quick recipes

Recipe of the Week - Kale with Garlicky-Lime Tahini Dressing

Kale with Garlicky-Lime Tahini Dressing Serves 1 (main course) Serves 2 (side dish)

Prep. time – 15 minutes

1/2 head of kale ¼ c. tahini ¼ c. EVOO Juice from 1 lime 3-4 large cloves garlic, minced/pressed ¼ t. coarse ground black pepper ½ t. anchovy paste

This recipe is to taste. Add more tahini, add less garlic, etc. to make it your own.

Rip kale leaves from stem, rinse and tear into bite size pieces. Place in serving bowl.

Place remaining ingredients in small mixing bowl and whisk for approximately one minute or until well blended and thick. Pour over kale.

Massage dressing WELL into kale with hands. Paying attention to the color and texture of the leaves. They should be bright green and soft.

Serve immediately as a side, or as a main with your choice of protein.

Refrigerate for up to a week.

Recipe of the Week - Mom's Fresh Mint Tea

Mint Tea

So, it's "Mama Confession Time" here at the Motherhood Collective. Ready? *Deep breath.*

I didn't plant my  garden this year.

Yikes, well there it is.  I know you all are just shocked.

I've got lovely garden boxes full of weeds because tending the babies won over tending veggies.  However, last year I planted mint.  Mint is a wonderfully easy herb to grow and once you plant it, it keeps coming back.

So I have tons of completely "free range" mint and I thought I'd share my mother's recipe for homemade mint tea. You can serve it unsweetened, lightly sweetened, or SUPER DUPER (aka Southern style) sweetened.

Photo courtesy of http://foodgirl-sweet.blogspot.comIngredients: A handful of mint - (Clearly cooking isn't always an exact science.) 7-9 black tea bags 1 gallon of water Your "sweetening" preference - sugar, honey, pixie sticks, etc.

To make a gallon, cut a big handful of mint, rinse it off and put it in a container with 7-9 black tea bags. Boil 2 quarts of the water. Pour the boiling water over the mint and tea bags. Cover it and let it steep about 10 minutes or until the next 2 quarts of water comes to a boil. Pour off the first batch into a gallon pitcher. Now, pour the second 2 quarts onto the same mint and tea bags. Steep another 10 minutes and add to the first batch. My mother adds about 3/4 cup of sugar, so that's what I do...because you should ALWAYS do what your mother tells you!

If you find that this makes your tea too strong, use fewer tea bags next time. If it's not sweet enough...well, add more sugar.

So as we reach the end of this summer, see if you can find a little remaining mint, and try this recipe.  And keep it in mind come spring.  If you plant a little mint, it will truly take care of itself and you'll be able to enjoy homemade mint tea all summer long!


Recipe of the Week - Energy Fudgies

One year ago, I went off all dairy, cold turkey, in hopes of solving my health issues.  It was hard, and I was desperate.  I always wanted something sweet, but I wasn’t yet adept at substitutions.  My “Go Dairy Free” book arrived in the mail, and this was the first thing I made out of it.  It was delicious, healthy, simple, and I always have the ingredients on hand.  This is a great energy boost for the afternoon, filled with protein, healthy fat, and a small dose of calcium.  It is also great when you’re entertaining others with allergies, as it is grain, egg, and milk free! Carob Fudgies:  yields 20 bite-sized snacks

½ cup creamy almond, peanut, or sunflower butter (I love the almond the best) ½ cup agave nectar, honey, or light corn syrup (I do ¼ each of honey and agave) ½ cup sifted carob or cocoa powder (sift then measure) ½ cup sesame seeds ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

In a small saucepan, combine the nut butter and the sweetener.  Stir over medium-low heat until the two are melted together, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the carob/cocoa powder, followed by the sesame seeds, until everything is well combined.  Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to set up.  Place the coconut in a small dish.  Remove mixture from the fridge, and using a small spoon, scoop up some fudge.  Roll it into a 1 inch ball, and roll it in the coconut.  Repeat with remaining fudge.  Store them in the refrigerator. Energy Fudgies

If you want them to set up more, place them in the freezer.

Recipe of the Week - Weekly Granola

I have been a cereal addict for most of my life.  There have been many lunches and dinners where I was too lazy to put something together and just enjoyed a bowl of milky, crunchy goodness.  My husband and I wanted to get away from all the high-fructose corn syrup cereals, so we switched to more “natural” ones.  When Gabriel started wondering why he had to eat sugarless oatmeal while we pulled out the boxed breakfast, I realized I should evaluate our breakfasts a little more.  Even though all these cereals had no HFCS, they were still full of sugar, refined grains (aka, more sugar), and pretty pennies.  We did a couple weeks without cereal, but got tired of oatmeal and eggs. I had made granola before, for special treats, but they were always either full of sugar, tasteless, or pricey (because of all the delicious nuts and dried fruit).

I finally came across this recipe from “Pure Goodness,” and modified it to fit our needs.  We love it!  And I feel totally fine with giving this to Gabriel for breakfast, soaked in coconut milk happiness, or, when I get around to it, delicious homemade coconut milk yogurt (and before you think that sounds like way too much, I’ll confess that I have a yogurt maker appliance that literally just plugs into the wall.  It’s easy, and it works!).

I usually double this recipe, and make it every 10 days to 2 weeks.  This is the only cereal we have on hand anymore, and we can now have a variety of granola, eggs, and hot oatmeal.  It’s very flexible, so play around with it until you like it too!

If you want a “special treat” granola that tastes better than ANY store bought cereal I’ve ever had, check out this one:  http://ohsheglows.com/2012/10/12/cinnamon-bun-granola-recipe-halloween-treat-a-thon/.  While you’re at it, gorge yourself on the entire blog.

There are a couple tricks I use for every granola recipe now:  heat the liquids and salt together before combining with the dry oatmeal, bake on parchment paper, and let the granola sit for a while on the hot pan after removing from the oven (this is how you get the glorious clusters!). Coconut Granola Tropical Coconut Granola (Single Recipe)

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

¼ cup honey

1/6 cup coconut oil

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. salt

Dash of cinnamon (optional)

1-3 Tbsp. ground flax seed (optional)

Raisins, dried fruits, nuts (optional)

  1. Heat oven to 300 F
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, shredded coconut, and optional nuts
  3. In a small saucepan cook honey, oil, vanilla and salt over medium heat until the mixture just begins to simmer.
  4. Pour honey/oil mixture over oats and coconut flakes, optional cinnamon and flax seed, and stir with a wooden spoon until the well combined.
  5. Spread out granola on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Place in oven, bake for 10-15 minute increments, then stir granola.  Repeat until well-toasted, normally 30-40 minutes.
  6. Cool on baking sheet.  Add dried fruits when cooled.  Stir in airtight containers for up to two weeks.  Can also refrigerate or freeze for longer shelf life.

Recipe adapted from:  http://www.puregoodness.net/recipe-nutrition/tropical-coconut-granola/

Recipe of the Week - White Chicken Chili

Chili is my husband’s favorite  soup/stew, but we get tired of the mainstream beef, tomatoes, corn and kidney beans.  This is an excellent one to mix things up!  It is very flexible, and my favorite way to make it now is to sauté the onions, garlic, spices, and green chilies, then throw everything in the crockpot to let the flavors really meld together.White Chicken Chili


1 Tbsp. oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 4 ounce cans chopped green chile peppers

2 tsps. ground cumin

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (you can add more if you want it to go further)

3 cups chopped/shredded cooked chicken (I’ve used way less than this, or none at all)

3 15 ounce cans white cannellini beans (drain 1 can, use a whole can, and puree one whole can in a food processor to thicken the chili)

1 can pinto beans, drained

1-2 cans black beans

Optional cilantro, lime, Monterey jack cheese


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.  Slowly cook and stir the onion until tender.  Mix in the garlic, green chiles, cumin, oregano, and cayenne.  Continue to cook and stir until the mixture is tender, about 3 minutes.  Mix in the chicken and stir briefly.  Add broth and beans.  Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (or place in crockpot on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours).

You can always add more beans or broth to adjust texture, as well as to make the chili go further.  Dried beans would work as well, you would just have to add more cooking time and much more broth or water to desired preference.

Adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cha-chas-white-chicken-chili/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=cha%20cha%27s%20white%20chicken%20chili&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page

Balancing the Stacks: How Books Have Drawn Me Closer To (And Away From) My Kids


In September, the Motherhood Collective will feature posts on balance - having it or not! It's certainly a state most of us struggle to find. September is, for some, the calm before the storm. Our kids are back in school, fall activities have begun and we have a few precious weeks before we really have to start thinking about the holidays. What better time to take a few minutes to reflect on how we spend our time, juggle our lives and what we can do to achieve our own perfect balance! ~TMC

Last month, I shared with you my dirty little secret: I don't read to my baby.  At this stage in his life, he's more interested in chewing on the books than listening to them.  We talk, we sing, we explore (taste) our collection of board books, but that baby-on-the-lap-before bed traditional storytime is just not part of our bedtime routine.

At least not for my 9 month old.

I also have a daughter who is almost 3.5 (how did that happen?!?) and for her, our bedtime story is sacred.  We really began incorporating books into our bedtime routine when she transitioned to a toddler bed around 20 months.  It was a way of calming her at night, trying to make her drowsy enough that she wouldn't fight bedtime and would stay in her bed after we left the room. I was always the one who read the story, but it was family time, with all three of us--my daughter, my husband, and myself--huddled together on the floor.

And then last December my son was born.  From the day I returned home from the hospital, that bedtime story became "Our Special Time".  With a new baby in the house, one who turned out to be a horrible refluxer and needed even more mama attention than usual, carving time out for my daughter was both a necessity and a challenge.  But we made that storytime a priority.

One night we read a book about a brother and sister who were constantly getting into messes throughout the day.  Hands, feet, and noses always sticky.  For some reason, she latched on to the "sticky noses" phrase and now it's part of the way we say goodnight, a sign of affection, to rub "sticky" noses.  How awesome is that?  That something so simple as a bedtime story could become something so important as a way of saying "I love you"?

Precious, isn't it?

But let's forget about the kiddos for a minute.

Reading is also how I find my own balance and space.  After the kids are in bed, I can be found with my laptop and a pile of library books.  While my husband edits his latest batch of photos, I catch up on the latest in children's literature.  When I was in the classroom, I book-talked with my students constantly.  Literacy is a passion, something I want to share.  It's why I went back to school for my graduate degree in library science.

And then I had kids.  And now instead of being in the classroom, I'm teaching my own little ones at home.

The most challenging part of being a stay-at-home parent?  The lack of adult interaction (can I get an "Amen!"?).  You have to create opportunities, otherwise it is entirely possible to go an entire day  speaking to nobody over three feet tall.  Even with those opportunities, my poor husband still braces himself for an avalanche of stored up conversation the moment he walks in the door.

So I turned to blogging. And blogging led to networking.  And networking allowed me to turn Once Upon A Story into a site where I can share my passion for children's literature, where I can share what I'm reading, where I can get suggestions and chat with other teachers, librarians, and parents.

Mother.  Wife. Teacher.  Librarian. Blogger.


--- The Motherhood Collective is on Facebook. Like us, then comment on our giveaway post for a chance to win a family photo shoot from Adam Barnes Photography. Our contest ends when we hit 500 Likes!

Recipe of the Week - Hard-Boiled Eggs Masala


We love Indian food at our house and I have been making it at home for a while. The nearest Indian restaurant is an hour away, so if we want to eat it, I need to make it! This recipe is a great introduction to Indian cooking because it is very simple to prepare. It is full of flavor and my children love it, but you should cut back on the cayenne to make it less spicy. Serve with rice or bread. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepperHardboiled Eggs

1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

5 tablespoons finely chopped onion

1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped (I like to grate mine)

1 cup canned chopped tomatoes

1/4 teaspoon sugar

3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into halves lengthwise

Combine the cayenne, turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl.  Mix.

Put the oil in a medium sized, frying pan and set over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, put in the cumin seeds.  Ten seconds later, put in the onion and ginger.  Stir and fry until the onion turns medium brown.  Put in the spice paste.  Stir and cook for 15 seconds.  Now put in the tomatoes and sugar.  Bring to a simmer.  Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.  Put in the cilantro.  Stir once or twice.  Lay the cut eggs in the sauce and spoon more sauce over them.  Cover and simmer gently for 2 to 3 minutes.

The amount of sauce is just enough, so don't be expecting lots and lots of sauce that you might get at a restaurant.  This serves 2-4.

Taken from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking.

Recipe of the Week - Classic Green Monster Smoothie


Here's a recipe shared at a Cafe earlier this year. It's yummy, nutritious and super QUICK! Classic Green Monster Smoothie Recipe from www.greenmonstermovement.com Yield: 1 serving / 2 cups

Ingredients:Green Smoothie 1 cup almond milk, or milk of choice 1 ripe banana, peeled (preferably frozen) 2 handfuls raw spinach 1 tbsp chia seeds OR 1 tbsp ground flax 1 tbsp nut butter 1-3 ice cubes

Directions: Starting with the liquid, add in 1 cup of milk of your choice. Now add in the chia or flax and nut butter. Next, add in the spinach followed by the banana on top. Blend until smooth. Add the ice cubes and blend some more. Serves 1.

There are MANY variations on this healthy and nutritious drink. Click here to see some other tried and true combinations!

The Motherhood Collective is on Facebook. Like us, then comment on our giveaway post for a chance to win a family photo shoot from Adam Barnes Photography. Our contest ends when we hit 500 Likes!