Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Markaritas!


What goes well with Tacos on a Tuesday!? Margaritas! Duh. Or in our case, the ever popular Markarita. No, really. Pulling this deliciousness out of the archives because Summer is around the corner and I wish I had these on tap. This is one of my most popular recipes to date and definitely one of the top five recipes requested by all of my real life friends and family. I've always loved margaritas but I came to the realization recently that I think I love them so much because Mark and I drank them on our first date! And here we are still sipping away on these things.

Back when we started reading a ton of Paleo books and blogs, we learned that Tequila is one of the better liquor choices. While all alcohol isn't necessarily "paleo approved", Tequila is a cleaner option because instead of being made with grains, it comes from the agave plant. This is why when you're buying your tequila, make sure it's made with 100% agave as some will have fillers like sugar and grain additives. 

I don't claim that this is a healthy cocktail, but it's certainly a smarter option for happy hour- and I promise you won't miss the crazy amounts of sugary sweet mixers. Fresh lime juice is stellar but when you don't have time to squeeze ALL THOSE LIMES, I found a great organic lime juice at Harris Teeter with an impressive ingredients list of only one thing: organic limes! It was delicious. While these can be made in larger quantities and served to a crowd in a pitcher, I still prefer to make these margaritas one at a time! They are just so good. 

Enjoy your Taco Tuesday!!! With a Markarita please. (and don't forget the salt rim!)

Markaritas

2 oz. tequila
2 oz. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. organic raw agave or honey
lime seltzer water 
fresh lime wedges

I like to serve these in lowball rocks glasses. Start by measuring out the tequila and lime juice and pour into the glasses. Add in the agave (or sweetener of choice) and mix with a bar whisk. Finish what a pour of seltzer and add ice, then garnish with a lime wedge. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Fresh Strawberry Pie


Strawberry season is here and we finally made our way down to the Strawberry patch near our house last week. Will and Kate were alllll about it and actually did a great job of finding the ripe red berries. Miss Kate was insistent on carrying her basket the entire time, no matter how heavy it got. 

         

As soon as we got in the car, Will told me that we needed to make a pie because it was his favorite. NEWS TO ME. I NEVER make pies but when he said that's what he wanted to make, we made a pit stop at Harris Teeter on the way home for a few ingredients that we didn't have. 



Starting the week off on a sweet note with this yumminess. This pie is one of my favorites and I pulled it out of the blog archives from our Illinois days. My mom always makes a blueberry version in the Summer and this Strawberry one is just as delicious. I posted this Fresh Berry Pie back in 2012 and all that's different is that this pie only uses strawberries and I used strawberry JELL-O instead of mixed berry for the glaze. The freshly picked berries make this pie extra delicious, but what I love most about this pie recipe is the flaky, slightly sweet crush. The berry glaze seeps into that bottom and is just so good- the most perfect Springtime dessert!

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Crust:
1/2 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp. milk
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1.5 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt

Mix flour, sugar and salt together in a mixing bowl and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together canola oil and milk. Slowly add the flour mixture to the oil mixture. Mix until it becomes thick and dough-like, then transfer to a 9" pie dish. Starting from the center of the dish, spread the crust until it is covering the entire dish in an even layer. Bake crust for 7-10 minutes, or until crust starts to brown. Let cool.

Wash and dry berries, then slice and place inside the crust. 

Filling:

2 quarts fresh strawberries, sliced
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
3.5 Tbsp. Strawberry JELL-O
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups water

Combine starch, JELL-O, water and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Slowly add the JELL-O mixture stirring constantly with a whisk. Return to a boil and keep it there for one minute. Remove from the heat and let cool. 

Drizzle topping over berries and refrigerate for 4-5 hours to let the pie set before serving. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Friday Faves


HAPPY FRI-YAY! It's been a fun filled busy week over here! We celebrated Mark's birthday last weekend with family and the two of us even got to sneak away on Sunday for a day date to the PGA golf tournament that was being held here in Charlotte. I'm a golf fan by marriage and we had the best day. 




I attended a special Mother's Day Brunch at Will's preschool yesterday and it was just about the sweetest thing ever. They walked us to our seats, sang a few sweet songs and served us our brunch! I wasn't prepared and totally forgot to bring kleenex. Such a fun little morning with my boy. 


Here are some of my favorite finds for the week:

Spindrift cocktails are my jam right now! I especially like that it's a "cleaner" cocktail option, especially during the week! So perfect for Summer and they have tons of ideas listed HERE on their site. My favorite is Tito's vodka, a splash of cucumber Spindrift and some lime. 

I love a good neutral nail color and I recently added this one to my collection! (Essie- Lighten the Mood!)

Currently reading: Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. I'm obsessed! So much goodness in these pages and I want to go back and reread it with a highlighter! #nerdalert

Not sure how this happened, but I've turned into a garden lover. I have big plans for our yard but I started out with outdoor planters and pots. Next up, Hydrangea bushes, maybe some peonies and hopefully a little herb garden situation that we can use this Summer! 

I used this Roasted Cauliflower, Tomato and Chick Pea Bowl as my dinner inspiration last night! I added some pesto to the roasted veggies and topped it all with some Italian sausage. So easy and good! 

I made a quick batch of pesto this week and have plenty leftover so this pesto stuffed flank steak is calling my name! Adding it to our weekend menu for sure. 


If you've never made the New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies...well, then I'll leave that right here. 


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Lemon Thyme French 75


Coming in hot today with a cocktail recipe for your weekend happy hours this Mother's Day weekend. It's only Thursday so I'm giving you a quick minute to gather your ingredients and get to work! 

Cocktails have been my go to happy hour choice lately. I love to sip on something while I'm cooking dinner for my family or when Mark and I are sitting outside at the end of the day. I've been playing around with different mixers and liquors and I've decided to experiment more this Summer. Mixing flavors is fun and cocktail making, I've realized, is a bit of an art.

I'm obsessed with this drink and have my sister and future brother in law to thank for it. It's fresh, slightly bubbly and light for the warm Summer days ahead. This lemon thyme simple syrup is going to have a permanent spot in my fridge this Summer as I've been adding it to all kinds of things. It's especially delicious with Tito's Vodka and a splash of cucumber spindrift. Back to these French 75s though... they're just so good. I think what I love most about this cocktail is that it can take you from brunch to lunch to happy hour- seriously delicious and appropriate at any time of day! Lemon, thyme, gin and bubbles. You know you want it. 



Lemon Thyme French 75

2 oz. gin
1.5 oz. champagne or prosecco
1 oz. lemon thyme simple syrup (recipe below)
sprig of fresh thyme

Mix the gin and simple syrup with ice and strain into your serving glass. To with chilled champagne/prosecco and garnish with a fresh sprig of thyme.

Lemon Thyme Simple Syrup

1 cup cugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh thyme

Combine sugar and water in a pot and bring to a simmer until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon juice but do not let it come back to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add the thyme, letting it steep in the syrup until it reaches room temperature. Strain into a clean bottle and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.



Wednesday, May 9, 2018

May Cookbook Club: Giada's Feel Good Food



For the fourth installment of Cookbook Club, we chose Giada's Feel Good Food. Giada DeLaurentiis has long been one of my all time favorites from the Food Network. I own almost all of her cookbooks and she is often my go-to when I go to grab a book from my cookbok shelf. Her recipes never disappoint and since we both come from Italian roots so much of how she cooks is the kind of food that I love most.




I love this book so much because it doesn't focus so much on any certain "diet" but a healthy, wholesome way of living and eating. Giada's balanced approach is what I gravitate so much to in this book. I don't think you should completely deprive yourself of anything and having a treat every now and then is never a bad thing. This book is filled with tons of recipes using fresh, wholesome ingredients. She takes a simple approach to healthy and balanced eating and uses food in a positive and nourishing way. 

This toast may look like nothing but it is EVERYTHING. We may be living in an avocado toast world but there are so many more toast options to explore. I'm a huge fan of ricotta cheese and have even been known to eat it plain in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. The texture is so light and fluffy and it truly takes on any flavors that you combine it with. The mixture of ricotta, cinnamon, vanilla and a tiny bit of sweet from honey is just perfection. Topped on a warm piece of bread and you are winning. I subbed honey instead of sugar and used Ezekial bread. This is delicious for breakfast, or a sweet afternoon snack.

In a world of avocado toast, be the ricotta toast! Seriously though. All this toast talk makes me want to have a toast party.



Chocolate Ricotta Toast

1 cup fresh full-fat ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
4 slices of bread
Dark chocolate, for shaving

In a bowl, mix ricotta, honey cinnamon and vanilla using a rubber spatula. Set aside. 

Toast slices of bread and spread evenly with a generous amount of the ricotta mixture. Grate chocolate on top of the toast, fully coating each slice.


Make sure to pop over to Allie's blog to see what she made from the book and link up your own recipes below!



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


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Salmon Burgers


Salmon cakes? Salmon burgers? Salmon patties!? Whatever you want to call them, here's my new favorite recipe. I've scrolled right past these SO MANY TIMES but decided to finally give them a try. Why did we wait so long!? Mark asked the same thing after the first time I made these. We are loving these lately! The flavor is great and if you don't love that fishy flavor you are in luck because these burgers are super mild. 

It turns out that canned salmon is a thing and it's much less scary than it sounds. You could certainly use fresh salmon, cook and form into patties, I love the quick and easy route when using the stuff right out of the can. Bonus points because this also makes it a very budget friendly meal. Cannot get enough of these and they make for the BEST lunch the next day. Serve them on top of a salad with a side of sweet potato wedges and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. 

Thanks to my friend Allison for sharing this recipe with me! 


Salmon Burgers

2 6oz. cans wild salmon, drained
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons minced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons green onions, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt/herb mix (I used salt + herbs de provence)
2 tsp. whole grain or brown mustard
2-3 tsp. coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut oil

Combine all ingredients except coconut flour and oil in a mixing bowl. Add coconut flour in 1 tsp. increments until the mixture isn't "wet". 

In a large pan over medium heat, melt coconut oil. Form salmon mixture into patties and place in the pan of hot oil. Allow patties to brown before flipping- about 5-6 minutes on each side. Cook all the way through and serve. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Monday Trader Joe's Haul

Monday, Monday! We are still riding the weekend high, coming off of a wonderful few days with family. We spent almost the entire weekend outside, except while we were sleeping, and it was glorious. We had a wonderful time.

I went a little crazy on my Instastories today sharing my favorite Trader Joe's finds of the day.  My sister called me out and I said just you wait- next week I'll do a LIVE UN-BAGGING! Totally kidding but then again, maybe not. I always enjoy seeing what everyone else picks up at Trader Joe's- that place is such a gold mine! When I walk in, it's so hard to not ditch the list and get only what I came in for. Like, why don't I just let Joe tell me what I NEED!? 

Here are a few new things I picked up this week!

 

I already ripped these open for my 3pm snack break and they are delicious! The perfect little bite sized snack and they come individually packed inside the big bag. No strange ingredients and I think Will and Kate will love them, too.


This cauliflower tabbouleh did not disappoint! I've had this on my radar for awhile and finally remembered to pick it up today. I had some for lunch with the jalapeno chicken sausage from Trader Joe's (another favorite).


We have been on a citrus kick at our house all Winter so I always make sure that we have plenty. These mini mandarins are tiny and perfect for little hands and super sweet, too! Also great for kid lunches and snacks on the go.


Cold brew coffee chocolate bar WHAT!? I can't wait to try this. I know it's going to be a winner.


I don't always drink white wine, but the warmer days make me want to swap out my usual red blends for Pinot Grigios or Sauvignon Blancs. This one came highly recommended by a friend and I have it chilling in the fridge now in preparation for tonight's MOST DRAMATIC BACHELOR FINALE EVER. 


Here's the last of my haul! This cauliflower fried rice situation looks like such an easy weeknight meal! Just add in some protein and we will be good to go. Excited to give this a try. I love these small cans of wine. I always get the pinot grigio but picked up the rose to have, too. It's the perfect single serving and great for when you don't want to commit to drinking a bottle over a few nights during the week. The coconut lime mints were an impulse cash register find! Cannot wait to make these shishito peppers tonight with our salmon burgers! And since I'm a product junkie, the hair mask had to come home with me, too. 


And lastly, because I can't leave Trader's without some fresh flowers!


Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Paleo Asian Lettuce Wraps



Another Instagram post, another recipe. I love scrolling through all of the delicious dinner posts I see on Instagram and I've been posting our dinners on my stories more. I seriously get so many questions when I post pictures of our dinners so why not post them here with the recipes included!

These Asian Lettuce Wraps are from 2011 and were a favorite staple dinner in our Illinois kitchen. I loved the PF Changs version so much that I found a copycat recipe online years ago and always found myself wanting to make them. They are easy, fairly healthy and full of flavor. The addition of Hoisin sauce adds wonderful flavor but unfortunately, lots of added sugar and sodium. 

Several years ago, I cleaned up my lettuce wrap recipe for what I'm posting here. Lean turkey, lots of veggies and coconut aminos make this a wonderful Paleo and Whole30 alternative! Ground chicken and lean beef work equally as well with this recipe- I used good quality ground turkey this week and it was delicious. You can also add whatever veggies you have on hand! We love the combo of onions, carrots, mushrooms and water chestnuts. Iceburg lettuce used to be my go-to for the wraps but lately I've been buying Boston bibb and it works so much better! If you want that slightly nutty flavor that you miss without the Hoisin sauce, a Tablespoon or two of almond butter in here gives it just that! 

These are delicious on their own, or served with an asian cucumber salad on the side! Just toss the cukes with some coconut aminos, rice wine vinegar and sesame seeds (another PF Changs recipe replica!)

Enjoy!

Paleo Asian Lettuce Wraps

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 can chopped water chestnuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
1/4 cup coconut aminos 
Olive Oil
Bibb lettuce, for serving

Coat the bottom of a large skillet/saute pan with a few swirls of olive oil and place on medium heat.

Add garlic, onions, carrots and ground ginger and saute until the vegetables start to get soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Adding the ground ginger early on allows for the flavor to get nice and toasted and really amplifies it! Add mushrooms and cook for an addition 5 minutes. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper and transfer cooked vegetables to another bowl. 

Keep heat at medium and add ground turkey. Break up the turkey as it cooks. Once meat is cooked through, add the vegetables back in and add the can of water chestnuts. Add coconut aminos and toss it all together. 

Remove from burner and serve in lettuce cups!