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Hi Everyone! I’m over on Books and Cooks guest posting these wonderful Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins today. Head over to her blog and check out the recipe. They really are a must make if you enjoy banana bread/muffins. Whether the chocolate chips draw you in or the health conscious use of oat bran they are simple to make, very healthy for you, and you can throw some in the freezer for handy snacks at a later date. Clean eating never tasted so good! While you’re at Books and Cooks, check out some of her great recipes and book reviews. She’s a fabulous person who I’ve known for a long time on a cooking forum and we met at the Mixed conference a few years ago. She has guest posted over here before when I was expecting George and now I’m returning the favor as she prepares for her son.

Lemon Parmesan Popcorn

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It’s no secret we consume a lot of popcorn in my house. I’ve made my husband cut back to twice a week for a bit just because it was getting out of hand and summer is coming. Yes, it’s a healthier snack but not when you eat giant movie sized buckets almost every night.

Since it’s spring, and the fresh scent of lemon always makes me happy, I wanted to share this simple way to add some pizazz to your popcorn. Just a sprinkle of salt and pepper (I usually omit the pepper), a little lemon zest, and some Parmesan cheese and you’ve got a healthy, gourmet snack. I love adding the cheese because you get the salty taste without adding a lot of extra salt.

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Lemon Parmesan Popcorn

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels

Combine zest, pepper, salt, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in a small bowl.

Heat oil in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add popcorn to oil in saucepan; cover and cook 2 minutes or until kernels begin to pop, shaking pan frequently. Continue cooking 1 minute, shaking pan constantly. When popping slows down, remove pan from heat. Let stand 1 minute or until all popping stops. Pour 6 cups popcorn into a large bowl; stir in half of cheese mixture. Stir in remaining 6 cups popcorn and remaining half of cheese mixture; toss to coat. Let stand 1 minute before serving.

Source: Cooking Light December 2013

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We’re in the final stretch of the school year and have just started tee-ball. Let’s face it, we’re also in the final stretch of winter here in Maine. Spring keeps teasing us, but I keep reaching for that coat every time I go out. So, we’re busy , I’m tired of cooking, and I’m tired of fighting over what we’re having for dinner. My daughter has entered the phase where only macaroni and cheese, pizza, or shrimp and sweet potato are the winners. So, something like this super easy dish is perfect. It’s really quick since you use frozen ravioli. While the water boils you can do your prep work and then while the ravioli is cooking you can make the sauce. I feel like I’m eating something fresh and more sophisticated than a red sauce and my daughter can eat her ravioli plain if the mood suites here. It’s a winner all around!

Cheese Ravioli with a Lemon Basil Butter Sauce

Ingredients

  • 22 ounces frozen cheese ravioli
  • 1/2 cup Land O Lakes Butter with Olive Oil & Sea Salt
  • 1 Tbsp minced shallot
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp chopped basil
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup Shredded Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  • Extra basil for garnish, optional

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a pinch of salt and cook ravioli according to directions. Drain and set aside.

While the ravioli is cooking, melt butter on medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the zest, lemon juice, and basil and cook for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour sauce over ravioli and garnish with Parmesan cheese and basil. Serve immediately.

Source: Two Peas & Their Pod

DSC_0084 My daughter is all about things being fancy. She’s really been like this for a few years now, but recently it’s been heightened. This is partly due to my making things fancy as often as we can; this girl loves any festive occasion. The bigger reason is that she is five. She so wants to be a grown-up and do grown-up things, but of course she has little girl wishes. Her fifth birthday was the Saturday before Easter so we pushed off her party until the following week. We kept the actual day pretty simple, but we wanted to still celebrate it in true Caroline fashion. So, we had a fancy lunch. I had a few ideas of my own, but I asked her what she thought would make lunch fancier. Her list included fancy toothpicks, grown-up glasses, different shaped breads, dresses and tiaras, and makeup. I drew the line at makeup, but I knew I could do everything she asked and more. Chinet® Cut Crystal® Collage 1 Thanks to the Chinet® Cut Crystal® collection, I could make our lunch fancy without having to worry about pre-schoolers destroying our fine china. It was fun to watch her eat on her “glass” plate and take such care. Now Chinet® Cut Crystal® tableware offers stemless wine glasses so we even had fun drinking our yummy concoctions out of them, with our pinkies pointed outwards of course! I made some weekday favorites, but made them fun with cookie cutters and I incorporated some classic tea sandwiches as well. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, make food pretty and the chances of kids eating it is higher! Chinet® Cut Crystal® Collage 2 Our lives are in a constant state of busy, but I think it is important to stop and have a little fun. Enjoy those around us and not be so worried about entertaining. While I post some gatherings that take a lot of work, it’s really about spending time with those we care about. What I love about the Chinet® Cut Crystal® collection is that it is convenient from start to finish. It involves no polishing or checking for water stains and clean-up is a cinch – just toss it in the recycling and you’re good to go! A busy mom like me couldn’t ask for more! I also love that it’s simple, yet stylish design goes with anything. I’ve used it for George’s Baptism, New Year’s Eve, cocktail parties, and birthdays. Really, shouldn’t we all feel fancy? So, how would Chinet® Cut Crystal® elevate your next get-together? The Chinet® Cut Crystal® website has tons of other inspired decoration, craft and recipe ideas to make your next gathering perfectly coordinated. Make sure you check it out for more inspiration!

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