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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almond butter brownies

almond butter brownies

almond butter browniesALMOND BUTTER BROWNIES!!!  Yes, you heard me right, almond butter brownies, not chocolate fudge brownies, so I apologize for those of you that were looking for something chocolately, next time!  These are a bit of a healthier brownie, if there is such a thing as a healthy brownie. These brownies are made with 6 simple ingredients, almond butter, honey, an egg, vanilla, salt, and baking soda.  Yep, there’s not flour or sugar in these brownies and you honestly won’t miss the sugar or flour, as these brownies are gooey on the inside and a bit crusty on the outside. They’re super simple to whip up, (only takes 1/2 hour) super tasty, kid and co-worker approved (yes, my kids and co-workers loved these) and gluten-free to boot!

My friend Kimber introduced these brownies to my girlfriends and I on our recent girl’s trip.  We all absolutely loved them, and we agreed as we literally devoured the pan, that I needed to get this recipe posted on my blog sooner than later. I was super excited to bake these up and share the recipe with all of you, but I wasn’t excited to photograph them because although they taste great, they’re not the most attractive things to photograph.  So before I get to the recipe I thought it would be fun to show you two of the photographs that did not make it to the cutting room floor.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for May 18th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for May 18th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for May 18thI hope all of you moms out there had a fabulous Mothers Day. I seriously had one of the best Mothers Days yet.  It was a day filled with love and play from start to finish.  I started off the morning with huge hugs and cards and from both the kids, I went on an amazing run and then Zoe and I headed over to spend the afternoon in the sun watching Eli play baseball.

The coaches totally scored points with us moms.  They had the boys line up on the field with a rose in their hand, and they all chimed in at the same time and said, “Happy Mothers Day.”  I mean how adorable is that?   All of us moms ran down on the field and gave our cuties the biggest hugs!

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for May 11th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for May 11th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for May 11thHappy Mothers Day to all you moms out there!  I took this above picture on my run a few weeks ago because I was feeling loved, and just felt like drawing a heart in the dirt to express that feeling and symbolize the moment!  Running makes me feel like that, it makes me feel alive, free, full of appreciation for life and love!  I’m especially feeling the love today because it’s Mothers Day, and I’m grateful to be a mom to two of the most amazing kids in the world.  So today I’m celebrating them, and celebrating us…. 

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farro and chicken salad with dates and cranberries

farro and chicken salad with dates and cranberries

farro and chicken salad with dates and cranberriesIt’s official, Marin mama has been slacking on the blog.  I promised this recipe to you all last week and I never posted it, so I’m sorry!  I’m still trying to manage working full-time, making quality time for the kids and friends, as well as making sure I have some time to play and enjoy life in general, because at the end you have to enjoy all the fruits of your labor, right?  Life is a balancing act that I’m trying to figure out.  What I’ve learned lately is to let go of certain things that really don’t matter at the end of the day, and to try and not control life too much.  My big lesson this spring has been to let go, go with the flow, be open to new paths and opportunities and just play more. So, I will post when I can, and there might be months where I post weekly, and months where I only post twice. I know you’re all super chill with it all, and I totally appreciate it!  I’ve been meeting a bunch of you lately as I roam out and about Marin, and I have to say that I have some of the friendliest and supportive readers ever, so THANK YOU!  You all keep me motivated to get back on this blog!

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for April 13th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for April 13th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for April 13thYesterday the kids and I had a day in the city.  We had to go shopping for new spring clothes as well as a graduation and party dress for Zoe, so we decided to make a whole afternoon and evening out of it.  The shopping trip was a success as we found 2 dresses for Zoe, and Eli scored with a bunch of new spring clothes as well as these neon sneakers he’s sporting in the below photo.  Eli is sneaker obsessed, and the brighter the sneakers are the better.  He really wanted these red neon sneakers and has had his eyes on them for the past month.  Everytime we would go into Nordstroms he would grab these sneakers, come find me in the store and  give me the hard sell on why he needed to have them.  I have a set price for Eli when it comes to sneakers because he blows through them in about 2-3 months, but Eli really wanted these, so he chipped in $20 of his own money as a compromise.  As you can see from the photo below, he is one happy dude!

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for April 7th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for April 7th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for April 7thOk, I know I’m a day late here, but I took the weekend off from the blog and got out and played, as it was so gorgeous out! It’s totally ice cream eating weather, as you can see from the above photo of Eli and his buddy Isaac, and ice cream eating weather makes me crave the great outdoors, not being indoors plugging away on the computer.  So, because I was a slacker and played rather than worked this past weekend, this post is going to be short and sweet.  I’m going to dive right into the weekly menu, so you can all get started on your meal prep.  So here’s what I’m attempting to make up this week…

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ham and gruyere stuffed french toast

ham and gruyere stuffed french toast

ham and gruyere stuffed french toastEaster is just around the corner and this ham and gruyere stuffed french toast is the perfect entrée for Easter brunch or dinner.  Actually in my opinion, this stuffed toast is good anytime of year and anytime of day. I baked this up the other night for dinner and it was amazing, and needless to say it got the double thumbs up from both of the kids. Eli was literally licking his plate, of course he slathered his piece with maple syrup, but he was still licking his plate, and that makes any mom happy. Sometimes breakfast for dinner is the best!  This french toast is perfect for those that like a sweet and savory combination. To get the sweet, you just add some maple syrup.  I love the sweet and savory combination for breakfast or brunch, but for dinner I tend to omit the maple syrup and go for more of the savory route.  Eli on the other hand likes the maple syrup on all occasions.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for March 30th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for March 30th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for March 30thYes, that above photo is the start of something amazing I tell you.  I baked up some ham and Gruyère cheese stuffed french toast the other night for dinner (I will post the recipe this week) and it was amazing, and needless to say it got the double thumbs up from both of the kids.  I mean Eli was literally licking his plate, of course he slathered his piece with maple syrup, but he was still licking his plate, and that makes any mom happy.  Sometimes breakfast for dinner is the best!

So, it’s been a while since I posted a weekly dinner menu, (December 2013) but I figured it was about time for this series to come back.  I’ve run into so many friends and readers who really miss my weekly menu planning.  To tell you the truth, I’ve missed it as well.  Since I started working full-time, I’ve been running around like a crazy person trying to organize and menu plan, and to be honest, I haven’t been very successful, but now that I’ve gotten into a groove with my new job, I’m ready to get back into a groove with my weekly menu planning…. 

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