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Spring Break

April 7, 2014

 

Spring Break

We are enjoying a week off school for Spring Break.

See you next week!

Chocolate Banana Bread

April 3, 2014

Chocolate Banana Bread

I don’t like bananas, which is something I’ve probably written about before. When I make banana bread, it is always for my kids–they love it and luckily it disappears fast. When my sister-in-law sent me this chocolate banana bread recipe I knew immediately the boys would go crazy for it.  I wasn’t expecting that I would as well.  I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised–chocolate makes everything better, right?

I followed this recipe exactly (with the addition of  ¼ cup ground flax).

*You could also make this into muffins

More Juicing

March 28, 2014

Spinach Beet Apple Juice

Still doing the juicing thing–typically I make one that my husband and I share in the morning and then I often make another mid-morning for myself.

The juice above started as a “fridge dump” and ended up being really good!

Ingredients:

fresh spinach (a LOT)

fresh mint (2-3 sprigs)

1 apple

2 oranges

1 cucumber

1 beet

1 lemon

3-5 carrots

*I always run leafy greens through my juicer first.

*When using organic produce, I give it a good scrub and toss it in without peeling the skin (beets, cucumber, carrots etc.).

Triple Berry Bread

March 21, 2014

Triple Berry Bread

This is one of those weeks where all of the fresh berries I bought were sitting in the refrigerator pretty much untouched. To use them up before they passed their prime, I tossed blueberries, raspberries and blackberries into a simple batter and baked them into this delicious Triple Berry Bread. It has been the perfect after-school treat all week.

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1 stick of butter, melted and cooled

½ cup milk

2 cups flour

¾ cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

¼ cup ground flax

2 cups fresh berries, washed and dried (I used a mix of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)

1 tsp vanilla

zest of half an orange

sugar + cinnamon (for dusting the top)

Preheat oven to 375°. Mix the butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs together. Slowly add the remaining ingredients, saving the berries for last. Pour batter into a loaf pan (or you can make muffins). Sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon on the top, then bake for about 45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before cutting.

Recipe adapted from this.

Pasta with Sausage and Brussel Sprouts

March 19, 2014

Pasta with Sausage and Brussel Sprouts-2

Most weekdays the boys have a various sports practice that gets us home around 5:30. Coming home at that time means we are all starving and dinner needs to be ready fast.

Last week I threw together this pasta dinner and it was ready in less than 30 minutes–maybe even less than 20. How long does pasta cook? It’s ready in that time. You have to get 3 burners going all at once and it’s a busy 20 minutes, but it’s worth it. You can use any kind of sausage–Italian sweet or spicy, chicken sausage (Trader Joes makes great ones) or even bratwurst. Use any kind of pasta or vegetable you have. I’ve been making brussel sprouts a lot lately, and now even my kids are eating them!

Ingredients:

pasta, your choice

sausage (try Trader Joes chicken sausage)

brussel sprouts, end cut off and cut in half length-wise (or other vegetable–broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)

balsamic glaze or butter (I use Trader Joes balsamic glaze)

parmesan, optional topping

1. Boil 2 pots of water. One large for the pasta, one small for the brussel sprouts.

2. Heat large skillet over medium high heat (this is for the sausage).

3. Cook pasta until it’s done, drain and set aside.

4. Cook brussels in the boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

5. In the heated skillet, cook the sausage–turning every few minutes to brown each side. After all sides are browned, check that the inside is cooked. If not, cut open length-wise and place the newly cut side down to brown it.

6. When the sausage is finished, remove it from the pan and set aside. Take your brussel sprouts (that have just been boiled) and place them in the hot pan you just used to cook the sausage. Sear them (don’t touch them) until they get a nice carmelized crust on the edge. Drizzle a bit of balsamic glaze in the pan and give it a toss. (If you don’t have balsamic glaze, just put a bit of butter in the pan.)

7. Remove the brussel sprouts and serve with the hot pasta and sausage. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Disaster: Tiramisu

March 14, 2014

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Tiramisu is one of my favorite  restaurant desserts–if I see it on the menu, I will order it every time. I’d never made it at home, so I figured it was time to give it a try. I had such high hopes–the mascarpone mixture was tasting so good as I mixed it and I used less rum than the recipe called for to keep it from tasting too strong. After assembling (which took no time at all) I let it set overnight before cutting into it and serving.

What a disaster it was. The look on my kids’ faces when they bit into it–poor things, it tasted like straight rum. The bottom layer of ladyfingers was absolute mush because it was so over-saturated by the rum/espresso mixture. I could kind of get used to the heavy rum flavor, but the mushy texture was just awful.

I wish I would have taken a picture of the tiramisu after I cut into it–to show you the pool of liquid on the bottom on the pan. Sadly, this entire pan went into the trash, which was such a disappointment.

I’m not giving up–I’ll look at other recipes and be more careful of my rum:espresso ratio for the next attempt. Wish me luck!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

March 12, 2014

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken tortilla soup is my standard order at my favorite local Mexican restaurant (along with an enormous margarita) and yet this is the first time I’ve ever made it at home. This has definitely earned a spot among my go-to soups–it is delicious! I followed this recipe and topped it with loads of crunchy tortilla strips and fresh cilantro.

Updates

March 3, 2014

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I have been awful at posting new recipes lately, and I hope to get some new ones up soon. I am due for a few updates on previous posts, though.

First up is the monthly dinner plan. This was genius (thanks to my friend), and it couldn’t have worked better. I did my grocery shopping on Monday mornings, and got everything I needed up through Friday dinners. And I truly never went to the store in the middle of the week for the entire month. It was the best!

I made everything I planned for–as you can see in the photo above, there was a bit of switching days around–but everything got made. I had 3 new recipes (noted by a “star”) which for whatever reason I saved all 3 for the last week. They were all really good! My favorite of the 3 was the chicken risotto (recipe here) and the boys absolutely loved the Asian beef noodles (recipe here). The parmesan spinach orzo recipe can be found here. I’m getting my March calendar ready now–I’m looking forward to another successful month!

chicken risotto

chicken risotto (iPhone picture)

ChickenParm

Kids in the Kitchen update: My son helped to make one dinner this month–the Chicken Parm Meatballs. He did a great job–they were delicious!

Orchids

Orchid update: they’re blooming! I give them plenty of sunlight and ¼ cup of water once a week. Don’t give up on your orchids–it takes time between blooming, but so worth it.