A Set Table

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Aside from flowers, one of my great passions is cooking & setting a table for loved ones (or honestly perfect strangers, too.) It is humble and in no way culinary or professional, just a hobby that I love and want to share! I super enjoy styling tablescapes & creating/styling the food & candles & the view of it all. Incorporating florals into the midst of it makes my heart swell.

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I started this page to share some recipes that I’ve stumbled across & tweaked over our first few years of marriage, in hopes that some newly weds, couples or even single ladies/men would find something they love, to make their own for their loved ones. It’s a mix of southern, soul food, uber healthy treats, asian dishes & lots of sweet potatoes, garlic and cheese. I also hope it gives newlyweds recipes that they can use to break in their registry gifts! Some of these recipes I specifically made so that I could use a certain kitchen utensil or new bowl (lol).

If you’re curious about wether it is too risky or if your husband/SO will like it… each post will probably have some quirky anecdote from Dakota about the quality of the food, haha! Anyway, I am so glad that you’re here to get a taste of our kitchen and I’m here to help you set your table!

PS if you ever have recipe suggestions yourself or tweaks you tried and loved, comment with them! I’d love to get a taste of YOUR kitchen!

PPS if you like my plates, they’re from Amazon - they’re a steal - get ya some.

A-Lotta Tostada

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Let me start this one off with… YUM!!! I think these tostadas are the reason I fell in love with Dakota. They are my favorite meal by far and a lot of our family’s favorite as well! They are crunchy, seasoned well, messy, zesty… all the everything you could want in food! I had them for lunch today and I am drooling as I write this still. Also if you can’t tell, they are gorgeous. So if you’re looking for pretty food - you’ve found it.

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Funny backstory: these are from Winc’s wine pairing booklet that you get with wines when you order through them. All of their wines are so so good and they always do an awesome job of pairing meals with them. No this is not a paid ad. I just like their recipes, haha. HOWEVER!!! If you don’t know, Winc is a wine subscription service, one that me and my friends in college decided to try out. I started it the last month of my summer job and truly meant to cancel after the first round because they send you like 4-5 wines and I am one person and cannot drink 4-5 wines a month! I failed at cancelling though… for 3 more months. SO your girl had TWELVE bottles of wine to make it through by month 3. I wasn’t even really drinking any, I just kept forgetting and it was horrible. Eventually I cancelled, but not until I was totally BROKE and I mean like I had $54 after quitting my job and then Winc charged me for my MONTHLY WINE SUBSCRIPTION and suddenly I had $4 to last me until school started - which was 2 weeks away. Needless to say I got a refund, but not after having to admit to a customer service assistant that I had indeed accidentally spent $200 on WINE when I was BROKE and still currently had TWELVE bottles of unopened wine in my pantry and $4 to my name. :)

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MOVING ON! Winc is how Dakota found tostadas. You can view the recipe here. Two major things 1) this says mini and we make them regular sized because we found that the tortilla holds up better when it is larger & 2) this says vegetarian but you know how we do - so we added baked & shredded chicken!* These take a little while, about an hour to make and they make a MESS of your kitchen. So the best way to do it is to start with a clean kitchen, a margarita and your favorite person to cook with, then get on it! Also, don’t be afraid to make the mess! It’s inevitable, but they are worth it.

I am drooling as I write this.
— Jill, Wife
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*Did you know that you can use your Kitchenaid mixer to shred chicken? This rocked my world.

These go really well with a margarita like I said, or a white wine or a Mexican beer, whatever tickles your fancy. They are great for summer and usually have leftovers enough to make lunch the next day or you can invite people over - they’re great for a tostada party as well. Everything keeps well aside from the guac, but if you put the pit from the avocado in the guac when you store it, it keeps it from oxidizing, so that’s a good solution! They go great in a bowl or as nachos, super versatile!

Top with lots of lime and enjoy! We really love this recipe and hope you do too!!!

PS You should have a competition to see who can eat the whole tostada without having anything fall off & without having the tostada break (or just a competition to see who can eat the whole things and make the smallest mess.) It’s truly - truly a challenge, but these things are just too tasty and so worth the mess.

Scones by Dakota

Hi, it’s your friendly neighborhood red-head.

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Between work and chasing after Jill, I don’t get to spend much time in the kitchen, but I’ve always had a knack for cooking and baking. So on my days off, I try to kick Jill out and make a mess of our kitchen to give her a bit of a break.

You can usually find me behind the grill, or whipping up some desserts, but I love to make breakfast. I tend to lean more to southern-home cooked style, with sausage-biscuits and gravy or waffles with fried eggs and bacon. But on those days where you want to sleep in a little, I love to make these scones. There are two reasons why I like to make these:

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  1. These are so versatile. This particular recipe calls for bacon, cheddar and chives, but you can swap in/out almost anything.

  2. You can prepare these the night before, and just stick them in the freezer and bake them in the morning; but even if you don’t make them the night before, this recipe takes just under an hour.

  3. It’s a great excuse to break in those new measuring cups, mixing bowls, and baking pans.

  4. Jill likes flours, and this uses about two cups.

I want to eat a million of these.
— Jill, Wife
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Some things I have found to be helpful when preparing these is that you want the butter to be cold. I always add about a tablespoon more and I dice it up and stick it in the freezer while I mix everything else. Also, be sure to not over work the dough, but also be sure to fold it over itself a few times to add a few layers and texture. My last bit of advice is to make plenty of coffee, grab a good book and a blanket, and snuggle up on the couch together while you enjoy these.

Summertime Chicken Spaghetti

If you’re like me - you love making casseroles because 1) they cover dinner one night & lunch the next day, 2) mean you have 25 minutes - 1 hour of oven cooking down time where you can drink wine & write, or draw, or watch a show and 3) because they are easy peasy, so yummy & if it’s not just you two, can feed a crew!

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I recently starting making casseroles upon casseroles because my sister-in-law is staying with us & I have to make more food than usual, so a lot of posts in this season will be casseroles! I always try to stray more into the healthy zone - but grew up in a southern home so sometimes lots of butter makes it into recipes. I’m an olive or coconut oil girl most days, but a butter girl at heart. You are warned, this is a butter recipe. I was operating in the shadow of Dakota’s mom’s chicken spaghetti & got nervous and I figured “a little butter always makes things better,” so I went for it.

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I used this recipe from Spend with Pennies! Dakota & I like things a little spicier so I added a dash of chili powder. I like a little more veggies & garlic in everything so I also added a red bell pepper & 3 more cloves of garlic than it called for. If you have ever read through Cravings by Chrissy Teigen, you know the garlic love is real in this day & age. I think it could use 1/2 a teaspoon more of italian seasoning, but is yummy yummy just the way it is & is super simple to adjust to your taste!

We made crescent rolls & green beans as the sides, nothing too crazy. This is a really great, feel good recipe for a slow night in after travel, or a long hot summer day. Pairs well with a couch & a glass of pinot noir (and flowers as always if you’ve got ‘em.)

I’d go back for seconds.
— Dakota, Husband
chicken spaghetti

The grocery/ingredient list is in the link to the recipe - super affordable for newlyweds on a budget. Super simple for newlyweds learning how to cook for one another.

Hope it makes some tummies happy tonight! Let me know how it was for you!

Not-So-Vegan Vegan Pasta

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So, we bought some almond milk because I wanted to make some “nice” cream. Once I made the nice cream, though, I didn’t really have a whole lot of uses for the milk! Now, I hate wasting any kind of food - so I figured I’d look up some sort of recipe that uses almond milk, to make for a weeknight dinner. You can check out that recipe here, so if you buy some almond milk for this recipe but then don’t have anything else to use it for, you can make that! I’ll be writing a post about that recipe soon, because it was gooodd!

I stumbled across this gem! Now, I’ve never cooked with non-dairy milk for a sauce. I use coconut milk in curry & soups all the time but I didn’t really know how almond milk would do as a cream sauce. I was skeptical all the way through the recipe, but let me tell you - it turned out golden!

I got the recipe from Yup, It’s Vegan but Nope, It was not Vegan after I was done with it. I’m usually a-ok eating vegan or vegetarian but that husband of mine gets hungry if we don’t have lots of protein or meats in our dinners so I usually adapt! I oven-baked some chicken breasts seasoned with parsley, oregano, red pepper, salt & pepper, then I sliced them horizontally in an Olive Garden chicken style (lol, you know what I mean) to top it off!

The recipe resulted in creamy goodness that I topped & styled with fresh basil from the now basil TREE that we have in our herb pot on our porch. No one warns you that those suckers get huge. I also cut up some cherry tomatoes from our farmers market that had those gorgeous heirloom colors & some green onion just because!

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I think the sauce could have used some parmesan to thicken it up & add some flavor, but we didn’t have any while I was cooking it - I’ll probably try again this week and add some cheese in! If you try it & add cheese, let me know! Or if you’re looking for vegan, keep it (and the chicken) out & it’s still wonderfully good! It’s easily adaptable to whatever veggies you want to add as a side, but I recommend something fresh or sundried to offset the creaminess! I did notice that although normal alfredo/cream sauces usually upset my stomach, but this lovely dairy free alternative did not at all! Also, toast ya some bread for the side to sop up the leftover cream sauce for a nice little end to the meal.

This is surprisingly good?
— Dakota, Husband

It pairs well with whatever kind of wine you have on your counter or in your fridge, and a couple of candles, slow jams, dim lights and kind conversation. I think this would be a great dish for you to surprise your SO with when they have to work late one night, or make together while listening to a Spotify Release Radar and drinking wine. It also gave us a good excuse to use that pasta bowl that we got for our wedding registry & haven’t gotten to use!

I set the table with bud vases full of flowers left over from a wedding weekend, antique candles sticks of all shapes and sizes, a couple flower frog arrangements & my go-to olive runner. As always, the ingredients list is linked in the url above! The recipe calls for linguine but I used shells because I was out of linguine & it worked just fine! Tasty, looks fancy & is vegan if you want it to be!