Eat like the Irish: Baked Cheese Toasties

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! As we discussed last year, part of my family hails from the Emerald Isle, and as every March 17th approaches, I eagerly anticipate another chance to cook food from the country of my ancestors.

You’re probably already familiar with Guinness beef stew, Colcannon, and soda bread/biscuits, traditional and popular Irish fare, not to mention the many green dishes that take over the table at this time of year.

I love most of these dishes, I truly do, but I’ve been increasingly interested in wanting to know a little more about the meals that aren’t the most familiar or famous, but are the hearty plates that a home cook prepares for their family on a daily basis, like today’s toasties.

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18 healthful snacks, better for you, better for your wallet

It’s hard to resist the urge to snack, especially when those mid-afternoon cravings hit and dinner is still hours away. If there are kids in the picture, then snacks are almost a necessary part of the day’s meal plan.

When you choose healthful, whole food snacks you don’t have to feel guilty when you reach for a quick bite to eat between meals. Best of all, you can save a lot of money by passing up the potato chips and packaged snacks for simple, homemade snacks that are better for you and better for your wallet.

healthy snacks simple bites

 

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Preserved Lemon Quinoa with Shaved Brussels, Toasted Walnuts

So we find ourselves at the beginning of a new year, which is the time everyone resolves to eat better, get fit, improve their relationships and financial situations, and find an occupation with purpose.

Not one for resolutions myself, I am fond of the clean slate idea. A new year for a more intentional way of living. For me, while I do well feeding my family and friends – I even named my own website to that end – I find it more difficult to take care of myself.

I am more than capable of packing up four separate lunches for the kids and sending them out the door, but when it comes to tearing myself away from work and my to-do list at lunchtime, I am prone to simple snacking or skipping it altogether. It’s almost as if I associate the care and feeding of myself as a social activity best done with others.
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How to make simple chia pudding

I made an impulsive purchase the other day. It wasn’t a bar of chocolate or a box of cookies, but rather a bag of chia seeds. Yep, this former chef-turned-food-blogger sampled chia seeds for the first time.

I’m not sure if I should sheepishly admit that I haven’t used chia before now, or be proud that I held out on this health food trend for as long as I did. Either/or, it is safe to say I’m completely hooked now.

Chia seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients, containing omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, and minerals including calcium- up to three times more than a serving of milk. Unlike flax seed, they don’t have to be ground in order for you to absorb the nutrients. Superfood? Perhaps.

I’m sold on this new-to-me ingredient and have taken steps to stock my pantry with a few bags. I buy chia seeds at my local natural foods store, but have also seen them in pretty much every grocery store, and of course on Amazon.

I hear chia can be used as an egg substitute in baking (which sounds kinda complicated) or merely sprinkled into smoothies (much simpler), but I’ve been enjoying them daily in a chilled, creamy pudding.

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Brussels Sprouts Nachos

That’s quite a mouthful, don’t you think?

We had a little debate in our home. Do you say ‘Brussels Sprouts Nachos’ or ‘Brussels Sprout Nachos’? The latter rolls off the tongue a little easier, but I think the former is correct.

It’s hard to know for sure; I haven’t seen any recipes like this before. It came about one evening last week when Danny worked late and I fed ‘n bed the kids, then we convened for a bite of supper together. It was hardly a date night, with both of our laptops open, but the silence was blissful all the same.

Uninspired to cook, I scrounged for our dinner and came up with half a bag of black bean tortilla chips, extra sharp cheddar, the remains of a Thai pepper…and a basket of firm, young brussels sprouts.

Brussels sprouts nachos is now a thing in our house. Or rather, Zesty Lime Brussels Sprouts Nachos with Sharp Cheddar and Black Bean Tortilla Chips.

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