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I associated each season with some staple ingredients and meals. For spring, I always love using eggs, lemon, and anything green. It’s that rebirth of green outside and the good things to come. Light and airy foods with fresh ingredients that differ so much from the hardy meals of winter. I love making quiches, egg bakes, and frittatas in spring because there are usually a fair share of social gatherings that they are perfect for; Easter, Mother’s Day, Bridal showers, etc.

This egg bake is a favorite because it’s a great way to get some nutrients in while still enjoying something a little decadent and cheesy! You can use any cheese you like, but I enjoy the havarti for it’s buttery taste and melt factor.

Spinach and Havarti Egg Bake

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp Smart Balance Original Buttery Spread
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 5 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 oz havarti cheese, shredded
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Smart Balance cooking spray

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Spray a 9-inch pie dish with cooking spray.

In a large saute pan, heat butter on medium-low and add shallots. Stir and cook until translucent and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add spinach and let wilt, stirring occasionally for about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, cheese, paprika, salt, and pepper until well combined. Add the spinach and shallots and stir until combined. Pour into prepared dish and cook for 27 to 30 minutes, or until lightly brown and the eggs have set. Remove from oven and let rest for several minutes before serving.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information

Per serving: 116 Calories, 9g Fat, 126mg Cholesterol, 138mg Sodium, 1g Carbohydrates, 6g Protein

Source: The Way to His Heart

100% Pure Beeswax Candle Giveaway

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***Congratulations Vera!!!***

I’ve always loved the look and feel of having candles lit. Whether it be inside or out, it just gives a peaceful feeling and casts a wonderful glow. Unfortunately, the furthest I go with candles is buying a pretty one and leaving it sit on a shelf or table until it collects dust and I throw it out. I have severe sensitivities to smoke and one small votive candle will send me into a sneezing fit and make my face swell up. Add in all of the fragrances they put in them and I’ve got a wonderful headache to boot.

When Mohawk Trading Co. first contacted me about reviewing their honey and maple syrup products they said they would like for me to review their beeswax candles as well. I was a bit hesitant because of my candle history, but I did a little research and found that beeswax are 100% natural, and do not emit smoke or soot. In the right conditions they are even drip free! These were probably my last and only chance for having lit candles in my home!

My days have gotten a bit more hectic with the addition of my son and I need something at the end of a long day to relax me. Since most of the other options either don’t work for me or I can’t use them for fear that I never wake up in the middle of the night, having something as easy as lighting a couple of candles is wonderful. Something about it just allows me to stop what I am doing and clear my mind.

While beeswax candles are more costly than your regular paraffin candles, the benefits outweigh the cons, even for someone who isn’t sensitive like myself. Just like choosing good ingredients to use in your kitchen, you should be aware of what you are burning and allowing into the air of your home. If you can avoid smoke and additives, why not? Plus, beeswax has a longer burn time so you get more for your buck. I also love the smell of the beeswax burning, the subtle honey and floral scent is calming and creates a nice fragrance for your home.

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Want to try beeswax in your home? Mohawk Trading Co. has generously offered a beeswax candle package, valued at $65, like the one I received. It’s a great sampler that includes 2 taper candles, 2 votive candles, 1 2″ pillar candle, 6 tea lights, and 12 celebration candles (these are my favorite and I can’t wait to put them atop a delicious cake).

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Mohawk Valley Trading Co. provided me with their Beeswax Candles to sample and are sponsoring this giveaway, but as always the opinions expressed here are solely my own. This giveaway is for residents of the contingent United States and will end on May 7th, 12:00 am EST. Physical address required for shipping; no PO boxes. The Mohawk Valley Trading Company will ship the prize to the winner within 30 days of contest end. You must be 18 years or older to enter.

Crunchy Maple Granola

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I snack, alot. I need healthier snacks and I need them at the ready. I need snacks that are available and don’t require any assembly when I am ready to get my snack on. I have hit that stage of my post-partum where I have to get back on track and eat better and start taking care of myself more. Reclaim what once was mine. I always take great care of myself during pregnancy and bounce right back to pre-pregnancy weight within a week. Before you hate me, don’t worry, it comes back real quick!  Once the hectic newborn stage is in full gear I put weight on real quick, grabbing everything and anything to eat. This time around it was worse since it was right in the middle of holiday season. Besides all of the great festive foods, I was also baking a lot and had chocolate morsels and other pantry items at my ready to rummage through. It’s over though, time for a healthy snack.

I’ve never been into granola before that wasn’t in a bar form, but it was time to give it a try. I wanted something that had enough sweets in it so I could ween myself from the junk, but also was provided great nutrition and energy for me. This was it! Not only did I love it, but my daughter and husband have been gobbling it down. It only lasted a few days, but thankfully it doesn’t take long to make and I can whip up another batch this weekend. Don’t worry, I wont stop making yummy baked goods and the such, I just have to throw in a few things right now that are healthy because I am eating all.of.the.food right now!

Crunchy Maple Granola

Ingredients

  • 6 cups Old Fashioned Oats, not quick cooking
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 3/4 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, Grade B or A
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried fruit, such as blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and raisins

Pre-heat convection oven to 275 F. Pour oats and nuts in a large mixing bowl, set aside.

Heat maple syrup and salt in a non-reactive pot until boiling. Immediately remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract.

Working quickly, pour maple syrup mixture over oats and nuts. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir until oats are thoroughly coated. Pour onto baking sheets lined with a silpat or parchment paper. The granola should not be spread even or patted down. Using your hands, scrunch the granola into large clumps.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating 4 times, until golden and crunchy. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Using a spatula with a sharp edge, carefully turn granola over, making every effort to retain giant pieces and large clumps. Place back in oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until crisp.

Remove from oven and cool completely. Stir in dried fruit. Serve.

Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for 5 days.

Yields 6 cups

Adapted from Pure Canada Maple

Ben’s Chocolate Ice Cream

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Who is Ben? Why is his chocolate ice cream so special? Well, it’s Ben from the famous duo Ben & Jerry and his chocolate ice cream is the best that I’ve ever come across. I tried this recipe on a whim right before making many batches of ice cream for my daughter’s fourth birthday party. I have always had good luck with my other two recipes (chocolate ice cream 1 and chocolate ice cream 2) that I’ve made in the past, but I wanted to see what else was out there. I’m glad I did, because I’m stopping here. I haven’t tried Jerry’s yet, and I’m sure it’s good, but Ben’s is perfection to me, my family, and everyone else who has tried it so I think we’re good! This chocolate ice cream is rich and deep with flavor, thanks to the pinch of salt that brings out the chocolate. It’s so easy to make, much easier than other recipes I’ve come across.

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Ben’s Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt

Melt the unsweetened chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, boiling, water. Gradually, whisk the milk and heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Add the cream, vanilla, and salt and whisk to blend.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the cream mixture and blend. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 1 to 3 hours, depending on your refrigerator.

Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes 1 quart

Source: Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book