Vegfest Recap

I didn’t know what to expect going into this year’s Twin Cities Vegfest. Sure, I’m moving more toward a plant-based diet, but I’m not vegan. My love for cheese is real. Do I belong there? Should I even shoot at it? At the end of that hot September day, I walked away smiling, exhausted, and very pleased to shoot at such a cool event. My favorite part of this event was meeting and chatting with the incredible people behind the scenes. The ones that make the food what it is and the ones that put on the festival. The ones that hustle to make their passion come to life and support their fellow neighbors doing the same. The awesome attendees and their adorable children and pups. Everyone involved made this an incredible food festival.

I was extremely impressed by the food I tried, and I’m blown away by our strong plant based food scene here in the twin cities. Check out my list of a handful of the vendors below and give them a try if you haven’t yet.

Overall, Vegfest, a project of Compassionate Action of Animals, was a great experience. The festival aims to encourage people to move toward a plant-based diet, but is open to absolutely everyone. So yes, I did belong. And I did sample, mingle, shoot, and have a memorable experience. It was such a good summer send-off in a beautiful location, and I look forward to next year!


Artisans and vendors pictured:

Summer in a cup by Evan’s Organic Eatery

Cupcakes by Vegan East

Jackfruit nachos and lemongrass tacos by Reverie Mobile Kitchen

Fried peanuts by Tootie’s Southern Peanuts

Fro Yo Soul

The Herbivorous Butcher

So Good So You

zucchini fritters


Happy fall! I posted a zucchini fritters recipe about a year ago, but I’ve since tweaked it and I’m happier with the result. It yields a bigger batch of heartier, crispier, hemp-ier (yes I added hemp seeds) fritters. I like eating some right away and freezing the rest for later. They’re excellent topped with soft artisan cheese, fresh tomatoes, and parsley.  One of my favorite ways to use that garden zucchini, which is still going strong for me right now!

Here are the revised zucchini fritters. Let me know if you try them!

Makes 8-10 fritters


  • 5 cups of graded zucchini
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 C. chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 C. Panko breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 C. hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp of salt & pepper, more to taste
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 oz. artisan soft cheese (like quark or goat cheese)
  • 1 C. cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 C parsley, chopped


  1. Drain excess water out of the zucchini using nut milk bag or a cheesecloth.
  2. Combine the graded zucchini and chopped onions in a bowl.  Add the eggs, breadcrumbs, hemp seeds, garlic, salt & pepper, and thoroughly stir.
  3. Heat 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil in pan. Turn heat to medium. Pick up ~1/4 C. of the batter, roughly form into a patty with your hands, and drop in pan. Working in batches, cook 2-3 patties at a time.
  4. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until browning. Flip, and cook another 3-4 minutes on the other side. Remove from pan and set on a plate.  Add more oil to the pan to continue to make the rest of the fritters.
  5. Spread a bit of soft cheese on top of the fritters, and add the tomatoes and parsley right before eating.


Tofino, B.C.

Last fall, Chris and I took a trip to Tofino, British Columbia. It was our amazing little getaway before we figured out we’d be moving across the country and before the baby joined us. Why Tofino? Chris had been there as a kid, and he often talked about this magical, beautiful, remote surfing town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I laughed at the thought of surfers in Canada, but he made me pretty curious about this Tofino place. When we were trying to pick a spot for our babymoon, I suggested Tofino, and we went for it. It was almost a full day of travel from Seattle, between the ferry and incredibly curvy (but stunning) Hiway 4 on Vancouver Island, but it was worth every minute of travel. I was in awe at the beauty and rawness of Tofino. The gorgeous beaches, the sunsets, the trails, the town lined with restaurants, breweries, and shops, and the incredibly friendly people.

I took a series of landscape and natural shots that I ended up just ignoring once we got back. Life got so busy, and I basically forgot about them. Well, here they are, and they are making me want to go back. I don’t know whether it’s remembering this peaceful time in our lives or the laid-back, beautiful town itself or maybe both, but Tofino will forever hold a special place in my heart.



blueberry smoothie bowl


It has been one hot summer! Smoothie bowls are so awesome for summer, and I’ve really been loving blueberry season this year. I’ve also had constant cravings for coconut, dark chocolate, and nut butters, so all those things are in this bowl. They really go together well though, and the bowl is packed with anti-oxidants. I’ll for sure be turning back to this bowl again and again!

Quickie recipe! This makes 1 large bowl or 2 small bowls. For the smoothie, blend 1 banana, 2 cups blueberries, 1/4 cup coconut yogurt, 2 tbsp almond butter, 1 tbsp real maple syrup, 1 – 1.5 cups almond milk (or your choice of milk), small scoop protein/superfood powder (if you use it), small scoop flaxseed.

Top with granola, dark chocolate pieces, blueberries, and hemp seeds.

Enjoy and stay cool!

sesame lime squid tacos


Squid seems to be an underrated seafood choice but I really enjoy it. I love that it’s inexpensive, versatile, delicious, and an overall sustainable seafood option. There are also so many other ways to cook it besides making fried calamari!

Here, I grilled it and served it up in delicious tacos, along with seasonal fresh cucumbers, corn, shallot, serrano pepper, and a sesame oil + lime drizzle. It would also be great plated up as an appetizer or small plate straight off the grill and seasoned. Either way, give it a shot if it’s not something you usually try! You’ll be pleased!

Makes 4-6 tacos


  • 1/2 lb cleaned squid tubes & tentacles
  • 4-6 corn (or your choice) tortillas
  • 1 cup of chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1/2 serrano (or 1 small one), sliced
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp shoyu / soy sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • dash of salt & pepper
  • sesame seeds and a few parsley sprigs for garnish


  1. In a large bowl, combine cucumber, corn, and serrano. In a small bowl, add shallot, sesame oil, olive oil, white wine vinegar, soy sauce, salt & pepper, and almost all the lime juice (save ~1 tsp worth). Mix until well incorporated, and drizzle over corn/cucumber mix.
  2. Rinse the cleaned squid and pat dry.  Season with salt & pepper. Grill the whole tubes and tentacles on high for 2-4 minutes. Heat up the tortillas on the grill as well if desired. Remove tortillas and squid from heat, and slice tube into cross sections and split up tentacles.
  3. Add squid to corn/cucumber mix, and plate onto tortillas. Squeeze remaining lime juice on top, and garnish with sesame seeds and parsley.





raspberry rhubarb pecan galette


There we were, pulled over on the side of the interstate, 15 minutes east of Seattle. Our cats were really not having being in a car. I mean, really REALLY not having it. We installed a wire mesh barrier in the back of our hatchback for them to have space to hang out and not get in our area in the front seats. We thought it was the best option for a long drive. Nope! Definitely not. They hated it back there so much to the point that they somehow broke through the barrier right away and scrambled up to the front seats. It’s kind of a blur what happened next. Chris was driving and I was in the passenger’s seat. They were both frantically making their way up to the front. Chris pulled over and I somehow corralled Finn, the tabby boy, into the cat carrier and set him on my lap. Chris was somehow able to get Jackie, the tabby/white mix, to the back and re-secure the barrier. We continued back on the interstate, and I felt something warm on my leg. Finn definitely peed. Meanwhile, Jackie busted out again somehow and made her way up to the the driver’s area and slinked under the seat. We took the next exit and pulled over at a park to figure it out. We were not off to an awesome start.

We took a more southern route to stay a few days in Colorado to visit my sister and family. We managed to make it to Pendleton, OR the first night, after an exhausting first day of driving. The cats calmed down. We kept them in their carriers on the middle seat, and let them come out every once and a while. It was a long drive for them too. The temperatures were close to freezing as we pulled in to a brewpub that December night night in eastern Oregon to get some dinner.

At 30 weeks along, tiredness hit me like a bag of bricks when evening came around. Here I was, deliriously-tired pregnant lady trudging into the Pendleton hotel with a cat carrier in one hand, sensitive house plant plant in the other, still managing to grab one of those hotel cookies. I must’ve looked pretty questionable. As we made another trip out to the car, I low-key wondered how I was going to pull off the rest of this move. The best thing I could do was take it day at a time. That night was so cold, I was so tired, we had so much traveling ahead of us, but damn was that hotel cookie good.

Rhubarb season! I grew up with this gem. My mom made incredibly delectable rhubarb pies. Strawberry and rhubarb is a classic, but I’ve really been liking raspberry and rhubarb as well for it’s tartness. It’s great balanced out with lemon and sugar though. Also, adding some pecans on top gives it a bit of a crunch. It’s also easy it to make your own crust if you’ve never tried.



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour + more for dusting  surface
  • pinch of sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp cold water


  • 2 cups of chopped rhubarb (5-6 small/medium stalks; 2-3 if they’re large) Optional: 3 additional stalks cut lengthwise for presentation
  • 1/2 cup of raspberries
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • lemon squeeze
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  •  handful of chopped pecans
  • Vanilla ice cream for topping




  1. Mix flour, sugar, and salt together in a bowl. Slice butter into small pieces, and work into flour mixture using your fingers (or a pastry cutter) until dough is crumbly.
  2. Drizzle the 1/4 cup of water into the flour, bit by bit, and stir until moistened. Save the last tbsp of water in case the mixture seems on the dry side.
  3. Roll dough it into a ball, knead a few times, then press into disk shape and cover. Refrigerate anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. Take dough out and let come to room temperature (or close to it) before assembling galette.


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss the rhubarb chunks (I cut them into 3/4 inch cross sections), raspberries, sugar, lemon, vanilla extract, and cornstarch in a bowl and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Crack the egg and beat in a separate side bowl. Set aside.
  3. When the dough is at room temp, gently roll it out into 10 inch sized crust on top of a sheet of parchment paper. The goal is about 1/8 inch thick crust. It’s totally fine if it’s not a perfect circle.
  4. Pile the filling onto the crust, leaving a roughly 2 inch border. If you’re going for the optional presentation touch, wedge the stalks on top of the filling. Fold in the edges, working all the way around and tucking in the filling.
  5. Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top of the filling and brush crust with egg.
  6. On center rack, bake for 40-45 minutes, or until crust starts to turn golden brown. Let cool, and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Note: You can make the galette ahead of time and refrigerate before baking if needed.

*crust recipe adapted from Food & Wine’s recipe



blood orange, beet, and burrata salad

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It was a crisp December afternoon as I walked over the creaky doug fir floor boards one last time. The house was empty. Everything was packed. The strange feeling of moving out and leaving your home behind was setting in. It was our first home. We had worked hard and made it our own. Now we were on our way out of the home, the neighborhood, the city and state. We were leaving Seattle to return to Minneapolis, the city we’re originally from. I did one last sweep through the house. I tried to numb myself to any emotions that were arising, but I couldn’t help but feel tears rush to my eyes as I stepped away from the garden, the ancient unwieldy rosemary bush, the overgrown plum tree, the kitchen, the beautiful afternoon light beaming in through the front windows, and the seagulls squawking from above. The little things that make your life what it is. I was 7 months pregnant, and I was tired. Physically and emotionally. Saying goodbye to your job, your friends, your daily activities, your life as you know it is no easy feat. Neither is growing a human. Our house was sold, our stuff was packed. We picked up the cat carriers, and headed out the door one last time. The first several challenges were behind us, but we still had quite the journey ahead.

Little by little, I’ll share moments of the journey that’s made up the last several months. I know this is a food blog, but whatever. It’s more about insights and realizations, the beautiful times, the moments that tried us, and using mindfulness to get through those moments. Also, people may wonder why I’ve been silent for a while. Well, this is it.

Now for the salad! A bit overdue, but citrus was a huge craving of mine during pregnancy and after. I love how beets go with creamy burrata, and adding blood orange segments make it juicy and flavorful. Keep the burrata in halves if you want and pick at it as you go, or break it down into smaller pieces. Hemp seeds and pepitas bring in a wonderful crunchy seediness. This salad is bright, earthy, and very simple. I love it.



  • 3 blood oranges
  • 4 beets (2-3 if they’re larger in size)
  • 1-2 large burrata balls
  • sprinkling of hemp seeds and pepitas
  • tender baby greens (I used mustard greens and asian greens)
  • ~3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp juice from orange
  • dash of salt & pepper



  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Remove stems, skin the beets and slice into quarter inch half moons. Toss well in olive oil and salt & pepper, and lay on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 30-35 minutes on middle rack.
  2. Slice the oranges. When the beets are baked and cooled a bit, assemble the salad by cutting open burrata, and layering oranges, beets, and greens along plate. Drizzle olive oil and orange juice over salad, as well as hemp seeds and pepitas.


Serves 2-3


Feast Portland Recap

Well, I did it. I got to experience Feast Portland. I lived in Portland for about 4 years and never made it to Feast. We move to Seattle and I end up making a weekend out of traveling to this spirited food festival and wondered why it was only my first time. As great as it is making our life in Seattle, I clearly miss Portland. Feast embodied the Portland food scene. Local ingredients, creative dishes and bites, beautiful presentations, endless booze flowing, and constant foodie conversations. Incredible, hardworking people were behind every dish and drink. I was honored to receive a blogger pass, which granted me access to the Grand Tastings, Brunch Village, and the Food 52 Ice Cream Social along with a few other smaller classes and events. I had an excellent time at this unique-to-Portland food event which donates to Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. “Feast is more than just a food and drink festival” as described on the Feast Portland website.  It’s a movement that you just have to experience yourself.


Artisians, Chefs, and Vendors pictured:

Johnny Appleseed Authentic by Congaree and Penn

Stumptown Coffee

Little T Baker (Flint Corn Brioche with Sweet Cream Cheese & Venus Grapes)

Vintner’s Kitchen

Tillamook Ice Cream

Smith Teamaker

Sisters Baking Company

Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Comission

Kite Hill

Wailua Shaved Ice



Óli Gústa

slow roasted tomatoes


The pinnacle of tomato season is upon us! My tomato jungle is producing more than I can handle, so I’m getting moving on slow roasting these guys. Slow roasting brings out a deep, beautiful tomato flavor that’s downright addicting. Add some garlic and basil to be slow roasted with the tomatoes to add earthiness to that deep flavor. If you’ve never slow roasted tomatoes, definitely give it a try. You might feel like it’s too hot to get the oven going, but when it’s at a low temp of 250° F, it’s only slightly noticeable in the kitchen.

What do you do with slow roasted tomatoes? So many things. My favorite is to add them to a jar with olive oil (my favorite is Tuscan evoo from Oregon Olive Mill) and pile them on toast, eggs, pasta dinners, pizza, or anything for the following week. I also blend them with additional olive oil and use as fresh pizza or pasta sauce. It’s also really great to freeze the sauce or tomatoes in small, single use bags to pull out throughout the winter and put to use. They store for about a week in the fridge and 3-4 months in the freezer.

Speaking of my favorite olive oil, my friends at Oregon Olive Mill will be attending Feast Portland this year, along with many other local artisans, chefs, distilleries, breweries, cider houses and wineries. Feast is a once a year, incredible Portland food and drink festival. I’m excited to say that I will be there too! I will be covering various events throughout the festival, including a small hands-on class, and I’m really looking forward to sharing it with you. If you’re interested in attending Feast Portland, there are still a select few packages and events available, check out!

Slow Roasted Tomatoes


  • As many small or medium tomatoes you can fit on 2 baking sheets (~5 lbs)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I don’t really measure – just drizzle)
  • salt + pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 250° F. Remove stems and cut small tomatoes in half, medium tomatoes in quarters.
  2. Lay out onto baking sheet and generously drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and basil. Toss tomatoes to evenly coat, and bake for 3 1/2 hours or until they look soft and nicely roasted.
  3. Let cool, and spoon into jars partially filled with olive oil, or blend with additional olive oil to make sauce.


My favorite tomatoes to use are sungolds and sweet million, but this works with any small or medium tomatoes.

If you’re short on time and just need some roasted tomatoes, I’ve done them at 275°-300° for about 2-2.5 hours, and they came out pretty well. Not exactly like a true slow roast, but pretty close.

I originally thought you have to toss the tomatoes half way through baking, but now I realize it’s totally fine without doing this. I usually just pull out the pans 1/2 way through, check if they need any more basil or seasoning, and switch the pan spots in the oven. 

Hope you give them a try!



berry mint smoothie

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Summer. What a beautiful time of year. Also, what a busy time of year. Lately, I feel like I’ve had 20 things on my mind at all times, and I’m failing if I’m not getting them done.  Gardening, recipe developing, food blogging, making food from scratch, and other general life stuff can be a lot with a full time job. I know others feel the same with their jobs, families, activities, and social obligations. I feel we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves and place impossible expectations upon ourselves. We need downtime to re-charge, be mindful, and enjoy being in the company of friends and family after all, right? Lately, I’ve found these 3 things to be helpful organize my intentions and avoid a racing mind:

  1. Make weekly lists and give myself manageable, prioritized tasks spread throughout the week. Don’t be too hard on myself if things come up and I don’t get through them.  ( I like the app!
  2. Read a good book or magazine article when I would otherwise be on my phone for about an hour (give or take) every day.
  3. Turn my phone off an hour before bed. This is a great time for relaxing, self-care, reading, or playing with the pets!

I’m not perfect, but these things definitely seem to help, along with daily exercise and other mindful activities. Of course a licensed professional is your go-to if you’re really feeling this problem, but I think many of us go through the “too many tabs open in our mind” phase from time to time. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Enjoy the summer while it’s here.

On another note, I’ve been making smoothies almost daily this summer. This one is a simple, refreshing treat that cools you down. Perfect for hot days and to utilize the surplus of berries I have in my kitchen this time of year. Any berries would work, I just used what I had on hand. Also, kombucha or ginger beer could be a nice substitute for the water and would add some fizziness.


  • 3 cups of berries (I used 2 cups raspberries, 1 cup blueberries)
  •  1/2 a pineapple, cut into small chunks
  • 1 large kale leaf, chopped & spine removed
  • 1 cup water
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime
  • 4-5 small mint leaves, chopped finely

Directions: Add all ingredients to a vitamix or high speed blender, and blend for ~45 seconds, or until smooth. Serve and drink immediately or store in the freezer for a bit.


cucumber peach salad

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Here’s another quickie recipe! This is a really nice summer salad to have on the side when you’re out grilling or to bring on a picnic. It’s packed with flavor yet has a beautiful lightness to it. I really love the peach/cucumber combo, and the radishes add a little crunch.

Thinly slice 1 cucumber, 1 (barely ripe) peach, and 5-6 french breakfast radishes and combine in a bowl or on a plate. Drizzle olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar and salt & pepper onto the fresh cut slices and toss to combine. Have a try and add any more vinegar, oil, or lemon to taste. This is great freshly made, but can be made ahead and saved for a while as well.

Serves 2-3 people. Enjoy!

roasted carrot naan pizza


This, right here. This hit the spot for a springtime veggie lovers comfort food meal. I roasted and kale and carrots in a miso paste + olive oil mixture to make this extra savory.  The roasted kale along with the pepitas on top added a nice bit of crispiness. This could be great on the grill as well or with alternate toppings, but it turned out beautifully as is.

Makes 2 pizzas


  • 2 pieces of naan bread
  • 4-5 carrots, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 3 large leaves of red kale, stems removed and cut into smaller (1-2 inch) pieces
  • 3 oz. fromage blanc or spreadable goat cheese
  • 1/2 c. pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp miso paste (shiro miso is great)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ~ 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° and set halved carrots onto baking sheet.
  2. Make the miso oil by mixing the olive oil, miso paste, garlic, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Drizzle about 3/4 of the miso oil mixture onto the carrots, leaving the other 1/4 in the bowl. Scramble the carrots to completely cover in miso oil, then spread out in a row to evenly roast. Season with a dash of salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes at 400, flipping halfway through.
  3.  Toss the kale pieces in the bowl with the remaining miso oil and lightly coat. When there are about 5 minutes left for the carrots to bake, pull out the baking sheet and sprinkle the kale evenly over the carrots. Return baking sheet to oven and throw in the naan slices as well.
  4. After the final 5 minutes, the kale should be getting slightly crispy with browning edges. If not, leave it in for another minute. Finally, remove naan and carrots/kale. Spread a layer of fromage blanc onto each slice of naan. Layer on carrots and kale, and top with pepitas. Slice and enjoy!

Tip: When making the miso oil, the miso and olive oil may not fully mix. Taking the miso paste out of the fridge and allowing it to get to room temp definitely helps, but a “rough mix” works fine. I vigorously mix with a fork for 20 seconds, then a whisk for 20 seconds more, and quickly drizzle onto carrots with a spoon.

spring chickpea salad


This is my one of my favorite spring salads to make when my garden greens are ready to harvest in the spring. It’s very basic and quick to prepare. A simple lemon & olive oil drizzle is all it needs for dressing. Often I like nuts or something with a crunch-factor in salads, but I omit that here so the tender garden greens can shine. Also, the soft boiled egg, chickpeas, and dried coppa is a delicious fatty and savory combo. When you pair it with earthy greens, parsley and lemon, it’s a really pleasing combination that you will want to come back to. Happy spring! Hope everyone is getting outdoors and enjoying the season.

And yes. It started raining right as I started shooting this outside.

Ingredients (Makes 2 salads)

  • 6  cups of greens (arugula, mizuna, mesclun, field greens all work well)
  • 4-5 parsley sprigs, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 10 oz chickpeas/garbanzo beans
  • 5-6 slices of coppa, sliced into strips (prosciutto works too)
  • 2 eggs
  • quarter of a lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • dash of salt & pepper



  1. While the parsley and rinsed greens are drying, soft boil the eggs. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil, then carefully set the eggs in the saucepan and lower the heat a bit so they’re cooking at a rapid simmer for 6 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water, and let cool for about 2-3 minutes. Peel shell and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss greens and parsley in about 1/4 cup olive oil and generous squeeze of lemon. Add chickpeas and coppa and give another quick toss.
  3. Serve salad up on plates or shallow bowls. Slice eggs in half and add to salad, along with a drizzle of the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, another lemon squeeze, and a dash of salt and pepper.



smoked salmon jalepeño chive toasts

smoked salmon-2smoked salmon-1Quickie recipe! Spring gardening is keeping me busy, but it is so awesome to be pulling out greens, herbs, and radishes to have with meals and as snacks. A few days ago a picked up some smoked salmon and saw that my chives were budding. I thought, “YES. Those will be going on some toast.” I just spread some local fromage blanc over a hearty bread slice and topped with smoked salmon, roasted jalepeño slices, edamame beans (other beans or peas would work), chives, chive buds, tender garden greens, olive oil, salt and pepper. The chive buds are really packed with that “chive-y” flavor, so give it a shot if you like chives.

Cheers to toast!

kitchen renovation


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Sorry, but the green was just not our style. Or the linoleum. It seemed “charming” at our open house, along with the rest of this 1925 craftsman bungalo. However, upon moving in and starting to use the kitchen, we both had an overwhelming feeling that it had to change. After a contractor’s quote of triple our budget, we decided to forego a contractor and go directly to local importer/fabricator/retailer Granite & Marble Specialties for the floors and countertops. We choose the sink and faucet to be installed, hired a cabinet painter to paint the cabinets, and painted the walls and applied the stikwood wall ourselves. We finished off by installing a corner of open shelves and hanging fruit basket, as well as putting up a new window shade. Oh, there was some unexpected plumbing work as well, but I won’t go into that part of it.

The whole process took a little over a month, and I’m happy we took the route we did since this wasn’t a massive remodel. It made the world of a difference and I don’t miss the green one bit!


  • floor: Cemento Treviso
  • countertop: Calacatta Vicenza Quartz
  • backsplash: Rittenhouse Square in arctic white
  • sink: Blanco
  • faucet: Moen

Speaking of kitchens, check out these kitchen spring cleaning tips from Main & Vine, they’ve got some really useful ones.


miso deviled eggs


Easter is around the corner! But hey, I say any time is a good time to make these deviled eggs. The addition of shiro miso adds a punch of umami, making these slightly addicting. Out of all the types of miso, shiro (or white) miso paste is best for it’s delicate, subtle qualities. I used a blend that was a bit stronger than shiro since I had it on hand; I just used a bit less than I normally would. I also love classic paprika as a topping, as well as a generous sprinkling of chives and parsley. Honestly, these hit the spot.

I made a smaller batch but you can easily double the recipe for a bigger portion.


  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tbsp shiro miso paste
  • 1/2 tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • a pinch of salt & pepper
  • a pinch of red chili pepper flakes
  • dash of roasted garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ~ 1 tbsp chopped chives and parsley


  1. With the eggs in a large pot, fill with water until it covers them by an inch, then bring to a low boil. Turn off heat and let sit for about 5 minutes.
  2. Prepare an ice bath, and transfer eggs to it and let them chill for about 10 minutes.
  3. Crack egg shells and peel off shells and thin membranes. Cut eggs in half and remove yolks and place into a bowl. Hopefully, they just “plop out” and are fairly soft in consistency. Otherwise, remove with a spoon.
  4. Blend sour cream, mustard, miso, lemon, salt, pepper, chili pepper flakes, and garlic powder into egg yolks until mixture is pretty smooth. I did this by hand since it’s not a large volume, but a food processor would be excellent it you double the recipe.
  5. Spoon the yolk mixture into the egg halves. Serve chilled and top with paprika, chives, and parsley.



roasted beet & parsnip toast


Quickie recipe time! When I have a really nice loaf of bread, I like to make toasts for many meals. Chris likes this too. In fact, his instagram description reads, “Mid to left coast. I like toast.” I guess toast resonates that deeply with him.

Lately, I like to spread on local fromage blanc and add any veggies I have on hand. For this delicious toast, I squeezed a bit of orange juice onto the fromage blanc, and spread onto toasted rustic bread slices. I added previously roasted beet and parsnip bits, along with some baby purple kale leaves which were briefly roasted as well. (I have a few purple kale plants that lasted through the winter, and are now awkwardly bolting and producing tiny baby leaves, but they are delicious!) I topped with salt, pepper, another squeeze of orange and a drizzle of olive oil. Toast saves the day!

hemp seed scotcharoo bars


Happy official spring! Getting close to being able to eat garden-fresh food over here, very close. I guess my kale and a few herbs did go all winter, but I’m talking early spring peas, radishes, carrots, etc. For now, I wanted to share a dessert recipe that brings me way back; scotcheroo bars.

My family excelled in bars. They were up there with pies; there’d be at least a pan of bars at pretty much every family function. These scotcheroos were my favorite. I would always try and snatch one right after my mom made a batch, so it would be warm and gooey. By the time they cooled and got more solid, I’d already be craving another. And another. And another. Now I realize that it’s not so good when your blood sugar level surges and your brain gets hooked on sugar. I experimented with my mom’s recipe, and ended up cutting out 3/4 the amount of sugar, using agave nectar instead of corn syrup, and adding hemp seeds, because I love them. My scotcheroos aren’t perfect, but I don’t quite get the crazy sugar spike and addictive aftermath. They’re quick, no-bake, and great to bring to an event or potluck and share for a sweet post-meal treat.

Makes one 9 x 13 pan


  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter + 1 additional spoonful (for topping)
  • 6 cups puffed rice cereal (I used Rice Krispies)
  • 1/2 bag chocolate chips
  • 1/2 bag butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • butter for greasing pan


  1. Pour cereal and 1/4 cup hemp seeds in a large bowl. Grease baking pan.
  2. Boil agave nectar and sugar together. Remove from heat with first bubbles. Add peanut butter and mix.
  3. Working quickly, pour nectar/sugar/peanut butter over cereal and mix it into the cereal. Spread gooey cereal into pan, mixing in any remaining dry cereal.
  4. In a separate pot, melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together over low heat, stirring often. Add the spoonful of peanut butter. Once melted, spread evenly on top of cereal, and sprinkle on the last 1/4 cup of hemp seeds.
  5. Let cool for a few hours before cutting. 20 minutes in the fridge helps speed up cooling.

Hooray for bars! Leave a comment if you have any favorite bars that remind you of your family. For me, these are it, and this is my spin on them!

parsnip apple soup


I think spring is around the corner, but I’m not really sure. Seattle is full on dreary, wet, and cold lately. We’ve had storm after storm and a record amount of rainfall lately. The wintertime blues and all the stressors from life seem to seep in from time to time, which is why I like to put everything aside and dedicate an evening to cooking. If time is limited, even an hour is good. Whether it’s making pasta by hand, slow roasting veggies, or cooking a comforting soup, it lifts my spirits, allows me to be mindful, and brings me back to what’s truly important.

I’ve been really liking the nuttiness of parsnips lately, so here I have a simple parsnip and apple soup. It’s earthy, smooth, a bit tart from the apples, and definitely comforting. I do want to try it with roasted parsnips at some point, perhaps that will be will be next. Especially if the weather keeps up at this rate.

serves 4


  • 2 large parsnips, chopped
  • 2 apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 32 oz. vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 3 tbsp walnut oil
  • 1 tbsp crumbled walnuts
  • bushel of parsley
  • salt & pepper


  1. Heat 2 tbsp walnut oil in a large pot and cook onions and parsnips on low/medium for about 20 minutes or until softened. Add apples and garlic and continue cooking for a few more minutes.
  2. Pour in vegetable broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 20 more minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt & pepper. Use stick blender or transfer to blender, and blend until very smooth.
  3. Transfer back to pot on low heat, add apple cider vinegar, half & half, and more salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Serve up drizzled with 1 tbsp walnut oil and garnish with crumbled walnuts and fresh parsley.


    Recipe adapted from BBC food creamy parsnip and apple soup

    10 things I learned from my first year of organic gardening

    Hello, it’s been a while! I’ve been busy with garden planning and starting up the early spring garden. Upon going over last year’s gardening notes, I thought I’d share a few things I realized in my first year of organic gardening in our backyard. I went into the year with a little experience, from my college work/study job of maintaining the greenhouse to small plot and container gardening while living in apartments. It definitely felt like my first real year of gardening in a real yard though; I had a sore back in the spring and may have shed a few tears once the tomato plants were done producing in late fall. By winter, I found myself really missing gardening and dreaming about next year’s garden. Here are a few tidbits that may help anyone else out there who’s new to gardening or interested in getting started in it altogether.


    1. As a newbie, it helps to find a resource or guide specific to your gardening zone or seek out a gardening mentor if you’ve got any friends, family members, or neighbors who garden. I read through Seattle Tilth’s Maritime Northwest Garden Guide, listened to Encyclopedia Botanica podcast, consulted with the Seattle Garden hotline, and chatted with coworkers who garden. It can get overwhelming sorting through all the information out there. I felt like I had to know everything about what I wanted to grow before even starting, but I learned to just take it month at a time, and look specifics up and ask when I needed some insight.

    2. Soil quality is extremely important! Get your soil tested at a local lab, amend with a well-rounded organic fertilizer, and put down compost before starting anything. It’s completely worth it for healthy, nutrient-rich veggies.


    3.When determining what to grow, think about the staples in your kitchen. Garlic? Onions? Peppers? Greens? Try and grow what you see yourself using the most of, and expand from there.

    4. Sketch your garden layout and keep a garden journal. It makes a great visual guide and helps with succession planting, plant monitoring, and keeping track of ideas.


    5. Planting starters rather than seeds can potentially make things smoother and easier for your first year. I used quite a few starters last year, and I felt like it helped me manage my different plots more easily, but I now feel ready to delve into mostly starting from seed this year. Personal preference – everyone finds their happy medium.

    6. You will have successes. You will have failures. Every gardener encounters pests, critters, and plant diseases. Most of which have measures you can take to try and get your plant healthy and productive again. However, if something wipes out a crop, you’ll know it’s an “at risk” species in your garden, and next year you can leave it out of rotation or take precautionary measures to try and prevent it from happening again.


    7. If you’re at all intimidated, don’t be. Gardening isn’t difficult, it just requires attention in the form of watering, babying young plants, pruning, and harvesting. Oh yes, don’t forget soil amending, weeding, pest and disease monitoring, plant removal at the end of it’s cycle, and any other general garden maintenance. Not difficult stuff, though, I promise!

    8. Gardening will make you resourceful and inventive ways you’ve never realized. Tomato plant getting too heavy for it’s cage? No problem, I’ll just use some twine and secure it to the side of this retaining wall. Lettuce is beginning to bolt? It’s ok, I’ll strategically place this squash trellis over the lettuce to provide shade and slow the growth. Your brain is pushed to quickly think of solutions and it continues this way of thinking into everyday living, just wait and see!


    9. Make your garden into a space you love to be in. Even little improvements to your garden space such as a rock border, bamboo fence, hanging chimes, or any personal touches draw you to want to hang out in the garden rather than it being a chore to be in the garden.

    10. Organic gardening is a continual learning process. It’s fascinating and rewarding. Once you start, you will most likely want to continue gardening and learning about gardening. For me, it was an awesome first season and I can’t wait to see what next season brings.


    Happy gardening!