02.10.2015

We bit the bullet and booked a spontaneous family trip to visit Charleston, South Carolina during the last week of February. From all reports, it’s a charming southern city with beautiful architecture, enough fried chicken, pimento cheese, and grits to sink a ship, and lots to do (did I mention it should be in the 60s – practically flip flop weather if I’m concerned). The idea of walking along a snow-free sidewalk gives me goosebumps.

But back to the food. Charleston’s local food scene is already impressive and I haven’t even set foot in the city yet. Nick and I are eagerly planning every meal and I’m sure we still won’t fit in all the recommended spots. So no, this trip is not going to be a light eating experience but will be a memorable one. Before we hit the road, I’m packing in as much work and chores as possible. These overnight soaked oats are my new favorite breakfast for busy weeks- so simple to prepare and perfect for a quick breakfast, the lunchbox, baby’s meal, or after school snack. If you have a sweet tooth, drizzle a little maple syrup over the top before digging in. The best part – you don’t cook anything, just stir all the ingredients together and you’re done.

Overnight Soaked Oats
from Green Kitchen Stories
makes 1 jar, simply multiply for multiple breakfasts

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
a pinch of ground sweet spice (vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom or mixed spice)
a few drops of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon seeds (chia, flax, sesame etc.)
3/4 cup unsweetened plant milk (almond, oat, coconut etc.)
2 tablespoons fresh or frozen fruit (berries, mango etc.)

Combine all the dry ingredients in a small jar and stir. Pour over chosen liquid and stir again then top with fruit. Screw on the lid and place the jarred oats in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

PS. If you are under feet and feet of snow and craving a warm breakfast you can certainly heat the soaked oats up before digging in.

09.19.2014

This year I was armed and ready for the after school crash. Dylan is just 4 years old and his preschool days really drain him and sometimes that draining turns after school time at home into crazy town. Happily, that hasn’t happened much this September but maybe we are in the honeymoon phase? Either way, I have been surprising him with sweet homemade snacks for after school (remember his serious sweet tooth!) and audio books queued up for a rest on the sofa. So far, banana bread made with date sugar and walnuts and chia pudding made with coconut milk and nectarines have been winners. Both are special, filling, and healthful.

PS. Photos snapped on my phone from one of our recent walks.

Wholesome Banana Bread
makes 1 9-inch loaf or 2 smaller loaves

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup date sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
3 1/2 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 F. In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl beat together the sugar and eggs for about 5 minutes then drizzle in the melted coconut oil.

Add the bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla and mix just until combined. Using a spatula, fold in the flour mixture and nuts just until evenly mixed. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours for a 9-inch loaf and about 45 minutes for 2 smaller loaves. It’s done when the top is golden brown and the center springs back when you touch it. Let the bread cool in the pan for 30 minutes then pop out to cool completely.

Cooking with chia seeds was totally new to me but it was so super fun and easy! I didn’t realize all you do is shake the seeds in a liquid mixture and they magically turn to pudding. This is a total science experiment (and involves aggressive shaking) so it’s perfect for kids.

Coconut-Nectarine Chia Pudding
makes 6-8 snacks

1 can lite coconut milk
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup chia seeds
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 cup peeled and diced nectarines (you can use any fruit you like – banana, mango, blueberries)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch cinnamon

Put all the ingredients in a large mason jar, stir, secure the lid and shake for 1 full minute. Let the jar rest on the counter for 15 minutes then shake again. Put the jar in the fridge and wait 2-3 hours for the pudding to thicken. When you are ready to serve, scoop it out and top with anything you like from extra maple syrup to fruit slices, nuts, or toasted coconut.

07.30.2014

I have stopped washing our beach towels. I’m just throwing them into the back of my car – day after day. They’re not really dirty anyway, just really really sandy (and more damp then I’d like to admit). I have also stopped packing full lunches for me and the boys. I found myself starting this crazy process at 7:30 am, hoping to meet friends at the beach around 10, and realized how silly I was being. For the rest of the summer it’s used beach towels and smoothies.

The summer frenzy is finally catching up with me. The hot beach days with two kids in tow, evening events out, keeping up with work, and this sweet face waking me up in the wee hours (I can’t get over his blonde swirl). It’s intense and exhausting but so fleeting and wonderful too.

These are extra special sweet smoothies inspired by a friend of Dylan’s who needed some TLC after a bad accident. She got a batch to sip on and we got a batch for the road. They definitely satisfy a sweet tooth.

Cocoa Beach
1 banana
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
2 tablespoons extra liquid (water, whole milk, nut milk, etc.)

Tropical Beach 
1 banana
1/2 cup mango
1/2 cup pineapple
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
2 tablespoons extra liquid (water, whole milk, nut milk, etc.)

PS. My mom’s garden has turned into a sweet pea wonderland.

07.10.2013
DSC_02771

It’s summer folks. My sister is HOME FROM CHINA!! for a month to do really casual things like get married and play with us. It’s incredible to think it has been a year since she left and these hot July days that we’ve all been counting down to are finally here.

Yesterday Nick finally mentioned the obvious. I haven’t actually gotten dressed in two weeks. It’s too hot and humid so my maternity bathing suit is all I can muster. Yup, it’s as awkward as it sounds. Our beach bag is packed and unpacked a couple times a day. I’ve discovered green smoothies sealed in mason jars are an ideal beach treat. They stay cool against ice packs and are filling enough to satisfy your hunger while being completely refreshing.

DSC_0318

 

Heat Wave Green Smoothies
makes 2-3

2 bananas
1 1/2 cups frozen mango
2 oranges, peeled
2 cups coconut water
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled
3 cups kale leaves

DSC_0311

Simple, just blend everything together until smooth. Pack in a few mason jars for beach slurping or enjoy at home. Happy July!

02.25.2013
DSC_0211Half the country is enjoying the start of spring and the other half (ahem me) is simply dreaming about it. But either way, our food is about to lighten up and heavy winter foods will be a thing of the past. I’m ready for it. I’ve been craving fresh cold fruit, vegetables, and crunchy sour snacks all week.
DSC_0233
DSC_0234

This upcoming shift inspired me to share my favorite green smoothies with Liz’s readers.

DSC_0235

I’m hoping to get you all on the Green Smoothie train. Smoothies rock in so many ways – they are easy, quick, full of whole foods, and please little kids and big kids alike. If you need to sneak more green vegetables into your son, daughter, husband, or self here is the way to do it.

I’m sharing my two favorite green smoothies. They are both vegan, gluten free, and contain some healthy fat and protein so you are filled up and satisfied. The joy of smoothies is that they are ever adaptable so please get creative and toss your favorites into the blender. Here are the two best green smoothies…

Click over to Say Yes to Hoboken for the full recipes.

The Rainforest is a light blend of greens, fresh fruits and coconut milk while The Dino is a nuttier blend of almond and kale.