Friday, August 19, 2016

THAI RED CURRY with galangal and kefir lime leaf

Adapted from: Gluten & Dairy Free Everyday Asian by Bindu Menon

1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 T. garlic, minced
2 T. coconut oil
1 – 1 ½ lb chicken breast or lamb, thin sliced; shrimp or tofu
2 heaping tablespoons of red curry paste
1” piece of galangal or 2 tsp. powder
1 T. Thai fish sauce or tamari / soy sauce
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 15-ounce can regular coconut milk
1 T. raw honey
1/3 c. Thai basil leaves
2 kefir lime leaves [optional]
1 1/2 c. carrots, thinly sliced
1 1/2 c. red / orange / yellow sweet peppers, thinly sliced
1 1/2 c. kale or spinach, thinly sliced
3 c. green beans, French cut or chopped

Warm oil in a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook on medium-low, stirring frequently until onion softens and garlic becomes slightly golden on edges. Add meat of choice and cook thoroughly. Add curry paste, galangal, fish sauce, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Carefully pour in coconut milk and honey. Stir to combine. Add basil and life leaf and cook over medium – low heat until liquid begins to simmer. Reduce heat to maintain very gentle bubbling but not boiling, add carrots, and cook for 5 - 10 minutes or until carrots are just beginning to soften. Add peppers, beans, and kale. Cook until beans are bright green and peppers just soft. Remove from heat and serve over a bed of basmati or jasmine rice. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

SHOWER SUGAR SCRUB with lavender

One of my absolute favorite smells is lavender. It seems to me to be the perfect blend of floral and spicy and invoke a feeling of balance and peace.

I've posted a number of health and beauty recipes on this blog but none can compare with the simplicity of this. One jar. Three ingredients. Five minutes.

If you're looking for a place to start, a way into dabbling in homemade, I'd begin here. Lavender is a heal-all oil, can be used with children, and is one of the safest, most effective herbs we have.

Note: Of course, you could use a host of essential oil variations here. If you have experience with essential oils and understand the safety of use then experiment as you wish. 


2 - 3 cup glass jar with tight fitting lid
fine ground organic sugar
unrefined organic sesame oil [not toasted!]
10 - 15 drops lavender essential oil, optional
1/2 c. dried lavender flowers, lightly ground*

*You can use and pestle and mortar, blender, food processor, or coffee/herb grinder to lightly crush the flowers.

Fill glass jar halfway with sugar. Add lavender essential oil and top with lightly crushed lavender flowers. Add sugar to fill jar to 3/4 full and mix contents of jar. Pour oil over sugar to cover then mix. Continue adding sugar then oil until jar is almost full. Sugar should be oily but not drenched. Over time oil will start to pool on top. Add sugar as needed. If scrub dries out, add oil as needed. Store in refrigerator for up to six months or in shower for about one month.

At the end of your shower, massage scrub into clean, wet skin over entire body. Rinse residual sugar and pat skin dry with towel.

Note: To avoid oil getting on towel, pat skin with a dry washcloth before wrapping in towel. 

This makes a great gift! Package in a decorative jar with an artistic tag.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

TUNA BURGERS gluten, egg, and diary free

So, canned tuna. Honestly I'm not really a fan. I grew up in the day of forced tuna sandwiches, soggy from sitting in school lunch packs. Really, just ick.

But a little awhile ago I was meandering the aisles at Costco and came across canned tuna I could actually get on board with. BPA-free cans, proudly wild and sustainably caught. Tuna has raised some serious concerns about the health of our oceans. Fish are being recklessly over-caught, usually by mass fishing tactics that reek havoc on the ocean floor and life found within the waters. As the larger countries demand more fish, indigenous cultures dependent on this food source for survival are forced into more dangerous waters and the use of life-threatening techniques. Scarcity has become a familiar opponent.

Eating local meats and supporting companies working to heal the gaping wounds of our waters are the best ways to do our part. And eating foods like canned tuna in moderation rather than as a staple food if you find yourself landlocked rather than ocean-side can help replenish the rapidly dropping fish numbers.

If you do find yourself with a can of our sea friends and have yet to decide what to do with it, I'd like to offer this recipe. You may never eat tuna salad again.

Serves 4
Adapted from Paula Dean's Tuna Burger

2 [6-ounce] cans of wild, sustainably pole & line caught tuna, drained [can find this at Costco]
1/2 c. oats, ground [grind rolled oats using food processor, appropriate blender, or coffee grinder]
2 flax "eggs"*
1/2 c. celery, finely chopped
1/2 c. onion, finely chopped
1 T. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. prepared horseradish [look for the jars in the refrigerator section if possible]
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 T. unrefined coconut oil

*To make one flax "egg", combine one tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water. Mix and let sit for ten minutes or until the mixture thickens a bit.

For the dressing:

1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. raw honey
2 - 3 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. dried dill
pinch sea salt

Combine all burger ingredients, except oil, in a medium-size glass bowl using your clean hands. Take a portion of mixture, roughly 1/3 cup, and form into a well-packed ball. Carefully flatten into a burger shape, cinching and patting the edges where necessary and set on a plate. Repeat until all burger batter is formed into patties.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Carefully place burgers in pan and cover. Cook for 6 - 7 minutes or until bottom is a deep golden brown color. Flip, re-cover, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

If you're using a cast iron skillet, place entire skillet into preheated oven. If using stainless steel, remove burgers from pan, spread out on baking sheet, and place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine dressing ingredients into a small jar and tightly secure lid. Shake vigorously for a couple minutes until well combined. Set aside.

Remove from oven and serve immediately. Burgers can be used like traditional beef burgers or laid on a bed of herbs [like parsley, cilantro, and/or dill] or fresh greens and topped with dressing.

These are great to freeze and dressing can be stored in refrigerator for up to a month.

Monday, August 1, 2016


Pickles are in by the bushel! Here's an easy way to transform these garden favorites into a delicious snack. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

OAT MUFFINS with vanilla, basil, anise, and fennel

In standard Saturday fashion, I made my way to the Farmer's Market this morning happily thinking I'd come home with the standard fare. Armed with a good friend and some cash, we meandered down the corridor of vendors taking in the sights and smells while filling our baskets with fresh goodies.

At one stand a large green bush caught our eye. Reminiscent of a full grown chia pet, we asked about this mystery plant. Both having spent some time on farms and in gardens, it's not so often we're stumped but this one had us.

Globe basil friends.

The tiny leaves are packed with such a powerful flavor punch an obligatory pause in admiration is simply a must. It's basil flavor is highlighted by anise, a beautiful combination and the delicate leaves lend itself to an obvious center piece option. Of course, we each took one home.

With basil on our mind, we headed back to the kitchen anxious to test out this delicious combination of complex flavors on a muffin recipe I'd been massaging, testing, changing, and trying over and over since Christmas.

If you can't find globe basil, there so many varieties that any will do. Tarragon or rosemary would be lovely as well.

The combination really is divine. Light and summery while rich with flavor depth. I've also included the pumpkin version I've been making quite regularly as well.

This has become my go-to muffin recipe. Enjoy!

Makes 18 regular muffins
Adapted from Gluten Free Hope Mini Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

1 1/4 c. ground oat flour
2/3 c. buckwheat flour
1/2 c. rice bran or tigernut flour*
1/2 c. coconut sugar, finely ground**
1/2 c. tapioca or arrowroot flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 c. globe basil [or variety of choice], finely chopped
1 vanilla bean
4 - 5 anise stars
2 tsp. whole dried fennel seeds
1 1/2 c. water
1/4 c. hemp seeds
1 T. raw apple cider vinegar
2 c. applesauce
1 T. pure vanilla extract
1 c. coconut oil, melted
3/4 c. dried/dehydrated blueberries [or 1 - 2c. raw]
1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pistachios, optional
maple sugar, optional

*If you make tigernut milk, save the pulp and either dehydrate on low [105 degrees] or bake on low [170 degrees] until dry. Cool and grind in food processor, coffee grinder or appropriate blender until fine powder is achieved.

**I like to grind my coconut flour into a fine powder when baking but this is optional.

In a large blender bowl or glass mixing bowl, combine oat and buckwheat flours, bran or tigernut flour, sugar, tapioca / arrowroot flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

Pour water, hemp seeds, and vinegar into a blender container and blend on highest setting until very smooth. Gently cut the vanilla beans down the spine [length-wise] without pushing the knife through the back. Separate and scrape a spoon down it's length to remove seeds. Place vanilla seeds, vanilla extract, fennel, and anise in blender with milk. Blend on high until smooth. Add applesauce to milk mixture and blend to combine.

Melt coconut oil over low heat in a small sauce pan.

Pour coconut oil and blender contents into mixing bowl with dry ingredients and mix on low to combine. Slowly increase speed until muffin batter is well blended and smooth. Scrape batter from sides with spatula and re-blend if necessary. Consistency should be that of cake batter or a thick smoothie. Add more water if too thick and more flour if too runny. Once correct consistency is achieved, add basil, dried blueberries, and nuts if using, gently folding into batter with spoon.

Place compostable muffin cups in muffin tin and fill until the batter almost reaches the top. Sprinkle with maple sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 22 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick or knife, when inserted into a muffin, comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and place on cooling rack until cool. Store at room temperature in a tightly sealed container for 3 - 4 days or freeze for later use.

[PUMPKIN VARIATION with ginger and cardamom]
Makes 18 regular muffins
Adapted from Gluten Free Hope Mini Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

1 1/4 c. ground oat flour
2/3 c. buckwheat flour
1/2 c. rice bran or tigernut flour*
1/2 c. coconut sugar, finely ground**
1/2 c. tapioca or arrowroot flour
2 - 3 tsp. ground ginger
1 heaping tsp. ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 c. water
1/4 c. hemp seeds
2 T. raw apple cider vinegar
2 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. molasses
1 T. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. chopped walnuts, pistachios and/or dried cranberries, optional

Follow directions from above recipe.

Friday, July 29, 2016


Yesterday I spent some time out in the garden. Over the years the garden has taught me lessons about myself, about humanity, about the world. Lessons that, honestly, I'd rather not learn. These lessons can be difficult to take and generally require action, movement, and growth; diligence and discipline.

There's a certain plant in said garden that reminds me a bit of a porcupine. At first glance it seems harmless, docile even, but go to touch and bam! hand full of quills, or in this case small punctures, wounds from a spine of thorns. It's flowers are deceptively beautiful, each birthing pods of hundreds of rebel seeds ready to reek havoc on any bit of dirt they touch.

This is horse nettle friends. And it's a real...well you know.

The thing about this particular plant is the act of pulling it out of the ground actually aids its spreading. Horse nettle seems to come up easily, compliantly letting me draw it from the ground and walk away naively thinking I was victorious. Then boom! a few days later it's back, stronger in number. Farmer's in the area have found pesticides are no match and tilling is like giving frisky teenagers a car and directions to the nearest park.  

It seems that forcing it out actually makes it grow. 

The only way to rid our land of this annoying, painful plant is to cut it down in infancy, just below the dirt. And then repeat over and over and over and over throughout the summer. 

It demands I surrender to it's strength, respect it's place in the garden, and then do the careful, gentle, monotonous work of watching and culling, watching and culling, watching and culling. 

You do this enough and a pattern emerges. In fact, garden long enough and you reap both physical fruit and find lessons of life abound. 

Here's what I learned: taking care of horse nettle is no different than taking care of the places in me that are in opposition to my True, authentic self. No amount of ripping, grinding, or muscle will remove the hostile places I keep hidden deep within. The places I cover over with shame and anger and guilt. It seems this is like compost, providing nutritious food for these toxic habits.

In the same way I deal with horse nettle, watch and cut in infancy, I now care for these addictive tendencies in myself. With mindful awareness, self-compassion, and surrender, we can gently work to improve the land of our soul, the garden that lies within. When I enter the flow of what is rather than aggressively try to beat it down, I find the freedom I've been seeking, the peace I so desire. Oh, and the garden teaches on thing without fail, over and over again - it's never too late.

It's never to late to begin. That's called grace.

Namaste* friends.

*Namaste means the Light in me sees and honors the Light in you.

Friday, June 17, 2016


Last night I had dinner with some of my favorite women and as always our conversation turned to
food. We talked about recipes, blogging, and then dropped into pizza. For a while.


Confession, I don't like pizza. I never really have.


I am consistently amazed by the response when people learn this fun fact about me. It happens every time. Shock. Disbelief. Near rejection.

But for whatever reason, my taste buds have never been tempted by cheezy pie dripping with tomato-y sauce.

In a desperate attempt to reel myself back into the "we can be friends" box I'd just catapulted out of, I racked my brain for some other mouth-watering, pre-food allergy, "still don't care, I'd eat it anyway" food.

I couldn't come up with anything.

Not one thing came to mind.

For the remainder of the evening I sat troubled with why there wasn't a food in my past I still longed for - a nostalgic reminder of what was.

Here's what I came to realize: my history with food, my memories and longings, have been papered over with diets, information, the shoulds and shouldn'ts, loathing, denial, anxiety and restraint. I'd never really loved food. In fact, food was something to be controlled, ordered, categorized, binged, ignored, too important or not important at all.

Prior to a few years ago, I'd never known what it was to savor, to enjoy, to revel in the tastes exploding in my mouth. To say a sincere thank you to the nutrients that would nourish my body and the hands that had tended them.

I was completely disconnected from this vital source of life.

And then I was forced to acknowledge it. My body and mind and soul found itself in crisis and I had to take a good look at this friendship with food I'd so disastrously neglected.

I began to pay attention. To ask my body how it felt. To watch and observe and slow down. I started to connect emotion with physical sensations, quality with health, and stillness with wholeness. Rather than falling haphazardly into my next meal [or skipping it completely], I slowly and intentionally began to build space into my day and week to plan and to cook. I planted a garden and learned what it meant to eat seasonally. I practiced yoga, restoring the connection between my mind and my body. I started sitting down to eat. I learned what I liked, I mean really truly liked, and I made it.

I entered into the dance, re-writing my perception of healthy and whole. 

It took time, effort, an increased portion of our budget, and the willingness to experiment and fail.

Last night I realized something else: I'm so grateful for the journey I've been on. So deeply thankful that I've come from there to here, on my way to somewhere, that I can't help but dig into what I have now. The plate in front of me, heavy with good food and immense growth.

I look back now only to say thank you.

Maybe you've been where I was. Maybe you're there now. My invitation to you is to take one step, one step towards opening yourself to a redemptive conversation with food. Maybe you stroll the farmer's market and ask some questions. Maybe you put the diet books away. Maybe you call someone and ask for help. Perhaps you sit at the table, one local strawberry on your plate, and bite in. You chew slowly, close your eyes, and observe what it really tastes like.

There are a host of beginnings, it just takes one.

This morning the question still plagued me. Was there not one food, just one!, from my childhood that still caught my attention?

Potato skins. Twice baked potato skins packed with colby jack cheese, drowned in sour cream.

Our friendship lives on.

Photo Credit: My husband's homemade pizza.