Butternut Squash and Kale Mash with Toasted Walnuts and Sage (gf, veg, v option)

Greetings, hungry blogosphere! Today’s post is sinfully tasty vegetarian feast and a retooled version of a recently republished Ree Drummond recipe. That Ree Drummond? The accidental country girl-slash-Pioneer Woman? Yep, that one, I luh her. I’ve subscribed to her blog for years (haven’t seen the show so I’m absolved if it’s terrible). She’s a very funny writer who cooks like a real person who feeds other real people in real situations and really loves real food. No “poached quail eggs in nests of freeze-dried seaweed” from The Pioneer Woman. Phew! “Thanks, Ree!” cried happy stomachs everywhere.

another reason I like Ree: she occasionally  punctuates her posts with cheeky pictures like this one

another reason I like Ree: she occasionally punctuates her posts with cheeky pictures like this one

The Pioneer Woman’s butternut squash and kale recipe is no exception to her practical/delicious formula. It’s simple, fast, healthy, hearty, and can be used in roughly one bajillion ways. Get a load ofof Ree’s fabulous suggestions for using the mixture: in quesadillas! stirred into risotto! in a grilled cheese sandwich! in a pita with chicken! puréed with broth to make soup! tossed with bowtie pasta, olive oil, and Parmesan! as an appetizer, on crackers with goat cheese! alone, on a plate!

kale 10

Basically, regardless of which of the bajillion ways you serve this dish, it will be delicious, so make a big pot. I added onion, sage, and walnuts to my version and we enjoyed it with turkey cutlets Dave made. He was the Marlboro Man to my Pioneer Woman as we cooked. Ree Drummond joke. NBD.

kale dinner


Inspired by The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:kale 1

  • 1 12-oz bag chopped kale, or 1 head kale, roughly chopped with stalks removed
  • 1 bag cubed butternut squash or 1 butternut squash, cubed and peeled with seeds removed
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • a few grates of fresh nutmeg
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup raw walnuts


In a deep saucepan or cast iron skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium. When the butter has melted and is slightly foamy, add the onion and sauté until translucent. I love this smell.

kale 2

Add the butternut squash, salt, sage, nutmeg, and chili powder and saute about 5 minutes, until all sides have had a some time with the direct heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover with a lid, steaming for 5 more minutes until the squash is soft. The steaming makes this dish a mash; if you’re looking for a more caramelized consistency, be patient and sauté until golden brown.

While the squash steams, toast the walnuts in a small nonstick skillet over medium, tossing so they don’t burn. They’re done when they’re a fragrant, toasty brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

kale 4

When the butternut squash is soft, remove the mixture to a large bowl and return the pan to the stove, turning the heat back up to medium high. Add 2 tablespoons water and bring to a simmer. Add the torn kale leaves and stir around for a few minutes, letting them wilt. If they get dry, add another tablespoon water.

When the leaves have wilted and broken down (break them! break their spirit!), stir them into the squash, tasting for seasoning and grinding in as much pepper as you’d like. Top with the toasted walnuts and serve!

Quickie: Peanut Butter & Cinnamon Greek Yogurt Dip (veg, gf)

Re-sharing a big hit. Yummy, healthy dip!

allez! gourmet

Pretty simple entry- this is a healthy and delicious dip for apples, bananas, and probably anything else you can slather it on. It’s a quick and easy snack you can make a large batch of and keep in the fridge for a fast and filling and high-protein accompaniment to fruit. Here it is!

does a body good does a body good



  • 1 1/4 cups fat free Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp natural peanut or almond butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp- 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (two large dashes)

View original post 68 more words

Quickie: Peanut Butter & Cinnamon Greek Yogurt Dip (veg, gf)

Pretty simple entry- this is a healthy and delicious dip for apples, bananas, and probably anything else you can slather it on. It’s a quick and easy snack you can make a large batch of and keep in the fridge for a fast and filling and high-protein accompaniment to fruit. Here it is!

does a body good

does a body good



  • 1 1/4 cups fat free Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp natural peanut or almond butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp- 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (two large dashes)

Read More

Quickie: Broccoli Slaw, Grilled Bok Choy, and Rice Noodle Salad with Salmon and Avocado (pes, gf)

We had about an hour to buy and make dinner last night, before my beloved and long-lost husband was shipped out again ahead of a winter storm for work. I felt obligated to fill him with omega-3s and veggies before he left, really laying down HARD the enticing groundwork to get him to come back. I like the guy! Hang out with me and eat delicious dinner salads!  Come back! Here’s what my feminine wiles and I came up with:




Lemon-sesame vinaigrette recipe below.

  • 1 bag broccoili slaw (we bought our ingredients at Whole Foods; their version is julienned broccoli, carrots, and red cabbage)
  • 1-lb salmon plank
  • 1 1/2 tsp jerk seasoning or other all-purpose seasoning or 1 tsp soy sauce mixed with 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp honey (no need to add this if you used soy sauce)
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced and a few inches of green tops discarded
  • 3 oz cooked or uncooked vermicelli rice noodles (you could instead use 1.5 cups of cooked brown rice)
  • handful shredded carrot, optional
  • 1 head bok choy, washed and root cut off
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • sesame oil  


Disclaimers: This is mostly a quickie entry because I was cooking like the wind and neglected to take any step-by-step photos. So this is where your spectacular imagination comes in!! Really. Right now. Another note- I labeled this a vegetarian entry because the salmon could easily be left out or replaced with tofu or edamame.  Here’s what we’re doing: MAKE NOODLES, MAKE SALMON, TOSS VEGGIES, DRESS AND SERVE. Let’s get started.

Boil water and cook rice noodles according to package directions. Rinse and pat salmon dry. Top salmon with 1 tsp honey and sprinkle with jerk seasoning; set aside. Drizzle or brush the bok choy leaves with a small amount of sesame oil. Heat a well-oiled grill pan or saute pan over medium-high. Once hot, grill or wilt the bok choy leaves about two minutes per side. Remove to a cutting board and cut into pieces. Alternately, you could cut and saute in a saute pan for 3-4 minutes.

Turn the heat in the grill pan down to medium. When it has cooled a bit, place salmon in pan skin-side down and cook for 5-6 before flipping. Since you have a few minutes now, you can whip up and dress the salad base. Toss the broccoli slaw, green onions, carrots if you’re using them, cooked noodles or rice, and bok choy in a large bowl. Drizzle with your dressing of choice and toss. Set aside.

When the salmon is done, serve dressed salad in bowls and top with the lovely fish. Garnish with a few slices of avocado. This would be great with: cilantro, other salad greens, chicken, well-marinated flank steak, bean sprouts, more red cabbage or green cabbage… the list goes on and on. Just use what you have in the fridge. It will all work. This is man-hooking salad!

LEMON SESAME VINAIGRETTE: 2 tsp sesame oil, 2 tsp sesame seeds, juice of 1 lemon, pinch of kosher salt, 1 tsp honey. Whisk together. Drizzle in olive oil as desired until emulsified. De. Lish.

Blueberry Hand Pies! Because sometimes, pie is all that will do….

Alright, here’s my Opus Dei intro: I did make something incredibly healthy this weekend- shout out to Iowa Girl Eats and her Superfood Salad recipe. Delicious! Photo of my version below. After I was full of pomegranate seeds and grilled shrimp and quinoa, I felt a tugging at my heart strings  to get crafty and start cleaning and baking. What’s that, heartstrings? Have a Pinterest project fiesta and punctuate it with the baking of mini pies? Well, alright! Let’s make some mini pies (you’ve certainly had worse ideas). Thanks, heartstrings!

hand pies


So here’s my dinner main course, which, when added along with the salad to my list of meals for the day, was a wash. Maybe. Super-simple, delicious, and fancy. And my coworkers loved them today.


Adapted from a Pinterest pin linking to Pastry Affair


  • 2 pints fresh blueberries, washed and dried
  • 2 boxes Pillsbury roll-out pie crusts (or double the double-crust Crisco pie crust recipe, if you have time)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of that lemon
  • 6 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • turbinado sugar for topping


In a large mixing bowl, toss the blueberries with the lemon juice. Add the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and lemon zest and stir carefully to coat, not breaking the blueberries. This recipe would work well with other berries, or with the addition of ricotta cheese for a richer take (1 tsp ricotta, 1 tsp berries). Whisk the egg yolk and water in a small bowl to make your egg wash, and set aside.

ignore the bakign soda and muffin cups- those were for another project in the Pinterest fiesta

ignore the baking soda & muffin cups- those were for another project in the Pinterest fiesta

Meanwhile, roll out your pie crust and use a 5″ diameter (or thereabouts) bowl or jar to cut out little discs of dough. I dusted a cutting board with flour and rolled out my Pillsbury dough a bit to make it stretch. When you’re left with scraps, roll them into a ball with your hands and roll out again. You should be able to use almost all of it, and if you nibble on the little leftover pieces of dough, I won’t judge you. This recipe made 22 pies, so by all means, halve it if you’re not cooking for an office full of dessert enthusiasts, as I was. 11 hand pies is still a whole heck of a lot of hand pies. I mean, you only have two hands.

For each pie: stir the blueberry mix again and spoon a heaping tablespoonful of filling onto the center of a dough disc. If you’re using a larger or smaller bowl to cut discs, adjust the amount of filling used per pie.  With a pastry brush, brush the egg wash onto the edges of the disc, in a circle. Fold one half of the disc over, and crimp with the tines of a fork to seal. Place the pies onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and when the sheet is full, refrigerate for 30 minutes. If you make the whole recipe, you’ll fill two large cookie sheets.

making pies

never you mind my man hands

After the first batch of pies has been in the fridge for 30 minutes, preheat you oven to 375. Brush the egg wash on each pie, sprinkle liberally with turbinado sugar, and cut a slit or two or a fun shape to vent each pie. I opted to transfer them to new parchment paper at this point.  Bake those bad boys for 23-25 minutes and let cool completely before you serve. They may still leak a bit as they bake, depending on how fully stuffed they are, but don’t panic if you see that happening in the oven- they’ll still be filled and delicious. If you can’t wait for them to cool, eat two of them piping hot as your dinner! Best dinner ever! Very good with vanilla ice cream. Store in an airtight container, at room temp.

baking away!

baking away! notice how they’re facing each other, and not the edge of the sheet in case of leaked filling.

Here’s the IGE Superfood Salad I made in honor of the Super Bowl (and was the only Super Bowl-related thing I did do). I added grated fresh ginger to the dressing and shredded cabbage to the salad. I tossed some shrimp with Caribbean jerk seasoning and cooked them on a very hot, oiled grill pan, about 2 minutes per side. I bought one large pomegranate and just popped the seeds right onto the salad. It was great!

super duper.

super duper.

Paleo Lemon Bars… sugar & gluten-free lemony goodness! (gf)

Hey, all! We’ve been cooking a TON over the past few months, and I have been horrible and terrible and not posted ANY of it! So, so bad and so selfishly full of good food, I am. I managed to snap a few pics of these amazing paleo lemon bars we made this weekend (actually, Dave did the work on these, I was just the happy chow hound), so here we go…

looks like a lemon bar... tastes like a lemon bar...

looks like a lemon bar… tastes like a lemon bar…

We don’t follow a paleo diet but we do enjoy sweets and I try to avoid gluten. These lemon bars seemed like a good compromise, and they turned out really well! I was surprised at how well they set up in the oven, and how tasty the crust was. The recipe also calls for 11 (eleven!?!*) eggs, so if you need another rationalizing point before you make a pan, they’re high-protein. A bit of honey replaces the traditional white sugar in the filling and crust, and coconut flour, almond meal, and coconut oil replace the flour.

DISCLAIMER: eat and store this dessert at room temperature. I refrigerated a single portion to bring with me to work today, and the texture was mushy. Eat. And store. At room temp. That is all.

Happy baking, and let me know what you think!


Adapted from The Primal Home


  • 1 cup almond meal: just grind up a cup of almonds in a blender until they form a flour
  • 1 cup coconut flour (we used Bob’s Red Mill, available at most grocery stores- check the gluten-free and baking sections)
  • 1/2  tsp freshly grated nutmeg or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 tbsp honey + 1/2 cup honey– try raw honey. In addition to the health benefits raw honey provides, it’s easy to find; Archer Farms has a wildflower version that’s easy to pour and available at Target, and Whole Foods offers at least 3 kinds.
  • 3 eggs + 8 eggs
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • juice from 6 lemons, strained for seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup or more unsweetened shredded coconut to top


This is a mix and dump recipe- first, the crust ingredients, then the filling. So simple. Preheat your oven to 350 and grease an 11×7 inch cake or baking pan with coconut oil. We used a slightly smaller Corningware dish and the recipe turned out just fine.

CRUST: In a large bowl, mix the almond meal, coconut flour, nutmeg, 1 tbsp honey, 3 eggs, coconut oil, and coconut milk. Combine completely and press into the bottom of the pan:

follow the fork marks

follow the fork marks

FILLING: then, in another large bowl (or the same one, cleaned out, if you’re dish-saving freaks like we are), combine the lemon juice, remaining 8 eggs, vanilla, and 1/2 cup honey. Whisk of this together well and pour over the crust, like so:

filling poured over the crust

filling poured over the crust

Then toss into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bars comes out clean, and the topping is firm and fully cooked. Top with the shredded coconut, let cool, and serve, relatively guilt-free!

all done, cooling and topped with coconut!

all done, cooling and topped with coconut!



Heathier Oatmeal Cookies

I was a BOTTOMLESS PIT yesterday. I had a huge bowl of cereal with a sliced banana for breakfast, made corned beef and cabbage for lunch (of which I had a ginormous serving in early celebration of St. Pat’s, duh, necessary), snacked all day, and had cinnamon roasted sweet potatoes for dinner. By 7:30, I was somehow starving and craving baked goods of any kind… so of course, I succumbed to the craving.

tasty and a bit healthy? whaa?

 Our kitchen is all boxed up for the big move, so I wanted to make something that would use only what I had accessibly on hand (and wasn’t full of white sugar and butter); a google search led me to these. I replaced the butter with canola oil, decreased the brown sugar and added cinnamon and vanilla. When dunked in light vanilla soy milk, they were hearty, subtly spicy, and just sweet enough. My conscience and I present to you:


Adapted from food.com


  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  •  1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla Read More

Roasted Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes with Coarse Salt and Nutmeg (v, gf)

If you have read my other posts, it’s no big secret that I adore sweet potatoes. With undying, eat-them-two-to-three-times-a-week adoration. They’re incredibly nutritious, they’re versatile, they’re filling, and they’re beyond delectable. Craveable, even… which leads me to this post.

snack ti-yme

I had NEVER TRIED sweet potatoes (say whaaaa!!!???) until I met my husband. My mother-in-law, Jane Ann, makes them in holiday casseroles and as dinner sides all the time and she opened my sad, beta carotene-deficient eyes to the wonderful vegetable. My life is now divided into time BSP and ASP.

These days, when I want a sweet and salty, deeply flavorful snack that is still going to do something good for my body, I make these. If you can wait about an hour to snack, I swear: give these a shot and they will kill any craving you have. They have all the warm, homey trappings of comfort food, and they won’t break the calorie bank. From the bottom of my orange, starchy little heart, here are:



  • 1-2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4-1/2 inch cubes (at least 1 pound)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • a few shakes of cinnamon (1/4 tsp or so)
  • freshly grated nutmeg (same- 1/4 tsp or so)
  • a large pinch of kosher salt (about 1/2 tsp) Read More