No Guilt Oatmeal Pancakes

One thing my family can’t get enough of are pancakes. And while I never object to pancakes, they are not something I can eat a lot of. Traditional pancakes are full of butter and flour and leave me feeling heavy and tired after the indulgence. As an alternative, I’ve started making these oatmeal pancakes which use oatmeal flour and very little oil (only to grease the grill), so they are a guilt-free version that I can enjoy long after the last bite. But being guilt-free does not mean they are taste-free! Quite the opposite–they are tasty, sweet, and hearty. Perfect to be topped with fresh strawberries and maple syrup as part of a special Sunday brunch or any regular Tuesday!

Ingredients, makes about 8 medium pancakes

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Coconut oil, butter, or fat of your choice to cook


  • Grind the oats in a food processor until they are smooth and flour-like
  • Transfer the oats into a medium bowl and add the other dry ingredients
  • In a separate bowl, mash the bananas and then combine with the wet ingredients
  • Then slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined, being careful to not over mix. Even though there is no gluten in these pancakes, I find they are the fluffiest when I do just the minimal amount of mixing.
  • If you want to make these the easy peasy way, just combine everything in your food processor. They are less fluffy but still delicious!
  • If you have a griddle, heat it on the stove with a generous amount of coconut oil or fat of choice. If you don’t have a griddle, a large skillet or pan works as well
  • Once the griddle / pan is hot, scoop 1/4 cup of batter onto your cooking surface. Flip after 2-3 minutes and cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side
  • Continue until your batter is done, adding more coconut oil or butter as needed.
  • Top with your favorite toppings!

This recipe is gluten-free (if using certified gluten-free oats), and can also easily be made vegan by substituting the eggs for your favorite egg substitute (applesauce, aquafaba, additional bananas).

Everyday Green Smoothie aka Endless Possibility Smoothie

For the past year or more, I have started my day with this green smoothie. It is easy to eat on a just-woken-up stomach, nutritious, filling, and very tasty. It sets me up to have a strong and productive day, free from the distraction of a growling belly. On the days I don’t have this smoothie, I end up ravenously snacking by mid-morning, feeling out of sorts and not very satiated. Turns out there is a bit of science behind why I find this such a satisfying breakfast: there is research that indicates that the thickness of a beverage impacts how full someone feels, more so than calorie content. So make your smoothie thick and you’ll feel full longer!

If you are new to the smoothie scene, the wonderful thing about them are the endless possibilities. I happen to be a creature of habit, and since I found one that really works for me, I stick to my one favorite recipe. By using a simple, basic structure, you can experiment with different ingredients to find your favorite mix. The basic ingredients of the endless possibility smoothie are:

– Green vegetable, ~1 cup loosely packed
– Fruit, ~1.5 cups
– Protein, 4-5 heaping tablespoons
– Liquid to mix, ~1 cup

For the green veggie, spinach, kale, and watercress are my staples, but there are other options as well (beet greens, chard, collards as examples). Spinach has a pretty mild flavor in smoothies and is probably the best one to start with, while kale and watercress have very distinct flavors that shine through. I would imagine beet greens would also have a distinct flavor, whereas chard might be more subtle.

The trick, I think, to this smoothie is the balance between fruit and protein. The fruit adds fiber, an essential part of what makes this smoothie so long-lasting, as well as the sweetness. My preferred fruits are apple and banana—to me these fruits have a mild sweetness that adds just the right level of sweet. I am trying to consume less sugar after all. Some people might not find it quite sweet enough. Frozen mango, peach, or pineapple chunks would be alternatives that pack a little more sweetness in their punch. Strawberries, blueberries, or cherries might be somewhere in between. I personally think banana is an essential component of any smoothie—it adds texture as well as sweetness—so we stock up on a ridiculous number of bananas every week.

The protein is the other essential part of this smoothie. I like to put real protein in my smoothie in the form of greek yogurt and/or nut butter. I also like these proteins because they happen to have fat in them too. I like fat—fat, in the right forms and quantities, is essential for our bodies to function. I also find that the full-fat yogurt and almond or peanut butter I put in these smoothies make this a meal that sustains by body well into lunch – after the fiber has been digested my body still has the fat to keep it going.

Your blender will need a little bit of liquid to put all these ingredients together. I use straight up water, sometimes with some ice if it’s a hot day. You could also use milk to create a creamier smoothie (cow, almond, soy, etc depending on your diet and preference – or experiment to find the one you like best in smoothies). I find the yogurt adds all the creaminess I need but there was a good stretch when I put a little vanilla almond milk in my smoothies. My husband likes to put orange juice in his smoothies. This adds more sugar which some people may enjoy :). Again, there are a lot of options depending on your flavor preferences.

Some people like to include other ingredients to their smoothie. Some things to consider as you become a smoothie master: chia, dates, oats, lemon juice, cinnamon.

Everyday Green Smoothie

1 cup water or other liquid
½ cup ice
1 cup kale
1 medium apple
2 heaping tbs full-fat greek yogurt
2 heaping tbs peanut or almond butter
1 medium ripe banana

Place ingredients in blender – I add one ingredient at a time with the blender running to ensure a smooth mix. Adjust as needed depending on your blender. Pour and enjoy!

Best Ever Banana Bread

I have such fond memories of growing up eating delicious homemade banana bread that it was one of the first recipes I sough to perfect so my children could also experience this essential simple pleasure. Plus, there is nothing quite like the smell of fresh banana bread wafting through the house.  This recipe captures everything I love about banana bread, a not overly sweet treat that accentuates the natural sweetness of the bananas, soft bread that holds up just well enough to hold a bit more butter, and a bread that won’t leave your fingers slippery with grease.

Banana bread is also very flexible and can be made into banana muffins, or can be the foundation for a sweeter treat if you add chocolate morsels to it. But there is little need to get fancy with this bread because it is absolutely satisfying just as it is.

Ingredients, makes one loaf

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mash the bananas in a large bowl
  • With a wooden spoon, stir in the melted butter and mix
  • Mix in beaten egg, sugar, and vanilla. Stir gently.
  • Sprinkle in baking soda and salt
  • Add flour in batches until the wet and dry ingredients are mixed
  • Pour batter into buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan
  • Bake for 1 hour


  • Muffins: bake for 23 minutes
  • Chocolate bread or muffins: add 2 tablespoons chocolate morsels
  • Egg free: substitute with 1/3 cup of applesauce

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Nothing brings my family more joy than to learn we are having spaghetti and meat sauce for dinner. It is comfort food to the extreme: warm, filling, and each bite tastier than the last. But this is no gratuitous plate of comfort food. This is a recipe made with complex flavors that will please children and adults alike and remind you just how good good food can be.

I first got the inspiration to craft a meat sauce in the middle of winter when I was craving something hearty and warm. And while it generally makes sense during the colder months, I have since made this dish in the middle of summer and enjoyed it just as much. I have also crafted a vegan version with white beans that is equally hearty and comforting, albeit slightly lighter.

I like to use the best quality ground beef I can find since I don’t eat it very often. In my spirit of moderation, red meat gets the fewest allotments, so I like to make it count. For me that means purchasing grass-fed beef from a local rancher at my farmers market, but there continue to be increasing options to find high-quality meat in more parts of the country and world. But, this is a no judgment blog so as long as you are happy with your ingredients, that’s all that matters.

Ingredients, serves 4-6

For the meat sauce

  • 1-2 tablespoons butter, oil, or coconut oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped (or some combination of shallot and onion that produces 1 1/2 cups of onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (if serving to children you can omit or be very sparing depending heat preference)
  • 3/4 cups red wine, split (I use Bogle Petit Syrah)
  • 1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • salt to taste

For the pasta

  • 1-2 lbs pasta depending on audience. Pasta shape is all about your preference. My family likes spaghetti, but linguine, shells, or any other shape works too. The meat sauce will go a long way and could be spread out over more pasta to serve more people. Cook the amount of pasta that is right for the number of people. If you are serving more than eight people, I suggest doubling the meat sauce
  • Grated parmesan, reggiano, or pecorino to sprinkle generously on top


  1. Heat the oil / butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the shallots and onions and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 – 7 minutes. I like to add a little of my salt to the onions.
  2. When the onions are soft, add the garlic. But have the ground beef ready as you’ll only simmer the garlic for 1 minute
  3. Add the ground beef and salt generously with kosher salt. Sear a little on each side, then break up with your spoon or spatula. Cook the ground beef for 5-7 minutes, stirring and turning the meat so most of it has started to brown and there are minimal spots of pink meat.
  4. Once the meat has mostly started to brown, sprinkle in the oregano and red pepper flakes, if using.
  5. Add 1/2 cup of the red wine and stir gently. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, again stirring gently to combine. Bring everything to a boil then reduce the heat slightly and let simmer for at least 15 minutes.
  7. After 15 or so minutes, add the remaining 1/4 cup of red wine and the nutmeg. Taste and add salt as needed. Let it simmer again while you prepare the pasta.
  8. Cook and drain the pasta, returning it to the pot you cooked it in or another large pot.
  9. At this point, the sauce should have thickened and be ready to serve. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss to spread the sauce around. Transfer to a serving bow or serve directly from the pot.
  10. Sprinkle each bowl of spaghetti with the grated cheese, and enjoy!
Oodles of Zoodles!

Oodles of Zoodles!

Zoodles took over our house last summer when zucchinis were abundant at the farmers’ markets, and a beloved house guest gifted us our first spiralizer. The spiralizer was surprisingly easy to use, and once we got the hang of it, we were making zoodles in about 15 minutes.

Zoodles, or zucchini spiralized into noodles, are amazingly versatile. They will take on whatever flavors you decide to impart on them; we’ve done several variations of an italian-inspired tomato sauce, a zoodle pad thai, and even just a simple veggie, onion, and herb recipe with a fried egg. Once you get the basics down, you can experiment and find your favorites.


I start with 2-3 zucchinis per person, more or less depending on the specific people I’m cooking for.

IMG_8762 IMG_8747

Using my spiralizer, I magically turn my zucchini into long, noodle-like strands. They are so long I use my chef’s knife to cut them into still long but more manageable pieces. Creating the zoodles leaves behind the inner core of the zucchini, what we call zucchini bolts in my house. The kids love these bolts and their novelty makes them a handy and healthy snack for hungry kids while dinner is being made.

IMG_8768 IMG_8771

Then it’s time to saute the zoodles. I heat my large saute pan with olive or coconut oil, and usually add onions or shallots to start. Then I add my zoodles, in batches if needed, being sure to toss the zoodles with the oil and onions. Season with salt to taste. Zoodles cook really quickly, and I find less is more when cooking zoodles. I find 3-5 minutes is all I need to get them warm and flavorful; any longer and they start getting soggy. When they are done the zoodles will have turned slightly translucent.



When done, top with your favorite sauce and enjoy!

Everything in Moderation

One of my favorite researchers is Dr. Aaron Carroll, a Pediatrician and health services researcher who writes for the NY Times Upshot, has a terrific blog, and a really informative and fun YouTube channel. I have learned so much from him and his smart yet easy to understand analysis on a range of health topics. If you haven’t seen or read him, I highly recommend it. Your brain will thank you!

Dr. Carroll has several pieces on nutrition, and seeing his name on an article that essentially describes how we eat and live brings immense validation that we are maybe doing something right, or close to it. I am someone who values moderation and common sense when it comes to what I eat, but I also like to have some assurance that there is some scientific support for my approach.

Enter Dr. Carroll’s Upshot Simple Rules for Healthy EatingIt’s an unassuming piece that highlights the importance of eating a variety of foods, most of which one should make at home, but makes special note to not vilify or exclude any foods. What I like about his summary is it is very doable. It reflects an awareness that food is good, something to enjoy with friends as part of a pleasurable life. Restrictions often backfire and in most cases there is little scientific evidence demonstrating that completely abstaining from certain foods is the gold standard.

What I take away from this piece, and the way that we generally eat, is everything in moderation. Enjoy your home-cooked meal, and your store-bought treat (every once in a while). Recognize that there are lots of ways you can craft your menu. There are no absolute right or wrong answers. Live your life, eat good food, enjoy.   

Intentions in the New Year

I am not one to make resolutions—they are too strict and unforgiving, the opposite of what I think life should be. But I do think the new year is a prime opportunity to reflect on our lives and the ways we hope to cultivate more joy and serenity in them. As the calendar refreshes, so too can our goals and intentions. Which is why I am taking note of my intentions for the year. Even just writing these down has made me feel renewed and inspired, with the best of intentions.*

1. Do something just for me. It is so easy to have your life as a mother take over every aspect of your being to the point where you don’t remember the person you used to be or the things you used to enjoy. Or maybe you remember them but they are a distant memory, hazy and buried deep in the recesses of your sleep-deprived brain. I’ve decided this isn’t good enough. I was a person before I birthed my children and I am a person still—granted one whose heart and body will forever be altered. Reconnecting with who I am as a person is important for me this year. Some of the things I used to do in a former life are dance, sing, and run—physical and creative expressions that energized my body and soul. As a first step to reclaiming me, I am going to start taking a weekly dance class—committing to it as I do my other responsibilities. If it’s on the family calendar, it’s happening.

2. Prioritize social connections and adult interactions. As a parent, I have fallen into the trap of coordinating my social life around my children. Playdates become the only time I interact with someone outside my family and the most exciting thing that happens all weekend is getting caught up on the latest Netflix original series. But that is not how I want my social life to be. I want to talk to my friends, see my friends, have fun with my friends. So I am going to make time for my adult relationships, including my spouse. There is also research that shows that strong social ties are good for your mental and physical health, so this intention has benefits all around. I will need to be proactive, and again shift how I prioritize my needs, but I think I will be happier and more content when I do.

3. Develop a daily ritual. This is one where I may end up having the best of intentions. Developing a new habit is hard, but I’d like to try. I’d love to have a daily ritual that involves a brief meditation and perhaps a short yoga routine like this one to give my body a boost. I’ve dabbled in meditation, and have enjoyed it immensely when I did it, but I haven’t quite gotten it to stick. I’d like to try again, this time finding a time every day (ideally first thing in the morning) to complete my ritual. Bringing some consistency to my day, a few moments to center and focus on my mental and physical state, will help make me stronger and more resilient throughout the day.

4. More ‘Yes Moments’ in my day.  Sometimes I am too focused on my to-do list and miss the beauty going on unscripted all around me. My children have such an ability to live in the moment—inspired by the magical thing called life that they are learning about. I, on the other hand, have the ability to fret over a to-do list and damper their enthusiasm by being hyper-focused on all the things that need to get done. That’s not very fun of me and it’s kind of downer being the practical one who is always saying no. So in this new year I am going to try and say “yes” more often—to their spur of the moment requests to go ride bikes, or splash in the mud, or put their underwear on their head. Because they have good ideas. Fun ideas. In the moment, unencumbered, life is good ideas. And it feels great to say yes. It’s like a little weight gets lifted every time I free myself from the tether of my to-do list. And the joy it brings to my kids’ faces to have their request heard and validated is priceless. Sometimes I need to pause before I say yes—splashing in the mud means muddy clothes, maybe cold bodies, and likely a messy car. But life shouldn’t always be tidy with crisp check marks indicating what you accomplished that day. Saying “yes” more is one way I think I can add more spontaneity and appreciation for the here and now in my life.

5. Manage screen time. This one is a hard one for me. The internet has such a strong pull yet usually leaves me feeling empty and depleted, as it is one of my many avenues for procrastination. And because my time scrolling and scanning comes at the expense of being productive, it often leaves me more stressed and grumpy than before I indulged in screen time. I’ve taken a few steps to minimize both the time I spend on the internet and the grumpy side effects it produces, specifically removing the worst offenders from my phone so I am not tempted first thing in the morning or when I am at the park with my kids. I am also trying to keep computers to one room in the house—out of site out of mind—so that I need to make a conscious choice to separate myself and work on the computer. Even with all of those modifications, it takes a great deal of conscious will power to choose not to browse the internet. To remember that I can read a book, or get a breath of fresh air, or play with my kids. It is a priority this year to show myself and my family that the internet is a powerful tool, but it doesn’t have ultimate power over me.

6. Make time to be active. Physical health is so important to our health and well-being and I feel better, mentally and physically, when I’ve been active. When I am active my body wants to be more active. It’s inertia at its best and most beneficial. I can feel my cells, bouncing around, ready to go bounce around some more. Not only that, but being active does wonders for my mental health. It helps clear my mind, manage stress, and puts me in a better mood. Those happy endorphins really do have an effect on me. This intention is about making time to move my body: to go for a walk around the block, go running with my dog, or go to a gym class. Better yet, do something active outdoors where I’ll get the benefit of fresh air and maybe a little sunshine—the perfect ways to amplify the positive effects of being active.

7. Push back on perfection. One of the hardest things for me is accepting when things aren’t perfect or done exactly how I envisioned them. I seek perfection and precision as a way to feel in control in an otherwise chaotic world. Unfortunately, trying to ensure everything is done just right takes a lot of energy and takes away from the joy of living, and ultimately makes me feel more overwhelmed. I might have a lot in my “mom brain” about how lunches should be made or how to wash a kid’s baseball uniform, but mine isn’t the only way. And nothing will get done if I have to do everything in an attempt to ensure things are done to my exact specifications. Expecting myself and others to deliver a level of perfection is also detrimental—it creates a tension in my household where my loved ones come to fear the impending critique if something isn’t done right. I don’t want to instill fear—I want to instill love. My final intention for the year is about accepting and appreciating things as they are and not letting my quest for perfection get in the way of doing, loving, living, and enjoying.

*I am human and even in writing these intentions I wasn’t able to follow all of them. A combination of procrastinating with screen time and editing in a quest for perfection resulted in a draft that started in January and was published in April. While I have been thinking about these for the last few months, it took me longer to put them all down than I anticipated. It might not be perfect, but it’s done!

Green Goodness Salad (Kale Cabbage Salad)

Green Goodness Salad (Kale Cabbage Salad)

This salad is a sleeper hit. In fact cabbage has been a sleeper hit in our household. I first picked up cabbage about a year ago when I noticed it at one of my favorite farmers market stands. It was something I had overlooked for years, thinking it boring and tasteless. But for some reason on that fateful day I looked past my preconceived cabbage notions and decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did. I’ve since tried a variety of cabbages, including green, red, napa, and (my current personal favorite) savoy. I have found cabbage to be really versatile – I’ve used it as a pasta substitute, steamed it with chickpeas and onions, and on one unassuming day I turned it into the best salad I think I have ever made with my own two hands.

Recently, I have started seeing the most amazing savoy cabbage that is so picture perfect it could have been the inspiration for the Cabbage Patch Kids of my youth. I mean look at this – it doesn’t seem real!


Back to that unassuming day. As the hunger pangs started, I realized I had both kale and cabbage and thought, these might go together. Both crunchy and crisp, the textures work well together. And while kale has a unique taste, cabbage is a little more subtle and provides a nice balance to kale’s rawness. The two together make a delightful pairing where either one by themselves would be overwhelming. With the kale and cabbage as the base, I dug deep into my salad brain and it came to me – sliced almonds and cheese, with a lemony dressing. I could almost taste how well it was all going to fit together before having assembled a thing.

IMG_9947     IMG_9954

And it did not disappoint. I sliced up a handful of almonds and used my favorite Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese* – a cheese that even in small quantities provides a salty, earthy goodness to almost any dish. Of course if you want this salad to be vegan, you can omit this cheese or use a vegan alternative. And I made a new dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and Bragg’s liquid amino acids. It was a hit. Lots of great crunch from the kale, cabbage, and almonds, different kinds of nuttiness, a refreshing citrus flavor, and hints of cheese in every other bite. This salad has a lot of satisfying umami flavors, but it’s also light and refreshing because of the raw veggies and lemon.


A few notes before you get confused and concerned seeing one or two unfamiliar ingredients: this salad can absolutely be made without nutritional yeast or Bragg’s. But these ingredients are probably more accessible than you think, even if you haven’t come across them before. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that comes in yellow flakes or powder and has a nutty (some say cheesy) flavor. I get it in the bulk section of my local grocery store but it also comes packaged. And I’ve mentioned Bragg’s before here but essentially it is a soy alternative seasoning that adds a soft, salty flavor. This too I get at my local grocery store, but soy sauce would probably work in its place as well. I have heard that both of these ingredients are becoming more common even in mainstream grocery stores.

I’ve since played around with this salad – adding cava oranges or sliced red onions – but nothing has topped the delicious simplicity of this minimalist version. It’s something my whole family enjoys, and I hope you and yours will too. Give it a try, and let me know what you think!


*this cheese – this is the reason I probably could never go full vegan. I get it at Costco (things don’t need to be fancy to be good) and it is delicious. Like makes every single thing we put it on better. Even in really small amounts it makes a big difference. Many of the dishes I make are vegan – except for this cheese. I can’t give up this cheese.

Green Goodness Salad

  • 1 bunch of kale (I used Lacinato or Dinosaur kale)
  • 1/2 a head of savoy cabbage
  • 10-15 almonds, roughly sliced
  • 1/2 oz shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Wash and dry the kale. Cut out and remove the center vein and cut the kale into bite-sized pieces, about two inches long. Rinse the cabbage and cut it in half through the core. Set one half aside to use another time. Cut the remaining half in half one more time so you have two quarters. De-core the cabbage by cutting the core out an angle at the bottom of each quarter. Then slice the remaining cabbage lengthwise into 1 inch pieces. Depending on how wide your quarters are, you may want to cut those pieces in half down the middle so they are a comfortable bite-size. Place your kale and cabbage pieces in your salad bowl and gently toss.

If you have whole almonds, slice them carefully with a sharp knife and add them to your bowl. Shave cheese, if using, and add to your bowl as well.

Green Goodness Dressing

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Bragg’s liquid amino acids

Combine all ingredients into a small jar with a tight lid (like a jam jar) and shake it up until the ingredients combine. Pour over your salad in batches, toss, and enjoy. That’s it!


Carrot Zucchini Raisin Bran Muffins

Carrot Zucchini Raisin Bran Muffins

I know what you might be thinking, bran muffins? Um, no thanks. Well, these are really worth trying even if you’re not a bran fan. They are so rich and tasty, and they will fill your belly way more than any sweet, processed, mirage of a muffin ever will.  The only sweetener is a small amount of maple syrup, a dash of honey, and the raisins. I love the carrot-zucchini-raisin mixture so much I haven’t branched out, but the base is flexible and would be well suited to anything you might like to muffin-ize.

Ingredients, makes 12 heaping muffins

  • 1 1/3 cups wheat bran
  • 1 1/3 cups oat bran
  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk 
  • 2/3 cup yogurt 
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • splash of honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed finely shredded zucchini (1 medium zucchini)
  • 1 cup packed finely shredded carrots (1-2 medium carrots)
  • 1 cup raisins

I like to prepare the dry ingredients, then the wet ingredients, then the filler ingredients, then mix them all together. But first, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.

Combine your dry ingredients (wheat bran, oat bran, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt) into a bowl and gently mix to combine. If you’re like me, you might need to temper your mixing so you don’t send your dry ingredients flying outside the bowl.

IMG_7752  IMG_7759

Next, combine your wet ingredients into a bowl (eggs, milk, yogurt, avocado oil, maple syrup, spash of honey, and vanilla). Use a whisk to combine and simultaneously beat the eggs. A few notes.

Milk: I use 2% but you can use whatever you happen to have. Muffins made with skim milk might come out less rich than muffins made with a higher fat content milk, but do you need to go out and buy a whole other container of milk? Probably not.

Yogurt: I have used full fat greek yogurt, low fat european style yogurt, and low fat regular yogurt. I’ve even used vanilla flavored yogurt in a pinch. They all work but my favorite was the low fat european style. It could have been because it was Strauss and they are just the best, or it could have been that the more liquidy nature of the yogurt made the muffins more moist. I don’t know. I do know that you’ll be fine with whatever yogurt you use.

Oil: I use avocado oil because it’s an oil I have found that is very versatile for cooking and baking, does not have an avocado taste in foods (but that wouldn’t really be a bad thing), and seems to have bypassed much of the controversy around other oils and the ‘are they good for you / are they the worst thing ever for you’ discussion. If you use and like canola, or sunflower, or butter, you probably could use it in this recipe. I would however avoid olive oil because that will bring a unique flavor that won’t match well with these muffins.

IMG_7753  IMG_7754

Then lastly prepare your carrots, zucchini, and raisins. I grate a medium zucchini and 1-2 medium carrots to get finely shredded filling.

IMG_7756  IMG_7757

With all your ingredients in place, it’s time to combine them. I like to fold my carrots, zucchini, and raisins into the wet ingredients to get them well mixed.


Then I pour the dry ingredients into to the wet ingredients in batches, folding them together with a rubber spatula. Doing it in batches makes it easier to get an even mix, and it’s only the very last batch that might be tough to do.


Now you are ready to fill your muffin cups. I use an awesome silicone muffin tin that rarely requires any greasing and the muffins pop out super easily when cooked. Regular muffin tins will work fine too, just grease them with butter or a little of the oil you used. Scoop your muffin mixture into your muffin cups. Be generous and heap your batter into the cups.


If using a silicone muffin tin, place it on a baking sheet to make it easier to grab (the silicone is wobbly), and place your tin in the oven. Cook for 30 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Let rest in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then have them cool on a cooling rack. Eat one immediately with a little butter.

IMG_7785  IMG_7786

I find the muffins last 2-3 days in an airtight container on my counter. I haven’t yet been able to freeze any (they have been eaten too quickly) but you could freeze some as well and reheat in the toaster when you are ready to eat.

Adapted from Farmgirl Fare

Farmers’ Market Sunday Dinner

Farmers’ Market Sunday Dinner

There is nothing like having a full and satisfying Sunday, filled with something fun and something outdoors, but not so busy that there isn’t a moment to breathe and rest for a little bit too. And then following up the fun-fulled day with a hearty and wholesome meal. Yesterday we had such a day. We started the day with a run – the longest run we had done in a while so it was both daunting, exhilarating, and tiring – and then came home to make homemade pizza. Then there were various activities, including a trip to the driving range, a nap, and some writing. And before we knew it, it was time for dinner!

Dinner was an especially festive occasion because my mom was here. That coupled with the sense of satisfaction we all had from a day well lived (and the wine we opened), gave the meal a merry mood. Halfway through the meal I realized it was almost entirely a Farmer’s Market meal: everything except one or two small ingredients had come from the Farmers’ Market the day before.


  • Whole pasture-raised chicken from Fogline Farm
  • Potatoes from Windmill Farm
  • Salad with lettuce, golden nuggets, avocado, and sunflower seeds from various other farm vendors
  • Wildhorse Pinot Noir wine

Needless to say it satisfied our hearts and our hunger.

For the chicken

  • one 2-4 lb whole chicken
  • salt
  • optional herb such as thyme or rosemary
  • butcher twine to truss

My favorite roast chicken recipe comes from Thomas Keller and it is amazingly simple and so delicious. The hardest part is trussing the chicken, but some chickens come already trussed so you practically just put it in the oven.

To prepare, pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. To get the best, crispiest skin you’ll want the chicken to be dry so pat it down with a paper towel. I don’t rinse my chickens anymore as that just spreads germs around your sink and kitchen, and rinsing won’t do anything cooking the chicken won’t. Then you’ll want to truss your chicken if it didn’t already come that way. I have made this recipe without trussing and it will still be delicious. But it will cook more evenly and be less likely to dry out if you truss. If you need to truss and haven’t before your best bet is to watch a youtube video to learn.

Once the chicken is trussed (or not), it’s time to salt your chicken. This is the key to this delicious chicken. If you are usually reserved in your salting approach, don’t be shy and step it up for this recipe. You’ll want to shower salt over it so a nice coating develops. If you’re more into precise measurements you’ll want to use about 1 tablespoon of salt. Once it cooks, you’ll be left with the tastiest, crispiest skin ever and the meat will have just the right amount of seasoning too.

Then just put it in your oven. I like to cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil to make for easier cleanup. In our oven the chicken is done after about 45 minutes, but it could take as long as 50 or 60 minutes so check yours with a meat thermometer. At 165 degrees your bird is done.

When it’s done, you can add your optional herb and baste it with any of the delicious chicken juice that has collected at the bottom of your pan. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes then carve it up!

For the potatoes

  • 1-2 lbs farm fresh potatoes
  • olive oil
  • sea salt

To prepare, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then rinse and scrub your potatoes to get any lingering dirt off them. Slice them into 1/2 inch rounds and toss them in a bowl with a little olive oil and sea salt. Then you’re ready to put them on your baking sheet and put them in the oven. They will take 30-40 minutes to cook depending on how big your rounds are. I like to check them halfway through and toss them so they cook evenly and don’t stick to my baking sheet. When you can pierce them easily with a fork they are done. Add some of the leftover thyme or rosemary from your chicken.

For the salad

  • one bunch red leaf lettuce
  • one large golden nugget (or other mandarin orange)
  • one medium avocado
  • optional: sunflower seeds and/or dried cranberries
  • olive oil, one lemon, and Bragg liquid aminos for the dressing
  • salt to taste

To prepare, wash and dry your lettuce and put in salad bowl. Open, cut, and add your golden nugget and avocado, and sprinkle with sunflower seeds and/or dried cranberries if desired. I am pretty loose with my dressings and rarely make them to any specific measurement. I also love the acid flavor in vinegar and lemon and will put way more than any traditional recipe will call for. For this dressing I used about 1/4 cup of olive oil, juice from one whole lemon, and 5-6 sprays from Bragg liquid aminos, put all those ingredients into a small jar with a lid and shook them up. If you’re not so bold with your acid ratios, you might prefer 2 tbs of lemon juice instead as a start and add a little more until you find the taste that suits you well. Pour your dressing over your salad, add some salt, toss, and you’re good to go.

What is this Bragg liquid aminos you may be asking? It is a soy alternative seasoning and it is delicious (if you like soy-like flavors). I get it at my local health food store but honestly don’t know how common it is. If you don’t have it, can’t find it, or don’t really care to get some random ingredient, no problem! Lemon and olive oil and a little salt will be a perfectly delicious, simple, and satisfying dressing to this citrus oriented salad.

So that was our Sunday dinner. The meal comes together pretty easily since most of the prep time is spent waiting for the chicken and potatoes to cook, the perfect time to make your salad, open some wine, and enjoy your company. Then you can sit back and bask in the pleasure that comes from living a great day.