Lemon and Herb Roasted Potatoes

Lemon Herb Roasted Potatoes

I love planning things. I almost think that in another life, I should have become an event planner. The only downside is that I don’t like to deal with rude people, and you never know what kind of clients you’ll get. I’m obsessed with planning anything and everything from my outfits, to dinner parties, to weekend trips, to big vacations and beyond. I’m a little biased, but I think I have some pretty good ideas.

 So here I am, planning a girls dinner for February. Date is still TBD. I’m not too worried about locking down a date as much as I am worried about planning my menu! Anyone who’s hosted a dinner party knows you have to ask your guests ahead of time (especially if it’s a small group) for any dietary restrictions. You have got to take into account people’s allergies, and other things such as … vegetarians. Admittedly one of my guests is a vegetarian and also allergic to sesame, so that makes menu planning a little bit difficult. So, I’ve come up with a preliminary menu. After some recipe testing, I’ll have a better handle on the full menu and I’ll be able to share it with links to my recipes, and other recipes I may try out. I decided to go with a Mediterranean theme. It’s healthy, full of fish, meats and veggies and it’s just so colorful.  

Lemon Herb Roasted Potatoes

 Time to recipe test one of the sides I’m thinking of including. I love potatoes in all forms, but I especially love fried and roasted potatoes. Here I opted for roasted, it’s a lot healthier than the fried alternative. The key here is to roast the whole potatoes until they’re crispy on the outside. The marinade can also be heated separately in a saucepan and poured over the potatoes once they’re done roasting.

Lemon Herb Roasted Potatoes

Lemon and Herb Roasted Potatoes

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1lb Small Round Potatoes
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • Juice from 2 Lemons
  • 1 cup Vegetable Broth
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 cup Parsley, chopped
  • 3 tbsps Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tbsp rosemary


  1. Mince the parsley, rosemary and garlic in the food processor.
  2. Add parmesan cheese, paprika, and salt
  3. Add lemon juice and vegetable broth
  4. Place potatoes in a gallon-sized ziplock bag, pour in the marinade and toss until fully coated
  5. Marinate for 1 hour in the fridge
  6. Preheat oven to 400F
  7. Take the potatoes out of the marinade and set the marinade aside
  8. Place the potatoes in a single layer on an aluminum lined rimmed baking sheet
  9. Roast for 1 hour until golden and slightly browned
  10. Meanwhile, pour the marinade in a small saucepan over medium-high heat
  11. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes
  12. Pour the heated sauce over the potatoes once you've taken them out of the oven
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This Week on Instagram

Guys!!! Before we begin, I have an announcement to make …

Measuring Cups Optional, more specifically, my Labaneh Rounds, were featured on a National Cheese Day Roundup by The Kitchen Addiction and featured on Buzzfeed last week! Tell me that’s not exciting. There are so many other great recipes in the roundup, so don’t forget to scroll through the whole post. 

And now back to our regularly scheduled weekly feature.


Cinnamon Tea

I was visiting Tayta early last week when she offered me cinnamon tea. It was delicious by the way! I debated long and hard about whether or not to post a recipe for cinnamon tea. I thought maybe I’d make a it a post about unusual or out of the ordinary, easy to make teas. Have you heard of White Coffee? It’s not what you think. Unlike regular tea, in which tea leaves are steeped or boiled in water, Cinnamon Tea is just that — Cinnamon. If I do post a cinnamon tea recipe. You’ll be the first to read about it.


Healthy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I tested out some cookies with natural sweeteners. Don’t forget to check out the full recipe for my No Added Sugar Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies.


Lamb Kabob Marinade

I somehow on Wednesday, I was able to squeeze in a Wegman’s run and prepping marinade for lamb skewers between the end of the workday and getting ready for girls night. Stay tuned for Lamb Skewers coming to the blog within the next couple weeks …


Greenhouse Bistro

This week we had girls night at Greenhouse Bistro. I heard good things about this place. My brother even suggested I check it out because it’s “so cute.” Yes, the atmosphere is super chic, and they even grow their own herbs on the back wall of the restaurant. I was surprised, though, that it was fairly empty at 7:30pm on a Wednesday night. I’ve been told they have a DJ and shisha on the weekends. I’ll have to go back to see what that’s all about.


Lemon Roasted Potatoes

I’m working on some recipes for an upcoming dinner party. I have an entire menu planned, but I’ve got to try everything before the actual dinner. Last week, I tested lemon roasted potatoes.


Cake Frosting

Apparently I’ve become the family cake icer. How, you ask, did I come to gain this title? Well, because over the last couple years, I’ve baked cakes for everyone’s birthday. My skills started out really weak. I made several rookie mistakes, like, oh I don’t know … trying to frost a cake before it cooled, only to have it start falling apart completely. NBD. Then I started watching cake icing tutorials. Pro Tip: start with icing in the middle of the top of the cake and spread outwards and around the sides. Then, once you’ve added all the layers, even out the outside.


Until next week …. follow along on Instagram

No Added Sugar Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I have this love/hate relationship with the beginning of every year. It’s new, it’s a fresh start, it’s 300-some days of opportunities. And it’s also the dead of winter, with no holidays to look forward to. On the bright side, that means we can all focus on our forever resolutions to lose weight. I don’t even consider it a New Year’s Resolution anymore, because I wish for it all the time. For everyone else who’s in the same boat, I have a fun, delicious solution for your dieting sweet tooth! Healthy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies are a game changer. The cookies are packed with everything good for you like bananas, oatmeal and peanut butter. You likely have most of these ingredients in your pantry anyway. Best part? No added sugar (except honey, which is a natural sweetener anyway). So it’s vegan, sugar free and gluten free. It’s a win-win situation. What I really like about these cookies is they take almost no time to make. The baking time only 15 minutes.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies_3

I will say, this is my first time baking with honey. After experimenting, I have some pro tips. First off, the dough is super sticky, so be ready to get your hands dirty. Second, once you’ve shaped the cookies, they don’t change shape. I suggest rolling the dough between the palms of your hands until you form a Ping-Pong shape. Place the dough on the baking sheet and then press down with the tips of your fingers to create a flat cookie shape. For a lazy solution, just pour the batter into a parchment paper-lined baking tray, bake as a whole sheet and then cut into squares once it’s out of the oven.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies_2


No Added Sugar Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Yield: 20 Cookies


  • 1 banana
  • 1 1/2 cups Quaker Oats raw Oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup Peanut Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Grind your oatmeal into a powder in the food processor
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl and hand mixer), beat together the banana, peanut butter, ground oatmeal and honey
  4. Roll dough into a Ping-Pong sized ball between the palms of your hands
  5. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and press down with your fingertips to make a flat cookie shape
  6. Bake on a middle rack for 15 minutes
  7. Allow to cool before serving
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This Week on Instagram

It’s been a pretty busy week on the Instagram front.  Aside from making a pretty easy pesto spaghetti squash, I fit in a cultural event mid-week, and spent a food-filled weekend in New Jersey and New York. We did some other things, but mostly just ate.


I made Pesto Spaghetti Squash this week. Spaghetti squash is a pretty solid substitute for actual spaghetti noodles. The hardest part of all squash though, is cleanly cutting it in half. Pro Tip: microwave whole for 1 minute before cutting.


I have this thing for fresh flowers. I picked up some yellow roses at Wegmans to accent the colors in my room. I think it’s perfectly fine to buy roses for yourself. Even the lady at the cash register was excited that I had gotten them for myself. She wrapped them up nicely and handed them to me carefully, wishing me a great evening and to enjoy my roses.


After we devoured the Pesto Spaghetti Squash, I’m talking to my mom about trying to eat healthy and cut the carbs. She tells me that she found this alternative to shell pasta made from chickpeas. I had to check the ingredients just to make sure. Ingredients: Chickpeas, Tapioca, Pea Protein, Xanthan Gum. It’s also advertised as gluten free. So, we decided to use up some of the leftover Velveeta cheese and make “healthy” mac and cheese. Banza also makes other types of pasta.


American Arabesque: A Celebration of Culture Art Exhibition. The curator, Amr Mounib, described it perfectly when he said, ” Seeing the works of so many talented Arab American artists in one exhibition—including Egyptian, Iraqi, Kurdish, Lebanese, Palestinian, Saudi Arabian, and Syrian—is a rare and wonderful opportunity to experience the artists’ passionate love of the land, and their striving for peace, freedom, and happiness expressed through a variety of artistic mediums. This unique collection reflects the diversity and richness of Arab culture.”


Over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, we decided to take a road trip to New Jersey and New York City! Our primary purpose was to attend an engagement party. Being so close to NYC, we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to eat our way through Patterson, NJ and part of NYC. We started off at an engagement party, where they had some delicious kabsa (rice and lamb).


There’s a place in Patterson called Nablus Sweets. They have a delicious knafeh. If you’re in the area, check it out. They’ve got tons of other sweets too.


After a pitstop at Nablus Sweets, we hit up a local shisha place. There, I had some interesting kubbeh niyyeh. It tasted like they mixed the raw meat and bulgar with tomato paste.


It’s a fact that falafel always tastes good at 1:30am, Mamoun’s was no exception. I also got a shawarma sandwich. Don’t let the half pitas fool you, it’s stuffed with lamb, tahini sauce and turnips.


Day #2, we made our way into NYC for brunch at Friedman’s. Try the blueberry pancakes. It’s fluffy perfection. The pastrami is also to die for. 


Seriously amazing hot chocolate at at Jacques Torres Chocolate. They’ve even got a spiced hot chocolate, perfect for our freezing cold walk through Soho.


I wish we had more time to spend in NYC, but I’ve realized that no matter how much time you have, there are too many places to try. Until next week …. follow along on Instagram

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Pesto Spaghetti Squash


I’m trying really hard to stay healthy (read as: cut carbs) but it’s just so hard. I love carbs. I especially love bread and pasta and rice and all those delicious things that add inches to my thighs when I eat too much. We’re on week 2 of 2017 and I’m doing pretty well so far. I’ve been going to the gym, taking a healthy breakfast to work — and actually eating it, I’ve been packing my lunches, filling up on veggies, fruit and protein. Yes, I’ve been having some cheat meals. But come on, I need to live a little!

I don’t have anything against veggies, I just prefer to have the carbalicious version. In the warmer months, I was all about the zoodles, zucchini cut into a noodle-like texture. If you loved zoodles, you’re going to really like spaghetti squash. Yea, it’s another vegetable, but it’s naturally stringy and makes for … you guessed it … the perfect spaghetti noodle substitute. While you can go with the classic tomato sauce and meatballs, I invite you to try some different variations. Most recently, I experimented with Pesto Spaghetti Squash. If you love pesto, this is recipe for you. The most time consuming part of the Pesto Spaghetti Squash recipe is roasting the spaghetti squash, 50 minutes to be exact. Other than that, it’s smooth sailing and so healthy. As matter of fact, if you don’t take any part of this recipe except how to roast spaghetti squash, I have no issue with that!

Feel free to use pre-packaged basil pesto, or if you have some extra time, whip up my parsley pesto. My parents wanted grilled chicken in their squash, while I opted for meatless. It’s delicious either way. If you feel you need some added protein, grill some chicken or sauté some shrimp and Ta-Da! 

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Yield: 2 servings


  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 1-2 tablespoons Olive Oil, for brushing
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup Pesto (use my Parsley Pesto Recipe LINK or use pre-packaged)


  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Cut spaghetti squash in half, the long way (it's easier to cut if you've microwaved the squash, whole, for 1 minute)
  3. Remove the seeds, and the squishy insides. Don't worry, the "spaghetti" comes from the flesh
  4. Place face-up on parchments paper lined baking sheet
  5. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
  6. Bake for 50 minutes on a middle rack
  7. Meanwhile, if you're making pesto, this is the time to do it
  8. Remove squash from the oven
  9. Using a fork carefully pull at the flesh until it becomes shredded -- resembling spaghetti noodles and place in a medium bowl. Save the squash shells.
  10. In a medium bowl, mix the shredded squash and pesto until combined
  11. Scoop the pesto squash back into the shells and serve
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This Week on Instagram

We made it through the first full week of 2017. So far so good. It’s also the second installation of “This week on Instagram,” and I have so many things to share! I did a ton of eating out and not as much recipe testing. I’m really excited to share my delicious experiences at the restaurants in the DMV (that’s DC, Southern Maryland, and Northern Virginia).


I found this amazingly easy recipe for dog treats Best part? I already had everything in my kitchen. I couldn’t find my bone-shaped cookie cutter, so I went with stars, which actually yields more pieces to break off when you’re teaching new tricks.


Did I mentioned we have a dog? Everyone, meet Leia. Really, she’s my brother’s dog. What’s his is mine, right? Tell me she’s not the most adorable thing in the world.


I just found out someone at work is going through a really rough breakup. She’s the sweetest, and I wanted to bring her a little bit of joy. So I decided to pull together a Cheer Up Kit. Contents include: Bottle of Wine, Godiva Chocolate, Buddha Board, Instant Happy Journal, and a card with a little note inside. I left it at her desk and she was the happiest I had seen her in a while. It’s the little things. 


I had my very first ramen experience, and it wasn’t ramen from the 10 for $1 packets. Chaplin’s in DC is an interesting place – I’d say more hipster than authentic Japanese. I highly recommend checking it out. Their cocktails are fun too.


It seems like I’ve been on the Asian food bandwagon this week. With looming snow on the way (it was a false alarm on the snow front Thursday night by the way), it was the perfect freezing cold day for steamy Pho.


We got our first snow of the season! It was beautiful. Unfortunately it fell on a Saturday, so we didn’t get a snow day.


OH MY GOSH. Hen Quarter is amazing. I loved every bit of it from the biscuits, to the fried chicken skins, to the chicken and waffles. And I ended off that dinner with a spiced hot chocolate, because it was 19 F out!


I love this little gem of a place in Annandale. They have a mix of Swiss and German food, and their berner rösti (potato pancake) is yummy, especially with the melted cheese and poached egg. You’ve got to get on their bread bandwagon too. Yums.

Until next week …. follow along on Instagram

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