Spinach and kale tots

Spinach and kale tots | Me & The Moose. These “tots” are filled with super greens and come together quickly for an easy side, lunchbox filler, or snack. #meandthemoose #homemadetots #tots #totsrecipe #lunchboxrecipes #veggiesnacks #kidfoodrecipes #kale #spinach #kidseatgreens

One reliable way I could get some greens into M was to present things as a “tot.” He really loved the Spinach and Kale Bites from Trader Joe’s, but our store has been out of them for weeks. So here is my copycat version.

Take me to the tots (recipe)!

Spinach and kale tots | Me & The Moose. These “tots” are filled with super greens and come together quickly for an easy side, lunchbox filler, or snack. #meandthemoose #homemadetots #tots #totsrecipe #lunchboxrecipes #veggiesnacks #kidfoodrecipes #kale #spinach #kidseatgreens

Note my use of the past tense up there.

M is still in his picky phase that I’ve mentioned before. He’s off of hummus, but full steam ahead with smoothies. One day he loves yogurt and the next he won’t touch it. Some days, carrots are a safe food and other days broccoli is his only vegetable. One day he’ll ask for a bowl of peas (straight up with nothing on them) and another day he’s picking them out of his mac and cheese. It’s maddening.

However, food refusal is a normal part of eating for kids. It’s hard to learn how to eat! Their taste buds are changing, their caloric needs swing wildly from day to day, and part of a preschooler’s job is to push against boundaries, so if there are rules around food in your house, they’ll try to break them. It’s how kids operate.

Spinach and kale tots | Me & The Moose. These “tots” are filled with super greens and come together quickly for an easy side, lunchbox filler, or snack. #meandthemoose #homemadetots #tots #totsrecipe #lunchboxrecipes #veggiesnacks #kidfoodrecipes #kale #spinach #kidseatgreens

One of my big things is making the same food for the whole family, so the good news here is that I really like these tots and they’re packed with veggies, so they make a good snack for the grownups as well.

Make these tots! One day my kid will eat them, I’m sure. And until then, I’ll eat them.

Spinach and kale tots | Me & The Moose. These “tots” are filled with super greens and come together quickly for an easy side, lunchbox filler, or snack. #meandthemoose #homemadetots #tots #totsrecipe #lunchboxrecipes #veggiesnacks #kidfoodrecipes #kale #spinach #kidseatgreens

Spinach and kale tots

1 bag frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 bag frozen kale, thawed and squeezed dry
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
¾ cup grated Parmesan
½ cup shredded mozzarella
Heaping ½ tsp sea salt
Heaping ½ tsp onion powder
Heaping ½ tsp garlic powder
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350.

Thaw and squeeze dry a bag of spinach and a bag of kale. To achieve a smoother texture in your tots, pulse the dried greens in a food processor 10-15 times. You may need to squeeze with another towel if more liquid is released.

Place the squeezed dry greens in a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well to combine.

Take about 1½-2 Tbsp of the mixture and press into a nugget shape with your palms.

Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes or until the nuggets feel solid when you push on them lightly.  

Yield: about 24-26 tots 

Spinach and kale tots | Me & The Moose. These “tots” are filled with super greens and come together quickly for an easy side, lunchbox filler, or snack. #meandthemoose #homemadetots #tots #totsrecipe #lunchboxrecipes #veggiesnacks #kidfoodrecipes #kale #spinach #kidseatgreens

Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen

Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen | Me & The Moose. These hamantaschen are a twist on a classic and a quick-cooking spring-y cookie. #meandthemoose #hamantaschen #lemonpoppyseed #cookies #cookierecipes #purim #Jewishrecipes #baking #easybaking
Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen | Me & The Moose. These hamantaschen are a twist on a classic and a quick-cooking spring-y cookie. #meandthemoose #hamantaschen #lemonpoppyseed #cookies #cookierecipes #purim #Jewishrecipes #baking #easybaking

Don’t hate me, but my favorite cookie holiday is Purim. Not Christmas. Not Valentine’s Day. Purim. I love a hamantaschen almost more than any other cookie. Is that weird? I don’t care.

Jump to the recipe!

Why do I love these cookies so much? I think it’s because Purim means that spring is FINALLY here. I reached the nadir of my winter depression last week but we’re making our way back. I can see grass again! We have an extra hour of light! We have green buds popping up despite still-freezing temperatures!

Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen | Me & The Moose. These hamantaschen are a twist on a classic and a quick-cooking spring-y cookie. #meandthemoose #hamantaschen #lemonpoppyseed #cookies #cookierecipes #purim #Jewishrecipes #baking #easybaking
Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen | Me & The Moose. These hamantaschen are a twist on a classic and a quick-cooking spring-y cookie. #meandthemoose #hamantaschen #lemonpoppyseed #cookies #cookierecipes #purim #Jewishrecipes #baking #easybaking
Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen | Me & The Moose. These hamantaschen are a twist on a classic and a quick-cooking spring-y cookie. #meandthemoose #hamantaschen #lemonpoppyseed #cookies #cookierecipes #purim #Jewishrecipes #baking #easybaking

I rejiggered my hamantaschen dough recipe from last year because I wanted the cookie to be slightly more crumbly. I also left out the baking powder because my (and probably everyone who’s ever made hamantaschen) biggest pet peeve about this cookie is that it can open up during baking and lose it’s shape. Whelp, if you leave out the baking powder, there’s a lot less leavening happening. Problem solved.

Also, I stand corrected about one hamantaschen-related statement: Last year I didn’t think that freezing the dough after forming the cookies made a difference, but this year, it did. Go figure.

Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen | Me & The Moose. These hamantaschen are a twist on a classic and a quick-cooking spring-y cookie. #meandthemoose #hamantaschen #lemonpoppyseed #cookies #cookierecipes #purim #Jewishrecipes #baking #easybaking

A couple of notes:

  • I used a store-bought lemon curd, but feel free to make your own. It will bubble out while the cookies bake, but you can always fill in any holes that develop with a bit more curd once the cookies cool.

  • There is a teeny amount of cardamom in this recipe because I didn’t want the cookies to taste too strongly of cardamom. The little hint of it actually makes the lemon taste more lemony.

Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen


6 Tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 heaping tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Heaping ¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp poppyseeds
1/8- 1/4 tsp cardamom
2 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp lemon curd per cookie

Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl in the microwave until half melted (heat on high for 30 seconds and then in 10 second bursts until your butter is only half formed). Stir the butter to let the residual heat of the melted half take care of the half that is still solid. Let cool slightly.

Add the sugar, vanilla, and eggs and whisk to combine thoroughly.

Add the salt, poppyseeds, and cardamom, and stir again.

Add ½ of the flour and stir with a spatula until just combined. Add the rest of the flour and mix until the dough comes together. Use your hands to get the last bits of flour to come together in the dough. If it feels too flaky or dry, mix in some water, 1 Tbsp at a time, until the dough feels slightly wet, all of the flour is easily incorporated, and there are minimal cracks along the edges of the dough when squished down.   

Divide the dough into two discs, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and chill for 20 minutes in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 350.

After 20 minutes, roll out the dough to 1/8th of an inch on a floured surfaced with a floured rolling pin. (Be liberal with the flour as this is a sticky dough. If it feels too sticky to work with, put back in the freezer for 5 minutes and try again.)

Cut out 2.5-inch circles and transfer them to a parchment-covered baking sheet.

Fill the center of each circle with ½ tsp lemon curd.

Fold the cookie dough into a triangle by folding and pinching three sides of the circle together.

Bake the cookies for 5 minutes and rotate in the oven. Bake until the bottoms of the cookies are browned but the tops are still light, about 4-5 minutes more.

If lots of the filling has bubbled out, let the cookies cool and add another ½ tsp of the lemon curd.

Yield: 36 cookies

Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen | Me & The Moose. These hamantaschen are a twist on a classic and a quick-cooking spring-y cookie. #meandthemoose #hamantaschen #lemonpoppyseed #cookies #cookierecipes #purim #Jewishrecipes #baking #easybaking

Pasta con ceci (and white beans)

Pasta con ceci (and white beans) | Me & the Moose. This one-pot, 30-minute, vegan-optional meal is healthy, simple, cheap, and uses pantry staples that you likely already have. #meandthemoose #healthydinnerrecipes #30minutemeals #pastarecipes #veganrecipes #vegetarianrecipes

A one-pot, healthy, vegan optional pasta dinner full of beans and veggies that comes together in less than 30 minutes? Oh, and it’s made with things you likely have in your pantry right now (or could easily get on the cheap)? Yes and yes.

Take me to the recipe!

This dish started with Victoria Granoff’s wonderful Pasta con ceci from Food52. It’s easy, fast, inexpensive, and shockingly complex considering the petite ingredient list and short cooking time.

However, that quick cook left the chickpeas a little too raw, in my opinion. And while I love a healthy fat, the original recipe calls for lots of olive oil and I wanted to lighten it up a bit. I suspect that the larger amount of oil masks the chickpea taste a bit, but I like the idea of replacing fat with fiber and not the other way around.

Pasta con ceci (and white beans) | Me & the Moose. This one-pot, 30-minute, vegan-optional meal is healthy, simple, cheap, and uses pantry staples that you likely already have. #meandthemoose #healthydinnerrecipes #30minutemeals #pastarecipes #veganrecipes #vegetarianrecipes

I tried to swap in white beans for the chickpeas entirely, but they cooked down too much. Half and half white beans and chickpeas, though, proved the winning combination: Some bite from the chickpeas and some creaminess from the white beans marries perfectly.

Use whole wheat pasta and throw in some julienned kale at the end and you have a rounded, healthy dish full of fiber and protein.

Even M, who’s been in an extended picky phase, gobbled this up and we didn’t even need to put other “safe’ foods on the table.

All that to say, MAKE THIS FOR DINNER TONIGHT!

Pasta con ceci (and white beans) | Me & the Moose. This one-pot, 30-minute, vegan-optional meal is healthy, simple, cheap, and uses pantry staples that you likely already have. #meandthemoose #healthydinnerrecipes #30minutemeals #pastarecipes #veganrecipes #vegetarianrecipes


Pasta con Ceci (and white beans)

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/3 cup tomato paste
1½ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed  
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1½ cup uncooked orecchiete pasta (or another small shape)
3½ cups stock or water
1 parmesan rind (optional)
½ bushel Tuscan (also called Lacinto or Dinosaur) kale, julienned (about 1½-2 cups) 

For serving: red pepper flakes, more parmesan,

Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium-low flame, until hot, but not crackling.

Add the smashed garlic (it should sizzle in the pan right away) and cook until it’s deeply tanned, but not dark brown. Adjust the temperature as needed to avoid burning.

Add the tomato paste. It should also sizzle when it hits the pan. If not, increase the temperature. Cook, stirring and hearing the sizzle, for 30 seconds to a minute.

Add the white beans, pasta, water or stock, and salt. Bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low and add the cheese rind, if using. Let simmer uncovered (you should have a decent simmer going and see bubbles popping throughout the cooking. If not, increase the temperature) for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened to your liking and the pasta is cooked.

Turn off the heat and toss in your kale. Stir a few times to let the residual heat wilt the greens.

Serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Pasta con ceci (and white beans) | Me & the Moose. This one-pot, 30-minute, vegan-optional meal is healthy, simple, cheap, and uses pantry staples that you likely already have. #meandthemoose #healthydinnerrecipes #30minutemeals #pastarecipes #veganrecipes #vegetarianrecipes

Cacio e pepe cauliflower and chickpeas

Cacio e pepe cauliflower and chickpeas | Me & The Moose. This vegetarian sheetpan dish hits all the right notes of cheesy, creamy, crunchy, and delicious. It’s filled with protein and appealing to vegetarians and carnivores alike. #meandthemoose #sheetpanmeals #vegetarianrecipes #cauliflower #cheese #cacioepepe #chickpeas #vegetarian #vegetariandinners

Take me to the recipe!

So, I have to confess something: I’m not sold on the pretend-cauliflower-is-the-same-as-carbs trend. I’ve had the Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi and it’s good, but it’s not gnocchi. I’ve resisted cauliflower pizza crust because…I just…can’t. I like cauliflower rice, but only with other strong flavors.

Cacio e pepe cauliflower and chickpeas | Me & The Moose. This vegetarian sheetpan dish hits all the right notes of cheesy, creamy, crunchy, and delicious. It’s filled with protein and appealing to vegetarians and carnivores alike. #meandthemoose #sheetpanmeals #vegetarianrecipes #cauliflower #cheese #cacioepepe #chickpeas #vegetarian #vegetariandinners

However, I do like cauliflower, especially when it’s covered in cheese, garlic, and breadcrumbs.

Cacio e pepe purists may hate this recipe, but hear me out. The best part of cacio e pepe is the creamy sauce that’s achieved by mixing the starchy pasta water with cheese. But when you roast cauliflower, the stalks and larger pieces actually do get a little creamy.

Cacio e pepe cauliflower and chickpeas | Me & The Moose. This vegetarian sheetpan dish hits all the right notes of cheesy, creamy, crunchy, and delicious. It’s filled with protein and appealing to vegetarians and carnivores alike. #meandthemoose #sheetpanmeals #vegetarianrecipes #cauliflower #cheese #cacioepepe #chickpeas #vegetarian #vegetariandinners
Cacio e pepe cauliflower and chickpeas | Me & The Moose. This vegetarian sheetpan dish hits all the right notes of cheesy, creamy, crunchy, and delicious. It’s filled with protein and appealing to vegetarians and carnivores alike. #meandthemoose #sheetpanmeals #vegetarianrecipes #cauliflower #cheese #cacioepepe #chickpeas #vegetarian #vegetariandinners
Cacio e pepe cauliflower and chickpeas | Me & The Moose. This vegetarian sheetpan dish hits all the right notes of cheesy, creamy, crunchy, and delicious. It’s filled with protein and appealing to vegetarians and carnivores alike. #meandthemoose #sheetpanmeals #vegetarianrecipes #cauliflower #cheese #cacioepepe #chickpeas #vegetarian #vegetariandinners

And my kiddo likes things with a crunch more than things that are soft and creamy, so throwing in a little panko is a nice textural counterpoint to the softer cheese and veggies.

Add a drained can of chickpeas and you have an actually filling vegetarian meal or a hearty side.

Cacio e pepe cauliflower and chickpeas | Me & The Moose. This vegetarian sheetpan dish hits all the right notes of cheesy, creamy, crunchy, and delicious. It’s filled with protein and appealing to vegetarians and carnivores alike. #meandthemoose #sheetpanmeals #vegetarianrecipes #cauliflower #cheese #cacioepepe #chickpeas #vegetarian #vegetariandinners

Cacio e pepe cauliflower and chickpeas

1 large head of cauliflower
1 can chick peas; drained, rinsed, and dried
3 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
5-6 grinds of freshly ground pepper
¾ cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese (3 oz)
2 large cloves garlic
¼ cup panko
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 425.

Drain and dry one can of chickpeas. Set aside.

Remove the leaves from your cauliflower, but leave the central core intact. Chop into 1-inch slices. You’ll probably get between 2 and 4 intact steaks and the rest will fall into florets, which is fine.

Place the cauliflower steaks and chickpeas onto your sheet pan and then fill in with cauliflower florets.

Brush the steaks, florets, and beans with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast for 15-20 minutes, until the steaks are just fork tender. (You don’t want mushy cauliflower, but this is the majority of the cooking the steaks will do, so use your best judgment about how cooked you like your veggies.)

While the veggies and beans are roasting, pulse the cheese in a food processor until it’s in coarse crumbles (if not using pre-grated). Add the garlic, panko, salt, and pepper and pulse until the garlic is minced and everything is mixed together. Set aside.

Carefully remove the pan from the oven. 

Spread a thin layer of mayo over the steaks and any of the larger florets of cauliflower. Top liberally with the cheese, panko, salt, and pepper mixture. Press lightly into the steaks to get the cheese to stick.

Return to the oven and roast for another 10-12 minutes until the cheese is brown and crunchy. Keep an eye out that the cheese doesn’t burn.

Yield: 4-6 side dishes, 2-3 main dishes

Cacio e pepe cauliflower and chickpeas | Me & The Moose. This vegetarian sheetpan dish hits all the right notes of cheesy, creamy, crunchy, and delicious. It’s filled with protein and appealing to vegetarians and carnivores alike. #meandthemoose #sheetpanmeals #vegetarianrecipes #cauliflower #cheese #cacioepepe #chickpeas #vegetarian #vegetariandinners
Cacio e pepe cauliflower and chickpeas | Me & The Moose. This vegetarian sheetpan dish hits all the right notes of cheesy, creamy, crunchy, and delicious. It’s filled with protein and appealing to vegetarians and carnivores alike. #meandthemoose #sheetpanmeals #vegetarianrecipes #cauliflower #cheese #cacioepepe #chickpeas #vegetarian #vegetariandinners

Orange and almond upside down cake

Orange and almond upside down cake | Me & the Moose. Cara cara oranges, clementines, and kumquats baked in a light syrup really shine in this simple, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten-free upside down cake. #meandthemoose #citruscake #citrusrecipes #healthybaking #oranges #almonds #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree #upsidedowncake

Jump to the recipe!

Upside down cakes, specifically citrus upside down cakes, are a dime a dozen this time of year. And I get it! Citrus is where it’s at in the winter and what else do you do with the giant bag of oranges or lemons that you find in your fridge?

Also, WTF do you do with kumquats? I always want to buy them because I’m a sucker for anything miniature, but they freak me out. And I’ll be honest: I’ve read online that you can eat them raw, skins and all. STRONG DISAGREE. The ones I’ve had are entirely too bitter to eat without any cooking. But this cake is the magical trick!

Orange and almond upside down cake | Me & the Moose. Cara cara oranges, clementines, and kumquats baked in a light syrup really shine in this simple, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten-free upside down cake. #meandthemoose #citruscake #citrusrecipes #healthybaking #oranges #almonds #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree #upsidedowncake

I love this cake for many reasons, but primarily because it’s less sweet and naturally gluten-free. It bakes in under 30 minutes, Yyou only need one bowl, AND it’s fancy enough for company, but simple enough for a weeknight.*

* (Don’t you love when people say that? Who has time for dessert on a weeknight?? But if you did, this would be the cake to make.)

Orange and almond upside down cake | Me & the Moose. Cara cara oranges, clementines, and kumquats baked in a light syrup really shine in this simple, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten-free upside down cake. #meandthemoose #citruscake #citrusrecipes #healthybaking #oranges #almonds #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree #upsidedowncake

A couple of notes:

  • To make this cake dairy-free, just sub in some non-dairy yogurt and use clarified butter or coconut oil for the syrup.

  • When prepping your pan, butter JUST the sides of the pan, not the bottom. The butter/sugar syrup won’t spread out properly, which means, you’ll have pockets with syrup and pockets without.

Orange and almond upside down cake | Me & the Moose. Cara cara oranges, clementines, and kumquats baked in a light syrup really shine in this simple, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten-free upside down cake. #meandthemoose #citruscake #citrusrecipes #healthybaking #oranges #almonds #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree #upsidedowncake
Orange and almond upside down cake | Me & the Moose. Cara cara oranges, clementines, and kumquats baked in a light syrup really shine in this simple, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten-free upside down cake. #meandthemoose #citruscake #citrusrecipes #healthybaking #oranges #almonds #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree #upsidedowncake
Orange and almond upside down cake | Me & the Moose. Cara cara oranges, clementines, and kumquats baked in a light syrup really shine in this simple, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten-free upside down cake. #meandthemoose #citruscake #citrusrecipes #healthybaking #oranges #almonds #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree #upsidedowncake

Orange almond upside down cake

4 cara cara oranges, 4 clementines, and a pint of kumquats
½ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
¾ cup + 2 Tbsp finely ground corn meal or polenta
2 cups almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp orange zest 
½ tsp almond extract

For the syrup:
2 tsp butter
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp water

Preheat the oven to 350.

Butter ONLY the sides of a 9-inch baking pan and set aside. *See notes above

Peel the oranges and clementines, removing the outer pith. Slice the oranges into 1/8-inch thick slices (you should get about 7 slices per medium orange) and remove the seeds. Set aside.

Slice the kumquats and set aside. (No need to peel these, but I do remove the seeds for ease of slicing. When you hit a seed, just pop it out with your knife or give the slice a gentle squeeze and the seeds will pop out.)

In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, brown sugar, and eggs.

Stir in the corn meal, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine.

Add the orange zest and almond extract and stir again to combine. Set aside.

To make the sauce: In a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, and water. Heat over a medium low flame and stir frequently, just until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce thickens slightly, about 3-4 minutes.

Pour the hot syrup into your prepared baking pan and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan. Place the orange, clementine, and kumquat slices in any pattern you like, nestling them into the syrup. It’s okay if there are some open spots.

Top with the cake batter and smooth out gently so you don’t move the citrus.

Bake for 23-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool for 5 minutes. Run a small knife around the sides of the cake. Place your cake plate upside down over the cake and, using oven mitts or a towel to protect your hands, carefully invert the cake and place the cake stand right side up. Carefully lift off the baking pan, being careful of any steam that might escape.

Yield: 8-12 slice

Orange and almond upside down cake | Me & the Moose. Cara cara oranges, clementines, and kumquats baked in a light syrup really shine in this simple, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten-free upside down cake. #meandthemoose #citruscake #citrusrecipes #healthybaking #oranges #almonds #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree #upsidedowncake
Orange and almond upside down cake | Me & the Moose. Cara cara oranges, clementines, and kumquats baked in a light syrup really shine in this simple, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten-free upside down cake. #meandthemoose #citruscake #citrusrecipes #healthybaking #oranges #almonds #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree #upsidedowncake