Carrot, Garbanzo & Golden Raisin Salad with Tahini Dressing

Carrot Salad For Rosh Hashanah, I was tasked with bringing a side.  And because I wanted it to be dairy free, I looked at Smitten Kitchen’s recipes for vegan dishes and came across this carrot salad.  It was such a hit that one attendee went back for thirds and asked where she could find the recipe.  This salad is delicious, flavorful, and even packed with protein.  I liked it so much I made it a second time the same week!Shredded Carrots

Here’s what you need (the recipe can easily be doubled so you have enough to share and have leftovers):

For the crispy garbanzos:

1 can garbanzo beans

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the rest of the salad:

1 pound carrots, peeled and grated

1 cup golden raisins

For the dressing:

1/4 cup parsley

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons tahini

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons water

Here’s what you do:

(1) Crispy garbanzos:  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Drain, rinse, and pat dry the garbanzo beans.  Toss them with the 1 TB olive oil, the cumin and the salt.  Roast in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until they are turning golden and slightly crispy.  Remove and set aside.Crispy Garbanzos

(2) Dressing:  Make the dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.

(3) Make the salad:  Mix together the carrots, raisins and chickpeas.  Then toss with the dressing.Carrots and Raisins



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Salmon with Lemon and Dill, Roasted in “You Had Me At” Butter

Roasted SalmonI’m always looking for ways to entertain myself while breastfeeding.  For those of you who have done it, you know it takes a fair amount of your time.  In the age of smartphones, of course I am always checking out Instagram.  Not that I really ever post anything there, but I like to see what other people are posting.  And luckily it’s gotten more fun so I can actually read some good jokes or see some yummy pictures of food.  During one of these perusals, I came across a quick time lapse video of a simply roasted salmon recipe from the NY Times.  I made it last night and seriously couldn’t believe how good it tasted.  I hope you enjoy just as much as we did.  And credit for the title goes to my friend Kate – her reaction when I shared the recipe.

Here’s what you need:

1.5 – 2 pound salmon filet – I used scottish salmon because it retains its moistness

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1 lemon, cut into four wedges

salt and pepper

Here’s what you do:

(1) Preheat your oven to 475 degrees.

(2) Put the butter and half the dill into a roasting pan just large enough for your salmon.  Put in the oven for about five minutes so it melts and the dill starts to sizzle a bit.

(3) Dry off your salmon with paper towels.  Put the salmon into the melted butter pan, skin side up.  Roast for 5 minutes.

(4) Remove the pan from the oven and peel off the salmon skin.  It should come off really easily!

(5) Season with salt and pepper.  Then flip the salmon over.  Season that side with salt and pepper, then squeeze two wedges of lemon over the salmon and sprinkle some more dill.  Put back into the oven for another 5-12 minutes, depending on thickness and how well done you like it.  Mine took about 12 minutes, and I took it out at 5 and 10 to cut it up a bit so the thick middle part would cook all the way through.

(6) When it’s fully cooked to your liking, squeeze the third lemon wedge and sprinkle with the remaining dill.  Serve with some of the butter sauce drizzled on top.


Roasted Salmon

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Apple Yogurt Cake

Apple Yogurt CakeIn Northern California, summer is the time for Gravenstein apples.  Sweet and tart, they are perfect for baking.  And thanks to Nicki – and Danielle’s tree – I had a good load of them just waiting to be eaten.  They were delicious mixed into this simple coffee cake.  (Adopted from Smitten Kitchen.)  The cake was moist and satisfying.  Hope you like it!

Here’s what you need:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

4 eggs

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I did 2%)

juice from one lime + 1 teaspoon lemon extract OR juice from one lemon

1/4 cup apple brandy

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons basic olive oil

3 cups finely diced peeled and cored tart, firm apples (about 3 medium apples)

Here’s what you do:

(1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a 9″ baking pan.

(2) In a smaller bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.  Set aside.

(3) In a big bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until fluffy and pale yellow (a few minutes).  Beat in the yogurt, citrus juice (and extract if using), and brandy, until smooth.

(4) Working in batches, beat in the flour and alternate with the olive oil.

(5) Gently, but fully, mix in the apples.

(6) Pour the cake into the pan and tap on the counter to level off.  Smooth the top with a spatula.  Then bake for 55 to 65 minutes – until the top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Apple Yogurt Cake


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Chili Mac and Cheese II (or No Pre-Cook Mac & Cheese)

Mac & CheeseFullSizeRenderA while ago, I posted a recipe for chili mac and cheese.  Recently, I was deciding what to cook for Rose Friday, our mommy and me’s weekly get together, and I came across a recipe for mac and cheese that required no pre-cooking.  I spruced up the recipe to add some veggies and protein, and made this.  This recipe makes a really good-sized pan of mac and cheese, so feel free to cut it in half if you don’t want too many leftovers.  This is based on a recipe from Smitten Kitchen and the NYTimes.  (Apologies for the limited pictures, I had to put this together quickly, and then we gobbled it up fast!)

Here’s what you need:

2 cups full fat cottage cheese

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon mustard

4 cups milk, divided into 1 cup and 3 cups (I did 2% – I would recommend that or whole milk)

2 pounds shredded cheese (I did half extra sharp cheddar, half jack; I recommend grating yourself – and not buying pre-shredded – as it melts better)

1 pound elbow pasta, uncooked

2 handfuls cherry tomatoes, cut in half

3/4 cup chopped sweet peppers (or bell peppers)

1 can black beans, drained

1 can kidney beans, drained

(UPDATE:  If you want to make this as regular mac & cheese like you see in the first picture above, just omit the tomatoes, peppers, beans and spices, add 1 tablespoon mustard and 1 tablespoon ketchup, and feel free to mix up the cheeses)

Here’s what you do:

(1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and butter a 9×13 baking dish.

(2) In a blender or food processor, combine the cottage cheese, spices, mustard, and 1 cup milk.  Blend until smooth.

(3) In a large bowl, mix together the cottage cheese mixture, the remaining milk, 3/4 of the cheese, the pasta (uncooked), the tomatoes, the peppers, and the beans.

(4) Pour the macaroni mixture into the buttered pan, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.  (I also recommend putting a larger cookie sheet under the pan so the liquid doesn’t boil over into the oven.)

(5) After 30 minutes, remove the foil, lightly stir the macaroni, and then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the macaroni.  Return to the oven uncovered and bake for another 30 minutes.

(6) Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before eating.


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MokimoTo meet her newest grandson, Simon’s Cucu (pronounced sho-sho), his grandmother from Kenya, came to visit.  In an attempt to make some Kenyan food, Patrick and I darted around the kitchen and made mokimo, a dish that combines potatoes, corn and greens, as well as a chicken curry that a website told me was “Kenyan” (not sure it really was, but either way, it tasted great).  It was a delicious family dinner that I hope you will enjoy.  Granted my mokimo wasn’t spot on for a traditional texture, but it was yummy!

Here’s what you need:

2 very large potatoes

3 ears corn

2 heads greens (we did kale, but a more traditional choice would be something that breaks down more easily, like pumpkin leaves)

2 tablespoons butter or oil (or more to taste)

salt and pepper to taste

Here’s what you do:

(1) Cook the potatoes.  We peeled ours, cut them up, and microwaved them until they were soft.

(2) Cook the corn.  We shucked ours, placed a damp paper towel on top, and microwaved for about 3 minutes.

(3) Prepare the kale.  First, we steamed it by removing the leaves from the stems, putting them in a dish with some water in the bottom, covering the leaves, and microwaving for about 3 minutes.  Then, we blended the leaves in a food processor.

(4) Prepare the dish.  First, mash the potatoes with the butter or oil and salt and pepper.  Then stir and mash in the kale or other cooked greens.  Finally, stir in the corn.  Then further season with salt and pepper until it tastes good.  (You can also stir in mashed beans if you like!)


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Tomato Basil Salad

tomato basil saladFor my first Mother’s Day, my mom and dad bought me an Alice Waters’ cookbook – The Art of Simple Food.  I’ve been reading it to learn new techniques, and picked up a few tips:  (1) cook with what is in season, it will provide the best flavor with the least effort, (2) make sure your textures are varied, and (3) make your own salad dressing, but be sure to use high-quality vinegar and oil.  With these in mind, I whipped up a delicious salad, first for my grandparents and then for my husband, and finally for my sister and brother-in-law, and it was a hit for everyone.

Here’s what you need:

For the salad:

2 cups arugula

2 cups baby spinach

8 basil leaves

5 ounces cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup crunchy salad topping (first time I did fried onions, the other times sweetened pecan pieces)

Optional:  1/2 cup chopped cheese, such as feta or fresh mozzarella

For the salad dressing:

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

Optional:  1 teaspoon minced shallots and/or 1 teaspoon mustard

Here’s what you do:

(1) Prepare the salad by tearing the arugula and baby spinach into pieces.  Cut the basil into ribbons.  Slice half the tomatoes in half, and the other portion of them into quarters.  Mix all of that together in a bowl with the crunch topping and cheese (if using).

(2) Prepare the dressing:  Whisk together the vinegar and salt.  Then whisk in the oil.  Finally, whisk in the shallot and/or mustard (if using).  Then whisk the entire mixture together.tomato basil salad dressing

(3) Right before serving, re-whisk the dressing, pour it over the salad, and toss.

Enjoy!tomato basil salad

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Adult Brazilian Limeade

Adult brazilian limeadeOur mommy and me group got together with moms, dads and babies for a taco party.  Our gracious host requested margaritas, and when I offered to make them, but revealed I was going to use Jose Cuervo margarita mix – even though I have a cooking blog – I was told I could be forgiven.  With that, I knew I had to do better.  So I made three pitchers of this adult limeade and it was a big hit.  (Note I got 3 pitchers by multiplying the recipe times 20).  This recipe was originally Instagrammed on the Anthropologie blog – goes to show you never know where the inspiration for your next meal or drink will come from.  This is really refreshing!  And thanks Mary, Mike and Henry for a great party!

Here’s what you need:

1 lime, quartered

1 cup coconut water, divided in two

2 tablespoons condensed milk

1 tablespoon plus two teaspoons white sugar

1.5 ounces rum or tequila


Here’s what you do:

(1) In a blender, blend together the lime, half the coconut water, condensed milk and sugar.

(2) Pour the lime mixture through a mesh seive so you remove all the lime chunks.

(3) Mix the remaining coconut water and alcohol into the lime juice mixture.

(4) Pour over ice and enjoy!

*Note – I also made this with a meyer lemon.  It was pretty large, so I tripled the other ingredients, and it was deliciuous that way too!  I imagine it would also be nice with a regular lemon as well.

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Herbed Veggie and Rice Casserole

Brown rice and veggie casseroleSo sorry it’s been forever since I’ve posted!  I’ve been cooking a bit – but I have this little one attached to my chest at all times, so it’s been hard to find the time.  He’s a great “helper” in the kitchen – he sleeps in the ErgoBaby while I chop and mix and bake.  But I knew it had been too long, so I wanted to get a couple of recipes up on the blog.  This weekend I wanted to cook some simple items that used up ingredients in my fridge.  I had some shredded carrots, some shredded cheese, and some herbs I had purchased for another dish.  Add the farmer’s market, some rice, and the desire for some healthy food, and here you have it!  This was super easy to make and tastes great.  And you can feel free to use different veggies you have lying around, or different cheeses, or use more or less of most of the ingredients.

Here’s what you need:

2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice (or rice of your choice)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion

2 zucchini

1 head greens (I did swiss chard)

1 cup shredded carrots

1 bunch asparagus

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup plain greek yogurt (nonfat is fine)

1 cup shredded cheese (I had gruyere and sharp cheddar in my fridge, so I used that)

2 tablespoons each of the following herbs, chopped:  mint, dill, basil, chives

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1 1/2 cups parmesan (or a parmesan/romano/asiago blend)

Here’s what you do:

(1)  Cook the rice in a rice cooker or on the stove.  Set aside.

(2) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

(3) Using the grating attachment to your food processor, or using a hand grater, or chopping into smallish pieces, grate the onion.  Heat one tablespoon olive oil over high heat and saute the onion.

(4) While the onion is sauteing, prepare the zucchini using the same technique (I did the grater on my food processer; I was also able to use it for the cheese).  Add the zucchini to the onion after a couple of minutes and continue to cook.

(5) Remove the leaves of the greens from the stems and shred into small pieces.  Add to the zucchini/onion mixture.

(6) Snap the asparagus stalks where they naturally break, and cut the pieces with the tips into bite size pieces. Add to the veggie mixture.

(7) Cook the veggies for about 5-10 minutes, until they are all softened.

(8) Then, in a large bowl, mix together the rice, yogurt, veggies, herbs, salt and shredded cheese (saving the parmesan for later).

(9) Spread the rice mixture into a baking dish, and then sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and then the parmesan cheese.

(10) Bake for about 20-25 minutes until hot and the cheese on top is browned.


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Brownie Cake Cookies

Brownie Cake CookiesEvery time a new Smitten Kitchen post passes through my email, I pretty much always want to make the recipe.  One of the most recent posts was no exception.  It was a recipe called the Browniest Cookies.  To be candid, I am not a huge cookie fan, but do love brownies, and figured the combination would be delightful – soft and chocolatey and fudgey without being too doughy.  Last weekend I spent the day with my sister and her in-laws and not only did Kathy and I have a great time together buying the ingredients (and chatting with the Odwalla juice sample lady at Vons for a while), but we also had fun making these cookies.  Because they were a bit cakier, and less fudgey, than expected, I called them Brownie Cake Cookies.  I am considering reducing the flour a bit the next time I make them to see if they will be a bit more brownie.  But regardless, they were delicious and quite easy to make!

Here’s what you need:

1 stick unsalted butter

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped up

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons white sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup flour

2/3 cup semisweeet chocolate chips

Here’s what you do:

1.  On the stove over low heat in a pan big enough to mix all the ingredients together, slowly melt together the chocolate and butter.  In other words, throw it in, stir it frequently, and let it melt.

2.  Once melted, remove from heat.  Whisk in the sugars.  Then whisk in the eggs one at a time.  Then whisk in the vanilla, baking soda and salt.

3.  Add the cocoa powder to the mixture and stir just to combine.  Then add the flour and stir again to combine.  Finally, fold in the chocolate chips.Brownie Cake Cookie Batter

4.  Put the dough in the fridge and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.  About 15 minutes in, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

5.  Once the dough has firmed up, using a parchment paper or a silicon mat lined pan, scoop the cookies in about 2 tablespoon dollops and place them on the non-stick paper.  Leave some room in between for spreading, but don’t worry, they don’t spread much.  (It’s okay if you need to bake in two batches.)

6.  Bake the cookies for about 11-13 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a minute or two on the pan.  Once firmed up, remove from the pan and finish cooling on a rack.

Enjoy!Brownie Cake Cookies

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Good Old Fashioned Meatloaf (MBL Style)

MeatloafThis weekend, Patrick and I decided comfort food would be a nice way to spend Sunday evening – especially after I left him alone all weekend while I attended Brittany’s bachelorette party.  We went for meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  The recipe for the meatloaf is one my grandma had copied from a magazine years ago – Patrick and I actually first made it together on one of our first Christmases as a couple (after a 15 mile bike / rollerblade ride – good times).  This is the first time we didn’t make it with all turkey (and we made it a little larger than last time to have more leftovers), but no matter how we make it, it always tastes delicious.

Here’s what you need:

Veggies, finely chopped or chopped in the food processor:  1 onion, 5 scallions, 1 bell pepper, 3 stalks of celery, 3-4 peeled carrots, 4 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup half and half (I use fat free)

1/2 cup ketchup

3 eggs (or the equivalent with egg whites)

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

3 pounds ground meat (you can do extra lean turkey, lean turkey, 90/10 beef, 85/15 beef, or your favorite combo – I’ve only done all extra lean turkey, or half extra lean turkey half beef)

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Here’s what you do:

1.  Prepare the veggies by chopping them up by hand by using a food processor.  Heat the olive oil in a pan, and saute the veggies so they release some liquid, for about ten minutes.  Allow to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

2.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

3.  In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, half and half, ketchup and spices.

4.  Add the meat to the half & half mixture.  Then add the bread crumbs and the cooked veggies (without the liquid).  Knead the mixture together for about 5 minutes with your hands.

5.  On a cookie sheet lined with foil (and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray), form the meat into a large, loaf-like shape (or you can break it into two loaves).

6.  Bake in the oven, covered with foil, for about 1 hour, or until the meat is fully cooked.

Eat with salad, mashed potatoes, on a sandwich, or as is.




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