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

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Easy Pad Thai

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First, an apology — I have not been updating this blog, and when I have, it hasn’t been with anything remotely like what I normally eat. Cheese enchiladas? We eat those maybe once every three months. Maybe. I also haven’t been eating as much bacon, so the kil’t kale is out, as well as any number of other things on this blog. 

The fact is – and I feel like I say this a lot — I’ve been struggling with what to cook. We’re on a tighter budget than ever before, which is good overall, but bad when it comes to making dinner. On a budget, I stick with tried and true favorites, things I know won’t go to waste and are relatively inexpensive. And when this constraint is combined with a picky eater, you can see how I might get frustrated.

But I couldn’t resist posting this pad thai recipe. It is, quite simply, the best version of this dish I’ve ever made. The base is a recipe from Eating Well, but I feel like since I end up doubling the sauce, it might not be as healthy as they claim. The nice thing, though, is that you end up using more bean sprouts than rice noodles, keeping the dish from becoming too heavy. Continue reading

Texas Cheese Enchiladas

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A few months ago, I totally lost faith in cooking. Completely. Nothing I made was turning out, and I lost interest in even trying. Making dinner was an exercise in frustration, every single night. There were tears multiple nights, followed by concern from a confused husband and, inevitably, ice cream. Because I am a child who can be soothed by sugar. 

I finally got back to basics. When the weather cooled down, I started making all of my childhood favorites. I made chicken and stuffing, one of my mom’s specialties (recipe forthcoming). I instituted Wutz-Varner Mac and Cheese Night, inspired by my best friend’s family, who had mac and cheese every Thursday when I was growing up.

And then I buckled down and made cheese enchiladas. Lisa Fain of Homesick Texan, whom I view as a sort of virtual mentor in the field of Tex-Mex cooking, posted a recipe in 2007 that promised to be the real freaking deal.

Continue reading

Lemon-Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

DSC_0052I was going to post something about bread baking today. Then, I realized that if it’s 90 degrees here, it’s probably in the hundreds where most of you are, and none of you want to turn on your ovens.

I don’t blame you. We’re having the kind of weather that makes me anxious about the future, the kind of weather that makes me feel sorry for the dog and her thick double coat, the kind where we have to shut all the windows and close all of the blinds during the day and fling them open at night, desperate for a breeze.

Sure, you can make ice cream. But my favorite recipes involve making a custard on the stove, and who wants to stand over a stove stirring things in this weather? Precisely no one. 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

Flourless Chocolate Cake

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I had this photo on my phone of a flourless chocolate cake that was haunting me. I knew I’d made it sometime last spring, shortly after the huge annual fundraiser at my last job. But I could not find the recipe for the life of me.

The picture wasn’t even good — the color was off, and it was blurry because I had just gotten my phone and was still figuring out how to work the camera. The cake itself looked great, though, rich and dark and maybe just a little gooey. The only problem was that I had no idea where I had gotten the recipe.

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