My 3 Day Refresh Experience

Hi Everyone!

I know it's been a while since I've done a blog post - first it was Thanksgiving, then I embarked on my 3 Day Refresh Cleanse after Thanksgiving and my brother is here visiting from Sweden! Super busy, but I have been receiving so many questions on how the cleanse works, I figured I would just share here, so you could learn a bit more. In more news, I  kicked off a weekly healthy snack feature on my Fresh Mama Fitness page, so make sure to tune in on Sundays for healthy snack ideas like this:

Sliced cucumber and hummus sprinkled with chili powder

8 Tips to Survive Holiday Temptations

So we've all heard the stats... the average American gains 7-12 pounds between Halloween and New Years. Ummmm, not sure about you, but that is not how I want to end 2014!!!! Obviously I absolutely love food (have you met me? I mean I talk about food all the time!!!). I get it, the holidays are nuts -- plus, in our family we have multiple birthdays in December. Yikes! However, you can't let the craziness be an excuse to leave your health and fitness goals behind. So here are my top tips to help you make it through the holidays with confidence and start 2015 on the right foot!

A beautiful veggie and hummus plate with watermelon radishes!

Weeknight Dinner in Under 10 Minutes: Caprese Flatbreads

Ok, here's a meal you need on your meal plan next week! With Thanksgiving coming, who wants to be cooking heavy, complicated meals? I sure don't! This meal was inspired by an appetizer we had at a restaurant over the weekend, of course Evan (my Caprese salad lover) devoured it and declared I needed to make it at home. I know most of my recipes are from scratch, but if you don't have time to make your own bread, pesto, and balsamic glaze, then just buy some (I did!-- Sssshhhh)... I bought all ingredients at my local Trader Joe's.

FMCC: Granola, Egg Muffins, and Everything but the Kitchen Sink Veggie Soup!

Wow guys! Guess what??? We are just a few days away from the Fresh Mama one year Bogiversary!!! I cannot believe it!!! So many amazing things have happened since I took that leap almost one year ago and decided to start sharing my recipes and kitchen tips with you guys. Now the blog has an even more exciting feature as my fitness business is thriving and I cannot wait to share more of that on here.  I truly hope you have enjoyed the recipes and posts -- I know its a few days away, but I wanted to say thank you by throwing a KIND bar giveaway! Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for all your support and make sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the page!

I apologize that you haven't seen much action on here with new recipes -- I was in a rut, tried a couple recipes over a few weeks and NOTHING panned out. However, I made a couple REALLY good recipes last week and took photos, so keep an eye out on some upcoming blog posts! But today, you can enjoy all the great recipes we made at FMCC (Fresh Mamas Cooking Club) last week.

Homemade Applesauce: 3 Ways

Our apple picking days are almost over here in New England. Luckily, I went a couple times this season -- first a few weeks ago as a work outing -- apple picking and local fruit wines! Yum! I ended up with tons of apples because my co-worker doesn't like apples, so she gave them to me (whaaat??? weird, right???  but it worked to my benefit!). I made tons of applesauce with these!

Me and my girl Brie! (photo courtesy of Tracy Torteson)
So pretty

Pumpkin Donuts

Yay for fall! Fall in New England means apple-picking, beautiful hiking, and of course, everything PUMPKIN!!! I had not made these donuts since last fall and the kids were begging for them. Sorry, but the pumpkin donuts at  a certain coffee chain, are no comparison. These are fresh, full of flavor and best when enjoyed warm from the oven. We baked them before meeting some friends for a hike and all the kids loved them. I know you're thinking, ugh -- I do not want another specialty baking pan, but I do recommend using a donut pan for that perfect crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside donut. You can also bake as mini-muffins (similar to donut holes). I did both and the kids (and moms) enjoyed them all!

Meal Plan of the Week and a Giveaway!!!

Hey guys!!! After a very busy weekend, I am finally taking a minute to sit and write the meal plan for you...I also have a fun Giveaway with Leaf and Love Organic Lemonade, so make sure to enter! Apparently the boys had so much fun helping with the meal plan last week, they wanted to each pick a meal for this week. Colin asked for chili (again) and Evan asked for homemade pizza, so I made sure to include their choices.


Homemade Pizza Buns

So, confession -- if you ask my 6 year old what his favorite food is -- "Bagel Bites" will be his answer. (Followed by "spicy sushi and kale chips, so not entirely terrible), but how embarrassing --I'm the freakin' Fresh Mama and my kid wants Bagel Bites? What the heck?!

He first encountered Bagel Bites at a friend's house 2 years ago and has had a mild obsession with them since. Can't make a trip to the grocery store without him begging for them, and I admit I have succumbed to the pressure a couple times. I even tried one. once. Ok, if you are a fan of cardboard, with bland tomato sauce and flavorless grated cheese then go ahead and buy Bagel Bites. Buutttt, if you want a easy bite-size pizza snack, with homemade ingredients where you control the flavors, then make some Homemade Pizza Buns! If making everything from scratch doesn't work for you, then pick up some pizza dough and premade sauce at the store. No judgement here - do what works for you.

Meal Plan of the Week

Hi Guys! I hope you are having a nice relaxing weekend and possibly a three day weekend. The weather here in Massachusetts has been amazing -- so I'm hoping for a Columbus Day hike tomorrow. If you follow my FB pages, you may have known my little guy was super sick last week (no worries, back up to his old monkey-tricks now) --- thankfully I had most of the meals made ahead of time from last week's meal plan. It was a total life-saver as I worked from home and took care of him and only lit a fire under me to make sure I am on top of things this week, as well. Lucky for me, I had a little extra help in the meal planning this week, since the kids decided they would help me out and wrote up this week's meal plan for me:

Kohlrabi Fritters with Sour Cream Chive Sauce

Have you tried a kohlrabi? I cannot tell you how many friends have opened up their CSA box and quickly texted me a photo asking "What the heck is THIS?". Arguably one of the most daunting items found in your CSA box, the kohlrabi is in the brassica family (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, etc.) Over the years I have embraced this funny-looking veggie and love it prepared a few ways. You can eat it many ways, raw, or cooked. Sliced in salads or slaws, roasted or added to stir-fry. This summer, I decided to try out fritters for the first time... My first batch was ok, but a little bland. Then this week, I decided to try to throw a few flavors together --chives from my CSA box and corn meal from a local farm -- and holy wow! They were amaaaazing!The hub loved the fritters and the sauce, oh, you will definitely need to make the sauce. Plus, I can confirm, they are delicious as leftovers!

Meal Plan of the Week and Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Hi friends! My apologies, I've been a lazy blogger this past week -- didn't write one blog post, but I'm back and ready to share my meal plan for this week. After a week or so of not trying one new recipe, I was so looking forward to some time in the kitchen today. You see, I never thought of myself as a creative person --cannot carry a tune, cannot draw much more than a stick figure, but as an adult, I realized my artistic talents lie in the kitchen. I desperately needed some "kitchen therapy" today and I'm so glad I could be productive and try out some new recipes at the same time.
This upcoming week is going to be a little nuts. As if I wasn't busy enough, I have been called for jury duty. Yup, at almost 38 years of age, they finally found me -- must be the fact that after moving 9 times in the 10 or so years after college, we finally settled down here for the past 6 years. So, I have no clue how this will impact my week. I decided the best course of action was to get a week's worth of meals made and really, no downside to that -- I hear best case scenario will be getting dismissed early in the day, but if not, the meals are ready to go!

Healthy Banana Cookies

Clean eating cookies -- kind of an oxymoron if you ask me, but you may have seen similar cookie recipes floating around on Pinterest. So I just decided to call them Healthy Cookies, because they are! It took me a long time to make these, because I have been rather let down by some of the banana based desserts, like "banana ice cream"... I have some friends that love it, but nope, didn't fool me and in fact I don't like it at all. But that's just me and I do love bananas, so maybe its just that I can't get past the fact that it isn't really ice cream! Any how, I finally made these a few months ago and my 6 year old went crazy for them. Basically, he ate the whole batch single handedly in 2 days.


My Morning Workout Routine and Cherry Bomb Shake!

Hi guys! The Fresh Mama Fitness  page is growing quickly and I'm pleased to say you will be seeing fitness related posts here. I receive many fitness related questions daily, so I think it makes sense to address some of the questions here.

Getting a PiYo workout in, no equipment needed! (Photos courtesy of my 8 year old)

Meal Plan of the Week September 21, 2014-September 27, 2014

Another week, another meal plan! Today I realized we are coming up on the one year anniversary of my my very first blog post and it got me thinking how truly thankful I am to have started this. To all my friends and family who encouraged and literally pushed me to share my recipes and cooking techniques with the virtual world -- Thank You! I blog for many reasons, but mostly, just to show how easy it can be to incorporate farm fresh ingredients into a busy family life. I hope that those of you who follow me have learned something here -- I certainly have learned many, many things from interacting with you guys on facebook, instagram, twitter, and of course emails! With so many food blogs out there, many with better photos (yes, still working on this...), I thank you for taking a little time out of your days each week to read my recipes. I know many of you come here for the meal plans, so here you go... this week's meal plan!

Crockpot Recipe Roundup

I love my crockpot. There. I said it. What's not to love? In a perfect world I would be in the kitchen cooking a delectable dinner from scratch every night, however, in reality I need all the help I can get and the crockpot is a lifesaver! Plus, one pot to clean? -- I'm all for that! To be honest, I am very picky about what I cook in the crockpot and I'm the first to admit there have been a few terrible crockpot experiences in our house (as in straight-into-the-garbage experiences .. blech!) -- so I promise I will only share the best here. These recipes are tried and true, made on a regular basis in my house and loved by many. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Looking for an easy clean-eating recipe chock full of veggies, flavor, and delicious for days in the fridge? Here you have it -- my Mediterranean Quinoa Salad. I based it off an orzo salad I have been making forever. It is a favorite with many of my friends and one of my go-to recipes for potlucks, but I wanted to go the gluten-free route, so I decided to mix it with quinoa instead of orzo. Just as delicious and so filling. I use it as a side-dish with dinner, but bring leftovers for a complete vegetarian lunch. Yum, yum, yum!

Meal Plan of the Week September 14th-20th

Super excited to report I am finally feeling back in the swing of things! Last week's meal plan went off without a hitch and we stayed on track. Aaaahhh - as much as I love summer, I have welcomed the routine of fall with open arms. Are you guys meal planning?

This week's CSA Delivery was full of organic, yummy goodness including this pink watermelon. Ev declared it "the best watermelon ever!", but then again he rarely meets a watermelon he doesn't like. Since it was organic, it did have seeds, but a few seeds never hurt anyone and it was soooo sweet and juicy. Special items like this make me so thankful I belong to a local CSA. You won't find these at the grocery store!

Parmesan Roasted Fall Veggies

This recipe is dedicated to all the home cooks out there who are intimidated by fall/root vegetables. When I tell people I do a year-round CSA, they always ask what I get in the fall/winter time and often comment that they don't know what to do with the cooler weather veggies. As you know, my favorite method of cooking most veggies is to throw them on a baking sheet and roast away...Once again, I use this basic method to enhance the flavors of these fall veggies. The cauliflower gains a nutty edge, the radishes and kohlrabi sweeten up, and don't even get me started on the fennel --Soooo delicious!  Throw the Parmesan on there and it is just a party in your mouth.
These veggies make a great side dish or topping for salads. So, if you are stumped by kohlrabi, radishes, cauliflower, and fennel - give this recipe a try and make sure to use a good quality Parmesan, no Kraft in a shaker, please!!!!! 

Broiled Honey Peaches and the Reluctant Hockey Mom

Summer is officially over -- school is in full swing (homework has begun!) and the fall sports are keeping us busy after school and on the weekends. Most days you can find me either on the soccer field or the hockey rink. If you had told me a couple years ago I would be a "Hockey Mom", I would have said you were NUTS! However, nothing like being a mom to make you eat your words and prove you don't know as much as you think you did. When we first knew we were having boys, of course the hub immediately started dreaming of throwing around the ball and teaching them all the sports he loves. I immediately said "no hockey, no football!" -- which wasn't a problem for the hub since he was a soccer and baseball guy. Even before I met them, I had preconceived notions of how I would keep them safe in the world.

Meal Plan of the Week September 7-13th

They're baaaa-aaaack!!! And by them, I mean meal plans! It is high time I finally got my butt in gear and started posting meal plans again. Now that the kid's activities and my work schedule are finalized, I feel like I can actually take control over my week. Hockey and soccer are in full swing and with 5 practices between the two boys (some overlapping) and only one weeknight without an activity, this fall is sure to be challenging. Having all lunches, dinners, and snacks planned out and ready to go will be a huge part in maintaining my sanity! Here is this week's dinner plan:

Swiss Chard Mango Salad with Pear Vinaigrette

These days you can find pears year-round, but nothing beats the flavor of fresh in-season pears. My kids fight over who gets the pears from our CSA box because they are so sweet and flavorful! Usually pears don't last long enough to make it into any recipes, but I grabbed a couple little ones and reserved them for this recipe. A truly delightful dressing for any salad! So if you are looking for something a little different than the standard vinaigrette and have some tasty pears, give this a try.

Salsa Verde Turkey Burgers

Here it is, my current quick, easy, and healthy obsession -- Salsa Verde Turkey Burgers!!!! I pinned this recipe ages ago and my only regret is that it took me this long to make it. I used Trader Joe's Salsa Verde, but I'm hoping for tomatillos in my CSA delivery soon, so I can make my own salsa. These take just a few minutes to make and the flavors are amazing --smoky grilled burger, spicy salsa, and creamy avocado. Yum!

Roasted Beet Salad

Beets, beautiful beets! A guaranteed item at farmer's markets and in CSA deliveries, the humble beet takes on gourmet status in this delicious salad. As you may have noticed, my motto is "when in doubt... roast it!". Pretty much any vegetable can be tossed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, roasted for 20-30 minutes and transform into a tasty side dish -- beets are no exception. So, if you have been intimidated by beets, please don't be! Try this salad and you will be hooked -- and  make the dressing -- to.die.for. Enjoy!

In Defense of the Word "Busy" and Easy Slow Cooker Chicken

After blogging for the past 9+ months, I have stuck mostly to talking about healthy recipes, but for those of you who know me outside this blog, you know I'm not one to sit quietly when I have something on my mind. After reading many posts on Facebook and other media over the past few months, I have been mildly amused by the sudden demonization of the word "busy." I first saw THIS article on Huffington post and then proceeded to see many shares and repeats of the tone of the article, plus many more bloggers jumping on the "anti-busy" bandwagon. I responded politely to one friend (whom I respect and admire greatly), that "hey, yeah, I'm busy, but mostly doing things I love with the people I love." To me, that is life, people have always been busy, heck, not so long ago humans were busy just trying to SURVIVE. It took all day just to find a meal! And lets not forget there are plenty of people in this world who still struggle every. single. day just to survive.

Crockpot Meat Sauce

Looking for a recipe to get you through a busy weeknight and avoid the drive-thru? This is one of my go-to dinners for nights when we have activities and very little time for cooking. The peppers and onions (lots of peppers in my CSA delivery this week!) give it a hearty flavor, but you could add in any extra veggies you have on hand. If you have homemade marinara sauce, use that, but I always keep a backup of store-bought sauce (Trader Joe's Organic Tomato and Basil) in my pantry for nights like this.  

Slow Roasted Tomatoes for the Freezer

Who has lots and lots of tomatoes??? I do! I do! I was somewhat surprised because my tomato plants did not grow very tall and the leaves were not healthy once the tomatoes started growing, however, I still ended up with extra tomatoes and this is my favorite method of storing fresh tomatoes for use over the winter. So whether you have extra from your garden, a generous neighbor, or you decide to buy some, here is a great way to ensure you will have the fresh flavor of summer in the middle of winter! 

Homemade Smartfood

Popcorn! Organic, air-popped, crunchy, whole grain, with a tasty cheesy flavor. What more can you ask for in a healthy snack? Perfect for movie nights, lunches, or general snacking. We make this at least once a week in our house and it doesn't last long. Sooo yummy, the whole family loves it and the fresh popped flavor beats the packaged stuff every time!

Tomato, Feta, and Onion Summer Salad

Ready for a fresh and tasty tomato recipe? Right now we are in the peak of tomato season and you will find them red, ripe, delicious and in copious amounts filling gardens, farmer's markets and CSA boxes!  When I came home from vacation this weekend, my garden was heavy with ripe tomatoes and I knew I had to get cracking on using them up.


Fresh Mama LunchBox Tips And Tricks

The people have spoken! Summer is in full swing, but I am already receiving questions about lunchbox tips, so if you aren't ready to "go there" yet, please ignore this post (but come back when you are ready to face the school year;).

How to Freeze Blueberries (or any berry!)

The blueberry season has been insanely prolific in Massachusetts this year, with farmers extending picking hours and customers lugging home bucket after bucket of sweet, delicious berries. Now, what to do when you get home and realize 10 lbs. of berries are a LOT of berries? Well, make sure to freeze some! It is so easy and you will have yummy berries to bake with, add to oatmeal and blend in smoothies the rest of the year. This method works with any berry, so if you are heading out for raspberries or blackberries, don't be shy.

Here you go, just a few easy steps to keeping those berries in the freezer! I learned this process many, many, many years ago from my Gram who showed me how important it was to freeze the berries individually before placing in a bag or Tupperware for longer freezer storage. You do not want to end up with one big unusable clump of berries!

1. Head to the nearest "Pick-Your-Own" berry farm and pick to your heart's content. My friend and I took our kids and they had a blast. Picking (and eating) their way down the rows of berry bushes.

Zesty Cucumber Salad

Went to write this post and realized it has been a week since I last posted a recipe! Things have been very hectic around here recently, but I have been cooking up a storm with all the gorgeous produce and I promise more recipes are coming, it just might take while. The hardest part about blogging is finding the time to write up the posts! I wish I could send you all my recipes via mental telepathy, that would make things a whole lot easier. LOL!

I really wanted to share this recipe while the local cucumbers are so fresh and crispy -- I have been making it for years! Tyler Florence used to have a show called "Food 911" where he went to people's homes and helped them prepare a healthy, delicious meals in under 30 minutes. Umm, totally my kind of show! I hope the blog does this in a way by taking the mystery out of cooking healthy and showing people how easy it really is to throw together a healthy meal.

Dijon-Herb Roasted Potatoes

As you know by now -- quick, easy and delicious recipes are what you will find here on my little blog. Often the tastiest dishes require the least amount of fuss and these potatoes are a perfect example. Of course, try to use the freshest ingredients available, especially the potatoes. Nothing like a tender, sweet, local grown potato... I also used fresh thyme because I had it on hand from my CSA box, but you can always substitute dried herbs if needed.

Dijon-Herb Roasted Potatoes

4-5 cups, fresh potatoes cut into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Stir all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3. Place on large baking sheet in a single layer.
4. Roast 40-45 minutes, stirring the potatoes every 10-15 minutes until tender a cooked through.

Cook these up next time you entertain and your guests will be impressed with your "gourmet" side dish. I served them up with some Balsamic Roasted Pork Tenderloin (using my Balsamic Marinated Chicken recipe. Absolutely delicious!

*Original recipe from All Recipes -- Dijon Roasted Potatoes

If you haven't already, make sure to check out my new Fresh Mama Fitness Page where you can find my healthiest recipes, fitness tips, home workouts/challenges, motivation, and inspiration for living a healthy, fit life!
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Taco Zucchini Boats

Zucchini, zucchini, zucchini! July is almost over and I'm anticipating copious amounts of zucchini in my CSA box in the coming weeks. This week I decided to use the zucchini as the base for a main dish instead of stir-frying or sautéing as a side dish, which is what I usually do. These taco boats are based on my Taco Stuffed Peppers recipe, but I kept it light and healthy, using lean ground turkey, a tiny sprinkle of cheese and yummy salsa verde.

Fresh Mint Tea

One of the simple pleasures of summer in New England... fresh herbs. Mint grows like crazy around here and chances are if you have some growing in your yard you need to whack it back at the end of the summer before it takes over. Well, before you start whacking away, grab a bunch, and make some fresh mint tea. Absolutely delicious and nothing like traditional dried tea. Also, perfect for anyone with an allergy to tea tannins (I just heard of this!), but no tannins here, so enjoy!

Salmon Spring Onion Rolls

In case you haven't noticed, I'm obsessed with food. So, this means I am always thinking of new recipes. One of my favorite foods, sushi, is pretty much impossible to recreate at home and I'm always thinking of ways I can get that experience at home without all the fuss.  I came across a beautiful smoked salmon roll recipe on Pinterest and although it looked amazing, I just knew I would never take the time to go through all the complicated steps to make it (pickling the vegetables, etc.), so I mulled it over and came up with my own version which comes together quickly, incorporates items from my CSA delivery, and has a wonderful variety of textures and flavors. Sooo yummy! Perfect for an appetizer or even a small lunch plate.

Gluten-Free Blueberry Crisp

Today we enjoyed one of summer's greatest gifts -- farm fresh berry picking! We went with my friend (and Fresh Mama), Jen and her kids. Such a blast picking (and eating) our way through the blueberry bushes which were bursting with ripe berries. Sweet, tart, juicy, oh my -- they were amazing and we filled our buckets quickly.


Roasted Summer Vegetables

I almost didn't post this recipe... almost. Why? Because it is sooo easy! I thought, oh, no one will read it, everyone knows how to roast vegetables -- but then I thought how some of my most basic recipes are the most popular and the most pinned on Pinterest! You guys have flocked to the Roasted Butternut Squash and Zucchini Salad which are sooo easy, so I said what the heck, I bet these will be a hit, too... These roasted summer vegetables are so pretty to serve up --  if you can, try to use farm fresh vegetables for optimal flavor. Plus, just use what you have on hand as far as vegetables and herbs. You might never make the same combination twice! If you have never purchased a farm fresh spring onion, I highly recommend you give them a try. The taste is nothing like a regular storage onion and it takes on an amazing sweet flavor during the roasting process.

Weekend Food Prep

If you follow me on Instagram (@freshmamablog), you know I do a lot of food prep, because I share photos of it pretty frequently. Why meal prep? Well, basically the idea is to get the bulk of the week's food prepared one day during the week, so eating healthy is easy the remainder of the week. I usually do the majority of prep on Sundays or Mondays because that is what works for my schedule, but you can choose whatever day works best for your family. As a busy mom, working part-time, blogging, fitness coaching, and trying to have a social life, I would be lost without my weekly meal prep!

This is such big part of how I plan our meals -- especially lunches and snacks throughout the week. If you have been following me, you know I do my best to plan my dinners ahead of time with my Weekly Meal Plans. In a week or so, I will do an additional blog post to share how I prep for my children's school lunches, but this post will focus on how I prep to keep the hub and I eating clean for the week. Here is a sample of a typical day of clean eating:

5 Fresh Mama Dinnertime Family Favorites

Since the most common blog-related question I get asked is : "Do your kids really eat what you make?". I thought I would answer this with a blog post. Generally speaking, the answer is "yes", but of course kids are fickle and some days turn their noses up at the same thing they gobbled up like rabid wild animals the day before. So I decided to compile my family's Top 5 Dinnertime Favorites all in one place and share it with you. These are hands down winners, requested on a regular basis and eaten without whines or complaints. Enjoy!

Chinese Chicken and Zucchini on Noodles

I have to admit things are a bit more relaxed around here in the summertime. It is almost impossible to meal plan. Instead I grill up a bunch of chicken, chop up fruits and veggies, bake up some muffins and granola for the week and just go with the flow. You never know what the nice weather will bring -- a long day out at the pool, a nice bike ride, or a last minute trip to the beach. So flexibility is key for me. After a day at the pool, I asked the boys what they wanted for dinner and they both asked for the "Chinese Noodle Thingys". LOL! I knew what they were talking about and we stopped off for a few ingredients at the store.

Lemon Greek Grilled Chicken

Summertime means giving the oven a bit of a break and lots of grilling! Of course a staple in our house is grilled chicken. I like to grill up a big batch once a week for dinner, then use the leftovers throughout the week for salads, pasta, or sandwiches. I originally found a version of this on The Girl Who Ate Everything as a marinade for chicken gyros. This recipe is soooo easy and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. I have substituted the Greek seasoning with other herbs, and sometimes use sour cream in place of the Greek yogurt. So use what you have and make it your own! I have shared this recipe with countless friends and they absolutely love it. So healthy and tasty!

Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad

Hello, my name is Lil and I love tomatoes. Seriously, if there was a Tomatoes Anonymous, I would be President, I love them raw, I love them plain, I love them with a splash of salad dressing, I love them roasted, I love them in sauces, and salads, and... well, you get the picture! I love them -- so expect lots and lots of tomato recipes here this summer. My boys have inherited the tomato-lover gene and this is one of their favorite ways to eat them. Of course, you can do the standard mozzarella caprese salad, which we do plenty often, but using the goat cheese gives it a unique and earthy flavor. Plus it is so easy to find local goat cheese in New England!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend. Here in New England we were rained in for the entire 4th, thanks to Hurricane Arthur -- Boooooo! However, it gave my family some nice downtime, plus I was thrilled to have some rain for the garden!

I made these muffins for breakfast on the 4th and they were so delicious. Colin had been begging me to make chocolate chip muffins and I had some extra zucchini on hand, so it was a no-brainer. I'm not huge on "sneaking" veggies into my kids bellies, so they helped me make them. Evan grated the zucchini, did most of the measuring, and Colin did the pouring and mixing. This was my first time using this recipe, so next time I might change it up and substitute applesauce or greek yogurt for the oil, but I was on a time-crunch with some hungry boys, so I followed the recipe pretty closely. Of course I substituted some of the flour with whole-wheat flour and cut back on the sugar, but otherwise I left it alone. These muffins are so, so, so good! So when you have 20 bazillion pounds of zucchini staring you in the face this summer, please use some of it for these.

This recipe makes a huge batch -- 24 muffins to be exact, so we each had one and then I popped them in the freezer. They will be pulled out next time we go hiking, on a picnic, or I will bring them on vacation. Simply remove from the freezer and allow to defrost at room temp for a couple hours. Could not be easier!

Corn, Tomato, and Basil Salad

Hands down, the first question asked regarding the food blog is: "How do you come up with ideas and recipes?".  Honestly, I never even worry about having material to post, in fact, it is more the opposite. I am overflowing with ideas and recipes, but the one thing I lack is the time to 1. take photos and 2. write the blog post. So I try my best to narrow it down and make the time to photograph and write up only the best recipes! Here's the deal, I work part-time (20 hours/week), have 2 boys with busy schedules, and a hub that works loooong hours and travels, plus I set aside time for myself to workout every morning. I don't  want anyone getting the impression I am in my kitchen slaving away for hours every day to cook with these beautiful local ingredients.

I make eating healthy a priority in our house and what you see on here is merely a documentation of what really happens in my kitchen. If you have been following me for a while you realize the majority of my recipes have a short list of common ingredients, take less than 30 minutes to prepare (sometimes an hour), freeze well, and are family friendly. My goal here is to show you guys that it is possible to incorporate local ingredients into your family's meals without spending hours in the kitchen every day. When you cook with the freshest ingredients, the flavors speak for themselves. The simpler, the better. This corn salad recipe is a perfect example of fresh, simple flavors! It will knock your socks off with the sweet corn, zesty dressing, and aromatic basil!

Fresh Mama Greens Round Up: 11 Recipes for Cooking and Storing Fresh Summer Greens

It has been a phenomenal few weeks here for the blog. First I was nominated for the Leibster Award, then I hosted my very first Cooking Demo at my local library, followed up by a photo shoot this week! In addition, my recipes have been featured regularly on Foodies and Wellnez TV and I started the Fresh Mama Fitness Page. Yup, A LOT going on!

So I want to give a huge ******THANK YOU****** to all of  you who stop by regularly, or just  take a peek every now and then. To see where this blog has gone in a few short months is overwhelming, humbling, exciting, and most days I pinch just to make sure this is all real. I started this blog as a place to share my recipes and let you guys know how truly easy it can be to incorporate local ingredients and homemade pantry items/baked goods into your daily lives. It is my hope that more people are out there joining CSA's, shopping at Farmers Markets, cooking and baking from scratch, and getting their kids to work in the kitchen. The most rewarding part of this are the messages from one of you saying "I made your recipe and it was so easy!", or "my kids loved your recipe!" Now I want all of you who have tried something new, give yourself a pat on the back. Every time you buy local, say no to packaged junk food, and eat Real Food you are giving a priceless gift  to yourself, your family, and your community. So stay tuned, because I promise things are only going up from here:)

FMCC: Summer Salads and a Photoshoot

So, today was  a very special FMCC (Fresh Mamas Cooking Club)! Not only did we make three of my very favorite summer salad recipes, but my friend Karen stopped on over for a photoshoot of the Mamas at work. It was so great to sit back and enjoy running the show without worrying about getting photos of everything. I wish Karen could be with me every time I'm working on a recipe and need photos (plus she was a blast to hang out with-- she fit right in with the Fresh Mamas)! *Photos in this post by Karen Sigler Photography*

These salad recipes have been a staple in my home during the summer months,  forever.  If you have a BBQ or potluck in your near future, any of these will be a hit! The Sesame Noodle recipe is very special to me --I created this recipe a few years ago and actually won a cooking contest with the recipe! You can see the post on Stop Lookin' Get Cookin'. I changed it up a little bit today by keeping it vegetarian with tofu, instead of chicken, but you can certainly use any protein you like. The flavors in the Cucumber Salad and Mexican Salad are so tangy and fresh. Perfect for summertime!

So take a peek at our work in the kitchen and then enjoy the recipes -- Let me know which one you will be trying this summer!

Sausage-Collards-Quinoa Soup

Yes, it is summer and yes this is a soup recipe. I know, not what you were expecting... However, I have been making this recipe for a few months and I absolutely love it! It is so, so, so good -- you can freeze it and reheat without any loss of flavor or texture. I love to bring this to work for lunch and seriously, my freezer has been stocked with it for months. The only reason I have not posted the recipe has been a lack of a quality photo. Although it is delicious, it is not the most photogenic soup. As my kids say "it looks gross, but tastes yummy"!

Easy Strawberry Smoothie and the Leibster Award!

First off.. Thank you, Lauren at Working Mom Magic for the nomination! The Leibster Award is a super fun way to find new blogs and support new bloggers -- I am so honored Lauren chose me as one of her nominees! When I first started blogging, I did TONS of research and kept hearing that the majority of bloggers quit after six months, well I have been blogging for seven months and have no plans to quit! So, a huge thank you to Lauren and all my followers for the support over these past few months. This nomination mean so much to me... xo

Lemon-Pepper Roasted Asparagus

After a long winter here in New England, these past couple weeks of fresh CSA veggies have been a welcome burst of bright color and fresh, crisp flavor! Just look at this photo -- so many beautiful colors and believe me it all tastes as good as it looks. Strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce and greens, early red onions, beets, radishes so many flavors! Friends often ask me how I come up with recipes to share on this blog, well look at my inspiration... The options are endless when working with all this beautiful produce! So here you go, one of my favorite asparagus recipes!


Fresh Tomato-Arugula Salad

My first delivery of summer CSA shares arrived on Tuesday! A very exciting day considering it had been two weeks since my last delivery and I had been buying all my produce at the grocery store -- just plain boring! So you can imagine my excitement when I saw these gorgeous tomatoes and fresh arugula just waiting to be eaten. This salad could not be easier to make, literally takes less than 2 minutes. My 8 year old inhaled it! 

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