Showing posts with label Vegetables. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vegetables. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Baked Spinach Arancini Balls

Arancini are a typical Italian snack. They are tasty fried balls of rice stuffed with cheese. Who wouldn't love that?! My 4 year old and I made a healthier batch this week with a spinach filling. Instead of deep frying we baked them off in the oven. They were just as crisp on the outside and ooey gooey on the inside. So satisfying.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Baked Zucchini Fries Recipe

baked zucchini fries
The zucchini plant just keeps on giving. The kids and liked the Parmesan zucchini chips I posted recently, but they were lacking some crunch. So this week we coated some thick zucchini spears/fries with panko breadcrumbs and baked them. I remember as a kid loving the deep fried zucchini dipped in ranch dressing at the local fair. These are a much healthier version but have the same qualities - salty crunch with a warm center!
baked zucchini
The girls liked these too. And Mr. Giraffe there. I added some sweet tomatoes from the garden to the plate for a tasty afternoon snack. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Baked Zucchini Chips

A simple recipe for baked zucchini chips with Parmesan. 
zucchini chips
I thought I had a lot of summer squash before. But then we got home from Italy and after just two weeks the garden had grown wildly. So my quest to use up zucchini continues. This week I sliced a couple of zucchini into rounds, sprinkled them with Parmesan and a little salt and pepper and baked them. The kids (who aren't big zucchini lovers in general) gobbled them up and said they tasted like cheese crackers. Cheese crackers, only without all the refined flour and processed junk. These "chips" don't really get crispy crunchy, they are more like soft roasted zucchini, but the kids like them better when I call them chips, so chips they are. Maybe one day I'll invest in a food dehydrator and have some proper crunchy zucchini chips.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Stone Fruit Panzanella (Ciao from Italy!)

melon panzanella

Ciao Amici! We are currently on vacation in Italy. One of the things I love most about Italia is the food. You're shocked, I'm sure. Almost every morning since we arrived, I've walked a mile down the road from the rustic stone house in the hills where we are staying into town. I've found my favorite bakery, where I always pick up a loaf of fresh crusty ciabatta. Next I visit the fruit/veggie/pasta/wine guy across the cobblestone road. Only (and always) stopping for a cup of gelato.
lake garda
We've spent a day in Venice, tried some local restaurants, and climbed to the top of castles. But mostly we've just enjoyed the simple life - relaxing by the pool, cooking and eating. Hearing nothing but church bells and wild turkeys. La dolce vita.

italy market
The fresh produce in Italy is incredible. None of the rock-hard cold peaches that take weeks to ripen like we often find in the US. We have been going through bunches and bunches of fresh apricots, peaches, and nectarines here. They are the sweetest we've ever tasted. So one night I threw together a traditional Italian salad - panzanellla - but switched it up by using stone fruit instead of tomatoes.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Italian Baked Eggs Recipe

Our family loves eggs for breakfast. But we love them even more for dinner. My little miss frequently requests miso soup with a poached egg for dinner. Eggs for dinner makes my job easy, since I can always whip up something simple and nutritious with eggs + any veggies we happen to have around - quiche, frittatas, omelets, soup, fried rice, baked eggs... This week I switched things up on egg dinner night and went Italian style. Yummy Hubby's response: "I don't know what this is, but it's delicious!" All you really need are some eggs and a jar of marinara sauce. Since I didn't have marinara, I made my own with a box of chopped tomatoes, chopped onion, some yellow bell pepper, and herbs from our garden. Some mushrooms would be tasty too. I even thought about adding white beans to the sauce! Get creative with it if you like. 

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!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Vegetarian Baked Spaghetti Squash Casserole

spaghetti squash bake
Comforting baked pasta? That's actually a vegetable? That pretty much sums up this spaghetti squash bake recipe. Let's face it - kids love noodles, but a lot of us are trying to cut down on simple carbs like traditional spaghetti. 

This recipe is quite customizable. Go ahead and toss in any veggies or herbs you would like to use up. This week I added some fresh thyme and rosemary, and some cherry tomatoes on top, since that's what I had. Some cooked sausage (I used vegan Field Roast Italian sausage) is delicious thrown in with the veggies too. In the summer I add more bell peppers and some summer squash. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Caprese Lentil Salad Recipe

A healthy and satisfying lentil salad with the classic flavors of Caprese. 
Holy heat wave! As I type this, at 9 PM, it is 87 degrees F inside our house. No, we don't have AC. Which makes me very sad. And very tired since the kids aren't sleeping well. And very sweaty. Sorry.

But this hearty salad makes me very happy. I've been craving cool, refreshing, healthy meals that I can just pull out of the fridge whenever I get a chance to eat. One of my favorite ways to ensure healthy eating is to have healthy prepared recipes like this one in the fridge. I don't usually love lentil salads, but I do love how nutritious they are.  Lentils are a great source of vegetarian protein, iron, folate, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. So I decided to pair lentils with a no-fail combination - Caprese. Tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Always yummy. 

This salad holds up very well and would be great packed in lunches. 

More after the break!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Loaded Hummus Recipe

Last weekend we went to a glorious end-of-summer BBQ filled with friends, great food, clothed kids jumping in the pool, s'mores and wine at our friend, Holley's house. I was asked to bring an appetizer to share. After a summer of gloomy fog-filled mornings, the weather has finally been H.O.T. here in Santa Barbara the past week. So I needed something cool, and since all my friends are health nuts (I say this lovingly and include myself here) I needed something fresh and healthy. I think I was still in Grecian la la land after swooning over Slim Paley's beautiful adventures in Greece. 

Keep reading for the rest of the post and recipe! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mexican Salad and 10 Best Summer Salad Recipes

This healthy Mexican salad is packed with flavor and crunch. With beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and more, it's like a burrito - salad hybrid. And it's delicious. 
I know. I know. A lot of salad recipes lately, right? I promise to share something sweet next. But... 

This is it. The salad I cannot stop eating. I have made it three times in the past few weeks. There are salads that you eat delicately, piece by piece. And then there are salads you just shovel in - this one is the latter and I love that about it. It's hearty and fresh and sweet and crunchy all at the same time. The kids also love this one because everything is already bite-sized and the beans and avocado make it guacamole-ish. And who doesn't love something guacamoleish?! I brought this Mexican Salad to two separate Fiesta parties last week and they were a huge hit with all our friends. 

This salad makes and excellent side dish, or a main dinner salad. Especially when served over quinoa or with a sprinkle of cheese over the top. We loved this with feta cheese crumbled over the top! 

 Continue reading for the Mexican Salad recipe and 10 more amazing summer salad recipes! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Raw Zucchini Salad Recipe

My favorite dinners are ones that come mostly from my backyard. They inspire me to be creative, are very inexpensive, and are as fresh as can be. This was one of those - Haven't been to the grocery store in days, what the heck am I going to make? - days, but it turned out deliciously just by combining the few foods I have growing in the yard. I wasn't planning to share this recipe since it was just a super simple last-minute throw together salad, but my Instagrammer friends insisted. And perhaps it will give you some inspiration if you, like me, are always looking for more zucchini recipes during the summer. I served this simple raw summer salad with a spinach quiche made with eggs straight from the coop for a healthy vegetarian dinner. 

I used my favorite julienne peeler to make zucchini "noodles" but you could use a mandolin, or make wider strips with a regular peeler. 

Read on for the simple recipe! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Grilled Cantaloupe and Vegetable Salad {Inspired by ABC's The Chew}

Grilled zucchini and corn, sweet cantaloupe, crunchy greens, and grilled shrimp to round out the meal. Salad is one of my favorite weeknight dinners and this one uses some of summer's best ingredients. I love using cantaloupe in savory dishes, and adore grilled fruit on salad - remember this Grilled Apricot Salad? I'm not a meat-eater, but sweet Tuscan cantaloupe with salty prosciutto and a little basil is incredible. This sweet/savory salad with grilled cantaloupe reminds me of those same flavors. When I saw Daphne make a Grilled Cantaloupe and Vegetable Salad on ABC's The Chew, I was inspired to make my own salad with grilled cantaloupe for dinner. 

Aren't the colors amazing?! Those grilled veggies were just too pretty to chop up, so I served them in rows on top of the lettuce and cut them up once on my plate and for the kids.

This inspiration for this salad aired on the Summer Menu episode of The Chew. Did you catch it? Michael grilled some chicken to go along with the salad. I wanted our salad to be the main event - you know how I love my one-dish dinners and hate doing dishes. So I grilled some shrimp right along with the veggies to go on top and added some crostini croutons. My kids love Romaine lettuce, or "crunchies" as they call them, but I snuck some baby spinach in too. Our whole family loved the fresh summery flavors of this salad for a weeknight dinner, but it is so beautiful that it would be perfect to bring to a party or picnic. 

The Chew is one of my favorite cooking shows. The hosts are all so sweet and funny. You know a BBQ with this group would be a good time! 


Grilled Cantaloupe and Vegetable Salad {Inspired by ABC's The Chew) 

printer friendly recipe

Yield: 4



  • 1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, on skewers (optional) 
  • 1 ear Sweet Summer Corn, husk removed 
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch strips 
  • 1 medium cantaloupe, halved, seeded, skin removed and cut into 1-inch thick wedges 
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped (I added in some baby spinach) 
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, or 1 English cucumber, sliced 
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, any color, halved 
  • croutons (optional) 
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil leaves 
  • 1/2 cup Daphne Oz's Red Wine-Shallot Vinaigrette (or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic, sea salt, and pepper) 


  1.  Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Coat grates with oil. Season shrimp lightly with salt and pepper, if using. Place shrimp skewers on the grill and cook until pink on the outside and opaque in the middle, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from grill. Meanwhile,  place the corn on the grill and cook until browned in places. I like the corn on the more raw side, if you like yours more soft, cook for 20-30 minutes, turning occasionally. Grill the zucchini until tender-crisp, about 3-4 minutes per side. Grill the cantaloupe until grill marks show up, about 2 minutes per side. 
  2. Cut the corn kernels off the cob. Leave the other vegetables and cantaloupe in large pieces, or cut into bite-sized pieces. 
  3. Place lettuce in a large serving bowl or platter. Arrange grilled shrimp, vegetables, cantaloupe, cucumbers, tomatoes, and croutons on top. I like to arrange the ingredients in rows. 
  4. Tear or chiffonade basil and sprinkle over the salad. 
  5. Dress salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper, or Daphne's Red Wine Shallot Vinaigrette. 

I'm always looking for new ways to spice up my Summer dishes, and ABC’s The Chew serves up everything from grilling and outdoor entertaining to road trips and picnics. Watch weekdays 1e|12p|c on ABC to see what celebrity chefs Mario Batali, Michael Symon, and Carla Hall, lifestyle expert Clinton Kelly and fresh face of healthy living Daphne Oz are dishing out to inspire you this Summer.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of ABC’s The Chew. The opinions and text are all mine.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of ABC’s The Chew. The opinions and text are all mine.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How to Make Sushi

Last week the girls and I visited our local Japanese market, Nikka. We had planned on making sushi for dinner, but really I had no clue what I was doing. All three of us loved perusing the shop, looking at the variety of rice crackers, Pocky and koala cookies, rices, bento box supplies... I could go on and on. Eventually, after throwing some "necessary" items like kids chopsticks into our basket, we got back on track and got what we came for: sushi rice, nori, and rice vinegar. We had so much fun making sushi at home, and an easy sushi recipe is perfect for hot summer days when you don't want to turn on the oven, and crave fresh healthy ingredients. 
Back home we cooked our sushi rice, sliced the veggies, and rolled up our sushi rolls. 

Keep reading after the break! 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

10 Things Kids (or anyone!) Learn from Gardening + Cracker Barrel Giveaway!

We have been enjoying spending time caring for our garden on these long sunny days. And though slugs, snails, wild rabbits, and aphids are driving me absolutely batty, we are all loving slowing down in this busy life, getting our hands (fine, whole bodies) muddy, and growing our own food.

As we've been working in the garden, I've realized many things kids (and adults) can learn from gardening. As a busy mom friend just said to me this morning via facebook, "It really is a gigantic enhancement in the kids lives." 

Here are just a few of my observations. And read all the way to the end for a farm-to-table giveaway! 

Responsibility: if the plants aren't watered, they die.  

- Appreciation for nature: "We need bees!" is a great thing to hear kids exclaim when they are usually afraid of getting stung. Our girls now understand that when flowers on our plants are open, we want bees to come fertilize them. My 3 year old was just excitedly saying, "Mommy look, the bees are organizing our plants!" She meant fertilizing, of course - so cute. 

 -Patience: It can be really hard to wait until the fruit is ready to be picked. There have been many many white strawberries picked at our house. 

-Healthy eating: Kids see firsthand the beauty that is real food. It's food that comes from a seed, grows in the dirt, and needs TLC. It's not a pre-packaged product from the grocery store. 

- Calm: being outside listening to birds chirping rather than tv/iPad is relaxing! 

-Self confidence:  "I did it! I grew this amazing watermelon all by myself!" 

-Teamwork: Planning a garden is a team effort. I couldn't have done it without Yummy Hubby building our raised beds and the kids working together for the common goal of producing fruits and vegetables. 

-Family time: This one isn't something to learn, but it's almost impossible to be looking at your phone or computer while working in the garden with your kids. 

-Working hard and physical exercise: Digging holes in the dirt, lifting bags of soil, and even lifting a heavy hose is hard work and good exercise for little ones (and moms).

Science: Research what specific plants need to thrive. A delicate balance of nutrients, light, and soil are needed to grow veggies. 

-Problem Solving: "Why is our plant not thriving? What can we do to get rid of these aphids? How can we protect the plants from rabbit nibbles?" 

Want that farm-feeling in your house? Cracker Barrel is giving one of my readers an awesome gift basket! 

Cracker Barrel generously sent me a fabulous gift basket filled with farm to table goodies, and they're going to give you one too! I received the cutest Milk Jug Measuring Cups, Veggie Apron, Food in Jars book, gift card and so much more. 

Enjoy fresh style for your home with Cracker Barrel’s new Farm-Inspired Collection. The collection includes an exclusive stoneware dining set inspired by summer farm stands, plus other home accents full of farmhouse charm.  The Farm To Table Collection is available at Cracker Barrel stores and online (  Stay up to date with new retail collections and menu items available at Cracker Barrel  at , or

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Spring Peas and Carrots Risotto

Before I get to the recipe... I just wanted to remind you that it's teacher and nurse appreciation week. Don't forget to thank the teachers and nurses in your life for all the good they do. 
Okay, here we go...

Risotto is one of those dishes that people complain about being long and tedious to make. Though I have made risotto many times before, I still get this notion stuck in my head. The other day I was chatting on the phone with a girlfriend who was busy with her baby and 5 year old and mentioned she was "just" making risotto for dinner since it was a busy day. She reminded me that homemade risotto really is a one-dish dinner that can be made in 30 minutes - not bad! It's easy too... it's all about stirring broth into the rice until it's nice and thick. Precise measurements aren't necessary, just keep adding that liquid! You can always use any veggies you have in your fridge, but peas and carrots are in season and a favorite kid combination. 

But just to keep things real... 
You will need to stay nearby the stove for those 30 minutes of cook time. ^My floor looked like this at the end of it. Totally worth it for homemade risotto if you ask me. 

 Did you know... peas are high in protein and when combined with rice provide a complete protein (all amino acids present).

Read more and get the recipe after the jump! 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Easiest Fish Tacos, Pineapple Guacamole, and Cinco de Mayo Recipes

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Though we're not celebrating with a party, we always celebrate Mexican food. I love fish tacos with grilled fresh fish, but many kids prefer crispy fish tacos so I have to share a little secret for busy nights (aren't they all busy???)... 
Keep reading after the jump for the rest of the recipes! 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Beet Burger Recipe

So, I've had the same lunch for the past 3 days. I just can't. get. enough.
 It all started last week when we had dinner at Eureka!, a fabulous burger restaurant. It's casual, but with high quality food. Our server brought the girls complimentary watermelon and avocado slices when we got there, along with coloring pages and crayons. Mama did a big sigh of relief and the kids stayed in their seats the whole time. I tried Eureka!'s San Joaquin Veggie Burger, which was made out of beets. All the food surpassed my expectations. Especially this veggie burger. I had to have more. I think I have a beet burger addiction.  

This is such a satisfying comfort food recipe, but so healthy and plant based you can feel good about eating it. I made extra with the plan of freezing some for the next time we have burger night. But then I just kept eating them for lunch. I loved being able to chomp into a hearty burger that was non-greasy. Top it with some cheese if you like - I chose fresh mozzarella. It's like Michael Pollan said, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants." I like you, Mr. Pollan, I like you. I didn't know if I was going to be able to come up with a recipe for beet burgers, but these are exactly like the one I remembered. Eureka! 
It's all super simple. Toss a can of beans, some raw beet chunks, garlic, and some basil in the blender or food processor and whirl it around a few times. 

 Read more after the break! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sneaky Healthy Mint Chip Milkshake

We don't get ice cream very often, but when we do the girls always want mint chip. Without fail. Every time. So I thought I would make them a mint chip milkshake with my new Vitamix blender and sneak in some spinach, as I usually do with our smoothies since it really doesn't taste like anything at all. Baaaahhahah, sneaky Mommy.  I promise this doesn't taste like greens. Just creamy delicious vanilla, mint, and chocolate chips. 

It looks so green and minty, right? Well it does taste that way, but the green color really comes from a few handfulls of spinach. If you wanted to make this into ice cream you could just pour it into an ice cream maker! 

More after the break! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Beet and Goat Cheese Puff Pastry Love Bites

These are so cute and tasty, and with the help of pre-made puff pastry dough, 10-15 minutes to make. I think we need to have a Valentine's Day party just to show off these little cutie bites. 
My girls absolutely love roasted beets. To roast beets yourself, cut off the greens and drizzle with a little olive oil. Wrap beets in foil or place in a covered Dutch oven and roast 25 minutes to an hour for large beets. If you're in a hurry, just grab pre-roasted beets at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. No one will know. 

I used fresh thyme because that's what I had on my windowsill, but to be honest, I didn't love the flavor. I would prefer this with fresh basil, or no herbs at all. To make these more kid-friendly, just use the beets and pastry dough, or use mozzarella cheese instead of goat cheese. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Best Green Smoothie Recipe

If you follow me on Instagram you know I have an addiction to green smoothies. It all started with an innocent trip to Whole Foods one Saturday. The girls stayed home with Daddy which meant I was all alone in this magical place. No screaming for cookies, no knocking over expensive bottles of wine. The juice bar guy said the Green and Glowing Smoothie was their most popular green smoothie, so I tried it. I was blown away by just how good it was and my solo shopping trip was now perfect. It didn't taste at all like greens or salad. It just tasted sweet and creamy. I quickly became a "regular" there and they knew what I was going to order. At this point I realized I better start making my green smoothies at home or I would soon be going broke.

My munchkins love this green smoothie too and I can't think of an easier way to get a big serving of raw greens into their diets. If your kids are reluctant, it might help to give it a fun name like Tinker Bell Smoothie or Monster Smoothie.

 Even my husband who initially said "yuck!" at the sight of my green smoothie changed his tune once he tried it. So if you haven't gotten on the green smoothie bandwagon yet, try this sweet and mild one. I think you'll be hooked. 

Green Smoothie Recipe
printer friendly recipe 

Makes 1 smoothie (or 2 kid sized)

1/2 cup vanilla almond, soy, or coconut milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1 cup frozen pineapple pieces
1 cup frozen mango chunks
1 big handful fresh baby spinach

- add a small container of yogurt for added protein and calcium
- add a scoop of your favorite vanilla protein powder (I don't do this for kids)
     Add 1 tablespoon of any of the following:
- chia seeds
- flax seeds
- natural flaked coconut
- peanut or almond butter

Pour milk into a blender. Add pineapple, mango, and spinach. Cover with blender lid and blend to combine. If blender stops turning, add a little more milk. I like to add a couple of ice cubes to make the smoothie very cold and icy. The fruit makes this smoothie sweet, but if you would like it sweeter, add a dash of stevia.

calories 195
carbs 40
fat 2
protein 3
*calculated by my fitness pal

More great smoothie recipes at Cooking Light 
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