Lovely Food: Just Mayo

just-mayo

Have you heard of Just Mayo yet? Every time I’d wander through Whole Foods, my eye would be drawn to these very affordably priced (which is like a unicorn sighting at that store!) condiments with the cute packaging (yes, I’m a total sucker for good packaging.)

Lucky for me, we were fortunate enough to be gifted a set of Just Mayo’s four amazing flavors – the plain Just Mayo, Garlic, Sriracha and Chipotle. Their website describes it as “outrageously delicious, better for your body, for your wallet, and for the planet,” and I can now personally vouch for the “outrageously delicious” claim. And while vegan mayo may have you scratching your heads, trust me, you won’t be missing the eggs one bit.

In the months since, these little squeeze bottles have gotten TONS of use – and I mean tons because who doesn’t like mayo?! And knowing exactly what’s inside of these dairy-free mayos is just icing on the cake. Here’s what the ingredient its on the back says: non-GMO expeller-pressed canola oil, filtered water, lemon juice and white vinegar.

Here are just a few of the ways we use our Just Mayos:

* We love using both the Garlic and Chipotle Just Mayo on burgers in lieu of traditional mayo or ketchup.

* The Sriracha Just Mayo is an amazing dip for sweet potato fries or any other type of baked vegetable.

* Garlic Just Mayo is a perfect pairing for an ooey gooey Grilled Cheese – just try it once, you’ll never go back!

* The Chipotle version also makes for a creamy, delicious dip for raw veggies.

* Try the Sriracha one in an egg salad – it adds a whole new flavor profile that takes it over the top! Just thinking about this makes me hungry again.

* All of them, but especially the Sriracha one (can you tell I love spice?), make a perfect dipping sauce for asparagus fries. Both kids and adults love them!

* Spread some on top of salmon before you broil it for a quick, moist and flavorful weeknight dinner. Saute some veggies and serve with your grain of choice.

And in case you didn’t know, the same creators of Just Mayo have a line of all-natural preservative-free cookie dough called – you guessed it – Just Cookie Dough. You’ll be tempted to just eat it straight out of the container, but once baked it’s the perfect chocolate chip cookie – I’m hoping they’re planning on releasing more flavors soon!

Advertisements

Summer Berry Crisp with Tillamook Oregon Blueberry Ice Cream

IMG_5400

Did you know TIllamook (yes, the cheese makers) also make oh-so-delicious ice cream? I didn’t either until they reached out to partner with them and Farm Box LA to celebrate the end of summer. (Hey, I live in SoCal, it’s still summer in these here parts, as the 90-degree weather can attest.) And who can say no to ice cream and berries? Not this girl, that’s who.

IMG_5403

So when life gives you berries in the middle of a heat wave (fresh-picked and literally delivered to your door, thanks Farm Box LA!,) what does one do but crank up that oven and make a crunchy, gooey, sweet and tart berry crisp? Seriously – I am not a huge dessert person, but this was right up my alley. Note that I normally halve the sugar in recipes because I don’t like things that are overly sweet, so if you have a major sweet tooth, I’d suggest adding in a 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup more brown sugar.

Blueberry & Raspberry Crisp

Serves 12

  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 raspberries (I used gold raspberries, but traditional red would work too)
  • 4 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, sliced into cubes
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional – I just happen to add chia seeds to most things)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put berries in a large bowl and carefully toss with the white sugar, place in pre-greased baking dish of choice (I used a 9×13).
  3. In a separate bowl (or food processor,) combine flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon and chia seeds (if using).
  4. Add in the cubes of butter and combine with either your hands or food processor until the mixture is crumbly.
  5. Sprinkle the crumbly mixture over the top of the berries, making sure it’s distributed evenly across.
  6. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the top looks golden brown.
  7. Place a healthy scoop of ice cream on top and enjoy!

IMG_5415

While for this particular pairing, I used the Oregon Blueberry ice cream, we also received tubs of Oregon Strawberry and Oregon Black Cherry as well – all of which were extra creamy, flavorful and filled with chunks of real fruit, aka delicious.

This is a super quick and easy recipe that’s a perfect way to use up the last of those summer berries just hanging around before they go bad. And the ice cream on top? Forget about it, it’s THAT good.

Lovely Coffee: Droolworthy Coffee Recipes for the Sleep-Deprived

This post is brought to you by a majorly sleep-deprived woman. You know when you’re so tired you’re basically just running on fumes? That’s me. I find myself staring off into nowhere only to snap back to reality moments later and wonder what I was doing and how I’m going to muster up the energy to even type this post. Another thing one does when they’re need to stay awake for many many more hours but can’t have any caffeine is daydream about things like this:

So in honor of my sleepless child and I, here’s a roundup of the most mouthwatering  and delicious looking caffeinated concoctions on the Web. Do me a favor and have one, or four, for me today!

coffee

Creamy Vanilla Iced Coffee – An oldie, but a goodie.

Frozen Thai Iced Coffee – I LOVE Thai iced teas (despite the bucket of sugar that’s probably dumped in each cup), and adding coffee to it seems like it would only make it better!

Smuggler’s Coffee – A little coffee-y, a little boozy, a whole lot nice!

Spanish Latte – This is my favorite coffee at LA’s Urth Caffe. It’s creamy, delicious, and more importantly, caffeinated!

Chocolate Coffee– When chocolate meets coffee, beautiful things happen!

Coffee Frappe – Ice cream + coffee = dessert heaven

Iced Caramel and Coconut Coffee – I’ve never tried a flavor combo like this, but I love coconut and I love caramel and by now you must know that I REALLY love coffee. Win-win-win.

Iced Banana Latte – If you’ve never tried a banana latte yet, you must! It’s one of my favorite coffee drinks and this version has me drooling in preggo shame.

Happy caffeinating!

Lovely Slow-Cooker: Roast Chicken With Lemon and Garlic

Happy Monday! To start the week off right, I’d love to share this super easy and delicious dinner I made last night. It features my new favorite kitchen appliance – the slow-cooker. When it’s too hot to turn on the oven, or you’re gone at work all day and don’t want to slave in the kitchen as soon as you get home, this modern invention is your best friend!

One of my favorite go-to meals has always been roast chicken with veggies, but it’s not something I’d ever dare to make on a weeknight due to its long cooking time. Then, I ran into No. 2 Pencil’s Slow-Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken recipe and knew I just had to try it. It did not disappoint, and your house smells amazing the entire day.

For the full recipe, head on over to No. 2 Pencil. I cooked a 4.5 lb chicken on high for 4 hours (although after much web research, I’ve read that you can also cook it on high for 6-8 hours – good for those long work days), and my finished product didn’t quite look like her gorgeous picture above. But, to me, it was even better. One of my least favorite parts about roasting a chicken is having to cut it up afterwards, but in my particular slow-cooker the meat just fell off the bone so there was no arduous slicing and pulling involved. And the liquid it produces at the bottom – oh my. Scoop it over your chicken, your veggies, anything really for an extra burst of deliciousness. Here’s my “before” pic – at least this one looks pretty true to the original.

photo

As an added bonus, you’ll have tons of leftovers, so lunches are set for much for the week. You can toss the chicken into salads, quesadillas and sandwiches, or, if you’re like me, eat them with your roasted veggies with (more than) a splash of Cholula on top!

And if you’re super resourceful (I’m wish I was but lazy wins all the time with me), you can save the bones and toss them back into your magical machine with some mirepoix and water to make some homemade chicken broth.

Voila! The work-free meal that just keeps on giving! Enjoy!

P.S. And because you all know how much I love sharing random links, here’s my favorite graduation speech I’ve seen thus far this year. Go Ben Bernanke!

Lovely Spring Salad: Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

So I have a confession to make. Those oft-hated on brussels sprouts that everyone likes to make revolted faces at and hide in their socks? I kinda love ’em. Like really really love them. Roasted, sauteed (with bacon, of course), and even plain, I’ll take them any which way. So imagine my delight upon seeing blog post after blog post about shaved brussels sprout salads – I knew I had to try it, and try it soon. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint. It’s crunchy and tangy, with just the right hint of spicy.

Although there are a ton of awesome recipes out on the Web, I went with this one from Food 52, with a few small adaptations. And because sharing is caring, here you go!

Image and bulk of the recipe courtesy of Food 52 (with a few minor changes from me.) 

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Red Onion, Lemon and Parmesan

Serves 6

1/2 small red onion

juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp honey

1 tsp whole grain mustard

3 cups shaved Brussels sprouts (I went the lazy route and used the pre-bagged shaved brussels sprouts from Trader Joe’s – otherwise, you’ll have to become good friends with your mandoline and shave those little suckers by hand.)

1/2 cup Parmesan shavings (again, feel free to do this by hand, or if you’re like me, head over to  your grocer for already shaved Parm)

  1. Soak the onion slices in a small bowl of cold water for 15 to 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, mustard and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Set aside.
  3. Put the sprouts in a serving bowl and toss gently with the onions (which you’ve now drained) and the dressing. Fold in the pecorino, taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve immediately, before it starts to wilt!

Voila! A fresh, delicious and healthy salad perfect for spring! I paired this with my favorite slow-cooker pork tenderloin recipe which really made making dinner for the night a 10-minute process – who could ask for more? Well maybe an ice-cold glass of white wine. A girl doesn’t need much to be happy, now does she?

Bon appétit!

Lovely Eats: It’s (Almost) National Asparagus Month!

It’s almost May, which means…it’s almost National Asparagus Month (I know, who knew?!) Asparagus is in full bloom at the local farmer’s markets and, sure it might make your pee smell funny (this is WHY, by the way), but it can be delicious and it’s good for you. Delicious + asparagus don’t go together in your book? Check out these recipes, and report back to me to see if you still feel the same!

asparagus

1. Crunchy Baked Asparagus Fries with Lemon Herb Sriracha Dip – I’ll be honest, this recipe had me at “Crunchy”, then it really had me at “Sriracha”. This recipe from In Sock Monkey Slippers combines all of my favorite textures and flavors for what also looks like a super kid-friendly dish! (Little Miss loves anything with a crunch, and assumes they are all “crackers.”)

2.Asparagus and Lemon Risotto – This is a recipe I’ve actually made and can vouch for. It’s creamy, lemony, cheesy, asparagus-y, and delicious. Risotto is always slightly time consuming since you have to stand there and stir it the whole time, but the end result is simply lovely. I’ve also made an Ina Garten version which is also to-die-for.

3. Morel and Asparagus Spaghetti – The combination of delicate angel hair pasta, earthy mushrooms and bright asparagus and lemon really appeals to me. And an added bonus, this recipe is pretty simple lending itself well to a good weeknight dinner. I can just imagine it paired with a simple arugula salad dressed in olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt. Add a chilled glass of white wine, and that’s what I call a fabulous dinner!

4. Asparagus Goat Cheese Gallette – This recipe comes courtesy of the always-tempting Simple Bites blog. Tangy goat cheese pairs with asparagus, garlic, and more cheese on a buttery flaky crust to make a party in your mouth. Seriously, how good does that look?!

Lovely Sweets: Thanksgiving Desserts

Am I the only person who didn’t realize Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK? For some reason I thought I still had a couple weeks to go. (Scratch that, I know the reason – baby brain never goes away folks, it only gets worse.) Anyhow, upon realizing that one of the best holidays of the year was rapidly approaching, I started to panic. What will I make? More importantly, what desserts will I make? Here are a few finds – mostly twists on classic recipes – that I found in my sweets-inspired internet spiral. Hope you get to try some of these and enjoy devouring them!


Clockwise from top: Chipotle Pumpkin Pie,  Mini Pumpkin TiramisuCaramel Apple Cheesecake Pie, Cranberry Apple Hazelnut TartApple Pie CookiesCandied Yam Pie

All photographs courtesy of the sites they come from.

Lovely Eats: The Best of Pinterest’s Warm & Cozy Drinks

Here in LA, it’s finally (finally!) transitioned into fall-ish weather, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Oversize sweaters, tights, and buttery boots, here I come! And we all know that with cool weather come warm drinks, so here’s a roundup of some scrumptious-looking beverages courtesy of the time-suck known as Pinterest to help keep you cozy this season.

(Clockwise from top: Peppermint Hot Cocoa, Warm Rice Milk, Caramel Apple Cider, Mexican Hot Chocolate)

I just realized that most of these comes from A Pastry Affair – great, another find to add to my already-burgeoning bookmarks…who needs sleep, right?

Lovely Dinner: Spring Green Risotto & Pork Chops

Ever since I bought a giant bag of arborio rice YEARS ago after taking an Italian cooking class, I’ve been dying to try making it at home. Well, let’s just say time flies, and a mere half a decade later, I finally did it. Hooray!

For those that are risotto-virgins, making it is super easy – it’s just time-consuming. Basically you have to stand there and keep adding liquid and constantly stir the risotto the entire time it’s cooking, usually about half an hour or so.  This doesn’t mean you can’t take minute breaks here and there to clean up around the kitchen, but you can’t just leave that thing on the stove.  So plan accordingly. I suggest having an ebook or some articles to read on your smartphone as you stir away. All that said, the end result is fabulous! Cheesy, hearty, comforting, delicious goodness. Another giant win? Baby loved it and couldn’t get enough.  This particular one is chock full of veggies, so it made me feel like at least I was eating something a teensy bit good for me (I know, I know, just let me live in my dreamland, ok?)

 

This was a fairly easy and delicious meal that I’ll definitely want to redo, especially on a cold winter’s night. Just visualize a glass of crisp white wine next to it…ahhhh….Thank you Ina Garten. (Random thoughts – why is she called the Barefoot Contessa? I’ve never seen her barefoot once on that show. Also, how lucky is Jeffrey? She puts out the paper and everything for him to relax while she makes him a wonderful homemade meal. My husband’s lucky to get a fork with the meal.)

Ina Garten’s Spring Green Risotto

Ingredients
1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1 cup chopped fennel
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 pound thin asparagus
10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

Directions
Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)

When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese

** Lovely Notes: I didn’t have chives, so skipped it and it was still great. Also if you don’t like fennel, don’t worry, the end results tastes nothing like fennel and you won’t even know it’s in there! **

Bon apetit!