croutons

Teething and Crunchy Cravings

My baby is  teething something awful. 

She just got three of her four first molars (the ones next to the eye teeth) in the last three weeks and the fourth is now making an entrance. Plus, at least one of the eye teeth is on the way. The worst part is, she seems to be such a slooooow teether. My two older kids used to get two teeth at a time, there would be two days of distress and then bam! it was over. This seems to be lasting forever. Pile on a 24 hour stomach bug (for her AND for me!) and it's been less than pleasant at my house lately. 

In the process, my little gal seems to only want either crunchy foods or super soft stuff like applesauce and avocado. I'm taking matters into my own hands. We are well stocked on avocados. The applesauce is easy enough - I make this one fairly regularly. Applesauce is also great for tender tummies, so it's doing double duty. Bread crust is beloved right now but she keeps begging for "cah-cahs" (crackers) so I decided to make croutons - bread crust, taken to the next crunchy level. 

Here's how: 
I used the remaining half of a loaf of seeded sourdough bread that I bought from my local bakery three days ago. I sliced it into chunks that seemed a good fit for her little hands (she likes to have something in each hand these days) and drizzled with olive oil. I spread them onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and popped them into an oven preheated to 375. They baked for 15 minutes and came out perfectly crispy, crunchy and delightful. 

These are also great for dipping and have been used as a hummus delivery vehicle by my little gal too. These croutons would keep for several days but most likely, they'll be devoured within 48 hours!

The Pre-Vacation Fridge-Emptying Salad

We are going away for the holiday weekend. Yay! For me, part of vacation planning includes using up the food in my house that will go bad while we're gone. I hate wasted food, so finding great last minute uses for it makes me really pleased. 

The Fridge-Emptying Salad! So satisfying to know that food will not be wasted when we leave town. 

The Fridge-Emptying Salad! So satisfying to know that food will not be wasted when we leave town. 

As I looked inside my fridge last night, I saw a bunch of kale, some baby arugula, one lemon and some cilantro that had to get used plus the last third of my favorite whole wheat bread on the counter. Those ingredients, plus a couple of household staples created a delicious salad for last night's dinner. This salad hit the spot because it had earthiness from the kale, crunch from the croutons, tartness from lemon juice, bitterness from the arugula, salt from the olives and the special secret ingredient that added the needed sweetness – raisins from Peeled Snacks!
Check it out (complete recipe below the photos): 

Best wishes for a happy and healthy July 4th weekend!

First, I cut the whole wheat bread into crouton chunks and put them into a mixing bowl.

First, I cut the whole wheat bread into crouton chunks and put them into a mixing bowl.

Next, I drizzled the bread with my favorite Frankies 457 olive oil and tossed with a sliced shallot. 

Next, I drizzled the bread with my favorite Frankies 457 olive oil and tossed with a sliced shallot. 

I spread the croutons out on parchment paper and baked at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

I spread the croutons out on parchment paper and baked at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

At the same time, I sliced my bunch of kale, drizzled with olive oil and spread it onto parchment paper. I roasted it at 375 for 15 minutes. 

At the same time, I sliced my bunch of kale, drizzled with olive oil and spread it onto parchment paper. I roasted it at 375 for 15 minutes. 

I assembled the salad by tossing the kale with arugula, green olives (that I sliced), 1/4 cup of my favorite raisins from Peeled Snacks and fresh chopped cilantro. I squeezed fresh lemon juice and sprinkled with salt and pepper and tossed in the croutons and roasted shallots at the very end. YUM. 

I assembled the salad by tossing the kale with arugula, green olives (that I sliced), 1/4 cup of my favorite raisins from Peeled Snacks and fresh chopped cilantro. I squeezed fresh lemon juice and sprinkled with salt and pepper and tossed in the croutons and roasted shallots at the very end. YUM. 

The Fridge-Emptying Salad
1 bunch of kale, sliced
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cups baby arugula
8 green olives, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup raisins (My favorite are the Raisin Expectations from Peeled Snacks
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
Juice from one lemon
Whole Wheat Croutons (recipe below)
Salt and pepper to taste

Spread the sliced kale onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until edges are crispy. 
Toss roasted kale with baby arugula, olives, raisins and cilantro until all ingredients are nicely distributed. Add lemon juice and the remaining olive oil and toss once again. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with homemade croutons and roasted shallot slices. 

Whole Wheat Croutons
Whole wheat bread cut into chunks (I love the Pain Complet from Eric Kayser)
2 tablespoons olive oil (I swear by Frankies 457
1 shallot, sliced

Place bread chunks into a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil. Add sliced shallot, toss again and let it sit for about 10 minutes so that the flavor of the shallot has a chance to penetrate the bread. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 375 for approximately 15 minutes.