Friday, February 28, 2014

Healthy Brussels Sprout Chips

We go through a 2lb bag of brussells sprouts a week. I usually roast them, but in doing so there are always a few leaves on the outside of the sprouts that get a little crunchy and dark in color (my favorite part - so I tend to pick them off and eat them before anyone else knows that they are there).

I when I saw this recipe from Blossom's new book (Mayim’s Vegan Table: More Than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours by Mayim Bialik), I thought it was genius.

I made this recipe at 4pm last night and they were going by 5. Next time I will make the whole 2lb bag.

Crunchy, Tasty and Healthy!

1 pound Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Remove the leaves of the Brussels sprouts. This is tedious work, but it can be done. You want as many leaves as possible, and you may need to keep cutting away the stem as you get deeper into the sprout.

3. Place the leaves on a baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with the sea salt. Bake, turning every 5 to 7 minutes, until browned and crunchy, almost burnt, but not burnt.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Leek Bread Pudding

Before I get to writing about this amazing Thomas Keller Recipe, I have to point something out....

Bridget and I have been doing this blog for almost 2 years! It has been super fun for us and it has provided me with an amazing collection of recipes that I refer to on a weekly basis. No joke, last week I made our "Martha in Me" recipes for  Salmon, Granola, Cookies, Muffins, and Scallops.  I love having all of my favorite recipes in one place!

This next recipe will definitely be one that I refer to in years to come.  I LOOOVE bread pudding, so when I saw this Thomas Keller recipe for a savory bread pudding that can be served as a side dish or as a main entree, I was all over it! 

** Dan and I ate it for our main course and we will be doing so again tonight - YAY!

Leek Bread Pudding - Adapted from "ad hoc at home"
2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and rinsed
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
12 cups 1-inch-cubed crustless brioche or Pullman loaf
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
3 large eggs
3 cups whole milk
3 cups heavy cream
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup shredded Comté or Emmenthaler cheese.

1. Place a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, drain excess water from leeks, and add to pan. Season with salt, and sauté until leeks begin to soften, about 5 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in butter. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are very soft, about 30 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While leeks are cooking, spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until dry and pale gold, about 20 minutes, turning pan about halfway through. Transfer to a large bowl, leaving the oven on.

3. Add leeks, chives and thyme to the bowl of bread; toss well. In another large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, then whisk in milk, cream, a generous pinch of salt, pepper to taste and a pinch of nutmeg.

4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup shredded cheese in bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Spread 1/2 of bread mixture in pan, and sprinkle with another 1/4 cup cheese. Spread remaining bread mixture in pan, and sprinkle with another 1/4 cup cheese. Pour in enough milk mixture to cover bread, and gently press on bread so milk soaks in. Let rest 15 minutes.

5. Add remaining milk mixture, letting some bread cubes protrude. Sprinkle with salt and remaining cheese. Bake until pudding is set and top is brown and bubbling, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve hot.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cauliflower & Chickpea Salad

For my birthday last summer Jenny bought me Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook, which I did not have the opportunity to look through until recently. I am guilty, as I am sure many others are as well, for buying cooking books, paging through them admiring the delicous looking meals, but never making anything new. However I have been trying hard in this new year to try new recipes  and this is one of our new favorites. Adapted from It's All Good.


1 head of Cauliflower, rinsed and cut into small pieces
1-14 oz can Chickpeas, rinsed and dried
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Coarse sea Salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon seeded mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss Cauliflower and chickpeas with 3 tablespoons olive oil and a large pinch of salt. Roast stirring occasionally for 45 minutes or until slightly browned.  While those are cooking, mix together mustards, vinegar with 1/4 cup olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper.  Toss dressing and parsley with cauliflower and chickpeas while they are still warm. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, February 14, 2014

buttercream topped sugar cookies

Well, I tried to be healthier like Bridget and it lasted a day.  I guess I could blame it on the fact that I needed to bring a treat in to Franny's school, or that it is Valentine's day and we should all get a free pass.  Whatever the reason for my failure, I am so glad that "failure" = buttercream covered cookies.


Take your favorite sugar cookie recipe, shape to your desire, bake and and slather  it with buttercream (see recipe below).  
* Put more buttercream than you think you should on top of the cookie.  You will not regret it.

Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp almond extract
4-5 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
2-5 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Beat the butter and salt until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and 2 tbsp of heavy whipping cream. Sift the sugar and then add cup by cup until you have reached the desired sweetness. Beat the frosting 15-20 minutes.  Add more cream as needed.

Happy Heart Day!!!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

skinny peanut butter banana muffins

I usually feel bad about myself after Bridget posts a recipe. For example, I post about snicker doodles and she follows-up with a post about pineapple, carrot juice (I scarfed down 5 cookies, she had 2 glasses of juice).  She is always taking sugar and butter out of her recipes, while they are the rock-star ingredients in mine.  Maybe that is why she has glowing skin, abs of steel, and endless energy.  OR maybe it is because she isn't parenting 2 toddlers.  The jury is still out, but in the meantime, I am going to make an effort to be more like Bridget.

For my inaugural bridget recipe, I decided to try these skinny peanut butter banana muffins from Sally's Baking Addiction.  I made a few slight substitutions - almond butter for the peanut butter and almond extract instead of vanilla - and they turned out awesome!!  Maybe healthy isn't so bad?!  I'll let you know if my abs are flatter tomorrow.

OH - Hey, I go through stages where I am obsessed with certain products from Costco.. 
Here are two of my most recent obsessions that everyone should try:

1. Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut - Need I say more?

2. Natural Apple Chips - no sugar, no preservatives, just apples.  My girls love them and so do I!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Carrot, Pineapple and Apple Juice

Every Monday I tell myself I am going to start eating healthier.  My weekends of late have been filled with skiing followed by beer and burgers at the Dam Brewery, which I am not complaining about. Living in Colorado this is one of my favorite times of year being able to be outside, getting up to the mountains, and skiing great powder with friends and family.

A year ago my Jenny convinced me that a Juicer was a good investment and I have to say I completely agree. I have not been motivated to do a cleanse (although I need to), but I try to make juices and have them for snacks throughout the day. So yesterday when I had the urge to be healthy again I decided to make one of my favorite juices in preparation for the week ahead (who knew carrot juice was so good??!).

4-6 Large carrots
1/4-1/2 pineapple
2 green apples

Make about 2 juices

Happy Monday!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Felt Donuts

I threw a donuts & milk themed birthday party for my 2 year-old in December. I loved the theme, not only because it was adorable and very age appropriate, but because it was the easiest party that I have ever thrown. Donuts + Milk = very happy 2 year olds. No baking, no fuss, just donuts and milk.

Since the party itself was so low maintenance (just like the birthday girl), I wanted to put some extra effort into the party favors. I decided to make felt donuts that guests could take home and use them in their play kitchens (or use as ornaments). I found this youtube video from Lily Bean, that did a great job showing the step by step process. I decided to embellish the donuts a little differently, by using yarn to make an icing squiggle instead of the sprinkles that Lily Bean used. The donuts turned out adorable and my girls "bake" them for breakfast every morning in their kitchen. I am definitely going to look at a few more lily bean felt foods, because they are pretty easy to make and much better quality than a lot of other play food options.

These would be an adorable Valentine's Day gift for your kids, or anyone who loves donuts as much as I do!

Watch Lily's video for a descriptive "how to".

Supplies you will  need:
- felt
- stuffing
- thread
- sewing machine (not necessary)
- needle
- embellishments for decorating the donuts
- glue

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Classic Snickerdoodle

I love fancy.  and I can love fussy. BUT, I do not believe that fancy & fussy = better, especially when it comes to desserts.

The girls and I made these snickerdoodles this week.  Nothing fancy and nothing fussy, but they tasted just like they always do...soft & chewy, buttery, with a hint of cinnamon.  YUM

Snickerdoodle Cookie (Martha Stewart's Cookie Book)


2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 cups (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
- – -
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Put butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture.
Stir together cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Shape dough into 20 (1 3/4-inch) balls; roll in cinnamon sugar. Space 3 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Monday, February 3, 2014

banana date flaxseed bread

We just got back from visiting our Pitty/Patty in sunny Florida! It was so nice to escape our crazy Wi winter and it was a great reminder that we will soon (5 months from now) be able to go outside without down, wool and huge snow boots.

The only thing I missed when we were gone, aside from the men we left behind (dan and wally), was baking! So, when I came home to a cold house (the thermostat was set at 55) and saw a bunch of brown bananas in our fruit bowl, I left the suitcases in the hall and whipped up a few mini loaves of this delicious and protein packed banana bread. The flaxseed gives this bread a nutty flavor and the dates and bananas give it a subtle sweetness.

Banana Date Flaxseed Bread
Recipe makes 1 - 8x4 inch loaf (or 3 mini loaves - baked for 40 minutes)

1/2 cup flax seed - ground
3 bananas, mashed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flax seed
1 cup chopped pitted dates


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan. Use an electric coffee grinder or food processor to grind 1/2 cup flax seed; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together banana, oil, sugar and eggs. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground flax seed and 1/4 cup whole flax seed. Gradually stir flour mixture into banana mixture. Fold in dates. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean.