Blood Orange Margaritas

Skinny Blood Orange Margaritas -

Things have not been going as planned lately. Before I dive into yesterday’s fiasco, I’ll tell you that this recipe was supposed to be a curried coconut quinoa dish. The photographed version didn’t turn out quite right, so I’m still working on it.

Secondly, this post was supposed to be published yesterday. I was on track until I realized, with a sudden gasp followed by, “Oh, #$*@!” that my dress—the blue dress I’d shown to all of my friends and the entire internet—was not on its way. Somehow, I didn’t finish placing the order. That’s right, the girl who makes her living on the World Wide Web and stays up late coding a redesigned website and has probably stolen items from your cart while you’re browsing J.Crew’s final sale somehow did not hit the final submit button.

blood oranges and ice

Once I realized what had happened, I was all worked up in a tizzy for a solid twenty minutes. I texted my friends who are going to the party with me for commiseration. I called my mama for sympathy. This post went by the wayside and I ran out the door to go shopping, the whole time fully aware that this would seem like a trivial issue in a few days’ time. In the current moment, however, it mattered.

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Kale, Clementine and Feta Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing

Kale, Clementine and Feta Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing -

Would you look at that? She’s a stunner, that salad. Like sunshine in a bowl. Kale got all gussied up for us today with dazzling clementines and pomegranate, avocado and pepitas, tossed in a honey, lime and jalapeño dressing. (Insert cat call here.)

I’m treating my body kindly this week—cue the kale salad—in preparation for a fancy-pants event at the art museum this Saturday. So far, I’ve rented a dress for the occasion (from Rent the Runway/that’s a referral link/have you tried it?). I visited my hair stylist for a much-needed trim this afternoon and stopped for fresh juice before heading home. As long as I can get some beauty rest between now and then, I think I should be good to go. Champagne, please!

salad ingredients

I’m looking forward to checking my coat at the door and dancing around in this short blue number all night. Dreary winters are made more bearable with a little color and sparkle, aren’t they? If you’re desperate for springtime already, I hope you find some relief in this vibrant salad.

I’ll be the first to admit that there’s a lot going here, but each component adds a bit of sweetness or crunch or salty creaminess. The recipe takes cues from Deb’s kale salad, but I swapped lime for lemon and added chili peppers for a south-of-the-border twist. I also added clementines since they’re so good this time of year (any type of sweet citrus would be nice, though). Feel free to trade the pomegranate for a handful of dried cranberries for a more simple (and less seedy) salad.

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Megan’s Morning Glory Oatmeal

Morning glory oatmeal -

Carrots are stealing the show this week. This recipe features the same flavors as morning glory muffins—shredded carrots, raisins, orange zest, coconut and walnuts—in oatmeal form. I came across it in Megan Gordon’s new cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings.

In the headnote, Megan calls the oatmeal “porridge,” which always brings Goldilocks and her three bears to mind. I prefer to call it oatmeal, which sounds ever-so-slightly more sexy than porridge, but it’s still just fancied up peasant food. Not that I have anything against peasant food. Those royals weren’t doing themselves any favors with their fine white flour and refined sugar. I’d take hearty whole grains over that stuff any day (am I showing my peasant roots?).

morning glory oatmeal ingredients

Anyway, back to Megan. She runs a granola business, posts recipes and stories on her blog, contributes to The Kitchn and, somehow, in between all of that, produced a killer cookbook. The book is brimming with breakfast/brunch recipes, organized seasonally, that incorporate whole grains. When Megan asked me if I’d like a review copy, I said yes (because Megan knows how to make a great breakfast) while kicking myself for not coming up with such a terrific concept.

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Roasted Carrot and Potato, Lentils and Miso Parsley Sauce

Roasted carrot and potato, lentils and miso parsley sauce -

I’m sure you’ve heard, but it’s been a cold week. Cookie and I are getting cabin fever after being stuck inside for so long. We’re pretending that the outside world isn’t covered in snow, but the bright white light bouncing back inside betrays our denial. It was only one degree outside when I took Cookie out on Monday night. I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered such cold before, but it honestly didn’t feel much colder than any other below-freezing temperature. Maybe it’s because I was properly dressed in my ugly puffy coat and thick gloves.

It’s funny that temperatures are so relative. I mean, one degree is undeniably cold to us human beings, but I like to imagine the thoughts that come to mind after a mention of such cold temperatures. I suspect that everyone in Southern California wonders why on earth a person would endure such coldness, and the Minnesotan readers are all, “Ha! One degree is nothing. Try minus fifty.”

carrots, potatoes and parsley

I’ll tell you why we choose to live here, in the middle of the country. We don’t have mountains or ocean, but we do have affordable rents, manageable traffic levels and very nice people. Kansas City is both a practical and beautiful city. You should really come visit so I can show you around.

I’m also super excited to take further advantage of the cheap rents and move into a charming little house next month. It’s going to cost me more, but not more than a shoe box-sized room in San Francisco. (Dear San Francisco readers, I’d like to visit soon.)

I’ll finally have a kitchen disposal, a reasonable amount of counter space and a built-in dishwasher, not to mention a bathtub to soak in. And finally, Cookie will have her own yard! A two-bedroom house seems a bit excessive for one person, but I really do need the space for my work. So I’m moving soon, selling out for the suburbs and a nearby grocery store. Yes!

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Looking Back: The Top 10 Recipes of 2013

2013 photosHey there, Friday! You’re looking good. Today, I thought I’d share a few of the top recipes from the past year. Looking back at each recipe brings back memories of the circumstances surrounding it, some of which I was more open about than others.

I can’t talk about last year without bringing up the break-up that knocked the wind out of me. It was a relationship that moved about 100 miles per hour. It was a relationship punctuated by a terrible car crash and it was over as quickly as it began. I learned last year that falling in love, even briefly, leaves an indelible impression like a semester spent in France.

Last year, Cookie and I walked about a million miles together. She led me around the parks and through the neighborhoods, over and over again. These days, I’m not wiping my eyes on our walks. I feel focused and energized. I enter 2014 with a fresh sense of empathy for anyone who has ever loved and lost, which is everyone. Broken hearts are real.

Last year wasn’t all bad. I travelled a lot: first Salt Lake City, then Atlanta, that road trip through the Appalachians and Nashville, Minneapolis, San Diego, Denver. I got back into yoga and feel more comfortable in my own skin than ever. I laughed really, really hard with my friends—those deep, side-splitting laughs left my cheeks burning and assured me that I am ok.

I quit my job last year so I can spend more time hanging out with you wonderful people. I love this little website. It’s my baby. I owe you a tremendous thank you for visiting. Thank you for cooking, commenting, and sharing with friends. You make all my late nights worthwhile.

Today, in the absence of a new recipe, I thought I’d share the top ten recipes from last year. I left out a few sweets since we probably got enough of those during the holidays. Which recipes are your favorites? I want to hear about them! Please tell me about your 2013, and about the recipes you’d like to see this year.

Sweet potato & black bean veggie burgers - recipe at
No. 1: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Veggie Burgers
It was about time I posted a veggie burger recipe and told you all about my friend Bill, a friend and cancer survivor. (vegan and gluten free)

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Spicy Vegan Black Bean Soup

Spicy vegan black bean soup recipe -

Now what day is it? I’ve lost track of space and time in the holiday-birthday vortex that sucks me up at the end of every year. Over the past week, I turned twenty-eight, ate lots of cake, and let my friends buy me birthday drinks. It’s been lovely.

I’m easing back into blogging and balanced meals with this hearty black bean soup. It comes together pretty quickly thanks to canned beans, but the soup tastes remarkably fresh with the addition of carrots, celery and garlic. I learned a lesson from this recipe, which is that a soup doesn’t need a long list of spices for a complex final flavor. Aromatics make all the difference!

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