Monday, October 24, 2016

Hazelnut Cacao Nib Granola

Hazelnut Cacao Nib Granola
I’m writing this post sitting in my favorite comfy chair. A large sheet pan of granola is currently cooling on the kitchen counter in the adjoining room. My head is feeling a bit dizzy with the delightful smells of cardamom, cinnamon, oats, coconut and nuts that is wafting throughout the house. One of the biggest reasons I like making my own granola is that I can control the quality and quantity of ingredients. Also it’s a wonderful way to start the day.

Granola was not an ingredient we experienced as kids. When I was in elementary school we had a vegetable garden and a large apple tree. We also raised a few chickens and had a  rooster named Charlie. That mean ole bird used to chase me around the yard and I was terrified of him. Charlie did love my sister and would sit on her lap and follow her around like a puppy dog. The closest thing to granola was my mom’s Wheels of Steele cookies, which is still one of my favorites.

Hazelnut Cacao Nib Granola Sheet pan
This recipe has been adapted from Megan Gordon’s, “Whole Grain Mornings”, cookbook. I followed the directions very closely except for the measurements of the nuts which I doubled. I have to say this is one of the best granolas I have ever enjoyed.

yield: 6 to 7 cupsprint recipe

Hazelnut Cacao Nib Granola

prep time: 20 MINScook time: 35 MINStotal time: 55 mins


3 cup rolled oats (I used gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup raw sesame seeds
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup roasted hazelnuts (skinless)
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs


  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Set aside.
  2. Combine oats, sesame seeds, walnuts, salt, cinnamon and cardamom in a large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl stir together the vanilla, coconut oil and maple syrup, pour over dry ingredients, mix well.
  4. Scoop onto prepared baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Press mixture down with your hands or a spatula.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and add in the coconut flakes and hazelnuts.
  6. Bake another 16 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway. Remove from oven and let cool. (granola will firm up as it cools)
  7. Stir in cacao nibs. Enjoy with yogurt and fruit.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 6 weeks.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Modern Way To Cook, A Cookbook by Anna Jones

A Modern Way To Cook, A Cookbook by Anna Jones
I remember growing up; my mom always smelled like Jergens, the original cherry almond lotion. Oh I loved that smell. Dinners always consisted of some kind of meat or meat by-product. Then and only then some type of starch and veggies were added. Thank goodness times have changed. Meals have become more healthy and focused on fresh and seasonal vegetables. And why not, veggies can open up a whole new world.

My idea of a great vegetarian meal is one in which no one realizes it's meat free. The meal is colourful with lots of flavour and texture. The ingredients are easy to obtain and the recipes easy to navigate. Now enters Anna Jones, a very talented London based chef. She has previously worked with Jamie Oliver and has just published her second vegetarian cookbook, “A Modern Way to Cook”.  Her focus is on seasonal and wholesome ingredients that can be prepared quickly. The recipes are organized into chapters according to the time they take to put together, 20, 30 or 45 minutes. There is also a chapter on investment cooking, the kind of cooking that takes more time in the kitchen like nut butters, granola and such. “The backbone foods of the kitchen” as she so aptly describes.

Butternut Squash and Cannellini Gratin

From this cookbook I prepared the butternut and cannellini gratin. It is wonderful combination of red onions that were cooked down until soft and sweet. Butternut squash was then added along with a few sprigs of rosemary. As you can imagine by now; the kitchen smelled heavenly. Next cannellini beans are added, vegetable stock and juice from a lemon. The gratin was topped with torn sourdough bread pieces and grated Swiss cheese and then baked for 45 minutes. In my own defense I was not sure what my husband would say because of the beans, not a big fan........ but he loved i!. Will be making this again. The next day I added the gratin filling minus the crispy bread topping to a quesadilla and enjoyed it for lunch, delicious.

Quesadilla with butternut and cannellini gratin

I highly recommend, “A Modern Way to Cook” to anyone wanting to enjoy quick vegetarian meals that are very thoughtful and easy to prepare.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Chicken Broccoli Salad with Oranges and Pomegranate Seeds

Chicken Broccoli Salad with Oranges and Pomegranate Seeds

Fall in the desert looks pretty much like summer in the desert. The big difference is that the days and nights stay under 100 degrees. Morning walks find us in seventy degree weather and that is quite pleasant. It’s the afternoons temperatures that are still a little tough.

Lego Polar Bear Family
I’ve had the most wonderful week with my grandsons. We went to a park every morning except for the day we went to the Phoenix zoo, they had a really fun lego event (see above pic). Throughout the week we played basketball, soccer, 2 square, video and board games and completed a few art projects. The day they left I went to bed at 7:15pm and slept 10 hours. Phew!

The Joybus Diner
It’s interesting how many changes occured in our neighborhood this summer. Besides the customary new neighbors, a large saguaro that housed many birds fell down during a monsoon storm. There was also a new gourmet burger place and a rock climbing gym. My favorite new business by far is the Joybus Diner. They serve breakfast and lunch. The food is simple, nothing too fancy, but delicious. All proceeds are donated to their non-profit which is an organization that serves free healthy meals and a “friendly face” to cancer patients. Volunteers deliver meals and work in the restaurant; it's a beautiful concept.

Anyway, it’s nice to be back, I think you are going to like this salad, it’s crunchy and sweet and full of little surprises. The dressing is bright and citrusy with tahini and white vinegar and there is no salad or olive oil of any kind. Enjoy!

yield: 4 to 6 as a main dishprint recipe

Chicken Broccoli Salad with Oranges Slices and Pomegranate Seeds

prep time: 30 MINScook time: total time: 30 mins
This hearty fall salad will make a healthy and delicious meal choice while enjoying the cooler weather.


Main Salad:
  • 1 small head romaine, cleaned and chopped
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cups broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 2 oranges, peeled and divided into segments
  • ½ avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey


  1. For a mixing container I use a ½ to a pint canning jar, depending on quantity. Combine ingredients and shake. (Can refrigerate up to 5 days).
  2. To assemble salad, layer romaine, chicken, broccoli, orange segments, pomegranate seeds, sunflower seeds and avocado. Dress and toss with dressing.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Salmon Chowder and My First Day Back

Salmon Chowder
We arrived home, in Phoenix two nights ago. First thing the next morning was our walk and then coffee. After checking my email I couldn’t believe my good fortune when I realized that my favorite farm, McClendon’s Select was having their opening day, that day…..right then. Well, I’m sure by now you guessed, I was on my way.

Uptown Farmer's Market, Phoenix Arizona
When I first stepped out of my car I heard the music, there is always music at this market. Next I saw people of all ages milling around the bins of veggies, some were even chatting like old friends. I noticed a little girl, no more than 3 chewing on a stalk of broccoli and asking for more.

McClendon's Select Farm
Then I saw one of the gentlemen that works at the market help an older woman with her basket to her car. I saw that everyone was so careful and thoughtful with each other. All of a sudden I felt my eyes tear up and I had the most incredible urge to cry. I just spent the summer in a very small town. Now I was witnessing the same type of kindness here in the large city of Phoenix, Arizona. People really are wonderful.

I meant to publish this recipe for Salmon Chowder right before we left Oregon but I ran out of time. 

yield: 5 to 6print recipe

Salmon Chowder

This simple but hearty salmon chowder is the perfect segway from summer to fall, all these ingredients are at their best.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ small onion, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • 1 to 2 medium Yukon potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 medium ears corn, shucked
  • 1 to 2 roasted red peppers, chopped, I bought mine from Trader Joe’s
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 pound salmon, skin and pin bones removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, (keep intact, remove from soup before serving).


  1. Over medium heat in a large heavy soup pot sauté the onion and shallots until translucent about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the celery and sauté another 2 to 3 minutes. Turn up heat to medium-high, add potatoes, chicken stock, salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, simmer about 10 to 12 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
  2. Add the cream and simmer, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the salmon, corn and peppers. Simmer gently until the salmon is just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Add more stock if needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove rosemary sprig.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Pumpkin Biscotti Drizzled with White Chocolate

Pumpkin Biscotti Drizzled with White Chocolate

Greetings fall, you bring crisp mornings and promise of rain. Pillows of leaves mark our morning steps into the woods and while we have many evergreens, the alders have but all lost their leaves. The local fisherman dot the rocks along the river as the water flows out into the sea. Each hoping to catch the big one as they run to the place of their natal beginnings.

Meadow up Yachats river

Fall is here……Today I celebrate the season with these crunchy little cookies that are flavored with cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. The actually cookie is tasty, perfect for dunking. The white chocolate drizzle adds the perfect amount of sweetness.

This recipe has been adapted from the King Arthur Flour website.

yield: 30 to 40print recipe

Pumpkin Biscotti Drizzled with White Chocolate

prep time: 25 MINScook time: 1 hour and 05 MINStotal time: 1 hours and 30 mins
Enjoy these crunchy pumpkin flavored biscotti that have been drizzled with white chocolate. Perfect with a hot cup of coffee or an ice cold glass of milk.


4 tablespoons unsalted softened butter
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3.5 ounce white chocolate bar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with silpat or parchment) one large baking sheet.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the butter, sugar, spices, baking powder, and salt until the mixture comes together and is smooth and creamy.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the egg and pumpkin purée, add to sugar and butter mixture. Combine and mix on low speed using a hand mixer. Add flour and mix until just smooth. (dough will be sticky).
  4. Flour your hands, halve dough and form 2 (10-by 2-inch) loaves.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
  6. Cut biscotti on the diagonal, for fewer, longer biscotti. As you're slicing, be sure to cut straight up and down. (if you cut unevenly, biscotti will not bake evenly).
  7. Set the biscotti on edge on the prepared baking sheet and bake them for 40 to 45 minutes, until they're starting to turn golden brown around the edges. (the middle might still be a little soft). Turn off the oven, crack the door open a couple of inches, and let the biscotti set until cool.
  8. Break up chocolate into pieces and then place in the top of double boiler over simmering water, stir until smooth. Remove from over water. Using a whisk, drizzle chocolate over biscotti. Let stand until chocolate sets, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Vegan Artichoke Soup

Artichoke Soup

Soup, what does it mean to you? For me it’s warmth, comfort and nourishment in one bowl. I can enjoy soup any time of day or year, no matter what the weather. When your full from enjoying a bowl of soup you feel nice and warm, it’s like you’re getting a hug back. There are different kinds of soup depending on region and ethnicity. They can be clear, creamy, full of meat, veggies, hot or cold. When my husband and I would visit his late Uncle and Aunt who were in their nineties, a pot of soup was always brought out, I cherish that memory.

Artichokes in the Garden

I’ve been clearing out the garden and preparing the ground for winter. Some of the plants I will leave alone and just cover them with some hay. Others I will till into the soil. This year I let some of the dill and bush beans dry out and go to seed so I could save them and plant them again next year. Hopefully I will remember where I tucked these seeds away. One of the plants that I did not pull out but cut way down was the artichoke bush. Hence this fresh artichoke soup.

yield: 3 to 4print recipe

Artichoke Soup

prep time: 45 MINScook time: 30 MINStotal time: 75 mins
Light and creamy with the distinct flavor of artichoke is the best way to describe this soup. The perfect way to bring in fall.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 large potato, chopped
  • 7 Artichokes (about 2 cups hearts)
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • chives for garnish
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and shallots and stir. Cook until onions are translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes and artichokes, cook for 5 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, salt, and pepper and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Puree the soup using an immersion blender or regular blender until smooth. Pour back into pot, taste and season again with salt and pepper if needed.
  4. To serve, ladle into bowls and then garnish with fresh chives.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Old Fashioned Peach Butter with Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

Old Fashioned Peach Butter with Homemade Biscuits
This recipe is a little late seeing that we had our canning spree two weeks ago, but as they say better late than never. And today is the first day of fall, yay! At the time we canned tomato salsa, peach salsa and peach butter. I can’t really say that I have a favorite as they are all unique and delicious in there own way.

Canning Peach Butter
Here is the thing about peach butter, it is somewhere in between a jam and a sauce and is so easy to make. Basically you clean the peaches. Remove the pit and then cut them into fourths. (Notice the skins we not removed). We cooked ours on the lowest setting in a cast iron dutch oven with sugar and cinnamon overnight, about 18 hours (lid was left slightly ajar). The next day lemon juice was added and then the butter was scooped into jars with lids and rings and then processed for 10 minutes in a water bath. I’m not sure if you noticed or not but no butter had been added. Yep, cooking it low and slow developed all the flavor that you need.

yield: 5-6 pintsprint recipe

Old Fashioned Peach Butter

prep time: cook time: total time:
Slow-cooked peach butter is an easy way to make sure your extra peaches are turned into something very tasty. This recipe is from my canning friend’s grandma in Oklahoma. Thank you, P!


  • 6 pounds peaches, quartered and pitted
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • Juice of 1/2 medium lemon


  1. Cut the peaches into quarters. Place into a large dutch-oven. Add the sugar, salt and cinnamon, then stir to combine.
  2. Place in oven on the lowest setting with lid slightly ajar. Stir every few hours, until thick and spreadable, approx. 12 to 18 hours. Make sure to re-vent the lid after each stir.
  3. Remove from off the oven, uncover and add the lemon juice, stir to combine.
  4. Funnel the peach butter into clean, properly prepared jars. Wipe the rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.

The buttermilk biscuit recipe has been slightly adapted from

yield: 9 to 12print recipe

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

prep time: cook time: total time:
This simple recipe creates fluffy, light biscuits. Be sure to work fast so the butter stays cold and be careful to not overwork the dough.


  • 6 tablespoons of butter, cut into small pieces, (then back into fridge to keep very cold until use)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 450 °F. Prepare a baking sheet or round pie pan with butter. For soft biscuits have biscuit sides touching in a round pan, for crispy edges place 1 inch apart on baking sheet).
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Transfer to a food processor. Add butter, then pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture resembles rough crumbs. Now add buttermilk and pulse just a few more times.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and pat it down into a rough rectangle, about an inch thick. Fold it over and gently pat it down again. Repeat.
  4. Gently pat out the dough some more, so that the rectangle is roughly 1 inch thick. Cut dough into biscuits using a biscuit or round cutter. Do not twist cutter as this crimps the edges of the biscuit and the biscuits will not rise.
  5. Place biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake until light golden brown, approximately 10 to 12 minutes.