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I love to cook, but I’m also all about easy meals. We eat almost 100% of our meals at home, and when it comes to dinner, I find that the meals that are made up of fresh veggies, a little dairy, loads of flavor, and come together in 30 minutes or less, are the ones that I repeat over and over. And this Grilled Veggie Sandwich with Aged Cheddar and Balsamic Reduction hits all those points!

I rarely follow a recipe when I cook, even my own, I can’t help but vary things up a bit each time I make something. But essentially, that’s my criteria for a dish to be on the regular rotation; easy, healthy, and tasty. If it takes more than 30-45 minutes, I need it to make enough for leftovers so it feeds us twice! Ha!

I also love meals like this one that can be easily altered to feed little ones. My ten month old isn’t eating much in the way of bread right now, but she loves roasted sweet potatoes, cheese of any sort, and of course watermelon. And while my nearly three-year old doesn’t exactly want caramelized onions on his sandwich, he’ll happily eat a grilled veggie sandwich with sweet potato, aged cheddar, spinach and balsamic reduction.

Grilled Veggie Sandwich with Aged Cheddar and Balsamic Reduction
 
Prep time
10 mins
Cook time
15 mins
Total time
25 mins
 
This Grilled Veggie Sandwich with Aged Cheddar and Balsamic Reduction meets all my criteria to make the regular meal rotation - tasty, healthy, and easy!
Author: Kaylee Pauley
Recipe type: Lunch/Sandwich
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with nonstick spray, lay sliced sweet potatoes out in single layer. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through, flipping halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, add sliced onions to sauce pan with a little coconut oil and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until caramelized.
  3. Assemble sandwiches by spreading garlic aioli on bread, then layer cheese, sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, spinach and a drizzle of balsamic reduction, then grill using panini maker or place in oven at 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes.
3.5.3251

 

The post Grilled Veggie Sandwich with Aged Cheddar and Balsamic Reduction appeared first on Lemons and Basil. Copyright © 2014 Lemons and Basil

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I know, a grilled cheese sandwich hardly seems blog worthy. BUT, before you get all judgy on me {not that I actually think any of you are judgy}, let me plead my case. We all know that bread + cheese + griddle = grilled cheese. And as kids, and even adults, we loved them. To reiterate, bread + cheese, what’s not to love, right?

However, introduce this garlic-green-pesto-yumminess to that bread + cheese combo, and this typical grilled cheese suddenly isn’t so typical. Instead, this Easy Spinach Pesto Grilled Cheese is SO yummy, SO easy, and SO…grown up! As in totally-suitable-for-a-dinner-party kind of grown up!

Here are the details:
  • stringy, smoldering muenster cheese
  • bold spinach garlic pesto
  • gluten-free Hawaiian sweet bread
  • 10 minutes prep, 8 minutes cook-time, DINNER SERVED!

Some things in life just go together. Like peanut butter and jelly, or wine and cheese, OR this bread + cheese + pesto!

Easy Spinach Pesto Grilled Cheese
 
Prep time
10 mins
Cook time
10 mins
Total time
20 mins
 
So much yumminess in this Easy Spinach Pesto Grilled Cheese with it's smoldering Muenster cheese, garlic green-pesto-goodness and golden toasted gluten-free bread!
Author: Kaylee Pauley
Recipe type: Lunch
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • FOR SPINACH PESTO:
  • 2 cups packed spinach
  • ¾ ripe avocado
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp water
  • FOR GRILLED CHEESE:
  • 
8 slices Canyon Bakehouse Hawaiian Sweet Bread {or bread of choice}
  • 4 slices Muenster cheese
  • fresh baby spinach
  • Additional topping suggestions: crumbled goat cheese, caramelized onions
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To make the spinach pesto, add spinach, avocado, pecans, Parmesan, garlic clove, lemon juice, salt, pepper and water to the bowl of food processor. Process on high for 10-20 seconds, remove lid and scrap down sides, then process again until smooth consistency is reached.
  3. To assemble the sandwiches, lather one side of bread with spinach pesto, add a few spinach leaves and Muenster cheese, then top with another piece of bread. Repeat to create the other three sandwiches.
  4. Lay sandwiches out on baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the pan and flip each sandwich,then bake additional 3 minutes or until bread is golden brown and cheese has melted. Serve immediately!
Notes
*The Spinach Pesto serves approximately 8 - two tbsp per serving.
*I only used about half of the Spinach Pesto to make these sandwiches, you can store the leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
3.5.3251

 

The post Easy Spinach Pesto Grilled Cheese appeared first on Lemons and Basil. Copyright © 2014 Lemons and Basil

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THIS RECIPE IS SPONSORED BY ANGIE’S BOOMCHICKAPOP

Popcorn has been a long time favorite snack of mine. As a kid, my mom did nearly all the cooking, but my dad had a few specialty items that were his to fix. Stovetop popcorn being one of those. I remember devouring bowls full of the lightly salted fresh popcorn. Looking back, I get why my mom preferred for us to eat popcorn rather than potato chips. In my opinion, it’s definitely a better choice, and I’m confident that her choices then influence my own now. Because…simply put, I’ll choose popcorn over chips every time!

Maybe one day we’ll get a stovetop popcorn pan ourselves, but until then Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP is where it’s at for us! I LOVE their products and their commitment to keeping things real. By that, I mean keeping it simple and using real ingredients, that are non-GMO, and without high-fructose corn syrup.

They have sooo many great flavors to choose from, but some of our favorites are the Sea Salt, Light Kettle Corn, and Real Butter. Each of these flavors deliver on whole grain goodness, making them great energy-boosting, everyday snacks. If you’re not familiar with Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP, click on this link to see which store nearest to you carries their products and Go.Get.Some…NOW!

But aside from great tasting snacks, can I just take a second to say, this is a company worth supporting. Yes, they’re striving to make better-for-you-snacks {because let’s be real, we all eat snacks}, but they’re also encouraging people to live out loud, make each day count, and “crush it!!” As a mom with little ones, I LOVE this. I NEED this attitude, for my kids, for myself!

Feeling energized yet?

Or do we need to talk a little popcorn + chocolate + peanut butter? Because those three things on their own are some of my FAVS. But mix them together and things just got even better! I went for Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP’s Light Kettle Corn for these Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn Bars, but I think the Sea Salt and Real Butter would be great options as well.

These lovely little treats are a breeze to make and so yummy. In short, combine and melt the chocolate, peanut butter and honey on the stove, then drizzle over the popcorn, stir, and spread out into a pan. It’s that easy. The most time-consuming part is waiting for the bars to harden up a bit before cutting into squares. But truthfully, you could easily skip the 9×13 pan and just coat the popcorn in the chocolate-peanut-butter-gooeyness and get to eatin’!

Whether you’ve got an upcoming road trip, a girls-night get-together or a back yard cookout on the calendar, you need these Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn Bars! 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn Bars + Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP
 
Prep time
10 mins
Cook time
20 mins
Total time
30 mins
 
Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP is a favorite in our household! Their Light Kettle Corn is the perfect base for these Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn Bars, snacking just got even better!!
Author: Kaylee Pauley
Recipe type: Snack/Dessert
Serves: 20
Ingredients
  • 1 bag Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP Light Kettle Corn
  • ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup organic creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup peanut butter powder + 3 tbsp water
  • ⅓ cup raw honey
Instructions
  1. Mix peanut butter powder with water, then add to small sauce pan with chocolate chips, peanut butter, and honey. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously, until all chocolate chips have melted and ingredients are well combined.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, add Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP Light Kettle Corn to large bowl, then sort to remove any small kernels {there were very few in mine!}
  4. Coat 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  5. Once chocolate peanut butter mixture has cooled slightly, pour over popcorn in large bowl and use spatula to mix thoroughly until all popcorn is fully coated.
  6. Spoon chocolate covered popcorn into prepared 9x13 baking dish. Use spatula to press popcorn firmly into even layer, then put in refrigerator 25-30 minutes or until bars have harden enough to cut through with sharp knife. Store in airtight container for 3-5 days. I prefer to keep ours in the refrigerator, but they can also be stored at room temperature.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bar Calories: 97 Fat: 4 Saturated fat: 1 Unsaturated fat: 1 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 15 Sugar: 10 Sodium: 50 Fiber: 2 Protein: 2 Cholesterol: 0
3.5.3239

 

The post Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn Bars + Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP appeared first on Lemons and Basil. Copyright © 2014 Lemons and Basil

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Josh and I were just talking the other morning about smells and their ability to bring back memories or suddenly make you think of a time or place you haven’t thought of in years. A quick google search revealed that this is known as “odor-evoked autobiographical memory”. It seems research has been conducted and concluded that odors are especially effective as reminders of past experience, much more so than cues from other senses, such as sights or sounds.

I can’t help but feel like this is often the case with food as well. Maybe part of it is due to the smell of the food, but with my mom no longer here with us, so often making, serving, and eating a recipe she always made brings back vivid memories. Whether the memory is from childhood, adolescence, or special get-togethers as adults, the food somehow triggers clear images. Sometimes I feel like I can see the room or even the table, feel the atmosphere, remember her laughter. It’s like my brain somehow recalls things that I might not have otherwise thought to remember. If that makes sense.

These granola bars do exactly that. They take me back to being in my parents house in college, chatting with my mom late in the evening while she made these every other week or so. Watching her go through each step, bake, remove and press, bake, remove and press, add chocolate chips, bake. Then once they cooled, she’d cut them and wrap each one individually, before putting them in a gallon bag and sticking them in the refrigerator. All the while keeping up a casual conversation with me. It was through those college years, living at home, that my mom became one of my closest friends.

I went round and round trying to think of a title for these. Knowing that labeling them “Mom’s Granola Bar” might not be the best for SEO, yet feeling like there was no other appropriate name. So I finally settled on Mom’s Chocolate Covered Protein Bars. The recipe isn’t exactly what she made, there are substitutions here and there to try to make them slightly healthier, to boost the protein, cut the sugar, etc. But they’re 100% modeled after her granola bars. Bars she made with love for my dad to take to work. Knowing he loves his chocolate, yet wanting him to have an alternative to a candy bar.

And the older I get, the more I realize I do things simply because…that’s the way my mom did. Like storing my flour and nuts in the freezer, or keeping bread in the fridge. So, like my mom, when I make these, I wrap them individually and store them in a gallon bag in the refrigerator. Easily pulling them out for Josh’s lunch, a quick snack, or a healthier treat to satisfy my sweet-tooth.

If you’d rather skip the protein powder and like the idea of butterscotch chips combined with the chocolate, email me directly and I’ll send you my mom’s exact recipe.

 

Mom's Chocolate Covered Protein Bars
 
Prep time
10 mins
Cook time
20 mins
Total time
30 mins
 
These are a modified version of my Mom's Chocolate Covered Protein Bars. She use to make these weekly for my dad to take to work, and they quickly became a favorite in our household! Perfect for a quick snack when needing a little energy!
Author: Kaylee Pauley
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 2 cups ground oats {certified gluten-free if necessary}
  • 1 cup whole oats {certified gluten free if necessary}
  • 1 cup bran flakes {substitute with GF corn flakes if needed}
  • ¼ cup flaxseed
  • 1 cup protein powder
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • ½ cups honey {or maple syrup for vegan}
  • ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips {vegan if necessary}
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix ground oats, whole oats, bran flakes {roughly crushed}, flaxseed, and protein powder together.
  3. In a separate medium size bowl, mix mashed banana, honey, creamy peanut butter, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and stir until thoroughly mixed.
  5. Spray 9x13 pan with coconut oil cooking spray, then add batter and spread evenly. Use a metal spatula and press down firmly. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and press down firmly again with metal spatula, then bake additional 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven, press down one last time with metal spatula, then pour 1 cup dark chocolate chips on top and return to oven for 1 minute.
  7. Remove from oven and spread chocolate chips into a smooth layer. Put in freezer for about 10 minutes or until chocolate has hardened. Cut into 24 squares and store in airtight container.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 167 Fat: 7 Saturated fat: 2 Unsaturated fat: 1 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 25 Sugar: 13 Sodium: 25 Fiber: 3 Protein: 6 Cholesterol: 0
3.5.3239

 

The post Mom’s Chocolate Covered Protein Bars appeared first on Lemons and Basil. Copyright © 2014 Lemons and Basil

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Mother’s Day 2013 is the last good Mother’s Day I had with my mom. And I can still so vividly remember having her, my dad, and my sister’s family to our house in South Nashville for brunch before heading to the Nashville zoo. I’ll never forget that day and the memories we created. So in honor of my mom, and that special brunch we shared, here are 16 of my favorite Healthy Mother’s Day Breakfast and Brunch Ideas.

Now that I’m a mother myself, Mother’s Day has taken on a whole new meaning. I know first hand what it is to give of yourself all day every day, soaking in the good with the hard, cherishing the laughter and joy, yet wrestling with the guilt of having lost my temper with an energetic, wonderful, yet sometimes challenging toddler. I know what it is to be sleep deprived with a newborn, yet so full of love I think my heart just might burst.

I’ve never experienced a role on this earth that is more rewarding than being a mother. And I’ve never experienced a role on this earth that is more exhausting than being a mother. To want so desperately to sow into these little beings all the love there is to be found in this earth, all the love I feel in my heart. To teach them right from wrong, and to give and be kind to others. To teach them what it means to be humble and ask forgiveness when they’ve hurt another. To let them be wild and curious, experiencing all that life has to offer.

It’s been said so many times before and rings so true that the days are long while the years are short. Every mother whose children are grown caution young mothers to soak in every moment and cherish each and every second. Yet us “young mothers” struggle with the guilt of feeling frustrated, exhausted, or completely at a loss sometimes, not knowing how to get through to our little ones, to make them understand, and to do so with love and patience.

To be a mother is to play so many roles at once. The days start early, end late, and sometimes goes all night. But I wouldn’t give anything in this world to change it. I struggle daily with whether I’m do any of it right. But I love them more than life itself. And I think the fact that I worry whether I’m a good mom or not, in itself, is evidence that I am. And I am so, so thankful to be their mother, and to be gifted these precious little lives.

And this Mother’s Day, more than ever, I wish my mom was still here to celebrate and honor. For me to tell her “Mom, I get it now…thank you for loving me the way you did. Thank you for giving so much of yourself for me. Thank you for wanting me, cherishing me, and always believing in me. Thank you for being the best mother I could possibly have had or asked for.”

Mother’s Day is full of different emotions for people. Some have lost their mother, some have lost a child, some are desperately wanting to be a mother, others may be battling health challenges with their mother and experiencing turmoil… if you fall into any of those, or something else that makes this day a difficult tone for you, know that you’re not alone. You are seen and you are thought of and you are loved.

And if your mom is still with you today, love her well, regardless of where your relationship stands right now. If you’re a mom and struggling with whether you’re doing things right…I don’t think there is a clear-cut “right”, but rest assure that you are amazing and so worthy of celebrating. 

Pancakes, Crepes and Waffles

Peach Crepes with Goat Cheese Cream Filling

Sweet Potato Waffles (Grain and Refined Sugar-Free!)

Gluten-Free Pancakes with Cranberry Apple Compote

Smoothies

Anti-Inflammatory Papaya SmoothieTurmeric Banana Smoothie with Ginger

Dark Chocolate Berry Beet Smoothie

Bai5 Raspberry Smoothie

Sweet Bread, Donuts, Breakfast Cookies, and Bars

Gluten-Free Maple Baked Donuts with Maple Glaze

Blueberry Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Filling

Healthy Cinnamon Apple & Oat Breakfast Cookies

Savory Toast, Fritters, and Breakfast Bowls

5 Minute Sweet and Savory Sweet Potato Toast

Zucchini Fritters with Poached Eggs

Roasted Veggie Breakfast Bowl with Fried Eggs + Sriracha

Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts Breakfast Bowl

The post 16 Healthy Mother’s Day Breakfast and Brunch Ideas appeared first on Lemons and Basil. Copyright © 2014 Lemons and Basil

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