If I could fill a pool with anything in the world, it would probably be coffee or some type of melted cheese. However, if both of those options were unavailable, then I think my third choice would have to be peanut sauce. I would float on rafts made out of spring rolls, and the pool noodles would be actual noodles. It would be kind of gross, but in the best kind of way. Thai food is one of my all-time favorites, and I think the peanut sauce might be like, 80% of that reason. One of my favorite Thai restaurants in town serves it with pretty much everything on their menu from chicken satay to salads, and I am here for it. My favorite thing to eat it with is the curry puffs, which is essentially a Thai samosa. I could honestly eat three or four plates to myself. They serve all their dishes with some marinated cucumbers, and the combo of sweet, salty, tangy, and crunchy haunts my dreams. Continue reading “Coconut Curry Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce”
I have a confession: I’m not a huge “pizza person”. And because of this, I get constant shit from every human on the planet, because apparently I am part of a small majority that doesn’t lose their mind over pizza. I, of course, love a good pizza when I am in the mood for it, but the rest of the time, I’ll happily choose tacos or Thai food instead. However, I do have a fave pizza place in Reno that makes me jalapeno + cheese pizza without judgement, and as a rule, this particular pizza must be eaten with a draft beer, absurd amounts of ranch, and the leftover crust must be dipped in honey.
(On a side note, do people in other parts of the world dip their crust in honey, or is that just a Reno thing???)
And while pizza is not my absolute favorite food, I do feel passionate about dough + cheese, and I’ve been loving experimenting with pizza flavors at home lately. On some Fridays, I will come home, pull out all the leftover ingredients from the week, chop up tons of fresh mozz, and pop a bottle of wine while the perfect combination of crust puffing and cheese bubbling occurs in my oven. I almost always go out for dinner on Fridays, but if for some reason I’m really in the mood to cook after work, it’s almost always some version of pizza. There’s something so calming about coming home, chopping up some veggies, and making a quick, delicious dinner.
And, if I really need pizza without the effort, I always have my trusty jalapeno-special ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Yesterday, we had probably our craziest snow of the season (yes, in late February, ugh come ooooon Reno). I was at my parents’ house after shopping with my mom, and this blizzard just started out of nowhere. It looked like a snow globe and made me need Christmas all over again. However, since I can’t redo Christmas, I went for the next best comforting winter activity which is obviously cooking and watching British TV. So, while the snow flurries drifted down outside my window, I threw together this recipe and cozied up on the couch watching Lovesick. These ingredients are a perfect mix of flavors – the kale gets so crispy and garlicky in the oven, sausage adds a little sweetness, there’s lemon for tartness, and of course, I added a simple bechamel and mozzarella for a creamy component. At the end, I like to add pine nuts to give it an earthy flavor (and also because I’m obsessed with pine nuts, they’re so good 😛). I like to sprinkle a ton of red pepper flakes on top of my pizza, but of course, you can leave those off if you don’t like spice! Lastly, the sauce is fairly creamy, especially when combined with the cheese. If you prefer a lighter, almost flatbread-style pizza, I would just brush the crust with olive oil and put the toppings on sans white sauce. In fact, it sounds rather amazing, and I think that will be my approach next time!
White Pizza with Sausage + Garlicky Kale + Lemon
Ingredients for the white sauce
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. flour
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c. milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour, stirring until no clumps remain. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Slowly whisk in milk, bringing it to a boil and cooking for a couple of minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
Ingredients for the pizza
1 lb. pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
White sauce (recipe above)
2 links of sweet sausage, casings removed
2 c. kale, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz. fresh mozzarella, torn
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced and quartered
Red pepper flakes, to taste
2 Tbs. pine nuts
Preheat oven to 425* F. Roll out pizza dough to 1/8 inch thickness and place on a baking sheet. Brush with 1 Tbs. olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a pan over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage until it is no longer pink. Meanwhile, toss the kale, remaining 1 Tbs. of olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl – set aside. Drain the sausage, and discard the fat. Set sausage aside.
Spread the white sauce over the pizza dough. Sprinkle sausage and mozzarella over the sauce. Spread the kale and lemon slices over the pizza. Season with red pepper flakes.
Place the pizza in the oven for 16-20 minutes. When finished, the crust should be golden brown, and the cheese should be bubbly.
When the pizza is cooked through, sprinkle the pine nuts over the top. Serve with additional pepper flakes and parmesan, if desired.
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day* – Big Sis by SALES
Well guys, I’m graduated!!! A couple weeks ago, I crossed the stage, didn’t even trip in my tallest heels, and I’ll be mailed my actual diploma in a few weeks time! It was great. The tradition at UNR is to go to the famous college bar, The Little Waldorf, before graduation and drink mimosas and maybe relive your most wonderful/awful times as a college student? Idk, because I had never even been to The Wal until that day, but I was able to get past the sticky, beer-soaked floors that I’m sure have never been mopped, and my friends and I drank cheap champagne on empty stomachs and it was perfect. After graduation, I stuffed my face with Thai food at our favorite local joint, and then after I attempted a nap, we had a huge graduation BBQ with my friends and family. My parents ended up playing rage cage with all of us young kids, and also it was my first time playing! Of course I had all of my college experiences the day I graduated. But it was a super amazing time, everyone drank and had fun, and I got to sleep the whole next day with a less-than-fun hangover (shoutout to Gatorade for getting me through that one).
I’m off to Europe in less than two weeks (!!!), so I’m trying to enjoy some of my favorite Reno summertime activities before I leave. Namely, Lake Tahoe, fun outdoor bars, and sitting at patios at cute local restaurants. Also, I spent the last weekend in San Francisco drinking lots of coffee and cocktails with my cousin. We even found a bar that had a “bondage” theme, and I was impressed. Oh SF, I <3 u.
Since I’m leaving so so soon, I’m trying to get all of my cooking in while I can. Although I’m soooo excited to eat at wonderful European restaurants for 4 months, I also will miss the luxury of a kitchen, even though I’m sure my airbnb hosts will be accommodating if I really get the itch. Namely, I’ve been taking advantage of my BBQ, because we just got a brand new sparkly one, and in the summertime, I’m pretty sure the only acceptable food is any that is BBQed. The other day I was craving burgers like no other thing in the world, but I wanted something a little more creative than my standard beef-cheddar-veg-bun combo I normally go for. I really love smashed burgers, but since it’s summer I have a difficult time cooking indoors when my brand new sparkly grill is in eyesight from my kitchen window. Also, I really wanted something with BBQ sauce but not ribs or pulled pork, so I just combined everything into one package and then added bacon for good measure.
It’s a little more work to make the homemade BBQ sauce, but it’s honestly a super easy recipe and totally worth the effort. However, if you really can’t be bothered, you can always buy some store-bought sauce, but you’ll probably miss out on peaches and bourbon which is not the kind of world I want to live in.
P.S. the BBQ sauce will make quite a bit, and you definitely won’t need all of it for the recipe. You can either put it in jars and seal it (if that’s your thing) or you can use it for another recipe, but I’d use it within a week (or two if you’re willing to risk it, which I am). This sauce would be perfect on pulled pork, ribs, or chicken.
Also, I served my burgers with wedge salad, but some oven fries would be amazing too.
XO Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: Warned You by Good Morning
Holy hell, it snowed again this weekend, and then when it wasn’t snowing, it was raining, and when it wasn’t raining it was perfect, foggy, San Franciscan weather that brings me peace. It was the ideal weekend, aside from the moment yesterday when, while walking and eating an ice cream cone in the flurry-darkness, I somehow didn’t see a huge freaking puddle of rain right in front of me, and I kicked it, and rainwater splashed all over my jeans and inside of my shoes. I probably would have been sad if I wasn’t laughing so hard, but that’s what I get for wearing old-man smoking slippers in the slushy rain-snow.
Luckily, nothing could dampen my spirits, because 1. I had mint chip ice cream from Simple!! and 2. I’m babysitting a big furry puppy this weekend while my cousin is at a friend’s wedding! She’s a big furry ball of floof (aka a Bernese Mountain Dog) named Flower, and even though she punched me in the face while I was petting her this morning, I’ve had the best weekend hugging her squishiness! Plus, there was that misty weather I was talking about earlier, and I had the most ethereal morning making coffee at work while the fog traipsed between the Sierras. Oh, and then there was the lasagna…
Lasagna is one of my favorite meals of all time, but especially when it’s frosty and misty outside. The melding of cheese + pasta + tomatoes hugs my insides and makes me feel cozy and warm. This lasagna in particular has been one of our favorite family recipes for a few years now. I’m honestly not sure where the recipe itself came from, but the flavors balance together so nicely – the ratio of cheese to meat is perfect, and the veggies add a lighter texture. Also, the recipe uses cottage cheese, which forms these delicious little cheese clumps without the heaviness of ricotta, and yuuummm!
I’ve tried at least four different lasagna recipes by now, and this is the one I always come back to. It takes a little work, as all lasagnas do, but of course it’s worth it! It’s the perfect weekend project if you want to perch yourself in front of a movie or listen to classic jazz while you layer delicate noodles with veggies, meat sauce, and a pile of cheese. While the sauce is simmering, you can make a light salad or mix some herbs & butter to make toasty garlic bread, or better yet, start some creme brulee or mascarpone cheesecake. Lasagna is special, and it deserves proper dessert as well. This meal is perfect for a dinner party with friends or a romantic date-night with your love (note: this will feed both of you for days). I wish you all lasagna-making bliss ♥
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: Cry Me a River by Julie London
Thank you to Sanford Ranch Beef for sponsoring this post! Sanford Ranch Beef is locally-grown, hormone-free, steroid-free, all-natural, and all the good stuff. Visit their Facebook or website if you live in the Reno area.
As always, all opinions are my own.
Every once in a while, I come across a recipe online purely by accident and think that is sounds so absolutely delicious that I have to make it that very night. Normally the recipes are dessert-related or starch-related, and I end up using the recipe as a guideline to inspire my own method that fits more to my taste. However, I found the recipe for these pork chops on Eating Well completely by accident. They had some of my favorite ingredients – pistachios and oranges! And the recipe is healthy and nutritious – yay!
Bonus points: There’s only 7 ingredients including salt, pepper, and oil, and it only takes about 30 minutes to make these little guys! Extra yay! I always get excited for 30 minute, healthy meals, especially after a long day of work, classes, dragging my ass to the gym, and everything else I have to do. Eating Well really blessed us with this recipe, you guys.
I didn’t really change much to the recipe, except that I used pork loin chops instead of a whole pork loin, and I chopped my pistachios and garlic by hand instead of with a food processor – 1. because I don’t like cleaning food processors, and 2. because I don’t have a food processor. Also, I scrapped their wild rice and green bean sides, opting for a simple wild rice blend I mixed with a little butter, garlic powder, and salt and a green salad with mixed greens, feta, cranberries, apples, and a simple white balsamic vinaigrette. It was a perfect meal, and the wild rice and salad can be made while you’re preparing and cooking the pork! With my last semester of college starting on Monday (!!!) I’m really looking forward to finding and developing more recipes that can be made in less than an hour, with minimal dishes.
My ONLY complaint about this recipe is that, if you have leftovers, while the pork chops still taste great, the pistachios lose some of their crunch from the moisture in the fridge. However, I don’t really like leftovers in general, so my opinion doesn’t have much merit. Also, slightly-chewy pistachios crusted on pork is still a much better lunch than my usual quinoa salad or sandwich. Take some, lose some.
Note: You’re going to be searing these porky chops and then placing them in the oven to finish. I seared them in a pan, and then placed them on a sheet pan to finish, but next time I think I’ll sear them in an oven-safe cast iron, cover them in the marmalade and pistachio mixture, and then place them back in the cast iron to finish in the oven – then it becomes a one-pan dish!
Any ideas for healthy 30ish minute meals?
XO Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: Old Friend by Pinegrove
This past weekend was kind of rough for a multitude of different reasons. Even though I had some relaxing moments spending time with friends and family, most of my weekend was spent in a state of “blah” that I couldn’t quite shake. When I’m feeling like this, I know the best thing to do is to engage in self-care with a little bit of comfort food and TV. My craving was mac and cheese, but I didn’t want to make a huge pan of leftovers that could go to waste. After a few minutes of thought, I realized I could easily make a tiny mac and cheese that would feed just myself. Even in my difficult times, my brain comes up with great things!
This recipe is perfect for a feel-sorry-for-yourself-night, because it only requires one pot and it’s super versatile. You can use whatever cheese and pasta you have around the house, although smaller pastas with plenty of nooks and crannies are always the best! I’m also partial to a cheddar-parmesan mixture if you have that around the house.
As far as fanciness, this mac and cheese is pretty fancy-free. I just blend it all together, top it with a little parm, and broil it until browned. I add a little ceyenne pepper, mustard powder, worcestershire, onion powder, and garlic powder. Feel free to add whatever spices you want or none at all. Broil or don’t broil. Eat it out of the pan and leave the dishes for later, or wash the pot while the pasta broils (my method, because dirty dishes give me anxiety). Once your mac and cheese craving has be fulfilled, you can crawl back in bed or take a walk or go grab a coffee. This mac and cheese is about you and your needs after all.
Take time for self love this week my friends ♥ We all deserve it.
XO Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: Dandelion Wine by Gregory Alan Isakov
Happy Election Day! If you’re like me, you’re probably very nervous about the results of the presidential election, and you’re trying to decide if you should start packing your bags so you can get your ass to Canada. My personal remedy is to drink lots of coffee and wine and try to stay positive. Either way, I hope that you exercised your right to vote regardless of your political affiliation! Today is a day to feel lucky that you have a right to *choose*, not a day to hurt others based on their beliefs. However, I’m not here to talk about politics today or ever really, pls pls pls don’t bring it up like every confrontational person that walks into the coffee shop I work at. *eyeroll* Can you tell I’ve been dealing with this for a few months? I’m here to talk about beef & veggie pot pie, which good news (!), has wine in it!!! Plus, it takes a few hours to cook, so it’ll keep your mind off of the election (although, it is a really easy recipe and only takes a little bit of prep – it’s mostly cooking away quietly on the stove while you engage in other activities).
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve partnered with Sanford Ranch Beef to bring you all kinds of delicious recipes to make with your box of beef! If you’re in the Reno area, give them a call! Their beef is way more affordable than at the grocery, and you’ll be supporting a local family business! I can guarantee this, because well, I’m related to the owners.
For this recipe, you’re going to start with some typical winter veggies and a durable cut of steak. You can add or subtract veggies if you want, but I’d say the mirepoix components are necessary – that’s the carrots, celery, and onions. The recipe calls for 1 onion, but because mine were teeny tiny and cute, I used 2.
Essentially, you’ll add these ingredients with some wine, stock, and herbs and cook the hell out of it, because durable steak cuts require lots of cooking time in order to become tender. After, you’ll plop some pastry on top, bake it for a bit, and it’ll be ready to go! It’s super easy, but also very flavorful and impressive for company. I like to serve it with a simple green salad and pie for dessert!
Happy fall and happy voting ♥
XO Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: Light House by Future Islands
I am so, so excited to announce that the people at Serendipity by Sara Lynn (me) will be working with Sanford Ranch Beef, which sells local, steroid-free beef to the Northern Nevada area. This is my first partnership, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be working with such a great company! I first want to start off by promising that I only endorse businesses that I believe are wholesome and provide good quality products that I already use sans-partnership. I do not believe in advocating products that I do not use regularly; therefore, I can assure you that all opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way. I also want to let it be known that I am not being paid to post about Sanford Ranch Beef, although they did give me some all-natural, hormone-free steak, which let’s be real, is better than money anyhow.
And if you didn’t read that long ass paragraph, here’s a summary: I’m not a sellout. Cool? Cool!
Sanford Ranch Beef is a local cattle ranch owned by my cousin, his wife, and their family. They do not believe in using hormones, steroids, or fillers in their beef, so the product is completely farm-to-mouth. Their cattle is grass-fed and finished with mash (grain) from a local brewery in town – that means that the beef tastes slightly of hops, but not overwhelmingly so. They sell boxes of beef to people in the Northern Nevada area – if you live in Reno, Fallon, or other areas of N. Nevada and you like all-natural, ethical food, and supporting local business, visit their Facebook or website and give them a call!
Even if you do not live in Northern Nevada, I urge you to support local farmers and ranchers that live near you. By buying local food, you support families in your state and get healthier products (and you know where they’re coming from). When you buy from a store, you don’t know the distribution process – when you buy local, you can ask the owner yourself! By visiting farmer’s markets, you can find local produce, dairy, meat, bakers, and the like so you’re always getting the freshest ingredients! For a list of local farmers in your area, click here.
P.S. Since farmer’s market season is almost over, I recommend looking up local farmers/ranchers on Google or asking people in your community! Local food is easier to get than you think!
Over the weekend, I used some short ribs from my box of beef to make braised short ribs with cheddar grits and roasted brussels sprouts. It’s definitely a Sunday meal, because the braising takes a few hours, but this meal is so easy and impressive if you’re having guests over!
Both recipes are courtesy of Food Network.
Stay tuned for more beef recipes!
XO Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: Morning Dew by The National (cover)
Living in Reno means that I live a short three and a half hours away from the beautiful Bay area and amazing wine country, which has both its perks and its downfalls. Perks include relaxing weekend getaways, good wine being delivered straight to local mom and pop’s doors, and the influence of The City* trickling into the BLC**. And the downfalls? Weekend getaways are $$$. Good wine is $$$. Then there’s The City’s influence on Reno…
See, Reno’s culture has significantly changed in the last few years. Reno has gone from a failing casino city to a hip, local college town with amazing restaurants, bars, coffee shops, thrift stores, record stores, book stores, parks, events, music, etc. etc. etc. Not all people appreciate BLC culture, but damn I love it. However, with the influence comes the the traffic, and the increase in rent, and…the fusion. Asian fusion. Greek fusion. Italian-German fusion with a twist of California fusion. And, okay fine, fusion can be cool, but some things are just meant to be left alone. Including BLTs.
It seems as if every restaurant I go to lately has “their version” of a BLT, with 100 other letters attached to the end to show how different their bacon sandwich is from every other restaurant. BLTTC = Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Turkey, Cheddar, which I’m sorry is just a club sandwich. BLTGC = BLT grilled cheese, which just shouldn’t be a thing. And BLTA?! A BLT with avocado?!?! Okay, that one’s fair, and it works, but I have a slight allergy to avocado, so it doesn’t work for me. BLTs should be BLTs and nothing more. Nobody asked for this madness.
Luckily, you have me to set the record straight. Here’s how you should be doing your BLT.
- Grab a loaf of good bread. I like sourdough, but white or buttermilk also work. Toast it ya’ll.
- Bake your bacon. I swear. You better do it.
- Find a good tomato. It has to be a good one. Slice it thinly. This isn’t a tomato sandwich.
- Freshly ground black pepper does wonders.
- Add avocado if you must, but please don’t tell me.
There’s definitely some gaps in there, but I’ll fill them in later. For now, I want to clarify what is deemed appropriate to serve with BLTs. Hint: it’s potato chips and beer. Iced tea if you don’t drink alcohol.
Okay, that’s it. Those are the rules. And here’s the recipe:
XO Sara Lynn
Song of the Day: Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop by Landon Pigg
*The City = San Francisco
**BLC = The Biggest Little City a.k.a. Reno