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. 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
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!