Roasted Brussles Sprouts

roasted Brussels sprouts

roasted Brussels sprouts

How are you feeling about Brussels spouts?  Do they bring up childhood memories of being stuck at the dinner table for hours until you finished every last one?  Do you have memories of gagging each time you ate one?  I do!  I use to hate Brussels sprouts, especially ones that were boiled.  They were sodden and vaguely buttered and hard to chew.  Then I tried them roasted, and I was converted.  Roasting them takes away that bitter taste and brings out their nutty flavor.  I’m hoping to convert those of you that are Brussels sprouts haters to Brussels sprouts lovers.

OK, lets get started!  You don’t need much to make these;  just some olive oil, salt & pepper.  First wash up your Brussels sprouts and then pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.

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Trim the stem ends and remove any raggy outer leaves.  Then cut them in half from stem to top.DSC_0020

On a rimmed baking sheet, gently toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper.

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 Roast, tossing occasionally, until sprouts are browned and tender when pierced with fork, about 15 minutes.

roasted Brussels sprouts

Serve them up alongside your favorite dish.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bundt Bread

chocolate chip pumpkin bundt bread

chocolate chip pumpkin bundt breadI don’t know about you, but when my kids come home from school, they are HUNGRY! The first words out of their mouths are, “Hi mom, what’s for snack?”  I get it, they’re growing and had lunch a couple of hours ago, and so they need some fuel!  When Zoe gets home and smells something baking in the oven, she does her leap of joy and yells a big “Yippee!”  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Here’s a great fall afternoon snack, or anytime of the year snack.  It almost qualifies as a dessert, it’s that yummy.  I serve this up for the kids with a tall glass of milk, and after its devoured, I get that sigh of contentment and the rubbing of the belly!  I made a few variations to the original recipe to make it healthier.  The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. I’ve replaced it with 1/4 virgin coconut oil and 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce.  I’ve also tried it using 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1/4 cup unsweetened applause. I’ve also added in 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt at times to give it a bit more moisture.  All 3 variations have been wonderful,  so play with this bread and make it your own, and let me know your favorite way to enjoy it!  chocolate chip pumpkin bundt bread

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bundt Bread:

If you want to add a bit more moisture to this bread, then you can add in 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt to the wet ingredients.
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree – my favorite brand is Farmers Organic Pumpkin and I love that the cans are BPA free.  
  • 1/4 cup fresh-pressed virgin coconut oil, (the coconut oil that actually smells like a coconut) in liquid form (I show you how to melt the coconut oil below) or 1/4 cup vegetable oil – Note: the old recipe called for 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and if you like and want that version, then just use the 1/2 cup vegetable oil and omit the unsweetened applesauce below as well as the 1/4 cup coconut oil.  
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce 
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips – I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease up a Bundt pan.  I always use a paper towel and some room temp butter to grease up my Bundt pan.  Make sure that you grease the pan up along edges and middle.

ingredients for chocolate chip pumpkin Bundt breadMeasure out 1/4 cup coconut oil using a dry measuring cup.  Add the solid coconut oil to a small pan and turn the heat to simmer.  Simmer the oil, using a spatula to stir it occasionally, until it melts.  Set it aside to cool a bit.  It won’t have to cool too much as it won’t be that hot.

melting coconut oilWhisk together the 1 cup pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup applesauce, 2 large eggs, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon allspice and the 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice until well combined.Whisk together the 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda until combined and then add in the 1 cup of chocolate chips and give it another stir. A note about chocolate chips, my family prefers dark chocolate to milk chocolate, so we use these Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips.  They are amazing, and they do say that dark chocolate is good for you, so that may help take some of the guilt away.  Try them in your next recipe that calls for chocolate chips. Using a spatula or wooden spoon mix the dry into the wet until JUST combined. Spoon into the Bundt pan and even out slightly using a spatula.  Give the bundt pan a slam on the counter to release any trapped air and to help the batter get a bit more even. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 42-46 minutes.  Different ovens have different baking times, so the baking time is just an estimate here.

Baking tip: It’s hard to give an exact cooking time when it comes to baking because every oven, pan and even geographic locations, can command a slightly different cooking time. A great way to know when a cake is done, is to do the finger test as well as the standard toothpick test. To do the finger test, press your finger down gently in the middle of the cake, if it’s done, it should puff back up automatically on it own. If it stays dented, then the cake is not ready to come out yet. Also, a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean as well.Cool briefly and turn out onto a plate or rack.Enjoy this as a snack with a tall glass of milk, some tea or coffee, or add some vanilla ice cream and have it for dessert.

chocolate chip pumpkin bundt bread

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bundt Bread

Rating: 51

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bundt Bread

If you want to add a bit more moisture to this bread, then you can add in 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt to the wet ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree - My favorite brand is Farmers Organic Pumpkin and I love that the cans are BPA free.
  • 1/4 cup fresh-pressed virgin coconut oil (the coconut oil that actually smells like a coconut), in liquid form (I show you how to melt the coconut oil below) or 1/4 cup vegetable oil - Note: the old recipe called for 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and if like and want that version, then just use the 1/2 cup vegetable oil and omit the unsweetened applesauce below as well as the 1/4 cup coconut oil.
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips - I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease up a Bundt pan. I always use a paper towel and some room temp butter to grease up my Bundt pan. Make sure that you grease the pan up along edges and middle.

Measure out 1/4 cup coconut oil using a dry measuring cup.

Add the solid coconut oil to a small pan and turn the heat to simmer. Simmer the oil, using a spatula to stir it occasionally, until it melts. Set it aside to cool a bit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the 1 cup pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup applesauce, 2 large eggs, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon allspice and the 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice until well combined.

In another bowl, whisk together the 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda until combined and then add in the 1 cup of chocolate chips and give it another stir.

Using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix the dry into the wet until JUST combined.

Spoon into the Bundt pan and even out slightly using a spatula. Give the bundt pan a slam on the counter to release any trapped air and to help the batter get a bit more even.

Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 42-50 minutes. Different ovens have different baking times, so the baking time is just an estimate here.

Baking tip: It’s hard to give an exact cooking time when it comes to baking because every oven, pan and even geographic locations, can command a slightly different cooking time. A great way to know when a cake is done, is to do the finger test as well as the standard toothpick test. To do the finger test, press your finger down gently in the middle of the cake, if it’s done, it should puff back up automatically on it own. If it stays dented, then the cake is not ready to come out yet. Also, a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean as well.

Cool briefly and turn out onto a plate or rack.

Enjoy this as a snack with a tall glass of milk, some tea or coffee, or add some vanilla ice cream and have it for dessert.

http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2011/10/chocolate-chip-pumpkin-bundt-bread/

roasted red pepper and tomato soup

roasted red pepper and tomato soup
roasted red pepper and tomato soupOK, I admit, I am on a soup kick lately.  I love that I can make soup ahead of time and then re-heat it later for dinner or for lunch throughout the week.  Soup is just so uncomplicated, pure and so darn easy to make. Once you make a homemade soup, you will never go back to the canned variety.

I’ve been trying to eat seasonally and take advantage of all these amazing vegetables that are available right now.  While I was at the market the other day, I noticed these beautiful, enormous, organic red bell peppers.   We love red bell peppers raw, but have never tried them in a soup, so I was ready to experiment.  I’m so glad that I did because this soup was amazing.  It’s silky in texture and tastes honestly like roasted red peppers, hence the name.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup:

recipe from Dinner with Julie

  • 4 red bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise with seeds and membranes scooped out 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme - if using fresh thyme, make sure it’s chopped
  • 1 14oz. can diced or whole tomatoes, undrained – I used diced tomatoes
  • 1 liter (4 1/4 cups) vegetable stock or chicken stock- I used vegetable stock
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup sour cream (optional) - I added a little less than 1/2 cup here 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Wash the peppers and then cut them in half lengthwise.Cut the stem off with a pairing knife and scoop out all the seeds and membranes.  I use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds and membranes.Place the peppers cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with foil. Roast the peppers in the pre-heated 450 degree oven for about 25 minutes; until the skins are completely wrinkled and the peppers are charred, rotating the sheet if necessary for them to cook evenly.  Below is what mine looked like after 25 minutes.Let the peppers cool for a minute or two, and then remove them from the baking sheet and place them in a bowl, cover the bowl with foil or a plate, and let them cool for about 30 minutes. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and discard them, dropping the peppers back into the bowl.  In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion for 5 minutes, or until soft.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add in the chopped thyme, tomatoes with their juice, and chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a simmer.Add the red peppers along with any juices that have accumulated in the bowl. Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes.  Make sure to stir the soup every so often.After the soup has cooked for 20 minutes, add in the sour cream and some salt and pepper to taste. The soup is going to look a bit curdled here until you puree it. Puree with either a hand-held immersion blender or transfer soup to a blender and pulse until smooth.  

If you’re using a blender to puree the soup, make sure to wipe out the pot before adding back the soup.  Turn the heat to low and heat the soup through.  Give the soup a taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, serve warm. 

roasted red pepper and tomato soupServe the soup up with some popovers, some yummy bread or some warmed nann bread.  Enjoy!

leaner spaghetti bolognese

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leaner spaghetti bologneseSpaghetti bolognese is such a classic dish and the perfect comfort food.  I have changed up the classic and made it a bit healthier by substituting buffalo meat for the 1/2 pd each of ground beef and pork.  My family uses buffalo meat in place of ground beef in everything from burgers to tacos, you name it.

Buffalo has 70% to 90% less fat compared to beef and 50% less cholesterol; it’s also leaner than both pork and chicken and has fewer calories than all three.  On top of that, buffalo is higher in protein, iron and all the omega and amino acids. There are also no growth hormones, steroids, or sub-therapeutic antibiotics used.  You can research more on the health benefits of buffalo if you want.  I think for all of its nutritional benefits, buffalo meat is worth a try, wouldn’t you say?  You can pick up buffalo pretty much at any grocery store or Whole Foods.  If I know that I’m going to use the buffalo that night for dinner, then I will pick up some fresh ground meat.  Most of the time though, I pick up the pre-packaged variety because it does not have to be used right away, and I can have it handy in the fridge till I need it.

Note:  If you want to even make this dish healthier and carb free, you can substitute regular spaghetti pasta for quinoa pasta.  We tend to do that when we are all carbed out.  My kids love it and so do I because I feel like I am eating an extremely healthy meal.  

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leaner spaghetti bolognese:

serves 4 to 6

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped - see my tip below
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground buffalo meat –  if you want a traditional bolognese, you can use 1/2 pd ground beef and 1/2 pd ground pork
  • 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine - Sauvignon Blanc is a great choice
  • 1 14oz can crushed tomatoes in puree- I can never find a 14oz can so I get a 28 ounce and use 1/2 the can
  • 1/2 cup lowfat milk (1% or 2% milk)
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • shredded Parmesan cheese for serving

I usually prep all of my ingredients ahead of time, as it makes it easier when cooking the sauce to have it all ingredients handy and ready to go.  First chop up your onion and mince your garlic.  I find it really tedious to chop up carrots, so I peel and cut them into large chunks and throw them in my mini prep or food processor.
Easy peasy! In a dutch oven or large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat.  Once the oil is heated, add in the carrots, onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the buffalo, cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Isn’t the buffalo so pretty?  You will not find any fat coming off of this meat.Once the buffalo meat is browned, stir in the tomato paste; cook 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add in the wine and the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine.

Bring sauce to a simmer; cook partially covered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes to an hour.  Add in the 1/2 cup milk; simmer until completely absorbed, about 15 minutes more.

When the sauce is almost done, (I usually put the pasta in after I add the milk to the sauce) cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, according to package directions; drain.  Put pasta back in the pot; add the meat sauce and combine.Now its time to serve up your pasta!  Top the pasta with some shredded parmesan and pair it with a salad, garlic bread or a vegetable of choice!

leaner spaghetti bolognese

Kale, Pear & Orange Smoothie

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OK, I admit I have been OD’ing it on the spinach lately as I have been having my  kale and spinach smoothie  pretty much every day!  Its hard because its just sooo good, easy to make and transport, and I love the fact that I am getting a boatload of veggies in one serving.  I am not a “sit down” lunch person, so having a lunch that is transportable is key!!  I have heard that having to much spinach is not a “good thing” as it has tons of iron.  With that being said,  I have been researching and trying some other green smoothie recipes that have just kale in it.  

Kale, Pear & Orange Smoothie:

  • 1 cup green grapes
  • 1 orange or tangerine, peeled
  • 1/2 Bartlett pear or any pear in season
  • 1 banana, fresh or frozen
  • 2 to 3 kale leaves, preferably lacinato as it’s less bitter tasting
  • 1/2 cup water or coconut water
  • ice cubes to taste
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons flax seed
Just throw the above ingredients into a high powered blender and blend away!
Bottoms up!!

cauliflower soup

cauliflower soup
cauliflower soup
Its fall people and that means its time for to bring out those yummy comfort soups!  I made this soup yesterday, as I had a head of cauliflower that had to be used up.  This soup was super easy to whip up and required only 5 ingredients.  How easy is that?

I love this soup because it’s a creamy soup without the cream!  The cauliflower makes its taste creamy, so its warm and comforting without all that fat!  My family rates this soup a 10+.  My kids ask for this soup as when the weather starts turning cool.  I often serve this up with some couscous cakes or chickpea veggie burgers
cauliflower soup

Cauliflower Soup:

recipe from Smitten Kitchen
  • 1 medium sized head cauliflower - If you get to large of a head, then you may want to add a bit more chicken stock.
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped – I used a yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 quart (4 cups) low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock - I used chicken stock – Note:  if you use vegetable stock your soup will look browner than my photo, but it will taste the same
  • 1/2 cup finely grated or shredded Parmesan
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
Remove the leaves and thick core from the cauliflower and then rinse it.  I love rinsing my veggies in this strainer, especially when there is a lot to rinse at once.  
Coarsely chop the cauliflower and set it aside (coarsely chop means to just cut up the vegetable in random sizes).  The below photo is not that exciting, but you can see how the cauliflower is all different shapes and sizes.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat.  Once the oil is heated, add the onion and garlic.  Cook until softened, but not browned, about 5-8 minutes.
Add the cauliflower and stock and bring to a boil. 
Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the cauliflower is very soft and falling apart, about 15-20 minutes.

Below is how it should look.Remove from heat and, using a hand held immersion blender, puree the soup, or puree in small batches in a blender and return it to the pot. 

Tip:  If you’re using a blender, wipe out or use a spatula to get all the leftover pieces out of the pot, so you have a nice clean pot for the soup puree.  
Add the Parmesan and stir until smooth.  Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.  Keep warm until ready to serve.  Below is the finished product, doesn’t it look yummy?Top each bowl with a bit of parmesan and some freshly ground pepper.  I sometimes top the soup with some chopped fresh chives, and it tastes amazing, so give it a try sometime.

cauliflower soupI love making my soups on the weekends or during the day while the kids are at school, and then storing them till dinnertime or later that week.  It just makes dinner that much easier when all you have to do is re-heat some soup and add some warm crusty bread or a pre-made chickpea burger or couscous cake!   

Spinach Smoothie! Kid rated 10!

kidssmoothie
Want you kids to get more greens in their diet? Here is a smoothie recipe that is rated a 10 in this household, yes a 10.  I make this for the kids to have with their lunch on the weekend or just as a healthy after school snack.  This is similar my kale and spinach smoothie, but it doesn’t have the kale or the flax seed in it.  I did try to sneak in the flax seed one day, but the kids noticed and didn’t like it.  Oh well, I should be thankful that they love this smoothie though!  BTW, this just isn’t a smoothie for kids, John and I drink this all the time after the gym.  We just throw in 2 tablespoons of flaxseed in ours.

 Spinach Smoothie:

  • 1/2 cup cold filtered water
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 cup organic grapes
  • 2 fully packed cups of spinach - I really pack the spinach in, so I’m sure it’s more than 2 cups
  • 1/2 banana
  • optional for adults – 2 tablespoons flax seed

See, they are really drinking it and loving it.  I did not instruct them to pose for this picture!

A smoothie mustache is the sign of a good smoothie, wouldn’t you agree?

roasted cauliflower

roasted cauliflower

roasted cauliflowerWant to get your kids to try and love cauliflower?  Then try roasting it. We all want to get more veggies into our family’s diet, right?  Well, a few years back, I tried cooking cauliflower for dinner. I steamed it as you would any vegetable and it tasted OK to John and I, but my kids HATED it!  There was a lot of gagging going on at the dinner table that night.  So I took a break from cauliflower and went back to the old familiars like broccoli and green beans, but I really wanted to get some new veggies into our diet, so I was determined to find other ways to cook them.

I heard that roasting cauliflower brought it to a whole new level, so I decided to give it a try.  The response I got that night from the kids was way different then the one before. The kids were like, “This can’t be cauliflower, it tastes too good, what is it really?” I told them it was indeed cauliflower but that I cooked it a different way. From that night on they were hooked!  Roasting cauliflower intensifies its flavor, rendering a caramelized, crispy product. Tender, aromatic, and slightly sweet, oven-roasted cauliflower is a wonderful veggie accompaniment to any meal.  Give it a try and I bet your pickiest eater will love it!

roasted cauliflower

roasted cauliflower:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse kosher salt

Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.

Cut up your cauliflower into even sized pieces.

chopped cauliflower (1 of 1)Rinse and pat dry the cauliflower and put it on a rimmed baking sheet.  Season with a bit of olive oil and a few pinches of salt, toss to mix well.

Spread the cauliflower out on in a single layer.

chopped cauliflower (1 of 1)-2Bake, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is browned and tender when pierced with a fork, about 10-15 minutes.

This is what your cauliflower should look like when its finished!

roasted cauliflower on baking sheet

roasted cauliflowerPair it up with any entree or throw it into a pasta. We paired it below with a buffalo burger and kale salad.  

roasted cauliflower, kale salad and buffalo burger roasted cauliflower, kale salad and buffalo burger Have you tried roasted cauliflower? If not, you should give it at try and I bet you will become a fan!

Popovers :) Kid rated 10

popovers

popoversI just love fall.  When the air starts to get crisp and the nights get shorter, I crave afternoon chai tea, comfort food, a fire in the fireplace and my big soft blanket to nestle in.  One of my family’s favorite comfort foods is popovers.  When you come by my house and start smelling these in the oven, then you know fall is here. Popovers are a bit funny!  I mean look at them, they each have their own unique appearance.  Its like they’re having a competition to see who can rise the highest or popover the most.  Get it, popover?  Ha Ha, see I crack myself up sometimes.  

Popovers seem like they would be difficut to make, but let me tell you, they’re one of the easiest things to whip up, and you most likely have all the ingredients on hand at home. I’ve been making these for years, and they’re still a crowd pleaser.  I got this recipe from an old William and Sonoma catalog.  Remember when they use to send out their catalogs with some of their favorite recipes inside?  Well, that’s where I got this recipe from, and I have tried other popover recipes, but this is still my favorite and it’s the simplest. 

You just need 5 ingredients!  Yes, just 5, can you believe it?
Flour, butter, salt, whole milk & eggs.

Popovers:

Recipe from William Sonoma
Note:  Popovers are best when served warm.
makes 6 popovers or 12 mini popovers in a muffin tin
  • 2 extra large eggs, at room temperature 
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted – You’re going to use this to grease the pan
Note:  You’re going to pre-heat the oven once the popover mix has been combined.
In a mixing bowl with a wire whisk, blend together the 1 cup milk, 2 eggs, and one tablespoon melted butter until completely combined.
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Add the 1 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and blend until frothy and bubbly.
Now it’s time to pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Let the popover mixture rest while the oven is heating up. Note: Letting the mixture rest, gives the flour time to absorb the liquid and gives the popovers a better texture.

Put the empty popover pan in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes to warm up. I usually put my pan in when the oven temp reaches 400 degrees and then take it out when it reaches 450 degrees.

While the pan is heating up, melt the other 2 tablespoons of butter.

Take the popover pan out of the oven and divide the 2 tablespoons of melted butter between the cups. Just pour the butter into the tins and let it rest at the bottom. The butter will sizzle and brown, but that’s fine.

Whisk the batter one more time to froth it up again. Give it a good whisk!

Fill popover cups halfway with batter. Make sure that you pour an even amount in all cups.

I love this grand popover pan from Nordic Ware.  It may cost more than the normal popover pan, but it makes the perfect popover and they don’t stick to the pan. The pan is made of cast  iron, so it cooks up the popovers evenly.  I’ve had mine for 3 years now and I use it at least once a week, if not more, and it’s still looks brand new.   If you find yourself making popovers quite often, then I would invest in a good quality popover pan.  For  those of you that are local, Sur La Table carries this brand.Put the pan in the oven and bake the popovers at 450 degrees for 15-17 minutes until they begin to brown and rise. I usually set my timer for 16 minutes and that seems to be the prefect time in my oven.
Do not open the oven door during baking, as this will cause the popovers to deflate.

Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake the popover for another 15 minutes or until the popovers are brown and crisp.
Note: Finished popovers will be golden-brown, feel dry to the touch, and sound hollow when tapped.  Turn the popovers out onto a drying rack or plate to cool for a few minutes.

Note: Don’t leave the popovers in the tins, as the bottoms will get all wet from the butter.

Popovers rise up and come out differently each time, so don’t be weirded out if you see some strange looking ones.Popovers are the best when they’re fresh from the oven, but if you need to make them ahead, just warm them on a tray in a 250 degree oven until warm and crispy again, about 5 minutes.

Here’s a photo of what popovers look like when baked in a muffin tin.  They still come out beautiful.popovers made in a muffin tinMy kids don’t mind them cool as leftovers.  If I’m serving them up as leftovers for breakfast, I will either throw them in the oven to warm up, (if I have time) or I will throw one in the microwave for 10-12 seconds to warm up.  Eli absolutely loves these for breakfast warmed up with some jelly inside.  My kids are also addicted to a warm popover with Nutella inside, as it tastes like a chocolate croissant.  You can serve these up with just about any dish.  We love to pair them with soup, steak and chicken dishes. Serve a fresh batch of these to your kids as an afternoon snack or top them with some jam for breakfast. I wish computers had a smell button so you could smell how amazing these are.  Now, if you want a sweeter version of this popover, try some sugar-crusted popovers. They’re a cross between cinnamon toast, a sugar and cinnamon donut and a popover.  

Make these for breakfast, your family will thank you!Try these rosemary and sea salt popovers. These are my kid’s new favorite!

popovers with rosemary and sea saltI also love these lemon thyme popovers.

lemon thyme popovers

Popovers :) Kid rated 10

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Serving Size: makes 6 popovers or 12 mini popovers in a muffin t

Popovers :) Kid rated 10

Popovers are best when served warm.

Ingredients

  • 2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted - You're going to use this to grease the pan

Instructions

Note: You're going to pre-heat the oven once the popover mix has been combined.

In a mixing bowl with a wire whisk, blend together the 1 cup milk, 2 eggs, and one tablespoon melted butter until completely combined.

Add the 1 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and blend until frothy and bubbly.

Now it's time to pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Let the popover mixture rest while the oven is heating up. Note: Letting the mixture rest, gives the flour time to absorb the liquid and gives the popovers a better texture.

Put the empty popover pan in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes to warm up. I usually put my pan in when the oven temp reaches 400 degrees and then take it out when it reaches 450 degrees.

While the pan is heating up, melt the other 2 tablespoons of butter.

Take the popover pan out of the oven and divide the 2 tablespoons of melted butter between the cups. Just pour the butter into the tins and let it rest at the bottom. The butter will sizzle and brown, but that's fine.

Whisk the batter one more time to froth it up again. Give it a good whisk!

Fill popover cups halfway with batter. Make sure that you pour an even amount in all cups.

Put the pan in the oven and bake the popovers at 450 degrees for 15-17 minutes until they begin to brown and rise. I usually set my timer for 16 minutes and that seems to be the prefect time in my oven.

Do not open the oven door during baking, as this will cause the popovers to deflate.

Reduce the heat to 350 degrees* and bake the popover for another 15 minutes or until the popovers are brown and crisp.

Note: Finished popovers will be golden-brown, feel dry to the touch, and sound hollow when tapped.

Turn the popovers out onto a drying rack or plate to cool for a few minutes.

Note: Don't leave the popovers in the tins, as the bottoms will get all wet from the butter.

Popovers rise up and come out differently each time, so don't be weirded out if you see some strange looking ones.

Popovers are the best when they're fresh from the oven, but if you need to make them ahead, just warm them on a tray in a 250 degree oven until warm and crispy again, about 5 minutes.

http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2011/10/popovers-kid-rated-10/

Broccoli Lemon Pasta – Kid rated a 10

Broccoli Lemon Pasta - Kid rated a 10

Broccoli Lemon Pasta - Kid rated a 10Looking for an easy, family friendly, one-bowl pasta dish?  Look no further because this pasta fits the bill.  This is my weekly go-to pasta because it’s super easy to make (I could literally make this blindfolded) and it’s a one-bowl meal. It’s one of those pastas that my kids request often and I happily make.  It’s our family’s favorite comfort food.

Zoe often brings the leftovers to school for lunch and I now have to pack a huge container as all her friends all want a forkful.  This pasta is the dinner of choice at all sleepovers.  You have to believe this is good if a bunch of 12 year olds are preferring a bowl of broccoli pasta to pizza!

Broccoli Lemon Pasta:

recipe from Barefoot Contessa
serves 6

  • 4 broccoli heads or 3 bunches of baby broccoli – use as much broccoli as you want here, the more the merrier
  • 1 box of your favorite twisty pasta – we like to use cellentani
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 garlic cloves)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground pepper (for the grown ups)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pinenuts or toasted walnuts

 

I love to prep all my ingredients ahead of time so they are ready to go when needed.  Wash and chop up the broccoli into small florets, zest the lemon, mince the garlic and squeeze your 1 tablespoon lemon juice; set aside in small bowls.  I put the lemon zest and minced garlic into the same bowl because they both get used together later.  Get out a small glass measuring cup and add the 2 teaspoons of salt and set aside.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil for the pasta. Below are two ways to cook the broccoli.  Pick the one that works best for you.

Put your broccoli in a steamer over about and inch of water (or however you steam your broccoli). Put the lid on and steam away.  I like to steam my broccoli while the pasta water is cooking so I get it out of the way.  We like our broccoli to be a bit underdone so it has a bit of a crunch.  You want to make sure not to overcook or undercook it.  Once my broccoli is cooked, I pour it in a bowl and put it aside.

Here’s my new favorite way to cook up the broccoli or baby broccoli. I throw the broccoli in for the last minute of the pasta’s cooking time. So, if the pasta cooks for 8 minutes, I throw the broccoli in at 7 minutes and then drain the pasta and broccoli together.  NOTE:  If one minute seems too short then throw it in for the last two minutes.  One minute definitely works for baby broccoli and broccolini.  Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium low heat.   Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and lemon zest and cook for about 1 minute.  Pour this mixture into the glass measuring cup (the one the salt is in) and then add in the tablespoon of lemon juice, mix the ingredients together.Once your pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the bowl that the broccoli is in.  Add the lemon mixture (see above) and mix everything up together really well so all the pasta and broccoli is coated with the lemon mixture.  Serve the pasta up into individual bowls.  I make sure that each bowl gets a good amount of broccoli and then I add the pasta.  I top the kids pasta off with some freshly shredded parmesan and I add freshly ground pepper and toasted pine nuts to John’s & my bowl.  The pepper just adds a bit of flavor and the pine nuts add a nice nutty almost meaty sort of crunch.

Broccoli Lemon Pasta - Kid rated a 10The kids rate this dish a 10!  The broccoli tastes amazing as the lemon gives it such a nice flavor and takes away the bitterness.  I can honestly say that I’m not the biggest broccoli fan when it’s just steamed, but I can eat a whole bowl of broccoli when its made this way.  You might even want to make this lemon sauce and just add it to a mess of broccoli one night.

I hope this pasta becomes a family favorite in your house.

Broccoli Lemon Pasta – Kid rated a 10

Broccoli Lemon Pasta – Kid rated a 10

Ingredients

  • 4 broccoli heads or 3 bunches of baby broccoli - use as much broccoli as you want here, the more the merrier
  • 1 box of your favorite twisty pasta - we like to use cellentani
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 garlic cloves)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground pepper (for the grown ups)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pinenuts or walnuts

Instructions

Prep all of your ingredients. Wash and chop up the broccoli into small florets, zest the lemon, mince the garlic and squeeze your 1 tablespoon lemon juice; set aside in small bowls. I put the lemon zest and minced garlic into the same bowl because they both get used together later.

Get out a small glass measuring cup and add the 2 teaspoons of salt and set aside.

Below are two ways to cook the broccoli. Pick the one that works best for you.

Put your broccoli in a steamer over about and inch of water (or however you steam your broccoli). Put the lid on and steam away. I like to steam my broccoli while the pasta water is cooking so I get it out of the way. We like our broccoli to be a bit underdone so it has a bit of a crunch. You want to make sure not to overcook or undercook it. Once my broccoli is cooked, I pour it in a bowl and put it aside.

Here's my new favorite way to cook up the broccoli or baby broccoli. I throw the broccoli in for the last minute of the pasta's cooking time. So, if the pasta cooks for 8 minutes, I throw the broccoli in at 7 minutes and then drain the pasta and broccoli together. NOTE: If one minute seems too short then throw it in for the last two minutes. One minute definitely works for baby broccoli and broccolini.

Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and lemon zest and cook for about 1 minute. Pour this mixture into the glass measuring cup (the one the salt is in) and then add in the tablespoon of lemon juice, mix the ingredients together.

Once your pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the bowl that the broccoli is in. Add the lemon mixture (see above) and mix everything up together really well so all the pasta and broccoli is coated with the lemon mixture.

Serve the pasta up into individual bowls. I make sure that each bowl gets a good amount of broccoli and then I add the pasta. I top the kids pasta off with some freshly shredded parmesan and I add freshly ground pepper and toasted pine nuts to John's & my bowl. The pepper just adds a bit of flavor and the pine nuts add a nice nutty sort of meaty crunch.

http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2011/10/broccoli-lemon-pasta-kid-rated-10/

Kale & Spinach Smoothie!

kale and spinach smoothie
kale and spinach smoothie For those of you that want an on-the-go vitamin packed smoothie, here’s my favorite.  It’s my go-to smoothie, and I always feel great after drinking this because I know that I got 2 cups of spinach and 3 kale leaves in one drink.  It’s nice to be able to drink your veggies once in a while, especially when life is busy and you don’t have time to cook them up in the kitchen. Green smoothies are great to have as a mid-morning or post workout snack, on-the-go lunch or breakfast.  I usually need a bit more than a smoothie for lunch, so I usually pair it with a slice of toast topped with almond butter.
DSC_0005

Kale & Spinach Smoothie:

  • 3/4 cup cold filtered water or coconut water
  • 1 cup organic grapes
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh pineapple - if you’re using fresh, then you will want to add some ice cubes till you get to the desired consistency
  • 2 cups of spinach – I really pack it in, so its 2 full cups
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2-3 leaves dinosaur or lacinato kale – rinsed and de-stemed.  Here’s a post on how to de-stem kale.
  • OPTIONAL – 2 tablespoons of flaxseed – it’s optional, but why not add more nutrients to your smoothie!

Here’s the BEST blender in the world, Vitamix!  This seriously has been one of my favorite kitchen investments!  It is pricey, around $500, but you can mix anything in it from smoothies to soups.  I’m totally getting my money’s worth as I am making a smoothie every day for myself and most days for my hubby and kiddos!  The below picture is what the smoothie looks like before its blended.

DSC_0008Blend away and you get this.

DSC_0009It makes about 18 ounces so feel free to cut the recipe in half if you want less. I usually take it on- the-go in my Lifefactory bottle. If your smoothie is too thick, then just add a bit more water to thin it up a bit.

DSC_0022Who knew that drinking your veggies could look and taste so GOOD!

Don’t have kale in the house?  Then make this spinach smoothie. It’s just as good and is one of my kid’s favorite smoothies.

kidssmoothie