May 29, 2018

Purple sweet potato and blackberry pancakes

I've had some purple sweet potatoes in my pantry for a while now. They are a little expensive, so I don't get them often, but I really love the color so sometimes I will splurge on a bag. I'm always trying to work different produce colors into our diet. I use them mostly for smoothies (just bake, peel, and you have a delicious and lovely colored smoothie ingredient). Since I am always happy to have sweet potato pancakes, I figured why not try them with the purple ones and some blackberries for extra color, flavor, and texture. Plus our twins are pretty much pancake fanatics so I knew these would be a big hit at our house (and I hope they will be at yours, too). These are another way to get your kids to eat something they may not otherwise eat and sneak in some extra nutrition. Fun fact, when you cut up the blackberries and add them to the batter, they will start to turn everything a strange greenish-blue color. It's not the color I was expecting of these pancakes, but they still taste good! This recipe will serve about 4 people.

May 23, 2018

Picnic macaroni salad

Finished bowl of macaroni salad

Whip up a batch of this macaroni salad for your next cookout or picnic. Bell pepper, celery, and green onions add flavor, color, and crunch.

This salad is simply seasoned and is not a sweet macaroni salad. It goes perfectly with pretty much any cookout or grilling food- hot dogs, burgers, sausage, barbecue chicken, ribs, and more. Pasta or potato salad is pretty standard at all of of family's cookouts and summer picnics.

As with many cold salads, it's best made the night before or at least a few hours ahead so it can chill and the flavors can all get happy together. I like to add some crunchy and colorful vegetables to give the salad color and texture, but you can omit the peppers or use another color bell pepper. You can add grated carrots instead or even cooked frozen peas. You can change the noodle shape as well to other short cut pastas.

This weekend is the unofficial start of summer so it's a perfect time to make macaroni salad! It's a side dish you will enjoy all summer long and is sure to be a family favorite. 

Finished bowl of macaroni salad

May 8, 2018

Fresh garlic & herb dip

Cool, creamy, and full of fresh garlic and herbs, this dip is sure to get you to eat more vegetables! Now that spring weather has finally arrived here in the Western New York area, the first of our garden is sprouting up chives and flat-leaf parsley. Using fresh herbs in your food makes such a flavor difference and I'm glad to be able to have easy access to some again. Also, now that we have some sunshine, I'm starting to want to eat more fresh vegetables and salads. This dip is a terrific and tasty way to make sure you eat a few more. About once a week when we are pressed for time coming home from the kids' library class and my husband getting ready to leave for work, we will have a simple lunch of things like cheese, crackers, grapes, pickles/olives, and/or raw vegetables. We had this dip with our lunch and my husband and I both ate more vegetables than usual (the kids are not quite into raw vegetable territory yet - they will lick them and sometimes eat cucumbers, but that's the extent so far - though they did lick some dip). This dip would also go well with pretzels, pita chips, crackers, or spread onto a wrap with vegetables and turkey.