Healthier Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Casserole

There are a handful of reasons why there is no need to make anything healthy when it comes to Holiday dinners. For starters, its a Holiday. Splurge, go all out, pull a Joey and wear maternity pants!

We all have that one dish we look forward to every Holiday dinner. Mine are the rolls and mashed potatoes. Two of the healthiest things on the menu. Wheat and vegetables as I like to call it.

 

HEALTHIER SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE VIA THE DIVA DISH

But you see, sometimes it’s a good idea to balance out the indulgent recipes and healthier recipes…for me at least. For my husband, hecks no.

So let me tell you what happened the other day…

I was at the library with all three of my kids at 4:30 in the afternoon. I know. Anyways, I was doing my best to lasso them up so we could leave when a lady came up to me and said, “Excuse me…”

In my mind I had figured she was going to say one of two things,  “Your kids are just so cute, I don’t know how to do it raising three good little obedient girls!” Or…

“Girl, what the hell were you thinking! Get these kids in check!”

HEALTHIER SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE VIA THE DIVA DISH

Instead she said…

“So, I’m not a lesbian or anything but girl you have a nice ass! You’ve got a big booty, I’m so jealous!”

I was so flattered and kind of embarrassed thinking those tight Lululemon leggings were a mistake, but I quickly replied, ” Oh if I could, I would give my big booty to you!”

In a non sexual way. Like a plastic surgical kind of way. I need to leave. Immediately.

HEALTHIER SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE VIA THE DIVA DISH

I’m not quite sure what it necessarily has to do with this Healthier Sweet Potato Casserole, but let’s just assume for a second that sometimes when you’ve been blessed with extra junk in the trunk…I’m all for a healthier side dish at Thanksgiving!

HEALTHIER SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE VIA THE DIVA DISH

Healthier Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Casserole
 
Ingredients
  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1 TB. molasses
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. milk of choice
  • 1 tsp.pumpkin pie spice
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • ½ c. coconut sugar
  • (For the topping)
  • 2 TB. softened/room temp coconut oil
  • 3 TB. coconut sugar
  • 1 heaping TB. flour
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ c. pecans, measured, then finely chopped
  • ½ c. mini marshmallows
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Wash your sweet potatoes, stab them with a fork multiple times, and bake them in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until soft. You can also skin, dice, and boil your sweet potatoes until soft as well!
  3. Once they are cooked and cooled, remove the skin (if you roasted them), and place in a medium bowl. Mash them together. You want about 2 cups of puree.
  4. Add in the rest of your ingredients, minus the toppings.
  5. Mash together until smooth.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  7. Grease a 8x8 baking dish, and add your sweet potato mixture to it. Gently smooth it on top.
  8. In a separate bowl, add your toppings (minus marshmallows) and mash together with a fork.
  9. Sprinkle toppings evenly on top of casserole.
  10. Bake for 20, remove from the oven, then sprinkle marshmallows on top, and place back in the oven for 10 more minutes.
  11. Once done, remove and let cool slightly! Then serve and enjoy!

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving Holiday!!

Lemon Roasted Broccoli

Wait what? Am I blogging? Are pigs flying?

(Check out the end of this post to find out why I was kind of absent!)

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Are you guys mad at me? I hope we can still be friends, despite the fact that I’ve been THE worst. But I feel like, or at least I’m hoping, that we have one of those relationships that we can pick up where we left off. Kind of like I never left? Kind of like I wasn’t being a crappy blogger? Good. Glad we are on the same page ;).

I’ve had this Lemon Roasted Broccoli Recipe sitting on my computer desktop for a long time just begging to be shared! I usually make a version of this once a week, and I’ve played around with the flavors a lot too. So far, my kids AND my husband eat this every. single.time.

Like I said, it definitely needed to be shared!

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Broccoli has always been a safe vegetable in our family, and if I want to feel like super mom I will whip up a batch and proudly watch my kids eat those little trees. Ignore the fact that they called the chicken I made disgusting, that’s not important.

THEY ATE THE BROCCOLI.

#supermom

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemon Roasted Broccoli
 
Ingredients
  • 2 heads broccoli, stems removed
  • Olive Oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • salt
  • pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Coat the broccoli with olive oil, just a few TB. until the broccoli is lightly coated.
  3. Sprinkle with a good amount of salt and pepper, and then the lemon juice.
  4. Bake in the oven for 15-25 minutes, tossing every so often. (Depending on how crunchy you like the broccoli, you can adjust your cooking time. We like it super crunchy!)

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What’s the one vegetable your family enjoys eating?!

 

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We’ve had a great and relaxing summer, as I hope all of you have! I’ve been learning the ropes with 3 littles, and each day brings new, exciting, AND crazy moments! Just recently, as in this week, our little baby started to sleep more solidly. (AKA that’s why I’m able to blog right now.) She falls asleep and stays asleep for longer than 30 minutes!! I also had my two older kids start school, so I feel like a whole new woman! I’m hoping I can maintain a better blogging schedule!!

Have a great week!

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Spinach Artichoke Dip

Excuse me if this post doesn’t make any sense. That Frozen movie is on in the background, and well, I’m repeating line for line in my head along with trying to type this up.

Do you wanna build an artichoke dip?

Protein Packed, Veggie Full, Kid Approved Spinach Artichoke Dip (Made Healthier!) From The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Where was I?

If you are new here to The Diva Dish I’ll fill you in a quick bit on my family. I have two little daughters, who some how have become WAY smarter and sassier than I ever could be. I love them so much it hurts! I also have another daughter on the way this February!! I’m married to the hardest working babe I know, and he could eat every single day of his life LOVES McDonalds.

And…This is a healthy lifestyle blog.

Protein Packed, Veggie Full, Kid Approved Spinach Artichoke Dip (Made Healthier!) From The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

I get a lot of emails and comments from parents who feel like they don’t know what to do because their little one “just won’t eat healthy”, or “only loves macaroni and cheese!” They wonder how on earth I do it, and why I am so lucky to have kids who love vegetables and are disgusted from fried food and cheesy noodles.

All I have to say is…

Dang! I must be a good liar! 😉

Protein Packed, Veggie Full, Kid Approved Spinach Artichoke Dip (Made Healthier!) From The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

I’m here to break the news to you my friends….My kids are NOT good eaters.

Their picky-ness and my desire to raise my family living a healthy lifestyle is why I started this blog in the first place. I knew that there were others out there struggling with the same issues I was, and I wanted to share my successes and well..my fails.

Protein Packed, Veggie Full, Kid Approved Spinach Artichoke Dip (Made Healthier!) From The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

So here’s the deal, Let it go. OMG, sorry…Frozen.

But seriously, I’ve learned to ease up a little. If I stress and cry and force feed, it never ends pretty. If I spend 75 minutes making this healthy incredibly stressful dinner, I most likely will have each child take two or three bites and then they are done. SO I keep it simple.

I’ve made a wide range of food for them, but I’ve paid close attention to which types of ‘foods’ and healthier foods they prefer/enjoy.

For example, my oldest doesn’t like things too salty, too sweet, mushed together, or funny looking. My youngest is the opposite. She likes flavors and will try almost anything. But she eats like a bird, so when I feed her I try and make sure it’s filling and full of fats/proteins/etc.

Doing that has allowed me to play with their food preferences and make some of the food they love and prefer a little healthier.

Protein Packed, Veggie Full, Kid Approved Spinach Artichoke Dip (Made Healthier!) From The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

So WHY artichoke dip?

Protein Packed, Veggie Full, Kid Approved Spinach Artichoke Dip (Made Healthier!) From The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

A while back we were eating at a restaurant with family when someone ordered spinach artichoke dip as an appetizer. When it came I joked with my 4 year old (the flavor/mushed together food hater) if she wanted to try some. She shockingly did, and ate bite after bite.

Now here’s the deal.

Spinach artichoke dip at restaurants are most likely not healthy. There is probably a lot of butter, cream, unhealthier fats, and lots of cheese stuffed in there. So do I stop her from eating it?

NO.

She’s not on a diet. She’s a growing girl, and a picky eater. Are some fats and a lot of butter going to just RUIN her? Of coarse not.

Protein Packed, Veggie Full, Kid Approved Spinach Artichoke Dip (Made Healthier!) From The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

I think we tend to get too ‘healthy crazy’, almost to the point where we forget that our kids are growing and NEED substance. I’ve had a hard time in the beginning because I was trying to watch what I ate, and keep things light not super heavy. But kids can’t survive off salads, smoothies, lettuce wraps, chicken and veggies.  (Honestly, I can’t either. I need chocolate!)

So here is my ‘healthier’ version of spinach artichoke dip. It has healthy fats, veggies, protein, etc. Everything our growing kiddos need! And, adults with chipped red nail polish too, of coarse!

Protein Packed, Veggie Full, Kid Approved Spinach Artichoke Dip (Made Healthier!) From The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

5.0 from 2 reviews
Spinach Artichoke Dip (Healthier)
 
By The Diva Dish
Ingredients
  • 3 TB. coconut oil
  • 3-4 TB. minced fresh garlic
  • One 10 ounce packaged frozen spinach, drained and thawed (Can use fresh spinach)
  • 1 can artichokes, drained and roughly chopped
  • 3 TB. coconut oil
  • 3 TB. flour
  • 1 can light coconut milk (13-14 ounces)
  • 1 c. plain greek yogurt
  • 1 c. grated parmesan cheese (can experiment with ½ c.)
  • salt & pepper
  • Parmesan cheese grated for the top (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a sauce pan add your 3 TB. coconut oil and melt.
  2. Then add in your garlic and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes.
  3. Next add in your spinach and toss into the garlic/oil mixture.
  4. Cook over medium/high heat for about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add the cooked spinach to a strainer and strain the juices back into the pan. (Press the spinach to get it all out.)
  6. In the same pan, add your artichokes.
  7. On medium/high heat, cook the artichokes for a few minutes until they have some color on them.
  8. Remove the artichokes from the pan and place on a plate and set aside.
  9. In the same pan, add the other 3 TB. of coconut oil and flour. (Reduce heat to medium.)
  10. Whisk together until a paste forms.
  11. Then slowly whisk in the coconut milk.
  12. Continue to whisk on medium heat, or a little higher, until the mixture becomes thick.
  13. Next whisk in greek yogurt and combine until creamy, followed by the parmesan cheese.
  14. Stir until everything is melted and combined.
  15. Sprinkle a little bit of salt and pepper in.
  16. Next, fold in the spinach and artichokes.
  17. Pour mixture into a greased baking dish, 9x9 or which ever size you prefer.
  18. Eat immediately, OR top the dip with a little extra shredded parmesan and bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

 

Protein Packed, Veggie Full, Kid Approved Spinach Artichoke Dip (Made Healthier!) From The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

I served this at my parents house and everyone ate them with baked pita chips, but my 4 year old loves them with salty tortilla chips! Who knew?! You could easily dip carrots or cucumbers in this too, which I think would be a great alternative to the bread.

But…Bread is so good.

Protein Packed, Veggie Full, Kid Approved Spinach Artichoke Dip (Made Healthier!) From The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Protein Packed, Veggie Full, Kid Approved Spinach Artichoke Dip (Made Healthier!) From The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Protein Packed, Veggie Full, Kid Approved Spinach Artichoke Dip (Made Healthier!) From The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

I probably should go fix my nail polish while my girls are napping huh? That’s right. The girls are asleep and Frozen is still on. I don’t even know who I am any more…

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I’d love to hear about your kiddos, their food preferences, and if they are picky or not and what you do with them to encourage them to eat!

Kids Macaroni & Cheese

Since the beginning, I’ve always been a ‘food based blog’. I started out as cupcakes, next was just desserts, and then I went healthy. All.Over.The.Place. Right?

Kids Mac n' Cheese! Secret ingredient is CARROT puree to up the nutrients for your kiddos! Recipe from The Diva Dish!

I love blogging about food and healthy meal ideas, but recently I’ve been thinking of ideas of how I want to do more than just blog about food. Obviously food is a huge part of living a healthy lifestyle, but I also believe so many other aspects go into health, and happiness. I want to stretch this blog a little more and focus on the idea of ‘health & happiness’ as a whole…and not just food.

(Did I repeat myself?)

I haven’t fully decided what that means, but I am hoping that over the summer The Diva Dish will be able to find it’s voice. Whether that means more of this or that I don’t know…But food will always be a big part of this, so don’t worry. 🙂

How many times can I say the word food in this post?

Kids Mac n' Cheese! Secret ingredient is CARROT puree to up the nutrients for your kiddos! Recipe from The Diva Dish!

 

A small part of that change will be sharing more of a reality as to what my kids really do eat. Pretty recipes and “true stories” can only convince you guys so much right?! I mean…Do my kids REALLY eat healthy? Have they ever even had boxed Mac n Cheese?!

Yes and Yes.

Kids Mac n' Cheese! Secret ingredient is CARROT puree to up the nutrients for your kiddos! Recipe from The Diva Dish!

 

Sometimes I get worried to post a recipe that has cheese or a high amount of calories because it may not be considered “completely healthy” and then the world will think I’m a FRAUD!! But here right now, I will tell you my kids eat cheese. And some of their meals are probably high in calories…

One important thing I’ve learned with my kids is that they are growing and their body needs food and it’s nutrients to grow. Their body doesn’t need fat free, calorie-less foods. They need the fats, proteins, carbs, etc. to help their brains and bones!

Kids Mac n' Cheese! Secret ingredient is CARROT puree to up the nutrients for your kiddos! Recipe from The Diva Dish!

 

Mac N’Cheese is always a kid favorite, and I’m not going to lie, making it from a box can save a lot of time. But on the days where I have a little more time, I love to make homemade mac! It last us for the next couple of lunches, which is one of the things I love about it!

Switching up the pasta shapes is always fun for kids, but I love adding in orange-colored pureed veggies to really up the nutrients! This dish has carrot puree, which brings out a subtle sweetness to it! And, carrots are orange, fake cheese is kind of orange…soooo….

Win Win!

Kids Mac n' Cheese! Secret ingredient is CARROT puree to up the nutrients for your kiddos! Recipe from The Diva Dish!

 

Kids Macaroni & Cheese
 
Ingredients
  • salt
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 12 ounces pasta of choice
  • 1 TB. butter or coconut oil
  • 1½ TB. flour (can use whole wheat, spelt, all purpose, etc.)
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard powder
  • 1 12 ounce can evaporated milk (or other milk of choice)
  • 2 c. sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • For the Topping (optional)
  • 1 TB. coconut oil
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. tumeric
  • ¼ c. bread crumbs (fresh)
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the carrots until tender.
  2. While the carrots are cooking you can make your topping.
  3. Melt the oil in a pan, then add the rest of the ingredients for the topping. Whisk together for a minute or so then remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Remove the carrots when they are done with a slotted spoon and transfer to a blender.
  5. Add the pasta to that same pot/water. Cook pasta until tender. Reserve 1¼ cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta. Add the water to the carrots in the blender.
  6. Puree the carrots until smooth.
  7. In a sauce pan melt your butter/oil on medium heat. Whisk in the flour and mustard powder and continue to whisk for 1 minute.
  8. Then whisk in the evaporated milk and carrot puree until smooth.
  9. Simmer the mixture until it has slightly thickened.
  10. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese until it has melted. Fold in the pasta!
  11. Serve into individual bowls and top with crunchy topping!

 

Kids Mac n' Cheese! Secret ingredient is CARROT puree to up the nutrients for your kiddos! Recipe from The Diva Dish!

 

As for us parents, don’t be ashamed to eat a little mac n’ cheese! Serve this along side fresh veggies and a large salad and you are great!

Kids Mac n' Cheese! Secret ingredient is CARROT puree to up the nutrients for your kiddos! Recipe from The Diva Dish!

For the record, Carrots > Fake Cheese.

 

What would you like to see more of on The Diva Dish?! I Would LOVE your input!!

 

Sweet Fruit Dip w/ All The Mix-Ins // After School Snack

There are certain times during the day that parents know when crazy-ness is about to hit the wall…

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Those longing hours when naps are over, school is out, dinner isn’t for a few more hours, and the kiddos bellies are grumbling. One child has discovered the convenient water release button on the fridge, and now there are full glasses of water all over the place. (Kind of like that Alien movie with Mel Gibson…) While the other baby fends for her self in the pantry, opening a bag of dried beans and an almost empty bag of tortilla chip crumbs.

Come to think of it…Maybe my life is a movie about aliens?

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It’s that moment in the day where sitting the kids down for a nice snack is probably the best idea, unless of course you have Disney Jr. on, well then…that’s a good idea too. 😉

Snacks should be quick & easy, and draw in the attention of your littles! Which is why we love this Sweet Dip! Your kiddos can pick the mix ins and dippers so that it pleases their picky taste buds! Have them put it together, and watch them gobble up their latest creation!

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Sweet Fruit Dip-After School Snack
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Right between lunch & dinner, right after school, is when the kiddos start rummaging the kitchen for something to fill their bellies. This Sweet Dip is perfect for fruit skewers, pretzel sticks, etc.! And there are so many variations of the dip, which can please any picky child!
Ingredients
  • Greek Yogurt-Plain
  • Shredded Coconut
  • Oats
  • Mini Chocolate Chips
  • Chopped Nuts
  • Chia Seeds
  • Ground Flax Seeds
  • Spices-such as cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.
  • Honey
  • Fruit
  • Pretzel sticks
  • etc.
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, mix together the desired amount of greek yogurt with desired toppings.
  2. You can get really creative with the mix-ins, depending on the preferences of your kiddos!
  3. Drizzle and fold in your favorite sweetener!
  4. Grab your favorite dippers, and enjoy!

 

 

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And while the kiddos are munching away, you will have plenty of time to go around the house collecting those random cups of water.

Unless of coarse…you may need them later…

 

Cranberry Avocado Dip (Salsa)

There are some people in life that don’t love change…

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Every Holiday that requires a family gathering means that my grandma will require it of herself to make the same exact thing. Yams with marshmallows. Green Cool Whip with marshmallows. Marshmallow salad and…funeral potatoes topped with potato chips.

Along comes her rebellious granddaughter who just so happens to offer to take on the responsibility of one of the side dishes and BAM!

All of the sudden that translates to, “Well I guess you just don’t like my cooking, maybe we should just hold Thanksgiving somewhere else…”

IMG_5043Grandmas a little spit fire.

Luckily for my grandma marshmallows are my favorite food and I really don’t want to miss out on a Christmas present from her this Christmas…AND because I LOVE her!!

Unfortunately that won’t stop me from bringing a little something different to the table…

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It may not be your grandparents favorite dish, but I can assure that no one will complain of a little pre-holiday snack before the real dinner begins!

(And no. I’m not talking about the plate of black and green olives my grandma puts out to prepare your palate for turkey…)

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Cranberry Avocado Dip (Salsa)
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. cranberries
  • 4 avocados
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno (stem removed, and seeds if wanting a mild flavor)
  • ½ small red onion
  • juice of 1-2 small limes
  • 2 TB. honey
  • salt & pepper, cumin
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, pulse the cranberries a few times until roughly chopped.
  2. Remove cranberries and place in a large bowl.
  3. In the same food processor add the cilantro, halved jalepeno, and red onion that has been cut into chunks.
  4. Pulse for a few times until roughly chopped.
  5. Add to the cranberries.
  6. Then add in the diced avocado chunks.
  7. In a small bowl whisk together lime juice and honey until combined. Pour over salsa, and liberally add salt and pepper on top.
  8. Fold ingredients together, and serve with chips!

 

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Disclaimer:

I have a strange love and obsession with my grandmothers marshmallow dishes and potato chip funeral potatoes. I dream about them nightly.

The end.

 

Tomato Basil Quiche w/ Whole Wheat Pastry Crust

“Mom, where are my glass slippers?!”

“I don’t want to wear this dress I want my pink tutu! Where is my princess dress?!!”

“I need your pink lipstick mom!”

“Don’t kiss me mom, you will ruin my lipstick!”

“I want my hair like this mom, like Sleeping Beauty. Long and beautiful.”

“Mom can you do my makeup? I don’t want to wear blush, I just want you to put some on my eyebrows…”

” Mom, I just only want to have chocolate milk. That would make Jesus very happy if I drank chocolate milk.”

“I like this egg pie mom, it’s making my belly very full!”

“Mom since I ate my dinner can you put pink lipstick on me, I want to look like a princess.”

Printable for Tomato Basil Quiche

If only she knew that no amount of pink lipstick or eyebrow makeup would ever make her more of the beautiful princess she already is!

 

Black Berry Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Yesterday was the first day that I was actually able to ‘cook’ a meal in a kitchen.

It was also the first day I went grocery shopping in 3 weeks.

And finally it was also the start of the new season for The Bachelor.

Yesterday was like Christmas all over again.

We are still staying with family and haven’t moved to our new state/house just yet, but I begged my mom to let me go grocery shopping for her and make dinner because I was starting to go bananas. Is it normal that I want to grocery shop and make dinner, probably not? But I’ve also been switching between 2 different sweat pants in 3 weeks, and I’m beginning to look homeless so at this point I’ve lost any sense of what’s normal.

Another repeat outfit:

I’m pretty sure every picture I’ve posted on Instagram in the last few weeks has shown Boo in the EXACT.Same.Dress.

This time it’s not a lack of clothes, but more of a “I’m going to wear my Princess dress every day I don’t care what you say, and if you  won’t let me I’m going to make you regret it by throwing a huge tantrum…”

At this point, our family is just down right aDORable…

But even if we wear the same clothes and people are starting to feel sorry for us, it doesn’t mean the food we eat has to resemble our appearances in any way. In fact we prefer our food ‘pretty’.

It means we haven’t given up completely.

🙂

(Inspired from Pink Pistachio)

Ingredients:

1-2 bruschetta baguette*

2-3 TB. melted coconut oil

1/2 orange (rind included)

1 c. fresh blackberries

2 TB. honey

1 8 oz brick goat cheese

2 ripe pears

Balsamic Vinegar

*I bought my loaf from Trader Joes, it was long and skinny. It made about 25 pieces of bruschetta. You could easily buy two loaves and still have enough cheese mixture for the second loaf. If you want to only use one loaf, you can either cut the recipe in half for the cheese spread or use a larger amount on top. If at all, you will have left overs for toast, bagels, sandwiches, oatmeals, etc.! 🙂

Directions:

1. Cut the loaf into thin slices, and set aside.

2. In a food processor add the orange, including the rind, and process until there aren’t any large chunks left. Add in the goat cheese, blackberries, and honey and pulse a few times until everything is combined. Do not over process. Add cheese mixture to a bowl and set in the fridge until ready to use.

3. Melt your coconut oil, then spread a thin layer on the front and back of each slice of bread. Toast bread in a grill pan, or regular pan, until both sides are golden and somewhat crispy. Let the bread cool.

4. While the bread is cooling, slice the pears into thin slices. Grab the cheese mixture out of the fridge and spread a nice helping on top of the bread slice. Add a few slices of pears, then drizzle with balsamic. (A really good thick balsamic works best!) Serve immediately.

 

I’m looking forward to that day when I can open up that box that holds all my other clothes in it.

Let’s hope it didn’t get lost in the transition because that would mean more sweat pants…

Actually that would mean I would have to buy new clothes, so on second thought…Screw that old box of clothes. I hope I never see it again.

Caramelized Brussel Sprouts

   

This month has been overly chaotic.

You can always tell my stress/busy level by the fact that my eyebrows will start to come together into the shape of an unkept mustache above my eyelids.

(P.S. I’ve got two mustaches.)

Besides the holidays starting and ending sooner than I can call and make and appointment for a brow wax, my husband has OFFICIALLY finished all of his schooling and residency as of 12-12-12!

(Seriously…He’s the greatest! I am so proud of this guy!)

I truly never thought this day would come and that forever we would be living the life as ‘students’ without any money. NOW, we aren’t students, and we are finally just regular ol’ people!…still without money. 🙂

In the next few weeks our little families lives are going to change as we prepare for the next step. Besides working a normal job and a husband who will be home a lot more, we will be picking up our bags and moving out of the state! It’s going to be a big and scary change for us, but I am SO excited! And sad. And nervous. And I want my mommy….

I also want to stop stress eating. Stress eating for me is quick un-filling meals where I don’t sit down and eat, but I grab a bite of something here and there. Usually something that looks and taste like chocolate.

Actually it’s always chocolate.

Except for today…Today I made brussel sprouts. One being because it’s a great Christmas side dish, and two because the brussel sprouts in my fridge had been in there way to long…

Afterwards I ate chocolate though, so don’t worry…

Caramelized Brussel Sprouts 

Ingredients:

20 med/lg. brussel sprouts-outer leaves off, then cut up sprouts into medium slices

1 tsp. coconut oil

1 large shallot diced

4 cloves garlic diced

sprinkle of salt and pepper

sprinkle of nutmeg (1/4 tsp.)

3 TB. maple syrup

1/3 c. dried cranberries

1 heaping TB. finely shredded coconut

1 1/2 c. walnuts

1 TB. maple syrup

Directions:

1. Preheat your broiler to the low setting. On a baking sheet fitted with parchment paper add your walnuts and the 1 TB. of maple syrup. Cook in the broiler for about 5 minutes, checking periodically and tossing the walnuts. Remove from oven when the maple syrup begins to harden on the walnuts. Once done set aside.

2. In a sauce pan on the stove, heat coconut oil, shallots and garlic. Cook for a few minutes or until shallots are translucent. Add sprouts, 3 TB. maple syrup, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir constantly and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Add cranberries, coconut, and walnuts. Cook for another 1-2 minutes and serve.

Let’s hope that things remain somewhat normal this month amidst all the crazy-ness…

Actually it’s probably going to take more than hope…

Where’s the chocolate?

Maple Sugar Sweet Potato Wedge Fries

Ever since Boo turned two, meal times have been on high stress alert.

I don’t know what happened, but it’s like the second she learned she had an opinion she began to use that ‘power’. Now, even the foods she LOVES, she flat out refuses to eat it.

I know kids go through phases yada yada waa waa waa, but seriously…When is this phase going to be over? The other night she had a cookie for dessert and I had to practically remind her to eat it. Of coarse she said no, called me a B word, and told me to get out of her life…

Just kidding, but in all honesty I’m not looking forward to age 16.

Boo has always been a strong minded child, and I’ve learned quickly with her that everything has to be HER idea otherwise it’s a no go…(Sound familiar hubby?)

If I say, ” OMG let’s go to DISNEYLAND!!”

Boo would say, “NO way!”

But if it was her idea, well then by all means it’s the greatest idea ever. (Again, sorry hubby…She’s totally my child.)

Which is why sometimes as parents we must go to certain lengths to get our kids to try the food on their plate. Whether it be threats of naptimes/timeouts or no TV, we’ve all been there begging and pleading on our knees to get them to just take one FREAKING bite.

Even things to the extent of…

“Pretty Pleeeaase! With Sugar on top…”

Maple Sugar Sweet Potato Wedge Fries

Ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes-skined and cut into fries/wedges

2 TB. melted coconut oil

2 TB. maple sugar

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

sprinkle salt/pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss fries with oil, then sugar and spices. Spread fries on a baking sheet (with parchment paper beneath fries). Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes then flip fries, and bake for another 10-15 minutes. If you want them crispy, cut into smaller pieces, and at the end of baking time broil for about a minute or two. Serve immediately.

I’ll have you know that these fries were amazing, and I ate the whole batch by myself for lunch.

That’s right, by myself.

I give up…