Category Archives: breakfast

Orange Almond Muffins


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I should call these my procrastination muffins.   What do I do when I have a house full of drawers to clean out?  I bake.   I know how to bake.  Cleaning and organizing, however are not my strong suits.    We have about 2 months before we move to California for the school year and we are renting our house for that time.

Cleaning and organizing are going to be my MO …next month.

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Things will happen.   They will all come together.   And so for now, I bake.

I had a bowl of oranges that had to be used and two little mouths that love muffins for breakfast.   It made perfect sense.

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My kids were very eager to help, which isn’t always the case.  They actually followed through until the very end and were so good at taking turns pouring and mixing.  Their attention span used to last through the first couple steps and then they were off playing with their toys.   I used to pretty much get a –you’re doing great mom.  Let me know when they are ready to eat.     So this was a nice change.

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Strawberries with Mint and Balsamic Reduction


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Change. It can be scary. And exciting. Maybe a little bit uncomfortable. But it usually ends up being a good thing. You grow. You learn. You discover. You experience something new and different.

Next year is going to be all these things for my family.

We are going to be spending the school year in

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Orange Dark Chocolate Almond Flour Scones


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This is what I plan on enjoying Christmas morning as I watch my kids tear open wrapping paper in a mad fury.  I can dip these scones in a cup of tea or coffee and read the paper…wait what?   I mean I can show my excitement for what Santa brought as I bite into this chocolate orange deliciousness.

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These are made with Almond Flour which is very nutritious and full of protein and fiber.   It is not a flour that can easily be substituted in other recipes though.   This recipe is from which is a recipe blog focused on baking with almond flour and other grain free recipes.    As someone who loves to bake but has been trying to move away from wheat flours and even gluten-free blends which are not very nutritious, this is the best news!   I just bought her cookbook Read the rest of this entry

Sweet Green Smoothie


Today marks my parents 40th wedding anniversary.    These are a couple pictures of them from my wedding day in July of 2005.   I wish my dad was here to celebrate with my mom.  They probably would have taken some wonderful trip and invited the family, as they were so generous in doing.   He loved to travel and share adventure with all of us.    We lost him to cancer 2 1/2 years ago and he is missed dearly.

Losing him changed the way I think about food and disease.  It changed the way I eat forever.  On this special occasion I want to share with you a drink of health.   May we all lead fun and exciting lives full of adventure and good health.

A couple handfuls of lettuce, some fruit, some herbs and you are all set.   This is becoming my everyday morning breakfast.    Don’t let the color deter you.  It’s actually quite a sweet drink.

I leave the house in the morning happy that I have already had several servings of fruits and vegetables.   It feels good to start the day on such a healthy note.  While I can’t imagine sitting down to a salad at breakfast, this drink lets me get all my greens in such a sweet and easy way.  It takes no time at all so if you are rushed in the morning, in less than 3 minutes you have breakfast ready and you can take it to go.  Fill up a mason jar, bring it to work and drink it throughout the day. Read the rest of this entry

Coconut Flour Muffins with Honey and Orange Zest


Great News-  Max had another MRI in Denver this week and it came back totally normal!! He also saw the ophthalmologist and his optic nerves and eyesight look perfect!  We are so happy and relieved.   There is still no answer as to why this all happened but I am sure we will continue to theorize our own ideas about it.   We are slowly weaning him from his medicine.  Thank you for all the suggestions for giving him his meds.   The method that stuck was the marshmallow.    He hardly complains anymore, but always needs another something sweet to wash down the “gross marshmallow taste.”  And after spending some time  at Children’s Hospital,  we are ever so grateful and feel so lucky to have two healthy children.

In the spirit of Max, I thought I would share his favorite muffins.   These muffins do not last long in my house and they have been my kids  favorite for a while.   Coconut flour is  high in protein and dietary fiber and  naturally gluten free.   I feel a sense of comfort (or is it relief?) and happiness if my kids eat their vegetables or finish all the salmon on their plate.   It’s like I can check that (eating well) off the list for the day.    I also feel good watching my kids gobble up these muffins.

If you haven’t baked with coconut flour, you can not exchange it 1 : 1 for regular flour.   It is a very absorbent flour.  If you want to add some coconut flour to a recipe, start with 15-20% of the total flour.   I would recommend adding a tablespoon or two to your pancake batter for some added fiber.   I adapted this recipe from Tiana Coconut products and have been changing it a little every time I make it.  I started adding some ground flax seeds, have played around with the amount of honey and since I live at high altitude, I half the baking powder.

This recipe is simple to make.  One step I hope you take is to melt the oil or butter in a small saucepan on the stove.   Back away from the microwave.   Please 🙂  I know it is convenient but might be it’s only redeeming quality.    Studies have show that microwaving food reduces the minerals, vitamins and nutrients in that food and some microwaved food has shown to be carcinogenic.   Did you hear about the chemical in microwaved popcorn called diacetyl which is used to give it the buttery flavor?   Apparently inhaling the fumes causes scarring to the lungs and a lot of workers at the popcorn factory got sick with “popcorn lungs.”   I bought an air popper years ago and still love it.    If you want to read some article about the dangers of microwaves click here or here.   I prefer heating things on the stove or in the toaster oven and I think the food tastes better.   You decide what’s best for you.

I hope you enjoy these muffins!

Coconut Flour Muffins (16-20 mini muffins or about 6 regular muffins)

3 Organic Eggs

2 Tbsp Coconut Oil or Butter

2 Tbsp Coconut Milk (or any milk)

2-3 Tbsp Honey

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda (1/8 at high altitude)

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 Cup Coconut Flour

2 tsp ground Flax Seed

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

Zest of 1/4 -1/2 an Orange

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.   In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil or butter.  (Please step away from the microwave).  In a medium bowl, beat eggs with a fork until combined.  Add milk, honey, salt, baking soda, vanilla, coconut oil, cinnamon, flax seed, and orange zest.  Mix together and then add the coconut flour.  Coconut flour tends to get clumpy, so mix thoroughly.  The mixture will be thick.

Grease the muffin pan (or use silicone muffin liners which work great).  Fill about 3/4 full.  For mini muffins bake for 9-11 minutes.  For regular muffins, bake for about 15-18 minutes.

Homemade Granola


Eric had been waiting for me to make this for weeks and even though it is quick and easy, I just hadn’t made the time.   He was on a ski trip in Utah and the kids and I were home on Sunday so I thought it would be a nice surprise to have it for him when he got back.    Sundays are a great day to make food for the week, whether it be granola, a big pot of soup or chili, or a casserole type dish you can eat for the next few days.  It makes eating whole foods a lot easier.

We woke up that Sunday morning to almost of foot of fresh snow which was very exciting, especially since it hasn’t snowed much this winter.    The kids were excited to go out and play!   We tried to make a snowman but Max and Cea thought it was more fun to jump on top of the big ball of snow I just spend 20 minutes forming, so we didn’t get too far with that project.    Snow angels were fun too, and we attempted to sled do the big hill in our back yard but there was just too much snow and we didn’t move very far.    After being outside for a while,we headed in for some hot chocolate and baking.   My kids love to help pour the ingredients into the bowl and it’s an easy way to get them involved in the cooking process.    They can’t do much chopping at this age so I have to give them age appropriate jobs.    When I make salads, they usually fight over who gets the use  the salad spinner and wait anxiously for their turn…or just grab it from each other when they can no long wait:)    I think it’s important to get the kids cooking early in life.   Cecilia, my 2 year old is always saying, “Let’s do a recipe, mom!”

This is a recipe from The Kind Diet Cookbook that I have altered a bit.   It calls for maple sugar, which is excellent but it is also expensive.   I had run out of it so I used coconut sugar instead and have also tried date sugar.    Sugar is sugar but coconut and date sugar have less of a glycemic index,  more nutrients and are less refined.  Sugar is probably my biggest vice and something that I need to take a break from… but until further notice, I will post some yummy sweets.    I used to buy Grade A Maple Syrup because I assumed A was better than B and worth that extra dollar.    Then I learned that B is actually less processed and a darker color, meaning it had more nutrients.    Again, sugar is sugar…the body doesn’t really care where it comes from.

I added ground flax seed because it is a great way to get omega 3 essential fatty acids which are heart healthy and add some fiber.   The flax seeds need to be ground because whole flax seeds will go right through you and you won’t get the benefits. I buy whole flax seeds and grind them in a coffee grinder right before I use them.   I also use natural dried Coconut, not sweetened coconut flakes.  This are a lot of options in the recipe to suite your tastes from what sweetener you use to your choice of nuts and seeds.

Homemade Granola:

slightly adapted from The Kind Diet

6 Cups Oats ( I use Bob’s Red Mill)

1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar (Or Maple Sugar)

1/4 Cup Flax Seed (Ground)

1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut (unsweetened)

!/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds (or Sesame Seeds)

1 Cup Sliced Almonds (or any chopped nut or dried fruit)

1/2 Cup Sunflower Oil

1/3 Cup Maple Syrup ( or use 1/3  Brown Rice Syrup for a less sweet version)

1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees.   Spread the oats on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.   Transfer the oats  to a mixing bowl and add the Sugar, Flax Seed, Coconut Flakes, Seeds and Nuts or Fruit.  Mix well.   In a small bowl, mix the Oil, Maple Syrup, and Vanilla.   Add to the Oats an mix well until the Oats are well coated.

Spread the mixture on a large baking sheet, or 2 smaller ones and bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring half way through.  Let cool and store in an airtight container.

ArtichokeTart with Polenta Crust


I can remember my first buttery bite of artichoke heart.   I was in third or four grade, sitting at our white formica dinner table (that is now my work table in my ceramic studio!) in our dining room on 2nd Street in Brooklyn, NY.   Classic 70’s wallpaper – a mustard yellow with birds and butterflies, if memory serves.    I am sure I had a disgusted look on my face as I watched my parents dip leaves into a ramekin of butter and skim off the flesh of the inner part of the leaf with their teeth.    What the heck are they eating??   And they were probably telling me how delicious it was while making audible mmming sounds as they ate their artichoke, coercing me to try a bite.   Then I witnessed a very strange thing for a 4th grader.   After eating the bulk of the leaves, they got to a part where the leaves got smaller and smaller and less fleshy.  As they pealed it away, they came to a strange hairy center, which they plucked out with delight.  They were coming to the treasured part.  With a knife, they cleaned about the outer edges and there it was.  The heart.   It was probably the ramekin of melted butter that made me feel daring that night.   As my mom cut her artichoke heart into quarters, I slowly pressed my fork down and the picked the heart, dunked it into the butter and swirled it around, getting a good covering and then popped it  into my mouth.    It was heavenly!    Somewhat sweet, a little salty from the butter, and maybe to most delicious thing I had tasted to date.    A love affair began.  The leaves are good on their own, but that heart.   You have to work to get to it but it is worth every bit of effort.

I love eating whole artichokes with that ramekin of butter, ( and garlic) but I was looking for a new artichoke recipe.   The Wednesday Chef   is a great blog.   She reviews recipes in the New York and LA Times and had a recipe by Maria Speck that I knew I had to try.  We were having a dinner party in a few days with some friends from Denver who were bringing a  whole bunch of crab legs and I needed something to go with it.   I made a nice big mixed green salad with fennel and pomegranate seeds as well as two of these tarts, since there were 14 of us.    It is hard to compete with crab legs, but the tart was a hit.   I love the polenta crust and it held together very nicely.

Artichoke Tart with Polenta Crust
Make one 10-inch tart
(recipe Adapted from Maria Specks Ancient Grains for Modern Meals)

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/4 cups water
1/2- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/4 cups polenta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

A bowl of cold water for spreading the polenta

Artichoke filling:
1 cup mascarpone (or plain whole fat yogurt)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces artichoke hearts, canned or frozen
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Put a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375 F.

Bring the broth and water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the salt. Slowly add the polenta in a thin stream, whisking constantly, and continue whisking for 30 seconds. Decrease the heat to low and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon every few minutes to keep the polenta from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring a few times.  In a bowl, mix together the eggs, cheese and pepper.   Add it to the polenta and stir until well combined.

 Grease a pie or cake pan with olive oil.  A 10″ pan works well but if you only have an 8″ pan, you will either have a thicker crust, or don’t use all the polenta.   (It makes a nice snack). Have a bowl of cold water ready.  Spoon the polenta into the pan and press it out, pushing it up the sides. Dipping a wooden spoon in cold water really helps move and smooth the polenta.   The crust is going to have a rustic look.

Whisk the mascarpone, eggs, green onions, parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper together until well-combined.  Place the quartered artichoke hearts evenly over the polenta crust. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top of the artichokes and pour the mascarpone filling evenly over the artichokes.  Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

Bake  for about 45 minutes, or until the top turns golden brown.   Let is cool for about 30 minutes and serve.

The tart can be prepared up to one day ahead.

Morning Smoothie with Mint


I haven’t made smoothies in at least a month but as I was thinking of ways to get more healthy food into my kids diets.   I remembered how much they like smoothies and they are easy to sneak greens into.   My son is quite picky and has probably a half dozen staple foods he likes.  Broccoli seems to have just fallen off the list but I am going to work hard to get it back!   He likes his broccoli and edamame with soy sauce (shoyu or tamari) but I might just have to sprinkle some chocolate sauce on it for the time being.  Kidding…but  what is a mama to do??

Make smoothies!

So here is what I made this morning and let me tell you it was a hit.  It’s been a while since Max has asked for seconds but this morning I think he had thirds.


1/2 cup coconut milk ( use any milk)

3 Tbs vanilla cream top yogurt (beware of the non-fat yogurts because they are loaded with added sugar)

a handful of ice

1/2 banana

1/4 cup blueberries

1/4 cup mixed berries

1 cup of kale

about 5-6 mint leaves

1 tsp maple syrup

I blended everything in my Vitamix Blender, which is amazing and in about 15 seconds, we had out smoothie.  The mint really adds a nice flavor.