Date Night doesn’t have to be at a restaurant to be special and delicious! These 22 Recipes for Date Night at Home will help you plan a gourmet meal without setting foot in a restaurant!

22 Recipes for Date Night at Home

Date Night doesn’t have to be at a restaurant to be special and delicious! These 22 Recipes for Date Night at Home will help you plan a gourmet meal without setting foot in a restaurant!

22 Recipes for Date Night at Home!

Date Night doesn’t have to be at a restaurant to be special and delicious!  These 22 Recipes for Date Night at Home will help you plan a gourmet meal without setting foot in a restaurant!

Do you love Date Night?  Do you get excited about a chance to dress up, eat delicious food, and stare dreamily into each other’s eyes?  I do!  Sometimes, however, date night also means making a reservation, parking blocks away from a restaurant, paying to park, and handing over a credit card for obscenely expensive meals.  If the chilly winter wind has you dreading the walk to your destination, if your credit card needs a break, or if you simply want to impress your significant other with your mad-crazy cooking skills– keep reading!  These 22 Recipes for Date Night at Home will have you romancing your way through the night with decadent, gorgeous food from the comfort of your own space.

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Navigating the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Navigating the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Navigating the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is easy, and with a little planning, can be a fantastic getaway both for bourbon lovers and those who simply want to sight-see

Navigating the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Navigating the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is easy, and with a little planning, can be a fantastic getaway both for bourbon lovers and those who simply want to sight-see!

Fellow foodies, if you, like me, enjoy tours of vineyards, distilleries, and breweries– listen up!  I’m sure you’ve heard of famous wine-tasting regions, such as California’s wine country, Italy’s Tuscan vineyards, and France’s Loire Valley.  Those areas are special because, while there are other fantastic vineyards scattered across the world, these are in clusters, and make for spectacular vineyard-hopping getaways.  You may or may not have realized, however, that several major bourbon distilleries in Kentucky are also clustered together, and make up the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  Kentucky’s native limestone rock makes bourbon production easier, and 95% off all bourbon is made in Kentucky.  The Bourbon Trail runs from Lexington to Louisville, and as of September 2016 has nine official stops.

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Food to Pack for Road Trips

Food to Pack for Road Trips - Tips for Packing, Food for When You Have a Cooler, and Road Trip Staples. Bonus: Cooking While Camping

Food to Pack for Road Trips

You’ve been driving for hours.  Your only food options are McDonald’s, Wendy’s, or a gas station, and all you can think is that you really, really, want something homemade and flavorful.  You’re in a food desert.  If this sounds awful, horrible, nightmarish, imagine how you’d feel after several days of barren food options.  How can you protect yourself from this tragic situation?  Pack your own food.  We’ve already talked about how packing food saves money, and it can definitely give you healthier and more flavorful food options.  What, though, can you pack?  Today we’ll look at a round-up of travel-friendly foods from around the blogosphere.

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How To Make Your Food Taste Better

How to Make Your Food Taste Better- 5 Easy Steps for Better Flavors

Have you ever eaten a delicious, mouth-watering meal prepared by a friend, asked them for the recipe, and then discovered, to your dismay, that your version simply doesn’t taste the same?  What happened?!  What mysterious recipe secrets did your friend leave out?!  We’ll assume, for a moment, that your friend actually did follow the recipe.  We’ll also assume, because they love you, that they aren’t trying to sabotage your meal by giving you a faux-recipe, and did not leave out their top-secret ingredient.  What could have happened?  Today we’ll look at a few easy ways to make your food taste better.

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How to Save Money on Food While Traveling

How to Save Money on Food While Traveling: Tips for Eating on Road Trips, Airplane Holidays, and International Travel

Obviously I love food, and I love eating food.  I also, of course, consider eating local food to be one of the best parts of traveling.  You know what I DON’T love?  Spending $20 on awful sandwiches at the airport, all because I was desperate for food and hadn’t planned ahead.  Yes, it happens, but sometimes it doesn’t have to.  Here are a few ways to Save Money on Food While Traveling.

How To Save Money When Traveling: Tips for Road Trips, Airplane Traveling, and How to Find Food in the Airport

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Top 10 Food to Eat After Dental Work

Top 10: Food to Eat After Dental Work

Top 10 Foods to Eat After Dental Work- Because you know you're still hungry even though your mouth hurts

Top 10 Foods to Eat After Dental Work

These Top 10 Foods to Eat After Dental Work will help you stay full after dental work or oral surgery, because even if your mouth hurts and you can’t chew!

Today’s post: Food to eat after dental work.  I’ve always been one of those weird people who loved going to the dentist.  I loved how clean my teeth felt after a cleaning, and how I never seemed to get a cavity.  Recently, however, I had to switch dentists, AND get a few fillings, AND have oral surgery.  Ouch.  After the surgery I remember thinking.. “I’m so glad I can’t feel my face,” and “How much did I just pay??,” and “Did he really say I can’t chew anything for a week???”  I found myself wandering around the food aisles at Target with the husband, looking sadly at all the food I couldn’t chew.

I can’t be the only one with this problem, right?  What does one eat after getting their wisdom teeth out, or after a root canal, or gum graft, or after other super fun dental work?  In my case, after surgery I wasn’t supposed to eat anything that needs to be chewed for 3 days, and then only soft food I could easily chew on one side for another 4-5 days. Was I really supposed to eat nothing but applesauce and Jell-o for a whole week?  That wasn’t going to happen..  No one would want to put up with my hunger induced grumpiness. Thankfully, the husband puréed things and brought me mashed potatoes, my mom brought me puréed potato soup, and my cat reminded me that he usually doesn’t get the food he wants either.

Today’s post is a list of foods that I found worked for me.  There’s all kinds of dental work out there, and some of these foods might not work for you, depending on if you have stitches, where your stitches are, etc.  If you, like me, have to drink your food for a week or so, this list should help!  The list will go from snacks, to light meals, to protein filled yumminess that will actually leave you full. If you’ve tried other foods that worked for you- let me know in the comments!!

Note: When you start transitioning back to food that needs chewed, go slowly! Your stomach won’t thank you for skipping straight to heavy and dense food. Start with soft food like pasta, and go with smaller portions. Make your way slowly back to your normal diet.


Top 10 Foods To Eat After Dental Work. Because you know you're hungry even though your mouth hurts.

 1. Applesauce

Homemade Applesauce

Homemade Applesauce

I know- I just knocked applesauce and said I couldn’t bear to eat it all week. Okay sure. But the truth is, as a snack, it’s quite tasty and it won’t hurt your mouth.  It could even work as a breakfast.  If you’re feeling up to making your own- this Homemade Applesauce is pretty hands off.  If you don’t feel like cooking, get some No Sugar Added Applesauce and eat up.


2. Granita / Ice Cream / Fro-Yo / sorbet / sherbet

Wild Berry Lavender Granita with Whipped Ricotta

Wild Berry Granita

This one is another no brainer- but don’t overlook it, because cold and creamy really does feel amazing on a sore mouth.  Skip the popsicles if you can’t bite down or can’t open your mouth big enough after your dental work.  Try this Wild Berry Granita recipe to make your own frozen treat.  Skip any add-on toppings (Unless it’s whipped cream. Always say yes to whipped cream).  You could also eat ice cream on some really soft fluffy cake.

3. Green Smoothies

Are you craving vegetables?  Do you miss salads?  If you haven’t tried a green smoothie yet, this might be the time to do it.  My favorite combination is spinach, plain Greek yogurt, frozen fruit, and a little coconut water or orange juice.  You can also make them more protein filled by throwing in a few nuts or some nut butter.  Make sure you get it blended extremely well, and taste it as you go to make sure it’s sweet enough.

4. Pudding

Masala Spiced Chia Pudding- Make this Vegan Breakfast or Dessert by mixing seeds, milk or milk substitute, sweetener, and Indian spices, and leaving it in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Masala Spiced Chia Pudding

You already know you love pudding.  It’s creamy.  It’s sweet.  If you’ve had too much ice cream since your dental work, and can’t stand the thought of eating any more sugary sweets, try this Masala Spiced Chia Pudding for a healthier pudding that works for both breakfast and dessert.  This vanilla or chocolate pudding recipe is also delicious and easy.

5. Greek Yogurt + Honey

This is a great option because it’s full of protein, is creamy, light, delicious, but still takes practically zero effort.  You can even buy single serving containers of Greek yogurt that have honey in a separate section of the bowl.  You could also do this with cottage cheese if the curds don’t bother your mouth.

6. Puréed Soup

This Indian Spiced Tomato Soup is a flavorful twist on the classic American soup is made with warming spices, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. Champagne Tastes -

Indian Spiced Tomato Soup

Soup! Yes, that’s right, a “real” food! A food you can eat because you’re hungry and it TASTES GOOD! Okay- I admit- normally when I make puréed soup, I don’t blend the entire pot of soup, because it typically tastes a little better when there’s texture.  But if you have stitches in your mouth and can’t do anything but sip or slurp, blend it all up.  Skip any toppings.  Skip the bread and crackers you normally use to scrape the bowl. It’ll be okay- you can eat all that next week.  Make Tomato Soup, or try blending up a soup you normally eat chunky (like Potato Soup!).  You can also find  puréed soup pre-made in boxes (I like Trader Joe’s boxed soups- especially the Tomato + Roasted Red Pepper soup).

7. Mashed Potatoes

This carb filled dish doesn’t even need modified.  Just make your mashed potatoes like you normally would – peel and dice potatoes, bring to a boil in water, simmer until the potatoes are soft (about 20 minutes), drain, add butter and milk, and then blend up (blend well- this isn’t the time for chunky potatoes).  Season with salt and pepper. Stir in some sour cream or feta cheese for added flavor and creaminess.  Side note: you can also make mashed sweet potatoes, but I found that the stringy texture of sweet potatoes was too much for the stitched up palette of my mouth on the first few days.  If you want mashed sweet potatoes, blend them up as well as you can (maybe even using an actual blender instead of a hand mixer), until your mouth heals a little.

8. Oatmeal

Easy, Vegan Overnight Pumpkin Oatmeal- Steel Cut Oats cooked in a slow cooker overnight. Let the slow cooker make your breakfast while you sleep

Overnight Pumpkin Oatmeal

Oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts, because it’s healthy and filling.  Some of you may find that you can just make oats and eat up after dental work with no problems.  The rest of us probably need to get out the blender.  Overnight steel cut oats are already pretty creamy, but you may find that it needs puréed to keep anything from getting stuck in your stitches.  Try making Overnight Pumpkin Oats or Overnight Cranberry Oats, and then pour some into the blender and then sprinkle sugar if needed.  Skip the toppings- no nuts or extra berries this time.


9. Refried Beans

Beans!  Now we’re talking.  Some of you may be laying home in bed for a week after oral surgery, but others have to go to work! Go to school! Operate a motor vehicle! And how, I ask, are you supposed to do any of those things without protein?  Lets be honest- refried beans are BEST served with rice or tortilla chips or taco shells.. But that’s just not an option right now.  Serve your beans with some hot sauce, a salsa that isn’t chunky, and some sour cream.  Then sigh with happiness as you discover that your belly is actually full.

10. Soft Scrambled Eggs

As your mouth begins to heal, you might want to start including some soft food that requires minimal chewing.  To make soft scrambled eggs, warm a nonstick pan on low heat, and spray with oil or allow butter to melt.  Whisk eggs together with salt, pepper, and a little milk / cream / or sour cream.  Pour it all in the pan and let it cook slowly.  Remove before it’s completely solid (about 10 minutes), as it will continue to cook a little after the heat’s turned off.  For more detailed directions, check out this tutorial on The Kitchn.

Did I forget anything?  What foods do you eat post-dental work?  Let me know in the comments!

Still looking for more soup recipes?  Check out these:

20 Soups from Scratch!

20 Soups from Scratch!

Why you should shop at Aldi

Why You Should Shop At Aldi

My favorite grocery store is Aldi.*  People tend to either be lovers and die-hard fans, or haters–they’ve either never walked in because they think it’s a ‘low income / low quality’ store, or they walked in and left confused or frustrated.   For me, Aldi is my go-to food source.  I buy 90% of my groceries there.  That said, the chain has a quirky set-up that can take some getting used to.  The food is most definitely lower cost, but not lower quality.  In fact, they carry a lot of organic options.  If you’re already a fan of Trader Joe’s, Aldi is owned by the same parent company, and you may notice a lot of similarities on the shelves.  I do think Aldi needs a ‘How to Shop Here’ pamphlet when you first walk in, because it’s set up differently from most grocery stores in the U.S.  This article is designed to help you know what to expect when you go and give you tips for a better shopping experience.

What to expect

  1. You rent your shopping carts with a quarter.  Why is this awesome and not annoying?  It keeps shopping cart from rolling into the side of my car and denting it, because people always want their quarters back.  It also means they aren’t paying someone to round up those carts, so they can help keep costs lower.  Forgot your quarter?  Normally when this has happened to me, I either ask at the cash register if I can use one of the carts from the bagging area, or just put my food in the shopping bags as I go.
  2. Bring your own bags.  Aldi doesn’t give out free plastic bags, but I view this as another positive.  Reusable bags are better for the environment, and it forces me to remember to use mine.  I just leave mine in my car and grab them on the way in.  Forgot yours?  They have super cheap (10 cent) bags at check-out.
  3. You’ll have fewer brand names to choose from, but will still find organic and gluten-free options. Aldi tends to offer one brand of an item, at a much lower price.  I’ve still found their food to be high quality with lots of variety.  Some of my favorite things to buy at Aldi are  wine, gourmet cheese, organic milk, frozen seafood, basic baking goods, sparkling water, and grains (jasmine rice, quinoa, couscous etc).  Additionally, just as with any grocery store, some locations will have better and bigger selections than others.
  4. Some items are seasonal specialties.  Some items appear briefly, only to vanish for months– such as frozen lobster tails in the fall and winter ($12-$13 for 2 tails!), apple cider, $3 bags of honeycrisp apples, jumbo sea scallops, ahi tuna, king crab legs, and whole lobster.  I stock up on these items when I find them.  They also have seasonal non-food items, like plants and herbs in the spring, or serving dishes and gift items in the holiday season.
  5. You’ll bag your own groceries.  There’s a bagging counter after the registers, and you bag up your own food.  This saves them money (no need to hire a bagger), and helps keep food costs low.
  6. You’ll save a lot of money, and still get high quality food.  This, to me, is key.  This is why I go back, week after week.

Tips to make your shopping trip better

  1.  They offer a ‘double back’ guarantee.  If you aren’t happy with a purchase, they’ll let you replace it AND give you your money back.  I’ve actually taken advantage of this when I bought some ravioli that I just didn’t like at all.  They let me switch it out for different food worth the same amount AND refunded my money.  It was amazing.
  2. Put your food on the checkout belt in order from heaviest to lightest / most fragile.  This will speed things up, and ensure your eggs don’t get crushed.
  3. Ask for help.  If you can’t find something, or it looks like they’ve run out of it, there’s a good chance it just hasn’t been restocked yet.  One time I needed tomatoes on the vine, but there were none on the shelf.  Their employee went in the back, and brought me several bags of the tomatoes I needed!  Also, since the stores tend to be on the small side, it’s usually easy to find help.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve tried an Aldi, or if you’ve never been, give it a shot!  You may find that you love it.

Note: Aldi didn’t pay me a dime to write this.  They also didn’t pay me any more or less than a dime.  In fact, they haven’t paid me anything, and I repeatedly give them money for food.  I just really like them!

Want more food advice?  Read these: