Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for November 2nd

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for November 2nd

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for November 2ndSee the artsy photo of the above juices? That was me attempting to go on a mini one-day juice cleanse!  Maybe you didn’t catch the word attempting, because I attempted, but failed my one-day juice cleanse.  Yes, Marin mama failed a one-day juice cleanse. LAME!my mini juice cleanse failureZoe and her friend Madelaine came home as I was taking a photo of the juices for a future blog post, and they didn’t think that my cleanse looked too appetizing.  Zoe’s like, “really mom, you’re going to drink all of these juices? Have fun and good luck!” She didn’t think I would make it through the morning because she knows how much I love and crave my morning oats and coffee!… 

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for December 1st

weekly dinner menu for December 1st

weekly dinner menu for December 1stHappy December everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah to those of you celebrating Hanukkah!  I can’t believe that we only have 25 days till Christmas. I haven’t even begun my Christmas shopping or even thought about ordering or putting together our Christmas cards. I’m just accepting that I’m one of those last-minute gals, even though every year I say to myself that next year I’m going to start my cards and shopping early, I never do.   I have come to admit and accept that I’m just a procrastinator. So check out this picture of the kids, it was from last December.  I can’t believe how much the kids have changed within a year.  I mean look at Eli’s face, he still has his baby face here and baby teeth!

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for November 24th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for November 24th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for November 24thI almost didn’t publish a weekly menu this week, as it’s a holiday week and I know most of you are just concentrating on what to make for Thanksgiving and are probably in vacation mode, but I’m a creature of habit, so I’m just going to post one anyway for those of you that are interested.  I mean Thanksgiving is on Thursday and we still have to cook Sunday through Wednesday, right?  BTW, if you’re eyeballing that above cranberry sauce, I have the recipe on my blog.  It’s super easy to whip up and tastes so much better than the canned variety. It also makes a great hostess gift. We like to put the cranberry sauce into little glass jars, tie them with a cute bow and give them away throughout the holiday season. Oh, for those of you that are interested in trying to eat a bit healthier, I have a recipe for chia pudding embedded in this post, so you’re not only getting a weekly menu, but a recipe as well.  Bonus!  Oh, and I’m also sharing with you some of the healthier things I’ve been trying to eat for lunch as well, so welcome to the world of Jackie and her attempts at trying to eat healthier throughout the day.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for November 10th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for November 10th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for November 10thSo I’m happy to say that I did much better on keeping in line with my weekly dinner menu this past week.  Actually Zoe was the one who made me stick to it.  She took a look at Sunday’s weekly menu post, and was so giddy at what I was planning on making for the week.  She couldn’t wait for the buffalo burgers with the chipotle mayo. Oh my goodness, those burgers were so good. We all seriously stopped speaking as we ate. I put in 1/2 cup of sharp grated cheddar cheese into the patties, topped them with the chipotle mayo, put the burger between two grilled brioche buns, and it was pure burger bliss.  BTW, if any of you are wondering what’s in the top photo, it was my lunch on Tuesday.  I had a lemon and thyme popover (recipe soon) and a spinach power smoothie.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for November 3rd

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for November 3rd

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for November 3rdSo I want to start out this post by making a confession to you all.  I can’t and don’t always follow my weekly menu. There are some weeks, like last week, where life is just too hectic and I don’t even have time to hit the grocery store. Last week the Italian wedding soup that I was craving on Sunday never got made. Our Sunday was filled with soccer and baseball games, as well as a soccer party, and by the time we all got home, we we’re wiped, so we just opened the fridge and had a dinner of leftovers.  On Monday I had a meeting for a new work venture I’m starting, so I didn’t even have time to hit the grocery store.  Eli had a family baseball game and Zoe had dance, so I ended up feeding her a boxed pasta from Annie’s, and John and Eli picked up dinner on the way home.  Zoe looked at me as I made up the pasta and laughed because she hadn’t had that pasta in years. I felt frazzled and stressed and realized that if I’m going to work outside the home a bit, then I really need to come up with a better plan, get more organized as far as stocking my fridge and pantry, so when those crazy nights come up, I have a pantry and fridge full of  items that I can toss together for a satisfying and tasty meal.  The reason I’m telling you all this is because I don’t want to ever come off as someone who has it all together, because I really don’t.  I get frazzled and stressed and feed my kids boxed pasta once and while and that’s ok!  We have to make short cuts in life once in a while to keep our sanity, right?   As much as I preach about keeping a well stocked pantry and fridge, I don’t always follow my own advice, and sometimes I need reminders like last week to get my game on again, so game on!

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for October 27th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for October 27th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for October 27thSurprise, surprise, I made up another kale salad this week. My girlfriend Carolyn sent me the recipe and I just had to try it. You all know that I just can’t resist new kale recipes.  It’s a kale salad with roasted almonds and Brussels sprouts. It was so good and I promise to make it this week so that I can photograph it and get it out to you all.  I’m think I’m going to make up this salad along with my kale salad with pear and aged gouda for Thanksgiving.

So last weekend Eli and I took a road trip along with my friend Yvonne and her boys to Carmel Valley, to visit our friend Hilary.  Hilary had moved from Marin to Carmel a few months ago and we were missing her tons, so we headed down for the night.  I had to take a photo of the back of my car as we were heading out.  Yep, this is how Yvonne and I pack for a night away.  It looks like we’re packing for a week long trip instead of just a night (#packratmamas).  Mind you there were 5 of us, but still!

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for October 20th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for October 20th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for October 20thEli is all smiles in the above picture because he’s wearing the jersey of his soccer idol, Messi.  It’s all about Messi right now in Eli’s world.  Honestly, I didn’t know who Messi was until 2 weeks ago, but now I do, and I bet there will be many more “Messi’s” in Eli’s world as the years go on.  So as you all know, Eli turned 9 last week!  We had his birthday party last Sunday and I have to say that it was a blast, but it was also exhausting. Sixteen boys is a lot to manage and I’m so glad that we had his party at a park, because a park is the perfect place for 16 boys to get their ya ya’s out.  I only got 2 photos of the whole party, can you believe it?  Those boys were too quick for me to get any sort of photo.  They were too busy playing kickball, soccer and four-square that I only managed to get 2 pretty lame pictures. I got a quick photo of Eli’s cake before it got devoured.  I made the pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting and it was the perfect cake as it fed all those boys. I didn’t want to mess up the frosting, so I put a large rimmed baking sheet under the cake pan and then covered it with another large rimmed baking sheet and just taped down the sides so it didn’t move. It kept the cake fresh and made it so easy to transport!  … 

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for October 13th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for October 13th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for October 13thHappy Birthday to my little man!  We now officially have a 9-year-old in the house!  Oh yeah!   We celebrated Eli’s special day by making our family’s favorite cake for dessert, chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting.  Since Eli’s birthday is in October he always asks me to make a Halloween themed cake.  This year we added some grave stones complete with dirt and bones and a marshmallow ghost.  This cake is homemade and looks homemade, but it’s full of love.  I got a quick picture of the family posing with the cake before Zoe and John ran off to Zoe’s soccer practice. These are the only pictures you will see of the cake because it we brought it with us to DJ’s, and left the rest of the cake there for the staff to devour and enjoy. … 

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for October 6th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for October 6th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for October 6thI’m just feeling an overwhelming sense of gratefulness and giddiness. Do you ever have days like that?  Days where you just feel grateful for life and all of its blessings?  I’m ever so grateful for health and for having an abundance of love in my life.  I’m grateful for the love from my family, friends and YOU my wonderful readers, who stop me to say hi at the grocery store or take the time to write a super sweet comment or email.  You all keep me motivated to keep this blog going.  Seriously, I keep blogging because you all keep reading, plain and simple, so THANK YOU guys!  … 

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for September 15th

Marin mama cook's weekly dinner menu for September 15th

Marin mama cook's weekly dinner menu for September 15thThat was our dinner the other night and it was so good!  I had a nice glass of Rose from Spell Estates, a vegeterian banh mi sandwich and some kale salad.  As you can see, I finally made and photographed those vegeterian banh mi sandwiches so  I will be sure to post the recipe this week.  Yaaay!  It felt good when I got to check that recipe off my to-do list.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for September 8th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for September 8th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for September 8thYep, that’s a 20 pound salmon that Eli caught last week and that’s what we had for dinner 3 nights in a row.  So you can basically say that we are all salmoned out (not really a word, but let’s go with it).  Eli and John went fishing on Monday with our neighbor, Captain John of New Rayann Sport Fishing.  Captain John was kind enough to take Eli and John along on a fishing trip, as he heard that fishing was one of Eli’s favorite things to do.  It was a long day as they set out at 5:00 in the morning and didn’t get home till 5:30 that evening.  I had two happy, but tired boys when they got home.  Here’s a picture of Eli by the Golden Gate Bridge as they were starting out in the dark.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for September 1st

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for September 1st

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for September 1stThis past week was all about love, as John and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary on Friday!  I can’t believe we’ve been married 16 years, but I’m so happy with the life that we’ve created together.  We followed our dreams and moved out to California a week after we got married, a few years later we bought a house and we’re now having a blast raising two wonderful kids.  We’re now even talking about adding a puppy to the mix this spring.  I mean why not, why not make the family even bigger, you’ve got to live a little, right?  Yes, there have been ups and downs, marriage and life are not always rosy, but at the end of the day, I feel blessed to have John as my partner in life and blessed at this amazing family we’ve created together.  Family rocks and one of our favorite sayings is, “Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind.”

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for August 25th

weekly dinner

weekly dinnerI apologize that this post is late today, but last week was one of those crazy busy, non-routine weeks, where it was hard to get a grasp or handle on any one thing.  I felt like I was running on a hamster wheel, but not getting anywhere.  Do any of you have weeks like that? There were also a few big unexpected hiccups along the way that I would rather not go into, blech. I’m sincerely hoping that we get some better juju this week, because we need it.  I did have some happy blog successes the past few weeks.  Bon Appetit featured my citrus-marinated photo on their Facebook page as well as on their website.  The Kitchn featured my pesto-yogurt drumsticks on their delicious links page and the Huffington post featured my grilled bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes.  That was all good and happy news for the blog, so I’m grateful for that.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for August 18th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for August 18th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for August 18thIsn’t this picture hilarious?  Yep, that’s my goofy Minnesota family.  We just returned from a wonderful trip to Minnesota to visit John’s parents, brother, sister and all their kids. We wanted to get some photos of the family while we were there, so John surprised us all with these mustaches. They were a hit and really made the whole posing for a photo experience fun.  I took this shot below of everyone getting ready for the photo, and I have to say that I almost like this one better because it captures the silliness of it all…. 

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for August 4th

Marin mama cook's weekly dinner menu for August 4th

Marin mama cook's weekly dinner menu for August 4thYep, that was our dinner last night and it was AMAZING and some of the best chicken I’ve ever had (well, one of my faves at least).  I’m totally posting the recipe for you all this week. The green bean salad was a hit as well, and Eli said it reminded him of a minty limeade as he gobbled it up.  Ok, if Eli thinks that a green bean salad tastes as good as a minty limeade then I guess I’m doing my job right.  I will be sure to post the green bean salad recipe soon as well.

Last weekend we attended a friend’s Bar Mitzvah.  We’ve been to a few Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, but we always forget to get a photo of the kids all spruced up, so I made sure to take a few quick ones before we left the house. The kids were both beaming because to them the reception is a party filled with friends, dancing and great food. These parties always have the best DJ’s, complete with fly girls that run around teaching the kids dance moves and getting the crowd going. You really don’t see the kids the whole night because they’re on the dance floor having a blast dancing with their peeps and playing games. Actually, I admit that most of us parents are out there dancing the whole time as well. We’re getting down and dancing to the latest top 40 hits that we all know so well from driving all those carpools.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for July 28th

Marin mama cooks weekly dinner menu for July 28th

Marin mama cooks weekly dinner menu for July 28thI love this above Instagram shot because to me it says summer.  You’ve got your basil lemonade and a summer tomato and bean salad.  John made up a yummy batch of basil lemonade this past week and we’ve been serving it up with our dinner each night.  I will be sure to post that recipe soon, its super simple to throw together and makes a boatload of lemonade.

Last weekend was full of adventures.  We haven’t taken a vacation yet this summer, so we wanted to play like we we’re on vacation. On Friday we biked with the kids up Mt. Tam. It was their first time biking up Tam, and I was so proud because they made it to the top.  Yes, they biked up 2,350 feet.   It was an all day event and there were plenty of stops along the way, as well as a picnic lunch at West Point Inn.  Here’s the kids and I at the bottom before we started the bike ride.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for July 21st

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for July 21st

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for July 21stI took this picture of the kids the other night at my friend Yvonne’s house. I made them all gather up with their desserts to pose for a photo. You can tell that  they we’re really excited about having their pictures taken, I mean look their faces, they’re each in their own world. The only ones looking at the camera are Tucker and cute little Hadley. Hadley is looking at me saying,”take the photo already so I can get down and eat my rice crispy treat.”  I love how Andrew is cracking up and has that big happy smile on his face.  I seriously love all these kids. They’re my California adopted nieces and nephews and I’ve known them all since they were born.  They call me Auntie Jackie and my kids call their moms Auntie Hillary and Auntie Yvonne. We’re just one big happy family!

So we had a girls and kids night at Yvonne’s new house this past Tuesday. I brought over dinner for us moms, Hilary brought dessert and Yvonne ordered up pizza for the kids. Sometimes you have to make it easy  on yourselves, and the kids didn’t care about eating dinner, they just wanted to inhale a quick piece of pizza so they could play. I made up the Israeli couscous saladkid friendly caesar dressing and the croutons ahead of time, and just assembled the heirloom grilled bruschetta and tossed the salad right before dinner. It was a super easy dinner and just what us gals were craving.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for July 14th

weekly dinner menu for July 14th

weekly dinner menu for July 14thThose sweet kids really deserve those ice-cream cones above, you want to know why?  They suffered through a Marin mama disaster dinner and didn’t complain at all. They were total troopers as well as my awesome hubby, John.  Hey, we all have those disaster dinners sometimes right?  Those nights where dinner just doesn’t turn out well and almost isn’t fit to eat.  So, I was making up a new pizza recipe and for some reason my pizza crust stuck to the pan, when I say stuck, I mean stuck. We managed to get it up in places, so that there was just enough to feed us, (luckily I had made a salad) and I have to say the pieces we got up and ate were good, but the majority of it was stuck to the pan. John and I gave the kids the best pieces (see we really do put their needs first) and we scraped ours off of the top. After dinner we threw the pan into the sink to soak and headed out to Lapperts for ice cream.  For those of you that are local, Lapperts is now open in the Towne Center (right across from Blue Barn)!

Ok, lets move on from the disaster dinner and onto what happened this past week…

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for July 7th

weekly dinner menu

weekly dinner menuDon’t you just love the colors in that heirloom tomato bread?  That is my new go-to summer lunch, dinner and appetizer. I will be posting the recipe this week, so stay tuned.

So last Sunday I helped my best girlfriend unpack and organize her new kitchen. It was seriously such much fun and I felt like a kid in a candy store the whole day. We organized her pantry, her cabinets and then finished up the day by going to Whole Foods to stock up her pantry. She had a huge kitchen in her old house, but not a pantry, so she was super excited to be able to buy more than a days worth of food. We piled in the pasta, beans, canned tomatoes, quinoa and so on.  I told her that once she gets settle I will take her shopping again for the basic pantry staples, so when she gets home from work, she can throw together a meal on the fly. In the process of doing all of this unpacking and organizing, we both discovered that this is something I can actually do as a side business from the blog. I love working with people, organizing, figuring out what supplies and pantry items people need in a kitchen, so why not make a side business of it?  It’s something I’m working on, so for those of you that are local, and possibly interested, stay tuned…

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for June 30th

weekly dinner menu for June 30th

weekly dinner menu for June 30thThis past week was strange weather wise. The week started off feeling like winter with cool temps and rain (so not typical for California) and then by Wednesday the sun came out and the temps soared into the high 90’s. Hey, I’m not complaining at all, but I did have to switch a few things on my weekly menu as we craved some major comfort foods on Monday and Tuesday night. I couldn’t resist those heirlooms at the market anymore, so I made up a batch of my heirloom tomato soup on Monday and served that up with some grilled gruyere cheese sandwiches. Pure comfort food bliss, I tell ya! Here’s my Instagram of dinner.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for June 23rd

weekly dinner menu for June 16th

weekly dinner menu for June 16thHappy summer everyone!  It officially turned summer on Friday, Whoo hoo! The kids and I have settled into a routine and I have to say that this has been one of my favorite summer’s thus far. I think it’s because the kids are older and not in that many camps, so we’re just together a lot and we’re really enjoying each other’s company. Zoe is keeping busy by babysitting regularly and she’s having a blast and gaining some independence. She really adores kids, (she’s sort of a Pied Piper) so babysitting is a natural for her. A lot of the kids she babysits are Eli’s friends and siblings so Eli likes tagging along on her job, sneaky kid.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for June 16th

weekly dinner menu June 16th

weekly dinner menu June 16th

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there. I want to say a special Happy Father’s Day to my amazing husband John, my dad Papa Bear, along with my stepfather Bill and my father-in-law Bill. You’re all amazing dads and I love you all so much! I mean I wouldn’t be where I am today or the person I am without each and every one of you in my lives!

I adore this above photo of Zoe and Eli holding Trixie, as it’s pure love. We did some dog sitting the first week of summer while Trixie’s family was away, and I have to say that this little cutie grew on us, and grew on us so much that we didn’t want to give her back. She was just the most lovable and sweet little puppy. It made me consider the possibility of getting a dog in the near future!

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for June 9th

weekly dinner menu

weekly dinner menuI have to say that I am LOVING summer so far (as well as those adorable kiddos above). I’m far more relaxed then I’ve been in months and the kids are as well. I’m not racing around dropping and picking them up from school and all their activities. We’re sleeping in, cooking together, eating lunch and dinner in the back yard, playing board games and guitar hero and  just plain chilling out. Summer is as much as a vacation for adults as it is for kids. Besides just chilling we’ve been busy doing a few other things like….

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Marin mama’s weekly menu for June 2nd

weekly dinner menu for June 2

weekly dinner menu for June 2No, Eli is not on the menu this week!  He’s just my super cute model for this week’s post. He had his championship game this weekend so I snapped this photo of him before he headed off. I realized I didn’t have a lot of photos of him playing baseball, so I took care of that yesterday and snapped away at his game. I find that I take more photos of food than my family, and that has to change! I hate lugging around my big camera but need to do so more often because the IPhone just cant take those great action shots and the close ups. So, summer is knocking on our door as my kids have 2 more days left of school. The end of the year always brings excitement because we’re all ready to chill out and spend some quality time together for the summer, but it’s also a bit sad because it means the end of yet another school year and reminds me that my kids are growing way to fast. I can’t believe that Zoe will be moving onto 8th grade and Eli onto 3rd. The years are flying by way to quickly and I’m glad that my kids have an extra long summer this year because I’m going to be spending lots of time with them (leachy leachy mama).

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Marin mama’s weekly menu for May 26th

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weekly dinner menuI’m celebrating this week with a slice of that big cookie above! Yep, I made a 12-inch skillet chocolate chip cookie from my FAVORITE cookie recipe.  It was so good that I made it again last night for some friends that we had over for dinner. That slice in the above photo was Eli’s after school snack on Thursday (he was patiently waiting as I took a few quick snapshots). I know it wasn’t the healthiest snack, but it sure was the tastiest. I posted a photo of the cookie on Instagram asking Zoe if she wanted a slice, and within 2 minutes I got a text from her saying YES!  So Eli and I raced over to her school (she had to stay after for her saxophone lesson) and dropped her and her friend Madeline off a huge slice. They were very happy campers! I will be sure to post the recipe this week!

Guess whose celebrating a birthday this week?  HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN!  I can’t believe that he’s turning 36 again, (wink,wink). Seriously, I love this guy and he is the rock that holds me together.  He is my protector, my best friend and the most loyal and calm guy.

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Marin mama cook’s weekly dinner menu for May 19th

WEEKLY DINNER MENU FOR MAY 19TH

WEEKLY DINNER MENU FOR MAY 19TH“I’m not a perfect person.” You all know that song right?  Anyway, it’s been replaying over and over in my mind for the past week.  I’ve had one of those weeks where I’ve had some mishaps and failures in the kitchen, a few errors regarding the blog were brought to my attention, and there were a few other things that I won’t go into that made me doubt myself and wonder why I continue to do this blog.  I’m truly like any of you when it comes to cooking.  The only difference is that I photograph and jot down the recipes for you, that’s it. I don’t have any culinary training. I’m just a busy parent/person like any of  you who has their good weeks and their bad weeks, and when I have a couple of bad days in a row, I get a bit down and need to be reminded that I’m only human. I’m not here to be perfect or an expert, I’m here to evolve, grow, learn and have fun. So, that’s where I’m at today. I’m continuing to grow as a cook in the kitchen, as a writer and photographer. I will make mistakes along the way, but I know that it’s OK, and at the end of the day this blog is my outlet to share my love of cooking and creating. It’s almost like a cooking journal for me, one that is public mind you, but still at the end of the day, it’s for me to look back on and reflect at how far I have come and where I want to go. Anyway, I just thought I would share that with you all today because that’s just how I was feeling. I don’t want to put on this facade that I’m this perfect cook, mother, writer or person.  I’m just me!

Anyway, I’m also learning that I can’t just eat one way.  I need and like variety and I need food to taste good.  I just can’t eat something because it’s deemed healthy, it has to taste good to me and be worth the effort that it took to make it. For instance, take a look at this burger, it looks good doesn’t it?

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for May 12th

weekly dinner menu for May 12

weekly dinner menu for May 12Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing moms out there! I hope you’re all doing something that you want to today, whether it be spending time with the family, relaxing at a spa, or climbing a mountain. I’m going to be spending the day chilling with my family.  The only request I had for today was that I didn’t have to cook breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Marin mama wants a day off! Well, I did in fact cook up my breakfast, but it’s my 5 minute hot quinoa cereal, so it literally took me 5 minutes.

So have you noticed anything new about the blog?  Does it look a tiny bit different to you? My good friend and HTML goddess Wendy, set me up with a new WordPress theme and created that cute new header that you see above. We still have a lot of work to do to the blog and we have so many great ideas. I mean my mind is just in this total creative mode not only with the look of the blog, but I have an exciting new series that I’m working on as well. My main goal for the blog is to have it be user friendly and easy to navigate for you all, especially when it comes to finding recipes. I mean this is a recipe blog, so the quicker and easier it is for you to find what you’re looking for, the better it is for all of us. Wendy and I are working on setting up a whole new recipe page with subcategories as well as drop down menus.  I will also have pictures for each recipe in the recipe section. You can kind of see an example of what a recipe page will look like if you click on any one of those sidebar photos such as, most popular recipes or weekly dinner menu. I know that when I visit a blog’s recipe site I love seeing photos of the recipes, so I’m excited that I get to add this feature to my blog. I’m stepping it up a bit folks and moving it on up as they say.

So I had a successful cooking week, as I made 3 amazing recipes. I made up a batch of soup, yes, I know it’s not exactly soup weather, but this sweet potato and chipotle soup was calling my name. It’s so good and creamy, but it’s dairy free and vegan. I’m posting the recipe this week.

sweet potato and chipotle soup

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for May 5th

weekly dinner menu for May 5th

weekly dinner menu for May 5thSo I apologize for not getting my weekly menu out last week. We had such a busy week and weekend that I just didn’t have time to write-up my normal Sunday post. I mean how can I write a post on what I’m making for dinner that week when I didn’t have time to even think about dinner? Trying to plan a weekly menu takes time and thought, so I decided to wing it for a week and fly by the seat of my pants. Well, I flew by the seat of my pants and didn’t bother to view the weather forecast for Monday, and guess what? The temps soared into the high 90’s and my super polite family sweated over a bowl of roasted red pepper soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Zoe looked at me as she was trying to sip the soup and said, “Mom, I’m sorry to tell you this, but it’s too hot for soup.” Poor planning Marin mama! We all went out for ice-cream after dinner to cool ourselves down. I ended up doing take out two other nights because it was way too hot to cook. Hey, I’m not complaining at all, I actually really like the heat and it was nice to have a few nights off from cooking.

I was at Whole Foods on Friday and was super giddy because guess what I saw?

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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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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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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for March 31st

weekly dinner menu for March 31st

weekly dinner menu for March 31st Happy Easter everyone! I hope you’re all celebrating this day with friends and family or at least doing something fun and Easterly (I really don’t know if that’s a proper word). We’re actually headed out to meet our “California family” for an early brunch this morning, like 10:00 am early, so I would say it’s more like a late breakfast. I’m up early hoping that I get the motivation and energy to hit the gym beforehand, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen, as we hiked down into Muir woods yesterday and my legs are wiped! I tell you, there were a lot of stairs to climb! This week’s photo is the makings of the broccoli lemon pasta that I made last week for dinner. I actually used some broccoli rabe to change things up a bit, and threw it in for the last minute of the pasta’s cooking time, to make this meal even simpler to make. I also love the new pasta we tried with it. I really love this photo because it shows you how simple and fresh ingredients can make a beautiful and healthy dinner.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for March 24th

DSC_0047 weekly menu

DSC_0047 weekly menuYou’re all probably on the edge of your seats wondering how those veggie burgers that I made last week turned out, right?  Well, I hate to say it, but they were not good at all (insert sad face). In fact, I didn’t even serve them up to the family. I was frazzled at dinner time because I had planned on serving them up that night, but luckily I had the all the ingredients on hand for the chicken quesadillas that I was going to serve on Tuesday, so I served that up to the family instead. To be honest, I think the kids were happier with the dinner switch. I just love it when I have a well stocked fridge or pantry with quick and healthy options to choose from.

So, I just got back from a great lunch with a new blogger friend, Laura. Laura lives in the Bay Area and had been following my blog for a while and just recently started a blog of her own. She emailed me about a month back to let me know about her about her new blog. I emailed her back and suggested we get together for lunch to meet and talk about blogging. I really love meeting fellow bloggers because I love talking about food, blogs and all that fun stuff.  It’s so fun to meet someone with a similar passion. Laura just started her blog less than a month ago, so she’s still working on all the kinks and such.  She has some great recipes already on there (I so want to make her cauliflower enchiladas).  She’s into healthy living and healthy eating.  Check our her blog, it’s called Lemons to Lemongrass.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for March 17th

DSC_0010 cupc

DSC_0010 cupcMary, if you’re reading this post then you will see that I visited your favorite bakery this weekend. We stopped in after lunch to pick up some cupcakes for dinner. I also decided to purchase their cookbook along with this cute little cake pan (see bowl below) that they use to bake their tiny cakes in. Isn’t that the weirdest pan you have ever seen? It looks like a metal camping bowl. I can’t wait to make a cake in it as it’s just too cute and I’m also really curious to see how a cake turns out in it. You know what I discovered about the owner, Meg Ray, while perusing this book?  I found out that she’s a self-taught baker. Isn’t that inspiring? She has 4 successful bakeries and she didn’t even go to culinary school. She just loved to bake and came up with a concept and just went for it. I really admire her and it gives me hope and inspiration to just follow your dreams.  You don’t have to have a culinary degree to be a great cook, or an interior design degree to be a great designer, (hint, hint, Sharon and Annie) some people just have a natural innate talent.  Anyway, if you’re ever in the SF bay area, check out one of Miette’s bakeries.  If you can’t check out one of their bakeries, then check out their cookbook, Miette.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for March 10th

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9f84dea6-d0ed-4927-a9a0-a91188a6fef2_zps360327faGuess what? We officially have a teen in the house, yep a teenager. My baby girl turned 13  this past Friday. I’m elated because I’m so proud of the young woman she’s turning into, but at the same time, I’m a bit sad because I miss my little girl. I can’t believe how fast the years are flying by. I mean she’s grown from this tiny little baby into…

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for March 3rd

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IMG_3288Caramel, sea salt and my favorite brownies can only mean one thing!  The best dessert ever, and so worth the 5 pounds that you will gain from one bite, just kidding!  If you follow me on Facebook and Instagram, then you saw the whole show when I made these up the other night (hint, hint).  I was craving something salty and chocolatey and hence these brownies were created. The brownies barely made it to day 2.  I’m serious, we just couldn’t stop ourselves at one.  John and the kids were very happy campers, and all came to an agreement that its pretty cool having a mom who has a cooking blog.  I pinky swear this recipe will be on the blog next week.

Oh, here’s a quick photo that I took of the finished product. Yup, these brownies are dark, gooey and fudgey.  Here’s the link to the salted caramel brownies.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for February 24th

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DSC_weekly menu 2-16Ok, I’m so in love with Pandora radio right now. Are you all familiar with it?  It’s basically internet radio that you can play on your iPhone, iPad or computer. I’m listening to it all the time, and right now my favorite station is, The Fray radio. Basically, you put in your favorite song or artist and it will play similar songs or artists. Anyway, I just love listening to music when I’m cooking away in the kitchen, as it makes cooking dinner so much more fun. BTW, for those of you that are eyeing that above soup, it’s a carrot ginger soup and it’s amazing!

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for February 17th

weekly dinner menu 2-17

weekly dinner menu 2-17Cookies, cookies, cookies!  I love cookies!  Yes, there will be cookies on the blog this week and yes, they are the ones pictured in the above photo. Yippee! I gave you some healthy but cheesy quinoa cakes last week, so this week it’s all about the dessert baby. If you like bittersweet chocolate, sea salt and cookies, then you will love these. I was actually going to post this easy, one-skillet, weeknight dinner of sausage and white bean stew but…

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for February 10th

eli

eli

Ok, I just had to throw that photo up there. I know it’s a strange photo for a weekly menu post, but come on, it’s funny. For those of you that know Eli, you gotta love this photo. This is how Eli entertains us on a Friday night (I know, we have such exciting Friday nights here at the Grandy house). He puts on some black glasses, hikes his shorts way high so that they’re at the middle of his waist, tucks in his shirt and plays nerd. He tells us the funniest jokes and has this hilarious laugh that he does after each of his jokes. He is a funny guy!  Right now he is thrilled that I posted this photo on my weekly menu, but when he’s a teenager, I’m not so sure he will be as thrilled.

Speaking of funny things, here’s a funny story that happened to me recently. I was making up a batch of vodka pasta so I clicked on my recipe and got started. I noticed that it wasn’t a very detailed recipe.  It was one of the first recipes that I had posted on the blog and I honestly had trouble following it. I wasn’t too detailed in my posts when I first started the blog so I had forgotten how long to simmer the sauce for.  I had to call my friend Amanda (as she makes this recipe all the time and initially got it from my blog) to get the specifics. She was cracking up because I couldn’t even follow my own instructions, LAME, I know!  I realize that I like the extra details and the step-by-step info for myself.  It really helps me. So I updated the recipe and photos for you all so you won’t have any problems when you make it, because you should, as t’s really good. Nice description there, really good, but that’s all I could come up with as my brain is fogging out as I write this.

Ok, enough said, let’s move onto this weeks menu.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for February 2nd

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Ok, it’s 5:00 on Saturday and I’m up writing this post.  Yes, you heard me right, I’m up at 5:00 on a Saturday. Who am I?  What the heck am I doing up at 5:00 on a Saturday morning?  I set a new goal yesterday in my mind and I may have mentioned it to a few friends that I’m going to start getting up at 5:00 because I want to try to get out more posts, and mornings are my “on” time.  It’s the time of day when my noggin is the most creative.  Well, my noggin remembered that promise and held me to it. I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at exactly 5:00, I kid you not. It wasn’t 5:01 or 4:59 when I glanced over at my clock, it was 5:00 on the dot.  The brain is a marvelous thing I must say. So, it’s not 5:00 anymore, it’s actually 5:40. I had to get my coffee and cereal heated up and now I’m sitting here typing away with gusto!  The caffeine is kicking in and the house is silent, and all you can here are my little fingers typing away on the keyboard. I’m also getting my post out a day early because I want to get two recipes out to you this week. Fingers crossed that I get it done.

So lets talk food.  I mean that’s what we’re all here for right?  Food glorious food!  I’m happy to say that I had some great culinary success’ last week.  In last week’s menu, I posted that I was going to try out two new dinner recipes.  Well, I have to say that they were both winners!  We tried the chicken paillard on Sunday night and served it up with my lacinato kale salad and some kale mashed potatoes.  It was the perfect Sunday night dinner, and Zoe loves these potatoes so much that she went in for thirds.  You go girl!  BTW, I’m not going to post the chicken paillard recipe because it’s just to hard to take photos of and I’m not entirely sure that I made the clarified butter right, and I may have browned the chicken too much, but it was so good so who cares right? So here’s the link, for those of you that are interested, Bon appetit pan-roasted chicken paillard.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for January 27th

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IMG_3001-1Took that opening shot in the car via my iPhone last night. I thought it was cool because you can see all the hustle and bustle of the city, the Transamerica building and all the beautiful architecture of San Francisco right smack in front of you.  I truly love living here and whenever I head into the city, I feel alive.  My favorite part of heading into San Francisco is crossing over this beauty of a bridge.  I have lived here a little over 15 years, and I never tire of this bridge. Zoe took this below picture last night through the sunroof and instagramed it.

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She’s a natural I must say.  BTW, she recently joined instagram, (privately with her friends) and she had to teach me how to use it, as I really had no clue. I will be adding an instagram button to my blog once I figure out how to do it.  In the meantime you can follow me on instagram via marinmamacooks.  I don’t have any cool pics yet because I’m just starting. I have a feeling that it will become another addiction, so watch out!

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for January 20th

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DSC_0188_zps0a379416-2So, last week I had a few cooking successes and a few cooking failures. The failures are tough because I get so excited about a dish and then when it doesn’t turn out right or even good for that fact, I get sad and a bit frustrated. What I’m realizing as I evolve as a cook is that cooking is like anything in life, sometimes its great and a winner, and other times it’s just not. Usually a recipe flop has nothing to do with cooking skills, sometimes a recipe is just not what you expected it to be. I’m learning that you just have to roll with it and realize that it’s just food, and move onto the next recipe. So, I’m not going to bore you all and go into last week’s failures, but I will go into the successes.  I made some yummy cupcakes for my 3 best girl friend’s birthdays last week. We met in the city for lunch and I brought along and surprised them with these celebratory cupcakes.  I also gave each of them a favorite book from this series that I have been reading called, Anastasia, The Ringing Cedars, Book 1.  It’s a more of a spiritual book, but my girlfriends and I have a such an amazing soul and spiritual connection that I knew they would enjoy this book.  I will post the cupcake recipe soon for all you sweet tooth’s out there.

DSC_0004Another success were these spaghetti squash tacos. I know, the name sounds a bit strange and not to exciting, but just roll with it.  The recipe was a success, but I’m sad to admit that I wasn’t that impressed with the 50 plus photos I took.  Tacos are certainly not the prettiest nor the most cooperative models I tell you.

spaghetti squash tacos

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for January 13th

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DSC_0035-1-1I don’t know if it was from being cooped up and lazy for the two weeks of Christmas vacation, but I cooked up a storm last week.  The house was quiet and empty and everyone was back to their routines.  I felt a sense of freedom and really just wanted to get back to the kitchen and just play.  Play I did, and here are some of the recipes I tried:

Kale, wheat berry and toasted coconut salad.  I had this for lunch two days in a row and I have to tell you that it tasted better day two. Love that!DSC_0011-2

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for January 6th 2013

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Have you all gotten your New Year’s resolutions in place?  Have you started any or broken any yet?  I’m not doing the typical resolutions like eating healthy and exercising more, because I really try to do that year round.  I also let myself enjoy my vacations, and if I happen to eat a bit more and workout a bit less, then so be it.  I know that I can work it all off after vacation.  Life is about moderation and enjoyment, and if we get so caught up with worrying about what were eating or not doing, then we’re not really having fun in that moment, and what a bummer that is, right? 2013 is about letting go and living.  So let it go, let go of the guilt and worry and know that all is going to be OK, really!

Speaking of letting things go, this is the time of year when I go through the house and clean out! I clean out the cupboards, pantry, closets and basically wipe down the entire house. I want everything to be cleansed and fresh for the new year.  It’s really the perfect time of year to do such boring work because it’s all rainy and cold out.  I’m sure your all feeling the same way, so I thought I would share with you these helpful links that I found from Food 52.  They have a whole series on whipping your kitchen back in shape.  This post on how to organize your pantry is super helpful.  I also love these two posts on where you should store items in your kitchen such as, what items to store on your counter and in your pantry and what items you to store in your freezer and fridge.

I’m easing back into the weekly routine this week, so our menu is composed of things that I can pretty much make ahead of time.  I’m making the butternut squash soup today for Monday’s dinner as well as making the chicken enchiladas up Tuesday morning.  I’m also saving time by roasting up the chicken for the enchiladas Monday night while we’re eating dinner.  I find that prepping and making things ahead of time help during the busy after school hours.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for December 16th

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DSC_0012-1Zoe and I had fun playing around with the above ribbon. We were trying to figure out something creative to do with it when all of a sudden we got the inspiration to make the word joy!  We were both feeling the joy so we wanted to send some joy your way.  In light of the recent events in Newton, I’m trying to just hug and be with my family and appreciate each moment with them. I’m sending my love, light and prayers to those families in Newton and I can’t begin to fathom what they’re going through. I wish we lived in a world/reality where tragedies like this didn’t happen.  I know that sounds a bit naive, but that is my dream and my wish.  I wish we could all see that we’re brothers and sisters and connected as one and not separated.  My dream is for a world where there is peace, joy, health and love for everyone.  I’m hoping that we move closer to that reality.

Last Monday I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed wondering how I was going to get everything done. I felt the tug to get out into mother nature and play, so I listened to that tug and got out and ran in my favorite canyon among the redwoods.  I ran and frolicked through the trails.  I felt so free and liberated, just like a kid again.  It was just what I needed, and I came home refreshed and so mellow.  I knew everything would get done and that I didn’t have to worry and rush around to get it done.  It just reminds me that when we get outside in nature, it takes all of our cares and stresses away.  Mother nature truly is the most beautiful creation in the world and more beautiful than anything manmade. I thought I would share with you a few photos that I snapped on my run.  This is my favorite trail to run on because it’s nestled in the redwoods and it’s so peaceful and  green this time of year.  I love all the trees in this canyon, from the majestic redwoods to the smaller ones that get all fuzzy and green.  I also love how they hug the trails and create a natural and protective canopy.  Usually when I run this trail, I don’t see anyone, and I feel like I’m running in my own private back yard.  This is my time to meditate and get quiet, and appreciate the world around me.  I hope you enjoy the below photos. Then feel free to enjoy the weekly menu.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for December 9th

Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for December 9th

Last week was not my best week for trying out new recipes.  I should have listened to my gut (intuition) and took a week off from new recipes.  It’s hard because when I see something that I want to cook up, I don’t have patience to wait till next week, I want to make it NOW!  Its like an addiction. Anyway, the universe was telling me to stop cooking, slow down and to finish up all the other things that I kept putting off that really had more of a priority. I’m paying for it now as I have tons to do and don’t know when I’m going to finish it all, but I always remember when I get overwhelmed that, life is long so it will all get done. You know what, it always does.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for December 2nd

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Happy December everyone!  I thought I would celebrate by throwing some green and reds in the above photo to get you all in the Holiday spirit.  So, it’s 5:00 in the morning on a Sunday and I’m up.  How sad is that?  I couldn’t sleep because all I can hear are these howling gusty winds and heavy rain pelting at the windows.  We live on the coast and the winds can get pretty intense.  What I don’t get is why the winds always intensify between the hours of 10:00 pm and 7:00 am?  It really makes for a terrible night sleep. We’ve pretty much had non-stop rain for the past 4 days and two of the storms have been pretty intense. Sunny California isn’t always so sunny, especially in the winter.  It’s funny how you look forward to those cozy rainy days and once you’ve had about 3 of them in a row, you’re over it, (well, at least I am). I’m really a sunshine sort of gal.

Let’s move on from the rain and onto a happier topic like the Holidays.  Have you started decorating yet?  The only Holiday thing I put up so far was our advent calendar. I actually forgot about it until Eli woke up yesterday morning and ran to the door that we hang it on and said, “Hey, where’s the advent calendar?”  Boy, that kid has a memory and radar when it comes to things like that (well, things that either supply candy or money that is).  I plan on setting up some more things around the house today, but we’re getting our tree next weekend.

If you’re looking some Holiday inspiration, then you have to check out my friend Annie’s blog.  Annie has the best ideas when it comes to decorating.  I have been following her blog for a little over a year and she just gives me such inspiration when it comes to home design, crafts, event planning and even cooking, as she’s an amazing cook. Annie is one of those people that I’m watching out for.  She’s going to be the next Martha or even something better.  She has such a unique and timeless style.  Anyway, since it’s officially December, I thought I would share with you three things from her blog that I so want to copy and do in my own house.  Take a look at the advent calendar she designed this year.  Amazingly beautiful, don’t you think?  This is the calendar she designed last year. I honestly think they both belong in a magazine, and I especially love how she has all of those jars of goodies lined up under last year’s advent calendar.  Those cookies and sweets would not last long sitting out in an open container in my house. I would see sneaky hands reaching in all day grabbing treats.  Annie, you must have pretty self-controlled kids.  You should also check out her homemade gift tags.  They are so easy to do, and something that I’m definitely going to attempt this year.

Ok, onto this week’s menu!

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Marin mama’s weekly menu for November 25th

Marin Mama's weekly dinner menu for week of nov 25

The kids, my hubby and I helped volunteer at the Marin Food Bank last week.  One of Zoe’s friends organized it for her mitzvah project.  We spent 2 hours loading boxes from these huge containers and I’m proud to say that we pretty much emptied the containers.  The kids were amazing and worked so hard. Eli was the youngest volunteer, and we had to get special permission for him to volunteer as they have an age requirement.  I think they should lower the age requirement, as he worked incredibly hard.  I mean look at him, his arms were loaded like that the whole time and he had a smile on his face as well.  The photos were taken on my phone and I had to crop a few, so they’re a bit hazy.

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for November 11th

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What was I thinking with last week’s menu?  I exhausted myself by cooking dinner every night. I realized that I didn’t plan for a two-nighter meal, LAME!  By the time Friday came around, I was done in the kitchen, so I had John pick up a pizza on his way home and I whipped up Eli’s favorite caesar salad. This week I’m back to reality and back to serving up leftovers, which is honestly more realistic for us!  We’re having leftovers on Monday as well as Thursday. 

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Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for October 28th

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I want to start off by saying THANK YOU to all of you for all the amazing comments and emails last week celebrating my blog’s first birthday. It was so nice to hear all your positive comments, and I savored each and every one of them, so thanks for taking the time to jot down a few words. I spent much of last week in the kitchen cooking up some new and not so new recipes. It was rainy and cool so I was content just puttering around the kitchen. I tried a new cupcake recipe on Sunday to bring to our friend’s house. Zoe, the videographer, videotaped the whole process, so we will feature the video along with the recipe. We had such a great time cooking, photographing and videotaping it all. I love working on blog stuff with the kids. Eli came in to lend a hand sampling it all.  He had to test each step, just to be sure it was blog worthy.  Cute little guy! Here’s a sneak peak at the cupcakes. They are dark chocolate cupcakes with a creamy chocolate frosting.  The frosting is light and airy so it compliments the richness of the cupcakes. 

Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for October 21st

weekly menu for october

Last week was unseasonably hot, (near 90 most afternoons) so I ended up not making the chicken Parmesan, as I did not want to heat up the kitchen. It was basically a week of sandwiches and salads. I really should check the weather forecast before I plan my weekly menu, don’t you think? Anyway, I made this delicious egg salad sandwich on Monday, (which I will post soon) as well as whipped us up a batch of curried chicken salad. It felt like summer cooking in October.  

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Marin Mama’s weekly dinner menu for October 14th

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I received so sweet responses, calls, emails and such from people regarding Eli’s birthday post. My family was super psyched to be able to see his special day, as they all live out of state.  See, I use to have this other blog that I started at the same time as my cooking blog.  It was a blog about my family, my thoughts and basically random stuff.  I even had a post on there with a video of Carly Simon’s, “You’re so Vain.” I mean it was pretty random.  I posted there almost daily in the beginning, but then life got in the way and I didn’t have as much time to focus on 2 blogs.  So that blog took a back seat to my cooking blog.  My family and friends were a bit sad, as they liked seeing photos of the kids and what was happening in our life.  I went back a few times and posted there thinking I could handle two blogs, but it’s so time consuming, and like I said before, I’m not much of a computer person.  I would rather be outside enjoying my family then typing about my family.  Anyway, I thought I would include the link to the post I wrote for Eli last year.  It shows pictures of him from a baby till age 7.  Here’s the link for those of you that are interested.  

This blog is primarily a cooking blog, but I’m going to incorporate more photos and such of the family from time to time.  My family is a huge part of my life, (of course) and the reason I got into cooking in the first place.  So with that being said, here are two photos of the kids that I took yesterday at their soccer games.  

I could watch those two play soccer all day. Honestly, there’s nothing better than sitting in the warm sun and cheering your kids and their friends on. Life is good! It was a picturesque fall day yesterday and the kind of day that you want to bottle up. We caped off the day by getting on our bikes and biking to dinner.  It was dusk by the time we headed home and there was such a sense of freedom biking in the dark. We were the only ones out on the trail, and we felt as free as a bird. We felt so free that we actually shouted, “I’m king of the world.” Seriously, we are geeks! Ok, let’s move onto this weeks menu.
 
Sunday night dinner:  Chicken adobo with basmati rice served with roasted cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and Jerusalem artichokes.  My good friend, Carloyn Jensen, recommended the chicken adobo recipe. The recipe is a family favorite in her house, and it’s all made in the slow cooker, so it’s a perfect weeknight meal.  My friend Amanda recommended the roasted vegetable combination.  We roast cauliflower and Brussels all the time, but have never tried Jerusalem artichokes, so we’re excited to give them a try (I don’t think the kids are though). 
 
Monday night dinner: Heirloom tomato soup and egg salad sandwiches!  Gosh, I haven’t had one of those sandwiches in years. Thanks for the idea Debbie!  
I made up 2 batches of Heirloom tomato soup on Friday, as the season is sadly coming to a close.  I’m sad because I love this soup, but excited to try some new seasonal soups as well.  

simple egg salad
Tuesday:  Chicken parmesan, garlic bread and broccolini.  This is one of our family’s favorite fall and winter dinners.  Its pure comfort cooking and the perfect make-ahead meal.
If you like chicken and mozzarella cheese, then you will LOVE this dish.
Wednesday:  Leftover night!  Chicken parmesangarlic bread and broccolini.
Thursday:  Take out night!
Friday:  Deep-dish pepperoni pizza with miso caesar salad.  This pizza was such a hit in the Grandy house.  John’s words, “This is the best pizza you’ve ever made darling.”  I will be sure to post this recipe on Wednesday!

Happy Sunday and happy cooking!

Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for October 7th

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This is an extra special week in the Grandy house as Eli turns 8 this Thursday!  
Happy Birthday Eli!  

Isn’t he just the cutest little guy? John has the perfect birthday party planned for him and his buddies. The boys and their dads are going to tour Alcatraz.  Yes, the boys are going to prison!  It’s the perfect party for a bunch of 8-year-old boys (and 8-year-old dads at heart).  I love the idea because I don’t have to go, (it’s a father and son kind of party) and I didn’t have to plan or organize anything. John handled it all from the invitations to the favors.  My hubby rocks!  The boys and dads are ecstatic!  Men and boys, it really doesn’t take much to make them happy.  Am I right, ladies?

I had one heck of a week, as I got my first real cooking scar.  I burned my forearm when I was browning some butter.  I wanted to test how long I could brown it before it turned.  Well, I found out that you shouldn’t brown it past 3 minutes, at least on my stove. The butter popped and burst, and I got a big splash on my forearm resulting in a not so pretty burn.  Luckily, I’m tough and worked through the pain. It actually looks worse than it is.  I guess I should put some vitamin E on it or else I’m going to have this big ugly scar on my forearm for the rest of my life.  

I’m in a bit of a brain fog this morning as I’m writing this post. We were out pretty late last night celebrating a friend’s 40th birthday, (Happy Birthday Heather) and I should be in bed sleeping right now, but I can’t sleep.  My body woke up raring to go at 5:30 this morning. Don’t you hate it when you plan on sleeping in and you just can’t?  Both kids are at sleepovers so you would think that I would be taking advantage of this free time and lounging in bed, but I have way too much energy to do that. I know this energy spark is going to fizzle out this afternoon and I’m going to have to take a nap.  

Zoe and I want to thank all of you for the wonderful and sweet comments you left on her chocolate mousse post.  She was beyond thrilled and they really meant a lot to her, so thanks for taking the time to comment.  

So lets move onto this week’s menu.  

Monday: Roasted red pepper and tomato soup and naan bread

Tuesday:  cilantro lime tacos with mango avocado salsa & green beans.
Wednesday: Leftovers of cilantro lime tacos with mango avocado salsasliced red pepper and carrots. 

Thursday:  It’s Eli’s birthday!  Yippee!  We’re skipping Eli’s soccer practice and having a normal family dinner!  No crazy takeout Thursday for us!  On your birthday in the Grandy house, you get to request your favorite entree.  Eli requested this green bean and shallot ravioli. It’s one of his favorite dinners and I love it because its super easy to whip up and healthy!  Go Eli!   
I’m also making by request, our favorite chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting.  This cake is the official birthday cake of the Grandy house. 

Friday:  Roasted red pepper and arugula whole-wheat pizza and miso caesar salad.
I roasted some extra red peppers when I made this soup, and now I’m using them to top this pizza. Red peppers are in season right now and are fabulous!  
The caesar salad is just my miso dressing topped on some romaine lettuce, kale and radicchio.

Stay tuned Wednesday, as I will be posting the recipe for these beauties below. Pumpkin muffins rolled in sugar and cinnamon.  They kind of resemble my sugar-crusted popovers.  These muffins were a hit and were gone, I mean like gone, in one day.  I made them and texted the below photo and words, “OMG, so good,” to my friend Amanda.  She immediately texted me back saying, “Send recipe, will make them now.”  She is the baker mama, so she immediately made them and will vouch that they were a huge hit in her house as well.  

  You will love how easy they are to make and they’re the perfect treat for any fall party!
Carrie, I think Jonathan is going to want some of these, as John was hyping them up to him last night.
Have a great Sunday everyone.
To see previous weekly menu’s, click here.

Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for September 30th

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Today I thought I would share with you 10 random facts about myself.  There really is no rhyme or reason to any of the below facts, just a small sampling of who I am.   
  • I actually like to clean.  I’m not saying I’m a big fan of cleaning the toilets or bathrooms, but I like to vacumn dust and organize.  It calms and centers me when my house and space is organized.
  • I make my bed every day.
  • I’m not a computer person, strange coming from a blogger, right?  Being on the computer for more than an hour at a time drains me.  I need people, interaction and nature.
  • I really wasn’t a fan of vegetables until about 8 years ago.  Of course I ate them, but I begrudgingly did so.  I realized when I had kids that I better learn how to eat them without cringing, (what kind of an example would I be) so I finally learned how to cook them so they tasted good, and now of course, I love them!
  • I never tried kale until a year ago.  Yes, the kale obsessed mama was not kale obsessed a year ago.  Hmmmm, what was I obsessed with?  Oh yes, it was arugula salads. What’s next, bok choy?  
  • I hate figuring out what to wear everyday. I honestly wish I had someone, like Andie, that could lay out an outfit for me each day (a cute one preferably).
  • These are the cities that I have lived in; Scotia, NY, Bristol, RI, Washington, DC, Minneapolis, MN.  I now reside in Marin County, which is 10 minutes north of San Francisco.  
  • One place I would love to visit is Europe. I have never been, and would love to change that.
  • I have eaten the same breakfast practically everyday since I was 17.  Grape nuts topped with something like granola, go-lean crunch, plain cheerios, you get it. I change up what I top my grape nuts with, but the base is the same. I also have a cup of coffee, but I added that addition after college.  
  • I have never gone to bed without washing my face or brushing my teeth.  Seriously, even on those crazy college nights.

There are of course, many more aspects to who I am, but I will leave you with those and share more later.  Let’s move on with this week’s weekly menu.

 Disclaimer:  I did not make the pizza this past Friday night.  I was a rebel and went astray from the weekly menu.  The day got busy and I was fighting a cold, so we went to our favorite kitchen away from home, DJ’s.  I loved it though because I ran into so many friends (Andie and Mike) and familiar faces that night. Sometimes its good to get out of the house.

Speaking of getting out of the house.  We got out of the house for dinner last night, literally, as it was 81 degrees and absolutely gorgeous.  We had a busy day of soccer, so John picked up a pepperoni pizza (the kids requested this as I jipped them of pizza the night before) on his way home, and I made up some miso kale salad with tofu, and we had dinner on the front lawn. The kids asked why we didn’t do this more often, and I said, “We’re doing it now, so lets be present and enjoy the night.”  We played outside till it got dark.  It was the perfect night as we we’re all together and present with one another.
Tuesday:  Leftovers night!  Beer-braised chicken verde tacos and sliced red pepper and carrots.
Thursday:  Take out night!  
Friday:  Deep dish pepperoni pizza and caesar salad.  Since I never made that pizza last week, I thought I would give it a try this week.  
 
I don’t know what it was about last week, but I baked up a storm.  I made 3 batches of popovers because they’re so easy, and are the perfect snack for the kids to bring to school or have for breakfast topped with some jam.
 I baked a batch of these sugar-crusted popovers on Saturday morning.  Huge hit!
 I whipped up my kid’s favorite chocolate chip pumpkin bundt bread for an after school snack.  The kids both had a playdate that day so half of it was gone by 4:00.
I also tried a new and larger skillet cookie (12-inch) with my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I have to tweak the cooking time, so I will post it soon.  
 If you’re craving a skillet cookie, here’s the 10-inch skillet version.  It’s so good!
I still plan on baking this week, but we don’t want to and can’t eat it all.  Any takers?
 
You can click here to see older weekly menus.

Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for September 23rd

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Are any of you parents as exhausted as I am?  September has just been non-stop, and I was so exhausted on Friday that I actually fell asleep on the couch at 7:45 (I’m such a party girl).  I just couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.  I did force myself to wake up from my little catnap at 8:30, as I knew if I stayed asleep that I would be up at 1:00 in the morning.  I also had to stay awake as Zoe was out at a birthday party, and didn’t get home till 11:00 (gasp).  John and I had our first glimpse of what it’s going to be like waiting up for a teenager and I’m not sure I’m ready for it yet. I’m such an early to bed kind of gal (not 7:45 early) and don’t know if I’m going to be able to stay up and wait for the kids to come home. Any parents of teens out there have some tips?  Do I start drinking coffee in the evenings? I know wine is not the answer, as it puts me to sleep.  I guess I still have a few years to practice, right? Please let the years go slowly, as I’m in no rush for the kids to grow up.  
 
You’re probably wondering what those strange looking things are in the above photo.  Those are the sugar crusted popovers that I baked for the kids yesterday morning.  I got up early to get the eggs to room temp, (pretty easy to get up early when you go to bed at 7:45) but it was well worth it, as the kids were super psyched when they got up and smelled these puppies in the oven. They have been begging me to make them for months, so I finally sucked it up and made them.  Let me just tell you that I did not hear a peep from them while they were eating these, it was so silent that you could literally hear a pin drop.  Make these for your kids, I promise you they will LOVE them.  They taste like donuts, but are better and way easier.  You don’t even need a popover pan, you can use a standard muffin pan. 

I have a few things on this week’s menu that I haven’t posted yet, but I promise I will post them soon.  It’s officially fall, so you will most likely see some sort of soup in our weekly dinner menu. Soups are the perfect weekday meal because you can make them ahead of time and use them that week or freeze them for later.  I’m making tons of the Heirloom soup now, as I want to freeze batches for the winter.  Another one of my favorite fall soups is my roasted red pepper and tomato soup. Red peppers are all over the place now, so it’s the perfect time to enjoy them.

Monday: heirloom tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Tuesday:  New recipe!  Pesto orecchiette with sausage and green beans.
Look for the recipe this week!
 Wednesday:  Chicken with shallots, popovers and roasted cauliflower.
My kids have been begging for this meal, as it has 3 of their favorite things. 
This is a kid approved (10+) and favorite meal among friends as well. I make this meal a lot when I have the kid’s friends over. 
Thursday:  Crazy Thursday!  Take out night!
Friday: Deep-dish pepperoni pizza (photo and recipe soon) & kale salad with tahini & lemon dressing.  
I hope you all have a restful and blissful Sunday. 
Stay tuned this week for the orecchiette with sausage recipe.  It’s a kid approved and easy weeknight meal.  

Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for September 16th

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Last week I was a crazy cooking mama. I was trying all sorts of new recipes, some were successes, and some were destined for the compost (aka, my tofu and kale salad).  I also baked our favorite chocolate chip cookies for a celebration at Zoe’s school, as well as cooked up a skillet cookie for dessert.  Needless to say, I am “cookied out” this week. 

So, you might notice that Thursday has moved from leftover night to take out night.  I have really tried to make it a leftover night, but I’m literally in the car from 3:30 till 7:00 shuffling the kids around from one activity to the next. Eli eats dinner first at 5:00 before his soccer practice.  His choice is to hit Stefano’s with a buddy or two and grab a quick slice of pizza, done!  Zoe prefers a healthier dinner fare after her dance class, as well as I, so depending on time, we will either hit Sol Food, which is right next to her dance studio, or Cafe Del Soul, which is near Eli’s soccer practice.  On Thursdays I am literally a chauffeur, and it’s ok.  It’s part of being a mom, and honestly I love it. I savor the one-on-one time I get with the kids and the chaos that surrounds the evening.  I also know that I will miss this all this activity when the kids are out of the house, so I try to appreciate and relish in the chaos now. 
I’m giving you a bonus this week and adding in what we’re eating for dessert.  Mmmmm, I can’t wait, as I love these brownies.

Tuesday:  Leftover night!  Summer garden pasta and garlic bread..
Thursday:  Take out night!  
Friday:  Leftover night!  Enchiladas with pumpkin sauce & mixed green salad.
Here’s a preview of what’s to come this week:
Tuesday:  Easy and crunchy garlic bread.
 Thursday:  How to make juice without a juicer.  
What’s in this juice?  Kale, ginger, lemon, apple & celery.

Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for September 9th

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See that tofu and chickpea dish in the above photo?  It looks great, right?  Well, it wasn’t, it was truly a dish fit for the compost. I went to Cafe Gratitude on Friday to say goodbye to my friend Em, as she is heading back to London.  We had a great lunch and we talked about food, blogging and photography, basically all the things that food bloggers like to chat about.  Anyway, I had the best lunch ever.  I was so inspired by my lunch that I came home and immediately cooked up this warm tofu, chickpea and kale dish for dinner. I was so disappointed when I took my first bite.  It just didn’t gel and the flavors were off.  Don’t you hate when that happens?  I think it was the universe’s way of telling me to take a night off from the kitchen. 

I want you to know that as I write this post I’m eating the biggest piece of chocolate cake ever from Susie Cakes. When they give you a cake slice, they literally give you a ¼ of the cake.  It’s definitely a two or three nighter piece. It’s taking all my will power to put the fork down and close the lid.  
This weekly menu is just for Monday through Friday, as John is cooking up dinner tonight and surprising me.  I basically have the day off, yaay!  If you want to take a look at the past two week’s menus, click on the photo link on my sidebar and it will take you directly to them.  Enjoy!
 

Monday:  Heirloom tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Tuesday:  Paul McCartney’s refried bean tacos, nachos and some sort of salad (not sure yet).
Thursday:  Leftover night.  Paul McCartney’s refried bean tacos or make your own sandwich, and fresh cut red pepper, cucumber and carrots.

Friday:  Family pizza night.  Sausage and arugula skillet pizza
Stay tuned for Tuesday as I have an easy and family approved recipe, spaghetti with cheesy heirloom tomatoes. It’s so good and super easy to whip up.  

Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for September 3rd

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This menu is a day late, but it’s Labor Day weekend and therefore not your typical week, so I’m counting today as Sunday.  I’m proud to say that I stuck last week’s weekly menu, and it really made my life easier.  I spent way less time at the grocery store, and I seriously think I gained an extra hour each day because I was not looking through cookbooks, blogs or magazines fretting about what to cook for dinner.  I honestly suggest to you all to get a weekly menu in place, as it will make your life easier.

 
This is the week where all my kids’ activities begin to ramp up, so goodbye to ease and relaxation, and hello craziness.  This week’s menu is pretty boring, as were having a bunch of two-night meals.  I need to get in the groove of the new schedule and these meals below are all make-ahead meals, and ones I don’t have to fuss with.
 
Thursday is going to be my crazy night till November.  I may even omit cooking for this day, as both kids have activities back to back, and they are both going to be eating dinner at two different times.  Major chaos.  I will attempt to have something easy that I can either heat up quickly for them, or I may just make it a sandwich or burrito night.  
Monday: Cilantro lime chicken tacos with mango avocado salsa and mixed green salad.
This is an easy two-nighter dinner for us, and mangos are so good right now. 
Tuesday: Leftovers – Cilantro lime chicken tacos and mixed green salad.

Wednesday: Cheesy baked tortellini pasta and fresh cut carrots and red pepper.
I’m using Dave’s gourmet pasta sauce here, not homemade marina this week, as sometimes you have to cut the corners when life gets busy. 
Thursday:  The kids are having leftovers of the tortellini pasta and fresh cut carrots and red pepper.
Thursday:  John and I are having miso kale salad with miso roasted tofu and whole wheat naan bread.
Friday: Family pizza night!  Roasted red pepper and arugula whole-wheat pizza and kid friendly Caesar salad – (recipe soon)
Stay tuned for Wednesday, as I have an amazing heirloom tomato soup to share with you.  

 

Marin mama’s weekly dinner menu for August 28th

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Ok, here is a new series that I’m going to start.  I’m hoping this series will help you, as well as help me.  I have tried for years to plan out a weekly menu in advance, but for some reason or another, I just never got around to it.  I would plan out a day or two in advance, but that was it.  I am determined this year to finally get a system into place and make it happen.  I’m going to post my weekly menu for you all to see on Sunday, (hopefully in the morning) that way if you want to follow it, or get ideas for the week, you can.  I’m only going to plan meals Sunday through Thursday and possibly Friday, as Saturday nights we either go out to dinner or John cooks for us. You’re going to see many make-ahead and two-nighter meals listed here.  My kids have lots of late afternoon into early evening activities during the school year, and I need easy meals to accommodate those nights.  Ok, I won’t delay any further; here is my first weekly menu. 
Monday: Ina’s summer garden pasta and garlic bread 

Tuesday: favorite turkey burgers & corn on the cob
Wednesday: leftovers of Ina’s summer garden pasta & garlic bread

Thursday: curried chicken salad sandwiches & kale salad
I’m placing this menu on the refrigerator each Sunday so that my family knows what to expect for the week ahead.  It’s been great so far, because whenever someone wonders what’s for dinner, I send them over to the fridge to take a look. There has been no complaining yet, (yaay) and so far it has made my life easier.  I know I’m only on day 3, but when I went to the grocery store today, it was super easy knowing exactly what I needed.  I took my iPhone with me, checked out the recipe on my blog, and shopped away.  Knowing the menu in advance has also saved me from running to the grocery store every day and fretting last minute what to cook for dinner that night. John is really loving this so far, as he’s not getting the 3:00 frantic call from me asking what to make for dinner. Marin mama is taking charge, and I like it! 
Thought or tips on what you would like to see?  Do you like me showing the picture of the recipe or would it just be as good to have the titles of the dishes?