and parmesan cheese, and ricotta, a couple eggs, and some pasta. OK? Go.

So here’s what you do. First, put some water on to boil for pasta. Then cut up your chicken, and cook that in some olive oil and salt and pepper. When the water boils, put in your pasta, and cook it al dente!

Meanwhile, cut up your spinach. Shred some cheese – use as much as you want – I used about a cup of parm. Mix your parm cheese with ricotta (I used 15 ounces) and two eggs.

Chicken Casserole + Peas | Garlic, My Soul

So now your pasta should be almost done, right? Here’s a trick I learned from someone…I think Nikki? Nikki, was that you?

Chicken Casserole + Peas | Garlic, My Soul

When you’re pasta is about two minutes from being done, throw your peas into the water and let them cook for two minutes, then drain. It saves time! It turns the water a little green! It uses one less pot! Rejoice!

Chicken Casserole + Peas | Garlic, My Soul

So now, put your cooked chicken peas, and pasta in a bowl, and mix it up with your cheese, add the spinach, and stick it in a casserole dish. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the top is melty.

Chicken Casserole + Peas | Garlic, My Soul

Here’s what you’ll end up with. A casserole dish full of cheese goodness. I used a pound of pasta, and on day 2 the pasta was a little dry, so if that happens just add some shredded cheese to the top of your bowl before reheating!

Chicken Casserole + Peas | Garlic, My Soul

I also highly suggest topping with some sundried tomatoes – what a delight! Full recipe here.