I am loving charcuteries lately! It is becoming a Sunday tradition for us here. We've always called it a Smorgasbord, the Scandinavian version of a Charcuterie or buffet. I will start posting our Sunday Charcuteries, but for now, here are some faves from Pinterest for some inspiration. Have you ever made one? Lemme see!
This was a fun idea we did with our preschool group. It's adapted from Get Ready, Set, Grow! A Preplanned Calendar of Preschool Activities by Eileen Morris and Stephanie Crilly. I found a printable ghost I liked online (or draw your own) and followed these instructions from the book:
Cut same ghost shape out of construction paper in 6-8 colors, including white, red, and purple. Laminate for more durability.
Stack ghosts, placing white one on top.
Hold ghosts up and being story: "One day Jolly Ghost was hungry. He went to the refrigerator and ate some purple grapes. He looked in the mirror and saw he had turned purple. (put white ghost in back of pile and show purple ghost) He was so upset he ate a tomato, and to his surprise, he turned red." (show red ghost)
Continue story, adding foods to match the ghost's color. End story by saying, "Finally he was so thirsty he drank some milk and turned white again."
We got creative and added many more colors. We had one of those giant construction paper packs from Costco and we came up with some funny things he could eat. So you could make the story as long or as short as you want. The kids loved it. They can tell the story themselves and make up their own stuff. I would say it's not only good for color recognition, but it uses the imagination in so many ways. Playing teacher, telling stories, food ideas, emotions/moods, etc.
For snacks, use some of the ghost's colored foods from the story and a glass/carton of milk.
HF was kind enough to draw a different face for each ghost, showing the different moods of the ghost. Here's one of my favorites. The ghost's cheeks are full and he's about to puke. HA.
I had my first hush puppies ever this past summer. Also my first Cheerwine. We spent a week at the OBX and my husband was in heaven since he is from the South and all. I decided I better learn how to make us some hush puppies for his sake since he loves eating them with seafood. Everyone has their own idea of how hush puppies should taste. This one from Real Housemoms is my fave. Not a hush puppy connoisseur? Give these a try next time you make a seafood dish. Serve it with some delicious homemade tartar sauce and some steamed veggies on the side and voila! You have yourself a southern meal.
This year Thanksgiving was in California with my side of the family. My brothers deep fried a turkey, the sides were divine, and my purpose for blogging today is for one of those sides in particular. Sometimes not a very popular side. Brussel Sprouts. My sister-in-law's recipe was divine. She got it from a local restaurant and passed along the recipe.
Thanksgiving Brussel Sprouts For the Sprouts:
3 lb. fresh brussel sprouts, cut in half
3 cups canola oil
Heat oil to 350 degrees. Very carefully add Brussel sprouts to the oil and fry for 3-4 minutes. You will have to do this in batches most likely. Remove Brussel sprouts and drain. Season with salt and pepper. Place in serving dish and set aside.
4 cups heavy cream
5 oz. goat cheese
1 tsp. liquid smoke
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water
Heat heavy cream over medium high heat. Bring to a boil. Add the goat cheese and stir until well blended. In a separate bowl mix the cornstarch and water together. Once the cream is boiling, drizzle the cornstarch mixture in and continue stirring until the cream mixture thickens. Add the liquid smoke and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over crispy Brussel sprouts.
Apple Cider Drizzle
4 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
Combine the apple cider vinegar and sugar together in a pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the mixture is thick and syrupy. Cook and drizzle over crispy Brussel sprouts.
I have another salad that I LOVE and could eat everyday. HF and the kids like to eat it too! I use the same base as my tri-tip steak salad, but the toppings and dressing are different, although they would compliment each other well.
For 1-2 salads (Depending on how big you like them):
1-2 Cups chopped romaine (can also use Spring mix, butter lettuce, etc.)
1-2 Cups baby Arugula
2-4 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
Handful of grape tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup black beans
1/4 cup white or shoepeg corn
1/4 cup diced avocado
1/2 cup chopped BBQ chicken
1/8 cup Feta chesse (can also use shredded cheddar or Mexican mix)
Crushed tortilla chips or strips
Lime wedge for serving (optional)
2-4 Tablespoons Cilantro Pepita dressing, or to taste
Cilantro Pepita Dressing:
2 Anaheim Chilies, roasted, peeled, and seeded
1/3 cup pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
12 ounces canola oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
5 Tablespoons grated cotija cheese (parmesan works too)
2 bunches cilantro
1 1/2 cups veganaise or plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup water
Combine all ingredients in blender such as a Blendtec, and blend until everything is thoroughly combined. This makes a quart of dressing. It will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days in an air tight container. Unless you are planning on eating it all in 3-5 days, I would halve the recipe. I haven't tried freezing it yet, but that could be an option too.
You can also take the salad to go. Just stick everything in a quart sized mason jar with the dressing on the bottom, and layer tomatoes, feta, beans, chips, lettuces, avocado and onion. When you want to eat it, dump it out on a plate and enjoy!
I finally found a protein shake that I can handle. I don't know about you, but to me protein shakes and bars taste like dirt. I also don't like the ingredients in them. Then I found this and gave it a shot and I love it! It is plant based, no soy, no dairy, no GMO, no gluten, just plant based protein (brown rice, hemp, chia, and pea). They also have a vanilla one that I haven't tried yet, but I would like to. The small container on the left is from your average health food store. It was about $40. The larger one on the right is from Costco and it is on sale right now for $23! It's over 2 pounds. Such a good deal. I am going to stock up. I'm not being asked to promote this product, just sharing part of my morning meal arsenal.
This is the way I make mine. It is similar to the directions on the container.
In a blender combine:
1 cup of almond or coconut milk
1 scoop of ice
2 scoops of protein powder
My next plan is to use a scoop of protein powder in other recipes like pancakes, muffins, oatmeal, etc. Have any of you done this?
After I've gotten the kids to school, this is what my morning looks like. Literally sunshine and roses. Roses from our yard! What's not pictured here is Mrs. Fuzz's smile and evil laugh while I sit and eat in peaceful splendor. I love my kids, but this new found mornings alone thing? I could get used to that. Even better is finding myself alone with HF still at home. What?! Awesome! Then that makes for Mr. AND Mrs. Fuzz smiling and laughing until it's time for one of us to go to work. We love this new stage. Don't get me wrong. We love the baby stage, but there is something we are loving about the kids being a little older and more independent.
Back to food. Some time ago, I posted about one of my favorite breakfasts.Avocado on toast with salt and pepper. Recently I discovered another twist on this favorite of mine that is "eyes rolling back" good.
Here's what you need for 1 person:
2 slices of your favorite bread, toasted (We like Dave's Killer Bread)
1/2 of an avocado, sliced thin or smashed with a fork
2 teaspoons honey
While bread is toasting, slice avocado down the center, lengthwise. The centers will pull apart by gently twisting the two halves opposite one another. Remove pit and skin from one of the halves. Refrigerate the unused portion immediately, up to 2 days. Some browning is normal.
Slice avocado thinly, or mash in a small bowl. Spread avocado on both slices of warm toast. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of honey on each toast. Enjoy. So simple. And a great way to start your day. Let me know what you think if you try it!
Whenever I go to a restaurant and fall in love with one of the dishes, I always try and recreate it at home. My latest discovery is the Vietnamese sandwich, called the Bánh mì. This particular sandwich is called a Bánh mì Thit Nuong, or a grilled pork sandwich. It uses a very flavorful and delicious lemongrass marinade. These can be easily wrapped in foil or parchment for your officers to take for lunch. And it's veggie loaded. For the marinade: 2 pounds pork butt, sliced 1/4-inch thin 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. fish sauce 1 lemongrass stalk, finely chopped 1 1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic 2 Tbsp. minced shallot 1/4 tsp. black pepper Combine all ingredients and marinade at least 2 hours or overnight. When ready to cook, grill the pork until golden brown and slightly charred on each side. Condiments: Carrot and Daikon Pickles 1 cucumber chopped into matchsticks fresh cilantro (1/2 bunch, chopped) Vegannaise (or mayonnaise) Making the sandwiches: 1-2 soft French baguettes, cut into 6 sandwich rolls 1. Cut each roll hot dog bun style and remove some of the bread inside so that you have a thinner sandwich, if desired. Lightly grill open face with a small amount of garlic butter. 2. Spread Vegannaise, or mayonnaise on each side of the bread and place in your thin sliced meat, the carrot and daikon pickles, cucumber, and cilantro sprigs. Roll up tightly and serve. Makes 6 sandwiches.
There's a certain restaurant we like to frequent. Every single time we go, I get this tri-tip steak salad. It. is. the. bomb. Do people still say that? Anyway, I decided to recreate it at home and I think it is pretty spot on. It is a little time consuming, and to have all the ingredients on hand can be a little pricey, but here's how I make it easier. I buy in bulk at Costco and I cook everything up on a day where I have some extra time for food prep. Then I have enough for a dozen or so salads. Pretty awesome. Here is the recipe to make 2 large salads (although you will have ingredients for dayz to make more salads or if you are feeding a larger group. Give 'er a try!
2 servings Tri-Tip (6-8 ounces), sliced thin and in small pieces 1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped 2-3 ounces Arugula (3-5 loosely packed cups, depending on your taste) 4-6 sprigs of Cilantro 2-4 Tablespoons Chopped Scallions 1/2 Roasted red pepper, cut into thin strips 4 Tablespoons toasted sliced almonds Dried cherries (a handful) Feta Cheese Cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half (a handful or so) Lemon-Cilantro Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Assembling the salad: Combine your lettuce, arugula, and scallions. Divide between two large bowls. Divide the cilantro sprigs between the two bowls as well. Then sprinkle the rest of the ingredients on both salads, adjusting amounts to your taste. Right before serving, drizzle on the Lemon-Cilantro Vinaigrette.
Lemon-Cilantro Vinaigrette ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice 1-2 Tablespoons white vinegar 1 bunch cilantro (rinsed well, patted dry, and just the ends trimmed) 1 heaping Tablespoon brown sugar (or honey) 1 clove garlic ¼ tsp. sea salt ¾ tsp. spicy brown mustard ¼ cup olive oil Dash of Chipotle chili powder I threw all the ingredients for the dressing in my Blendtec and voila! It was blended up perfectly. The dressing is supposed to be on the thicker side. Drizzle to taste (usually about ¼ cup for a salad that big!) The dressing will last in the fridge for 3-5 days.
I've been lamenting the loss of summertime. I love all the food varieties that come with that season. The fresh fruits and the cold beverages. We ate a lot of watermelon during the summer, and I began freezing chunks of watermelon to save for smoothies. All you have to do is cut the watermelon into bite size chunks and spread evenly on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for a few hours. Once frozen, you can transfer the chunks to a freezer ziploc bag. Now you will always have some watermelon on hand when your need for a smoothie arrives.
You will find lots of watermelon smoothie recipes online. We came up with one that is versatile and can be changed up with a variety of fruits.
2-3 cups fresh-squeezed lemonade, or a bottled one such as Simply Lemonade
2-4 cups frozen watermelon chunks
1 cup frozen mango chunks
optional add ins: fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and honey for sweetener.
Blend until no more chunks remain. Pour into chilled mason jars. Enjoy!
Have you ever had a frozen banana? They are really, really good. A frozen banana can be blended and refrozen and it will taste pretty much just like ice cream. I don't eat ice cream anymore, but was craving ice cream and chocolate. So, I combined the two. First, we cut a few bananas in 1-inch pieces. It doesn't have to be perfect. We placed them on some parchment paper on a cookie sheet and froze them in the freezer for a few hours.
When the bananas were frozen, we melted our chocolate. You can pretty much use any kind of chocolate you have lying around. The healthier and more natural your chocolate is, the healthier your treat. I used a combination of semi-sweet chocolate chips and some natural white chips from a health food store. I don't know how much healthier exactly they were, but it made me feel better, alright? Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until the chocolate is smooth.
Remove banana bites from the freezer and dip each bite in your melted chocolate. Place chocolate-covered banana bites back on your parchment covered cookie sheet and refreeze for a few hours. Later, you will have an awesome ice cream-like treat. These babies are addictive and so delicious.
I have been eating this nearly everyday for breakfast for the last week or so. It's my go to comfort food. You see, a large portion of my childhood was spent living in Somis, California and we had avocado trees galore. I hated the food my mom made us eat back then, but now it's like a treat to me.
I've always heard that avocados are very high in fat, but it was the good kind of fat. Then I heard that since the avocado is shaped kind of like a uterus, that means that it is beneficial to the woman's reproductive system. Sounds good to me, but you can read this very informative website all about the health benefits of avocados if you are interested.
I might eat a grapefruit along with this if I feel like it, but this usually does the job. What's your go to breakfast?
Avocado on Toast with S&P
2 slices Whole-Grain bread, toasted (we like Dave's Killer Bread)
1/2 of a ripe avocado, pit removed and skin peeled off
Salt & Pepper
juice from lemon (optional)
While bread is toasting, slice avocado down the center, lengthwise. The centers will pull apart by gently twisting the two halves opposite one another. Remove pit and skin from one of the halves. Refrigerate the unused portion immediately, up to 2 days. Some browing is normal. Slice avocado thinly, or mash in a small bowl. Place on top of toast and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. We use coarse ground pepper and sea salt. Sometimes I squeeze a few drops of lemon juice on top. You may or may not find that appalling. Enjoy!
Hey y'all! It's been a while. This has been an extremely busy Fall/holiday season for us! But. I do have my holiday baking list ready. I will be baking next Thursday and Friday. ALL of these delectables. What treats do you make for Christmas? I would love to know what some of your traditions are...
I did good at taking bento photos last week! Yes, it's a miracle. This bento has a 1/2 gala apple, pumpkin shaped pb and honey sandwich on whole wheat, a hard boiled egg, baby carrots, and an energy ball.
bento in the laptop lunchbox. Handprint shaped sandwich with pb and j, checkerboard 1/2 apple, carrot sticks, cheese crackers, and homemade apple molasses cookies.
Caesar salad wrap in a tortilla (caesar salad with chicken, shredded carrots, and cheese), purple grapes, and white cheddar pirate's booty.
lemon poppyseed muffin, hard boiled egg, some of my bottled peaches, and carrots sticks
Zucchini pasta, strawberries, cashews, asiago bagel chunk, and carrot sticks
tiny Hello Kitty snack bento lid
Inside Hello Kitty Box: purple grapes and raw almonds.
Our daughter has to take a snack in addition to lunch each day. I usually give her a yogurt, or a fruit, or some kind of made up trail mix. I need ideas for snacks.