Spring has Sprung in California! Try my Recipe for Oven Roasted Asparagus with Garlic Lemon & Crunchy Toasted Almonds

aspargus

LOVE.. LOVE… LOVE…. Asparagus. Spring time is right around the corner, and asparagus season is closer than we think. Best measure is to always source  young fresh stalks of asparagus but if  you are using very thick stalks of asparagus, peel away the tough outer layers.

The easiest way is to grasp the base of the asparagus in one hand and use a vegetable peeler in the other, carefully peeling toward while stopping short of  your hand and rotating the asparagus as you peel. You’ll wind up with a short piece of stalk with the peelings attached; you can easily snap it off at the point where the peeling stops.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus spears, cleaned and tough ends snapped off

2 – 3 cloves garlic, cleaned and smashed to puree

2 – 3 Tablespoons good quality olive oil

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1 Meyer lemon zested and juiced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 -2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves

Method:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Prepare a sheet pan sprayed with good quality cooking spray or, for easy clean up– line your baking sheet with foil and spray foil. Set aside.

Snap off and discard woody bases from asparagus or peel if necessary. Place asparagus and garlic in a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan. Drizzle with oil, lemon juice and thyme leaves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Remove from casserole dish and lay single layer on prepared baking sheet.

Roast for 10 to 15 minutes or until asparagus is crispy and tender, rolling once halfway through roasting. Remove from oven and toss with toasted almond slivers and lemon zest. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately with my home made mayonnaise recipe at 30 second mom.

Makes approximately 6 servings.

Green Monster Muffins! 

My stance on getting sneaky in the kitchen is very simple. I don’t like to lie about food, especially to children. I also know how hard it can be to get little ones to eat green. Fun holidays like, Halloween or St. Patricks Day and year end holiday are a great time to get green. Or flex your parental power and establish a “green food “ day of the week and introduce new green foods on that day.



Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all purpose or gluten-free flour

1 cup cane or coconut sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 cups raw baby spinach

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups butter

3 over ripe bananas

2 teaspoons good quality vanilla
Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350’F degrees and prepare 2 regular sized muffin tins with non-stick, organic cooking spray. Or cupcake liners. Or, prepare 2 loaf pans

2.In a blender, combine spinach and bananas. Blend until spinach changed to a liquid state.
3. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and allspice. Mix well. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of your stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and butter, mix on high speed until creamy and sugar crystals begin to dissolve- about three to five minutes. Add eggs, one at a time mixing well in between each addition.

 

5. Slowly beat in the spinach – banana mixture. Add vanilla.

 

6. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix well to combine.

 

7. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins or two prepared loaf pans.

 

8. Bake for approximately 30-45 minutes or until muffins spring back to the touch and are slightly browned on edges. 60-90 minutes if baking loafs.
Test for doneness by running a toothpick in the center. If if pulls out clean, loafs are done. Makes approximately 2 dozen medium muffins, 1 1/2 large and 3-4 dozen mini muffins or 2 loafs.

Veggie hide-and-seek

Are your little ones eating enough veggies? They probably aren’t specifically asking for extra peas and carrots. That could change by hiding them.

Investigators at Columbia University recently gave this a go. They enlisted 68 elementary and middle school children and gave them two samples to try. One was labeled broccoli gingerbread spice cake and the other simply gingerbread spice cake. The kids didn’t know the cake was the same but they loved the gingerbread spice cake that didn’t have broccoli in the name.

While children were more likely to eat products that didn’t have veggies listed on the label, doctors did encourage parents to introduce their children to a variety of vegetables to find one they like. Then the hiding won’t be necessary.

Let’s give it a try with sweet potato cupcakes with toasted marshmallow frosting. Thanks to Better Homes and Gardens and Lovin’ From the Oven for the recipes, respectively.

Ingredients
For the cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
16 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
17 oz. sweet potato puree
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the frosting
8 large egg whites
2 cups sugar
½ tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; stir together with a fork and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Mix in the sweet potatoes and vanilla extract, beating just until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
  3. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes; then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in the top of a double boiler. Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it reaches 160 degrees with an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Mix in the vanilla until combined. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.
  5. For a fun extra touch, you can use a kitchen torch and garnish with a sprinkle of brown sugar, if desired.