Showing posts with label lovely lunches. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lovely lunches. Show all posts

Monday, September 2, 2013

true colors

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the farmers' markets. I love all the vibrant colors - bright red strawberries, yellow heirloom tomatoes, deep green zucchini, dusty blueberries. It is a treat to the senses to just walk around and look at everything, even if you don't buy something - not that that ever happens for me. I always find a some colorful beauty that needs to come home with me.

When I picked up my CSA the other day, I was so excited to see not one, but two colors of cabbage. (It has been pretty heavy on the greens thus far this year and it was great to get a bit of variety.) I knew immediately I could make a beautiful slaw that might even entice the kids to take a bite. I mean what's more fun than eating something purple?

The following recipe is adapted from Grow Cook Eat

What you need:
juice from one lime
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tblsp of sugar
kosher salt, to taste
1/3 cup of sesame oil
1 large garlic clove
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1 small purple cabbage
1 small green cabbage
2-3 carrots, shredded
1/2 small red onion
freshly ground pepper

In a food processor, blend the lime juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, oil, garlic, and cilantro until well combined. Chop the cabbages and onion. Combine with the shredded carrots in a large bowl. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss. Top with pepper and toss again. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. Serve cold.

The colorful cabbage got better every day it was in my fridge. The slaw was spicy and sweet. Treat your senses to this dish soon!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

real breakfast

We eat real breakfast in my house. My kids are not satisfied with a fruit bar or a bowl of instant oatmeal. No, we have to have a substantial meal. Whether it is a croissant smeared with homemade apple butter or a piece of rye bread topped with strawberry honey jam from the berries we pick ourselves, I had better be prepared to also whip up some scrambled eggs or bacon too. And do forget some fresh fruit on the side. No wonder I stay so exhausted. The good news is once they have settled into their grub I am free to make my own fancy grown up breakfast. And you know what, I want something substantial too. Like this egg sammie which incorporated many treasures from my latest CSA.

You will need:
1 English muffin, toasted
1 organic egg, fried
micro greens, like mesclun
a thick slice of fresh tomato
1/2 red spring onion, sliced thinly
smoked gruyere cheese, shredded

Toast your English muffin. Fry your egg. I like mine over easy, but you can change that as you like. Layer de-stemmed micro greens on half of bottom of muffin. Top with ripe tomato and slivers of onion. Add egg, then smother with finely shredded smokey cheese.

This sandwich is so substantial it could easily be lunch. You are definitely gonna need a fork to finish it. But you know what they say...breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So, eat a real one.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

southern soup

The South has a very distinct palate. We like simple things - like hot corn bread smeared with real butter or a homemade biscuit slathered in a berry jam that was "put up" by someone's grandmother. From cobbler to fried fish, the food may not be fancy, but is flavorful.

There are a few southern classics I have generally steered clear of. Even when I ate meat (decades ago) I never like meat with skins or bones. As such, fried chicken wasn't my thing. And, for some reason collard greens. I can't really tell you why, but they were just never something I liked growing up. That has all changed. Thanks to my CSA I am constantly challenged to find new ways to cook interesting things. And when a bunch of collards showed up in a recent bag, I decided to make this southern soup.

Adapted from The Southern Foodie: 100 Places to Eat in the South Before You Die

You will need:
1 tblsp of olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 spring onions, diced
3 cups of collard greens, stems removed
1 can of diced tomato
1 can of purple hull peas
2 can fulls of water
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add in the garlic and onions. Saute until onions are soft. Add in the greens. Tear them into bite sized pieces as you place them in the pot. Wilt them and then add in the tomatoes, peas, and water. Stir and add in salt and pepper. Simmer for at least thirty minutes. Serve warm.

I slurped up every bit of this soup. It is tilt the bowl up and drink the last drop good. It has what every good southern dish has - whether it was my great grandmother's creamed corn or my great aunt's pecan pie - fresh ingredients, served simply. I know it is hot out there, but you have to turn down your A/C and give it a try.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

summer club

Summer is by far my favorite time of the year. It has everything. From gazing at giant blue hydrangeas to jumping into pristine pools, every second is seductive to the senses. And the food is no exception. Succulent strawberries, sweet corn, you name it, it is just better in the summer. This sandwich contains several of my summer favorites.

To make your own you will need the following:
crusty french bread
fresh basil
fresh mozzarella
homemade pesto
salt and pepper

Cut the bread into long sections and halve it. Smear with pesto. You can try my traditional basil recipe or my spicy collard green version. Slice the tomato and sink into the pesto. Top with fresh mozzarella. Salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh basil leaves on top. I get mine straight out of my garden.

This caprese club is cool on a hot day and the bold flavors will leave you satisfied but not stuffed. Served with a slice of watermelon and a tall glass of sweet tea, you will be able to taste the season.

Monday, February 25, 2013

soul food

You know all those Chicken Soup for the Soul books, well there should be a vegetarian version. I mean, we need comforting too. My house has needed a little extra love lately. We have been sick with something or another for, I swear, a solid month. And in my family, when you are sick - you get soup. I can thank my mom for this tradition. She makes a killer white bean and potato soup that always makes me feel better. But since we have been so under the weather I really haven't even gone out to do much shopping. This soup came together with what we already had in the cupboards.

You will need the following:
2 tblsp of olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, cleaned and chopped
1 package frozen spinach, thawed
1 cup of cooked brown rice
1 can of white beans, drained
1 can of diced tomatoes
3-4 cups of vegetable broth
salt, pepper, garlic powder, & Italian seasonings to taste

Start by heating the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and stir til soft. Toss in the carrots. Stir in the spinach. Top with the beans and tomatoes. Combine with the rice. Add is the broth to your desired thickness. Season with lots of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasonings. Cook over low heat for at least thirty minutes til the flavors have mixed and the veggies are tender.

Turns out it was just what the doctor ordered. Well, that and some tamiflu and antibiotics...Hoping you and yours stay well. But if you do come down with something, give this soup a shot. Its good for the soul.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

three's company

Good food is like good company. It is comforting, fulfilling and even necessary in my book. A long talk on the phone with an old friend or a big bowl of pasta can both do the soul good. It sounds simple, and it is.

In fact, the simpler the food the better in almost all cases. Take this dish, for example. Sauteed kale and smooth gnocchi combined with a bit of salty parmesan create the food equavilent of a hug with just three main ingredients.

To make your own you need:
1 package of gnocchi
1 head of kale
1/4 cup of grated parmesan
4 tblsp of olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Start by boiling salted water and cooking gnocchi according to directions on package. Remove stems from kale and tear into bite sized pieces. Add two tablespoons of oil to lage skillet. Saute kale until soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drain gnocchi and toss with remaining oil. Add more salt and pepper. Toss with parmesan. Top with kale and more parmesan if desired. Serve warm.

This dish is so good you may want to share it with a friend. Or just gobble it up while you talk to them on the phone...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

egg on my face

I love egg salad. But here's the thing...I never knew how to make it. Or rather, I really didn't want to know how to make it. I was a little afraid if I learned what went in it - namely lots of mayonnaise - I would lose my taste for it. And while we are on that subject, nothing is worse in my book than an egg salad with too much mayo. And then one day while browsing my Bon Apetit I ran across a recipe for nicoise toast.And there is was, staring me right in the face - a mayo free egg salad recipe. What then makes this sandwich satisfyingly creamy? Cottage cheese!

To make your own gather the following ingredients:
4 large organic  hard-boiled eggs, peeled, coarsely chopped 
3/4 cup small curd cottage cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper 
toasted bread of your choice
a few cherry tomatoes and spinach leaves (optional)
Combine eggs, cottage cheese, oil, parsley, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Using a large fork, mash ingredients together thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve on toasted bread (I used an english muffin) and top with tomatoes and spinach if desired.
Super simple, huh? It is protein packed and sure to put a smile on your face.

Monday, November 12, 2012

cheese head

I was on twitter the other day and someone said if she was a vegetarian she would only eat pasta according to her pinterest board. I AM a vegetarian, and if you looked at my pinterest food board (feel free to follow me here), you'd think I only eat grilled cheese. Seriously, how many variations can I pin? From sweet ricotta and blackberry jam ones to savory avocado and egg breakfast ones, I have pinned them all!  I do love a good grilled cheese. Especially on days when it is a bit chilly outside. This Italian version was inspired by leftovers in my fridge.

To make your own gather the following:
unslated organic butter
oat nut bread or other sliced bread for toasting
sun dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
organic baby spinach
crumbled feta
shredded mozzeralla

Melt a pad of butter in the skillet. Toast both sides of one slice of bread, and set aside. Repeat process with second slice. Add more butter to pan. Place bread back in skillet. Top with remaining ingredients and other slice of bread. Warm till cheese melts and bread is golden.

It may sound cheesy (pun intended), but this sandwich was incredible. Salty tomatoes, tangy cheese, buttery bread - just amazing. I promise to find more inspirational ideas and share them with you soon. If you have any ideas, feel free to leave them in a comment below. I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

mississippi muse

When I was a teenager I had my first (and last) taste of real caviar. My mother and I were staying at a beautiful bed and breakfast that was in a historic home in Natchez, Mississippi. The stay came complete with an afternoon wine and cheese hour. I was allowed to indulge in a small flute of champagne and all the cheese and crackers I could stuff into my mouth. Sitting on a peach satin couch amongst beautiful antiques and strangers, I decided to be adventurous and grown up, sophisticated even. I was going to eat caviar. After the first bite, I almost vomited in my mouth. To my surprise caviar tasted like fish eggs. It was all I could do to swallow the speckle covered cracker and then chug my champagne to rinse out my mouth. Never again I vowed!

And, then upon the birth of my son caviar came calling again. My oldest friend - who also happens to live in Mississippi - saved my by bringing me tons of food. Soup, sandwiches, chips, and something called "Mississippi Caviar." As you might imagine, my inner teen immediately had a visceral reaction to the idea. However, I was starving. Taking care of a kid was just days old to me and I needed calories to keep up with the little milk sucker. And since I hadn't learned how to get dressed and deal with all the diapers, much less cook, I was delighted to see anything - even something called caviar. As it turns out this version had no fish eggs at all - or gag inducing taste. Just a wonderful protein packed mix of black eyed peas and peppers. Ever since then I have sworn I would figure out how to make my own version. Well, here it i:

Mix together two drained cans of black eyed peas, half of a green bell pepper diced, one roasted and marinated red bell pepper diced, one quarter of a red onion finely chopped, half a cup of sweet and spicy peppers (find these in the pickle aisle), and one mince garlic clove. Next mix in a splash of olive oil and a quarter cup of red wine vinegar, and a tablespoon of dijon mustard. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste. Stir together and let chill for at least thirty minutes in the fridge. You can serve this awesome dip alone with tortilla chips or add in some avocado chunks and you have a full lunch.

Mississippi you have redeemed yourself...and caviar...sort of.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I don't make new years resolutions any more. What's the point? I can hardly remember what I ate for lunch, much less what my resolutions were in years past. And no, this isn't a "I resolve not to make any resolutions" post either. Really. I'm just not worried about losing a few more pounds or getting more exercise (thanks to nursing a newborn and chasing a toddler my metabolism is fantastic). I just try to be healthy. Some days I am, and some days I'm not. But if I do it more often than not, I figure it all evens out in the end.

For example, recently I had a series of heavy lunches that consisted of my two bean chili. Yummy, warm, filling, and topped with tons of cheese. Not a light lunch in the least. So this week, I am opting for something less dense - a super food salad. Earthy baby spinach leaves topped with crunchy sweet Gala apple slices, a hunk of silky avocado, and slivers of biting red onion provide tons of vitamins and nutrients. I top this with a few buttery croutons, a simple balsamic vinaigrette, and a bit of grated parmesan (you can lead a horse to salad, but you can't make it stop putting cheese on its plate). After eating this lunch you feel full and fresh. (Good thing, I can't afford to be sluggish with these two babies.)

So, if you are the type of person who makes resolutions, resolve to try this super salad as a part of your new lifestyle. And if you are like me and don't participate in this New Year's tradition, try the salad anyway. It is delicious and healthy. Everyone can get behind that, right?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

beyond the kale

As summer fades to fall I start looking to warm up my lunch options when the temperature cools off outside. There is just something about that first chilly day that calls for a big bowl of steaming soup. So pull out your favorite sweater, slip on those fuzzy slippers, and try out this really simple soup recipe.

Start with a drizzle of olive oil in a large pot. Add in one or two minced garlic cloves. Toss in half a diced onion. Heat til fragrant. (Since my CSA, which is sadly ending this week, has sent several bags of different greens in the past few weeks I thought I would incorporate some of them too. I tried kale, but other dark leafy greens could work too.) De-stem and coarse tear about cup of kale and wilt them partially. Drain a can of white beans and add them. Also stir in a can of diced tomatoes, juice and all. (Note, I use organic versions of both these canned items). Salt and pepper the veggies to your liking. Then pour in four cup of vegetable broth (again organic). Stir and simmer on low for thirty minutes to and hour.

Grab a deep bowl and ladle in the chest warming concoction. In no time that crisp fall air will feel like a distant memory...until you step outside that is. Maybe, I'll grab a scarf before I take the kids to the park after all.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Summer is soon coming to a close, and this means a few sad things in our house. The tomatoes will get less juicy, the grilling will get less frequent, and the baby pool will be packed away. As you might imagine each member of my family is disappointed in varying degrees by each event.

Like many foodies, summer is my favorite time of the year. From fresh okra fried to a crisp to blushing peaches put in pies, I love the food in the summer. Don't get me wrong, I look forward to my pumpkin bread in the fall, but it just isn't the same. And, like many backyard gardeners who dabble in growing my own food I am always sad when our small food patch slowly dries up into a brown shriveled ghost of its green past.

My herbs probably hurt the most of all. I so enjoy adding fresh rosemary to my potatoes or cilantro to my guacamole. And they are so expensive at the store for a small amount. So to send off summer properly, I like to use up every last bit I have on hand. Take these three salads as examples. I add chopped mint to the top of my fruit salad. I swirl in minced dill with my sour cream potato salad. And I mix in bits of basil in my last cucumber and tomato salads...those last few good tomatoes I can get my hands on that is.

How are you planning to use the of your summer herbs? Are you making pesto and putting it in the freezer for later? Or are you topping your best bruschetta with the final bits of parsley you find outside? Let me know below.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

topping it off

Insalata caprese is of my favorite salads. Not much can top ripe sweet tomatoes, creamy slices of fresh mozzarella, and anise flavored slivers of basil. Well, that's not entirely true. One thing can top it - eggplant croutons.

Yep, you read that right. I know croutons are traditionally toasted bits of bread, but there is no reason you can dice up some eggplant while it is in season and fry it to a crisp for your salad topping. This is ideal when you are using the mini eggplants that you see at your local farmers' markets or in your CSA bag.

You can follow my recipe for the perfect pan-fried eggplant by clicking here. Just use the smaller eggplants (or even the Japanese varieties) and cut it into smaller pieces. Also, my instant insalada caprese recipe is here. Simply combine these two ideas for a wonderful lunch. Or if you are like me this can be a great main dish while your carnivore indulges in his latest grilled creation. Don't be surprised though if he pops a few of these crunchy crumbs in his mouth though. They are hard to resist. Even my baby omnivore thinks this fried finger food is tops. Hope you agree!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

purple heart

I started this website to help those of you out there who are struggling to find meals for your mixed diet family. Sometimes I am able to show you things both my (very picky) carnivore and I eat, and sometimes I can't. Because, the truth is he hasn't given up bacon and I haven't given up cucumbers. When you are making meals work for everyone, you can't just cook things that everyone will eat. And you shouldn't.

I usually reserve my more exotic experiments for my lunch. I share my concoctions with the baby, but I don't force them on the carnivore. It is not fun to fix food and have someone gag while they eat it or just push it around their plate. So, when these purple yard beans showed up in our CSA recently I figured I would be the prime beneficiary or their bounty. I decided they would be great in a cool bean and potato salad.

To make your own you will need:
8 medium yukon potatoes
1 large bunch of purple yard beans
1 large tomato
2 tblsp of olive oil
1/2 a fresh lemon
salt & pepper
fresh parsley

Start by cleaning and quartering the potatoes. Boil them til tender. Cut the beans in one inch pieces and trim the ends off. Stem the beans for a few minutes - until slightly cooked, but still crunchy. Once ready allow the potatoes and beans to cool on the counter. Dice the tomato and toss with oil and juice from lemon. Toss in potatoes and beans. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh chopped parsley. Place in refrigerator for at least an hour (the longer the better).

The colors were beautiful and the salad was satisfying. It was nice to have something cool on these dog days of summer that was substantial and still fresh. And while my carnivore would never touch it, maybe yours would or maybe they won't. But, food for me is about love and I heart this purple salad.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

mother of necessity

I am a full time mom now and with this new job comes a few perks. For example, I get to wear flip flops all the time. I get to hang out with (in my opinion) the cutest little guy in the world. And, I get to make a fresh lunch everyday. This is a great thing most days, especially now that I am pregnant again. I get to indulge in my crazy cravings without anyone else raising an eyebrow.

On some days though, it just seems like more it will take more energy than I have to even think up a lunch, much less make it. Chasing a one year old around while six months pregnant in the summer heat can be exhausting! I was having just one of these days a few weeks back when I came up with this salad. It was thrown together from a bunch of leftovers from the baby's big birthday fiesta. You know what they say about the mother of necessity being invention...well, this mother was hungry and this is what was in the fridge!

You will need the following:
white corn tortilla chips, enough to layer the bottom if your bowl
romaine lettuce, chopped coarsely
1/4 medium tomato, diced
3 heaping tblsp of refried beans
1 tblsp of white queso dip
1 tblsp of sour cream
1 tblsp of mild fresh salsa
1/2 sliced avocado
black olives, just enough to top the dish

Simply heat the beans and queso, then layer on the rest of the toppings. Start with the chips, then the lettuce. Next add the beans and salsa. Drizzle on the queso and dollop on the sour cream. Scatter on the olives and tomatoes. Finally, top with the avocado.

It had filling protein and fresh veggies. The creamy queso and sour cream balanced nicely with the spicy salsa. Plus, you can't beat the crunchy chips at the bottom. In short, this salad was so satisfying I ate on it for days. No need to re-invent the wheel after all.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

are we there yet?

I feel like a little kid on a car trip these days. See, I can't wait on Spring to officially arrive. I am ready for the weather to get warm (and stay that way). I'm ready to plant my herb container garden. And, most importantly, I am soooo ready for the farmers' markets to open. I am tired of heavy, rich comfort foods. (See ya later mac and cheese!) I am ready for fresh and light fruits and veggies - tart strawberries, juicy tomatoes, and sweet corn. My mouth is salivating already. But in the meantime, I am having to find ways to make do.

Take this salad for example. I used some organic baby spinach leaves that I can find year round at my grocery store as my base. I then opened a few cans - marinated artichokes brighten the salad, chickpeas give it some heft, and roasted red peppers add a depth of flavor. I also used a few organic carrots from the bag of babies that are inevitability in my produce drawer to add even more color to the dish and give some crunch (better for you than croutons - not that I don't love those too). Finally, a few slices of red onion to pack that punch and a soft boiled free range egg to add in even more protein. Topped with a balsamic vinaigrette, I dug in and with my eyes closed I could almost taste Spring...almost. Anyway, its not a bad way to tide me over until my local produce markets officially open.

By the way, the carnivore like the trips to the market too. I think he is getting antsy too. I base this on the fact that this weekend the carnivore started building a raised garden in our backyard! I make salads, he digs in the dirt - we all have our ways with coping with our winter blues. What are you doing to make it through these last days before Spring officially arrives?

Sunday, February 13, 2011


We have had some unusually cold days here lately. Snow four times in one winter in Memphis is extreme. On those cold days I stayed warm with a belly full of rich soup. This broccoli cheddar soup is so easy and so good you will never reach for that canned stuff again. I promise.

To make it you will need the following ingredients:

1 bunch of broccoli
1 cup of cream
1/2 stick of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
3 tblsp of flour
1-1 1/2 cups of veggie broth
1/4 cup of red onion, minced
1 clove of garlic, miced
salt and pepper to taste

Simply melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add in the garlic and onion. Once fragrant, whisk in the flour to thicken. Add in the cream and heat through. Don't let it bubble or burn though. Turn down the heat as needed. Mix in the cheeses and let melt. Pour in the broth to desired thickness. Combine completely with creamy mixture. In the meantime, boil the broccoli crowns in a separate pot of salted water. Drain and pulse in food processor. Fold into the soup pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve while still warm.

Now this may not be the most figure friendly recipe, but at least you are getting your green veggies. Plus, this of all the sodium and preservatives you cut out by making it from scratch. And hey, its still sweater weather for a little bit longer.

Friday, February 11, 2011

speedy gonzalas

If you are a parent you understand that time is a precious commodity. After baby comes, you find yourself asking what on earth you used to do with all that free time you had. Now there is bath time, play time, dinner time, but never any free time.  As such my midday meals are now more than ever an exercise in time management. I need to get the most out of a minimal effort. Enter my super speedy quesadilla.

For this recipe you will need to have the following items on hand:
Corn tortillas
1 can of black beans
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp of cumin
shredded cheddar cheese
salt, pepper, oil
avocado or chorizo to garnish - optional

Start by heating the onion and garlic in a small sauce pan with a bit of oil on medium high heat. Then open your can of black beans and drain the liquid. Add them to the pot. Stir in the cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Let this bubble away. Next get out the corn tortillas (not flour, just won't have that same crunch). Place them in a small frying pan with oil over medium heat. I like vegetable for this, but anything will do. Then heat one corn tortilla on both sides till soft. Set aside on a plate. Repeat with a second tortilla. Add a handful of cheddar to this tortilla. Next spoon on a generous portion of the black bean mixture. Add a bit more cheese. Top with the tortilla you had set aside. Let the cheese melt a bit and then flip. After a minute remove from the heat. Serve with a smashed avocado (for the vegetarians in your life) or a couple of slices of cooked chorizo (for your meatheads) on top. Drizzle a bit more oil over the whole plate and sprinkle with more salt and pepper.

Warm, protein packed, crunchy and melty all at the same time, these quick quesadillas are amazing. Also, once you have the black been mixture made you can save the reserves and it will be even easier the rest of the week. And we all know, that time is of the essence, so faster is better. You might even have time to eat it - who knows!

Friday, February 4, 2011

my big fat greek wrap

Sometimes I just crave a big lunch. The problem is these days I don't always have time to sit down and eat a lunch that matches my appetite thanks to baby omnivore. If I take the time to make a healthy meal I am often forced to scarf it down at lightening speed. Thus, wraps are a great solution. I can stuff them full of tons of goodies and eat them on the go.

Start with a spinach wrap. Then layer on a few romaine leave. Top these with artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, and feta cheese. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Roll up and dig in.

This big fat greek wrap is certainly filling. You are sure to be stuffed as the wrap in the end. Plus, it can move with you from room to room as you chase that newly mobile little one around the house.

Got a great grab and go, but still gourmet, food? Let me know. I'm always open to trying new things!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Its easy as ABC

Grilled cheese is my ultimate comfort food. They are also a good lunch that the carnivore and I can enjoy together on the weekend. I mean what's not to love about crunchy buttered bread and melted gooey cheese. And while my carnivore with his limited palate never wants anything more than the basics, I occasionally like to experiment with my sandwich.

Since there are so many showy apples at the stores these days I decided to switch things up a bit by adding a few slices of a pretty pink lady. I also used a nutty oat bread and colby jack cheddar. For a final flair I buttered the outside of my bread, but brushed the inside with nostril burning horseradish mustard. The result was amazing. Sweet and spicy all at the same time. (I think a stronger cheddar would have been even better to balance with the juicy warmed fruit and the chewy bread.) And it was as easy as ABC - Apple, Butter, Cheddar. Even baby omnivore gets that!

What things do you do to a simple grilled cheese to make it more special? I'd love some new suggestions!
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