Farro, White Bean and Broccoli Gratin

Farro, White Bean and Broccoli Gratin
My little man graduated from preschool on Saturday. And I kept it together through the whole ceremony. Mostly. Both of those facts are incredibly hard for me to believe. You know the saying, “the days are long but the years are short.” I’m pretty sure there is nothing more true. It’s seriously mind boggling how this has happened. Where did my baby go? Well, I’ll always call him my baby especially when he’s an obnoxious teenager and his friends are over.
Preschool Graduation
I noticed today that he’s getting hair on his legs. What? Slow down time.

We had lots of family and friends come to his graduation and help us celebrate. After the ceremony we went to Noah’s favorite restaurant, HuHot. I gave him the choice of me cooking whatever he wanted or going out to lunch. He chose out. Major burn for a food blogger but how can you compete with food being cooked with giant sticks? In a 4 year olds mind, you’re never going to win against that.

I did make these cute graduation hat cupcakes, roasted strawberry ice cream (with lemon Oreos mixed in) and raspberry white chocolate chunk ice cream and they were all big hits. It was a wonderful celebration with amazing family and delicious food. Which brings me to today’s post.
Graduation Cupcakes
After all that decadence this weekend, I feel the need to lighten things up. This Farro, White Bean and Broccoli Gratin is a great meal after over indulging on the weekend and the perfect Meatless Monday dish.

It comes together quickly and is really hearty and filling. I’m new to farro and this was only the 3rd time I’ve cooked it and has definitely been my favorite version. Farro has a nutty flavor that goes particularly well with the creamy parmesan sauce that it’s coated in for this dish. I mean, a cheesy sauce that’s still healthy? You’re sold right?

When cooking the farro, be careful not to let it absorb all of the liquid otherwise you won’t yield a creamy sauce. I’m speaking from experience here so trust me. The first time I made this, I wasn’t keeping a close eye on it and it got dry quickly. It was still yummy but didn’t have the smooth, sauciness that you look for in a gratin.
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The navy beans add a dose of protein to the dish and help plump it up as a main dish.

I am always looking for new ideas to add to my arsenal of meatless Monday meals and this one is definitely going into the rotation. It uses a few different ingredients than our usual meatless meals but still has that cheese to bring it home for the boys. Win, win.

Farro, White Bean and Broccoli Gratin
recipe adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely minced
1 1/2 cups farro
2 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Salt and pepper
1 lb. broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15 ounce) can navy beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Add one teaspoon olive oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the farro and cook until it’s lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in stock and water and bring to a simmer. Reduce to low heat and continue simmering, stirring often, until the remaining liquid has thickened into a creamy sauce and farro is tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan, salt and pepper.

2. Meanwhile, lightly steam the broccoli, about 3-4 minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, add the remaining oil (1 tablespoon) and garlic, cooking for 1-2 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the navy beans and cooked farro.

3. Pour mixture into a baking dish and top with shredded cheddar. Place under the broiler until browned and bubbly, 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday Inspiration {Coffee Edition}

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Warm weather = iced coffee time. I shared about my new addiction to coffee on Monday so I thought this week’s inspiration should revolve around some amazingly delicious coffee add-ins. Like I mentioned, I still need a little sugar and flavor to drink coffee but have you looked at the ingredients in store-bought coffee creamers? I did recently and it’s really been a push for me to try some homemade recipes.

This Homemade Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk sounds ridiculous. I need it in my life like now.

Store-bought Thin Mint Coffee Creamer is my go to so a homemade version, um yes.

Salted Caramel Iced Coffee, I mean, seriously.

Coffee Ice Cubes that won’t water down your coffee. Genius.

I love dulce de leche anything so this is a win.

Iced Caramel Macchiato is my go to drink at Starbucks. A million times yes to this.

Snickerdoodle is always a good choice.

Dying over this S’mores Iced Coffee.

Photo Friday

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Noah gave me these flowers for Mother’s Day and gosh does that kid knows me. I’m all about bright and non-traditional, no roses for this girl. He was so stinking excited to give them to me it seemed like he might burst. I know I’ve mentioned that we’ve struggled at times with his attitude and feelings toward his sister but when I saw how excited he was I knew I was doing something right. I want to raise a gentleman that is respectful, holds open doors and gives the woman in his life flowers (that woman will always be me, right?). I want him to understand and appreciate how very blessed he is and that there are so many people that aren’t as lucky. I want him to desire to help those people. To give with a joyful heart without even thinking twice.

I often think about what I want to instill in my children and fell in love with Kristan’s post about writing a mission statement for your kids. I haven’t written ours yet but isn’t that just the best idea? Just a little something to think about. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. The second edition of Sunday Inspiration was inspired by a post this week and it’s is going to be a delicious one so stay tuned.

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Chips

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With graduation parties and barbecue’s in full swing, I thought it was the perfect time to share this fruit salsa. Is it an appetizer? A snack? Dessert? All of the above. We even ate it with a spoon for breakfast one morning. Of course, it’s always better with chips but that’s kind of my life motto about everything.
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I made this a few weeks ago for Noah to take for snack at school. They encourage healthy options when you bring in snack for the class which I totally love. The kids gobbled it up and the recipe was requested by several teachers. I call that a success.

Although it does take a little time to prep and chop all the fruit and make the chips, the process is really simple and absolutely worth the time. I say put everyone in your family to work to cut down on prep time. As always, Noah climbed up on the counter with his kid knife and was my little sous chef. Plus, it makes a HUGE batch so it will feed a crowd at a party or your family for a few days.
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The fruit is dressed in a mixture of honey and lime that adds a nice touch of sweet and tartness.

This fruit salsa is a light, refreshing option that you don’t have to feel guilty about which means you can spare a little room for dessert. Am I right?
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Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Chips

1 lb. strawberries
6 oz. raspberries
6 oz. blackberries
3 kiwi
2 peaches
1 pineapple
1 (15 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 lb. grapes

3 Tbsp. honey
1 lime, juiced

40-50 flour tortillas
Coconut oil spray
Cinnamon sugar

1. Finely dice all the fruit. Place in a bowl and gently mix. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey and lime juice. Keep separate until ready to serve. Once ready, gently stir in the “dressing.”

2. For the cinnamon sugar chips:  preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the tortillas for about 20-30 seconds per side, being careful not to burn. Slice each tortilla into 8 triangles (I use a pizza cutter to make quick work of it). Place triangles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spray the tortillas with coconut oil spray then sprinkle with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Bake for 5-8 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy.

 

Cold Brew Coffee

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Since Christmas I have been trying to get into coffee. My form of caffeine has always been pop but I’ve been attempting to drink less of it so coffee it is since I NEED that caffeine boost to keep me going throughout the day. But, I just couldn’t get behind the bitter acidity. I figured out that I liked it better iced so I would make a cup in our Keurig the night before then majorly dilute it in the morning with flavored creamer. Then still not be a huge fan of it.
Cold Brew Coffee 1
Then I stumbled across cold brew coffee and now I’m addicted. Like, don’t talk to me until I’ve prepared and sipped some of my coffee addicted. And it’s so stinking easy to make, literally dump, stir, steep. I’m even cheap/lazy and reuse the coffee grounds a second time then combine with the first batch. It does take a tiny bit of planning to have it ready when you want it but it makes a big batch that will last you at least a few days.
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Cold brewing the coffee gives a much smoother, less acidic taste that has totally convinced me. I don’t use nearly as much creamer which is definitely a good thing considering the ingredient list…yikes.
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I mix mine with half coffee, half skim milk or chocolate almond milk then add a tablespoon of some kind of flavored creamer and lots of ice.
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I found a shirt on etsy the other day that said “today’s good mood sponsored by coffee.” So funny, I think I need it. Also, “coffee before talkie.” Hah, these are killing me. Can you tell I’m easily amused? That’s what happens when you spend the majority of your day with a 4 and 1 year old.
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Cold Brew Coffee
recipe from The Nourishing Gourmet

1 1/3 cups ground coffee
4 cups water

1. In a large bowl with a lid, combine coffee and water. Stir to ensure all the grounds have been incorporated. Let sit, at room temperature, for 8-24 hours.

2. Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Line with several layers of cheesecloth or coffee filters and slowly pour the coffee over to filter the grounds. Pour the concentrate into a pitcher and store in the refrigerator.

3. When ready to serve, dilute coffee concentrate to your liking with either milk or water and pour over ice.
Cold Brew Coffee 3

Sunday Inspiration {Mother’s Day Edition}

I’ve had the idea for a new series on Sundays rolling around my head for a couple of weeks now and I finally decided to try it out and see what you all think. I’m going to call it Sunday Inspiration and I’ll choose some kind of theme each week and feature recipes/items that fit within the chosen topic from around the web. Maybe a specific food I’ve been craving or wanting to try or a cuisine or technique and so on. If you have any requests, please let me know! I’ll have a Sunday Inspiration tab at the top of the page for easy access.
Mom and Me
Since it’s Mother’s Day I thought I would dedicate this one to my mama and share recipes I know she would love. My mom’s strength, encouragement, patience, constant love, work ethic and support have turned me into the woman and mother I am today. She has stood by my side at my best moments and my darkest. Even though I’m grown, she will drop everything to help me. Her awesomeness is intimidating and I just hope I can be half the mom she is. Though she may curse me for sharing that picture. Sorry mom, just remember all the nice things I said.

And I made you these Boston Cream Pie Bars.

Speaking of sweets, homemade versions of ice cream sandwiches and Fig Newtons are always a good thing. We didn’t have store bought cookies in the house often but I remember my mom loving these.

Soft pretzels are a thing of beauty in my family. Stuff them with cheese, ham and jalapeno’s and there’s no resisting them.

Also, this Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili…drooling.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup. Yes and yes.

Hungarian Cucumber Salad is perfect for summer.

Tamale Pie because Mexican all day, every day.

Brotchen Hard Rolls. Yep, you heard that right mom.

And I just have to leave you with this little gem. I’ve had this song stuck in my head for days now but it gave me a good laugh.

Photo Friday

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Hannah turned 18 months is April. What? It’s hard not thinking of her as a baby although she hasn’t looked like one for quite awhile now. She routinely gets mistaken for a year older than she actually is. She measures in the 95th percentile for height and 70th for weight. She says bubu (brother), dada, mama, uh-oh, bye bye, hi, here kitty kitty and does lots of animal noises.
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The chick is absolutely crazy. She is always, always on the move. She is also very ornery with quite a temper and can throw a fit with the best of them when she doesn’t get her way. That’s what happened here.
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She has a funny little sense of humor and loves to make people laugh and when her minions make her laugh. She loves playing with balls, reading books and anything that has to do with Noah.
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She doesn’t go anywhere without her blanket and a stuffed animal. Minnie Mouse (which is almost as big as her) is the current favorite. She is also a lover of accessories. Scarfs, jewels, hats, any kind of pretty thing is an absolute must. Except for hair bows. She is not down with things in her hair. Tutu skirts are also a must.
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She’s also addicted to her “buppy” (pacifier) and we are having a heck of a time getting rid of it. We’ve gotten to just having it at nap and bedtime but she just loves it so much. So, I’m taking any tips from those experienced with taking a pacifier away. Noah didn’t use one so we’ve never done this before.
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She doesn’t like getting dirty and really dislikes the grass. She stayed on the little brick paths at the park even though there were several times she was desperate to get to something in the grass. Silly girl.
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Hannah has made our lives crazier, messier and infinitely happier. I can’t wait to see what the next 18 months have in store for us!
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