Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Crispy Baked Tofu with Honey-Sesame Glaze

Roasted brussels sprouts and crispy baked tofu with honey-sesame glaze -

I just realized that my blog is four years (minus three days) old, which means that Cookie must be about six years old. Six years! She’s still a puppy at heart. We’re heading home to celebrate my baby brother’s twenty-first birthday this weekend. Everybody’s all grown up.

brown rice and brussels sprouts

So I’ve been blogging here for about four years. A lot has changed since my first post, but 343 posts later, Cookie is still snuggled up next to me on the couch as I type. Have I ever told you all that Cookie knows eight different tricks? This dog even dances for kale.

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Vegan Banana Nut Scones

Vegan banana nut scones - made with coconut oil instead of butter!

Today is just not my day. It’s one of those days when every earnest attempt at productivity is slowed by unforeseen circumstances. Like, my dog ate my lunch. My sidebar doesn’t look right. And I need to hurry to the post office so I can mail my life savings to Uncle Sam. So it goes.

If these scones look familiar, it’s because they are a riff on last fall’s pumpkin pecan scones. Those scones have quite a few fans and the banana version turned out so well that I couldn’t keep it to myself. Frankly, I don’t think banana scones get better than this.

flour and pecans

Feel free to play with this recipe. I made my scones with solid coconut oil instead of butter, which means that these scones are vegan/dairy free. Bonus: it’s much easier to cut coconut oil into the flour than butter. You could swap in other nuts or skip the nuts altogether. I think whole spelt flour would be a fine substitution for the whole wheat flour, too.

The scones are lightly sweet before topping with the maple glaze. If you want to avoid processed sugar altogether, try topping the scones with pecan butter or another nut butter and a light drizzle of maple syrup or honey. Let me know how you like them!

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Roasted Cauliflower and Farro Salad with Feta and Avocado

Roasted cauliflower and farro salad with feta and avocado -

I have a bunny problem. You see, in late January, I moved from a busy shopping area to a sleepy Kansas neighborhood that I will henceforth refer to as Bunnyville. Spring is coming into full force here in Bunnyville—the grass is getting greener by the day and the trees are coming back to life in brilliant shades of pink, purple and yellow. The sun is shining. I feel like I’m living in a scene from Sleeping Beauty.

cauliflower and sundried tomatoes

And the bunnies! They are everywhere. Cute cotton-tailed bunnies bounce through my backyard, sharing a seemingly symbiotic existence with the abundant neighborhood squirrels. I’ve seen as many as five in my yard at one time. So what’s the problem here, you ask? Well, the problem is that my sweet sidekick’s canine instincts switch into high gear every time she spots a bunny.

Cookie is fast. Fortunately, so far, the bunnies have been even faster. They bound across the yard to the nearest exit hole while Cookie chases after them like a rabid hound. I’m concerned that Cookie will catch up to a bunny one of these days. Then, I’ll have to confront the fact that my puppy dog is a coldblooded killer. Cue the “Circle of Life” theme song from The Lion King.

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10 Fresh & Filling Salad Recipes

Find 10 fresh and filling salad recipes at

I headed home from Minneapolis in my rumbling Honda yesterday morning. Once my iPhone directed me through the tangle of Minneapolis highways, I zoomed straight south on I-35 through countless Midwestern farms. One coffee stop and seven long hours later, I arrived in Kansas City just in time to pick Cookie up from the boarder. I hate to arrive at an empty house, so I always try to plan my travel schedule so I can pick her up on my way home. This place feels empty without her seventeen pounds of infectious energy.

My refrigerator, however, is a different story. It’s about as empty as it ever gets. In fact, I’m about to improvise a salad out of half a cabbage and a few carrots. After filling up on desserts and soaking up spring sunshine up north this weekend, I thought it was about time to highlight some of my favorite fresh and filling salads. Each salad is vegetarian, of course, and many are vegan and/or gluten free.

I’ve decided to highlight recipes from the archives more often, so please let me know what you’d like to see next. And, since I so appreciate your feedback, I thought I’d post a reader’s review of each recipe rather than providing my own summary. I probably don’t say it enough, but I love reading your comments. I get excited every time I see a new one pop up in my inbox. Thank you!

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Chai Affogato (with Honey-Sweetened Coconut Milk Ice Cream)

Chai affogato - a light and simple, hot and cold dessert.

Hello from Minneapolis! I’m in town with King Arthur Flour’s Bake For Good Tour. Yesterday, Susan taught us how to bake yeasted bread and pies (my first pie ever!) in the culinary classrooms at the art institute. The scales and measuring cups reminded me of my college chemistry classes. This time, though, I got to taste our experiments at the end of the day. Needless to say that I paid a lot more attention yesterday.

Today we will be serving a full meal (along with our bread and pie) to families at the Family Service Center. Most of the food that I prepare is only shared over the world wide web, so I’m very much looking forward to serving food in real time this afternoon.

honey coconut ice cream ingredients

This chai tea affogato would be a really fun dessert to share with your loved ones. The concept came to me a few weeks ago while answering emails at a local coffee shop recently. I ordered a chai tea latte upon arrival and quickly thereafter requested an affogato (because how often do you see affogatos on coffee shop menus?).

Traditional Italian affogato is espresso poured over a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. I was thunderstruck by the combination of super strong, hot coffee poured over creamy, cold ice cream. It’s as delightful as a hot fudge sundae, but not so decadent that it leaves you with a stomachache.

I went to the trouble of making my favorite honey-sweetened coconut milk ice cream for my affogatos, but I won’t blink twice if you pour strong tea over your favorite vanilla ice cream. Dessert is ready.

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Spring Carrot, Radish and Quinoa Salad with Herbed Avocado

A fresh and filling spring salad -

I’m writing this post at my desk, which overlooks a barren square of backyard that is partitioned from the neighbors’ equally yellow yards with chain-link fence. I have high hopes for this ugly backyard of mine. The grass is already showing little twinges of fresh green growth, which is enough for me to start fantasizing about a little garden overflowing with herbs and cherry tomatoes. And if my sneezes are any indication, those tall trees overhead will soon come back to life.

I’m really looking forward to sipping wine under a canopy of green leaves this summer. Maybe I’ll get a grill and some twinkle lights and invite my friends over for dinner. Yes, I think I’ll do that.

radish and arugula

I’m getting ahead of myself. My world hasn’t turned green yet and I’m already daydreaming about juicy peaches and long summer nights. Spring weather has finally arrived and summer’s heat will be here soon enough. I’ve been making up for the lack of green in my surroundings by filling up on green salads lately.

This one is my latest favorite. It’s an explosion of spring textures, flavors and colors, all tossed in my standard zippy lemon dressing. In fact, orange carrots and hot pink radishes are so bright and spring-y that this salad almost hurts my eyes to look at. The garlicky quinoa and herbed avocado round it up to a full, satisfying meal.

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