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. [click to continue…]

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vegan kale salad with citrus dressingSurprise, surprise, I’m posting another yet another kale salad recipe.  I now have 19 kale recipes on the blog with the addition of this salad. I think I may have a serious problem/addiction here, what do you think?  I mean here’s a girl who didn’t even know what kale was 4 years ago and now it’s become a total staple in my house. My weekly grocery list always consists of the staples such as eggs, milk, bread, lemons, kale, oh, and we can’t forget quinoa, because that’s become another addiction of mine, but not as bad, as I only have 6 quinoa recipes on the blog.

This salad recipe was passed onto me by my sweet girlfriend Amber.  She heard through the grapevine that I was a bit of a kale addict, so she wanted to introduce me to her personal favorite salad.  She came over for dinner one night, along with my friend Kimber, (who by the way made these amazing pomegrante cosmos) and made this salad up which I paired with my rosemary skillet chicken and rosemary and sea salt popovers.  It was such an amazing dinner, and we we’re all part of the clean plate club that night.  This is such a simple and fresh salad, and it’s so different from my other kale salads, as it doesn’t have any cheese in it.   We all know how much I love cheese, but I don’t miss it in this salad at all because the nuts, fennel and oranges really give this salad some flavor.  I would say that this salad falls under the “mommy” category though, as I made it up one night for my kids and they we’re not fans. They did appreciate the oranges in it though!  My kids tend to like kale salads that have cheese as a key ingredient, so I tend to make this one up just for me, as it’s a great salad to bring to work. [click to continue…]

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lemon thyme popovers

lemon thyme popoversHappy Sunday everyone!  My gosh, I can’t believe that it’s been a little over 2 weeks since I’ve posted a recipe for you all.  I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of opening up my blog and looking at that picture of rosemary chicken.  Don’t get me wrong, I love that chicken recipe and have been making it tons, but I’m tired of looking at it everyday, so I decided to get up early (I’m writing this at 5:00 on Sunday) and get a fresh post out to you all.  I’m hoping that with the new time change I’ll be able to get out more recipes, as there will finally be some light to photograph with come dinner time.  Fingers crossed.  

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rosemary skillet chicken

rosemary skillet chickenOk, here’s a recipe for all of my chicken loving readers out there, and I know there are quite a few of you.  You guys have been so patient with my quinoa craziness lately, so I found this recipe just for you, and I guess selfishly for me, because my family and I do love chicken.  This is the perfect weeknight chicken recipe folks.  The marinade comes together in a flash and can be made ahead in the morning, so when you get home from work or just from a long busy day, all you have to do is roast up the chicken.  The chicken takes under 30 minutes to roast up to perfection, but tastes like a chicken that has been cooking for hours.  The chicken is moist and full of flavor from the rosemary and garlic marinade. Oh, and let’s not forget about the amazing sauce, or should I say gravy, because it tastes like gravy everyone. It’s the perfect sauce for dipping a popover in.  The sauce is made up of chicken broth, fresh thyme, shallots and garlic, and just adds that extra yummy factor to the chicken. I’ve made this recipe twice in the past week, and I have to tell you that I’ve had some pretty happy campers in the house.   

I paired this with some traditional popovers one night and my rosemary and sea salt popovers another night, as well as some broccoli rabe that I sautéed in shallots and a bit of olive oil.  This chicken dish is definitely ranking up there as one of our favorite weeknight meals. The kids love it because it tastes great, and I love it because it’s easy.

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quinoa snack bars

quinoa snack barsSo, I will confess to you all that I haven’t been cooking up any new recipes this past month, total lazy mama here.  Hey, I’ve been trying to juggle my new full-time job, crazy kid’s schedules and basically life in general, and at the end of the day I just want to come home and whip up something quick and easy, but nutritious as the same time. I’m seriously so happy that I created this blog because all I have been doing is cooking from it this past month. Yep, Marin mama is totally cooking from her blog.

I’ve come to realize that I initially created this blog to share my favorite recipes with friends, but in the end I think I actually created this blog for me, because I’ve come to rely on it so much for easy, healthy and tasty weeknight meals.  I’ve been digging into my old archives and finding recipes that I had forgotten about, but totally love!  You’ve all been super supportive lately with my limited posting, and I’m receiving so many emails from those of you that have gone back into my recipe archives and made something and loved it!  I know lately I’ve pretty much been just posting quinoa and uber healthy recipes, but for those of you that are looking for some tasty family friendly savory recipes, I have some recipes in the work. I’m looking to make up an easy skillet rosemary chicken dish this week and plan on serving it up with some sweet potato wedges with a lime yogurt dip. So, I do have some new recipe ideas folks, but I just need the time to cook and photograph the recipes (with some natural light at night please, daylight savings can you any come faster). Ok, enough about me, lets move onto these bars.

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quinoa wrap with black beans, feta and avocadoSo, I have to tell you that I’m totally obsessed with this wrap, like when I say obsessed, I mean I’ve had this wrap for lunch everyday this past week as well as dinner on a few occasions,  and I’m still craving it.  I’m just as obsessed with this wrap as I was when I first tried my lacinato kale salad, and for those of you that know me or have been following me for a while, you know that is my all time favorite salad ever!  I would put this wrap right up there in the same ballpark as my lacinato salad, and that’s saying a lot.

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roasted sweet potato and farro saladOk, so I start my new job this week as the Director of Catering for Paradise Foods.  I’m going to be in charge of growing and running the catering division for all 3 stores.  It’s a huge job to undertake and I’m a bit nervous as it’s a bit like starting a new business, but I’m good at sales and I love working with people and food, so to me it’s a match made in heaven.  BTW, I’ll be working most of the time out of the Tiburon store, so if any of you see me, please say hi!  So, since I’m going to be working outside of the home, I’ve been looking for some new healthy lunch alternatives to bring into work.  The funny thing is, I’m working at an amazing grocery store with one of the best deli’s, sandwich and salad bars in Marin, so I don’t really need to bring my lunch in, but I’m on a bit of a budget now, so a brown bagged lunch is the way to go.

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simple weeknight chicken soup

simple weeknight chicken soupSo, I’m back, well sort of. I’ve realized during this brief hiatus that I really missed my blog and I really missed all of you.  This blog is a part of me and a part of me that I don’t want to quit or give up on just yet.  I’m a person who loves to share with people, sharing just makes me happy, so I’m going to keep sharing with you all my recipes as well as my journey. There are a lot of changes going on in my life right now, some changes that are amazing and others that are difficult, so I don’t know the frequency of how often I will post, it may just be two times a month or it could be more, I’m just going to play it day by day.

I also wanted to also say a huge THANK YOU to you all.  I was amazed by all of your supportive comments, emails and for those of you that came up to me in person and shared what you loved about the blog. I didn’t realize how many wonderful and loyal readers I had, and I want to thank you all for reaching out these past few weeks. Each one of your comments and emails really touched my heart, and made me realize that I truly have a real audience of readers who were going through the same life struggles as me.  We’re all on this journey of life together, and we’re here to support and love one another and I truly feel supported and loved by you all, so THANK YOU!   I will slowly share my journey with you all over time, but for now, I’m just wanted to share with you all this simple and easy weeknight chicken soup that has quickly become a family favorite.

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Saying goobye for now….

IMG_8524I’m writing this post with a heavy heart as I’m saying goodbye to Marin mama for now and hello to Jackie.  I need to rediscover who Jackie is again, and in order to do that I have to let this persona of Marin mama go for now.  I chose to use this picture for the post because my friend Hilary said that this is the picture where she saw me, and saw the Jackie that she missed.  She saw a glimpse of my inner self in this picture and felt guided to send me a book and a message that I needed to hear, because she missed this side of me and wanted me to have that spark back in my eyes again.  More on that at the bottom of the post…

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

This is a great pasta to serve up if you’re entertaining friends because it feeds a crowd, especially if you pair the pasta with some crispy garlic bread and a caesar salad.  When I make this pasta up for just the 4 of us, we have pasta for 2 nights, which is great because you all know how I love two-nighter meals.  I just re-heat the leftover pasta in my cast iron skillet, and it tastes amazing!  It’s actually a bit better the next night as all the flavors really have a chance to gel.  You do want to make sure to use a robust wine for this recipe, as the wine really brings out the flavors in the sauce. Also, make sure you add that last 1/4 cup of wine at the end because it truly makes the sauce.

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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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