A Squared: April 2017

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Chicken Avocado & Orange Salad

A few weekends ago Alex, Hannah, and I took a Saturday morning walk over to Left Coast Juice & Eatery, a neighborhood juice bar and fast casual restaurant known for fresh cold-pressed juice (obviously) and a healthy California-influenced menu. I ordered the avocado toast and absolutely loved the combination of flavors in this simple dish: creamy avocado, bright juicy oranges, crunchy sunflower seeds, salt ricotta salata, and baby greens drizzled with a simple vinaigrette. It filled me up and gave me so much energy for the day that I couldn't stop thinking about that toast-- and how I could recreate it at home!

Because I don't have the time to whip up an avocado toast like this everyday (maybe I could on a weekend) I really wanted to figure out a way to translate this recipe into something feasible for my busy life-- and a salad that I could pack and bring to work seemed like the perfect way to do that. This salad is super easy to assemble and is full of good-for-you ingredients that will help you power through your afternoon at the office or elsewhere. It starts with a bed of greens of your choice (I love this blend by Taylor Farms that includes shredded kale, carrots, and beets), followed by diced avocado and orange, toasted almonds, and grated Pecorino Romano. You could make this a vegetarian salad if you'd like, but I also added shredded rotisserie chicken here because it helps this salad feel like a complete meal and it works nicely with the rest of these ingredients. A simple homemade red wine vinaigrette is the perfect way to finish this salad off with some tangy acidic brightness.

You could definitely make this salad ahead too! My advice though, would be to cut and separately store the avocado and oranges until you're ready to assemble the day of serving. The oranges could wilt the greens and I like my avocado bright green and not brown, which can happen if it isn't tightly wrapped.

  • 4 cups mixed greens of your choice *I used this Taylor Farms Kale & Beet mix
  • 2/3 cup cooked shredded chicken *I use leftover grilled or rotisserie chicken here
  • 1 orange, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 4 Tbs. sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, grated
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 1/2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbs. honey
  • 1/2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Arrange half of the greens evenly in two large salad bowls. Top evenly with chicken, orange, avocado, and almonds. Sprinkle Romano over the top of each.

In a small bowl or cruet, whisk together olive oil and remaining ingredients through salt and pepper. Whisk until fully combined. Drizzle over salads and serve.

This recipe makes enough for two entree salads.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Our Favorite Things at 11 Months

So, this post was originally titled "Favorite Things at 10 Months" but you know, life gets busy and then before you know it you have an 11 (almost 12) month old baby. Yikes! Time sure does fly. But since I had already put this favorite things list together, I still wanted to share it with you some of the things we've been enjoying around here lately... stay tuned for a Favorite Things at One Year (sobbbbb!) list coming soon!

1. Old Navy Jersey One-Piece 2 Pack - These little one-piece rompers are comfy and easy for a crawler on the go to move around in. These are some of our favorite play outfits for Hannah-- especially when Dad is in charge since he has a tough time maneuvering baby pants!
2. Skip Hop Giraffe Safari Crocodile Xylophone - This little guy is a favorite toy among Hannah and her little nanny share buddy. They love to pull the crocodile around, bang out the notes, and of course, chew on the wand.
3. Neat Solutions Table Toppers - These are so great for dining out with baby! I always have a few packed in the diaper bag so that we can just stick them on the table in front of Hannah at any restaurant and she can enjoy her food right off the table-- or chew on the edge of the table as babies do-- no matter where we are.
4. Gap Bear Hoodie Sweater - This little hoodie cardigan is one of my favorites. Hannah has it in a sweater and sweatshirt version and it's perfect for layering or to pack in the diaper bag or in the stroller when we are on the go. And everything is cuter with bear ears!
5. Boppy Shopping Cart Cover - I know this is such a overprotective first time mom item, but we take it to the grocery store every week and it has been great-- It keeps the germy surfaces covered, has a handy hook that we have secured a few toys on, and when Hannah was still a little wobbly this helped secure her in an upright position in the shopping cart.
6. California Baby Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash - Hannah battled cradle cap forever and she's got some patchy eczema too. This stuff smells amazing and has great wildflower extracts and essentials oils for dry skin-- and it is gentle for baby.
7. Cloud b Hugginz Lovie - Hannah officially has a lovie. And she's obsessed with it! She loves to snuggle this little guy in her crib and during story time and she'd carry it around all day if we let her. I've already bought a second one so that we have a backup in case he comes up missing.
8. OXO Tot Baby Blocks Storage Containers - These containers are perfect for portioning out Hannah's food. They're marked with 1-oz., 2-oz., etc. lines to make portioning easy so that I can pack everything up in these little blocks every night for Hannah and her nanny the next day. They're freezer and dishwasher safe too!
9. Munchkin Latch Trainer Sippy Cup - This sippy cup has been great for helping Hannah learn how to use a cup and transition away from the bottle. The spout is flexible and easy for her to use. It also has detachable handles that she can use for now, but can be removed later when she's ready to hold on without them.
10. Fisher-Price Little People Animal Friends Farm - I had this classic farm as a kid and now Hannah has her own and loves it. This barn makes cute little animal noises, plays music and comes filled with your favorite farm animals. Hannah loves carrying around (and chewing on) one or two of these animals at any given time.

And one other thing we are loving lately:

WaterPura wipes - I know I can't protect Hannah from everything forever, but while she's a baby I will certainly do my best! These WaterPura wipes are all natural and chemical-free, containing only 2 ingredients: water and a small amount of citrus extract. Whether you're changing diapers all day and wiping a sensitive bottom or cleaning a messy face and hands (that inevitably end up back in baby's mouth), these wipes make you feel a little better about what is touching baby's skin. These wipes were designed by a mom with other moms in mind (thank you!) and are available in large 60 wipe packages or smaller 10 wipe packages, perfect for packing in the diaper bag!

You may also like...
A Peek at the Nursery
At 7 Months: 10 Baby Things We're Loving Lately

Month Three of Motherhood: My 10 Favorite Items
My 10 Favorite Items from Month One of Motherhood

Editor's Note: Complimentary samples of WaterPura wipes were provided to me in order to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Mini Veggie Frittatas

At the beginning of this year I made a commitment to myself to start taking better care of me: Eating better, exercising more, and prioritizing sleep and family time. After the rollercoaster of pregnancy and those first few months with a newborn, to say that I was out of shape would be an understatement. I leaned on that "I have a newborn, I'm just trying to survive" excuse for a long time, but once the new year rolled around and I had a baby that was sleeping through the night and was pretty much done nursing, yet still couldn't fit into real pants that rationale seemed less and less acceptable... especially now that my "newborn baby" is almost a one-year old toddler. Things have been going well, but I still have a ways to go. My methodology has been all about small changes instead of big sweeping ones that are hard to stick with: Hopping on the treadmill desk at work, incorporating some short cardio or strength sessions at home in the evenings (even 20 minutes is better than nothing), cutting down my sugar intake, and starting every day (including the weekdays) with a protein and nutrient-packed breakfast. And that's where these mini frittatas come in!

Preparing eggs for breakfast can be messy and time consuming, so it isn't the ideal weekday breakfast option. However, these mini frittatas can be prepared over the weekend so that you have them at the ready to simply heat up (or enjoy cold) and enjoy before you get back to your busy day. A muffin tin is the perfect way to portion them out too, so there's no guessing involved. On a really hungry morning, I will have two. On other mornings, I'll have one frittata and a banana (with coffee, obviously) and I'm good for the next few hours. The key is to fill these frittatas up with flavorful and good-for-you ingredients that will make them satisfying, but also tasty. Because nothing gets old faster than the same bland breakfast every single day.

These frittatas start with a pretty simple egg custard base: Lots of scrambled eggs, milk, and for flavor a little mustard, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary. To that, I added a sweet and savory combination of diced sweet potatoes, onions, red bell peppers, garlic, and goat cheese. It's a great flavor combination and the generous vegetable chunks add some nice texture to the eggs too. And while I am partial to this set of ingredients, you can also have fun with whatever you have on hand too. I made a second batch of these mini frittatas with chopped sun dried tomatoes, diced leftover asparagus, Pecorino Romano, and the pureed spinach that I made for my daughter (that she refused to eat). My theory is that if you make these with ingredients you enjoy, you'll be much more likely to actually eat them instead of grabbing a donut on your way to the office!


  • 1 1/2 cups sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil, divided 
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Cooking spray
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. prepared mustard
  • A few dashes of hot sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 Tbs. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

In a medium bowl, combine sweet potatoes, 1 Tbs. oil, salt, and pepper and toss to incorporate. Spread mixture evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes and remove from oven for next step.

Meanwhile, toss the red pepper, onion, garlic, salt, pepper(to taste), and remaining 1/2 Tbs. of oil in the bowl. Add to the par-roasted sweet potato mixture and toss to incorporate the peppers and onions into he sweet potatoes. Roast for another 15 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are fork tender. 

Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin evenly with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, mustard, hot sauce, salt, pepper (to taste) well until frothy. Fold in the rosemary.

Carefully spoon the sweet potato and pepper mixture into the bottom of each muffin tin until they are about 1/3 to 1/2 full. Pour the egg mixture carefully over the top of each one until the egg mixture is just below the rim of the muffin cup. Sprinkle goat cheese over the top of each and bake for 25-28 minutes or until golden and the eggs are set.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. You may need to use a butter knife to gently loosen the eggs from the tin. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy warm or cold for breakfast!

Make 12 mini frittatas.

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