• Strawberry Rhubarb Spring Salad with Hazelnuts and Poached Chicken
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    Strawberry Rhubarb Spring Salad with Hazelnuts and Poached Chicken

Strawberry Rhubarb Spring Salad with Hazelnuts and Poached Chicken

Strawberry Rhubarb Spring Salad with Hazelnuts and Poached Chicken Strawberry Rhubarb Spring Salad with Hazelnuts and Poached Chicken

Spring brings out my obsession with all things Strawberry Rhubarb.  Strawberry rhubarb pie was my favorite growing up (ok, one of my favorites, I mean apple and pumpkin are favorites too.. but definitely my favorite spring pie!), but anyways these days – although I still love pie – I also look to get my fix of the beautiful combo in other food applications.

This past week I was thinking of a nice light salad.  A little sweet, a little tart and citrusy, but still filling enough to make it a meal.  What I ended up with is a convenient little dish, in which strawberries and rhubarb marinate together in citrus juices for a bit (while you’re poaching some lovely chicken), creating a sauce that works as a dressing for your salad greens.  The orange and lime juices soften the raw rhubarb and the honey adds just enough sweetness to make the rhubarb delightfully tart.  It’s also lovely with a little goat cheese, although that’s certainly optional.

(A note: eating raw rhubarb is cool – it’s the leaves that are toxic – they’re typically not even attached when sold, but just be sure not to eat them).

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

And if you’ve never poached chicken do not fear.  You’re literally boiling it in water so it’s about as basic and fast as it comes – you can make it fancy by adding a little wine or vinegar, [...]

Sweet Potato Tacos with Black Beans and Corn

Sweet potato, black bean and corn tacos Sweet Potato Tacos with Black Beans and Corn

These sweet potato tacos are as delicious as they are beautiful to look at.  Taco night really is awesome: tortillas keep easily in the freezer and thaw quickly, toppings are generally easy to throw together, and everyone can assemble their own tacos the way they want them- practically the definition of family friendly!

I love traditional tacos with savory and satisfying ground meat, blackened fish, and even shrimp.  But I wanted to try something a little lighter – still savory, but a little sweet as well.  So I browsed around for inspiration and found these Honey-Lime Sweetened Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Corn Tacos at  I adapted the recipe a smidge – reducing the sweetness and adding a jalapeno for flavor and spice.  The results were delicious and surprisingly fast to prepare.  I remember looking at my clock and thinking I had a good 10 minutes of empty space to fill before I needed to call the kids to the table (at this point in life that feels like practically an eternity, and it’s not a feeling I have often while preparing dinner!).  

My husband doesn’t like sweet potatoes, so I simply pulled some of the bean and corn mixture aside before mixing in the sweet potatoes.  You could certainly do the same if you have a sweet potato non-eater.  Again, the beauty of tacos!

Tasty Taco Toppings Tasty Taco Toppings

Sweet Potato Tacos [...]

Maple Spiced Buckwheat Pancakes

maple spiced pancakes

I love making pancakes on weekends and buckwheat pancakes are my favorite.  Buckwheat has a wonderful nutty flavor and stays moist and tender in pancake form.  And I don’t know what it is, but I just feel good after eating buckwheat.  In this recipe I mix in some oat flour, which provides some natural sweetness that balances out the nuttiness of the buckwheat.  Cinnamon and maple syrup provide the subtle spice and sweetness and contribute to the beautiful golden color.

Buckwheat is technically a fruit seed, not a cereal grain, and isn’t at all related to wheat (therefore it’s completely gluten-free).  High in nutrients including an array of phytonutrients such as lignans, which can protect against heart disease and cancer.  For a full list of the health benefits of buckwheat, click here.  It is one of my favorite super foods.

I rarely write down my pancake recipes – I make them so much I have a general formula memorized and on any given day I tinker with it a little, adding this or that – pancakes are pretty hard to screw up.  But the buckwheat pancakes I made this weekend were especially good – lightly spiced but not in a holiday-y kind of way.  They were moist and fluffy yet filling, and a just a tad sweet, making them pleasant to eat on their own but not so sweet that they’d be too sugary with syrup on top.

When you go to buy buckwheat flour make sure you buy 100% buckwheat flour.  Sometimes buckwheat mixes contain a majority of refined white flour with only a little bit [...]

Artichoke Pesto Pasta with Spinach and Mushrooms

Artichoke Pesto Pasta Artichoke pesto on pasta shells with sauteed spinach and mushrooms

In thinking of some ways to use Spring’s first exciting produce items, namely artichokes and asparagus, I decided to try an artichoke pesto recipe.   I’m glad I did because I liked it as much if not more than regular pesto (which I love)- definitely more on pasta.  It has more body to really coat the pasta, and the tang of the artichokes was a really nice complement to the unami of the pecorino romano and sauteed mushrooms.  And dang, it was easy!

This is a great recipe to make in advance, because it truly does taste better after it sits and the flavors meld for a bit.  Unlike basil-based recipes the pesto won’t discolor, so no worries there.  And with this sitting in the fridge you’ll have a lightning-fast dinner ready in no time!  It’s just a bonus that your pasta sauce basically contains a servings worth of vegetables.

I adapted a recipe from Giada DeLaurentiis, whose recipes I find to be lovely and approachable.  You could certainly use this pesto as an appetizer or side, as she does by putting it on crostini.  I also used it to top some poached salmon, which was super, super delicious.

For more great health-boosting recipes and time-saving shopping lists and weekly planners be sure to check out the Eat Happy Meal Plan.

Here’s the recipe for the pesto:

Artichoke Pesto
Adapted from Artichoke Pesto on Ciabatta, Giada De Laurentiis
Total Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 10 minutes
Serves:  4

8 ounces of frozen [...]

Red Lentil and Coconut Milk Soup

Red Lentil and Coconut Milk Soup

To be completely honest this Red Lentil and Coconut Milk Soup surprised me.  I expected it to be tasty, and I knew it would be satisfying thanks to the coconut milk, but I was surprised at how subtly fragrant and delicious all of the flavors combined to be.

The flavors are mildly of curry, but not a kind of curry that beats you over the head or fills your house.  The cumin and coriander are savory, and yet the ginger and coconut milk provide a light fragrance and sweetness as well.  If you’re not a lentil lover red lentils might be just the thing for you – in this soup they practically dissolve, and in the end you’d hardly guess they’re there, as they combine with the coconut milk to provide an overall thick and creamy texture that is lovely.  Sauteed garbanzo beans make the soup hearty enough for a meal and add an extra layer of umami and texture.  The jalapeno provides a nice counter to the sweetness of the coconut milk.  Overall the soup has such a well-rounded yet subtle flavor profile that I just loved.

The kiddos gave it their endorsement as well, captured without words in this lovely portrait.  They think you should give it a try!Red Lentil and Coconut Milk Soup Love

Red Lentil and Coconut Milk Soup
From Eat Happy Meal Plan
Adapted from Coconut Red-Lentil Curry, Gourmet 2006
Total Prep Time: 45 minutes
Active Time: 20 minutes
Serves:  4 with [...]

Real Food Hot Chocolate Recipe

Better Hot ChocolateBetter Hot Chocolate

Ditch the nasty packets!  Make the most of this late winter storm with this real food hot chocolate recipe.  Made with whole milk, real cocoa, raw honey, and a pinch of sea salt.  It may just literally warm your soul.

It’s easy peasy: take about 8-10 ounces of milk (I use goat milk, but you can use grass-fed cow’s milk, or even almond milk) and mix in about a tablespoon of good-quality cocoa (Droste is good) in a small to medium saucepan.  You’ll have to whisk it pretty well while it’s over medium-low heat.  (Keep it on the lower end, as milk can scorch – milk likes low and slow).  Real cocoa isn’t as easy to dissolve as cocoa mixes, but after 2-3 minutes it will completely dissolve.  Heat it until it’s almost to a simmer, but not quite.  The milk will be very hot and appear to thicken a little.  Then stir in 2-3 teaspoons of real honey and a tiny pinch of sea salt.

The result will be a creamy, dark chocolate cocoa experience that you’ll look forward to on cool days.  Marshmallows optional, but always fun.

Eat happy!

  • White bean chili with sweet potatoes and jalapeno
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    White Bean and Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Jalapeno

White Bean and Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Jalapeno

White bean chili with sweet potatoes and jalapeno White bean and turkey chili with sweet potatoes and jalapeno

This chili has been very popular with the kiddos for dinner, and will be a new winter staple in our house.  That’s my 3 year old’s chili – the supermodel in the above pic. It’s a sweet, savory, and if you want, slightly spicy take on chili.  Half-way between a traditional chili and a white chili it’s not too acidic, which I really enjoy with the traditional savory chili spices (and it’s easier on sensitive tummies).

I served mine with a little grated white cheddar cheese, some sliced green onions, and a spoonful of plain yogurt – delish.

Possible adaptations: omit the turkey if you’re vegetarian and add an extra can of beans, or a little diced firm tofu.  If you’re not into sweet potatoes (my husband isn’t), simply omit those – it’ll be just as good without them, and a little more traditional.

Recipe:  White Bean and Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Jalapeno

From: Eat Happy Meal Plan: 2/17/14
Total Prep Time: 45 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Serves:  4 with leftovers

4 ½ cups cooked white beans, such as cannellini, from 1 ½ cups dried or 3 cans
1 lb ground turkey, preferably free-range and pasture-fed
1 jalapeno minced small, seeds removed if you want less spice
2 poblano or green bell peppers, minced (use bell peppers if you want less spice)
4 teaspoons minced garlic, from about 4 cloves
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 cups chicken [...]

Oregon Blueberry Brunch Cake

A nice slice of Oregon blueberry brunch cake A nice slice of blueberry brunch cake

I’m ringing in the new year with something old – my mom’s Oregon Blueberry Brunch Cake.  My mom would make this for us frequently when my sisters and I were growing up living in Oregon.  We’d pick mountains of blueberries in the summer and freeze them to use throughout the coming year.  This was hands-down my morning favorite.

Of course I adapted it a little – just a smidge.  I used oat flour – my favorite gluten-free flour, and just a tiny bit of all-purpose gluten free flour mix to help with stability.  I used maple syrup in the cake instead of sugar, and real butter instead of oil.  And I used my favorite wild blueberries, which are now widely available in grocery stores.

The result was simply fantastic.  And you would NEVER – I swear to you – NEVER know this is gluten free.  You would also not guess that it’s almost entirely a whole grain cake.  That’s the fantastic thing about oat flour – it doesn’t have any of that cardboard-like flavor of whole wheat.  It’s sweet, and bakes up to be soft like white flour – not grainy.  But, as you can (kind of) see from the picture, it will have a golden color, and in this cake has an almost graham-y flavor.

I implore you to make this brunch cake.  You will be happy that you did.

Blueberry Brunch Cake Oregon Blueberry Brunch Cake

Oregon Blueberry Brunch Cake

1 cup oat [...]

By |December 31st, 2013|Gluten Free, Recipes, Soy Free|
  • Roasted Squash Salad with Two Beans and Tahini Lemon Dressing
    Permalink Roasted Squash Salad with Two Beans and Tahini Lemon DressingGallery

    Roasted Squash Salad with Two Beans and Lemon Tahini Dressing

Roasted Squash Salad with Two Beans and Lemon Tahini Dressing

Roasted Squash Salad with Two Beans and Tahini Lemon Dressing Roasted Squash Salad with Two Beans and Tahini Lemon Dressing

Beautiful, delicious and simple.  There really isn’t anything not to love about this dish.  But my favorite thing about, besides the taste, it is how efficient the preparation is.

When I’m in a rush, and I usually am, I try to think of recipes that consolidate prep steps.  In this “salad” (I only call it a salad because it is tossed with a dressing – there’s no lettuce in it), you can roast the squash, garbanzo beans, and green beans all at the same time.

Then, while they’re getting tasty in the oven, you have plenty of time to whip up the super quick and simple dressing.  You’ll even have time to clean up the kitchen, play with the kiddos, throw in some laundry, or do whatever you need to do.

When the roasting is done, plop everything in a large bowl and toss with the dressing.  Dinner is served.

Honestly, most of the work is in peeling and chopping the squash.  For that you’ll want a good knife – this is my favorite – and peeler.  And if you’re not sure how to do it watch this video first.  Or, if you’re not into all that, some handy already-prepared squash from your grocery store.  It’s worth it, cause then you get to eat this:

Roasted butternut squash Roasted butternut squash on parchment paper

Roasted butternut squash

The recipe has the option to serve over brown [...]

Salmon and Black Bean Burgers with Cumin and Lime Dressing

Salmon and Black Bean Burgers with Cumin and Lime Dressing Salmon and Black Bean Burgers with Cumin and Lime Dressing

Getting a last-minute, super-nourishing and complete dinner out of pantry staples isn’t necessarily easy.

In my house the need for this kind of meal typically arises at the end of the week.  In a way it’s a good problem to have, because it means that my left-overs from earlier in the week have been eaten.  That always makes me happy.

On the other hand, by the end of the week I’m pretty sick of cooking.  I just want something easy, low effort, low mess.  But still substantial and nourishing.  After all, I’m trying to grow a couple of healthy kids here.  They need high-quality protein, omega-3 fats like DHA and EPA, and an array of vitamins, minerals, and micro-nutrients.  So I’ll suck it up and cook, but I want it to be under a 30 min effort.

Enter the canned goods: black beans and salmon – both excellent pantry staples.  While I usually make my beans from dried, I keep a few containers of canned or tetra-packed beans for last-minute recipes like this.

For the salmon, I like Alaskan sockeye salmon, which is wild and contains the highest levels of those beneficial omega-3 fats.  If you can handle it with the bones, it’s actually better for you – the bones add great calcium and they’re soft enough to easily mash up.

Now I’ve made black beans burgers, and I’ve made salmon burgers.  This time I thought, why not mix it up a little and make them together, along with some mutually beneficial seasonings like cumin, [...]