Pinch of Yum http://pinchofyum.com A food blog with simple and tasty recipes. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:08:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Spicy Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad http://pinchofyum.com/spicy-peanut-chicken-soba-noodle-salad http://pinchofyum.com/spicy-peanut-chicken-soba-noodle-salad#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:00:28 +0000 http://pinchofyum.com/?p=17248 Remember when I used to have a dishwasher? I don’t. Five months of washing dishes by hand means I’ve completely forgotten what life was like back when I had a appliance friend to help me out with my least favorite domestic chore of all the chores, ever. Although laundry is a close second on the […]

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Spicy Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad - colorful bell peppers, chewy soba noodles, shredded chicken, and a life changingly simple Spicy Peanut Sauce. Hot or cold, yum yum yum. 320 calories. | pinchofyum.com

Remember when I used to have a dishwasher?

I don’t. Five months of washing dishes by hand means I’ve completely forgotten what life was like back when I had a appliance friend to help me out with my least favorite domestic chore of all the chores, ever. Although laundry is a close second on the list. I think the last time I ironed something was when my mom first taught me how to use an iron. Just kidding Mom! I did iron, like, three times. In 2008. Maybe.

Spicy Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad - colorful bell peppers, chewy soba noodles, shredded chicken, and the best ever spicy peanut sauce. 320 calories. | pinchofyum.com

The dishwasher thing was totally on accident, because when we bought this house we were so in love with its charm that we sort of, um, forgot to check for a dishwasher.

And suddenly we found ourselves moving in and there I stood, looking around the little kitchen, imagining all the yums that would be created and how cute it would be after a little sprucing up to the cabinets, and suddenly calling in my Emergency Voice to Bjork in the other room if he knew all along there was no dishwasher here?!?! Oh, dear. Not our most responsible house-buying moment.

Spicy Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad - colorful bell peppers, chewy soba noodles, shredded chicken, and the best ever spicy peanut sauce. 320 calories. | pinchofyum.com

Lately my workflow has evolved to meet the demands of this no-dishwasher + limited-counter-space thing, so that means lots of pauses during my cooking, during which I’m always really patient and calm and never splashing water all over like a crazy person. Never. I stir, simmer, pause and do dishes. Whisk, chop, pause to put away dishes. Bake, chill, pause to eat the rest of the cookie dough in order to wash out the last lunch container in order to store the completed recipe. And then do the rest of the dishes.

Spicy Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad - colorful bell peppers with chewy soba noodles, shredded chicken, and a life changingly simple Spicy Peanut Sauce. Hot or cold, yumyumyum. 320 calories. | pinchofyum.com

We didn’t have a dishwasher in the Philippines and we had even less counter space, so I guess that was good training for this accidental dishwasher scenario.

Come to think of it, we didn’t have a microwave or a freezer or a consistently functioning fridge, none of which has anything to do with the Philippines and everything to do with our scrappy nature when it comes to setting up a living space for one year. I mean, simplicity is good, right? There has to be something good about that, in its own inconvenient way.

Spicy Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad - colorful bell peppers with chewy soba noodles, shredded chicken, and a life changingly simple Spicy Peanut Sauce. Hot or cold, yumyumyum. 320 calories. | pinchofyum.com

At least we are balancing the inconvenience of our dishwasherless lifestyle with the convenience of this Spicy Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad, since our fridge is stocked to the brim with grab-and-go soba noodle lunch containers for the rest of the year. HAPPY. There’s just a lot of good packed into this one zingy recipe. It’s called a salad, but look at it: no lettuce, no spinach, no greens of any kind. Add greens if you like greens. Or don’t, because it’s really really good with just the crunchy rainbow bell peppers, the shredded chicken, the chewy soba noodles, and the knock your socks off Spicy Peanut Sauce.

I don’t mean that it’s so spicy that it will knock your socks off – I just mean that it’s that life-changingly creamy, spicy, nutty darn good. In my perfect world, I would have a container of this in my fridge at all times. Sesame oil, garlic, peanut butter, honey, and jalapeño for bite. Goes with everything —> including this salad.

Hm? Oh, that. Just a little leftover sauce on my face.

I live for food like dis.

Spicy Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad - colorful bell peppers, chewy soba noodles, shredded chicken, and the best ever spicy peanut sauce. 320 calories. | pinchofyum.com

Spicy Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad
Author: 
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
For the Salad
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 each red, green, and yellow bell pepper
  • 8.8 (250 grams) soba noodles
  • fresh cilantro or basil to taste
For the Spicy Peanut Sauce
  • 5 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 5 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • half of a jalapeño pepper
  • ½ cup peanuts
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Place the chicken in the water and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred with your hands or with two forks. Set aside. Meanwhile, cut the bell peppers into very thin strips – it makes the salad extra awesome if they are thin and easy to wrap your fork around, almost like a little noodle.
  2. Puree all the ingredients for the Spicy Peanut Sauce in a food processor, adding the peanuts last so you can control how smooth the sauce will be (I like to leave some pieces of crushed peanut in the sauce).
  3. Cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and toss with the chicken, veggies, fresh cilantro, and Spicy Peanut Sauce. Serve hot or cold – but I recommend cold! Yummay.
Notes
Nutrition information is for 10 servings.

Nutrition Soba Salad

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30 Minute Healthy Broccoli Cheese Rice http://pinchofyum.com/30-minute-healthy-broccoli-cheese-rice http://pinchofyum.com/30-minute-healthy-broccoli-cheese-rice#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:00:01 +0000 http://pinchofyum.com/?p=17228   For my food self, this is a yummy yummy good good week. Mostly because I have a little collection of leftover containers holding what’s left of this delicious homemade Rice-A-Roni-esque meal. Two options right now: 1) judge the fact that I just likened this to Rice-A-Roni or 2) be a real person who likes […]

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30 Minute Healthy Broccoli Cheese Rice - broccoli, creamy cheddar, white beans, sauteed garlic, crushed almonds, and brown rice. Vegetarian awesomeness! 320 calories. | pinchofyum.com  For my food self, this is a yummy yummy good good week.

Mostly because I have a little collection of leftover containers holding what’s left of this delicious homemade Rice-A-Roni-esque meal. Two options right now: 1) judge the fact that I just likened this to Rice-A-Roni or 2) be a real person who likes good food made from scratch that just happens to taste like Rice-A-Roni. I already know what choice you’ll make, because you rock. Mwah.

I love when I get to the middle of a workday Monday and I remember that I have amazing lunch leftovers waiting for me. No more of this sad baggie of pretzels and small container of peanut butter thing I’ve been into lately. This week is going to be for realishly good.

30 Minute Healthy Broccoli Cheese Rice - broccoli, creamy cheddar, white beans, sauteed garlic, crushed almonds, and brown rice. Vegetarian awesomeness! 320 calories. | pinchofyum.com

Right now this 30 Minute Healthy Broccoli Cheese Rice is reminding me of an extra satisfying version of broccoli cheese soup, because sometimes broccoli cheese soup totally dominates in the flavor/comfort department but is a little bit lacking in the satisfying-my-imminent-hunger department. It’s just hard for me to consider liquid a real official meal sometimes. Amen? Everything about this – the incredible texture, the cheddar flavor, and the bright green of the broccoli – is giving me an instant food-mood boost.

30 Minute Healthy Broccoli Cheese Rice - just like broccoli cheese soup, but more filling and nutritious! 320 calories. | pinchofyum.com

Good thing my food self is having a great week because my regular life self is having a bleh moment.

Remember that studio that I fell in love with a few weeks ago? I don’t think I’ve shared much about it here, but I had shown a few pics of it on the social media thingys and had almost already taken to coming up with our own hashtag for it on Instagram. (Bjork wouldn’t let me. He’s always so rational like that.) It was a little studio in the arts district that we wanted to use as a blog photography and video studio kitchen for Pinch of Yum. So basically a food play room where adults pretend like they’re working but they’re actually just eating food and having fun. ❤

Studio

The bleh moment comes in when we took forever getting ready to commit and then when we finally did commit… we were too late. One day too late. And we didn’t get it.

Some supersneaky (read: organized and decisive and on the ball) person swooped in the day before our plumber was able to get there to confirm that the kitchen would function properly, and they nabbed that cozy little space like there was no tomorrow. And then there actually was no tomorrow for us to sign the lease. That was pretty much bleh.

It’s all well and good, it wasn’t meant to be, I know. I really do know that. But that doesn’t take away my depressed feelings about all the wasted time we spent driving there, looking at comparables, and deciding on which place we liked best. Plus, I’ve since scoured every corner of the internets and I cannot find a listing half as warm+cozy+creative. It was not the right place, but it was something special and now I’m a little mopey.

Right now our plans to continue the search are half-hearted. We’ve re-channeled our efforts —> these cookies and The Office and naps. Really healthy habits we have going on over here.

30 Minute Healthy Broccoli Cheese Rice - just like broccoli cheese soup, but more filling and nutritious! 320 calories. | pinchofyum.com

Okay, but on the other hand, this 30 Minute Healthy Broccoli Cheese Rice IS kind of healthy, and it will make you so glad that you didn’t pack yourself pretzels for lunch again. It’s meatless – weee! – and it’s full of good stuff like protein and fiber and vegetables and cheese, just like any good meatless dish should be. There is almond meal in the base of the sauce instead of flour. Seeerious. Be proud of me – I never do stuff like that. And then buckle up because there are crushed almonds on top to crunchify it all together. So good. Bjork loved it, I loved it, and the long-gone studio would have loved it in some other life. Le sigh.

Pass the ricey.

30 Minute Healthy Broccoli Cheese Rice
Author: 
Serves: 5-6
Ingredients
  • 1 cup brown rice (I used a brown rice blend from Costco – love it)
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons almond meal
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup broth as needed
  • 1 14-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • crushed almonds for topping
  • sliced green onions for topping
Instructions
  1. Cook the rice according to package directions. Bring a small pot of water to boil (enough to cover the broccoli). Add the broccoli, cook for 1 minute or until the broccoli turns bright green, and remove from heat immediately. Drain and transfer to a bowl of very cold water. This keeps the broccoli bright green and pretty.
  2. In a deep pot, melt the butter. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the almond meal and salt and cook for 2-3 minutes (it will be thick and clumpy). Add the milk a little bit at a time, whisking after each addition to smooth out the sauce and letting the mixture simmer until thickened slightly. Add half of the cheese and stir until melted.
  3. Chop the cooked broccoli into fine bits, leaving a few larger florets (just for a more interesting texture). Stir the broccoli, cooked rice, white beans, and any additional broth or milk as needed until the mixture is well combined. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and cover the pan until the cheese is melted. Top with almonds and green onions and season with more salt and pepper.

Nutrition Cheese Rice

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March Traffic and Income Report – $17,118.92 http://pinchofyum.com/march-traffic-income-report http://pinchofyum.com/march-traffic-income-report#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 07:45:56 +0000 http://pinchofyum.com/?p=17183 Greetings! Guess who. Yep! You’re right. It’s me Bjork. I’m the nerd in the virtual Pinch of Yum basement. I’m also Lindsay’s husband. I’m also the star of the video from this post that Lindsay recently shared. #hiddentalent I show up once a month to give an update on everything that’s happening behind the scenes […]

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Blog Income and Traffic Report - March | pinchofyum.com

Greetings! Guess who.

Yep! You’re right. It’s me Bjork. I’m the nerd in the virtual Pinch of Yum basement. I’m also Lindsay’s husband. I’m also the star of the video from this post that Lindsay recently shared. #hiddentalent

I show up once a month to give an update on everything that’s happening behind the scenes at Pinch of Yum. I share the blog’s income, expenses, and traffic stats. I usually wrap up the post by sharing some tips or takeaways that we’re learning as we grow the blog.

This month’s report is going to be a little bit different though. For the first time ever I won’t be sharing any tips.

You might be saying “What?!? No tips? But I love tips!”

To which I would reply with (adjusted emphasis and a slight pause): “…no tips, from me.”

Kiersten from Oh My Veggies is going to be sharing some tips that she learned as she grew her blog’s RPM from $1.55 to over $19 in less than two years! She recently wrote an eBook about it called How to Monetize Your Food Blog (FYI: the eBook links in this post are affiliate links).

I’d highly recommend the book. I read it. I loved it. I learned from it. I think it’s worth every single penny that you’ll pay for it.

More on that in a bit. First, the numbers…

Income

*We didn’t have the totals for Swoop at the time of publishing this post, so we took last month’s income and adjusted for traffic.

Total Income:: $24,428.53

Expenses

Total Expenses: $7,309.61

Net Profit: $17,118.92

Thoughts on Income

Display Advertisers

In January’s report I shared 10 important mindsets for bloggers. One of those mindsets was “1% ∞” (one percent infinity). The idea with this mindset is that you are forever trying to improve, even if it’s just a little bit. With blogging (or business or non-profit), you win by improving a little bit, day after day, forever.

Kiersten’s monetization eBook was a good reminder to me that we need to apply the concept of 1% ∞ to our display advertising on Pinch of Yum. Display advertising turned into “set it and forget” type income for us, as opposed to what it should be, which is something that we continually tweak, track, and adjusting. Applying 1% ∞ to display advertising will results in drastic improvements (over time). So, we’re starting the process of applying to other ad networks and we’re being diligent about tracking and following along with the performance of these networks.

RPM

RPM stands for page revenue per thousand impressions. Or, in other words, RPM shows you the average revenue you earn from every 1,000 page views on your blog.

March RPM for Pinch of Yum

If you want to learn more about RPM (and some other important advertising terms) then be sure to check out this post on Food Blogger Pro.

Traffic

Below are some screenshots from Google Analytics. You can click on these images to view a larger size.

Traffic Overview

Google Anatlyics - Traffic Overview

Top Ten Traffic Sources

Google Analytics - Top Ten Traffic Sources

Mobile vs. Desktop Traffic

Google Analytics - Mobile vs. Desktop

Thoughts on Traffic

Mobile For The Win!

It’s official. For the first time ever Pinch of Yum has received more traffic from mobile phones than from desktop computers. Want to see an interesting stat? Check this out:

Percentage of Visitors (to Pinch of Yum) Using a Desktop Computer

  • 2011: 98.55%
  • 2012: 68.57%
  • 2013: 50.33%
  • 2014: 37.87%

See a trend?

Part of the reason for the drastic change in those numbers is due to the fact that a lot of our traffic comes from Pinterest, and a lot of Pinterest users are using the mobile version of the app. I’d be interested to here if other bloggers have similar mobile percentages. Have you seen a similar trend away from visitors using a desktop computer?

Meet Kiersten

Kiersten from Oh My VeggiesA little over a week ago I sat down at a coffee shop and read through Kiersten’s book, How to Monetize Your Food Blog. I found myself highlighting, taking notes, and thinking “this would be perfect for the people that read the Pinch of Yum income reports.”

I love how Kiersten is able to take the complicated concepts behind monetizing a blog and present it in an easy to read, value packed eBook. The best part? She has solid proof that shows how her income has increased as she applied the advice to her own blog. Be sure to check out the graph where she shares her blog’s page views and total ad revenue over time.

If you’re interested, you can purchase the book here or click on the image below.

How to Monetize a Food Blog

Without further ado, here’s Kiersten from Oh My Veggies. Take it away Kiersten!

 


 

Hi there! I’m so excited that Bjork and Lindsay asked me to stop in today to share my story of how I took Oh My Veggies from a hobby to a business. I’m a big fan of Pinch of Yum–both the food (hello, creamy cauliflower sauce!) and the tips about blogging and photography. While my blog is my full-time job now, it’s important to me that I monetize with integrity and in a way that’s not annoying or pushy, and I think Bjork and Lindsay are a great example of this kind of monetization.

When I started blogging, making money from it wasn’t on my radar at all. I hoped that I could get free samples of food in the mail (yeah, I admit it!), but that was about it. I didn’t even know you could make money from blogging and even once I did realize it, I never really thought that I would. (I tend to doubt myself like that.) When I finally set out to monetize almost a year into blogging, my only goal was to cover the cost of hosting–which was $4.95 at the time. Clearly I dream big, right? When my first check arrived, it was for about $50, and I was elated. Not only did I have this awesome hobby that I loved, but I was making money from it!

As my traffic grew, my income started to go up with it. Soon I was making a few hundred dollars a month from my hobby and it became a reliable source of part-time income. And then I got laid off from my job and panic set in. I knew it would take me a while to find a new job (I have a degree in Library & Information Studies–no one’s exactly knocking down my door to hire me!), so I decided to give full-time food blogging a try. I gave myself a 4 month deadline: if I wasn’t making a full-time living from food blogging by December, I would start looking for a job and go back to blogging as a hobby.

And then I hustled! A friend of mine told me that I should set up backfill for BlogHer, so I did that. I began to do a lot of experimentation with ad networks–trying new ones, figuring out the best order to put them in, finding the right number of ads to put on my blog. I started using affiliate programs and began signing up for blogger networks for sponsored post opportunities. I concentrated on my content and figuring out what my readers were looking for–I stopped posting what I wanted to post and started taking a more reader-centric approach to blogging. I had the eye of the tiger. By the 4th month of my full-time blogging experiment, I was making a full-time income between my ads, affiliate programs, and sponsored posts. Victory!

Now, not only am I making a living from my blog, but I’m making enough that I’ve been able to expand Oh My Veggies and add four contributors. I also have an assistant, photographers that I work with, a graphic designer on retainer, and a recipe tester. It never stops being completely surreal to me that the blog I started on a whim has turned into a legit business.

Five Tips for Blogging Full-Time

I really have about eleventy-billion tips for blogging full-time. I’m full of tips! And opinions! Like a piñata of knowledge. Okay, maybe not a piñata. That’s weird. But what I’m getting at is, I’ve learned a lot along the way. Here are five tips that have helped me the most.

1. Up Your Ad Game!

I feel so bummed whenever I hear a blogger say that they don’t understand ads, so they don’t bother optimizing them. Nooooo! Don’t say that! When you don’t optimize your ads, you are leaving money on the table, so it’s important to take the time to do it. I didn’t understand ads when I started either and you know what I did? I learned them. Having one ad network simply isn’t enough. Most ad networks don’t have ads 100% of the time and you need to have other networks lined up beneath your primary ad network so when that network doesn’t have ads to display, it will default to your secondary network. And if you have a few networks lined up, even better! Most ad spots on my blog run 3-4 different ad networks. You can see in this chart from my ebook how my RPM increased as I optimized my ads.

Oh My Veggies - RPM Growth

Lining up ad networks like this is often referred to as setting up a waterfall. I talk about it a lot in my ebook and it’s really the key to my blog’s success. While I make income from other areas too (it’s important to diversify!), ads are my bread-and-butter. And once you have your waterfall set up, it doesn’t end there. I make sure each network is performing as it should and if it’s not, I swap it out for another one. It might sound intimidating, but if I could teach myself to do it, there’s no reason why you can’t either. Don’t psych yourself out before you even start.

2. If You Want Your Blog to Be a Business, Treat It Like One

Because you can’t have it both ways! One mistake that I often see bloggers make is that when they want to take their blog full-time, they still treat their blog like it’s a hobby.

When I was laid off, I set up an editorial calendar for myself and I have rarely strayed from it. I make it a point to respond to every question asked about a recipe and every reader email. I take the time to test all of my recipes a few times before posting them–even if something turns out perfect the first time. (Now that I have contributors writing for Oh My Veggies, my cousin helps with recipe testing too!) The fact that I make an income from my food blog doesn’t make me a professional blogger–it’s the fact that I put time into it and take a business-like approach to it that makes me a professional blogger.

I also invest a lot of my income back into Oh My Veggies. I used my first big check from BlogHer to pay for a professional blog design. The more money I make, the more I spend on my business–and it always pays off! Having a well-designed blog and good hosting will definitely help your blog’s traffic, but even small investments can have a big pay off. If you struggle with photography, invest in lessons! If you’re unfamiliar with basic HTML, go buy some books about it! Oh, and if you struggle with monetization? BUY MY BOOK! (That was totally shameless, huh?)

3. Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Yet)

Okay, maybe you can quit your day job, but I wouldn’t suggest doing that until you’re making at least some income from your blog. I was lucky in that the decision was made for me because I was laid off, but I was already making a part-time income from blogging at that point. But I think it’s a mistake to quit your job before you’re making money–not just because you might not be able to pay your rent, but because I believe when you’re under that kind of pressure to make things happen, it can lead you to make the wrong decisions for your blog since it forces you to think in the short-term, rather than the long-term. While you might make a lot of money doing 5 sponsored posts a week, it’s going to drive away readers, which will make it difficult for you to get to the next level.

If you can, cut your work hours or find a part-time job as your blog revenue grows–this gives you an intermediate step between working full-time and quitting your job to blog full-time and lets you have the time you need to grow your blog without all that added pressure.

4. Content First, Monetization Second

My focus with Oh My Veggies is never, “How can I make money?” Instead, it’s always, “How can I help my readers? What do they want to see?” Especially if you’re monetizing through ads, you need to focus on creating useful content that people want to read and, even more importantly, share. (My golden rule of blogging is “Never post anything that you wouldn’t read on someone else’s blog.”)

Part of this is coming up with a hook. There are a lot of blogs out there and you need to figure out what makes yours different. Why should people subscribe to your blog instead of someone else’s? What are you offering that no one else does? With Oh My Veggies, I realized that simply being a vegetarian food blog wasn’t enough, so I honed in on easy vegetarian meal ideas. While we still do the occasional dessert or snack, most of our posts are everyday dinner types of recipes. When people know what to expect from your blog, it will help you build a loyal readership.

5. Diversify, But Do It Your Way

Diversifying your income streams doesn’t mean you have to do everything. It’s probably best that you don’t! Find a few things that you’re good at and stick to doing those well. When I first started blogging full-time, other bloggers told me that it was impossible to be a professional blogger and not do sponsored posts (some people even equate professional blogging with doing marketing!), so I started doing them. And I didn’t enjoy it at all! They are just not for me, so a few months ago, I decided not to do them anymore. Don’t feel pressure to monetize in ways that aren’t right for your blog or your personality.

There are very few overnight successes in the blogging world. I can’t speak for anyone else, but Oh My Veggies has only been successful because I have put an obscene amount of time and effort into it, but I really, truly love what I do, so it’s worth it to me. Food blogging is not an effortless way to make money from home–anyone who tells you that is either lying or they’re not doing it right! But if you have a passion for it, know that you can make an income from your food blog. I am no different from any other food blogger, so if I was able to do it, you can too!

 


 

Bjork here again.

Can we all give a virtual round of applause for Kiersten? Solid, practical, and valuable advice. Good stuff!

Here’s that link one more time if you’d like to purchase her eBook: How to Monetize Your Food Blog.

Because of You

It’s really true. It’s because of you (yes, you!) that this thing we call Pinch of Yum can exist as it does today. Thanks so much for reading, tweeting, commenting or emailing. We love hearing from you!

We’re using a portion of this month’s income from Pinch of Yum to support a special project at the Children’s Shelter of Cebu, an orphanage where Lindsay and I lived and worked for a year. The special project we’re supporting this month is new carpet for the school.

New Carpet

The kids and staff at CSC take really good care of the buildings and grounds. That being said, the time has come to get new carpet in the school, so we’re excited to use some of the income from Pinch of Yum to chip in and help them get a little bit closer to their fundraising goal. Thanks for helping to make this possible!

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Ham and Sausage Hash Brown Egg Bake http://pinchofyum.com/ham-sausage-hash-brown-egg-bake http://pinchofyum.com/ham-sausage-hash-brown-egg-bake#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 12:06:11 +0000 http://pinchofyum.com/?p=17161 This post is sponsored by Smithfield Ham: provider of deliciously sweet glazed hams for all your springy Easter ham needs. Oh, yes. More on that in just a minute.Follow my blog with Bloglovin Raise your hand if you love egg bakes! Wait, though, are egg bakes still a thing? Were they ever a thing? To […]

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Ham and Sausage Hashbrown Egg Bake - perfect for entertaining with your leftover Easter ham! 330 calories. | pinchofyum.com

This post is sponsored by Smithfield Ham: provider of deliciously sweet glazed hams for all your springy Easter ham needs. Oh, yes. More on that in just a minute.Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Raise your hand if you love egg bakes!

Wait, though, are egg bakes still a thing? Were they ever a thing? To me, they are the epitome of spring brunches, bridal and baby showers, and special occasion or holiday family meals taking place anytime before 1pm, but is that just a Minnesota thing? Sometimes I need help understanding myself.

I loooove a good egg bake and I’m only about a 3 out of 10 in terms of liking eggs in general. There is just so much to love about egg bakes that goes way beyond ze eggs. I mean, think about it: you whisk those eggys right up with milk and seasoning – you pour those eggys right over some delicious things like bread, vegetables, potatoes, meat, and cheese – you bake it to firm, flavorful, breakfasty perfection – and then you eat those eggys right up with everything else good and wonderful in there. It makes for a quick one-dish brunch and some awesome leftovers for breakfast on the go. Hot, cold, doesn’t even matter. This is gon’be good.

Ham and Sausage Hashbrown Egg Bake - perfect for entertaining with your leftover Easter ham! 330 calories. | pinchofyum.com

When I think of Easter food (because I think Easter is, like, THIS MONTH?!), I have this memory of my mom making a special drive to “the cities” around Easter time to pick up her favorite ham. It was our very own real-life version of Christmas with the Kranks and the hickory honey ham – we had this one type of ham that we would always get and it was just so so so good. It had a sweet glaze and it was addicting. Yes, I mean that. Ham –> addictive.

Even if you never thought in a million years that ham would be one of your most favoritist foods, you’d try this sweet once-a-year Easter ham and you’d change your mind. Plus, paired with the massive pan of cornflake-topped cheesy potatoes? Good luck saying no to that, friends. Goooood luck.

Ham and Sausage Hashbrown Egg Bake - perfect for entertaining with your leftover Easter ham! 330 calories. | pinchofyum.com

This year I am trying a new brand of ham. It’s called Smithfield, and the good news all around is that it is possibly even better than the ham I remember eating as a kid sitting at the Easter table. It has that same sweet glaze, and it was so easy to make. I mean, it’s already cooked and spiral cut, so you put it in a big roasting pan, let it get all juicy and delicious in the oven for a while, and then top it with some sweet glaze when it’s hot and yummy. OK YES. I was nibbling on little ham bits all morning like a ham-loving weirdo.

The ham I made was huge, so with just the two of us and no real Easter celebration yet, we had like 80 pounds left over. So first, I brought some leftovers to my friend’s family. Her husband said: best ham he’s ever had. And then I took the rest of my best-ever ham leftovers and made a good ol’ Minnesota style egg bake, because what else?

Well, actually, there are lots of ideas (roasted veggie and ham soup? pasta with cream sauce and peas? cheesy ham panini?)  but this was the one that I just couldn’t let out of my mind.

Ham and Sausage Hashbrown Egg Bake - perfect for entertaining with your leftover Easter ham! 330 calories. | pinchofyum.com

And in a nice little twist of fate, it’s still early in the A-M as I’m writing this, and I am envisioning two small containers of leftover ham and sausage hashbrown egg bake in the fridge, second shelf, front and center.

Hey guys? I think I need to get going now.

Ham and Sausage Hashbrown Egg Bake - perfect for entertaining with your leftover Easter ham! 330 calories. | pinchofyum.com

Ham and Sausage Hashbrown Egg Bake
Author: 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces ground spicy Italian sausage
  • 2 cups chopped Smithfield ham
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon seasoning of your choice – I used Emeril’s Original Essence
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 lb. shredded potatoes (I used a package of refrigerated hashbrowns)
  • ½ cup shredded cheese
  • green onions for topping
Instructions
  1. Brown the sausage in a small skillet until no longer pink. Add the ham and saute together until warm. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, milk, seasoning, and garlic powder together.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small greased baking dish (mine was about 8 inches long by 4 inches wide), arrange the hashbrowns in a layer in the bottom of the pan. Pour ⅔ of the egg mixture over the hashbrowns. Cover with ¼ cup shredded cheese, the meat mixture, and then the remaining egg mixture. Top with the last ¼ cup shredded cheese and cover loosely with greased foil.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the egg mixture is firm and the cheese is melted. You can remove the foil for the last few minutes of baking to get your cheese extra browned and bubbly. Let stand for 5-10 minutes, sprinkle with green onions, and cut or scoop to serve.

Nutrition SmithfieldTracking Pixel

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Sweet Potato, Kale, and Sausage Bake with White Cheese Sauce http://pinchofyum.com/sweet-potato-kale-sausage-bake-white-cheese-sauce http://pinchofyum.com/sweet-potato-kale-sausage-bake-white-cheese-sauce#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 11:00:21 +0000 http://pinchofyum.com/?p=17143 I look at this picture and my mind goes yumyumyumyumyumyum. I’m frozen. Stuck. Can’t stop the yum track in my head. IT’S SO LOUD. And my eyes are starting to glaze over. It’s like what the blue screen of death does to computers but it’s just, like, in my brain. yummmmm This weekend was phe-nom. […]

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Sweet Potato, Kale, and Sausage Bake with White Cheese Sauce - comfort food featuring a handful of pantry staples and a few super healthy ingredients. | pinchofyum.com

I look at this picture and my mind goes yumyumyumyumyumyum.

I’m frozen. Stuck. Can’t stop the yum track in my head. IT’S SO LOUD. And my eyes are starting to glaze over. It’s like what the blue screen of death does to computers but it’s just, like, in my brain.

yummmmm

Sweet Potato, Kale, and Sausage Bake with White Cheese Sauce - comfort food featuring a handful of pantry staples and a few super healthy ingredients. | pinchofyum.com

This weekend was phe-nom. Anyone else feel that way? I got a lot of work done but also took some time off for a date with Bjork and a nice long-for-me run. Picture proof on Insty. Also – I got to meet Cookie and Kate, er, Kate, which was so fun, because her blog is amazing and she’s adorable and next time I’m going to make her bring Cookie, too.

Something weird happened this weekend: the sun came out. And it was actually so so nice out, after the most brutal winter, it people were actually spending time outside, I mean like in the out-of-doors, in Minnesota. What.

Sweet Potato, Kale, and Sausage Bake with White Cheese Sauce - comfort food featuring a handful of pantry staples and a few super healthy ingredients. | pinchofyum.com

We saw kids riding their bikes up and down our block. There were people walking dogs of all shapes and sizes, including pugs which, yes, I do always stop and request a quick petting. We stood in the sun and talked with our neighbors on our front steps while their little three-year-old, who is both adorable and ingeniously bilingual, ran up and down the block, wearing glittery mariposa wings and waving her arms and gently stomping in puddles with her green plastic rainboots. It was basically the movies.

Movie titled: Life After Winter.

Sweet Potato, Kale, and Sausage Bake with White Cheese Sauce - comfort food featuring a handful of pantry staples and a few super healthy ingredients. | pinchofyum.com

Life After Winter also features good food that is still really comforting but starts to hint at getting ready for shorts season. Like this recipe with roasted sweet potatoes, fresh green kale, spicy Italian chicken sausage, and… the white cheese sauce, salty and creamy with melty strings of Gruyere. Er, wait. Shorts.

But kale, okay?

I was not expecting kale to be such a superstar in this recipe, but it was really the crown jewel of the whole thing. I think that’s food karma – include good healthy things and more good things will come back to you, and it will probably be covered with cheese. Honestly, though, the just slightly wilted taste and texture with the salty bite and melted softness of the Gruyere was like heaven to me. And roasted sweet potatoes and Italian sausage are my bread and butter, so the combo altogether was obvi comforting and delicious.

Sweet Potato, Kale, and Sausage Bake with White Cheese Sauce - comfort food featuring a handful of pantry staples and a few super healthy ingredients. | pinchofyum.com

And cheesy.

I swear, food blogging has made me obsessed with cheese.

Sweet Potato, Kale, and Sausage Bake with White Cheese Sauce
Author: 
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (3-4 cups)
  • 16 ounces Italian pork or chicken sausage, cut into small rounds
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¾ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 2 cups finely chopped kale
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the sweet potatoes and Italian sausage. Shake to coat in oil, let sit for a few minutes to brown, and shake the pan gently again to move everything around. Repeat until the sweet potatoes and sausage both have golden brown exteriors. Toss with the kale and transfer to a greased 9-inch square baking dish.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring the broth and ½ cup milk to a low boil, then turn the heat to keep it at a low simmer. Whisk the flour and remaining ¼ cup milk to form a thick paste. Add this to the broth, whisking to keep the sauce smooth. Add ¼ cup Gruyere and stir until melted.
  3. Pour the sauce over the sweet potatoes, kale, and sausage in the baking dish. Top with remaining ½ cup cheese and bake for 10 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted.
Notes
This makes quite a bit of sauce – you might not need all of it depending on how sau-say you like things.

Nutrition Kale Sweet Potato

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10 Meals You Should Make for Your Friends with New Babies http://pinchofyum.com/10-meals-you-should-make-for-your-friends-with-new-babies http://pinchofyum.com/10-meals-you-should-make-for-your-friends-with-new-babies#comments Fri, 04 Apr 2014 11:00:34 +0000 http://pinchofyum.com/?p=17116 Babies, Babies, Everywhere! I’m seeing babies in my newsfeed and on blogs and in real life like it’s crazy baby town right now, because it IS crazy baby town. And I LOVE IT. ♥ Now here comes the part where I talk about how much I like kids and you go, awww/gag. But true confessions, […]

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10 Meals You Should Make For Your Friends With New Babies - easy for you to prepare, yummy and convenient for them to enjoy! | pinchofyum.com

Babies, Babies, Everywhere!

I’m seeing babies in my newsfeed and on blogs and in real life like it’s crazy baby town right now, because it IS crazy baby town. And I LOVE IT. ♥

Now here comes the part where I talk about how much I like kids and you go, awww/gag. But true confessions, I really like those little ones. Infants and toddlers and preschoolers and kids and let’s not forget the baby animals, too, right? This is one of the many reasons why I spent many summers as a nanny and eventually became a real-person-official elementary school teacher. In fact, as you read this, I’m probably hanging out with my friendly little gang of nine-year-olds, teaching them how to read and multiply and think. Also hopefully imparting my two cents on how to be supernice peeps and make the world awesome. As it stands, the outlook is good. They’re naturals.

Speaking of supernice peeps in the awesome world, how nice is it when you are at the end of your rope and someone brings you a lovingly prepared meal? and just like that, home cooking is on your table? I mean, you can’t think about food prep and recipes and coordinated meals in these times. Your thoughts turn to survival mode: Hungry. Find food. This is one of the things I love about food – it serves in the most universal and intimate way.

Meals for Babies

{my new nephew Charlie}

I haven’t been a new mom myself, but many of my friends and family members are currently in that precious and all-consuming phase of life known as Parent of Infant. Someone please give these people some kind of badge of heroic honor, or better yet, A WARM MEAL. The constant feeding (so demandingly hungry, those little things), the midnight rocking and singing, the non existent sleep, and the need to stay calm stay calm stay calm when the crying is like whoa and the energy level is like zero. Not like you’re also trying to recover from the most extremely physically and emotionally exhausting event of your life, or running around chasing a two year old with an infant attached to your body. Parents of small children, I’m bowing down to you as I type this.

This week I’ve been hitting up the blog archives and cooking up a storm for my friends with new babies. My sister just received a mass delivery of food that I’ve been slowly accumulating in the freezer over the course of the last few months, and last night Bjork and I brought a laundry basket (keepin it classy) full of some favorite meals and treats over to the NICU where our good friends are camped out for a while with their premie twins. TWINS. I can’t even.

So since it’s been on my mind more than the actual recipe that I had to share today, here are ten meal ideas that make perfect food deliveries for your friends with new babies!

1. Chicken Tamale Pie

Chicken Tamale Pie
An oldie but a goodie – you just can’t not love it. It’s so extremely simple to make and everyone loves it. Add a side salad, maybe some tortilla chips, and you’ve got a guaranteed winner.

2. Creamy Chicken Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole

Creamy Chicken Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole
Casseroles DO have a time and place, and this is one of them. It’s healthy and completely made from scratch – no cans of soup + lots of fresh veggies + good protien. Bake, cover, and deliver.

3. Crockpot Carnitas

Carnitas
I love making this one for friends because you can just pack all the meat up in containers and then deliver it with all the fixings: tortillas, limes, avocados, cilantro, salsa, chips, Mexican cheese, sour cream, cabbage and carrot shreds for topping, and this could go on for a long time. Fiesta mama.

4. Crockpot Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Crockpot Chicken Wild Rice Soup - cozy homemade soup with hardly any prep. | pinchofyum.com

It’s mellow, creamy, and wild ricey. It’s the ultimate comfort food. PLUS it cooks in the crockpot while you’re busy during the day. Come home and it’s ready to pack up and deliver. I usually send a loaf of nice crusty bread and a crisp green salad along with this one. Awwyeah.

5. Red Thai Curry Sauce

Thai Curry Sauce - six ingredients, extremely versatile, and so addicting. | pinchofyum.com

Not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind for new parent meal deliveries, but the reason this works great for sharing is because you can double or triple the sauce, cook some rice, veggies, and protein, and deliver them all in their own containers so that your recipients can make their own curry rice bowls. And this sauce is SERIOUSLY SO GOOD.

6. Skinny Spinach Lasagna

Skinny Spinach Lasagna - layers of ricotta, spinach, noodles, sauce and cheese. 250 calories of yum!. | pinchofyum.com

It’s the classic new baby meal: a big old pan of homemade, ooey-gooey, saucy lasagna. This one is great for any friends who can appreciate the meatless things in life. Or even not – add some chicken, sausage, or whatever suits your fancy to make it fit. Pack up a little green salad with it and BAM. Giftable meal of the year.

7. Quick and Easy Pizza Breads

Quick and Easy Pizza Bread - perfect for making ahead and freezing so you can make individual servings later. Lots of veggies, kid-friendly, total comfort food, 375 calories. | pinchofyum.com

The beauty of these is that they freeze (and then reheat) individually, so you can toss them all in a big freezer bag and send them on their merry way for ultra homemade convenience.

8. Crockpot Red Lentil Curry

Crockpot Red Lentil Curry

Recipe highlights: easy for you, delicious for them, healthy and good-smelling and kind of addictive. Also, a personal tip from personal experience: keep a little for yourself since it makes  a huge batch.

9. Healthy Mexican Casserole with Roasted Corn and Peppers

Healthy Mexican Casserole

Mexican meets vegetarian meets one-pan easy transport wonderfulness. Add some homemade jalapeno corn bread and a handful of limes, avocados, and cilantro if you’re feeling extra awesome.

10. Sticky Bourbon Chicken

Sticky Bourbon Chicken with Rice - simple ingredients, extremely easy prep, WOWZA good. | pinchofyum.com

You could deliver this sticky chicken already baked, with sauce; unbaked, with sauce separate; or marinated in pan and ready for your friends to just pop in oven. There are so many ways to make it work. There’s a reason they call these things one-pan wonders.

How to be a bestest ever friend: add a treat or snack or muff to your meal delivery to sweeten the deal.

 

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

perfect chocolate chip cookies-3

I’ve made an obscene amount of these in the last two weeks. For “other people.” Not even complaining.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

cookie brownies

One pan = easy packing and transport. Also, one easy serving size. Just pack a spoon and go.

Healthy Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffins

Healthy Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffins: whole grain, less sugar and oil, 270 calories - Pinch of Yum

These are my best muffins ever ever everrr. I love them, other people love them, and they’re sort healthified with olive oil and whole wheat flour. Perfect for a one-handed breakfast on the go. Er, on the baby feed. Or whatever.

Lemon Chia Muffins

Lemon Muffins with Chia Seeds and Honey Glaze - extremely moist, bright flavor, and that glaze. ♥ | pinchofyum.com

Eating this bright, lemony freshness is basically the same as showering. If I were a new mom, I would need that at least 10x day.

Homemade Crunchy Pecan Granola

granola

Snack attack-able. The major clusters in this one make for easy walk-by handfuls.

Bakery Style Blueberry Scones

Bakery Style Blueberry Scones - crunchy sugaroutside, juicy blueberries + flaky tender inside. | pinchofyum.com

Why go to a bakery? Bring it to their house so they can wear sweats and you can stay for coffee and scones and baby snuggles. And double the recipe because it’s sad to give all of these away.

Raisin Bran Muffins

raisin bran muffins 1

This is the best muffin batter for keeping in the fridge and baking individually each morning – so don’t even worry about baking these! Just deliver the batter. A person could bake them into individual muffins each morning, but why would you when you could also bake it in a mug until slightly underbaked and then add honey and butter and enjoy a warm, buttery Raisin Bran mug muffin? My point exactly.

Cinnamon Roll Pull Apart Bread

Homemade Cinnamon Roll Pull Apart Bread - simple, pretty, and totally irresistible. | pinchofyum.com

If you can find the time to make this for a friend in need, you are a saintly foodie. This is a labor of love, but your friend just went through real labor. So there. Guilted.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites

dark chocolate coconut bites

Sometimes all you need to stop the fussing and crying is one bite of something sweet. For the adults, I mean.

Golden Grahams S’mores Bars

Golden-Grahams-Smores-Bars

These are super easy to make and surprisingly so very retro-liciously good. The crunch on these babies is some serious food therapy.

Your Ideas

Ohhhh how I would love to hear from you! What are your favorite meals that you make for friends who have babies or are going through hard times? Links welcome!

I would also love to hear from you if you are a new mom or dad. First, upload a photo and tell me the name and weight and sleeping patterns of your sweet baby child. Just kidding a little bit. More like tell me what is helpful. What do you like? What works or doesn’t work? Frozen or unfrozen, baked or unbaked, healthy or not even anything veggie-like? I need all the ideas I can get because the baby train is coming through town and there are more friends’ chilluns on the way. CHOO CHOO.

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