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On West of the Loop, I strive to offer you, my readers, delicious, healthy, from-scratch recipes for main courses, side dishes, and desserts that fit into your families' lifestyle. Having grown-up in a household with two parents who work outside the home, and having been a mom who, at various times, has worked outside the home, stayed at home and, ...

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Quick Pickled Asparagus with Shallot and Tarragon


Thanks to Riveridge Produce for sponsoring today's post. Look for Michigan-grown Riveridge asparagus in stores this spring! The season for local Michigan asparagus is short. Too short if you love asparagus as much I do! But you can continue to enjoy asparagus for a few extra weeks by pickling them. Now, don’t panic: this recipe is for a ...

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Soy Sesame Asparagus Rice Bowl

rice bowl asparagus

Thanks to Riveridge Produce for sponsoring today's post. Look for Michigan-grown Riveridge asparagus in stores this spring! It's finally asparagus season! Are you as happy as I am? Yes, I know that today you can buy asparagus all year round. In a world where asparagus are always available, does asparagus season have any meaning? Well, for ...

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Grilled Purple Sweet Potatoes


Oh, purple. The color of royalty. The color of luxury. Ever since the world lost Prince a few weeks ago, we've been seeing purple everywhere. But purple has always been my color of choice. In fact, it's my favorite color. But until recently, I have not expressed my love of purple through food. There are simply not that many purple foods to be ...

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Mother’s Day Brunch Menu

mother's day brunch menu

I strongly believe that you should not go out to eat on big restaurant holidays, like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. The restaurants are crowded, the prices inflated and the waitstaff harried. Restaurant critics will tell you the same thing but then give you a long list of restaurant recommendations anyway because that is their job. So, my ...

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Passover Meal Ideas

passover dinner ideas

Are you looking for dinner ideas that are kosher-for-Passover to get through the rest of this week? Me too. I have combed through my archives to find some of my favorite wheat-free recipes to make your Passover meal planning easier. This is also a great list of gluten-free meal ideas for those times you are hosting friends or family who avoid ...

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Matzo Ball Soup

matzo ball soup recipe

Passover begins this Friday, April 22nd, at sundown and Jews all over the world are preparing for their Seders. The Passover Seder is the most widely celebrated ceremony in the Jewish year. Even Jews who do not observe any other religious ritual will host or attend a Seder. There is something magical about the idea that Jews all over the world ...

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Chocolate Teff Cake for Passover

passover desserts

Teff it out! When it comes to Passover desserts, I have a new favorite flour: teff. What's teff? An ancient grain native to eastern Africa, teff is most familiar to Americans as the basis for injera, the spongy, slightly sour (because it's fermented) pancake-like flatbread served at Ethiopian restaurants. Teff is considered to be kosher for ...

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Raspberry Lemonade Virgin Mojito

virgin mojito recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NewWayToSparkle #CollectiveBias I'll take a sparkling Raspberry Lemonade Virgin Mojito, please. That sounds amazing. Doesn't it, though? Tall. Cold. Fizzy. Tart. Sweet. The perfect thing to sip while lounging on the tropical beach of ...

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Garlicky Salmon and Snow Pea Rice Bowl

salmon rice bowl

What's for dinner tonight? If you're lucky it's this Garlicky Salmon and Snow Pea Rice Bowl with soy-lime dressing. Light, healthy spring cooking doesn't get any better than this.  And you don't even need to make a special trip to the fish monger. That's because that beautiful salmon filet you see there is Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Salmon with ...

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How to Make Sourdough Bread at Home

homemade sourdough

On Valentine's Day this year, I had a special date. No, my husband did not take me out for a fancy dinner. Instead, my friend Gena and I went to a class at Bunny, the Microbakery, the latest venture from Food and Wine Best New Chef-winner Iliana Regan, to learn how to make bakery-style sourdough. It seems that Gena and I are part of a larger ...

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How Truvia is Sharing a Sweet Future


Today's post is sponsored by Truvia who has partnered with the United Nations World Food Programme to positively impact rural Bolivian communities. Truvia's Sharing a Sweet Future Initiative launched in 2012 as an effort between Truvia and the United Nations World Food Programme to improve the lives of thousands of children in rural Bolivia ...

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San Francisco with Kids: Where to Eat

where to eat in san francisco with kids

San Francisco may be home to twenty-something tech millionaires and celebrities who are known for being off-beat (think the Robin Williams and Sean Penn), but it is also a surprisingly family-friendly destination — especially if your family likes to eat. My family recently spent a few days in the Bay Area as part of a California spring break ...

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Easter Brunch Recipe Round-Up

easter recipe ideas

Easter is this Sunday and although my family is not celebrating the holiday, we do have some fun plans. We are taking advantage of the fact that the children don't have Hebrew school (because of Spring Break) and the cancellation of my husband's Sunday morning pick-up basketball game, (because of Easter) to go out to a rare family brunch! As a way ...

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Meme’s Pickled Cucumbers

quick pickled cucumbers

I write a lot about my Jewish heritage and how it has shaped me as a cook, but I have another set of culinary influences on my mother's side of the family and those influences are Swedish. I had one Jewish grandmother and one Swedish grandmother. So I get to claim both culinary traditions. My Swedish half's time to shine is Christmas, which ...

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Voveti Venetian Spritz

mother's day brunch

When I told my friend Gena that I was working on a recipe for a Prosecco cocktail, she said, "My second favorite beverage after coffee!" How true! Prosecco is my preferred sparkling wine and just about my favorite thing to sip at a cocktail party or with hors d'oeuvres. There are many kinds of Prosecco on the shelf, but I always reach for ...

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Top 10 Things I Saw at the Home and Housewares Show, Part II

Richard Blais

As I explained in Part I of my recap, this past weekend was the International Home and Housewares Show, the housewares industry's enormous annual trade show with over 2100 exhibitors from 40 countries. I attended as press and as part of the team behind the lifestyle website Inspired Home. I have not attended many trade shows in my life -- ...

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Top 10 Things I Saw at the Home and Housewares Show: Part I

housewares show

This past weekend was the annual International Home and Housewares Show, an enormous trade show for the housewares industry at Chicago's McCormick Place, with over 2000 exhibitors showcasing the latest products and gadgets. I attended as press and as part of the team behind the lifestyle website Inspired Home. As a cookware and kitchen ...

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Greengage Plum Crumble

plum greengage recipe

"On and off, all that hot French August, we made ourselves ill from eating the greengages." The Greengage Summer by Rumer Gooden. Have you ever heard of a greengage plum? Prized in Europe, these small plums the color of a Granny Smith apple, are still very obscure in America. But ask a English person about greengages or ask a French person ...

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Refresh Your Spring Menu with Recipes from Marcus Samuelsson

chef marcus samuelsson

I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Everyone knows Marcus Samuelsson from his many television appearances and, of course, from his Harlem restaurant Red Rooster. (I have never eaten there, but my in-laws have. Lucky ...

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Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Ras El Hanout

cauliflower soup vegan

Like so many people, my husband and I are trying to lose a few pounds and eat more healthfully. (I'm literally eating raw cookie dough as I write this, so I guess he is trying harder than I am. Mmmm...cookie dough.) Therefore, I was very proud to tell him, when he arrived home the other night, that the rich, creamy cauliflower soup I was about ...

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Chocolate Orange Cake for Winter Birthdays

chocolate orange cake

The birthdays keep coming around here! This week it was my husband's turn to celebrate another year. Like JR, he's not big on sweets, but I don't think it's a birthday unless someone sings and you blow out candles. So I was going to make him a cake whether he liked it or not. Of course, I'd prefer that he like it. So I set out to make a cake ...

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Butternut Squash & Kale Quiche

vegetarian quiche recipes

At this time of year, many people are looking for satisfying meatless meals. Perhaps your family is observing Lent. Perhaps you are simply trying to eat healthier or in a more environmentally-friendly manner as part of your New Year's resolutions. My family are not vegetarians but we do eat several meatless meals a week in part for health ...

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Blood Orange Curd

blood orange curd

It's not blood-curdling, it's blood orange curd. And, in fact, it is rich, sweet and delicious. Pretty too, no? In a lovely shade of Creamsicle orange. I can't get enough blood oranges at this time of year. They are the sexiest of the citrus fruits with their mottled exteriors and screaming scarlet flesh. There is even an erotic film called ...

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Chocolate Orange Yogurt Truffles

chocolate truffles valentine's day

Chocolate orange truffles made with Divine Chocolate dark chocolate and Stonyfield yogurt instead of cream? These may be decadent but I feel no guilt whatsoever! Valentine's Day is right around the corner, but you still have time to make your beloved a homemade gift. And what could be more romantic than chocolate? But what if your ...

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