Chicken flaurentine.

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Yes, yes, I know, that’s not how you spell florentine, but since I made this up, and my name is Lauren, you get flaurentine.

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Okay, I know. That was rather dorky, but that’s what you get when you come ’round here. Recipes with a side of dorkiness and occasional puppy pictures. You should know this by now.

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Ginger-lemongrass rice.

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I don’t make rice all that often – for the most part, I only eat it with Chinese food takeout or in sushi rolls. But the other night, I decided that I wanted to make rice with dinner, but I didn’t want it to be plain. Or slathered in soy sauce. Or cheesy. Not that rice in those forms isn’t delicious, but I was looking for something … lighter. Fresher. Do I sound like a fabric softener commercial?

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Mushroom-brussels sprout hash.

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I have a new breakfast-related goal. Okay, two breakfast-related goals, which are actually in diametric opposition to one another. One is to stop eating so much bacon (ugh), and the other is to develop seasonally-appropriate hashes (which, let’s be honest, will probably all feature bacon). I’m a little late on this one, given that it’s technically spring (even though it was 28 degrees this morning and we’re supposed to get snow tomorrow, despaaaaaiiiiiir), but I’ve been loving brussels sprouts lately, and the mushrooms in my fridge were on the verge of going bad, and letting mushrooms go to waste is a sin.

Brussels sprouts have been a much-maligned veggie in popular culture, for some reason I can’t seem to fathom. I never had to eat them as a kid – and perhaps I’d understand if I had been forced to eat them for dinner all the time – but I worked them into my repertoire last year, and Colin and I are both pretty big fans. I mean, when you combine roasted vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper, it’s hard to go wrong. And they’re adorable! They’re like baby cabbages!

That’s right, I’m a grown woman gushing over cruciferous vegetables. Come. at. me.

Really, the only bad experiences I’ve had with brussels sprouts are when they’re eaten raw. This winter, I made two different kinds of brussels sprout salad, and both times they filled me with nothing but abject sadness. Fool me once, Pinterest, shame on you. Fool me twice…

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Slow cooker Guinness short ribs.

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So, did everyone else at least have a lovely St. Paddy’s Day? I hope so, because I most certainly did not. Mine was just one of “those days” where it snowed all through my morning commute, the design program I use at work crashed on me 12 times in the span of an hour (I mean literally 12, no exaggeration), the yoga class I wanted to take was cancelled because the instructor was sick (probably drinking green beer instead), and my fridge and freezer stopped working. Thankfully, I had some new episodes of Sherlock to comfort me – seriously, if you need to cure a bad day, just watch the scenes where Sherlock and Watson get drunk during a stag night. Aside from these short ribs, it’s my favorite thing this week.

I love short ribs. Love, love, love. I think it was the Pioneer Woman who described them as little pot roasts, and she’s right. I usually make short ribs by braising them in some combination of beef broth, red wine, vegetables and herbs, but I found this recipe, which calls for using Guinness, so I got myself in the St. Paddy’s Day spirit and made a batch for myself and my friend Jess.

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Pound cake with chocolate glaze

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Once upon a time, probably in 2009 or something, I bought a box of pound cake mix. I probably had plans for it, an idea that slipped away and has long since been forgotten. It sat in the pantry in not one, but two kitchens, as different boxes and bottles of ingredients around it were routinely used, finished off and replaced. Last night, it was finally pulled off of its shelf.

In all honesty, it almost ended up in the garbage, because … guys, I’m a little embarrassed about this … its “best by” date was almost three years ago.

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Baked chili cheese fries.

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I wish my favorite food was something like kale. Or quinoa. Or a green smoothie. Not that I don’t like these things (well, I’ve never actually had a green smoothie. I’ll get there.), but French fries have my heart. This is not a good thing for me – especially with an annual physical coming up (I am certain I’ll be admonished for my mass spud consumption, which will probably show up in my bloodwork because there’s no way that my veins are not full of starch) – but it could be a good thing for you … especially if you’ve been hankering for chili fries but haven’t had a chance to make a pot of chili. And seriously, who’s going to make a pot of chili for the sole purpose of putting them on fries? I mean… you could, but you’d have to make the chili and the fries, and that, my friends, is not going to happen in this girl’s kitchen. Especially not on a Monday night. I’m sure Colin (the superior dish washer of the duo) is grateful for that, too.

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Mashed potatoes with goat cheese and caramelized onions.

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It might surprise you to know that I’m fond of the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Now, to tell you the truth, I’m not the kind of person who really likes fixing things that aren’t food related. A pothole tried to eat my hubcap and it’s just been sitting in my trunk because I can’t be bothered to slap it back on. I’m like, the tire still works? Cool. I’ll let the car dealership handle the hubcap problem when I go in for an oil change. Oh, and ask Colin how long it took me to program the universal remote.

But when it comes to food … I’m always changing things, adding cheese, omitting parsley (because really), tossing in some garlic or bacon or a glug of wine to make a dish my own. But some foods are pretty perfect in their traditional state – like mashed potatoes. Whether you use lots of butter and cream, or sour cream, or cream cheese, traditional mashed potatoes are just tops. But (and isn’t there always a but?) that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment.

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Shrimp tacos with mango salsa.

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I know that complaining about the eight thousand million billion tons of snow makes for pretty dull reading material, but seriously, I’m over it. Everyone who’s wearing their pajamas inside out and dropping ice cubes into the toilet and performing intricate snow dances, or whatever it is you weird winter people do, PLEASESTOP.

But, let’s be honest, it’s winter and it’s going to be miserable for at least another month. Instead of letting The Surly take over your life for the foreseeable future, might I suggest cranking up your heat, cracking open a beer and eating some food that feels like summer?

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Pretzel rolls with beer cheese dipping sauce

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Now look, I know the Superbowl (more like Stuporbowl, am I right? Too soon?) was yesterday, and I know that last week was the prime time for posting all the greatest game day recipes. Who’s really going to be posting a delicious recipe for football food the day after the Superbowl?

beer shredded cheese  cheese sauce 2

flour bagunbaked salted

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My favorite roasted potatoes.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – one of my favorite things about being a grownup is that I can have roasted potatoes for dinner (or lunch. Or breakfast.) whenever I damn well please. I love their crispy outsides and the feeling of comfort that permeates as soon as you pop one in your mouth. I love the way they smell when they’re cooking. And while I’ve sampled many, many variations, this is the signature, tried-and-true version I make most often. Also, whenever I try making some other kind of roasted potato dish, Colin’s all like, WHY TRY TO IMPROVE PERFECTION*?

*paraphrasing.

I’m going to be honest with you – this recipe is a result of “I’m too lazy to chop garlic” and “Having fresh herbs/a garden is haaaard.” (It’s not. But having even the slightest semblance of a yard is a wistful dream.) I don’t even really measure the ingredients – but this time, I did. Just so I can share it with you fine folks. Unfortunately, most of my pictures came out horrible and sallow-looking, so here’s a picture of Sam looking super concerned. And super cute.

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