Tag Archives: basil

Loving Lately

What I am Loving Lately — June 2016

Hi guys!

I wanted to check in today with my monthly edition of what I am loving lately. I love writing these posts, even if they aren’t always food related. It’s fun sharing some of my favorite things from all aspects of my life and I hope you guys have fun reading these!

Alright, let’s get to it.



Headspace App

Have you heard of the app called Headspace? My doctor was actually the one who introduced me to it when I had a check up last week. I mentioned that I am terrible at meditation and “turning my brain off” and she suggested Headspace because they have introductory meditation sessions that are just 10 minutes each! Don’t you love how there is an app for just about everything these days?

I was very excited and I immediately downloaded Headspace when I got home. I’ve done four of the 10 minute sessions so far and I really like it. Right now 10 minutes is just about as much as I have time for, given my busy schedule. I’ve been doing the sessions first thing in the morning before I have coffee or breakfast and I think it’s a great way to start my day. Anyone can squeeze in ten minutes and the app is free, so download it and let me know what you think!


Dave’s Killer Bread – Thin Sliced

Dave's Killer Bread, Good Seed Thin Sliced

If you’re not on the Dave’s Killer Bread train yet, you GOTTA get on! Their bread is SO FREAKING DELICIOUS. It’s soft, but hearty and it’s packed with only good-for-you ingredients. It’s seriously my favorite bread ever.

I’ve been eating Dave’s for a few years now, but I was pumped when I saw that Whole Foods was carrying a new thin-sliced variety that is half the calories of a regular slice. My recent go-to breakfast is avocado toast with an egg on top, and now that I have this thin-sliced variety, I have no guilt about having two slices.

By the way, if you guys haven’t heard of Dave’s Killer Bread until now, you should check out Dave’s story on their website!


Wedding-related Instagram Accounts

Style Me Pretty Instagram Account

Now that I’m engaged, I started following a few wedding Instagram accounts. It makes me SO happy to see gorgeous wedding posts pop up into my feed and I am getting very excited to start planning my own wedding.

I am sure I drive Travis crazy because I tag him in basically every photo where I love the decor, color scheme, venue, or basically any wedding photo that includes a dog. But he hasn’t complained yet….so for now I am going to keep blowing up his feed 😉


Fresh Basil

Fresh Basil

I wouldn’t go as far as saying that I have a black thumb, but I certainly am not the world’s best plant-keeper. When it comes to keeping plants, I feel like I never know what I am doing: watering too much, watering too little, keep it in the sun, out of the sun, partial sun? Oy.

I’ve grown basil before and it only lasted a few months, so I decided to try it again.  I am hopeful that round #2 works out a little better than before, and hey — I am one week in and I haven’t killed it so far (woohoo!). Plus, I’ve already used the basil in four different recipes. I think having it out (rather than buried in the fridge) is a great reminder that it’s there and ready to be used.

If you have any herb keeping tips, please share in the comments below! I’d love to be able to grow my own mint and rosemary as well.


From Around the Web

Apricot Orange Chicken Recipe — We made this for dinner the other night and it was SO good (I made a few tweaks to the recipe). I served it over farro and we devoured it!

Wedding Planning Hacks that Will Save You Time & Money — This one sucked me in! So many tips that I will definitely use!

36 Hours in Los Angeles — My mom sent me this article from the NY Times and it’s a great list of top places to visit in LA in a short period of time. A lot of these spots are new and Travis and I still haven’t checked them out.

Why Meditation is the Best Gift You Can Give Yourself — I can seriously relate to this story, and this motivated me even more to continue doing the Headspace app.


Alright, that’s it from me and my favorite things today! I hope you have a great week!




Gluten-Free Main Meal Poultry

Insanely Delicious Spicy Basil Chicken

Hi friends! Anyone else glad that it’s Wednesday already? Me, me, me! This week is cruising along and I am not complaining. Travis and I have fun weekend plans on the horizon, so I am itching to get there.

I’ve got an AWESOME weeknight recipe for you guys today. This Spicy Basil Chicken is definitely going to be on regular rotation for me. I’ve made a lot of stir fry recipes and this is easily one of the best.

Insanely Delicious Spicy Basil Chicken with Brown Rice l It's healthy, gluten-free, and easy enough to make on a weeknight! The whole family will love this dish. l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Reasons why I love this recipe:

  1. It’s freaking delicious. Duh.
  2. You can make it under 30 minutes. (Because who has more time than that on a weeknight?)
  3. The veggies are completely customizable, so you can just use up what you already have.
  4. Many of the ingredients should be pantry staples – especially if you like to cook Asian food.
  5. Leftovers are REALLY good.

Shall I go on?

Insanely Delicious Spicy Basil Chicken with Brown Rice l It's healthy, gluten-free, and easy enough to make on a weeknight! The whole family will love this dish. l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I think this recipe would also be delicious with shrimp, but for a vegetarian alternative, I’d bet tofu would be great, too!

Insanely Delicious Spicy Basil Chicken with Brown Rice l It's healthy, gluten-free, and easy enough to make on a weeknight! The whole family will love this dish. l www.littlechefbigappetite.com


Spicy Basil Chicken Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
Chicken + Vegetables
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2-3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • ¼ cup shallots, minced
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped into 1 inch pieces.
  • 2 cups bite-sized broccoli florets
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅓ cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • brown rice for serving
Spicy Basil Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey
  • 4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2.5 teaspoons sriracha or other asian chili paste
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Whisk 1 Tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch together in a medium bowl. Add the chicken cubes and coat the chicken in the soy sauce mixture. Set aside.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine all of the Spicy Basil Sauce ingredients. Whisk together to incorporate the cornstarch. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of canola oil and once hot, add the shallots. Saute for 1 minute, until they begin to soften. Add half the chicken to the pan, browning on all sides for 2 minutes. Do not cook fully. Remove the chicken from the pan and place into a bowl. Add the second batch of chicken and repeat. Add the browned chicken to the bowl.
  4. Add an additional Tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the bell pepper and onion and saute for 2 minutes. Next add the broccoli and saute for an additional minute. Add the garlic to the pan, adding additional oil as needed to ensure nothing burns. Saute until the vegetables are soft and cooked.
  5. Add the chicken back into the pan. Then add the Spicy Basil Sauce and mix thoroughly to coat the chicken and vegetables. Remove from heat and stir in the sliced basil.
  6. Serve immediately with brown rice.




Insanely Delicious Spicy Basil Chicken with Brown Rice l It's healthy, gluten-free, and easy enough to make on a weeknight! The whole family will love this dish. l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Drinks Vegan

White Wine Spritzer with Basil and Orange

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BlackBoxSummer #CollectiveBias

The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older.

White Wine Spritzer with Basil and Orange l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Anyone who knows me well knows that wine is my drink of choice. When I’m out, I usually opt for a white wine — not because I don’t like red, in fact I LOVE red. But red wine gives me scary purple mouth, so it’s probably better I stick to white when I am in public.

Besides the fact that I love the taste of wine, I also like that it doesn’t leave me feeling full and bloated like beer can. Cocktails are delicious, but they usually contain lots of added simple syrups and juices, so I always know that wine is a safe and “healthier” choice.

White Wine Spritzer with Basil and Orange l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Have you guys heard of Black Box Wines?

Let me just stop you right there because I know what you might be thinking, but this is not your regular boxed wine. Trust me, I drank enough of that stuff in college to call myself an expert (not proud of that!), and Black Box Wines just don’t compare.

Black Box has won over 50 Gold Medals for quality, but they still cost 40% less than comparable bottled wines. PLUS, the boxes are so easily transportable, making them them perfect for summer outings (helloooo picnics!). The 3 liter box contains four 750 ml. bottles of wine, and I love that once you open the box, you don’t have to worry about drinking it right away. The wine stays fresh for up to 6 weeks (although let’s see if you can actually make it last that long 😉 ).

White Wine Spritzer with Basil and Orange l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Now for this white wine spritzer recipe!

I’ll be honest, I’ve never had much of an interest in spritzers because I used to think “Why the heck would I dilute wine?” but I was wrong. A good spritzer can be really, really refreshing – especially during the summer heat! When I’m drinking, I always try to have a glass of water in between each drink because it keeps me hydrated and prevents a hangover the next day.

Spritzers are a great way to enjoy wine, but the added club soda or sparkling water helps to keep you from getting too dehydrated at the same time.

White Wine Spritzer with Basil and Orange l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

This White Wine Spritzer with Basil and Orange would be the perfect drink for any summer get-together, from bridal showers to summer BBQs. What screams summer more than fresh basil!?


White Wine Spritzer with Basil and Orange
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 1
  • 3 basil leaves, muddled or torn
  • Ice cubes
  • 4 oz. Pinot Grigio
  • 2 oz. club soda
  • ½ oz. fresh orange juice
  • Orange twist (for garnish)
  1. Place the basil at the bottom of a chilled glass. Add the ice cubes, then the Pinot Grigio, club soda, and orange juice to the glass. Garnish with an orange twist. Serve cold immediately.

For more summer entertaining ideas and recipes, check out the Simple Entertaining Social Hub.


White Wine Spritzer with Basil and Orange l www.littlechefbigappetite.com


Barramundi with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes

We just got back from a weekend trip to Chicago to visit family and friends. Unfortunately, the weather gods hated us, and it rained every day of our trip…and because we were stuck inside all day, our weekend turned into an eating extravaganza.

Now, as a food-lover, I really shouldn’t complain because everything we ate was delicious…but let’s just say I am ready for a detox. There is only so much deep-dish pizza, burgers, and pasta my tummy can handle.

Barramundi with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes Recipe

I am excited to get back into my healthy groove this week. On the menu: lots of lean proteins and vegetables. This Barramundi with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes hits all the marks: protein-packed, flavorful, healthy, and weeknight fast!

Barramundi with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes Recipe

We love this dish so much, we made it twice in one week. I find my barramundi filets in the frozen section at Whole Foods. If you can’t find them, halibut or another mild white fish would work just as well for this recipe.

Barramundi with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes Recipe

One important word of advice: DON’T skimp on the basil at the end. It makes every bite delectable and this dish couldn’t be the same without it.



Barramundi with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 (6-ounce) barramundi fillets
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ⅛ cup chopped fresh basil
  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan. Sprinkle fish with a pinch each of the salt and pepper.
  2. Add fish to pan and cook about 4 minutes on each side, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove fish from pan and keep warm.
  3. Add remaining Tablespoon of oil to pan. Add cherry tomatoes and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for an additional minute. Next, add the balsamic vinegar and cook for 1 more minute or until tomatoes begin to burst. Stir in half of the basil. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve tomato mixture with fish. Garnish with additional basil.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Barramundi with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes and Basil Recipe ll Easy, Healthy, and Gluten-Free. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner at home! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Breakfast Gluten-Free

Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Frittata

Hi guys! Happy Friday! This week fleeeewww by for me, and I am more than ready for the weekend. Besides a date night with Travis and a friend’s birthday, we don’t have too many plans, so I am really looking forward to just relaxing on the couch for a few hours.

I thew together this incredibly delicious breakfast frittata last weekend with ingredients we just had in our fridge. It was the perfect morning fuel to get us ready for our Saturday workout. This frittata is PACKED with protein from eggs and mozzarella, and if you serve it with a slice of whole wheat toast, it’s the ideal balanced breakfast.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Frittata Recipe

I love frittatas because they look impressive, but they are honestly SO easy to make (this one came together in under 15 minutes). Frittatas are also a great way to use up any leftover ingredients in your fridge; almost anything tastes good: roasted red pepper and goat cheese, kale and cherry tomatoes, sausage and leeks, and so on!

Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Frittata Recipe

As soon as I took one bite of this frittata, I said to Travis that the flavor combination tasted just like a pizza. Yeah, it was that good. Try this recipe this weekend, and if you don’t have these exact ingredients, just follow the cooking method below. You’ll be sure to love it!


Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Frittata
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2-3
  • 3 whole eggs + 2 egg whites
  • 3 Tablespoons milk (I used 1%, but any kind will do)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅛ cup onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes*, chopped
  • ¼ cup roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 3-4 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, torn
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Turn the oven on to BROIL. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, egg whites and milk. Season with ⅛ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
  2. Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil to the pan and once hot, add the onion, sun-dried tomato, and roasted red peppers. Saute for about 3 minutes. Pour in the egg mixture and allow to cook for about 30 seconds. You can slowly push the mixture around if you need to spread out the veggies. Add in the basil and place the sliced mozzarella over the eggs. Make sure to NOT cook the eggs completely - they should still look wet.
  3. Place the pan in the oven on the top rack and broil on HIGH for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown slightly. Remove from the oven and let cool for 1 minute before serving.
*If sun-dried tomatoes are packed in oil, then rinse them of excess oil.

Gluten-Free Salad

Tomato Basil Vinaigrette


Basil. Basil. Basil.

Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasil! Just a small whiff of this delightful herb makes me so darn happy. Doesn’t it just remind you of summer? If I could, I would probably put fresh basil on everything. Yes, even in sweet treats! Have you ever had strawberry-basil ice cream? It is INCREDIBLE.

Tomato Basil Vinaigrette Recipe

I purchased a large bunch of fresh basil at Whole Foods this weekend with the intention of using it in a summer pasta dish this week. Luckily, I had so much extra so I was able to experiment a bit with a basil vinaigrette. We eat a lot of salads in our house, so we like to change up the dressings fairly regularly to prevent eating the same thing all the time.

Tomato Basil Vinaigrette Recipe

I’ve always loved the combination of tomato + basil + mozzarella + balsamic, so I knew those flavors would make a delicious vinaigrette (minus the mozzarella, of course….that would be weird). I never thought to put tomatoes in a vinaigrette before, but we had a handful of yellow cherry tomatoes sitting on our counter, so I thought, “Why not?” and just went for it.

The result? A serious winner!

Tomato Basil Vinaigrette Recipe

This dressing is slightly chunky, so you end up with delicious tastes of basil and tomato in every bite. I served it with a simple salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, roasted red pepper, and feta, but I think it would taste great with almost anything you can throw together!


Tomato Basil Vinaigrette
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons shallot, minced
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon honey (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. In a mini food processor or blender, combine the tomatoes, basil, shallot, garlic, dijon, balsamic, and honey. Blend for about 30 seconds. You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender half way through and continue blending. Add the olive oil and blend for about 10 more seconds or until desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Appetizer Main Meal Salad Side Dish Vegetarian Meals

Summer Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella

When summertime hits, I hate using my oven. It is already too dang hot, so why suffer more by adding another few degrees to my kitchen?

That is why I LOVE making salads during the summer. You may remember how much I love farro – I’ve posted two yummy farro salads already here and here. This one is my current addiction.

Summer Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella Recipe

The thing I love most about grain salads is that you can make a large batch and eat it throughout the week. Unlike lettuce salads, they do not get soggy – in fact I think the flavor gets better after sitting for a couple hours.

Summer Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella Recipe

This salad is packed with summer flavors like juicy cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.

Summer Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella Recipe

I’ve doubled the recipe for a large potluck at work and it was a big hit! This farro salad is great for potlucks because it is easily transportable and can be served either cold or at room temperature – no heating required.

Summer Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella Recipe

If you do not have farro on hand, I think this would be delicious with wheatberries or barley. If you try a different grain, let me know how it turns out!

Summer Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella Recipe


Summer Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella Recipe



Summer Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4-5
  • 1 cup dried farro
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • ⅛ cup red onion, minced
  • ⅛ cup kalamata olives, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, sliced into thin strips
  • ½ cup fresh mozzarella, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  1. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Add the farro and a pinch of salt. Cook for 13 minutes. Drain. Spread the farro on a large plate and allow to cool.
  2. Once the farro has cooled completely, combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients. Toss half of the dressing with the salad. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add additional dressing as desired. You can serve the salad right away or refrigerate and serve the next day.