Pear + Cheddar Salad

New year. Who dis?

Ok ok bear with us. We’ve been absent, yes. But it was January, also known as the month of no inspiration and the month that Hannah moved to Chicago. (insert sassy dancing emoji of joy)

And here I am with a salad “recipe.” I guess it counts. Mostly I made this, loudly exclaimed about how Good I Am At Salads throughout dinner, and wanted to share. Don’t hate me.


  • 1/2 head of romaine lettuce
  • sharp white cheddar, cut into tiny cubes or crumbled if you have that kind of time
  • roasted, salted almonds, roughly chopped
  • Pear Champagne Salad dressing (Trader Joe’s is LIFE.)

Roughly chop up that romaine, cube the pears, cube the cheddar, and chop up some almonds. If you’re doing this for lunch and you want more protein, add some roasted/grilled chicken! Toss into a bowl that’s bigger than you think you need with less dressing than you think you need (add more if you want).

For now, please, I beg of you, use the Trader Joe’s dressing. It’s got champagne vinegar, gorgonzola cheese, pear mush, and evoo in it and it’s to die for. I’ll be working on making my own version over here in the Chicago test kitchen, but for now, use it, love it, drink it. (just kidding about one of those).

I would also like to take this moment to share an amazing service I just started using, called Imperfect Produce. Every week I get a cute little cardboard box full of veggies that have been deemed “unfit,” “uggles,” or “imperfect” by some people who think that grocery store veg should live up to Vogue standards. I have yet to receive any produce that is truly ugly. Mostly it’s just really delicious and really cheap. Last week I got 1 head of romaine lettuce, 1 bunch of organic swiss chard, 1 bunch of kale, 2 bosc pears, 4 kiwi, 2 cucumbers, 2 peppers, 4 beets, and a pound of potatoes. For $15. You read that right. $15. So if you live in a big city, I’d recommend them to you.



Friday Faves: Trader Joes (Christmas edition)

Over here at CSK, we really love Trader Joe’s. From the prices to the variety of items, it just doesn’t get any better. During the holidays it can be hard to find the time to figure out decorations, make cookies, etc. so we thought we’d share some of our favorite Trader Joe’s shortcuts.

  1. Pie crust
    • Making your own pie crust is (though worthwhile) very time-consuming and most pre-made pic crusts taste like all the preservatives they have in them. But let us sing the song of the Trader Joe’s premade pie crust. They’re flaky; they’re subtly sweet; they’re crumbly. It’s the perfect “buttery flaky crust.” (Anyone? Anyone?).
    • Tip: make sure you roll it out yourself to make it a little thinner. These pie crusts can be pretty overwhelming to a galette or a two-crust pie if you don’t thin them.
  2. Macarons
    • As we said, who has time to make fancy desserts for all the Christmas parties? Not us. But thankfully ol’ faithful TJ’s has so many great premade desserts. These are one of Essie’s all-time favorites.
  3. Veggies & Greens Salad Mix
    1. We love all of their salad mixes, tbh, but this one takes the cake. The crunchy veggies with the sweetness of the dried pear and the saltiness of the pistachios is a combination worth fighting for. And don’t get us started on the honey-ginger dressing. We also like to add a little sharp cheddar crumbled on top for an extra boost of protein.
  4. 3-Cream Brie
    • Good cheese can be SO expensive. We used to groan when we saw photos of beautiful charcuterie boards, because we knew it’d be around $50 to make even the smallest one. Not so, thanks to TJ! You can get this creamy, sexy brie for so cheap. Grab a baguette and some dry Italian salami and it’s the prettiest little appetizer you’ve ever seen.
  5. Eucalyptus
    • Balsam is great. We love evergreens, really we do, but sometimes you just want something a little different for your Christmas wreath or centerpiece. TJ’s has beautiful eucalyptus for cheap and when combined with a sprig of red berries it looks delicately festive.
  6. Chocolate Mousse Cake
    • Really this should read: CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CAKE. CHOCOLATE. MOUSSE. Want us to say it one more time? No? Ah, ok. We can chill. But really, we don’t think this one needs any explanation.

There you have it: our top six favorite shortcuts for this month. What are your favorites?

Happy cooking!

-Essie + Hannah




Dressed Up Turkey Sandwich

With turkey day tomorrow, I just had to share one of my all time favorite sandwiches. I really hope your turkey is so huge you’ll have leftovers for weeks and weeks. When you have that many leftovers you get sick of the same flavors over and over again. In case that happens here’s the perfect change up.

Brie and Apples. They’re like flavor soulmates. When you add balsamic glaze, a bite of onion, and some mild turkey, avocado, and naan, it’s like the two started a family, dressed all the kids in their Sunday best, and everyone gets along. Exactly the sort of thing you want around the holidays.

Once you know how much you love these flavors together, it’s easy to switch them up and incorporate them into a salad, wrap, omelette or anything else you might dream up.

Give it a try and thank me later.

  • Ingredients:
    • 2 pieces naan bread
    • 1 cup shredded turkey (or 8 slices deli turkey)
    • 1 sweet apple, sliced
    • 4 oz brie cheese, sliced
    • 1 avocado, sliced
    • 2-4 green onions, chopped
    • 1 cup spinach
    • dried cranberries
    • balsamic glaze
  • Directions:
    1. Preheat your oven or toaster oven to broil.
    2. Lay naan flat on a cookie sheet. Stack turkey, apple and brie (in that order) on one half of each bread.
    3. Toast in the oven until brie is melty and naan is warm.
    4. Pile avocado, green onions, spinach, and dried cranberries on top of brie.
    5. Drizzle balsamic glaze over it all, then fold second half of naan over the toppings. Nom.
  • Alternative: Dressed Up Turkey Salad
    1. Chop and warm turkey, apple and brie on cookie sheet.
    2. Pile on top of a bowl of greens along with the rest of the ingredients.
    3. Use balsamic glaze or a balsamic dressing to dress.