Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday Faves

A little Friday Faves to kick off the weekend here! It's been a great week here and I hope it has been at your homes, too. 



Beautycounter came out with some new products last week that I'm itching to try! I've been so happy with my Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion and have high hopes for this Cleansing Milk. Also, if you aren't already familiar with Beautycounter products or want to try and don't know where to start, let's chat! I cannot say enough wonderful things about their skincare.


Are you a contact lens wearer? If you are, you know what an expense this is (especially if you wear dailies, like me!) Well, I have found the holy grail of contact ordering and cannot believe I've waited until now to share. Coastal.com is the best and will literally match the lowest price you can find from any online retailer, plus offer you and additional 10% off. Their customer service is outstanding to boot! If you are in need of placing a contact lens order, definitely give Coastal a try.

Giada's new cookbook is out and it has me craving all of the Italian foods. My copy is on its way to me now!



After ordering their collagen peptides, I started getting emails from Further Foods. As I've tried to unsubscribe from emails and declutter my inbox, I always keep the Further Foods emails because they are always full of tons of good and healthy recipes! You can sign up for their newsletter by going to their website. Definitely worth subscribing to.

We are popcorn obsessed in our house and I can confidently say we have found the superior popping kernels! My sister in law did mega research on this and when we were at her house visiting a few months ago, she made the most delicious popcorn I've ever had. Popped in coconut oil and topped with unsalted butter and salt- the pieces were almost soft, super fluffy and barely any kernels remained unpopped. I've now dubbed these the magical popping kernels. You can find them HERE on Amazon. For my stovetop popcorn method, visit my post here from 2012 Sub out the canola oil for coconut oil- it tastes SO MUCH BETTER. 

A few tasty eats that have caught my eye this week:

Garlic Butter White Wine Pasta with Fresh Herbs. YES. JUST YES.
Pesto and Burrata Bucatini. Are we sensing a theme here!?
Thai Turkey Burgers. When in doubt- PALEO BURGERS. 
Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice. A good base for all those Paleo/Whole30 friendly recipes.
Potato Avocado Toast with Perfectly Poached Eggs. BRUNCH GOALS.

Enjoy your weekends!

*post contains affiliate links but all opinions are my own. thank you for reading! 


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Cookbok Club: Julia Child's Ratatouille




Julia Child is probably one of the very first cooking shows I ever watched. Her voice is one of the most recognizable ones ever and she is beyond respected in the food industry. Her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking is a staple in kitchens across America and has been for over forty years. Kitchen beginners and experts alike can find something to make within the pages of this book- and can learn to master the art of French cuisine. Now that I have made something from this book, I feel like I'm really winning in the kitchen. Ha! 



I'm a veggie lover and as much as we eat them, I've never made this classic dish. It's so basic, yet so much more than just sauteing or roasting your veggies- there's a real method here and that's how all of Julia Child's recipes seem to be. So simple, yet so complicated. That's the best way to describe this veggie side dish. 

Word to the wise- this isn't exactly a quick and easy dish. It takes time, and had I done some extra prep work, I probably wouldn't have had to take some short cuts. I'll definitely be making this again when I have a few extra moments to take my time and love it into existence (like risotto). Regardless, this is full of flavor and I love that it focuses on simple, fresh ingredients. I LOVE eggplant and although the recipe calls for peeling it, next time I will definitely leave the skin on. I also left the skin on my tomatoes and didn't seed them to save on time. 

This was wonderful served alongside my Oven Roasted Lemon Caper Cod. Let me know if you try making this classic French dish!





Julia Child's Ratatioulle
recipe from Julia Child

1 large eggplant
1 large zucchini
1 tsp. salt, plus more for seasoning
4-6 Tbsp. olive oil, divied
1/2 pound thinly sliced yellow onion (about 1.5 cups)1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
2 coves mashed garlic
pepper
2-3 roma tomatoes, peeled and then seeded and juiced
3 Tbsp. minced parsley

Peel the eggplant and cut lengthwise slices about 3/8" thick about 3" long and 1" wide. Slice the ends off the zucchini and cut into similar size slices as the eggplant. Toss the eggplant and zucchini in a bowl with some salt and let it sit for 30 minutes. Once it has sat, pat dry with paper towel. 

In a 10-12" inch skillet with 4 Tablespoons of olive oil, sautee the zucchini and eggplant for about one minute on each side, or until slightly browned. Transfer to another dish.

In the same skillet, cook onions and peppers and add additional oil if needed. Cook until tender, but not browned. Stir in the smashes garlic and add some salt and pepper to season.

Slice tomato into strips and lay it on top of the peppers and onions. Cover the skillet and cook for five minutes, or until the tomatoes have gotten juicy. Uncover, raise the heat and boil for several minutes until the juice has almost entirely evaporated.

Transfer all but 1/3 of the tomato mixture to another dish. Top the remaining 1/3 of tomato mixture with 1 Tablespoon of fresh parsley. Arrange half of the zucchini and eggplant mixture on top, then half of the remaining tomatoes and parsley. Put in the rest of the eggplant and zucchini and top with the remaining tomatoes and parsley. 

Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Uncover, tip the skillet and baste with the juices. Raise heat and cook, uncovered, for about 15 more minutes, basting often.


Link up your Julia Child recipes below and don't forget- next month's book is Giada's Feel Good Food! We hope to see what some of you have been cooking!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Vanilla Almond Granola



I'm on a granola kick and I just can't quit. Granola may just be one of the most overpriced things at the grocery store and lately, I started making it myself. It couldn't be easier and the options and mix-ins are endless. I experimented with a few recipes and ultimately came up with my own concoction that has become a favorite in our house. I love it sprinkled on berries for a snack or on top of a bowl of green yogurt. My kids also eat it by the handful and LOVE it. For another treat, warm up some apple slices on the stove with a little cinnamon and top with the granola and some coconut cream...BRB I think I'm going to do that now! 

Give your breakfast bowl a makeover with this healthy granola recipe. The key here is to let the granola sit and cool completely once it comes out of the oven- don't mix it or move it- just let it be. This allows it to "set". This recipe is as easily halved as it is doubled. One batch makes a bunch. The other best part is that you can totally make this your own. Add cacao nibs, mini chocolate chips, dried fruit, honey instead of the maple syrup- whatever your little hearts desire. It's simple and delicious. 

Oats + almonds + coconut + chia seeds + cinnamon + maple syrup + coconut oil + vanilla + almond extract = Never buying granola from the grocery store again.

Almond Coconut Granola

4 cups old fashioned gluten free oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon (I add a little more because cinnamon is my fave)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup melted coconut oil (you can also use olive oil but I have done both and like coconut the best)
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, chia seeds, cinnamon and salt. 

In another mixing bowl, mix together the oil, maple syrup and almond and vanilla extracts. 

Pour the liquid mixture into the oats mixture and mix until combined. Spread it all out evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through. 

Transfer baking sheet to a wire baking rack and cool approximately two hours without touching. 

Stir in any fruit or other mix ins and store in an airtight container! Mason jars work perfectly for this. 


Monday, April 9, 2018

Monday Things + Cookbook Club Update

Is it just me or is 2018 moving at warp speed? Our Winter here in Charlotte was so dark and dreary it seemed to drag on forever here we are, almost midway through April already! 


We are finally enjoying longer, sunnier days and the blooming flowers make me so happy. Last week is one of our favorites of the entire year. Masters week for Mark and our azaleas going crazy and in full bloom for me. Everybody wins. It was all about the golf last week around here. Mark had Will and Kate out on a little makeshift putting green in our backyard and they were loving it. I think we have two future golfers on our hands. I took the Masters weekend as the perfect excuse to enjoy a few (adult) Arnold Palmers. It just wouldn't have been right without one! These were a random craving late in my pregnancy with Will (obviously sans the alcohol), and Danica and I easily drank 2-3 jugs during her visit for my baby shower back in 2013! I'm a golf fan by marriage and Masters weekend will always have a special place in my heart thanks to my West Coast Sister. Word to the wise though- don't try to be healthy and get the Skinny Firefly. Just go for the real thing.  



I hosted a bridal shower this past weekend for a dear friend and we had the best time celebrating the bride to be! We did a brunch menu which was a huge hit. I did the same thing for my sister back in the Fall and everyone loved it. Brunching is never a bad idea. I got a lot of questions as I posted pics on Insta-stories on Saturday so I have a post I'm working on with menu details and how we pulled it all together seamlessly! 


We also started our weekend with a Friday night trip to Inizio- our favorite pizza! If you are local to Charlotte, their Spring pizza with asparagus and prosciutto is not to be missed! It was beyond delicious.

A quick note about Cookbook Club before I sign off for the day- we are delaying this month's post until next week! Allie and I are both feeling a bit behind so we will post April's club on Wednesday, April 18. Just a reminder that this month's book is Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volumes I or II. Looking ahead, Skinnytaste Fast and Slow will be our book for May and Giada's Feel Good Food will be our book for June. I hope to see some of you back here next Wednesday to link up! Even if you don't have the book, many of these recipes can be found with a quick Google search!  

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Hello, Spring!



Spring has sprung! The sun is finally shining and hopefully warmer days continue to be ahead of us. These sunny days are so bright and cheery and just make for all around better moods and extra happiness. Daylight savings time got the best of all of us this year and while waking up in the dark is still a challenge almost two weeks later, the longer daylight in the evenings is so nice. My birthday is this week and Easter is already next week! I just love this time of year. Also...the Easter Bunny needs to get his act together- ha! 

I've been extra inspired in the kitchen and making tons of new recipes. I keep a running list on my phone with recipes that I want to try and that's how I've been making my weekly menus. Here are a few of my faves from the past few weeks. 

These Jammy Eggs are as delicious as they look (especially if you love a runny yolk like I do). You can find the tutorial on her Instagram stories titled under "Jammy Eggs". I topped mine with Trader Joe's Everything But the Bagel Seasoning and fruit. So, so good.



This Radicchio Chick Pea Salad with Lemon Tahini Vinaigrette is going to be my new obsession. The dressing is to die for and the sweet bites of mint in the salad are the best. I served this with Greek Turkey Burgers and oven roasted potatoes. Or grab a rotisserie chicken and mix some meat in this salad. Easy and healthy weeknight meal!



Potato Leek Soup- another find from The Defined Dish. OH MY GOSH we loved this. So much flavor and so easy. The recipe makes a ton and I had enough for lunches all week long. It would be delicious with bacon added on top! 



And still riding the Defined Dish Train with this Paleo Sesame Chicken. Super easy for a weeknight meal and kid friendly, too! I served mine over cauliflower rice with roasted broccoli on the side. 



If you are into granola, make this now. I love it with Greek yogurt, coconut cream or just a handful as a snack when I need something sweet. I added cacao nibs to mine for a little chocolatey twist. This is the best homemade granola I've made!


And what's not to love about Guiness Brownies?! Seriously. The frosting is everything. A must make! And I'm definitely not waiting until Saint Patrick's Day to roll around to make them again.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Magical Milk + Cereal Cups



Remember those milk and cereal bars? They were almost like a rice krispies treat and were made with all types of kids cereals and my favorite part was the white chocolatey bottom portion. It was sweet and delicious and far from healthy. These were certainly classified under the "special treat" category in our house and I loved every bite.

Saint Patrick's Day gave me the perfect excuse to introduce my little ones to Lucky Charms. I cannot remember the last time I had them and I'm here to say that they taste the same as they did in the 1980s. I'm also certain that my kids will never want to snack on a healthier cereal again. If I had to pick my favorite kids cereal, Lucky Charms wins every time. And if I had to pick a regret during my pregnancies, it would be that I didn't eat enough kids cereals. Seriously! 



I've been on a homemade nut butter cup kick the past week or so. It turns out making homemade Reese's cups are dangerously easy and the options are endless. Saint Patrick's day inspired me to make this Lucky Charms version for Will and Kate and they totally bought into the festiveness of them. If I'm being honest here, these cups are suuuuuper sweet but I am a dark chocolate lover forever. If you like white chocolate, you will LOVE these. A few bites and I was good but of course the tiny humans gobbled these up in no time. The crunchy-ness of the cereal works perfect at the bottom of the cup and since the chocolate is warm when you fill the cereal lined cups, the cereal kind of soaks up all of that white chocolatey goodness- just like my beloved milk and cereal bars. 

The best part of this process? Pulling out all of the marshmallows that I could. It was like my childhood dream come true- a giant bowl of Lucky Charms Marshmallows. When we were younger, my sisters and I would always eat around the marshmallows and save them to the very end. 

Gold sprinkles are optional, but also totally necessary. Enjoy!




Magical Milk + Cereal Cups

One 10oz. bag white chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut oil
Lucky Charms cereal (or cereal of your choice)

Line a muffin tin with liners and make room for the tray in your fridge. Sprinkle cereal on the bottom of each liner. I covered the entire bottom. 

In a heat-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips. I like to use a double boiler, but you can also melt in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring well in between. Once the chocolate is mostly melted, add the coconut oil and stir well until it's completely melted and combined. 

Pour melted chocolate over the top of the cereal until each is completely covered. Top with the Lucky Charms marshmallows and sprinkles if you are using them! Chill in the fridge to harden for 1-2 hours.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Butternut Squash + Tahini Spread (March Cookbook Club)



I'm back for another installment of the Cookbook Club series I'm doing in collaboration with my friend Allie over at Key Ingredients. This month's book is Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, former residents of Jerusalem and now well-acclaimed London restaurateurs and chefs. It's is filled with mouth watering Middle Easter recipes and I want to make them all. Next to Italian and Mediterranean food, Middle Eastern cuisine is my runner up. 




I've seen very few cookbooks that are as stunning as this one. The pages are filled with authentic and unique recipes. Some are easy and some require a little more work, but if you're into cooking and this type of cuisine, this book is a must add to your cookbook shelf. 




I went to bed thinking about this dip and woke still thinking about it. I want to find everything I can and dip it in this spread. Hummus is a favorite around here, but I love mixing it up. And since beans are a legume and a bit harder on the digestive system, using butternut squash here is a nice break from the heaviness of beans. 





The roasted squash and cinnamon caramelizes just enough to give this a sweet yet slightly smokey flavor. I opted out of the date paste drizzle on top and swapped it for a simple maple syrup swirl on top just before serving. I think it added a little sweetness without being too much. You better believe I will be making this again and trying the date paste, too. If sesame seeds aren't your thing, leave those off (I did). I also garnished with a tiny handful of cilantro. To make this dip dairy free, grab your favorite dairy free yogurt or use full fat coconut cream as an alternative. 

Enjoy this spread as an starter with warm laffah bread or use it as the base in a hummus bowl. The options are endless! 

Butternut Squash + Tahini Spread

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
5 Tbsp. tahini paste
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp. mixed black and white sesame seeds (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. maple syrup (or date syrup)
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread squash out onto a roasting pan. Toss with olive oil, sprinkle with the cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of salt. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Roast for 60-70 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove squash from oven and let cool.

Transfer squash to food processor, along with tahini, yogurt and garlic. Pulse until it reaches your desired consistency. I opted for a smoother spread, but you can leave it chunkier if you like! I added a little more olive oil as I was processing.

Serve in a bowl or on a flat plate. Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Grab the link below and add your recipe to our linkup! Thank you for coking along with us