Tag Archives: Colorado

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

For Father’s Day this year, Xerxes requested the day to begin with coffee cake. When he made this request, the kids started dancing around cracking up. Cake for breakfast Papa!? Followed by… I don’t drink coffee! I don’t want coffee in my cake!! 

The explanation of “It is just a breakfast dish that you eat at the same time you drink coffee” did not seem to satisfy their hilarious inquiry, but once the cake was in front of them, they were gleefully satisfied that it did not contain coffee and was just sweet enough to feel a bit like dessert.


Since fruit is not exactly easy to find at this point in our local food year, I chopped up a good pile of rhubarb from our yard and let it soak in a little honey bath over night. The next goal was to find a recipe that uses honey rather than sugar as the sweetener. A recipe from the Honey Board did the trick. We also wanted a simple ode to the crumble you see on top of NY Crumb Cakes and that seem to be the final flourish.

Quick tip: As we have baked with honey much more in the last few weeks, one thing I keep trying to remember is to have the oven temperature a bit lower as the color can get dark faster. IMG_5810

Honey Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Inspired by the Honey Board’s Blueberry Coffee Cake

3 cups minced rhubarb
1 cup honey, divided
1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose gluten-free blend could work, too!)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond

For the crumble:
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter, very soft
1/4 cup minced almonds
1/4 cup flour
pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon

The night before or about an hour prior, toss together the rhubarb and honey. Place in the fridge to soften and sweeten up.

Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Turn on the oven to 350.

Melt the butter. Stir in the honey and milk. Making sure this mixture is not too hot, whisk in the eggs, apple cider vinegar and vanilla. If the honey-butter is hot, place in the fridge until it is closer to room temperature.

Meanwhile, make the crumbs by mixing together the softened butter, honey, nuts, flour and spices. The goal is to be able to clump it together, if it is too moist, add more flour, if it is too dry and not coming together add a drizzle more melted butter. Set aside.

Butter the dish for the coffee cake up on the sides until it is evenly coated. Sprinkle with flour and shake around until it is thinly distributed and dump the remaining flour.

Fold together the dry flour ingredients with the honey-butter-egg ingredients and the honey soaked rhubarb. Pour into the coffee cake pan. Spread it out with a spatula until it is evenly distributed. Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top in clumps.


So happy his coffee cake contains no coffee!

Bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Eat hot, cool or room temperature. It lasts a few days as well.

Traveling Local Food!


Brie + Jam Sandwiches as we drove up into the mountains!

On the 2nd day of our local food year, we thought, hey- this isn’t challenging enough, let’s drive 5 hours out of town and see how we manage. I suppose that wasn’t really the motivation, but that sarcastic phrase kept popping up in my head as I packed nearly every morsel we would consume on this trip.

Actually, Xerxes volunteered to help build the largest low-income solar installation in the state of Colorado through GRID Alternatives. That was the true motivation, but to get his family on board to join his adventure, he enticed me with promises of tasting local Colorado wines and hitting the Farmers Market in Montrose.

The original plan was to go camping, but when we attempted to get a site with the other GRID volunteers we had an awkward encounter with the owner who refused to let us camp because we had small children. There is a scary river nearby apparently. Our kids were disappointed until we promised a hotel with a pool instead.

As this promise was made, I suddenly had visions of standing in a hotel parking lot cooking up eggs, bacon + coffee on our Coleman and wondering again… what were we thinking!? 

But, after some more planning we actually had some of the best travel food we have ever enjoyed. I started by making way too many sausage size Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough Rolls which served not only the local brats + sauerkraut we had one evening, but sliced thin they become perfect little breads to top with the local cheese + salami I stocked up on at St. Killians in Denver. There was also a bag of baby lettuce from our greenhouse that we nursed through various types of sandwiches up until the last meal on our drive home.

For breakfasts in the hotel we had slices of bread with butter, hardboiled eggs and yogurt with apricot honey puree a friend gave me from last year’s harvest. For the coffee, Xerxes brought his personal sized press pot from work that we filled with hot water we simmered in the room’s coffee pot. Alas I forgot milk for the coffee, so we decided a slight slip up with hotel creamer wouldn’t hurt. But, it made our otherwise delightful coffee seriously nasty, so I opted for black and was quite content. I always thought that hotel coffee was bad because of the beans, but apparently the creamer punishes the entire cup as well. (BTW- coffee has fallen on the exception list, that I will be writing up in a post soon!)

We had a few non-local items join us as well since per my last post we decided to eat rather than trash them, but for the most part it was a very local travel food supply.

While in Montrose, we hit up a great little indoor market that had some local cheeses (hey- cheddar!) and other goodies. Then on Saturday while Xerxes was volunteering, we went to the Farmers Market which was small but mighty with a limited selection of beautiful spring produce. I bought a bag of snap peas for each of my kiddos and they followed along after me munching away delighted. The kids also selected a small bag of dehydrated local fruit they enjoyed on the drive back, while I took some dry strawberries that are still on standby in my purse. I also snagged up some gorgeous pine nuts, a bundle of radishes, a freshly ground bag of colorful cornmeal and a couple pounds of itty-bitty popcorn kernels that I can’t wait to see all fluffed up.

We also chatted with a local hog farmer and he invited us back to his farm later that afternoon to meet the baby piglets. More on that adventure later!IMG_6103We tried some lovely wines as well and were blessed with a sale on some of our favorites so we have a little stock of Colorado wines to enjoy throughout this season and probably next.

Probably the goofiest part was in the final hours of our drive back through the mountains, as the sun set Xerxes decided coffee would help him stay alert through the winding roads. Understandable, right!? As we pondered the possibilities of pulling out the Coleman, I suggested we just grab some hot water from a gas station and fill the press pot. Not long after this whim of a suggestion, I was stealthily walking out of the convenience mart with a steaming mini press pot of coffee and a bag of ice for our rapidly melting cooler. Even though all I was grabbing was essentially no more than 3 pints of water in various states of matter, all in my own containers, it felt a bit like I was in violation… of what I am not sure.


It wasn’t the longest trip, but in that final meal, at the fabulous rest stop with Solar Panel Flowers and a playground, as we scrounged together the odds and ends of all the weekend’s food, we both found ourselves feeling pretty blessed that this initial trip was so delicious and fairly uncomplicated.

Do you pack nearly all your food for road trips or do you wing it with a cooler and stops at restaurants?

May our local food adventure continue! If you want to see quick and periodic snap shots of our adventure follow us on Instagram or join our Facebook Group.




Dan Moore of Farmshares Interview (part 1)

Spring has sprung and if you are curious as to how you can eat better and support your local farmer, a CSA might be the perfect solution for your family. Recently, I asked Dan Moore of Farmshares.info a series of questions that will help you dive further into whether a CSA is the right choice for your family.  I also asked a few of you in the community if you had further questions about CSA’s and those questions and answers will be in the next post.

danscsaLilly: What is a CSA and what is the main reason to join one?

Dan: CSA stands for community supported agriculture and is a direct relationship between a farmer or rancher and the end customer with a risk sharing component.  You give the farmer money early in the year, and they give you produce, meat or other food throughout the growing season.

The main reason to join a CSA is to learn more about who grows your food and how it is done.  CSA provides a level of involvement with your food that is deeper than anything other than gardening.

Lilly: What is the most common question or concern you hear from people interested in starting a CSA?

Dan: The most common question is “how do I pick the right farm?”.  Just as with any major purchase (share prices are typically in the hundreds of dollars and can be up to three thousand) you have to both know what you are looking for and do your research.  

To the first point, many people are romantic about “getting food directly from the farmer” and ignore that they don’t like to cook, or travel often during the season, or work a job that will make a weekly pickup hard.  There is enough variety in CSAs available, so think about what you need. If you want to learn the basics of CSA, I have put together a free email course

To the second, while there are similarities, each CSA differs in what they expect of their members, the types of food they provide, and where you can pick up the share.  So while tools like farmshares.info can help, you really need to review each farm’s website, talk to current and past members and mesh what the farm/ranch offers with your needs.

Lilly: What has been the biggest change you have noticed since you first became a CSA member in 2007?

Dan: Two big changes: 1) the widening of the CSA market, both in number of farms and products offered.  It’s amazing to see new farms and new products be available in the CSA risk sharing model. 2) the turnover of CSA farms.  I think the skills needed to be a successful CSA farmer include all the skills of a regular farmer, plus marketing and sales skills (plus management once the farm is a certain size).  I see a lot of CSAs start up and run for 4-5 years and then shut down, either because the farmer is moving off the land or because they are focusing on other markets (farmer’s market, direct sales of a product, wholesale markets).

Lilly: How soon after joining a CSA did you realize the need to create coloradocsa.info which has recently expanded to become farmshares.info? What was the driving motivator?

Dan: I started out with a list of farms on which I had done research, and quickly realized that it would be helpful to others.  A friend also joined a CSA in Denver about the same time and shared her list.  After combining the two, I had a simple web page that received some traffic, indicating there was interest.  After about two years of updating that page and fielding questions about CSAs in Colorado, I decided to build ColoradoCSAs.info in 2010.  In 2015, my wife and I decided that the existing national directories were not as useful as they should be, and spent some time and money re-working and re-launching ColoradoCSAs.info as FarmShares.info, as well as pursuing affiliates and sponsorships.  

The driving motivation for the redesign is that CSA membership, for me, was a fundamental shift in how I viewed food and the food system.  I wanted to share that with people beyond Colorado.photo-52

Lilly: What is the advantage of using a tool such as farmshares.info versus just jumping on the Google?

Dan: Farmshares.info gathers data from farms, standardizes it, and makes it very easy to compare farms that meet your needs.  I always advocate contacting the farmer directly once you have narrowed your choices to two or three, since CSA information can change from day to day (for example, shares can sell out).  

When you start at Google, you find farms that are best at showing up in Google, as opposed to the farm that might be closest to you, or have the type of share you want.

Lilly: How has the transition from coloradocsa.info to farmshares.info been? Can you give us a sneak peek of what to expect in the coming months or years?

Dan: The transition from coloradocsas.info to farmshares.info has been smooth–the launch affected our traffic slightly, but it has bounced back as we head into the prime signup season for the mountain west (Jan-May).  

In the future, you can expect more features, greater coverage of the mountain west and eventually the entire USA, and more partnerships with companies that support local food.  

Lilly: Most of us now think of CSAs in terms of produce, but ‘community supported’ has evolved in recent years to include other products. What are some of those changes?

Dan: I’ve seen two main changes in the offerings from CSA farms over the years.  The first is a far wider selection of  farm-to-consumer products available.  These range from soap to meat to fish to bread to coffee–at least 40 different types of food are available via CSA.  This is fantastic because it lets consumers support local farmers and ranchers even if they can’t commit to a season of vegetables.

The second is the rise, especially in farms selling produce, of the market share.  Instead of the farmer picking out vegetables and boxing them up for you, you pre-pay for credit at farm stands and farmer’s markets.  It’s a way to support a farm and share the risk of poor crops without losing choice.  (The customer still shares the risk because if the farm has a poor season, or doesn’t produce much of a popular crop like tomatoes, the customer is still committed to purchase from that farm.)

Lilly: Can you forecast any predictions for the future of CSA’s in the US?

Dan: I think that CSAs will rise and fall as interest in home cooking rises and falls.  CSAs just don’t make sense if you aren’t eating at home.  The recent trend of people re-learning how to cook (see Michael Pollan’s books) makes me optimistic about the long term future of CSAs.danpam

Lilly’s Table turns Four!


Juliette is holding up four fingers celebrating four years!

Midnight September 5th, 2010, our four-month old daughter was thankfully asleep as my husband and I poured small glasses of champagne to toast the first live meal plan of Lilly’s Table. The journey to get to that point was an eye-opening experience and since then there have been many more crazy adventures. I just took a peak at that first weekly meal plan and tried not to cringe, instead I forgave myself for all that I did not know and for everything that was still undone.

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The First Week of Lilly’s Table!

For those of you who have not been with me since that exciting day, let me give you a quick sum up of all that has happened since. My husband graduated with a PhD in Physics, accepted a job at the University of Arizona, we moved to Tucson, my daughter and I began to meet wonderful neighbors and then I discovered the national Food Day. Next thing I knew, I signed up to coordinate Food Day there, which included a three course progressive dinner along the Santa Cruz River (which by the way only flows occasionally during monsoon season).

After the excitement of that first Food Day, I started teaching cooking classes to daycare providers through the Tucson Community Food Bank’s Farm-to-Child program and then signed up to do another year of Food Day. For our second year, the incredible Food Day community decided one event on one day wasn’t enough and so we developed Tucson Food Week which included festivals, classes, and a pop-up picnic.


I am on the mic, chatting to our first Tucson Food Day crowd as they eat dessert.

Then I became pregnant. I appeared on local TV to talk about the 2012 Tucson Food Week while doing my best to hide morning sickness… which doesn’t feel terribly different from being nervous in front of a camera apparently. 😉 I also followed up with a spot on the local Radio station KXCI, where I spoke not only about Food Week, but Lilly’s Table. It was awesome.

With the end of 2012 came news of another move, fortunately back to Colorado. I had fallen madly in love with Tucson, but was blissful to come back to the open arms of friends with plenty of kids just about the same age as ours. In an unexpected turn, we bought a home in a tiny town and a few week’s later welcomed our baby boy.

I have been close to my children and my computer since that move well over a year ago. I try not to feel exhausted just writing about all of this. Rather, I want to feel excited knowing that midnight toast with my husband, that tiny sip of champagne was the first of so many possibilities. The meal planning service hasn’t quite grown into it’s full potential. Although, I am tempted to argue I was a bit distracted: community events and babies clearly need a bit of assistance. But, what I put in to my children and the community of Tucson I receive exponentially back in love, appreciation and my own growth.

Regardless of whether Lilly’s Table has grown, I am incredibly grateful for every single member. And throughout all of the drama and distractions I remained ever faithful to the weekly meal plan and I have never missed a week. I cannot say the same about this blog and my supposed-to-be weekly newsletter, but it is my hope to add more to the schedule that resonates even deeper with you as a reader.

Which means…. I want to talk to YOU!

One of my greatest lessons from Tucson Food Day was discovering that community and celebration are essential. There are so many food organizations, farms, restaurants and more doing amazing work. Our mission during Food Day was to bring them altogether to celebrate. To high five and celebrate how we are the change we wish to see in the food world.

It is my mission to continue that. It is my mission to empower the celebration of food. I am now on the hunt, exploring ways to bring joy and good food to every table.

I started one of my first small missions just last week, where I conducted my first Tasting Party. A group of Mamas gathered to taste delights from LT, but more importantly to talk about the trials & triumphs of nourishing our families.

Because here is the deal, even with four years under my belt as an ‘Executive Meal Planner’ and an ‘Executive Mama’, I typically feel I have no idea what the hell I am doing. Not because I am failing miserable, but because there are constant surprises, changes, growth, struggles and most of all… POSSIBILITIES.

That last word has been breathing in and out of me almost daily since moving back to Colorado. Life is brimming over with possibilities… most of which I do not know or understand yet.

So, back to today. Please be a part of the next four years of Lilly’s Table. My heart is exploding with all that could happen, but I need to hear from you. What do you want from me?

More stories?
More recipes?
More tasting parties?
More supper clubs?
Mama focused meal plans?
Kid’s lunch plans?
So. Many. Possibilities!

How can I best EMPOWER you, your family, your friends, your school to CELEBRATE FOOD?

Tell me what you hope to see unfold and I will do my best to deliver. All we have left friends are possibilities and love. Always love.

Cook seasonally. Eat consciously. Celebrate food,

Chef Lilly

PS- As of LT’s fourth anniversary I have decided to change my tagline from “Live well” to “Celebrate food”. Let me know what you think!?


Nasturtiums, Arugula, Kale, Tomatoes, Summer Squash & Blossoms, Basil

It has been awhile since I have posted here, as this past year has been packed with distractions. But, I have to admit it has been overflowing with joy as we  moved back to Colorado, bought a new home and the peak of the year was welcoming our sweet, full of smiles, son into this world. Fortunately, Kaycie has been keeping you up on the beautiful ways to fill your life with health. I am ever grateful not only for her friendship, but her generosity to me and my family during this crazy, packed with blessings year.

One of the joys of buying a new home was finding one with a large (albeit abandoned) garden box. We have made attempts in the past to garden, but I often claim that despite two parents with a couple green thumbs each, I received a recessive gene with a sad brown thumb. Maybe, just maybe, with the help of experienced gardening friends, that will change…

We moved into our home on May 10th, my daughter’s birthday, and within a couple of week’s we sectioned half of the garden box off and filled it with dirt. We were only a couple of weeks behind Colorado’s recommended start time. We filled that half of the box with five tomato plants, radishes and a variety of my favorite greens including arugula, chard, two types of kale and a mix of lettuces.

The radishes came up and were harvested quickly. They were delicious, but they mostly inspired us to plant more. The tomatoes were the most exciting we have ever grown and they managed to take over the rows of greens we had planted. So, we filled the other side of the box with more of “Mel’s mix” as a dear family friend and master gardener recommended and then filled it with summer squash and several big pots of basil that I kept collecting from the grocery store.

I recently heard the biggest mistakes made by new gardeners is crowding and overwatering. We clearly fit the mold, but for the first time we were complaining about the abundance rather than the lack. Okay, we didn’t actually complain about the delights coming from our garden, rather we were thrilled and then we started looking at the rest of our backyard which was full of dirt, mud and weeds and examined the hours of sun in certain areas. We also have huge, old trees, so we mapped out a plan to expand our garden beyond the box and fill it with even more delicious food.

Our goal is to join those, such as my parents and Kaycie’s family, who eat most of their food from the garden all summer long. I cannot think of a better way to embrace your health then to start by bringing the freshness and nutrients as close to home as possible.

Just last week, we had our first snow and the following night our first frost here in the Denver metro area. A few days before, I looked around at the tomatoes that were started late, with half green, half almost red fruit all over it and the summer squash which seemed to have a rebirth after the intense rain storms and sunny weeks that followed. As I heard warnings of snow, I imagined these plants freezing and figured I would call my favorite Rocky Mountain gardener. When I called Kaycie she was in the process of harvesting everything she could from her plants and recommended I follow suit.

Later that day, just before dinner, we picked our final harvest. Within 48 hours most of the plants were shriveled and brown, but a week later we are still munching away on summer.

Have you harvested summer yet? Or are you still a few days/weeks from your first frost? Tell us about it in the comment section!

Happy Harvest Time! With joy,