Mar 172013

Vegan Taco Salad

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

Do you love traveling? I have to say that I do enjoy some travel but leaving home weekly would be tough – my life is so crazy that I savor the quiet minutes at home. When the travel bug does happen to hit me, one of the very first things I do as a plant based foodie is check out unique restaurants located in my destination that offer some creative vegan options, or at least some great dishes that can be easily altered.

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

The restaurant that stands out from a trip to San Francisco a few years ago was Peter Lowell’s in the little town of Sebestapol. I found it on a recommendation from a local woman and then logged on to my smart phone and checked it out.  They offered tons of vegan, local and sustainable options!  One of the first things that hit me when I walked in the front door was seeing industrial sized salad spinners in the back for cleaning all the greens they go through.  Now THAT is the sign of a good restaurant!  I ordered a macro bowl with lentils, greens, tempeh and some delicious sauces to-go.  What an impression it made! It was so flavorful that I still remember sitting on a bluff overlooking the ocean as I savored every morsel.

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

When I think of locations I haven’t been to in the US that I’d like to travel to, I think of Montana (anyone have any suggestions on great cities in Montana?), Lake Tahoe, South Padre Island, Outer Banks of North Carolina, and Vegas baby!  My parents are going to be heading out there in September so my mom was asking about some places to eat – I searched around on line and found this a great list of celebrity chef restaurants in Vegas.  I’d LOVE to try Bobby Flay’s restaurant.  Though he doesn’t cater to a vegan diet, there is a LOT to work with there.  Black beans, fresh salsas and sauces, and avocados.  You just can’t go wrong with avocado!

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

All the talk of avocado was making me hungry – and this salad was certainly gratifying.  Crunchy chips, creamy avocado, fresh salsa and a hearty seasoned mixture of walnuts and barley with the kick of cayenne are perfect to satisfy any Tex-Mex craving.

I created a chipotle walnut lettuce wrap with mango salsa in the past, based on a recipe from the glorious blog My New Roots (Who ironically just posted about travel as well.), that was better than any greasy beef dish I’d ever had – so I used the basic idea of taco seasoning and walnuts but added in some chewy barley to enhance the “beefy” texture.  The barley can be pre-cooked a few days beforehand but keep in mind that if you want a warmer temperature that you will have to heat the walnut barley mixture.

Tips: Not a spice fan? If you don’t like the heat, simply leave out the cayenne pepper.
Gluten allergy?  Sub quinoa for the barley!

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

6 servings
Printable Recipe


½ cup barley
1/2 cup raw walnuts
6 ribs romaine lettuce, chopped
1 bag organic blue corn chips

Flavor Punch!

1 Tbsp tamari, soy sauce or liquid aminos
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil


1 avocado
1/2 lime, juiced
¼ red onion
1 tomato
Dash of coarse sea salt


1. Rinse barley in a fine mesh strainer; soak barley in 2 cups water overnight; drain; add to a medium pot with 1 1/2 cups water or veggie broth; bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. (**See below for cook times without pre-soak.) Reserve 1/2 cup cooked barley for recipe and save the rest for another use.

2. Place walnuts in a food processor or magic bullet; mix flavor punch! ingredients in a small bowl and add to walnuts; pulse until well combined; stir in cooked barley.

2. Mix salsa ingredients in a small bowl.  Lay a few chips on each plate; top with 1 rib chopped romaine, crumble 2 Tbsp walnut barley mixture and 2 Tbsp salsa.

**Rinse barley; add to 1 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover; cook 45 minutes.

Nutrition Facts
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 194.3
Total Fat 14.9 g
Saturated Fat 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 6.8 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 213.4 mg
Potassium 309.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.6 g
Dietary Fiber 4.7 g
Sugars 0.5 g
Protein 3.6 g

Vitamin A 12.0 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 10.5 %
itamin C 14.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 5.2 %
Calcium 2.5 %
Copper 11.4 %
Folate 13.8 %
Iron 7.2 %
Magnesium 7.9 %
Manganese 24.7 %
Niacin 6.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.8 %
Phosphorus 7.2 %
Riboflavin 5.5 %
Selenium 2.9 %
Thiamin 6.3 %
Zinc 4.5 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Enjoy this Feisty Vegan Taco Salad!

May 162012
I’ve got some good news and some bad news.
Let’s start with the good news.
If you have sleep problems, lack of energy, elimination and digestion problems, depression, excess weight, joint problems, skin issues and a host of other ailments, I have found something that can help!
Even better, it’s not some pill or potion, shake or powder.  It’s simply a whole raw food.
The bad news is you’re going to be mad that I kept this to myself for over a month.  I waited to tell you guys because after I tried it and loved it within the first week, I researched more and wanted to test it out on my skeptical self to see if eating it really did anything.
I was already eating seeds – ground flax and chia – every morning and never really noticed anything.  I just ate it because I knew it was good for me.
After a month of eating this food, I am so excited. I know this is going to help so many people in so many different ways.  As you may already know, I’m all about promoting health and nutrition – hence all the CSA/farm share events I do.  I volunteer to do that because I LOVE it and I want to make not only my family, but your family healthier too. 
Supporting the small farmer is what it’s all about.  REAL FOOD is what it’s all about.
Have you heard of Mila?
It’s mymost favorite food find yet. I came across it through Megan, my mom’s nurse practitioner at her neurologist.  (My mom has Multiple Sclerosis and is now eating Mila daily!) After talking back and forth about some recipes involving chia, she sent me a sample. After the first week , I liked it so much that I asked her for more info on it and she sent it over to me.  I’m now backing it and have even started a business that revolves around it!
Mila and Weight loss
So what is Mila?
 It’s a special blend of raw seeds that are sliced to make them super easy for your body to suck up all the nutrients.
This seed blend has 2x the potassium of bananas
6x more calcium than milk
More antioxidants then blueberries
2x the fiber of bran flakes
15x more magnesium than broccoli
4x more selenium than flax seed
6x more protein than kidney beans
9x more phosphorous than whole milk
8x more omega 3s than salmon
3x more iron than spinach
Mila is Heart Healthy
Talk about a PERFECT food to get tons of nutrition into our kids. Especially for busy moms like myself.
Mila has perfect nutrition for kids.

I’ve been eating it every morning now for a month and feel amazing – I have better sleep and way better digestion (and all aspects of digestion and elimination).  It also awesome for weight loss, is an anti-inflammatory and is the perfect fuel for workouts.Two of my friends, Sarah and Sandra, sampled it for me this past week had a dramatic increase in energy.


It’s got lots of backing from the medical world –
Dr. Bob Arnot, Dr. Gutierrez, Dr. Clement, Dr. Ford, Dr. Lamm are all behind this seed.

In comparison to other grains and the standard chia it wins out, hands down, every time. I did a bunch of research to convince me of this but the reason I’m so confident is that I used myself as the guinea pig. In fact, I had been eating both flax and bulk bin chia daily and never noticed a difference until I began eating this seed blend.

Want to try some for yourself?
Click here.

I am looking for positive people with an entreprenurial spirit to join my team. If this is something you feel you embody, please get in touch with me to dicuss this opportunity.

For more info on these amazing seeds and the business opportunity, please contact me at

Nutrient Packed Mila Cereal

Serves 1
Vegan, Gluten Free
1 cup kamut puffs, I use Natures Path
1 scoop Mila (2 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp raisins
1 cup unsweet vanilla almond milk

Fresh berries

1. Mix all the ingredients in bowl.
Nutrition Information
1 bowl
Amount Per Serving
Calories 274.6
Total Fat 12.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 181.2 mg
Potassium 522.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 34.4 g
Dietary Fiber 12.6 g
Sugars 5.6 g
Protein 8.0 g
Vitamin A 12.50%
Vitamin B-12 0.00%
Vitamin B-6 5.20%
Vitamin C 33.90%
Vitamin D 25.00%
Vitamin E 53.90%
Calcium 23.50%
Copper 12.40%
Folate 8.00%
Iron 14.50%
Magnesium 22.30%
Manganese 60.70%
Niacin 2.60%
Pantothenic Acid     2.20%
Phosphorus     20.00%
Riboflavin 2.80%
Selenium 1.20%
Thiamin 4.10%
Zinc 3.00%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Apr 162012
My very sweet friend Suzanne is back at work from maternity leave and looks amazing – leaner than before she was pregnant! Everyone was amazed.
We all asked, “How did you do it?!!”
I was so happy to hear the weight just fell off after she and her husband watched Engine 2 and Forks Over Knives while she was out on maternity leave. She already ate a natural foods diet and was my “recipe buddy” with who I would share tips and tricks for adding more whole foods to our diet. I was surprised to hear that her husband was actually the one that wanted to make the jump to a plant based diet and she said he has lost 30 pounds. Everyone has been asking her for recipes and she shared one for an apple dessert that her family loved. I decided I had to try it this morning for breakfast; a simple mixture of fruit, nuts and a bit of maple syrup. The apples were just what I expected – warm, lightly sweet, crunchy and nutty. I can’t wait to have it again tomorrow!

To go along with breakfast, I had a small cup of coffee/teeccino in my favorite cup from the Key West Butterfly Conservatory. I love that it reminds me of my trips to the Keys. Growing up in Massachusetts, the Keys sounded like a fancy vacation and now we are close enough to go several times a year. In fact, I promised my daughter when I finished working on my little teardrop trailer that we would head down to go camping. I had extensive water damage and decided to do all the repairs myself to save money. I’ve learned how to use a jigsaw, chop saw and circular saw, repair all sort of things with liquid nails, wield a caulk gun, install flooring, use a power drill and build a bunk bed – I’m so proud of how far I have come! You can check it out at If you visit the website, be sure to go back to the very beginning to see the extent of the damage. She was in rough shape. I’m now building shelves for the closet; I created a cover for the sink for extra counter space and have several other modifications I’m thinking about. HOPEFULLY, next weekend I will be getting the exterior painted. I’m so close to the end of the repairs now that I went ahead and made reservations to go camping in the Keys including visiting our favorite Key West Butterfly Conservatory.
I hope you enjoy this recipe just as much as I did. It’s perfect for a light dessert or, as I had it, a nice breakfast.

Country Apples and Walnuts
Serves 2
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
2 apples, cored and chopped
2 Tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup walnut halves, chopped
½ tsp cinnamon (and optional sprinkle of nutmeg/cloves/allspice)
Dash of sea salt

1 Tbsp ground flax
1 tsp MILA or chia seeds


1. Preheat oven to 400F. Mix all ingredients together; and spoon evenly over baking sheet covered with non stick spray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until apples are soft and nuts are browned.

Nutrition Facts

2 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 253.0
Total Fat 11.0 g
Saturated Fat 1.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.6 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 79.7 mg
Potassium 286.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 39.2 g
Dietary Fiber 7.4 g
Sugars 26.0 g
Protein 3.9 g

Vitamin A 1.6 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 6.8 %
Vitamin C 13.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 4.0 %
Calcium 5.3 %
Copper 13.6 %
Folate 4.1 %
Iron 8.0 %
Magnesium 7.5 %
Manganese 62.2 %
Niacin 1.9 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.7 %
Phosphorus 5.4 %
Riboflavin 2.4 %
Selenium 1.6 %
Thiamin 4.5 %
Zinc 8.5 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Jan 272012
Browsing through my favorite Forks Over Knives companion book, I came across an awesome kale recipe for kale with a walnut sauce.  Super simple and I had everything on hand.  I added some raisins, pine nuts and raw pepitas to add a sweet side to the salty tamari.  Oooo baby…this is yum!
If you haven’t bought your FOK companion recipe…you’ve gotta go get it.  So far every recipe I’ve tried has been amazing.  You won’t miss the meat or dairy.  I promise!

p.s. Check out the vitamins A and C on this recipe.

Nutrition Facts
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 133.0
Total Fat 8.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 366.0 mg
Potassium 408.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.0 g
Dietary Fiber 3.5 g
Sugars 5.5 g
Protein 5.0 g

Vitamin A 354.2 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 12.7 %
Vitamin C 89.4 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 7.4 %
Calcium 10.6 %
Copper 20.0 %
Folate 6.8 %
Iron 10.2 %
Magnesium 12.0 %
Manganese 56.3 %
Niacin 6.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.5 %
Phosphorus 9.5 %
Riboflavin 7.3 %
Selenium 2.4 %
Thiamin 8.0 %
Zinc 5.3 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Kale with Walnut Pesto, Raisins, Pepitas and Pine Nuts
Serves about 6 1-cup servings
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free


1 bunch curly kale, washed, de-stemmed and cut into bite size pieces
½ cup water
½ cup walnuts
2 Tbsp Tamari or Liquid Aminos
2 Tbsp raisins
2 Tbsp raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 Tbsp pine nuts


1. Blend water, walnuts and Tamari or Liquid Aminos in a blender or Magic Bullet until well blended.  Pour over kale and top with raisins, pepitas and pine nuts.  Mix well.

Nutritional Info
Serves 6
Per Serving

Calories 124
Fat 8.3 g
Cholesterol 0 g
Sodium 369.3 mg
Potassium 312.8 mg
Fiber 2.6 g
Sugars 3.5 g
Protein 4.5 g

Vitamin A 236.2 %
Vitamin C 59.7 %
Manganese 47.5 %

Dec 272011
This loaf was super easy to make-it sounds like a lot, but it took under 30 minutes to prep using my food processor to chop the veggies; and, leaving it uncooked overnight in the fridge worked out well, as the flavors has more time to work into the tofu.  And leftovers?  Don’t even get me started!  I made a gorgeous loaf sandwich with a slather of my holiday roasted garlic-maple mustard, a bit of reduced fat Vegenaise and some fresh lettuce from the farm.  On the side were some fresh peas we harvested by hand (also from KYV farm), simply sautéed in some Earth Balance, sea salt, fresh ground pepper and garlic powder.

Walnut-Tofu Loaf
Serves 8
Vegan, Gluten Free


2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
Pinch sea salt
3 cloves garlic , minced
3 medium-size carrots , finely diced or grated
1 handful yum yum peppers,  (or red bell pepper , finely diced)
6 pieces oil-marinated sun-dried tomato
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme 
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 block firm organic tofu, pressed of water
1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs (or regular)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

1 tsp vegan Worcestershire
1 Tbsp white miso
1 Tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (tamari or soy sauce)
1 Tbsp coarse ground mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat; add onions and a bit of sea salt, sauté about 1 minute.  Add garlic through lemon zest and sauté an additional 5 minutes. Set aside in a large bowl.

3. Whisk the seasonings together in a small bowl; add to the veggie mixture.  Crumble the tofu into the same bowl and add the breadcrumbs, walnuts and parsley and mix well.  Spray a loaf pan with organic non-stick spray and press in mixture.  Drizzle remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil over top evenly. **

4. Bake, uncovered, for about 35 to 40 minutes or until top is browned.

** The loaf can be made ahead and stored overnight until baking.  Simply complete through step 3, cover and refrigerate.  When ready to bake, let the loaf sit out until it comes to room temp (about 30 minutes or so while you preheat oven to 375F) and then proceed to step 4.

Nutrition Facts
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 217.6
Total Fat 16.6 g
Saturated Fat 2.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 8.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.4 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 436.2 mg
Potassium 469.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 17.7 g
Dietary Fiber 4.6 g
Sugars 2.6 g
Protein 12.0 g

Vitamin A 102.8 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 13.7 %
Vitamin C 82.8 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 6.6 %
Calcium 41.3 %
Copper 23.3 %
Folate 12.9 %
Iron 16.1 %
Magnesium 17.1 %
Manganese 65.7 %
Niacin 6.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.5 %
Phosphorus 18.6 %
Riboflavin 7.7 %
Selenium 19.2 %
Thiamin 13.5 %
Zinc 10.2 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Nov 092011
I learned something really interesting today from my coworker, Sarah.  Her son, Jake, did a fabulous presentation on plastic.  Have you heard of the Great Garbage Patch? It is this huge garbage mound of plastic in the middle of the ocean that is “roughly the size of Texas, containing approximately 3.5 million tons of trash. Shoes, toys, bags, pacifiers, wrappers, toothbrushes, and bottles too numerous to count are only part of what can be found in this accidental dump floating midway between Hawaii and San Francisco.”

Um WHAT?  I followed the link to Plastic Pollution Coalition and found that “Plastic recycling is not a sustainable solution. Most of our plastic waste is landfilled, downcycled, incinerated or exported to other countries. Recycling of plastic is costly and does not stem the production of virgin plastic product.”

Great, so the fact that I reuse my plastic bag for my snack veggies all week and then recycle it doesn’t make any difference.  I am proud that I have switched to glass containers for my leftovers and to pack my lunches but I think about how much plastic is on everything and it makes my head spin.

Gum.  I buy the three pack of gum.  Not only does it come wrapped in plastic but then each pack is also wrapped in plastic.  WHY is that?  Because gum won’t stay as fresh? Riiight.

Bread.  The brown rice bread I buy my daughter is wrapped in plastic and then placed in a plastic bag. 

Water Bottles. Cases of water bottles are plastic and then wrapped in plastic.

Plastic bags at the grocery. Don’t you love when they put one toothbrush or pack of gum in it’s own bag?  I always refuse and tell them I don’t want to waste the bag.

Precut veggies at the grocery.  Come in plastic bags and then are placed in a plastic bag to leave the store.

The list goes on and on.

This makes me feel even better about my farm share.  A few months ago I got a spaghetti squash. NOT wrapped in plastic. And it sat on my counter for a few months until I came across a fabulous recipe at Biscuit Batches that I had to make immediately. I split the squash open and it was still perfect. No plastic involved, AND it involves pumpkin.  Two of my favorite squashes in one recipe makes me very happy.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Kale and Pumpkin Cream Sauce
Inspired by Biscuit Batches
Serves 6
Gluten and Dairy Free, Vegan


2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Spaghetti Squash, cut in half and seeds removed
1 bunch kale, washed, de-stemmed and chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp dried thyme
2 stems fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
¾ cup pureed pumpkin
1 cup plain non-dairy milk (I used coconut milk)
¼ cup nutritional yeast (optional; you can purchase this at health food stores)
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 375F; place squash, cut side down on a small baking sheet or casserole dish.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Pour in about ¼ cup water and roast for an hour.  Let cool then scoop out the inside and place in a medium bowl.

2. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a pot; add half the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes; add kale, half the rosemary and half the salt and pepper, sauté until leaves become soft and pliable, about 7 minutes (or cook to desired doneness). Remove from pot and set aside in a separate dish.

3. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in pot; add the remaining onion and sauté about 5 minutes, reduce heat and add garlic, remaining rosemary and thyme; sauté about 1 minutes, add pumpkin puree, milk, nutritional yeast and remaining salt and pepper.  Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Pour over spaghetti squash and toss to coat; top with walnuts.  Serve with sautéed kale.

Estimated Nutrition Info

6 Servings (serving size will vary with size of spaghetti squash and amount of kale)
Amount Per Serving

Calories 178.7
Total Fat 9.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.8 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 179.1 mg
Potassium 648.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 21.4 g
Dietary Fiber 6.8 g
Sugars 5.4 g
Protein 6.8 g

Vitamin A 453.5 %
Vitamin B-12 33.3 %
Vitamin B-6 138.3 %
Vitamin C 99.8 %
Vitamin D 4.2 %
Vitamin E 19.7 %
Calcium 17.0 %
Copper 19.8 %
Folate 24.3 %
Iron 13.4 %
Magnesium 14.9 %
Manganese 47.3 %
Niacin 78.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 8.6 %
Phosphorus 13.6 %
Riboflavin 149.7 %
Selenium 11.1 %
Thiamin 169.6 %
Zinc 10.5 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Oct 152011
This month I celebrated two milestones; the first being my tenth anniversary, October 6th, and the second  being my (belated) bloggiversary on October 8th .
Looking back, I remember coming across a recipe on the blog Closet Cooking; the curried honey Dijon roasted chicken in particular was both where I learned about food blogs and why I started blogging.  (Just writing this reminds me that I do want to try this recipe with tofu.)  So a special thanks to Kevin.

To celebrate my bloggiversary I wanted to make something special.  The only problem is I didn’t have the time to make something very elaborate.  I thought and thought……

Rewind back twenty years; every October my family would head up to Stowe Vermont and stay at the Stowe Motel. We would then partake in the same activities as the year before; ride the gondolas high up Mt Mansfield to stare at the surrounding hyper-color mountains, ride the Alpine Slide flying through the fall foliage, enjoy rich, dark and oh so sweet black forest cake from the restaurant at the Von Trapp lodge, walk the charming village of downtown Stowe, dance the polka at the folk festival (yes very random but I’m Polish and I can polka baby), and, of course, visit the Cold Hollow Cider Mill. 
There we could buy fresh cider from the apples we watched being pressed. 
I loved the cool mountain air, sweet and heavy with the scent of apples. Afterwards we would stroll through the orchard and munch cider donuts with their unexpected texture; crumbly yet somehow moist with a lightly crusted exterior. 
 I guess I was a foodie even back then. Sadly, the closest I get nowadays is the catalogue they send me.  I was paging through it and came across maple walnut peanut butter. 

I had found my recipe idea worthy of my 2nd bloggiversary that also fit the requirements; 1) I had all the ingredients on hand and 2) it was easy enough to make one morning before work…no cooking involved.
For me, maple is the epitome of fall.  This recipe takes it to the next level by combining it with my most favorite ingredient outside of chocolate….peanut butter!

I used the peanut butter that you grind from actual whole roasted peanuts at the natural food store.  Don’t use the kind that is salted because we will be adding salt in.

This has a lovely nutty texture so if you want something smoother simply put it in a blender.

 Maple Walnut Peanut Butter

Inspired by my beloved Cold Hollow Cider Mill
Makes about 13 to 14 Tbsp
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
1/3 cup salt free, fresh ground, roasted peanut butter
¼ cup real maple syrup, (not the fake brown pancake syrup)
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 to ¼ tsp sea salt
1/3 cup walnut halves, toasted, chopped finely
1. Mix all ingredients together and store in the refrigerator.
Estimated Nutrition Facts
13 Tbsp
Amount Per Tbsp
Calories 71.6
Total Fat 4.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 46.0 mg
Potassium 22.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 5.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Sugars 3.9 g
Protein 1.9 g
Vitamin B-6 0.6 %
Vitamin C 0.1 %
Vitamin E 0.3 %
Calcium 0.6 %
Copper 2.1 %
Folate 0.6 %
Iron 1.2 %
Magnesium 1.1 %
Manganese 13.9 %
Niacin 0.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.2 %
Phosphorus 0.8 %
Riboflavin 0.2 %
Selenium 0.2 %
Thiamin 0.5 %
Zinc 2.2 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Oct 072011

Happy Friday 

Just a super quick post because I miss ya.

And ‘cause I threw this together for a pot luck at work and I got lots of requests for the recipe. 

And ‘cause I’m proud of myself for throwing together a season appropriate recipe that people actually liked that had kale.

I don’t think everyone knew it was kale though.  Someone called it kelp.  

He said; “Like from Sponge Bob.”  “I didn’t think I would like it since I usually eat iceberg lettuce but it was really good.” 

I said; “Ha!  You just ate KALE.”

And please don’t hate me but I didn’t do the nutrition info on this one.  If I get a spare minute I will go back and do it and update the recipe.


  Sorry about the iphone photo. I didn’t make the salad until I was at work!
Fall Panzanella with Kale and Cranberry Walnut Bread
Serves about 10 1 cup servings.  This is totally estimated.
Dressing Inspired by Forks Over Knives 3-2-1 dressing
Printable Recipe

1 large bag pre-cut and washed kale
1/3 red onion, sliced thinly
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 apple, sliced
1 pear, sliced
½ loaf cranberry walnut bread, sliced, toasted and cut into cubes

Dressing (This will make a bit extra.)
6 Tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
4 Tbsp coarse ground mustard
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
Sea salt and pepper, to taste


1. Place kale and onions in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together. Pour about ¾ of the dressing into the kale and onions and massage about 30 seconds or longer until the kale wilts to desired texture; top with cranberries, walnuts, apple, pear and bread. Put the remaining dressing off to the side for anyone who may want extra.

Oct 032011
I had such a wonderful weekend.  How was yours?
I got some new earrings at the farmers market and I liked them so much I updated my profile pic (plus it’s been a while as I’m no longer a brunette!)
Aren’t they fun?  They are actually rooster feathers.  (And was assured that no birds were harmed in the making of these earrings.)
I hadn’t taken any year 3 birthday photos of my daughter in August so I finally got around to doing so.  The weather was so perfect.
Here we are walking out to the dock where we take the birthday photos every year.
Also, I visited my farm last Thursday and, though my CSA hasn’t started back up yet, they already had some veggies!  I got a gorgeous calabaza (which is a sort of pumpkin) and the weather has been so cool and fall-ish that I decided to do another recipe with rosemary.

 I’ll get right in close so you can see all this yumminess.  The best part was that I didn’t step foot in a grocery store.  What I didn’t have on hand I got at either my farm or the St Augustine Farmers Market.

This is a great way to use left over grains or beans and you can cut some time by using frozen, cubed butternut squash and frozen greens as well if you don’t have them handy.  Any dried fruit can be subbed for the cherries so get creative!

Each bite is a new taste and texture; creamy and sweet squash, sweet/tart cherries, crunchy walnuts and pine nuts, tangy mustard.  This came out so well I might just have to make this for Thanksgiving.

It’s super filling from all the veggies, barley and lentils so I put my serving in a coffee cup. Perfect.

Roasted Calabaza and Garlic with Lentils, Barley, Kale,Toasted Pine Nuts, Walnuts and Dried Cherries

Vegan, Wheat Free (for a gluten free option sub quinoa for the barley)
About 8 Cups


1 calabaza squash, about 3 lbs, seeded, peeled and chopped (sub frozen chopped butternut as a time saver)
1 onion, sliced
1 head garlic, top cut off and wrapped in foil
1 bunch kale, destemmed and chopped
1 cup cooked barley (or sub any left over, pre-cooked grain)
1 cup cooked lentils (or sub any pre-cooked beans or canned beans on hand)
1 sprig fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
2 Tbsp each pine nuts and walnuts, toasted
2 Tbsp dried cherries, chopped (or sub any dried fruit here)
Olive oil spray
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

1/4 tsp each dried thyme, ground mustard, sea salt and celery seed
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 Tbsp each olive oil and agave
1 Tbsp coarse ground mustard


1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare 2 pans with olive oil spray.  Add squash and leaves from one sprig rosemary to one tray and onion and wrapped garic to another.  Roast 15 minutes, turn and roast an additional 7.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and the kale, barley and lentils into an oval casserole dish.  Pour dressing over and toss to coat.  Place in oven during the last 7 minutes of squash roasting after the squash is flipped.  (This will wilt the kale a bit to make room for the squash, onion and garlic.)

3. Remove trays and casserole dish from oven and let garlic cool enough to handle.  Squeeze into small bowl the dressing was in previously; chop onion and add to bowl with roasted garlic; mix well.  Spoon roasted squash and garlic/onion mixture into casserole dish with kale and toss to mix.  Place back in oven to blend flavors an additional 5 minutes. 

4. Remove from oven, top with dried cherries, toasted walnuts and pine nuts.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste and mix to combine ingredients.

Estimated Nutrition Facts

About 8 Cups
Amount Per Cup
Calories 131.9
Fat 4.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 134.8 mg
Potassium 261.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 20.9 g
Dietary Fiber 3.3 g
Sugars 2.8 g
Protein 5.9 g

Vitamin A 178.5 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 9.2 %
Vitamin C 47.4 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 4.1 %
Calcium 6.1 %
Copper 10.9 %
Folate 8.1 %
Iron 7.9 %
Magnesium 7.4 %
Manganese 33.7 %
Niacin 4.9 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.6 %
Phosphorus 7.1 %
Riboflavin 4.5 %
Selenium 4.3 %
Thiamin 6.0 %
Zinc 4.5 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Mar 142011
One of my favorite salads at Native Sun is a curry sweet potato pear salad with walnuts.  There is something about the sweetness of the pear and sweet potato against the spice mixture of the curry and the nutty walnuts that makes it a perfect balance.  I recreated it once for my one-year bloggiversary and it came out so well I have been dying to do it again but never got around to it.

First thing Saturday morning I poached some eggs and then started chopping my butternut squash wondering what I would do with it. There are so many amazing recipes out there recently from other bloggers I couldn’t choose one.  On a whim, I decided to create a second version of the curry pear salad and use the butternut squash as opposed to the sweet potato. The result is almost like a dessert without any sugar or artificial sweetener. If you eat it warm it’s all gooey and somewhat buttery tasting.  The walnuts are coated with the sweet agave and then lend a nutty and satisfying crunch.

That’s it. I’m adding this one to “favorites”.

Sweet Curry Roasted Butternut and Pear Salad with Walnuts
8 (1/2 cup) servings
***5 very worth-it WW Pts Plus


1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 firm Bosc pears, seeded and chopped
2 sweet onions, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp curry powder
2 Tbsp agave
2 Tbsp oil of choice, I used virgin pecan but canola would be fine
1 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Dash of sea salt
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted


1. Preheat oven to 350F; prepare pan with cooking spray and add squash, pears and onions.  Bake for 1 hour, turning with spatula halfway through.  Set to broil for 5 minutes or until desired amount of browning occurs.  Remove from oven, place mixture into a large bowl and add walnuts.

2. Whisk the curry powder through sea salt in a small bowl; pour over the butternut squash mixture and toss gently.

Estimated Nutrition Facts (amounts will vary with size of vegetables)

8 (1/2 cup) Servings
**5 WW Pts Plus
Amount Per Serving

Calories 163.0
Total Fat 8.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 79.7 mg
Potassium 500.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 24.1 g
Dietary Fiber 5.9 g
Sugars 0.9 g
Protein 2.7 g
Vitamin A 180.2 %
Vitamin C 38.3 %

And if you eat a cup
Nutrition Facts

4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 326.0
Total Fat 16.0 g
Saturated Fat 1.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 6.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 159.4 mg
Potassium 1,000.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 48.2 g
Dietary Fiber 11.9 g
Sugars 1.7 g
Protein 5.3 g
Vitamin A 360.4 %
Vitamin C 76.6 %
Manganese 53.9 %