kale, spinach and basil pesto

Marin Mama dinner, Pastas, pesto, sauces 3 Comments

kale, spinach and basil pesto

Oh my gosh, this pesto is SO tasty, fresh and chunky that it’s seriously bowl licking and spoon licking good (yep, Zoe and I licked our bowls clean)! I’ve made this pesto up twice already and Zoe and I couldn’t keep our spoons out of the jar. We kept opening the jar taking a spoonful, closing the jar and then sneaking back for another spoonful, you get the picture…  We were totally digging this pesto. This pesto is chunky in texture from the roasted almonds and SO vibrant in color and flavor. It’s kid approved and can be paired with virtually anything, or even just eaten by the spoonful, because it’s that good.  After whipping this up, I may seriously never …

Barefoot’s weeknight bolognese

Marin Mama dinner, family favorites, Pastas, sauces, weeknight dinners 17 Comments

Barefoot's weeknight bolognese

Ok, so maybe this isn’t the best recipe to post the week after Thanksgiving since we’re all pretty much fooded out, but I’m posting it now because I know there are a lot of you who love and need easy family approved weeknight dinners. December is all about indulgence to me, so let’s go ahead and indulge, celebrate and eat to our hearts content!  Doesn’t that sound fun?  This is the perfect bolognese for those busy weeknights, as it only takes 45 minutes to pull together, and the sauce tastes like a sauce that’s been cooking on your stove top all day, not for just 30 minutes.  The orecchiette pasta is perfect because it really holds the sauce in those little …

vegetarian banh mi sandwich with sriracha mayonnaise

Marin Mama dinner, family favorites, lunch, meatless meals, salsas and dips, sandwiches, sauces, vegetarian 30 Comments

vegetarian banh mi sandwich with sriracha mayonnaise

I’m sure there are those of you that have never heard of a banh mi sandwich before, am I right?  You’re probably thinking what the heck is a banh mi sandwich.  Well, I didn’t know what one was either until this past spring when my friend Carolyn showed some photos on Instagram of her fixings for a banh mi sandwich.  Since then, I’ve seen these sandwiches popping up everywhere, it’s like my eyes were opened.  Banh mi is the perfect combination of french bread combined with Vietnamese ingredients like cilantro, pickled vegetables, and chilies.  Banh mi’s can be made with chicken, pork, beef, tofu, eggs and salmon and the sauces or spreads vary with each sandwich.  I chose to make …

avocado-tahini dip

Marin Mama after school snacks, dressings, family favorites, Marin mama's favorite things, salsas, salsas and dips, sauces, side dishes 35 Comments

avocado-tahini dip

This is the tale of the salad dressing that transformed into a dip.  It sounds like the start of a fairy tale don’t you think?   Except turning from a salad dressing into a dip doesn’t sound like a great transformation, (kind of like a prince turning into a frog) but it is, so it’s a story with a happy ending. It all began one afternoon when I was looking for a new salad dressing to massage into my kale.  I wanted to see if I could find another pantry staple dressing that I loved as much as my lacinato kale salad and my ricotta salata dressings.  I made up this dressing and tried it with the kale, but it was …

Nepenthe’s ambrosia sauce for burgers and fries

Marin Mama burgers & patties, dinner, sauces 9 Comments

Nepenthe's ambrosia sauce

Remember 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. Unfortunately, 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 …

basic tomato sauce

Marin Mama dinner, Pastas, sauces, vegetarian 26 Comments


Here’s an easy, family friendly, homemade and vegeterian tomato sauce that will feed a crowd, or at least feed your family for a number of meals. This sauce is really simple, but tastes hearty like a tomato sauce should.  It’s the perfect sauce to top a pizza, use in a lasagna, pair with meatballs, (turkey meatball recipe coming soon) top over gnocchi, spaghetti squash or your favorite pasta. I mean it’s so simple that you can really use it as a base for just about anything. This sauce is basically a pantry sauce, you may have to run out and grab a carrot or onion, but if you have a well stocked pantry, then you should have everything you need. Another great …

easy tomato sauce

Marin Mama dinner, Pastas, sauces 9 Comments


These past few weeks have not felt like summer at all.  I know the rest of the country is going through a heat wave, but here in Northern CA we are having some fall-like weather.  It’s foggy, cool and windy.  When the weather turns cool, I start looking for warm comforting meals.  I asked the kids what they wanted for dinner the other night, as they were huddled under the blanket, (we’re wimps here in Cali) and they both said pasta.  Pasta is our comfort food and we eat a lot of it in the fall and winter. I decided to check out my friend, Denise’s site for a recipe.  Denise is the one who taught my photography workshop.  Her site …

buffalo burgers with chipotle mayonnaise

Marin Mama burgers & patties, dinner, meats, sauces 16 Comments

buffalo burger with chipotle mayonnaise

Tomorrow is my kids’ last day of school!  Yippee!  Summer is officially here!  I have never been more excited for summer than this year.  It is time to kick back, sleep in, read trashy novels, hang by the pool for hours on end and get together with friends that we never seem to connect with during the busy school year.  Tomorrow I’m picking up the kids (swimsuit on) and heading to the pool for some much needed play time, and that much needed glass of wine, or two.   Summer in our house is all about burgers, salads and grilled foods.  It’s hot, so I don’t like to spend too much time in the kitchen with the oven or stove …

turkey burgers with cilantro-lime mayonnaise and kale slaw

Marin Mama burgers & patties, dinner, sauces 24 Comments

turkey burgers with cilantro-lime mayonnaise and kale slaw

You’re all in for a treat as you’re getting three recipes in one post here.  You heard me right, three recipes in one post!  I treat you well, don’t I?  Also, I want to let you know that all three of these recipes can be made ahead of time.  Now, that’s really treating you well. Lets start the talk with turkey burgers.  To be honest with you, I have never been a big turkey burger fan because most of the ones I’ve tried have either been dry or lacking in the flavor department.  What’s the point of eating a meat burger if it tastes like cardboard? When we do eat a meat burger, we use buffalo meat because it has 70% to 90% less …

chipotle shrimp tacos

Marin Mama dinner, Mexican, sauces, seafood, tacos 11 Comments


My friend Em wrote an amazing post on intuition and health and it got me thinking that we do tend to take our health for granted till it’s not there.  I know that when I’m feeling sick I crave feeling good again, I miss it, and when I do feel good again I feel so grateful and strong.  Health, love, peace and safety are my top priorities in life.  I feel blessed knowing my family is in great health, that I have lots of love and friends in my life and that I have a beautiful home that keeps my family and I warm and safe.  We can all get caught up wishing and looking for the next and greatest …

salmon with almond-lime yogurt sauce

Marin Mama dinner, sauces, seafood 8 Comments


Last week was a much-needed rest from the chaos of life.  It was a week full of sleeping in, cooking up new recipes, play dates for the kids (and me) and just all around relaxing.  It gave me a glimpse of what summer will be like, and I liked it! The only downer was that it was spring break and it felt like winter break.  Remember these pics from our February ski week?Well, there was none of that going on over this past week.  We were in our winter garb and raincoats until Saturday.  When I took this picture of the salmon above, the wind was gusting, it was 50 degrees and the parsley leaves were blowing everywhere (I took this …

lemon pesto, walnut pesto & basil pesto

Marin Mama sauces 12 Comments


 Lemon Pesto  Walnut Pesto  Traditional Basil Pesto Pesto, pesto, pesto, 3 cheers for pesto!  Pesto rocks!  Not only is pesto healthy, but it also has endless uses.  Top it over hot or cold pasta, throw it over some pizza dough and make yourself a green pesto pizza, spread it on some cold or grilled bread for a different take on garlic bread, top your favorite meat or fish with it.  You get where I’m going here, right?  Pesto is such a versatile sauce in the way it’s used and the way it’s made.  There is arugula pesto, parsley pesto, broccoli pesto (I have made this before and topped it on quinoa, that recipe later). Have you ever made your own pesto …

chickpea veggie burgers & tzatziki yogurt sauce

Marin Mama burgers & patties, dinner, lunch, meatless meals, most popular recipes, sauces, vegetarian, veggie burgers and patties 68 Comments

chickpea veggie burgers

I know this blog is about family friendly meals but I am also going to introduce you to “mommy” meals.  Mommy meals are meals that I typically eat for lunch while the kids are in school or on the weekends.  Mommy meals are nutritious, whole grain, chock full of vegetable meals.  I know most of these meals would not appeal to my kids yet so I eat them for lunch or dinner on those nights where there is an acceptable leftover for them.   Anyway, I have had Heidi Swanson’s cookbook, Super Natural Cooking for about a year.  I love this cookbook as well as her blog, 101 cookbooks.  She is a local gal, just 15 minutes from me (somewhere in SF), so …

cranberry orange sauce

Marin Mama sauces, side dishes 1 Comment

cranberry orange sauce

Thanksgiving is almost here and everyone needs a cranberry sauce to compliment their Turkey dinner, right?  This cranberry sauce is so simple to make and tastes 100 times better than the canned stuff.  I remember devouring the canned stuff as a kid each Thanksgiving.  I would peel open the can and dump out that big glop of gelled cranberry sauce onto the serving dish and call it a day.  Easy peasy right?  Well, yes, it was easy, but not so tasty, so move over canned sauce and say hello to the fresh stuff.   This recipe has been passed down from John’s mom, aka, mama mama.  She got the nickname from Zoe when she was 2 years old, and it …