Try This— Classic Homemade Cacio e Pepe

I’m heading out on another European adventure this Summer. First stop: Rome. This will be my first time visiting the Eternal City  and while I imagine the Sistine Chapel is really impressive, I’m mostly looking forward to dining out on really real Italian food. Everybody I know is telling me that I have to try cacio e pepe while I’m there. Cacio e pepe, literally translating to ‘cheese and pepper’, is standard Roman fare, and if the name is any indication, it sounds like it’s as close to perfection as food can get because, well, cheese and pepper.

Anyway, I scoured the internet for a recipe that I could prepare at home so that I when I try it in Rome, I can slowly lean back at the table, loosen my jeans button, and arrogantly say, “the cacio e pepe I make at home is waaaayyyyy better.” #petty. So, I found this amazing recipe from the fine folks at Food52, and I’m pretty confident that this dish will hold up against any cacio e pepe I order in Rome. For real, this recipe is real life weeknight dinner goals. You must try this!

Classic Homemade Cacio e Pepe


  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns crushed in a mortar and pestle or 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 (16 oz) package spaghetti
  • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • About 3/4 to 1 cup of cooking water


  • In a pot over low heat, heat the crushed peppercorn with the olive oil.
  • In a pot large enough to cook the spaghetti, bring water to a boil.
  • Turn the heat off under the olive oil and add about 1/2 cup of the hot cooking water from the pot into the pan, then set aside.
  • When the pasta water comes to a rolling boil, add the salt, stir, then add the spaghetti. Cook the spaghetti until 2 minutes under the lowest time recommended on the package. Using tongs (you don’t want to get the rid of the water), add the pasta to the pot with the pepper. Turn the heat onto very low and turn the pasta continuously until most of the water is absorbed. At this point, remove from the heat and transfer to a warm bowl.
  • Still tossing, begin adding the two grated cheeses, a couple handfuls at a time. If it starts to get dry, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of pasta water. Keep turning and turning, adding cheese and pasta water, a little at a time, until all the cheese has been incorporated and you have a lovely creamy sauce coating each strand of pasta. Eat immediately.


Try This— Vegetarian ‘Chicken’ Shawarma

I’m not really in the business of trying to fool any meat eaters with my vegetarian recipes. I stay away from mock meat for the most part and I just bask in the glory that is a well prepared plant based meal. But this Beyond Meat stuff is really testing my resolve as a dyed in the wool vegetarian, and it’s also making it possible for me to slip more plant based meals under the radar to my unassuming, carnivorous family members. Case in point: this vegetarian chicken shawarma I just made over the weekend. There are no words, let’s just say these are amazing. You can’t get a meatier meal than shawarma, and up until now there was absolutely no viable vegetarian substitute. This recipe from Gimme Delicious has the slow roasted taste of your classic shawarma with none of the meat.  You must try this!!!

Vegetarian ‘Chicken’ Shawarma


  • 1 pack Beyond Meat© Chicken strips
  • ½ cup sliced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil ( 2 for the pan and 2 in the paste)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon all spice
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 pitas
  • optional toppings sliced onion, tomatoes, lettuce
  • Creamy Yogurt White Sauce


  • Combine the spices, garlic, and 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. The mixture will form a thick paste. Next, add the chicken strips and onions. Combine the chicken with the paste.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy-duty pan or skillet. After the pan is very hot toss in the chicken and onion mixture. Sautee for 2-3 minutes or until he chicken is lightly charred and the onions are soft.
  • to make a shawarma sandwich, lay a pita flat on a plate with a sheet of foil under it. Top with chicken, veggies and sauce.

***If you’re vegan, leave out the sauce!

DIY Probiotic Face Masks for All Skin Types + Vegan Option

Fun fact for the kids: During World War I, British agents of the Secret Service Bureau (later known as MI6) used invisible ink to send top secret messages back and forth. This invisible ink was actually comprised of nothing more than semen. The pioneer of this mode of communication, you might ask? The man’s name was, in fact, Sir Cumming… True story. I don’t really know why I felt the need to preface these DIY beauty recipes with the story of Sir Cumming. There’s too much penis–I mean Freud in discussions of psychoanalysis anyway, so I won’t even bother trying to unpack that. Instead, I’ll just go ahead and share these recipes that use one of my all time favorite green beauty ingredients: kefir.

Kefir is an amazing source of lactic acid, a natural skin alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). Lactic acid gently buffs away dead skin cells and minimizes the appearance of age lines and wrinkles. Kefir also contains up to 35 different strains of live bacteria that help nourish, revitalize, and balance skin. Probiotics, yo! It’s also gentle enough for skin prone to eczema, psoriasi, and acne.

DIY Kefir Face Masks

Cucumber + Kefir

For Normal/ Combination Skin

Grate one small cucumber into a small strainer over a bowl. Gently press the grated cucumber into the strainer, collect the juice, and discard the pulp. Add about 2 tablespoons kefir to the cucumber juice and mix thoroughly. Apply to your face and let sit for about 20 minutes. Gently rinse off and enjoy softer skin.

Egg White + Honey + Kefir

For Oily Skin

In a small bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons kefir, 1 egg white, and 1 tablespoon raw honey. Mix together and apply to your face for 15-20 minutes. Gently rinse off with warm water. The egg white helps tighten pores, while the antibacterial qualities of the honey help heal skin.

Egg Yolk + Olive Oil + Kefir

For Dry Skin

Combine 2 tablespoons kefir, 1 egg yolk, and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a bowl and mix well. Apply to your face and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Wash off and gently pat dry. The olive oil and egg yolk helps restore your skin’s natural moisture.

***PRO TIP: For those of you that are vegan, or for those of you that just don’t like yogurt (I’m pretty sure Joseph McCarthy has your name on a list somewhere), you can substitute the kefir in these recipes with oat milk. Oat milk is also amazing for sensitive skin and will leave your skin feeling hydrated and smooth.

Try This—No-Knead Turkish Bread With Middle Eastern Zhoug, A Spicy Cilantro Pesto

So I was listening to The Clash’s Combat Rock over the weekend and I suddenly had a craving for Turkish bread. Hear me out, Joe Strummer, the singer of The Clash, was born in Turkey and I started thinking about how punk rock it would be for me to bake bread on a Saturday night. Whatever. It made sense at the time. I’m glad my stream of consciousness leads me down these roads, because yum. This no knead bread recipe is gonna be your favorite, and if you have an extra few minutes you can make some zhoug for dipping. You must try this!

No-Knead Turkish Bread

This bread recipe from Lazy Cat Kitchen is super easy to make and so, so, so delicious! It’s perfect for dipping, but don’t stop there. I’ve even made myself a loaded Mediterranean veggie sandwich using this bread.

Middle Eastern Zhoug

Zhoug is quickly becoming my go-to condiment. From sandwich topper, to dip, to marinade, to omelets, zhoug just makes everything better. This recipe from Feasting at Home is my favorite. You guys, this stuff is spicy, but you can totally adjust it to suit your taste.

Happy Dipping!

5 Matcha Beauty DIYs—Homemade Green Beauty Recipes + 6 Matcha Infused Products to Shop Now

Fun fact for the kids: In the 1920s and 30s, radium was a popular additive in cosmetics and household products. Yep. That radium. Soap, night cream, face powder, blush, mud masks, and even toothpaste contained radium with the ‘scientifically-based’ promise that these products would give the consumer a youthful glow. I suppose these products actually did deliver on their promise, until of course, you had to have parts of your mouth and lower jaw surgically removed because of radiation poisoning, living out your final, extremely painful days blemish free. Thankfully, today we are experiencing a trend toward clean, green beauty products, and you seriously can’t get much greener than Matcha. The health benefits of Matcha are amazing both internally and externally, and we can all rest assured that no jaws have been removed as a result of its use. So have no fear! Mix these masks up!

5 simple Matcha beauty recipes

1. Matcha + Rose Water + Coconut Oil Mask


  • 2 teaspoons Matcha
  • ½ teaspoon coconut oil
  • rose water


Combine melted coconut oil with Matcha in a small bowl. Add drops of rose water until you have a medium-thick paste that’s easy to spread onto your skin. Let it set for 20 minutes and then wipe off with a warm, wet towel.

2. Avocado + Matcha Mask


  • 1 teaspoon Matcha
  • ¼ of an avocado, mashed
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey


Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Apply a thin layer to either your face or body, and gently scrub in a circular motion with your fingertips, making sure to avoid your eyes. Leave for 10 minutes and rinse with a warm cloth.

3. Matcha + Banana + Turmeric Mask


  • ½ of a banana,mashed
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon Matcha
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


Mash your banana in a small bowl, then add your turmeric, matcha, and olive oil. Mix well and then spread onto your face to set for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

4. Aloe + Matcha Mask


  • 1 teaspoon Matcha
  • 2 teaspoons Aloe Vera


Combine your Matcha with Aloe Vera in a small bowl. You can add more or less Aloe Vera depending on what consistency you prefer. Apply to your face, let it set for 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.

5. Exfoliating Matcha Scrub


  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Matcha
  • 1 teaspoon honey


Combine sugar with Matcha, then add honey and melted coconut oil and stir until everything is mixed well. Store in a sealed mason jar and place in your shower for up to two weeks. After cleansing your skin, gently exfoliate with the scrub and then rinse. Use every other day.

6 Matcha Infused Beauty Products to Shop Now

1. Biodara Coconut Matcha Brightening Mask

2. Fig + Yarrow Matcha Milkbath

3. Urb Apothecary Lavender Matcha Mask

4. Plant Apothecary Matcha Antioxidant  Face Mask

5. Erborian Perfect Morning BB 3-IN-1 Matcha Mask

6. Cocokind Organic Matcha Face Moisturizer

Recipe Source: WendyGould