Tag Archives: food

Parmesan Quinoa Cakes with Homemade Pesto

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OR with Homemade Marinara and Whipped Feta.

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Before I go into this recipe I have to share some photos from my hike this morning.  I mean, come on.   They don’t call Crested Butte the wildflower capital of Colorado for nothing.

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This was our camping spot last weekend at the blue mesa where we played in rafts and hung out with friends all weekend.   And then we came home to a beautiful rainbow!

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Flowers, farmer’s markets, camping, hiking, outdoor music concerts and rafting have been filling up our summer.   I have missed several Sunday Farmer’s Markets because we have been camping.   Max asked me about them the other day.  He likes to go and get treats and it’s nice to know everything is organic and free of dyes.  A coupel local moms started a great Popsicle stand where they make homemade fresh fruit pops and they put a cucumber slice on the bottom of the stick so it doesn’t drip.   I mean really.  How cute is that?

I think our market might have more food vendors than farmers selling fresh produce but the vendors are making delicious and healthy fare.

The other week when I was there, I was waiting for the chef to cook the falafals  for my falafal plate and saw him fry them in a big pot of oil.  I though, well, there goes my healthy lunch. I looked down at the big pot of oil and I wondered what kind of oil he was using.   I debated in my head for a moment if I should ask him- and wondering if at this point if I even wanted to know.  I had, after all  just paid a good amount for a plate of greens, hummus and falafal so I was going to eat it either way.   Is ignorance bliss?  I decided to ask.   When he told me we was using organic coconut oil I was surprised.  And relieved.

A few years ago I probably wouldn’t have given a thought about the oil that was being used to cook food I was going to put into my body.   I used to always have a bottle of canola oil in my cabinet and used it for baking.  But when he said Organic Coconut Oil, I smiled.  It is the healthiest oil he could be frying my food in.

If you want to read about oils and which ones are healthy to cook with and which can be toxic click here for an article from food matters, here for an article from Marks Daily Apple and here for an article from Integrative Medicine at University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Now for the recipe.  Read the rest of this entry

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Avocado, Grapefruit and Watercress Salad

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As the temperature warms up, we tend to crave more cooling foods.    This salad is a perfect summer salad.

Tomorrow Max graduates from Miss Jenny’s Friendship House Preschool.    Next Fall he is Kindergarten bound.  Luckily he gets to go to summer camp with the same kids and teacher, also a good friend of mine, or there might be lots of tears this week.    He told me the other day that he liked school better than TV.   Enough said.   Miss Jenny is pretty much a rock star in my house.   Jake is his best buddy and if we could just bring him with us to California next year, everything would be peachy in Max’s world.

Next week will officially feel like summer around here as school is out and camps begin, flowers start to bloom and flip flops and tank tops become the daily apparel.

This salad should be on the summer menu.   We have been getting the sweetest grapefruits lately.   If you are find grapefruits are more on the sour side, use can use oranges instead.

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This salad is refreshing and light with bursts of flavor from the sweet juicy grapefruit, the bitter watercress, the crunchy hazelnuts and the creamy goat cheese and avocado.     Watercress is so good for you and just  like parsley, it shouldn’t just be a garnish.   Hippocrates is said to have built his hospital near water so that watercress would be in abundance and he could use it to treat his patients.  It’s naturally anti-aging  and is a vitamin C powerhouse.

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Radicchio wrapped Quinoa, Fennel and Avocado

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I just got back from a two hour hike with my friend, Dina.   It was so nice to catch up and be outside.   We are only starting to experience spring in Crested Butte.

This is what it looked like outside last week…

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And this is what it looks like this week!  Ahh,  much better.

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I prefer to exercise outside but it’s not always an option.   From cold weather to my two little munchkins,  I often workout on my treadmill.    I will occasionally watch  a Grey’s Anatomy episode or John Stewart while exercising but more often than not,  I watch cooking shows.   It’s true.    Something about it doesn’t seem right but I do…From Giada De Laurenttis, to The Pioneer Women, to David Rocco’s Dulce Vita I get inspired to cook as I exercise.   David Rocco’s show takes place in Florence  so I get to reminisce about the amazing year I spent living in Florence- almost 17 years ago!   That can’t be right?  Gasp…

My kids will wander in from the playroom and look genuinely interested in what they are cooking on the TV.  Or else they just love TV and will take whatever show they can get.   I am going to stick with my first thought because I want them to love cooking.  I am trying hard to instill in them a love of cooking.   Max is always asking what my favorite this or that is.   He knows my favorite food is pesto and that it is made using basil.   He recently tried it (after some pleading and maybe a little bribing) and said he “sort of likes it but isn’t in the mood for it right now.”   I’ll take it but I am not sure what happened because  when he was one or two, he loved it.   Did anyone else have a pretty good eater and then suddenly they stopped eating anything with a complex flavor?

Anway, the other day Giada was making a chicken salad stuffed in pasta shells.   It looked delicious but I didn’t have all the ingredients and I wasn’t interested in making pasta.  So  I took portions of that recipe and turned in into this.  Read the rest of this entry

Tuna and Kalamata Olive Salad

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It’s been a while.   It is really nice to be back on the blog.   I  hope you are all enjoying Spring wherever you are.   I just returned from 2 amazing weeks at the beach and feel so refreshed and ready to go.   Early morning walks on the beach are one of my favorite ways to start the day.  I am going to miss that fine white sand on my toes.

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Spring at 9,000 feet is always interesting.  It was nice to see almost of all the snow melted from our driveway when we got home and a warmish sunny day to greet us.   The kids were a little disappointed that their sledding hill disappeared while we were away but they got over it pretty quick as we played soccer outside and played at the park.

So some of you might be surprised to see a recipe for tuna and wonder if you are on the right blog.  Well, you are.   Aside from being busy this winter in my ceramic studio and with the kids,  I also starting eating meat again.   I have been eating wild salmon for a while but expanded to other fish and meat.   I can’t really explain all the reasons except that I was listening to my body and well,  apparently it was craving chicken.   I was cooking chicken for Eric and the kids one night using salt, pepper and coconut oil on the stove and as I was cutting it up for the kids, I popped a piece in my mouth.   It was good,   Before I knew it,  I ate a whole piece!   And then slowly I starting eating it here and there.   We were driving to Denver one day and stopped for lunch and I was craving a tuna fish sandwich.   I hadn’t had one in several years but the craving was really intense.   So I decided to listen to my body and go for it.    That’s really how it came about.     Some of you may be surprised it wasn’t bacon that turned me.   Well,   I have enjoyed some of that too.

This blog will still be a mainly vegetarian food blog as that is what I mostly eat and cook but who knows where life and food will take me…

I am very conscious of where my meat comes from, just as I am about where my eggs come from and my vegetables and other food.   I look for non-GMO labels on food packages and I usually stick with vegetarian food when I eat out in order to avoid factory farmed meats.   I order a lot of our vegetables and meat from a nearby farmer so I know the source of my food and how the animals were raised.   I am still adamantly opposed to factory farming and think it is truly important to be aware of where our food comes from.

So there you have it.   And now for the recipe.

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This is quick and easy with lots of healthy ingredients.   I made some version of this several days while we were on the beach.  It’s great for a picnic lunch!  Parsley is not just a garnish in this recipe.  Parsley is packed with Vitamins C and B, it is great for inflammation, cleansing, and it packed with folates and anti-oxidants.   I have started to throw a handful of parsley in my morning smoothies.    The Kalamata Olives and Capers add a nice bite to this salad while the Currants and a touch of sweetness.

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Tuna and Kalamata Olive Salad (serves 2)

 5 oz. Can Wild Tuna in water

1/4 Cup Kalamata Olives (pitted and roughly chopped)

2 tsp Capers

1-2 TBSP Dried Currants ( or Raisins)

1/4 Cup Parsley (chopped)

1 Celery Stick (finely chopped)

1 TBSP Organic Mayonnaise

1/2 tsp Mustard

pinch of salt and pepper

Lettuce or crackers

To make: Add tuna and celery to a bowl and mix together.  Add mayo and mustard, salt and pepper and mix.  Add olives, capers, currants and parsley and mix well.

Enjoy over lettuce, in a sandwich or with crackers.

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Sweet Potato Cakes

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These are so delicious.  Really.  They are.  They are the perfect appetizer to bring to a party or would make a great lunch with a salad or soup.

I was looking at some food blogs a couple of months ago and I tend to be a little tab crazy. Oftentimes there are a dozen tabs open on my browser and I can’t even remember what linked me to where,  But somewhere along the way, someone recommended a cookbook that interested me and next thing I knew, I was ordering it.

It is a beautiful vegetarian cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi from his column ‘The New Vegetarian’ for London’s The Guardian’s Weekend magazine.   I looked at it for a month or so before I actually tried one of the recipes mainly because I couldn’t decide which to try first.   I think I made a good choice.  It was one of the less complicated recipes and since my kids love sweet potatoes, I thought they would love them.

My hopes were a little to high in that regard.   On the plate below, the only thing the kids ate, besides a fly size taste (and that might be too generous)  of the sweet potato cakes, were the carrots and peppers.   Followed by more carrots and peppers.  Followed by whole wheat toast with butter, sprinked with ground flax seed,  It’s one of the few things I can get away with!  Followed by another piece of toast with jelly – and some peanut butter hiding under it.   Oh well.   Just gotta keep trying I guess.  Eric and I talk the talk about being firm with the kids and saying, “if you don’t eat this, then you can go to bed hungry.” but we don’t walk the walk.   We cave.    After they took the ” try it bite” aka the “no thank you bite,”  they had worked themselves up to an intensity far beyond what you would think would be the normal scope for trying a bite of a new food.  It really would have been cruel not to give them something else to eat.

If you are making this for kids who don’t like spicy food  I would take out some of the mixture before adding the red pepper.  And if you don’t want to fry the cakes, I am sure they would taste great baked.  Let me know if you try that!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as Eric and me.

RECIPE:  makes about 16-20 small cakes

(adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi)


2 medium Sweet Potatoes, cut into chucks

2 tsp Shoyu soy sauce

3/4 cup flour ( I used a gluten free blend, but use your favorite)

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp sugar

3 Tbsp green onions, chopped

1/2-1 tsp finely chopped red chili (OR NOT, if you are serving to kids or don’t like spice)

2 Tbsp butter, for frying

Sauce:

2 Tbsp mascarpone (sour cream or plain yogurt)

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1 Tbsp Olive oil

Steam sweet potatoes chunks for about 15 minutes, or until they are soft all the way through and you can easily stick a fork in it.    In a mixing bowl, mash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher.  Add shoyu, green onions, flour, salt, sugar, and pepper( if using) and mix.   Form into patties.

In a large pan on medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter (or oil) and fry half of the cakes.  Fry for about 6 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.  Place in between two sheets of paper towel to soak up the extra butter. Repeat with the rest of the cakes

For the Sauce, mix all ingredients well and add a dollop on top of each sweet potato cake.