Blog Posts by Sarah Lipoff

  • Shine Supper Club - Quick Fried Chicken

    fried chicken
    I'm afraid of making fried chicken. Really. I love it, and often enjoy it when others prepare it. But, to make it at home? Nope. I had salmonella as a tot. I don't remember any of it, but, according to my mom, it wasn't pretty. Supposedly, the wonderful sick came from eating undercooked home-fried chicken (not made by my mom). I ended up in the hospital and everything. So the idea of frying my own chicken freaks me out a bit. Especially with my tot at home.

    The other day I came across a new foodie idea over at Shine Food - The Shine Supper Club. The first assignment was to tackle cooking something you've always a bit intimidated by but always wanted to try.

    I knew I had to tackle fried chicken.

    I did some research, checked out a few recipes, and then did a bit of adjusting. Lots of recipes suggested letting the chicken sit overnight in buttermilk - and I just don't have the patience for that. I came up with a short-cut idea that turned out wonderfully tasty and super

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  • Healthy Dark Chocolate Brownie Bites

    healthy dark chocolate brownie bites
    While we were gone on vacation our neighbor was nice enough to check in on our cats. He's got two cats of his own, which makes it a pretty good deal. When he goes out-of-town, we take care of his cats. And when we go away, he makes sure ours haven't eaten each other. But I still try to find a way to thank him, which usually includes making something sweet as a special thank you treat.

    The other day when I saw him he was pretty insistent on not wanting any tasty goodies, complaining that he needed to cut back on all the sweet and salty snacking.

    Challenge on.

    I'm quite familiar with the brownie mix you can get from one of my favorite stores, which is low in calories and made with yogurt instead of butter or eggs, and figured I could make my own - but with less sugar and flour. I played around with the ingredients and came up with something really dark and rich without all those big calorie and carb players. Because these little goodies are low in sugar and flour, they

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  • Fine Art for Kids: Sand Painting with Robert Smithson

    Sand painting with Robert Smithson

    While on vacation (and staring at the beautiful ocean last week) I was reminded of a few really stellar outdoor installation artists and the amazing natural materials that can be used to get creative. The tot spent hours and hours finding sticks to use for drawing in the sand, and the last day of our vacation, really got into collecting rocks, checking them out, and then giving them a toss into the big collections rocks around the beach.

    (which was okay because there was seriously no one else on the beach otherwise throwing rocks would have been a big no-no....)

    Since we've been home, no one's been really excited with our "real lives." The beach was awesome, and who doesn't love spending hours and hours on a desolated stretch of beach lounging about while chatting and reading and watching the tot do silly dances while loudly chanting the A,B,C's? So the other afternoon during what should've been nap time (but had turned into toddler tantrum time) I got out the trusty

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  • Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies

    Chocolate cream cheese cookies
    Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and, instead of running out and spending a wad on stuff, I wanted to put together something tasty and easy to share with my loved ones. I don't know about you, but Valentine's Day screams of chocolate, so chocolate it must be. I wasn't in the mood for putting together anything too challenging (I'm still pretty lazy since getting back from our vacation ), so decided to keep it simple.

    Chocolate cream cheese refrigerator cookies.

    This is a tasty and easy recipe, which makes a big pile of cookies. You could even make a double batch and have enough to give to friends, family, teachers, and neighbors. Add white or semi-sweet chocolate chips for some extra love or toss in a sprinkling of pecans or walnuts. I didn't have any of those yummies in the house, so simply chocolate cream cheese cookies it was.

    Make sure to set aside some time when doing this recipe. The cookies need a bit of time to set up in the fridge, and you could

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  • Sweet and Spicy Nuts

    With the Super Bowl right around the corner, all I can think about are snacks, snacks, snacks. Honestly, I don't really care about the football game - I'm not a big fan of either team (because they aren't the Packers or Niners), so I'm in it to win it on the snack front. We usually gather around the TV to yell at the players for missing the ball and laugh at the really-not-so-funny commercials.

    It's kind of a tradition.

    This year I pre-made a couple of goodies to make sure they would be a hit on game day. I am already planning on making a big overflowing bowl of peanut butter popcorn. Alongside that crispy, tasty goodness will be homemade pizza with ricotta and prosciutto, yogurt covered pretzels, and also, horribly addictive sweet and spicy pecans.

    For the holidays, my aunt sent us one of the biggest bags of fresh-from-the-tree pecans I'd ever seen. While looking at tons of pecan recipes, I decided to ditch all those steps for something super simple.

    Sweet and spicy

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  • Egg Carton Color Fun

    The rains have arrived here in Northern California, which means re-discovering old toys and finding fun things to do. I'm always looking for new ways to re-use stuff, and the corner of the room where the tots toys are looks like a big blow up of itty-bitty parts of puzzles and games (which no one is putting away).

    We need some organization.

    I pulled out a couple of egg cartons and knew they could be transformed into something useful and entertaining - at least for the day. With the help of some tape, tempera paint, and the creativity of the tot, we turned an egg carton into hours of color organizational excitement.

    This is a perfect project for introducing color recognition to your kiddies - or for the older set, color theory. I offered some assistance helping to mix the primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) so the tot could paint green, orange, and purple cups, but older kids can be on their own to experiment and explore creating their own unique colors for painting

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  • Hot Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad (with Blue Cheese)

    Hot roasted butternut squash and quinoa salad (with blue cheese)
    I just love quinoa - and I'm a big fan of butternut squash. Quinoa is easy to cook (really) and so healthy for you. Not only is it packed with protein, it's also low in cholesterol, carbohydrates, and has hardly any calories. With a nutty, crisp flavor, it's great as a side or main dish. And, butternut squash isn't anything to complain about either. Full of antioxidants and also low in calories, butternut squash can be enjoyed savory or sweet.

    This was our winner from last week's dinners, and I enjoyed the leftovers cold the next day for lunch. Even if you've never cooked quinoa before, you'll have success with this dish - really, it's that easy.

    And, hey. Not a fan of blue cheese? Leave it out - or crumble some feta or shred on some Parmesan.


    1 butternut squash, skin and seeds removed then diced

    1 small onion chopped

    1 big clove garlic chopped

    1 t olive oil

    1/4 c water

    Dash of salt and pepper

    4 c fresh spinach leaves

    1/4 c

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  • User Post: Chocolate Banana Cupcakes (with Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting)

    Choco-nana cupcakes
    It's been a bit of a whirlwind over here. We delayed Christmas until my parents arrived late last week, the husband and I went out on a pre-New Year's date, and now it's the tot's birthday.

    I'm about ready to crawl into a quiet corner and hibernate.

    When deciding what to do for our big tot on her b-day, I wanted to keep things pretty tame, you know, because we've been opening presents for what seems like days and days and days.

    I figured we'd make a special meal - and a special treat. She's in love with chocolate and bananas, so I combined the two into something really tasty.

    Choco-nana cupcakes.

    These are really simple and actually not so bad for you - especially if you eat them just as is without the additional frosting. There's less sugar in them and no butter, but you'd never know. Using a really big and not-yet-brown banana creates big happy chunks of nanners in every bite.

    What you need

    3/4 c unsweetened Dutch process cocoa

    1/2 c sugar

    1 1/4 c

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  • User Post: Quinoa, Kale and White Bean Soup

    Quinoa, kale and white bean soup
    Winter has made its chilly arrival, which means (thankfully) the days will get a bit longer but it's time for the holidays and all those cookies and treats and parties and stuff.

    I already have a nice amount of jiggle-in-the-middle. I don't need any more.

    But a girl's gotta eat, right?

    My days get pretty hectic balancing the tot and work stuff. Sometimes I don't eat lunch until 1:30 or so when she has her "nap," and then the adults eat dinner around 8ish. The tot eats lunch around 11:30 and dinner at 5, and sometimes I'll have a some fresh fruit or yogurt with her during her meal times. By the time the husband gets home around 6:30, I'm famished.

    Yeah, I know we are eating pretty late, but I'm not about to have dinner on the table when the husband crashes through the door. The tot is a mess and, as it is, only gets about an hour with her daddy before she conks out.

    So, for now, that's our eating schedule.

    Having a really healthy and filling lunch helps me get through

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  • User Post: Crock Pot Lasagna

    While hanging out on Pinterest the other day, I got a bit of inspiration. Everyone seems to be using their crock pots to make these amazing things - even lasagna.

    Yeah, lasagna.

    So I had to try it. I love lasagna and make it often. I like to mix up the ingredients to keep it fun, like using cubed and roasted chicken with a cream sauce or ground turkey with thin strips of butternut squash. I figured for my crock pot lasagna experiment I'd keep things pretty basic - you know, the good stuff. Italian sausage, a big jar of sauce, and lots and lots of cheese.

    This is really easy, and you can't mess it up.


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