Friday, November 1, 2013

Apple Oatmeal Muffins

{coffee + apple oat muffin = today is going to be a good day.} 

I adapted this recipe from this fantastic blog to make it gluten free. I swapped the oil for applesauce, added ground flax seed, and used regular oats. They came out perfectly. I think they would also be good with a shredded carrot in the batter. I'll try that next time. AlexandraCooks says you can use up to 1 cup of steel cut oats in this recipe for a little crunch. I only used 1/3 of a cup. But if you try it, leave a comment below and let me know how it goes. 

I brought these muffins to my girlfriends that I carpool with. Also, to my Advanced Art Studio class. All provided rave reviews. I think this recipe is a keeper. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Currents: Christine Joy

Once a month I take my art students 'into town' to the Missoula Art Museum. The MAM offers a Teen Artist Workshop  for young artists every second Wednesday of the month. 
It is free and they provide materials, pizza and snacks. Awesome.

Anyway, as the kids were working on making found art sculptures with working artist James Louks, I snuck out to take a look at the current exhibitions at the MAM.

I am so glad I did.

{I completely fell in love with the flowing, rhythmic sculptures of Christine Joy.}

They are astounding.

No loose ends. 

No visible ties. 

The sculptures are made of branches that are bent, twisted and shaped into giant vessels, knots and shapes of all sorts. They reminded me of giant skeins of yarn... which seems fitting. The smell that the willow and the wax together create in the gallery is comforting. Warm and cozy, like knitting on a rainy day. Another MAM patron and I laughed at ourselves for not wanting to leave.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Steamed Mussels in Shallot, Garlic and White Wine Sauce

This is a SUPER easy, impressive & amazingly delicious dinner for two. 
Elegant and light, you will want to make this over and over. (Already planning to make it for my sister and mom who are coming to town from Ohio next month!)

Steamed Mussels in Shallot, Garlic and White Wine Sauce <3

Zucchini Bread

This is adapted from my Grandmother's recipe... hers called for nearly 1 cup of oil, 3 cups of sugar and 6 eggs! As a kid, I used to love eating this bread, warm out of the oven with butter on top. However, as an adult, when she sent me her zucchini bread recipe, I was shocked at the ingredients.
So, here is my version, wheat free and super 'lightened up'. Don't worry, I didn't skimp on the taste.

Amy's Gluten Free Zucchini Bread
(Makes 2 loaves)
2 smashed brown bananas (or, 1 cup applesauce)
⅓ c. water
⅓ c. agave
2 tsp. lemon juice
3 cups shredded zucchini (easiest to do this in a food processor if you have one. If not, you can use a cheese grater on the largest size hole)
4 eggs (remember, you are making 2 loaves... or egg replacer)
2 cups oat flour
1 ⅓ c. brown rice flour
⅓ c. white sugar
⅓ c. brown sugar
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves (if you don’t have ground cloves, you can use allspice... I would cut it down to ½ tsp.)
(optional: chopped walnuts... a couple big handfuls)
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Prepare two bread pans (can also make one loaf in a pie pan... if you have a lovely cake stand you've been wanting to use :)
3. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine bananas (or applesauce), water, agave, lemon juice, shreeded zuccihini and eggs. Beat until eggs are combined, 30 seconds or so.
4. Combine the remaining (dry) ingredients together in another bowl: oat flour, brown rice flour, both sugars, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves. (and walnuts, if using.)
5. pour batter equally into the prepared pans.
6. Bake 50-60 minutes. (in my oven, exactly 60 minutes is perfect for bread. The time will be a little less if you are making a round pie-plate shaped bread... about 30 minutes.)
7. Check that the bread is done with a toothpick inserted in the middle. If it comes out clean, the the bread cool. If not, bake at 5 minute increments until it is done.
Once cooled, pop out of the pans and wrap in foil. Leave on the counter for 2-4 days (if it lasts too much longer than that, I might pop it in the fridge.)
This bread is delicious topped with butter, honey butter especially.
If you are looking for a dessert option, it is really good with cream cheese frosting.
Below is my favorite recipe from a Good Food Store cooking class:
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz. unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. lemon juice
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese.
2. Add sugar, one cup at a time.
3. Add lemon and vanilla
*note: make sure that the zucchini bread is cooled. Cream cheese frosting has a tendency to melt. So, if you are going to save the leftovers, make sure to put them in the fridge.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Banana Bread

A few of my friends recently became gluten free. One of them is Emily, who introduced me to the amazing gluten free granola recipe I posted a few days ago. Anyway, she called a few times asking for my banana bread recipe. I looked and looked and couldn't find it. I knew that I had a fire (meaning, totally rad) zucchini bread recipe that I adapted from my grandmother's recipe and posted (before I had my own blog) on the (amazing) BijaBody blog. I sent that to her to tide her over. However, that did nothing for the brown bananas that we both had lying on our counter-tops.

I adapted several recipes with no luck (either too dry and crumbly, totally obscure ingredients or super fat-camp ingredients). 

Today, I made a loaf that I think is wonderful. Light and fluffy, moist and not crumbly at all. I plan to take it camping this weekend, and possibly make banana bread french toast. :)

First, you need to make this flour blend. You'll only use 1 1/2 cups of the blend for the banana bread recipe below. Store the extra in an air-tight container for future use. 

Amy's GF Oat Flour Blend:

1 1/2 cups oat flour
1 cup tapioca flour (sometimes called tapioca starch, same same.)
1 1/2 cups potato starch or corn starch (or, some combination of the two, whatever you've got on hand- as long as it equals 1 1/2 cups total)

Mix with your hand until combined. 


2 large eggs, at room temperature. *important. make sure they are room temp.
3/4 cups of sugar (I use Wholesome Sweetners Non-GMO Organic Sugar, Evaporated Cane Juice)
1 cup mashed (or three small) over-ripe bananas
1/3 cup 0% fat Greek Yogurt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups Amy's GF Oat Flour Blend (recipe above)
1 tsp. xanthan gum (important: this is your binder. Bob's Red Mill has this in bags- it is spendy but you don't need much. A little will last a long time.)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
*optional, but worth it: 1 tbsp. ground flax seed (if you only have whole you can grind it in a coffee grinder- provides a great nutty flavor and amazing health benefits) and 1 tbsp. whole flax seeds. They provide an unexpected crunch.
*1/2 cup of add-ins (either dark raisins or other dried fruit, roughly chopped nuts or chocolate chips.)


1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Prepare a loaf pan by greasing it with butter and sprinkling it with fine rice flour. (or whatever GF flour you have.)

2. In an electric mixer, beat the room temp. eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat until well blended. Add the mashed banana, Greek yogurt and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together (by hand) the oat flour blend, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder, ground flax seed and cinnamon. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat the flour mixture into the liquid ingredients until they are well blended and the batter thickens slightly. Stir in the extras if you are using them- (whole flax seed and the dried fruit or chopped nuts or chocolate chips.)

4. Spread evenly into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean- 45-50 minutes. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes. Remove the bread form the pans and cool completely on the wire rack. 

5. Slice and serve. Top with Greek yogurt and honey, honey butter or just serve it up plain. 


Monday, August 5, 2013

The Best Granola

Seriously, it is the best granola I've ever made. 
And, quite possibly the best granola I've ever had. 
Not too sweet, super crunchy, great flavor. 
Perfect as a snack or over yogurt, you will make this over and over!

The BEST Granola

1/4 cup coconut oil (can use canola oil if you don't have coconut)
1/4 cup agave
1/4 cup organic, local honey
1tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional, but yummy if you have some lying around)
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking, certified GF if needed)
3/4 cup slivered almonds (or walnuts or pecans)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin needs
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
3 tbsp whole flax seeds
1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup diced dried apricots (or any other dried fruit) *optional (I like to use apricots, prunes and cranberries/craisins)

(Check out more of my handmade ceramics!
{nailpolish- OPI Don't Touch my Tutu!}


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper.

2. Mix the  oil, agave, honey, cinnamon, vanilla and almond extract together until smooth.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the oats, nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, ground flax, and salt. 
(TIP-*depending on the dried fruit you use, you can put it in now, or wait until after it comes out. I used apricots and dried plums. The apricots were fine to go in and bake with the granola. The plums turned into super chewy plum rocks. Next time, I will add them at the end. To be safe, maybe wait till the end to add any dried fruit until you've tested it out.)

4. Add the wet to the dry and stir, making sure everything is coated evenly.
Spread evenly on the baking sheet. 
5. Bake, stirring once or twice, until golden and crispy. About 26-30 minutes. 

6. Remove the granola from the oven and break it into bite-sized clumps while it is still warm.
Let it cool completely and then add your dried fruit, if you didn't already in step 2. 
Store in an air-tight container.

Lovely with shredded coconut on top too! 

Serve over greek yogurt or with your favorite milk and fresh fruit. Yum!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Chocolate Apricot Chunk Muffins

When I first came into contact with this recipe, I thought the lady telling it to me was crazy. Black bean, banana and coffee muffins? I was sitting in a Good Food Store gluten-free baking class- and would have never believed how good they were if I wouldn't have tried them for myself. Not only are the gluten free, they are also refined sugar free and SUPER easy to make and adapt. Chocolat-ey, fudgy, chunky and healthy, these moist muffins can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack or for dessert. (For dessert, top with cream cheese frosting- recipe below- or make the batter in a cake pan and layer with strawberries and fresh whipped cream :)


15oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 brown bananas OR 1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup of coffee, brewed and cooled (leftover from morning is perfect)
1 1/2 cups oat flour, OR 1/2 cup oat flour, 1/2 cup white rice flour, and 1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup agave OR 1/2 cup agave, 1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup rough chopped dried fruit (dust with a few teaspoons of corn starch to keep the fruit from sticking together) Some favorites are dried apricots, cherries, cranberries and blueberries. 
(optional: 1/2 cup chocolate chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Place the drained and rinsed black beans in a food processor with the brown bananas. Process until smooth. Add cooled coffee, blend to combine. Set aside.
3. Mix salt, baking powder, cocoa powder and oat flour (or oat, rice flour blend, whichever you are using.)
Set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add egg and agave (or agave/honey mixture, whichever you are using.) Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium until light and frothy. (<-- Important! White foamy froth is good news.) 
5. Reduce speed, add vanilla and the black bean, banana and coffee mixture. 
6. Add the dry mix all at once. Mix. 
7. Add the chopped fruit that has been dusted with corn starch and chocolate chips if using. Mix till all is well combined.
8. Fill the cups of a muffin tin- the batter should come almost to the top of the cups. 
9. Bake 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 
Store in an air-tight container and enjoy all week!

(If making this as a dessert- top with cream cheese frosting once cooled. Also, you can totally pour this into a cake pan and make it in the shape of a cake.... delicious.)

Perfect Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 oz. unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 tsp. lemon juice

1. In th ebowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese.
2. add sugar one cup at a time
3. add lemon and vanilla. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Quinoa + Kale Mini-Burgers with Avocado Tzatziki

Quinoa + Kale Mini-burgers with Avocado Tzatziki

Week night dinner, ready in well under an hour. My husband said, "these things are like falafel on steroids." The avocado tzatziki really puts them over the top. As always, a little Sriracha is good too. 


for the burgers.
1 cup quinoa
2 c. water
4 eggs, whisked
1/3 c. parmesan or feta (I used a bit of both)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. steamed kale
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 medium carrot, shredded 
1 c. gluten free breadcrumbs 

for the avocado tzatziki

1 c. 0% greek yogurt
1 small avocado, mashed
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 c. diced cucumber (peeled, optional) + more for garnish

Method- burgers.

bring the quinoa and water to a boil. reduce to simmer and cook until quinoa is tender and has absorbed all the liquid. about 20 minutes. allow to cool to room temperature. (if you are crunched for time, dump it on to a cookie sheet. spread it out and pop in the freezer for about 8 minutes... cool down with the quickness).
Combine all the other ingredients except the evoo (kale needs to be cooled as well so that it doesn't cook the eggs...) into a large bowl. let it all hang out together for a few minutes (5ish) to get all comfortable. (maybe take this opportunity to pour yourself a glass of vino...). the burger batter should stick together to form patties- should not be runny. (if runny, add a bit more bread crumbs. If crumbly, drop another whisked egg in there...but if you followed the instructions above, it should be just about perfect.)

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. After the skillet comes to temperature, add the oil (this helps food to not stick. What a trick, right?!). Drop in the mini-patties one by one. Resist the urge to move them. They need to get all golden and lovely on the bottom, so let them be. I did about 5 per batch. After 3-4 minutes, check the bottoms by sliding a spatula underneath and peeking to see the bottoms. If they are golden, flip 'em over. If not, give them a little more time.
Once you do the flip, press them slightly to flatten them a bit. Again, don't touch them until they are golden. If you mess with them too much, they will crumble on you and you will be a sad, sad little chef.

Let the burgers cool on a paper towel (to soak out any extra oil). 

Method- tzatziki.

Once your avocado is mashed, add all the ingredients together. Mix. Done. (again, your ingredients need to all become friends in there. SO, the earlier you make this, the better it will taste. Make sure you've got a receptacle with a tight fitting lid to keep it in until it is go time.)

Serve the burgers with a dollop of tzatziki and sprinkle on some cucumbers and avocado if you've got some extra. 


Thursday, April 25, 2013

2013 Dirty Dozen

I try to eat mostly organic. I think about where my food comes from. I avoid eating and cooking with wheat. I especially pay attention to where meat comes from. We have a garden, shop at the farmer's market when available, and live on a street book-ended by two local grocers. I cook in big batches, but eat it all week. We use everything. I know that eating ALL organic ALL the time is hard. It is expensive. The Dirty Dozen is a list that I try to memorize, and try to buy organic when at all possible. (Costco has done a great job lately of having organic produce. With new items increasing. Thank you Costco!)
 I like that there is a clean 15 list, so that during months when it is a little tight, or things are out of season- I can buy non-orgainc things from that list and feel ok that I am not totally poising myself with my 'healthy' foods. 

Below is the 2013 Dirty Dozen list- with Apples at the top. (Perhaps we should update the old 'An apple a day' saying....)


Bell Peppers
Cherry Tomatoes
Hot Peppers

This list was released by the EWG (Environmental Working Group). The above fruits and veggies are the highest in pesticide residue- even AFTER washing them! (read: It is important to buy the above fruits and veggies organic). 
Huffington Post, where I got this information, also released the 2013 'Clean 15' list. See below for the cleanest 15 veggies and produce:
Frozen Sweet Peas
Sweet Potatoes

I still have my qualms about GMO corn, and GMO everything really. But for me, the above list is really nice to have to reference, for when organic is not a viable option. 
I get mango, asparagus, avocado, cantaloupe and frozen sweet peas in bulk at Costco. If they start to turn, I freeze them (the fruits) and use them in smoothies. 
Here's a great salad recipe, that calls for asparagus and avocado- buying in bulk sometimes forces you to have a mass cooking of veggies, and this salad would be perfect for getting rid of those ones who are on the edge. So good!

Eat healthy, be happy. 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thai Peanut Rice Noodle Salad

Last night I made a super yummy Thai Peanut Rice Noodle Salad for dinner. I put the leftovers in jars, layering them sauce, noodles, tofu and veggie, in that order, top to bottom, for lunch the next few days. I was in a hurry to make dinner, so, didn't take exact measurements. (i posted this pic on Instagram... and was asked for the recipe- SO...) The measurements are guesstimates, and vary according to taste. Below is a basic guide to re-creating this dish. It is really, really good. 

tofu. + veggies.
1 8oz. package extra firm tofu (drained, cubed)
2 tbsp brown rice flour
sesame oil (about 3 tbsp.)
1 large red pepper, stemmed and seeded, sliced super thin
2 long broccoli stems, peeled and shredded
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 package rice noodles (prepared according to package directions- which is usually to submerge them in almost boiling water for 5+ minutes and then drain- do not boil. It will turn them into goo. Then, I drizzled them with a tiny bit of Bragg's liquid Aminos and sesame oil, to prevent sticking.)

Thai Peanut Sauce.- (again, this is a guesstimate- add stuff, taste it, adjust. No worries :)
2/3 cup natural peanut butter (I used Adam's Chunky)
1 tbsp-ish raw coconut vinegar (or rice vinegar- I had coconut so used that)
a few dashes lime juice- fresh if available
a drizzle or so of sesame oil
1/2 tbsp. Sriracha (i used more... we like spicy :)
2-3 tbsp. Bragg's Liquid Amino Acid (or gluten free soy sauce, or soy sauce if you aren't GF)
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tbsp raw local honey (or any honey, or Agave)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
(water, to thin to desired consistency, if needed)
Garnish (optional) toasted chopped peanuts, cilantro, lime wedges


Heat a few tablespoons of the sesame oil over med/high heat in a wok or heavy bottomed skillet. While it is coming to temp., squeeze the tofu chunks in a kitchen towel, not too hard, just to remove excess water. Sprinkle/toss with the rice flour. remove excess flour.
Add the tofu to the oil.
Let fry for 3 minutes, undisturbed. Toss. Leave another 3 minutes or so. Repeat process, until tofu is golden brown on all sides. Remove to a paper towel to soak up extra oil. Reserve.

Put water in a medium sized pan, bring almost to a boil. (until little bubbles form on the bottom.) Remove from heat, add rice noodles, cover. (set a timer for 5 minutes, check consistency. If they are tender but still have a little snap, they are ready. If they are chewy, keep in water covered off the heat, for another few minutes.) Once to desired consistency, rinse with cold water and very lightly drizzle with Braggs and sesame oil. 

Add all sauce ingredients except water and garnish. Whisk, adding water until creamy. You could put them all in a food processor, but I just whisked it in a bowl and it was fine. Reserve.

Layer in bowls (or jars), noodles, sauce, tofu (which is fine still warm if eating right away)- top with veggies (and garnish, if using.)


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Honey Almond Cake

This cake is so moist and delicious. I served it with honey drizzled Greek yogurt and sliced almonds on top. It would be great with fresh fruit as well. Perfect with tea in the afternoon, it is light and not too sweet. You'd never know it was gluten free!

1 3/4 c. almond meal (i used bob's red mill) (OR 1 1/2 cup(s) whole almonds, toasted)
4 large eggs, at room temperature separated 

1/2 cup honey (preferrably local- I get mine here)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

(Optional- Greek yogurt, sliced almonds and honey for serving)


Preheat oven to 350.
If you are using whole almonds, spread them out on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven, stirring once, for about 15 minutes. They will become fragrant and lightly browned. (if using almond meal, skip this step)

While the almonds are in the oven- prep a 9 inch springform pan. Use the bottom of the pan to draw a circle on the parchment paper, then cut it out with scissors. Spray the pan with cooking spray, place the parchment paper in the bottom (with your marks down if you didn't cut them off), and spray the parchment paper too.

Once the almonds are toasted, remove them and let them cool. Once they are cooled down, process them in a food processor until finely ground. Reserve.

Separate the eggs. 4 egg yolks in one bowl, and the whites in another.

In the stand of a kitchen aid mixer (or using a hand mixer if you don't have one), combine 1/2 cup honey, vanilla, baking soda, and salt in using the paddle attachment on medium speed until well combined. Add the ground almonds and beat on low until combined.

Transfer the almond/honey mixture to another bowl and reserve. Clean out the KitchenAid bowl, and return to stand. Change the attachment to the whisk (from the paddle). Add the egg whites and beat over medium speed until the whites have doubled in size and are super shiny and foamy. DO NOT let them begin to form smooth, stiff peaks. 

(This could cause your cake to sink in the middle after you bake it. Also, it actually is important to make sure your eggs are room temperature. It has to do with science... something about the proteins ... I usually put them (in their shells, obvs), in my bra. No kidding. Body temperature=warm those eggs right up!... 4 might be a little hard to handle though... or maybe you aren't wearing a bra. Or maybe you are a dude. Anyway, you could also submerge them (in their shells) in a bowl of lukewarm water for a few minutes. Whatever you prefer.)

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the yolk/honey/almond mixture. 
Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. 
Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle. 

Wait 8-10 minutes before doing anything. Really. 

The cake should have pulled away from the sides when baking. If it didn't, run a knife along the edges to loosen. Undo the sides of the pan.  Let the cake cool completely.

Once cool, invert onto a plate and remove the parchment paper and the bottom of the pan. Then, invert again onto a cake stand.

Serve with sliced almonds and greek yogurt drizzled with honey. And tea


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Beet and Apple Soup

This is really, really simple. And healthy. And delicious.
It tastes like beets and apples, and has a little tang, a little sweet, and a little savory.

1 large red onion, chopped
5 medium beets, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 apple, cut into one inch pieces
2 cloves of garlic
4-5 cups of water (could use veggie or chicken broth. I used water.)
2 tbsp. cider vinegar (I prefer Braggs organic)
1 tbsp. honey
(this would be amazing with goat cheese crumbled into it... wait, isn't everything? I didn't have any. But will next time.)
1 tbsp. evoo

drizzle the evoo into a pan heated over medium high heat.
add onion, cook until soft. 
add beets and apple, cook 5 min.
add garlic. cook 30 seconds.
add in water. 
add vinegar and honey.
simmer 5 minutes.

transfer to a VitaMix. If you dont have a vitamix, you could use an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor. (when blending hot things. make sure that you have the lid or plunger or whatever cracked so that the steam can escape. Otherwise, boom goes the dynamite. or beet soup, rather.)
Give it a taste test for spice, consistency, salt/pepper/ etc.
Tweak as you'd like.

Serve with fresh cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Caprese Potato Salad

I've made this super delicious, extremely simple potato salad a few times lately. It changes every time, but below are some simple guidelines for a really excellent side or main dish (I like it served over fresh salad greens or baby kale as a lunch salad). I took it to a potluck and it was  a total hit- with several recipe requests. Well, here ya go!

Caprese Potato Salad.


6-8 medium large red skinned potatoes- peeled, diced and boiled al dente.
4 scallions, ends trimmed off and thinly sliced
3 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, halved
4 heaping tablespoons prepared pesto
2/3 cup fresh mozzarella (I just tore it off of a bigger chunk, but you could dice it or use those small, fresh mozzarella balls- whatever you've got on hand)
EVOO, salt and pepper to taste


Boil the potatoes and rinse  in cold water- let cool almost completely. (If you want to expediate this cooling process, after you rinse them, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them in the 'fridge to cool.)

Meanwhile, chop the scallions and half the tomatoes. Reserve. Tear the mozzarella and add it to the tomatoes/onions. 

Once the potatoes are cooled, drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. 
Add the potatoes to a large bowl. 
Add the onions, tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto. Toss until evenly coated. 
Taste- add S&P as needed. 

(Excellent to make ahead- just might have to add a little olive oil and re-toss before serving.)


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hello in There

Yesterday, Adam and I left right after work to take Siku Dog to Blue Mountain. It was gorgeous outside, almost 60 degrees and sunny. As we were hiking around, we passed lots of dogs with their owners. All the dogs said hello, and some of the people smiled, all kept walking. We started heading up the mountain, and saw an old man coming down the narrow trail. (We chose a different path on the left to circumvent the water hole, since Siku dog had just had a bath. Which ended up not working, since he promptly found a fresh pile of horse crap to roll in...)

Anyway, the old man crouched down and said hello to Siku, then stood up and smiled. He began to tell us how he had his dogs out this morning, but it was so beautiful out this afternoon, he had to come out for another hike. He looked right at me, with his wrinkled skin and sharp, crisp blue eyes. Really made eye contact with us both. He told us, "After the next switchback, about 20 yards, look down and to the left. There is the most tremendous display of buttercups. The first I've seen up here." He smiled to Adam and me, and told us to have a good day. We then noticed Siku rolling in the horse poop, and I chased off after our freshly groomed dog. He laughed to us and said, "he's just being a dog" waved and headed on. 

It wasn't until our way down, that I realized that out of more than a dozen people we passed, he was the only person who spoke a word to us. The only one that said hello, and the only one who was interested enough in conversation to share an experience with us. It made me think of this John Prine song, and somewhere out there I want to thank this man for helping me to remember to be kind to people. And say hello.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fruit Salad with Fruit Smoothie Dressing

Only Fruit: Fruit Salad with Pureed Fruit Dressing 

For the Salad
1/2 honey dew, peeled and diced
1/2 cantaloupe, peeled and diced
1/2 mini watermelon (reserve 1/4 of the melon for the dressing)
2 medium mangoes, peeled and diced
2 cups diced pineapple (i used frozen... thawed)
1 lemon

*My favorite knife for peeling round things (like fruits) is this curved pairing knife. The large knife is excellent for cutting through the thick rinds of melons as well as dicing, and the sturdy spoon is for scooping out seeds.

Combine all the salad ingredients together, except lemon, in a large bowl.

For the Dressing
1 cup fresh blackberries
1/4 watermelon
4 large strawberries (I used frozen)
2 clementines
3/4 cup water
4 small mint leaves 

Combine all the the dressing ingredients in a Viatmix or blender. 

Blend the ingredients together for 60 seconds, until smooth. (This is delicious as a raw fruit smoothie too!)

Pour the dressing over the salad and mix until all the fruit is covered.

Dish up and top with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and more chopped mint, if desired.

 (Nail color= "Honk if you Love OPI" :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Chicken and Veggie Fried Rice

Homemade quality, take out taste. Chicken fried rice is a great meal in itself, or, as a side to any Asian meal. It makes a great, filling, gluten free lunch too! Make ahead and reheat, add in any veggie you'd like. Below is a pretty traditional take on fried rice, but, you can jazz it up with whatever  you'd like!
This recipe is kid friendly, gluten free, and a healthy alternative to take out!
(makes 6 servings, depending on your portions :)

Chicken Fried Rice


2tbsp. olive oil, separated
2tbsp. sesame oil, separated (if you don't have any, or, if you are allergic to sesame, use olive oil.)
1 lb. chicken breast (you can use any protein here- chicken, pork, beef, or tofu.)
2 cups short grain organic brown rice
1/2 large onion
2 carrots
1 cup frozen peas
3 eggs (omit for egg free) (could use scrambled tofu instead)
3 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos (or more to taste) (you can also use a gluten free soy sauce here if you don't have Bragg, but start out with just one tbsp. and increase to taste. There are lots of different varieties, each with a different level of saltiness.)

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil over high heat in a medium stock pot.
While the water is coming to a boil, pour 1 tbsp. sesame oil into a wok over high heat.

If you don't have a wok, get one. They are awesome for cooking everything from fried rice to jalepeno popcorn- recipe coming soon:) (If you are going to buy one, I may I suggest LeCreuset? I cooked with one of these at a friend's house last weekend and it was ah-mazing. Saving my pretty pennies to upgrade to one in the near future...) In the mean time, use a heavy bottom stock pot.

Add 2 cups brown rice to the sesame oil (or olive oil) and fry stirring constantly, 3 minutes, until the rice is lightly toasted. This is a very important step- it will give the rice great flavor.
Dump the toasted rice into the stock pot. Lower the heat to simmer and cover, cooking for 45 minutes until tender.

As the rice cooks, quarter and dice the carrot.
Thinly slice and dice the onion.
Measure out the peas and let them begin to thaw.
Reserve the veggies.

Thinly slice the chicken. (If the chicken is slightly frozen, it will be easier to slice super thin.)
Heat the olive and sesame oil in a wok over high heat.
Add the chicken, reduce heat to medium high, cook through, stirring every few minutes.

Once the chicken is cooked, add the veggies. Add more oil if needed and stir-fry until the onions are translucent and the mix becomes fragrant. 3-5 minutes.

Empty the veggies into a bowl and reserve. Add a drizzle of oil to the wok over medium high heat. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and beat them until the yolks and whites are incorporated. Add the egg to the wok and scramble the egg.
Once the egg is cooked through and scrambled, add the veggies and chicken back into the wok and toss to incorporate. As the rice finishes, add the rice as well. Turn up to high heat and add the Bragg's Liquid Aminos. (If you are in Missoula, you can get this in bulk at the Good Food Store.) Stir the mixture quickly for a few minutes, making sure that the Braggs gets mixed in. If it needs more salt, add more Braggs. As you stir and cook the mixture, it should begin to get sticky. Remove from heat and serve. 

I like to package the leftovers up after they cool, so that we have lunch already packed and ready to grab in the morning. My man loves Sriracha, so I topped my lunch portions with a Sriracha heart. <3 Enjoy!