Saturday, December 29, 2012

For the Four Legged Furry Foodie

Amidst the delicious holiday baking that happened in my kitchen this Christmas season, it dawned on me that my curly little (giant) doodle monster deserved some special Christmas treats, too. Dogs may not have the sophisticated palates of us humans, but that certainly doesn't mean they can't be spoiled every now and then.

I found this dog treat recipe via Pinterest and it couldn't have been easier. With only four ingredients, I feel good about giving these to the Wrigster. We made one batch of these cuties and packaged them up for some of Wrigley's furry friends and still have a tupperware full in our pantry. Christmas trees, fire hydrants and hearts! What more could a dog want? 

We loved spreading a little Christmas cheer to Doodles and dog cousins far and near.

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits
recipe via Brown Eyed Baker

1 cup all natural peanut butter
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a large bowl, combine flour and baking powder and whisk together. In another bowl, mix milk and peanut butter. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and mix well, creating a dough.

Knead dough and roll out to 1/4" thickness on a floured surface. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly brown. 

Store in an airtight container.

 *These treats have been taste tested and approved by Wrigley Leonard Moore.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone peace, love and a very Merry Christmas.

Mark, Nina, Wrigley and our first little lovie (arriving in June 2013!!!)

P.S. Yes. #wearehavingababy!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dark Chocolate and Mint Chip Clouds: Hey, That's Pin-Tastic!

Today's pin-tastic post is brought to you by the fabulous Skinny Taste. Mint + chocolate + clouds in the same sentence as pertaining to dessert? It's a dream come true. 

These minty cloud like cookies are puffs of dreamy delight that literally melt in your mouth. Ashley treated me to these last week after our Monday night workout and I have already whipped up two batches of these sweet clouds. Even my "I kind of prefer a cookie with more substance, you Nido lovies love anything that's entirely sugar" speaking husband can't help but grab a cloud to go when he passes through the kitchen. 

These light and airy cookies make a great addition on a cookie plate delivered to neighbors or on a dessert at a Christmas party!

Minty fresh. 

Dark Chocolate and Mint Chip Clouds
recipe from Skinny Taste

3 large egg whites (room temperature)
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup dark chocolate and mint morsels (Nestle)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cover a nonstick cookie sheet with a silicone pad or parchment paper.

Using a mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together in large bowl at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar a little at a time, then vanilla, beating well after each addition until you get stiff peaks, the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is glossy.

Fold in mint chocolate chips. Drop mixture by tablespoons onto cookie sheet.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes or just until dry. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Cool completely on wire rack. Store covered, at room temperature. Makes about 30 cookies.

NOTE: I found these Nestle Dark Chocolate + Mint Morsels at Target.


Check out all of the other  pin-tastic delights on I Love You More Than Carrots!

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Another Visit from Dudley the Elf

The air always has a little bit more magic in it at the Nido house. I may be biased, but I only speak from my heart. Add the red twinkle lights, the smell of sugar cookies and cinnamon and a mile long list of traditions and the magic can be felt from miles around. My family is pretty darn amazing.

The story of Dudley the elf made its debut on my blog last year and it deserves to be shared every year. There is nothing quite like it and I am fairly confident that this perfect little elf is most likely what caused the Christmas crazed girl in me. I'll never stop believing. Thanks, Dad. 


Long before Elf on a Shelf, the Nido girls had an annual, magical visitor straight from the North Pole. Too shy to see us, he would appear after we were asleep, and visit with my dad over mugs of hot cocoa. His visit came after our family tree was lit with red lights and decorated from head to toe. This is a tale, as told by my dad, is near and dear to my heart. So many of my favorite memories of the magic of Christmas, all lead back to Dudley the elf.

The Tale of a North Pole Ambassador
written by: The Elf Whisperer

On a snowy winter’s evening in mid-December 1989, after locking the doors and taking a gander at the sparkle and glow of our home we created for Christmas, I reduced everything to darkness and was headed up the stairs when I was startled by a rustling noise coming from the direction of our kitchen. Frightened, I eased my way down the steps and around the corner, only to find a strange little man sitting at the kitchen table. He had a luminescent glow about him and was so short that his feet didn’t even touch the floor. He smiled, but didn’t say a word. Suddenly, I felt I was having some crazy dream, until he spoke.

“Where are the girls?” he said.

Okay, I thought that maybe I’m crazy, but I’ll play along so he won’t harm me. “They’re in bed”, I said.

“Did Nina say her prayers?” he asked.

How does he know her name, I wondered? I wasn’t sure what to do next but he seemed pleasant enough, so I answered his questions. “Yes she did” I said.

“But, before that you had to discuss what she was going to have for breakfast in the morning” he said. “Her palate is quite mature for her young age. That’s going to be trouble for you when she grows up”.


He squinted and the corner of his mouth turned up in a half-smile that told me he knows more than I can ever imagine. “What about Andi? Has she quit talking and gone to sleep yet?” he said.

Now I was worried. He knew too much about my precious girls for my liking. “What do you want, and who are you anyway?”

“The name’s Dudley and I come from the North Pole. I’m the Chief Elf and everything goes through me.”

“How did you get here and why did you choose us?”

“Serendipity” he said. “I was out for a ride and saw the warm red glow from your Christmas tree. I couldn’t resist.”

“Okay, so what do you want from me?”

“Just a mug of hot cocoa.”

Still wary of this funny-looking little fellow, I asked how he got here. “Olaf” he said

“Pardon me?”

“Olaf” he said again.

“Is that a foreign car I’ve never heard of?” I said.

“No. He’s a reindeer. One of the spare ones. My favorite. Let me show you.”

He led me out to the porch where to my astonishment, was a large smiling reindeer. He had a fuzzy brown rack with enough points to hang 20 stocking caps, bells around his neck and a saddle strapped to his back. Now I was convinced that this wasn’t a dream and I wasn’t on Candid Camera. We returned to the kitchen and I fixed each of us a mug of hot cocoa. We chatted about all kinds of things, but he was especially interested in Nina and Andi and their activities. He asked if I would take him up to their bedrooms so that he could give them a kiss on the cheek. We tiptoed up the stairs and went into Andi’s room first. He bent over and gave her a kiss on the cheek and of course, she didn’t stir. We proceeded to Nina’s room, and being the light sleeper, as soon as he kissed her, she grumbled and rolled over. Dudley made a beeline for the stairs and ran down to the kitchen.

I followed him and asked “what’s the matter?”

“I’m shy. Your girls can’t see me. Only you.”

“How long have you been doing this” I asked.

“I’ve been the chief since I was 348 years old.”

“How old are you?”

“572 years. I must go.”


“I must be back to the North Pole by daybreak.”

Before he left, he reached into his pocket and pulled out two small trinkets to leave for the girls, and promised he would be back next year and the year after that.........

He returned the following year and every year after that and still does today, always bearing three small trinkets. His arrival is always the evening after our family Christmas tree is put up. How does he know? He waits for the warm red glow. Since that first December night, we added one more daughter, Natalie to our family. As the girls got older, my kitchen table chats with Dudley changed as did our beverage of choice. We now chat over a pint of ale and discuss their boyfriends, husbands, college, careers and whatever else is on our minds. Even though he has never seen them, he knows them as well as I do. Dudley knows...........

Mike Nido, aka The Elf Whisperer, lives a quiet life with his family in Charlotte, North Carolina and still waits up every year for Dudley.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Treats at Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's just might be the most magical place in all of the land during the Christmas season. Besides the happy hustle bustle that is always apparent in the store 365 days of the year, the presence of holiday treats adds a little something extra and I have to use all self control to make sure I don't place one of everything in my shopping cart. But then again, how fun would that be!? 

Our pantry shelves seem to be stocked with extra fun things around Christmas time and thanks to Trader Joe's, we have some new favorites around here. 

Chocolate Rings with Sprinkles...these are simple, fun and the Nido girls are sprinkle-holics (or sugar addicts as Mark calls us) so these should go without saying. I made a cookie plate for my parents and placed a few of these little sprinkletastic rings on the plate to add some color. Love them.

Peppermint Joe-Joe's...OMG. If you are like me and a lover of all things chocolate kissed with mint, then rush to Trader Joe's and grab a few boxes of these. Apparently the Peppermint Joe Joe's were so popular last year, that they ran out and could later be found for ridiculous prices on e-bay. I would probably purchase a box on ebay if it came down to it. I prefer to eat them Santa-style. With a glass of ice cold milk.

Gingerbread House...I picked this up for my sister's and I to decorate next week. We like to pretend like we are five.

Dark Chocolate Powerberries...addictive little buggers. My sweet friend Mary Katherine introduced me to these and once you pop, you can't stop. Berries equal vitamin C and dark chocolate equal antioxidants, so you might as well categorize these in the super foods group.

Dark Chocolate Minty Mallows...oh how I love you. I bought these last year for a hot chocolate bar and thank goodness Joe's brought them back for Christmas 2012. Let them melt in your hot chocolate or enjoy them plain like I do. Every time you walk past the pantry. 

Cocoa Truffles...not too sweet, super chocolatey and melt in your mouth mmmm mmmm good. These would be great in any holiday gift baskets or with a nice bottle of red as a hostess gift!

If I make it until December 25 without a re-stock on these Trader's treats, it will be a Christmas miracle. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vanilla Bean Scones

I won't even try to take credit for these perfectly, super vanilla-y breakfast slash really more like a not too sweet dessert pastry treats. When she's not busy being a PA and saving the children of Charlotte, Andi has been quite the baker over the past few weeks. It seems as though she's arriving at our doorstep everyday with treats of all kinds. I have begged, and begged, but since my sweet sister is too shy to share this herself, and three batches of these babies later, I'm doing it for her.

These scones are nothing short of melt in your mouth magic. They are light, fluffy, and when glazed on all sides, the freshness stays in, keeping these just as good on day five as they are on day one. We love them with coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon or a sweet treat before bed. These would be the perfect addition to your Christmas baking day.

This recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman and I highly recommend it. Andi and I are already thinking of ways that we can experiment with different scones. Cinnamon chips anyone!?

You can find the recipe for these Petite Vanilla Bean Scones HERE

Note: Andi uses vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla beans.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Tradition: Advent Angels

I love the Advent season and all of the excitement and reflection that comes with it. My family always focused on the meaning of the Advent season, and the special time leading up to Christmas! 

I can't remember when my family started the tradition of the Advent Angels, but it was always one of our favorites growing up. This tiny spiral bound book, The ABCs of Advent, sat in the middle of our Advent Wreath on the kitchen table, with daily reflections and activities to read and do as a family. If my memory is correct, my parents got the idea of the Advent Angels from this very book. 

Every week, we drew names and whoever we got, we were to be a secret Advent Angel for that person. Each Sunday, as we lit the candle for the week, we would all put our names on a small piece of paper and into a pile in the middle of the table. Snickering and making googly eyes and funny faces, my sisters and I would always laugh uncontrollably, trying to hide the name that we had drawn. By the time Christmas arrived, we all had the chance to be an angel for each person in our family of five. As a little Advent Angel, you just do nice things for the person you have for the week, usually once a day. My mom was always famous for fancy, crafty treats on our pillows at night and my dad liked to send Wizard of Oz postcards in the mail with nothing but a little angel outline drawn. I remember leaving glitter everywhere and I always thought it was the funniest thing to prep everyone's toothbrush for the night, ready and waiting by the sink. The point of the angel tradition was to take a few minutes out of our days to do something nice for someone in our family, even if it was a tiny yellow post-it note with a heart left on the bathroom mirror. 

This is another Nido family tradition that I adore!! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pottery Barn Inspired Wreath: Hey, That's Pin-Tastic!

This project isn't technically a Pinterest find, but it's pretty pin-tastic if I do say so myself! I whipped this wreath up last year (and even posted about it) after falling in love with a similar one I saw in the Pottery Barn catalog. $100 for a wreath seemed a bit ridiculous to me so I decided to make it myself! (you know, because at Christmastime there are more important things to spend ridiculous money on. like a personalized Pottery Barn stocking for my doodle) 

My friend made a similar one a few years back and let me in on her secret- HOT GLUE! This wreath couldn't be easier to make and I think it makes a cheerful statement on our front door. I'm especially loving the way it looks on our red door this year. It's held up wonderfully for two years and I think I spent a total of around $20 for everything.

To make this wreath, all you need is some colorful ornaments, an artificial wreath and your trusty hot glue gun. I fluffed the wreath and glued the ornaments all over, alternating sizes and colors. 

Don't forget to check out all of the magical Pinterest inspired posts on I Love You More Than Carrots today!

i love you more than carrots

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Traditions: An Early December Visit from St. Nicholas

Growing up, one of my very favorite Christmas traditions was on December 5, the eve of The Feast of St. Nicholas, when my sisters and I would each leave out our shoes before we were tucked into our beds. We lined up our shoes outside of our bedroom doors and went to sleep knowing a special visit from St. Nicholas was upon us. My shoe of choice was almost always a ballet shoe. In the morning, we would wake up to find a tiny treat waiting for us in each of our shoes. 

St. Nicholas, who is best known for his generosity and gift giving is largely celebrated in countries all over the world. This is where the spirit of kindness, giving and love came from, especially as it pertains to the Christmas season. I absolutely love this tradition and when I think about what I want to pass down to my own children someday, this is definitely at the top of the list! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tri-Color Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Avocado, Cilantro+ Lime

Quinoa doesn't make an appearance on our menu very often but when it does, Mark and I gobble it up. It's so versatile, fairly healthy and I especially like that it takes on the flavors its paired with. I buy this tri-color quinoa at Trader Joe's and it looks so beautiful when cooked and prepared with other bright colors. Tomatoes add sweetness, avocado adds creaminess and the addition of cilantro and lime brighten up this entire dish. This tasty quinoa salad can be warm, at room temperature or chilled. It's even better for lunch the next day. 

Better yet, make a big batch on Sunday night and enjoy this tastiness all week!

Tri-Color Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Avocado, Cilantro + Lime

1 cup Trader Joe's tri-color quinoa (or regular quiona)
2 vine ripened tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of one lime
olive oil (a drizzle)
salt + pepper, to season

Cook quinoa according to instructions on package. Chop up tomatoes, avocado and cilantro, and add to cooked quinoa. Toss with lime juice, olive oil and salt and pepper to season.

Serve immediately, at room temperature or chill in the fridge.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Moore Menu!

With the Christmas season officially here, the calendar is quickly filling up, last minute plans are made, and it is always a given that extra treats will be consumed. With that being said, I like to make sure that our kitchen at home is stocked with delicious and healthy meal options so that on nights at home, we can control what we eat by keeping it fresh and healthy. If something doesn't get made, we always find a way to use up the fresh ingredients and all of these meats freeze well for future use!

Here is what our meal plan looks like this week!

Asian Turkey Meatballs (Skinny Taste)
Tri-color quinoa with cilantro and lime
pan roasted green beans with garlic and soy

Beer Braised Beef (Pioneer Woman)
baby greens salad

Baked Chicken with tomatoes, basil & artichokes
sauteed spaghetti squash

Flank Steak Salad

Blackened Grilled Chicken
Avocado mousse
Avocado, tomato + orange salad

and...a Sunday night homemade pasta treat!

Wishing you all a delicious and festive week!