palm springs date shake + monkey flip

palm springs date shake + monkey flip

It’s been two months since I told you I was California dreaming and I fear it hasn’t passed. I thought maybe I just longed for warmer weather, but spring has more or less arrived and I no less crave avocados that don’t require a week of hovering to capture their narrow window of edibility. I thought maybe I just needed a vacation, but we took a short one and I still found myself looking at photos from a certain large music festival in the Coachella Valley and thinking it looked kind of fun. (WHO AM I.) And last month, I went down a date shake rabbit hole and I haven’t come out since. At least these we can easily make at home.

what you'll need, mostly

professionally styled blender photo ;)

Date palms were planted in the desert between Palm Springs and the Salton Sea as early at the 1890s, but they suffered a popularity problem – mostly people considered them obscure curiosities. As the old people say, necessity is the mother of invention, or in modern terms, all that was needed with the right marketing campaign, and Russ Nichol, a date farmer, landed on the perfect one in 1928, building a roadside shack making milkshakes and malts blended with his oversupply of dates. It wasn’t long before it became one of the iconic symbols of Palm Springs.

just pretend you can see the ingredients in there

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Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos rancheros, or ranch style eggs, are a great way to use up leftover tortillas, refried beans and salsa, or as the case is more often for me, the perfect excuse to make some. Huevos rancheros typically consist of crispy fried tortillas topped with refried beans, salsa ranchera and a nice fried egg with a runny egg yolk! If you are using all homemade ingredients then huevos rancheros are a pretty healthy breakfast in addition to being tasty, fulfilling and easy to make! You can of course jazz things up a bit by adding extras like avocado, sour cream, cheese, etc. No matter how you serve them, these huevos rancheros are a great way to start off your Cinco de Mayo celebrations, or any day for that matter!

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Cousin Tangent by Ree

DSC_4346We finished the very, very, very last of our burning a couple of weeks ago, and we’re so glad we got it done. After a couple of big rains, the once-blackened ground is the brightest green I’ve ever seen right now. There’s no prettier place on earth than Osage County, Oklahoma in springtime.



DSC_4348This fire was actually on a neighbor of ours, and they finished their burning a couple of days after we finished ours. It’s Marlboro Man’s second cousin’s land….



DSC_4352Wait. That isn’t right. Help me with this. It’s Marlboro Man’s grandpa’s first cousin’s son’s land.

So…Marlboro Man’s grandpa’s first cousin would be Marlboro Man’s…first cousin twice removed?

Is that right?

So Marlboro Man’s grandpa’s first cousin’s son would be Marlboro Man’s…oh goodness. I’m usually decent at the cousin chart, but I can’t figure this one out on only six hours of sleep and one cup of coffee.

Second cousin twice removed?

Okay, Marlboro Man had a grandpa, and he and Frederick were first cousins.

That would mean Marlboro Man’s dad and Frederick’s son are…second cousins.

That would mean Marlboro Man and Frederick’s son are…second cousins once removed?



DSC_4357I love the cousin chart!

But I hate the cousin chart!

(I’m sorry to do this to you this morning. I started out talking about fire and I just don’t know what happened.)



Rosemary Chicken Salad with Avocado and Bacon

This hearty salad is HUGE – perfect when you want a big salad for dinner without the grains. It's also gluten-free, dairy-free, and grain-free.

This hearty Rosemary Chicken Salad with Avocado and Bacon is HUGE – perfect when you want a low-carb meal that will fill you up! I actually split this between three people, and felt completely satisfied.

This delicious recipe is from Heather Christo’s first cookbook Pure Delicious. A cookbook filled with 150 Allergen-Free recipes including gluten, dairy, soy, nut, shellfish and cane sugar. But don’t be fooled, the recipes are amazing and her photography is stunning!

rosemary chicken salad with avocado and bacon-3

For this recipe, I modified the ingredients slightly to lower the calories buy reducing the olive oil a bit, and using skinless thighs instead of using the skin. If you want to further reduce the calories you can use chicken breast instead and use 1/2 of an avocado. This recipe was a keeper, also great for the summer if you want to make the chicken on the grill.


Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Goat Cheese Skillet Chicken

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Goat Cheese Skillet Chicken

One of my favourite flavour combinations is sweet roasted red peppers with creamy and tangy goat cheese which is simply divine in this creamy roasted red pepper and spinach goat cheese skillet chicken! This dish is so quick and easy to make that it’s perfect for weeknight dinners and yet it’s also great for entertaining, not to mention that’s it only uses one skillet! The recipe is as simple as grilling some chicken, sautéing some onions and garlic and then creating the tasty sauce with a combination of pureed roasted red peppers, goat cheese and chicken broth which is simmered until the goat cheese melts completely making the sauce oh so nice and creamy! I often like to add some vegetables and fresh spinach is my veggie of choice but lots of other ones work just as well! Serve this creamy roasted red pepper and spinach goat cheese skillet chicken over quinoa, rice, pasta, etc with a side of steamed veggies or a salad and you have one tasty dinner that is perfect for any night of the week, even a busy work night!

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shaved asparagus frittata

shaved asparagus frittata

As a person who at least two to three nights a week doesn’t understand why we plan menus and grocery lists when we could just be eating an egg on toast, scrambled, crispy, poached or soft-cooked and smashed, I, too, would expect this site to have more frittata recipes than it does. (It has one. Sorry.) But I don’t make them much at all because they always feel like a lot of work for something that’s essentially a baked omelet with none of the 2-minute butter-drenched speed of a French one. (We’re also on an omelet kick.)

ribboning the asparagus

what you'll need, somewhat

I blame the parcooked vegetables. Be they peas or broccolini, they almost always requiring trimming (i.e. knife and cutting board), a pot of boiling water, a colander to drain them and then usually an ice bath so they keep their perky green crunch, after which you get to drain them again. Oh and then you’ll probably want to dab them dry on paper towels and all of this is before you even add them to the egg mixture. Maybe you enjoy a ramp frittata? Me too, but they’re going to need to be sauteed for a bit before you add eggs. It’s not like making croissants or anything, but the tiny tasks add up to something that usually outmatches my 5:45pm motivation level.

beating the eggs

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My Favorite Vegetarian (naan bread) Pizza

Have you ever tried to convince someone to do something, but they rejected you?

Then later on someone else ask that person to do the same thing, and they are all on board…

My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish

So this past week I got so mad at my husband. I gave that man the best silent treatment known to man, followed by a few side eyes just to make sure he got the point I was pissed.

All over a vegetarian pizza. #wifegoals

My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva DishMy Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish

I’ve always been a dramatic person, I won’t deny that ok. I won’t deny that maybe I shouldn’t have gotten so upset. BUT you guys, my husband…Dog House.

You see, for YEARS I’ve been trying to convince my husband to try and challenge himself to eat vegan/vegetarian for a solid week. He loves his fast food/junk food, because we are polar opposites when it comes to our appetites. So i figured, if he gave it a solid week he would all of the sudden love healthy food and we would eat at vegan restaurants on date night…

Or something like that.

My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish

So fast forward to this week when I make this pizza, aka my FAVORITE vegetarian pizza, and my husband is taking picture of it. Wait what? He never does this, what’s going on? I quickly asked him, expecting to hear him tell me he is posting it on social media to tell all his friends what a dang good cook I am…

But no. He is sending it to his co-workers because they are going to do a VEGETARIAN challenge at work coming up, and he wants to motivate them and tell them it’s do-able.


Immediately I’m mad wife status, feeling all the feels of betrayal. He doesn’t notice as he scarfs down the deliciousness, but I subtly try and change that. A look there, shutting the cabinet door just a tad harder here…

My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish

My poor husband.

He is just so understand to my ways..He promised me that it was my idea all along and that his co-workers just gave him that extra motivation…I admitted to being a tad overdramaticitisthattimeofthemonth status, and all was well…

He told me maybe I should go run that night at the gym to have some time to myself and de-stress from the day. Obviously he was calling me fat right?

So about that pizza….

My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish

My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza

Not only is this pizza one of the best vegetarian pizzas that even meat lovers will crave, it’s also the easiest to put together! No need to make a homemade crust, because naan bread is the perfect quick and easy substitute! You can use whole wheat naan bread for a healthier substitute too. As for the flavor combination, it’s amazing! This pizza is based off of my favorite pizza called Jack Sprat from Gourmet Pizza Shoppe in Redlands, Ca.
  • 2 pieces naan bread
  • ½ cup – 1 c. marinara sauce
  • ⅓ c. sliced black olive
  • ⅓ c. sliced pimento olives
  • 1 roma tomato, thinly sliced
  • 2 TB. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TB. chopped onion
  • 2 TB. chopped garlic
  • heaping ½ cup broccoli, cut into small florets
  • ⅓ of a green pepper, diced
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • ⅓ cup salted and roasted halved cashews
  • 1-2 TB. Italian seasoning
  • ¼ c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ c. (or more) mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, or a combination of both

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Place the naan bread on a baking sheet and set aside.
  3. In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil. Then add in the onions and garlic, cooking about 2-3 minutes. Next add the green bell pepper and broccoli, tossing to cook about 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top.
  4. While the mixture is cooking, spread the marinara sauce on both of the crusts, followed by the olives, and sliced tomato.
  5. When the vegetables are done, and have cooled a little. Divide the mixture into two, and sprinkle on top of the pizza. Next add the cashews.
  6. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning on both pizzas, followed by parmesan cheese, and the mozzarella cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!


My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish

My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish

I actually did end up going to the gym that night because my friend text me she was going and asked me to join. Turned out to be a great way to destress and have time to myself! Who would have thought?!

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Grilled Balsamic Steak with Tomatoes and Arugula

Easy dinner recipe, marinate the steak overnight if you wish then throw it on the grill the next day! Toss it with arugula and tomatoes and dinner is ready in less than 20 minutes!

This grilled balsamic flank steak with tomatoes and arugula salad is an easy weeknight dinner solution –marinate the steak overnight with balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs, then fire up the grill and serve with a simple tossed arugula-tomato salad, on the table in less than 20 minutes!

This recipe was adapted from the Malibu Farm Cookbook, a beautiful book that totally gave me farm envy! After reading this book I wanted to pick up, move to Malibu, get some chickens, goats and honey bees and grow all my own food. But since that’s not a reality (and I’m sure it’s a lot more work than I can even imagine) thumbing through this beautiful book gave me a small taste of life on the Malibu Farm.

Grilled Balsamic Steak with Tomatoes_-2

The original recipe in the book was made with skirt steaks, but to lighten it up I used leaner flank steaks instead which are perfect for cooking on the grill.


She Cleans Up Nice by Ree

DSC_4443Fortunately, Paige and I happened to be in Tulsa Thursday evening, the same day she received a last-minute invitation to a prom in a nearby town. So we went to Dillard’s and found her a dress within about 8 minutes, because Paige is nice and tall and oh, another thing: She’s sixteen. So pretty much everything fit her and looked great.

Precisely my experience any time I’m ever in a fitting room! Not.

Never mind that I’m never, ever in a fitting room. EVER. Shopping is not my boyfriend.

Anyway, Paige’s aunt Missy was so sweet. She invited Paige over so she and Allie, a family friend, could do her hair.



DSC_4454Missy is great at hair!



DSC_4440I was so impressed, especially when Allie told me they had simply pulled up a hair tutorial on Pinterest.



mepaigeIf I had done that, her hair would have looked like a psychotic cinnamon roll when I was finished.

I’m a good mom when it comes to some things.

I’m a bad mom when it comes to doing hair.



DSC_4465As for her makeup, Paige wanted to do that herself, naturally! When I first saw it, I was a nagging mom and told her I thought her eyeliner wings might be a little too wingy…but she said she liked it and it’s a trend right now.

And besides that, I told myself, who the heck am I to give anyone eyeliner advice?




DSC_4452Oh, Paigie Girl. I look at her sweet face and all I see is a nine-month old. She looked exactly like this! I don’t even see the eyeliner or the lipstick…



sharpeiI only see my second baby girl, who had rubber band wrists and the most precious little thighs any baby could have.

I love my second baby girl.

Thai Peanut Chicken Avocado Burritos

Thai Peanut Chicken Avocado Burritos

After teasing you a while ago with photos of these tasty Thai style peanut chicken and avocado burritos on Instagram, I finally bring you the recipe and it was well worth the wait! (I often post previews of upcoming recipes on Instagram so follow Closet Cooking on Instagram to see what’s coming!) These burritos were inspired by the thai peanut chicken saute that I made recently and I could not help but think that succulent chicken would be simply divine in grilled burritos along with cool and creamy avocados and of course the tasty spicy Thai peanut sauce not to mention plenty of ooey gooey melted cheese! Oh my! If you are starting off with already cooked chicken and you have the peanut sauce made (or store bought) then these burritos come together in no time flat making for quick and easy meals or even midnight snacks! 🙂 I hope that you enjoy these peanut chicken and avocado burritos as much as I do; my only recommendation would be to make a double batch because if you are like me you will practically inhale them!

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