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pan seared pork tenderloin with cherry sauce

Someone recently asked me when I started cleaning up my food. It’s funny because I kind of feel like it’s been a forever and ongoing process. I wonder if that’s how it feels for a lot of us. I’ve long been looking for a path that is sustainable, and the search has kept me learning and trying new things. Whether I’m judging a food by taste or how it makes me feel, I’m also not content repeating things that don’t work. Remember fat free cheese? I only had to try that once.

When it comes to how a food makes me feel? Well that one has required more work to change and to really believe that foods were making me feel like junk, even if I was only eating them once a week. I probably started experimenting with eliminating foods about 8 years ago. Over time and many stops and starts, I’m now realizing that what I really want and crave is good food that doesn’t drag me down or set me back.

pork tenderloin rubbed in salt and cumin

The trouble is, I once learned how to make a delicious sauce. The first time I scraped browned bits from a pan with wine, I was hooked (and quite possibly cried. ?) I still feel so proud every time I do that. Consequently, I’m sometimes afraid that eating healthy or making good changes might mean those days are over. Which is crazy! It’s not like I was deglazing pans with wine every night of the week or something. But fear never lets you try anything and talks in absolutes, right?

cherry sauce on pork tenderloin

Which brings me to this cherry sauce. Fear says sauces can’t be made unless they are loaded with sugar, butter, wine, or cream? Says stinking who? Time to experiment.

As it turns out, if you cook cherries, they break down into a thick sauce without needing to fuss with sugar. Shockingly, naturally sweet fruit makes a naturally sweet sauce, no sweetener needed. Ha. Jokes on us all.

bag of frozen dark sweet cherries from Whole Foods

Add a few spices and a seasoned pork tenderloin? This sweet and savory plate of delicious dinner is yours.

pork tenderloin with cherry saucepork tenderloin with cherry saucepork and cherries

Here you go!

pan seared pork tenderloin with cherry sauce
Makes: 6-8
  • 2-1 pound pork tenderloins
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • ½ teaspoons ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of clarified butter or olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onions
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 bag of frozen sweet cherries (naturally sweet with no sugar added.)
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or a couple of pinches)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. In a small bowl combine cumin, salt, and pepper.
  3. Lay your pork tenderloins on a board and generously rub spice mixture until all sides are generously covered. Let set for 15 minutes while you get the cherry sauce started.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter or heat 1 tablespoon of oil on medium high heat.
  5. Add your onions and stir occasionally until they are softened and start to brown, 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add your cumin and allspice and stir to combine and fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  7. Add your cherries, balsamic vinegar, cayenne, and ½ cup water to pan, stir to combine. Leave on medium high until the cherries thaw and liquid is boiling. Turn to simmer and continue to cook the cherries and sauce for 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. If the cherries are sticking to the bottom, add a bit more water and turn it down. If the sauce is too runny, turn the heat up and cook for a bit longer until it's more thickened and cherries start to fall apart.
  8. In an oven proof skillet melt remaining oil or clarified butter in an oven proof pan on medium high, when fat is hot add your pork tenderloins.
  9. Sear on one side for about 2 minutes and turn for 2 minutes on the opposite side. Keep turning and cooking until all sides are lightly browned. Do this for 7-8 minutes total, turn down heat as necessary so they don't burn but brown instead.
  10. When all sides of both tenderloins are seared, put skillet in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and check for doneness. When you put a meat thermometer in the thickest part it should read 140°. If you don't have a meat thermometer, pierce the center and if the liquids run clear or faint pink, it's done. In addition, if you push your finger into your tenderloin and it springs back to shape, it is done. If it needs more time, put it back in for a couple minutes.
  11. When pork is ready, let it rest for 5 minutes.
  12. Slice the tenderloins and serve with thickened warm cherry sauce.
Serves 6-8

Nutritional Information for Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Sauce

Pan Seared Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Sauce

Plate your pork with cauliflower rice, spaghetti squash, and/or broccoli for sides.




slow cooked beef tinga

slow cooked beef tinga

While I love to cook, bake, and experiment in the kitchen, I’m with any of you who might dread the 5 pm dinner decision. What do we have? What do we make? Who’s cooking? While 5 pm is not the ideal time to begin asking these questions, it happens more than I like.

Do you ever do the math? 105 times a week someone here in my house is potentially hungry, 52 weeks a year. Are you kidding me? That’s a lot.

We all have a barrage of decisions coming at us on a daily basis, beyond just the 21 personal meals a week (not including snacks, your potential family, and/or your pets)! In an interview a few years back, Michael Lewis did a leadership story and quoted President Obama on how he wears and eats the same thing every day so he can “routinize” his life and “pare down his decisions”. I loved the idea of this but wasn’t always sure how to apply it without disturbing my need for creativity at the same time.

Over the last couple of years I have routinized my breakfast and love all the benefits of having this decision off my to do list. I just haven’t been able to do the lunch and dinner, at least not yet. I have however, been prepping things ahead of time when I can (#sundaysetup), and it’s getting at some of the same freedom for the weekdays.

Sunday Set-Up

Every time I’ve made this Tinga recipe in the past, it’s gone in the oven. This past month I went all crockpot with it. While I haven’t always had luck with slow cookers and meat (tastes dry and washed out), the desire to make weeknights less problematic lead me to try again. The smells alone drew cheers from the Bursch crowd, even when I repeated it 2 weeks in a row.

slow cooked shredded beef tinga

If you don’t want tacos, a side of this meat with vegetables, rice, cauliflower rice, or quinoa makes a perfect bowl of dinner as well. Don’t forget to top it all with avocados (squeezed with lime and a sprinkle of salt).?

avocados with lime and salt

Here’s the recipe!

Slow Cooked Beef Tinga
: Adapted from Rick Bayless
Makes: 10-12
  • 1 large sweet potato or yam, about 1 lb, chopped into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 2-3 lb chuck beef roast (pork shoulder or combination of chicken thighs and chicken breasts work too!)
  • 1 28 ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup of beef broth (plus 2 tablespoons for the end)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of oregano
  • 2 chipotle chiles en adobo seeded, rinsed, and chopped (Whole Foodshas gluten free option)
  • 2-5 teaspoons of sauce from chiles en adobo
  • 1 small to medium onion sliced or chopped
  • Optional: 4-6 oz fresh chorizo and extra beef broth
Serve with avocado slices, lettuce wraps or corn tortillas, cojita or queso fresco Mexican cheese
  1. In the bottom of your slow cooker layer your chopped sweet potatoes, then lay your beef on top.
  2. In a medium bowl mix the remaining ingredients together and pour on top of beef.
  3. Cover and turn your slow cooker to high for 6 hours.
  4. When the meat is done, pour off the liquids into a saucepan and turn on high. Let the liquid boil and cook down into more of a thick sauce. I'd let it go for 15 minutes or so if you can. Add more beef broth if the mixture gets to dry.
  5. If adding chorizo, fry in a pan until cooked through and browned. Splash a tablespoon or two of beef broth in the pan to scrape up the browned bits and add the chorizo + bits on top of beef.
  6. When you have cooked down the liquids pour them back on top of your meat and potatoes.
  7. Separate the beef with two forks into bite size chunks and stir the meats, potatoes and sauce together gently. Don’t over mix or mash.
  8. Serve with toppings listed above.
For the oven, place meat, then potatoes, then sauce mixture in a roasting pan with a lid. Cover and cook on a low 300° for 2½ -3 hours. Cook down liquids if needed (not as much liquid this way) and add chorizo step to finish if desired.

slow cooked beef tinga nutritional information

Slow Cooked Tinga with Beef, Pork, or Chicken

This idea that we can (need to) reduce our cognitive load makes a ton of sense to me. As a food lover and creator, this has been complicated because it’s my thing. But like I said, it’s not my thing 105 times a week when all I really want is to get creative and try something new once or twice a week.

Now that I thought about that aloud with you, I’m seeing things a bit more clearly. How about you? What’s your number, what’s your load?





Greek meatballs with lemon yogurt dressing

I love meatballs. They are the quintessential burger if you ask me. (Pssst, ask me.)


No one has to bother removing a bun or thinking they are less than without the bossy bread. Relief.


Bake them, fry them, broil them. Options.

broiling meatballs

They can be forked, toothpicked, lettuce wrapped, or handled. Classy or casual.

Greek meatballs with yogurt dipping sauce

The ONLY downfall with meatballs is how good they taste and perform when stuffed with fatty meat, cheese, and bread. Ugh, deliciousness. When I’ve experimented by removing these items, the flavor changes (obviously), and the meatballs can lean towards hard and dry.

I do not give up easily. I wanted a meatball for every day, ones that can pack a punch in protein and flavor but are not high in fat and fillers. It’s tricky.

Last week, I shared my recipe for chop chop Greek salad with a meal prepping class I taught.

chop chop Greek salad

Having had bits and pieces in my fridge for a few weeks, it was the natural outcome in meatball form. The grated cucumber, olive oil, and egg keep them moist and hold it all together.

Needless to say we’ve been eating some meatballs around here. Testing, testing, 1-2-3.

Evie eating meatballs

And here is where we landed: Greek meatballs in a lettuce wrap with lemony yogurt dressing. I tossed a few Kalamata olives, scallions, and cucumbers on top because they were already prepped for my salad above.

Greek meatball lettuce wraps

Here are the details!

Greek meatballs with lemon yogurt dressing
Makes: 8
  • 1 lb ground chicken or turkey (dark meat is best for flavor and juiciness)
  • 1 lb lean ground pork
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • ½ cup cucumber grated (peeled and seeded first)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red pepper
  • ¼ cup green onions finely chopped (white and green parts)
  • ¼ cup feta cheese crumbled
  • 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (2 teaspoons dry oregano if you prefer)
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
Dressing Ingredients
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped mint (optional)
Optional Toppings
  • Lettuce wraps with chopped red peppers, green onions, Kalamata olives, Feta, and/or mint leaves.
  1. Preheat oven to broil setting and lightly brush broiling pan or cookie sheet some extra olive oil.
  2. Whisk together all dressing ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine both types of meat using 2 forks, so you don't over mix. Mix just until the two types of meat are combined.
  4. Add all ingredients for the meatballs, gently fork together until just combined.
  5. Using a small scoop or heaping tablespoon roll meatballs the size of a golf ball. Set on prepared pan. You should have 24-30 meatballs in all.
  6. Brush tops of each meatball lightly with olive oil.
  7. Broil on a rack about 6 inches from the top for 4-6 minutes. Remove from oven, turn each meatball, and broil for 3-4 minutes longer until browned and cooked thru.
  8. Serve meatballs with lettuce wraps and lemon yogurt dressing. Top with Kalamata olives, red peppers, cucumbers, and or mint if you wish.
Makes 8 servings!

Nutritional Information for Greek meatballs with lemon yogurt dressing

Greek Meatballs with Lemon Yogurt Dressing

Perhaps this week I will eat this salad and these meatballs in the same sitting, or at least the same week. When all of the pieces are prepped, the options are endless. 😉





chicken fried wild rice

chicken fried wild rice

I totally forgot about wild rice until I made those stuffed apples in December. Then the half empty bag of rice was sitting there staring at me from my cupboard. Which is what Kale did for months every time I opened the refrigerator. I made kale chips a few years back and the leftover fresh kale just glared at me until I had to toss it. This throwing away of food bothers me sooooo much so I just kept buying it (and growing it) until I found a way to like it. It’s my own personal brain hack – applying the perfect amount of pressure helps me to create and try, try again.

The wild rice takes about an hour to make so it’s perfect for a prepping day, or when you have other things to do. It cooks itself and stores easily in the fridge until you want to create something delicious.

wild rice

Prep your chicken, squash, rice, and kale ahead of time and this dish can be ready for dinner in 5 mintues. FIVE MINUTES, people. This is why I neeeeed to set myself up for the week, a little pain on one day is my gain in the days to come. We all loved it and Tim suggested it could be great as a cold salad too. Smart guy.


Here you go!

Chicken Fried Wild Rice
Makes: 3
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice according to your packaged directions (about ⅔ cup dry)
  • 1 cups of cooked chicken diced (about 1 chicken breast)
  • 1 cup of chopped squash or sweet potato
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil for roasting squash
  • 2 cups of kale leaves finely chopped (stems removed)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 2 tablespoon of coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries (optional)
  • coconut aminos or soy sauce to pass
  1. Prep the wild rice, chicken, and kale. Set aside or refrigerate.
  2. To prep squash, chop into small cubes and put on a cookie sheet. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil over pieces. Using clean hands make sure every piece has a little oil on it as well as the pan. Roast in a 400° oven for 15-20 minutes until tender.
  3. When ready to combine, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and ½ teaspoon of sesame oil in a large sautè pan on medium high heat until it is thin and moves easily to coat your pan bottom.
  4. Toss in your crushed garlic and stir it around for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
  5. Add rice and chicken and let it fry for about 30 seconds, stirring.
  6. Next add squash letting it fry for 15 seconds, then stir, fry for 15 seconds, then stir.
  7. Stir in the kale and cranberries if you are using. Let it fry and start to wilt as you continue to stir, about 1 minute.
  8. Last, drizzle your coconut aminos in the pan, give it a stir to combine and immediately cover for 1 minute to create a little hot steam for your kale to cook a bit more.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Serve with extra aminos, soy sauce, and/or hot pepper sauce on the side.

My family of 5 ate this for lunch. For dinner I’d probably double it for the 5 of us and add a salad or more roasted vegetables on the side. One onion averse friend of mine might just notice there are no onions in this recipe, eh hem. This is very unusual for me, but you could add scallions to the stir fry section of your recipe. Or steamed brocolli. Or cauliflower. Last but not least and listed as optional above, dried cranberries. While I didn’t include them in the nutritional facts below, look what I found at Whole Foods:

Eden Organic dried cranberries sweetened with apple juice

Cranberries NOT sweetened with sugar and corn syrup! This made me very happy and I might just be adding a little tablespoon here and there.

Chicken Fried Wild Rice Nutritional Information | shemadeitshemight.com

You get the picture. Just prep it and make yourself something simple and satisfying in 5 minutes. Done.

Chicken Fried Wild Rice



Speaking of prepping, learn more about #sundaysetup over here!


stuffed apples

I’m over here today writing for Bodies by Burgoon and sharing a recipe created by Molly Herrmann from Kitchen in the Market.

These stuffed apples were so simple and very satisfying. Add it to your collection for 2016!

stuffed apples

Click over here to another little corner of my world and check this healthy recipe out!

~ Heather



individual butterscotch custards

butterscotch custard

We pretty much forgot to eat sugar in December, I mean like really eat sugar. (Don’t hate me and stop reading!) It wasn’t completely on purpose but more like saying we didn’t get a chance to go sledding. Sledding isn’t a part of our daily life, we have to go out of our way to do it, and there has to be a decent amount of snow to really be worth a ride down a bumpy hill. I’m not sure if this is working, but I’m going with it.

I think a few years ago I stopped making desserts that sit in the house for more than a day. If we make them, we enjoy them in that moment, guilt free, and then promptly give the rest away. Phew! This has been brilliant for me personally. I love to make and share, but I do not love staring at cookies for days.

While I don’t make sugar a part of our daily life at home anymore, when it’s a birthday or holiday we really go out of our way to make it worth it, something truly special. Like Jaime Oliver’s Brazilian Donuts I made with gluten free all purpose flour and dipped in dark boozy chocolate for Christmas morning. Yesssssss.

Jaime Oliver's Brazilian donuts

And that would be our present philosophy/goal on sugar: It has to be worth it–good enough and worth the consequences, because there are some for most of us.

This butterscotch custard makes the list of worth it for all of us in Burschland. It was the one dessert I actually made this Christmas, not counting the breakfast dessert donuts, ha! It’s made from scratch and a gluten free dessert option to boot.

I’ve made it every which way:

Butterscotch custard with whipped cream and chocolate shavings:

butterscotch custard with whipped cream and chocolate shavings

Butterscotch custard with bananas, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings:

butterscotch custard with bananas and whipped cream

Butterscotch custard a la creme brulee with the tiniest sprinkle of salt:

butterscotch creme brulee

And my personal favorite, butterscotch custard with bananas bruleed:

butterscotch with bananas bruleed

I’m taking this recipe with me into 2016, even if I don’t pull it out until next Christmas! 😉 And since I made this again for a photo shoot, I have a couple left just waiting to give away. 😉

Individual Butterscotch Custards
Makes: 6
Adapted from Gourmet, October 2003
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 6 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons of turbinado or coarse sugar (Sugar in the Raw)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
Whipped cream and chocolate topping option:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup, honey, or sugar
  • a dash of vanilla or bourbon if you wish
  • 1 dark chocolate bar chunk to make sprinkles
  • Optional: banana slices
Brulee topping option:
  • 2 tablespoons of coarse sugar or turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)
  • pinch of salt
  • Optional: banana slices
  1. Preheat oven to 300°.
  2. In one medium sauce pan whisk 1½ cups of cream, 6 tablespoons of brown sugar, and ¼ teaspoon of salt over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Let mixture heat until just simmering.
  3. In a new medium sauce pan combine raw sugar and water over medium to high heat. With a clean whisk, mix until sugar is dissolved. Set your timer for 5 minutes and let it bubble and brown, stirring occasionally. When the timer is up remove from heat and add your hot cream to the sugar water mixture. Whisk until combined. Set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until fully combined.
  5. In a slow steady stream, pour hot cream mixture into the egg yolks whisking as you pour, or set your mixer to slowest stirring speed while you pour your cream into your moving mixer.
  6. Once combined, pour the liquid through a strainer into a large glass measuring cup. You should have about 2 cups total. Skim off the foam with a spoon.
  7. Divine your liquid into ramekins, brulee dishes, or oven proof mugs. I've used any of these options.
  8. Set your dishes on a rimmed metal cookie sheet or cake pan.
  9. Pour boiling water (from teapot) into the larger dish so the water surrounds the ramekins and creates a water bath to bake and steam your custards.
  10. Set your cookie sheet or pan of water and custards into your 300° oven for 35 minutes. Take a peek at your custards. If they seems wet and jiggly in the middle, give it another 3-5 minutes to set.
  11. When ready, remove ramekins from water bath with tongs or hot pads, and set on a wire rack to cool.
  12. Custards can be served slightly warm or at room temperature. (They can also be made ahead, cooled, and refrigerated.)
Whipped cream and chocolate topping:
  1. Whip cream with a teaspoon or two of maple syrup, honey, or sugar on high until soft peaks form. Taste and add more sweetener, a splash of vanilla or a teaspoon of bourbon if you like.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler, run the blade down the side of a chocolate bar to make shavings.
  3. Top custards with whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate shavings.
Brulee topping:
  1. Sprinkle cooled custards with a teaspoon of sugar across each surface. (If desired, sprinkle the smallest pinch of salt in addition for added flavor contrast.) Using a creme brulee torch, scorch the top to melt the sugar.
  2. If you are adding bananas, layer thinly sliced bananas across the top, sprinkle with sugar, and torch.
(If you do not have a torch, place sugared brulees under the broiler for 30 seconds or so until bubbling and melted.)

nutritional label for butterscotch custard

Butterscotch custard four different ways!

Happy New Year!




delicata squash and kale salad


Everything I am about to share with you is a gift for the remainder of your Thanksgiving week. It’s a hug in the form of greens. It’s positivity sandwiched before and after your indulgent Thanksgiving day. In case I’m confusing you here, it’s actually a salad, but it accomplishes both hugs and positivity.

Roasted Delicata Squash and Brussels - roasting delicata squash and brussels for a side vegetable dish or a topping for my kale salad is so easy and delicious. AND guess what? No peeling of this squash and they roast up in 20 minutes. |shemadeitshemight.com

You are going to want to eat it today if my pictures do it any justice. AND since you will be in the grocery store with every other single person in your city tomorrow (ugh!), you are going to want to just grab more kale and squash because a) they are both probably on sale and b) you know Thursday might make you crave green food for the weekend. Kale leading you in and kale leading you out.

toasted pumpkin seeds - All you need is 10 minutes and raw pumpkin seeds to make this yummy crunch for your salads, hash, or a light snack on their own. |shemadeitshemight.com

If by chance you’ve been asked to bring a salad to your Thanksgiving festivities? Bring this one. Even if your family is like mine and for some reason has taken it on as their cause to dislike kale. I say, bring it on.

It is one of the best salads I’ve had in awhile, like since my last kale salad craving I suppose. Around this time of year, I tend to seek a salad to lighten my lunch life. Last year I was on repeat with the beloved Kale and Brussels Salad below.

kale and brussels salad - this salad is one of our old time favorites. The toasted almonds, pecorino cheese, and creamy lemon dressing make it outstanding. We love this recipe if for lunch and as a side dish when we entertain. | shemadeitshemight.com

But this year, this week, this month, has me looking and loving my lunch again thanks to our recent trip. A week ago I had just flown to meet up with Tim in NYC and sat down at the hotel restaurant, Marta, for a lunch date with myself. Tim recommended the Pollo Salad which was delicata squash, Brussels, kale, perfectly pulled chicken, toasted pumpkin seeds and some fantastic dried cheese. I went from this lunch to 3 more days of incredible meals all over NYC, but this salad did not leave my mind come Monday. I think it’s because it was beautiful but also felt attainable in the near future.

delicata squash - this squash variety is by far the easiest to roast and prepare! All you need to do is scoop out the seeds and cut it up! And they hold their shape while cooked. We love to add it to our kale salad recipe or as a side dish. | shemadeitshemight.com

Delicata squash, friends. Do you all know about this? I might be the only one who has somehow skipped over this particular squash in the past, but this is why I LOVE eating out and traveling. It’s the exposure to a world of people and food that is different but so very good. I very quickly found delicata squash at Whole Foods last week, as if I’d walked by it a million times. No worries, this is what I know now: you don’t have to peel it. What? Delicata is revolutionary squash eating for the lazy/busy person. The thin skin cooks perfectly and holds the soft squash together in one great bite. Such a bonus.

roasted delicata squash and brussels sprouts

If I were bringing it to Thanksgiving, I would skip the chicken obviously, but for lunch, I’d do it just this way.

Delicata squash and kale salad with chicken and toasted pumpkin seeds - you are going to want this delicious salad before your week is over. The roasted squash you don't have to peel and the simple ingredients of kale, brussels, pumpkin seeds and mustard vinaigrette make it a recipe to keep. Change up different vegetables, add chicken if you want. | shemadeitshemight.com

Here is my salad selfie for the rest of November, sandwiched of course before and after some brown sugar pecan topped sweet potatoes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Delicata Squash and Kale Salad
Makes: 4-6
  • 1 delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 big handfuls of brussels sprouts, ends removed and halved
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large bunch of kale, leaves removed from thick center stem and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup raw and shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts pan fried or grilled, sliced into strips
  • Pecorino cheese grated or thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons of dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (can skip if you prefer savory)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Spread your raw pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet and roast for 8 minutes. Continue toasting if some are still green, until evenly brown but not burned, check every few minutes until puffed and lightly brown. Shake a little salt on top and stir around, scrape onto a plate to cool.
  3. Toss squash pieces and halved Brussels with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil on a rimmed cookie sheet. If vegetables look dry, add a little bit more oil to make sure they are lightly coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. For the vinaigrette, add all ingredients to a small jar and shake well or whisk all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  5. When your vegetables have cooked for 20 minutes, stir and check to see if squash and Brussels are tender by poking with a fork. If you prefer either vegetable to be cooked more, return to oven for 5 minutes more at the most and taste to your liking.
  6. To prep salad, toss kale pieces with a couple of tablespoons of dressing at a time, making sure that each piece gets coated. Give greens a good stir and see if you need more dressing if so add a spoonful more.
  7. Spread your greens on a large serving platter or individual plates.
  8. Top your plate of greens with warm squash, Brussels, and chicken pieces. Sprinkle with ½ of your pumpkin seeds and grate pecorino cheese on last if you are using.
  9. I like to leave extra dressing, cheese, and pumpkin seeds on the table so individuals can add more as desired.

delicata squash and kale salad - you are going to want this delicious salad before your week is over. The roasted squash needs no peeling and the simple ingredients of kale, brussels, pumpkin seeds and mustard vinaigrette make it a recipe to keep. Change up different vegetables, add chicken if you want, or make this without chicken for the perfect Thanksgiving side dish! | shemadeitshemight.com

Nutritional Information for 6 servings of Delicata Squash Salad




balsamic roasted pork with pears and potatoes

Apparently my last 3 months can be paired with fruit. I wonder if I can keep this going?

My August?

colorado peaches

The peaches and these people.


Cole summer 2015

Ella Bella summer 2015

Evelyn summer 2015

My September?


The grapes and this girl.

Jen and Heather

My October?

red and yellow bosc pears

The pears and purgatory.

See what I did there? Matchy-matchy. And by purgatory, I don’t exactly mean an uphill climb rather a downward slope. Heaven knows there is only one direction to go from there. Please say yes, November.

In spite of an annoying October, I did go searching for pears. Here’s the thing about pears, you HAVE to bring them home hard but not tooooo hard. The other day I found some lovely ripe organic bartlett pears but by the time the grocery bagger at the new Hyvee decided to put them at the bottom of a bag filled with bananas, coffee grounds, butter, popcorn, coconut aminos and a gallon of milk on top (not even kidding), they were pear sauce in a plastic bag when I got home. In this context, how gross does that sound? Grocery bag pear sauce for $8. Even if they hadn’t rumbled roughly down the grocery conveyer belt (yes, that too) you need hard enough pears to survive the trip home.

red bosc pear

Good grief. When you hear things like, buy pears hard but not too hard, or make sure they are bagged correctly, oh and smell your fruit, it’s no wonder people stop trying to eat fresh foods. (For reals though, I do smell my fruit. If it smells like a rock then it probably tastes like one.)

Oh dearest pear tree, where ever art thou? Oh, that’s right, not in Minnesota. 🙁 They were however found in my fruit loop journey through Oregon this past September–fruit farms and stands right on the side of the road, you lucky people of Oregon.

Oregon Fruit Loop

Pears are the perfect partners to pork and potatoes, and you don’t need them very ripe to roast just right.

roasted pork, sweet potatoes and pears

Add just a little onion to the mix, and you have another reason to love.

sliced red onion

It’s a simple combination and one of our favorite fall dinners.

roasted pork, pears and potatoes

Hello November. I like you already.

Balsamic Roasted Pork with Pears and Potatoes
Makes: 4 servings
  • 4 bone-in pork chops
  • 4 potatoes scrubbed, sliced thinly into wedges lengthwise, at least 8 wedges per potato so they can cook all the way through. Use russet, sweet potatoes or yams!
  • ½ red or yellow onion cut into 4 chunks and separate
  • 4 barely ripe pears quartered and seeded
  • 4 short sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked for at least 1 tablespoon roughly chopped
  • 4 heads of garlic peeled and crushed
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • additional salt and pepper to season the pork
  1. Set pork chops in a glass dish.
  2. Whisk together ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, ⅓ cup olive oil, 4 garlic cloves crushed, 1 tablespoon of rosemary leaves roughly chopped, ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon of ground pepper.
  3. Pour approximately 1 tablespoon of the whisked marinade on each pork chop, 4-6 tablespoons total for entire glass dish, reserving the rest of your sauce for later. Flip the meat over and rub it around, so both sides are covered. Let your meat set at room temperature while you finish the recipe. (This part can be made an hour and up to 4 hours ahead and refrigerated. Be sure to let meat come to room temperature before you start the cooking process.)
  4. Preheat your oven to 425°.
  5. Chop your potatoes, pears and onions as your oven preheats. Toss your fruits and vegetables with remaining marinade, making sure each piece is covered with the sauce, with clean hands rub the pieces with marinade. Finish off with more rosemary leaves or whole sprigs and lightly sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper across your entire dish.
  6. Place your vegetables and fruit in the oven and set your timer for 40 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  8. Sprinkle your marinated pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides and place them in your hot skillet, scraping all marinade in as well. Let your chops fry for about 1½ minutes before flipping over. Fry again for a minute or two. You are just searing both sides.
  9. Once both sides have been seared, open your oven and settle your pork chops, and any pan sauce, on top of your vegetables and continue to bake for remaining time.
  10. At the 40 minute mark, pull out your pan and check readiness by piercing a potato to see if it's cooked all the way through and tender. Check your meat's temperature if you'd like as well. If it's at least 135° take it out and let your dish rest, it will continue to cook. If it needs more time, put it back in for another 5 and check again.

balsamic roasted pork with pears and potatoes



Note: If you want or need to simplify this recipe, you can skip marinating and pan-frying your pork chops. Just rub all pork chops, vegetables, and fruits (as seen in the picture below) with the entire batch of marinade. Salt and pepper the whole dish well and cook for 45 minutes, or until meat and potatoes are fully cooked. I prefer the extra step of marinating and searing the meat if I have prep time, but I like this next best option on nights when I need to throw something in the oven sooner than later.  

roasted pork with potatoes and pears

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ancho chili chicken tacos with cider glazed red onions

I can/will/want to eat tacos every single day. I’ve yet to get sick of them, and they keep getting better with age and experimentation. Am I talking about tacos or wine? Ok, both.

ancho chili chicken tacos with red onions

Do you remember your first taco? I do. Sibley State Park camp ground, age 7. Ha and not kidding. Margaret Fransen offered my parents something she was cooking up on her camp stove–crunchy shell, seasoned beef, cheese, lettuce and tomato. It was new to us (and it was awesome) but just the beginning. Thank you, Margaret.

My taco/Mexican evolution went something like this: Margaret’s Old El Paso Taco > Taco John’s soft shells > Chi-Chi’s in the ’80s > Don Pablo’s in the ’90s > variations of this Martha Stewart recipe > and then the changer of all game changers: the day Tim and I landed the last 2 brunch seats at Chicago’s Frontera Grill. Even though I did not eat tacos that day, it was the introduction to Rick Bayless (and his cookbooks) that lead to eating corn tortillas and learning how to make more authentic Mexican food.

white corn tortillas

It is interesting to observe that once I learned how to successfully heat up a corn tortilla, and quit buying flour as a thoughtless habit, the taco options grew exponentially for any meal of the day. Scrambled eggs and sautéed greens, beans and cheese, guacamole and fried egg, chicken and onions, steak and radishes, fish and cabbage slaw, sausages and kimchi, brussels and sweet potatoes. Good grief, we’ll eat corn tortillas filled with anything.

Chicken tacos

This simple chicken taco recipe I am sharing with you here is inspired from Rick in a couple ways that I can readily think of: the grilled chicken with knob onions (page 180) and the adobo marinade (page 140), both from his original Mexican Everyday. I’ve made a few changes over time that work for me and what I usually have on hand. I like the mild Ancho chili taste (poblanos) and have sweetened it up with orange juice, my latest sweetener craze.

fresh squeezed orange juice

It’s easy to make, keeps in the fridge, and adds great flavor for grilling or sautéing meat.

ancho chile marinade

Here’s the marinade:

Ancho Chili Marinade
Makes: ½ cup, easily doubled
Inspired from Rick Bayless
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup orange juice or ½ orange squeezed and strained
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ cup water
  1. Heat olive oil in pan and add crushed garlic, sauté for 1 minute.
  2. Add oregano and ancho, and stir over the heat.
  3. Add vinegar, orange juice, salt, and water. Whisk until combined.
  4. Heat over medium-high heat until it's bubbling. Turn to low to simmer for 8-10 minutes to blend flavors.
  5. When completely cool pour into a small jar with tight lid and store in refrigerator for up to a month.

Ancho chile chicken

Here’s the chicken and my new favorite way to make onions for tacos (barely cooked with a little crunch). I finish them off with a splash of apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.

red onions finished in apple cider vinegar

Ancho Chile Chicken Tacos with Cider Glazed Red Onions
Makes: 12 tacos
  • 1 lb of chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup Ancho Marinade (recipe above)
  • 1 red onion (or white) sliced into thin rings, all rings cut in half
  • 1-2 tablespoon of olive oil or clarified butter
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
Chicken Prep:
  1. Rinse chicken breasts in cold water and pat dry with paper towel.
  2. Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise making 2 large strips.
  3. Salt and pepper chicken and let set for a few minutes before adding marinade.
  4. Pour ¼ cup Ancho Chile Marinade into a prep dish, adding more as needed.
  5. Generously brush chicken breasts with marinade on both sides and set in shallow dish.
  6. Let chicken rest with marinade for up to 30 minutes. If you want to do this longer, then pop in fridge until ready. If it's going to be more than an hour, cover or place chicken breasts in large baggie with marinade and rub it around to coat the chicken. (This is not an overnight marinade!)
Directions for Grilling Chicken:
  1. Sear on direct high heat for about 2 minutes on each side, remove from direct heat and cook slowly over indirect heat for about 6 minutes, turning a couple of times.
  2. Remove to plate, cover with foil and let rest while you prepare the onions and tortillas.
Directions for Pan Frying Chicken:
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan on medium high heat.
  2. Add marinaded chicken breast pieces, scraping sauce into pan.
  3. Sauté on both sides until cooked through, about 6-10 minutes total, set on a clean plate and cover with foil while you make the onions.
  1. Heat clarified butter or olive oil in sauté pan on medium high heat, add onions and toss around.
  2. Sauté for about 5 minutes only, stirring a few times. You want them limp but still a little crunchy.
  3. Turn the heat up a bit, add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and stir until vinegar evaporates.
  4. Lightly salt and pepper to taste.
Assembling Tacos:
  1. Slice chicken into thin strips or pull apart with 2 forks to shred. If chicken has cooled or you make it ahead, reheat in pan with meat juices poured in or add a couple tablespoons of water and a tablespoon of extra sauce. Stir to reheat and shred in pan with two forks.
  2. Serve warm corn tortillas with chicken, queso fresco crumbled, warm onions, cilantro leaves and a chipotle salsa if you wish.

Ancho Chile Chicken Tacos with Cider Glazed Onions



Note about kids and corn tortillas: all 3 of my kids had to warm up to eating corn tortillas over the years, even Evie who wasn’t undoing the habit of flour. It’s not an immediate love in texture for kids, from what I’ve noticed. While they didn’t always prefer it, nor were they forced to eat it, we didn’t buy flour and we kept on serving corn as an option. Zip to the present, there are now arguments on who ate the last corn tortilla and rules about putting it on the list when you do. 



orange balsamic salad dressing

prosciutto, pine nuts, and balsamic orange dressing

This salad finally happened. It was a necessary follow-up to the fried chicken and home made peach ice cream I made for extra special people this week. Whoa. Time out for salad!

Actually it was more like time out for fried chicken, which is so not our daily dish but definitely worth a little celebratory appearance this week. Having friends over for the first time in our 10 year adult friendship? How in the world has this not happened?? Fried chicken and homemade ice cream it had to be.

But back to the salad show.

orange balsamic dressing

I’ve had this orange balsamic dressing standing tall in my refrigerator since Monday, and it’s been patiently waiting for these greens. In our 5 trips to the grocery store in the last 5 days (and a garden outside!) I somehow didn’t have greens? How this happens I’ll never understand.

Today though, I have it all.


salad greens

Pine nuts toasted.

pine nuts


prosciutto salad

And a sprinkling of pecorino!

pecorino cheese

This salad is so simple and light.

freshly squeezed orange juice for balsamic salad dressing

The orange juice naturally sweetens and offsets the vinegar (Whole30 approved btw!), and the simplicity of garlic, salt, and pepper gives the perfect bite.

Serve this dressing with tomatoes and ricotta? Yes.

summer tomatoes and whipped ricotta and balsamic dressing

This dressing with spinach, grapes, bacon, and broccoli? Sure.

spinach salad with orange balsamic dressing

Loving your lunch can always be summed up with these five words: make your own salad dressing. For my other favorite vinaigrettes, look here and here.

Orange Balsamic Salad Dressing
Makes: 10 ounces
  • 1 large orange zested
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon of cracked pepper
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped rosemary (optional)
  1. Wash and dry your orange. Zest the entire surface.
  2. Cut your orange in half and squeeze. You should have about ½ cup, give or take a little.
  3. Whisk zest, juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper together in a bowl until combined.
  4. Slowly add your oil by pouring in a steady stream and whisking vigorously.
  5. If adding chopped rosemary, whisk in at the very end or sprinkle a few leaves on the salad.
  6. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

orange balsamic salad dressing