Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 10 Posts of 2014 on The Full Plate Blog

When you read this, I will be up here, distracted by the views.

I may be cringing-- or laughing-- as my kids' paternal role model most definitely is not acting his age...

and then there will be this rude awakening, when I realize I must follow my kids down the mountain.

So there's a bit of relief each day when I make it home, all limbs in tact, and can nail what I'm good at-- feeding my crew, quickly, easily, and deliciously. Thank goodness I am still good at that because this whole family skiing gig is humbling, to say the least. But when it comes to mealtimes? I'm still golden. And I'm psyched that so many of you have found mealtime inspiration here on the Full Plate Blog this past year. Holy cow a lot of you pop in here.    

As we wrap 2014 up, let's take a peek at what was most popular with you guys:

#10 - An oldie but goodie - Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas For Busy School Mornings

#9 - The Hideous Photo Post

#8 - What Does A Fennel Bulb Look Like {Hmm, you all all tackling a lot of Mediterranean cuisine?}

#7 - From Freezer to Oven - Homemade Lasagna

#6 - Ah, the "valley" that was Day 2 of the 10 Day Detox

#5 - Super Easy Kale Pesto {Yep, one of my favorites too.}

#4 - Easy App - Jicama Spears with Chili and Lime {Surprising that it's so popular, but hey, they're easy, healthy and tasty!}

#3 -  Everyone loves a happy ending… The Scale Winked at Me After Days 8, 9 and 10

#2 - Oh, I see where this is going…. I Survived Day 1 of the 10 Day Detox

And… drum roll…. The most popular post of 2014:

#1 - Make Ahead Meals = EASY Family Dinners

That's great, because as I find the free time to keep this blog going in 2015, my hope is to focus posts around two things: more make-ahead meals, and continuing that journey to feeling healthy and vibrant {another way of saying skinny, hot and happy} as a busy stay-at-home mom to two young children. So, stick around and let's make this a fabulous New Year, where we take even better care of ourselves and get amazingly healthy, delicious family meals made in a snap!

Cheers to all of us who have a full plate, and need one. May this be our best year yet.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

homemade gift: simple grapefruit-orange-clementine marmalade

I know you're probably in a gift-wrapping frenzy when this post arrives in your inbox, but trust me, I must send this recipe along. It deserves to be immortalized here, so that the next time I need an amazing hostess gift, homemade teacher gift, or easy weekend cooking project with the kids, I know where to find it.

Marmalade. You either love it or hate it. I happen to love it. I didn't always love it though; it took a really good jar of marmalade to convert me. And I think that as many of us are bundling up, trying to stay cozy these next few months, marmalade just might be the ticket to happiness on those cold, dark, nippy mornings. Tart and sweet, brightly colored, and just a few ingredients. This one's a keeper.

Simple Grapefruit-Orange-Clementine Marmalade
(makes about 3 cups)

2 grapefruits
8 oranges
6 clementines
1 1/2 cups sugar, or more to taste 
pinch of salt

Zest the grapefruit into a medium saucepan, then cut away the peel and pith (white part) of the grapefruit, oranges and clementines. Rough chop all of the citrus (removing any seeds), and add it to the saucepan. Pour the sugar over the citrus, add a pinch of salt, and give everything a stir. Simmer the citrus-sugar mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes-1 hour, or until juices are thickened. Cool and store in glass jars in the fridge for up to three weeks. 

P.S. It is exceptional served over coconut-rice pudding, after a day of sledding… and it would be equally decadent over the eggnog bread pudding we're having Christmas morning. Mmmm.

Monday, December 8, 2014

first ski weekend reminds me of why I make meals ahead

The ski season is here! The native Southern Californian in me hasn't quite embraced the cold, yet this year. But I'm getting there, and recalling that this means an even bigger need for make-ahead meals.

First up-- protein-packed breakfasts at the ready {because the truth is, getting everyone out the door is always kind of nutty...}.

This first ski weekend I made a double batch of my go-to veggie frittata recipe with broccoli rabe, kale and a blend of Parmesan, mozzarella and Gouda. I also roasted colorful new potatoes ahead of time and made sure we had some Applegate chicken sausages on hand. I did this on Friday, and packed everything in my favorite freezer-friendly packaging, which also happens to be microwave safe {b/c it's aluminum}. Breakfast took about 10 minutes to get from fridge to the table, including reheating everything, so that made for a delicious, protein-packed start to the ski day… with minimal effort from yours truly. Somehow my coffee still managed to get cold. Ski weekends are a work in progress...

Other make-ahead, protein-rich breakfast recipes I recall being hits last year…. these hash brown/sausage/egg cups -- but I'll have to modify it for our now vegetarian tween. 

By request from our local supermarket, I created a gluten-free baked French Toast recipe last year, which I'll probably add back into to our winter repertoire. 

And there was the Herb-Walnut Frittata which I loved. 

Chilaquiles are always a hit-- and are conveniently vegetarian. Handy, since I always have to keep that in mind these days. This would be easy to whip up on a Friday and reheat it weekend mornings.

And then, of course, there's our favorite Protein Pancakes which will likely be on an every other week rotation b/c my kids love them so, and they reheat beautifully. 

For a grab-and-go option, I plan to keep these Nothin' But granola cookies on hand. 

As the ski season ramps up, my goal for the next month or so, is to test a few new recipes and get all of my favorite make-ahead breakfasts in one place, along with shopping lists, packaging recs, etc-- just like my make-ahead entree ebook-- so I have an easy go-to tool to keep my winter ski weekends organized and enjoyable (aka, sane). I'll let you know when that's available for download.

OK, so on the back end, we typically roll in from a day on the mountain pretty beat, pretty cold, and really just wanting to just relax by the fire.

Which is why it's imperative that I have a stash of made-ahead meals at the ready, so I can relax and put my feet up too. If you haven't already downloaded my ebook that walks you through a dozen freezer-friendly family meals, do it now and thank me later. It's what keeps me sane in the meal dept.

Last night, we gave a new broccoli mac and cheese recipe of mine a test-run.

Recipe testing is difficult, but someone has to do it {ha!}… that's the broccoli mac and cheese you see there made with rice noodles, with some VT farm stand maple-oat bread lathered in Kerrygold butter, and an arugula salad with maple-dijon vinaigrette that we test drove last night. And, according to our 7-year-old, those are "very special" napkin designs, created for each of us. {Um, ok? Too tired to question table setting skills...} 

So, here's to being organized and not being the family who needs to shell out $73.13 for meat lasagna at the base of the mountain!! Seriously. Want your own copy of my make-ahead meal program? Click here for the instant download.  {Yes, if you're doing the math, that makes the ebook w/ all of my secrets for successfully stocking your freezer w/ a month's worth of family meals less than 1/7 the price of one family-size meat lasagna. Crazy!} Want the scoop on what the instantly downloadable ebook includes, click here for the Q and A

Alrighty, I'm heading back into our kitchen these next couple of weeks to recipe test a round two of ahhmazing recipes. Here's to hoping I can get a Second Edition of freezer-friendly recipes together soon. Stay tuned! 

P.S. If there's a type of recipe you'd really like to see in the Second Edition of Stock Your Freezer in a Snap, leave a comment below. I'm right in the midst of laying out my recipe testing schedule, so if there's something you'd really like included, let's see if I can help you out.

Monday, December 1, 2014

the elf is back...

That's toothpaste. And, yes, it's hard to get off the mirror the next day.

Funny, my neighbor was just pointing out how we seem to get a naughty elf each year. Hers only does nice, clean, tidy stuff.

Click here for past antics.