Easter Basket Cupcakes - total time 1 hour


I think Mother Nature is trying to teach us a lesson... enjoy the sunny and 80 degree days because the next day there could be an inch of snow on the ground!  Oh my poor daffodils.  :(  What can you do...

Since it is cold outside again, might as well whip up some Easter treats from scratch!  My grandma used to make the best yellow cake and chocolate frosting ever!  She would make it when the whole family was coming over for a holiday dinner; Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas... and once in a while throughout the summer when my sister and I were over at her house during summer break.  To this day, it is the only cake I would ever get seconds of (unless you count cookie cake as a cake... and then that throws the whole idea out the window).  I can't quite remember what made her cake so special, I just remember really enjoying it.

My husband's favorite cake, as it turns out, is also yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  So I thought I would give it a go making yellow cake from scratch.  Turns out, it is egg yoke (not butter, like I originally thought) that makes yellow cake yellow (unless its a box mix, in which case there is probably some food coloring that makes it extra yellow).  He said these are the best cupcakes yet... and I've made so pretty darn good cupcakes (according to other people, of course... case 1, 2, and 3)

I had the idea of these chocolate shavings Easter baskets last year (because I don't like coconut) and it just didn't work out.  I used a vegetable peeler, which made the shavings too wide.  Then I used a grater and the chocolate melted in my hands.  This year I used my handy parmesan grater and it worked out nicely.  Knowing most people don't have room in their kitchen for an extra gadget (and a parmesan grater is definitely not a necessity), you could use parchment paper around the chocolate and take breaks to toss the chocolate in the freezer to prevent a melty mess.  Or you could use chocolate sprinkles and avoid the complication altogether!

Weekly Menu

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Wow!  What a gorgeous weekend!  The kind of weather you wish could be all year long.  Had no issues reaching my steps goal with my Up band because I just wanted to be outside walking around enjoying to weather.  Spring has officially sprung and I'm loving it!

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Snoop is loving it too.  It's been 6 months since he could roll around in green grass.  It looks like he is smiling in the second picture.  :)

We're in the home stretch of meat-free Lent.  I just placed my Green BEAN order for this week and it felt kind of weird adding ground turkey to my bin after a month and a half.  Truthfully, the only thing I miss is being able to pick from anything on the menu.  Most restaurants offer a few vegetarian options, but sometimes you're just not in the mood for the one thing... and removing meat from another dish leaves you with... sides.  It will be nice to have more options again (but then again, sometimes I can be pretty indecisive, so having two options to choose from makes my decision easier).

Alrighty... here's this week's menu!

fajita taco night
spaghetti bake (minus the ground turkey)
out for my mom's bday

Grilled Asparagus and Poached Egg - total time 20 minutes


Eggs are a great source of protein for vegetarians and omnivores alike.  There have been many studies and reports that go back and forth on whether eggs are healthy for you or not.  Some say that they are high in cholesterol and that people shouldn't eat more that one or two a week.  Others says it's the ultimate health food and should even be consumed raw.  I like to think reality is somewhere in between knowing that eggs are low fat, high protein, have dietary sulfur (great for you hair and nails), and the yolks have carotenoids (similar to carrots).  I also love eggs... so at this point of being meat-free for around 40 days now... we have gone through quite a few eggs!

With Easter coming up, eggs are center stage.  You may be hard boiling some right now to dye different colors.  Or you could be filling a bunch of colorful plastic versions with candy in the next few days.  Eggs are a symbolic message of rebirth, so the iconic Easter egg completely makes sense.  

Celebrate Easter with this quick, delicious brunch.  Perfect timing for asparagus which are at their peak right now and the buttery, runny yolk over top... just delicious!  We actually had this dish for dinner, it is quite filling with a side dish of crispy roast potatoes.  It's minimal ingredients and cooks quickly, the slowest part is that you can only poach one egg at a time, but they only take a minute or two.  :)

Green BEAN Delivery


We have been ordering Green BEAN delivery for almost a year now (here is my first post about it), so when they asked me if I would write a review, of course I said yes!  

I have been trying to eat more local, organic, and seasonal for years now.  Green BEAN makes it easy, you just place your order online and it arrives at your door step on your scheduled delivery day!  And delivery is FREE for orders totaling $35 or more.  Everything is fully customizable from how much is in your bin, what is in your bin, and how often you get your bin.  Green BEAN is the only company I have found that offers this much flexibility and doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

You set up what you want your default bin to be; small, medium, large produce bins or pick a produce and grocery mixed bin (that's what my bin is), and you can change it when you are placing your order.  You also set your default frequency to every week or every other week.  I have mine set to every other week so I don't end up with more than I can eat during the summer when I have my garden and CSA veggies too.  I can add or turn off bins easily, so right now I am getting a bin every week even though my default is every other week, and when we go on vacation or won't be home on delivery day it is easy to turn it off.

Every week starts with a standard assortment of produce and every week that assortment is different (changes with seasonality).  You can keep the default, change everything, or do something in between.  I always end up making some kind of adjustment.  Each fruit or veggie that is available that week is listed in a drop down box with whether it is local, grown in the US, or grown in Mexico as well as whether it is organic, sustainably grown, or conventionally grown.  Just about everything is organic and grown in the US, but there are some things like bananas or mangoes that are really difficult to be both.

After that, you can add grocery items no matter what type of bin you have.  I use the 'local artisans' category almost exclusively to get local milk, yogurt, eggs, butter, meat, granola, coffee (roasted locally), and more.  One time I got a little carried away and ended up with three bins in one week!  (One of those bins was my Thanksgiving turkey.)

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When I first signed up for Green BEAN, I had some concerns, but after a few weeks I was hooked!  Some of my original concerns included keeping everything cold.  It's one thing if produce gets a little warm, it grows outside and half of it shouldn't be stored in the fridge any way.  It's another thing for dairy and meat to get warm.  When my first bin arrived with in a shipping cooler with ice packs and everything was still very cold hours after delivery, I was no longer concerned.  I also wondered about variety of produce, since I sometimes get 'stuck' with my CSA and end up having to order too much of one thing.  After a week or two of figuring out how to fully customize my bin, I almost had too much variety!  (The local produce selection does decrease during the winter, there are still a lot of options to choose from.)

My last concern was pricing, was it more expensive to order through Green BEAN than just going to the grocery store?  I would have to drive to the other side of town to have some of the options that I can easily select from Green BEAN, so in convenience, time, and gas... it definitely saves me money.  For the stuff I can get from the Kroger down the street from me... when comparing apples to apples (literally, hehe), Green BEAN is still less expensive in many cases.

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If you're trying to eat more fresh fruits and veggies, make sure they are in your house when you're hungry!  It's easy to grab the junk food if that is the only thing in your pantry.  With Green BEAN, you will always have healthy options to snack on and plan your weekly meal plans around.  If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to ask!  

Weekly Menu

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Everyone at work has been taking time off for their kids' Spring Breaks.  Man, I miss those days...I never really went any where on Spring Break, but it was always nice to have that pause from the day-to-day.  I hear a long weekend calling my name because two days just isn't enough!

Had a fabulous girls weekend with the fam.  We literally shopped until we dropped... then we rested, fueled up, had a drink, and shopped some more!  And I got to spend some time with this little guy... who added the little rubber duckie from my 'drunk duck' drink to his duckie collection.  :)

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When I got home, I could see my first daffodil of the season from down the road.  I literally jumped out of my car and took a picture.  Daffodils are just so bright and cheerful.  The ultimate sign that winter is over, and therefore, my favorite flower!

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Alright, since the weekend is over, it is menu planning time...

pizza night
veggie crunchwraps
out

What are you planning to make this week?

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Granola Bar - total time 1 hour


They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  I've never been one to skip breakfast, I would never make it to lunch without gnawing my arm off.  So to keep my hunger at bay, I start most mornings with a quick parfait.  I loooove this granola I get from Green Bean delivery.  It is so yummy!  And I have tried a lot of different granolas, definitely all of the ones with chocolate in them.  But this one is definitely the best, peanut butter, nuts, seeds, and a little chocolate.  Perfect way to start the day... top it with some berries and yogurt... even better!

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We go through this stuff like crazy, like, a couple bags every week.  It's kind of ridiculous.  But we don't always have time in the morning even for a simple parfait (I easily lose track of time before I have had my coffee... even after sometimes... so mornings can go from a leisurely stroll to a mad dash out the door pretty quickly).  So what's a girl going to eat when she's run so fast out the door that she forgot to brush her hair and her phone is still sitting on the kitchen counter?  Granola bars!  A quick grab and go solution.

You could probably just take premade granola and bake it into bars.  But where is the fun in that?  This way you control everything that goes into the bars and can feel good about what you're eating.  No added sugar and tons of protein and fiber... and so yummy... just like McCabe's granola.

It takes a bit of time from start to finish, but it's mostly hands off time.  I walked my dog while everything was cooling, came back, covered them in chocolate, and then went back out with Snoop to finish our walk.  Probably only spent 15 minutes in the kitchen.  Easy peasy!  

Weekly Menu

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Woke up to a yard covered in snow and Spring flowers blooming.  Crazy Ohio weather, it is supposed to be near 70 degrees tomorrow.

The crocuses I planted in the Fall are starting to pop up and give our lawn some color.  Not exactly as beautiful as Suzy's, but I'll take it!  Can't wait until the daffodils are blooming!!!

Here is my menu for the week... what are you planning to make?

veggie burrito bowls (didn't get to it last week)
sauteed asparagus with poached egg
grilled caesar salad
pizza pockets
creamy sundried tomato pasta

Veggie Calzone - total time 35 minutes


Do you like ricotta?  There are a lot of people that don't.  Most of them substitute cottage cheese to replace ricotta... that's just not an even switch to me.  Maybe you either like ricotta or you like cottage cheese.  Maybe?

I've been making calzones for years.  My husband and I call them Alley Doughs after consuming more DP Dough calzones than we probably should have in college.  I never thought to put ricotta in them... ever.  But lately I have been limiting the amount of meat I eat (and currently that is no meat) so I've been choosing the veggie calzones at Sarefino's and Little Palace, both of which have ricotta and are molto delizioso (starting to work on my Italian for vacation :))!  I might be bias, because I love ricotta, but I think it makes calzones so much tastier!

This recipe is for one calzone, but one is easily enough for two people.  If you finish a whole calzone by yourself in one sitting, you get a free tshirt and your photo on a wall somewhere in cyberspace.  And a nap.  Because you'll be so full you won't want to do anything else. 

Weekly Menu

Weekends seriously need to be longer!  It is so much harder to fit in fun things on the weekdays without rushing around and stressing out.

We kicked the weekend off with the CBJ trying to secure a spot in the playoffs while welcoming Nash back to NWA... and then the fights started.  Jackets ended up losing and I'm starting to think my husband is just bad luck for them.


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Then we went to the home opener to kick off the Cbus Crew's season.  New management, new coach, new scoreboard, and a few new players... looks like it will be a good season!  Loved the little jab at their old scoreboard with a fiery intro.  :)

Now that the weekend has wound down, it's time to put a menu together (got a late start last week and decided not to post it)...

burrito bowls
peanut butter soup
spinach enchiladas
pizza night
baked tortellinis

What are you planning on making this week?

Creamy Springtime Pasta - total time 20 minutes


Happy first day of Spring!  After a super long winter, man, am I glad it's Spring.  The first flowers are starting to bloom.  We can see hints of green everywhere.  Time to open the windows and let the fresh air and sunshine in!

In honor of Spring starting today, I'm cooking up a quick springtime veggie pasta.  Super quick, creamy, crunchy... perfect for when it's still a little cold outside and you want something comforting but sorta light too.  Asparagus, the poster child of Spring veggies, is the star in this dish.  I used to be afraid to try it... it kind of looks funny and everyone says it makes things smell funny... but now I love it.  And asparagus season is over in a flash, so eat it up while you can!

The other thing about this dish is the toasted garlic panko breadcrumbs.  Man, have I missed out by not toasting these in the past.  This ought to be a requirement in any dish with panko!  And it only takes a few minutes... while your prepping other things... so it adds zero time at all.  Definitely worth it!

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