Recipe: Modified Meatless Shepherd’s Pie

Recently I went to one of my book club meetings (yes, okay, I’m in two book clubs. I read…a lot.) and had this amazing modified shepherd’s pie. Modified because it was vegetarian! And also it incorporated some other changes like no potatoes and the addition of some feta cheese. It was so yum!

Can I just disgress for a moment to say how lucky I am to have such accommodating, generous friends who cook vegetarian meals because they know I’m coming over? I know that vegetarian meals aren’t always all about me, but, well, sometimes they are, in that uncomfortable way where I realize everyone else would prefer to be eating ribs or steak and they’re “stuck” with something veg. I’m rarely the only vegetarian in the room, which makes it a little easier, but still. Anyway, my friends never make me feel that way and I love them for it. Moving on.

One such friend is Kathy, who I have to credit with this creating this delicious recipe. Thanks for sharing this with me and for making such an elaborate book club meal!

Modified Meatless Shepherds Pie

Ingredients:
1 pie bottom shell
1 pie crust topping (rolled-out dough or store-bought)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
2 tbsp. Herbes de Provence (or mix your own using thyme, basil, oregano and parsley to your taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb (package) Yves meatless ground round
1/2 cup tomato sauce (or more as needed)
2 cups diced carrots, peas, and corn (or mixed vegetables of your choice)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 egg beaten w/ 1 tsp water (egg wash for the pie crust)

To Make:
1. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan and add the chopped onion and herbs. Cook until onions start to turn clear.
2. Add the meatless ground round and cook thoroughly, adding salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add the carrots, peas and corn (or other veggies) and stir. Cook for 5 minutes or until slightly softened.
4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375.
5. Lightly brush pie bottom shell with egg wash.
6. Spoon stuffing mix into pie shell. Add feta cheese to top of the mix.
7. Cover stuffing with pie crust topping and brush top crust with egg wash before putting it in oven. Cut the top of the pie crust like an X to allow steam to exit while baking.
8. Cook for 30 minutes or until crust is golden.

The meat eaters around the table could hardly tell that it was made using fake meat (or at least, that’s what they told me…)! It may depend on which brand of soy crumbles you use, I haven’t tried too many of them. If you have a favorite, let me know please! Also a good substitute would be lentils or finely chopped mushrooms, or both.

This recipe is perfect as we struggle through the last few chilly, rainy days before summer. Enjoy!

Roundup of Superbowl Recipes

My family is not a football family – we are a baseball family (go Yankees!). So every year, as fans gear up to watch the Superbowl and get really worked up about this rivalry or that rivalry, I’m just thinking, “what will I eat?” The Superbowl is the perfect excuse to eat a lot and feel…American about it. Like Thanksgiving but without your family. And more junk food.

This year, I’m going to a friend’s house on the Superbowl for some low-key activities like watching the commercials, eating a LOT of yummy food, and half-heartedly cheering when something exciting happens in the game. I was thinking yesterday about what I would bring, so I wanted to post my recipe roundup here for all of you! Most of the recipes are from right here on Arlington Darling, except for the first one: Baked Southwestern eggrolls. I made my own adaptation of these last night and haven’t posted my version yet, but oh goodness they are good. I think they’re going to be the winner.

Hah, get it? Winner? Like…of the Superbowl? But…food? 🙂

Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls | Annie’s Eats

Tuna-Apple Mini Melts | Arlington Darling

Roasted Rosemary Chili Pecans | Arlington Darling

Antipasto Skewers | Arlington Darling

Let me know if you make any of them for your own Superbowl get-together and how they turn out! Go team!

Liebster Award: Yay :)

Marisa from Uproot from Oregon nominated me this week for the Liebster Award! I am so surprised and grateful and happy :). I started blogging earlier this year as an outlet for my many inner thoughts and to hopefully make other peoples’ day when they are browsing online – as so many other people do for me! Apparently I have been successful in my own small way thus far, which is what the Liebster Award celebrates.

The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to other up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers (it’s like an award for baby bloggers!). Aside from making our days/weeks/years, the Award is also intended to drive traffic to our blogs and expand our connection to and awareness of the blog community. The meaning of Liebster, which is German, is: sweetest, pleasant, valued, or welcome. It makes me think of Liebchen, which is German for “sweetheart” or “dear.”

Thank you to Marisa for nominating me – you’re definitely a Liebchen in my eyes! And I had such fun reading your blog and all of your yummy recipes.

The rules of the Liebster Award are: 1) I have to post 11 things about myself, 2) I have to answer my nominator’s 11 questions, 3) I have to nominate another blog(s) and create 11 questions for them, and 4) I have to let them know! It’s like a chain letter for blogging but much nicer and more fun – plus a good way to procrastinate at work on a Friday.

11 things about me:

  1. I recently gained about an inch in height (used to be 5’1″ and now I’m 5’2″). I think it’s from all of the Barre3 workouts.
  2. I grew up in NJ.
  3. I want to get a tattoo but I’m really nervous so I’ve been putting it off.
  4. My favorite food is cheese. You’ve probably already figured that out.
  5. I make a mean playlist for parties or road trips.
  6. I prefer gold jewelry.
  7. I went to Tanzania twice when I was in college for a service trip.
  8. I don’t have any wisdom teeth. I haven’t had surgery to remove them, I just never had them from the beginning. Weird, right?
  9. I’m an introvert.
  10. I don’t have a car; I’ve been car-free for over two years.
  11. I love my LBDs. I shamefully (yet proudly) own over 15.

My answers to Marisa’s questions:

  1. What quote or phrase do you live by? “A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not why ships are built.” I’m risk-averse so I try to remember this quote to challenge myself to try new things.
  2. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? This is so tough! I’ll answer with where I’m traveling to next: my best friend JJ and I want to explore the south of France, the Amalfi coast, Croatia, and some other places in the Mediterranean next year.
  3. Name 2 things off of your bucket list. Live in New York City and get a cat (not necessarily in that order).
  4. You can raid the closet of any celebrity (fictional or real) – who would you choose? Kate Middleton or Blake Lively.
  5. What TV shows do you have to watch weekly? Okay don’t laugh (this is all in the name of discovery and sharing, right?): Dawson’s Creek. They recently put it on Netflix and I’m going through every episode. Totally addicted. In terms of current TV shows, I really like New Girl.
  6. What’s your cocktail of choice for girls night out? Vodka and soda with lime.
  7. You’re on a deserted island and can only bring 3 inanimate things with you – what are they? My Nook, photos of my friends and family, and cheese. It would melt pretty quickly but I’d eat it pretty quickly…
  8. Name one trend you love but are too scared to try! Red, hot pink, or coral lipstick – I think I look best with a neutral lip (just chapstick!) so even though it is trendy, I can never bring myself to leave the house with bright lips.
  9. If you could go back and offer a younger version of yourself advice, what would it be? Wear sunscreen! And trust your instincts.
  10. What’s your favorite recipe I should try? My apple-cheddar quesadillas! I make them almost every week – and lately I’ve been mixing it up by using spicy Habenero-Lime tortillas from Trader Joe’s.

And now, drumroll please… I would like to nominate: 1) Deanna from Diary of Dee because her happy, colorful posts (always with gorgeous pictures) always make me smile; and 2) the lovely ladies from This is Our Jam, whose musical taste is way, way better than mine and whose commentary on life always makes me giggle.

My questions for my nominees:

  1. What is your favorite item in your closet?
  2. If you were a millionaire for a day, what would be the first thing you would buy?
  3. What is a new skill that you’re working on or trying out?
  4. What’s your favorite cocktail?
  5. What is a nickname that you had when you were younger?
  6. If you could pick anything on Pinterest and make it a reality (i.e., the decorated bedroom, a beautiful pair of shoes, an organized closet), what would it be?
  7. What is one thing that you’ve blogged about that I should eat/see/do/visit/try?
  8. What was one thing that made you happy this week?
  9. What are you reading?
  10. What’s your favorite DC or NOVA restaurant?
  11. What was the last thing you purchased?

Cheers, ladies! Thanks again to Marisa, you have totally made my week with this – I’m truly surprised and happy and grateful that there are people out there enjoying what I write. Thanks for nominating me and bringing it to my attention. It’s wonderful. Thank you. Happy Friday to everyone!

Pictures from Ricketts Glen

Arlington Darling | Ricketts Glen 1

This weekend I went hiking and camping in Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania. It was totally worth the long drive (4.5 hours) and near-freezing temperatures (low of 39). The fall leaves were gorgeous, we saw over 22 waterfalls, we made fabulous new friends, and we learned to appreciate the ridiculous country songs that one finds on the radio in the middle of nowhere :).

Here are some of the pictures from our hike:

Arlington Darling | Ricketts Glen 2

Arlington Darling | Ricketts Glen 3

Arlington Darling | Ricketts Glen 4

Arlington Darling | Ricketts Glen 5

Circa, Circa

I recently became one of those people who walk into a bar and immediately get free drinks. No, I didn’t turn into a celebrity overnight: I became friends with one of the managers at Dupont Circle’s Circa restaurant (I know – high five for me! Also high five for Dale on the sweet job!).

Before he got the job and started talking my ear off about Circa, the restaurant wasn’t exactly on my radar, despite all three of its locations being conveniently located to where I spend a majority of my time (Clarendon, Foggy Bottom, and Dupont). This is partly because I had a lackluster dinner experience at Circa the first time I went over a year ago. But Dale has encouraged me to come try it out and now I’ve been to all three locations in less than a month. It doesn’t sound that impressive but given all the other amazing going-out and dining-out options in this city, that’s a lot of repeats.

I was pretty impressed with the scene at the Dupont location for happy hour, though it got a little crowded (what DC spot doesn’t on a Thursday night?). I was very well taken care of, thanks to Dale, but I did notice that the other parties around me had attentive and enthusiastic servers as well. Plus, and this is a major plus for happy hour, the drinks were very strong but still yummy. I also enjoyed the night scene at the Foggy Bottom Circa, though with the college kids gone for the summer the place had a more mature crowd (I don’t count, right? That 25th birthday milestone is starting to get to me…). I had a refreshing fresh fruit cocktail that was sweet and perfect for a summer night.

Circa at Dupont

Okay, so I know it sounds like all I’ve done at Circa so far is drink. And… it’s true, I guess. So since I haven’t tried the food (they do have brunch which I will probably try eventually), I won’t attempt to persuade you to go there and eat. But if you’re looking to feel a bit like you’re part of the in-crowd, just come with me the next time I visit Dale and we’ll have a nice strong cocktail like the DC celebrities we are.