Monday, April 15, 2013

Risotto with Roasted Zucchini


  • 2 zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 2 large onions, halved and sliced
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry risotto
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Tbl spn butter (optional)
  • black pepper

Heat oven to 450.

Bring the broth to a boil and add risotto (and butter if using).
Reduce heat and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.

While the risotto is cooking roast the veggies.

Arrange sliced onions and zucchini in a baking dish. (Don't pile the veggies too high. Use a larger tray for more surface area and better cooking.)
Drizzle with olive oil and season with black pepper to taste.
Roast for 20 minutes.

Add veggies to the risotto and stir together.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Kiwi Greens Juice Blend

I enjoy this blend in the afternoon. If I'm on the go for lunch I'll drink this as my meal. If you like kiwi then you'll probably like this drink. The flavor of the kiwi almost entirely masks the flavor of the kale and celery. It's a very thick juice because kiwi is so soft and kale (or any other green) makes juice very frothy.

Serves 1

  • 2 kiwi, sliced
  • 2 large kale leaves, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped

Pineapple Grapefruit Juice

If you haven't gathered this from all my juice recipes, I really enjoy blends with ruby red grapefruit. Something about the tangy bitterness helps me wake up in the morning. Maybe I'm trying to substitute the bitterness of coffee. I don't know. But if you're a grapefruit fan then I highly recommend mixing it with some yummy pineapple.

Makes about 12 ounces

1/4 fresh pineapple, rind removed, chunked. No need to remove the core.
1 ruby red grapefruit, peeled

Grapefruit, Pineapple, Strawberry Juice Blend

I love citrus based juices in the morning. Especially anything with the bitter bite of a grapefruit.

Grapefruit is the strongest flavor in this blend, so if you're not big on grapefruit it's probably not going to be your favorite. Try substituting 2 oranges instead for a less bitter taste.

Makes about 20 ounces


  • 2 small ruby red grapefruit, peeled and quartered
  • 1 slice pineapple (about 1.5" thick), rind removed
  • 4 large strawberries, halved

Monday, March 18, 2013

Making Almond Milk

Fresh almond milk is delicious! I recently discovered my love for it when I experimented with a raw foods diet. The raw foods didn't last long (it became too hard to plan and prepare food), but there are a few things I learned that I'll be keeping around.

When you make your almond milk make sure you're using the right almonds. I've been using packages of almonds found in the baking aisle of my grocery store. They're just the typical Diamond brand of plain shelled almonds and they work just fine. Don't use dry roasted or salted nuts. It won't make good milk. I tried it just out of curiosity. It's grainy and not nearly as tasty.

I use a juicer for the final step in making almond milk. It is possible to finish without a juicer, but you'll need a nut milk bag. I've never tried it this way, but it seem more tedious and I've heard it can get messy.


  • 1.25 cups almonds
  • 4.5 cups water (plus water for soaking)
  • Agave nectar (optional)
  • Vanilla extract (optional)
  • Salt (optional)
  • Bowl
  • Colander
  • Blender
  • Juicer
  • Ladle or large spoon

Step 1: Soak almonds 24 hours
Place the almonds in a bowl and fill with water, just enough to cover the almonds. The bowl doesn't need to be completely full. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for 24 hours. I've let the almonds go a few hours more or less, but get as close to 24 hours of soaking as you can. I've found that letting it go for the full 24 hours makes the resulting almond milk smoother.

Soaked almonds
Step 2: Drain and rinse
You don't want to use the water the almonds have been soaking in, so put a colander in the sink and dump the almonds in. Rinse with some fresh water.

Almonds & water ready to blend
Step 3: Blend
Place the soaked almonds and *3 cups of water in the blender and blend for about 30 seconds.
Pour into a large bowl and add another 1.5 cups water. Stir in.
*If your blender fits all the water you can blend all with the almonds. I find that my blender is too full with the 1.5 cups almonds and 4.5 cups water, so I simply add the extra water in after I do the blending.

Step 4: Juice
Use a ladle to spoon the almond mix into the juicer. The "juice" that comes out is your yummy almond milk! Once you've finished juicing you can add flavoring to your almond milk if you'd like. I add a dash of salt, about 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, and maybe a teaspoon or two of agave nectar. You can either stir the flavorings in or put it all back in the blender to make sure it's well mixed it.

Step 5: Store it
I generally get 5.5 cups of almond milk from this recipe. I store it in a half gallon mason jar in the fridge. It keeps for a few days. Generally I finish it within 3 days.

Almond milk will separate. Just shake it up.

Step 6: Use it!
My favorite way to use almond milk is to blend 8 ounces with half a frozen banana. Delicious!

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Simple Salad That Made Me Love Lunch

OK, so the salad is much simpler than the title.

I've always been a picky lunch eater. I never know quite what I'm in the mood for. What ends up happening is I spend money going to buy lunch or I snack, and snack, and snack until dinner time.

A couple months ago Chris started buying avocados to toss in salads and take to work. At first I was just jealous because I love avocados, but I didn't want to touch his stash. After a week or so I broke down and made my own simple avocado salad. Just romaine hearts, shredded carrot, and one diced up avocado. For dressing I drizzled on some balsamic and sprinkled the barest bit of salt. Delicious.

When I make the salad I put it in a pyrex glass bowl, pop the lid on, and shake it up so the balsamic, salt, and avocado coat the lettuce. The photo shows the salad after I shook it up. All the avocado tends to settle on the bottom. I generally leave it there and "save the best for last" as the saying goes.

1 romaine lettuce heart
1 shredded carrot
1 avocado, diced
Balsamic and salt to taste
Shake it all up.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Getting used to eating [almost entirely] raw is difficult. Not so much in the adjustment to tastebuds, but in the preparation. With raw food you have to know so far in advance what and when you're going to want to eat something, unless it's a salad, juice, or smoothie. For example, this morning I woke up to find that it's a chilly dreary day. The kind of day that I would really like to have a nice cup of hot chai and pancakes. Pancakes. Warm and sweet with some of the maple syrup my parents just boiled down. There are raw pancake recipes, I had my eye on one with flax meal and blueberries, but they take hours in the dehydrator. And it's an awkward amount of hours too. Not enough that they could have been "cooking" through the night if I'd thought of it, but enough that if I put them together when I first woke up I'd be having them for lunch and by then the craving is gone and I'm moving on to salad or something.

So instead of my hot tea and pancakes I settled for a banana shake (almond milk and frozen banana). Delicious, but it doesn't quite scratch the same itch.

I don't plan on eating raw forever. This was intended to just be a month long experiment. Ultimately I just want to settle on a whole foods diet. And then it'll be hello [gluten free] pancakes!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Slow Cooked Chicken Stew: A Little Sweet, A Little Savory

When Chris and I moved one of the things on our essentials list was a slow cooker. Mostly we got it because we wanted to make pulled pork. We also figured it would be helpful for those days when I'm on design deadlines and Chris is at work all day. The thing is, neither of us had ever cooked in a slow cooker before and our recipe repertoire for it was blank. This means a lot of experimenting. Thus far they've all been successful. Last night I put together this chicken recipe. I don't believe in measuring very much when I cook. Instead I go with the "whatever seems right" method. In the recipe below I gave the amounts on any ingredient that I did take note of.

Serve over rice or with biscuits or naan. 

Dry Rub 
(use enough of each spice so the combined ingredients can throughly coat all the chicken)
  • brown sugar, approx 2 tbl spns
  • cinnamon, 1/2 tsp
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • black pepper
  • paprika
  • garlic powder
  • oregano
  • rosemary
  • celery salt

4 Thick-cut boneless chicken breast
Potatoes, cubed
1 large tomato, sliced thick
1 cup water
chicken bouillon (proper amount for 1 cup liquid)
1 bay leaf, black pepper, rosemary
1 Tbl spn lemon juice
1 large onion, sliced
5-6 large garlic cloves, sliced or minced
olive oil
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil.

Place potatoes in cooker. Cover with water, bouillon, lemon juice, bay leaf, rosemary, and black pepper.

Place sliced tomatoes over potatoes.

Combine all ingredients for dry rub and fully coat each chicken breast. Lay chicken over tomatoes.

Layer onion mix over chicken.

Cook on low for 6 hours.

When chicken in done (make sure inner temp is 170) mix flour, milk, and cream in a bowl and add to cooker. Cook on high for about 15 minutes to thicken sauce.

Serve over rice or with biscuits.

Creamy Rice Pudding

I love warm rice pudding. It's so decadent! Mmmm.... I went through a phase where I was making this recipe every other night. I still would, but I'm making an attempt to be more calories conscious. What a bummer! Because this stuff is gooooood!

I used to make this recipe using 4 cups of milk instead of 3. It makes it super creamy, but man, that's a lot of milk! So I cut back to a more modest 3 cups. Still a very rich and creamy pudding.

Rice Pudding Recipe

  • 1 cup (dry) Arborio Rice
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 Tbl spn Butter
  • 3 cups Milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tspns Vanilla Extract
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • cinnamon to taste

Melt butter.
Lightly sautee rice in melted butter until well covered and starting to brown slightly.
Add water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add milk, sugar, and vanilla extract to pot.
Cover and simmer another 15 minutes.
Add egg (make sure to stir rice as you add the egg and mix in well so you don't have scrambled egg floating in your pudding).
Simmer uncovered until almost all liquid has evaporated.
Remove from heat.
Add cinnamon to taste.
Let stand until cool. (I tend to wait a mere 15 minutes and eat it nice and warm.)
Rice will continue to absorb remaining liquid as it cools.

Pumpkin Bread

I woke up one morning a few days ago and couldn't figure out what to eat. Somehow we'd run out of pretty much all breakfast stuff. I was trying to decide whether or not to put the effort into making pancakes (didn't really want to) when I noticed one lone can of pumpkin puree in the cabinet. Pumpkin bread seemed like the most reasonable thing at that point and I went in search of a recipe. I found one online that had some good feedback. I'm sure it was probably delicious, but without giving it a proper chance I decided to tweak a bunch of stuff. For one thing the original used 1.5 cups of sugar, which seemed a little over the top. I also added some sour cream to keep it moist and reduced the oil from 1/3 cup to 1 table spoon. The end result was delicious and it was devoured in two days. And it takes far less effort than standing at the stove flipping pancakes. 

Preheat the oven to 375
Lightly grease a baking pan approximately 7x13" in size

In a bowl combine:
  • 7 ounces pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbl spn olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbl spn sour cream

Mix these ingredients together and then add the following to the same bowl:
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ginger

Mix and pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Grandma's Peach Cake

Grandma's peach cake was always one of my favorite desserts to see at Summertime family gatherings. Recently I went on a little bit of a peach kick. I may have bought more than I could eat before they started to get too soft. That's when I remembered this delicious cake. It's supposed to be made with a stick of butter, but I haven't had butter in my house for probably 2 months. And I was too lazy to go out and get some, so I substituted 4 tablespoons of olive oil for the 1/2 cup butter called for in the recipe. It still tasted great.

Peach Cake

  • 1/2 cup butter (or 4 Tbl spns olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 peaches, sliced
  • Optional: other fruit like raspberries or blueberries
  • Cinnamon sugar for sprinkling
  • Baking dish (I used a small cast iron skillet)

Heat oven to 350
Mix together the butter, sugar, eggs, and flour.
Pour into baking dish
Top with fruit
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Cucumber Salad

Recently my favorite snack hasn't been cookies, cakes, or candies. (If you knew me then you'd know how odd that statement is.) What I have been eating like crazy is cucumber salad. Chris doesn't like cucumbers (I can't understand why), but this works out fine for me. I can make a big batch of the salad and know it'll be there when I want it. It's good on the first day the salad's made, but day 2, 3, & 4 are really where it's at.

Cucumber Salad

  • 2 medium to large cucumbers, sliced thin
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 2 Tbl spns olive oil
  • 4 Tbl spns vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together.
Enjoy immediately or save it for the next day and the next.
This amount generally doesn't last me more than 3 days.

Black Beans on Rice

This dish has become one of my easy go-to favorites. Sometimes I use the salsa, sometimes I don't.



  • lime juice
  • chopped onion
  • cilantro
  • salt & pepper

Beans & Rice

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbl spn dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbl spn cumin
  • 1 1/2 tspn oregano
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 cups cooked rice

In a large frying pan warm olive oil.
Add onion, pepper, garlic, parsley, brown sugar, cumin, oregano.
Cook until peppers and onions are soft. (About 10 minutes.)
Add beans and white wine. Simmer until reduced by one fourth.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over rice. Spoon salsa over rice and beans as desired.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Asian Sesame Salad

Tasty, raw, healthy, yummy, fast. The only thing that might make this salad better is some avocado.

The Dressing
(makes several servings, about 1.5 cups)

  • 2 Slices onion
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 1/3 Cup rice vinegar
  • 1 Thin slice fresh ginger
  • 1 Celery stalk
  • 1/4 Cup tamari sauce
  • 2 tsp Raw suger
  • 2 tsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbl spn sesame seeds
  • optional: 1 heaping tsp fresh ground peanuts or peanut butter

Blend everything together until smooth.

Use as much as you want for each salad.

  • Romaine lettuce 
  • Shredded carrot
  • Shredded beets
  • Red cabbage

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sunrise Grapefruit Blend

We've only had our juicer for 4 days now, but it feels like longer. So much juice has been made! Since the man and I are both doing a juice fast we each make several different blends every day. I've discovered two favorite combinations: grapefruit and dandelion for the morning and kiwi and kale for the afternoon. My morning juice looks like hell, but I really love the way it tastes. I was always into eating a fresh grapefruit in the morning, so it's really no surprise I'd like it as the main flavor for my breakfast juice. If you don't like grapefruit you'll hate this blend.

Sunrise Grapefruit Blend
Makes approximately 16 ounces

  • 2 medium red grapefruit 
  • 1/2 large cucumber
  • handful of dandelion greens (I never measured, but probably around 1 cup chopped)

Peel the grapefruit. Leave as much of the pith on as possible. Cut it into sections.
I like to peel the cucumber too, but you don't have to.
Cut it into slices.
Chop up your dandelion greens.
Juice it all and enjoy!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chicken and Black Bean Salad

I want to get in the habit of eating more salads for dinner. And not a normal side salad of some lettuce, a few tomatoes, and bottled dressing. Being struck by that crazy idea this morning I was inspired to make this salad for dinner tonight. Success. Although I wish I had some avocado handy because it would have made this tasty salad even tastier.

Serves 2 as a meal

  • 10 ounces boneless chicken breast
  • 2 Tbl spns lime juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • parsley

  • 7-8 ounces black beans (about half a normal 15 ounce can)
  • 2 large bowls of chopped lettuce (I used romaine)
  • diced tomatoes
  • diced cheddar cheese

  • 2 fajita size flour tortillas cut into short strips
  • olive oil
  • salt

  • 2 Tbl spns lime juice
  • 2 Tbl spns olive oil
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 serrano pepper
  • parsley
  • black pepper
  • salt

Heat oven to 300 F
Place chicken breast in a oven proof dish (with lid).
Season chicken with the lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and parsley.
Roast for about 1.5 hours covered.
Remove lid and pour black beans in with chicken.
Place back in oven for about 30 minutes.

During this time stir fry the tortilla strips until they're browned and slightly crispy.
Place on towel to drain and season with salt.

Chop lettuce, tomato, and cheese and place in bowl.

Place all ingredients for dressing in blender until smooth.

Shred or dice the warm chicken and place on salad.
Spoon on some black beans.
Top with the tortilla strips.
Toss in dressing.

Beef and Vegetable Rice Bowl


  • 1 london broil steak (approx. 1.5 lbs)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 head broccoli
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup water
  • black pepper
  • red pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ⅛ – ¼ tsp ginger powder (depending on taste preference)
  • toasted sesame oil
  • olive oil
  • cornstarch 

Get the rice cooking.

1:: Mix the soy sauce, red wine vinegar, honey, water, black pepper, crushed garlic, and ginger powder together in a bowl (I use a lasagna try so all the meat can be covered.)

2:: Slice the steak into thin strips and place in marinade. Let sit 30 minutes.

3:: Slice the red pepper and sautee in olive oil. You want it soft, but not soggy. Remove from pan and set aside.

4:: Chop the broccoli. Heat the pan until it's good and hot. Add olive oil if necessary.
Sautee on high for 1 minute.
Add 1/4 cup water and sautee another minute
Broccoli only cooks for 2 minutes total.
Remove from heat and set aside with peppers.

5:: Add a little of the sesame oil to the pan.
Remove the steak from the marinade and set marinade aside.
Stir fry the steak (no marinade!) until desired doneness.
Remove the steak from pan and set aside with vegetables.

6:: Pour marinade into pan. Add 1 TBL spn cornstarch and bring to a slight boil to thicken.
Add the steak and vegetables and heat through. Don't cook too long or the beef will get tough!

Serve over rice.

French Onion Soup

This is an easy soup to make on those days when you're furiously knitting on a deadline, but still want some good homemade food. Kinda sounds like every day around my house.

  • 2 large red onions sliced thin
  • 2 large sweet yellow onions sliced thin
  • 4 Tbl spns butter
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbl spn Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbl spn balsamic vinegar
  • ⅓ cup red wine
  • French bread, sliced thick
  • swiss cheese, grated
  • mozzarella cheese, grated

Melt butter in soup pot. Add sliced onions and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes.

Add broth, herbs, worcestershire, and wine. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Add balsamic. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat broiler. 
Sprinkle bread slices with cheese and place under broiler just until cheese is bubbly and golden. 

Place bread in bottom of bowls. Pour soup over bread.