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Snacking Chocolate

4/20/15


I recently discovered that 'snacking chocolate' is a thing that exists in this world.  Now tell me... what is a more brilliant than taking wholesome foods like nuts, seeds, pretzels and coconut, covering them in dark chocolate, sprinkling them with sea salt and proclaiming to the world, eat this snack and feel good about it!?  I'll tell you what's more brilliant... saving some money and making your own.  It's basically chocolate bark... but if you call it 'snacking chocolate' it's much more acceptable to eat at various times throughout the day, like for a pre-breakfast snack and a mid-morning snack and a pre-lunch snack and then a post-lunch snack and a mid-day snack and so forth...

It's super easy to make.  Just scatter whatever you want on parchment paper, in my case pumpkin seeds and broken-up pretzel pieces...    


Melt good quality dark chocolate in the microwave for 30-second intervals.  Pour over snacks using a rubber spatula to spread (it won't be perfect, but that's the beauty of snacking chocolate!), and immediately sprinkle with sea salt (if desired)...


Let harden on counter or in fridge, and then break apart.  Snack away!

Asian Chicken Burgers

4/17/15


When we were at The Voice last week, craft services (otherwise known as GIANT TABLES OF FOOD CRACK) had a Chicken Lettuce Wrap Bar.  I've had the ground chicken mixture in the crispy, buttery lettuce before, but never with an array of such creative and delicious toppings, like a variety of peppers, hot sauces and sesame seeds.  I thought this was such a good idea that I wanted to recreate it at home, only with my own special (lazy) twist.  Burgers!  Burgers are always easy, right?  You take your choice of protein: chicken, turkey, beef, etc., and add all sorts of veggies and spices that satisfy your desired cuisine.  In this case?  Asian Burgers!  With ginger, garlic, cilantro, soy sauce, hoisin and water chestnuts... these burgers have all the traditional flavors of chicken lettuce wraps in burger form.  We decided to eat them on buns, but you could totally do the butter lettuce route, and we topped them with more hoisin, avocado and orange bell pepper.   

Asian Chicken Burgers
(Makes 4 large burgers)

1 lb. ground chicken
3 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1/2 tsp sesame oil
3 green onions, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 cup panko 
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts

In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of the vegetable oil along with the sesame oil over medium heat.  Add the green onions, garlic and ginger, and sauté for roughly 5 minutes, until garlic begins to brown and everything smells heavenly.  Remove from heat and let cool for a bit.  In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, egg, hoisin, soy sauce, panko, cilantro and water chestnuts.  Then add the green onion mixture, and stir everything together.  Divide chicken into 4 burger patties.  In same skillet, heat remaining two tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Cook patties for roughly 6-8 minutes per side.    


Siriously Simple Skillet


So, I'm a little upset that I couldn't catch a shrimp tail in my hat (Carson makes it look so easy!!), but otherwise I had a blast on the Today Show this morning cooking with Carson, Hoda, Natalie and Al.  We made a Shrimp and Noodle Stir Fry inspired by the 117 experiences my family has shared at Benihana, and if you'd like to watch the video or check out the recipe, click here.  I will be back later today with some Asian Chicken Burgers, that's right, I'm posting TWO TIMES TODAY!

Happy Friday Everyone, from my noodles and I...


Dress on sale right now at J.Crew, by the way.  BOOM.

Cookie Butter Stuffed Cookies

4/16/15


Carson works his butt off, and while we miss him - especially when he travels so much - a bonus for me is I have about a million people I can bake for!  It's hard when you have a gigantic sweet tooth and an obsession with trying new recipes, because if I baked as much as I'd LIKE to, I'd have cookies and bars and cakes and so forth up to my eyeballs.  I'd be standing on a street corner like a cute 12 year-old (only I'd be a desperate 34 year-old) begging people to take sweets off my hands.  Luckily for me, Carson gladly takes what I make to work with him.  Like these Cookie Butter Stuffed Cookies.  After coming across this article on BuzzFeed Food (that site is evil), I knew I had to make something with Biscoff - the cookie butter spread that tastes like "a sweet Nutella like peanut butter" according to my son.  Enter, these cookies.  Her recipe calls for white chocolate chips, but I used mini semi-sweet instead, because that's what I had on hand.  I also reduced the flour to 3 cups.  They were delicious, and I hope Carson's co-workers at Today like them too!

SPEAKING OF TODAY, I will be back there tomorrow morning cooking up a Siriously Super Simple Skillet Supper!!  Say that seven times slowly, and please tune in :)   



Black Bean Brownies

4/13/15


Well, hello there Internet, it's nice to see you again.  I've been away, visiting family and friends in Sunny California.  And now I'm back, in Sunny New York.  Sunny, you're my friend, thanks for coming back East with me.  Why don't you stay for awhile?  For like, the next 7 months at least?  You make me happy, you turn me into Fun Mom.  Fun Mom goes outside and blows bubbles and draws on the driveway with chalk.  Fun Mom takes her kids for a walk until the neighbor's puppy attacks us and we all run inside crying with newly developed dog phobias.  Fun Mom puts on her bathing suit and - ohmygosh.  Wait.  Is that me in a bathing suit???  WHAT THE.  Sunny, leave me alone with my hearty winter comfort food and my gigantic sweaters.

I kid, I kid (sort of), but let me introduce you to a brownie that will get you ready for bathing suit weather.  Ok, it won't actually help you LOSE weight, but you don't have to feel guilty about eating one (or two, and licking all the batter).  These brownies have BLACK BEANS in them!  WHAT THE.  I came across this recipe and thought I'd try it, because my daughter with the sweet tooth could use some more iron and protein in her life.  Enter, "healthy" brownies.  They're actually good!  A little more on the "cake" side of the brownie spectrum (I prefer fudgy) but you can definitely not taste the black beans in the finished product.  I added some chocolate chips on top once the brownies were cooked to make them EXTRA healthy (what) and I think you should too.      


Weekend Things...

4/4/15


Once upon a time, I made homemade Girl Scout Cookies (Tagalongs and Samoas).

Black Bean Brownies... should I try?

These I KNOW I should try: Cookie Dough Cookies.

Last minute Easter crafts.

If you don't know about this accidental selfie prank, it's very wonderful.

Finished this book recently and couldn't put it down.

I want all of these Avocado Toasts in my belly right, now.

Cake. Pies. Candy. t-shirt you should probably buy.

And finally, some weekend reading about how I sucked my thumb until I was nearly 10 years old, and if you enjoy the article, please vote for it!  

Cheesy Turkey Cauliflower Quesadilla

4/1/15


You guys, I've decided to go on a massive diet.  I'm going to omit food for 16 days, and only drink beet juice with kale and cayenne and maybe the occasional jar of baby food and... OKAY I CAN'T, April Fools!  It's still April 1st, right?  Food, you're my favorite and I'll never quit you.

Ok, moving on from my lame prank... while I don't really believe in "diets" I DO believe in tricking your kids to eat vegetables.  I wish it didn't have to come to that in my household, but alas, it does.  So I introduce to you... the Cauliflower Quesadilla!  To be honest, my kids eat cauliflower on their own, but I'll gladly shove it in other foods if it means they're getting an extra oomf of vegetables.  Oomf?  Who am I what am I saying??  Anyway, it's white, it can be pulverized into a rice-like constancy, it's basically the perfect April Fool's Day vegetable.  Last night, I made cauliflower rice and added it to our quesadillas with ground turkey and Mexican cheese.  Delicious, for kids and grown ups alike!  It just added a little something extra, and I promise I won't say "oomf" again, ever.      





Etta loved it, in between nose pickings.

TODAY tonight: Salmon + Mashed Peas

3/31/15


Now that it is spring - and I write that while manically laughing because I just looked outside and A WINTRY MIX IS FALLING FROM THE SKY - but now that it is spring (I said SPRING, PEOPLE IN THE HEAVENS CONTROLLING THE WEATHER!) I have been looking forward to cooking with seasonal vegetables like artichokes and radishes and leeks and peas.  So when Carson came home from work the other day and said, you have to make this salmon with mashed peas I ate this morning I said, yes!  Yes, I have to!  Billy Dec cooked it up on the Today Show last week, and so I re-watched this video and gave it a go.  Errrmygosh...

It was so good.  We felt like we were dining in a fancy restaurant, when in realty we were eating at our kitchen island while the kids watched HOP (did you know James Marsden is the first ever human Easter Bunny?).  Carson cooked the salmon and did so PERFECTLY.  The key is a hot, hot pan.  He achieved the most deliciously crispy exterior with a tender, flaky inside.  I handled the garlicky mashed peas.  Um, yum.  My 7 month-old ate them up!  A garlic lover she shall be!  We skipped the salad and served them alongside roasted vegetables.  This dinner is a springtime MUST, especially if wet, white stuff is raining down on your land.  


Today Parenting Team!


Are you familiar with the Today Show Parenting Team?  It's a community in which anyone can join and share their parenting advice, stories, photos and wisdom.  There are monthly topics and challenges that have spewed such wonderful articles, like this one (she's my hero).  It's really fun, and if you're a parent or grandparent or godparent or auntie or teacher or you have, like, a thousand cats... you should join.  We're in this together people!

I recently wrote an article about "letting go of stress" - because I am NEVER stressed.  Nope, not me, I'm perfect.  Click here to read, it's called: Teenagers Don't Wear Diapers!  If you enjoy the read, would you consider voting for me?  And sharing it with your friendly friends?  Thanks!!


Back later with a delicious Salmon + Garlicky Mashy Peas recipe...     

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