April 10, 2012

Lentil and Herb Salad


Hello Lovelies!

I’ve been busy planning, and pulling off a friend’s baby shower & luncheon. It was filled with quiche, strata, tomato and rice pie, lots of salads, cocktails, cute gifts and more. It was a fun filled crazy weekend. I even gave myself a nice size second degree burn. Be careful with those tart pans people, they will get you bad- real bad!

I made this lovely salad for brunch on Saturday. It was a hit, and it’s the most simple, fresh tasting salad ever. It makes a great lunch, and packs nicely for picnics. The best part about it- is it’s adapatability. You can choose whatever herbs you like, different types of lentils, different types of broths, oils, vinegar. You can add nuts, cheeses, veggies, greens. Make a big batch, and adjust to your liking. This is a great option for prepping of a weeks worth of lunches.

I pack mine in a weck jar. Then you can add different items on a daily basis to mix things up. I hope you love it as much as I do!!!

Lentil and Herb Salad


2 cups organic lentils

2 cups vegetable broth, low sodium if using store bought

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup chopped basil

1/4 cup chopped mint

A few sprigs of fresh thyme

juice of one lemon

1/4 cup good quality extra virgen olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tbsp aged balsamic

1 tsp cumin

3 cloves garlic finely minced

1 red onion, or 2 large shallots sliced in thin half moons

salt, smoked paprika, or esplette to taste


Cook lentils in broth or water for 30 mins, or until soft and not mushy. Cool completely. Add chopped herbs, onion,garlic, lemon juice, cumin, vinegar, and olive oil. Season to taste. I like to add parm and sliced almonds. I also like feta, and pine nuts. Goat cheese and cashews. Fresh spinach, and assagio. This makes a perfect lunch or side dish.





March 20, 2012

Carrot and Avocado Salad, and I’m back!!!

It’s oddly snowing here in Portland, Oregon- yet again! Strange for us so late in March. March has been strange in general. I turned 30 years old last Tuesday. I’ve been thirty for almost a week. I was scared to turn thirty, but now I just feel great. To be honest- I feel special. So many amazing people helped me celebrate for an entire week. Lot’s of treats, an amazing meal at Toro Bravo, fun bubbles at Kir wine bar, crazy bowling, and late night madness. I would have to say 30 is great.

Thirty is also the year of the bicycle. P surprised me with a brand new one. I love it. It’s the most beautiful bike I have ever owned. It has a rack on the back and a basket in front. Perfect for stocking up on veggies and fruit from the Portland Farmers Market that’s now back and swinging for Spring- if we ever get a Spring.

This salad caught my eye on Pinterest. It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe. I have great respect for Mr. Oliver’s work. He’s truly trying to teach us all that natural is always better. The work he has done with UK school system, and their lunch programs is inspiring. If only the US could follow his lead. Pizza as a vegetable- boo!

This salad was my fuel after boot camp today. Boot camp is killing me. In fact, the thought of eating this salad today was the only inspiration for me to finish that dreaded work out.

Crunchy, creamy, bready, tangy. Perfect balance! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I’m off to make some lentil soup for lunches this week.

Carrot and Avocado Salad

Adapted from Jamie at home


  • 1 lb. medium differently colored carrots with their tops
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 or 2 small dried chiles, crumbled
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 orange, halved
  • 1 lemon halved
  • 3 ripe avocados
  • red wine vinegar
  • 4 x 1/2-inch thick slices of ciabatta or other crusty italian bread
  • 2 big handfuls interesting winter salad greens
  • 2 bunches watercress (or just increase the greens)
  • 2/3 c. creme fraiche, Greek yogurt, or sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons mixed seeds, toasted (I used Chia!)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Parboil the carrots in boiling, salted water for 10 minutes, until they are very nearly cooked, then drain and put them into a roasting pan. While the carrots are cooking smash the cumin seeds, chillies, salt, and pepper in a mortar and pestle. Add the garlic and thyme leaves and smash again until you have a kind of paste. Add enough extra virgin olive oil to generously cover the paste, and a good swig of vinegar. Stir together, then pour over the hot carrots in the tray, coating them well. Add the orange and lemon halves, cut-side down. Place in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden.

While the carrots are roasting, halve and peel your avocados, discarding the pits, then cut them into wedges lengthwise and place in a big bowl. Remove the carrots from the oven and add them to the avocados. Use tongs to squeeze the roasted orange and lemon juice into a bowl and add the same amount of extra virgin olive oil and a little swig of red wine vinegar. Season, and pour this dressing over the carrots and avocados. Mix together, have a taste, and correct the seasoning. Just before you’re ready to eat, toast or griddle the ciabatta slices.

Tear the toasted bread into little pieces and add to the dressed carrot and avocado. Mix together, toss in the salad leaves and watercress and transfer to a big platter or divide between individual plates. Spoon over a nice dollop of creme fraiche, sprinkle the toasted seeds, and drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil.

******** Just a quick note, I posted the recipe the way it’s supposed to be made. I did not roast the fruit. I took the juice of a fresh lemon, and lime, with olive oil,  red wine vinegar, toasted cumin, salt, pepper, and dill and whisked up a super quick dressing. It was fabulous!!
January 17, 2012

Potato Leek Soup


Oh baby, it’s cold outside! It’s been snowing in beautiful Portland, Oregon. Not enough to stick, but enough to get me excited!

Winter supplies a bounty of root veggies, and each week my Organics To You veggie box has been full of sturdy greens, potatoes, leeks, parsnips, and rainbow carrots. It’s a soup lovers dream come true.

The new year brings new health and fitness goals. I have a few ideas to make my 2012 healthier. First, we will no longer waste food. We will freeze any soup we can’t finish, and turn our herbs and veggies that look like they might be in their last few days into homemade bouillon. I have plans to start Barre 3 and get back into my regular workout schedule at The Green Microgym. Of course, I want to read more, cook more, and love more. I think all of these goals are attainable. I’m crossing my fingers that your goals will stick, too.

Speaking of sticking, this soup will certainly stick to your ribs, in the warm-you-up sense. It’s actually quite hardy, but very healthy. With just a simple handful of ingredients this soup comes together quickly. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. This soup makes a huge pot but will freeze well for up to six weeks. Freeze them in individual containers for a quick and healthy grab and go lunch.

Potato Leek Soup


  • Oil, ghee or butter to coat a thick bottomed soup pan. (about 3 Tbsp).
  • 2 cloves garlic minced.
  • 3-4 leeks, white parts only, washed thoroughly, and thinly sliced.
  • 1 large white onion, chopped.
  • 6-8 potatoes, I used small russets, but yukon gold work well too. Chop them in small chunks as if you were going to boil potatoes for mashing. Keep the skin on, this soup will have a rustic feel.
  • 2 fresh sprigs of thyme, rosemary, or herb of choice minced.
  • 4 cups good tasting vegetable broth.
  • 1 cup non-fat milk ( you can skip this if you are vegan )
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat oil in heavy bottomed pan, add chopped garlic, leeks, and onion. Cook until soft and slightly brown.
  • Add chopped potatoes, and cover with broth. Drop in fresh minced herbs at this time. I also like to sprinkle a little cayenne pepper at this point too.
  • Simmer until potatoes are tender. Mash lightly with spoon, and add more broth, and then add one cup of non-fat milk.You want this soup to be lightly chunky.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Enjoy on a cold winter evening!



September 28, 2011

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

It’s crisp out there today Portlanders! I’m not sure what it’s like for the rest of the world, but here it’s starting to feel a bit like fall. I stomped around the street in my Hunter wellies yesterday. Yup it’s that time of year. Soup is definitely on my mind, and my list to make for you throughout the fall and winter.

This split pea soup is so simple to make. I love it because you can manipulate it into anything you like. I use a simple mirepoix, some garlic, salt, pepper, a dusting of dried chiles, mixed with a pound of organic split peas. You saute the mirepoix, add it to the some simple broth, mix in the split peas and in a little over an hour you have yourself some comforting soup.

This is exactly the kind of meal I like for week night meals. It saves well for the week to come, and packs nicely for hardy lunches. Serve with a simple green salad, and you have a full meal.

I hope you like it as much as a I do!

My Vegetarian Split Pea Soup


  • 1 pound organic split peas
  • 1 large organic white onion diced
  • 1 large organic shallot minced
  • 3 large organic carrots chopped, minced, cut however you choose
  • 4 stalks of organic celery, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Avocado oil, or high heat cooking oil of choice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced and salted to sweat
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 6-8 cups of good tasting broth of choice
  • Esplette and  organic sour cream to garnish
  • Saute garlic, onion and shallot in oil until fragrant and translucent.
  • Add carrots, and celery until cooked slightly, you don’t want them turning to mush. Add salt and pepper flakes.
  •  Add broth, and peas.
  • Simmer until peas start to fall apart.
  • Use hand blender to smooth out soup if desired. I usually do half blended.
  • Garnish with  more salt, sour cream, and dust with esplette (pepper grown in the basque region) or smoked paprika for some smokiness!
  • Serve and enjoy!
Stay warm and dry my friends! P and I are going to celebrate Fall with a picnic tomorrow evening. We will be sitting in NW Portland watching these little creatures: http://audubonportland.org/local-birding/swiftwatch. I’ve never seen them! Have you? I’m super duper excited!!!
September 16, 2011

Enchilada Sauce

Hello everyone! Happy September. I can’t believe we are half way through it already.Wasn’t it just June? Weren’t we just eating fresh juicy strawberries?

P and I have been cooking up a storm for his family. We’ve made tomato cobbler, home made pizza, and now enchiladas! We love spicy tomato based foods and sauces. We especially love them when they are fresh and seasonal!

Enchilada sauce is quite expensive and often lacking in freshness and flavor. With Hatch Chiles, and fresh tomatoes still in season I just couldn’t resist. This is good, really good. I mean, I made so much, I’m going to freeze it for this coming winter.

This sauce can be used as a base for soups, salsas, enchiladas, or anything your heart desires.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!!

Enchilada Sauce


  • 1 16oz can Organic tomato sauce, or 9 fresh early girl tomatoes, peeled, seeded and pureed into sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 Hatch chile peppers, roasted (rub with oil, roast in tin foil on high heat in oven, or over gas flames until soft and charred), and seeded (unless you like it really spicy)
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 Tbsp New Mexican chile powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried Mexican oregeno
  • 1 Tbsp crushed red peppers
  • Salt and Black pepper to taste
  • Put all ingredients into a blender, blend until smooth!
  • Cook on stove, until hot an bubbly. Adjust your seasonings to taste.
  • This will freeze for 3-6 months if using proper storage.
  • Enjoy!
September 10, 2011

Cherry Tomato Cobbler topped with Almond Drop Buscuits.

Hello my Lovelies!

The other day I popped over to one my my favorite cooking sites, and found a recipe I absolutely couldn’t stop drooling over. I mean, really drooling, could have shorted my lap top drool. Nicole at Cooking after five is a lot like me. She loves fresh ingredients, and simple meals. She adapted a Martha Stewart Living recipe for a cherry tomato cobbler. All I could think about was scooping bite after bite into my mouth the second I saw the photo. I knew I had to make it, and soon.

People ask me all the time what I like to cook during busy weeks, or when I’m tired, and this is exactly the type of meal that can be made super quickly if you have everything on hand. It’s also a recipe that can be adapted quite easily. It also got me thinking about what I could add for a Fall and Winter version. I can’t wait to play with recipe.

It’s a must try, and absolutely no fail recipe. I would suggest bringing it to your next BBQ, or picnic. I bet most of your friends and family haven’t tried a savory cobbler.

Heirloom multi colored cherry tomatoes are perfect for this recipe. I used almond meal for the buscuits to make this recipe a little more me. I took Nicole’s idea, and added fresh parmesan too. Trust me, this is super delicious, and comes together quite quickly. Add a fresh green salad on the side, and you have a complete meal in less than thirty minutes. I think this will be on my summer rotation. Next time I would love to add some cooked celeriac for a denser, heavier cobbler once the nights get cooler.

Enjoy this, and adapt as needed. I saw that whole foods had buscuit dough in the refrigerator section, and that would cut the time to prep this in half.

I made this with for a little get together with P’s family. We also made my kale and ricotta salata salad, and fresh corn on the cob spiked with cayenne butter.

Cherry Tomato Cobbler 

Adapted from Cooking After Five, and Martha Stewart Living


  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, washed and stemmed.
  • 2 large white onions, choppd in half moons
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp crushed red peppers
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • salt, pepper, and dried or fresh herbs of choice
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1/3 cup organic grass fed butter
  • 3 organic egg whites
  • 1/4 cup  shredded parmesan cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Caramelize onions in 2 Tbsp olive oil, and add crushed pepper and garlic. This should take about 15 minutes or so.
  • Place onions in a small baking dish, top with washed cherry tomatoes.
  • Place 2 cups almond meal in the bowl of a food processor ( you could place in a mixing bowl, and use a pastry cutter, or fork for the next steps). Add butter, sliced into pieces, egg whites, salt, cheese, and herbs. Pulse until combined. This mixture will be a little moist, or runny. This is fine.
  • Place on top of  cherry tomatoes in small scoops. I used a tablespoon, and got nine very small buscuits.
  • Bake on 350 for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, and cheese once out of oven. I waited for ten minutes before serving.
  • Enjoy!!!!!
I got rave reviews both from P’s family, and my friend Amberleigh’s kiddos too!
August 21, 2011

Wine Stained Arms

Here I stand with wine stained arms. Happy, content, and overwhelmed by how much I have learned in the past five years. It hit me today: I’m doing it. I’m following through with a dream. Classes start soon, I’m going to work with someone this Fall who makes wine so well – I could squeal. I’m squealing. I’m standing here squealing so loud maybe you can hear me. Can you hear me? I bet you can.

I don’t talk a whole lot about wine here, and I really should.

Walking in the grocery store with my mom, I would stare down those shiny bottles. Light would reflect off of those labels. I loved it. I still do today. I often walk through the small bottle shop where I work, touching and feeling each and every bottle. I feel connected, like I belong. The soil, the earth, the fruit, everything makes my soul want for more.

It’s weird when something clicks. Wine came full force at me when I took a job as a hostess at a wine, cheese, and beer cafe. I knew nothing, zip, zilch, zero. All I knew was that I wanted to be there. It took a long time to learn. In fact, there were many failed tests and low scores before I got it. It finally made sense. I feel the same way in the kitchen now.

I talk about wine in the classes I teach, at tastings, and to people who just want a bottle for dinner. It’s exciting. It’s fun. It makes people happy.

Today I poured wine for many people. Lots, I mean a ton. In fact, I’m standing here with wine stains up and down my arms, and I like it.



August 16, 2011

Quinoa stuffed poblanos, Camping Food!

Hello all!

I hope you all had the chance to look at Jennies blog. It still brings me to tears when I think of her loss. Her love for her husband seemed so beautiful, and I know it will live on. I know that my heart has changed because of her loss. I just really do want to hug, and love the ones close to me a little more. I want my friends, family, and especially P to know how special they truly are.

Before all of the above, P and I had a lovely mini vacation on Mt. Hood. We camped for a few days, and had an amazing time. The sun changed my spirit. It hasn’t hit 90 this whole summer in Portland. I’ve been wearing sweaters in the evening, and craving lazy summer days. We were able to experience every bit of laziness on a beautiful lake. It was gorgeous. We swam, we laughed, we met goofy campers, and learned a little history too. We also ate. We actually ate quite well. I didn’t get to photograph the recipe I’m posting, but I will say it was quite great! I highly suggest taking this with you next time you camp. It’s simple, delicious, and fire roasted. You can’t get better that!

I know blog posts are dumb without photos. Really dumb! We were a little tipsy, and didn’t have the brain cells to take photos!!

Quinoa Stuffed Poblanos

This is just a guideline! Add what you like, and of course, make as much as you need! Adapt, adapt, adapt!


  • 2-4 Poblano peppers depending on size
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cooked quinoa depending on how many peppers you are stuffing
  • 1/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 1-2 chipotle’s in adobo sauce
  • 1 chopped heirloom tomato
  • 1/4 white onion
  • 2 gloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup feta
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Pepitas
  • 1 small zucchini chopped
  • 1 ear corn chopped off the cob
  • Wash, and chop off top of poblano pepper. Remove seeds, reserve top.
  • Cook quinoa, and stir in cooked black beans. Saute onions, garlic, chipotles in adobo sauce with cooked quinoa, and black beans.
  • Add chopped tomato, zucchini, and corn to quinoa mixture. Cook until done! Don’t over cook. We aren’t looking for mushy veggies.
  • Sprinkle pan with pepitas, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stuff raw poblano peppers until half full. Add some feta, and stuff with quinoa mixture until full. Top with stem.
  • Wrap in foil. Continue until you have stuffed 4 peppers.
  • Cook on fire for 15-20 minutes, or until blistered and oozing.
  • You may have extra mixture, it’s great in scrambled eggs, on top of greens, or as lunch when you return from camping. I bet it would be awesome on top of baked potatoes, and covered in salsa!
Here are some photos of Padron peppers cooked on top of our camp fired, drenched in avocado oil, and sprinkled with sea salt. I have to say they were the best! We also made corn on the cob, drizzled with olive oil, and esplette! We also had caesar salads. I made fresh basil pesto, and packed fresh ravioli for our second night. This worked extremely well. What types of food do you cook while camping? Do you like cooking while camping? I do! It gives me something to do other than read.
xoxo, and great big hugs!
ps- if you are looking for great boxed wine- I highly suggest “from the tank”. It’s a great CDR, and it’s biodynamic as well.
August 15, 2011

Bliss, thoughts on love, a simple dinner, and a tribute to Jennie and her loss.

I just had one of the best weekends of my summer. P and I spent Friday-Sunday morning camping on Mt. Hood. We enjoyed meals, too much wine, and lots of laughs together. I missed him so much when I went to work this morning, my heart ached a bit. I honestly couldn’t wait to hug him before dinner. I couldn’t wait to talk about our days, our camping memories, and to plan our next adventure together. I am in a state of utter bliss today. I feel so lucky, loved, and blessed to be able to do what I want to do with my life, and discover the world with someone I love so much.

I was catching up on blogs that I follow, and have missed a whole lot in the blogging world over the last week. This place has such a special place in my heart, and I feel so connected to those I follow. We may not know one another in person, but I get to see into the lives of so many people from all over the globe. I’ve followed bloggers through first babies, marriages, and crazy happy online dating stories.

After showering away smoky campfire memories, I opened my Google Reader. The weekend bliss changed. My heart dropped, the back of my throat ached, and tears fell when I read that one of my favorite bloggers lost her husband recently. My heart goes out to her and her family. She makes incredible food and tells beautiful stories in each post. I’ve always admired her, and today I honor her strength.

I’m going to keep this simple. This is a very personal place for me. I wanted to post my camping meals tonight, but I think I’m going to hold off. I wanted a simple night with my friends, and P. I wanted to eat fresh tomatoes and mozzarella on toasted bread. I wanted to love my friends, and P. I wanted to make sure they know I love them. I didn’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. I  wanted simplicity. You never know if you have tomorrow. Take some time to savor every moment you have with those you love.

This simple blissful dinner and post is in honor of Jennie, her family, and late husband Mike. I hope she knows people who don’t even know her truly love her, and have connected with her  through her writing, hope, and  strength.

Summer Caprese on grilled bread


  • 2 large slices of baquette, coated in olive oil, grilled until slightly charred with grill marks
  • 8 slices of your favorite variety of tomato
  • 6 slices fresh mozzarella
  • 12 fresh basil sprigs, chopped
  • sea salt, pepper
  • Good quality balsamic vinegar, and good quality Extra Virgen Olive oil
  • Grill bread
  • Slice cheese and tomatoes
  • Stack tomatoes, cheese, and mozzarella (bake in oven for a few minutes if desired, or if cheese isn’t melting from grilled bread)
  • Top with chopped basil
  • Drizzle with balsamic, and oil
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Enjoy with loved ones, a bottle of wine, and happy hearts!!
I also made padron peppers, a steak for P, and a simple arugula salad with raspberries.

xoxo with all of my heart


August 9, 2011

Halloumi and Roasted Veggies with a Dilly Vinaigerette

Hello All! Halloumi cheese is one of our summer favorites. It’s a little hard to find, but worth seeking out. It reminds me of mozzarella, in a feta brine. Two of my favorite cheeses in one. Plus it doesn’t melt when fried, or grilled. I know it’s not seasonal, but it’s just so great grilled in the warm evenings of the summer. It’s chewy, and smokey when grilled with some charred marks. We had a grill issue this evening, and ended up cooking the cheese in a fry pan on the stove. It was fantastic and lightly browned ,so yes this is a timeless cheese!

I roasted zucchini, spring onions, bell peppers, and red potatoes with olive oil, garlic, salt, and parsley. Fried up the cheese in a hot dry pan, toasted some pinenuts, and made a shallot, dill vinaigerette to top it all off. It was quite delicious, and fresh all at the same time. I think it would be even more amazing, grilled, and stacked! You would definitely impress your friends with the execution of this dish at your next bbq or dinner party.

I’m thinking we will grill some panini sandwiches with the other half of our halloumi. Please try this, trust me it’s a gorgeous meal.

Halloumi and Roasted Vegetables with a Dilly Vinaigerette 

(this is just an idea, use as much as you need! I split one of each vegetable for 2 of us!)


  • Halloumi cut 1/4 inch squares
  • 1 Zucchini cut into 4 large strips
  • 1 of each Red and green bell peppers sliced in strips
  • 1 Potato sliced thinly in rounds
  • 1 small Spring onion quartered
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil, plus 2 Tbsp olive oil for dressing
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 Cloves minced garlic
  • Chopped fresh parsley, or other herb of choice
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • a hanful of toasted pinenuts
  • 1 Shallot
  • 1 handful of  colorful cherry tomatoes for garnish
  • Place sliced potatoes on grill, or in oven, and cook until crispy, and done.
  • Grill, or roast sliced veggies until done, but crispy and fresh tasting.
  • Cook halloumi on grill until charred, or in fry pan until brown.
  • Place shallot, rice vinegar, parsley, dill, salt, olive oil, and little bit of water in a blender. Blend until smooth. This is your dressing!
  • Stack veggies, and haloumi as desired, garnish with cherry tomatoes.
  • Dress with dressing, and toasted pinenuts!
  • Enjoy, and be preparee for ooooh’s and ahhhhh’s!