Sunday, February 23, 2014

Strawberry Lime Coconut Cooler

A drink recipe! I’m not sure I’ve ever blogged one of these before, probably because the only things I really drink are water, unsweetened iced tea and coffee. Occasionally I will add lemon, lime or berries to my water, but that’s about it. Once in a while I get an itch for something different so I’ll buy some seltzer water, but after one sip I get hiccups and realize yet again that I don’t like carbonated beverages, and then it’s back to the plain old water.

But today is somehow already time for Recipe ReDux again (actually one day late, but I got no Internet service up in the Poconos, sooo it's coming today), and this month’s theme was all about drinks. Hot, cold, whatever your preference – but something healthy and different. Truth be told, if I wasn’t pregnant, I probably would’ve come up with some fun weekend cocktail. Filled with homemade ginger simple syrup, mint, and maybe some gin. Yep that’s what I could really go for right about now.

But alas, gin could not be had. So I made a fruit drink instead. I actually really like this drink because 1) It’s refreshing and would be great in summer, or makes you think of summer when it’s freezing cold and snowing outside, 2) It’s a great way to hydrate because it’s main liquid is coconut water, which is filled with electrolytes, 3) It’s not plain old water, and 4) It’s also a fun way to consume your afternoon fruit snack when you just can’t look at another apple.

Plus, there is no cooking or muddling or mashing or really even measuring. Just eyeball everything, dump it in a blender and blend away. Serve in a mason jar with a fun straw and for a second feel like you’re in Miami again.

Almost. (And P.S., this would probably be really good with vodka too if you were feelin’ that. Just saying.)

Strawberry Lime Coconut Cooler

Serves 1 (Can easily be multiplied)

1 cup (or 4-5 large) frozen strawberries
¾ cup coconut water (I use Cocozia)
¼ tsp. coconut extract
Juice of ½ a lime
1 tsp. coconut palm sugar
Toasted coconut for garnish (I use Trader Joe’s unsweetened)

Put all ingredients except toasted coconut in blender and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into glass and garnish with toasted coconut. Enjoy!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Kale, Lox & Mozzarella Quiche

We're off to the Poconos for the weekend! Every year we go for a weekend to stay with Matt's friends from work who have a cabin near Camelback Mountain, and it's always a great time. We ski, we relax, we hang out and play cards and drink local brews and make homemade pizza. This year will be a little different for me since I can't ski and I can't partake in the beer drinking, but it'll still be fun. I fully plan to hang out in the ski lodge drinking hot tea and digging into my new book, And the Mountains Echoed, at least for a little while when Matt has Riker out on the slopes.

We planned to get on the road as soon as I finished work this evening and figured we'd just grab dinner on the way. But I've had a plan to make quiche for about a week now, and decided there was no reason we couldn't eat slices of that in the car rather than stopping for some (like unhealthy) food along the way.

Plus, I had two bunches of kale in the fridge that were starting to go limp and surely would've gone way past their prime by the time we returned home on Sunday night. And lox. Wild caught delicious lox that has been staring at me every day daring me to eat it, which I've been saving for this quiche. I simply couldn't wait another day.

So on my lunch break today - which is a rarity actually, I don't usually take an actual "lunch break" but opted to do so today - I emerged from my home office to spend a half hour in the kitchen whipping this up. It was well worth it.

When it was time to leave I cut out two slices and re-heated them in the toaster oven to take with us on the road, but in the meantime Matt stood at the counter eating it out of the pie plate cold, saying it was the best thing he's eaten in a while. I'll take that compliment any day. Especially since this quiche isn't made with heavy cream or fatty meats (meaning ham) the way most quiches are.

I made a big batch of kale chips to eat on the side - perfect snacking for the car ride and an extra serving of veggies too.

Heading into the mountains now and about to lose my hotspot - no complaints here. ;) Enjoy your weekend!

Kale, Lox & Mozzarella Quiche

Serves 4-6

1 pie crust (fresh or frozen)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz. lox
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 bunch lox, ribs removed, chopped into bite size pieces, rinsed & dried
1 onion, chopped
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375. Blind bake the pie shell by pricking the shell with a fork, covering it with tin foil and filling it with dried beans or pie weights; bake for 15 minutes, then remove the pie weights and tin foil and bake another 5 minutes until crust is cooked.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté onions, chopped kale and 1 tsp. of salt until veggies are softened. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Fold in the cooked onions and kale.

When the pie shell is cooked, remove it from the oven; while it is still warm, brush the edges with a beaten egg. Then spread half the mozzarella cheese on the bottom, followed by the slices of lox. Pour the egg & kale mixture over the lox. Finally, spread the remaining mozzarella cheese over the top.

Bake the quiche for 30-40 minutes, until the eggs puff up around the edges and a knife comes out clean. Let set for 10 minutes before serving. May be eaten hot or cold.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Surprise Roses

Good morning friends! Hope your Monday is going great whether you're at work or enjoying a nice 3-day weekend. I'm soaking this extra day up since the next holiday doesn't roll around until Memorial Day in May.

Our Valentine's date night on Saturday took us to Scarborough Fair in Sea Girt, which was rated the "most romantic restaurant" by Open Table. I was excited to check it out, and even more excited to try the food once I found out it's almost all organic and locally sourced. Even the meats are humanely raised and organic, and the seafood is all wild.

We tried a medley of things, including escargot in puff pastry with brie and pernod, spanakopita bites and lobster bisque (we went a little nuts on the apps!). For my entree I selected the sea scallops with herbed risotto, asparagus and lemon thyme butter.

The scallops were so good, and tasted just as good when I ate them for dinner again the next night alongside a pile of fresh string beans.

The restaurant itself was quite cozy and romantic as they promised, but I felt extra special when the maitre d' delivered a big vase of red roses to our table that Matt had ordered ahead of time.

He's too sweet. They looked beautiful by our table, which was next to a window overlooking a snow covered wrought iron deck. So magical.

But they look even better at home where I can see them in all their glory every morning when I wake up. After all these years together I am still a sucker for getting flowers. They just make a girl feel loved.

The rest of our weekend has been spent relaxing around the house, hanging with Matt's family and checking things off our to-do list. We took Riker ice skating for the first time and he was a champ. He had to take a lot of breaks, but he had a blast out there.

One of our big items over the last few weekends has been moving Riker out of the nursery and into his "big kid" room, which is down the hall from us and slowly being decorated in a surfer style theme. He wasn't too keen on letting go when we first started the process...

Ha! Once he realized he was keeping his own bed and got to help pick out all the decor and toys for his new room, though, he was game. I was worried he'd have a hard time adjusting, but he slept perfectly fine in there the first night and actually loves it now.

After we finished picking out all the stuff for Riker's new room this weekend, we started looking at colors and themes for updating the nursery. We're changing it from Riker's safari theme to...I haven't quite figured that out yet. But some pink will be involved. ;)

I have to say it was a little emotional for me to take the plunge and not only move Riker into a new room, but to start throwing new paint on the nursery walls. My family and I decorated that room with such love and care and it makes me a little sad to know that Riker's outgrown it. But I dried my little tears and am looking forward to starting the process again with our baby girl. It also helped that it took Riker about .5 seconds to love his new room and realize that I was definitely more upset about this move than he was. I think us adults have a harder time with change than they do.


We just got home from some errands and I made us a lunch of seafood "tacos" in Romaine lettuce leaves (shrimp for Matt, mahi mahi for me, chicken for Riker), alongside veggie sticks with homemade cilantro lime hummus. Fresh and delicious.

Time to get started on my afternoon projects!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Chocolate for Breakfast

Happy belated Valentine's Day! I hope you had a very love-filled day. I started our holiday festivities a little early here, on Thursday night. I was actually supposed to go into the city on Thursday, where we had a work V-Day party planned in the evening, but I woke up to another snowstorm. Beautiful yes, but also hazardous.

I did attempt to go in, but the roads were horrible, so I turned right back around to stay at home. Since I missed the party and it was a cold, snowy day, I figured it was the perfect night to make the Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups I had on the meals list.

I didn't use a recipe, but just cooked together some frozen organic spinach with onions, garlic, crushed red pepper, oregano and s&p. Then I mixed it with some Organic Valley ricotta and mozzarella cheese, rolled the filling into the cooked lasagna noodles, and topped everything with some Trader Joe's marinara. Super simple, and so, so good on a winter night.

I had an extra roll that wouldn't fit, which got its own dish. I'm calling that lunch today. Yum!

I spent the rest of the evening putting together valentine cards for Riker's daycare party, and making Peanut Butter Truffles and chocolate covered strawberries for dinner at our friends Chris & Karla's house last night.

Those chocolate peanut butter balls of goodness are always a hit. Every last one of them got eaten.

Yesterday morning I got the special treat of having both my boys home for breakfast on Valentine's Day, since Matt had off from work. I woke up early and treated them to a homemade pancake & strawberry breakfast before I headed into my office to start the work day.

I wanted to make the paleo pancakes we had last weekend, but I didn't have any frozen bananas so had to go with my old standby Joy of Cooking recipe. I lightened them up a bit by swapping half the wheat flour for coconut flour, trading white sugar for coconut palm sugar, and using unsweetened almond milk in place of regular milk. The coconut flour is a lot more dense than regular flour - which I found out as I was mixing the batter and it became extremely thick - so I had to add more liquid than usual. But in the end they turned out great.

A few presents and cards were to be had as well, of course. One of the things I gave Matt was a photo book of our cross country trip nearly 7 years ago, on which we got engaged. I had kept a travel journal during the trip, so I typed all 4 weeks of my handwritten notes and included them with the pictures from the trip. This is what I'd been staying up super late for last weekend making. It came out great and he loved it. I had a lot of fun making it too, since I got to relive all the great memories as I was typing up the travel journal. What a great trip that was - I can't wait to do it again someday!

Riker got a little box of chocolates (the kid is a chocolate fiend), and I let him have it after breakfast. Bad mom? I mean, it was Valentine's Day after all.

You should've seen the look on his face when I let him open his box of chocolates and actually eat one in the morning. He was like, "(shock) Really?!?!" Priceless. And if you're wondering why my child is now suddenly bald, it's because on Thursday Matt decided to "give him a trim" and set the buzzer as low as it would go. On the first pass he took a huge chunk out of poor Riker's hair, and there was no saving it. He had to shave the whole thing. I almost died - I loved his hair! - but thankfully Riker doesn't seem to mind. Oy!


This morning started with a spinach smoothie to get my energy flowing and detox from the sugar I ate yesterday. Love these things.

Next up is yoga, then ice skating with the fam, a manicure, and then getting dolled up to go out with my Valentine tonight. We had a great evening with a group of our friends at Chris & Karla's last night with all the kids, but I'm looking forward to a date night with Matt tonight. It's been a while since we had a solo dinner out, and we're trying a place we've never been, so I'm excited. Plus it's a 3 day weekend for both of us. Could it get any better? I'm feeling very warm & happy about this weekend so far. :)

Enjoy your Saturday!

What do you have planned for the weekend?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Eating Green

Good morning! Hopefully your weekend has been a good one so far. I've had a pretty busy week and haven't had a chance to post in a few addition to the usual workday duties, my evening computer time has been spent doing something crafty for my sweetie and putting together Riker's cards for Valentine's Day. I finally finished everything up at 1:30 AM last night - thankfully just in time to order it in time for rush delivery on Friday. Phew!

Matt spent the night in Atlantic City last night with a bunch of our friends to celebrate my friend Heather's birthday (I opted out, being almost 6 months pregnant and finding it pretty tiring to stand around in heels), so Riker and I have been on our own since yesterday afternoon. I decided to do something fun for dinner with him instead of staying at home; we went out for a bite at Smashburger, where Lindsay and Ryan met up with us - Lindsay is due in a couple of weeks and she's glowing! It was so good to see her even for just a little while.

Other than fries last night (yes, I polished off every last fry that came with my black bean burger) and Friday night pizza with the neighbors - which I like to think I burnt off at yoga yesterday - it's been a pretty on-track week as far as meals planning goes. It feels so good to not have pregnancy food aversions anymore and be able to eat normally again!


Smoothies, smoothies, smoothies. I've been drinking them every morning, usually with a side of Ezekiel toast and almond butter to keep me powered through till lunchtime.

Green smoothies are my norm lately, but I switched things up on Friday and just used frozen strawberries and raw chocolate protein powder. It tasted like ice cream!

Yesterday morning I wanted something hot, though, so tried a new paleo pancake recipe for the fam. It was the best version yet! The mixture included:

- Smashed bananas
- Eggs
- Coconut flour (only 3 Tbsp. was enough to hold the batter together)
- Cinnamon
- Baking soda
- Salt

That's it! I couldn't believe how much the texture resembled regular pancakes - the coconut flour definitely works better than nut flours.

I made a wild berry compote (just frozen organic berries + raw organic honey) to spoon over top, which set them over the edge. Matt and Riker also ate theirs with slices of farm raised peppered bacon.

Afternoon Snacks

Brown rice cakes (or Ezekiel toast) + almond butter + fruit slices (apples or pears) + cinnamon. It's my new addiction.

I love it for snacks and even for dessert if I'm hungry after dinner.



Mostly salads, but also some sandwiches. I told you, I eat a LOT more carbs when I'm pregnant. ;) My green sandwich has smashed avocado, arugula, English cucumber, green peppers, a squeeze of lemon, and shards of sharp peppercorn parmesan cheese from Trader Joe's. Ahhhmazing. I ate this baby with a bowl of Amy's Organic tomato soup. Love all that vibrant red & green.


Dinners on the meals plan this week included some old favorites, like lox & arugula with fried eggs. I never get sick of this one and it takes all of 15 minutes to make.

I also made a batch of Hawaiian curry with tofu from my Eat Clean cookbook. It made a bunch so we were able to eat it for a few meals.

This recipe was fantastic. It was spicy but also sweet, with the addition of raisins, raw coconut and banana slices. 


Um, do you remember all the dark chocolate we bought at TJ's last weekend? I've actually been pretty good about having all that good stuff in the cabinets, and only broke into the stash twice this week. I've actually been craving fruit way more than I've felt like eating chocolate lately. I'll take it!


Speaking of food, time to get lunch going. Once Riker goes down for a nap I'm going to take a break from all things productive and park myself on the couch to watch the Olympics for a while. Love the winter games.

Have a great rest of your Sunday!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Back & Forth

Good morning! It's another one of those day-after-snow-days where Matt has a delayed opening at school because the streets are still covered in ice, meaning we both got to sleep in a little bit and he could take Riker to daycare today for me, so I have a whole extra hour to myself before work starts. I love those mornings. Truthfully I should be using the extra hour to get my butt to the gym, which I seriously debated, but then I wouldn't have time to catch up with you all until later in the week, and really blogging is more important. Right? Right. I did still wake up fairly early so I could catch up on some emails and pick up around the house, so at least I was somewhat productive on my morning off.

So let's catch up from the weekend. It was filled with ups & downs, back & forths. Food-wise things swung from the super healthy to the super un-healthy.

I'm on a slight green smoothie kick lately, after seeing about 40,000 pictures of them on my Instagram feed. Such a great and healthy way to start the morning. But then at night everything went off the rails and we broke down out of boredom to take Riker out for ice cream. Actually Riker didn't even ask for it, that's a total excuse. It was Matt's idea and I happily obliged.

That face. Ha!

Activity-wise it was much the same. Some parts of the weekend were fun and others were really frustrating. Fun = a family trip to Trader Joe's on Friday night to stock up on tons of goodies, with a quick pre-shopping dinner at Wegmans. Maybe "fun" isn't the right word, but it was nice. :) For dinner I got an Eggplant Napoleon, green beans and garlicky kale.

And stock up on goodies we did.

I picked up tons of nuts to make a big batch of my own trail mix.

Other than lots of produce, grains, cheeses and coffee, some of my other fave purchases were PB and almond butter, dried fruits and a whole mess of dark chocolate. Enough to last us at least a month.

Fun also = going to my friend Annie's baby shower on Saturday with a bunch of girlfriends from college.

Annie and I knew each other in college, but we really became friends when we both moved to DC for grad school and both needed a roommate. We lived together for a few years and it was such a fun time in my life. I have so many fond memories exploring Adam's Morgan in the district, visiting wineries, going country line dancing (for real!), and sitting around watching Sunday football while we both worked on homework for hours on end. Annie still lives in the DC area so I don't see her often, so was really looking forward to spending an afternoon with her family and close friends.

I didn't snap a pic of my lunch, but I had some delicious penne vodka and salad. And no shower is complete without some cake. The shower theme was all about books, which I thought was a cute idea because Annie is an avid reader.

There are a lot of babies on the way this spring & summer - it's going to be so fun to have so many new mamas and little ones around!

So for the not-so-fun parts of the weekend. Sunday was supposed to be a super productive day, and you know those days when you try your hardest to cross every errand off your to-do list, but then every store is closed or doesn't have what you need, and you realize you wasted about 6 hours getting nothing accomplished? Yeah, that was Sunday. Suuuuper frustrating. So around 5:00 I called the day quits and went to take a shower to get ready for Superbowl. At least things ended on a good note with a little party at our friend Matt's house.

Riker was a total trooper and stayed up until the end of the game. AND I won $90 in a Superbowl Squares pool. Sweet end to the weekend!

Time to get my green smoothie on and start this work day. Have a great Tuesday!

How was your weekend? Any ups or downs?