Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Za'atar Spiced Naan Pizza

Here's one of my favorite pantry creations that pops up in our menu planning every now and then.  In the past, I've always been in a hurry and not really thought to snap pictures or write down what I was doing.  So this time, I really planned it out, bought all the ingredients (I often improvise), and added my new favorite spice blend, za'atar.  Here's how Mama makes it:

Za'atar Spiced Naan Pizza

- 1/2 lb. ground beef
- 3/4 t. curry powder
- 1/4 t. turmeric
- 1/4 t. cumin
- 1/4 t. garam masala 
- 2 T. water
- 4 garlic naan (I used Trader Joe's frozen naan)
- 1 c. hummus
- 1 c. feta cheese
- 1 bunch green onion, chopped
- 1 c. chopped tomato
- 1/2 c. chopped kalmata olives
- 4 t. za'atar
- fresh cilantro, for garnish

**for vegetarian option - substitute 1 can chickpeas for the ground beef.


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Brown hamburger in a skillet over medium-high heat (I usually brown the whole pound and save half for another recipe.)  

2.  Add spices and 2 T. water to the beef and stir until evenly distributed.

3.  Place naan on a large baking sheet and cook according to package directions.

4.  Spread hummus over each piece of naan, then layer on beef, feta, onion, tomato, and olives.

5.  Sprinkle with za'atar and garnish with cilantro; serve.

printable recipe

This is why I have a skewed vision of what constitutes "typical kid food"... they loved it! (I did substitute shredded cheese for the feta because they aren't big fans of that yet.)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Cooking with Grandpa: Whole Wheat Pancakes

Since I didn't work until 11am on Father's Day, Annalyn and I decided to make pancakes for breakfast.  I figured it was only fitting that we use one of Grandpa Eddie's recipes and since Michael doesn't share my affinity for buckwheat, we opted for the whole wheat pancakes instead.  They were a perfect mix of fluffy, dense, filling, and delicious!  Here's how Mama and her Peanut make them:

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Ingredients: (makes 12-15 pancakes)
- 1 c. whole wheat flour
- 1 c. flour
- 2 T. sugar
- 1 T. baking powder
- 1 t. salt
- 1/2 t. baking soda
- 2 c. milk
- 1/4 c. oil
- 2 eggs

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Big Girl Milestone: The Twirl

Just one short week after I bought her a princess dress, she mastered the twirl.  I can't believe how quickly this little lady is growing up!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Sleepover Staple - Marshmallow Popcorn

This simple recipe was a part of almost every sleepover at my house growing up. (And other nights my mom just felt like making it because it's the best stuff on Earth.)  I made it for the girls last weekend when Michael was out of town and I think it's safe to say that the tradition will live on!  It's basically like making popcorn balls, but eating it before letting it cool and forming into balls.  Another way to think about it is making rice crispy treats but with popcorn.  Any way I describe it, just doesn't do it ooey gooey justice, so I'm just going to show you what I mean...

Marshmallow Popcorn

- 2 bags plain popcorn, popped
- 1 bag marshmallows
- 4 T. butter
(we halved this recipe when it was just me and my girls and we still didn't eat it all)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mini Strawberry Tarts with Lemon Mascarpone Cream

Here's a new recipe I've been toying around with and finally decided to attempt last weekend.  I've been on a fruity-lemony-basil kick lately and this is the latest in a long line of fruity-lemony-basil deliciousness.  The creamy lemon filling is to die for and the presentation is beautiful.  You could substitute blueberries for the strawberries, but I love the contrast of red strawberries and green basil. Here's how Mama makes it:

Mini Strawberry Tarts with Lemon Mascarpone Cream


- 1 pint strawberries
- 2 packages fillo shells (30 shells)
- 1 c. mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 c. powdered sugar
- zest of one lemon
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 T. basil leaves, whole if small or sliced thinly

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Homemade Washable Finger Paint

I was looking for a creative, messy activity to do with the girls this morning and came across this homemade finger paint recipe. I've used a few different recipes in the past, but this one was appealing because it didn't even have to be cooked! Simple, washable ingredients (assuming you don't use too much food coloring and wash it pretty soon afterward) and quick to make! Here's how Mama makes it: 

Homemade washable finger paints


- 1 c. Flour
- 1 c. Water
- 1 c. Dish soap
- food coloring


1. Mix together first three ingredients until smooth.

2. Transfer to small containers or muffin tin and add food coloring. 

3. PAINT!!!

A hose nearby is handy, too ;)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Emelina's First Year Monthly Photos

Here it is - the culmination of our monthly size comparison photo shoots.  I can't believe how much that puppy shrunk in a year!  I love looking at how much she's changed and stayed the same over these past 12 months. It brings up a lot of emotions, memories, and a whole lot of mama pride.  Take a look...
I miss her dark hair.

I love her chubby, squishy cheeks.

Her crazy hair stage makes me laugh.

I'm so glad we were too tired to take her our of her pj's for this photo...

...or even put pj's on her for this one.

I forgot about those shoes!

I can't get over her big eyes.

Or her huge smile.

She loved her feet so much that she rarely kept socks on, even in winter.

This was the last pic in our old house.  I miss our old house.

But I love our new house.  Especially her blue walls.
And the fact that she sleeps through the night in her own room.

I'm blown away at how grown up she looks and acts lately.
Between her haircut and her wildly determined personality, 
she's looking less and less like a baby every day.
Which I love
and I hate,
and I love.

Chunky Monkey Quinoa Bars

These protein-packed bars are named after my favorite Ben & Jerry's ice cream.  Like their namesake, they have banana, chocolate and walnuts.  Unlike their namesake, they are low in fat and added sugar.  I love the texture of all the different nuts, seeds, and grains.  I'm a texture junky in the healthiest of ways.  On the other hand, I really really really like the touch of chocolate, too.  So do my kids.  They think it's dessert.  Anyway, here's how I made these delectable grab and go bars:

Chunky Monkey Quinoa Bars

Ingredients: (makes one 9x13" pan, 8 servings = 9 WW pts each or 10 servings = 7 WW pts each)

- 2 c. cooked quinoa (about 1/2 c. uncooked)
- 2 mashed bananas
- 2/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
- 2 eggs
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1/2 c. brown sugar, unpacked
- 1 t. baking soda
- 2 T. chia seeds
- 2 T. flax seeds
- 1 c. whole wheat flour
- 2 c. rolled oats
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 c. mini chocolate chips
- 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
- 1-2 T. wheat bran, optional


1.  Cook quinoa according to package directions (place 1/2 c. quinoa in 2 c. water, bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.).  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  In a large bowl, combine quinoa and wet ingredients.

3.  Add dry ingredients, except wheat bran, and stir until just combined.  Transfer to a greased 9x13" pan.

4.  Sprinkle wheat bran over the top of the bars and bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Allow to cool, then slice into desired number of servings.  I like to place each bar into a ziplock bag, then toss in the fridge for an easy grab and go breakfast.