My Li’l List: Instant Popsicles

Boo’s new favorite thing? Our Zoku popsicle maker:

Zoku Pop Maker and Easy Pudding Pop Recipe via lilblueboo.com

 

My favorite recipe is an easy mix of pre-made chocolate pudding, Cool Whip and milk…..all mixed in equal parts:

Zoku Pop Maker and Easy Pudding Pop Recipe via lilblueboo.com

 

Boo got the Zoku at Christmas and since then we’ve made lots of variations…..and her favorite is just plain ole orange juice.

I love that cool patterns and designs that can be made with it:

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Tuscan Bean Soup

 

Some friends of ours made the most delicious white bean soup with kale in it recently.  We loved it so much that I decided to try and recreate a version of it. I call it Tuscan Bean Soup. So easy to make and you can pop in any extra vegetables from the refrigerator that need eating up!

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
2 Cans of White Cannellini Beans
2 or 3 Carrots
2 or 3 Stalks of Kale
1 Large Onion
1 Package of Sliced Proscuitto
1 Carton of Chicken Broth
Olive Oil
Crushed or Minced Garlic
Salt and Pepper

 

First, chop up the onion into small pieces. Saute a bit of garlic in a large soup pot with some olive oil. Add in the onions and cook until transparent.

Chop up  your carrots into small pieces and add to the pot:

Tear apart the kale into small pieces removing the thick stalks. Add to the pot:

Slice up the proscuitto into small pieces and add to the pot:

 

Add in the cans of cannellini beans with the liquid:

Lastly add the entire carton of chicken broth to the soup and a 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper taste!

Serve with some crusty bread pieces! A quick and easy meal!

 

 

 

 

Tomato Basil Cream Pasta (Vegan and Gluten Free)

 

Mr. LBB declares this the best pasta I’ve ever made. And if I made it….you know it’s easy. It will feed about 6 to 8 people. You’ll need a blender or hand mixer to create the sauce.  You can substitute corn pasta to make it gluten free and the cashews add the “cream” needed for the sauce.

Ingredients:
4 small or 2 large ripe tomatoes
Tomato paste
1 cup Raw unsalted cashews
Fresh basil leaves
Linguini pasta (use corn pasta for gluten free)
Crushed garlic
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

 

First, dice up your tomatoes and start your pasta in boiling water:

 

And puree them in a blender or using a hand mixer:

 

Add about 2oz of tomato paste and mix thoroughly:

 

Add in 1 cup of raw cashews and blend well using the blender or mixer:

 

Keep mixing until the sauce has a creamy consistency:

 

 

Add 2 tablespoons of crushed garlic and 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a pan and sautee for a minute:

 

 

Add in the sauce and let simmer for 10 minutes:

 

 

While the sauce is simmering, take your fresh basil leaves…..

 

….and chop up finely until you have about a full cup:

 

Stir in the chopped basil to the pan and mix thoroughly:

 

 

Drain your pasta and mix the sauce. Yum!

 

 

 

Adapted from this recipe from Oh She Glows.

Bee Pollen

So….I had to many questions about my bee pollen in the last post that I thought I’d share what it’s for! Have you seen Bee Movie? Where the bees go out and collect the pollen and bring it back to the hive? This is what they collect: little bits of raw pollen from flowers! I mix about an 1/8th of a teaspoon in our juicing.

It helps control allergies for Mr. LBB and Boo…..BUT you have to use LOCAL bee pollen so you get the pollen from local flowers.

 

Bee pollen is full of vitamins and minerals. It’s energizing (maybe that’s why my blog posts go on for days!), it aids digestion, helps build red blood cells, improves concentration and tons of other things. Just don’t take it late in the day because it might keep you up.

Here’s the quick 411 of what’s in bee pollen:

22 Amino Acids (more than animal protien)
28 Minerals and up to 18 Enzymes
11 Carbohydrates and other Glucosides for heart health
14 Fatty Acids
Vitamins A-K (very high in A, B-Complex,, B-12, C, D and E)
Rich in Lecithin
Rich in Phytochemicals, Beta Carotene, and other Antioxidants

You can just sprinkle it on fruit, oatmeal or just take it from a spoon and chase it with juice or water. Look for it at your local health food store or farmer’s market.

Just one more thing my mother has added to my health regimen. It’s a slow process to convert me :)

An Olive Oil Tasting

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carapelli Olive Oil for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Okay….this was really fun. We are part of a wine club where we do annual wine tastings but I never thought of doing an olive oil tasting!  Carapelli sent me a package of their olive oils and I set up an olive oil blind taste test for everyone here at LBB today. It was a fun (and yummy) break in the day! It would be a fun addition to an Italian dinner to help break the ice among guests!

 

 

I love olive oil. We have 2 huge olive trees in our yard and they remind me of Tuscany:

 

Similar to tasting wine, there are a few quick steps to having the true olive oil tasting experience. When setting up your own taste test make sure to use a dark glass such as this blue one….one thing I learned is that color is not an indicator of quality….who knew?! To start the taste test pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into each person’s blue glass and gently warm it by covering the glass with one hand and holding the bowl of the glass in the other.

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5-Alarm Spicy String Beans

These spicy green beans are a wok favorite around the Lil Blue Boo house. I serve them with Trader Joe’s jasmine rice (cooks in 3 minutes in the microwave) and it’s a super fast dish to prepare for a vegetarian meal!

Ingredients:
2 to 3 cups of green beans
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp chili oil
1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
1 tbsp of any Asian sauce that has ginger and rice vinegar in it (I use a Gyoza dipping sauce from Trader Joe’s)

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Spice Markets

I love spice markets.
But my OCD wonders:
What if a strong wind comes along?
Or a toddler?
What if someone trips and falls?
Or sneezes?
Does it matter if they get mixed together?

 

Spices from GujaratPhoto via Flickr

(more after the jump)

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Babybel Beauties

I have a new love! How cute are these adorable little Babybel cheese characters? They are from Cute Food For Kids and made by artfully cutting the wax of the Babybel cheese:

 

Source: Cute Food For Kids

 

Source: Cute Food For Kids

 

The Babybels in our fridge don’t last long enough to become so cute…..but I’m tempted!

Delicious Kung Pao Chicken

I love kung pao chicken…..it’s my favorite Chinese food!  It’s really easy to make too.

The basic ingredients you need are:

2 chicken breasts
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp red chili flakes
4 green onions
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar or Splenda
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts

Optional:
1 tsp red chili oil
1 small pinch 5 spice Chinese powder
1 small zucchini sliced and quartered

 

 

First, cut the chicken breasts into small pieces and coat with cornstarch. Add the vegetable oil, sesame oil and chicken to a wok and cook the chicken just until it’s cooked through. Remove the chicken and set aside.

 

 

Cut the bottom of the green onions off and into small 1/2″ pieces. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the wok and move around the bottom of the pan until heated and the add the green onions. (Note: if you like your kung pao chicken with zucchini you can add it at this step, before adding the green onions, just make sure to cook it throughly before adding chicken in the next step)

 

Mix the rice vinegar, soy sauce and sugar (or Splenda) together and add to the wok. Stir until heated.

 

If you have 5 spice Chinese powder you can add a small pinch:

 

 

 

I like my kung pao chicken extra spice so I add a tsp of red chili oil:

 

Add the chicken to the wok and mix into the sauce and onions:

 

Add the peanuts:

 

Turn the heat to high and mix together until the kung pao chicken is hot. I pull the mixture up on the sides of the wok to sear it and thicken the sauce:

 

I love serving this dish with the frozen organic jasmine rice from Trader Joe’s. It’s so quick and easy.

 

 

I think it’s better than PF Chang’s!

 

Easy Balsamic Dressing and My Favorite Salad

Easy Balsamic Dressing and Salad Recipe via lilblueboo.com

 

This is one of my favorite dressings and salads. I used to order a similar salad a few times a week from Dean and Deluca when I lived in NC. Then we moved to Palm Desert where there isn’t a Dean and Deluca so I was forced to recreate it for myself.

To make the dressing I use:

Balsalmic Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Fresh Ground Pepper
Minced Garlic

 

Easy Balsamic Dressing and Salad Recipe via lilblueboo.com

 

I measure out 1 cup of EVOO and 1 cup of balsamic vinegar….

 

Easy Balsamic Dressing and Salad Recipe via lilblueboo.com

 

……and pour it into the blender. Then I add some fresh ground pepper and a 1/2 tsp of minced garlic. Then I blend on medium for about 2 minutes:

 

Easy Balsamic Dressing and Salad Recipe via lilblueboo.com

 

The dressing ends up creamy and just like the restaurants serve it. I store it in a jar because it will keep for a few days. If it starts to separate I just shake it up really well:

 

Easy Balsamic Dressing and Salad Recipe via lilblueboo.com

 

For my salad I buy fire roasted red peppers and cut them up in to small pieces:

 

Easy Balsamic Dressing and Salad Recipe via lilblueboo.com

 

I layer mixed organic greens, the fire roasted peppers, feta cheese and pine nuts and then toss in the balsamic dressing:

 

Easy Balsamic Dressing and Salad Recipe via lilblueboo.com

 

Yum.

 

Easy Balsamic Dressing and Salad Recipe via lilblueboo.com

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