Baby Food: Savory Lentil and Veggie Purée 


Ok mamas, papas and caregivers…can we talk baby food super briefly?

 Man am I learning that sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and go the store bought food route which I’m totally ok with..i love all of the healthful options they make these days and it’s so convenient. But here’s my beef…why do these companies feel the need to make everything taste sweet?! Even if those jars have spinach, green beans or peas in them they often times still wind up putting pears or apples in the bulk of the ingredients. I love that my baby is getting veggies “snuck in” to these varieties because of the nutrients. But I also want him to taste savory…and learn how delicious veggies can be in savory form.

So this recipe right here is just that. All three of my kiddos have adored this puree so I wanted to share it with you. You don’t need fancy tools or steamers to make delicious  food for your baby…you won’t believe how simple and easy this is to prepare. And wait till you try it…I will confess that I eat a fair share of this stuff myself:) It’s the perfect way to get those savory tastebuds rolling and so full of fiber, vitamins and nutrients! 

Savory Lentil and Veggie Puree

Notes: this makes a large batch so it’s wonderful for freezing!

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

2 Carrots, peeled and chopped into large pieces 

1  Sweet Potato, peeled and chopped into large pieces

1 Yellow Summer Squash, chopped into large pieces

1 Yellow Onion, chopped into large pieces 

1/3 Cup Dried Lentils

2 1/2 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock

Directions

Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add all the veggies and cook, stirring often, for 3-5 minutes. Add lentils and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and partially cover the pot. Cook at a heavy simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are very tender. Cool slightly.

Add the soup to a blender and process until a smooth purée forms. Keep leftovers chilled in refrigerator or freeze in individual portions.

Cranberry Almond Muffins


I hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving! And now we enter the holidays…bring on the warm, cozy food! It’s a great time of year to utilize all of the gorgeous fresh cranberries around and this recipe celebrates them in the most wonderful way.

It took me a couple try’s to get this recipe right….and now, I feel pretty darn good sharing it with you because man, oh man, are they a treat!

These muffins are filled with amazing spice and the perfect amount of sweetness. The tart cranberries add the most incredible touch. And that almond extract….oh my heavens it takes these over the top! 


They are sweetened with pure maple syrup and can be made gluten free so easily by using a gf all purpose flour. Such a healthy treat that my family can’t get enough of. Breakfast made so easy!

Cranberry Almond Muffins

*note: if you don’t have oat flour on hand you can easily make your own. Just place rolled oats in a blender and process until they are in a powder-like flour form.

Ingredients

1 1/4 Cups Oat Flour

3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour or Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon 

1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Cup Plain Whole Milk Greek Yogurt

2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

6 Tablespoons Butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract

1 Cup Fresh Cranberries

Sliced Almonds, for topping

Directions 

Preheat oven to 375. Mix the cranberries and 2 Tablespoons maple syrup in a small bowl; set aside.

Add the oat flour, AP flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt to a small bowl, whisk and set aside. 

In a large bowl whisk together the yogurt, eggs, syrup, butter and almond extract. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Add the cranberries and gently fold in until just incorporated.

Spoon into 12 greased muffin tins and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

Makes 12 Muffins 

Banh Mi Bowls


It is with a giant amount of salivating that I present to you my most favorite recipe these days..the Banh Mi Bowl. I’m getting all giddy already, guys! Too good. Just too stinking good.

If you’ve been hanging out around here for any length of time you’ve probably figured out that I go batty for Asian food in any form…but the Banh Mi Sandwich trumps them all for this gal. Remember this one? 

If you’ve never experienced a Banh Mi Sandwich I highly suggest you run your cute tush to your favorite local Vietnamese deli or food truck. You’ll usually find the crusty, chewy bread filled with savory pork and piled high with pickled veggies…and topped with a spicy mayo that will blow your mind. Again, getting giddier by the minute over here!

So I’ve turned my favorite sandwich into a healthy bowl that is easy enough for a weeknight meal and yummy enough that you may want to make a double batch so you can eat leftovers throughout the week. My whole family loves these…my husband and I eat them as-is and my weirdo kids demand cheese sprinkled on top so I just go with it; if it floats their boat I’ll surrender.


These are so perfectly comforting for this chilly weather. A big old bowl of your favorite grain topped with such a flavorful, warm,  savory ground chicken, sweet, tangy, crisp veggies and a sriacha mayo that you just may want to go at with a spoon:) These are such a must-try!

Banh Mi Bowls

Ingredients

For the Pickled Veggies

2 Cups Shredded or Thinly Sliced Carrots

1 English Cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced 

3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Honey

For the Sriracha Mayo

1/2 Cup Mayonaise

1 Tablespoon Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce-add more for more heat
For The Chicken Filling

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 1/2 Pounds Ground Chicken

2 Garlic Cloves, minced 

2 Tablespoons Tamari (you can use soy sauce if gluten is not an issue)

2 Tablespoons Sesame Seed Oil

2 Tablespoons Honey

1 Tablespoon Sriracha 

3 Green Onions, thinly sliced

Salt + Black Pepper, to taste

For the Bowls

Prepared Brown or White Rice or Quinoa

Cilantro, for garnish

Directions

For the Pickled Veggies

Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl and let stand at room temp while you do the other steps. Can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

For the Sriracha Mayo

Mix all ingredients together and set aside. Can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

For the Chicken Filling

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Brown chicken, stirring occasionally, until cooked through. Stir in the remaining ingredients and let simmer for 5 minutes over medium low heat, stirring occasionally and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

For the Bowls

Pile rice or quinoa in a bowl. Top with a heaping mound of Chicken Filling, Pickled Veggies and Sriracha mayo and sprinkle with cilantro. Serves 4+

Apple Cinnamon Pastries


It’s starting to officially feel like fall, guys! How have you been celebrating? Give me all the warm coffee, crunchy leaves, cool, refreshing air, pumpkins, corn mazes, scenic colors that will blow your mind…and APPLES! It’s all happening in our neck of the woods and if I could just pile on an extra couple months of this stuff I’d be one over-the-moon mama. Minnesota truly feels like the most magical place this time of year. 

We had our annual apple orchard trip a couple weeks ago and, well, if you know me you know that it’s my very favorite family outing of the year. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere surrounded by the most incredible scenery with my four favorite humans just simply isn’t a terrible way to spend a Saturday. We got to show the baby all the ropes this year…and man the big kids are becoming pro pickers! Here are a few photos from the day


Each year I try to share a new way we like to use our pickings..and this year? Apple Cinnamon Pastries.

 And I tell you what…eat them warm, fresh out of the oven and you might actually keel over in awe of the flakey, sweet, insanely delicious concoction. 


Think apple pie but much more buttery yet oddly light. So stinking easy….and so special for this time of year. It was such a fun activity for the kids and I. I hope youll give them a try! 

Apple Cinnamon Pastries

Notes: you can start off using one tablespoon honey and add as you go, to taste…the amount you will need will depend on how sweet your apples are. 

Ingredients

4 Apples (use your favorite variety but I prefer a slightly sweet, tart apple for these)

2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

1/4 Cup Feesh Squeezed Orange Juice

1-2 Tablespoons Honey

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Pinch of Ground Allspice

Pinch of Salt

1 Box (2 sheets) Puff Pastry, thawed

1 Egg + 1 Tablspoon Water

Course Sugar, for topping 

Directions

Peel, core and dice the apples into approximately  1/2 inch pieces. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add apples and sauté until just beginning to soften, stirring often. Stir in the orange juice, honey, cinnamon, allspice and salt and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. Can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

Preheat oven to 375, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and whisk the egg and water together in a small bowl. Cut each sheet of puff pastry into 9 squares, making 18 total. Put approximately 2 tablespoons of the apple filling into the center of 9 squares. Brush or use your fingers to coat the outter line of the pastry squares with the egg wash and then place another sheet of the puff pastry on top, sealing the edges together with a fork; repeat with the remaining pieces. Place the pastries on prepared baking sheet, brush the tops with remaining egg wash, and sprinkle liberally with coarse sugar. Cut two small skits in the tops to vent and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Makes 9. 

Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Sausage with Red Sauce


Well, friends, the time has come. My computer…it’s lived a wonderful life. We’ve made it through every ounce of blogging I’ve ever done together..and now, I believe she’s done. If you know me well you are fully aware of my lack of technological savvy..I don’t need much with my computer..just the option to use that good old inter web and a place to store my photos (please pray they can all be recovered by some magical unicorn that has a degree in IT). But I think it’s time for an upgrade…because my computer won’t even show me its elderly little face anymore, just a dark screen. All I get are old, worn down, obnoxiously annoying repetitive beeps. So I’m going to assume this is it, but it was a darn good run.

And basically, because of my lack of knowledge with this kind of stuff..and the fact that it’s just not that fun to drag small children to the Apple Store, it may be a while before I can get it looked at or a new computer tries to step in and take over. So my phone..I can blog from a phone regularly, right?! Let’s just give this a go. 😬

And however sad it may be, it’s nothing a little warm comfort food can’t fix! This is my favorite marinara sauce recipe with some savory roasted Italian sausage thrown in..SO yum. You can certainly serve the red sauce and sausage over pasta, but it works so well served over spaghetti squash..it’s an awesome combination! 


Hope your week is going so very well! This dish would be great for the cozy weekend ahead:)

Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Sausage with Red Sauce

Notes: the cream is optional here. It balances the acidity of the sauce so well and adds great texture..but it tastes great if you skip it too…use your own judgement:)

Ingredients

For the Red Sauce 

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Small Yellow Onion, finely chopped

2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped

1/2 Cup Red Wine

1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper

1 (28 ounce) Can San Marzano Tomatoes

1 (15 ounce) Can Tomato Sauce

1/4 Cup Heavy Cream, optional

Grated Parmesan, for serving 

For the Squash + Sausage

1 (3-4 Pound) Spaghetti Squash

1 Pound Italian Sausage Links

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Directions

For the Red Sauce 

Heat oil and butter in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, stirring often, about five minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add red wine and cook until the wine is reduced by half. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, oregano, pepper, tomatoes and tomato sauce and bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of your spoon. Reduce heat to medium low and let the sauce simmer for at least 25 minutes. Stir in the cream, if using,  and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. 

For the  Squash + Sausage

Preheat oven to 4oo. With a sharp knife, slice the stem off the squash and cut it in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Drizzle half the olive oil over the cut sides of the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet, cut sides down. Place sausage in a baking dish and drizzle it with the remaining oil, tossing to coat. Poke a few holes in each link with a sharp knife. Place both the squash and sausage in the preheated oven and roast the sausage for 25 minutes or until cooked through and beginning to brown, turning occasionally. Roast the squash  for 45 minutes or until very tender. Remove from oven and slice the sausage and add it to the sauce.  Scrape the flesh away from the skin of the squash with a fork to loosen the “noodles”.
Serve red sauce and sausage over the squash noodles and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serves 4+

Quick Grilled Fish + Pineapple Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream


I’m always looking for a way to switch up taco Tuesday around here. And here is a quick favorite these days. 

While the chipotle sour cream is such a cinch to make, preparing it over the weekend can make this meal so weeknight friendly with hardly any prep at all. The combination of smokey grilled fish, sweet, lightly charred pineapple, crunchy cabbage and chipotle sour cream is seriously so dreamy you guys! 

Quick Grilled Fish + Pineapple Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream

*note: if you aren’t up for grilling you can easily broil the fish and pineapple in the oven…just flip them halfway between cooking until desired doneness. Any white fish will do…I just love how Mahi grills. Also, start with one chipotle pepper for the sour cream and go from there…if you want more heat add another. 

Ingredients 

For the Fish + Pineapple

2 (approx 6 oz) Mahi Mahi Fillets

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/2 Tablespoon Chili Powder

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

4 Fresh Pineapple Spears

For the Chipotle Sour Cream

3/4 Cup Sour Cream

1/4 Cup Heavy Cream

1-2 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo, see note

2 Tablespoons Lime Juice

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher or Sea Salt

For the Tacos

2 Cups Shredded Cabbage

Corn Tortillas

Cilantro, for garnish

Directions

For the Fish + Pineapple

Preheat grill over high heat. Drizzle fish with olive oil, sprinkle with chili powder and salt and rub the oil and seasoning all over the fish. Place the fish and pineapple on prepared grill and cook fish for 6-8 minutes per side or until just cooked through and cook pineapple until grill marks form on each side, turning occasionally. Remove from grill, flake fish with a fork and chop pineapple.

For the Chipotle Sour Cream

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

For the Tacos

Toss cabbage with a small amount of chipotle sour cream, just enough to lightly coat. Serve fish, pineapple and cabbage on warm corn tortillas and drizzle with additional chipotle sour cream and sprinkle with cilantro. Serves 4

Chicken ‘Cordon Bleu’ Rolls


Ok, so this is basically a result of crap, what am I going to make for dinner? I had chicken tenderloins in the fridge and no plan in sight and, truth is, we all need a ‘recipe’ that really doesn’t call for a recipe at all. Something we can just throw together thoughtlessly with no fuss that we can remember off of the top of our heads. So here she be.

My kids love anything that involves ham and Swiss cheese and we had both in the fridge so I threw it all together and let’s just say I’ll certainly be making this one again.

No pounding out the chicken, no cutting slits to stuff it, nada. Just a chicken tenderloin wrapped arpund ham and Swiss in the middle. And baked until the cheese gets gooey and the chicken is cooked to juicy perfection. So stinking basic, but that salty cheesy yummy combo is such a winner.

And don’t worry one bit about the cheese oozing out while it’s baking…it will leave you with the most amazing browned-around-the-edges cheese that will surround your rolls. So. Good. 


It’s hardly a traditional Chicken Cordon Bleu, but it’s the best darn make-shift there ever was thats just perfect for busy weeknights! Meal plan worthy for this next week, for sure! 

Chicken ‘Cordon Bleu’ Rolls

Ingredients

Chicken Tenderloins

Deli Ham, sliced thin

Sliced Swiss Cheese

Kosher Salt + Black Pepper, to taste

Olive Oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 and grease a baking dish with butter or olive oil. Lay tenderloins on a work surface and place a bit of ham and a half a piece of Swiss cheese in the middle of the tenderloins. Fold tenderloins over and seal them closed with a toothpick. Place in prepared baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the tops of the rolls and bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through.