Tempura Fried Cheese Curds with Sriracha Mayo

Tempura fried cheese curds are my favorite happy-hour or game night snack!  They’re lightly crunchy and perfect with spicy & garlicky Sriracha mayo.

Tempura Fried Cheese Curds with Sriracha Mayo Continue reading “Tempura Fried Cheese Curds with Sriracha Mayo”

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Coconut Curry Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Coconut Curry Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

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”

Thai Cucumber Salad

Thai Cucumber Salad | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

I just got back from Vegas, and it was hot as f%^#*@((%.  I totally forgot what Vegas summer is like, and I think I almost died.  There is no escape.  It’s like being under a blowdryer.  It’s that feeling of when you open the oven and it burns your face.  It’s like your body is turning to dust and also you’re pouring a waterfall of sweat at the same time.  But!!! I had so much fun.  I got to go shopping with my grandma and spent probably three days worth of work on sandals.  My grandpa took me to breakfast at the golf club on multiple occasions.  I went to the second tiki bar of my life (the first being in Bergen, Norway, fun fact), and I drank all kinds of rum drinks and laughed with my friends.  Then, I woke up with my first Vegas hangover.  I breathed in a whole lot more cigarette smoke than I have ever wanted to.  I also got lost in my own hometown, and I was offended.  When did Vegas change the roads??  And, I found a lovely specialty coffeeshop near my childhood home, which didn’t even open until after I moved away! Continue reading “Thai Cucumber Salad”

Everything Bagel Popcorn

Everything Bagel Popcorn with Everything Spice & Nutritional Yeast

Growing up, one of my all-time favorite things to do was spend the night at my grandparent’s house.  My grandma and I would sew, take a ride in the golf cart, and have tea parties.  My grandpa would buy me ice cream and take me to breakfast after church on Sunday mornings.  Whatever sports game he was watching would blare throughout the house, and every time I smell Listerine, I think of my grandpa.  He has a green comb that he keeps on a side table next to his recliner.  My grandma has a violin hanging on a velvet backdrop across the room.  My grandparents have lived in this house my whole life, and it’s still one of my most comforting, happy places. Continue reading “Everything Bagel Popcorn”

Kale Salad with Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing

(May 2018) Note: This is an updated version of a “healthy Caesar dressing” recipe I posted way back in 2013.  The dressing recipe is essentially the same, and changes have been noted in the recipe at the bottom!


Kale Salad with Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing

Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing

There’s a restaurant in Reno called Campo that makes a kale salad and, not even kidding, it makes me crave kale salads.  It’s lemony, garlicky, and topped with crispy parmesan and a poached egg.  I think about it a lot and have considered going there just for a kale salad and their caramel budino, but I don’t want to be judged by the servers, even though I think kale + caramel pudding is the epitome of balance.  I guess you could call the salad “famous” by Reno standards, and the original owner of the restaurant was even nice enough to post the full recipe online. Continue reading “Kale Salad with Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing”

Carrot Salad with Pistachios + Queso Fresco + Shallot Dressing

Ribboned Carrot Salad with Queso Fresco, Pistachios, & Shallot Vinaigrette | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

Carrot Salad with Feta, Pistachios, & Shallot Dressing

I feel like I don’t have any good stories to share with you guys lately.  I just work and cook and do a little yoga.  Is this what post-grad life is??  I get a degree, and I become someone who looks forward to coming home on Fridays and eating takeout pupusas in my sweatpants while watching Arrested Development reruns?  Because that’s exactly what I did this past Friday, and it was kind of amazing.  Although Saturday I went to a party and had two whole beers sooooo…yay?  Raise the roof?  I don’t know how to be young anymore.  Help!!!

In other exciting news, we also got a new Indian restaurant in town, and it’s the best one yet!  And this weekend, I’ll be in Seattle hopefully going to lots of fun bars and coffeeshops.  So, things are looking up in the ‘cool department’!

Easy Carrot Salad with Queso Fresco, Pistachios, & Shallot Dressing

Carrot Salad with Queso Fresco, Pistachios, & Shallot Dressing

On another note, may I introduce you to one of my new favorite recipes?  I didn’t know it was possible to like veggies this much, but omg this carrot salad is sososo good!!  I don’t think we appreciate carrot salad enough in the states, because I’ve never seen one here unless I was at an authentic-European deli of some sort, but I’m starting a petition to make it a thing.

I made this salad for Easter, and it was perfect with ham and scalloped potatoes.  Then, I used the leftover dressing to make more carrot salad for work lunches the next few days.  I’m pretty sure I ate like, 8 servings of vegetables a day that week.  I hope this obsession lasts and eventually upgrades to a spinach obsession.

For this salad, you can peel the carrots into long, pretty ribbons like I did.  Texturally, it’s my favorite, but peeling carrot ribbons takes a long time, and you end up with weird little carrot pieces once you can’t peel anymore.  In this case, I just turn them into carrot sticks and snack on them alone.  When I was being lazy with it, I just used grated carrots which is way faster and can be done with a food processor.  Either way, the real star here is the shallot dressing.  It’s slightly-spicy and creamy from the yogurt.  I would dip anything into it.  If you don’t like carrots, at least make the dressing and put it on some kale or something.

Also!  This salad can be made a day in ahead, but put the pistachios on right before serving or they will lose their crunch.  Ok?  Ok!

Carrot Salad with Feta, Pistachios, & Shallot Dressing


Carrot Salad with Pistachios + Queso Fresco + Shallot Dressing
Serves 8-12

Ingredients for the Salad

2 lbs. carrots, washed, trimmed, and peeled
4 oz. queso fresco, or feta, crumbled
1/2 c. pistachios, toasted
2 Tbs. Italian parsley, chopped

Ingredients for Dressing

1 small shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 Tbs. white wine vinegar
3 Tbs. plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
1/3 c. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots into long ribbons.  Alternatively, you can shred them in a food processor.  Cover carrots with a wet paper towel to keep fresh.

To make the dressing, add shallot, white wine vinegar, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, and honey to a food processor.  Pulse until combined.  Drizzle in olive oil until emulsified.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare salad, add the queso fresco, pistachios, and parsley.  Toss with the shallot dressing, to taste.  Start with half the dressing and add more as needed.  Serve immediately.  To make the recipe ahead, combine everything but the pistachios.  Add the pistachios right before serving.


xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Sleep Apnea by Beach Fossils

Carrot Salad with Queso Fresco, Pistachios, & Creamy Shallot Vinaigrette | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

Potato Wedges with Zhoug + Garlic Aioli

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Let’s play a quick game of Family Feud where we take lots of creative liberties!  In this scenario, I am both Steve Harvey and the audience.  The topic in question: What does Sara put on top of food when she doesn’t want her meal to be a basic bitch?

If you answers were to put an egg on it, cover it in yogurt, or douse it in ketchup, you would be correct!!  And for bonus points: drench it in zhoug sauce.  Have you ever tried this stuff?  It’s so good I could eat it with a giant soup spoon.  Zhoug is a Yemenis hot sauce made out of peppers + herbs usually served with falafel.  I used to only eat it on shawarma, but now I use it on everything.  Every once in a while, I will make a big batch for the week to marinate chicken, add to a little mayo for sandwiches, or dip veggies in.

For Easter yesterday, we had a big family dinner with ham, scalloped potatoes, marinated asparagus, rolls, and a carrot salad that I can’t wait to post soon!  Oh, and the aforementioned traditional strawberry shortcakes ๐Ÿ˜ฌ I wore one of my absolute favorite spring dresses and drank Moscow Mules while my little cousin looked for Easter eggies.  After, I took Bell on a long walk during sunset and then watched Hitch while destroying my tongue on a bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs that were on sale.  It was a perfect day!  And now I have a bunch of ham for sammiches, and I’m putting zhoug on those sammiches, don’t try and stop me!!

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A few years ago, when SSL was a baby blog, I was really into these recipes touting descriptions such as “low-fat”, “sugar-free”, “healthy”, blah, blah, blah everything that I now hate.  Seventeen Magazine and Pinterest had me convinced that these ingredients were healthy for me even though I could actually taste the chemicals in them.  Not that I don’t post healthy recipes anymore, but now instead of using a bunch of processed shit (like low-fat Cool Whip ugh), I make recipes that are naturally healthy and wholesome and don’t have ingredients like hydrogenated vegetable oil!  Anyways, at one point, I had posted this recipe for “healthy potato chips with low-fat garlic aioli”, and even though that description gives me shivers now, the recipe was actually pretty decent.  The greatest offender in the ingredient list was low-fat mayo which…I don’t know I guess could be worse??  And, the picture was taken with probably an iPhone 4 and was blurry.  I’ve come a long way since then, but the other day, I accidentally came across the recipe and decided to recreate it!  This time, I decided to make the potatoes wedges, because there’s more surface area for crispiness, and I added the zhoug sauce, because potatoes need it.  Also, I’ve included some ~hip~ new tips to make those potatoes super crispy without deep frying, so this is perfectly healthy for a weeknight meal yay!

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Potato Wedges with Zhoug + Garlic Aioli
Serves 4

Potato Wedges

2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes
1/4 c. flavorless oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut potatoes into 8 wedges.  Place potato wedges in a bowl of cold, salted water.  Let soak for a couple hours over overnight. This will make the wedges super crispy!

Preheat oven to 400*F.  After soaking potatoes, drain and add to a pot of boiling water.  Boil for about 6 minutes, or until you can just pierce potatoes with a fork – they should not be mushy.  Drain well.

Toss potatoes with oil, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper.  Place on a baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes.  Flip potatoes and cook for another 20-25 minutes until crisp.  Serve with aioli and zhoug!

Zhoug Sauce

2 c. cilantro
1 c. parsley
2-5 jalapenos, depending on spice preference*
3 cloves garlic
Zest + juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. cumin
Pinch sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 c. olive oil

In a food processor, combine cilantro, parsley, jalapenos, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Pulse until everything is chopped up.  While the processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil until combined.  Serve.

*Sometimes I use 2, which doesn’t yield a super spicy sauce.  I’d say my favorite is 4.  If you’re super sensitive to spice, just use 1.  You can take the seeds out if you prefer, but I leave them in!

Garlic Aioli

1/4 c. mayo or plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/3 c. parmesan, shredded
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, combine mayo or Greek yogurt, lemon juice, cayenne, parmesan, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Whisk in olive oil.  Serve.


xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Cutlass Cruiser by TOPS

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White Pizza with Sausage + Garlicky Kale + Lemon

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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 ยฏ\_(ใƒ„)_/ยฏ

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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 ๐Ÿ˜›).  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
Serves 4

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.

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xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day* – Big Sis by SALES