Tag Archive: recipe

Social life revival

I can hardly believe it, but a group of NINE of us all managed to free our schedules and go out for dinner and drinks.  It’s hard enough to get three or four people together over the summer, so this was a pleasant surprise considering how last minute it was.  And by “last minute” I mean, planned two weeks in advance as opposed to two months in advance.  That’s about as last minute as it gets for me (and everyone else I know with summer travel and kids activities around the clock).

Did I leave my family high and dry for dinner??

You KNOW I didn’t.

I had a bit of leftover elote (Mexican corn salad) to use up and decided to make BBQ some roasted chickpeas and quinoa with kale to turn it into a flavorful bowl.

To make the roasted chickpeas, I tossed them in some BBQ sauce and baked them for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  After the time was up on that, I turned the oven off and left them in for an additional 20 minutes.  I wasn’t sure how the kids would like them since they like plain ones so much and are hit and miss with condiments like ketchup, but they were a huge hit.

I made the quinoa in the rice cooker, per usual, but added ripped up kale with it.

And then when it came time to eat, I just assembled them all together!

The mayo/lime/cotija sauce from the corn salad coated it all and the chickpeas offered a nice crunchy texture to contrast the dish.  Kyle was super thrilled to get the corn leftovers too because it’s apparently one of his favorite dishes (news to me!).  I should have made more quinoa, because the kids actually wanted seconds but it was all gone…oops!

BBQ Chickpea + Elote Quinoa Bowls

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (~1 1/2 cups) chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 1 cup shredded/chopped kale
  • 4 ears corn, removed from cob
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
  • pinch of salt
  • (optional) cayenne

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Drain and dry chickpeas and toss in BBQ sauce.  Pour onto greased baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Once 20 minutes is up turn off the oven but leave them in the still hot oven for 20 minutes.  Then remove and let cool.

Make the quinoa according to package instructions (I think a 1:1.5 quinoa to water is best).  Either add kale in to cook with it (if you are using a rice cooker) or fold it in at the end when it’s still super hot.

Make the elote salad with the remaining ingredients.

When ready to serve, place quinoa on the bottom, add the corn salad next, and top off with the BBQ chickpeas.

Meanwhile, I was at Echo & Rig ordering a cocktail and shared plates.

I went with the Euro Connection (again) and then my friends put me in charge of ordering the food…which is my happy place  🙂

The Brussels sprouts were THE BEST.  I know that’s so cliche, but the lemon dressing and the sauteed pistachios were out of this world with the crispy fried sprouts.  Everyone agreed they were the star of the show.

I got two orders of the portabello fries because they are a must have and for a group of our size, one order would not do.  They were another hit.

The crab cake was okay but because of how amazing everything else was, it didn’t stand out in my mind.

The roasted squash was a highlight for me (again).

And while everyone else seemed to loooove the cauli, I wasn’t overly wowed by it.  Probably for the same reason as the crab cake.  Everything else was just so so good.

After Echo & Rig, we went upstairs to the new rooftop pool and bar, Revival. It was trying so hard to be swanky, but let’s be real, this is Sac town, not LA.  Aside from the some times questionable crowd, the most important thing to note was the music.  It was awesome and really made me want to dance (which I didn’t because we were all cozied up in a bungalow kind of thing chatting).

The most impressive thing about this night though, was that I was out until midnight and still managed to get P to camp on time and then to stroller strides the next morning.  Social life goals!

The week in a (food) flash

I was doing so well keeping up with my posts last week!  When Kyle’s out of town I have more time at night to blog, so that’s how I stay on top of it.  But when he’s home, I’d obviously rather chat and catch up with him than with the internet.  I’m sure you understand 😉

Anyway, TCHO and Ghirardelli’s are my late night boyfriends.  Don’t tell Kyle.

Leftovers from Pushkin’s (blueberry coffee cake) for the win!

And again (bulked up with smoked salmon, carrots, and the rest of the Miyoko’s cashew mozzarella).

I hadn’t had a multi green GT’s kombucha in a really long time and it wasn’t all that I remembered it to be.  Kinda didn’t like it.  :/

You know what that melon means right??

I finally posted a proper recipe for this guy since I have it so often.  Although this is the FIRST TIME OF THIS SUMMER!

Don’t worry, I will be having it a lot in the next few weeks because melons were on sale “buy one get one free” so I now have heaps of cantaloupe to get through.

It’s been a while since I had the “candy bars” from It’s All Good…thank goodness for my hoarder freezer stash of desserts.

Just as good as I remembered!

The other treats are chocolate coconut bombs, which are basically the best dessert ever.  And those candied ginger rounds are from TJs (back in stock after years off!) and they are SPICY!  I love them!

Another lunch, another kale salad.

Both the salad above and the salad below were eaten in tandem with these barnana plantain chips which I already told you were the saltiest things ever.  I basically have to guzzle liquids for the rest of the day to keep up with my body’s hydration needs after eating them, but I couldn’t stop!

Anyway, I finished off the bag and I’m not sure if I’ll buy them again.  I may give the other flavors a try just out of curiosity, but if I’m craving plantain chips (which is not a typical craving…), the TJs ones are fine (and way easier to find).

I also had maybe a cup or more of candied walnuts that weren’t shown as well as a half a pound of baby carrots.  Just to be accurate.  😛

Mexican themed night!  P wanted tacos and I just happened to have the items on hand to make that happen!

The Mexican shredded beef (barbacoa) was leftover from my parents’ anniversary party.  I froze it way back when and simply threw it in the instant pot to reheat, making the house smell amaaaaaaazing.

The taco shells were the key to the meal that I (luckily) randomly had in the pantry.  Probably from a previous trip to the store in which P begged me for tacos and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to leave the store without a meltdown unless I just put them in the cart.  Right fellow moms?  Does that sound about right?

To pair with the tacos, I made a Mexican street corn salad (deconstructed elote).

This was the only part of the meal that I had planned (I was going to keep it veg and add quinoa to make it a meal).  Alas, the tacos became the thing every else wanted the most, so this became a side dish.  Ah well.

There are plenty of recipes out there, but I used:

  • 4 ears corn, removed from cob
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
  • pinch of salt
  • (optional) cayenne

I looooove me some salty cheese.  The cotija was so good.

I didn’t end up eating all the beef I served myself because my eyes were bigger than my stomach.  It was probably due to the intoxicating aroma that filled the house all afternoon long.

You guys, we are STILL unable to leave the house in the afternoons.  The air quality climbs to unsafe levels by noon so we are pretty limited in how we spend the second half of the day.  I feel bad complaining because we are lucky to be a safe enough distance from the fires, but man is it hard keeping kids indoors.  It feels like last summer all over again with V is a body cast.  It’s almost been a full year.  Wow, re-reading that post was a doozy of a trip down (a bad) memory lane.

Here’s another kale salad with balsamic vinaigrette, candied walnuts, avo, and dried cranz.

I added smoked salmon later because I feel a little low energy and wanted something extra.

Still on that smoked salmon kick 🙂

This was plate numero uno.  I finished off the crackers (there were a few more left in the box) and then had extra cream cheese too.  I forgot how good the Green Valley organic cream cheese is.  It’s almost sweet.  Probably because it’s made from cream.  It’s super rich and creamy and thick and basically the perfect pair with salmon.

V and I had some special time this week while P was in kinder camp every morning.

Instead of stroller strides we went on a long run together (and in order to do that without 100 interruptions I gave her a discman with the Frozen soundtrack).  Winning!!!

I parked near a sbux so I could reward myself afterwards.  I also wanted to run in a new place with fresh scenery.  Then we hit up a park…and V played while I had a Sugar Plum sesame tahini paleo cookie.  They were out of stock for a while but I finally found them again – phew!

Tea parties!  They actually liked the weak herbal tea I made for them!

I guess I should be thankful that we could at least get outside in the morning, but by the end of the week I was cursing the fires and the poor air quality…anddddd finding my parenting creative juices drying up.

We made it work.

When life gives you ripe bananas…you just gotta bake.

 

Our Summer Melon Salad

How have I gone this long posting photos of this recipe without actually sharing it!?  Very weird.  I grew up on this salad.  To me it was the epitome of summer.  It’s one of my strongest food memories from my childhood, and every time I make it I think of eating outside with my whole family, our hair wet from swimming in the pool all day.  It’s so refreshing.  We ate it as a side dish growing up, but I’ve started to make it as a main course, occasionally adding in diced chicken or roasted chickpeas to give it that extra oopmh.

Cantaloupe Melon and Avocado Salad with Poppyseed Dressing [serves 4]

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads butter lettuce, ripped
  • 1-2 avocados, diced
  • 1/4 a large cantaloupe melon, diced
  • Brianna’s poppyseed dressing
  • [optional] 1-2 chicken breasts, diced

Directions:

Toss lettuce and melon (and chicken if using) in dressing.  Fold in avocados.  Serve.

It’s really basic but hits the spot.  I prefer the organic “living” butter lettuce heads because they are the freshest.  I’m also partial to Brianna’s poppyseed dressing, but if you have a different brand that you love, use that!

Greek chicken salad

THIS DINNER!

I think I may be eating this for the next week straight.  Or at least every day that Kyle’s out of town from now on.  It’s so good!  And so easy!

It all came about when I was brainstorming what to make for dinner.  Usually when Kyle’s gone I try to make something with ingreds he doesn’t like (ie zucchini, cucumber, dill, pickled stuff).  But what I was really in the mood for was Italian dressing.  I know that sounds weird, but when you have a craving you have a craving.

Rather than buy dressing with questionable additives and preservatives, I decided to try to make my own.

Home-made Italian Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp agave
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme

Shake well so the salt and agave dissolve and the spices and herbs mix.  Use liberally.  🙂

For the salad, I wanted something similar to a chopped salad, but also a chicken salad.

I had leftover chicken from when I cooked the whole bird in the instant pot over the weekend, so that was perfect.  I also had cherry tomatoes aplenty in the yard.  So then I added cucumber, marinated artichokes, and feta, and called it a day.

One note: the marinated artichokes you choose matters!  Get good ones.  The long stem roman artichokes I got were AMAZING.  So plump with massive hearts…which is the whole point of eating them anyway (nobody wants leaves!).  The long stemmed ones have more of the yummy part.

I love how the salty flavors of the feta and artichokes are balanced out by the fresh cucumber and tomatoes.  And then the whole thing is instantly made into a meal thanks to the chicken.  It’s perfection.  If you are into red onions, they’d probably be good in this as well, but since it was for me and the kids I left it off.  Your call.

Greek Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts (~1 lb), cooked and diced
  • 3 Persian cucumbers, sliced
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8-10 oz marinated artichokes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • Italian dressing (see recipe above)

Directions:

Bake or poach the chicken if you don’t have any cooked chicken on hand.

Slice the cucumbers (Persian ones are better than English so that you don’t have to de-seed them), halve the tomatoes, chop the artichokes, and then toss everything together with the chicken and Italian dressing.

Crumble feta on top and serve.

See my note on feta from yesterday.

I could eat this allllll day long.

Sometimes it’s nice to have things like this to look forward to when Kyle’s traveling because otherwise it’s just sad that he’s gone.  But if I know I get to eat this and binge Queer Eye and Bravo after the kids are in bed then at least there’s a glimmer of joy for me to look forward to all day.  😉

 

Nectarine cobbler

You HAD to know this was coming, right?

This was actually inspired by a pot of steel cut oats I made for the kids last week, which smelled JUST like pie and thanks to the vanilla, cinnamon and brown sugar (!!!) I added to it, it basically was!

Can you believe how juicy these nectarines are?

Should I stop asking you rhetorical questions??

Seriously, though, all I did was a rough chop of these (in the pyrex).  Some of them I just squeezed with my hands until the pit popped out.  So that’s just raw macerated nectarines without any cooking or sugar or anything.  Mmmmm…

Already a good start to this dish!

For the topping I made a oaty, nutty crumble with brown sugar and coconut oil.

I was worried that the liquid coconut oil would be a problem since I’m more used to cutting in butter for a true pastry approach, but there was enough dry ingredients that it was fine.

Perfectly distributed to cover the fruit and every nook and cranny.

The kids were happily watercoloring away while I was baking.

I just noticed their little crossed leggies.  So sweet.  Her page was solid purple by the end.  HA.

Nectarine Cobbler [vegan]

Ingredients:

  • 12-14 (ripe) nectarines, diced
  • 1 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add chopped fruit to an 8×8 inch pyrex.  The riper the fruit is, the less you will have to cut it up.  If you can, try to cut it in the pyrex because then you won’t lose any of the juices.

In a separate bowl, mix the crumble ingredients (oats, flour, sugar, oil, almonds, salt).

Pour the topping over the fruit and distribute it so it covers the entire top in an even layer.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until the crust is browned to your liking.

Let it cool before serving so that the fruit can set together.

I promise you don’t need any additional sugar in with fruit at all, it is so beautifully sweet with the pure fruit.  And the crunchy top is a wonderful contrast in texture.

As you can see it bubbled over a little bit, but cleaning the bottom of the oven is a small price to pay for having super ripe stone fruit.

Anyway, depending on the size of your fruit you can reduce the amount of nectarines if you see it’s getting too close to the top.

You can serve it solo, or go the extra mile and add ice cream (vanilla!) or whipped cream.

Home-made whipped cream may be in my future…