Nepenthe’s ambrosia sauce for burgers and fries

Nepenthe's ambrosia sauce

Nepenthe's ambrosia sauceRemember that tofu burger that I raved about having at Nepenthe in Big Sur?  I swear it was the best tofu burger that I’ve ever eaten.

IMG_4230Unfortunately, I  didn’t find the actual tofu burger recipe yet, but I’m still on the hunt. I did find the recipe for their amazing ambrosia sauce that they slather all of their burgers with, as well as serve up with their shoestring fries. We all devoured and raved about this secret sauce. The kids loved it, the in-laws loved it, and John and I loved it. It gave each of our burgers a pop of flavor, and was also a great and addicting dipping sauce for our fries. I replicated the sauce at home and honestly couldn’t believe how simple it was. We served this sauce up on a thin, lean burger patty and used the extra sauce to dip our onion rings into. My kids said that this sauce made their burgers, and the sauce turned their boring old baked onion rings into a gourmet experience. Seriously, it’s a simple 3 ingredient sauce that will give some real flavor to your next beef or buffalo burger. Burgers and ketchup equal boring, but burgers with ambrosia sauce equal flavor.

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chicken enchiladas with tomatillo salsa

chicken enchiladas with tomatillo salsa

chicken enchiladas with tomatillo salsaI’m so excited to share these enchiladas with you. I made these up last week and my family LOVED them.  I mean John kept exclaiming to me how good they were. These are truly the perfect spring or summer enchilada, because they’re filled with chicken and fresh vegetables and topped with a light tomatillo salsa. The tomatillo salsa is a light and refreshing change from the normal heavy enchilada sauce that you think of when you hear the word enchiladas. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good enchilada sauce, especially the pumpkin sauce I use on our pumpkin enchiladas, but this is a nice change and flavor for spring.  These enchiladias are so light and refreshing that we each ate two!  Yes, we were piggies, but we didn’t feel bad at all. Sometimes you just have to savor the moment and savor the food.

I chose to roast up chicken breasts instead of using a rotisserie chicken because we’re not fans of dark meat, but feel free to use a rotisserie chicken. To make these enchiladas an easy weeknight meal, all you have to do is pre-cook and shred the chicken (or just use a rotisserie chicken) and make the salsa ahead of time. Then come dinner time, all you have to do is sauté a few veggies, assemble the enchiladas, and throw them in the oven for 10 minutes. At that point you truly have a 30 minute meal. Easy peasy, right? You could even substitute the tomatillo salsa with a store bought mild green salsa if you wanted, though I really think this salsa is the bomb!  I actually roast and shred the chicken the night before or earlier that day and then make the salsa while the chicken is roasting.  That way I take care of two components of the meal. Hey, I’m always looking to cut time at dinner as well. Please don’t be intimidated by all the ingredients or instructions below, these are truly a simple enchilada to throw together.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for April 21st

weekly menu for april 21

weekly menu for april 21You’re probably looking at this photo and scratching your head wondering why I have another birthday photo of Zoe. Wait, you didn’t know that we celebrate birthday’s monthly in the Grandy house? I mean doesn’t everyone do that? Ha, I’m kidding (though that might be a nice thing). Zoe had a belated birthday party yesterday. I’m finding that as the girls get older, the party planning gets harder, because the kids are involved in so many activities that it’s hard to coordinate a day or time where all the girls can attend. Even though Zoe planned this party in March, there were sadly still some girls that couldn’t make it. But if we kept holding out till every girl could make it, then the party might roll into next year. Kids are just plain busy these days. So let’s get back to the party, by request, I made our favorite chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and we decorated the table in a very girly and spring-like pink and green theme (my two favorite colors).

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Thai style chicken burgers

Thai style chicken burgers

Thai style chicken burgersBurgers are a staple in our house come spring and summer. To me, burgers say spring is here, and summer is around the corner. They make such an easy weeknight meal because all you have to do is pair them up with a side salad or vegetable, and voila, dinner is served. We love all types of burgers from turkey, chicken, to buffalo and veggie. I’m always on the hunt for a new burger recipe to add to our recipe box. I’m currently in the process of testing some new veggie burgers, so for you vegetarians, stay tuned.

I saw this chicken burger in Gwyneth’s new cookbook and decided to give it a try. I thought if Gwyneth likes this burger, then I’m sure I will as well. I became a fan of turkey burgers last year and figured why not try a chicken burger. I mean there really isn’t that much difference between the two meats, right? Turkey and chicken burgers get a bad rap for being dry, but I find that when you mix the turkey or chicken with some spices, onions or cheeses, then you get a nice flavorful and juicy burger. This chicken burger is a lighter and leaner burger for those nights where you don’t want a heavy cheesy burger. This burger is chock full of flavor from the garlic, red chili and shallots. We of course love it paired with our favorite burger condiment, cilantro lime mayonnaise. This mayonnaise really brings out the flavor of the cilantro in the burger.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for April 14th

weekly dinner menu

weekly dinner menuHello dear readers! Marin mama is back! Back to the reality of life after spending last week in the magical world of Disney, sigh. We had the best family vacation and I’m happy to be home after a week of play and fun, but yet there is that part of me that still longs to be on vacation where there is no routine, no laundry and no schedules, just play and freedom. Vacations are just good for the soul and something we all need to do more often. I’m reminding myself of that as I’m typing away at this post. So last week we took a family road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway (I’m warning you that this post is chock full of photos). We loaded up on Monday and spent the day and night in Carmel with John’s parents. On Tuesday we slowly made our trek down to Santa Barbara (our pit stop on the way to Disney) We stopped at Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur for lunch (thanks Zirpolli family for the fabulous recommendation).  We sat outside and got to enjoy this amazing view from our table.

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carrot, grapefruit and ginger juice – no juicer required

carrot, grapefruit and ginger juice - no juicer required

carrot, grapefruit and ginger juice - no juicer required I know, I’m a day late in posting and I’m not doing my usual weekly menu, Sorry! I know there are those of you that rely on the weekly menu for dinner ideas, so I promise I will be back with that next week. This week I’m taking a bit of a blogging vacation, as my kids are on spring break and I’m going to spend quality time with the family and re-energize and re-charge (I’m so in need of some re-charging). I didn’t want to leave you all hanging for a week without a recipe, so I’m going to show you this simple, 3 ingredient juice that you can make without a juicer or with a juicer if you have one!  Yippee!

Remember when I showed you all how to make a mean green juice without a juicer?  Well, I’m showing you another one of my favorite juices. This juice is both sweet and sour with a zesty and spicy kick to it from the ginger. I love downing one of these after a morning workout, as it reenergizes me and puts a kick in my step. John loves to have this in the morning before he heads off to work, as it wakes him up. This juice is packed full of fiber and chock full of vitamin C, and who doesn’t like or need a bit of that this time of year. You can make this juice in your juicer, but if you don’t have a juicer, don’t fret, I will show you how to make this juice without one.  Ok, let’s get this party started!

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5 minute hot quinoa cereal

5 minute hot quinoa cereal

5 minute hot quinoa cerealOk, here’s another quinoa cereal that I tell you is super simple to whip up, like 5 minute simple. I love my other quinoa and steel-cut oat cereal, but I have to plan ahead the night before in order to make it, and sometimes I just want to wake up and have some hot cereal, like NOW!  I’m not the type of person who likes to fuss a lot when it comes to breakfast.  I like to have my coffee and cereal ready within 10 minutes of waking. That’s just how I roll. I’m finally getting tired of my traditional cold cereal fix (after 20 some years) and have been experimenting with some new hot and healthy (ooh, I really like the sound of that) cereals. I recently saw these quinoa flakes (see below photo) at the grocery store (in the cereal section, next to the oatmeal) and decided to try them. I mean the package said it could be ready in minutes, and that sentence alone sold me.

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