Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pomegranate and Orange Salad

Holiday food is here. It seems greens are getting the shaft for most events I've attended this season, so I took this recipe to a family gathering and got several high 5 thank yous for the fresh glory (and beautiful color) it added to the food table.

For help getting the seeds out of the pomegranate, I searched YouTube and found plenty of suggestions (like this from Martha Stewart). Ultimately, you just gotta get in there and get your hands dirty. It's totally worth it!

Juice from one Orange
Equal amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Dollop of Dijon Mustard
Dollop of Honey
Sprinkling of sea salt
Fresh lettuce, washed
Pomegranate Seeds (as many or as few as you'd like)
Red Onion, thinly sliced crescent shapes
Slivered Almonds

  1. Mix first five ingredients in a jar with tight fitting lid and shake vigorously. Taste and adjust seasoning. Shake again and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients and place together in large serving bowl (I like to stack them starting with lettuce, then onion, then pomegranate, then almonds).
  3. Shake dressing again, taste, and adjust as needed. Pour over salad, toss, and serve.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Carrots, Cashews, and Cannellinis

I'm so grateful for the fresh carrots our local farms are providing. I put together this simple salad with them that is warming (thank you, ginger!), even though it requires no cooking.

4 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Tamari Soy Sauce
~2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (how warm do you want it?)
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt to taste
2-3 medium carrots, washed and grated
1 15 oz. can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 leaves fresh greens (I used Swiss Chard), washed and finely chopped
1 cup raw cashews

  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in jar with tight fitting lid and shake it up. Taste and adjust seasonings. Shake again and set aside.
  2. Combine carrots, beans, and greens in medium size bowl. Toss.
  3. Test dressing again and adjust to taste.
  4. Pour over salad and toss to coat.
  5. Add cashews just before serving.
  6. Enjoy!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sweet Potato Fries--the Wildtree Way!

I cannot believe how stinkin' good these oven roasted sweet potatoes are. The blend from Wildtree was made for this--not it's stated purpose. Take note--this is a seasonal Wildtree item, so stock up* to get you through the winter.

Sweet Potatoes (I used one huge one for 3 of us), washed
Wildtree Natural Grapeseed Oil
Wildtree Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend
Sea Salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Be sure racks are in the middle of the oven.
  2. Slice sweet potatoes into thin "chips." I cut the potato down the middle, placed the flat part on the cutting board and cut as thin as possible. It's helpful if you get them all about the same size so they cook evenly, but I got some super thin, which made them really crisp, and some not-so thin, which made them "meaty." I think just chunking them into bite size pieces would be good, too, and would require less time.
  3. Drizzle some oil in the bottom of bowl (maybe a Tablespoon?) and add the blend (2-3 teaspoons depending on how many potatoes and how much flavor you want). Wisk until dissolved.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes and toss to coat well--I had to use my hands here.
  5. Place potatoes on cookie sheet in one layer (you can crowd them a little, if they are not thin sliced chips). It took 2 sheets for me.
  6. Put both pans in the oven--I have to "stack" them, so I rotated the pans every 8 minutes (set a timer) to help them cook more evenly. 
  7. When edges start to curl, they're done. Cook until really brown for extra crispy chips.
  8. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste and enjoy!
*Order by emailing here. While you're at, check out all the other good (NATURAL!!) stuff Wildtree has to offer here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Balsamic Glazed Beets

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 7 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings

3 1/2 lbs. beets- cooked, peeled, and sliced (click here for help)
Beet greens- washed
3 T balsamic vinegar
2 T pure maple syrup or honey
1 T olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 t cinnamon

1.    In saucepan stir together vinegar, syrup or honey and olive oil.
2.    Add beets and greens and heat over moderate heat until heated through.
3.    Add cinnamon and salt & pepper to taste.
4.    Serve warm or at room temperature.
5.    Can be made one day ahead.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cabbage, Carrot, and Cashew Slaw

Simple slaw that is warming this time of year.
This makes about 4 servings.

Juice of half a lemon (5-6 teaspoons)
3 teaspoons soy sauce
6-7 teaspoons olive oil
2-3 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
sea salt to taste
1/2 head fresh cabbage, shredded
2-3 medium carrots, washed and shredded
1 cup raw cashews, coarsely chopped
handful of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

  1. Mix first five ingredients together in a jar with tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously. Set aside.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in medium size bowl.
  3. Shake dressing. Taste. Adjust seasoning as needed.
  4. Shake dressing one last time before pouring over slaw.
  5. Toss to coat evenly.
  6. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wonderful Winter Squash

Winter squash is one of the things I love about the fall. There are lots of varieties (pumpkin, butternut, delicata, acorn, spaghetti--great to use instead of pasta!) and adding them in this time of year helps keep sugar cravings from overtaking afternoon thoughts.

This recipe is super easy to throw together with leftover, cooked winter squash (whatever you've got on hand--even sweet potatoes would work) and contains a healthy dose of protein and high quality fat. Serve it with apples, and mark a fruit serving or two off your list for the day. Seems like it's perfect for an after nap/school snack or the favored munchy at Thanksgiving.

1/2 cup cooked winter squash
1 can (15 oz) canellini (white kidney) beans--or 2 cups fresh
1/4 cup flax seeds, ground (I use a coffee grinder)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1.5 Tablespoons coconut oil
1.5 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Put everything in the bowl of a food processor and whirl away. 
  2. It it's too thick, add a little water. 
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  4. Serve at your next fall gathering and impress everyone there OR
  5. Serve to some munchkins and let them guess what's included in the ingredient list.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Arugula Apple Salad

I am grateful for the return of greens at our local farmer's market.
Also grateful for fall apples.
This is a quick, simple, delicious recipe that combines the two.

2 fresh apples (I used Winesap)
Salted sunflower seeds
1/2 Lemon
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  1. Rinse and spin the arugula in a salad spinner (so wish I had invented this essential kitchen tool).
  2. Wash and cut apples into bite size pieces.
  3. Squeeze juice of half lemon over greens and apples (hit as many apples as possible).
  4. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Scatter a smattering of sunflower seeds on top.
  6. Toss and enjoy.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Onion, Shiitakes, Greens, and BACON!

In case you missed it, I once confessed how much I love bacon. If given the chance, I'd eat it everyday. Maybe even at every meal.

But, alas, the expense and time it takes for bacon prep, not to mention the clean-up, prevent me from enjoying it very often.

Or so I thought.

Then Smoky Bacon Grapeseed Oil* walked into my kitchen.

I am forever changed.

While this oil carries with it all the benefits of grapeseed oil (high flash point, cholesterol free, expansive properties so you use less, extremely low in saturated fat, lite taste, etc.), IT TASTES LIKE BACON!!!

So, now when I'm home alone for lunch, it's a whole lot easier to whip up this little recipe just for me.

Drizzle Bacon GSO in skillet and warm on medium heat.
Add diced red onion and saute until translucent (3-4 minutes).
Add chopped, fresh shiitake mushrooms and continue to saute a couple of minutes.
Add chopped, fresh greens (I used collards) and saute a couple more minutes.
Add leftover brown rice (optional) and warm through.
Top with sea salt to taste

*Want a bottle of your own? Email here by NOON Monday, September 26th, and order yourself a bottle or two. And while you're ordering, you might as well pick up a couple of other things. Check out more good stuff online here.
Proceeds from this order will benefit disaster response for The American Red Cross.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ginger Mashed Winter Squash


It's all that needs to be said about this one.

Winter squash (butternut, sweet dumpling, delicata, etc.--use all the same or a combination of several)
Freshly grated ginger (start with a teaspoon)
A lot of cinnamon (no idea how much I put in!)
Butter Flavored Grapeseed Oil* or Butter (start with a Tablespoon)
A drizzle of honey
Sea salt to taste

*Email here to order.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice squash in half lengthways and scoop out seeds.
  3. Place face down on a cookie sheet with a lip. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the tray.
  4. Roast until a fork inserts easily.
  5. Let cool slightly and scoop out flesh.
  6. Add remaining ingredients and mash together. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  7. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Comfort Food

My grandmother's funeral was this week. It was much, much more difficult than I expected. I thought I was prepared. After all, she was 96. That's a mighty long life.

Still, I'm feeling deep sadness almost a week following her death.

It was interesting to observe the things that brought comfort during this initial grieving time. As family gathered to celebrate a life well-lived food was brought in. On a holiday weekend. With a tropical storm blowing in. 

But I was in south Alabama in the heart of a community who deals with hard things by sharing food. There were tomatoes and peaches, ham and bbq, salads and deviled eggs, chicken and dumplings, green beans and new potatoes, cookies and banana pudding, coffee and sweet tea. 

And fried chicken, the quintessential comfort food of the south. Lots and lots of fried chicken.

And I can't leave out the pound cake. I think we received 5, and my mom had already made one in anticipation of the holiday weekend.

What I realized after my 3rd meal of fried chicken topped off with pound cake is that while the food indeed was a comfort, I felt the most comfort from the stories being shared around the meal. We laughed until we cried telling tales that have been embellished over the years and remembering the good, long life my grandmother had. 

At our last "funeral meal" my brother said he hoped the next death would not be any time soon. His stomach couldn't take it. 

While I appreciate the sentiment, I desperately miss gathering around the table, sharing stories, laughing, enjoying the people around me, letting the rest of the world fall away and living in the moment. That's my true comfort food.

With the 10 year anniversary of September 11th coming up this weekend I hope many will find the comfort food that soothes their souls as they continue to grieve.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cucumber, Tomato, Chick Pea Salad

We got a butternut squash in our CSA box this week. I was shocked. Especially since sweat was beginning to puddle in my shoes. Guess that means summer is close to an end.

This simple recipe includes so many of my favorite summer flavors, so I'm putting it in the weekly rotation until all the ingredients play out. It won't be long before they'll all be a distant memory.

1 medium cucumber, peeled if you like, and cut into quarters
sea salt
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1/2 small Vidalia onion, chopped
Sprinkle of Wildtree Dill Dip Blend*
Drizzle of Natural Grapeseed Oil*
1 15oz. can of Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed
Salad greens

* Email here for details and/or to order.

  1. Slice cucumber and place in a colander. Sprinkle with sea salt and let sit in sink while preparing remaining salad.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients up to and including beans in a medium size bowl. Toss to coat. 
  3. Shake cucumbers in colander and lightly press out water. Add to bowl. Toss to coat.
  4. Let sit in refrigerator for an hour or more to bring out flavors or serve over salad greens immediately.
  5. Enjoy!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lemon, Basil Pesto Meal (No heat involved)

It's almost too hot lately to keep the computer running, but I'm sacrificing for the 3 folks who read this blog with a dinner I surprised myself with just last night. It's pretty quick and definitely cool, which we need on these 105 Heat Index days.

I have modified my pesto slightly to include some salad greens. The reason is 2-fold:
  1. It keeps the pesto green.
  2. It gets salad greens in my child without complaint.
The meal is enough for two generous servings, but quantity of ingredients can easily be increased to serve more. The pesto made enough for the meal several times over. Or just to dip with crackers or slather on bread for an appetizer.

Ingredients for Pesto
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup pine nuts
juice of 1 lemon
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 salad spinner filled with fresh basil, parsley, and salad greens
sea salt to taste

Directions for Pesto*--put all ingredients in a food processor and turn it on. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Ingredients for Meal
1 can tuna, drained
1 summer squash, washed and cut into chunks
5-8 grape tomatoes, washed and quartered
Pesto to taste
Salad greens

Directions for Meal--put tuna, squash, and tomatoes in a bowl. Add pesto and toss to coat. Serve over salad greens.

*I love having extra pesto around for a quick salad side. Try putting on chopped summer squash or mix with tomatoes and feta or add to lightly steamed carrots. Simple and fast, and the taste is divine!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Leisurely, Lovely Breakfast

My teacher husband goes back to school Monday (!), so we're savoring these last few lazy summer mornings. This breakfast dish is beautiful, tasty, and just what we need in our bellies to swim right past the lunch hour.

Butter (or Butter Grapeseed Oil*)
Some vidalia onion, chopped
Red Pepper (I used roasted, which made it really sweet tasting)
Hand full of greens, coarsely chopped
3-4 eggs, beaten (I used 1 per person)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil, chopped
Feta cheese

  1. NOTE: This works best in a non-stick skillet.
  2. Warm butter/oil over medium heat and add onion. Stir quickly and reduce heat so that the onion simmers, but doesn't burn.
  3. While onion simmers, prepare remaining ingredients. Add salt and pepper to eggs.
  4. If red pepper is raw add and cook with onion 3-4 minutes until tender, then add greens and cook until bright green.
  5. Pour eggs over veggies and distribute evenly.
  6. Cook on medium/medium-low heat until egg is firm.
  7. Check egg bottom to be sure it's not burning. If eggs cook too quickly on bottom, scramble the whole skillet. If possible, refrain from scrambling and cook until "pie" is solid.
  8. Cut into slices, top with basil and feta, and enjoy a grand start to your day!
*Email here to order.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Orange and Blue Salad

Take a few carrots, wash them, cut the ends off, and grate them in a food processor (or coarsely chop).
Put them in a bowl.
Add some fresh, washed blueberries until the proportions look right.
Drizzle with Zesty Lemon Grapeseed Oil* and mix until well coated.
Season with sea salt and (a generous amount of) freshly ground black pepper.
Toss again.
Taste and see if seasoning needs adjusting.
Adjust as necessary.
Top with roasted, salted sunflower seeds.

Sing the Auburn fight song as you enjoy!

*Email here to order this summer must have!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Zebra Legs (aka Super Summer Snack)

The summer schedule is catching up with me. Let me re-phrase: the lack of a schedule this summer has tagged me. With traveling, holidays, birthdays, and no-childcare days the eating at our house has been fast and loose--cut up some veggies, open a can of beans, throw it together with some oil and vinegar and call it dinner.

Thankfully, we caught a slight respite while vacationing with friends for the 4th. We took, consumed, and brought home enough food to feed all 6 of us for a month. We ate well and were introduced to the greatest, kid friendliest, yummiest summer year round snack ever.

Take a banana and cut it in half long ways (we had big bananas to start with so we cut them in half short ways, too). Spread Nutella or dark-chocolate-peanut butter on one side and top with remaining side. Wrap in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer. Freeze an hour or two or preferably overnight (if you can stand to wait).

We nicknamed them zebra legs, which the kids thought was hilarious. At 11am this morning my 4 year old son said , "I'm hot. I think I need a zebra leg to cool me off."

Guess who thought the name was hilarious then?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Red, White, and Blue Dinner

Love this simple dish to celebrate the 4th (how many red, white, and blue meals can there be?), AND I didn't have to turn on the heat producers in my kitchen, AND my husband thanked me for not only a great meal, but also minimal kitchen clean-up. Set yourself up for a yummy holiday with this one!

Couple of peaches, skin removed or a healthy chunk of watermelon, seeds removed
A vine ripe, luscious tomato, diced
A sprinkling of blueberries
A bunch of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (this is the key ingredient--don't skimp)
1 can of chunk, white tuna, drained
Olive oil and rice vinegar to taste
Sea salt to taste
Salad greens (optional)

  1. Combine everything in a bowl (NOTE: I cut peaches over the bowl to be sure to catch all the sweet juice).
  2. Toss to coat. 
  3. Taste.
  4. Adjust seasoning.
  5. Enjoy (cue patriotic music and fireworks)!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tomato, Cucumber, Kohlrabi salad with Cilantro Pesto

The Easter Bunny was good to us this year bringing several little pots of herbs. One in particular has done extremely well--cilantro. So glad this one decided to be the herb of choice, because it's one of my favorites. I decided to use a chunk of our harvest to make pesto to serve as the dressing for the veggies multiplying in my fridge. It turned out so yummy I had to distract my four year old with a homemade popsicle to keep him from eating all the pesto on crackers (our preferred taste-test method). Hope it's a winner at your house, too!

1-2 garlic cloves
2 cups cilantro, washed*
1/2-1 cup parsley leaves*
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4-1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
sea salt to taste
Veggies that need eating--couple of tomatoes, cucumber, summer squash, kohlrabi, etc.
a little feta cheese ('cause feta makes everything betta!)
*I decided not to get anxious about the stems of the cilantro or parsley, because it was quite a lot of leaves to pull. Didn't seem to make a difference in the final product, so pull the leaves away from the main stem, but do it several leaves at a time to keep it simple. Also, small hands can help here!

  1. Add garlic to bowl of food processor or blender and chop.
  2. Add cilantro and parsley to garlic, chop, then add pumpkin seeds and chop.
  3. With the blade running, add olive oil and sea salt.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5. Combine chopped up veggies and feta and toss with pesto to coat well.
  6. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Simple Summer Snack

This is easy to make and keep on hand for a high protein, high calcium snack.

1-2 cloves garlic
Handful (maybe 1/4 cup?) of fresh, flat leaf parsley
juice of one lime (or lemon)
1 15oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In the bowl of a food processor combine first 3 ingredients and process. Scrape down sides.
  2. Add beans, salt, and pepper and process. With the blade running, add olive oil.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  4. Enjoy with fresh from the garden veggies (cucumber, squash, carrots, kohlrabi, etc.)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Quick Cucumber Salad

Cucumbers are one of those summer crops that can quickly overtake your fridge, which helps me understand why someone came up with the pickling option. Today, I found a simple way to enjoy cucumbers as a side dish (i.e. use up several at once!), leave the oven in the "OFF" position, and give thanks for cucumber's ability to keep me cool.

2-3 small to medium size cucumbers, washed and quarter chopped* (remove skin if you'd like)
1/2 small red onion, chopped
Fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Rice wine vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

*I removed skin from some, cut in half, placed flat side down, and cut in half again. Then chopped into smaller pieces.

  1. Combine cucumbers, onion, and parsley leaves.
  2. Drizzle vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  3. Cool off and enjoy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Companions Quinoa Salad

There is a group of women ("Companions") for whom I am so grateful, I am dedicating this recipe to them. We gather twice a year for brunch to celebrate the conclusion of a study, and I took this as my contribution today. Our group is sort of like this salad--simple, yet complex and oh-so-rich and yummy.

1 cup uncooked quinoa, washed in a fine mesh strainer
just under 2 cups water
3 T fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
3 T extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
leaves of your favorite green (I used rainbow chard and included the stems), finely chopped
feta cheese to taste (not much--maybe 1/8 cup to start?)
1-2 avocado, chunked
about 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted in a dry skillet
Additional greens (for eating and/or garnish)

  1. Placed well washed quinoa and water in saucepan with tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and set a timer for 15 minutes. Check at 15 minutes to be sure most of the water has been absorbed. Let cool. I like to make this the day before I plan to use it, so it's cool when I add remaining ingredients.
  2. Mix lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt in a jar with tight fitting lid and shake to mix. Set aside.
  3. Add onion, greens, and cheese to quinoa. Mix. Shake lemon juice and oil once more and add to quinoa mixture. Toss to coat well.
  4. Before serving, add avocado chunks and almonds.
  5. Serve over greens.
  6. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mustard Greens

Photo by Jill Richards
True confession: when mustard greens arrive in my CSA bounty, I tend to sigh and slump. They have such a strong bite that I am constantly searching for some recipe that will balance out the bitter-spice so my family--OK, so I--can stand to eat them. But there's been a shift at our house this week.

I love mustard greens. I'm still in awe that I actually wrote those words, but thanks to a Chattanooga's own Storier, who happens to be part of my CSA community, I say and write these words easily. He turned it all around for our house. AND he shared the recipe in language I understand--little bit of this, little bit of that until it tastes good to you!

So this recipe is shared from a place of deep gratitude as I pass the love on to you.

1-2 cloves garlic
Handful of pecans
Multiple mustard green leaves, washed and removed from stems
olive oil
sea salt

  1. Place garlic and pecans in bowl of food processor and process until finely chopped.
  2. Add mustard greens and chop some more.
  3. While the blade is running, add olive oil to help things stick together.
  4. Scrape down the sides, add some salt, and process a little more adding olive oil as needed to help stick things together.
  5. Taste and adjust with a few more pecans, oil, or salt.
  6. Serve with pasta (or on crackers/bread/chips/carrots/whatever is closest).
  7. Tell all your friends you love mustard greens!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kohlrabi--Friend or Foe?

From FarmgirlFare.com

Our CSA Season has started again-- FINALLY! I didn't realize how lost I was without it. Now that we're back in full swing, I love the assortment of greens and veggies that I find like treasures in my box each week. 

Well, I love most everything I find. I always seem to forget about the satellite-like space ship kohlrabi (doesn't it look like it's about to take off and start spinning around uncontrollably?) until it's purple bulb is staring me in the face reminding me of our contentious relationship from last season.

But today, I am claiming an unbelievable shift in our relationship. I discovered that the combination of kohlrabi and blueberries is really quite lovely. Maybe more than lovely. Dare I say delicious? Yep--think I'm going there, because I can't stop eating this salad I threw together in 7 minutes.

So, if you have had a sketchy relationship with kohlrabi in the past, I hope this little gem will put things right between the two of you. And if you've never tried kohlrabi, get on down to your local farmer's market and get some along with some blueberries and enjoy this treat--you'll be glad you did!

3 T olive oil
1 T rice wine vinegar
1 t honey
sprinkle of salt
2 kohlrabi bulbs, skin removed and shredded
2-3 carrots, washed and shredded
3-4 kohlrabi greens, washed and finely chopped
1.5 cups fresh blueberries, washed

  1. Shake first four ingredients in a jar with tight fitting lid and set aside.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste (I added zero, my husband added both).
  5. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Carrot Soup for a Rainy Day

It has been a wet, cold day, and I've been home with a sick child. When given the opportunity to choose between chicken/beets/greens and carrot soup, he chose the soup (and we've never made it before). So grateful to be led down this road--it was just what we needed to nourish us both.

1 cup quinoa, thoroughly rinsed in a fine mesh strainer
2 cups water
1 T Garlic Grapeseed Oil* or other high heat oil
1/2 Vidalia onion, roughly chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 T ground cumin
1 T turmeric
4-5 carrots, roughly chopped
3-4 beet green stems (optional), rough chopped
handful of beet greens (or other green)
4- 6 cups stock or water (or combination of the two)
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger root, grated
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
raw pumpkin seeds (or sesame seeds or walnuts), dry roasted in a skillet
fresh, flat leaf parsley, finely chopped (cilantro would be yummy, too!)
*email here to order

  1. Place rinsed quinoa and 2 cups of water in saucepan with tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.
  2. While quinoa cooks, place oil in bottom of soup pot and turn heat to medium. Once the pot warms, add the onion followed shortly by the garlic. Saute together for 3-4 minutes on medium-low.
  3. Add cumin and turmeric and coat well.
  4. Add carrots, beet stems, beet greens, and stock. Turn heat to medium/medium-high until it just boils, then reduce to simmer and cook 20 minutes or so, until veggies are soft.
  5. Add quinoa to soup pot followed by ginger, salt, and pepper. 
  6. Use an immersion blender to blend all ingredients together to a smooth consistency. Add stock or water as necessary. Taste, adjust seasonings and blend one last time.
  7. Top individual servings with parsley and toasted pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!
  8. Freeze leftovers to pull out for the next rainy day.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Greenlight's Groupon!

We have an awesome Groupon deal (over half off!) for our upcoming Sexy in Six weight loss class. I promise this will be the most fun "diet" you have ever been on.

This testimony from a former participant sums it up:
I was quite surprised at how successful I was in this program, because my track record for dieting is pretty poor. This one worked for me because it makes sense, is organized to build each week, and I stayed motivated due to feeling a little better each day. Jeni and Juli-Ann presented the program in a way that is realistic, practical, and takes into consideration that people have real lives. I’ve recommended it to family and friends, because it’s a steal for the information I received.

And she paid full price!

Swimsuit season is just around the corner, so grab a couple of pals and come get Sexy in Six with us!

Click here to access the deal.

Pleasantly Pleasing Pasta

I'm working diligently this week and next cleaning out my freezer, fridge, and pantry. The project is long overdue, but something I like to try to do a couple of times a year, especially as seasons change. So last night I dug deep and threw together a pasta salad--from ingredients I had in the house--and it came out quite yummy.
I'll organize the ingredients by where I found them, but don't really have measurements or how much--I just used what I had.

For the Dressing:
I made a basic vinaigrette with ume plum vinegar, olive oil, and whole grain mustard. In the end I squeezed lemon over the salad, too, and in hindsight probably should have made a lemon vinaigrette, but the ume plum vinegar is one of my faves, so I use it every chance I get.

From the Freezer (finding more good stuff here):
  • about a cup of corn 
  • about a cup of green peas
  • I tossed these with the hot pasta and let them thaw while the pasta cooled.
From the Fridge:
  • couple of carrots, chopped
  • some celery, chopped
  • some chives, chopped
  • some red onion, chopped
  • a handful of kale, finely chopped (great way to add greens to just about anything)
  • slivered almonds sprinkled on top
From the Pantry
  • Eden Organic whole grain pasta (I always have some on hand--it's good stuff!)
  • 2 cans tuna
  • salt and pepper to taste
From the Heart:
Lots of Vitamin L(ove)!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Learning to Love Leftovers

I'm not sure when it happened--the shift in my appreciation of leftovers. As a child I wasn't very fond of them. As the food preparer in our house, where the fruits of my labor often get devoured in 6.3 minutes, I have made good friends with leftovers.

There are 3 main forms of leftovers at our house:
  1. Exact same dish warmed over.
  2. Same ingredients re-purposed--cook once, eat multiple times. For example, I might combine a little brown rice, sweet potatoes, and beans from previous meals into a pot and stuff quesadillas with the leftovers. Or I cook a whole chicken, we eat it freshly roasted, then in the form of chicken salad, then in the form of chicken soup, then in the form of chicken stock made from bones.
  3. Fabulous freezer finds.
The third category has gotten to be a favorite for me. Going with the cook once, eat multiple times policy, I find that the winter months are full of soups, stews, and chili. These are great for several days, but more often than not, the quantity prepared outlasts the palates who eat them. So invariably containers end up in the freezer, not always as well marked as they should be.

I've heard of folks dumping all their leftovers into one container and pulling it out when it gets full for a hearty leftover meal. They say it's wonderful no matter what you put in it. I'm skeptical, so my leftovers get individual containers, but then get thrown into a single pot after thawing.

It sounds like the same result, I know, but there's one big difference between the two--I brown about 1/2 pound local breakfast sausage before adding my freezer finds. I figure if the combination of the freezer finds is not so great, at least it's got sausage in it. And pretty much, if it has sausage, especially this local stuff, I'll eat it.

So decide what your "sausage" is and add it to those treasures hiding in your freezer for a simple meal (or 3!). No better time than now to have one last "winter meal" and get ready for the bounty spring and summer will bring.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sausage, Tomato, Bean Delight

It's hard to believe that one month ago it was warmer than it is today. As a result, I've been preparing more hot dinners than I normally would this time of year.

This one ended up really hearty and soothing on a cold, wet day. And it has sausage in it. What's not to love about that?

1/2 pound ground breakfast sausage
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 (15oz) cans diced tomatoes, drained
2 (150z) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
1/2 cup veggie or chicken stock
a heaping hand full of fresh cooking greens (kale and collards work well)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Whole grain (optional)--I cooked about a cup of quinoa

  1. In a large skillet brown sausage and drain fat.
  2. Return sausage to skillet and add onion and garlic. Cook about 3 minutes, then add thyme. Saute another minute.
  3. Add tomatoes and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to break down and become "saucy". 
  4. Add stock, beans, and greens. Turn heat to medium high until beans are warm and greens are bright green (about 5-7 minutes).
  5. Serve over grain (optional), add salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chick Pea Spring Salad

Let me start by saying I have already made this recipe twice--in one week. I foresee this one becoming a regular in our spring and summer rotation. I'm not sure whether it's the avocado (healthy, yummy fat) or the Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil (another great fat source) or the fresh cilantro and salad greens (I love our Farmer's Market!), but whatever it is, it's a total party in my mouth. And with spring in full swing, I'm ready for a party to celebrate the change in seasons!

1/4 cup Wildtree Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil (email here to order)
2 T rice vinegar
1-2 t honey
1/2 t sea salt
1/4 generous t coriander
1/4 generous t cumin
1/8 t crushed red pepper flakes (optional or to taste--be careful, a little goes a long way!)
2 (15 oz) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, shredded or chopped
1 ripe avocado, cut into chunks
juice of 1 lime
handful of fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
salad greens, handful chopped and additional for serving


  1. Make dressing by combining first 7 ingredients (through red pepper) in a jar with tight fitting lid and shake it up baby! Set aside.
  2. Combine beans, onion, carrot, avocado, lime, cilantro, and chopped salad greens (I like to add some greens to the actual salad, because my son doesn't "like" lettuce--although he's eaten it straight from the fields and said, "Yum!") in a large bowl.
  3. Give the dressing one last shake (it's ok if it separates) and pour over bean salad. Toss to coat.
  4. Serve over salad greens and enjoy the taste of spring!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Curry Ginger Chick Peas & Mushrooms with Tumeric Rice

I'm experimenting with a new Wildtree product in my kitchen. It's the Curried Garlic Blend, and it's pretty fantastic. I've added it in place of curry to a couple of different things, but this recipe, I have to admit, is pretty outstanding.
It helps to have fresh produce from the market to add to the experiment, too. So here's what I made up:

2 cups water
2 generous teaspoons ground tumeric
1 generous teaspoon sea salt
1 cup brown rice
a little high heat cooking oil (I used Grapeseed oil)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 teaspoons Wildtree Curried Garlic Blend or curry powder
a couple of hand fulls of colored peppers (I used red and yellow)
shiitake (or other) mushrooms
1 can chick peas, drained
some chopped up cooking greens (collards, kale, chard, etc.)
2 generous teaspoons freshly grated ginger
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Place water in pot with tight fitting lid and bring to a boil. Add salt and tumeric. Add rice, stir it around, return to boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer covered for 45 minutes.
  2. Place oil in skillet and warm over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and reduce heat to medium-low. FYI: I like to let the onion and garlic cook while chopping the remaining veggies. It makes the onions sweet.
  3. When onions are really soft, add the curry seasoning and mix well.
  4. Add peppers and mix to coat. Let cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add mushrooms, mix, let cook 5 minutes or so to soften.
  6. Add chick peas and greens. Cover and let chick peas warm and greens get greener about 4 minutes.
  7. Check rice (timer should have gone off by now!). Does it need more cooking time or a little water added?
  8. Add grated ginger and mix one last time.
  9. Serve chick peas over rice.
  10. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Green Eggs and Ham

This week marks the 107th birthday of Dr. Seuss. Oh, the places this author has taken us! From Mr. Brown Can Moo to The Cat in the Hat to One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish to that mean old Grinch, Dr. Seuss is a classic in most children's book collections.

My son had the joy of making green eggs and ham at his school Seuss birthday celebration. It was a whole new, wonderful experience for him (and his classmates) to add color to food.

It got me thinking, though. We actually eat green eggs at our house--a lot. Almost every time I scramble up eggs, I throw in whatever greens are lurking in my fridge. If we have boiled eggs, I usually put them on a bed of salad greens. When an egg fritatta goes into the oven, you can bet there are greens of some sort in it. So the idea of green eggs at our house is not new, it's just a little different from Dr. Seuss'.

I appreciate the effort of Dr. Seuss to introduce a new and different looking food to kids (of all ages) in a fun way. And it's a nice reminder that as a Mom, like Sam I am, I have to be persistent in offering good, green foods to my child. After all, he just might offer an enthusiastic, "Yes, I like them--thank you, Ma'am!"

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mango in March?

Yes, this blog is generally designed to deal with food that is in season right now, but I have found a plethora of mangoes in my kitchen this week (at no cost to me) and really consider that to be "in season," especially since they were a gift. And we don't waste food at our house.

So, I cut up 2 of these lovely Indian fruits and mixed them with a single avocado (again--"in season" at our house, since it was given to me) and a little sea salt for a delicious, sweet treat.

I found this great video of a father teaching how to cut a mango that's fun and informative:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Scampi--it's not just for shrimp anymore!

It's been a long week. It started out great with a party at my house to celebrate the 4th birthday of my (mostly) precious son, but began to denigrate into a week home from school due to illness that got passed along to me. Ugh. I'm tired of being home bound. Cooking has been drudgery, too.

So tonight, in-between coughing fits, I threw together a 15 minute meal that was delicious and super simple. It consisted of broccoli, carrots, quinoa, sunflower seeds, and a super magical secret ingredient--Wildtree Scampi Blend with Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil.

I started representing simple, healthy, and natural Wildtree products last July, but have not taken the time to devote to promoting them at the level they deserve. Not sure why, really, because I use them in my own kitchen, especially the Grapeseed Oils. So I guess this is sort of a debut of two of my favorite products from the line.

Anyway, tonight was one of those wonderful Wildtree nights where I got a delicious, nutritious dinner on the table super fast. Here's what I did:
  1. Cover bottom of cold skillet with Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil and 2-3 teaspoons of Scampi Blend.
  2. Turn heat to medium/medium-low and stir to blend.
  3. Add chopped carrots (I would have put some onion in first, but I didn't have any) and saute a few minutes stirring to coat the carrots.
  4. Add chopped broccoli. Stir to coat and cook for a few minutes until broccoli is bright green.
  5. Add cooked quinoa (or other whole grain--whatever amount on hand) and stir to warm and coat with seasoning.
  6. Add sunflower seeds (or sesame or pumpkin) and you're done!
I'm happy to share more about Wildtree products. Simply contact me here.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Hearty, Healthy Snack

I've made these twice already, because they're so yummy. The second go round I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to make them into a Valentine treat for some friends. I think they may become a holiday favorite--whatever the holiday!

My 3 year old cannot get enough of them. "Mmm. Good Mom," he says in a very matter-of-fact tone. He's right--they're really tasty and super easy to make.

I did find that sometimes they stick together better based on how the honey is distributed, but when we had only crumbles, we put them into our morning grain (amaranth these days), and they were just as good!

1.5 cups raw or roasted p-nuts
1.5 cups dried cranberries
3 T sesame seeds
1/2 - 1 T freshly grated ginger
3-4 T honey

  1. Place all ingredients except honey in bowl of food processor and pulse until well crumbled and incorporated together--you're not making p-nut butter, so use the pulse button.
  2. Add honey and pulse until it's blended into mixture.
  3. Press into cookie cutter shape of choice or into a square pan and refrigerate at least an hour.
  4. Cut into bars and enjoy!

Salmon Croquettes with Avocado Yogurt Dip

I had to post this recipe, because I've tried croquettes in the past without much luck keeping them together. I don't know what sort of magic was swirling in my kitchen, but this time around they stuck together beautifully. Boy am I grateful!

Now I can't decide which of these two I like better--they are both off the charts outstanding. I had a leftover croquette over salad greens with the remaining dip, and I think it may have been even better the second day.

The carrots don't cook down very much, which leaves a nice crunch in every bite. I would have thrown in greens, too, but only had salad on hand. Next time, I'll add some kale or collards. That's another great thing about the croquettes--I can "hide" all kinds of veggies in them. Not to mention it's main ingredient--wild, Alaskan salmon--the heart healthy stuff. Since "heart month" is upon us, it seems only natural to cook these up. So love on your heart with these yummy croquettes.

15 oz can wild, Alaskan salmon (bones included & packed in water is best), drained or 1-2 cups leftover salmon fillets
1/2-1 cup leftover cooked brown rice
2-3 carrots, grated or chopped finely
1 small red onion (or green onions or sweet onion)
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg
1 t Dijon mustard
as much fresh or dried parsley as you can stand (start with a Tablespoon)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
some bread crumbs (maybe 1/4-1/2 cup)
1/4-1/2 cup high heat cooking oil (I used Grapeseed oil, but Coconut oil or butter would be good, too)

  1. Combine everything through salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Add enough bread crumbs to help hold things together, but too many, which will dry the mixture out.
  3. Pour bread crumbs onto work surface or plate.
  4. Form mixture into patties (you decide what size you'd like--I got 7 largish patties out of this recipe) and coat well with bread crumbs.
  5. Place on wire rack (best option) or plate and put in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes (or more--I made these ahead of time, picked up at school, ran a couple of errands, then came home to cook them).
  6. Heat a skillet on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add oil enough to generously cover bottom of skillet and reduce heat to medium.
  8. Cook croquettes until brown on both sides--about 3-5 minutes per side--I actually set a timer and prepared the avocado yogurt dip while the croquettes cooked.
  9. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.
  10. Serve with Avocado Yogurt Dip or lemon wedges and get ready for a delightful taste explosion in your mouth!
 Avocado Yogurt Dip
This is so tasty on top of the croquettes, but is good with chips or cut up fresh veggies, too. It doesn't keep extremely well, so try to consume it within 24 hours.

1 avocado
juice of 1 orange
juice of 1-2 lemons (to your particular taste)
1/2 cup Greek style yogurt
some minced up red onion (maybe a heaping Tablespoon?--again to taste)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Place flesh of avocado and juices in bowl of a food processor or blender and process/blend until liquid.
  2. In a bowl, mix with yogurt, onion, and salt and pepper.
  3. Adjust seasoning to taste and enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Savory Sweet Sensation

I'm into roasting things this time of year, if for no other reason than to keep the kitchen warm. I'm roasting sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, sometimes carrots, but especially onions. It continues to amaze me how sweet they taste when they're roasted in a little oil and salt. They're like candy.


I'm still coming down from all the sugar indulgence* over the holidays, and adding in sweet vegetables is helping. Onions are my sweet vegetable of choice these days. Here's what I do:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Chop onion into largish chunks.
  3. Drizzle with oil (I use Grapeseed).
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  5. Roast until caramelized (sometimes I let them get a little "burned").
  6. Roast alone or with other sweet veggies and enjoy dessert with your main meal!
*I didn't get an official count, but I think I ended up with somewhere around 12 chocolate bars in my house--majority dark chocolate, which is a great choice, but 12 candy bars? Really? Right now, I wish it had been 12 bags of onions.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chicken and Rice in the Pot

Yesterday was a crock pot cooking day--dreary is how I described it to my 3 year old on the way to school. On the way home from dropping him, I got the notion to put some stuff together in the crock pot for something warm and soothing. Here's what I did:

1.5 cups Brown Rice (I used Jasmine) or other whole grain, rinsed
3.5 cups broth
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t crushed red pepper
1/2 t tumeric
A little cooking oil or spray
1 small red onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
2 bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed and washed
2 broccoli stalks
3-4 carrots, roughly chopped
2-3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
freshly grated ginger to taste
sea salt to taste

  1. Place rinsed rice, broth, thyme, crushed red pepper, and tumeric in a pot with tight fitting lid on stove over high heat until it comes to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, drizzle a little oil on the bottom of the crock pot and turn it on (I started with it high) while chopping the onion, garlic, and peppers. Place chopped items in crock pot. 
  3. Wash chicken.
  4. Once rice comes to a boil, pour into crock pot on top of onions, garlic, and peppers.
  5. Place chicken on top.
  6. Depending on how long you've got to cook, turn heat to low (all day) or high (half a day or less) and sit back and smell the goodness!
  7. About 30 minutes before you're ready to eat, add the broccoli, carrots, and celery. Return lid and keep cooking.
  8. Just before serving, add freshly grated ginger, salt to taste, and stir it all together.
  9. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Collard Salad

Photo by Jill Richards Photography
I have to admit I didn't think I would ever see the two words "collard" and "salad" smooshed together as if they actually "go" together. But then I made what is best described as collard salad for dinner this week, and I don't know why they haven't been put together at my house before now.

A friend suggested the idea to me, so I went with it, because I got a nice bunch of fresh, local, organic collards at the market this week. Try for yourself and see!

Take fresh collards, cut away the stem, fold leaves in half and stack 4 or 5 on top of each other. Now roll the leaves into a fat "cigar" and slice across, making long strips. I cut them fairly close together to make really thin strips. Submerge in water (a salad spinner with colander works best for this part)  and let soak while preparing other parts of the salad. This will plump up the leaves, as well as remove any dirt.

While the collards soaked, I investigated what I had on hand to go with them. Here's the list of things I threw in a bowl:
  • roasted beets (click here for simple instructions)
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • the best vinaigrette going--Roasted Shallot (click here for the recipe), which I had leftover from the holidays (I used dried herbs, and it's held up nicely)
After gathering these ingredients, I drained the collards, spun the extra water off, and tossed it all together. Quite delicious, quick, and a nice addition to my kitchen. Enjoy!