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Hello Fresh!

It was like Christmas this afternoon.

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Unfortunately, for Miss Rae, the UPS man didn’t bring her yet another birthday present. This present was for me.

A few weeks ago, Matty B found a coupon for $40 off an order with Hello Fresh.

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Hello Fresh is one of those meal delivery services. Their website claims that they deliver delicious and healthy recipes with all the pre-measured ingredients to your door each week.

When we pulled into the driveway this afternoon, I was thrilled to see a big box on the front porch. When we got it in the door, I immediately opened the insulated box to find three different meal bags.

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The three meals were mushroom quesadillas, Tuscan kale panzanella and portobello and orecchiette primavera.

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I chose to make the mushroom quesadillas. They were really good. And for $19 (regular price is $59) for 6 meals (3 different meals, 2 servings), definitely worth it.

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A few thoughts:

1. Everything is pre-measured so it’s pretty convenient. All you need from your own pantry is salt, pepper and butter/olive oil.

2. The quesadillas were supposed to feed 2 people- they could have easily fed 4.

3. The recipe didn’t seem that inspired to me at first, but the lemon zest just made the whole thing sing and forevermore I will put lemon zest in my guacamole.

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4. If you have a picky family like I do, this doesn’t necessarily save time because I made them a “normal” dinner and then I made this for myself. Time wasn’t saved, but it did save me from boring burritos (seriously, Matty B? Every Friday night?)

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5. Would I place another order? I can’t really answer that until I try the other two recipes. It’s handy having the “what’s for dinner?” decision made. The quesadillas were tasty. But I’m not sure that I’d pay full price without another coupon option.

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If nothing else, Hello Fresh is novel and I can see it being awesome for a family with older (less persnickety) children.

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Have you ever used a meal delivery service?

Unhealthy Fruit Dip

Sometimes, things seem like they should be easy, but they’re not.

For example, my children:

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This is just one example out of ten bazillion where it’s impossible to get them to both look at the camera at the same time!

Seriously. How hard can this be? JUST LOOK AT THE CAMERA AND SMILE!

Last year I made some snobby “healthy” fruit dip. In that post I actually call out the recipe I’m about to share with you as “not healthy”.

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And it’s not. But it’s good. So so good.

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Step 1: buy 8 oz. of cream cheese and a small jar (7 oz.) of marshmallow cream.

Step 2: combine both in your food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy.

Step 3: try not to cut your tongue on the blade of the food processor because you absolutely will lick it off.

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This couldn’t be easier. And honestly, I’d rather make fruit dip every day of the week than try to get this girl to smile when she doesn’t want to.

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At least she was looking at the camera.

Kinda.

Green Chili Egg Casserole

I feel like there are a lot of witty things to say about eggs, but other than forms of “egg-cellent” and “egg-citing”, I’m drawing a blank.

No matter, I’m really happy that I’m eating eggs again.

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Other than insisting on a firm yolk, I’ll eat them any which way.

My extended family has been trying to talk me into getting chickens. When I was exclusively vegan, chickens absolutely didn’t make sense.

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They still don’t make sense for us because I have 14 extra minutes each day and I choose to devote those minutes to showering and not cleaning up chicken…stuff. However, the fellow above may disagree with my line of thinking. Thankfully, Fearless Friend has chickens so we can live vicariously through them.

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Grandma Marilyn has chickens too. She gave us some eggs. Can you tell the difference between the store bought eggs and the farm fresh eggs? Absolutely.

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Anyway, it’s almost Easter and we have lots of eggs and I love eggs and so we made an egg casserole.

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I used this recipe for Green Chili Egg Puff and I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ll let you know what we think.

And I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket, but I’m guessing this dish will be the star of tomorrow’s family brunch.

I’ll be certain to make my way to the front of the line because, after all, the last one there is a rotten egg.

And now I have egg on my face…

Inside Out Chocolate Cream Pie

This one has some attitude.

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You see it in her eyes, don’t you? You also see it in the 32 layers of lipgloss, but that’s another worry for another day.

I’ve got a little bit of attitude too.

Just to prepare you, I’m going to whine about not being on vacation anymore, so if you think I’m a big baby and you don’t want to listen to my (absolutely irrational) sob story, just scroll to the bottom for the recipe link.

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You see, last week I was toasting housemade root beer with my family, exactly 14 steps from the beach.

It was pretty rad.

This week I’m anticipating a teensy bit of work drama, plus the grind of packing lunches/get to school on time/no, you may not wear your fairy wings to class. It’s going to be rad stressful.

How do you get out of a bad attitude?

I’ll tell you how.

Chocolate Cream Pie, that’s how.

But what if you’ve been doing laundry piles equal to Mt. Everest and you don’t have time to create the dessert that cures all ails?

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Inside Out Chocolate Cream Pie.

I used this chocolate pudding recipe from Taste of Home, mostly because the recipe called for real chocolate chips, not just cocoa powder. Cocoa powder is for suckers.

While the pudding was chilling in the fridge, I scrounged the pantry for graham crackers. Nothing. I finally came up with an opened package of graham cracker cookies shaped like Scooby Doo dog biscuits. I used about a cup of these, puréed in the food processor with a tablespoon of melted butter. Pressed into the bottom of a pie tin, baked for 10 minutes at 350, it made a delightful crust.

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Luckily, no one else in my family eats whipped cream, so there was enough for me to drown my sorrows.

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This was delicious. You should absolutely try it. If you’re not a chocolate person (why???), you could do banana or coconut or lemon…ooh! Lemon!

I still have an attitude.

Miss Rae is still wearing gobs of sparkly lip gloss.

But thanks to chocolate, I think I’ll survive whatever tomorrow brings.

Homemade Cronuts, the cheaters way

I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m not on the front line of the trendsetters. This is partially due to the fact that raising children is exhausting and somewhat time consuming. Trend-following is not high on my list of priorities. Also, conversations with 6 year-olds tend to be frustrating.

Example:

J Man: (in reference to a deer shaped stencil) “Is that a deer or a buck?”

Matty B: “Well, a buck is a boy deer. A doe is a girl deer.”

J Man: “So, is that a deer or a buck?”

Matty B: “A buck is a deer, but I don’t know if it’s a buck or a doe because I don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl.”

J Man: (obviously irritated) “Well, I guess it’s just a deer!”

So…trends. The word on the street is that fringe is trendy in fashion. I should have known this because Aunt B has a fringed bag and she’s always at the peak of trendy. I, on the other hand, have a brown canvas shoulder bag full of sunscreen, fruit snacks, and deer (buck? doe?) stencils.

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Cronuts are trendy. You can get in line in NYC at 4:30 am for the chance to get one. Or you can pay $2469 to have them shipped to you.

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Or you can be a cheater and get one of those cans of croissant dough that pop when you poke them.

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I used this recipe but the instructions are easy enough to remember.

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1. Buy a can of dough.
2. Pop it.
3. Fold the dough over three times.
4. Cut into doughnut shapes.
5. Fry in hot oil.
6. Mix powdered sugar with milk to make a glaze and then drizzle drizzle.

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Note: according to the inventors of the internet, Cronuts have been around since 2013. I’m so behind.

Also, I have nothing fringe.

But these are delicious and super fast and luckily, provide ample time to answer questions regarding deer.

Maple Baked Lentils

It’s possible that J Man fancies himself an artist.

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Maybe artiste is a more accurate word.

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When he brought home this…masterpiece…, I had the hardest time stifling my laughter. Not only because it’s hilarious, but also because it reminded me of portraits that Great Grandpa used to draw.

Don’t get me wrong. Great Grandpa was actually a very talented artist, but he always struggled with teeth (which was ironic because he was a dentist for 50+ years) and the portraits he created of family members were somewhat cringe-worthy, if only for the questionable teeth.

The majority of my recent time in the kitchen has involved cookies, cookies, oh, and then there was the time I made cookies.

It’s a miracle our teeth don’t look like J Man’s example above.

But I apparently don’t stop with the sweet factor, even when it comes to lentils.

I made Maple Baked Lentils.

There is no picture because lentils are ugly.

There IS a recipe because I love you.

Also, a list of why you must make these now:

1. Super easy. Dump ingredients in a dish and bake.

2. So good. I mean, so good. I ate them steaming hot out of the oven. I ate them cold for lunch today because I couldn’t be bothered with warming them at work.

3. This recipe is super forgiving. As in, I put them in the oven to bake. The recipe calls for 90 minutes at 350. Then we got invited to the park with friends. We left. I forgot the lentils. We came back 3 hours later. The house had not burned down and the lentils, while slightly overdone, were still delicious.

4. Cheap. The most expensive ingredient is maple syrup, but you only use 2 TBS.

5. Fiber.

6. Protein.

7. Did I mention delicious?

I don’t see any health benefits of lentils that mention dental health, but certainly Great Grandpa would approve.

Also, I’m gonna get J Man some drawing lessons…

Maple Baked Lentils

Ingredients
1 cup lentils
2 cups water
2 TBS pure maple syrup
2 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS olive oil
1/2 tsp grated ginger root.
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
Salt and pepper

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a small/medium casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 90 minutes.

Lactation Cookies

To be clear, I’m NOT lactating, nor do I plan to lactate evermore. Two kids+my two hands=perfect.

Also, I’ve found a way to keep Matty B’s hands out of a baked good. Simply attach the word “lactation” and he won’t touch them with a 10 foot pole.

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A friend just had a baby. He might be the 2nd cutest baby in the world. (I think you know which two babies tied for 1st…)

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One of the most amazing things that I experienced postpartum was people bringing food to my house. What a blessing! I vowed to follow suit whenever possible.

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I found this recipe for lactation cookies and was super intrigued because they contain flax seed, coconut oil, and brewers yeast. All things that I love, but at least one of which (brewers yeast) I couldn’t imagine putting in cookies.

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It turns out that you can’t even taste the brewers yeast (unless it provides a slight salty flavor- note that there’s only 1/4 tsp of salt in the recipe) and the coconut oil makes them fabulous.

So fabulous that I kinda wish I was lactating so I had a genuine excuse to eat more of these.

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Jokes, jokes. How could I ever top these two babies? Do you see why it was a tie for 1st?