Monday, December 23, 2013

spread the joy of a freezer stocked with in a snap!

I am beyond thrilled that so many families will be stocking their freezers and sitting down to family dinners in the new year. {But really, it's the collective number of "bonus hours" that will be enjoyed across the country that make this busy mom smile!}

For those that may have missed the exciting announcement, the 2-for-1 offer runs through December 31st, 2013! You can spread the joy to a friend, relative, co-worker… anyone who you know wants to sit down to family dinners in the New Year, but needs a plan that includes simple family-friendly recipes, done-for-you shopping lists, and an easy-to-follow plan. Click here for all of the details. 

Cheers to the happiest of holidays, and freezers overflowing with deliciousness!  - Eila

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

easy holiday appetizer: red and green antipasto tartlets

What's that? You have guests coming over and you want an easy app to have on hand? Or... you've been asked to bring a little something to the neighbor's holiday soiree? Well, between the cheesy broccoli puffs I shared earlier this week, and now this simple festive app, I've got you covered! Originally shared with the shoppers at Walter Stewart's, our fabulous local market market, this one's a keeper b/c it's so easy, and everyone LOVES it. Plus, so festive, right?

Another bonus: this is a great cooking project that the kids can help make.

Red and Green Antipasto Tartlets

  • chive cream cheese
  • mini phyllo cups (which are in the frozen section of your market)
  • dry salami
  • small fresh mozzarella balls
  • red and/or green pesto

While you are preheating the oven to 350, pop a little dollop of chive cream cheese in the bottom of each phyllo cup. Then place a thin slice of dry salami on that (the cream cheese will help hold it in place), and gently press a small fresh mozzarella ball into the center. Bake the cups on the middle rack, for about 8-10 minutes, until the phyllo shell is crisp and the cheese is melted. Then place a small dollop of red and/or green pesto on each piece. These may be served warm or room temp. 

The search function here on the blog is still not working well, so here's a link to all of the appetizer posts, and as always, don't hesitate to reach out if there's a recipe you need help locating. I can probably quickly dig up the link for you!!  Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season! - Eila

Friday, December 13, 2013

the gift of a stocked freezer! {two-for-one special holiday offer}

Wondering what thoughtful gift you could give that would truly bring joy and ease into someones busy life?

I recently stopped by a friend's home who is doing the "Stock Your Freezer in a Snap" program, and she excitedly showed off her stocked freezer.

Later that same day, another friend texted me this photo of her freezer jam-packed with deliciousness.

Which got me to thinking, as I restocked my own freezer with a few of our all-time favorite recipes... In this time of giving, wouldn't it be nice to give a friend, relative or co-worker  the know-how to stock their freezer with nourishing, delicious meals? So, I am offering a very special holiday promotion to my Full Plate blog readers: for every person who purchases the "Stock Your Freezer in a Snap" program {$49.99} between now and December 31st, 2013, you will have the chance to give an instant download of the same easy-to-follow cook ahead program to one friend, co-worker, or family member as well!

This two-for-one special is guaranteed to make your life easier, and bring a tremendous amount of joy into someone else's busy life!

The fine print: upon receipt of payment, you will be sent a link, from SendOwl, to download the complete program {which includes: done-for-you shopping lists, helpful packaging information, simple recipes laid out in manageable cooking days, and a set of my tried-and-true personal chef recipes that freeze beautifully-- more info on the recipes can be found here}. I will then reach out to you, within 48 hours, for the email address of your friend, relative or co-worker, and have a complimentary download sent to them, entitled "Gift Download of the 'Stock Your Freezer in a Snap' program". You will also receive an email, from me, which will describe the program, which you can either print out and wrap, or email to your gift recipient, so they know the download is from you!

So if you have been on the fence, now is the time to purchase the program and look forward to a New Year of nourishing, delicious family dinners... even on the busiest of days. Happy Holidays!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

recipe testing + my list of stocking stuffer and children's gift ideas

I'm recipe testing this week {insert wild applause}, and while test-running the next batch of freezer-friendly family meals, am finding myself with lots of "bonus hours" as I simulate the reheating of all of these new recipes... so you all can recreate them perfectly in your own home kitchens.

Today, while baking a frozen batch of kale-stuffed pasta with roasted pepper cheese sauce, I did some holiday shopping online, and put together a list of stocking stuffer ideas. These are the small{ish} gifts Santa has brought the kids over the years, that were-- and continue to be-- total hits. I'm also passing along my amazon affiliate links to favorite gifts given to the kids, in case you'd like some ideas. I hope that between sharing some made-ahead meals or tried and true gift ideas, I might help you accrue some bonus hours in your weeks ahead too. Enjoy!    - Eila

elf antics

our Elf helps me out during the week, but apparently she needs to be clear on the timing expectations...

oops. well, that's what happens when she's left in a super messy art area for 2 days. the girl got hungry...

{must be accompanied by loud thumping drum music when the kids come in from playing, or the whole drum circle thing will be totally lost on one of them, and he'll think "the elf is trying to teach the dinosaurs how to eat marshmallows with chopsticks"}

and... this is what happens when you ask your husband to do something with the elf before he goes to bed

Friday, December 6, 2013

mozzarella and kale pesto grilled cheese

Remember all of that power green-almond pesto I made a few weeks back?

Well, a small tub of it it became a super easy, total hit dinner the other night.

LaBrea whole wheat bread + a thick spread of my kale-almond pesto + some fresh mozzarella. Laid each sandwich on a rimmed baking sheet and baked them in a 375 oven until golden brown and crispy on the outside {flipping halfway}.

Served with a cup of store-made Zucchini Soup I picked up at our local market. Bliss. Everyone loved it. So easy. Nourishing. Delicious. My recipe for power green-almond pesto is here, kale-walnut pesto is here, and there is an easy pesto recipe included in the Stock Your Freezer in a Snap program too.

s'mores on a stick {and ideas for a wilderness survival birthday party!}

This past week, we threw a children's "Wilderness Survival" birthday party. With a birthday in December, planning is always a little tricky. We have no idea if we'll have snow or sunshine, temps in the teens or 50's. But our local nature center promised an outdoor adventure no matter the weather, with just the planning of treats and favors up to us. 

My son has classmates with both nut and egg allergies, and I wanted to come up with a birthday treat or two, that all of the children could enjoy. A little poking around online, and I assembled some ideas.  My younger son saw the s'mores-themed cupcakes and was sure I could make them {me? not so sure}, or, he eagerly suggested that once the kids learned to build a fire they could make s'mores. Not sure if fire-building was really part of the gig, I decided to surprise him with a happy compromise of s'mores on a stick. I'm not usually one to get so cute-sy with my food, but these were cool, and the kids loved them. Here's how you make them:

First, melt chocolate chips in a double-boiler. Or, if you don't have a double boiler, just nest a mixing bowl in a pot filled with a few inches of simmering water {it's the steam that will melt the chocolate without scorching it}. If allergies are a concern, be sure to check to make sure the chocolate chips you are using are safe.

Stir the chocolate so it melts evenly. Then turn the burner off when the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Next, dip lollipop sticks {which I found at our local Party City store} in chocolate, then push about 3/4 of the way into each marshmallow. {The chocolate will harden, and this is is to hold the marshmallows onto the stick. I ran the kids to tae kwon do and tennis lessons, and the chocolate was hard when we came back.} 

Third, pulse graham crackers in a food processor, until just crumbs. Place them on a plate or bowl.

When I got home, I just reheated the melted chocolate, then rolled each marshmallow stick in the melted chocolate, rolled it in the graham crack crumbs, and placed it on a parchment paper lined baking sheet {so they wouldn't stick}.

Super easy, and the kids thought they were really neat.

The other treats at the party included a crunchy wildlife-themed {nut and egg-free} "trail mix" made with Kix cereal (rocks) + Teddy Grahams (bears) + goldfish (fish) + Annie's whole wheat bunnies (bunnies).

And, we served "mud, dirt and centipedes" {chocolate pudding (mud) topped with Oreos run through the food processor until crumbs (dirt) and a gummy centipede}. All of the treats were hits, and were simple to assemble. Healthy? Absolutely not. But fun? Yes.

On to favors! I wanted to give the children something "wilderness survival"-themed. These child-sized snow shovels are one of my children's favorite things in the winter. They make paths around the yard, igloos, snow forts...

So, we bagged a little compass, instructions for making a snow shelter, and some more centipedes up and tied each goodie bag to a snow shovel. It ended up being 50 degrees, making this snow shovel favor a little random, but the snow will arrive soon enough.

At the party, the kids hiked

teamed up to build stick shelters

and learned how to build a fire, creating sparks using steel wool and batteries... and, how to safely put out a fire

Then the tired survivalists headed back for treats.

Monday, December 2, 2013

calm, delicious night? thank you, freezer!

There is really nothing better than having meals at the ready, particularly as the holiday season ramps up and I'd rather enjoy a glass of wine by the fire, or some simple downtime to look at Christmas cards, versus frantically try to get a family dinner ready when we roll home and it's cold and dark.

So, I'd like to encourage even more of you busy parents to stock your own freezers in a snap.

Because you are cooking ahead, you aren't cooking all the time.  A little cooking here and there, some tried and true recipe and some know-how about how to freeze meals successfully and you'll be enjoying nourishing, delicious family dinners {and a "bonus hour" while they cook!!}. 

I do this stocking of my freezer once during the Fall, and then fill in with a re-stock of a few recipes here and there, and then I do a big restock of meals once more during the winter. I know that there is always a homemade meal on hand, which takes the stress out of mealtime.

Sound like something you would like to try, either now or after the holidays? This self-paced program is just $49.99, and you will receive an email {from SendOwl} with instant access.

For all of the nitty gritty on the Stock Your Freezer in a Snap program, click here. Cheers to "bonus hours" and to feeding our families well, even on the busiest of days!!