Easy Bolognese

Hurricane Sandy is quickly moving in on the East Coast and I wanted to prepare one hearty meal before the probable loss of power, knowing the outages will likely last a few days.

Being a NJ native this tomato sauce is a favorite and was a no brainer for this chilly day. While pasta is an obvious choice, this is wonderful over roast cauliflower, rice, or with a slice of hearty sourdough. Top with pecorino romano and fresh basil or add a quart of beef stock and some red chard and serve as a soup!

28oz jarred or canned tomato (check to be sure they are BPA free)
1 lb. ground grass fed beef
1/2 sweet red or yellow onion
2 small carrots
2 cloves garlic smashed
3 talespoons butter

In a large pot, brown the beef, breaking it into bite sized pieces. Finely dice the carrots, smash the garlic and remove the outer skins of the onion. Add the carrots to the beef and cook until soft. Drain most of the remaining fat from the beef and add the tomatoes and butter. Submerge the onion half and the garlic in the sauce and simmer for one hour. Remove garlic and onion before serving.


Bircher Muesli

I love hot breakfasts! Eggs with spinach or soaked oat porridge are our favorite daily recipes. Then for more special days, blueberry pancakes with sprouted flour and the amazing holiday strata I have been making for years tops the list. Sometimes though, I want a cold breakfast that is ready when I wake up and this is my go to recipe. Only three ingredients and very easy to make your own by playing with various fruit combinations.

1 1/2 cups whole rolled oats
3/4 cup filtered water
The Juice of 1 Lemon

Mix the ingredients together and allow to soak for 12 hours at room temperature. When ready to eat, serve with a variety of toppings. Some favorites are:
– finely chopped green apple, raisins, plain yogurt and a drizzle of honey
– blueberries, walnuts, yogurt and maple syrup.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins (Gluten Free)

For the time being, I am on a gluten-free diet. While it is (hopefully) not permanent, it has been 6 weeks and that is certainly enough time to really feel the loss of certain foods. Knowing that there is no great substitute for real artisan bread, I turned my cravings toward something I could recreate in my kitchen. I was thrilled with this recipe, as were my husband and son.
These pumpkin cream cheese muffins are not overly sweet, but carry all the flavors of Autumn beautifully. It just makes life a little easier when you no longer have to deal with big orange muffins at Whole Foods, Starbucks and on Pinterest taunting you – you can just make these instead. While definitely a treat and not an everyday food, these are a treat you can feel pretty good about.

Ingredients (Muffin)
1 1/2 cups oat flour
2/3 cup organic pumpkin puree
1/4 maple syrup
1/4 cup turbinado or other raw sugar
2 eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Ingredients (Filling)*
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1/3 cup organic powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk

(These directions are for quick muffins. While it is possible to soak them by combining the oat flour with the milk and yogurt and allowing to sit overnight before proceeding, it doesn’t work perfectly with this recipe and you must use a food processor for the rest of the recipe in order to achieve the proper texture. For a ‘nourished’ option, sprouted spelt should work well!)

For the filling: Simply combine the room temperature cream cheese with the powdered sugar and milk, stirring until smooth and set aside.

For the batter: In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In a seperate bowl whisk the eggs until light and frothy before combining with maple syrup, milk, yogurt, vanilla and pureed pumpkin.

Mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Melt the butter and aft allowing it to cool slightly add to the batter.

Line a muffin pan with paper cups and cover the bottoms with the batter (about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons). Place a dollop of the filling in each cup and cover with remaining batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. The filling will be hot, so allow to cool completely before enjoying.

*For another great muffin, omit the cream cheese filling and add 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips!

Simple Popcorn

Inspired by the bag of beautiful, multicolor, organic popcorn kernels I purchased at Whole Foods this week, I did a quick internet search for the best way to pop it.  I love stovepop popcorn for its nostalgia and for the ridiculous feeling of accomplishment I feel when I take the lid off the pot to reveal those gorgeous puffs of deliciousness.  🙂

This recipe blew my old method of a wish and a prayer out of the water.  I made two batches and had one unpopped kernel total.  The coconut oil I used added a touch of unexpected sweetness that mixed well with the butter and sea salt rather than being overpowering.


1/3 cup unpopped popcorn

2 to 3 tablespoons coconut oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste

1 tablespoon of butter (optional, but recommended)


Add the coconut oil and sea salt to a heavy bottom saucepan (I used a stainless steel, 7 cup pan and it was perfect), along with 4 popcorn kernels.  Cover and place over medium high heat until all 4 kernels have popped.  Remove from heat and add the rest of the kernels.   Cover the pot quickly and wait 30 seconds before returning to heat shaking occasionally.  Return pot to heat and shake occasionally until popping slows to a few seconds between pops.  If possible, vent your lid slightly during this process to release steam.  When popping stops, remove the lid and revel in a sense of accomplishment.  Top with melted butter and more sea salt.

Perfect Popcorn recipe is here.

Quinoa and Black Beans

This is a great dish to feed a crowd. I created it when we had old friends visiting who had just begun a Vegan diet. I needed something tasty, easy and not too time-consuming (I wanted to sit and talk). While we topped it with plain Greek yogurt, our friends enjoyed it plain alongside Vegan Apple Butternut Muffins with Sprouted Spelt.
Quinoa is very high in protein and with black beans (a superfood), this dish is perfectly nutritious and filling for a meatless supper. Of course, if you are so inclined it would be easy to top this with leftover roast chicken or to modify the recipe to include meat. No matter your preference, this dish is worth a try!

2 cups quinoa
2 15 oz. cans black beans*
2 15 oz.cans chopped tomatoes*
1 yellow bell pepper
1 small red onion
1 stalk celery with leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons hot sauce (I prefer Cholula)
2 tàblespoons chili seasoning**
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Sea salt and pepper to taste
*check to make sure that your cans are BPA Free before purchasing, Eden Organics and Trader Joes are both recommended
**I have used Trader Joe’s taco seasoning for this recipe, as it contains only real spices with no msg or fillers. Alternatively, you could use 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.

Place quinoa in a bowl and cover with 3 1/2 cups filtered water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or plain yogurt if non-vegan). Allow to sit for 4 hours. (This step is for the health benefits of soaking and can be skipped if pressed for time.)

After the quinoa has soaked, chop the onion, celery, and bell pepper in a small uniform dice and add to a large stock pot with the olive oil, salt liberally. Cover vegetables and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until tender. When vegetables have cooked add the black beans (drained and rinsed), tomatoes (with juice), the hot sauce and the quinoa with the soaking liquid (if you skipped the soaking step, add the quinoa with 3 1/2 cups water). Stir well and allow to simmer covered for ten minutes. Finally, add your chili seasoning and brown sugar and allow to continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed (about 15 more minutes). Quinoa is cooked when it is slightly translucent and a small “tail” is visible. Top with yogurt and enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Porridge

What better way to begin a new blog than with a seasonal favorite – pumpkin! This soaked oat baked porridge is the perfect breakfast to make an ordinary day feel like a holiday. This was a favorite in my home last Autumn and I was so excited to make it again!
Hearty and nutritious soaked oats bring their texture to the party and the pumpkin custard is slightly sweet and earthy, one of the seasons best flavors. The oats need to soak for 12 hours which requires a little bit of forethought, but otherwise, this dish comes together quickly and easily.

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 plain yogurt
3 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
3 tablespoons maple syrup (increase to 1/4 cup if omitting brown sugar)
2 tablespoons butter (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 scraped vanilla bean
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)

The night before, place oats in a large bowl. Whisk together 3/4 cup water with yogurt and pour over oats, stir until thoroughly distributed. Cover and set in a warm place for 12 hours.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together eggs and vanilla, add raisins and set aside. In a seperate bowl combine remaining ingredients, adding the melted butter last. Uncover oat mixture and combine with the egg mixture and then with the pumpkin/milk mixture. Pour into a buttered casserole dish and bake uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes, until set and top is golden brown. Allow to cool for several minutes before serving. Delicious alone or topped with cream, butter, or chopped apples.

This recipe inspiration came from here: Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal