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Roasted Smashed Potatoes with White Balsamic Reduction

Roasted Smashed Potatoes with White Balsamic Reduction

This post was created in partnership with Alessi Foods. All opinions are our own. You may remember that we’re huge fans of Italy: both the place and the cuisine. We spent our honeymoon in Rome and the Amalfi Coast, then returned 7 years later to repeat the trip (see our photos here and here). The food is unbeatable, and much of our recipe inspiration comes from Italian flavors and approach. Balsamic reductions are typical Italy. If you’ve ever tasted one, you’ll know eye-popping taste: sweet on the front end, tart on the backend, and complex with both fruity and dark notes. It’s syrupy drizzle that’s created by boiling down vinegar until it becomes sweet and thick. Balsamic reductions can be used on literally anything: salads, roasted meats, fresh fruit, desserts, and cheese plates. The Alessi Foods line, descended from a Sicilian family business started in the 1900’s, has a new line of reductions made with only a handful of ingredients and without artificial thickeners. Alessi sent this white balsamic reduction and challenged us to be creative with our use of it. We came up with this: crispy and salty roasted smashed potatoes, paired with the fruity, nuanced sweet drizzle and […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Our Adoption Story: Larson Ames

Our Adoption Story: Larson Ames

One month ago, we brought home a beautiful baby boy, the ending to a long journey of wondering how our family would start. Alex and I want to thank every one of you who have offered kind words of encouragement and prayers over years, and for your rejoicing over our announcement of Larson. Today, we’re sharing a bit about Larson’s birth story. We are utterly grateful to his birth mother Mariah: first of all for the gift of Larson, and second for being open to sharing his and her story. (If you’re new to our story,  see these posts on cancer, miscarriage, adoption, and uncertainty.) Another big thank you to our dear and talented friend Kelley Jordan Photography for capturing all shots of us and Larson (except the hospital shots taken by Alex). What is Larson’s birth story? It’s a Sunday in February, the day exactly between my birthday and Alex’s. We’re drinking coffee. I casually glance down at my phone. It’s our birth mama, Mariah, our fourth birth mom after three adoptions that fell through in the past year. We’ve been matched for five months, after Mariah choose our story in a book made by our adoption agency. Twice, we’d […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

This post was created in partnership with ALDI. All opinions are our own. “Are you considering becoming a creative person? Too late, you already are one. If you’re alive, you’re a creative person.” -Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic When I was in kindergarten, I entered a coloring contest. It was about eating healthy foods. Since it was the 1980s, the approach at the time was very food pyramid-centric. I drew a bunch of different “healthy” foods that I knew of in different categories: vegetables, dairy, meats, and so forth. My drawing ended up winning the kindergarten division, and it was displayed for all the school to see. The thing was, I was pretty uninspired with the whole thing. I drew it because it was an assignment. I did not feel creative about it in the least. The food pyramid seemed like a limiting set of rules set forth by the school and government. Cooking and eating healthy foods in my mind was B-O-R-I-N-G. To this day, I have the same feeling about programs that try to tell me how to eat healthy. Lists and check boxes don’t work for me. What does work? Creative freedom. I love eating beautiful, colorful, delicious food. […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Fudgy Vegan Brownies

Fudgy Vegan Brownies

The day before our son was born, we made these brownies. We had no idea that the next day, our lives would change forever. I had just interviewed my pal Laura Wright on our podcast, and she told me about these fantastic brownies from her new The First Mess cookbook that were vegan, gluten-free, and seriously fudgy. Intrigued, I made them that morning for a dinner party that evening. We gathered around the table with two dear couples and ate vegetarian gyros while their two-year-old sons ran around and threw dinosaurs to each other in our living room. We laughed and drank caipirinhas and ate fudgy vegan brownies. And like Laura promised, they were very, very fudgy (the kids loved them). The next day we woke up and over our morning coffee I glanced at my phone. It was a text from our birth mama: “Hey I’m in the hospital. They think I’m in labor.” Whhhhhhaaat?! Alex and I looked at each other. My heart went through the roof. We scrambled around the house packing a bag for the hospital (or, Alex packed and I paced in circles). Fast forward a few days and we were back from the hospital […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Moroccan Chickpea Stew

Moroccan Chickpea Stew

This post was created in partnership with ALDI. All opinions are our own. It’s still stew season, and to us there’s nothing better than warm stews to fill our hearts and bellies. What are your favorite soup and stew recipes? Since March is still prime stew season, we want to collect your ideas. Could you let us know your favorites in the comments below? (Really–we want to know!) Our pick: this Moroccan chickpea stew, a spiced, comforting mix of sweet potatoes and chickpeas. We serve it with quinoa or another whole grain for a filling meal. Here are a few of the reasons we love it—it is: gluten-free and vegan (without the yogurt garnish), so it works for many diets. fairly simple to make, just follow the typical stew formula: chop veggies, sauté onions, dump ingredients, simmer. easy to transport—we brought it to some friends who just had a baby a while ago, and it was a hit. full of spices from your cabinet, in case you needed a reason to use them! pretty darn healthy, full of superfoods like sweet potatoes and chickpeas. very satisfying—the warm spices make it cozy, and the lemon and cilantro brighten it up. easy to […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Mexican Fried Rice Nachos

Mexican Fried Rice Nachos

Our world has been turned upside down this past week. If you follow us on Instagram or subscribe to our newsletter, you’ve already heard: our adopted son, Larson Ames, entered the world on February 19! I got to witness his birth (incredible), and we spent a blissful few days in the hospital. We owe everything to our sweet birth mama, who is an angel. He’s home now, and we are still pinching ourselves. Larson is absolutely perfect, and we are head over heels in love. His birth is the answer to thousands of prayers after 8 years of uncertainty of how our family would start. If you’re new to our story,  see these posts on cancer, miscarriage, adoption, and uncertainty. We made these nachos the day before Larson was born, and it couldn’t be a more fitting recipe to share with you today. It’s by our friend Jessica Murnane, who’s just published her first cookbook, One Part Plant, full of gorgeous plant-based recipes. I met Jessica around the time we were looking into pursuing adoption, and not only is she an incredible, passionate and talented woman, she is an adoptive mama too! (Her son Sid is quite the charmer.) She’s been a bit of an adoption […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

4 Vegetarian Dinner Recipes for When You Don’t Know What to Make

4 Vegetarian Dinner Recipes for When You Don’t Know What to Make

This post was created in partnership with ALDI. All opinions are our own. We hear it all the time: “I just don’t know what to make for dinner.” Or, “It’s too hard to eat healthy on a weeknight, so I end up with takeout.” Don’t we know it. Believe it or not, 8 years ago we were the people who ate breakfast cereal or microwave dinners. Seriously. It makes me laugh when people tell me that’s not possible, because I was absolutely the girl who had no clue about cooking or food. Even making pasta seemed mysterious (where to start without the blue easy mac box instructions?). After 8 years of “research,” we’ve figured out a few things about how to eat whole foods, ditch our processed options, and actually enjoy it. It’s not perfect or glamorous, and we don’t have an Instagram-perfect plate every time. However, we make it work with simple concepts that we change up using the ingredients we have on hand. Our diet is about 80% vegetarian, so we’ve become accustomed to meals featuring eggs, beans, and whole grains to keep things filling. We’ve got a few ideas for you that aren’t groundbreaking, just simple concepts […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Skillet Eggplant Marinara

Skillet Eggplant Marinara

   This post was created in partnership with Newman’s Own. All opinions are our own. “We’ve had two generations of college bred people now who have really been indoctrinated with the idea that every big problem has a big solution. And I just don’t believe it! The big problems we have now will be solved by hundreds of people accepting local responsibilities for small problems.” -Wendell Berry    I grew up in the 90’s when being a “world changer” was the ultimate goal of the American suburban kid. Love the Earth and love all humans were messages that stuck with me. How to do it—well, that is quite another thing. We humans can be good-hearted and try to “help” solve big problems, but sometimes our egos get in the way. We think we know the right way to do things, so we don’t ask the people we’re trying to help what they need. Sometimes our selfishness gets in the way and we’re only willing to go so far. And sometimes the problems are just too big to really make a dent, so we get paralyzed and don’t do anything. I love Wendell Berry’s quote above because it gives me hope to […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

10 Romantic Vegetarian Valentine’s Day Recipes

10 Romantic Vegetarian Valentine’s Day Recipes

Maybe it’s just us, but somehow “vegetarian” and “romantic” seem like polar opposites when it comes to recipes. However, romantic meals don’t have to be just sirloins and seared scallops. Let’s bring the love back into vegetarian eating too! We’ve compiled a few of our romantic vegetarian Valentine’s Day recipes as ideas for a cooking date. Yes, there’s a lot of pasta and pizza, but the Italians seem to know how to do it right. Tell us >What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day memory? Mine is from growing up: my mom used to surprise our family by decorating our dining room with balloons and gifting my sister and me with fancy Valentines and little treats. Heart Shaped Caramelized Onion and Brussels Sprout Pizzas What’s more fun that heart-shaped foods? This pizza is mighty tasty, heart shaped or not, with silky caramelized onions, gooey cheese, and a bit of shaved Brussels sprouts. Check out our pizza dough video to learn how to make dough. Cacio e Pepe This Italian cheese and pepper spaghetti couldn’t be simpler; the recipe is from our friend Ashley Rodriguez’s book Date Night In. Alex and I ate a killer cacio e pepe last time we were in Rome. The […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Tart Cherry Chocolate Galette

Tart Cherry Chocolate Galette

This post was created in partnership with the Cherry Marketing Institute. All opinions are our own. Chocolate and cherries seem a romantic combination, no? With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we dreamed up this rustic cherry pie as a sweet treat to celebrate the day. A galette is a rustic pie: “rustic” meaning no pie plates or crimping needed. Instead, simply roll out the dough, spread on the filling, fold over the crust, and bake. Alex and I hadn’t made a galette in a while, and I was reminded of how simple it is. (Why don’t I remember to make galettes more often?) In this galette, Montmorency tart cherries make for a superb filling, combined with the sweetness of maple syrup, a bit of lemon for brightness, and just a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. Drizzled with a bit of semi-sweet chocolate to finish, the star is our rye galette crust: flaky and lightly nutty from the rye flour. My favorite testimonial: we enjoyed the galette with some friends, who saved a piece for their 7-year-old the next day. I received a text in the morning that Eliza thought it was “spectacular”! (This also proves that you can eat leftovers […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living