Holiday dishes tend to be a bit of an epic battle for oven time, don’t they? Turkey, ham, endless casseroles and on on on. They all need their time in the oven, often at different temperatures of course, then need even more time for a reheat before dinner. If you don’t have an enormous commercial kitchen, this can present quite a problem. That’s why we always have some cold, delicious, crisp veggie dish waiting in the fridge that can be made the night before to take some of the pressure off.

These beautiful beans are a crisp and flavorful contrast to the heavy fare of the holidays. I’ve actually converted many a veggie-hating party goer with these beans. They are delicious!!


  • 1/3 cup minced shallots (~1 shallot)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar (thin, not thick aged)
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2/3 cup dried tart cherries
  • 2 pounds trimmed slender green beans (such as haricots verts)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds

~ Toast almonds at 350 degrees for 5-6 minutes. Keep a close eye as they burn quickly.

~ Whisk first 8 ingredients in small bowl. Mix in dried cherries; set aside.

         DO AHEAD: Vinaigrette can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature; re-whisk before using.

~ Fill large bowl/ half of sink with water and ice; set aside. Cook green beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain. Transfer to ice water; cool. Drain.

        DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in paper towels; enclose in resealable plastic bag and chill. Let stand
            at room temperature 1 hour before continuing.

~Toss green beans, almonds, and vinaigrette in large bowl.

        DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Transfer to platter and serve.


This is an unusual recipe for this blog, but let me tell you these bite-sized heroes are much tastier than they are pretty.  I wanted to post this recipe in order to share an effective and healthy option with my mama friends. I’ve been emailing this recipe to my mama friends one after another so posting seems like a much easier way to share it! There are oh-so-many reasons a baby mama may need to increase milk production. Dips in supply, a baby’s growth spurt, you name it. I make these cookies without the Brewer’s yeast but many people swear by it as a means for increasing supply so I’ve included it as an option.

These cookies are packed with healthy fats and galactagogues (milk producing foods). They helped keep my going in the first few months and continue to be a source of energy and nutrition 10 months later. When my parents visited, my dad scarfed down these cookies like nobody’s business asking “What’s in these cookies?! Crack?!”. Ha! This is the highest compliment I can imagine for any food since my mama is a major league baker! They’re good for everyone but great for nursing mamas:)

I like to make a double batch, portion out the dough on baking sheets, freeze, then pop the unbaked cookies into freezer bags for quick and easy baking later. A super clutch nutrient (and boobie) boost!

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

  • 1/2 c coconut oil, liquified
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons brewer’s yeast (optional for increased milk production)
  • 2 Tablespoons anise seed, ground (NOT star anise but regular anise. Star anise is dangerous for babies)
  • 1 c almond meal
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 c macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 1/2 c walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 c dates, chopped
  • 1 c dark chocolate chips

~ Whisk together syrup and oil

~ Add eggs one at a time and whisk until creamy

~ Add anise, vanilla, dates and yeast (if using)

~In a separate bowl, combine almond meal, flax and baking soda

~ Fold in nuts, chocolate and oats

~ Spoon batter onto lined/greased baking dish

~ Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until the tops just start to brown

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