The Sweetest Thing.

" I feel there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people" ~Van Gogh

Panko Crusted Dijon Salmon. April 29, 2015

Filed under: Dinner,Seafood — Jessica @ 4:42 pm
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You may have noticed that there was no meal plan post this week, sorry about that. It is actually written, but unedited in my drafts, but it seems kind of late now. I accidentally discovered the final season of Sons of Anarchy was on Hulu and Netflix on Sunday night and that is pretty much all I have done in my free time since then. We finished the season last night, so hopefully the rest of the week is more productive. It wasn’t a very exciting meal plan anyways. I am trying to use up some of the leftovers in our freezer.

So on to the recipe. One of my favorite blogs,, recently did a video featuring a Blue Apron meal she prepared. There wasn’t an actual recipe but the idea was simple enough, coat some salmon in dijon mustard, coat in panko bread crumbs and crisp it up in a skillet. I tried it out and we both really loved it. Tiff is not always a fan of salmon filets and she has already asked if I could make this again. Simple everyday ingredients come together to create something that I would be excited to order in a restaurant. It is kind of like a grown up version of a fish filet- but much healthier and tastier. I think this could most definitely convert one of those people who “don’t like salmon”.


Panko Crusted Dijon Salmon

serves 4


4 salmon filets

Salt & Pepper to taste

4 TBLS Dijon Mustard

1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

3 TBLS Olive Oil

1. Heat oil over medium heat in large skillet. Salt & Pepper both sides of salmon filets.

2. Put panko bread crumbs in shallow dish

3. Spread 1/2 TBLS of dijon mustard on one side of salmon, lay mustard side down in panko and press down.

4. Slater other side of filet with 1/2 TBLS dijon and flip over. Press into panko. Repeat with remaining 3 filets.

5. Add to pan with hot oil and cook 4-5 minutes per side, until crispy and salmon is cooked.


6. Enjoy!



April Cookbooks. April 24, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 8:00 am
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I have done a lot of improvisational cooking this month along with relying on some old favorites.  That doesn’t mean I have not been fully immersed in cookbook reading. I have only made a few recipes from these cookbooks but I have marked so many pages for future use.

I am loving this Supermarket Healthy cookbook my Melissa D’Arabian. It focuses on eating healthy and delicious foods without spending a lot or needing a ton of special ingredients. I have 99% of the ingredients in our kitchen already. This is exactly my style of cooking. I like things that feel a little special and taste really good but can prepared without a lot of time and fuss. Real, healthy food is obviously always a priority for me and this book is full of great ideas. Tilapia in Caper-Tomato Sauce, Kale and White Bean Caesar Salad and the Peach Dutch Baby Pancake are a few of the recipes I can’t wait to try!


The Pollan Family Table was mentioned in a magazine I read a couple of months ago. I needed to check it out immediately. Michael Pollan was a huge influence on my food philosophy. His books were the first books I had ever read about food. This  book was written by the ladies in the Pollan family and contains over 100 of their favorite family recipes as well and kitchen wisdom and the expected Pollan food philosophy. Beyond being useful and inspiring, it is full of gorgeous photos. Key Lime Pie with Walnut Oatmeal Crust, Spanish Tortilla with Spinach and Manchego Cheese and Cheezy Grits are on the short list for a place in my May meal plan.


After making the Lemon~Almond Tilapia from the Seriously Delish cookbook, I got kind of obsessed with the possibilities of almond flour. That is now one of our favorite Tilapia recipes and I knew I needed to explore more almond flour recipes. In the way that it always does, the universe brought The Gluten-Free Almond Flour cookbook across my desk at the library and I had to check it out. This book has recipes for breakfasts, entrees, baked goods and more. I am really excited about the many cracker and bread recipes in this book. You can buy it on amazon for less than $10!


* these are not affiliate links (although I should really look into that), they are just cookbooks I have recently enjoyed and  I wanted to share where you could find them too! You could also check out your local library- it is where all of these came from!


Movies at the Reg. April 22, 2015

Filed under: Adventures — Jessica @ 7:04 am
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Posting more about local events & businesses is a big part of my vision for this blog. I try to participate whenever I am able, I am still just working on being comfortable taking random pictures at events. I plan to start a small business series next month.

Today, I am sharing one of my favorite ongoing “events” in Jamestown- Movies at the Reg. If you live in the area and you have never been to the Reg Lenna, this is a great opportunity to check it out without spending much money. For those of you not familiar, the Reg Lenna is a gorgeous historic theater we are blessed to have right downtown. More info here.


The Reg shows a variety of movies for the whole family. Many of the movies they show were recently new in theaters but they also show some classics. My sister and I took her children to see Paddington on a Sunday afternoon last month. This past Saturday, my sister and I went to see Wild. I had read the book when it first came out and my book club later selected the book for one of our monthly choices. I loved the book and I thought the movie was a great adaptation. The movie is playing again tonight if you want to see it! I am hoping to see The Breakfast Club next month.


The best part of seeing movies at the Reg? It only cost $5! You can’t do much with $5 these days so this always feels like such a bargain to me. You can also get snacks to enjoy with your movie. The snack bar offers a variety of candy, popcorn, seltzer water, bottled water and coffee. I believe snacks are $2 each or 5 for $5- another great deal! I was able to treat my sister and I to the movie and snacks for only $15 without sacrificing any of movie going experience. I have never been to one of the weeknight movies but for at the Saturday night movie, you can even purchase wine or beer. We do not have other movie theaters that you can drink alcohol at in the area, so this is a definite selling point for some!


Upcoming Movies~


Other upcoming events~



Blackberry BBQ Pork Chops. April 21, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 8:17 am

My planned post for today was last night’s Loaded Nachos but after a 12 hr work day, I was happy to come home to having them already prepared for me. I put my hair up, put on some sweatpants and joined my honey on the couch for dinner in front of the TV. After eating, brushing my teeth and a quick kitchen clean up, I fell asleep by 8:30. I have really just made peace with needing sleep to keep up with the rest of my life. I used to feel like I was somehow “missing out” if I went to bed early but the only thing I am missing out on is another episode of my current Netflix obsession. I am no longer someone who gets a lot done at night because I woke up at 5:30am and I am too tired to get much of anything done after 9pm. I don’t always go to bed as early as I did last night, but I have been trying to make it to bed between 10-10:30 each night.

So, Loaded Nachos will have to be another day. This is a recipe I have had saved for a while. I made them in the oven and they were really delicious but I think they would be spectacular on the grill. It involves just a few simple ingredients and it is a great last minute option when you want something a little more special than just plain bottled BBQ sauce. The combination of blackberry preserves, BBQ sauce and garlic salt plays well together. The blackberry BBQ sauce would also be good on grilled chicken.


Blackberry BBQ Pork Chops

serves 4


4 Pork Chops (I used boneless center cut, but any would work)

1/2 c Blackberry Jam

1/2 c BBQ Sauce (We are big fans of Sweet Baby Rays)

1 tsp Garlic Salt (preferably the grinder kind with the bits of dried garlic and salt crystals)

Fresh Ground Black Pepper (To Taste)


1. Microwave Jam for 20 seconds, Add BBQ sauce and mix well.

2. Sprinkle garlic salt evenly among chops, pepper each chop.

3. Liberally spread jam on one side of pork chop and place that side down (on grill) or in oven safe dish. Repeat with remaining 3 chops.

4. Spread remaining mixture of top of each.

5. Bake at 350° for 20-25 mins. (or grill until done)

6. Enjoy!


Weekly Meal Plan 4/20/15. April 20, 2015

Filed under: Meal Plan — Jessica @ 4:13 pm
Tags: , ,

We were blessed with another gorgeous weekend & we took full advantage! We did some yard work on Saturday & grilled up some burgers before I headed out for a movie date with my sister. Sunday was especially beautiful. We slept in until 7 (yes, that is sleeping in for us) and had a nice morning of conversation, relaxing and brunch. Once we cleaned up the kitchen, we headed outside to get started on our garden tasks. We built a raised bed & started some seeds. (More on that later this week) We had to take a break to run to Home Depot for more dirt & to Wegmans for a few essentials. Once home, Tiff filled the garden bed with dirt & I prepared food for our afternoon company.

We had some friends over for a late afternoon cookout. BBQ smothered organic chicken thighs & drumsticks and zucchini & red onion packets were thrown on the grill and served along side homemade potato salad. It was kind of a last minute decision, but things came together well. It was so nice to enjoy the backyard with friends. I even got a bit of a sunburn-which I know is no good- but it makes me so happy to have nicer weather again!

Anyways, the meal plan got a little jumbled last week but we did stick to making meals at home.


Monday- Loaded Nachos

Tuesday- Mustard Panko Salmon, Brussels Sprouts & baked Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday- Roasted Chicken with Green Beans & Red potatoes

Thursday- Empanadas, Salad

Friday- We are going out to dinner with my family

Saturday- Leftovers

Sunday- Italian Sausage w/ onions, peppers & mushrooms on the grill, Fresh Fruit


Weekly Meal Plan 4/13/15. April 13, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 4:28 pm

What a weekend! We are finally getting some nice weather around here and I could not be happier! I am wearing a sundress and sandals today!!!!! Saturday was spent in the usual way. Housework in the morning and some errands in the afternoon. An easy dinner and some CSI on the couch with my love and an early bed time rounded out the night.

Sunday started out great. We relaxed and chatted in bed for awhile in the morning and then got up and jumped right into our to do list. We got a few things done before a friend came over for brunch. After a delicious brunch we ran to Home Depot for supplies to build a garden bed and stopped at Wegmans for a few groceries. When we got home, Tiff unlocked the door and hung her keys on the hook inside. I carried in groceries and set the groceries and my purse down so I could go help her haul stuff to the backyard. On my way out, I pulled the door shut, not realizing it was locked. We spent all afternoon and most of the evening locked out of the house with our groceries, my phone, our wallets and our keys inside. My mama lost the extra key I gave her and we were not able to get in touch with the landlords all day. We did finally get in but it was not a fun (or cheap) experience. We have a new plan for the extra key in place now.

Needless to say, we did not get much done after that. We were still able to cook out on our new grill so the day wasn’t a total loss. Lots of plans for the backyard and a few indoor projects were pushed back to next weekend. Luckily the nice weather should be sticking around.

My partner is taking a break from working a second job since the overtime has been steady at her primary job. This means she will be home in the evenings and can pitch in a little more with meal prep during the week. She is not quite as adventurous as I am in the kitchen, but is always willing to try and learn new things. Our meal plans might seem a little different since she will be cooking more, but they will still be built around real food.


Monday~ Crock Pot Collard Greens, Baked Chicken Legs, Gluten Free Cornbread

Tuesday~ Kale Pancakes, Pan Fried Pork Chops, Jasmine Rice

Wednesday~ French Dip Sandwiches, Carrot & Celery Sticks

Thursday~ Mustard & Panko Crusted Salmon, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Red Potatoes

Friday~ Leftovers

Saturday~ Empanadas, Salads

Sunday~ Mediterranean Turkey Burgers, Zucchini Planks and Sweet Potato Fries on the Grill


April Grocery Haul Part 1- Aldi. April 8, 2015

We headed out to the store on Good Friday because I needed a few essentials for my Easter dessert duties. I was nervous about it being crazy but figured it only made sense to do an actual grocery shop if I was going to the store anyways. It wasn’t too bad but I will still try to do my shopping a bit earlier in the week next year.

After some major stock up shopping last month, we didn’t really need too much besides the fresh stuff- produce and dairy. Our chest freezer in the basement is stocked full of meat and our cupboards are nearly bursting open. I work less in the summer (and have less money), so I like to head into the season well stocked.

We are huge fans of grilling and do so 4 or 5 times a week in the summer. For side dishes, we often just throw whatever veggies we have on the grill, but baked beans, pasta and potato salad also make frequent appearances. Many of these are things we can stock up on as well as some condiments, buns and meat. Over the next couple of months I am going to focus on keeping our food supply full and stocking up on some cookout essentials. I started that with this shop.

We also have a fire pit and love to break out the s’mores ingredients whenever we have company.



~ Zucchini

~ Baby Bella Mushrooms (2)

~ Romaine Lettuce

~ Carrots

~ Sweet Peppers

~ Garlic

~ Shallots

~ Green Onions

~ Avacado (2)

~ Sweet Potatoes

~ Red Potatoes

~ Red Onions

~ Yellow Onions

~ Brussels Sprouts

~ Spinach


~ Flour Tortillas (for Fajitas)

~ Crackers from the discount bin

~ Cinnamon Raisin Bread

~ Italian Bread (2)

~ Hot dog and Hamburger Buns

~ Brown Sugar

~ Shredded Coconut

~ Marshmallows


Pantry Items~

~ Gluten Free All Purpose Flour & Regular All Purpose Flour

~ Gluten Free Brownie Mix

~ Graham Crackers

~ Cereal (for the honey)

~ Ketchup/Mustard

~ Salad Dressing (Italian & Caeser)

~ Sunflower Seeds

~ Olive Oil Mayo (love when they have this at Aldi)

~ Olive Oil

~Taco Shells

~ BBQ Sauce

~  Basmati Rice

~ Strawberry Preserves

~ Almond Butter

~ Pickles

~ Olives

~ Salsa

~ Relish

~ Pasta Salad (weird addition from Tiffany)


Canned Goods~

~ Salmon

~ Peaches

~ Baked Beans ( I like to start with the can version and fancy them up)

~ Corned Beef Hash

~ Black Olives

~ Diced Tomatoes



~ Raspberries & Strawberries (used for Easter)

~ Grapes

~ Lemons (used for Easter)

~ Grapefruits

~ Kiwi

~ Cantaloupe



~ Frozen Fruit Bars (these did not make the frozen food picture so I just included them here)

~ Parmesan, Blue and Feta Cheese

~ Greek Yogurt

~ Cottage Cheese

~ Milk

~ Cheese sticks

~ Mango Peach Goat Cheese

~ Spicy Mango Cheddar Cheese

~ Greek Yogurt Cups

~ Half & Half

~ Butter

~ Almond Milk

~ Whipping Cream (for Easter)


Frozen Food~

~ Broccoli (2)

~ Green Beans

~ Mango Chunks (I thought I was grabbing peaches)

~ Mixed Berries

~ Strawberries



~ Bacon (2)

~ Tilapia

~ Ham ( I cut this in half for two dinners and we will likely get a brunch out of each half too)

~ Italian Sausage

~ Cheddar Brats

~ Stuffed Clams (a grilling favorite of ours)

* Unpictured- 2 dozen eggs and 6 steaks

What are some of your favorite warm weather foods?