Nom Nom Paleo

Paleo Eats: 2/6/13

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Lil-O was felled with a “hot” throat this morning, so he got to play hooky from preschool. While I made breakfast, my little one curled up on the couch with his beloved stuffed cat to watch cartoons.


Nursing a sick kiddo meant I had to skip my class at CrossFit Palo Alto. I’ve totally become an intermittent CrossFitter these days, and when I joke with my gym buddies that I’ll see them next month, I’m only kidding on the square. Sad.

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Paleo Eats: 2/5/13

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After a whirlwind trip to NYC last weekend, it was especially nice to wake up in my own bed. I heard the Double-Os stampede down the hallway precisely at 7 in the morning, but I had no trouble popping up; it was, after all, already 10 a.m. on the East Coast. Unfortunately, Henry wasn’t feeling as chipper: he woke up with a sore throat and fever.

Uh, oh.

As my hubby tried to grab a few more winks before dragging himself off to work (to infect his entire office, I’m sure), I made breakfast for the boys: scrambled eggs, sliced apple, and raw milk.


After dropping Big-O off at school, I filled my pressure cooker with knuckle bones, chicken feet, beef stew meat, and veggies to make a meaty bone broth for my ailing husband.


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Paleo Eats: 12/23/12

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The San Francisco Bay Area was hit by two separate rainstorms this weekend, so we elected to hunker down indoors to stay cozy and dry.

For breakfast, I made scrambled eggs…




….and lobbed everyone a satsuma. I’m not kidding about launching tangerines at everyone’s heads — I’m training my kids to have ninja-like reflexes. Soon, they’ll be deflecting throwing stars.

After doing the dishes, I puttered around the kitchen, bottling up homemade kombucha, while the Double-Os performed their favorite Weird Al songs in the living room. After a few weeks of experimentation, we’ve landed on our favorite flavors: apple (Big-O), cherry (me), and Fuyu persimmon (Henry). When the kombucha in the continuous brewer achieves the perfect level of tanginess, I bottle the ‘booch with a few slices of fresh or frozen fruit.


Then, I let the bottles condition in our cooler for two days before I stick them in the fridge. I’m still new to home brewing and flavoring, so I constantly find myself referring to my two favorite online resources: Kombucha Kamp and Food Renegade. My next kombucha-related project: Setting up a SCOBY hotel so I can share the yeasty, bacterial love with others.

Lunch was a simple affair: Paleo coleslaw and slider burgers. 





After lunch, I grabbed a bag of apples from the fridge to make a batch of crunchy, cinnamon-dusted apple chips. I love my mother-in-law’s recipe for these treats — I’m kind of addicted to them — and I’ve been dying to make my own ever since my oven got fixed.


Mission accomplished!

Because of the dreary weather, I was determined to make a hearty, comforting dinner — but not one that would take all afternoon. As a result, I broke out my pressure cookers (yes, plural) to make short ribs and mashed fauxtatoes. For an additional vegetable side dish, I roasted a tray of broccoli in the oven.


Yep, it totally hit the spot — though using two pressure cookers mean more pots to clean.

As Christmas approaches, I’m feeling bummed out. Not because I have a ton of last-minute preparations — that’s a given — but because my vacation ends on the 26th. The day after Christmas also happens to be Lil-O’s birthday, and even though I’m not heading off to my shift at the hospital until after he goes to bed, it still bites. Plus, I’m now scheduled to work the nightshift for the next seven Christmases, as well as Lil-O’s next seven birthdays. Assuming I stay employed, I won’t have those days off again until both of my little boys are teenagers. I guess I’ll just have to make sure I savor every minute of family time before I start work on Wednesday night.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Paleo Eats: 12/7/12

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I was positively giddy about the start of my three week vacation…until it occurred to me that I’ll be a full-time, stay-at-home mom for the rest of the month. I love hanging with my boys, but I’m certainly busier when I’m on mommy duty than when I’m dealing drugs in the dead of night. On the other hand, I’m thankful that for the next three weeks, I’ll be able to go to bed at night. Simple pleasures, right?

This morning, I whipped up breakfast for the boys (scrambled eggs, mini chicken apple sausages, sliced apple, and raw whole milk) and packed their school lunches before my hubby shuttled them off to school. Once the house was empty, it was breakfast time for me: I pan-fried a few leftover slices of smoky 4505 Meats ham steak and cooked up a package of mixed frozen veggies for my own breakfast.


I downed it all in a flash — chewing is so overrated — and with some time to kill, I decided to make some mocha popsicles with freshly brewed espresso (using the awesome Bialetti Moka Express that our friend Shiraaz got for us)…


…coconut milk, cocoa powder, and some other secret stuff.


Yes, I’m aware that it’s December, but just ‘cause it’s cold outside doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a frozen treat, people. (Besides, we live in California. It’s not exactly arctic here.)


Once the popsicles were in the freezer, I zoomed over to CrossFit Palo Alto and spent an hour practicing push presses, deadlifts, and double unders with the gals in the women’s class. One thing that the workout made clear: I can’t afford to stop working on my double unders. Back when I was regularly practicing in my garage, I was starting to string ‘em together, but now? Not so much.

Afterwards, I stopped by my new favorite local grocery store, Miki’s Farm Fresh Market, to pick up goodies for Big-O’s birthday party. (My boy was ripped out of my uterus eight years ago! Hooray!) If you live on the San Francisco Peninsula or South Bay, you need to check out this store. The grass fed/organic/pastured meat and produce selection is unparalleled on this side of the Bay — and the butcher sells grass fed beef liver. Chicken feet, too. I love this place.

When I came home, I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon playing around with the beta version of the new update for the Nom Nom Paleo app


Henry and I have been working with our developer on some upgrades: We tweaked the look, added over a dozen recipes, and implemented a pretty major change that we think will make most folks very happy. (All these features and new recipes will be free for everyone who’s already downloaded the app.) Once testing’s done, we’ll submit it to Apple for approval. Fingers crossed!

For lunch, I took a tiny break from my QA duties to make a simple frittata with stir fried baby kale.



Stacy & Matt generously gifted us with a sampler of artisanal Olio olive oils and flavored balsamic vinegars, and I’ve been drizzling ‘em on EVERYTHING. Even my eggy lunch entrée didn’t escape a fruity ribbon of olive oil.


My favorite vinegar flavor? The chocolate balsamic. Big surprise, huh? 


At 2 o’clock, I picked up the kiddos from school and we spent the rest of the afternoon struggling to set up a huge tent in the living room for Big-O’s slumber party. Having kids sleep in a tent in the house is very Party of Five. Or maybe The Sixth Sense, only with less barfing and screaming.

By 5 o’clock, the tent was still not set up, and I had no clue what to make for dinner. I would’ve totally spazzed out if it weren’t for two things: (1) my hubby got home from work and took over the tent duties, and (2) I remembered that I have PaleoChef marinades in the pantry. (By the way, this ain’t some sort of paid product placement for PaleoChef — I purchased a sampler pack last month to try them out on desperation dinner nights like tonight.)

We have a bunch of different marinades, and after surveying the boys, we popped open the bottle of Tomato Balsamic to flavor a bunch of salted chicken legs.


I let the legs marinate for about an hour — just enough time to wash up the boys and give myself a hose down.


Our wall oven is finally back in working order (thank you, Aloha Appliance Repair!), so I put it through it’s paces by roasting both the chicken…


…and broccoli at the same time using the convection mode.



When the broccoli finished roasting in the oven, I removed the tray from the oven and tossed the florets with some leftover roasted butternut squash and balsamic vinegar.


The chicken was ready ten minutes later — and not a moment too soon, ‘cause we were all salivating from the tempting aromas wafting from the oven.


Here’s my dinner plate:


What’s the verdict on the marinade? Thumbs up from the whole family. Even picky Lil-O.

On another note, I just joined Google+. I’m kind of hesitant to add yet another social media channel to my plate. (I’m barely keeping up with Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as it is.) But the thing is, I really dig what Google+ has to offer. What do you think? Am I wasting my time with Google+? And why aren’t my small children offering to be my social media interns?

Paleo Eats: 11/5/12

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I’m more than halfway through my week of night shifts, and the work’s been steady — not too crazy and not too slow. It’s been juuust right. Sipping bone broth during my 10-hour shift staved off the hunger pangs, so my leftovers stayed in my lunchbox all night.

But when I walked through the front door and smelled the boys’ breakfast of eggs and sausages sizzling on the stove, I was suddenly famished. That Henry is a good daddy…

…AND a great husband ‘cause he made me a plate, no questions asked.

Breakfast for dinner!

Once the boys were out of the house, I set to work concocting a new Asian-inspired marinade with scallions, ginger, coconut aminos, rice vinegar (it’s Whole30-approved!), honey (gasp!), and Red Boat Fish Sauce (duh!).

I poured it over a bunch of chicken thighs…

…and stuck the chicken in the fridge before passing out in bed.

When I woke up several hours later, I grabbed the bag of thighs…

…and popped them into the oven. 

While the bird roasted, I cut up two bunches of kale…

…a few carrots, half an onion, and some garlic cloves…

…and tossed them in the pressure cooker to make a quick pot of braised greens.

As I waited for the chicken and kale to finish cooking, I pulsed a head of cauliflower in the food processor…

…and pan-fried some simple cauliflower rice.

In less than an hour after I stepped in the kitchen, dinner was ready. 

Here’s my plate:

And here’s me in all my bedheaded glory making dinner:

Obviously, I spend tons more time in the kitchen than I do in the powder room futzing about my appearance. But that’s all gonna change, people. I just ordered a mess of natural beauty products from the highly-acclaimed Primal Life Organics. Tape your jaws shut: The next time you see me, I’m going to be made up like Honey Boo Boo in full-on pageant mode, complete with Go Go Juice in hand.

Or not.

Paleo Eats: 10/31/12

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Happy Halloween and a belated happy birthday to my kickass mommy!

Our neighborhood takes Halloween very seriously. With herds of costumed kids traipsing from house to house, we all do our part to creep ‘em out with spooky porch decorations.

After helping Henry strew styrofoam skulls and fake cobwebs all over the front of our house this weekend, I barely had time to get ready for another string of hospital nightshifts. So this morning, I made myself useful in the kitchen as soon as I hopped out of bed.

I threw some random frozen animal parts in the defrost bowl in the fridge, made a batch of pressure cooker bone broth, and blitzed a double batch of Magic Mushroom Powder. (The Magic Mushroom Powder recipe’s available on my iPad app. And if you don’t have an iPad, ask a buddy with the app to email it to you. All the recipes in my app are emailable at the touch of a button!).

I’ve found the simplest way to mix the seasoning salt is to pour everything into a jar through a parchment paper funnel and shake it like a Polaroid picture. (Yeah, my pop cultural references date back to my pre-kid days. Sad.)

While I was waiting for the bone broth to finish cooking, I breakfasted on eggs…

…and packed the boys’ lunches. Both of the kids had Halloween parades at their schools, and they were already bouncing off the walls in excitement.

As we were hustling to get out of the house, Lil-O put on a costume (like Lady Gaga, he has more than just one) and horse-danced around the house, Gangnam Style.

We were hoping he’d wear his Psy outfit to preschool today, but at the last minute, he decided that his Batman suit would be more appropriate. (His reasoning: “Batman has a cape, but Psy doesn’t.”) 

While Henry escorted our space alien and superhero to school, I headed off to CrossFit Palo Alto for a special Halloween-themed Tabata workout.

After a fun but exhausting hour, I had to speed over to volunteer at Big-O’s classroom party, and for a moment, I considered just going as a sweaty mom. But then I spied Big-O’s old hamburger costume, and slipped it on. Yep — for Halloween, I’m the pink slime in the middle of a fast food burger.

My favorite part of Halloween? Watching kids werk it at the school parade.

Once I was back home, I made a quick and satisfying lunch of fried chicken gizzards and baby kale. The gizzards were already braised and stored in duck fat, so I just fished them out and seared them in a hot skillet to brown each side.

After I removed the gizzards from the pan, I tossed in a bag of baby kale and wilted them in the remaining duck fat.

Crispy braised gizzards are definitely my favorite nasty bits.


Next time, I’m gonna sous vide or pressure cook them so I can use less duck fat — that stuff ain’t cheap.

Before I caught a few winks in the late afternoon to prepare for my all-night zombie drug dealing shift, Big-O and I pored over two new books I ordered via Amazon. These two dense references are perfect for culinary nerds like us: Modernist Cuisine At Home

…and Cook’s Illustrated new tome, The Science of Good Cooking.

I can’t wait to sink my teeth into these books, but in the meantime, I’m gonna count on my tiny sous chef to give me the Cliffs Notes version.

I couldn’t pry ‘em out of his hands anyway.

When I woke up in the evening, the kids were itching to collect bags of candy — and not because they planned on eating their loot. We had struck a deal with the boys: We’ll give you cold, hard CASH in exchange for your sugar bombs. Our kids did the math: Mo’ money, mo’ Legos. And Legos > candy. They were in.

Sidney and Jory came over with Captain America to trick or treat with us, and before heading out for the night, we dined on take out from Sancho’s Taqueria. I ate a house salad with added carne asada, grilled shrimp, and guacamole.

Once our bellies were full, the boys dashed out into the neighborhood to collect their loot.

After a long night of demanding candy from strangers, the boys exchanged their bags for TEN DOLLARS from Henry’s wallet. 

"But I want TEN HUNDRED MILLION dollars," Lil-O protested. You and me both, kiddo.

Next holiday: Thanksgiving. I am so not ready.

But speaking of Thanksgiving, you can get free shipping on all Spreadshirt T’s TODAY ONLY (11/1/12) with the coupon code: GIVETHANKSSHIP

C’mon. You know you want to sport my mug on your chest.

Paleo Eats: 10/29/12

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So Sandy came along and smashed the East Coast with a devastating wallop of rain and wind on Monday night. As I sit safe and dry in California, I feel terrible for everyone rocked by the hurricane. Please consider donating to the American Red Cross to help with disaster relief by clicking here.

I feel like a shallow heel for posting about something as mundane as yesterday’s eats, but I suppose that’s why you’re here, right?

Before I headed to the women’s class at CrossFit Palo Alto, I made myself a bowl of fluffy scrambled eggs topped with oven-roasted tomatoes.

As usual, I had a fun time with the gals in my class as we grunted through front squats and gritted our teeth through a burpee and running-intensive WOD. The workout kicked my butt, but as Coach Trish never fails to reminds me, I never regret coming in to the gym.

Afterwards, I zoomed to the cancer center to meet my mother-in-law for a follow-up appointment with her oncologist. She’s been doing great since finishing her chemo and radiation treatments a year ago, but it’s always reassuring to get a clean bill of health from her docs. Every time we visit the clinic, I can’t help but feel heartache for the other patients in the waiting room; I know that all of them have either gone through what my mother-in-law has, or are still in the crippling throes of treatment. It puts all my petty grievances into perspective. 

When I returned home in the afternoon, I grabbed a pound of chicken gizzards that I’d salted overnight…

…and a container of duck fat from the fridge.

I combined the two, along with some herbs and garlic, in a small Dutch oven

…and popped it in the toaster oven to braise for a few hours. 

While I waited for the gizzards to tenderize, I ate a bowl of leftover homemade koobideh, oven-roasted tomatoes, and sautéed beet greens for lunch.

Man — I can’t wait until my wall oven gets fixed. The repair is scheduled for this Friday, and my fingers are crossed that it’ll actually get done this time. Bill and Hayley are visiting next week to whip up a feast and shoot pics for their upcoming cookbook, Gather, and I’m guessing my toaster oven isn’t going to cut it. We can’t wait to see what Miss Hayley’s going to cook up for us!

Before I left to pick up the Double-Os from school, I took the gizzards out and stole a peek — and a bite. The verdict: Tender and flavorful.

See? Offal ain’t awful!

I didn’t spend all day cooking. After all, it’s Halloween week, and I’m in full-time mommy mode, so I’m up to my eyeballs hosting playdates with super heroes and ghouls.

In case you were wondering: When Lil-O’s not in full Bat-regalia, he demands that we address him by his proper name, “Bruce Wayne.”  Otherwise, he flails his arms at you and growls: “LOOKS LIKE YOUR LUCK’S RUN OUT, JOKER!”

After a busy day fending off masked vigilantes, it was time to make dinner. I plopped a couple of pre-cooked pork chops in the SousVide Supreme and chopped up some baby bok choy…

…and shiitake mushrooms.

I sautéed the veggies in the pressure cooker and splashed in some bone broth, fish sauce, and coconut aminos before cooking it under high pressure for three minutes.

When the veggies were finished cooking, I torched the pork chops…

…and we squeezed around our kids’ tiny IKEA play table and chatted as we ate dinner. Our boys are going to outgrow this little piece of furniture soon, but I’m hopeful that our family will always make time to hunker together for dinner — regardless of the size of the table.

Paleo Eats: 10/25/12

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At long last, I’m back. Did you miss me?

After reading an article on Mark’s Daily Apple about the importance of scheduling a Deload Week in your fitness regimen, I figured this concept applies equally well to blogging. Everyone needs a break to recharge and come back stronger, faster, and better. Plus, it’s been fun being a couch potato cheering on the Giants in the World Series. Okay, to be honest, I don’t really care about the Series — Henry’s the baseball fanatic in the family — but I love cheering on Paleo athlete Hunter Pence. Go, caveman, go!

After sleeping a restorative nine hours on Wednesday night, I was back in full-on mommy mode when the sun came up. Once the kids had breakfasted on eggs and Big-O scampered off to school, it was my turn for some sunny-side-up protein…

…and a chaser of bone broth. Note to self: don’t make bone broth with lamb bones, even meaty ones. The odor is…unpleasant.

Lil-O’s assessment: “Your breath smells like insects, mommy.”

Some vigorous teeth-brushing ensued, and then Lil-O and I spent the morning and afternoon playing Legos and Hide-and-Hug.

Never heard of Hide-and-Hug? (Not surprising, since we just kind of made it up.) The game’s just like Hide-and-Seek, but you hug each other when you’re found. I’m not ashamed to admit that I totally cheat at this game to score extra cuddles.

Between sessions of hiding under furniture, I managed to sneak in some cooking in the afternoon — I baked a tray of sweet potatoes in the toaster oven…

…and boiled a half dozen eggs.

For lunch, Lil-O had his usual plate of scrambled eggs and sliced strawberries. Me? I reheated leftover Slow Cooker Asian Short Ribs (recipe coming soon!), sautéed a handful of baby kale, and grabbed a small baked yam for myself.

In the afternoon, we picked up Big-O from school and the two boys spent the rest of the day reenacting a Weird Al Yankovic concert in our family room. Hands down, one of the best purchases I made this month was a set of inflatable rock band instruments from Amazon. The kids entertained themselves (and me) for hours by playing air keytars and dancing like their favorite rockstar. Best of all: The balloon instruments emit no sounds.

Just like every other night, I neglected to plan for dinner. Rummaging through the fridge, I found a bag of Portobello mushrooms that needed attention…

…and a pound of ground beef in my defrost bowl.

Burger time!

I decided to make Portobello mushroom “buns” and I prepared them per my usual method

…in my convection toaster oven. I purposely cooked them on convection mode so that the circulating hot air would take out even more of the moisture from the ‘shrooms.

No one likes handling wet, slippery buns, right? 

I seasoned the grind with a healthy pinch of kosher salt and Penzeys Turkish seasoning

…formed four burgers…

…and fried up the quarter-pounders in some melted ghee.

I tucked the burgers in between the mushrooms…

…and garnished them with leftover Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

…and butter lettuce.

Now this is what I call an umami burger.

Paleo Eats: 10/11/12

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As you may have noticed, I haven’t documented my daily eats in a couple of days ‘cause I’ve been trying to squeeze in more sleep. It’s a tough proposition; with my crazy work schedule, parenting duties, late-night blogging sessions, and an unhealthy obsession with TMZ, it hasn’t been easy getting enough shut-eye. Still, with just a little bit of effort and discipline, I’ve made some gains. On my Flip Night, I enjoyed a deep, uninterrupted, nine-hour snooze. It was so super-restorative that even before the sun was up, I bounced out of bed Thursday morning to intercept Big-O as he sleepily wandered down the hallway towards the bathroom.

As I strolled into the kitchen, it dawned on me that I still had a pork chop floating in the SousVide Supreme that I forgot to ice and put away the night before. How serendipitous: Pork chops for breakfast!

In less time than it takes for a Pop Tart to warm up in the toaster, I seared the chop in coconut oil…

…sliced it up…

…and plated it with a dollop of applesauce for the boys’ breakfast. Pork chops and appleshosh — isn’t that swhell?

And because the water oven was already on, I threw in a harissa-rubbed lambchetta that came in my 4505 Meats CSA bag.

I’ll fish it out and finish it off in 24 hours.

While I packed Big-O’s LunchBots

I made myself a simple breakfast of sunny-side-up eggs fried in butter…

…a few slices of deli roast beef, and cold leftover roasted broccoli.

After dropping Big-O at school, Lil-O and I headed to Happy Hollow where we spent the morning riding the pint-sized roller coaster and scrambling up and down the massive play structure. The fun comes with a twinge of sadness, though; soon, my youngest will be in kindergarten, and our morning jaunts will be relegated to weekends.

We didn’t get home ‘til mid-afternoon, and we were hungry. I threw together a quick Tuna and Avocado Wrap for myself (while Lil-O feasted on his favorite meal of all time: scrambled eggs and strawberries).

My emergency meal today reminded me that I need to heed Mel’s advice and have homemade mayo ready in the fridge. That way, tuna salad is only a popped can of tuna away.

In the evening, I pulled up my copy of George Bryant and Abel James's new e-book, Caveman Feast, and mixed up a batch of Apple Dijon Burgers. You know a recipe’s going to be a winner when the ingredients in the mixing bowl look good enough to eat as-is.

I formed the mixture into little sliders…

…and fried them up in bacon drippings. I topped the burger bites with sautéed mushrooms and onions — plus a few slices of crisp bacon. To accompany the sliders, I roasted a tray of broccoli, too.

I’m a big fan of dishes that combine savory, sweet, and tang, and these burgers definitely fit the bill.

This recipe, like all of George’s tasty dishes, is simple, straightforward, and packed with flavor — perfect for a quick weeknight meal.

An even bigger endorsement came from the Double-O’s, who polished off their plates in record time. I had to remind them that dinner’s not a race.

Toodles, poodles.

Paleo Eats: 9/18/12

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Fried eggs and bacon go together like Howard and Robin in the morning.

I wish I could enjoy all four of them together, but little ears are in the kitchen. Also, my head would explode from the sensory overload.

After I chaperoned Big-O to school and heard all the sniffling in his classroom, I rushed home to start a big pot of pressure cooker bone broth on the stove. I crammed my “Bubba" with cross shanks, oxtails, bones, half an onion, carrots, and dried shiitake mushrooms.

Per my standard operating procedure, I seasoned the broth with Red Boat Fish Sauce.

If you’ve never tried fish sauce before, don’t worry — it doesn’t make your broth taste fishy at all. It just imparts the stock with extra umami.

As a mid-morning snack, I dug into a bowl of Straus organic full-fat plain Greek yogurt and fresh strawberries. 

Yes, I know dairy is a controversial topic in the Paleosphere. If you want to delve deeper, check out my husband’s post or Chris Kresser’s. The bottom line for us? We’ve found that we tolerate full-fat, pastured dairy just fine, so we have no problem enjoying it on occasion.

By noon, Lil-O and I were itching to get out of the house. I proposed picnicking at the park, and he enthusiastically agreed. Before heading out to synthesize some vitamin D, I made sure we were well-provisioned. My four-year-old carried a LunchBots Quad filled with scrambled eggs, mini chicken apple sausages, grapes, and a homemade sweet potato bar from yesterday’s batch

…while I packed a medium LunchBots Clicks with leftover flap steak, sautéed cabbage, roasted broccoli, and fresh cherry tomatoes.

To work up an appetite, we spent an hour scrambling around the play structure pretending to be pirates. Sadly, we had to retreat to the car to eat lunch ‘cause we were beset by a persistent pair of dive-bombing yellowjacket wasps. Damn you, dirty bugs.

The remainder of the afternoon flew by: I helped Big-O with his homework, judged a living room version of America’s Got Talent featuring lip-syncing and dancing by the Double-Os, and shuttled the boys to the wushu studio.

By the time we got home, it was getting late — and I hadn’t given any thought to dinner. But once a quick inventory of the fridge revealed a couple of eggplants and a package of bulk Italian sausage, I knew just what to do.

I cut up the eggplants, brushed the sides with coconut oil, and seasoned them with Magic Mushroom Powder. (Sorry, gang — for now, the recipe for my spice blend is exclusive to my iPad® cookbook app!)

I stuck the tray under the broiler for a few minutes to brown both sides…

…and I drizzled the soft, spongy rounds with balsamic vinegar and a basil chiffonade. (Check out my roasted eggplant recipe here.)

For the main dish, I fried up some semi-homemade Italian sausage meatballs — emphasis on the “semi.” I just rolled the bulk sausage into little balls…

…and tossed the browned meat orbs in a pot of simmering Rao’s Marinara Sauce.

Eat your heart out, Sandra Lee.

Dagnabbit. Is my week off already over? Is it time to start another seven consecutive nights of graveyard shifts? Fine. Cue the spooky music and let the zombie apocalypse commence.