When I was around seven years old my parents took us ice skating in Sun Valley. I am as timid as can be when trying new things. Especially (in my mind) dangerous things. haha. Needless to say I was terrified out of my mind. For the first 15 minutes I gripped the metal bar surrounding the rink as if my life literally depended on it. Taking tiny scoots forward. Very tiny scoots. Meanwhile my little sister was skating around hand-in-hand with my mom — just being brave like always. I really admire that about her still.
So when it was my turn to skate the rink with my moms help. I’m pretty sure I may have thrown a tiny seven year old girl fit. Maybe. She finally convinced me I wouldn’t die. So we slowly made our way out — and I was clenched to that woman for dear life. After a few times around I thought to myself, “hey this isn’t so bad right?”…. “right?!” Then my mom did the unspeakable. She left me ALONE in the very middle of the rink to figure it out for myself. “WHAT!?!?!” “THIS IS NOT OK MOM.”
I cried. So hard. Like for a long time. Then forced my terrified angry little self to scoot very slowly over to the railing. I swore I would never forgive her. And she will probably be so embarrassed if she ever reads this. Don’t worry mom I’m over it… promise. And now that I’m a mom I totally get it. She wanted me to believe in myself. So she taught me to be brave. Even when I really really really don’t want to be. And her method still works.
But now I’m the one choosing to stand in the very middle of the rink, trying my best to figure it out for myself. Learning to believe in myself. Learning to be brave. Especially when I really really really don’t want to be.
Healthy-ish Caramel Popcorn | recipe from my mom | serves 6-8
- 1 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 tbs butter (or ghee)
- 1 tbs cooking oil if using the stovetop for popcorn
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
Heat 1tbs cooking oil in a large pan on med/high. Add kernels and cover with lid. Shake occasionally as kernels are popping. Or use an air popper. In a small sauce pan add the pure maple syrup, brown sugar, and butter. Leave on a low heat for 5-8 minutes. It will start to bubble up — when it does this add vanilla and baking soda. The mixture will get really frothy so have your bowl of popcorn ready and pour it on top. Mix around and enjoy.
Whenever I say the word “cookies” my little guy stops whatever he’s doing and runs into the kitchen to find the mixing bowl. He’ll open the cupboard for me then frantically try to climb up onto the island. It’s his little helper spot. I love that it has become our thing – making food together. Especially sweets. If we ever find ourselves a little bored or antsy we head to the kitchen. It’s always worth the mess in the end.
Today has been far from peachy… with ink on my favorite couch and a giant toddler poop on the carpet. Yep. He literally popped a squat on the floor and took care of business. I’ll spare you the details; but I feel it’s worth mentioning that my kid could put a great danes turds to shame. That’s all.
It’s a real good thing that boy is so dang cute.
So after the morning craziness we both really needed to vent it out in the kitchen. Mostly me. Within a few minutes we found our happy and the poop incident was forgiven. His cuteness is pure magic. He was mumbling “cookie cookie hot hot mmm” while we poured and mixed stuff together. He calls anything sweet a cookie. Just fyi. It’s mind boggling how many highs and lows we can hit in one day. So many feelings get squished in there. I wouldn’t have it any other way though.
Today granola bar making with my cutie takes the highest high. And the poop on the carpet can just go punch a bus.
Apricot Chocolate-Chunk Granola Bars
- 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill GF oats)
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup chopped dried apricots
- 1 cup chocolate-chunks or chips (I found mine and trader joe’s)
- 2 cups pitted dates
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 3/4 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- a pinch of salt
Soak the dates in a bowl of warm water. While they’re soaking chop the apricots and mix all of the dry ingredients into a big bowl. Puree the dates in a blender until they form a sticky paste. Pour the peanut butter, date paste, and maple syrup into a small saucepan and warm it up while mixing. Once it’s all mixed together and smooth you can pour it over the dry ingredients and mix. Line a dish or pan with parchment paper and press the granola bar mixture into it. Refrigerate for a few hours then cut into bars. We like to freeze half the batch for later and keep the rest in the fridge. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!!
This is the first salad I’ve ever made that turned out to be a crowd pleaser, easily adaptable, and topped with a killer dressing. It might not look like much; but I’m pretty darn proud. Someone even asked me to re-make it for a second time and that’s huge in my book.
A few people have asked me for the recipe. So here it is. I’ve finally had a glimpse of what it feels like to be one of the “people who make such yummy food you really do want seconds, and the recipe scribbled on your napkin to take home.” You know the people I’m talking about. I’ve admired them all my life. So thank you little green salad for helping me feel like part of the club.
It’s a great spring salad that can easily be adapted for a more summery taste by including strawberries or mandarin oranges. I think adding cranberries in the fall would be wonderful too. The dressing isn’t an exact thing — we add a little of everything until it tastes good. So trust yourself and hopefully it turns out.
Mixed Greens + Orzo Salad || recipe inspired by this lovely salad || Makes enough to feed 6-8 depending on the portions
- A 16 oz container of mixed greens
- 2/3 cup orzo pasta (I used GF)
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 2 red apples
- 2 chicken breasts
- mozarella cheese (as much or as little as you like)
- slivered almonds (about a 1/3 cup)
for the dressing — this is an estimate, mix and add things until you like the taste
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 apple cider vinegar
- 2-3 tbs dijon mustard
- 2 tbs honey
- 2-3 tbs brown sugar
- s+p to taste
Preheat oven to 425′
Peel and cube the sweet potatoes then toss them in olive oil and s+p. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cook the orzo according to the packages directions. Grill chicken and cut into cubes. Slice up apples and cheese then set aside. Once everything is cooked and cooled off add to a big bowl and mix. Add dressing to taste.
** this salad is best served immediately. if you plan on saving it for leftovers i’d suggest keep everything separated then adding with the dressing right before serving.
I’m all about easy when it comes to meals. To be honest, I don’t really have a clue what I’m doing in the kitchen. I didn’t even own a good set of knives until last year. I’d love to take some cooking classes and basic skills stuff someday… but for now I’m winging it.
I started this blog as a way to learn more about cooking and nourishing the people I love. So far it’s been a great outlet for me. So please bear with me if the recipes I share aren’t “perfect”. For example… this dressing recipe I posted a while back apparently gets solid in the fridge. (The original recipe calls for salad oil and I subbed in extra virgin olive oil) Um it’s like a mayo consistency. But still tastes AHHHHMAZING. I discovered that loveliness on my own; then also heard from my sweet aunt that she experienced the same thing when she made the dressing. Talk about embarrassing. Apparently extra virgin olive oil gets solid in the fridge. Just fyi guys.
Anyways. This pasta recipe is fool proof. Trust me. I’ve made it a few times and no strange disasters yet. Just roast up some of your favorite veggies, toss with pasta, then add a little s+p. It’s so simple and fresh.
Easy Pasta & Veggies || Makes 3-4 servings
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 1/2 butternut squash cubed
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 8 oz uncooked pasta of your choice. I used the brown rice kind from Trader Joe’s.
- Garlic salt
Preheat oven to 425′
Snap the ends off your asparagus. Toss veggies with olive oil and garlic salt to taste. Bake for 15 min – then remove the asparagus and chop into smaller pieces. Keep roasting the squash for 5-10 more minutes. Until it starts browning and is tender. Cook pasta according to the packages directions. Allow to cool. Toss with the veggies and a little s+p to taste. I like this pasta more after being chilled in the fridge for about and hour. It would also be great with some cubed chicken added.
These cookies accidentally happened last week. It was a pretty darn good accident. As I was chopping up all of the random things to mix in Garrett said, “um…. I thought you were making REAL cookies. Those look too healthy.” haha. I was a little hesitant too, but what the heck. We tried it anyway. Dates, almonds, coconut, and cinnamon. With chocolate chips of course!
They taste like the giant oatmeal raisin cookies we had from a local bakery growing up. Those cookies will always remind me of my dad. We would stop by to get fresh honey whole wheat bread and he’d always snag a few giant cookies to share. So these cookies made me feel all sorts of homesick and sentimental over my childhood. Pretty perfect combo if you ask me. I think we’ll keep this recipe around… and maybe someday my kids will make them with my grand-babies and get all homesick for me. I really love the thought of that.
This recipe can be easily tweaked to use what you have on hand. Feel free to go nuts with it. Literally. Ha… bad joke. Anyway I hope you find them as mind-blowing as my husband did for how “healthy” they are.
Date Nut Chocolate Chip Cookies || Makes 12 ||
- 1/2 cup palm shortening
- 1 cup turbinado sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup brown rice flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
- 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates (about 5-6)
- 1/2 unsweetened desiccated coconut
** if you don’t have food allergies making these necessary to be dairy free or gluten free go ahead and use butter instead of palm shortening and reg flour in place of the other two. also granulated sugar should work instead of turbinado.
Mix the palm shortening and sugar together for a few minutes. Add the egg and vanilla. Blend until creamy, scraping down the sides. Mix in both flours, baking soda + powder, salt, cinnamon. Make sure it’s all blended together well. By hand add the mix-ins of your choice. We loved the date, almond, coconut, and chocolate chip combo.
Our new favorite way to make cookies is to transfer the dough to a piece of parchment and roll into a log. This particular dough did well refrigerated for an hour before baking.
Preheat oven to 350′
Take the dough roll out of the fridge and cut into 1/2 inch thick disks. Make sure to give them generous space. I only did six per baking sheet as they spread out quite a bit. Bake for 10-12 minutes.