March felt so much brighter than February. I’m so glad people I know and love are getting vaccinated and I’m awaiting my turn. March had birthdays and spring weather both which make me so happy. February felt heavy and repetitive.
My fav thing to come out of the kitchen this month was this loaded Cobb Salad Turned Panini. So fun. I’ve not confirmed the difference between a cobb salad and a chef’s salad!
I’m excited for Easter brunch and treats. April will also mean full-time at-school kindergarten for Thomas! I cannot wait to eat outside and I love the daylight! I got matched once for Lasagna Love and I packed up a few things for some new mommies.
The Little Girl: She loves stickers and coloring. It was so exciting to get sandals out! She’s got sooo many stuffed friends in her bed- it is like flavor-of-the-week for preferences. She’s totally being 2.5 yrs old with some clapping her hands down and saying “but I got hurt” when she doesn’t want to hear or do something. We’re onto you little one. She is so happy to play in the sandbox again.
The Big Guy: I love to see the creations he crafts. Often it is an animal or something he’s just seen or heard about. He’ll draw snakes/hawks/eagles then color them, and carefully cut out. He’s about to start 5 days a week to school. He will love it. We love love love seeing how much he can read. We just finished Mr. Popper’s Penguins.
Goals: Year of the fun mail! I dropped a note to T’s fantastic kindergarten teacher. More breakfasts: Churro French Toast Sticks! Lunches coordinated or prepped in advance – Ehh. Not really. I’d like to get the house a bit neater: I think I nudged some small spots – like the wet bar in the kitchen and my dresser top. Bullet journal – I’ve been keeping a meals list. What I’m reading: I read I know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Text Me When You Get Home and Bel Canto. What I’m Watching: We loved Stanley Tucci’s series Searching for Italy! We watched Dark Waters and it was so impressive but disheartening.
All the perks of a Cobb salad without any of the lettuce! Lettuce really gets in the way of the fun stuff in a salad, right??? This panini has Cheese! Chicken! Ham! Avocado! Tomato! Blue Cheese Dressing!
I loved this grilled cheese with all the things.
Cobb Salad Panini Ingredients: 2 slices sourdough 1 slice ham 1/3 cup chopped chicken 3 slices cheese 1 small tomato 1/2 avocado 1/4 cup blue cheese dressing 2 teaspoons butter/olive oil/mayo
Directions: Heat a pan to medium heat. Assemble the sandwich with bread, half the cheese, ham, chicken, tomato, sliced avocado, and the remaining cheese. Spread butter or mayo or brush bread with olive oil. Cook the sandwich and grill on each side for ~ 2-3 minutes. Cover to melt the cheese. Remove from the heat and let sit for 1 minute before slicing. Dip into blue cheese dressing. Enjoy!
This was so fun. There’s a lot happening and it is one of those messy-delicious sandwiches you can barely put down. Good bread is necessary to hold up, and nothing makes a panini/loaded grilled cheese better than cheese on each side.
The defining elements of a cobb salad to me seems fuzzy compared to a chef’s salad. I’m not entirely sure what’s in one and not in the other? Either way, in a salad the hard boiled egg is ideal – I figured it might be a little weird here. Bacon would have been lovely, sliced turkey could definitely swap for the chicken. Go for what speaks to you.
Special sandwiches are so great for dinner – or make salads one meal and paninis for another!
The ideal snack! All my past energy bites were peanut butter based so I tried something new. We definitely eat our fair share of pb around here! I love these pb/coconut/choc chip ones and these pb & “jelly” flavored ones too. Snacks can reset us mid-morning between zooms or virtual kindergarten screen-breaks, or post-nap. I like the powerful, useful, snacks and that these can carry us to the next meal.
Chocolate Mint Energy Bites Ingredients: 1 cup Old Fashioned Oats 5 dates, chopped 1 tablespoon/scoop chocolate protein powder 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed 1/2 cup tahini 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips 1-2 tablespoons Nutella 1/4 teaspoon mint extract
Directions: Mix together the oats, flaxseed, dates, and protein powder.
Add in the tahini, chocolate chips, nutella, and mint. Mix well, breaking up chunks to ensure mint is well incorporated. Form into balls or disks. Enjoy!
I like these shaped as disks just for easier space storage. We all snack on these and they provide that great flavor with some good protein, fiber, and a little chocolate sweet boost.
The nutella was an afterthought – these tasted a bit too much like protein powder so I added that to sweeten it a bit. Mini chips are ideal so these don’t crumble apart. Careful of that mint- wowza. That can easily be wayyy too much.
My 2.5 yr old sous-chef looooved the dates so those will be a snack too for her now too.
I’ve been trying to give home lunches a bit of a face lift. These turkey melts on English muffins are just unique enough be exciting while keeping them a totally do-able weekday lunch. Somedays it is PB&J while doing 5 other things and then there’s a 5 minute special lunch with everyday ingredients like this!
These have a nice kick with a spicy sauce and crunch from an apple (or there are lots of variations below)!
English Muffin Turkey Melts: Ingredients: (for 1) 1 English Muffin 2 tablespoons mayo 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (or hot sauce) 2 slices turkey 1-2 slices cheese 1/4 apple (I used honeycrisp) 1 cup mixed greens
Directions: Toast the English muffin (the toaster oven is perfect for this, or “griddle” it on a pan to use again soon). Mix together the mayo and the sriracha in a small bowl. Slice the apple and chop the greens if needed, while the muffin toasts.
When the English muffin is toasted, spread the sriracha onto both halves, then top one half with greens, apple slices, turkey, and cheese. Pop the assembled English muffin into a toaster oven, the regular oven, or into a hot pan with a cover to melt the cheese and warm everything through.
Pop the top on and enjoy!
These are so fun and could easily swap with what you have. Honey mustard would be great, a pear would taste delicious, ham can swap with turkey. Go crazy! The English muffin definitely adds some variety, and the melty cheese + lunch meat + a fruit + a veg + sauce = is perfect. These can be open faced or popped together as a sandwich.
I’m partial to these Fiber One Multigrain English muffins. They are much more fluffy than others and the higher fiber is just an added benefit.
Our kindergartner is totally enthused by school lunch – he goes to school 2 days a week and lunch is provided. Chocolate milk! Square pizza! He eats anything and gets 2 choices so despite not knowing what they’re serving, I’m always interested to hear what he picks. He had french toast sticks and loved it! I decided to make our own and coated them in a little churro crunch. Anything in a dippable format is fun for all!
Churro French Toast Sticks Ingredients: (serves 5-6) 1/2 loaf Italian Bread 6 eggs 1/2 cup half and half 1/2 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons brown sugar sprinkle of nutmeg 2 tablespoons white sugar
Directions: Slice Italian bread in half horizontally, then into slices vertically for sticks. Whisk together eggs, half & half, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar, and nutmeg.
Pour into a shallow baking dish and add in bread in one layer, repeat if necessary. Toss well and let soak for 10 minutes. (I used a 9×9 dish for 2 batches, cooking one batch while the other soaks.)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Heat a large skillet to medium heat and spray with nonstick spray and butter. Pan fry the sticks- cooking for ~2-3 minutes on each side. Prep a baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons brown sugar, white sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. As the french toast sticks are cooked, remove from the heat and put onto the baking sheet – rolling in the cinnamon sugar. Then keep warm while cooking other french toast sticks.
These were good! The sugary crunch and warm spices is delightful – almost doughnut-like! They’re quite sweet and would have paired nicely with bacon, but do as I say, not as I do!
Psssst! Use the leftover other half of Italian bread loaf cut into chunks to be homemade croutons or for garlic bread. Both are good decisions and reminders how pillowy white bread is!