kale salad with brussels sprouts and toasted almondsSo, yes, this is another kale salad recipe, (sorry for all of the kale recipes lately folks) but it has Brussels sprouts in it, so you’re getting 2 amazing veggies in one salad!  Bonus!  My foodie friend Carolyn passed this recipe onto me and told me I had to try it.  I totally trust Carolyn, and when she tells me that I need to try something, I do, no questions asked. I was nervous to have the kids try this because Eli despises Brussels sprouts, like totally gags on them.  So the first time I made this up, I didn’t tell him that there were Brussels sprouts in it (I know, I’m a mean and sneaky mama).  He ate the salad and really liked it. I then told him after he finished that he just ate some Brussels sprouts, and you know what, he said he liked them raw mixed in with the kale!  Sometimes you just have to be a bit sneaky moms!

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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 favorite kale recipesIt’s the day after Halloween and I don’t know about you, but I’m in the mood for some healthier fare today.  When I need to detox from too many sweets, wine and pizza, I tend to gravitate towards something made with kale, whether it be a smoothie or salad.  So today I thought I would share with you my favorite kale recipes from the blog in-case you were looking to detox with some kale as well.

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pasta with kale, lemon and toasted walnutsToday I’m giving you all a tasty, healthy, easy, family approved and under 30 minute weeknight pasta two ways (whew, that was a lot in one sentence).  I mean who doesn’t love that?  It’s actually the same recipe, but I’m using two different types of pastas as well as cheeses.  The family approved and kid friendly version uses regular spaghetti and grated parmesan.  The “mommy” and teenage (I say teenage because Zoe loves this version as well) version uses whole-wheat spaghetti and Pecorino Romano cheese.  Both ways are tasty, it’s just an individual preference.  I love both versions, but prefer the whole-wheat version because the pasta has a great nutty flavor and is a bit chewy, but chewy in a good way, and the Pecorino Romano cheese adds a bit of salty flavor to the whole-wheat pasta.

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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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popovers with rosemary and sea saltWe’re a total popover loving family. We love the traditional popovers, sugar-crusted popovers and now these rosemary and sea salt popovers. Popovers are my carb of choice because they’re SO easy to make up and require a few simple pantry ingredients.  They may look all fancy and formal with their big puffy tops and seem difficult to make, but let me tell you, they’re one of the easiest recipes to make. They even have an exact cooking time which makes them even easier to make up.

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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!   [click to continue…]

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kale salad with pear, toasted almonds and aged goudaSurprise, surprise, salad number two this week is a kale salad.  Did you really expect anything else?  I mean I already have 7 kale salad recipes on the blog, so why not add another one, right?  This salad is similar to my kale salad with delicata squash, almonds and aged cheddar.  I love the base of that salad, but wanted to make up a more kid friendly version, as my kids are not big fans of squash. They like butternut squash soup, and spaghetti squash tacos, but they don’t like cubed or sliced squash, they need it blended in something.  They’re huge fans of pears though, so I decided to add in some pears in place of the squash.  I also wanted to change up the cheese to addd some variety and I’ve heard that aged gouda pairs well with pears and apples, so I asked the cheese guy at my local market what gouda he recommended. He suggested that I use this Robusto Gouda from UnieKass. Ok, I totally loved this cheese and even found myself breaking off pieces of it to munch on while I grated the cheese.  Robusto Gouda is an aged gouda/parmesan hybrid that is creamy, nutty and sharp in flavor.  If you can’t find this particular cheese at your grocery store, then you can either ask the cheese guy at your store what type of cheese might be similar in taste in texture, or just pick up an aged gouda.  Oh, I also hear that this particular cheese pairs extremely well with beer. Hmmm….  I’m thinking this would be a great cheese to serve up with some cold beers for Sunday football.  Just saying…

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mixed greens with creamy mustard vinaigretteIt’s salad week at Marin mama cooks.  Yes, I’m calling it salad week because I’m posting 2 salad recipes for you all.  Aren’t you happy?  After 2 weeks of posting nothing but sweets, I figured we could all use a salad or two right?  Today I’m sharing with you all a classic salad dressing that John and I love. I used to make this salad dressing all of the time before I discovered kale that is. Mixed greens was our go-to salad and this creamy mustard vinaigrette was our go-to dressing.  I made this salad up for dinner parties, topped it with grilled chicken for an easy weeknight dinner, you name it.  I had kind of  forgotten about this salad and dressing till John brought it to my attention.  John asked me to PLEASE make up this salad as he was getting tired of eating kale salads every night.  Honestly, I don’t think I will ever tire of my lacinato kale salad as well as my kale salad with ricotta salata. I could honestly eat those two salads every night, but I know not everyone in my family feels and loves kale the way I do, so I have to think about them and add some variety to our dinner menu.

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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. [click to continue…]

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