Frittata Breakfast Sandwiches

Frittata Breakfast SandwichesFor The Times They Are A-Changin’
For the first time that I can remember, I find myself counting down the days until we fall back. Usually, it’s the other way around and I am trying to make a little bit more out of the Indian Summer daylight. This year? I feel like a 6-year-old waiting for Santa. I can’t wait to fall back ‘cause I just wanna sleep.

I have literally been counting down the days until November 5th. Trick or Treating? Please. I’ll take a pillowcase full of Zs thank you very much…. Am I the only one feeling this way?

What’s truly scary is I have put way more thought into this than I should. For example, I think there should be a Daylight Savings advent calendar of sorts. There would be two versions, and they would both start 30 days before the change dates—one in the spring and one in the fall. The spring version would include new razors, (‘Cause reality people. If my legs are always in jeans I am not, shall we say, as diligent.), antihistamines, margaritas, and small tubes of self-tanner among other helpful items. The fall version would have a variety of fresh-roasted coffee beans, artisan beers, pumpkin spice scented whatever, cozy boot socks, and maybe some new flannel sheets. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

So, with 25 days to go and no calendar to get me through, I’m dragging. The mornings are definitely the hardest. Just getting everyone out the door with everything they need is a challenge without also having to get them fed. Make ahead breakfasts have become essential. True, you can never go wrong with a muffin or box of cereal and some milk. But, that gets boring. And, it’s always good to have a little protein to start your day.

These Frittata Breakfast Sandwiches are great for when your morning routine gets away from you. They are easy to make in advance, have a lot of good protein, and are a nice change from cold cereal. Feel free to play around with the ingredients.

So if your sleep struggle (like mine) is real, try whipping up a batch of these babies. And, know that better times are only a few weeks away….

Frittata Breakfast Sandwiches
Yields 6 sandwiches

Read more…

Sheet Pan Chicken with Sourdough and Bacon

Sheet Pan Chicken with Sourdough and BaconDistracted Dining
I sat down to write about fun Halloween stuff…but I am finding it hard to be witty when the North Bay is on fire. I keep losing my focus. This is rather ridiculous because, other than the poor air quality, I have not been directly affected by the fires. But, my mind just can’t let it go.

Events like this are a reminder to keep things in perspective. Soccer practice has been canceled because of the smoke? Big whoop. I still have my home to hang out in and 1500 other families don’t. It’s heartbreaking and I can’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu.

I was away at school when the Oakland Hills fire happened almost 26 years ago. (Did I really just put that in print?) I had to watch the destruction unfold on the television in the basement of my dorm, much like I have been doing since these fires flared up. (Well, without the dorm room.)

The Napa and Sonoma County fires have the same “what the heck is going on?” feel. That same blindsided shock—the darn high winds and the utter devastation left behind. It makes the idea of writing about what’s for dinner tonight seem trivial and unimportant.

We all have got to eat, though. So, with that in mind, I’m going for the holy trinity of comfort food: carbs, bacon, and butter. All of these things are thrown together on a sheet pan, topped with seasoned chicken and roasted in the oven. Serve it with a side vegetable (like roasted cauliflower), and you’ve got a complete meal.

So easy. And definitely tasty.

This Sheet Pan Chicken with Sourdough and Bacon recipe is the perfect one-pan family style meal to come together and enjoy while you count your blessings.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Sourdough and Bacon
Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine
Yields 6 servings Read more…

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

Raspberry Oatmeal BarsBelly Up To The Bar
I am probably the least OCD person you could meet…and all you have to do is look at my office for proof. I am very much a visual learner. So, if I can’t see it, I forget about it. This means I have stacks of important stuff in various piles on my desk. I also have some similar stacks at home. It drives my very tidy husband bananas. If there is one area where I am a bit compulsive though, it would be school lunches.

I make my kids lunch every morning because the thought of them buying what passes for lunch at school makes me cringe. The good news is they would prefer to not buy their lunch. So, that battle is avoided. I have a strict formula. And, if I run out of one of the components, and am forced to send them without it, I develop a tick. I got issues, man.

The formula goes something like this:
There will always be a main component in either the form of a protein-filled sandwich or leftovers from last night’s dinner. (My daughter is the queen of leftovers.) There will always be a bottle of water and fresh fruit. A snack item is essential in the form of some pretzels, crackers or maybe some nuts. And, last but not least, lunch must always have a little something sweet at the end.

That last component serves two purposes. First, it’s a nice to get a little treat during the day. And second, I can use it as an excuse to randomly make yummy things. Why, as a mature adult, would I need an excuse you may ask? Because I can enjoy the occasional cookie—but my husband has no self-control. When it comes to home-baked goodness, he will eat them by the dozen. If I tell him that they are for lunches though, he is able to stifle his inner cookie monster. (Most of the time…sometimes I gotta sacrifice a handful to the cookie gods because, and I quote, “he is concerned that I may be poisoning the children and would sacrifice himself for their health and welfare”. Way to take one for the team, babe.)

I made these Raspberry Oatmeal Bars over the weekend “to put in the kid’s lunches”. The flavors really remind me of fall. The brightness of the raspberry jam will make you smile and I think we could all use a few more smiles these days…

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars
Makes 16 to 24 bars (depending on how you cut them) Read more…

Pumpkin Spice Maple Muffins

Pumpkin Spice Maple MuffinsSpice Girl
You start to get a whiff of it in the air right around August 20th and then the scent keeps getting stronger as August gives way to September. By the second week of September not only do you smell it but you see it popping up all over. And sometimes, in very strange places.

Then, it’s the first day of fall and you just can’t escape it. It’s everywhere! And, just when you think you’ve conquered your demons and can live a life free from craving that scent, that flavor, it’s spicy sweet claws grab a hold of you drag you back in. Pumpkin Spice is back. Can nobody save us?

I’ve been trying to put off the inevitable for a while now if only to enjoy Fall’s favorite pumpkin spice flavor in fall. Two days in to the new season…and I caved. It was the ultimate peer pressure. My inbox has been overflowing with newsletters and recipe suggestions like enterprising pushers all devoted to pumpkins and winter squashes of all shapes and forms. (Try us, they said. Just one little taste couldn’t hurt. Yeah, right.)

There was a maple pumpkin walnut cheesecake, and a pumpkin soup with apples and ancho chile, pumpkin ravioli, savory pumpkin tarts, pumpkin with lentils, stuffed pumpkin, chicken and pumpkin with dumplings (be still my heart), and on and on.

Amidst the bevy of sweet and savory possibilities sweetened with maple syrup or spiced with cayenne, I came across this very easy recipe for Pumpkin Spice Maple Muffins. What I like most is the use of whole wheat flour, which gives the muffins a hearty nuttiness—as opposed to some of the sweeter versions out there. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out, though, that a lovely cream cheese frosting would make these muffins otherworldly.

If you are one of the stalwart few who thus far have not succumbed to the frenzy that is pumpkin and it’s spices, I applaud your resolute determination in the face of mouthwatering scents and rampant marketing. And, I encourage you to continue on where I failed. In the meantime, I’ll be over here, eating a muffin.

Pumpkin Spice Maple Muffins
Adapted from the New York Times
Yields one dozen muffins

The turmeric gives these muffins a deep orange color. Browning the butter beforehand provides a vaguely nutty, deeply caramelized flavor that makes for a delicious muffin. For a gluten-free version of this recipe, just substitute the flour with an equal amount of Cup4Cup Multipurpose Flour. Read more…

Favorite Marinara Sauce Redux

Favorite Marinara SauceBest Laid Plans Of Mice And Mom
You know those Pinterest fail websites that show what the project should look like then they show how the project actually came out? That basically describes the last two weeks of my life.

See, I am a situational planner. What is that you may ask? I am not a big day-to-day planner. But, if something different or special happens, stand back. Before any event, large or small, my mind starts to spin with all of the possibilities. Having people over for dinner? I immediately pull out the cookbooks to start planning the menu. Going on vacation? I’m in charge of the research and planning of the itinerary. Some of you may not see this as a problem. It’s always good to have a plan, right? Here’s why it is a problem. The vision in my head tends to be more like those perfect Pinterest projects. The reality? Not so much…

Some of you may not see this as a problem. It’s always good to have a plan, right? Here’s why it is a problem. The vision in my head tends to be more like those perfect Pinterest projects. The reality? Not so much…

My husband has been on a business trip for the past two weeks. Before he left, I had pictured in my mind what those two weeks would be like for me and the kids. I had activities planned, must-see movies to watch, and wonderfully healthy meals planned. This included a pasta taste testing where the kids and I would try all of the different gluten-free pastas to see which ones we thought was best. It was a beautiful vision of a happy family, free of dirty dishes and piled up laundry, complete with singing birds and cute and fuzzy bunnies.

The reality was two weeks of algebra homework, practices, clothes on the floor in the laundry room, dishes sitting overnight in the sink, and orders from Door Dash.

That pasta taste test that I had planned to talk about this week? Yeah…that didn’t happen. I was a tired, drooling fool by the time my head hit the pillow every night. Single parents, I have nothing but the utmost respect for what you do every day.

Thankfully, the craziness is about to end as my other half returns at the end of the week and who knows? Maybe we’ll get that taste test done.

If we had been able to get to the pasta, this Favorite Marinara Sauce is what I would have used. If you have the time, I encourage you to try the different gluten-free pastas that we have on the shelves, both fresh and dried. I think you will be impressed with the variety and quality available.

Favorite Marinara Sauce
Using fresh herbs makes all the difference in this quick and easy marinara.
Serves 6 Read more…