Friday, March 29, 2013

real food in costa rica

oh boy did i have some fun last week. 

everyone asks, "what is the mullies?" is a perfect example:

to the mullies=costa rica=chef dezz

if you ever get a chance to visit this beautiful country and venture into the quepos & manuel antonio must must look up chef desiree brassert.  her asian-french-costa-rican fusion cuisine made me want to find my inner julia child as she was our in-house chef for the week.  

thank you from the bottom of my heart dezz: for taking the time to chat with me and teach me a few things.  you really inspire me and your energy is crazy awesome in the kitchen.  you really do infuse love into the food you cook from scratch and all of us could taste it in every, single bite.

i cannot WAIT to try out some of her tips in my kitchen... i most certainly have her cookbook recommendation on my shopping list - ken homs asian ingredients.  yum baby yum.

turns out chris l.o.v.e.s vegetable fried rice done i'm on a mission, along with some other amazing asian-fusion dishes...oh lordie lordie.  i wonder what the kids will think...

here are some of my favorite pics from our weeklong trip with a wonderful group of friends.  it is our second year in a row to costa rica.  to jody, carrie and mark - it was heaven.  thank you so very very much. 

this music will always take me it bunnycakes.

looking for a 5 story, industrial/modern/costa rican inspired architectural genius to hold you and 17 other peeps?  meet manuel antonio's most coveted villa - punta de vista.  oliver and rocked our stay!!!!!  we hope to see you both again some day...perhaps with our little rug rats in tow:) 

goonies ocean foh shoh.  heeeeyyyyyy yooooouuuuuu guuuuyyyyyyyyyyysssssss!!!!

till we meet again... love you costa rica.

back to the real world now...baggage claim.

now i gotta go find some candy without artificial color...

happy easter to all the cute and fuzzy bunnies out there:)  


Saturday, March 16, 2013

hot mamas & papas - cook your fannies off campers

holy smokes!  i gots me four hot mamas and one hot papa to boot sharing their goodies for my foodies.

whooooooo-eeeeeeeeeee - it's getting hot in here....... so put your apron on...

hope you like what these peeps are bringin in their kitchens!!!

first up:

take a gander at what my hot chimmie in indy is doing with her lovely ladies...

how awesome is this!?  these fit mamas all get together once a week & they juice their little brains out for the ENTIRE week.  that is just ridonculous!!  i cannot wait to crash your juicing parties some day!!!!  hhmmmmm, i wonder how much it would cost to have you send me weekly shipments up to chi-town...:)  hee hee.

and now for denver's one and only hot papa & mama:  dan & katie's (sister love) mega amazing 
black bean cakes...yums in my tums.

put that on my list of must-make's...foh shohs.

and that is one hot mama megan with her spagetti squash and brussel sprouts.  and she quotes:  "We had to cheer them on to finish, let me tell ya!  But next time we will use spaghetti sauce instead of butter."

word to the mothers.  sauce it up.  or try this recipe i just found:  spaghetti squash, brussel sprouts and chick peas

and last but certainly not least:

take it away hotsie totsie christina!


It's winter, it's cold, I have a handful of winter vegetables wasting away on my counter.  What to do, what to do???  Make soup of course!  I made it a SOUPER SATURDAY and whipped up 2 yummy soups.

First off I was inspired by Lindsey's celery soup recipe here..... I am not a fan of cooked celery, honestly, I only like it raw with vege dip on it.  But I had a celery root and a bag of celery, what else could I do with it?  Whipped it up and had it for dinner.  I wasn't sure the kids would like it.  I mean, it does look a little strange, but both ate their entire bowl!  Ava (my 5 year old) especially loved it!  Next time I get some leftover celery, I know just what to do with it.

Now onto the mess of vegetables... I didn't really have enough of one type of vege to make as a dinner side dish, so I thought a roasted vege soup was in store of us.  I am about to freak you out here, but I didn't use a recipe.  This is why I don't really bake very much, you can't just throw some stuff together and have something good to eat.  I love the creativity cooking allows me!

So here is how I made my...

Christina's Roasted Winter Vege Soup:

1.  Mixed bunch of organic vegetables:  1 small butternut squash, 2 sweet potatoes, 1 white onion, 3 stalks celery, 6 carrots, 4 parsnips.  Cut everything up into similar size pieces, no need to peel anything yet, coat in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 350 degrees until the vege is fork tender.  You could also add any fresh herbs like sage, rosemary, or thyme (yes, like the old song!) but I didn't have any.

COOKING TIP: I used 2 baking sheets one for the carrots and parsnips, the other for the squash and potatoes.  After roasting the squash and potatoes for about 20 minutes, I added the celery and onion to the baking sheet since they cook faster. You could use any vege you have on hand, even throw in an apple to get crazy, whatever you have works!

half way though cooking...

so pretty!

2.  I did all of this at about noon, let everything cool.  Then I peeled the potatoes and squash.  The potato skin came right off with my hands, I used a paring knife to peel away the squash skin.  It was much easier to do this now, as opposed to before I cooked it!

3.  Then I threw all the vege into my Vitamix (or use a blender/food processor and work in batches).  It actually all fit!  Slowly turned it to high, then slowly added organic chicken stock (Costco has a great one we buy).  You could also use vege stock if you wanted to go all vege.  I left it kind of thick because I am going to freeze it to use another day.  It smelled amazing!  I of course sampled and it was AWESOME!!!  I plan to make come homemade garlic bread or croutons to have with it to round out the meal.

So next time you have a cold, winter Saturday, turn it into a SOUPER SATURDAY!!!


thank you my dearies, that was souper, duper-fab:)

speaking of super fab...this dr oz link should get you real excited...the gig on artificial color is officially up:  dr oz and artificial color - a kraft mac & cheese petition goes viral

can i get a what WHAT!?!?

& happy weekend to all you crazy daisies.


the mullies will be taking a break for the next week....don't get your panties in a bunch...i expect big st patrick's day celebrations and prayers for the end of our long chicago winter.


i just can't stop...

this is what makes me happy - camp, retainers and music...i love you banner day camp:

jt - jimmy - retainers - africa - toto...take me away

muah allen - these are the days.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

a cash diet - day 187

have you ever done a cash diet?

well, i've tried several times and then i slide back to using credit cards.  we've been married for 12+ years and i have always done the bills.  here's the thang: when you pay the bills and are the main money spender it's quite easy to be loosey-in-the-goosey with a budget.  a.k.a have no budget.  i was an expert impulse buyer.  a very happy shopper...  chris loves to call me a "spend thrift".  ouch.

so, for some reason, during this diet change my brain decided to change too.  eating clean and buying more organic items is more expensive, however this increase cost is offset by the fact that we rarely eat out now.

more cooking=more cash.

i decided to grab my own horns and rear myself in for good.  i asked chris to take over the bills.  he was more than happy to.  i can't launder money anymore.  gasp.

the funny thing is, instead of making me feel like a juvenile who can't be trusted, it has instead given me a sense of more control, more delight when i get all my goodies under budget.  i'm rocking the casbah.  i keep all receipts (something i've never done before) put them in an envelope.  he logs them into this crazy master sheet and i don't have to worry about a thing.  he sees everything:)

it's been the most liberating thing i've ever done.

this food change has changed a lot for us...especially for me.

you could say, it helped me reign in my spending...something i've struggled to do, wanted to do for a long time...

i get my cash at the beginning of the week and when it's gone, it's gone.  money is money again and not just a swipe of the card.

i think twice before buying that super cute t-shirt or doubling up on another food item...hello, i'll be back next's not going anywhere lindsey...

so, without further ado, here is our updated grocery list.  i have logged some items under multiple stores to show where i can find them.

i have been making more soups lately...more homemade bread...i'm close to perfecting an egg free gluten free bread recipe...the bread babe will be reporting soon:)  we have also cut back on eating poultry or meat 2-3 times a week...which is down from 5+ days a week.  that has really helped the budget:)

trader joe's
udi's whole grain sandwich bread & bagels (this is reduced now with my bread making!!)
organic jam
frozen wild caught fish (usually salmon or tilapia)
organic frozen strawberries
lollypops & peppermint candy (no artificial colors!)
kind bars - peanut butter dark chocolate (i buy an entire box - non gmo)
lara bars - peanut butter chocolate chip (i bue and entire box - non gmo)
organic marinara sauce
organic coconut oil
canned light coconut milk (huge huge staple)
organic ketchup
organic mustard
organic pickles
aluminum free baking powder
organic/free range poultry when available
organic vegetable stock
organic chicken stock
organic beans (black, garbanzo, great northern, cannellini)
organic tortilla chips
agave/maple syrup (try to buy the bulk organic at cosco)
organic stone ground dark chocolate & other varieties
instant coffee
organic orange juice (i've gotten the kids down to a super small morning glass)
nitrate free turkey bacon

applegate farms oven roasted turkey (by the pound)
wholly guacamole
go go squeeze cinnamon applesauce pouches
organicville non-dairy organic gluten free ranch dressing (seriously amazing)
organic ketchup
organic barbecue sauce
organic peanut butter (or jason's)
organic strawberry jam
tinkyada pasta joy brown rice pasta (elbow and spirals are the best!)
thai brand canned whole coconut milk
kettle brand potato chips (non gmo and three ingredients)
organic tortilla chips
silk brand unsweetened almond milk
enjoy life mini chocolate chips (very clean chocolate!)

packaged dried fruit (for lunches & snacks)
bunny bars (organic gf granola bars)
organic sugar
organic olive oil
maple syrup
marathana all natural almond butter
that pickle guy classic olive muffalata
organic quinoa
skinny popcorn
angie's delightfully different kettle popcorn
kettle brand potato chips
veggie square crisps
organic diced tomatoes
organic hemp seed
organic frozen berries mix
organic rice milk
organic coconut oil (this has aroma and is a great price)
silk brand unsweetened almond milk (in packs of 3)

all ways healthy natural food store
large mixed (fruit & veggies) organic produce box
probiotics and vitamins
goji berries, chia seeds & plant based protein powder for smoothies
gluten free & vegan baking items
udi's cinnamon raisin bread
aluminum free baking powder
dandy blend instant herbal beverage
herbal teas
daiya cheeses
vegan parmesan
earth balance buttery soy free buttery spread & sticks
organic chocolate sauce (i put the tiniest amount in the kids' almond milk sometimes)
gf flours if i run out in a pinch
organic coconut palm sugar (i just got this - am hoping to replace all sugar with this low glycemic guy)
harrison's poultry farm local farm fresh eggs (they are not certified organic, but are fed an organic diet and sustainably raised...i'm telling you, these eggs are gorgeous in color and flavor)

vitacost/amazon/omega nutrition
bulk (4 box sets) gluten free flours.  (i mix up quadruple batches of a gluten free flour mix from the artisanal gluten-free cooking cookbook and store it in the fridge.  i will be doing a price comparison at our garden fresh grocery store soon.)
omega nutrition organic coconut oil (aroma free - if you're wanting to bake/cook something w/o coconut essence)

see ya later...i'm off to the grocery store...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

pizza in a cast

cast iron skillet pizza

our new go-to pizza the bomb.

and you thought you had to let go of the good things in life...nope nope nope.

i am in love with my cast iron.  this is my newest addition - a 12 inch beauty.

i learned how to season it here.  i used coconut oil:)

whatchu lookin at willis?  hee hee, your eyes are funny chris.  i made him really happy with this one.

and a little band blend rosé action from little vineyards is always a wonderful pizza-pairing.

Friday, March 8, 2013

salmon soup & dippies in corn cups

ok people.  i have snuck two songs into today because they inspired me in the car this morning on the way to get my box o produce...and well... that's just how i roll in the mullies.

so let's give a little love and time shall we?

take your kids'...your hubbies, your own we go in the kitchen!

this soup...oh my word...let me start again... 

this soup (pause) is absolutely, hands down the simplest, most ahmazing soup i've ever ever put together... so far.  

it'll only take a little'll be so surprised.  

mullies notebok - coconut milk soup with wild salmon and chard
2 T evoo or coconut oil
1 bunch chard (stems removed and chopped like celery)
2 filets of wild caught salmon
1.5 cans of coconut milk (1 can whole milk, 1/2 can light coconut milk)
4 c chicken or veggie stock
2 c roasted diced potatoes (these were leftovers - i had roasted them in evoo, herbes de provence, s&p and a few whole garlic cloves)
fresh or dried cilantro to your liking
1.5 c frozen organic peas
1.5 c dried shitake mushrooms
2 T sucanat
1-2 T grated fresh ginger
optional:  splash of fresh lime (mac hated this, but abbie and i loved it...tommy had no idea what was going on)

sautee chopped chard stems in oil.  add chard leaves and ginger, cook until wilted.  season with s&p.  add stock, milk, potatoes & filets.  once salmon is cooked, remove and take off the skin.  add the filets back into soup and break apart.  add cilantro, peas & shitake mushrooms.  bring to boil and then simmer covered for 20-30 minutes.  season to taste.

not only was this wonderful the first night...but i've had leftovers now for the past three days and it just keeps getting better.  

don't throw out the chard stalks!!!  dice em up like celery and cook them up.  so so so good.

ginger baby.

freeze dried shitake mushrooms...reconstituted dreamboats.

yea, not a fan of salmon after it cooked for a bit, i took it out and...come along with me...

...i then removed the skin like buttah.

gently break apart the salmon and you've got one beautiful, chunky monkey soup.

adding in some peas, sucanat and dried cilantro...

my bowl... kids' bowls.

were the kids falling all over themselves to take a bite?  nope.  they looked at me all bummed out "what's in this mom!?"  but they ate it...not the entire bowl mind you.  we played, "guess what's in it"- they love that game and guessing the correct ingredients is a huge deal and celebrated at the table.  the bread as a dipper is key...they can't take a bit without a dip and a bite!:)  they are sneaky little devils...

so give a little bit of this soup to you and might be just the best one of your chefen life.

hee hee hee.

so i'm such a cheese ball with this...but you know what?  this song really lights me up and the message is one that everybody needs buttercups.

no more feeling like a plastic bag and buried deep.  there is still a chance...there is always time.

boom boom boom

you need to light it up, be a firework, show em what your worth, make em go AH!

nobody's gonna do it for catch my spark...are you laughing at me yet!?!?!?

these are seriously genius and delicious.  my kids again asked, "what the heck is in this mom?"...mac loved them (had three) abbie nibbled her way through one and tommy ate almost half of one.  not bad for the first go around.  both dips were gone - igniting!!!

mullies notebook - quinoa corn cups:
3 oz herbed goat cheese subbed for cream cheese
3/4 c quinoa
1 c corn muffin mix (subbed for straight corn meal)
1/2 c almond meal (subbed for quinoa flour)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
black pepper
juice from 1 lime
water by the spoonful as needed

i "cut in" the goat cheese with my pastry blender

abbie's creation plate.  one cup has simple guacamole and the other has this yummy creation:

mullies notebook - tuna bean & tomato dip:
1 can cannellini beans (drained & rinsed)
1 can diced tomatoes (drained & rinsed)
1/2 jar trader joe's roasted red pepper & artichoke tapenade
3 oz tuna (jarred in evoo)
1 onion (diced and sauteed in evoo)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 in knob of fresh ginger, peeled
s&p to taste

one of the most versatile dippies ever...

spiced butternut squash loaf.  if you can't find some inspo from this sweet need therapy and some serious fireworks up your butt.

an everyday chopped salad on the side:  organic spinach, kale, pea shoots and cucumber.

isn't that PRETTY!!!!????  my next day lunch: i sautéed up some chard and tomatoes in evoo and s&p and topped it off with a dollop of my tuna, bean & tomato dip.  this one'll make your heart glow.

now that's some good eatin.  it's like the fourth of july around here with all these colors.

give a little bit of your time...your love, shoot across the sky and start a food revolution in your kitchen.

AH, i know what you are thinking...

where do i start?  what does the future hold?  small doors...little sparks and they'll grow slowly into a grand fanale like you've never dreamed.  you are a firework.

how about this for your weekend goal?

go through your pantry and fridge and get rid of anything with artificial color in it.  make a list of what you need to replace and go restock with some whole, clean versions with no artificial food dyes or preservatives.  they are out there, i promise:)  

next week or even the week after that...clean out the artificial additives & preservatives.

questions about a food item replacement?  there is so much help out there on the internet.  you can always leave a comment or send me an email and i'll let you know what we are liking lately.

boom boom boom.

it's time to let it go.

happy weekend hot stuffs - now go be a firecracker and light IT UP.

brighter than the moon.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

hot mamas with christina - more muffins please

it's muffin making day!

my mouth is watering for an egg-free, basic recipe with add-in flavor options...

ya gotta love options.

one of the easiest things to do is find recipes online if i'm not wanting to go into one of my trusty cookbooks.  if i have a hankering to make something...or an ingredient i have NO idea what to do with...i search it online and wha-LA - a plethora of recipes appears before me.  it's magical.

i have to admit, i'm a mixer.  i tend to find two or three recipes i like, can't decide between them and so i combine them somehow.  i'm getting better at it & that's where my handy notebook comes in where i write my newly improved versions of recipes.  dora and i have that in common...  i have bombs and successes, the bombs are getting more sporadic - thank heavens.  my favorite part about my notebook?  the cover is getting a little dirty...pages are getting worn...oh lovie.

today's hot mama:

welcome back miss christina, a full-time working mom of two kiddos (kurt's giambotta) and i am hoping she becomes a regular guest poster here, hee hee!!!  i hope her muffin making inspires you to try hers, to go look in your cookbook or to search a recipe online & get your baking juices flowing this week.

go ahead and get some flour on your face.

i think it's pretty cute no matter who you are;)


Woke up on this Saturday morning and went to see what I could throw together for breakfast.  We love eggs in this house, we easily go through a dozen or more a week.  When I opened the fridge to find no eggs, OMG!!!  The kids were oatmealed out, we don't keep cereal in the house, what am I going to make?  I bought some blueberries last week with the intention of making muffins, yeah never got to them.  So since I was up at 6:45am with the kids why not bake??!!  I knew from past experience you can sub applesauce for eggs, so there was my solution for that!!  I followed this recipe from my trusty Betty Crocker Cookbook and subbed out the egg.  Once you master the basic recipe you can sub in any fruit or add ins to customize them to what you have on hand.

Basic Muffin Ingredients:

2 cups flour ( I used 1 c regular flour, 1 c spelt flour...or sub in your gluten-free flour)
1/2 cup sugar (I used organic turbinado raw cane sugar)
3 teaspoons baking powder (alumium free of course!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemons or 1 tablespoon oranges or 1 tablespoon pineapple juice
1 cup low-fat milk (you could use almond or rice milk - I just didn't have any on hand cuz I used it all for Lindsey's yummy coffee recipe!!)
2 eggs OR 1/2 cup applesauce (yeah, didn't have applesauce, so into the food processor went a peeled and seeded apple, out came applesauce! Problem solved.)

the yummy homemade applesauce in a pinch.

1 c blueberries (this is what I did!)
1-2 bananas, handful of chopped walnuts
1/2 c raisins, 2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c diced apples, 2 tsp cinnamon

Like I have said before, I do not enjoy baking, too specific for me!!!  But I just mixed everything together with a fork, in a bowl.  I added the muffin tin liners to the tin, and added 1/4 cup to each one. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  

BAKING TIP: In the oven, do not stack the tins over each other, the air gets trapped, it is best to stagger them in the oven so the air can circulate better!

Done, so easy, and now I have some muffins for this upcoming week for breakfast on the go!!  Most importantly, I was not running to the grocery store at 7:00am for eggs on a cold Saturday morning!


definitely making me some of these muffins!

thanks christina!

happy hump day:)



do you have any store bought muffins in your house?  i dare ya to go look at the ingredients...Mmmmmm, sounds good, right?  now go get your apron on hot stuff.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

trying truffles...chloé sucrée style

i love chocolate.  wonderful, smooth dark luscious chocolate.  hmmmmmmm.  truffles....

now imagine if you could make your, crazy-easy-dark-chocolate-truffles.

i made these lovelies with my kids...but believe me, if i was with my hubbie, making truffles with him...with this music... alone in our kitchen...oh my lord.  so people, these puppies have a lot of versatility.  hee hee.

here's how:

(led by a yummy carrot cake recipe...gonna try that soon!)

chloé is a food lover, recipe developer, organic chef and organic food coach...and i'm tickled to have connected with her as a fellow food ambassador for the jamie oliver food revolution foundation.  

this one's for you chloe.  you really inspire me in the kitchen.  thank you so much for this wonderful, pass-down-to-my-kids chocolate recipe from the gods.  your truffles rock our hizouse and here's how our chocolate adventure went down...

my make shift double broiler...just fill the bottom bowl with a little water and put another bowl on top.

the almond nut pulp (frozen from my previous adventure of making homemade almond milk).  i wasn't sure if i was going to make milk again...and the answer is now a resounding yes...for these truffles, yes, oh yes please.

simple simple simple mix.

we had sesame seeds and raw cacao on hand to roll the truffles around in.  the kids liked the sesame seeds the best but had no problem snarfing down the cacao dusted balls too.

it was really hard not to just face-plant ourselves into the bowl.

that just says it all.  

vegan dark chocolate truffle notes:
i simply used a google metric conversion tool to help me with the european measurements:
6 oz of organic dark chocolate (2 bars)
1/2 c of almond nut pulp (i froze the pulp from my last batch of almond happy i did!!!)
(i did not have any pralin - a mix of hazelnuts and brown sugar...but i will try that next time!!)
i followed the rest of chloé's recipe to a T.


wondering how to make your own almond milk?  it's easy...check out this great tutorial here.  use the same method to make walnut milk too:)

speaking of yummy treats...still wondering what yellow #6 really is?  here is a handy food coloring go look at your pickles label...

today is a snowday!  no school!!!!!!!  yipppeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!