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!

4 Year Wedding Anniversary Video for My Hubby!

Today is the 4 year wedding anniversary for the hubby and I!

(I don’t have the professional pics on me, but here are a few from that day!)

I would give anything to inhale that cake right about now…

It’s crazy to think that in 4 years, out little family has grown and accomplished so much!! Between 2 baby girls, graduate school, a residency, and moving a bajillion times…!! We have been SOO extremely blessed!

And in honor of our anniversary I made a video for the hubby! :)

I promise you are going to want to see it! hhaha There are pretty some hilarious old home videos in there…of the hubby…and a few moments where I shed a tear! :)

Dear Hubby:

Happy Anniversary! I love you more than words can express, thank you for putting up with my crazy tendencies!! And thank you for being EXTREMELY hard working for our little family!

I love you!

Hearty Chicken Tortilla Soup

I’ve never been so happy to welcome this cold and overcast weather that San Diego has been having recently! Normally, I would much rather embrace the sunshine…But recently the extremely hot sunshine melts that makeup right off my face within 5 minutes of being outside. Me+no makeup=scary monster.

Even though cold weather tends to make me want to spend my day in my bed, us girls decided a day out shopping and pumpkin picking was way more fun. So we grabbed my mom to come with us and out we went. First we did some damage at Target, and then we headed to Nordstoms for lunch.

I think I’ve converted both my children to Nordstrom’s lovers…Especially Sweet Pea.

Next we headed to the pumpkin patch where Boo rode her VERY FIRST pony. I was nervous that halfway through the ride she would be screaming to get off, but alas she proved me wrong. She smiled the ENTIRE time, and then asked me if we could take the pony home.

I told her no and blamed her Daddy…

After ponies and baby goat petting we headed to get our pumpkins. We contemplated getting a pumpkin that Boo could fit in herself once it was carved, but then I thought about what the hubby would say…Probably something along the lines of, “YOU picked that pumpkin…Therefore YOU will carve it. But, I mean if you need help eating those pumpkin seeds by all means..I’M your guy!”

As soon as we got home I knew that I had to cook something that was warm and filling for dinner, since us girls had done lots of walking and a minor amount of damage to our wallets.

Minor…Major..Same thing.

*This soup was put together in all of about 10 minutes since I had a lot of leftover prepared food just sitting in my fridge. The ingredients are definitely versatile, and if you want a vegan option, omit the chicken and double/triple the beans! If you have a toddler that is anti soup, just do what I did and pick out all the ingredients and put them on her plate sans the broth!*

Ingredients:

1-2 TB. coconut oil

1/2 medium onion diced

1 TB chopped garlic

1 1/2 c. frozen or fresh cooked corn

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can black beans drained and rinsed

1-2 c. cooked quinoa

2 c. cooked organic chicken chopped-seasoned with salt and pepper

32 oz. organic chicken broth

2 tsp. cumin

1 TB dried oregano

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. coriander

1/4 tsp. celery seed (opt.)

salt and pepper to taste

cilantro, lime, avocado, and crushed tortilla chips for garnish

Directions:

1. In a large pot heat coconut oil until fully melted. Add in onions and saute for a few minutes until they become clear and a little brown. Add in garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes. Throw in corn, tomatoes, beans, quinoa, chicken. Toss ingredients together then stir in chicken broth. Add spices in and adjust to liking. Stir and let sit on stove on LOW heat until ready to eat. I made this about 45 minutes until dinner, so I let it sit for about 30 minutes on the stove on low and let the flavors come together. Top with desired toppings. (Fresh squeezed lime juice is a favorite!)

Thank goodness for leftovers! Tomorrow looks like it’s going to be another gloomy day, and I think we will just spend this one in bed watching Cinderella!

(Rather than going broke at Target….)

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Let me tell you a story…

Once upon a time there was this Princess. She was of coarse the fairest of all and had control over all the house hold…um land, I mean land!

She danced, sang, and pranced around like most princesses do, but most of all she was known for her dramatic, and quite loud,  personality.

Often times you might walk into her living quarters to find jewelry, purses, and plastic heels strewed about the room. Then when you look up to see the Princess, you notice her standing against her table wearing an oversized tutu talking to a line up of her favorite princess dolls. She talks politely but demanding to them, and if one disappoints her she slaps them onto the floor…

Her mother, quite beautiful I might add, loved to watch this Princess grow on a daily basis but knew the more she grew the more independent she would become. Instead of request to be held and cuddled, it was more like, “Go away mom, I’m playing!”

 So, in her desperate efforts to hold onto her little princess just a little longer, before Teenage Charming comes along, her mother whisks her away into the kitchen to prepare a snack.

It’s where they connect every time and share stories, laugh, and learn.

And for that moment in time, nothing matters except the love in their hearts and the chocolate on their faces…

Oh…and the muffins in the oven. Those are pretty important too…

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. spelt flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

dash of salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1 c. homemade pumpkin puree, or puree from a can

1 egg-or 1 flax or chia egg

1 TB. vanilla

1/3 c. almond butter

1/3 c. melted coconut oil-cooled

1/4 c. packed finely shredded carrots, or 1 large carrot finely shredded

1/3 c. maple syrup

2 TB. non dairy milk

1/2 c. chocolate chips.

Directions:

1. Whisk dry ingredients together, (flour, salt, BP, BS, spices) in a medium bowl.

2. In a separate bowl whisk the rest of the ingredients together, besides chocolate chips. Add wet to dry and stir until incorporated. DO not overmix. Fold in chocolate chips.

3. Spoon batter into muffin liners in cupcake pan. Bake in a preheated oven of 350 degrees for 20-23 minutes.

As soon as the muffins are done and consumed, the little princess gives her mother a hug and a kiss and quickly runs off to her big girl duties.

The mother, grateful for the time they spent, realizes what a precious and polite angel that little princess really is and wants nothing more than to give her one last big hug before she goes about her duties.

Knowing this would be no easy task, the Princess’ mother bends down and says to the princess, “Can I tell you a secret?” In which the princess replies, “Sure!”

Her mother quietly whispers in her ear saying, “I Love You!”

At that moment, the Princess looked at her mom, rolled her eyes, and said…

“That’s no secret Mom!”

The end.

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!

Black Bean Quinoa Cilantro Salad

Before Sweet Pea came along and Boo was really young, her and I would spend our days reading and learning about things that little minds need and love to learn about.

I taught her the colors, she learned her numbers, and she sang the ABC’s 845 times a day.

She was an extremely fast learner and would pick up on practically any song, dance, letter, and/or number that we would teach her. I have to admit that she made me one proud mama, and I loved having her perform and repeat the things she learned to others.

Recently though, Boo’s ability to ‘pick up and learn things’ at an extremely fast rate has somewhat made me wonder if we are destined for trouble in the future. And more often than not, I would much rather she not repeat the things she’s learned..from whatever sources they have come from.

If your wondering what types of things Boo has been saying or doing, I can give you a brief synopsis…

I also must add that I’ve been told to knock it off several times a day…

I’m at a loss for words…

And on days when I ask Baby Boo what she wants for lunch and her response is simply, “Nobody Cares…”

Well then I make what I want and don’t consider whether or not she’s going to like it.

How Rude.

Black Bean Quinoa Cilantro Salad

Makes 5 cups

Ingredients:

2 c. veggie broth

1/2 c. dry quinoa

1 c. cooked corn

1 can black beans drained and rinsed

1 red bell pepper diced

1 large tomato diced

2 avocados diced

(For the dressing)

1/4 c. onion

2 garlic cloves

1 tomatillo

1 bunch cilantro

juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp. dijon mustard

1 tsp. agave

1 TB. olive oil

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. salt/dash of pepper

Directions:

1. In a pot add veggie broth and quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook quinoa until fully cooked for about 20 minutes. For better directions on how to cook quinoa, click HERE.

2. While the quinoa is cooking, make the dressing. Process dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor until combined, like so:

3. Once the quinoa is done and cooled down, add it to a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and fold in the dressing. Top with crushed tortilla chips! :) Or use tortilla chips to scoop it out! :)

I was completely confused as to where Boo was learning these not so nice phrases until I sat down with a big bowl of this for lunch and turned on my recorded episode of Housewives.

One of the ladies shouted, “What the He!!”, and Boo quickly responded…

Ya. You get the picture.

Hubby Meals: Baked Pumpkin French Toast AND Date Night Video!

Every saturday when my husband has the day off we always watch the food network in the morning together.

Our favorite show to watch together is The Pioneer Woman.

If you know anything about The Pioneer Woman, she’s a food blogger too, so right away I was drawn in. She has a quirky sense of humor and her food…although not healthy lol…looks mighty tasty.

Every time we watch it together my husband sits there with his mouth wide open in awe at the delicious food she makes…

And every time he say’s the same thing, ” Now why can’t you make that?!?”

In which I reply, “Shut up and drink your greens!”

Every once in a while, because I love him, I give in and make him something that he’s been begging for. One of those dishes just happened to be baked french toast.

I’ve talked about this on the blog before, and my husbands obsession with french toast, but when he saw Ree Drumond pour that buttery sugar egg mixture over that white sourdough bread he well…Practically sharted.

JK.Gross.

Let’s just say he got really excited. Ever since then, that’s all he can talk about, so I decided to show that boy I love him and make him the meal he’s been requesting for ages…

Of coarse I practically changed the whole recipe and added a vegetable…

It’s the thought that counts right…?

Baked Pumpkin French Toast

Adapted from: the pioneer woman

Ingredients:

1 loaf crusty whole wheat bread

coconut oil for brushing pan

3/4 c. pumpkin puree

6 eggs

1 1/2 c. coconut milk

2 TB. vanilla

1 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 tsp. garam masala

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

dash of ginger

3/4 c. coconut sugar

Topping:

1/2 c. coconut oil

1/3 c. whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 c. coconut sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

dash of salt

Directions:

1. Begin with your loaf bread. You want a sturdy crusty loaf bread so it won’t get soggy.

2. Rip pieces of bread up and pour into greased 9X13 pan.

3. Take the rest of the ingredients for the filling and whisk together until everything is incorporated.

4. Pour filling over bread pieces and distribute filling evenly.

5. Make your topping by mixing everything together. Your oil can be hard or liquid. If it’s hard just use a fork or pastry cutter to incorporate all ingredients. If it’s liquid stir it together until combined. Drop topping through out top of french toast. Cover and place in fridge for a few hours of over night…You can also put it in the oven right away if needed.

(This is a great make ahead dish!)

6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. Bake for 45 min. for a bread pudding consistency, or an hour + for a harder crust. (We prefer an hour.)

7. Top with maple syrup…take a bite…

Welcome to heaven!

At first I didn’t tell my husband I changed the recipe. I waited till he ate THREE servings of it!

It’s safe to assume it was a hit!

Here’s to making our husbands healthy!

I mean, happy! :)

P.S.

If your bored, we filmed a family fun video of the a Surprise Date Night that the husband took me on!

Have a great rest of your week!!

Exercising w/ Kids and Post Workout Food

If there is one thing I have noticed with RESTARTing exercise, is that it isn’t coming easy.

I find myself running around all day playing mommy and wifey, and by the time the end of the day is near all I want to do is cuddle with my family and relax for the rest of the night. The last thing I do is want to exercise…

Finding that exercise groove again is hard, but I am not putting the pressure on myself to do it all because I know that will cause me to  give up. Because of this, I am focusing on the things that I know will make it easier for me to exercise:

Knowing these things helps me to understand where and how I am comfortable with fitting in exercise into my daily schedule.

What’s on your list of things that you know will make exercise easier?

One of the most important things for me is making sure my little chickpeas are with me and happy.

My goal is to keep things balanced, so you won’t see me going to the gym, then taking the kids on a run, then coming home and doing a workout video.

It’s just not me.

I’ve got tea parties and dress up appointments with my little gals scheduled everyday. :)

Sometimes you can’t always throw the kids in the stroller and go on a long run.

OR you little girl is missing her toy ice cream cone and if it’s not found she’s going to scream…a lot..

THEN your littlest chickpea can’t sit in a car seat in the stroller because it’s 107 degrees outside.

And lastly, your husband is working a 12 hour day so there is no ‘break’ for you to break a sweat on your own and relax…

What’s a Diva to do?!?

Playing with your kids is a great way to get that heart rate up as well as get your kids moving!

More importantly it brings your family together as you laugh, dance, and act silly. :)

And after a good solid play time with the kids, a post workout snack/meal is a necessity!

-Or-

-Or-

-Or-

Apples/Pears N’ Nut/Seed Butter

Veggies, Crackers, and Hummus

Etc.

Printable for Week 2: Restart Exercise Program

Do you exercise with your kids?

Send me your pics, I would love to see them!

Post them to my Facebook page!

Or tweet me @TheDiVa_DiSh

Have a Great Monday!!