Power up! Chocolate-Espresso Granola

Chocolate - Espresso Granola

We’re all about 2 weeks into our New Year’s resolutions, right?  They’re the usual eat healthier, exercise more, drink less, yada yada yada.  Each year I try not to have the same resolutions as the year before, and sometimes I try to not to have any at all- it’s just so cliche.  But, this year, I really do need them.  As is too common, I do need a reset.  In fact, my whole family does.  Although, overall, we eat a pretty healthful, balanced diet, we’ve gotten into some bad habits lately and need to get out of them.  We do need to eat healthier.  We do need to exercise more.  My husband and I do need to drink less…or maybe just eat healthier and exercise more, let’s not go overboard.

One of the best (and easiest) ways to make the adjustment to healthier eating is to start with your first meal of the day:  breakfast.  It’s often an overlooked meal, but really is the most important one.  It starts you off and lays the foundation to how your day will go.  It has the ability to alter your mood, energy level, and therefore attitude and eating habits for the rest of the day.  If you eat a nutritious, satisfying breakfast, you’re less likely to grab that unhealthy midmorning snack.  You’re also less likely to experience the midmorning slump, which can then lead to poor lunch choices.  When we feel sluggish we tend to want comfort food:  salty, fatty, empty carbohydrates.   But if we feel satisfied in the morning, if we feel energized and good about ourselves, we want to keep that feeling going and end up making healthier choices throughout the day.

Rosemary & Chili Roasted Almonds

Rosemary & chili roasted almonds

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve!  Are we really about to welcome 2014?  That doesn’t seem right.  I swear it was just 2010 and I was going bananas that it was already a decade into the new millennium.  Time doesn’t just fly by; it whizzes past us in hyperdrive!  My son’s growing up too fast, my hair’s showing grays too soon, and I’m increasingly donning “pajama pants” too early in the evenings…it’s Ok to be comfy and ready for bed at 5pm, right?  But as time speeds by, it’s nice to have this day each year that forces us to review the year before, reminisce in the milestones that occurred, and relish in those precious moments that now follow the words “remember that one time…”.   For me, twenty-thirteen has been a year of travel, new friendships, farmers markets, filming (my family and I got to be extras in a movie – that’s for another post), and lots and lots of fabulous food!

And on that note…NUTS!  Because, when don’t you want spicy, earthy, salty, sweet, crunchy nuts?  Always.  Happy New Year!

Kale Dust

Kale dust on popcorn

Kale is controversial in my household…I could eat it for days (and do)  but my husband and son can’t stand it, which is a real bummer, maaaan.  [channeling the Dude]  It’s packed with incredible nutrition, is absolutely beautiful to look at, and is so versatile:  salad, slaw, soup, chips, juice, pesto…and now dust.  Whaaa??  Usually I try to keep my house dust-free, but this is one kind of dust you’ll want to keep around!  It’s quick, easy, and adds a healthy punch to whatever you sprinkle it on.  Hello popcorn! Or stir it into yogurt and cream cheese for a veggie dip, top off your garlic bread or pasta, add a spoonful to potato soup, or sprinkle it onto a cheese quesadilla.

Kale it, don’t kill it!  Hmmm, a new vegetarian slogan?  Oh, I kale me!  {…just stop}

S’mores: Homemade Graham Crackers and Honey Marshmallows

Homemade marshmallows & graham crackers_2

It’s November.  The air has turned chilly.  The farmer’s market is closed for the season.  I’m no longer craving fresh salsa and garlicky bruschetta.  It’s all about soups, baked apples, and bonfires.  And with bonfires comes S’mores.  It’s a prerequisite.  You can’t attend a bonfire and NOT have marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers.  Kids would revolt.  The planet would implode.  And most importantly, I wouldn’t get my chocolate fix.  …oh HELL no, that ain’t gonna happen.

But let’s kick up this pyro-loving dessert up a notch.  Homemade is where it’s at.  So much yummier (my husband hates that word) than store-bought and people will FUH-REEK OUT over you bringing homemade marshmallows & graham crackers to the party….”Whaaat?  That’s even possible?”  Yup.  Dig in.  This might be the best thing you do in a long time.

Boozy Tea Party!

I am usually very skilled at killing plants.  Though my intentions are good and I try my best to keep them alive, they’d much prefer to croak than endure my underwatering/overwatering/too much sun/not enough sun/is this the right kind of soil efforts.  If having a green thumb is necessary to sustain the lovely gifts of nature, then I’m all fingers.  Until now.  About a month ago I was given a gorgeous peppermint plant and somehow have been able to prevent the thing from succumbing to it’s Jaime-induced demise.  In fact, it’s growing like crazy!  So what’s a girl to do with all this beautiful mint?  I decided to have a nice, little tea party.  Mint-themed, and with gin. Heck yeah!

Greenest of Greens Veggie Dip

I am a very lucky mother…my son loves spinach.  It was the first veggie we fed him when he was a baby and he’s gobbled it up ever since.  But spinach usually gets a bad wrap from kids…they say it looks gross and tastes weird.  Well, they’re wrong.  And sometimes you just have to look them straight in the eye and tell them that.  “Hey buddy, you’re wrong, spinach is awesome, it’s a superfood!”  Yeah, go the superhero route.  And throw in the word epic, they’re saying that these days…totally.