Easy Simple Salmon

For as long as I can remember, I’ve never been a fan of eating fish.

Between the smell, the scales, and it’s oogly eyes….no way. Not happening.

I remember growing up my mom would make it occasionally, and each time I would SWEAR that the whole house smelled like a fishy ocean…I’d then proceed to whine and complain, while throwing myself on the couch in agony…Poor little me.

Nothing really changed until I went on a 6 week study abroad program through Central America, and a lot of times we had to eat the food we were given. I remember one night we ate at a little restaurant in Guatemala and our whole class was being served Salmon.

Obviously I wasn’t thrilled that I had to eat it, but when my plate arrived I was pretty shocked.

My salmon was drenched in some sort of sauce that looked like gravy, and then there was a handful of fresh lemons on my plate. I proceeded to squeeze juice on the Salmon and take a bite…

I died.

I don’t know exactly what that sauce was made of, but I have an idea it rhymes with nutter. All I can say is that it tasted like Christmas morning and Paula Deen was in the kitchen melting butter.

Some day I’ll recreate that salmon…As soon as I figure out how to make a pound of butter healthier…

For now though I’ve learned to stomach salmon, just as long as it falls under certain guidlines.

It HAS to be fresh. The fresher it is, the less fishy it taste. It also has to have a little flavor. I know some people can eat it with just a squeeze of lemon, but like I said before…Not happenin’.

Ingredients:

Filet of Salmon

melted coconut oil

salt

pepper

lemons

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil, and place salmon fillets on the dish. Coat salmon with melted coconut oil, just until fully coated. (Not too much oil.) Then liberally salt and pepper salmon. (Can do both sides if the other side isn’t skin, otherwise you don’t have to coat skin. Also, have salmon be skin side down.)

2. Bake for 10-20 minutes, or until salmon is light pink and flakes easily with a fork. Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the top and serve.

We ate it over caramelized brussel sprouts and brown rice!

Of coarse Boo didn’t touch the sprouts, but she did eat the Salmon.

I told her it was pink chicken…

Best mom advice like ever.. :)

Oh, and I never shared our Halloween costumes that we had this year! If you can guess what I am, I would be So surprised!

I am not a hooker…

My husband was that one guy…from LMFAO…

And no I’m not a clown hooker…wrong again. I’ll give you a clue:

Kay-dollar sign-Ha.

Boo was an owl, and she was sooo excited to flap her little wings! Except, I don’t think she is going to be excited about this picture come 15 years…Her dad=wanna be gangsta=wanna be cool=totally not.

And Sweet Pea was a freaked out Pumpkin…

Ok now onto the month of November, which came out of no where!!

Who is ready for Christmas?

Butternut Squash Creamy Pasta

Every year on Halloween I’ve always had chili and cornbread. It just seems like the right thing to do.

This year we will do the same, but I do know that there are some non-chili and cornbread believers out there. Aka my husband.

He’s so freakin’ weird.

So if you are still searching for comfort, but don’t want it to go straight to your hiney, then I would suggest this ultimate creamy and definitely comforting pasta. It’s similar to macaroni and cheese…minus the cheese.

And my friends, we can thank the star of the show for that ultra creamy and delicious pasta…

No not Boo…Although she might be a STAR…She did nothing to help with the pasta. Except inhale it.

The real star of the show is the one and only Butternut Squash.

And to show you how big butternut squash really is, I decided to show you the comparison between one and Sweet Pea.

Then Boo got jealous and wanted me to take a picture of her with her best friends…

I feel I am getting sidetracked here.

Ok so for starters, the recipe calls for butternut squash puree. You can buy canned squash, but fresh is and always taste better. So if you have the time, it’s definitely worth it! It’s actually pretty simple to cook and make puree. Here is how:

First you need to cut the squash is half, which if your weak sauce like me, it may seem practically impossible. But I promise it’s not.

First stab that butternut squash in the middle, till the knife goes all the way through.

Pull the knife down to cut half of the squash, then do the same on the other side.

Next scoop out the seeds.

Then take a baking sheet with raised sides and fill the pan with just a little bit of water, like 1/4 inch.

Place the squash face side down and roast in a 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, or until done and soft.

Using a spoon, peel off the skin from the squash.

Then puree the squash in a food processor. If you have to, add a few TB of water to make it completely smooth.

I stored the extra puree in freezer bags to use when Sweet Pea starts eating.

Ok…now to that comforting dish all you chili haters have been waiting for…

Ingredients:

2 c. dry pasta

1 TB coconut oil

1 TB. whole wheat flour

1 c. coconut milk from can-full fat

1 c. butternut squash puree

3 TB. Nutritional yeast

1 tsp. ground mustard

1/4 tsp. tumeric

1 TB. oregano

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

salt/pepper

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to directions.  Heat a sauce pan on med-low heat over stove. Add oil. Next sprinkle in flour and whisk until combined. Add milk and continue whisking until all lumps are out. When it begins to simmer and thicken add in puree as well as spices. Whisk until combined and let simmer and thicken.

2. Once pasta is cooked, fold it into sauce. Serve immediately.

Hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween!!

And for all our friends on the East Coast, our prayers are with you!

Easiest Pico De Gallo Salsa…Ever

Salsa is like one of my favorite foods.

It has tomatoes, which is the main ingredient in Ketchup, and like, you can put that crap on anything.

Then there is cilantro, which if you ask me, somebody should make a cilantro scented candle. I’d buy it.

Salsa is just so versatile, and it can dress up any dish that is lacking that va va voom factor. For example, if you had a really hard day and you changed one too many dirty diapers and spit up messes, therefore you are making cereal for dinner…Well, it sure makes your husband happier when you tell him there is fresh pico salsa in the fridge.

Just make sure you have chips.

Because just cereal and just pico de gallo salsa really aren’t the greatest together. That is unless it was cereal and ketchup.

That DEFINITELY goes.

Pico De Gallo Salsa

*This is the easiest salsa EVER. It takes all of about 5 minutes to make and it’s super fresh! It is best served that day, otherwise it won’t do well after 24 hours. It begins to taste funky and your fridge will start to smell like onions :) *

Ingredients:

2 large round firm tomatoes, not from the vine. *Preferably organic*

1 bunch cilantro

1/2 small onion

1 jalepeno

1 lime (zest and juice)

salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Dice your tomatoes, onion, and jalepeno into small chunks. (Remove seeds from pepper if you don’t want it spicy.) Chop up your cilantro into small pieces, then add the ingredients into a bowl. Add zest and juice of 1 lime, sprinkle of salt and pepper then toss everything until combined. Add more S/P for desired taste.

 Here is a little tip I might add with this salsa…

Pico De Gallo=Sexiest Breath Ever!

Homemade Pumpkin Puree + Video Tutorial

So here’s the deal.

Pumpkin season is like a food bloggers Christmas…Am I right?

We load up on canned pumpkin, bake muffins, pies, cookies, pasta dishes etc.

We freakin’ love it.

Then the other day at Costco when I was considering buying the 90 oz. of canned pumpkin puree they were selling, I realized that the pumpkin in the can obviously wasn’t fresh. And who knows how long it had been sitting in those cans.

More importantly I was planning on loading up on the puree for baby food in the future, but then I realized that was definitely not ok…

Canned pumpkin puree is great … But fresh pumpkin puree that’s in season…

It’s phenomenal. I mean, it’s practically a different color than the canned puree. That right there should say something.

So for those of you interested in how to make your own puree, whether your going to cook with it or feed it to your baby, here is a simple how to.

And if the pictures aren’t enough, I put together an incredibly embarrassing video tutorial for you to see.

Merry Christmas.

First your going to start with a small pumpkin. I believe they are called sugar pumpkins, but I really don’t know. Neither did the guy  working in the produce section…So it’s all good.

Just make sure they aren’t the large jack-o-lantern pumpkins.

After you have washed the pumpkins, cut the stems off the pumpkins.

My knife is about as sharp as a butter knife, so this counted as an arm workout for me.

Then cut the pumpkins in half.

Next your going to scoop out the seeds, or as Baby Boo calls it, the yucky stuff…

Save the seeds people…save the seeds.

Roast them, and then coat them in chocolate. Then buy me a diamond ring because after that you will love me forever.

Next preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the pumpkins face down, or face up, on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 45 min to an hour…or until the pumpkins are soft and you can poke them with a fork.

They will brown and the skins will shrivel a little when they are done!

Using a spoon or your hands, peel off the skins.

Discard the skins and add the rest of the pumpkin into a blender or food processor and process until creamy.

Note #1: Some pumpkins are more dry then others. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. Just add a few TB of water until you reach the desired consistency!

Note #2: Some pumpkins are more mushy than others and when blended into a puree it might seem TOO watery. Don’t worry, this is normal too! :) Just strain puree through a cheesecloth!

Store in the fridge for about a week, or store in the freezer for 6 to 8 months!! Just add about 1 c. of the puree to a plastic bag and flatten it out and lay it flat in the freezer!

Perfect for baby food!

Check out the wacky video to go along with it:

And don’t you worry my little pumpkins, I’ve got pumpkin recipes coming up to go along with this puree!

But in case you can’t wait, here is a favorite one from last year!

Pumpkin Hot Chocolate

Be back soon for more pumpkin madness!

No Bake Dark Chocolate Almond Balls

Life has definitely changed in our little household since Sweet Pea made her arrival.

Luckily I’ve had my husband off work all week to help me, but today is his first day back and I’m worried that he’s going to come home and find me covered in breast milk and Boo’s lunch, wearing what I’ve worn since thursday. (Wait? I’ve been like that all week…)

For those of you wondering how Boo is doing, I would say she is adjusting as expected.

She has gotten WAY louder, and I find that she screams at the top of her lungs even when she is just playing. Not to mention she has refused to sit down and eat any meal, and today she told my husband he was ‘Pissing her off…’

Luckily she hasn’t taken her anger out on Sweet Pea, but instead her bedroom door, which she slams a few bazillion times a day. I swear she was two before the baby was born, and now she is 16 year old me. I’m almost tempted to take her door off the hinges, just like my mom did.

I’m just afraid to ‘Piss her off…’

Luckily, Sweet Pea is one sweet and innocent baby girl. She sleeps a lot, and I’m not really sure how to handle that. I keep expecting her to wake up all the time, but she just continues to sleep. I pray it continues, but I’m expecting it to stop once the husband goes back to work…Did I mention I never slept as a child?

Karma.

As for cooking and spending time in the kitchen, I haven’t really done much besides making quick breakfast and lunches. I’ve had a wonderful bunch of friends who have been bringing me dinner since we got home from the hospital, and I don’t want it to end. I’m considering paying them to bring me dinner every night.

I have however been craving chocolate like it’s nobody’s business, and I obviously blame it on the hormones. After giving birth, you basically go through ‘that time of the month’ symptoms times a bazillion. My husband can vouch for this because today I cried just reading stories to Boo.

Dang you Mickey Mouse books…So fllippin’ touching.

I think I need a long nap and chocolatey cookie.

It’s the right thing to do.

No Bake Dark Chocolate Almond Balls

Makes 12-16 mini balls

Ingredients:

1/2 c. honey

1/2 c. Dark Chocolate Almond Butter (or homemade nut butter of choice)

3/4 c. brown rice crisp cereal

1/2 c. chopped pretzels

1/4 c. diced craisins

1/4 c. cocoa powder (could sub chocolate protein powder)

(Optional to roll balls in: shredded coconut, cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, grated chocolate, etc.)

Directions:

1. In a microwave safe bowl, heat oil and nut butter for 45 seconds to a minute. Whisk together until creamy, then fold in the rest of the ingredients until fully combined.

(This will be an effort since it’s pretty thick and sticky.)

2. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop mini balls and place on cookie sheet with parchment paper. The balls will be really sticky. To help with this, you can either roll them in cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, grated chocolate, shredded coconut, etc…

3. Place in the freezer for 10-15 min, then transfer to fridge and store in a covered plastic/glass container.

These have been a life saver! They are so rich and decadent, I almost feel like I’m eating a piece of Sees Candy.

Almost. :-)

Have a great start to your week! I’ll be back soon with a new series of Toddler food! Can’t wait to share the details!! :-)

Sweet Pea

Never in my life would I imagine feeling the overwhelming love that I feel now.

I’ve been blessed in such a tremendous way to be the mother to now TWO precious Daughters of God.

After waiting for what seemed like forever, 40 weeks and 5 days to be exact, the day finally arrived where Sweet Pea came into this world.

After thinking the day would never come, we decided to take a weekend trip up to my parents house and relax. And of coarse when one finally let’s go and realizes it’s probably not going to happen when wanted….It happens.

So at 6:50 A.M. when my water broke we knew that our plans were going out the window and we were going to have this baby…Even if it wasn’t in the place we had originally planned.

It was a fairly difficult labor, but luckily it only lasted 10 hours with about 15 minutes of pushing. (Boo was 20 hours of labor and 1 1/2 hours pushing…)

After a few hours of my labor not progressing, they decided to put my on pitocin to see if that would get things moving along. After a few doses of pitocin, we soon realized my body, and Sweet Pea, wanted nothing to do with the medicine. My blood pressure was dropping all the time, and my heart rate was fluctuating uncontrollably. Nothing about me was stabilizing. Then Sweet Pea’s heart rate started to drop, so we decided it was best to turn off the medicine to see what happened.

Within minutes my body kicked in, everything stabilized, and I began to progress perfectly.

Only thing was now the epidural wasn’t working.

I applaud any mom willing to do the birth the natural way. As for me, I would prefer no pain whatsoever.

But my body had a different plan for me, and rejected practically every form of medicine. So with each contraction becoming closer together, I would try and breath my way through it…Only instead I would cry through each one. I’ll never forget that pain…

And if I do remind me before I think of having more kids…

Then the time came to push, which went rather quick. When she came out the umbilical cord was wrapped around her and her neck several times and she was blue. They took her away quickly, and for a few minutes I was freaking out. But soon enough she was in my arms, nice and pink! :)

I’ll never forget seeing Boo ‘s face when she came into see Sweet Pea. Having our little family together felt so complete and wonderful. I truly am the luckiest wife and mama out there!

Over the past few days our little family’s life has changed dramatically. We all have lost sleep and are going stir crazy, but never before in my life have I felt this happy. The spirit in our home is so strong and happy I truly feel blessed.

Boo is adjusting as expected. She loves her baby sister so much, but I can tell it’s difficult for her. We’ve been told to leave her alone and go away, followed by a door slam, for the past couple of days. I know it will get better, and I look forward to the day when I can hear them laughing together.

For now I am perfectly fine watching Boo give Sweet Pea multiples love hugs and kisses!

Dear Sweet Pea,

I am so glad to finally be holding you in my arms! You are precious in every way, and I can tell you will have a very sweet and loving personality. Thanks for making our family complete and bringing lots of love into our little family.

I Love You! xoxo-

Mommy

Thank You for all your sweet comments, tweets, etc. on Sweet Pea! I have the greatest and most supporting readers!

( Also a special thanks to certain readers out there who helped me pick the name Sweet Pea for our little gals blog name!)

Be back soon with some food!! :-)

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookie Ice Cream

I’m going to take a break from my obsessive whining about Baby #2 not here yet, and focus on one of my most precious chickpeas.

Yesterday Baby Boo officially turned TWO, and she technically isn’t a baby anymore.

(Although I have no problem wrapping her up in a blanket and cuddling her in my arms…)

It’s hard to believe that two years came and went so fast, and now I am the mama of a sassy and sweet toddler. One that has no problem telling me no, slapping me in public, wearing tutu’s 24/7, playing with mama’s makeup, singing Justin Bieber and pointing out his picture wherever it is…

Yes my friends, she is no longer my little baby.

She now demands chocolate milk with every meal and is easily the boss in our tiny little family.

(I’m this close to teaching her how to ask Daddy for money…)

Unfortunately for the hubby’s sake, she’s 100% Diva and takes a lot after  her mama. Everything is 10 times more dramatic than it should be and she can cry at the drop of a penny.On top of everything else, she is addicted to sweets.

I will take the blame for that because half the time I’ve got my face shoved into some sort of chocolate particle…And if you open my pantry, i’ve got enough dark chocolate bars to feed Canada.

But I’m not complaining one bit. I look forward to Mommy-Daughter dates when we can spend daddy’s money and check out different sweet treats around the city. (Although…Technically we do that now.)

Which is why I knew that on Boo’s birthday she wouldn’t consider a special ‘treat’ a basket full of fries, but more like a big bowl of ice cream. Of coarse alongside of a day spent full of using daddy’s money!

That’s what birthday’s are all about!

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookie Ice Cream

Ingredients:

(For the Ice Cream)

5-6 frozen bananas processed and blended into ‘ice cream’ w/ 1 tsp. vanilla

OR

1 pint vanilla non dairy ice cream (we prefer coconut)

(For the cookie mixutre)

1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour/spelt flour/GF flour/vanilla protein powder for a protein version

1/2 oats

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

dash of salt

1/4 c. peanut butter

1/4 c. 100% maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. dark chocolate chopped/chocolate chips

Directions:

1. To make the cookies, beat nut butter, vanilla, and syrup together until combined with a mixer. Add flour, oats, spices until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. The mixture will be a little crumbly:

2. In the mixer bowl add your ice cream:

3. Mix together until cookies are incorporated throughout ice cream.

4. Eat right then, or place in freezer safe storage and save for later!

This dessert is almost as sweet as my precious two year old!

Unless you take into consideration that she’s 100% diva like her mama…

And in that case, it’s not always a sweet bowl of ice cream! :-)

I love you Baby Boo! You keep me on my toes, make me smile and laugh every day, and I’ve never loved anything so much as much as I Love You!

I’ll Love you Forever Boo!

XOXOXO-

Mommy

Minnie Mouse 2nd Birthday!!

In a few weeks my sweet baby girl turns TWO and I cannot believe it! She has grown up faster than I can imagine, and has turned into one sweet and sassy little princess!

We figured it was best to celebrate her birthday early, since we don’t know when Baby #2 will decide to show up, and oddly enough, my two sweet chickpeas may end up sharing the same birthday!! That being said, we wanted to make this birthday extra special, and all about Boo. That means tons of sweets, lots of Minnie Mouse, a bounce house, friends, family, and…did I mention tons of sweets? :-)

Take a look at the amazing fun filled day we had in celebrating out precious little girl!

(Food not pictured: Build you own sandwich bar, pasta salad, chips, hummus, and dip.)

Everything was practically hand made at this party, and took WEEKS to prepare for! (This includes the Pinata, which took the LONGEST time of all! Next time…I’m buying one lol!) I spent a lot of nap time hours hot glueing, taping, and cutting to make everything polka dot/Minnie Mouse approved! :)

It was such an amazing experience, and I loved spoiling and showering my little angel with lots of love! Even though by the end of it she was a little tired and cranky, it was such a fun filled day!

(Binky in mouth+tired eyes=Boo needs a nap)

Happy Birthday Baby Boo!! Thank you for making the past two years of my life the best I’ve ever experienced! You are truly a blessing, and keep me smiling every single day! I LOVE you!

Zucchini Bread

It’s been a while since I’ve spent some good quality time in my kitchen, especially to bake something.

The farther along I am in this pregnancy, I find my self bending and moaning with every cramp and movement of my VERY wiggly chickpea. Not to mention, I have to stand sideways at the counter since my belly gets in they way.

Standing sideways=Awkward position=Knocking things over=Swearing in front of your two your old..

And we all know how that turns out...

Recently I’ve had a hankering to make some sort of sweet bread to have on hand for breakfast/snacks. I’ve been there done that with banana bread, and wanted to share my favorite recipe for zucchini bread.

I love adding shredded veggies into breads (like zucchini, carrots, squash etc.) because not only does it add a healthy does of veggies and their nutrients, but it also brings about a moistness to bread that I LOVE.

Top that off with a sprinkle of chocolate chips and a healthy spread of nut butter and you have a pregnant lady’s best friend!

Zucchini Bread

adapted from Baby Cakes

Ingredients:

2 c. spelt flour

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. maple syrup

1/2 c.coconut oil (melted/cooled)

3/4 c. non dairy milk (I used canned coconut milk)

1 1/2 TB. vanilla extract

2 c. shredded zucchini

1/2 c. chocolate chips

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 325. In a medium bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. Next whisk in the rest of the ingredients except zucchini and chocolate chips. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate until incorporated.

2. Pour batter into prepared bread pan (I used  a 4 mini loaf pan) and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until bread is cooked all the way through. Let sit in pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and let cool. Wait to cut bread until cool.

By cool, I really mean still a little warm. Eating fresh bread warm is way better than eating it when it’s ‘cool’…Am I right, or am I right? :)

By the look on her face, I’ll take that as a HECK yes! :)

Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade

One of my earliest memories of cooking and falling in love with food came from spending a week or two in the summer at my grandparents house.

Each time I would come, my grandpa and I would go grocery shopping together and get a list of ingredients that made some of my favorite meals. (Don’t forget the large box of fudgsicles!) Then every night for dinner, my grandpa and I would cook dinner together. I remember him letting me do all of the cutting, dicing, pouring, mixing, etc. and I loved every second of it! It truly gave me a sense of how cooking can truly bring people together, and establish passion and memories to last a life time.

Something that my grandparents always had in their backyard was a lemon tree, and a lot of times we would go out and pick bags full of lemons. Some to make lemonade, and some to pass out to the neighborhood.

When it came to making lemonade, what I most remember was pressing those lemons on their little electric juicer. It was my favorite part!

I can still remember pressing with all my strength on that little juicer to try and get all the juice out, and continually asking my grandpa, “How many more lemons??”

I also remember adding cups of sugar..Pretty sure more than one.

But more than anything I remember the taste, and going back to the fridge through out the day getting glass..after glass…after glass…

Yummmm! Suga! :)

Despite the fact that I probably consumed more sugar in those two weeks than I would in that whole summer, I wouldn’t trade those sweet memories for anything.

Today, I don’t have my grandpa to pick lemons and make lemonade with me, but I definitely can make lemonade and drink it in his honor. All in gratitude for teaching me to love spending time in the kitchen, especially with the ones you love.

To me, the food taste so much sweeter when it’s made that way.

Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade

Ingredients:

1 1/4 c. lemon juice

3/4 c. liquid sweetener (honey or agave work best)

zest of 1 large lemon

1.25 liter sparkling lemon water

3/4 c. strawberry puree

Lemon slices, strawberry slices, ice

Directions:

1. In a saucepan, heat sweetener and lemon juice until sweetener is dissolved. Let sit to cool. (I put mine in the freezer for a fast cool down!) Once cool, stir in lemon zest.

2. Puree strawberries (if you hadn’t done this already). In a pitcher add sparkling water, pureed strawberries, lemon juice mixture, lemon slices, strawberries, and if needed ice. Stir until combined.

3. Serve cold, or over ice.  (Stir every so often, as needed.)

Summer and lemonade go together perfectly.

Throw in loved ones and family into that mixture and it’s what making lifelong summer memories is all about! :)