Honey Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

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I don’t know how people can wake up 30 minutes before work starts and still get there on time. My summer mornings involve coffee, a shower, makeup, emptying and filling the dishwasher, watering the garden, walking the dog, and cleaning up whatever mess is on the counter so I’m not thinking about it at work all day. And this is just me — I really don’t know how people with children do it.

Lately, though, something has been making my life a little easier: chia pudding. I first discovered this recipe when I was Paleo, because chia seeds soaked in coconut milk form this tapioca-like substance that is about as close as you can get to yogurt on a strict Paleo diet. However, when you’re going through three or four $3 cans of coconut milk every week just for breakfast, the cost soon becomes prohibitive.

Luckily, I’m not Paleo anymore. Continue reading

Kil’t Kale

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I don’t want to suggest that the only way to eat kale is when it’s smothered in bacon grease and bourbon. But I think it probably is the best way.

This is a recipe originally available from Garden and Gun (online here), passed on to me by a coworker who, like me, was sick of kale salad after kale salad. Again, not that there is really anything wrong with kale salad, but every once in a while, you want something a little more tender, more meaty, something easier to convince your loved ones to eat.

The foundation of the dish is something called “bacon jam,” a concoction of bourbon, bacon, bacon grease, vinegar, and a little bit of sugar. Once you’ve got that mixture, you toss in your chopped kale and wait for it to wilt. It practically melts into the bacon jam, leaving you with an amazing sweet/sour/bitter combination. Remember how I said that all flavor is a combination of fat, salt and acid? This is a perfect example of a good balance among the three. Continue reading

Chocolate Peanut Butter Freezer Fudge

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I try to be healthy. I really do. But sometimes, you have a day that begs for chocolate peanut butter fudge, and you just have to go with it.

And why not, when it’s as delicious and easy as this is? No oil, no dairy, only a minor little bit of sugar from the dark chocolate chips. It’s vegan, gluten-free, and even (mostly) Paleo, if you use another nut butter instead of the peanut butter (hazelnut, maybe). Continue reading

Asian Coleslaw

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My husband recently bought a new grill/smoker hybrid thing called the Pit Barrel Cooker. The good news is, it makes the best ribs and tri-tip I’ve ever had in my whole life. The bad news is, now I need to come up with enough sides that go with barbecue to keep us from getting bored.

I did make Deb Perelman’s latest pasta salad recipe, and it was incredible, pairing well with plain chicken. But what makes pork ribs so good — the rich, fat-covered meat — also makes them hard to pair with anything involving a starch. Or mayonnaise. Or pretty much any traditional barbecue sides.

So I went on the hunt, and accidentally came up with this amazing Asian slaw recipe that is light enough to go with anything. but soooo flavorful. And, since it actually doesn’t include soy sauce, it’s one of those rare Asian-inspired dishes suitable for people with soy and wheat issues.  Continue reading

Greek Summer Salad

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Vegetables can be a struggle for me. I know, I run a healthy food blog — coming up with creative ways to use veggies and seasonal produce should be second nature to me, right?

Wrong. The vegetables we actually eat in my house are pretty repetitive. Brussels sprouts, sometimes with bacon. Kale. A salad. Sometimes chard, if my garden is going gangbusters. Zucchini on the grill, if my husband feels like taking that on. Asparagus.

I got sick of salads the other day and needed to find something new. A quick flip through my Gourmet cookbook was disappointing. Really? No vegetables section? But a more detailed look revealed that a lot of the “Salad” recipes were not just lettuce at all, but a variety of vegetables thrown in a bowl with dressing, which was exactly what I was looking for.  Continue reading

Bison Bacon Burgers

paleo gluten-free bison bacon burger oh manBear with me. I promise, you want to make these, you just might not know it yet. Bison is maybe a little unusual for people who are not living in rural areas where people regularly shoot and kill and eat everything from snow geese to antelope.

That’s not to say that there are actually wandering bison where I am, but when you live in a place where people regularly throw game dinners and eat moose, elk, venison and doves, you get to be more open-minded. The standard beef, pork and chicken triumvirate is demolished. Continue reading

Asparagus with Butter, Lemon, and Chives

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Nothing says spring like asparagus. Pasta primavera, tender spears wrapped in prosciutto and oven-roasted, asparagus served with eggs Benedict for a Mother’s Day brunch…yes. Asparagus is the first taste of spring.

I didn’t realize it until I worked with the Idaho Department of Agriculture on an ad last month, but asparagus grows like a weed here in Idaho. Old-timers can remember picking it from where it grew in irrigation ditches alongside the highway, cutting big bundles of the stuff and then eating their fill.

Today, it doesn’t grow wild so much, but it does grow well in southern Idaho. Continue reading

White Bean and Ham Soup

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March and April are apparently “the hunger season,” when most of the cold storage crops are gone and nothing fresh has come out of the ground yet. It’s also the period in my life when I generally start feeling gloomy and sad, wanting it to either snow and be pretty again like December, or warm up and get sunny like spring and summer are supposed to be.

Really the only thing for this uncomfortable time is to make soup. Soup can make you forget how gross and gloomy it is outside, help you feel better about curling up inside with a book, and make you so happy to be using up the beans stored in your pantry that you almost forget how angry you are to not be wearing your favorite new spring flats. Continue reading

Peanut Veggie Stir-fry

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I knew my upcoming trip to Austin was going to involve meat, fried things, queso, and more meat. I wanted to eat salads for a week or so to preemptively make up for the damage I was about to do to my body. But…it’s March. In Idaho. Even though it has been sunny and the snowpack has melted off, it’s not the kind of warm yet when you’ll have a carrot for dinner and call it good.

Plus, I have a husband to feed. And despite my best efforts, “vegan” is a four-letter word to him. He will balk at any dinner that too blatantly seems to be made entirely of vegetables and microwave a frozen lasagna instead, which makes me feel like a total failure and like trying to make a nutritious meal is a waste of time. So. I try to stave this off.

It immediately became clear that stir-fry was the only option. Continue reading

Salami Chips with Dijon-Thyme Dipping Sauce

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Like a lot of my favorite recipes, these crispy salami chips are a copycat recipe from one of my favorite places in the Wood River Valley.

I make up recipes sometimes, sure. And sometimes I just go out to eat and then try to copy the ideas of more talented chefs than I. It’s a sickness. But it also results in a ton of delicious recipes, like this Konditorei Salad from Sun Valley Resort, this beet salad inspired by a dinner at Trail Creek Cabin with my mother-in-law. Oh yeah, and this butternut squash and kale salad (and this one), inspired by one at my favorite sandwich place, Bigwood Bread.

I enjoyed these salami chips at a wine bar in my new town called diVine, which is more famous for their delicious wine and indulgent fondue. Continue reading