Ashley’s Sun-Dried Tomato Caesar Salad

Sun-dried tomato Caesar salad recipe from Date Night In by Ashley Rodriguez -

I have quite a cookbook collection. They’ve overflowed my bookcases and spilled over to both coffee tables. They’re stacked on my desk and sometimes they accompany me to bed. Flipping through the best cookbooks sends my mind into a tizzy and leaves me feeling sort of desperately, overwhelmingly inspired. I want to make everything and it kills me that I don’t have time for all of them.

bread for croutons

I watched my mom self-publish a few books when I was young, so I know how much effort and care goes into the making of a book. I’m in awe of all the authors who come up with a concept and carry it through to execution. It’s truly a labor of love.

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Lemony Roasted Cauliflower Risotto

Baked cauliflower risotto recipe (risotto doesn't get easier than this!) -

We’re seven days into our month away in Austin. So far, our daily routine has been moving at a more relaxed pace. I love it. Cookie and I are soaking up the sunshine and enjoying our walks around our eclectic neighborhood. I’ve learned how to get to the grocery store and Jeanine and Jack‘s place without the help of my phone, so I think I’m pretty much set! I’m going to do my best not to talk about this city non-stop for the next few weeks, but needless to say, I’m inspired.

brown arborio rice and cauliflower

This risotto is a riff on my mushroom risotto, which is one of my favorites. I used the same cooking method, which requires only minimal stirring. Brown rice offers more nutrients and fiber than white rice and offers more flavor (the more flavor, the better!). Both the rice and the cauliflower bake in the oven at the same time, so you’ll have plenty of downtime to sip on leftover white wine while you wait.

I know there are still plenty of cauliflower haters out there. Ali is one of them and she even liked this lemony risotto! Roasted cauliflower is really another animal. When it’s properly roasted, it’s tender on the inside, crispy on the edges and nutty in flavor. It really shines in this peppery, lemony, texture-rich risotto.

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Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

Sweet and spicy Thai pineapple fried rice, a simple vegetarian dinner! -

I haven’t done any real cooking in our Austin kitchen yet, but this homemade Thai pineapple dish is looking pretty tempting after all the tacos I ate yesterday! Tacos for lunch and tacos for dinner. I am determined to eat all the tacos in Austin.

I even locked myself out of my car yesterday when I got out to pay for some tacos. That gave me a whole hour of waiting for the locksmith to think about tacos and review my list of Austin restaurant recommendations. I’m really overwhelmed by all the choices here. I don’t know if any taco will be able to beat the mushroom taco that I got from Torchy’s Tacos last night, though. Goodness!

pineapple fried rice ingredients

Back to Thai food. This pineapple fried rice was inspired by a meal at Sweet Basil in Norman, Oklahoma over the holidays. I really loved the combination of sweet, caramelized pineapple with Thai spices. I can’t claim that my version is traditional, but it does taste very close to my memories of that dish. I used some leftover bell pepper instead of tomato and thought it was pretty great that way.

The cooking method for this fried rice is a riff on my spicy kale and coconut stir fry, so if you’re a fan of that recipe, I think you’ll love this one, too. This meal comes together very quickly once you start cooking, so make sure that your ingredients are prepped and ready before you turn on the heat!

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What’s in Season? February Produce

Learn what to do with February fruits and vegetables! Find recipes, preparation tips and more.

Hello from Austin, Texas! Ali and I left snowy Kansas City yesterday morning and drove eleven hours south. It was a long day. I watched the sun slowly cross the sky from left to right as the pickup trucks got bigger and bigger. We made it!

We’re getting settled in for our month away from home and I can’t wait to go explore this city. You can follow along on Instagram if you’re so inclined. We’re using the hashtag #aliandkatetakeaustin.

Below, you’ll find my monthly guide to February produce, as well as a handy graphic at the bottom that you can pin for reference. And for more seasonal recipes, follow my winter recipes board on Pinterest. Thanks again to Becky for letting me base this resource on her “Eat Seasonal” monthly seasonal produce lists.

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Blood Orange and Pomegranate Sparkling Sangria

Blood orange and pomegranate sparkling sangria (perfect for the Super Bowl and Valentine's Day!) -

As I edited these sparkling, hot pink photos, I realized my “Super Bowl” cocktail looks more like a Valentine’s Day cocktail. The big game is tomorrow (find my Super Bowl recipes here) and we’re just around the corner from that horrid holiday, so let’s call it a two-for-one special!

My friends are probably tired of hearing me announce that “Champagne is the new beer,” every time I bring over a bottle for a game, but it’s true. You heard it here first. Sparkling sangria is a fun way to drink it.

blood orange and pomegranate

I’ve been intimidated by sangria for far too long. It always seemed like some sort of magical potion that only a Spanish woman could properly mix up. Plus, my exhausting analytical side always wants to create the “perfect” recipe and there are so many variables when it comes to sangria. The sweetness and type of fruit, the sweetness and type of wine… Fortunately, I’ve finally learned that sangria is a mix-and-match, do-no-wrong kind of drink, which is just as pitchers of cocktails should be.

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Cranberry Orange Granola

Healthy, maple-sweetened, cranberry orange granola!

I feel like I’ve been trudging through mud all week. That’s a phrase my mom uses fairly often when she’s having a hard time getting stuff done. For some reason, I’ve always imagined that the mud is actually chocolate pudding, which offers a more delicious visual.

So I’ve been trudging through chocolate pudding all week. Obstacles here, there, everywhere! I can’t tell you how many trips to the grocery store I’ve made over the past few days. You know how it goes. The first grocery store is out of Brussels sprouts, the second doesn’t carry spring roll wrappers and the third store’s freezer section doesn’t offer any frozen spinach. Then you finally get home and realize that you forgot to put Parmesan on the list. Good grief.

granola ingredients

That’s not just me, right? I’ve decided that my version of paradise includes a grocery store that carries everything I need. No, I take that back—my version of paradise includes a self-stocking kitchen. Why doesn’t that exist yet? It’s 2015!

I found myself day-dreaming about self-stocking kitchens while this granola filled my house with the heavenly scent of fresh orange and warm maple syrup. I’ve been on a granola kick again and this kind is my new favorite. It’s extra clumpy and extra delicious.

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