Leftover mashed potato cakes


If there are two things you can take away from my cooking style by reading this blog, they are: 1. I enjoy recipes that are tweakable/adaptable/otherwise easy to play with; and 2. It hardly bears repeating, but…potatoes.

It should hardly be surprising, then, that I’m sharing these leftover mashed potato cakes with you. In addition to fulfilling the criteria above, they’re tasty, and they put leftovers to use. So, win/win/win/win.

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Baked spinach.


My family was sitting around the dinner table one night in the mid ’90s. I was about eight or nine, still young enough to play with my dollhouse, but old enough to start stressing out about things like our house getting burglarized or burning to the ground. (I was a weird kid.) My sister must have been about six, probably missing a couple of her front teeth and generally being adorable.

Our mom had made zucchini for dinner, and neither of us really enjoyed it. I could handle it, but Katie – ever the typical showman youngest child – could. not. even. We were not rude, spoiled monsters, so we obviously did our best to eat stuff we didn’t like, but at that point in time, neither of us had much success conjuring up any enthusiasm. (Currently, we both dig it. THIS IS GROWING UP, KIDDOS.)

My mom asked us – probably in a sarcastic way that was meant to convey one or both of us was being ridiculous about something – what we thought the worst thing god could ever make us do was. I said something probably apropos of my weird, macabre, overly anxious childhood self, like, “Make you kill the people you love.”

Katie, however, was more…well, Katie about it.

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Apple & peanut butter pancakes, and waxing sappy about friends.


Last weekend, one of my very best friends in this whole world married the love of his life – a kind, warm, funny and gorgeous lady who has grown to be (oh, who am I kidding, I thought she was great pretty much immediately) one of my friends – in a beautiful, moving ceremony that got me right in the feels on a number of occasions. It was, in short, a blast – and the fact that I was asked to be part of it (as a freakin’ GROOMSLADY, which rocked my socks mint green pumps off) continues to mean so much to me.

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Tanya’s peach cobbler.


As much as I love fall, I’m not one of those people who starts heralding its coming in late August. I cling to the last few fleeting days of summer like they’re keeping me from drowning. Summer is my favorite, hands down, and here in Jersey, it’s far too short. I don’t need it to be cut any shorter by early arriving pumpkin beer (who wants to drink pumpkin ANYTHING when it’s still 86 degrees, guys?) and people trumpeting all over social media about how “FALL IS HERE!!!!” Because you know what comes next? Winter. And winter is lame. You all remember last winter, right? With its dirty mounds of snow sitting in parking lots until April, and how it was a miracle if the temperature broke like, 25?

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Spaghetti squash gremolata.

bowl 1

I think it’s safe to say that anyone reading this blog knows that I am not, and will never be (barring some sort of life-or-death illness) the kind of person who gives up her carbs. I love my sandwiches, and pasta, and dear god, do I love my potatoes. (You’re probably sick of reading about it.) I’m not giving them up for anything. You’d have to pry them from my cold, dead hands. That being said, I’m also not averse to trying low-carb/carb-free substitutes to carbtastic, starchy goodness, because I like having my cholesterol in check, and because I’m open to trying just about any food that isn’t an insect. (Or durian.) A few weeks ago, I tried making a cauliflower pizza crust – and no, I’m not going to tell you that it tasted JUST LIKE PIZZA CRUST OMG 4 REAL because I am not a big fat liar. It tasted…quiche-y? Maybe? It was good, but it was in no way similar to actual pizza crust.

On Friday, I tried my hand this recipe, because my mom, my sister, and apparently everyone on Pinterest, ever, has gone spaghetti squash crazy.

whole squash

“It tastes like and has the texture of spaghetti!!!”, the Internet says. (To her credit, this blogger never claimed spaghetti squash tastes like spaghetti. So thank you, A Family Feast.) “I call shenanigans, Internet,” I replied. (Yes, I talk to inanimate objects. You do, too, so stop raising those eyebrows.)

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Beer battered fish and chips.

plate 2

To anyone out there who mocks English/Irish fare, I have three words for you: fish. and. chips.

Actually, I have a few more words, such as “oh my god get out you don’t know what you’re even talking about,” and “um, have you HEARD of Sunday roast, you plebe?” It seems like a lazy, uninformed kind of insult, especially since I follow a few British food bloggers on here and easily 98 percent of the time I find myself drooling all over my keyboard at their pictures of amazing-looking food. (Though I have to get this off my chest: Haggis. Admittedly, I’ve never had it, because I can’t wrap my head around it. I just…what. Why. Scottish people, please explain.)

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Fathers Day Dinner 2014, and the root of why I love cooking.

with gorgonzola 2

For Fathers Day, my mom and I made dinner for my dad. It’s a running tradition, as my dad loves food and, although he also loves cooking, probably enjoys having someone else do that (and the dishes!) for him.

There’s an excellent butcher in the next town over from them, so they picked up some beautiful veal chops. Dad wanted something with mushrooms and gorgonzola (which I can never pronounce correctly, because Colin like to call it gorGONZOla, because he is a goober).

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Asian roasted potatoes.

plate 2

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Um, Lauren, you already at least a dozen recipes featuring potatoes on here. You have two different recipes for roasted potatoes on here. If you keep this up, you are going to turn into a potato.”

Well, maybe I am. But guys, please. Hear me out. These potatoes are aaaawesooooome. Like, so good. They’re crisp and salty and so full of flavor. It’s probably safe to say that like them as much as the go-to recipe I can’t get enough of. I’ve made them twice in as many weeks, and I already want them again.

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Leftover steak pizza.

pizza baked 1

Since I have yet to master the whole cooking for one or two people thing (as opposed to cooking for an entire freaking army thing), I often find myself with leftovers. Like anyone with at least a few brain cells and semblance of a soul, I loathe wasting food, but I also admit that eating the same exact thing two or three days in a row is monotonous. So, I’m always looking for ways to turn my leftovers into something new! different! fancy!

Enter this pizza.

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Greek salad couscous.

little bowl 2

I know. I know. It’s been like, three weeks since I last posted. I was away for a week, then I was simultaneously busy and lazy for another week, and now… I’m getting back on track.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that at my old job, I was spoiled by our cafeteria. It was staffed by two very sweet women and one very nice dude, who just so happened to have been trained at the Culinary Institute of America (and shared some recipes with me, which was awesome). There were fresh soups and salads every day, with “deli” sandwich specials and hot meal specials, and everything was delicious, all the time.  This iteration of Greek salad was featured pretty often, sometimes with chickpeas and other times with Israeli couscous. I always made room on my plate for a little scoop of it. I finally got around to buying a canister of Israeli couscous a few weeks ago, and made my own version of it. You should make it too, especially if you have an olive thing. I…have an olive thing. I’m not proud of this, but I ate a whole can of pitted green olives this weekend. I keep buying them with recipe-related intentions, and then I just scarf them all down and wonder how I got here.

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