Bake Sale for Rady Children’s Hospital

Bake Sale for Rady Children’s Hospital

As the Coronavirus pandemic began early last March, we quarantined our family and were unable to see Grandma DiDi. We missed her dearly and also missed her cooking. Like the rest of the world, we got creative with ways to connect and find purpose.

Last November, we launched a fundraiser to buy toys for children undergoing treatment at Rady Children’s Hospital. The fundraiser was inspired by our young friend and neighbor who was receiving treatment at the hospital. We raised $21,000 and were able to buy a toy for every child staying in the hospital over the holidays. That fundraiser brought us together in ways we couldn’t imagine and gave us a new sense of purpose. We look forward to holding this bake sale fundraiser for years to come.

Watch our fundraising video:

We were so honored to be featured in Rady Children’s spring issue of Healthy Kids magazine. You can find the article here.

Moving forward, we are thrilled to be vaccinated and back in the kitchen with Grandma DiDi soon!

Bunny Smoothie

Bunny Smoothie

It wasn’t until I hit my 30s (and when I had my babies) did I really start to care about the medicinal properties of food. How do I pack the most nutrients into every meal, and still make it enjoyable for all?

Today we hit the jackpot. Yes, it took time and effort (and a few extra dishes), but it’s the best feeling to know they had a healthy snack. A fun combination of highly nutritious veggies and fruit blended into a sweet and tangy smoothie. We lovingly named this concoction, Bunny Smoothie.


Blood Orange, Pineapple, Carrot, Ginger, Turmeric and Ice.


Grandma DiDi began by juicing the carrot, ginger and turmeric.


Then we added the pineapple, orange and ice to the blender.


Our kitchen has another chef these days. She can’t really cook, but she likes to observe. We place her in her highchair to keep her contained and give her pieces of whatever we are cooking.


The cub added the carrot, ginger and turmeric juice to the blender.


and Grandma DiDi blended it up! Look at that vibrant color!


A tasty and nutritious treat for both cubs in their new bunny cups. Happy Easter!


Bunny Smoothie


  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple, cubed
  • 4 blood oranges, peeled
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 inch turmeric, peeled
  • 3 very large carrots, juiced (pulped discarded)
  • 4 cubes of ice


  1. Begin by preparing all the fruit and veggies.
  2. Juice carrots, ginger and turmeric together, discard the pulp.
  3. Place cubed pineapple and peeled orange in a good blender (we used a vitamix)
  4. Add carrot juice mix to blender with 4-5 ice cubes and blend thoroughly
  5. Enjoy!

Note – You can freeze pineapple if you plan ahead and eliminate the ice.

Lemon Brownies

Lemon Brownies

Just in time for Easter we made a sweet and tangy lemon treat! Our uncle recently brought us a bunch of lemons from his house so we wanted to use them before they went bad.


Is there a better smell than a freshly zested lemon? It’s a welcome sign of Spring time and we are thankful we have plenty.


After we zested lots of lemons, it was time to juice them. We also have peace of mind that these lemons are grown without pesticides. Our uncle grows them himself, a trained arborist, and lover of all flora.


In goes the flour. The cub makes sure it doesn’t dust up into her face.


Next the lemon jest. She is loving all the smells.


Measuring is her favorite! In goes the baking powder.


The cub took a new step in her cooking journey. She was brave and helped crack an egg. The cub has always approached every new situation in her life with caution. (I’m a thankful mom for this) The sharp edges hurt her fingers but she repositioned and did it. She felt so accomplished!


So excited to dump her first cracked egg into the bowl.


Another first for her is using the mixer on her own. Clearly she was having a good time.


Whipped to perfection. The cub takes so much pride with each task. She feels a part of our community when she helps in the kitchen, or around the house. We are firm believers that if she knows she’s a working member of our community, she will have greater respect and love for her home (and meals!)


Licking the mixer… nothing better!


Grandma DiDi quickly made the icing and the cub helped spread it over the baked, but cooled lemon brownies.


This photo speaks for itself! Happy Easter everyone!

Lemon Brownies

(recipe from, made with love by the cub)


Brownie Ingredients

  • 1 C unsalted butter softened
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Lemon Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp lemon zest


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper
  2. Using a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder
  3. Using a standing mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until light and fluffy
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time until combined
  5. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients until combined
  6. Pour batter into the baking pan and bake in the oven for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Make sure to not over bake.

  7. Allow to completely cool on the counter

  8. Using a large mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until combined
  9. Pour the glaze over the lemon bars and spread evenly
  10. Allow to harden overnight before enjoying  ( we couldn’t wait that long…)

Spinach Pancakes

Spinach Pancakes

St. Patty’s Day inspired pancakes! The cub loved making them! Although she doesn’t quite understand how Irish she is, she will soon. And hopefully she takes pride in this fun holiday for years to come!


To start, we added LOTS of spinach to a blender to make our pancakes extra green (and healthy)!


Grandma DiDi demonstrates how to crack an egg. The cub will be doing it on her own soon.


She carefully added all the ingredients.


And tasted them too!

Spinach6When her dominate hand was busy with the “taster” spoon the Cub adapted by using her left hand.


In goes the wet ingredients with the dry.


After they cook on the griddle, the cub helps use the shamrock cookie cutter to make clover pancakes.


Honestly, not the prettiest green pancakes, but that didn’t affect the taste. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Spinach Pancakes

(adapted from


  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 cup flour (we used almond but I think using half almond and half wheat or cassava would work well)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt



  1. In good blender put first seven ingredients in and blend until smooth
  2. In a bowl whisk all dry ingredients until mixed
  3. Add the wet ingredients from blender into the dry and mix well
  4. Cook on well heated griddle that has been lightly greased with oil of choice

Note:  These did turn out quite dark and I believe it was the almond and spinach mix but they weren’t burnt and the Cub “LOVED” them. Since our newest Cub addition isn’t allowed to have honey yet we will make them with maple which would be a perfect substitution.


Artichoke and Dip Dip

Artichoke and Dip Dip

The ancients considered the artichoke full of health benefits, including uses like a diuretic, a breath freshener, and even a deodorant. Thankfully we’ve developed different forms of deodorant over time.

Grandma DiDi grew up a few miles away from the artichoke capital – Castroville – and recalls it being a staple at the dinner table when she was growing up. We hope to pass the same memories onto the cub. And this veggie is a good source of folate, dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K. Artichokes are also packed with antioxidants; they’re number 7 on the USDA’s top 20 antioxidant-rich foods list.


The cub begins by seasoning the water, that we used to steam the artichoke, with herbs, garlic and oil.


While the cub takes an apple juice break, she watches Grandma DiDi carefully cut and trim the artichoke outer leaves.


The cub can’t wait to use the scissors to help trim the leaves.


While the artichoke steams on the stove, the cub helps prepare the dip dip.

The base of ours is greek yogurt. You can also use plain melted butter or mayonnaise as a dip.


The cub added mustard to the yogurt.


Then curry for added flavor. She mixed it up and waited for the artichoke to finish cooking.


Once the artichoke was complete, the cub dug in with a big munch! She loves artichokes!


Enjoy! What kind of dip do you like to use when eating an artichoke?

Artichoke and Dip Dip


  • Fresh artichokes (as many as you would like)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried Herbs de Provence or oregano
  • Enough water to cover half of the artichokes

Dip Dip

  • 1/2 cup good plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp curry powder (depending on your taste – start light)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder


  1. Wash the artichokes well under running water; pulling leaves out a bit to rinse away any dirt or residue
  2. Trim top off with serrated knife and pull outer smaller leaves. If you want, snip all leave tops off with scissors (this removes little stickers on tips of artichoke leaves).
  3. Place right side up in saucepan that will comfortably hold the number of artichokes you are cooking. Fill with water to about half way up artichokes.
  4. Add oil, herbs, and chopped garlic to water.
  5. Place artichokes on stove over medium heat and cover.
  6. Cook for 30 – 45 minutes or until artichokes are tender when heart is pierced with a knife or fork. When the artichokes are done, drain all of water off and turn them upside down to make sure all water is out. (keep an eye on water level – it can evaporate so you may need to add more hot water during cooking time)
  7. To make dip, blend yogurt, curry, garlic powder and mustard together. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for an hour.
  8. Artichokes can be eaten hot, warm, room temp or cold and hold for days in refrigerator after being cooked.


  • When choosing artichokes at the market, look for those with leaves that are tightly closed and when the leaves are squeezed gently there is a squeaking sound. These are the freshest!
  • Artichokes can also be placed on a steamer plate to cook.

Summer Nectarine Salad

Summer Nectarine Salad

We are seriously digging this salad! Sweet, tangy and refreshing. It goes well with chicken, fish or on its own. The cub loves it, too!


Grandma DiDi is known for many of her talents in the kitchen, but salad dressings have to be at the top of the list. She always makes her own and it always makes the salad.


She also always recycles old jars. The cub helps her add the oil to the jar as the base of the dressing.


She destems and adds the fresh thyme to the jar.


A touch of salt and pepper.


A fun activity that the cub doesn’t always get to try is zesting. She really enjoyed this step!


Stop and smell the ingredients.


Big squeeze of lemon into the dressing. These lemons are crazy big, but also big in flavor!  And they come from GG’s (great grandma’s) lemon tree.


Next up, the cub chops the peppers for the salad.


Watching Grandma DiDi cut the corn off the cob is so interesting. She was fascinated.


Grandma DiDi shows the cub how to sprinkle all the salad toppings over the lettuce to make it look pretty.


It’s the cubs turn! Nicely done!


The finished product! Hurry, make this salad before summer ends! Nectarines and corn are delicious this year!


Summer Nectarine Salad

(6 – 8 side servings)

  • 1 – 1 ½ bags of mixed greens of choice
  • 1 ear corn (raw or grilled), sliced off cob
  • 1/4 cup red onion, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 small Persian cucumber, sliced
  • ½ red bell, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 nectarine, sliced
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Good feta or goat cheese
  • Herbs: Mint, basil, dill and parsley sprinkled over


  • 1/3 cup Trader Joes Orange moscato vinegar
  • 1/3  cup + 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1  tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp or more agave
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dash of cayenne to taste
  • 1 -2 tsp fresh thyme


  1. Combine all ingredients for the dressing into container (jar) and shake vigorously. Set aside.
  2. In large bowl place lettuce in bowl.
  3. Layer the rest of the salad ingredients over lettuce.
  4. Toss with dressing right before serving.
  5. Enjoy!


Add or subtract the herbs to your taste. If you make ahead, place a damp paper towel over the top of the salad and place in refrigerator for up to 1 – 2 hours.



Trader Joe’s Pizza and Breadsticks

Trader Joe’s Pizza and Breadsticks

We’re back! Excuse our short break… we’ve been dreaming up new recipes that we can’t wait to share!

I don’t know about you, but Trader Joe’s (TJ’s) is life changing for us. They just know how to make life easier! Although I would love to make homemade pizza dough, TJ’s has pre-made bags of dough in the refrigerator section. Everything in this recipe is from Trader Joe’s so enjoy some one-stop shopping. pizza 2

We used TJ’s whole wheat pizza dough. They also have plain and garlic herb. We started by washing our hands, getting them extra dry and then covering them with flour. This, of course, was the cubs favorite part.

breadsticks 2

Kneading the dough is important, and turns out, lots of fun!

breadsticks 1

Good Job, Cub! That looks like its ready to roll out.

pizza 4

Another fun tool to use – a rolling pin! The cub took this step very seriously.

pizza 6

Pat, pat, pat… it’s ready for sauce!

Pizza 1

We grabbed a bag of pre-washed spinach leaves at TJ’s and thought it would be a great idea to chop it up and add it to the sauce. Hidden veggies is my thing.

pizza 7

The cub spreads on the sauce perfectly.

pizza 8

Now for the cheese!  We used a few different kinds of shredded cheese from TJ’s. We had a little extra dough so we rolled it out, sprinkled them with cheese and added them to the oven as well.  The Cub enjoyed dipping them into the sauce or ‘dip dip’ as the cub would say.

pizza 9

Yummy! For added flavor, we added Everything But the Bagel seasoning to the breadsticks. If you haven’t tried Everything but the Bagel seasoning at TJ’s, go buy some now! It can be added to anything.


TJ’s Pizza and Breadsticks



  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s pizza dough
  • 1 container of Trader Joe’s pizza sauce
  • Cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, etc – any cheese that you want)
  • 1 bag of pre washed spinach leaves
  • Any other toppings of your choice


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  1. Follow the directions on bag of dough for how to prepare dough for toppings.(i.e., allow to rest outside of bag and refrigerator before handling)
  2. We cut dough into two equal parts for easy handling.
  3. Flour your work surface with 1 – 2 tbsp flour.  Knead dough until it is workable.   Roll or manipulate into shape of choice.
  4. Chop 1 cup of spinach and mix into sauce.  Spread the sauce onto the dough in an even layer.
  5. Sprinkle generously with shredded cheese
  6. Add additional toppings of your choice.
  7. Bake in the over for 12- 15 minutes or the crust is golden brown.