Author Archives: katemabernathy

About katemabernathy

I'm a dietitian who is passionate about food. I love discovering new restaurants, trying new recipes and learning everything that I can about food. I am newly married and I look forward to all the adventures to come with my foodie husband, Sean.

Apple Strudel

We could honestly eat dessert for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Well… Kate could… and has. She loves dessert, but as a dietitian  it is tough sometimes to find healthier dessert options. Here is a (lower) calorie dessert that we both loved.

Apples, Peaches, or Pears would all work well for this recipe.

Cooking tip: do not overfill the pastry, and make sure that the strudel is completely sealed on all sides so that the fruit does not leak out and burn. (Read why here).

We are all about finding meals that look and sound complicated but are simple. This recipe is no exception. By using phyllo dough (puff pastry) instead of a traditional dough, this is healthier and you get to eat dessert much sooner. That is a win-win in our book!

Apple Strudel

A Newly Feds original (with techniques and concepts borrowed from several sources)

  • 2 Large Golden Delicious Apples, cored, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 Lemon, Juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon Flour (plus some for work surface)
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Frozen Puff Pastry Sheet, thawed
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon Water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine and mix together apples, lemon juice, flour, sugar, cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Sprinkle flour on a clean counter top.  Unfold the pastry sheet on the work surface.  With the short side facing you, spoon the apple mixture onto the bottom half of the pastry sheet (drain excess juice). Roll the pastry like a pinwheel/ jellyroll. Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment. Place pastry seam side down and tuck the ends under the pastry to seal in the apple mixture.

Beat the egg and water together and brush the pastry on the top and sides. This works great to seal the pastry together.  Cut a few slits on top of the strudel.

Bake 20-25 minutes (depending on oven — ours runs HOT).

Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Serve warm.

Tip: We found that caramel lightly drizzled over the top was delicious!

Tip: The strudel would be great served with vanilla ice cream/ frozen yogurt.


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Filed under Cooking Tips, Dessert

How To Give Up Meat For Lent

After giving up meat for Lent, a lot of people have asked us what we ate, or how we managed. The most popular comment from friends and family has been, “There is NO way I could have done that.” Well, yes you could have…and yes you can. 40 days of no meat was not bad at all and has actually passed very quickly. We have learned that meat, while exceptionally delicious, is more of a luxury than a necessity. In a recent brainstorming session, we tried to recall all (or most) of the meals that have allowed us to not only make it through our meatless Lent, but eat well along the way.

The following is a list of the Newly Feds meatless Lenten menu items in no particular order. These meals were all homemade by us, all of the recipes are very doable, and most were made on weekday nights.

If there is a recipe you would like to try or like to see us write about, let us know and we can make that happen.

  1. Scallion and Edamame Fried Rice
  2. Garden Vegetable Risotto
  3. Shrimp Po Boys with Low Fat Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw
  4. Nicoise Salad with Grilled Tuna
  5. Scallops with Linguine in a Herb Wine Sauce
  6. Spinach Macaroni and Cheese
  7. Vegetable Lasagna
  8. Minestrone with Pesto Soup
  9. Vegetable Stir Fry
  10. Vegetarian Wild Rice Burgers
  11. Brown Sugar Mustard Glazed Salmon with Grilled Vegetable Ratatouille Salad
  12. Stuffed Portabella Mushroom Caps
  13. Fish Tacos
  14. Red Pepper Alfredo
  15. Shrimp Pad Thai
  16. Portabella Mushroom Stroganoff
  17. Boca Burger Tacos
  18. Coconut Shrimp with a side of Sesame Thai Noodles
  19. Spiced Lentil Soup
  20. Spaghetti with Caramelized Mushrooms
  21. Spring Vegetable Pizza
  22. Linguine Primavera with Pesto
  23. Beer Steamed Mussels
  24. Bocca Veggie Hot Dogs with Homemade French Fries
  25. Fish and Chips

We also have enjoyed various meals out and with family and friends that aren’t listed. But we promise, NO meat has been eaten during Lent (not even on Sunday).


Filed under Entrees, Lists, Vegetarian Recipes

Why the Newly Feds Need a Fire Extinguisher…

Last evening while making Lentil Soup, we learned a lesson.

What goes better with Lentil Soup than homemade biscuits? Not much. As we prepared the biscuits, the order of the ingredients got mixed up. Instead of the butter being cut in to the flour mixture and then adding milk, as the recipe recommends, we added milk to the flour mixture and then mixed in the butter. Well, Kate should have paid attention more closely in Food Science class, because if she had she may have guessed what was about to happen.

After baking for about 10 minutes, Sean went to check on the biscuits. He noticed that instead of smelling like deliciousness, the kitchen smelled of acrid burning fat. He opened the oven and SMOKE billowed out. So much smoke, that it filled our entire apartment. You see, what happened is that the chunks of butter in the improperly mixed dough melted on the pan, dripped onto the floor of the oven, and burned. Luckily for us, there was smoke without fire. Unluckily for us, everything we own smells like torched butter.

We spent the rest of Monday night (and most of Tuesday afternoon) febreezing, cleaning and airing out our apartment, which still smells like smoke.

Lesson learned: Follow directions.

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Filed under Cooking Tips

French Fries!

On Friday, The Newly Feds celebrated one of our favorite holidays… Opening Day! While the Twins and Cubs may have lost, we certainly won by staying in to watch baseball while drinking a beer or two and enjoying a taste of the warmer days to come.

In honor of the return of baseball, and in an effort to prompt Spring to hurry up with the warm and sunny weather, we decided to make our somewhat healthier version of a classic, all-time favorite. We hope you enjoy!

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Crispy Baked French Fries

A Newly Feds Original Recipe. Serves 2-4 .

The Ingredients:

  • 3 large Russet potatoes
  • Several cups of water (for soaking)
  • Canola oil for coating the fries (about 1/4 cup)
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Kosher salt (to taste)

The Plan:

1.  Preheat the oven to 425. Center the oven racks.

2.  Using a mandolin (recommended) or your chef’s knife, slice the potatoes into strips of even thickness. Soak the fries in a bowl of water for 10-15 minutes (or longer if needed) to bring out some of the starch and to prevent browning. Drain.

3.  In a large mixing bowl, coat the fries with the oil.

4.  Place a wire cooling rack on an aluminum foil lined jelly roll pan. Spray the wire rack with the cooking spray to avoid sticking. Spread a portion of the fries out on the cooling rack, leaving some space between the fries. Liberally salt the fries to taste.

5.  Working in batches, bake the fries for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown (cooking time will vary with the thickness of the fries and the performance of your oven).

6.  Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce, we dipped ours in good-old-fashioned ketchup, but a garlic aioli would be delicious as well.


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Filed under Appetizers, Vegetarian Recipes

Vegetarian Wild Rice Burgers

For many, foregoing meat on Fridays during Lent is a huge challenge. Some find it challenging just to remember that it is Friday period. Most have difficulty remembering that it is a Friday, in Lent. That is, until after they bite into a big juicy burger.

This Lenten Season the Newly Feds are taking the meat-free-Friday challenge one step further. We have decided to give up meat. All meat. Even bacon. No meat for 40 days. Period. We are 16 days in and the withdrawal symptoms are coming on strong. It’s not that we need meat, its just that its so tasty. So far, the worst has been having brunch without bacon (really?) and grilling steak without being able to eat it. Other that that, so far, so good. We have been adapting old recipes and trying lots of new ones. All in all, we have eaten well and stuck to our guns. This challenge, though, requires a bit of creativity and that’s where wild rice comes in.

Ever been to Duluth, Minnesota? No? Why are we not surprised? Despite being covered in snow 363 days a year and having an average temp of 4, Duluth is home to some great food. Some of the best is found at a brewery and restaurant called Fitger’s Brewhouse. There, you can find one of the best burgers, meat or veggie, we have ever had. The folks over at Heavy Table have attempted to recreate this fantastic burger, and they are not far off. That said, the Newly Feds don’t follow directions very well and we added our own twists and sort of winged this one in places. Let’s be clear, though. You WILL NOT miss the meat…that much. While nothing beats a good old fashioned beef burger, this comes pretty close to taking the edge off.

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Vegetarian Wild Rice Burgers With Garlic Horseradish Mayo

Loosely adapted from Heavy Table. Makes approximately 8 burgers.

  • 1 12 oz package pre-cooked wild rice (found at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 12 oz package pre-cooked brown rice (found at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 cup diced fresh mushrooms (we used button, but portabella would be excellent here)
  • 1 1/2 cups HOT water
  • 2 vegetarian bouillon cubes
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • A few dashes (to taste) of each of the following: black pepper, onion powder, ground cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, and garlic
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3/4- 1 cup crushed saltine crackers
  • 8 good quality buns (we used Challah)
  • 8 slices sharp good quality sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Tomato slices (optional)
  • Several tablespoons of canola oil (for cooking).
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons of horseradish spread


1. Cook both packages of rice, following package directions. Mix in a large bowl with the diced mushrooms. Cover and refrigerate overnight. This step is optional, but recommended.

2. The day of: Remove rice from the refrigerator. Take the hot water and bouillon cubes and mix until dissolved. Pour over the rice mixture and heat in the microwave until the rice is tender (approximately 5 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave).

3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat the eggs, and add the olive oil, and the seasonings. Mix well. Add the shredded cheese and mix to combine. Slowly, add the warm rice mixture, making sure the rice is not so hot as to curdle the eggs. Mix until combined. This mixture should still be wet. Add the crushed saltine crackers, a little at a time, adding enough crumbs until the mixture holds together loosely when formed into patties.

4. Heat a skillet, ideally cast iron, over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a small amount of canola oil to the pan. Form patties out of the rice mixture and place in the pan, being careful not to splatter the oil. We recommend cooking no more than three at a time. Cook for 3 minutes on medium-high heat. Flip with a pancake spatula and add a slice of cheddar cheese to the burger. Cook for an additional 3 minutes with a lid covering pan. Once done, remove the cooked burger and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat for the rest of the burgers.

5. Serve burgers on the buns with lettuce, tomato and garlic horseradish mayonnaise (to make, mix the light mayonnaise, diced fresh garlic and horseradish).



Filed under Vegetarian Recipes

Meet The Newly Feds!

Welcome to The Newly Feds! We are the Abernathys, a newly married couple living near Chicago. We are in our first year of marriage, and we are setting out to enjoy our new life by cooking and eating our way through our favorite foods and visiting some of Chicago’s best restaurants. “Wow,” you might say, “‘newly wed weight gain‘ is going to hit them…and hard!” Don’t worry, we promise to remain our svelte, sexy selves all while living life to the fullest. In fact, we are hoping to do just the opposite and prevent the blissful bulge, staying healthy and happy, all while avoiding ever being hungry.

Mine's mint. What's yours?

The svelte and sexy couple.

So what qualifies us to write a food blog and why should you read it? Well, besides being an educated, healthy, and fun-loving young couple, we are actually pretty decent cooks. We know that these days it is hip to describe yourself as a “foodie”, but, seriously…we know food.  Sean,  an attorney, nearly attended culinary school, is an adventurous home cook, and reads just about anything he can get his hands on about restaurants, food and food culture. Kate, a registered dietitian, is not only a certified expert in nutrition and clinical dietetics, but is also a fantastic cook and an avid baker. Together, we are a couple who loves little more than a beautiful, delicious, and healthy meal cooked with a little creativity and whole lot of love.

As we say in the title, this is a blog about food, love, and marriage. In essence, this blog is designed to be a chronicle of who we are as a couple, what we love to cook, and how much we love to eat (in moderation, course). As of now, there is no set schedule for posts, but we promise to post as often as time allows.

So, that’s us in a nutshell. We hope that you enjoy the site and visit often.

Stay Hungry,

Sean & Kate


Filed under About, The Newly Feds