Toasted Coconut and Goji Berry Trail Mix

Toasted Coconut and Goji Berry Trail Mix

There are a lot of reasons why people make trail mix. Most people I know make trail mix because they need quick energy on a hike. Or a bike ride. Or perhaps a good run.

But me? No. 

I make trail mix prior to a shopping trip at IKEA. I mean, can you think of a better time when you’ll be under stress, most likely hungry, and really needing some energy? I certainly can’t.

I made this batch of trail mix in preparation for an IKEA run a few weeks back. Even though my friend and I were estimating it would be a “quick trip,” I knew I had to be prepared and that definitely meant bringing food along.

Three hours, two lamps, a kitchen cart, and a giant shelf later I found myself stuffing this trail mix into my mouth by the handful and I couldn’t have been more grateful.  If you need a tasty and nutritious snack on hand to prevent low blood sugar, I think this toasted coconut and goji berry trail mix is the solution…

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Coconut Crusted Salmon

Coconut Crusted Salmon

Do you ever have those nights where you wake up at 3 am and just cannot get back to sleep? I had one of those nights recently and it was downright miserable. Although, I will say I got a lot of thinking done.

Thinking about really, really important thoughts like…

  • Should I go back to DSW and just buy that purse? I didn’t really like the color, but it was the perfect size… Ooh! Maybe I can find it in a different color online!
  • I think I should rearrange my kitchen. I hate the way it feels so cramped in there. Maybe if I move the fridge? Wait, is there an outlet on the other wall? Hmmm…
  • Go back to sleep. Go. Back. To. Sleep.
  • What is that noise? Which one of my cats is making it? What did he get into now?!
  • I really should make more salmon. It just feels right for spring. I wonder if there’s a way to combine it with coconut somehow. Maybe with shredded coconut flakes? Now we’re onto something… 

The only thing that came out of my miserable, sleep-deprived evening? This Coconut Crusted Salmon recipe. And to be totally honest, it was completely worth it. Who knew that a recipe created at 3 am could be so delicious?

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Vegan Walnut and Mushroom Pate

Vegan Walnut and Mushroom Pate

Have you been on a spring cleaning kick lately? I have.

Me and my trusty DIY All Purpose Cleaner and DIY Citrus Vinegar Cleaner have been scrubbing every surface in my apartment and I’ve been decluttering like mad. At this point it’s getting crazy. If something isn’t somehow attached to the apartment itself I’ve found myself trying to figure out how to get rid of it.

I knew I was going overboard the other day when I found myself debating about donating my food processor. I mean, I love that thing, but somehow I haven’t used it since I was recipe testing for my cookbook last summer. That’s when I knew it was time to put it to use again.

So, what to make in my lovely food processor? Enter vegan walnut and mushroom pate. If you’ve been needing a reason to keep your food processor around, I think this just might be it.

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Chicken Cilantro Soup

Chicken Cilantro Soup

How come the days when I really, really, really need yoga also happen to be the days when I really, really, really don’t want to go to yoga?

These are usually the days when I’m exhausted, irritable, and would prefer to do anything instead of sitting in a hot room doing deep breathing. However, I’ve learned over time that I always feel better afterwards and that hour class actually goes by pretty fast. Well, that is if I can stop wining in my head the entire time.

This morning was one of those days. My alarm went off at a quarter to six and all I could think about was hitting the snooze button. Instead, I dragged myself up out of the bed, trekked through the rainy Seattle streets and made it to my 6:30 am yoga class on time… only to discover that I was the only. person. there. Apparently one of the benefits of 6:30 am yoga is that sometimes that yoga “class” is actually a private session. (I guess that’s a good thing?)

The only thing better than that after-yoga-all-day zen feeling has to be coming home to a bowl of this hearty and comforting soup for dinner. This soup is one of my favorites and I love it this time of year because it’s filling enough to be a meal, while also feeling light enough to be a soup for early spring.

And if you’re vegetarian or plant-based? Don’t let “chicken” in the title fool you! This soup is fabulous when made with veggie stock and chickpeas instead of meat!

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Yams Stuffed with Mushroom Gravy

Gravy Stuffed Yams

There’s nothing worse than trying to blog about food when you’re sick… Trust me on this one.

That’s the only excuse I can offer for why this post is long overdue. Like, a week behind. I mean, the idea of talking about cooking, eating, and food in general when you’re really under the weather? No thank you. 

On that note, my sincere apologies for things being rather silent on the blog last week. And, I think it’s time we change that. So let’s talk about yams stuffed with mushroom gravy.

Are you noticing the change in seasons? I’m excited to see the long, dark days of winter almost behind us, but I know we still have many rainy days of spring ahead of us. That can only mean one thing: healthy comfort food. Are you with me?

These yams stuffed with mushroom gravy are just that: the perfect way to bridge the gap between winter and spring AND, they can be used with a variety of protein sources. Vegetarian? Paleo? Vegan? No problem! The best part is that this recipe works for a variety of diets!

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Pasture-Raised Lemon Spatchcocked Chicken

Pasture-Raised Lemon Spatchcocked Chicken

Do you love small, local farmers and seasonal, sustainable food as much as I do? Then I have a feeling you’re going to be pretty excited about this…

I recently discovered a website called Farmstr, which is an online marketplace that connects small farms with local customers. You can think of it like Craigslist for local, organic quality farm-food. Since Farmstr just launched in Washington State, I wanted to partner with them to help introduce you locals to their cool site and show you an easy recipe for preparing pasture-raised chicken from a local farm.

But first, let’s review: why does buying local matter?

I’ve written an entire post before on this subject before (you can read it here), but the short version is simply this: buying local supports the local economy and sustainable farming practices, results in a better quality product for consumers, and when we buy direct from farmers, farmers make better returns on their product.

In Seattle, I currently work for a food and social justice nonprofit organization and over the past few years I’ve become well-connected with a great group of organizations committed to creating better access to local food, local farms and farmers, and passionate individuals committed to increasing food security for all. I can tell you from my own experience that one of the biggest challenges I repeatedly hear in these networks is that it’s hard to connect local farms to consumers. This is exactly why I’m excited about the idea behind Farmstr.

Farmstr makes it possible for anyone – people like you and I - to easily find and access nearby farms, to meet and choose farmers / ranchers / fishermen to support, and to be able to buy farm fresh food at fair prices. Farmstr’s goal is to be able to connect the consumer to their local farmer and help you create a personal connection with those who grow your food. Farmstr also supports certified/uncertified organic and sustainable practices.

So, where did my chicken come from?

Through the Farmstr website I ordered two organic chickens from Windy N Ranch and was able to pick them up directly from the farmer later that week. (The pickup date/time and location vary depending on the product and the farm you order from.)

It was really cool to be able to meet the person who was responsible for the food I was soon going to call my dinner. So now I introduce you to Farmer Bradley, from Windy N Ranch. (Look at his adorable dog!)

Pasture-Raised Lemon Spatchcocked Chicken

Windy N Ranch is a family-owned, multi-species ranch in Ellensburg, WA, producing Beef, Pork, Goat, Lamb, Fryer Chickens, Thanksgiving Turkeys, and Chicken and Duck Eggs. They don’t use any growth hormones or antibiotics, plus, they recently became certified organic on all 800 acres!

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Butternut Squash and White Fish Curry

Butternut Squash and White Fish Curry

Dear Universe,

I think it’s time we had a little chat. I’ve been here on this planet for awhile now. And in that time I’ve enjoyed some pretty amazing things.

Things like…

Hot yoga (We have a love/hate relationship sometimes, but it’s worth it.)

Mindy Kaling’s book (because she’s awesome)

Coconut oil (Did you know that you can shave with it? Amazing!)

Mission Impossible 4 (this is the best. movie. ever.)

Lolz cats (this site + me = trouble)

Sharpies (because there is nothing better than a brand-new fine point sharpie. Nothing.)

So, dear Universe, how have you kept fish curry a secret from me until now?! This is not acceptable.

I expect you to share more seafood inspiration with me soon because I have now realized that I do actually, in fact, like fish. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Me

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Beet “Pasta” with Lemon-Creme Sauce and Broiled Salmon

Beet "Pasta" with Lemon-Creme Sauce and Broiled Salmon

Have you ever had beet “pasta” before?

No?? Well, then it’s certainly time we change that! Alright everyone, grab your spiralizers!

I’ve shared a lot of recipes here on the blog before that use a spiralizer so hopefully by now you own one and use it often. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t despair! Check out my tutorials on how to spiralize zucchini and how to make zucchini fettuccine. And, if you need a sprializer, I recommend the Paderno World Cuisine model I purchased off of Amazon a few years ago.

Now it’s time to talk beet “pasta.” The awesome thing about beet pasta? Well, there are a few things actually:

1) If you like the flavor of beets like I do, you’ll find this “pasta” sweet and delicious, especially when paired with my (dairy-free!) lemon-creme sauce.

2) Beet “pasta” is grain-free and gluten-free, making it a healthy choice for those of us with food allergies, intolerances, or who try to avoid gluten/grains.

3) If you’re stuck in a beet rut this winter, beet “pasta” is a fun and creative way to use seasonal beets!

Let me show you how easy it is to make beet “pasta” and turn it into a eye-catching entree!

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