Archive for the 'recipe' Category

when in texas

Everyone told me it would be hot in Texas. The friend I was going to visit even warned me that it was hot — 100+.

That’s fine. Sacramento has hot summers. I can take it. Bring it on, Texas.

What no one told me is that this is a heat that slaps you across the face when you walk out the front door at 9 am. At noon you’re on your knees begging it to have mercy. By 4 pm the delirium has set in and you can’t imagine ever not sweating.

Contrast this with needing a jacket in the house.

My friend — who is 7 1/2 months pregnant — had the thermostat set at 68.

I’ve been eating a ton of watermelon granita to beat the heat and stay hydrated this summer, but in Texas, it had a whole new level of necessity: cool off my hot-mama friend.

Even if it’s not hot where you are — and even if you don’t think you like watermelon all that much (this granita is my non-fruit-eating husband’s absolute favorite thing) — give it a try. Its icy, refreshing sweetness will make you pucker in delight.

Watermelon Granita

Scoop 1 mini watermelon into blender (3/4 full), or if it’s a large melon, save half for a later batch.

Add juice of 1 lemon and 1/2 cup (or less) sugar to blender.
Puree in batches. (I add a little of the sugar and lemon to each batch.)

Pour into glass dish – size dependent on size of watermelon.

Put in freezer. This is the hardest part, because you’ll want to eat it immediately. Depending on size of dish, it will start freezing in 30-60 minutes. In about 2 hours it will most likely be icy enough to enjoy, and not too hard to cut through. I make big or multiple batches and keep them in the freezer — to thaw, just leave on the counter for 10 minutes then cut into chunks with a butter knife.

Garnish with mint if you’re feeling fancy.

Y’all chill out and enjoy!


it’s only sort of about the biscuits

Today I needed to bake. I needed to make something with my hands, to watch the miraculous transformation happen when separate ingredients are combined together, to taste something warm, just out of the oven.

As I was gathering ingredients, I put on the Teach Now interview with teacher and poet, Jack Ridl. A funny man with an infectious laugh, he talked about how, even though we claim to be very process oriented, in this culture we are still very geared toward the product.

Sometimes the only access to reality is baking bread, or writing a poem… or where ever it is you go — there are things that only happen there.

Certain things can only happen with jazz, different things can only happen with poems, or walking in the woods.

What happens while you’re doing it?

What happens while you’re doing it is the important question. Not What do you get when you’re done.

Well, unless you’re talking about Coconut Biscuit Poppers.

Remember, I don’t do anything complicated in the kitchen. If it’s not easy, I don’t make it.

Enjoy the process, notice what happens while you’re in it. The bonus here is also enjoying the product :)

Coconut Biscuit Poppers

1 c Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix
1/2 c finely shredded unsweetened coconut
2 T sugar
1/2 t Clabber Girl or Rumford Baking Powder (gluten free)
2 T Smart Balance 50/50 Butter Blend Original
2 T milk, plus additional if needed

Pamela’s Baking Mix =

I’m sure another brand
would be fine too…

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine baking mix, coconut, sugar and baking powder in bowl.

3. Cut in butter (I use regular butter, and about 1 T more than called for) with a pastry blender (I just use my hands). Gently stir in just enough milk to form a dough that will hold together in a ball.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a thickness of 1/2 inch and cut into 2 inch rounds. Sprinkle with additional coconut.

5. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool for 5 minutes. Recipe can be doubled (which is the only way I make it).


*Recipe from Raley’s magazine.

peas and cauliflower, please

There was such a nice response to my last soup recipe I thought I’d share another. Heck, it may become a regular feature.

Two things I know about myself around food:

1. I don’t make food from scratch unless it’s easy. That means simple, no fancy techniques or equipment, and fairly fast.

2. If there isn’t something healthy in the house, I’ll resort to what my husband eats.

Too bad we’re out of Pop Tarts. That would have rounded out the photo nicely.

A better choice

This recipe for cauliflower and pea soup is such a snap it’s a crime. I unloaded the dishwasher and rinsed some strawberries to freeze in the time it took to make it.

Here are the main ingredients:

2 bags frozen cauliflower (even though the bags are wasteful, these are biodegradable)
2 bags frozen peas
1 onion
fresh rosemary from the yard
also: spices of choice and bullion cube or broth

The how-to

Chop up the onion and saute in a stockpot with olive oil until golden. Add 2 cups water, a vegetable bullion cube (or just use broth) and both bags of cauliflower. Add spices—I used the rosemary (stem and all) as well as some ground coriander and a little turmeric. Cover and bring to boil, then simmer until cauliflower is soft. Blend.



Okay, I know I said no fancy tools. And you can use a regular hand mixer or a blender (leave pressure valve open on lid!!). But this hand blender has been totally worth the $49.95 in convenience. And it comes with bonus chopper attachment.



Once you have your base blended, add the two bags of peas. Cover and bring to simmer, cook until peas are soft (8-10 minutes).



*Garnish is for show only. I’ve never garnished before. Maybe I’m growing.

Let me know if you make it, what you think, and if you have a favorite recipe!

mushrooms — you are worth it!


Cooking has never been my thing. I eat simply and value convenience over quality and even taste. For as “healthfully” as I think I eat (vegetarian, organic, grains and fruits), much of what I eat comes from a can, box or bag.

Make that much of what I used to eat

In the past couple of years, a shift has happened — or very small, incremental shifts toward more awareness around what I eat, how it is prepared, where it comes from, and what waste the packaging generates.

This started with some dabbling in Ayurveda (choosing foods and flavors in response to one’s unique constitution, needs, the seasons, and more) and culminated this past fall when I participated in a “Healthy Living Cleanse” — a 28 program that eliminates inflammatory and allergenic food categories like dairy, gluten, sugar and caffeine.

Participating in the cleanse was not easy or particularly fun. However, it was valuable enough for me to do again this April.

The support (read: accountability) of a group is very helpful, and the spotlight and self-imposed restriction allows me to do several things:

#1. Address the irony of taking great care of my exterior and often abusing my interior.

I take pretty good care of my exterior: walks, bike rides, asana, along with other primping and pruning make for a fairly happy body. This does not match the quality of what I eat.

#2. Awaken my senses and appreciation of pleasure.

After all, my word this year is affluence. I’m beginning to value flavors and textures and the mystery of combining ingredients to create a new and magic product. It’s delightful.

#3. Slow down and spend time on myself.

This one probably holds the most potency. I tend to be, shall we say, focused. There’s probably also a little self-worth, laziness and entitlement wrapped up in here, too. To plan a meal (from grocery shopping to table) takes effort that says You are important, you are worth this time. That’s a powerful message.


Last week I posted on Twitter that I was making mushroom-lima bean-butternut squash-kale soup and ears perked. Apparently mushrooms are popular.

So here you go: easy to make, good for you, delicious. And you are worth it!



Mushroom and Lima Bean Stew

1 cup dried lima beans
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
8 oz shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
8 oz portobello mushrooms (I used white button), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces (I bought frozen pre-cut)
1 bay leaf
(I also added about 2 Tbsp fresh thyme)
8 cups veg stock
Fresh ground black pepper
1/2 bunch kale (8 oz), stems removed, thinly sliced
Kosher salt

Soak beans overnight in water. Drain. Heat oil in large pot over medium flame. Add onions and garlic. Cook until tender, 6-8 minutes; transfer to a bowl. Turn heat to medium high. Working in batches, add mushrooms; cook until golden brown. Transfer batch to bowl, add more oil and cook remaining mushrooms. Return mushrooms and onions to pot and add squash (if fresh/raw), beans, bay leaf and stock. Season with pepper. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and cover partially. Cook until beans are tender, about 50-60 minutes. Stir in butternut squash (if frozen) and kale and cook until tender, about 5 minutes more. Season with salt.

Per serving: 302 calories; 1 g sat fat; 6 g unsat fat; 0 mg cholest; 49 g carb; 138 mg sodium; 17 g protein.  From Whole Living magazine.

i’m on fire

No, really, I have a fever and I’m on freaking fire over here. This is the cold from hell.

Ok, I’m also on a fire streak as Little Miss Baker McBakerson.

First the cupcakes. Twice.

Now The Best Bread you’ve ever had.

Of course I couldn’t eat all the bananas I bought at the Co Op and since Bubby barks at me when I waste food (not really; I try to get him to yell at me because feel so guilty to throw food away I have to wait until other life forms are growing on it) I wanted to make some banana bread.

But not just banana bread. You know how you hate it when banana bread is kind of dry inside? Me too. I wanted to add a little something else. But nuts aren’t good for my kidney stones and I was hard pressed to find an addition that sounded good.

So I googled “banana date bread” (because, uh, dates are amazing…) and found this. I also checked 101 cookbooks because I really like her stuff and found this.

I blended the two and came up with this:

2 ripe bananas, unpeeled
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I used sweetened, original flavor)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped dates

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Place the bananas on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, or until the skins are black and they have started to seep. Remove from the oven, set aside, and let cool.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a mixing bowl. (Don’t you love sifting? It’s so fun.) Set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes. Add 1 egg. Mix until completely incorporated and then add the second egg. Mix again until completely incorporated.

Squeeze the flesh of the bananas out of the skins and into a small mixing bowl. Add the coconut milk and vanilla and mash together. Add half of the banana mixture to the butter/sugar bowl and blend thoroughly. Add half of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Add the remaining banana mixture, blend thoroughly, and add the remaining flour mixture; mix just enough to thoroughly blend the ingredients. Fold the dates into the batter and pour it into a lightly greased 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.

I baked it for 60 minutes. Then 8 more. And 4 more. And another 4. And finally 2 more. They say to bake it for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. That works too.

With a side of Tazo Rest tea, it made for the perfect I-feel-like-poo pick-me-up dinner.

I’d offer you some but you don’t want my cooties. Be sure and take your echinacea vitamin C zinc supplements… summer colds bite.

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