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A Delicious Summer Picnic Trio

Rochester native Miranda “Mir” Leo is taking the concept of home cook by storm. We sat with the Instagram foodie to discuss the inspiration behind her bright, beautiful, delicious dishes perfect for a summer evening in!

Meet Miranda

“For me, cooking is a way I can bring those I love together,” Miranda said in her small galley kitchen. The apartment serves as a multi-purpose experimental kitchen, workspace, and studio all in one. “I have loved cooking and food for as long as I can remember, starting with fresh baked pastries at my Nonna and Papa’s house.”


Keen on trying new recipes and spearheading the family’s grocery list after school, Miranda was all about sharing her love of new foods. While wrapping up a fourteen-year figure skating career, Miranda admits she became increasingly focused on food, and not in a healthy way.


“I became acutely aware of everything I was eating, and it turned all-consuming. Having discreetly battled eating disorders for years, I fell more in love with cooking because it was a way to put my mind at ease while nourishing myself as well as possible,” Miranda said. “I was able to turn the ship around and make my health—physical and mental—a priority. I spent hours in the kitchen relearning how to eat, cook, and build a positive relationship with food.”

For Miranda, the creation of @EatsWithMir was dual purposed: a means of holding herself accountable to stay healthy and to connect with others in similar situations.


“With my page, I have been fortunate to connect with people near and far. I can try new recipes, share my creations, and tap into the creativity of others from around the world,” Miranda said, proudly showcasing her array of cooking utensils and collection of cocktail ingredients.

In the years since battling her eating disorders, she has also developed several food allergies, which, rather than limit her cooking, have inspired her to think outside of the box. Each of her recipes includes substitutions that best benefit her health, and she also encourages her followers to personalize them to their liking and dietary needs.


“One of my favorite things is buying foods that I know I can build a few recipes from, which ensures I waste as little as possible!” Miranda said, stirring together a mix of kale and roasted chicken from the night before. A local farmers market is her favorite go-to for locally grown, in-season produce. “A lot of ingredients—vegetables, meats, spices—are versatile, and the possibilities are endless. Cooking should focus on incorporating ingredients you love, and, more importantly, that make you feel good!”

 

Tuscan-Style Lemon and Tomato Chicken

1 lb. linguine

1 lb. skinless, boneless

chicken breasts or tenders

Salt and pepper

1 cup flour

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. basil, dry

1 tsp. oregano, dry

4 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. canola oil

2 Tbsp. butter

4 garlic cloves, smashed

3 lemons

1 pint cherry tomatoes

½ cup dry white wine (I prefer a buttery chardonnay or sauvignon blanc!)<