Lavender Sugar Recipe

Yum! Lavender sugar for your coffee.Lavender sugar. Make this. But only if you like lavender. If you don’t, you will hate this. And I don’t want you to make things you hate. I’m obsessed with lavender. I love the smell but I also love that you can use edible lavender to scent and flavor just about anything. When the weather starts to turn colder, I love to use enhanced sugars in my coffee.  So I decided to make lavender sugar instead of buying it at the spice shop. This lavender sugar recipe is super easy and your house will smell amazing.

Easy lavender sugarYou just need sugar and edible lavender. I found this lavender at Mother’s Market but kind of had to look around town for a minute before I finally found it there. Whole Foods didn’t have any (What the heck, Whole Foods?! I thought you carried all the hippie things.). But you can buy lavender sugar here.  This little box of lavender has about 2 TBSP in it. And you only need 1 TBSP for this so maybe use the rest to make this lavender lemonade…But if you are going to buy it, and you like lavender, I suggested buying more so you have it on hand.

Edible lavender for lavender sugar.I usually hate my tiny food processor but it worked perfectly for this recipe. First you add the lavender and give it a whir to break it down. Oh the smells that will waft through your kitchen!

Easy lavender sugar recipe.Next add 1 cup of sugar to the lavender and chop it up again.

Easy lavender sugar recipe.Finally, mix the remaining sugar and the lavender sugar from the food processor together with a whisk. Have I mentioned this smells really great? Because it does.  It will take all your strength but you should probably refrain from burying your face in the bowl of lavender sugar.

Lavender sugar makes a great gift idea.Lavender sugar can be used in your coffee, tea, baking, or just about any other way that you would use sugar.

Lavender sugar for .your fall coffee and bakingIt also would make a great holiday gift idea. Just add a little tag with some suggestions for uses and you’ve got yourself the easiest homemade gift ever. Mmmmmmmmmmmm. I’m going to go smell it right now. And maybe have a spoonful. But just one or two.

Lavender Sugar Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP edible lavender, dried
  • 2 cups sugar

Instructions

  1. Add lavender to a small food processor, grind for 10 - 15 seconds.
  2. Add 1 cup of sugar to the food processor, grind with lavender for 10 - 15 seconds.
  3. Pour contents from food processor to a bowl.
  4. Add remaining cup of sugar and whisk with lavender sugar.
  5. Store in an air tight container.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/lavender-sugar-recipe/

 

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestStumbleUponShare

Babies Have Great Parties : BabyShower.com

Use plastic animal cocktail charms as decor for food at a baby shower. I feel bad for babies. They get great parties and they aren’t even really there. I mean, they are there, in belly, but they don’t get to eat the yummy food or see how great the decor is. Baby showers are awesome. I contribute to Babyshower.com and while I won’t be having any more baby showers thrown for me (I have two wonderful boys but this bakery is closed) there is nothing more fun to plan than a baby shower. Next time you have to plan one you should definitely check out the site. You’ll find awesome content on there, and yeah, some of it is mine. ;) Some of the stuff pertains to non-baby entertaining as well. Like the cabbage salad recipe I shared. How stinking cute are those cocktail charms? While the mermaid might not be appropriate, these cute little animals could certainly enhance a baby shower theme.

DIY twist ties for party favors.And these DIY fabric twist ties are super simple and really great looking. I’m a big fan of candy or food as favors and simple packaging. You can find fabric to match any color scheme. And people love candy. Babyshower.com just released some great printable sheets to help you in your planning, so be sure to check them out! They include everything from budget worksheets to one to organizing invitation information. It’s a great resource!

And since it is that time of year, check out my inspiration for a Halloween themed baby shower.

Quick and Easy Dinners

I haven't had much time to cook lately so I rounded up some of the quick meals I've been making for dinner. I’m pretty much ridiculously stressed out right now. And this totally affects how I feed myself and my family. So I’ve decided to share the recipes for the quick and easy dinners that I have been making that are still tasty but really easy to make. On the nights where we have extra activities like Cub Scouts, I stick to something super simple like pasta, which incidentally, is my kid’s favorite meal that I make. It’s store-bought sauce and meatballs, but they love it so why reinvent the wheel. But on the other days, I try to mix it up between crock and things that don’t take a ton of effort or prep work. There are go-to meals that we make but I try to add in some new things too. My kids are very picky so I try all different flavors to see if I can find something they are in to. And if they don’t like something, I take a break from it, but try it again a few months later.

Our regular favorites:

Salami and Peperoncini Pizza – This pizza was based on my favorite sandwiches and is super easy to make and SO tasty

Quick Teriyaki Stir fry – We are actually having this tonight. It is super simple to make and the boys LOVE it! Which is crazy because there are vegetables in it and it is pretty healthy. It is also great cold for lunch the next day!

Super Easy Chicken and Pasta – My husband requests this one and I am happy to oblige considering it uses store-bought chicken and has a ton of flavor. Did I mention it’s easy?

Tacos or Taco salad: Homemade tortilla chips with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, cheese and hot sauce.

New things I’m trying:

Bacon Cheeseburger Sandwiches – Made these two nights ago and they were INSANE! I skipped her seasoning, but added about 3/4 of a packet of onion soup mix (you know, the powder with dried onions? That.) to the meat. Super yummy. The cheese is a must to sort of bind the meet together, but even if it turns in to a big old mess, it is still super tasty. LOVED it!

Slow Cooker Creamy Bacon Ranch Chicken  –  This is on the agenda for tomorrow. My fingers are crossed that the boys will like it. My oldest has been in to ranch dressing lately and they love spaghetti so fingers crossed! I thought it would be a good way to much up our standard pasta.

Sweet Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken – I am pretty sure my kids will like this one. They seem to like teriyaki (although their tastes literally change by the minute). This will be on our menu next week.

Crockpot Rustic Italian Beef Ragu – I love a good ragu. So much flavor! And this one is done in the crock pot so that means I can busy myself with life and not be stuck over a stove except for cooking noodles. Yeah!

Bacon and Brie Grilled Cheese – By Friday night I’m over cooking from the week, but we are trying to save money and not go out much. I’ve decided Friday nights are sandwich night. Not cold cuts (probably not cold cuts) but sandwiches that are a bit fancier then we send to school in lunches. My kids love bacon so I am going to do a bacon grilled cheese this week. Except I am going to sub the brie out for some extra aged gouda which is closer to parmesan in flavor which I know my boys really like, but will melt a little better. I’m REALLY looking forward to this…

Need more recipe ideas? Follow my “recipes” board on Pinterest. And remember that fluke when I was eating all clean? I still have that board too…

Now, would you be so kind as to share with me what you are eating?  What are your go-to meals?

Roasted Vegetable Farro Salad with Arugula

Roasted Veggie Farro and Arugula Salad.So there is not really a recipe for this recipe.  This Roasted Vegetable Farro Salad with Arugula is what I eat for lunch. Like, a lot. During the month of June, I ate ridiculously healthily. Egg whites for breakfast. Salads with tons of fresh veggies and no dressing for lunches. Lean proteins or more salad for dinner. I lost my muffin top and also the will to eat that healthy. While I loved how I looked, the minute I went on my Palm Springs retreat, and had delicious food again, I was off the wagon. When I finally wised up and figured out that I need to continue to eat well, but maybe not in such a rigid way, I started eating this salad. This salad is hearty and satisfying and I think, still pretty healthy. Since there is a little bit of prep work involved, I try to do the rest of my diner prep for the week at the same time.

Prepare your meals for the week on one day for quicker prep during the week. I try to cut all the vegetables and bag them up based on what recipe they go with all in one afternoon.  While I may spend more time in the kitchen that day (usually a Sunday) it makes cooking during the week so much faster. I make the farro and roast the veggies for this salad ahead of time so that they are ready to grab. That is one of my biggest problems. If I am hungry, and there isn’t a good, healthy option readily available, I’m going straight for chips and salsa or cookies. I’ve recently become addicted to iced coffees which seem to help me keep going throughout the afternoons. Going back to school made me tired. I need a little pick me up. So I usually grab or make an iced coffee to have with me in the kitchen on prep days (wine makes me too sleepy) And yes, that is a zombie growing in the container of water. Just try to tell me you don’t have one of those on your counter.

Trader Joe's 10 minute farro is a great side dish and is part of my favorite lunch salad! I buy this Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Farro 5 bags at a time. I love it! For this salad I cook it with chicken stock but it takes on a really lovely, rich flavor when cooked in beef stock. Really you could use either but I like the chicken stock for the salad to keep the flavor a little bit lighter.  I find that it takes longer than 10 minutes to get it to the texture that I like, but it still doesn’t take too long.

I love farro for all kinds of different dishes. Follow the directions of your choice on the package. I usually bring one of those big boxes of chicken stock to a boil, then add the farro.  I bring it back to a boil and then let it simmer for about 20 minutes, testing it after about 15 minutes and adding more time as needed. I like it a bit firm still, it can get kind of mushy if you over cook it.

Red bell pepper is a great way to sweeten up a veggie farro salad.I’m grateful that my oldest son is showing interest in cooking and I’ve loved having him in the kitchen with me lately. (thanks Guy and Rachel – your Kid’s Cook Off really helped.) This is a great recipe to have the kids help with because there is a bunch of veggies to prep.  We put on some music and start cutting.

Roasted squash is a great way to add lots of flavor to this salad.This recipe can be adapted based on what is in season. On my last trip to Trader Joe’s they didn’t have zucchini or at least I didn’t see any zucchini. But they did have this squash that I have never tried before. I decided to substitute this instead, I think it is a Delicata? You could also do sweet potatoes or butternut squash. The squash helps make it a little more hearty in the absence of meat.

I'm sort of addicted to roasted garlic cherry tomatoes. I make a big batch and then use them all week for all kinds of things like this veggie farro salad and scrambled egg whites! I have been all about roasted cherry tomatoes lately. Again, these are great to have kids help with. You probably don’t really need to cut them in half but I like to. Add a few cloves of crushed garlic, a little olive oil and sea salt – YUM! Once these are roasted, I keep them separate from the rest of the roasted veggies. That way I can add them to other dishes throughout the week. These are delicious scrambled with egg whites and topped with arugula for breakfast. Or they are fantastic on some crusty toast and avocado for a light lunch or snack. Or over pasta for a really sweet, easy sauce.

Make roasted veggies for this salad and other dishes throughout the week.Cover your pans with foil for easy clean up. I roast all the vegetables at the same time at about 375 for 15 minutes and then watch them to see if they are cooked or burning. Have I mentioned that I have no cooking training? That’s how I do it. I know my pans are overcrowded so the vegetables sort of steam instead of really roasting and getting all browned and caramely. If you want to get a better brown, put less on the pans. Which means you might have to do it in batches. I ain’t got time for that.

My fave Toscano cheese from Trader Joes that is a great addition to this farro arugula salad.This cheese is amazing. And while I know that cheese is not something you should eat en mass, the smallest little bit in this salad really makes a difference.  It’s super creamy. I only use about a tablespoon. In the few months that I have been learning about healthier eating, I’ve realized that you should try to find really flavorful items that don’t add too much in the way of fats, etc. While there are certainly things that are better for you than cheese, this cheese packs so much flavor that you only need a small amount. If you don’t like black pepper, you can also try the red wine soaked version also at Trader Joe’s (which is also AMAZING on top of the farro cooked in beef stock – it becomes super rich, risotto like, and it is total comfort food.)

A good olive oil is all you need to dress this flavorful salad.Once everything is cooked, I put them in their storage containers so they are ready to go for the week. And the only thing that you  need to dress the salad is a delicious olive oil.

Arugula and farro go really well together and make a hearty, satisfying salad.Like I mentioned above, I started looking for foods that have tons of flavor. Arugula is one of the items that I use in a lot of dishes. I’m kind of obsessed with it. I love the peppery flavor and how it can pair with cold or warm dishes. The arugula adds a nice fresh flavor to this salad and is a great way to add in some greens to your meal. I simply add the cold farro to it and then add my other ingredients. Since everything is already prepared and ready to go, this salad is super quick to put together and perfect for busy weekdays.

This delicious olive oil and Maldon sea salt is the only thing you need to dress this salad. I use a little bit less than a tablespoon of the olive oil and a pinch of Maldon sea salt to the top of the salad at the very end. This brand, California Olive Ranch, is my favorite. Their oils are so flavorful.  Look for their EVOO that says “mild and buttery.” Delicious!

I make all the components on one day and then have this roasted veggie and farro salad all week long.On this day I was starving and so I was fairly heavy-handed with the ingredients. I didn’t plan on sharing this recipe on the blog until I was just starting to prepare everything so it took longer to make than usual (stopping to take photos of each step can be super time-consuming!). But how good does that look!  Look at all those colors!

Roasted veggie and farro arugula salad.This can easily be modified to suit your taste preferences. A nice quality parmesan cheese would also add a little creamy, nuttiness in place of the Toscano. Any kind of squash could be used, And you could substitute the arugula for another kind of flavorful green. I love this salad because it keeps me full but is packed with yummy veggies and mostly healthy ingredients. But really, what is life without a little bit of cheese, right?

Roasted Vegetable Farro Arugula Salad

Ingredients

  • Roasted Veggies
  • 2 zucchini (or other squash), chopped
  • 1 yellow onion chopped (red onion will work too)
  • 2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
  • 2 containers of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2-3 cloves crushed garlic
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • Farro
  • 1 package of Trader Joe's 10 Minute Farro
  • 1 box of Chicken Stock (I don't know how much is in the box - about 4 cups I would guess)
  • To make salad
  • Arugula
  • Toscano Cheese (shredded)
  • Prepared Farro
  • Roasted veggies
  • Roasted cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • sea salt

Instructions

  1. Roasted Veggies
  2. Clean and chop all veggie and toss with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.
  3. To keep on the healthier side, consider using a spray oil to ensure you aren't using too much oil.
  4. Roast on cookie sheets for about 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees.
  5. Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
  6. Clean and cut cherry tomatoes in half.
  7. Spread out on cookie sheet or roasting pan.
  8. Add crushed garlic
  9. Toss with oil and sea salt
  10. Roast at the same time as the veggies above
  11. NOTE: these burn easier than the rest of the veggies because of the natural sugars, keep an eye on them.
  12. Farro
  13. Follow recipe on bag (but basically you will boil the chicken stock, add the farro and simmer for about 10-20 minutes)
  14. For Salad
  15. Shred Toscano cheese
  16. To a bowl add a handful or two of arugula.
  17. Top with 1/2 - 3/4 cup of farro
  18. Add as many roasted veggies and tomatoes as you want
  19. Add about 1 tablespoon of cheese
  20. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  21. Sprinkle with Maldon sea salt
  22. Eat up.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/roasted-vegetable-farro-salad-with-arugula/

 

Fun School Lunch Ideas

Fun lunch idea for your kids. // cupcakesandcutlery.com*This post is sponsored by King’s Hawaiian. All opinions are my own. And I heart King’s Hawaiian.

You guys, I literally made the coolest sandwiches. They even said so themselves…My kids have been back in school for two weeks now. Which means two weeks of packing lunches. And while most days it is just plain old sandwiches, baby carrots, etc. I plan on throwing in some surprises this year.

Fun word sandwiches for back to school. // cupcakesandcutlery.comMy oldest is allergic to peanut butter so we don’t keep it in the house. We use Sunbutter as our nut-free alternative (I think I actually like this better than peanut butter…). This sandwich recipe is not earth shattering. Anyone can make a Sunbutter sandwich but I guarantee your kids will like these so much better than their usual. 

Sunbutter, banana and chocolate chip sandwiches. // cupcakesandcutlery.comSpread on your “butter” of choice. Top with sliced bananas and sprinkle on a few mini chocolate chips. (These allergen friendly ones are a really great size and I always have these on hand at home).  Easy as that. And you know how delicious King’s Hawaiian is plain. Just imagine its sweet goodness creamy Sunbutter and chocolate chips! And the banana totally counts as a fruit serving, right? 

Use a cookie cutter to make sandwiches more fun. // cupcakesandcutlery.comBut then, using just a simple cookie cutter, you can make that sandwich different and surprise your kids at lunch time. No need to oil the cutter, it will cut right through the soft King’s Hawaiian bread and Sunbutter perfectly. 

Shaped sandwiches are so much cuter. And trust me, kids like their food cute. // cupcakesandcutlery.comYou can stop there and just serve a round sandwich. Even this simple change will have the kids at the lunch tables talking. Or you can really blow minds with a super fun shaped cookie cutter

Peace and sandwiches. // cupcakesandcutlery.comOr you can make a few more letters and tell your kid what you think of them.  I think mine are pretty cool.  You only need to make sure that the cookie cutter you choose is completely open and doesn’t have any connectors on the top of it. The sandwich needs to be able to come out the top. 

Fun lunch box idea for kid's school lunches. // cupcakesandcutlery.comBased on the size of my cutters, it took about 3 sandwiches to make these 4 letters. And there is some waste (which you can totally keep in a plastic bag and serve as an after school snack). This is a once in a while type lunch. But your kids will LOVE it! You can let your kids figure out what the word is or you can pack them in numbered plastic bags to help them. These sandwiches could have also been “loco” funny, right?!

Sunbutter, banana and chocolate chip sandwiches. // cupcakesandcutlery.comI do not often send my kid’s sandwiches with chocolate chips in them.  I sent one with my older son the first week of school and that was the first thing I heard about when he got home. So that was really fun. I loved knowing that he probably had a big smile when he took his first bite of sandwich.

There are tons of ways you can make your child’s lunchbox more fun. You can check out King’s Hawaiian Lunchbox Fun Pinterest board for more fun food ideas, printables and more!

*Thank you for supporting my sponsors, like King’s Hawaiian, who let me do what I love.