Outdoor Dining (!!) + Favorite Trader Joe’s Salad Mix + Vegetarian Recipes

It’s amazing how normal I felt after being able to shop again in stores and enjoy outdoor dining. As soon as the retail stores opened last week, I immediately made my rounds for my favorites…and have already made repeat appearances.

I was so happy to return to some of my faves including Twenty5A, Ruby and Jenna, Denny’s, Bloomingdale’s, and the stores at Americana.

My son actually wanted to go shopping at Americana over the weekend which made it a perfect opportunity to go to Cipollini for an outdoor lunch. It was a beautiful weekend so I’m so glad outdoor dining was finally an option.

I bet we have seen the last of regular menus. It’s easy enough to scan a barcode with your phone to view the menu.


I love corn in salads. This simple salad of tomatoes, cucumber, and fresh corn was perfect. I think I shall make it at home.


Oh, how I love the margarita pizza at Cipollini. Check out this post I wrote recently about favorite places for pizza if you missed it! 

cipollini pizza

But of course, I still adore the whole wheat margarita slice from Mario’s too.


Have we discussed my new favorite salad mix from Trader Joe’s? It’s the buffalo ranch chopped salad which I somehow decided I like to eat with roasted potato wedges. Not sweet potatoes, they have to be regular potatoes but don’t ask me why — it’s just how the craving works.

trader joe's buffalo ranch chopped salad

I add chickpeas and tomatoes to the salad mix and then like to dip the potatoes in the dressing. This was actually too much dressing the other night. It’s very spicy so a little bit goes a long way.

trader joes buffalo ranch salad

And then this slice of cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread with peanut butter became dinner the other night. It’s so very rare that I eat a simple slice of toast with peanut butter for dinner but I was feeling off (because my period was due in the morning – it arrived right after midnight which you only need to know because it’s comical how not only am I crazy regular but I pretty much know the time of day it will arrive). Nothing to eat other than toast was appealing. It really hit the spot so I’m glad I didn’t try to eat a normal dinner just because people should eat normal dinners, not slices of toast as a meal. Sometimes a slice of toast is all you need.

peanut butter toast

So yesterday I was chatting with a friend who is looking to eat more of a vegetarian diet. She was looking for recipes using eggplant. Immediately I remembered I had a recipe for eggplant cacciatore here on the blog, back from when I was good at writing posts regarding vegetarian recipes.

I figured I would share that eggplant cacciatore recipe post with you today along with a few other recipes I rediscovered I have here on the site. While we know I am a real basic cook these days (if you can even call what I do cooking), I do feel a little more inspired to make some of these vegetarian recipes again.

Eggplant Cacciatore

Vegan Sloppy Joe’s 

Quinoa, Sweet Potato, Black Bean Burgers 

Black Bean & Quinoa Chili 

Let me know if you try any of the recipes!

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