garlicky sautéed shrimp, arugula and tomatoes.

garlicky sautéed shrimp, arugula and tomatoes.

I love shrimp. They’re heart-healthy, quick to defrost and great with endless flavor combos, so I always keep a bag of them in the freezer.

This fall, I also fell in love with arugula and its peppery taste and crisp, yet tender bite. I pick it up in bulk, rather than pre-bagged and keep it in a sealed Ziplock with a paper towel, which helps it stay fresh longer. It’s great for salads and on sandwiches, but as I’ve noted the abundance of recipes incorporating it into warm dishes, I recently tried one out to great satisfaction.

I actually found this recipe in the pages of Everyday Food’s June issue, as I had recalled a feature on arugula, but it was a light and tasty dish for a weeknight and literally took 15 minutes to make, as promised. Plus, arugula and tomato are both sources of Vitamin C to help stave off seasonal colds.

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not your ma’s brussels sprouts.

not your ma’s brussels sprouts.

When I was about ten, my younger brother and I sat at the dinner table alongside my dad with grimaces on our faces as we peered at the foul-smelling, mushy green spheres taking up real estate on our plates. As smelly steam rudely crept into our nostrils, my mother grabbed her purse, kissed us on the heads and scooted off to her monthly neighborhood Bunko night.  Before the door closed, she promised over her shoulder, “Just eat ’em, they taste like lettuce.”

A bigger lie has never been uttered.

Brussels sprouts, unarguably, have a bad rap. Especially among clans of playground-dwellers. Before I’d ever laid eyes on one, I knew the ominous veggie was no good and that I should do everything in my power to steer clear. They were the butt of jokes and the focus of books in which kids were forced to sit at the table until they choked them down. (Those books also tried to convince you how tasty and nutritious Brussels sprouts are for you, but we knew better.) I considered myself immensely lucky for never having personally experienced such a torment.

Lucky, that is, until that fateful dinner.

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i heart herbs.

i heart herbs.

Especially when they’re fresh. Due to the instant flavor boost they provide, you’d think keeping a variety on hand would be a no-brainer. But in a household of one, buying fresh basil, cilantro, and thyme is pricey, and even with careful planning for recipes over the coming week, I never manage to use it up before the leaves get nasty. And nobody likes nasty leaves.

In the name of saving some bucks and avoiding the evil “W” word (Waste, augh!), I’ve started growing some greens of my own. Thankfully, my mother has a bit of a green thumb and loves to share, so she yanked some wonderfully fragrant lemon thyme from her flower beds and gifted a pot o’ chives that the cat kept eating. So I’m officially outfitted with tasty freshness.

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