Raspberry Crumble Bars

raspberry crumble bars4

Happy Friday!

Well, it’s not entirely happy for me. In some crazy sleep deprived fog I foolishly decided to give up sweets for lent. I don’t know what I was thinking. It’s been two days and already the gummy sour bunnies that live in the center console of my car are screaming my name. I’m already planning my easter basket. It’s going to be epic.

But just because I’m unhappy, doesn’t mean you have to be. You can make these Raspberry Crumb Bars. Please make them, for those of us who cannot.

raspberry crumble bars3

 

This recipe is really simple and can be easily tweaked. If you’d prefer blueberry or strawberry jam you can easily substitute. I also use this amazing granola in the topping, but if you don’t have some readily made (or you ate it all last night) you can use a good store bought brand.

raspberry crumble bars2

 

The shortbread crust is buttery, yet somehow light, and the fruity jam and nutty granola combine for the perfect bite.

raspberry crumble bars5

I made these for the first time for a meeting of my moms group. There are about nine of us moms who have babies around the same age and we try to get together once a week for play dates. It’s so much fun to get the babies together and watch them interact. But the best part is, we always have dessert.

raspberry crumble bars

It’s awesome. Once a week you can look forward to dessert (and a glass of wine!) in the middle of the day. It’s pretty great. In fact, I’ve thought seriously about being one of the people who nurses their kid until they are like, a tween, just so I can continue to use the excuse, “I’m breastfeeding” when eating my second bar. And also use it an excuse when I take tiny slivers out of a third slice until I’ve basically eaten the whole thing. Don’t worry, if you’re not nursing there are plenty of other reasons to eat these delicious, crumbly bars….”Having friends over for dinner!” “Just finished the laundry!”  ”It’s Tuesday!” …you get the idea.

raspberry crumble bars6

 

I’ll be thinking of those tiny slivers for the next 38 days…but who’s counting?

Enjoy!

Recipe: Raspberry Crumb Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 -1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 ounces raspberry jam (I like the kind with seeds) OR USE THIS
  • 1 cup  Coconut Maple Granola (or store bought granola without dried fruit)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed just until combined. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla.
  3. Sift the flour and salt together and, with the mixer on low, slowly add to the butter mixture, mixing until it almost comes together in a ball. Turn the dough out on a board. Lightly pat two-thirds of the dough evenly on the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan and about 1/4-inch up the sides. Spread with the jam, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Mix the granola into the remaining dough with your hands. Break the dough into small bits and distribute it on top of the jam, covering most of the surface. Bake the bars for 45 minutes, until lightly browned.
  4. Cool completely and cut into 9 or 12 bars.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

 

Lemony Chicken, Kale, and White Bean Soup

Lemon, Chicken, & Kale Soup3

I am fully aware that I have no business talking about winter. Our California winter could barely be described as “mild.” But, I’ve become a wuss. Now, when it drops below 60, I need a big jacket and a beanie. That…and a big bowl of soup. On one particularly chilly day in February after I put my son to bed I needed 3 things: my cozy bathrobe, The Bachelor on DVR, and this soup.

Lemon, Chicken, & Kale Soup

My husband is always extremely complimentary about my cooking. I’m lucky that he likes most things so he’s pretty easy to please. He likes soup, but has this “thing”… he doesn’t consider soup a meal. An appetizer? Yes. Part of a meal? Sure. But soup period for dinner isn’t usually his first choice.

So you can imagine my surprise when he could not stop raving about this soup. Period.

Lemon, Chicken, & Kale Soup2

In fact, it was this soup that made him say, “You really need to start blogging again. People need to know about this soup!” So, here it is!

The secret to this soup is the lemon. The recipe calls for a good amount (1/2 cup) of lemon juice – more than you’d find in most soups. But don’t worry, the soup doesn’t turn out sour at all. The acidity is the perfect offset for the bitterness of the kale. Using chicken thighs gives you the richness you need to make the soup hearty and the white beans bulk up the soup and add just the right texture. Everything works together in perfect harmony.

Lemon, Chicken, & Kale Soup 4

 

Go low carb and serve it as is, or get crazy and add a big hunk of warmed bread. For all of you in other parts of the country, this is just what you need to warm you up from those freezing temperatures. For those of you in California, I hear it is going to dip below 70 soon. Better have a bowl of this soup ready!

Recipe: Lemony Chicken, Kale, and White Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 10 oz package kale
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • lemon zest for garnish
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Salt and pepper chicken thighs. Roast 20-25 minutes. Coarsely chop. Set aside.
  2. Preheat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Swirl with oil to coat. Add shallot and cook 1 minute, add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken and cook 3 minutes.
  3. Add stock, lemon juice, and kale. Bring liquid to a boil. Stir kale until it begins to wilt and all kale is covered by the liquid. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover partially and cook 15 minutes.
  4. Add white beans. Cook 5-10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Ladle into big bowls. Top with lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil.

 

 

 

Coconut Maple Granola

coconut maple granola

 

This is the best granola I have ever tasted.

I thought long and hard about things before I wrote that sentence. I have had a lot of granola. I love granola. But this is the best granola I’ve ever gotten my hands on. Since I discovered the recipe I have made it at least once a week and I’m not even close to sick of it yet. Thank goodness for Costco-sized packs of Quaker Oats!

All the credit for bringing this granola into my life goes to my friend Christina. She came down from Portland to stay with me over the holidays and brought a little pouch of this granola with her. I devoured it in about 5 seconds. After she left I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I asked her for the recipe. On one hand, I’m glad I did because, as I have stated, it is amazing. On the other hand, I think I am getting dangerously close to needing to check myself into granola rehab.

coconut maple granola

I guess this granola could have been called “Trader Joe’s” granola, huh? :)

I had never heard of coconut chips before this recipe, in fact, I was looking for something in a bag like chocolate chips! Haha, silly me. These coconut chips are little flecks of coconut that have been dried and roasted and they are delicious!

coconut maple granola

The combination of the flavor of the coconut oil and coconut chips with the maple syrup and brown sugar makes this granola irresistible! I’ll admit, this is overall sweeter than most granola I usually make, but if you pair it with some unsweetened greek yogurt it’s divine. If you prefer your granola a little less sweet, you can cut back on the sugar a bit, just be sure to add a little extra coconut oil to assure the granola gets crispy all over.

coconut maple granola

 

The original recipe called for pecans and pepitas only, but Christina had found some local Oregon hazelnuts and decided to throw them in and I can’t imagine this stuff without them! Hazelnuts are one of my favorite nuts anyway, but with the amazing sugar/syrup coating they are even better! I like to leave them whole, but you can always give them a rough chop if you’d like.

coconut maple granola

 

This recipe makes a pretty giant batch, but it keeps well in an airtight container for at least a week, if it lasts you that long! Or fill a couple mason jars and give them to your neighbor, your boss, your kid’s teacher, or anyone you’d like to love you forever and ever.

Enjoy! And thanks Christina!

Recipe: Coconut Maple Granola

Ingredients

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil, brown sugar, and maple syrup together over medium heat.
  3. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, salt, and coconut chips. Pour sugar mixture over oat mixture and stir well to coat.
  4. Turn onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring once to cook evenly.

 

 

Baked Strawberry Donuts with Strawberry Sugar

Baked Strawberry Donut

I’m baaaaaaaaack! Hey guys! Remember me? I’m the one who abandoned you and left you recipe-less for the past 7 months. I’m sorry, I really am, but I have a good excuse! I gave birth to the most beautiful, perfect, amazing little boy in the whole world and I have been spending every waking (and there have been a lot!) moment staring at him, playing with him, and planting so many kisses on him I have perma-chapped lips. So, I’ve let other things slip. I constantly have a pile of laundry that isn’t done. Ponytails are my best friend. Don’t even get me started on how much spit up I let cover my shirt before I consider it “dirty.” And, I haven’t really been keeping up with things in the kitchen – all I can say is thank goodness for Trader Joe’s and the Thai place down the street! But, all that is about to change – it’s about time don’t you think? I know my husband does – no matter how hard I try I can’t get him to consider cereal dinner.

It’s Valentine’s Day and I have a whole lotta love this year. More than ever. So, I need something to show that love. Clearly, the answer here is doughnuts.

Baked Strawberry Donut

Strawberry baked donuts with strawberry sugar. If that doesn’t sound like love I don’t know what does! These donuts are light and airy, sweet and sugary, and in true SSB fashion – “healthified” (only 2 tablespoons butter?!) so you can have one for breakfast AND dessert :)

Baked Strawberry Donut

I was racking my brain to come up with the perfect Valentine’s Day recipe. I knew I wanted something sweet, and I couldn’t get donuts off my mind…but how could I make them Valentine-y? That’s when it hit me – strawberry sugar. And the secret to this amazing pink stuff is…freeze dried strawberries. You can get them in the grocery store, usually with the dried fruit, or, if you happen to have a box of Special K Red Berries lying around the house, get diggin’!

Baked Strawberry Donut

The perk to this method is that you get to snack while you are picking out the berries! However you do it, you need about a half cup. Set them aside for later and get cooking.

Baked Strawberry Donut

 

Whisk dry ingredients together and in a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients except strawberry jam. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until moistened. Then, stir in the strawberry jam. The strawberry jam is your secret weapon in this batter. It adds a little color, a little sweetness, and lots of strawberry flavor. If you are lucky enough to have your mom’s homemade strawberry jam in your fridge, complete with chunks of strawberries mixed in, I highly suggest using it :) If not, any store bought brand will work!

Baked Strawberry Donut

 

You do need a donut pan for this recipe. I got mine on Amazon and it has been well worth the few bucks I spent. The best way I’ve found to get the batter in without making a huge mess is a good old ziplock bag. Just snip off  a corner and pipe away.

Baked Strawberry Donut

After you finish baking these pillow-like cakes, it’s time to set up your decoration station. Sugar. Butter. Donuts.

Baked Strawberry Donut

Make sure the donuts have cooled slightly or they will absorb too much butter (although some may not think that is a bad thing!) and the strawberry sugar will melt right on and turn red. It probably will do a bit of this anyway so I suggest second dusting with a spoon or if you want to get really fancy, a powdered sugar shaker.

Baked Strawberry Donut

Make these for the ones you love. Make them for your coworkers. Make them for your kids. Make them for yourself. Just make them! ‘

 

So happy to be back. Enjoy!!

Recipe: Baked Strawberry Donuts with Strawberry Sugar

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • For strawberry sugar:
  • 1/2 cup freeze dried strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray doughnut pans with baking spray.
  2. Into a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in strawberry jam.
  3. Fill donut pans almost to the top. Bake for 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then tap the doughnuts out onto a cutting board.
  4. For the topping, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in shallow bowl. To make the strawberry sugar, combine sugar and freeze dried strawberries in a food processor and process until a fine sand is created. Pour into a shallow bowl. Dip each doughnut first in the butter and then in the strawberry sugar, either on one side or both sides.

 

 

White Peach and Olive Oil Cake

Hey there!

It has been HOT here lately. Like, escape to the movies, eat all meals in an air conditioned restaurant, run to Target for a kiddie pool HOT. So, I’ve been switching up my normal routine. Instead of my early morning gym sessions that are the norm, I’ve been waking up and enjoying hanging out and getting things done around the house while it’s not too hot yet. I open the doors and windows and twiddle around the house before I start sweating. It’s the only time it would be possible to turn on the oven. So yesterday morning before my hubby even woke up, I had this cake baking in the oven. Not a bad way to wake up, huh?

It’s no secret that I love all fruit, but white peaches are especially delicious, especially this time of year. They are really sweet and pair perfectly with the olive oil in this cake.

Look at that batter! The olive oil tuns the batter such a rich shade of yellow. If you’ve never had an olive oil cake, prepare to fall in love. The olive oil makes the cake turn out incredibly moist and gives that cake a TON of flavor. Just make sure you use a good olive oil that you like the taste of (I suggest giving it a taste plain, first) because you will really taste the olive oil in the finished product.

When making this cake, you toss the peaches in olive oil and sugar, so when you are whisking the dry ingredients in, that batter might seem a touch dry, but don’t worry. Once you add the peaches the olive oil and sugar juice that you created will thin things out to the perfect consistency.

This cake bakes in a 9×13 baking dish for only about 30-35 minutes, so it’s prefect for early morning baking because it’s done before you’re so hot you just have to turn that oven off. :)

The cake fluffs up perfectly. It is moist, crumbly, fruity from the peaches and the olive oil, and rich in the absolute best way thanks to the delicious olive oil. It’s a perfect summer treat. I thought it tasted great with a hefty dusting of powdered sugar on top, too. :) Plus, if you bake it in the morning, it is totally acceptable to eat it for breakfast ;)

Enjoy!

Find the original recipe here. The only change is using white peaches instead of yellow. You can use either, but I like the extra sweetness of the white peaches.

Seared Salmon with Buttered Green Onions

Hey there!!!

I’m back with a recipe that is worth the wait! :) Well…at least I hope so! Turns out, getting ready for a baby is hard work. And time consuming work. Time consuming work that leads to #1 not that much time to make delicious foods and baked goods and #2 even less time to blog! But I haven’t forgotten you – I promise!

This recipe is based off of one my mom used to make all the time when I was a kid. Last month when we were up in Seattle, we stocked up on fresh, wild caught, Copper River Salmon so we’ve been enjoying it pretty much weekly since we’ve been back. I thought I’d get to try out some new salmon recipes with all the fillets we got, but I made a huge mistake. This was the recipe first and now my husband won’t let me make it any other way!

But who could blame him? How bad can a recipe be when it starts like this…

Am I right?!?! :)

This recipe is a perfect weeknight meal – cooks up in a jiffy and you can even use one pan to make it if you want – less clean up = more time to watch the bachelorette!

The key to this dish isn’t the butter (although it helps!), it’s really, really good salmon. If you don’t have a bunch straight from Seattle, don’t worry! Head on down to your local seafood market and grab some wild caught Alaskan Salmon and it will be just as delicious.

Searing the salmon couldn’t be easier. My husband and I have a favorite seafood restaurant in San Francisco called Gigi’s. They make all kinds of seafood all kinds of different ways, but our favorite is the pan seared. The salmon gets a nice crispy crust and as an added bonus it cooks up really fast!

While the salmon is cooking (or right after if you want to use the same pan!) cook up the green onions. Melt the butter in a skillet and add the chopped green onions. Cook until soft and translucent. Pretty easy huh?

When the onions are done, top the salmon with a big scoop of onions (don’t forget to scoop up some of that butter!). You’ll have a dish you’ll want to make again and again.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Seared Salmon with Buttered Green Onions

Ingredients

  • 1 pound wild salmon, cut into 2 fillets
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat a skillet over medium high heat. Add oil, let oil preheat for about 30 seconds.
  2. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Add salmon to oil, skin side up. Cook 4-5 minutes per side. Until crust forms and inside is just barely cooked though.
  3. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted, add chopped onions. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, until onions are translucent.
  4. Serve salmon with a big scoop of onions and butter, season again with salt and pepper to taste.

Blueberry Oat Muffins

Hey!

So, things have been a liiitle crazy around here lately, so some quick and easy meals have been a must. These muffins have been my grab and go-to for breakfast pretty much every morning last week, not to mention a few quick lunches and snacks mixed in as well!

Luckily, I don’t feel too badly about making two of these and a handful of cherries my impromptu lunch because of all the good stuff that fills them up!

The recipe I derived these muffins from calls for you to process the oats in a food processor to make oat flour, but I prefer the texture difference of using the whole oats instead. Plus, I almost doubled the amount of blueberries used in the batter because…why not?! Who doesn’t est a blueberry muffin wishing there were just a few more blueberries scattered in there?

Make sure to give the frozen blueberries a toss in flour before mixing them into the batter, that way they won’t all sink to the bottom. You could use fresh blueberries if you have them, but for some reason I can never keep fresh blueberries in the house long enough to do anything other than eat them by the handful!

Go ahead a fill the muffin cups almost o the top, that way you’ll get big, puffy muffins. I also think next time I make these I’ll sprinkle some dry oats on the top for even more texture.

These will keep for about a week, but they are also great to freeze. I think they will be one of my “make before baby comes projects.” I wouldn’t mind having a dozen or so of these in the freezer for late night feeding snacks!

 

Recipe: Blueberry Oat Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups oats
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Mix flours and next 5 ingredients (through salt) to oats; stir well. Make a well in center of mixture.
  3. Combine buttermilk and next 3 ingredients (through eggs). Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
  4. Toss berries with 2 tablespoons flour, and gently fold into batter. Spoon batter into 16 muffin cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle 2 tablespoons granulated sugar evenly over batter.
  5. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove from pans immediately; place on a wire rack.

Adapted from Cooking Light

Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

It’s very rare that I make the same thing two nights in a row. Sure, we use leftovers with the best of them, but if I am cooking it is extremely uncommon for me to cook the same thing on two consecutive nights. This little factoid is important because as soon as I made these roasted chickpeas and my husband tried them he made me promise to make them the next night for dinner as well! That’s when I knew I had a winner!

I love chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) and thought I used them a lot. I make homemade hummus, throw them in salads, stir them in soups, and even toss with pasta. So I couldn’t believe I have never had them baked. It’s a whole new world!

 Not only are these good enough to eat two nights in a row, but they are also easy enough to make even if you want them every night of the week! Active prep time is about 90 seconds and then you just pop ‘em in the oven while you get the rest of dinner ready.
Just drain the garbanzos and then pour onto a couple layers of paper towels. Then, grab another layer of paper towels and place them on top. Rub back and forth gently (you don’t want to squish them!) until most of the skins have slipped off. Then gather up the skins and toss them out and put the beans in a bowl.
Toss with the spices and stir. Then turn onto a baking sheet.
Bake until brown and crispy. Time will vary between 30 and 45 minuted depending on how dry your chickpeas were before baking. Just start checking them at 30 minutes and about every 5 minutes after.
Serve ‘em up! We had ours with some grilled salmon on night one and baked chicken on night two, but they’ll go with anything! Michael also mentioned that he thought they would be great as an alternative to peanuts or almonds as a party snack or appetizer – which they would!
Enjoy!

Recipe: Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Drain and rinse garbanzo beans. Dry between 2 layers of paper towels, rubbing gently to remove skins. Discard skins and place chickpeas in a bowl.
  4. Toss with next 4 ingredients and pour onto prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 30-45 minutes. Stir the beans at least once during baking for even browning.

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

If you think “Healthy Cookie” is an oxymoron, well…you might be right. But there are definitely cookies you can feel way less guilty about eating, and this is one of them! In fact, I’ve eaten about 20 over the past couple days and haven’t had a single twinge of guilt. Perhaps it’s because my belly is already bursting with what the doctor predicts to be an 8 pound baby (eek!) …but still. :)

The combination of chocolate and cherry is a no brainer. I also firmly believe that any cookie containing oats can be eaten for breakfast without a second thought. Don’t you agree??
When you are mixing the batter up, you may be a bit worried (like I was) that there won’t be enough moisture, but just keep stirring and things will come together.
Usually, I don’t think it is too big of a deal to skip the “refrigerate for one hour” step in cookie baking, especially if you are in dire need. And truthfully, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you did skip it here, BUT I will say it makes a difference. Especially because you are using chopped chocolate, which, if you don’t refrigerate it first can get a little too melty during baking.
These cookies are sweet and hearty. Snag one before your morning workout and you’ll have an extra boost of energy to get you through. Or grab a couple after dinner for a guilt free dessert. Or snack throughout the day and say you are “keeping the baby’s energy up.” It’s a totally legitimate excuse. ;)
Enjoy!

Recipe: Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons nonfat milk
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine flours and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk.
  3. Combine melted butter and brown sugar. Add sugar mixture to flour mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add cherries, vanilla, milk and egg; beat until combined. Fold in chocolate. Refrigerate 1-3 hours. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes. Cool on pans 3 minutes or until almost firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.
Adapted From Cooking Light

Asian Mango Salad

Oh heyyy!

How’s it goin? Did you have fun celebrating the mother’s in your life? I hope so! My husband was calling it my “0th Mother’s Day” because he thought we should celebrate a little, but that the real celebration should be next year when the little man is here! I had a great day enjoying the sun and soaking up a little mom-to-be love.

Speaking of love, I am in LOVE with this salad. Once spring really starts hanging around salads are one of the things that sound best to me. I could pretty much eat one for dinner every night – as long as it was as flavorful as this one that is! Michael on the other hand, does not believe in salad as a main course for dinner in most cases, but with a little clever maneuvering (aka the addition of flank steak!), he was totally happy and satisfied with this one.

Cilantro is one of my favorite flavors, which could be a reason I loved this salad so much. The cilantro is basically like an additional green, not just a garnish, so there is a ton of fresh cilantro flavor. I have to give my husband credit for another great addition to this salad – as I was mixing things up he said, “You know what would be great in there? Some peanuts.” And wow was he right! The texture and flavor added by the simple addition of a handful or two of peanuts is awesome. You could use any nut you have on hand, but I like peanuts because they go with the Asian flavors already in the salad.

There is al kinds of flavor packed into the dressing as well. It’s not too spicy, not too peanut butter-y, not to gingery, but just right. It would also work great as a marinade for chicken, shrimp, or even fish! Make a big batch and let it work double duty for ya! 

No matter if it’s already summer where you are, or you’re just thinking spring, add this salad to your menu asap. It will quickly become one of your favorites! 

Enjoy! 

Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup (or more) low sodium peanuts

Instructions

  1. Combine lime juice, water, peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, and pepper in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add lettuce, cilantro, cabbage, and green onions; toss to coat. Add mango and peanuts.
  2. Serve alone or with grilled flank steak (or meat of your choice!)

Baked Eggs with Kale and Sausage

Happy Monday everyone!

 If you’ve read this blog before, you probably know that I have an extreme fondness for my local Farmer’s Market. It’s my Sunday ritual. I just love walking though and looking at the fresh, local produce, not to mention seeing things I can’t find at my local grocery store or (even more exciting) I’ve never even heard of! Shopping the farmer’s market also helps me branch out in the kitchen. I usually go with a list of things I know I need, but always come back with those items plus whatever looks so good I just can’t resist it. Case in point, last week these giant batches of kale looked so good I couldn’t stop myself from buying two. We used one to make the world’s largest batch of kale chips, and the second one sat in the fridge for a few days while I marinated on what to do with it.
Just so happened, I had a dozen extra large eggs in the fridge (from the farmer’s market too). So the wheels started turning. I do love breakfast for dinner, and sure an omelet would be easy, but too expected. Then I remembered a dish I had several years ago where the eggs were baked in a rich tomato sauce – I figured, why can’t I do the same thing with these eggs, only…very different. Time for some experimentation!
First, I fried up some sausage until it was crispy. You could use turkey sausage here, but the fat content in pork sausage goes a long way to help the flavor of the kale, so that’s what I’d suggest. After the sausage is cooked, drain it on a paper towel while you sauté your kale.
Kale is perfect for this dish because even when cooked, it still has some body. It doesn’t wilt down too much the way spinach might. When the kale is cooked down, pour it into a greased 9×9 baking dish and then sprinkle in the sausage. Use a spoon to mix things up so the sausage is incorporated in the kale instead of layered on top.
Next, all you need to do is crack your eggs on top season with S&P and bake! This was delicious for dinner, but would work great for brunch too! You could even make it in individual ramekins if you wanted to have an impressive and delicious addition to your brunch table.
Enjoy!

Recipe: Baked Eggs with Kale and Sausage

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 8 oz pork sausage (I used Jimmy Dean)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat a large skillet over med-hi heat, Cook sausage until brown and slightly crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Drain sausage onto a plate lined with paper towel. Set aside.
  3. Add oil to the skillet and reduce heat to medium. Add kale and sauté for about 5 minutes. Until Kale starts to wilt and darken, but still retains some shape.
  4. Grease a 9×9 baking dish. Add kale. Add sausage and stir together. Crack eggs on top of kale/sausage mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bake 15-18 minutes, until whites are set but yolks are runny. (If you want your yolks set, increase baking time).

Strawberry and Avocado Salsa

Happy Friday!

 I’m so excited about this recipe. It involves so many of my favorite things! Strawberries, avocado, cilantro, and Mexican food in general. If it wasn’t so frowned upon I’d make a giant batch to bathe in. That would be frowned upon, right?
This salsa is so versatile, which, along with the amazing flavor is why I love it! You can really spice it up and eat it with tortilla chips, or leave the spice out and have it with cinnamon sugar chips for a sweet treat, or us it as a topping for grilled steak, chicken, or even fish! Basically, you should just make it and then you’ll start inventing ways to use it just so you can eat it at every meal.
Strawberries are all over right now and I couldn’t be happier. Last week I got some that were as big as my head! Ok, maybe a sliiiight exaggeration but they were huge! Usually I can take a strawberry down in one bite, two TOPS. But these were 4 or 5 biters! Unheard of!

 You want to make sure your avocados are ripe but not mushy. You want the chunks to stay chunk-y in the salsa, not get blended in. I throw a ton of cilantro into this salsa because I love it. In my experience, you either love cilantro or hate it. While my cilantro-loving self can’t imagine how anyone couldn’t feel the same, you could make this dish without the cilantro…I guess. ;)
Another great thing about this dish is that it is just as easy to make a small batch as it is to make a big batch, so it’s perfect for your next BBQ, dinner party, or picnic. Or, it’s perfect to keep in the fridge for a few days for meals, snacks, and eating straight with a spoon. :)
Enjoy!

Recipe: Strawberry and Avocado Salsa

Ingredients

  • about 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 2 avocados, cut into chunks
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, minced (for a milder salsa, take out the seeds and ribs)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Enjoy!
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