Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easy Vegan Ice Cream Recipe + Water Conservation Tips for Earth Month

A quick and easy vegan rocky road ice cream recipe and water conservation tips to celebrate Earth month! This ice cream is dairy free, gluten free, and low sugar. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Quinoa Taco Bowls + Quick Guacamole Recipe

Healthy vegan taco/burrito bowls are filled with quinoa, spiced beans, veggies, and guacamole for a simple high protein meal. Serve with tortillas, chips, or just eat with a fork right out of the bowl. Taco tuesday has never been healthier! 
Whoever came up with "Taco Tuesday" deserves an award. I mean, who doesn't love tacos? They're easy, inexpensive, and delicious. The thing is, the take-out version isn't very healthy. I have a hard time finding veggie tacos out and the shells and beans are often greasy. Last week we enjoyed a taco tuesday makeover. 
I hadn't planned dinner that night and we didn't have much in the fridge. We do always have beans and quinoa, so Quinoa Tacos Bowls were born. A quick stop at our favorite organic produce stand was all we needed. A tractor in the driveway is always a good sign. The girls and I made tortillas from scratch that afternoon, which was fun activity for them. The tortillas were anything but round, but the girls had fun squishing and rolling the dough and they were tasty! 
When we have friends over I make guacamole with lots of goodies in it - garlic, onions, tomatoes, cilantro... sometimes even mango or pineapple. But when I'm making guac for school lunches or a quick dinner, I make it with only 3 ingredients! 2 ripe avocados, 1 lime, and garlic salt. We love this super quick guacamole recipe in our family. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Maui Family Vacation

I promised part II of our 2013 Hawaii trip and here it is - Maui. If you missed it, you can read part I: Kauai here. This was our third trip to Maui as a family, and my fifth visit to this beautiful island paradise. Clearly, it's won us over. The air is warm and breezy and plumeria scented. The ocean is like bathwater, and the sand is pristine. I can't think of a better family vacation. 
Our time on Maui was very different than our time on Kauai. South Maui is drier than Kauai and has more going on. You could say it's more "touristy" with more shops, restaurants, and resorts, but it doesn't feel crowded like say, Honolulu. There are lots kid friendly beaches with calm shallow water where you'll want to spend the day. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kauai Family Vacation

kauai with kids
Spring Break has passed and it's time to think about summer vacations! We enjoyed a quiet Spring Break stay-cation, but I've been getting questions about our trip to Hawaii last year, so I thought I would put together a couple of posts from the trip. Hawaii is about five and a half hours from Los Angeles, making it a fairly easy trip for us (compared to 10-15 hours to Europe). Whether you're here actually planning a trip to Hawaii, or just dreaming, as I often do on travel blogs, come join me to one of my favorite destinations. Our 2013 trip was broken up into two parts: Kauai and Maui. Our first stop in the Hawaiian islands was the North Shore of Kauai.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

20 Meal Train Recipe Ideas

Healthy recipe ideas for those times when you want to bring friends dinner after a new baby or an illness. Pin now so you know where to find this post when you need it. 
meal train ideas

Over the past few weeks I've had the honor of delivering several meals to friends in need. Two families have had small children in the hospital. In the PICU no less. For over a week each. The last thing these mamas and dads need is to think about grocery shopping and feeding themselves and other family members healthy meals. And take-out gets old quickly.

Meal trains have been set up for these families, just like when we have friends with new babies. Two websites make this super simple. I've used MealTrain.com and TakeThemAMeal.com. Both are free and easy to use.

One of the most common things I hear friends say is, "Oh no, I can't bring them dinner. I'm not a good enough cook! I can't think of anything to bring!" Delivering dinner stresses me out sometimes too, so I've compiled some tips and recipe ideas for the next time we want to help out a friend by dropping off dinner.

meal train recipes
A few tips for delivering meals:
  • Always inquire about dietary restrictions before planning the meal. 
  • Text the family to find out the best time to deliver dinner. Keep in mind that the family is dealing with an important issue (either good in the case of a new baby, or difficult in the case of illness) and may not want to visit with friends, so plan on dropping off on the porch. 
  • If you don't want to come back to retrieve your dishes, use disposable food containers. 
  • Choose foods that are easy to reheat. 
  • Know that even if you don't hear from your friend, your contribution is appreciated. 
Soups and stews are a great choice because you can make them early in the day, drop off early, and your friends can reheat them when they are ready. Add a bagged salad mix kit and some crusty bread, and you're good to go.
Casseroles & Savory Baked Dishes
Other Dinner Ideas
  • Soba Noodles - this one on Cupcakes and Cashmere looks yummy! 
  • Veggie Stir Fry with Rice or Quinoa 
  • Taco Fixin's: Pack corn tortillas, guacamole, chopped lettuce, chopped onions, chopped cilantro, chopped tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes, beans and rice, and cooked shredded chicken breast (unless vegetarian). 
  • Curry and rice 

If you have extra time, bonus points for including something for the morning.

Comforting Touches 
If I have time, I like to add a bottle of wine, flowers, or some good chocolate. If the occasion is a new baby, I like to add something to make the big brother or sister feel extra special - some stickers, a congratulations card, or a book is all it takes. 

Out of Town Meal Delivery 
Sometimes our friends in need of help are out of town, or we simply don't have time to deliver a home cooked meal. You can still help. Look up a healthy meal delivery service in your friends' town. In Santa Barbara we have Le Petit Chef, which can deliver gourmet meals, as well as other companies. A gift certificate for a box of ingredients your friends can use for an easy dinner, such as from Blue Apron, is another great help.

Tell us: What are some of your go-to meals to deliver to friends? Let me know in the comments! 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Vegetable Minestrone Recipe

A hearty minestrone soup recipe filled with fresh spring vegetables. 
Spring Minestrone
Minestrone soup has long been a favorite dinner in our house. All the veggies, beans, and pasta are small, which makes it easy for the kids to eat. We've been dealing with strep throat around here, so a soup packed with healthy nutrients was just what we needed this week. For the past few months I've been making this a la Ina Garten: with butternut squash. Now that spring has sprung I wanted to give the soup a little update. 

Keep reading for the rest of the story!

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