5-minute roasted Brussels sprouts

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5-minute roasted Brussels sproutsI’m starting a new section on my blog labeled 5-minute recipes.  These are recipes that roughly take 5-minutes or less to cook, and who doesn’t love that!  This recipe along with my 5-minute hot quinoa cereal and easy overnight steel-cut oats are the first in the series of great 5-minute recipes that don’t actually taste like a 5-minute recipe. Let’s admit it, we’re all busy and looking for shortcuts in the kitchen, but shortcuts that don’t require the use of a microwave and don’t compromise quality and taste. Well, I found a winner here. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways I’ve found to roast Brussels sprouts, and honestly the tastiest.  These Brussels are charred, crispy and caramelized on the outside, and soft with a bit of resistance (not mushy) on the inside. Pure Brussels perfection for my taste buds.  All you do is set the Brussels cut-side down in a searing hot skillet and place them under the broiler to roast the tops, easy peasy.

This is a perfect and healthy side dish for the fall and winter months.  Between these sprouts and my 8-minute roasted broccoli, I’m all set for easy weeknight healthy sidedishes. I also used virgin coconut oil in this recipe, as it’s a better oil to use at higher heat temps, and gives these sprouts a touch of sweetness, perfect for the kiddos. You can use olive oil here as well, and add a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice after roasting, along with some parmesan to add a kick of flavor, like my friend Stacy does.  You could even be bad and toss in some crispy bacon or pancetta, the list goes on and on…

quick and easy roasted Brussels sprouts

5-minute roasted Brussels sprouts:

serves 4 as a side-dish

  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil, melted (this is the coconut oil that smells like coconut) or olive oil
  • fine sea salt

ingredients for quick and easy roasted Brussels sprouts_… 

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for October 5th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for October 5th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for October 5thFirst off, I need you to all know that this is totally not a Marin mama approved cereal.  I had to post this as my opening shot though because I thought it was hilarious that a somewhat healthy food blogger like me has a photo of their son giving the thumbs up to a box of Lucky Charms.  It just makes me chuckle.  Let me give you the background on why Eli is holding up a box of Lucky Charms.  Eli is turning 10 this week, (Happy Birthday Eli) and each year for his birthday he gets to pick out one sugar cereal to enjoy and consume over the next week or so, till it’s gone (it doesn’t last past 5 days). Last year he picked Krave!
DSC_0290The year before that he picked the classic Lucky Charms, and the year prior he picked frosted flakes.  You can see a trend here, and that trend seems to be leading to more sugar and more chocolate.  I don’t know how long this tradition will last, but it’s a tradition that Eli looks forward to each year, so I will keep it going for a long as he likes. Life is all about moderation and balance, and when the simple things make you happy, then you just have to go for it! You can see how this simple treat and tradition makes my boy light up, and when he lights up I light up. I mean look at that happy little guy, can’t get a bigger smile than that!

DSC_0001-2Before I move onto the weekly menu post, I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your sweet emails.  A lot of you have been checking in with me to make sure I’m ok, as I haven’t posted in a few weeks. Everything is good. I’m super slammed with work right now, which is great because I’m loving my job, and it’s wonderful to see our catering business grow.  I’m also dealing with some personal stuff, which is not fun, so I’m really trying to be present with the kids and myself right now.  At some point in the near future, I will share with all of you what’s happening in my life, but for now, I’m just keeping it on the lowdown. I really enjoy this blog, and I enjoy connecting with all of you, so I’m not going to stop blogging anytime soon, but my posts may be a bit more infrequent until I get back into a groove and rhythm again!  Thank you for all of your patience and support, I really do appreciate you all!

So, let’s move onto some healthier things that I’ve been enjoying lately!  I’m SO loving heirloom tomatoes right now.  I’ve been eating this below sandwich everyday for the past 2 weeks.  I’m topping one of my favorite breads, Dave’s Killer bread (for those of you that are local, you can get this bread at Paradise Foods or Whole Foods) with smashed avocado, heirloom tomatoes and some coarse sea salt. If I have leftover roasted chicken then I will add some of that to the sandwich. There’s seriously nothing quite like a ripe heirloom tomato! They honestly taste like candy, they’re so good!  Since they’re so amazing and ripe right now, I made a vow to use them this whole week in all of my recipes!  Luckily my kids like these tomatoes, because they’re going to be eating a lot of them this week.

Dave's Killer bread topped wtih smashed avocado, heirloom tomatoes and coarse sea salt

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almond flour pancakes

almond flour pancakes

almond flour pancakesOh my gosh, these pancakes are my newest breakfast obsession, (alongside my overnight steel-cut oats and my 5-minute hot quinoa cereal) and that’s strange coming from a gal who has never been a huge fan of pancakes.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the taste of pancakes, but I always felt like they were a breakfast indulgence and not the sort of breakfast that would provide me with fuel or the power needed for a trail run or long mountain bike ride. Also for some reason, pancakes totally zapped me of energy.  I would eat a pile of pancakes and within an hour I would want to take a nap?  Weird right?  Well, all of that changed when I tried these pancakes, not only are they a guilt-free breakfast treat, but they are packed with fuel to keep you going for hours.

A friend of mine surprised me with these for breakfast one morning before we were to head out for mountain bike ride.  I was a bit skeptical and nervous that I was not going to have any fuel to power up the mountain, and that I would fall flat within an hour, but you know what, I tore up the mountain and had energy to boot.  I was also full for hours, which is very rare for me because I’m a gal who eats a meal every 3 hours.

These are pancakes that you don’t have to feel guilty about eating because they’re made with almond flour, (which is basically ground up almonds) honey for the sweetener and coconut oil as a substitute for butter or vegetable oil.  They’re also lower in carbs than traditional pancakes, and gluten and dairy free as they’re made with almond flour and almond milk. Top these with some plain Greek yogurt, toasted almonds, fresh fruit and you have yourself one power house of a breakfast that not only tastes great, but will give you the fuel to power through your day.

almond flour pancakes… 

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for August 24th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for August 24th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for August 24thSorry I’m a bit late (oops, it’s 10:00 on Sunday evening) in my posting of the weekly menu today, but we were awakened at 3:30 in the morning by an earthquake, and needless to say we’re all a bit rattled over here.  The good news is that there wasn’t any damage and we’re all ok!  Whew!  I definitely don’t want to experience another one of those anytime soon.

So the kids and I took a mini vacation recently to Carmel Valley to visit our girlfriend Hilary and her family.  It was a wonderful mini vacation, and even though it was short, it totally re-charged my batteries.  The best part was that we all got to spend some quality time together, as we all bunkered down at Hilary’s casa for 4 fun-filled days!  Yep, hotel Hamilton is where we stayed, and the views and accommodations were amazing!  Thanks so much for having us Hilary. By the way,  I left a big tip for you in the guest room!  Eli was super psyched as he got to spend 4 days with his bestie, Sawyer.  These two boys have known each other since they can remember, and they are bonded like brothers.

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Anyway, we ventured down the coast to Big Sur for the day and had to hit one of our favorite restaurants, Nepenthe!  I’ve seriously been craving their tofu burger ever since we visited there last year, and I have to say it was totally worth the trip just to eat that burger. Here’s Eli giving me a smile right before he devoured his burger.  The gentleman in the background doesn’t look to psyched to be in the photo, or maybe he just wasn’t a fan of his burger ;)

IMG_0537I love this picture of the kids on the deck of the restaurant.  The burgers are amazing, but the view is even better.  It was a bit foggy, so I can’t really show you how majestic the views are, but trust me they’re truly breathtaking!  There’s just something so spiritual and calming about Big Sur. I mean look how happy and calm the kids look!

IMG_0526and check out the views of the California coast we got to see along the way….IMG_0500We also hit Earthbound Organic Farm for lunch one day, as I was told they had an amazing salad bar (no kale in sight, but that was ok).  The salad bar may be tiny, but it’s filled with the best of the best, and the beets were amazing, so sweet and cooked to perfection.  They were my favorite part of the salad, and I’m totally craving them now as I type up this post. Little Hadley is the perfect model to showcase the salad bar, don’t you think?  I mean how adorable is she with that HUGE carrot in her mouth, and yep, she ate the whole thing!  Go Hadley!!!

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grilled cheese with roasted broccoli

grilled cheese with roasted broccoli

grilled cheese with roasted broccoliThis is the BEST grilled cheese sandwich EVER, at least that’s what Zoe and I said as we devoured this sandwich. Adding roasted broccoli to a grilled cheese sandwich is genius, as it adds an extra punch of flavor and texture, and honestly makes you feel less guilty about eating a grilled cheese.  As one of my readers Samantha says, “can’t go wrong with grilled cheese, but when you add a green- it takes it to a whole new level.”  Samantha, I totally agree with you girl!  Tossing some brocoli into a grilled cheese is also a great way to sneak some veggies into your little ones, so for those of you that have some picky veggie eaters, you may want to give this sandwich a try.  It’s kid approved in my house!

Grilled cheese sandwiches are a staple in this house.  We eat them for lunch all the time, as well as dinner.  Gilled cheese is just the perfect accompanyment to a creamy soup, and in the fall and winter we eat a LOT soup.  I’m lucky because I have one of the best grilled cheese makers, Zoe!  Zoe is a pro when it comes to making a killer grilled cheese, and I will show you her simple trick later in this post.  All you will need is a cast iron skillet and the lid of a pan.  Come on, let’s make up a grilled cheese sandwich!

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roasted broccoli

roasted broccoli

roasted broccoliI thought instead of showing you all some fancy staged photo of a bowl of roasted broccoli, that I would show you my kids actually eating and liking it!  I know that if I hear about someone’s kids digging a veggie then I’m more inclined to make it up for my kids.  So, hopefully by seeing my kids enjoying this super healthy veggie, some of you may be more inclined to make this up for your troops!  I’m also letting you all know that this is not going to be a fancy post with jaw dropping photos, but instead it’s going to be a quick and simple post showing you all a quick and simple family approved recipe.  That’s how Marin mama rolls these days.  I’m a full-time working mama, working on some easy family approved recipes for you all!

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for August 3rd

marin mama's weekly dinner menu for August 3rd

marin mama's weekly dinner menu for August 3rdThat’s a picture of Eli and his peeps before they boarded the bus for sleep away camp.  I love the boy’s sneakers.  It’s all about sport shorts and neon colored sneakers!  Eli’s sneakers used to be this bright red neon color, but after a few weeks of playing in the dirt, they dulled out to a brownish red, so he laced them up some new neon yellow laces to add back a splash of color.  So, yes, Eli went to his first sleep away camp and LOVED it.  He came home exhausted and dirty, but he was begging to go back next year, so that’s a great sign. I also think it helped that he was with his 5 best buddies at camp and that they all shared a cabin together.

Here’ the letter he wrote to me from camp.  I absolutely adore how Eli uses the word “rocks” in 3 sentences. He loves that word almost as much as I love the word “awesome.”

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carrot-ginger dressing

carrot-ginger dressing

carrot-ginger dressingIt’s summer-time and that means lots of salads in my house.  I love summer salads because they’re just so easy to whip up, they’re healthy for the most part (unless you slather them with too much dressing) and they pair with just about anything.  The best part is that there’s no cooking involved, which is the perfect thing on a hot summer night.  I try to make my salad dressings from scratch when I can because homemade dressings are full of fresh ingredients, and I love that you have control over what’s going into your dressing.  With dressings you can add a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and come out with something that makes your greens or veggies taste phenomenal.  I love pairing a salad with our favorite summer pasta and some french bread, or keeping it simple and just adding some roasted chicken to the top.  Summer-time is about simple, light and refreshing meals.

Ina's summer garden pasta and saladThis dressing is a tiny bit sweet, but has a bit of a spicy kick to it from the ginger, and it’s vegan to boot!  It’s a wonderful dressing to toss in with some mixed greens, but also works well as well as a dip for fresh-cut veggies like sliced avocado, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower or sliced heirloom tomatoes (yum!). This dressing keeps well in a jar for up to a week, so you can make a batch of dressing and have a fresh salad every night of that week.

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cold pesto pasta with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes

cold pesto pasta with chicken and sundried tomatoes_

cold pesto pasta with chicken and sundried tomatoes_So I have this friend who is as obsessed with sun-dried tomatoes as I am with kale, and we all know how obsessed I am with kale, so you can only imagine. He puts sun-dried tomatoes in anything and everything, scrambled eggs, pasta, chicken dishes, cookies and brownies, you name it (just kidding on the last two, but I wouldn’t be surprised)!  Sun-dried tomatoes haven’t been in my pantry for the past couple of years, not because I’m not a fan, but I guess I sort of forgot about them.  Since I’ve been reintroduced to them, I’ve fallen in love with them once again.  They really add that extra punch of flavor to any dish, and I love their chewy texture.  I especially love them packed in olive oil, they’re so good that I could literally eat them out of the jar (and I have).  I think I’m becoming as obsessed with them as my friend, and who knows, I may be adding them to my next kale salad or topping them on my next pizza.

My friend’s obsession reminded me of one my favorite cold summer pastas, which yes, include sun-dried tomatoes.  I’ve seriously been making this pasta since 1994, and it’s still a pasta that I look forward to each summer.  The combination of pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives is amazing!  It’s the perfect pasta to bring to a picnic or potluck, and an easy weeknight dinner as it can be made ahead of time. I love it when I can come home after a busy day, open the fridge and have dinner all ready to go. All you have to do is pair this pasta with a salad and a baguette, and you have yourself the perfect meal for a hot summer night.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for July 6th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for July 6th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for July 6thIsn’t Eli such a cutie?  I love this picture of him posing with his new favorite yogurt drink, Slingshot!  Slingshot is actually a local product made and developed here in the Bay Area, which I think is pretty cool. The drink is pretty genius in fact, as there’s a little packet of goodies wrapped around the bottle that contains toasted oats, almond bits, chia seeds, honey and sunflower oil.  Eli thinks that the packet is the coolest thing and loves opening it and pouring into his yogurt.  This drink is packed with fiber, protein, live and active probiotics and Omega 3 fatty acids, so it’s a win win for any kid or adult in fact.  Anyway, I thought I would give a shout out to Slingshot because they’re a local company, and because Eli is such a huge fan!

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for June 22nd

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for June 22nd

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for June 22ndIt’s official, I have a high schooler now!   Zoe had her 8th grade graduation this past Thursday and there was not a dry eye in the house.  Seeing all of these kids that I’ve known since kindergarten walk down the aisle one by one to take their seats, blew me away.  They all looked all so grown up in their suits and dresses that I was in awe.  When did this happen?  When did my little pumpkin grow up into this beautiful girl I see today.  It seems like yesterday when she was toddling around the house.  It goes by so fast, so for those of you that have little ones, savor these days and just know that in a blink of an eye, they will be all grown up.  I’m absolutely loving watching her grow and each stage is amazing, but I do wish that time went just a bit slower…. 

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