Category Archives: Recipes

Squash, Pickles, Cider

acorn squash uprightIn recent years, I’ve tried to eat more squash in the autumn. It’s cheap and delicious, and looks good sitting around the counter this time of year.

Last week, as part of my effort to combat the pregnancy sweet tooth and eat vegetables with my three year-old, I came up with an evening meal that was high in veggies and hearty to boot. Better yet, Iris ate it all without argument. That is the true victory.

Squash Food Bowl


  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 small pats butter
  • Seasoning to taste
  • 2 servings cooked brown rice
  • 1 handful diced baby bella mushrooms
  • Olive or grapeseed oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°
  2. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds (reserve for roasting, if desired) and place one small pat of butter in each half. I added a little minced onion, salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish, in about 1/4 inch of water, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  3. Cook your rice and set aside (I did mine in a veggie broth).
  4. Heat a little oil in a stovetop skillet, and sauté the mushrooms for maybe 5 minutes.
  5. When the squash is finished, and has cooled for a few minutes, stir up and scoop out the flesh.
  6. I used most of the rice to make beds for the squash in our two bowls, put the cooked squash on next, and topped it with the mushrooms. Mixed together, the three items made a delicious main course.

We also had my take on this dill pickle soup, which is basically a light potato soup with chopped pickles, a little pickle juice, a few squirts of mustard and a couple tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt (easier than the flour and sour cream ordeal in the recipe). I also threw in a large collard green leaf.

Along with a cup of Michigan cider, and the promise of the last of the chocolate Goblin Cake with strawberries for dessert, this was the perfect thing for us after a brisk walk. Some days, there is nothing as satisfying as eating (and feeding a child) healthfully with food that is filling and delicious.

1 Comment

Filed under Recipes

A Little Love for the Eggplant


Last night, I made baba ganoush, because last week we went to Gita Pita, and now I am, once again, obsessed with Mediterranean food (or at least the idea of it).

I found a simple recipe for the baba ganoush (I added minced onion and raw tomato), and plan to return to the downtown restaurant when my budget adjusts for the cost of preschool. It is a day for which I wait with bated breath.

The thing is, it was just really nice to have success with an eggplant. As vegetarians, we’ve not spent the time with eggplant that we should, and our history of botched attempts goes back to the beginning of our marriage – long before we stopped regularly eating meat and boxed meals. Eggplant Parmesan, simple roasting and oddities like vegan “bacon” were all disappointing failures.

But this… it’s a lovely, seemingly lighter alternative to hummus (which I love). Now I’m wondering how a half-and-half blend of the two would work…

For something completely different: If you’re in the Grand Rapids area, join me and a bunch of cool kids tonight at EmbodyGR, a local non profit focused on yoga, community and service. They have childcare, it’s free and there will be tea. A great way to find calm on the first day of ArtPrize, and set the tone for the close of your week.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Health, Local, Recipes

Scrambled Eggs, Asparagus & Farro

farro egg asparagus

A while back, I talked about trying to work farro into the family diet. So far so good, and here’s another example.

I’m certainly not the first to pair eggs and asparagus. I don’t even do it that often. But, I had both on hand, as well as some prepared farro. Always a fan of one pot/pan meals, I decided to put them all together. Turns out, the combination is great for starting your day with protein, fiber and anti-oxidants. Better yet, it’s easy (especially if you have some farro or other grain already prepared).

Here ’tis:


  • Olive/grape seed oil
  • 4 stalks asparagus, ends trimmed and sliced into 1″ lengths
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup or so prepared farro ( I make mine with a little minced onion and cilantro – no salt)
  • 2 quality eggs
  • Hot sauce (optional)


  1. Heat half a tablespoon or so of the oil in a pan.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the asparagus and green onion. Saute to desired softness.
  3. Add in the farro, heat and mix with vegetables.
  4. Crack in the eggs, scrambling them with veggies and grain.
  5. When eggs are cooked to your preference, dish ‘em up! I like to add some Cholula on top, though I imagine any hot sauce would work.

At some point, I’d like to try this with quinoa, as I’m sure it would be delicious. Generally, if eggs are involved, I’m going to love it.


Leave a Comment

Filed under Health, Recipes

Funny Muffins

strawberry banana muffin

I bought a ton of strawberries from a local orchard over the weekend, and figured I should try to make something healthier than pie (with some of them, at least).

Who doesn’t love a muffin? I found this recipe for whole wheat strawberry banana muffins, and Iris and I got to baking. As you can see, the results are a bit… funny shaped (deflated), but they taste good. The only sweeteners are raw honey and the fruit, but if the three year-old loves them, they can’t be that bad. Greek yogurt gives them a little boost in protein and calcium, not to mention a satisfying moistness.

This was a great baking project for a wee one, and much of her time was occupied with mashing the banana.

Happy Hump Day!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Recipes

Quinoa Fridays

eggs sprouted quinoa

So, perhaps you know about my odd oatmeal-with-egg-and-hotsauce breakfast.

I’m still doing it most days of the week (though the technique is a little different). Iris also eats it, but with less hot sauce. In typical three year-old fashion, she swings between loving and hating cooked oats.

A while back, my sister-in-law was talking about her fondness for farro as a breakfast dish. I decided to try it in place of oats, and was pleasantly surprised. It got me thinking… could any grain work? I’d been trying to up my quinoa consumption, and thought this might be an easy way to do so.

Turns out I’m a genius. Or, maybe eggs and grain are just pretty tasty in general. Either way, I’ve now got the quinoa-egg breakfast in rotation, and have declared the last morning of the work week “Quinoa Fridays.”

My husband is amused at how excited this makes me every week. Whatever. Food is my favorite.



  • 1/4 cup dry quinoa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • dash dried, minced onion
  • dash dried cilantro
  • one egg of quality
  • hot sauce


  1. Pour the quinoa, onion, cilantro and water into a small sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil, then turn to a low simmer, cover, and let cook according to directions on quinoa package (maybe for a minute or two less).
  3. When the quinoa is nearly finished, crack in the egg, recover, and cook on very low heat for 5 to 10 minutes (until egg is to desired consistency).
  4. After turning off the heat, let the pan sit covered for a few more minutes. The steam will loosen any quinoa stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Uncover, dash in a little hot sauce, and devour.

Happy Wednesday (Quinoa Friday Eve Eve)

Leave a Comment

Filed under Health, Recipes

Sweet Potato Brownie Report (for you, Shawna)

Last week, a friend posted a recipe to my Facebook wall. Due to some diet restrictions, she is unable to eat the creation herself, and so included this message:

Please make these, eat them, then report back to me how wonderful they taste so that I might live vicariously through you.

Your wish, dearest, is my command. With pleasure.

Incidentally, my husband is allergic to sweet potatoes (poor guy), so Iris and I will just have to eat these on our own (excepting the piece my mother’s reserved).

First, understand that these are not going to taste just like a traditional brownie. However, they are the yum. The texture is reminiscent of the gooiest of brownies, with tiny crunches from the almonds. I found that the sweetness was enough to satisfy that sugar craving, without making me feel like I’d had a week’s worth of treats in one bite. Served warm, it seems to kick the crap out of any marshmallow-creepy-Thanksgiving-sweet-potato dish (sorry – unroasted marshmallows spook me).

Note that I milled my own brown rice flour with our Baby Bullet, and similarly ground the almonds. I also pitted the dates, which was super simple and fast.

Outside of the tiniest amount of butter in the maple syrup substitute I made, these things are vegan. They are gluten free. The only refined sugar is in the syrup. For the most part, these babies won’t run counter to a healthy diet. Sweet (potato).

So, click the words for your sweet potato brownie recipe.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Health, Recipes

Amaranth & Farro

Farro on the left, amaranth on the right.

Heh – sounds like a hipster band name.

Recently, my sister-in-law was talking about how much she loved farro, and I was reminded of my own history when it comes to varied, whole grains. I was also reminded of how much I’ve been slacking on practicing what I preach.

So, I finally bought farro, and tried out the amaranth already in my pantry. Both take a little longer to cook than oats or quinoa – it’s more like making brown rice or millet. But, they’re easy, and making it simple for me to broaden my grainy horizons.

First, the amaranth. These grains are super tiny and take at least a half an hour to soften to my liking. I think I’ve been using too much water, resulting in a kind of mush rather than a fluffy pile. Oddly, I’ve discovered that mixing the warm grains with salsa and lime juice makes a lovely dip for organic blue corn chips – at least, I find it super satisfying.

Second, the farro. Since my sister in law mentioned she likes it as a warm breakfast cereal, I decided to sub it for my usual rolled oats. It actually works really well as the base for my usual egg and grain breakfast (note: I now drop a raw egg into the cooked oats, turn the heat as low as it can go, and cover for maybe five minutes – one less step). I’ve also mixed it with diced zucchini, summer squash and tomato sauce for the little one.

What’s the point? Culinary and nutritional diversity. I’m not one to cut grains out of my diet, but I do think we might rely a little too heavily on wheat and corn in the typical stateside diet. Further, it’s interesting to eat grains not in a bread or pasta form, but as they are harvested, like little berries to be cooked gently over a flame.

I’m always glad when I try a new whole food. Even better when the food is affordable, non-perishable and filling. This week, it’s amaranth and farro FTW.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Health, Recipes

Skip the Antibiotics; Eat Chickpeas

Earlier this week, I read an article about the rising use of antibiotics in U.S. commercial livestock.

Makes me happy not to be supporting it with my dollars. My diet isn’t perfect, and I’m sure some of my money ends up in less than savory places. Still, not purchasing meat is an easy way to make at least a small difference. If everyone tried replacing just one weekly ground beef or chicken meal with a vegetarian version, we might see some changes in the industry.

Last night, I made my own version of this creamy chickpea casserole. I turned the chickpeas into hummus (with nutritional yeast), and used fresh tomatoes, onion, crimini mushroom and baby zucchini, and threw in some canned artichoke hearts. Healthy, tasty, filling and cheap!

Happy Hump Day!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Health, Recipes

Yes, I’m “Detoxing” with Apple Cider Vinegar

No, I’m not fasting. No, I’m not planning to drink vinegar cocktails every day for the rest of my life.

Yes, I feel better.

For the serious science on vinegar in general, and for the current crunchy take, there are your links.

Basically, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is lauded in the fight against allergies, dull hair, skin problems, fatigue, diabetes, toxic buildup and, my favorite, cancer! It’s also limited as a miracle cure by a lack of hard scientific evidence.  Of course, that’s true of many natural/home remedy type agents. We just don’t know, really. Risks seem minimal, though low potassium, bone trouble and bladder cancer have all been mentioned, but not in the context of short-term, moderate use.

My reason for doing this is not that I believe it will make me live forever or even be in perfect health today. The thing is, it’s not going to hurt me, and it’s getting me to drink more water. It’s also a proactive ritual that’s part of my determination to get back on the health wagon, so to speak. The holiday season made me a bit squishy, in every sense of the word, and adhering to some sort of “detox” routine is part of my counter attack.

As always, good health is about a mindset, and not following a bunch of formulated Do-Don’t lists. My goal is physical and mental calm – not to cheat the Reaper.

Along with the ACV regimen, I’ve slashed the sweets and booze intake, upped the whole, fresh foods and started exercising again. Wherever credit may be due, I’m feeling more energetic, enjoying better digestion, less anxious and just feel… cleaner overall. I realize the ACV might be the least important factor, but, as a healthy ritual, it’s helping me stay on track.

If you hate vinegar, you’d probably hate the concoction I’ve been imbibing daily for the last week:

  1. Every day, shortly after getting up, I put the kettle on and grab my jar of raw honey.
  2. I put about 1/3 tablespoon of honey into a large drinking glass, along with small dashes of cayenne pepper and cinnamon.
  3. I add the boiling water to fill the glass – about a pint or so.
  4. I drop in one tablespoon of lemon juice and one to two tablespoons of ACV, stir and sip.

It’s all based on the Bragg’s ACV drink recipe and a few others I checked out.

This is something I’ve wanted to try for a while, and what better time than the kickoff of 2015? What are you doing to take on the year?

Leave a Comment

Filed under Health, Recipes

Freshened Green Bean Casserole

From ‘Simply Scratch’

For the past several years, I’ve made green bean casserole for our family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

I’ve always used fresh green beans, and have tried different things like adding carrots and sliced almonds. Last year, I decided to ditch the canned cream soup for homemade.

Though I can’t remember what recipe I used then, I’m thinking of trying the one below this year. Really, you can’t go wrong with onions, mushrooms, butter and whole milk. And I can’t imagine anyone missing the soy and BPA of the can.

So, if you’re looking to freshen up your green bean casserole, use fresh vegetables, homemade cream of mushroom soup and maybe even pan fried onions (a point to which I have not yet gotten).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Recipes, Seasonal