Tag Archives: real food

Hard-Boiled Tip + Devilish Eggs

creamyherbeggsEaster bonnets. Baby boys in bowties. Hunting for eggs. Spring inspired dishes… and Deviled Eggs! These are a few of my favorite things this bright time of year.

With the bunny eager to hide your eggs, let’s start with a hard-boiled tip!

It is a rare person who hasn’t felt the frustration of peeling eggs and the whites refusal to separate. The typical result being a torn up hard-boiled egg. There are endless claims on the interwebs with ways to skirt this problem –trust me I have tried so many– but, I keep going back to two things that have been consistent for me:

1. Old Eggs = Smooth Peeling.
Of course, how does one find an old egg? My strategy is to buy eggs a week or two before Easter, then I label them “Easter Only!” and keep them in the back of the fridge. If you are purchasing from a grocery most likely your eggs are already a couple weeks old, but honestly older is better. (Feel free to get your google on with the regulations on eggs and sell-by dates, it is a fascinating eye opener.) But, I digress… because how do you really know if the eggs will hard boil and peel properly? Next step… test them!

mangochutneyeggs2. Will you please stand up if you are ready to be hard-boiled?
The best way to know if an egg plans to peel smoothly is with an easy float test. Fill your pot with water and the potential eggs, if your eggs start to stand up, they are a tad old and likely to peel perfectly.
If the eggs float– bye, bye! Ick.
If they drop to the bottom heavy and tired, you have fresh eggs. They can still be cooked hard but they may not be smooth to peel. However, the freshies are ideal for hollandaise. 😉

If you have some magical way to get a fresh egg to peel well regardless of its shelf life please comment below! I have certainly had luck with some of the ‘internet claims to peeling fame’ but too often I can always circle back to it was simply an older egg. wasabideviledeggs

Now… let’s flavor them up! While I am happy with most standard variations of Deviled Eggs, I get rather excited to mix them up. After dipping + dying, hiding + hunting, cracking + peeling, cut open your hard-boiled eggs and get creative. Here are a few of my favorite combinations:
Wasabi-Avocado (in the picture above!) 
Creamy Goat Cheese + Herb
Mango Chutney

How do you creatively make your eggs devilish!?

Look Up from Your Latte and See the Change

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My pumpkin buddy is helping me write today!

In the midst of a hail storm a few weeks ago, my husband ran out to cover the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Meanwhile, I grabbed my scissors dashed out into the darkness and found the one bright orange pumpkin that I kept meaning to pick. Out of the twelve nearly ready for Halloween volunteer pumpkins, I could save at least one, right?

I suspect my husbands efforts were more substantial, at least comparatively, but the pumpkin sitting on the table next to me as I write is rather perfect looking, without a hail pock in sight. Not that a hail pocked pumpkin wouldn’t be delightful roasted down into all sorts of treats, but really… Hail comes and for some reason my husband and I fling ourselves out into the elements to save whatever we can, whether there is a rational reason or not.

The pumpkins arrived in our garden as volunteers. No, they didn’t help me weed or mulch, rather they made themselves comfortable in our tended soil, then spurted, grew and spun around the garden that I had an actual plan for. It took a while for me to guess what they might be and honestly it wasn’t until they were round, orange and obvious did I finally succumb to… yes, that is a pumpkin. The transformation was well over a month ago, but leaving it on the vine the extra week or so just had this irresistible Cinderella effect and with a ton of other stuff to harvest, I felt in no rush to snip it to freedom until the weather threatened to make it unrecognizable.

Around the time my squash went from random-green-gourd thing to pumpkin, there was another change of season: from regular lattes to pumpkin spice lattes.

Gotta be honest… I just don’t get it.

It isn’t because I do not care to drink them, or that I even care if you drink them or not. I actually really appreciate a bit of pumpkin-pie-spiced up food on my plate. Rather my ire is with the fact that a commercial change of beverage suddenly has a greater impact on our society than the fact that actual, real life nature is changing. And it is magnificent.

Why don’t we talk about the smell that ever so slightly lets on that autumn has begun. What about the leaves!? What about the wild temperature fluctuations, because seriously what is going on with that, this time of year?

Instead there is an argument about the joys or annoyances of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I realize this post shamelessly is included in the latter, but please get your face out of your sweet coffee preferences and look around at the actual change of season. It is actually changing. Gasp. And believe it or not, it has nothing to do with a corporation’s marketing strategy either.

Okay. I get it: cinnamon + ginger + allspice + nutmeg + cloves = comfort. I also imagine you do feel a temperature change that makes these spices a bit more inviting. Maybe you have also noticed a leaf or two falling, and at the least you can’t deny the sun is going to sleep a bit sooner than usual. Of course, I have lived places (looking at you Central Coast of California) where the change of season is a bit less dramatic, but even in the places that lack a definable four seasons: change is happening. I believe in my heart, that despite flipping a calendar to a month that ends in ‘BER’ and the appearance of fall’s most fashionable beverage, your internal clock craves feeling in sync with nature’s transition.

For the love of pumpkin pie spice, please just look up from your latte, whether it is in style or not, gaze out a window, and ask yourself “what is actually in season… from the earth?”

Now that my friends is where the magic can begin. Pumpkins are just the beginning. What about all of the goodness that is coming to an end: tomatoes in deepening shades of red or simply green and ready to fry, eggplant that will soften soon enough, peppers in various stages of heat or sweetness, the end of summer squash, spaghetti squash, delicata, butternut, apples, onions, pears, carrots, beets, roots, and shoots. This is the time to hit the farm stands, while the harvest is heavy and before farmers start to prepare their land for winter. This is the time to squirrel up the goodness into freezers, cans, jars or at the very least fill your belly with the local stuff before your food once again is shipped from who knows where.

I hope I haven’t shamed my Pumpkin Spice Latte lovers, whomever you may be, the truth is I feel sadness for all of our sake that a corporation has yet again a better marketing plan than Mother Nature. There is only one way we can change that. Look up and then seek the goodness that is growing all around you and let that be your guide this crisp, bliss-inducing autumn season.

Reflections on June… our first month of Local Food.

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Loving his Rhubarb Yogurt Parfait Snack

The first month of our local food year was beautiful, trying and full of a few surprises as well. We have received so many questions about it so far that I am excited to share what felt great and what we are still working to improve. It should be worth noting that while I love to plan and write lists and figure out all the details in advance, this adventure has had some outlining, but it was more about diving in and seeing what might transpire.

At the start, we quickly realized we needed to gobble up the existing food in our kitchen even if it was lacking local origin. This was a bit of a godsend as the month was busy with two different camps that kept the kids and I driving around the metro area every day for a couple of weeks and because fruit and vegetables are not quite abundant yet. I really thought we would have finished all of this non-local food by now, but we are still nibbling away on a few things.

The month also felt rather ‘built around meat‘. I realize the Standard American Diet practically requires meat at nearly every meal, but our family’s normal diet is a bit more on the semi-vegetarian side. Personally, while our delicious grass-fed beef and a handful of other options have been delightful, I plan to embrace more beans that I have been acquiring recently. Both for the sake of our tummies and our wallets.IMG_6187

In many ways, I have felt strapped to the kitchen. I have a feeling this is no surprise to most of you. I hesitate to lay this out as a complaint, but seriously dining out once a week (or more!?) has been missed by both of us if only for the break from cooking and cleaning. Part of this is because I have felt seriously uncertainty about the food that is coming and going. I must humbly share that I have not been effectively meal planning. I feel a bit ashamed to admit this publicly, since I meal plan as a profession, but, the transition to all local has thrown off my game. July is leaving me a lot of hope that if I make one change, just one significant improvement, it is to focus on meal planning. For reals!

As much as we miss the break offered by dining out, we do NOT miss the food received from restaurants. We have enjoyed some incredibly satisfying, goofy smile producing, do a little food dance in celebration meals. In many ways this was a driving force of this whole year. To be forced into creative new meals and ways of eating. This has been the best part by far.

IMG_6220Some of our favorite meals, include:
Meatball Sliders
Grilled Asparagus + Garlic Scape Potato Salad
Whole Wheat Tortillas stuffed with beans + grilled veggies
Sourdough Waffles (OMG… where have these been our whole lives!?)
Veggie Packed Sloppy Joes (tasty, but so simple to make no wonder lunch ladies love these!)
Lentil + Beet Salad
Rhubarb Coffee Cake

The kids favorites:
Eggs in a Hole
Strawberry Steamers
Donut Muffins stuffed with Creme Fraiche + Grape Jelly
Peanut Butter + Honey Ice Cream
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Pancakes ‘in shapes’
Homemade Pickles (made by our visiting Tucson buddies!)
Cherries (not a meal, but their faces have become permanently stained, so worth noting their love)

We have also explored our food system in cool ways. On the second day of our Local Food Year, we drove to the Western Slope of Colorado. It made us reevaluate what we eat when we travel and I wrote about it here.

IMG_6268The kids and I also went berry picking twice. The first time came in the nick of time before our son’s 3rd birthday. Strawberry is his favorite for pretty much anything and thank goodness his birthday was the day after the first strawberry picking day at the Berry Patch Farm. The cake was delightful, all-local and sweetened only with honey.

We had a couple of meals with friends this first month and what was so delightful was how they were eager to figure out this local food thing with us. Our first meal with friends they brought the most delicious meat from their Uncle’s ranch that we grilled into burgers. Then dear friends were brave enough to have us over for dinner at their house where they served a gorgeous grilled Tri-Tip from Western Daughters, Fruition Cheese, a salad from their garden, tomatoes and we brought the Grilled Asparagus + Garlic Scape Potato Salad.

We also camped for about 24+ hours with our farming friends from Tucson who were visiting. They made homemade Colorado pickles and we collaborated on several meals including a Sausage Dinner made under a tarp in a heavy downpour, a scrumptious local Lentil + Potato Salad, a veggie hash with scrambled eggs for breakfast and a couple of lunches featuring local goodness and veggies to go on top of my Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough.

The garden was coming along quite nicely, we were excited about the possibilities and then we were hit hard by hail. We were not wiped out, but heartsick as we were excited to rely on our own produce. Fortunately, there are farms beyond our small area that were not damaged and we can continue to buy produce as needed. We are also starting to see some leaves that are giving us hope.

This is what we missed the most in our first month:
Xerxes: Convenience. Being able to buy food in a pinch.
Juliette: Sweet Cow (our favorite nearby ice cream shop)
Zed: Kombucha (This is confusing as we actually have been drinking it on occasion. 3-year olds are goofballs!)
Lilly: Eating out occasionally to take a cooking break.

What we most loved in June:
Xerxes: Sourdough Waffles and the delicious steaks + burgers
Juliette: Homemade Ice Creams
Zed: Homemade Ice creams and Yogurt Parfaits (see top photo).
Lilly: Whole Wheat Tortilla Tacos (although, I think I am going to make them sourdough soon) and the Grilled Asparagus + Garlic Scape Potato Salad

Things I am still figuring out and plan to work on in July:
snack plans for the kids
meal planning!
sourdough everything… well, if it is wheat based, but seriously those waffles made me want to sourdough everything up!

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Donut Muffins Filled with Creme Fraiche + Grape Jelly

What questions do you have about our first month of eating local?

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

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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.

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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.

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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.

Dan Moore of Farmshares Interview (part 1)

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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

Comfort + Joy for Winter


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Comfort.
Joy.

These two words are totally synonymous with the holiday season. Specifically that one Christmas song with all its tidings. But as I write this, I am currently weaning myself off of the Figgy Pudding, my view is of snow melting from our White Christmas and I can still smell the pine of our slowly drying + dying Christmas tree. It takes me awhile to let go of this time of year especially when it means diving into a season that is a tad dreary and which the ‘health’ obsessed seem to require we detox off the holiday with chilly veggie beverages and crunchy salads.

But… why?!

I hardly need the carols, sweets, treats, and holiday hoopla, but as we settle into the winter season with the holidays really marking the start of, why do we abruptly end all of that delightful comfort + joy just a few days after the glorious start of the season?Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 3.32.06 PM

In the last few years, I have been a tad obsessed with the notion of the season of Hygee. It is a time that is revered and celebrated in Denmark with candles, visiting with friends and family, and overall bringing a bit of light into the darkest months. Considering past winters full of my own workaholism that borders on depression, I cringe a bit to start this time of year again. Because apparently in my own life the idea of diving into work and post-holiday food austerity somehow makes me “happy”.

Screw that!

I want some comfort, joy, fluffy blankets and sparkling lights that will last well through the spring of Colorado that is too often coated in snow and mud as I wring my hands overly anticipating the soil warming enough for me to plant anything!

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 3.30.55 PMAlas, I know very little of this Hygee pronounced Hoo-go, but I love the idea of discovering it. Especially with a few buddies. Want to join my adventure this season as I dive into candle lit family meals, comfort foods, bottomless cups of soups, fires indoors or out, walks in bundled up attire, maybe even some chestnuts on an open fire or even easier- some s’mores that are too often reserved for summer… oh the possibilities!

Even if you live in ‘warmer’ climates as I did not too long ago in Arizona, the days are still shorter, and the hygee would still be a welcome change of pace from the harried winter months where hitting the grindstone seems oddly required in our capitalist world.

Does this glimmer of an idea, this season of hygee inspire you? What do you most look forward to doing this winter season?

Join my hygee adventure!

winterjamsignupbuttonTo start it off with a spark of light, I am doing an Instagram challenge where we will Re-New Our Food to discover the life-giving joy of feeding ourselves. This will not be about stringent cuts to calories and eliminating certain types of food (unless they are joyless– bye bye fake unhappy food), but rather it is a time to embrace the goodness that is abundant during the winter. We will explore new ways to use foods that are currently in our kitchen and turn them into comforting delights that nourish not only our bodies, but hopefully our hearts + souls as well.

Join the fun! As I started my party planning, I asked my 5-year old what she thought of when I said comfort + joy. Without skipping a beat, she said being cozy and playful. 

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 3.34.05 PMSo let’s snuggle up with this idea and play with all of the possibilities that are unfolding this crisp + bright season!

It’s FREE, Sign up for the FUN here!

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Cook seasonally. Eat consciously. Live well,

Chef Lilly

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Food Gifts from Your Own Hands

granoladropsGet your apron on! These recipes from Lilly’s Table are a unique way to gift the loved ones in your life a treat straight from your heart, made with your hands. Some of them are sweet, some are savory, but none of them require refined sugar, processed foods or crazy unnecessary additives. Give the gift of a treat made sincerely with love and pure, real, wholesome goodness. They all pack up and ship well, too for your buddies who need holiday care packages.

Recently, I been making these Cacao Almond Balls with a base of dates, almonds and occasionally a heavy handed dash of my favorite liquors, which means I have to rename them “Boozy Balls” (mostly so I don’t accidentally use them as a post-workout snack 8-). This also reminds me of Schweddy Balls, because ’tis the season!) This recipe requires a food processor, but beyond that you don’t even need an oven and they are pretty simple to roll together into little balls of charming goodness.cocoaalmondballs

Maybe you would prefer your chocolate smooth + spreadable? This Homemade “Nutella” is blended from scratch with hazelnuts, cocoa, and a drizzle of sweetness making it a spread worth giving to anyone with a sweet tooth who might be trying to eat less sugar. This is even a lovely topping for cookies, crackers and even cupcakes.

nutella

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Pecan Granola is this excellent, not-to-sweet base recipe for a simple granola. It is easy to add your own flavors, spices, nuts, seeds + dried fruits to really make this your own. Do it up and add your own personal pizzaz!

Coconut Granola brings together as many layers of coconut as I could muster into one recipe. The white flecks are a perfect snowy reminder of the brisk holiday season we are in.coconutgranola

Either of these granolas could be taken to the next level with these Granola Drops. You can even start this recipe with your favorite store-bought granola if you have a favorite.

Coco-Nutty low-resThe Coco-Nutty Granola is especially perfect for the grain-free, gluten-free, oat-free, I am mostly eating nuts + coconut crowd. This is probably my favorite granola because it is so high in protein it sustains me hours into my busy mornings.

blackpepperparmesangranolaBlack-Pepper + Parmesan Granola. Okay- I admit this one is totally unconventional, but I LOVE savory so I had to share it. It is beautiful sprinkled on salads or sizzling fried up eggs in the morning.
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Jams from your summer harvest are always a good gift to share. Make that simple jar of goodness a bit more spectacular as a  hostess gift with homemade crackers and your favorite cheese. These whole-grain Fennel Crackers can be rolled out and cut into shapes. Meanwhile, these gluten-free Pecan Crackers are hearty and perfect for the holiday season.

These naturally sweetened Coconut Lime Date Bars, find the recipe here: http://www.simpleacresblog.com/health–food/coconut-lime-date-bars are just as lovely throughout the year as they are wrapped up as a gift for the holidays. A shiny label or a favorite washi tape wrapped around these bars make them extra special this time of year. Mix in a bit of dried cranberry towards the end of mixing for a delightful Christmas feel.

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What treats are you planning to make this Holiday Season!?
Don’t forget! Gift your favorite bunch of ladies with Lilly’s Table seasonal meal planning service, too. Pay for four gift certificates, but receive five. Or buy eight gift certificates and receive three gift certificates for free! This deal is special for the holidays, so take advantage of it today!  

Cook seasonally. Eat consciously. Live well,

Chef Lilly

Harvest Lentil Salad

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Recently, I was invited to do a cooking demo and cook for a local Food Bank to celebrate the harvest + World Food Day. It brought back so many memories of when I was the coordinator of Tucson Food Day just a few short years ago.

This event was a beautiful celebration! First, I cooked all day with lovely friends and volunteers, my children were nearby most of the day content + happy (yes, I was stunned, too), and then I did a cooking demo that was light-hearted + well received. But, my favorite part happened a few weeks earlier when I walked into the Food Bank and they showed me all of the foods available to their clients that they were eager for me to cook with and share.

Barely wilting cabbage, banged up winter squash, onions and carrots– the recipe ideas were pouring out of me onto my handy clipboard. But, then they opened a large bag with teeny-tiny black seeds and asked me “What in the world are these?”

“Beautiful beluga lentils” I seriously had to exclaim!

These lentils are unique and they get their name because they look just like beluga caviar. What a treasure to find in the Food Bank! I took some home to test out a new recipe using the other produce and goods available to the Food Bank clients.

The result was this simple salad. Consider this a base recipe. A recipe that would happily enjoy a bit of sparkling up with bits of dried fruit such as minced apricots or cranberries or even the jewels of pomegranates. The crunch of various nuts or seeds, such as toasted almonds, crumbled pecans or last week’s Candied Chipotle Pepitas would settle in nicely with these lentils. Roasted veggies, roots, or shreds of leaves could be folded in as well. A crumble of feta or shavings of parmesan would also do well in this dish. It calls for water, but cooking the beans in broth adds yet another layer of flavor.

This can be a simple weeknight meal or a side dish to an elaborate holiday dish. Let me know how you glam up these simple belugas.

Harvest Lentil Salad
Beluga Lentils can be found in specialty shops, gourmet groceries, co-ops or health food stores. Another lentil such as French, Green, or Brown lentils can work instead. The only lentil I would avoid are the thinner lentils, such as the red, which are better for soups than salads. 

1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup carrots, sweet potatoes or winter squash, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup beluga lentils, or french or green
3 cups water, or unsalted broth
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 apple, cored and finely chopped
1/4 cup sage, washed and finely chopped, or thyme or parsley

Place the onions, lentils, and chopped carrots (or squash/sweet potatoes) in a pot covered with the water and a lid. Bring up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 40-50 minutes until tender to the bite. Once the lentils are nearly done, add half of the salt. If there is extra water, increase the heat to boil it off quickly or strain off the liquid using a wire mesh strainer.

In a large separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar and honey. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking rapidly. Add the remaining salt. Fold the cooked lentils into the dressing and then add the apples and fresh herbs. Serve warm or cool and serve chilled.

Summer Foods that Hydrate

summer hydration fruit and vegetables cherries
Please welcome guest blogger Stefanie Davis for another post on healthy summer eating! 

Summer is here with lots of fun in the sun to be had! Drinking plenty of water is essential to maintain health in this hot season. Water is essential as our primary source of hydration, but food can also be an enjoyable and delicious way to staying cool!  Fresh seasonal fruits and vegetable are available in abundance just waiting to be enjoyed and savored! (The health benefits of eating seasonally can be reviewed here.  Increasing your produce intake improves your body’s hydration and offers natural sugars and electrolytes that replenish your body with what it needs during times of heat and perspiration.

Here are 10 of some of the best foods to help beat the heat of Summer!
(Follow the link for RECIPES)
1. Cucumbers
2. Celery
3. Tomatoes
4. Cauliflower
5. Watermelon
6. Spinach
7. Strawberries
8. Carrots
9. Cherries
10. Radishes

Now go have more Summer fun with yummy hydrating recipes in tow! XO

SAsignature

stef

Hi there, I’m Stefanie from Simple Acres blog. I am a wife to a hard workin’ man, mommy to 3 “littles”, 10 year Registered Dietitian, writer, artist and hopeful inspirer! My passion is to bring the journey of simplicity to others through focusing on the things that really matter….the ones you love, the dreams you BELIEVE, and living in the moment with true JOY! As a RD I believe in  body love and acceptance, intuitive eating and savoring and nourishing the body with wholesome foods! I’m excited to be able to grace the pages of Lilly’s Table and look forward to joining you more as your new personal Dietitian! Please come visit me at Simple Acres and come to know me more personally on my facebook fan page, instagram and twitter! Dovidenia. XO

Declare Your Food Independence

foodwillwinthewar

Are you a patriot of the food revolution or a
loyalist to the Standard American Diet? 

Food Loyalist [food loiuh-list]
noun
1. a person who is loyala supporter of the sovereign or of the existing food system especially during this time of revolt.

Food Patriot [food pey-tree-uh t] 
noun
1.  a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her local food system and its delicious, sustainable interests with devotion.

As a nation, we have passively given our own diet to a very large system that no longer has our land, our families, our ideology, or even our health at heart.

Our craving to eat ‘right’ is often cleverly disguised by marketing that flashes claims of heart-healthy, fat-free, free-range, sugar-free, gluten-free or natural with very little nourishment or sustenance. This Standard American Diet (SAD) has been on the menu for decades and WE the people are the ones suffering with the growing list of diet related diseases, syndromes and deaths.

For years, I have felt the paradox of a holiday that celebrates our collective ability to stand up for what we believe in, meanwhile the ‘American’ food that shapes nearly every backyard party is some of the most suppressive, industrially processed food that we could possibly consume.

Hot dogs. Burgers. Buns. Sugar-laden ketchup. Trans-fat mayonnaise. And plastic tasting vegetables dipped in white mystery sauces.

Why do we celebrate our freedom with this type of ‘cuisine’? 

We are not to a point where the Standard American Diet is comprised of real food that nourishes us, that offers fair work to those who produce it, and that is grown within our own local economies. The SAD is not a sustainable food system that will protect us and our children into the future.

Passively consuming the SAD lifestyle should no longer feel like an option for you. It is time to rise up and be a Food Patriot, not a Loyalist. Vote with your food dollars. For every quarter you spend on local + real food, instead of corporate food products, you are sending a clear message that you are ready to embrace your own food freedom.

warusa025

I invite you to rebel against the S.A.D. I invite you to
celebrate food with truth! 

As we prepare to watch fireworks and celebrate the bravery of the Declaration of Independence, why not take a break from corporate food for one holiday?

Why not take a courageous stance against a food system that could care less if you lived, died or suffered from what you consume?

Take the 4th of July and claim your right to food that is made on our own land, more precisely on the land as close to you as possible.

Here are my four favorite dishes that are a perfect way to revolt against the food status quo

Grilled Sweet Potato Fries + Yogurt Ranch Dip
Grilled Potato Salad
Watermelon Salad
Pulled Pork Sliders

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In addition, here are FOUR ways to celebrate the 4th without the S.A.D. weighing you down: 

  • Shop at a Farmers Market this week! Gather whatever veggie goodness is available and toss it into a beautiful salad, skewer it on to kebabs or grill them whole to stack on to buns.
  • Want meat? Find a local butcher or rancher and see if they sell hot dogs, sausages, burgers or even big slabs of pork (perfect for the Pork Sliders mentioned above!)
  • Find a local bakery! Yes, the bill will most likely cost more than the $2 or less bags than the addictive white flour buns, but I have a feeling you will be in for a treat, especially if you find a new bakery to love in the future.
  • Dessert can be as simple as these Red, White + Blue Berry Necklaces (see photo below) or popsicles made from a puree of whatever local fruit you can find and pour it into the molds.
photo 2

Needle + thread bring together strawberries, cherries, blueberries + blackberries for a playful 4th of July dessert!

 

Simplify and defy the food of the 4th of July!

What is on your menu that will blow up the typical ‘American’ party food?

Cook seasonally. Eat consciously. Celebrate food,

Chef Lilly