Friday Favorites

The weekend is here!  This week seemed to fly by.  Do y’all have fun plans this weekend? Tonight I am going out to dinner with some friends (helllllo, bubbles!) and the rest of the weekend will be filled with soaking up time with my little family.  I’m hoping to squeeze in a workout and a long walk somewhere along the way.  Oh, and Saturday we’re cooking up some fun St. Patty’s Day recipes in the kitchen.  I hope you have the best weekend!


Favorite Flavors:  Lamb Za’atar Panzanella Salad.  Lamb and peas scream spring to me and I can’t get over all the flavors and deliciousness in this one bowl of goodness.


Favorite Side Dish:  Roasted Mixed Potatoes with Spring Herbs and Burrata.  I’m obsessed with anything that involved burrata.  I’m thinking this and a steak would be a fantastic weekend dinner.


Favorite Gotta Have:  Pretty Dish.  It’s no surprise that I want this cookbook.  I have Jessica’s first cookbook and I feature recipes from her blog here constantly.  Basically she does no wrong.


Favorite Pasta Night:  Date Night Mushroom Fettuccine.  And while this might have to happen with a little babe on the side, I have the perfect pinot noir to pair with it.


Favorite Midnight Snack:  Healthy Thin Mint Almond Butter.    I like to keep a little something sweet (and healthy) stashed in the freezer for my midnight pumping sessions. Sign me up for this thin mint-inspired sweet treat.

Favorite Read:  The “Mental Load” Falls Squarely on Mother’s Shoulders and it’s Making Us Very Tired.  Don’t get me wrong, Big Guy helps SO MUCH with BG and things around the house but I can’t help but find so much truth in this article.


Favorite Dinner:  Crispy Pan Fried Lemongrass Chicken.  I love a good chicken thigh and I’m craving this simple yet flavorful dinner.  If only I could find lemongrass in this town.


Favorite Inspiration:  How to Set a Formal Dining Table.  I don’t have a formal dining room currently but that’s a “must have” for our “forever home.”


Favorite Sip:  Vodka Strawberry Lemonade Cocktail.  One word:  YUM.



Almond-Coconut Chicken Satay

Over the past six weeks I haven’t been cooking as much, especially during the week.  But on the weekends I’ve been trying to cook when possible because I truly love being in the kitchen.  The key these days is meals that I can prep in advance during a nap and then are easily thrown together once the little one is down for the night.

Last Friday we thoroughly enjoyed almond-coconut chicken satay with a glass of wine before tucking ourselves into bed before 9pm.  Throughout the day I prepped here and there – cutting the chicken into chunks, slicing the veggies, and mixing together the marinade.  I marinated the chicken a little longer than the recipe instructed – probably a few hours – and I highly recommend doing that, if possible.  The marinade is where all the flavor is:  almond butter, coconut milk, lime juice and red curry paste (a current obsession of mine).  Some of the marinade is reserved for serving with the grilled chicken.

The one thing I didn’t do until the last minute was dress the cucumber salad because I didn’t want it to become soggy.  I like crisp cucumbers.  The cucumbers and bell peppers are dressed with lime juice, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.

Once the chicken is grilled, serve along side the cucumbers and bell peppers and a sprinkle of chopped almonds.


And while I miss being in the kitchen during the week, I wouldn’t trade baby snuggles for anything in the world because I know one day she won’t want to snuggle with me.


Family-Style Meatball “Fondue”

Is anyone else dragging this AM?  I’m not sure if the time change is to blame or having a 6-week baby…  Either way, I’m ready for bed and it’s not even lunch time.  Despite the sleepy eyes over here, I’m determined to have a great week.

But rewind – how was your weekend?  Ours didn’t go quite as we anticipated but we had a wonderful weekend as a family of three.  We had a low-key evening in on Friday night and then on Saturday we had a family day-date!  Tacos and an adult beverage for the win.  I think BG is starting to change her schedule on me but I’m okay with it if that means more sleep at night.  I’m trying not to stress myself out over a “schedule” but it’s hard because I thrive on schedules.  And on Sunday we had the laziest of days and instead of pizza we switched it up with family-style meatball “fondue.”  I keep wanting to type “fundue” – which is appropriate because it was a FUN way to eat.

The meatballs are made with lean ground beef (the recipe called for turkey but we switched it up), grated zucchini, chopped onion, oregano, salt, pepper and an egg.  There’s no breadcrumbs so it will seem a little “loose” but I promise they firm up in the oven.  The meatballs are baked until cooked through.

While the meatballs are cooking, it’s time to make the sauce.  Sauté the mushrooms and garlic in a little olive oil and then add in marinara (Newman’s Own is my favorite) and a little water.  Simmer about 5 minutes and then add in the meatballs once they are done cooking.  Gently mix to coat the meatballs and then top with mozzarella.

Finally, broil the whole skillet to melt the cheese and serve with toasted baguette on the side.


Such a delicious dinner.  And while I missed our tradition of pizza (we’re already planning this Sunday’s pizza) I can’t say I didn’t love these saucy meatballs.  And the mushrooms were fantastic on a piece of baguette.

I hope you all have a great week!


Friday Favorites

Better late than never!  We’ve had a really good week over here.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some rough moments but all-in-all it was a great week.  Apparently we’re entering a “leap” in her development today and I’m praying it doesn’t make us both manic.  Any fun plans for the weekend?  We’ll be having another low-key weekend but I’m excited to get in the kitchen and cook a few meals. As much as I’ve LOVED having dinner brought to us by friends I’ve missed being in the kitchen and cooking.  Here are a few of my favorites from the week:


Favorite St. Patty’s Day Appetizer:  Irish Cheddar Fondue with Spiced Guinness Pretzels.    You won’t catch me drinking green beer next weekend but I am totally into this cheesiness.


Favorite Sweet Treat:  Homemade Healthy Peanut Butter Cups.  I ate my last piece of dark chocolate last night which is an excuse to make these for my after-dinner treat.


Favorite Sunday:  Carnitas and Guacamole Pizza.  I don’t think we’re making pizza this Sunday (gasp!) but this yummy combination is happening verrrrry soon.


Favorite Festive:  Guinness and Black Bean Chili Loaded Spiralized Fries.  Not into the fondue?  Here’s another St. Patricks Day option.  Now I’m torn though…


Favorite Work It Out:  Power and Plyo Workout.  I’ve been slowly getting back into working out and I love this workout that combines cardio with strength training.


Favorite Mash-Up:  Healthier Carrot Cake Banana Bread.  Big Guy would flip over this bread.  I think I may try to turn the loaf into muffins which would be perfect for breakfast.


Favorite “Appy” Hour:  Yogurt Queso with Cilantro Cream.  I can’t wait for warmer weather so that we can enjoy a glass of wine and an appetizer on our new screened in porch.  (In reality, this won’t be quite as relaxing with a little one…)


Favorite Book Club:  Little Fires Everywhere.  Adding this to my “must read” list!  Everyone is reading this book.  And then raving about it.


Favorite Refreshing:  Green Goddess Margarita.  Like I said, no green beer for me.  How about a cucumber margarita?  Yes, please.



(And don’t forget to “spring” forward on Sunday!)


Asparagus-Prosciutto Spears

These days the television stays on from about 7am until 7pm for background noise.  The house can get way too quiet when you’re home with a little baby (except for those crying spells).  And while I don’t really pay attention to much of what’s on, I do enjoy The Rachael Ray Show.  Last week I happened to be catch a quick and easy recipe that I thought was a perfect addition to a cheese board:  Asparagus-Bacon Spears.  

I knew that I wanted to make bacon wrapped dates so swapped the bacon for prosciutto. The recipe is SO simple and requires only a handful of ingredients.  Simply trim your asparagus (where they snap naturally when bent) and then wrap with prosciutto.  Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with pepper and garlic powder.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes and then flip, baking for a few more minutes.


The asparagus added a little bit of healthiness to this fantastic spread and I loved dipping the spears in our favorite mustard (which I need more of).

Confession:  we loved this appetizer so much that I made another batch on Sunday.

Baked Oatmeal with Bananas and Blueberries

The best weekends always go by way too fast. As I sit here on Sunday evening (listening to Big Guy try to calm our anxious 5 week old) I can’t help but think how lucky I am to have spent the weekend with my two favorite people in the whole wide world. We did absolutely nothing that would be exciting to anyone. Big Guy sent me away to get a manicure and pedicure on Saturday morning after my workout and took over all baby duties for a few hours. It was glorious – yet weird…I actually missed that nugget while I was gone. I enjoyed a delicious glass of sparking rosé and we ate our weight in meat and cheese. And on Sunday we laughed and Blakely Gray took her longest nap to date. See, nothing too exciting, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

This past week I made a breakfast bake that fueled me through busy mornings around the house. I’ve found that breakfast needs to be pulled together quickly but it also needs to keep me full. If there are oats involved, even better.

To make this baked oatmeal, you start by slicing a couple of bananas and placing in a dish along with blueberries, honey and cinnamon. This is then covered and baked for 20 minutes before being topped with an oat and pecan mixture and then a combination of milk, an egg and vanilla. The entire dish is topped with a few more blueberries and pecans and baked to perfection.

I enjoyed a slice of the baked oatmeal with a little 2% Greek yogurt and a scoop of peanut butter.


Even Big Guy loved this breakfast…and after this morning, it’s gone.

Do you have a favorite make-ahead breakfast?

Banana-Walnut Bread

Remember how I used a “secret” oil a couple of weeks back to make a delicious pasta dish?   Since walnut oil isn’t an oil I come across in recipes often, I was excited that in the same issue of Cooking Light there was a recipe for banana-walnut bread using walnut oil.  Muffins and bread are something I like to keep on hand for Big Guy to have in the morning for breakfast.  And while Big Guy couldn’t detect the walnut oil, he did say that the bread was extra “nutty.”

To start the recipe, soak raw oats (I used old fashioned oats) in buttermilk (I used milk mixed with vinegar) for 10 minutes.  While that is soaking, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt.

Next make your streusel topping:  brown sugar, oil, walnuts (I actually used pecans), cinnamon, salt, raw oats and flour.  I love banana bread with a streusel topping.

Once the oats and buttermilk have soaked, add in mashed ripe bananas (the key to ALL banana breads), vanilla, eggs, brown sugar, and walnut oil. Once mixed, this is spooned into the loaf pan and then topped with the streusel before being baked.

I can’t even describe how amazing the house smelled while this was cooking.


Look at the edges on that bread.  I love a little crunchy edge from the caramelization of the sugar.  This bread is fantastic straight out of the oven or store at room temperature and warm before eating.  Big Guy made his a little more decadent and filling with a smear of cashew butter.

Now I just need to find a few more recipes using walnut oil…