Snacking

Watermelon & Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

20180507_171615.jpg

A friend of mine, @healthy.madeinmadison, posted this picture on Instagram about watermelon sprinkled with pink himalayan sea salt. I’ve heard about adding salt to watermelon, but I never actually knew why. Until today. And it has a lot to do with modernization of farming. If you want to learn more, click here.

Basically, ADD SALT TO YOUR WATERMELON. Not nasty, bleached white salt, GOOD SALT. Like Himalayan pink sea salt, or just sea salt. Natural stuff. It really does wonders for the flavor (Thanks, Chemistry!) and aids with digestion.

We took 1/2 watermelon and balled it, then sliced a lime, zested some of it over the watermelon, and sprinkled with the special salt. It was AMAZING. The best watermelon I have ever had. Thanks to our new pink salt.

We found our salt at Metcalfes today, bottom shelf of the spice aisle.

 

 

Advertisements
Weeknight Dinners

Organic Black Bean Spaghetti with Heirloom Tomatoes

I’ve had some serious writers block lately, but I felt the need to share this meal with you since it was super flavorful and easy. It’s perfect for weeknight cooking and a healthy alternative to some of the carb filled pasta we normally eat.

Black bean pasta is relatively new and trendy. This brand cooks up like a typical pasta would in boiling water for about 6 minutes. Be careful how you boil/simmer. It’s actually more of a simmer now that I think about it. The pasta boils and gets very frothy, easy to spill out of your pan (which happened to me twice while I was making this).

Ingredients

  • 1 box of Explore Cuisine black bean spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 package crimini mushrooms, rinsed and quartered
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 small container cherry / small tomatoes, rinsed and quartered
  • 3-4 basil leaves, torn
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 1/4 cup cotija cheese, crumbled (I really like this brand – it’s found almost everywhere, too)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a small non-stick skillet, melt the tbsp of butter over medium hi heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic powder and let them cook for about 5-6 minutes until they are soft and smell good.
  2. In a large pot, boil your pasta water. Add pasta and cook for about 6 minutes.
  3. Drain and add the pasta back to your hot pot and add the olive oil to prevent sticking + add flavor.
  4. Add salt and pepper to pasta.
  5. Stir the mushrooms in the pan and turn the heat off if they are done.
  6. Serve the pasta in individual bowls and top with
    1. tomatoes
    2. basil
    3. cotija cheese
    4. mushrooms
    5. lime
    6. chives
  7. Yield is 6

This dish is VERY filling. I served a “normal” pasta size serving to each of us, and none of us finished. Black bean pasta is more filling than just regular pasta, so start small. The mushrooms were great – they added a “meatiness” that the dish needed. And the cotija cheese MADE this dish flavorful.

If you don’t have time for anything else, pop open a can of salsa and dump is over the pasta, sprinkle the cotija cheese and BOOM you have dinner.

Kids approved. Loved it. When eating it tho, it’s a bit of a mind game. You’re literally eating flavors that taste like Mexican burrito bowl, but you see pasta and think YUM SPAGHETTI AND CARBS = COMFORT + FAT PANTS.

This was perfect for a case of the Mondays!

Enjoy your week!

20180507_172003.jpg

Weeknight Dinners

Creamy Chicken-Tomato Skillet

Costco had a ton of those cute little cherry tomatoes on sale today – so we have to use them up. This recipe is from the May 2018 Cooking Light Magazine and is 20 minutes to make + super comforting. If you’re looking to spice up your weeknight meal plan, this is it!

20180428_182647.jpg

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1# skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (about 30 grinds on your pepper mill)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sliced white onion
  • 1 grated garlic clove
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 package brown rice
  • 3 cups packed fresh spinach
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium hi heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper. Add chicken to hot skillet. cook until chicken browns about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes (chop tomatoes if you have small kids), onion, garlic and rosemary. Cook + stir occasionally, about 3 minutes.
  2. Whisk together chicken stock and flour in a bowl. add to chicken mixture in pan. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan.
  3. Bring the pan to a boil. Cook + stir often until sauce is thick = 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Heat your rice up according to the package (if you’re not using instant rice, brown rice takes about 45 min. so plan this ahead then).
  5. Place hot rice in a bowl. Add spinach, lemon zest, sprinkle of salt and pepper, toss to coat.
  6. Divide the rice mix over 4 plates. Top evenly with chicken mixture.

Enjoy!

Yield is 4. This is on our menu for the week. Everything else will be “winging it” since May is probably our craziest month yet!

20180428_162000.jpg

We made time to enjoy this weather! Our recent auction win provided us with some bubbles! What a fun time 🙂 Kids loved it.

Have a great weekend!

xo

Weeknight Dinners

Jets Pizza – Middleton, WI – Review

Some nights you just want to dial up some pizza and have a relaxing evening without dishes or a messy kitchen. Jets Pizza is conveniently located in Middleton, on our way home from Tennis Lessons and this week, we decided to stop inside and talk about food allergies with them.

 

Jets is wonderful when it comes to food sensitivities. They have Gluten Free (GF) menu offerings. In addition, they do not have any nuts in their restaurants and make all of their own dough. We felt super confident that we could eat Jets pizza without cross contact issues, unlike some other pizza places that have nuts on some of their pizzas. When this happens, we have to make sure our pizza is prepared carefully on a clean pizza screen and cut with a new pizza cutter. Even then, Chloe isn’t always totally sold. If her anxiety over her food has the best of her, she’ll definitely skip out of the meal to avoid chancing an epi-pen use. Which I am totally fine with.

Jets has a huge menu – and we LOVE the fact that we can just order from our phone 🙂 So easy + makes pick up super easy too.

20180424_171645.jpg

What did we have?! We ordered a large, thin crust, pepperoni with special romano cheese crust. I LOVE their specialty crust options. This was perfect for our family. The kids DEVOURED it.  We’re looking forward to trying the poppy seed crust. It looked amazing!

Jets is unique from other pizza places since you can choose from cajun, poppy seed, sesame seed, parmesan, butter, garlic, romano, and turbo to enhance your crust.  What a great way to enjoy your crust even more! It’s like a seasoned bread stick at the end. Carbs + Carbs = YUM!

If you’re a first time customer, I highly recommend the “Build Your Own Pizza” option. Then branch out and try other things.

Jet’s also sells sides: breadstix, cinnamon sticks, wings, salads and subs. If you’re in a hurry, their website shows pizza by the slice, too. Perfect for lunch if you like the thicker crust.

Next time you’re in a pinch or “WHATS FOR DINNER, MOM?!” Just check out Jets. You’ll be glad you did 🙂

 

 

Weeknight Dinners

Zoodles & Marinara Sauce

Healthy pasta is my kind of pasta. Zoodles. Zucchini Noodles. Have you heard about these vegetarian noodles made from green herbs and vegetables?

Well Ronzoni noodles are not exactly fresh Zoodles because that would require me to use an attachment on my Kitchen Aid mixer that I do not have (or have time to do tonight); however, these noodles are very similar and have zucchini in them.

Actually, it’s a great combo of spinach, zucchini, broccoli, parsley and kale. This product is 100% nut free. And not made in a facility with other nuts.

20180425_170855.jpg

At first, we were not sure about green pasta. I mean, green is my favorite color, but for pasta?! Certainly this pasta looks and sounds healthy AND for sure then they would taste bad. Right?!

Wrong. The good news is that this pasta tastes 100% like regular pasta, only you’re getting some sweet nutrients along with it.  Three servings of vegetables to be exact. That’s A LOT!

And, if your kiddos are picky eaters when it comes to fruits and vegetables, this is a great way to substitute some key nutrients while still eating something familiar, pasta!

We paired this with classic Campbell’s Prego Marinara sauce and some Parmesan with watermelon balls and strawberries on the side. It was a quick night tonight since we had double pick up from school, scholastic book order sorting and dance rehearsal.

20180425_170944.jpg

Not a pretty picture, but we did have clean bowl club all around! Kids loved it for sure. We’ll be buying this brand again.

If you check out the Ronzoni website, they have a TON of great recipes for how to use these noodles with cold salads, too. Perfect for summer time picnics and parties 🙂

 

Snacking, Weeknight Dinners

Meal Inspo 4/16/18

Looking for some quick meal inspiration? We’ve had a ton of extra activities at school, and outside of school, that has required us to think super ninja fast for meal times.

20180423_192603.jpg

Actually, now that I think of it, making meals at home is REALLY hard. It requires some serious dedication to plan, purchase, cook, serve, and clean up!

Our grocery bill this week was only $98 since we’re trying really hard to eat leftovers, only buy what we eat, and make the most out of what we have. Week after week, I throw away so much away because we just do not eat them or have the time to make all the glorious things I dream up each week.

Today, my list was super small. What is great is that the meal we made today will last us all week. Planning to eat the leftovers is my new goal. If we run low on something, guess what?! Just pick something up – there are grocery stores all over the place. Trying not to over purchase at the grocery store is hard. Super hard. The displays get me EVERY time. Especially if there is a healthy element to it. Hard to resist.

Tonight’s meal is my favorite staple, pulled pork! It’s not fancy, everyone loves it and best of all, I DON’T HAVE TO COOK. My slow cooker does all the work and makes the house smell good. Clean up is a breeze, put the cover on the slow cooker pot and put it back in the fridge. I’ve posted on here before about a few different versions of pulled pork, so pick whichever floats your boat:

  1. Lighter Pulled Pork with McCormick pre-mix
  2. Campbell’s Soup Apple Bourbon Pulled Pork Mix

Our grocery store had a huge sale on Pretzilla Pretzel rolls today, 2 for $5, so we purchased one hamburger size and one hot dog size. We used the hamburger size tonight to make our BBQ Pork Sandwiches. The hot dog size are for later in the week when we use applegate organic nitrate free hot dogs from Whole Foods. Most grocery stores carry Pretzilla – they have a dedicated nut-free facility that we LOVE. And they taste AMAZING!

20180423_113616.jpg

When in doubt, just whip up some avocado toast + sesame seeds. Eat to survive. Not the other way around.

Enjoy your week! It is finally nice enough to be outside without winter coats on!!!

How to be Nutfree, Snacking, Travel

Dunkin’ Donuts & Nut Allergies Part III

20180419_094022.jpgAre Dunkin’ Donuts safe for people with peanut and tree nut allergies? Well, we went again, and we have PN and TN allergies and we were totally OK. I did do a little more research though and I wanted to share that here:

  1.  Dunkin Donuts only bakes SOME of their donuts in-house. The rest are shipped in from central bakeries. They started doing this in the 90’s to save money.
  2. Not all Dunkin Donuts are nut free, like the location I have been going to. For some reason, the past few months that we have gone, there are NO NUTS in this store. And they understand nut allergies 100% at this location. With the exception of hazelnut flavor for coffee, the entire location is nut free. At this location, the safest donut to get would be one that is made fresh at this nut free location.
  3. Dunkin’ Donuts has an allergy blanket statement that I found on their website. It’s just like every other statement we read on the back of food labels. They can’t guarantee, but if you let them know ahead of your order, they will try really hard to accommodate you.Screenshot_20180419-125248.png

Today we stopped at our nut free location in Madison, WI, off of Fish Hatchery Road and the Beltline Highway. I trust this location, and each time they tell me that the item we are eating has not been around nuts or has a risk of cross contact. So I feel OK with that.

20180419_094040.jpg

We are having a meeting at my daughters school coming up, and I thought what better way to thank parents for their time and generosity this school year than by having a donut wall from Dunkin to enjoy a cup of coffee and sweet treats?! Dunkin supplied extra boxes for us to make promotional signs for our upcoming meeting – and they’ll be supplying the donuts for us too.

20180419_103455.jpg

P.S. if you love Dunkin as much as we do, this donut pool toy is at the dollar store right now. $1 for some fun in the sun! I’ll take it.

Enjoy your week 🙂