Hi! Welcome to “good mood food” from Kale Me Maybe’s Carina Wolff. If you’ve made it here and aren’t yet a subscriber, come join! You can expect recipes, musings, and faves in your inbox every Wednesday! Paid subscribers get even more! Learn more about my paid membership here. You can also try a week for free!
You might have noticed that last week, there was no newsletter! Grant and I drove to Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico to celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary, so I took the week off to unwind a bit with my husband. Kind of hard to believe it has already been a year since we got married, but isn’t that what they all say?!
We truly had the most magical trip together. We went into it with the idea that the trip would be about relaxing vs adventuring. We got a nice hotel, spent time by the pool, and just ate, a lot. Willow came with us, and it was nice because all the places we went to were dog-friendly, even the super fancy tasting restaurants! My favorite thing about Valle de Guadalupe was the outdoor dining. The restaurants were just beyond gorgeous — there were times when we even felt like we were eating in the middle of the Italian countryside. The scenery was that stunning — mountains, greenery, olive trees.
It was just the slow down I needed to really get organized and clear in my head with how to move forward the next few months with work and life. I came home with a lot of cooking ideas and feeling more motivated than I have felt in a long time.
Currently, the things bringing me joy are the loquats bursting from our tree, the Jeopardy Master’s Tournament, and the warm weather! I’m definitely feeling a little overwhelmed with my time management with all the travel we have going on, but I am working extra hard to be efficient and maintain that balance between being productive work-wise and tending to my self-care needs and outside hobbies. There never seen to be enough hours in the day, though!
THINGS I’M LOVING!
Our loquat tree is exploding, and I can only make so much jam. When I saw a recipe for Cottage Cheese Cake in Sweet Enough, I knew I had to make it. I replaced the apricots in the recipe with loquats, and it was so delicious! I made the honey option this time, but I think next time around I want to try brown sugar instead!
I have been eating this Don Emilio Spicy Garlic Sauce on my eggs practically every day the past week (exhibit A: these tortilla eggs). It has some similarities to salsa macha in its consistency and spice, but it’s much more garlic forward! Each spoonful has tons of crispy garlic, and it is absolutely divine.
I mentioned this on Instagram, but up until a few weeks ago, Grant and I were sleeping on my mattress that I got in high school (for reference, I am 32 years old…). Needless to say, it was definitely time to get a new one. Grant and I spent months (not kidding) researching, going into stores, etc., and we got really overwhelmed by decision fatigue. We knew we wanted a hybrid, but we could NOT pick. We finally landed on Avocado after visiting the store and learning not only how comfortable the mattress felt, but the whole ethos behind the company (everything is organic and sustainably sourced).
I reached out to them, and they did end up sponsoring me on Instagram, but they have no idea I’m writing this newsletter blurb lol. However, we’ve really loved our new mattress and pillows, so I figured they genuinely belong in this section! I know a lot of people also struggle with decision fatigue when it comes to mattress shopping, so maybe this could help. We ended up with the Green Mattress and a Plush Mattress topper and could not be happier!
I know it’s only May, but I have summer on the mind (to no one’s surprise). I have a tendency to become a salad queen during the summer months, but it’s good to have other options, and I think this orzo is a great alternative. Just like a salad, it’s loaded with all my favorite veggies, but you can skip the greens and indulge in some starchy goodness instead.
So, this recipe of mine doesn’t actually contain orzo — I actually used a chickpea and green pea rice alternative in its place so that it could act as the dish’s protein source (it looked and felt like orzo though). Banza Rice would also fulfill the same role! However, if you want to actually use orzo here, by all means, go for it! I love regular orzo just as much.
I almost made this recipe completely plant-based, but an Instagram poll revealed that the people want cheese, so I included feta in this recipe. It tasted delicious (obvi, we love feta), but if you did want to make the recipe vegetarian or vegan, it’s super easy to just leave out the feta! The dish still has lots of flavor from the basil vinaigrette.
This recipe serves 2 people for an entree, and 4 for a side!
Roasted Veggie “Orzo” with Feta & Basil Vinaigrette
Ingredients (serves 2-4)
2 cups vegetable broth
7 oz chickpea rice alternative (or orzo!)
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 pint small gold tomatoes
2 sweet corn cobs
2 cups quartered zucchini (~1 large or 2 small)
Crushed red pepper
4 oz feta, cut into cubes
Basil Vinaigrette Dressing
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3/4 cup roughly chopped basil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt & pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Prepare your chickpea rice/orzo according to package, but use vegetable broth instead of water. Set aside to let cool.
2. Add bell peppers, tomatoes, corn, and zucchini to a baking sheet. Drizzle with a generous portion of olive oil, and season with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Wrap the corn in tinfoil after you’ve added the oil and seasoned, and then transfer the baking dish to the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping the corn halfway. Veggies should be soft and lightly charred.
3. While everything is roasting, prepare your dressing. Add garlic and shallots to a food processor, and pulse until chopped. Then add the basil, and pulse until everything is finely chopped. Mix in the oil and vinegar, and season with a little salt and pepper.
4. When the veggies are done, remove the tinfoil from the corn, and slice off the corn kernels. Let the veggies cool slightly, and then add to a bowl with the orzo and feta. Toss in the basil dressing, and serve warm or chilled!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT!
The last recipe I made for paid subscribers is one of my favorites I’ve made this year! The leek and asparagus combo is just perfectly spring!! It’s not too late to get the recipe — become a member now and get access to all the recipes in the archive!
Also we are planning our honeymoon to Mexico- if you have any specific recs I’d love to hear them!
Yum! I’ve been looking for a recipe to use all the goodness growing in the garden right now. The yellow squash, tomatoes, and basil will be perfect for this!