Merry Christmas!

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My favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Having Knox help in the kitchen is the best feeling in the world as a momma.  We were generously gifted a previously loved learning tower and our little man can safely stand in to help pour out measuring cups into a mixing bowl, while eating the chocolate chips.  My favorite part is standing at the counter together with a cup of milk and eating the still warm cookies, I love watching the joy in his face.  Knox doesn’t gorge on sweets like his parents however and it’s rare he eats a whole cookie.  Typically he picks 3-4 cookies and takes one bite before testing out another one ( guess who gets to eat the remnants- it’s a tough job… but.)  This is the recipe I always always use, they turn out perfectly soft but with a nice chew, sweet and salty, plenty of chocolate chips, and lots of flavor from the vanilla/ molasses/ cinnamon.  Here’s some images over the last 1.5 years cooking these with Knoxie.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies
barely adapted from the little red house
1 cup butter, at room temp
1/2 c white sugar
1 3/4 c brown sugar
1/8 cup molasses
2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla
3 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 bag Ghiradhelli chocolate chips
Cream the butter, sugars, and molasses until light. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Continue mixing while adding the eggs one at time. Make sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next. Beat for a few minutes. Add the vanilla and mix well. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Combine the flour, soda, cinnamon and salt in another bowl. With a whisk, stir to combine. With the machine on low, slowly add the flour mixture and chocolate chips. Mix until just combined, taking care not to over mix. Drop by spoonful onto parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes.
They should be lightly golden on the outside but still soft in the middle.

Isla Lorraine

Isla Lorraine was born 10.08.2016, exactly 32 years after her momma weighing the very same 8 pounds and 6 ounces.  She’s brought so much joy to our family already, we can’t imagine life without her.  She is happy as can be, just like her brother was, but certainly asserts herself when she’s not pleased!  Every time I see her look at her brother her face lights up and she gives him the biggest smiles and his sweet voice telling her  ” hi baby!”, ” it’s okay baby Isla, sh shh”  and ” I lub you” my heart explodes.  She’s the perfect addition to our foodie family.

Classic French Mussels

mussels

 

Mussels are SO affordable ($5-6/ pound), incredibly easy to make and SO delicious.  Serve with really good french bread and some wine and it’s a whole meal.  We follow the butter, garlic, shallot, wine, parsley and cream preparation and it’s delectable every. single. time.

 

Classic French Mussels Recipe, serves 2 as a meal, 4 as an app

6 tablespoons butter, divided
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 pounds mussels, cleaned
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
Kosher salt, pepper

Directions

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add wine, and allow 2-3 minutes to cook out alcohol, Then toss in you cleaned mussels, cream, remaining butter, and parsley and season well with salt and pepper. Give it a good stir, cover the pot, and cook until mussels open and are cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Divide the mussels and the juices between 2 bowls and serve with the crusty bread.

The Best Creamy Hummus

Our little man is obsessed with hummus, yes- it is easy to make hummus, but it was slightly easier to just buy a container at the store.  It tastes SO gross on it’s own to us, but Knox just pounds it straight by the spoonful.  I started feeling like it’d be so much better and smarter to make this fresh for him, especially after the Listeria scare with Sabra hummus.  Using my sister’s recipe and an Ina Garten recipe, I combined the best of both and edited to our tastes to make The BEST Creamiest Hummus- with no oil.  Knox Approved and Parent Tested!!

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Makes 3 cups of Hummus

INGREDIENTS
1 TBSP butter
1/2 red onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed and rough large chop
1/2 cup tahini, sesame paste
2 cans organic chickpeas: 1 drained, 1 with juices
1/2 tsp white pepper
1.5 tsp salt
1/4 cup lemon juice

Directions:

In a non stick pan over medium/ low heat, add the butter, once melted slowly sauté the onion and garlic in the pan until caramelized.

Set up the food processor fitted with the steel blade.   Add the sauteed onion and garlic mixture and puree till mostly smooth.  Add in the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is smooth and creamy.  Taste, for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/hummus-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

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This recipe was amazing- I am SO relieved that all the selections from our Meal Plan have been so yummy.  Jenny Collier is wonderful!  It’s a little scary when you commit to a month of recipes that you’ve never made before.  I did take a moment to look through most- in order to plan which would take more time and therefore should be made on the weekend.  While this recipe was easy to make, it did take some prep time, I was wishing we’d planned it for a weekend instead.

I prepped it while watching Knox and Jason play in the living room, it’s rare that he’s home early with us- so I thought I would get dinner started….  but sorta wished I was over there with them instead!  It started innocently by turning the oven on to roast up the squash.  I told myself, after bath/ bed for the baby– then I could easily finish the recipe and we’d eat in no time, it’d be nice to have squash ready.  Then it sucked me in one ingredient at a time- I only needed to chop the onion and garlic and green onions… shred some carrots… mix the sauce in a bowl… then I would go play with them… then I saw the meat- “I could just get the shrimp peeled and deviened too…. then it would be so easy for later to cook everything”… and finally,  ” well I should also chop up the chicken while I’m at it”.  And then it was an hour gone and dinner was completely prepped, I had 20 good minutes before Knox was too tired to keep his head up, but we ate a great dinner.

I used a recipe as a base for this but altered everything for what I know and love about Pad Thai.  We made our own peanut sauce for dipping as well- it was amazing.  Finish with a bit of lime juice, and it’s perfection:

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Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Makes 4 servings

30-45 minutes of prep for cooking squash and chopping ingredients

10-15 minutes of active cooking

Ingredients

2 medium-sized spaghetti squash

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 red onion, chopped

4 carrots, shredded  ( reserve some for serving)

1 bunch of scallions, chopped ( reserve some for serving)

10 large shrimps, diced

2 chicken breasts, diced

canola oil, for cooking

1 lime,  ( for serving)

Sauce

1/4 cup Teriyaki Sauce

3 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp ground garlic

1 tbsp peanut butter

 

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Cut spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds, drizzle each flesh side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place squash cut side down on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Roast in you preheated over for 45 minutes, until squash is fork tender, then set aside to cool before scooping out the squash “noodles” with a fork.

3. In a small bowl mix together sauce ingredients and set aside

4. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp canola oil, and saute with your chopped garlic, red onion, carrots, and scallions (and any other veggies you like)

5. Once cooked down, add shrimp and chicken and cook for 5-8 minutes, until protein is cooked

6. Add in spaghetti squash (approx. 3 cups) and sauce mixture, mix well to combine

9. Taste and adjust spices to desired liking*

To serve: Top with extra scallions, shredded carrots and a squeeze of lime.  If you like it saucy add this Peanut Sauce as well:  in a small bowl mix 2 tbsp Teriyaki Sauce, 2 tbsp peanut butter and enough rice vinegar, to smooth to desired consistency, using a fork to mix.