February 19, 2014

Sauteed Baby Purple Brussels Sprouts from Frieda's #healthynewyear

Eating the rainbow is made easier with the selection of colorful produce from Frieda's!  Baby purple Brussels sprouts add a pop of color to your plate, and are a healthy addition to any meal.

Frieda's Baby Purple Brussels Sprouts #healthynewyear

There is something so amazing when you are playing with good-for-you vegetables.  I love to start out simply when trying something new and then adjust seasonings and cooking methods after the initial "getting to know you" period.

These super cute baby purple Brussels sprouts are very similar in taste to the traditional green Brussels sprouts you'll find when doing your food shopping.  They can be used in many ways, but I opted to cut them into small bits and sauté them to really show off their amazing color.

February 16, 2014

Strawberry Cake with Lemon Curd Filling

When you make a birthday wish, what's the number one thing you want?  For my newly minted 12 year old that was a snow day... which was actually snow day number 6 for our school district.  It snowed like crazy while we slept last Wednesday night, so that we were greeted with an additional several inches of snow that morning.  The forecast promised more to come, so there was no school... again.  I think we ended up with another 12-13 inches on top of the snow from the prior week.

My Oldest loves snow, and isn't tired of it yet.  He's not so thrilled that we have used more than the allotted snow days, plus the 2 additional days we had last week (they also had a snow day on Friday)... we have our fingers crossed that any additional snow won't cause much more than an delayed opening or an early dismissal.  It seems like they haven't had a full week of school since returning from their winter break.

He has enjoyed the snow this year, and ski club with school has been the highlight.  He snowboards and the club has allowed him several more trips than we could have managed this winter, and more lessons so he could continue to learn.  It's been a blast for him to be able to be a part of that club.  So much independence has come with the start of middle school!

When I asked him what kind of cake he would like for his birthday, he requested a strawberry cake with a lemon filling.  I just love that he chose flavors that are bright and make me thing of warmer days!
Strawberry Cake with Lemon Curd Filling

February 9, 2014

Cosmic Brownies for #Elleapalooza

About a week ago, I logged into Facebook to see what my friends were up to and see if there were any new family pictures or funny comments to distract me for a little while.  What I found was a post that really floored me... Elle of Elle's New England Kitchen had suddenly passed away.

I was not the only one who just didn't know how to process that information because there was an outpouring of love and condolences to her family.  You see... this internet world of blogging is a pretty amazing place that I enjoy being a part of for so many reasons.  You may not meet face-to-face,  but you do develop real friendships that are an important part of your life.  I've had the pleasure of meeting several of my blogging friends over the last couple of years, but Elle was not one of them.

I didn't know her terribly well, but did enjoy conversations on Facebook that were shared and her sense of humor could always put a smile on my face.  Between her sense of humor and her creative talent in the kitchen and in creating jewelry for her Etsy shop... she inspired me to look at things more creatively.

Not long after hearing the news, a group of food bloggers decided to come together to share memories and spend this weekend cooking from Elle's recipes and share through #Elleapalooza, which has to be making her smile right now.

As I paged through her recipe archives trying to decide what I should make, I kept coming back to the desserts... because, they say in order to make sure you have room for dessert... you should eat that first.  Don't wait to enjoy something that makes you smile... do it today.

I noticed she had adapted a copycat recipe for those Cosmic Brownies that most of us are familiar with because they have been a grocery store staple for as long as I can remember.  I knew My Boys would love them... who wouldn't when they are a dense, fudgey brownie covered in ganache?  Seriously, how can you go wrong?

Cosmic Brownies for #Elleapalooza

February 5, 2014

Meyer Lemon Bars & Frieda's Specialty Produce #WinterCitrus

Meyer Lemons are often the Holy Grail of lemons and these creamy lemon bars are the perfect way to showcase their flavor.


In light of Mother Nature wanting to make sure we can appreciate the warmer months that will be coming (hopefully, soon! please-oh-please-oh-please!), I was thrilled to receive a taste of Spring in the package that I received from Frieda's Specialty Produce.

A package of these juicy lemons was just what was called for after having several weeks that had either below freezing temperatures or a minimum of ice or snow to cancel school so that the kids haven't had a full week of school so far this year.  Yes, you could say that I'm craving something that will help me picture my happy place which always has plenty of sunshine and warm weather!

February 3, 2014

Stonefire Authentic Flatbread Pizza

Stonefire Authentic Flatbreads are a simple way to make a crispy-crust pizza at home.

Stonefire Whole Wheat Flatbread Pizza

Hard to believe that last weekend, when I took the photos for this post we were enjoying 40 degree weather!  There was plenty of sunshine and we even felt like our winter coats were too much while we were out and about.

That little taste of warmth is but a memory at this point since we were startled awake this morning by the automated phone call from our school district saying that there would be no school today.  Timing is everything... it was early enough to let those parents who leave super early to go into NYC for work know that they may need to make other arrangements... but, also too close to my "normal" wake up time for me to go back to sleep.  ugghhhhhh!

Now, back to warmer thoughts... when I received a package from the folks at Stonefire Authentic Flatbreads back in December (I'm way behind on sharing these with you!), I was happy to see that they could be frozen until you were ready to use them... they were generous enough to send me several different products to sample, so I'll be sharing others as I tinker with my ideas.

Since I do try to make attempts at eating healthier whenever possible, I wanted to try their whole wheat flatbread to make a quick and easy pizza.  Using a flavorful roasted red pepper tapenade I found in the refrigerated section at my grocery store, that became the flavor base for my pizza.

January 29, 2014

3 Ingredient Dinner - Baked Cheesy Ravioli

Some nights require something quick and easy for dinner, and this Baked Cheesy Ravioli will please everyone who shows up at your dinner table.

It's been beyond cold here - colder than I ever remember winter being in all the time I've lived in New Jersey... seems much of the country is experiencing unusually cold temperatures these days.  Which has me counting down to spring and warmer days that will allow us to eat dinner outside again.

Until then, it's comfort food which often includes pasta on nights when I just don't have the motivation to cook something involved.  Tonight was one of those nights.  Long week already... isn't Friday here yet?   So, comfort food in the form of cheesy baked ravioli was on the menu.

January 26, 2014

Chipotle Kale Chips {Recipe}

Spicy, crisp kale chips are just the thing to satisfy that crunchy-food craving, in a healthy way!
Chipotle Kale Chips

I know I must be the VERY last person to finally make kale chips.  They have been all the rage for the longest time, but as is usually the case... I'm slow to buy-in to some food fads.

Why did I finally give it a try?  Last week I went to lunch with a couple of friends from work and one mentioned that she had just made kale chips the previous weekend. She raved about how good they were and so simple to prepare.   Then when I went to the produce market on Saturday, lo-and-behold there was a lovely selection of kale just waiting to be added to my cart.  It was meant to be!

January 24, 2014

Perot Museum of Nature and Science

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science offers hands-on, interactive exhibits that will entertain children and their parents.
Perot Museum of Nature and Science

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science has been open just a little over a year at this point and has a lot to offer those visiting Dallas.

January 20, 2014

Game Day Appetizer - Buffalo Chicken Dip

Looking for a crowd-pleasing game day appetizer?  This Buffalo Chicken Dip will have everyone begging for more!
Buffalo chicken dip!  #appetizers #dip #hothothot

I hear there is a big game coming up soon, which means everyone will be wanting to indulge in a  Sunday night party with friends to enjoy some funny commercials and what should be a great half time show!  Oh, yeah... there is the game as well.  The game is being held in New Jersey this year (for those who don't know, the stadium for both NY teams is located in NJ), so we've been seeing Super Bowl merchandise for months now... plates, cups, t-shirts... pretty much anything you can imagine that says NY/NJ Super Bowl XLVII can be found in almost every store I walk into these days.

While my hometown team didn't make as far as I would have liked, they had an amazing season!  Go Chiefs!  I'm hoping that next year they will be able to take it farther.  Fingers crossed!

Regardless of who you will be rooting for on February 2nd - the Seattle Seahawks or the Denver Broncos - make sure that you have plenty of Game Day munchies ready for the crowd.

January 17, 2014

El Fenix - Mexican Restaurant in Dallas, TX

Love Mexican food?  If you are visiting Dallas, check out El Fenix to get your fill of traditional Mexican favorites.

After spending the morning visiting the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (I'll be sharing more on the museum in a separate post), we were hungry... and luckily right across the street was El Fenix just waiting for us!

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