Bytes of Love

Working mommy. Startup daddy. Rascal toddlers.

Category: Recipes (Page 2 of 12)


Five Ingredient Kale Smoothie

I know what you’re thinking: you’re not quite done sipping on hot chocolate yet. Don’t worry, we do our fair share of sugar and fats damage during the holidays. When we are on staycation for a full 10 days though, we try to get  some more exercise in and slip in some detox foods like this five ingredient kale smoothie. I’m not a smoothie connoisseur, so don’t know a ton of green smoothies to compare this to, but what appeals to me about this one is that it only has five basic ingredients and it doesn’t taste like a ton of grass :-)

Here’s how you whip one up:


About 3 kale leaves, torn up
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
1 cup coconut milk (any kind)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon powder


Simply add all ingredients to a blender and liquify away! Makes about 2 tall glasses. Enjoy cold.


Mulled Wine in the Espresso Machine

It’s fall! That means loads of slow-cooker meals, comfort foods, and warm drinks in our house. Anil and I love mulled wine or apple cider and this weekend, he came up with the genius idea of running the wine through our espresso machine. We’re not huge coffee drinkers, but we are latte snobs. Hence the espresso machine, but lack of coffee machine in our house. If you have a coffee machine instead, you can still pull this off! If you’re not a wine drinker, you can try this with apple cider as well. Here’s what you do:

mulled wine in espresso machine

Mulled Wine in the Espresso Machine

1. Clean out your espresso or coffee machine by running water through it a few times. Be sure to discard the water.

2. Load up the part of your machine where you normally put the ground coffee beans with mulling spices. Be sure to pack them in really tight. We absolutely love the Mulling Spice mix from Trader Joe’s, but if you don’t have ready-to-go mulling spices, you can make your own by mixing together cinnamon, orange peel, allspice, and cloves.

3. This is optional, but if you want some extra sweetness, add 1/4 cup of sugar to a quart of red wine, or add some agave syrup to your cup (this is what we did). Run the wine through the espresso machine and serve warm with a cinnamon stick. Enjoy the warmth!

Tip: Don’t forget to clean out your espresso machine or coffee maker afterwards by running some water with a splash of vinegar through it. Otherwise, you’ll be enjoying some boozy coffee!

Trader Joe's Mulling Spice


Goodbye Summer: Watermelon & Halloumi Cheese

I have to admit it: I don’t care about summer…at all. I know that’s shocking to most people who live for summer, but I can totally live without the humidity and extreme (85F+ degrees) heat that we have here in North Carolina. I’m all about fall. The weather’s perfect, scenery is gorgeous where we live, slow cooker meals are nice and easy, football season is back, and PUMPKIN BEER.

Watermelon & Halloumi Cheese

On the flip side, I love summer fruits. So if you have any leftover watermelon, give this 10 minute recipe a try:

1. Chop up a seedless watermelon into bite-size pieces.

2. Get your hands on some Halloumi cheese! This is similar to mozzarella, but is much saltier, and is often made out of a mixture of sheep’s, goat, and sometimes cow’s milk. I get mine at Trader Joes.

3. Slice the Halloumi cheese into bite size pieces as well and fry with two tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat, until golden brown and a crust starts to form. Gently pat dry and serve next to the watermelon.

4. Drizzle both with balsamic glaze (Trader Joe’s again, people!) and finely chopped fresh basil. Serve as a snack or lunch. Pair with sangria or wine if you want to be adventurous. I promise you’ll like this. If you don’t, you’ll eat least look fancy 😉

watermelon & halloumi cheese

Mini Baked Omelettes

I may not be able to pull off a picture perfect dinner every evening, but one thing I know how to do is make a good breakfast. I LOVE breakfast. It’s my favorite meal of the day. I even make us brinner (breakfast for dinner) once in a while, especially during the colder fall and winter months. My biggest rule about breakfast is that it has to be easy. Ideally, bake-able. So when I came across this recipe on Pinterest, I just couldn’t contain myself. Want to share the joy with me? Here’s what you do:

  • Crack a few eggs (minimum of six) and add a splash of milk. I usually buy large organic eggs, but whatever you have on hand is fine. Eight eggs will buy you about 9 mini omelettes.
  • Chop up some veggies. Green onions, bell pepper, tomatoes, mushrooms, whatever you have on hand. Feel free to add meats or cheese as well, ham, bacon, whatever your heart desires.
  • Grease your best muffin pan and add the egg mixture to each muffin tin. Fill to about 3/4 of the way.
  • Top with some veggies and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until the eggs are set.
  • Let cool and store in the fridge for 2-3 days max. Enjoy at room temperature or slightly warm.

Tadaa! Breakfast is done.


20 Finger Foods for the Toothless Baby

I have a confession to make. I’m pretty tired of cutting up fruits, veggies, meats, and other proteins into mini-bite size pieces. At the same time, I’m so glad we’re feeding Dilan fresh and healthy foods. He’s finally the proud owner of two pearly whites popping out of his bottom gum. But it took forever for him to get those teeth, so I can totally relate to those of you who are still mashing up foods. The good news is that babies actually don’t need teeth to be able to mash up food. Those jaws are strong. So months before his teeth actually came in, we started practicing with finger foods. WONDERFUL for those fine motor skills, especially since he’s a bit slow at mastering those.

finger foods

Pre-finger foods, Dilan ate anything from kale to quinoa. Finger foods may seem easy, but they’re actually difficult to dream up when you’ve had a long day and are pulling together breakfast and lunch ala finger (err, you know what I mean) for the next day at 9 PM. Don’t even get me going on the labeling that’s needed for daycare. We were soon labeling no less than 5 containers every evening. I finally invested in these super small and portable BPA-free plastic containers and started cutting up all of Dilan’s finger foods for the week every Sunday evening. It’s been so much easier than trying to do it every week night. Even if you don’t need containers, you can still benefit from separating out the food by using an ice cube tray. Works awesome as well. So now, what exactly have we been feeding our pickle? Well here ya go:

20 Finger Foods for the Toothless Baby

  • Sweet potato
  • Zucchini
  • Boiled green beans
  • Soft peas
  • Steamed diced carrots
  • Northern beans
  • Black beans (fork mashed)
  • Tofu
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • String cheese
  • Gluten-free waffle
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Avocado
  • Soft pears
  • Soft peaches
  • Sweet mandarin oranges
  • Finely sliced grapes
  • Soft kiwi
  • Blueberries

Dils now eats finger foods by the fistful, even with only 2 teeth present. We’re particularly impressed with his high fist-to-mouth-ratio. So far so good. I’m always open to new suggestions, though. What would you add to this list?

The Easiest Veggies You’ll Ever Make

Sure you can buy some frozen veggies, toss them in the microwave and call it a day. Nothing wrong with that. At least you’re eating veggies. There are definitely days when that’s all we can muster for dinner. Recently, I came up with this broccoli recipe that’s just perfect. It’s perfect because it’s almost as easy as tossing veggies in the microwave, yet it’s extremely satisfying and you’re eating FRESH produce. Here’s how to put together the easiest veggies you’ll ever make:

Step 1:  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Take two heads of fresh broccoli, wash and cut them into bite-size pieces. I combine them with washed and trimmed leeks that I get from Trader Joe’s. These are optional, but do add great flavor.


Step 2: Toss the broccoli (and leeks, if you decide to use them) with 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil, some extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and chili powder. We use the Indian Kashmiri chili powder, which is a bit spicier. You can leave this out if you don’t like spicy. Same with the sesame oil, if you’re not a fan of that, though we LOVE it.

Step 3: Lay out the veggies on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes on 425. Take out of the oven and enjoy warm.

The beauty of this dish is that it takes almost no prep time. The oven does all the work for you. Dilan has an attention span of about 3 minutes and I can prep this dish in about 10. That just means that I only have to move him about 3 times or hand him 3 to 4 new toys to play with it before I’m done. It’s genius. Give it a try and let me know what you think!




3 Best Gluten Free Breakfast Breads

Gluten free breakfast breads have been a huge hit in our house over the last few months. I like that these loafs are all super easy to whip up and incredibly delicious to eat. I usually take a slice or two into the office and eat breakfast in complete peace there (sans baby) :-). My preferred brand of flour is Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour. It has worked for me every time. I order it in bulk on Amazon now, that’s how much we use it. After trying a dozen or so recipes, here are our 3 best gluten free breakfast breads:

  • Gluten free banana bread. I substitute the sugar for just under a cup of honey. Works great. You can also add more applesauce instead of oil and make this even healthier. Chocolate chips are usually added per the hubs’ request.
  • Gluten free chocolate zucchini bread. To make this gluten-free, simply substitute the flour for gluten free flour. If you want an even healthier version of this, substitute the oil with apple sauce and the sugar with a cup of honey (just one, not two).
  • Gluten free sweet potato bread. Anil liked this a lot. I made two loafs and he never got tired of eating it for breakfast. The only thing you might want to substitute here is the butter. Add some applesauce instead. However, not a ton of butter is used in this recipe, so you decide if it’s worth it!

Needless to say, we’re really not missing our regular flour. The main benefit to me is that going gluten free makes these loafs much lighter and makes them healthier overall. You can’t lose. Let me know what your favorites are! I’m signing off and heading over to Pinterest for more gluten free ideas. Check out my gluten free goodies board over there!



Spicy Kale Chips

Kale chips are all the rage these days! And why shouldn’t they be? They’re healthy, super delicious and crispy, and don’t take very long to prepare. Anil and I love spicy foods, so instead of the traditional way of preparing these, we decided to add some kick. Kashmiri chili is the perfect addition to these spicy kale chips since it adds a lot of warmth, but not necessarily heat.  I’ve tried many different recipes out there, but had to experiment with the time and oven temperature. This is what I eventually came up with:


A large bunch of organic kale (baby kale works just as well)

Extra virgin olive oil – the best quality you have

Kosher or sea salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

Kashmiri chili (optional) – found at many Asian / Indian grocery stores



1. Thoroughly wash the kale and remove the leaves from the stems. Put on a large, dry, and clean kitchen towel for a few hours, or, if you have a salad spinner, spin away to remove all water.

2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

3. In a large bowl, toss the kale with a few tablespoons of olive oil, salt, cracked black pepper, and Kashmiri chili, if you have it on hand.

4. Place on a large baking sheet in a single layer and bake for about 20-25 minutes. If you like the spicy kale chips to be more crispy / crunchy, go with 25 minutes and a slightly more brown color. If you prefer them less crispy, go with 20 minutes and the edges just starting to brown. Serve warm with just about anything, though we recommend a nice, cold beer!


Blue Cheese Mashed Sweet Potatoes

You’re probably used to topping sweet potatoes with either nothing or pecans, sugar, butter, maple syrup or tiny marshmallows. Although I love a good sweet potato casserole, I also like some contrast in my food. I love mashed sweet potatoes. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about how you cut up the sweet potatoes (and let’s admit it, it sucks to cut them up, unless you have a ninja style knife) :-). So to add something different to these health gems, I tossed in some blue cheese at the very end. That’s it. Just peel, cut, boil, and mash the potatoes and toss in about 1/4 cup (or more, if you want to be adventurous) of crumbled blue cheese for every two medium sized potatoes. The cheese will slightly melt and the blue cheese mashed sweet potatoes go great with meats or more veggies on the side. Great substitute for your regular dose of mashed potatoes. Let me know if you like them this way or if you plan to run right back to keeping things sweet!

blue cheese mashed potatoes

Lemon Caper Butter Sauce

Did you know that capers are really Mediterranean flower buds? They’ve got a super strong flavor and are usually pretty salty, so a little goes a long way with these guys. The great thing about this lemon caper butter sauce is that you can quickly whip it up and add it to chicken, fish, or even tofu. It goes well with steamed or sauteed veggies as well. Here’s how I made it:


1/2 stick of butter, unsalted

1.5 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons of capers, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon of lemon zest (optional)



In a small saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the capers, lemon juice, and lemon zest and slowly simmer for a few minutes. This recipe should give you enough lemon caper butter sauce to drizzle over 3-4 chicken breasts or pieces of  fish or meat. Enjoy with a healthy side to make up for all that butter! 😉


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