White Chocolate Macadamia Blondies

White Chocolate Macadamia Blondies

When I was little, white for Easter was always a big deal. (At least where shoes were concerned.)

And even though I no longer go out and buy new, flowery dresses and patent leather Mary Janes for church on Easter morning, the color white is still a symbol of the season for me.

Blondies (the paler friend of brownies) may not seem like they have anything to do with being washed clean…but these babies are full of white foods: white chocolate, macadamia nuts, even coconut! So they made me think of Easter.

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Salmon Mousse

Salmon Mousse Cups

Did you ever see the movie Three Men and a Little Lady? It was always a favorite for me and my mom. We watched it over and over, giggling and cringing and rooting for true love.

Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I always swooned when Tom Selleck made his declaration of love at the end. As he passionately listed off all the reasons he loved Nancy Travis, the one that really struck a chord with me for some reason was, “I even love her liver mousse!” (It was notoriously inedible. She would have made herself right at home on that show, Worst Cooks in America…)

Maybe it’s just because of that movie, but for some reason the word “mousse” applied to anything except chocolate strikes a little fear into my heart. It just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

Nevertheless, I got excited to make this very cute salmon appetizer for the ladies in my moms’ group, and I am so glad I did! Despite the name, this salmon mousse really is delicious. And so easy to make! You can pipe it on crackers or phyllo cups or even serve it as a dip with crackers. Bring it to ladies’ night! Watch a sappy movie. You’ll love it.

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Almond Butter Brownies

Almond Butter Brownies

You guys, I really just haven’t made brownies in such a long time. It’s probably because I am seriously trying to deprive myself of refined sugar.

But every now and then I remember the name of this blog, and I think that I should treat myself (and you) to a yummy brownie. And then I binge on delicious looking photos and by the time I have done that for 30 minutes, my brain is exploding with ideas and it’s the middle of dark o’clock and I honestly just can’t stomach the thought of chocolate.

Luckily for me, I ran across an interesting brownie recipe entirely by chance when I was perusing my Secret Recipe Club blog of the month, Fit Mama Real Food (though I admit I was somewhat tempted to put on my yoga pants and write about her post-baby fitness regime instead of…um…brownies). Anyway. These brownies are full of almond butter! Not peanuts (am I insane for being perfectly happy to keep my chocolate and peanut butter separate?)! Lovely.

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Green Bean Fries with Wasabi Mayo

Green Bean Fries with Wasabi Mayo

I have to tell you a shameful secret. My son won’t eat vegetables.

I’m sure all you more experienced mothers out there are nodding in agreement (or else laughing at me). I always swore that I would never have one of those kids who wouldn’t eat veggies, but honestly…who was I kidding? What planet was I living on?

Jake prefers to eat nothing but Greek yogurt and bread. Mostly bread. In fact, he has recently taken to turning his sandwiches sideways and gnawing holes in the bread, eating around the fillings rather than actually ingesting any jam or melty cheese. It’s bizarre.

But we made a discovery about a week ago: he will eat anything (literally) if he can dip it. He begs for dip. And more dip. Sure, he also eats a ton of ketchup/ranch dressing/sour cream, sometimes just licking it right off of whatever is underneath, but! I think it’s progress. (Say goodbye to the old me, who scowled through Hidden Valley commercials about children who suddenly like veggies when they get to have ranch dressing….)

Since french fries aren’t a huge boost to his all-bread-all-the-time diet, I decided to make green bean fries! Getting sneaky with veggies! (Don’t worry, the spicy wasabi mayo was for me—he gets to have ranch dressing.)

 

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Lentil and Chickpea Salad with Feta and Tahini

Lentil and Chickpea Salad with Feta and Tahini

Sarah and I are really trying to be health conscious. We are resisting the lure of…well, lots of things. We are embracing lentils! We are eating things raw! We are taking walks with a toddler who loves to watch birds and teenagers playing basketball—and anything else that starts with the letter b.

I mean, really, we are willing to do anything as long as there is some kind of cheese involved somewhere.

But even so, I admit I was a little skeptical about a salad made of both lentils and chickpeas. (Isn’t that a lot of protein? Where is the greenery? Where are the grainy carbs?)

Don’t be fooled. This salad is delicious (and, P.S., the leftovers were even better than the first serving)! You will be glad you tried it.

Besides, lettuce isn’t even in season yet. So it’s still totally fair to make salads mainly from dry goods, right? Right.

 

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Double Chocolate Spice Muffins

Double Chocolate Spice Muffins

Smells Like Brownies is turning 3! I can hardly believe it.

So I thought I should share a bit of a throwback recipe with you. In fact, this is the first recipe that I ever altered on my own for any reason. It was the beginning of my culinary journey. All in the humble wrapper of a morning muffin.

When I was a freshman in college, I suddenly realized that I didn’t know how to cook. I think, up ’til that point, I had assumed that I would just wake up one day and know the tricks of the trade, maybe learning it through osmosis or something, simply because my mom was a good cook.

But…I wasn’t even sure how to read a recipe unless it came on the side of a mac ‘n cheese box or would result in chocolate chip cookies. So I set about learning to make something easy. Something I craved on Sunday mornings. Muffins.

I made muffins like three times a week. I invited friends over to make muffins. It was a muffin party (complete with a muffin top I hadn’t anticipated…). And so my mom bought me my first cookbook ever, Muffins. It didn’t turn out to be a great cookbook, in case you were wondering, but it did make me realize I could, say, add spices to a vanilla muffin and make spice muffins. Use honey instead of sugar and make honey muffins. Add cocoa powder and make chocolate muffins. The possibilities were endless!

This chocolate spice combo turned out to be one of my favorites. I tweaked the spices til I liked them, and I had never felt so proud of my budding kitchen prowess.

So now, on my third blog-birthday, I will share them with you!

 

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Farro-Stuffed Portabellas with Balsamic and Goat

Farro-Stuffed Portabellas with Balsamic and Goat

When I was a kid, I remember hearing this fantastical tale about neighborliness. You know the one I mean. About knocking on their door and asking to borrow a cup of sugar?

I was always sure this kind of thing could never happen in the modern world.

Until I met a fantastic young mom who lives down the block from me. She went grocery shopping for me after Jake was born. We take our kids on walks together. And…we totally raid each other’s kitchens. She borrows a lemon, I borrow 7 cups of flour (yeah, yeah…), she buys farro to serve her family at my suggestion, she promptly gives the rest of the dry farro to me after her family rejects it…you know. Real neighborly stuff!

My friend Sarah from Well Dined decided to help me use up some of this farro (guys, there’s like two pounds…good thing I like grain salads), and we got very excited about roasting up some mushrooms, stuffing them inside of more mushrooms, and topping it off with our very favorite: goat cheese.

 

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Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons

What is there to say about coconut macaroons?

This was a cookie I feared/didn’t understand as a child. (But really, anything that wasn’t a gooey chocolate chip cookie just seemed inferior when I was 10.) Thank goodness my tastes have grown up, because coconut? It’s awesome.

Normally when I have extra egg whites lying around, I make French macarons. But honestly, sometimes I just don’t have the energy to make cookies that take hours of effort and leave a pile of dirty dishes in their wake.

The answer, obviously, is coconut macaroons! Delicious and simple from start to finish!

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