Creamy Cajun Cauliflower Pasta

Creamy Cajun Cauliflower Pasta |

Remember that time I spent a weekend in the Big Easy (does anyone actually call it that?!) eating alll the food? I promised you (and myself) that I’d create some Cajun-inspired recipes when I got home, and what do you know, here I am doing just that.

Creamy Cajun Cauliflower Pasta | coffeeandquinoa.comCreamy Cajun Cauliflower Pasta |

Emphasis on the Cajun-inspired. Because the “cream” in this creamy pasta is, well, a vegetable. Cauliflower, to be exact. And, in my experience, that doesn’t come close to authentic Cajun cooking. The restaurant that inspired this recipe certainly did not let any cruciferous florets near their creamy Cajun pasta. Nope, they used a heavy hand with the real cream, and it was deeeelicious. But in our own kitchens, we have to do things a little differently, right? That’s where the cauliflower comes in.


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Twice-Baked Butternut Squash with Ricotta and Sage

Twice-Baked Butternut Squash with Ricotta and Sage |

Twice-Baked Butternut Squash with Ricotta and Sage, a.k.a. The Day I Fell In Love With Ricotta Cheese.

Discovering new ingredients is one of the most rewarding parts of writing this blog. I can only imagine what a cooking rut I’d be stuck in if I wasn’t always brainstorming new recipes!

But seriously, in 2+ years of writing this blog, why has no one told me about ricotta?

I mean, I knew about ricotta, but I’d be surprised if I’ve ever used it. I’ve only ever known it in stuffed shells and lasagna, dishes which (let’s be honest) I’m too lazy to make. But as I was planning this twice-baked butternut squash, Deb from Smitten Kitchen made these Squash Toasts with Ricotta and Cider Vinegar. I served them as an appetizer a few weekends ago, and though I ended up using goat cheese instead out of convenience, it occurred to me that ricotta would be the perfect thing to add creaminess to this twice-baked squash.

Waaaas it ever. The tangy ricotta and sweet, smooth butternut are a match made in heaven. Which brings me to the whole butternut part of the equation…


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Spinach Salad with Strawberry Jam Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Strawberry Jam Vinaigrette |

Maybe I’m being too sensitive, but I feel repeatedly insulted by my dry cleaner.

It’s not just the prices, although those are absurd. It’s only recently that I started buying clothes (read: silk blouses) that I can’t just throw in my trusty Dryel bag to “dry clean,” and it’s hard to stomach more than $10 to clean a piece of clothing I already paid too much for.

But no, it’s the tags they attach to my clothing that get under my skin.

“It is our professional opinion that this stain cannot be removed.” That was attached to one of my blouses a few weeks ago, inducing immediate panic. I searched it high and low for a stain – I hadn’t known it had one! – and eventually came to the conclusion that they meant it had some underarm discoloration. Translation: It is our professional opinion that you sweat an ungodly amount. Well, sorry!

I wore that blouse on a Monday, and spilled coffee down my front, first thing. I wish I were kidding.

Spinach Salad with Strawberry Jam Vinaigrette |

Most recently it was an Anthropologie sweater that I decided was worth dry cleaning because I was afraid I’d ruin it any way I attempted to clean it. It’s super delicate – a really loose weave, almost like a lace sweater, if that makes any sense – and I can barely put it on over my earrings without it catching. But when I picked it up from the dry cleaner it had a big bold tag that said “ATTENTION: DO NOT DRY CLEAN.” Might as well have said  “ATTENTION: LEARN TO READ” because when I checked the tag, sure enough, “do not dry clean.”

I guess that one’s my fault. But the chances of that “hand wash cold” foolishness happening? Roughly 0%. No, I take that back. Exactly 0%.

We’ll see what the dry cleaner has in store for me next time. Do they notice if I stretch stuff out?

In any case, may this not be the kind of Monday that starts with an insult and a coffee stain on your shirt. May this be the kind of Monday where you make a salad dressing out of jam!


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Layered Asian Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

Layered Asian Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing |

The final wedding countdown is on! 12 days, you guys. TWELVE DAYS.

Nate and I were in Atlanta this weekend at our friends Sara and Anthony’s wedding. Sara and I got engaged right around the same time, and were checking with each other as we planned our weddings to make sure we picked different dates. So all year, I’ve known that we were flying to Atlanta for their wedding, and then ours would be just around the corner. Being there this weekend made our wedding seem SO REAL!

Not to mention the fact that they had the most beautiful wedding ever. It was at her parents’ house (an old horse farm), very Southern rustic, very DIY. It was absolutely perfect, and I can only hope I’ll look half as overjoyed as I walk down the aisle as my lovely friend did! Except I know I’ll look terrified instead. I remember distinctly from my sister’s wedding the feeling of not being able to control my facial muscles as I walked down the aisle because I was so nervous. The chance of that happening at my own wedding is preeeetty much 100%. I will be clinging to my dad for dear life!

Layered Asian Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing |

I was crossing my fingers that I’d be going through a quiet spell at work in the weeks leading up to the wedding, to give me a little spare time to take care of last-minute wedding details. Instead, pretty much the opposite is true. Isn’t that always the way things work? Everyone is being super understanding, and I’m trying to stay focused and not take advantage too much. Because of that, easy salads like this are going to be our best friends over the next week or so!


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Cheesy Southwest Pasta Salad + a GIVEAWAY!

This post is sponsored by Pacific Foods.

Cheesy Southwest Pasta Salad + a GIVEAWAY! |

I’m looking for ways to extend summertime.

The list I’ve brainstormed so far:

– Keep wearing white pants.

– Move to Arizona.

– Eat nothing but corn and zucchini until January.

– Heat lamps.

…other ideas?


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