Sunday, October 30, 2011


while driving to new jersey yesterday, october 29th, something wonderful happened.

while E made his way through the massive wet snowflakes and the accumulating slush between the lanes this song came on the radio.

yes, it's insane to hear "it's beginning to look a lot like christmas" in october, but it's also crazy to see snow plows and salt trucks and limbs straining under the weight of snow and leaves.

but a glimmer of hope remains among the melting snow, 56 days until christmas - the most wonderful time of the year!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Food for thought

i have been looking for inspiration lately. i have been looking for clarity. i have decided to quit blogging 7 times in the past 2 months. but something keeps bringing me back. something makes me physically incapable of thowing in the towel altogether. my regular readers may have noticed i have dropped off the rader a bit the past 3 months. life has changed, circumstances have changed, our location has changed, and it's safe to say, i have changed.

so, i have decided to embrace the change and i hope you will too. so expect some changes for good clean fun in the future. i hope all the changes are good. let's just say the most important change is more frequent posts. there will be the continued recipe posts but change is in the air. you may see some inspiration posts, some favorite things posts, life's pleasures posts, and maybe even some home improvement posts. besides cooking, our "new" old house is taking up the majority of my time and is becoming a bit of a passion.

this blog is going to be a bit more fully "me". not just the personal-chef-who-loves-to-experiment-in-the-kitchen-and-put-healthy-spin-on-things me. my life's great pleasures are now fair game.

look out. change is here. i hope you'll stick around, give me feedback (don't be afraid to leave comments!) and we can share the table of life together.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Zucchini and Potato Gratin

unprocessed october is going well for me so far, but full disclosure, today is my birthday and i will be eating 2 of my 3 main meals out. seeing as i don't really know what restaurants put into things, there is a good chance i may be unwittingly cheating. plus, i plan on having dessert for both lunch and dinner, so today, i embrace sugar! basically, i'm giving myself a pass (come on, it's my birthday!) but i'm giving you an awesome recipe for dinner tonight.

it's easy, all-natural, unprocessed, cheesy, and incredibly delicious! this zucchini and potato gratin makes a perfect side dish for fish or chicken. it's simplicity is what makes it so good. please don't be tempted to leave out the fresh thyme (and no, dried thyme is not the same). the fresh herb literally makes this dish.

i actually enjoyed this gratin as dinner a couple of weeks ago. it was a rare, beautiful, rain-free evening spent with my mom on our new screened in porch. this dish was so good, it was the star of the meal. we enjoyed just the zucchini and potato gratin and a glass of wine. yes. it's that good.

Zucchini and Potato Gratin
makes 4 side dishes (or, in our case, 2 main dishes)

1 large zucchini
1-2 butter potatoes
1 cup grueyere, shredded
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 cup whole milk
salt and pepper

preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

thinly slice zucchini and potatoes (i use a mandolin to make this step a breeze). grease a 8x8 inch cooking dish and place a layer of potatoes in the bottom. sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and sprinkle with 1/4 cup grueyere. place a layer of zucchini followed by salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup grueyere. repeat until you have 4 layers. pour milk over whole dish and sprinkle with remaining grueyere and all of parmesan. sprinkle thyme leaves over parmesan.

bake for 30-45 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. remove and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pumpkin Crunch Muffins

it seemed only natural to start this october unprocessed (yes, i started today, october 3rd, two days late - better late than never, right?) with breakfast.

plain greek yogurt and fruit is my usual go-to breakfast. the protein keeps me pretty full and the fruit adds some sweetness, but i still find myself wanting something carb-y to go with it. i find when i have toast with PB, or a granola bar too, i stay fuller even longer.

with fall in the air this weekend, i was craving pumpkin. thus, the pumpkin crunch muffins were born. i used inspiration from a recipe i saw with a crunchy granola topping. i made some pumpkin granola and adapted a pumpkin muffin recipe for the base.

i used agave and maple syrup instead of sugar and a flax egg instead of a real egg for the simple reason that i had used all my eggs up. walnuts and pecans provide some wholesome protein while the flaxseed adds omega-3's (something i never get enough of - note to self - remember to take fish oil supplements!). the muffin was the perfect accompaniment to my berries with pineapple yogurt. warmed up along side a cup of coffee, this muffin made for a perfect autumn breakfast.

hope you enjoy these pumpkin packed, granola-topped, slightly sweet, warm pumpkin crunch muffins.

Pumpkin Crunch Muffins
makes 8 muffins - can easily be doubled
adapted from back to the cutting board

granola topping:
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
pinch salt
2 tbs maple syrup
1/8 cup pumpkin puree
1 tbs melted butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans

muffin batter:
1/2 stick unsalted butter (softened)
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tbs ground flax seed
2 tbs water
1 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

to assemble the granola, mix wet ingredients (maple syrup, butter, pumpkin) in a medium bowl. in a large bowl, mix together remaining dry ingredients. combine wet and dry ingredients and stir well.

spread onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. stir well and bake another 15-20 minutes.

stir together ground flax seed and water in a small bowl and set aside. beat butter with electric mixer until light a fluffy. add flax egg and mix until combined. combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and spice) in a separate bowl. in another bowl, whisk together agave, maple syrup, and pumpkin.

add half of dry ingredients to mixer and mix until combined. add half of wet ingredients and mix until combined. repeat with remaining dry and wet ingredients. mix in walnuts.

fill a paper-lined muffin tin 2/3 full. top with crumbled granola and press granola slightly into batter. bake for 10 minutes. rotate pan in oven and bake another 10-15 minutes. bake until a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean. let cool completely and store in airtight container.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


i am trying something new for the month of october. something that is guaranteed to get me back into the kitchen. something that i hope will be good for me, educational, challenging, and exciting. wanna join me? october unprocessed

i am going unprocessed for the month of october. that's right, for a whole month, i will not be putting anything processed into my mouth. i am following the eating rules definition

"Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with readily available, whole-food ingredients. I call it “The Kitchen Test.” If you pick up something with a label (and if it doesn’t have a label, it’s probably unprocessed), and find an ingredient you’d never use in your kitchen and couldn’t possibly make yourself from the whole form, it’s processed. It doesn’t mean you actually have to make it yourself, it just means that for it to be considered “unprocessed” that you could, in theory, do so."

so, there you have it - my october challenge. i hope you'll stop back and check in on me throughout the month. i hope to have some new, clean, easy, tasty recipes for you. and, if you so happen to be inspired to join me, sign the pledge here
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...