Fruity Grilled Chicken Salad

I am a salad lover! I feel like salads get a bad rap because they can be boring! But, salads can be a mixture of anything. It doesn’t have to just be lettuce and vegetables! I love salads because I can just throw everything in a bowl, without measuring, and have a flavorful meal ready to go!

This salad is basically a grilled chicken salad, but with a TON of fun additions. This is the chicken recipe I use. I had some leftover quinoa, so I tossed that in. I also had a million strawberries from strawberry picking and some corn from the Farmer’s Market last weekend. I decided to saute the corn for a nice warm bite. I folded in the cooked quinoa and seasoned with salt and pepper.  

Here is the assembly: I line the bowls with some arugula, then layer on a scoop of the corn mixture, strawberries, diced turkey bacon, grilled chicken, and then top it with some sunflower seeds for texture! Here is a link to the vinaigrette I use. 

WOW, delicious.  I even scooped out some of the corn mixture to serve Turner. He can’t exactly do salads yet, but this is a bit of our dinner deconstructed so I don’t have to make him a whole separate meal! I will definitely be making this again! It was a big hit!

Fruity Grilled Chicken Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 2 marinated chicken cutlets, grilled and sliced
  2. 2 cups arugula
  3. 3 ears of corn, cut from cob (or frozen)
  4. 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  5. 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced
  6. 3 slices turkey bacon, cooked and diced
  7. sunflower seeds
Instructions
  1. Grill the chicken breasts and slice (chicken recipe linked in the blog). Set aside to cool while preparing the rest of the salad.
  2. Cut the corn away from the cob (or use frozen) and saute over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir in quinoa and set aside.
  4. Line two bowls with arugula. Layer the corn and quinoa mixture over the arugula.
  5. Layer strawberries, bacon, and grilled chicken on top. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Top with your favorite dressing (vinaigrette linked in the blog). Enjoy!
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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Nutty Banana Bread Granola

This granola is AMAZING. I am always on the search for great granola recipes that aren’t packed with sugar! I recently found a recipe that sounded yummy. The original can be found here. I made a few changes that added some protein and were “toddler friendly” since Turner loves yogurt parfaits!

I start by combining the oats, pecans, and cinnamon in the standing mixer. I just give that a quick mix to incorporate the dry ingredients. Then, on the stove, I heat the mashed banana, maple syrup, brown sugar, coconut oil, and almond butter, just until they’re well combined.

After that’s combined, I pour it into my mixer and mix until the oats are completely coated with the wet ingredients. I spread it out on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.

And, there you have it! A delicious granola recipe for everyone in the family!

Nutty Banana Bread Granola
A nutty and protein packed granola recipe for the whole family!
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups quick cooking oats (or old fashioned)
  2. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  3. 1 cup chopped pecans
  4. 1 ripe banana, mashed
  5. 1/3 cup maple syrup
  6. 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  7. 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  8. 2 Tbsp almond butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the mashed banana, syrup, brown sugar, oil, and almond butter. Heat over medium-low heat until sugar and oil have melted and the mixture is combined.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine oats, cinnamon, and pecans.
  4. With the mixer on low, pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until well combined and oats are completely coated.
  5. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes (stirring halfway through) until the granola is dry and golden brown.
Notes
  1. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Adapted from The Messy Baker
Adapted from The Messy Baker
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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Mini and Me Smoothie

The warm weather has gotten me in smoothie mode! And, since I don’t puree baby food for Turner anymore, I find that tucking secret ingredients into our smoothies is the perfect way to get his veggies in! I just make a big batch so I can have a full smoothie and he can have a mini one! This is our absolute favorite, as you can tell by Turner’s expression!




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Mini and Me Smoothie
Serves 1
A sneaky, yet delicious, way to pack you and your family with veggies!
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 frozen banana
  2. 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  3. 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  4. 1/2 cup frozen mango
  5. 1 cup of greens like spinach or kale, washed
  6. 1/2 avocado (flesh)
  7. One cup almond milk
  8. One heaping tablespoon almond butter
  9. 1 teaspoon maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in Vitamix (starting at low speed and slowly increasing) or a high speed blender and blend until smooth!
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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Frittata Cups

Life has been a bit busy lately. I feel like I haven’t had time to plan a solid meal for any of us! I definitely always have frozen purees on hand for Turner, but he’s getting a bit picky when it comes to food! He LOVES peanut butter sandwiches, anything with sweet potatoes, bananas with avocado, and oatmeal. Those are pretty much the staples around here. But, in an effort to keep him NOT picky, I’m committed to making him different foods that will peak his interest.

I made a batch of Frittata Cups this morning. He loves them and they’re perfect for “make ahead” healthy meals. I keep them in the freezer and just take one out and put it in a container in the fridge the night before! They couldn’t be easier to make. I start by cooking the frozen potatoes until they’re browned, about 5 minutes. Then I add a diced zucchini, and cook one more minute until it’s softened.

I pour that onto a plate to cool while I prep the rest of the ingredients. In a large bowl, I whisk together the eggs, water, yogurt, salt & pepper. Once that’s combined, I stir in the veggies and cheese.


Finally, I use a quarter cup measure to scoop the mixture into a muffin tin lined with silicone baking cups.
  I cook them for 30 minutes at 350F until they’re nice and firm. YUM!

Stew and I actually eat them too. They’re great for him because he leaves early in the morning for work. So he just pops them in the microwave and has breakfast on the go!

Frittata Cups
A yummy and healthy make-ahead breakfast!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 1 cup frozen Ore-Ida Potatoes O'Brien
  3. 1 small zucchini, diced
  4. 6 eggs
  5. 2 tablespoons water
  6. 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  9. 1/2 diced feta cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup frozen potato mixture to the pan in an even layer. Cook for 5 minutes, turning every minute or so. Add diced zucchini to the pan. Cook one minute, stirring occasionally, until zucchini softens. Transfer vegetables to a plate to cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, water, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Stir in vegetable mixture and feta cheese. Line a muffin tin with silicone baking cups (paper liners get wet and stick to the eggs). Use a 1/4 cup scoop to fill muffin tins. Bake for 30 minutes, or until firm through center.
  3. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for three days or in the freezer for three months.
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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Last Minute Gift Idea

It’s hard to believe it’s Christmas Eve Eve already! We have been busy busy! Tomorrow we are going to my grandparents’ house, and Wednesday we will go to my mom and stepdad’s house.

Our family doesn’t really do big presents. We either do a secret santa, or a little homemade gift. So I put together a few gift jars for my family and thought I’d share! I used my Breakfast Cookie recipe, because I had everything on hand. I feel like everyone is done eating cookies and unhealthy things by the time Christmas rolls around, so I’d rather give them a little “healthy” cookie option!

This is what I did:

  • I made a wax paper funnel to pour the ingredients into mason jars.
  • Layer 3/4 cup oats on the bottom
  • Then add 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Sprinkle 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • Add 1/4 cup craisins and 2 Tbsp chocolate chips
  • Top with 1/2 cup almond meal
  • Print labels for the front.
  •  Write the directions on little cards and tie them to the jars with red yarn.

Here are my directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Pour cookie mix into the bowl of a standing mixer.
  • Add 1 mashed banana, 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 heaping Tbsp peanut butter.
  • Mix until combined
  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Use large ice cream scoop to place 6 mounds on parchment paper
  • Press gently to flatten
  • Bake for 12 minutes or until edges are firm and start to brown

These are the perfect way to show someone you care without spending a lot of money! Merry almost Christmas!

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Cookie Baking Day — Gingerbread Cookies

Every year my mom, grandmother, and I get together to make Christmas cookies. Last year, Turner was only a few weeks old. So he was either sleeping or in the Bjorn while we baked cookies. This year was a lot more fun! Turner was very excited to go to Gigi’s house!

Turner had a blast. He had all of his cooking utensils on the floor so he could work on his own baking project!

Maybe I’ll let him eat some cookies next year! But, for this year, it was just his healthy snacks. He still loved them!


We made a bunch of different kinds of cookies. We made my great grandmother’s Italian Prune Cookies (they’re delicious, I promise!), pecan tassies, thumbprints, reindeer cookies (at least we tried, but apparently our “mini” pretzels were mammoth sized compared to the ones she used! We tried breaking them, but it turned into a hot mess), and Gingerbread Cookies (recipe below).



We had so much fun baking together, as usual! Turner had fun getting his hands on everything he could find and trying to pull the cookies off the table! And we had fun spending time together!


And, as promised, here is the most DELICIOUS gingerbread cookie recipe ever! It makes a few million, so you might want to cut it in half. Or, you could always freeze half of the dough! Merry Christmas cookie baking!!

Gingerbread Cookies

5 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup Vegetable Shortening
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup Grandma’s Molasses
2 eggs beaten

Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together in a medium bowl. Melt shortening and butter in a large saucepan over low heat until just melted, not hot. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly. Add, in order, sugar, molasses, eggs. Mix well.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl of a standing mixer. Turn the mixer on low, and slowly add in 4 cups of the dry ingredients. Mix until combined, using a spatula to scrape down the sides from time to time.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Knead in remaining dry ingredients by hand. Add a little more flour, if necessary, to make dough firm. Remember, you can always add flour, but you can’t take it away! Separate into four sections and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 3 hours. Dough will keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Take dough out 3 hours before using so it becomes soft.

Work with 1/4 of the dough at a time. Roll it out, on a floured surface, to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into whatever gingerbread shapes you like! We did stockings, reindeer, and gingerbread men. Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Baking time depends on the size and thickness of the cookies. The thicker they are, the chewier they will be (my preference). The thinner they are, the crispier they will be. You can tell they’re finished because they will be puffed up in the center and crisp around the edges. That being said, check them at 8 minutes. Depending on their size, they could be done anywhere between 8 and 12 minutes.

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Supper Club – Standing Rib Roast

We have our supper club once a month. Stew and I always look forward to it. Four couples together to eat and just hang out! We all love to decorate and entertain, so it’s always a great time! This month, Stew and I hosted. The theme was Silver and Gold. I wanted it to be cozy, yet have all the sparkle of the season! I found a sheer gold sequins fabric at JoAnn Fabrics, which was perfect (and cheap) to lay on top of my white table cloth. For my place mats, I used silver & gold glitter scrapbook paper!! It was nice and thick, so it worked perfectly. I used silver glitter painted pinecones and tied everyone’s names to them with silver string. I used a silver metallic sharpie to write their names. And, of course, white candles and baby’s breath to brighten it up. Here is my table-scape.


And, of course, we can’t forget the chalkboards! Winter Wonderland and Silver and Gold are now available on Etsy as digital prints!

Then, the most important part of the night, THE FOOD! For the main course, I chose a standing rib roast (recipe below). I came across this delicious recipe in Southern Living Magazine. Here is the original recipe. I made a few changes and it came out absolutely delicious!


In addition to the roast, I made buttermilk biscuits and roasted brussels sprouts. Annie brought a cheese platter as an appetizer, Kirsten brought a spiked hot cider (vanilla vodka to spike it) and Missy brought homemade chocolate truffles. It was a feast fit for a king! The perfect holiday meal spent with great friends.

Standing Rib Roast with Red Wine Gravy
Serves 8-10

Roast
1 (7-lb.) 4-bone prime rib roast, chine bone removed
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
7 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Digital Thermometer

Red Wine Gravy
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 red onion, minced
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 cup beef broth
pinch of salt

Preparation
1. Prepare Roast: Let roast stand at room temperature 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 450°. Whisk together mustard and next 3 ingredients; reserve 1 Tbsp. mixture. Rub remaining mixture over roast; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place roast on a lightly greased rack in a roasting pan.

3. Bake at 450° on lower oven rack 45 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°; bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 120° to 130° (medium-rare) or 130° to 135° (medium). Don’t trust a timer. ALWAYS use a meat thermometer. Let stand 30 minutes; transfer roast to a serving platter.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the gravy: Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and moving pan as necessary to prevent hot spots. Add onion; sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Whisk in flour. Cook, constantly whisking, for about 1 minute. Whisk in wine; cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in broth; reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring constantly, 5 minutes. Stir in reserved 1 Tbsp. mustard mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slice roast, and serve with gravy.

Note from Southern Living:
Ask your butcher: Have the chine bone removed. A thin bone that runs perpendicular to the rib bones, it will get in the way of slicing once the meat is roasted and has rested.

Roast like a pro: Start roasting at 450° for 45 minutes to form the caramelized crust. Then reduce the temperature and finish cooking to keep the inside pink and juicy.

The right temp: 125° for prime rib lovers. Remember: The internal temp on large roasts like this will continue to rise as the roast rests.

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Food Prep

This was a weekend of major food prep! This is a “chemo week“, so I like to get as much done in advance as possible. We have Supper Club (Standing Rib Roast Recipe to come!) tonight, so yesterday was the big “prep day”.

The first few chemo treatments, Stew was sick for a solid 4 days, so I didn’t worry too much about food. It was mainly chicken soup and saltines all week. But since he started his acupuncture and chinese herbs, he is a hungry beast (yay)! Now I actually have to plan meals for the week! On top of that, Turner is eating me out of house and home! This kid could eat NON-STOP!!!

Needless to say, I have to have healthy snacks on hand for him AND Stew (and me, of course)! So This was what I made yesterday:


Banana Raspberry Muffins (My changes: No sugar. Half whole wheat pastry flour and half spelt flour)
Pumpkin Muffins (My changes: No sugar, no frosting, honey could be replaced with maple syrup)
Zuchinni Tots (My changes: quadrupled recipe to freeze them, used LARGE muffin cups, and added a large shredded turnip to the mix)

This morning, I made breakfast burritos to freeze so we have a quick and healthy breakfast when we’re on the go! Here is my recipe.






Freezer Breakfast Burritos:
Makes 5 burritos

5 tortillas
6 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 Applegate frozen turkey breakfast sausage links
1 cup Ore-Ida frozen potatoes, peppers and onions
2 Tbsp salsa, plus extra to top
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus extra to top
1 Tbsp goat cheese

Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet (I used cast iron) over medium heat. Cook potatoes and sausage according to package instructions (basically until softened and browned). Slice sausage into bite size pieces and return to pan. Whisk eggs, salt, and pepper up in a bowl. Add eggs, salsa, goat cheese, and cheddar to the pan. Let eggs set for about 1 minute. Use a rubber spatula to move eggs around the pan, about every minute, until they are cooked through.

Divide egg mixture into 5 even sections. Lay out one square of foil and lay tortilla on top. Spoon one section of filling onto the tortilla. Top with extra salsa and shredded cheese. Tuck the sides in and roll up (seam side down). Roll the foil up around it. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. Place tortillas in a large ziplock bag and freeze.

To re-heat in the morning: Remove foil, wrap burrito in paper towel, microwave, using the quick defrost button, for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Time and setting will vary depending on your microwave! If you have more time, you can always keep the burrito in foil and warm in the oven.

Hope you have a wonderful week!

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Peppermint Bark

I discovered Peppermint Bark when I was about 2 months pregnant. I know it’s existed a lot longer than that, but that’s when I fell in love! My mother-in-law bought us a tin of it when she was visiting last year. I don’t like white chocolate, so I never bothered to try it. OH.MY.GOODNESS…delicious! The only problem is, it’s pretty darn expensive! My solution? Save the pretty tin, and make my own! Here’s my version of peppermint bark. Try it! I promise, you won’t miss the store bought version, and you DEFINITELY won’t miss spending $20 on it!


Peppermint Bark

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 ounces white chocolate chips
crushed candy canes

Put a few candy canes into a ziplock bag and pound with a meat mallet until crushed. You can also buy the pre-crushed candy cane pieces. Set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 20 to 30 second increments. Stir with a rubber spatula after each. Repeat this until MOST of the chocolate chips are melted, NOT ALL. Stir with the spatula until all chocolate chips melt. This process makes the chocolate silky and shiny.

Pour the chocolate onto your parchment lined cookie sheet. Use an icing spatula to smooth it out into a rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. Set aside to cool and harden.

Once the chocolate hardens, repeat the melting process with the white chocolate chips. Pour onto the chocolate rectangle, and smooth out until it covers the chocolate in an even layer. Sprinkle candy cane pieces over the entire white chocolate layer. Press gently so the candy cane pieces stick to the white chocolate. Set aside to cool and harden.

Use a sharp knife to cut unto pieces. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Serve at room temperature.

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So Very Thankful

This Thanksgiving was one for the books! We had 19 people at our house (including two adorable babies) and a TON of food! My cousins, who I haven’t seen in years, took the long drive from NJ, with all of their adorable kids, to celebrate with us.

I spent the week prepping and getting the table set. I spray painted some of my mini pumpkins from Halloween with a winter white and then a top coat of silver sparkle. I was so over the orange by Thanksgiving. I decided to incorporate more silvers and whites as a nice segue to Christmas! Having the table set early gets it out of the way and lets me just focus on the food the days before Thanksgiving!


The food was a big hit! I made the most delicious turkey! Here is the recipe. I will DEFINITELY be using this every year! Each person was in charge of a few dishes so it wasn’t all ME! This post had our basic meal outline. Splitting it up definitely lowers the stress level for everyone! It left plenty of time for morning PJ playing and snuggles!



Once everyone arrived, it was non-stop eating and playing! We had a BLAST! Turner got to meet his second cousin, who is just a few months younger, and they hit it off great!


We even managed to get a family picture!

It was a Thanksgiving to remember. We have so much to be thankful for! Stew is healing super speedy and we have the most amazing baby! We are definitely blessed!

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