Anyone who knows my husband knows his obsession with Costco. He gets a rush when he flashes his membership card and walks through the parting glass doors of this warehouse club store. I don’t know what it is about the fluorescent lights, never-ending isles, and excessive amounts of merchandise, but for him, Costco is his happy place. For me, it just makes me itch. It used to anyway. The mobs of people, giant packages, and the fact that you have to buy 57 of one item makes me crazy. I have to admit though, I’m coming around to Costco. With their increased selection of fresh and frozen organic foods, I’m starting to become more on board. By the way, this post is NOT sponsored by Costco!
On one of my husband’s weekly, yes weekly, trips to Costco, he picked me up a bag of avocado. With so many avocados and such little time before they went bad, I brainstormed ways I could put them to good use. I came up with this Green Goddess Avocado Dip that I whipped together in a matter of minutes, thanks to my NutriBullet. The tangy dip stayed fresh in the fridge for a couple of days, and it was a delicious way to encourage us to take down some raw veggies!
I come bearing no statistics, but I do know that food allergies are so prevalent, I’m willing to wager that everyone knows at least a couple of friends/relatives/co-workers who have been handed this misfortune. Since my friend’s daughter has an egg allergy (one she’ll likely grow out of), she asked me to bake an egg-free smash cake for her 1st birthday party. While this was a huge compliment, I’m no experienced cake-baker. Since I do love to bake, and want improve in this area, I agreed to the task! Yesterday was the party, and of course, I saved the entire process for the day of. I spent all morning mixing, baking, cooling, frosting and more frosting. I had no idea that a tiny two layer cake would take me so long. The finished cake was no where near professional looking, but my friend’s little girl dug into that cake like a champ!
While I was waiting for the cake to cool before frosting it, I prepared this Quinoa & Kale Salad for Meatless Monday lunch. The salad consisted of quinoa, chopped kale, carrots, celery, sunflower seeds, dried blueberries and raisins. While I normally don’t gravitate toward salads with fruit, there was something about this combination that made think that the sweetness was exactly what this salad needed. I did a little dance in my head when even my 1 year old son enjoyed eating this for lunch…thanks to the raisins. I recommend taste-testing this salad while making it and tweak it accordingly; with just the right amount of lemon, salt and pepper, this salad is healthy and delicious.
I grew up in a household with parents who ate very healthfully. My mom always cooked nutritious, well-rounded meals, and to this day both, parents almost always shy away from foods that are bad for the waistline and body. Not to throw my dad under the bus, but recently I found out that he doesn’t eat refried beans because they’re fried. I tried explaining to him that refried beans aren’t actually fried in the sense that he is thinking, and often times they can be purchased vegetarian and without a lot of or any fat at all. While the name is definitely misleading, I thought my explanation cleared things up; but it had been too deeply engrained in his head and there was no changing his mind.
Similar to refried beans, fried rice gets a bad rap. When dining out it can be made with tons of oil and sodium, so I don’t completely disagree here. However, fried rice doesn’t have to have get a bad name. With a few tweaks, and making it yourself versus ordering it at a restaurant, you can almost guarantee a healthier version of a “fried” dish. I’ve made a few lighter fried rice recipes in the past, but they lacked flavor and didn’t warrant repeating. However, when I came across this particular recipe for Vegetable Fried Brown Rice, there were a few extra ingredients that I thought would help take this from tasteless to tasty. If you’re in a time crunch, you could use all frozen vegetables; just don’t forget the fresh garlic and ginger! I also loved that this sauce had teriyaki sauce and sesame oil, in addition to the soy sauce.
I consider my husband to be my biggest food critic because he’ll say it like it is, and he complimented this dish to be restaurant-quality! Put any preconceived notions aside and give this dish a try…I’m looking at you dad
In the two and a half years I’ve lived in St. Louis, there has only been one substantial snowstorm that I can remember. One snow that really warranted sending people into panic mode. But no matter what, anytime even a little snow is forecasted, people are out in droves stockpiling food, gas and anything else that they may need for the 5 seconds that they’re “stuck” inside. On Saturday before the snow we did end up getting, I was at Trader Joe’s buying a few ingredients to make my second batch of Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites. You would have thought the world was ending. There was not one available shopping cart or basket, the isles were gridlock, and the check-out lanes were 10 people deep with their overflowing carts of groceries. I want to know, is this common in most cities, or is this just a St. Louis thing?! I certainly don’t remember this type behavior when living in Chicago!
Back to those aforementioned Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites. For well over a year, I’ve looked at this recipe from time to time, and have wanted to make them. I thought with the ingredients consisting of raw cashews, oats, and unsweetened coconut flakes, that the cookie dough in the name was just to be clever; it didn’t occur to me that these would actually taste just like COOKIE DOUGH! As I was rolling out each ball, I noticed that they smelled a whole lot like chocolate chip cookie dough. Finally, when I sunk my teeth into one of these, I was overjoyed by how amazing they were and how I actually thought I was eating buttery delicious, raw-egg-and-all, chocolate chip cookie dough! So, I promptly made a big, second batch to stockpile, you know, for a snowstorm, or snack attack, whatever the emergency may be. I put them in my freezer to grab out whenever I need a quick Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bite. My only suggestion: don’t wait as long as I did to try this recipe!
As a note: I’ve made a few different batches of these. The pictures above are of the bites with the chocolate chips mixed in; below is a picture of the chocolate chips blended in with the food processor. I liked the ease of blending them in, but the chocolate chips don’t necessarily stay whole, so the mixed in ones possibly look more appealing.
This past week I was in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with my husband’s family. They rented a beautiful house on the inter coastal, with the beach within walking distance. We had a few really nice warm days which allowed us to go to the beach, lay by the pool, and take walks outside. On the cooler days we went to Lion Country Safari, shopped, and took a water taxi ride, giving us a the perfect view of incredible yachts and real estate! By the way, if you ever get to this area, Lion Country Safari is a must. It’s known as the first cage-less zoo, allowing you to drive through the grounds while the animals roam freely. Having zebras and rhinos walk right in front of a car was exciting for the toddlers and adults, alike! I went as a child, and it was fun being able to take my own child now. The entire vacation was great, and it was so fun getting to see our son take in all the new surroundings that Florida offers!
The warm weather was such a treat and a tease, since coming home to single digits was not easy. I now have summer on the brain and cannot wait to shed these sweaters and ditch the hearty meals and move on to lighter everything! In dreaming of warmer temps, I made Fresh, Fruity Summer Porridge, which is essentially overnight oats. I love eating the yogurt, oats, and fresh fruit in the morning out of the mason jar; its a delicious and nutritious way to start the day. What makes this recipe different from others like it is the liquid in this version comes from grated apple. This does add an extra step, but its worth it. Until the snow melts and the temperature creeps back up, I am going to be eating this Fresh, Fruity Summer Porridge, pretending that its just around the corner.