eating in


about a year ago, i read this book titled “the art of eating in” by Cathy Erway.  the author challenged herself to learn to cook and eat IN while living in New York City for a year…if i remember correctly.  one of her main reasons for doing so involved being on a tight budget and needing to avoid spending her entire paycheck on eating out.  seems like a very valid reason to me.  however, there are other reasons to shift towards cooking and eating IN versus daily eating OUT.  i never understood choosing to eat in all the time when there were so many restaurants to patronize!  for me, the custom of cooking and eating in began out of a need to avoid certain foods, stay within the grocery budget, relieve stress during college, and to ensure we were eating locally and seasonally.  thanks to the team at abundant harvest organics, the million food bloggers around the world, a little kitchen, and a little of time…i think i now prefer eating IN versus eating OUT…for most of the time anyways:)  

here are a few of the seasonal recipes we’ve created and enjoyed lately!

Lemon-Mustard Vinegarette – a super simple salad dressing to use on the endless heads of red leaf lettuce we keep receiving in our csa box!  i used it on a simple salad with artichoke hearts and pomegrante seeds.  you’ll find the recipe here

Homemade Green Apple Applesauce – i love apples…they might be my overall favorite fruit.  jake, my husband, hates fresh apples…my point being that when we have a lot of fresh apples chilling at our place, i can’t quite keep up with them on my own.  this recipe was SO easy and we both were able to enjoy.  the perfect fall snack.  you’ll find the recipe here.  

Roasted Acorn Squash – my favorite of this past week!  simply the plain, roasted flesh of the squash tasted so much better than any acorn squash i have ever had.  just a warning…you may not have the same experience if you use a non-organic, non-local, non-seasonal squash.  i used olive oil in place of butter.  try this recipe here.

Slow-Cooker Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes – sweet potatoes and dark chocolate are my two favorite foods.  this is one of those slow-cooker recipes that is simple and many ingredients are not too difficult to find.  i have used crushed tomatoes versus diced both times, making it and it makes for more of a tomato bean sauce but still delicious.  nothing better than coming home to the smell of dinner and not having to do any prep on a cold day!  found the recipe from real simple here.  

Double Chocolate Cakies – i’ll make this the last one for today.  my mom had this awesome recipe for banana chocolate chip muffins.  we’d make them with semi-sweet chocolate chips… they were so moist and a perfect combo of chocolate and banana.  i even used the recipe for my fat replacement project in college.  being gluten-free and doing my best to avoid processed sugar…i have finally found an excellent subsitute in this recipe!!!  fresh out of the oven or warmed up enough for the chips to melt is the best.  i leave out the cinnamon.  you will not believe there’s no added sugar in these things.  you’ll find the recipe here

i need to get better with the food pictures, but none that i have correlate with the recipes above!

fall = pumpkins


it doesn’t really feel like fall in southern california…yet.  knowing that all my friends and family in michigan are enjoying the views of leaves changing color makes me miss fall all the more.  even my body knew to start craving apples a couple weeks ago.  just yesterday, at europane, we started serving our seasonal pumpkin bars.  that made it official.  i’ve been baking gluten-free pumpkin muffins and enjoying them with warm spiced apple cider.  i buy mine from trader joe’s since i haven’t yet found an apple orchard with fresh apple cider nearby.  i love it.  

pumpkin muffins

(gluten free and from the specific carbohydrate diet) 

i skip the walnuts and raisins and bake only for 25 minutes.  


2 eggs

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/3 cup honey

4 Tbsp melted butter

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground ginger

2 1/2 cups almond flour

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup raisins


1. Preheat oven to 325.

2. Line a muffin pan with paper liners (12 muffins).

3. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric beater to thoroughly combine all ingredients EXCEPT almond flour, walnuts, and raisins.

4. Stir in almond flour until well combined.

5. Stir in walnuts and raisins.

6. Spoon batter into muffin cups, using wet fingers to press down any bumps on the tops before baking.

7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

a few more recipes to make delicious use of the abundant harvest vegetables from this week: 

Moroccan-Spiced Spaghetti Squash
Adapted from Gourmet

Cooking spaghetti squash in your microwave is super-quick, but roasting it isn’t much more work — I’ve made it both ways and it works equally well. This works great as a side, but I tried something different this time and bulked it up with canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed. We had it with couscous but if I had thought of it sooner, it would also be great with some sautéed greens.

Serves 4

1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) spaghetti squash (honestly, I just used the one and didn’t weigh it!)

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces (i used half butter, half oil) 

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, if you’re cilantro-averse

To cook the squash in a microwave: Pierce squash (about an inch deep) all over with a small sharp knife to prevent bursting. Cook in an 800-watt microwave oven on high power (100 percent) for 6 to 7 minutes. Turn squash over and microwave until squash feels slightly soft when pressed, 8 to 10 minutes more. Cool squash for 5 minutes.

To roast the squash, two methods: If you’d like to roast the squash whole, pierce it all over with a small sharp knife to prevent bursting and bake it in a 375°F oven for one hour. If you are good with a big, sharp kinfe, you can save some time by cutting the squash in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and roasting the halves face-down in an oiled baking pan for about 40 minutes in a 375°F oven.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it is barely golden. Stir in spices and salt and remove from heat.

If you have microwaved or roasted your squash whole, carefully halve it lengthwise (it will give off a lot of steam) and remove the seeds.

Carefully halve squash lengthwise (it will give off steam) and remove and discard seeds. Working over a bowl, scrape squash flesh with a fork, loosening and separating strands as you remove it from skin. Toss with the spiced butter and cilantro.

* Thanks again to Smitten Kitchen for such a great recipe suggestion!  It really is quite amazing how the insides of the squash perfectly scoop out ready to eat just like spaghetti!  




so the moroccan-spiced spaghetti squash was dinner sunday (and lunch monday)… for monday night it was homemade pesto from one of my favorite blogs, My New Roots.  

Basil Pesto
2 oz. basil (about 5 lightly packed cups) 
8 cloves of garlic
1 cup Parmesan (or better yet, hard sheep’s milk cheese such as Pecorino Romano)
2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted 
3/4 cup organic, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste

1. In a food processor fitted with an S-blade mince garlic, cheese, nuts and salt. 
2. Add clean, dry basil leaves and pulse until chopped. 
3. With the machine running, add oil until it has reached the desired texture. 

Tips: – The basil must be dry before you process it.
– Freeze pesto in ice cube trays. When frozen, transfer cubes to a freezer bag. 
– You can also use a mortar and pestle for a more rustic-style pesto (pictured).
We enjoyed this pesto (the best recipe that i have found yet) on no-noodles for me and brown rice pasta for jake.  Not only does this recipe provide an outlet for this week’s basil, but the cherry tomatoes on top make the dish.  

that was monday night’s dinner (and tuesday’s lunch) and tuesday’s dinner consisted of another two vegeatables from the box.  for tuesday evening, i made spicy roasted eggplant with tomatoes and cilantro courtesy of  i was mostly attracted to this recipe due to having most of the ingredients on hand.  it was a bit spicy for my taste.  i served it over brown rice and that seemed to help.  


  • 2 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds 6 ounces total), halved lengthwise


  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped peeled ginger
  • 1 pound tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil rimmed baking sheet; place eggplant halves, cut side down, on sheet. Roast eggplant until flesh is soft, about 1 hour. Cool slightly. Using spoon, scoop pulp from eggplant halves into medium bowl; mash. Discard skins.

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add ginger and stir 1 minute. Add tomatoes and next 4 ingredients; sauté 5 minutes to blend flavors. Add eggplant and stir until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before serving.)

one more note… Kind Kreme is a wonderful vegan spot on arroyo in pasadena that serves great raw vegan ice cream.  just went there tonight and got the superfood ice cream.  it’s intense chocolate-y and cruelty-free.  kind to you, kind to the planet.  also, the mexican chocolate gf cookies were quite the addition to my night’s dessert!

saute that chinese okra


up until a couple of weeks ago, i had never even seen or heard of chinese okra.  at first i was intimidated and must admit that i am guilty of not using both week’s worth of the vegetable.  after searching online for quite a while, i finally found a recipe that not only used up my entire pound of chinese okra but the two tomatoes from my box as well!  the following recipe was found here.  

sauteed chinese okra

Chinese okra is also known as Silk Squash, Angles or Angled Luffa.  This is actually a type of immature luffa gourd- Luffa acutangula.  It is low in calories, high in vitamin C and fiber.  Some people prefer to peel it before cooking, but I like the firmness of the rind when cooked. 


  • 1 lb Chinese Okra, cut into into ½” cubes. 
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced finely
  • 1 red onion, cut into slices and separated into rings (you can also use shallots)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat up the olive oil in a skillet.  Sauté the garlic until translucent.
  2. Add the onions and cook until translucent.
  3. Add the tomatoes and okra.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes.  The rind of the okra will retain some of its texture, which is good for the fiber content. 

and as for the pears…

i just finished baking a great dish for tomorrow’s breakfast called baked pear oatmeal a la so good.  i’m always so happy to find a recipe that uses the fruit from my csa box AND provides me with an option for breakfast that something different than resorting to raw almonds and/or fresh fruit.  in place of the hazelnuts, i used pistachios (because i love them and had them on hand), and when made with gluten free oats, this recipe is gluten and dairy free.  oh, and i used honey in place of maple syrup because maple syrup makes me shaky.    

Baked Oatmeal with Pears
Serves 4-6

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds), toasted
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
pinch of fine sea salt
1 egg
2 cups almond milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ripe pears, diced
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted, plus more for greasing pan

Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Grease the bottom of a 10×8-inch baking dish with the coconut oil, set aside.
Place the rolled oats, nuts, baking powder, spices, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl beat the egg. Add to it the almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla, stir well to combine.
Spread the chopped pears into an even layer in the baking dish. Pour the oat mixture to cover the pears, then slowly pour the wet ingredients over the oats so everything is evenly soaked. Drizzle the melted coconut oil over the top and bake for 30-35 minutes. When it’s done the oatmeal should be set and lightly browned on top and your kitchen smells like cinnamon. Let cool slightly before serving

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil


one of my favorite ways to use fresh tomatoes during the summer… fresh bruschetta! thanks friend, for requesting that i post this recipe:) not only is this great on baguette…try it on pasta, eggs, on top of a salad, or simply mixed into seasonal roasted vegetables.

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Serves: 8-10 as appetizer (24 small slices)
*Awesome recipe found on Simply Recipes website. I really enjoy the flavor with substituting yellow tomatoes and/or apple cider vinegar. To keep the tomatoes fresh and avoid extra work, just cut the tomatoes and discard the seeds and juice!

6 or 7 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 ½ lbs)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
¼ cup olive oil

1.) Prepare tomatoes first. Parboil the tomatoes for one minute in boiling water that has just been removed from the burner. Drain. Using a sharp small knife, remove the skins of the tomatoes. (If the tomatoes are too hot, you can protect your finger tips by rubbing them with an ice cube between tomatoes.) Once the tomatoes are peeled, cut them in halves or quarters and remove the seeds and juice from their centers. Also cut out and discard the stem area. Why use plum tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes? The skins are much thicker and there are fewer seeds and less juice.
2.) Make sure there is a top rack in place in your oven. Turn on the oven to 450 degrees F to preheat.
3.) While the oven is heating, chop up the tomatoes finely. Put tomatoes, garlic, 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar in a bowl and mix. Add the chopped basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4.) Slice the baguette on a diagonal about ½ inch thick slices. Coat one side of each slice with olive oil using a pastry brush. Place on a cooking sheet, olive oil side down. You will want to toast them in the top rack in your oven, so you may need to do these in batches depending on the size of your oven. Once the oven has reached 450 degrees F, place a tray of bread slices in the oven on the top rack. Toast for 5-6 minutes, until the bread just begins to turn golden brown.
NOTE: alternatively, you can toast the bread without coating it in olive oil first. Toast on a griddle for 1 minute on each side. Take a sharp knife and score each slice 3 times. Rub some garlic in the slices and drizzle ½ tsp olive oil in each slice. This is the more traditional method of making bruschetta.

Summer Vegetable Stew with Basil Puree


Use up all your Abundant Harvest Organic vegetables in one dish!  I’ve spoken with many of you… friends, fellow CSA-members, and neighbors who have not been able to use up your full box of fresh produce within a week.  While I don’t understand how this could be, and while I love the donations of extra squash… I’d like to provide you with a recipe that may help in your dilemma.  I am sharing this in a hurry so sorry there are no pictures at this time.  

Yield: 5 servings (serving size: 2 cups stew, about 1 TBSP basil puree, and about 1 tsp cheese)

*A great healthy vegetable recipe to get away from anything bland… the garlic flavor is intense. Feel free to mix and match onion, potatoes, squash etc.  It’s a very forgiving combination.  This recipe is originally adapted from Cooking Light.


1 cup basil leaves

1 garlic clove

3 TBSP water

2 TBSP olive oil

1/8 tsp salt


1 TBSP olive oil

2 bay leaves

1 onion, cut into ¼-inch thick wedges

6 garlic cloves, halved

2 thyme sprigs *or a few pinches of dried thyme

1 ½ cups (2-inch thick) sliced carrot

1 lb small red potatoes, halved   (I sub zucchini and like it better!)

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

3 cups (1-inch) cubed yellow squash (about ¾ lb)

1 cup yellow bell pepper strips

½ lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces

2 tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 TBSP (1/2 oz) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

1.) To prepare basil puree, combine basil and 1 garlic clove in a blender; process until smooth.  Add water, 2 TBSP oil, and 1/8 tsp salt; process until blended.  Set aside.

2.) To prepare vegetables, heat 1 TBSP oil in a large Dutch oven (also known as pot) over low heat.  Add bay leaves; cook 1 minute.  Add onion, 6 garlic cloves, and thyme; cover and cook 10 minutes.  Add carrot, potatoes, ½ tsp salt, and black pepper; cover and cook 20 minutes.  Add squash, bell pepper, and beans; cover and cook 15 minutes.  Add the tomatoes; cover and cook 10 minutes.  Discard bay leaves and thyme.  Spoon stew into individual bowls; drizzle with the basil puree, and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Each serving: 240 calories (36% from fat), 9.7 g fat (1.7g sat), 6.8 g protein, 35.4 g carbohydrate, 7.5 g fiber, 2 mg cholesterol, 3.3 mg iron, 373 mg sodium, 123 mg calcium

no need for chips salsa


thanks again smitten kitchen for another great recipe!  this one is being moved from my “to try” bookmark to “try again and again” recipe book.  the following recipe for cantaloupe salsa has restored my hope that cantaloupe can be delicious and that salsa can be enjoyed without wheat/gluten and corn-laden chips.  it was seriously so good that i ate it with a spoon and drank the melon-infused spicy lime juice that remained after our meal was finished.  for those of you abundant harvest organics members… i think we’re getting more melons this weekend too.  Image


Adapted from Gourmet

Makes about 2 cups of salsa

Instead of the chile, I sprinkled in some ground red cayenne pepper

2 cups diced (1/4 inch) cantaloupe (from a 2 1/4-lb piece)
1/4 cup diced (1/4 inch) sweet onion (such as Vidalia) or red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or cilantro
1 (2-inch-long) fresh hot red or green chile (skip the seeds if you want to dim the heat), minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix everything and eat immediately.

to complete the meal… i’d suggest: 


1 (16 oz) can black beans

1 small onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

salt to taste

In a medium saucepan, combine beans, onion, and garlic, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Season with cilantro, cayenne, and salt.  Simmer for 5 minutes, and serve.

and… sauteed red onions and bell peppers.  also, if you can’t live without the grains, i’d go for some brown rice.  (the anti-inflammatory benefits are bountiful) 


probably peaches



If you ask me this week what we’ll be having for dinner, the answer will most likely involve peaches.  This week’s Abundant Harvest Organics delivery provided us with at least a week’s worth of meals in peaches.  It is a shame to have such beautiful produce and get tired or bored with the limited selection.  Allow me to offer a few ideas as to how to incorporate this fruit into your menu planning!

Grilled Peaches over Arugula w/ Goat Cheese & Proscuitto

*For a bit of crunch, sauté the prosciutto in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until crisp…or simply go without!

 ¼ cup balsamic vinegar

2 TBSP honey

3 peaches, pitted and each cut into 6 wedges

cooking spray

1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

dash of kosher salt

10 cups trimmed arugula (about 10 oz)

2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into ¼-inch strips

2 TBSP crumbled goat cheese

1.) Bring vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat, and simmer until vinegar is reduced to 2 TBSP (about 2 minutes).  Remove from heat; stir in honey.  Cool to room temperature.

2.) Prepare grill to high heat.

3.) Place peach wedges on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 30 seconds on each side or until grill marks appear but peaches are still firm.  Remove from grill; set aside.

4.) Combine oil, pepper, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add arugula, tossing gently to coat.  Arrange arugula mixture on a platter.  Top with peach wedges and prosciutto.  Drizzle with balsamic syrup; sprinkle with cheese.  Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups arugula mixture, 3 peach wedges, about 1/3 oz prosciutto, 1 ½ tsp balsamic syrup, and 1 tsp cheese).

Each Serving: 100 calories (36% from fat), 4g fat (1g sat), 3.9g protein, 13.1g carbohydrate, 1.3g fiber, 7mg cholesterol, .8mg iron, 183mg sodium, 61mg calcium 

*Even if the peaches are not quite ripe, the heat from grilling them should cause them to soften a bit.  I simplified and made the recipe vegetarian last night by topping arugula dressed with balsamic vinaigrette with the grilled peaches.  It made for a perfect simple summer salad. 

On a similar note… 

Peach Salad with Basil Oil

3 ripe peaches, sliced into thin wedges

3 cups arugula

4 oz fresh mozzerella, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 tbsp chopped walnuts or pecans

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 cup fresh basil

¼ tsp salt

1.) in large bowl, toss together peaches, arugula, mozzarella, and nuts

2.) put oil, vinegar, basil, and salt in blender or food processor and combine until smooth

3.) divide peach salad among serving plates and drizzle with basil oil

Disclaimer:  I have not made and/or tried the above recipe.  While I was glancing through a vegetarian magazine this week I discovered it and put it on my “to try” list of recipes.  If you get to it before I do, let me know what you think!

Quinoa Salad w/ Peaches

*I have also made this recipe using oranges in place of peaches.  Next to brown rice, QUINOA has become a weekly staple grain for me.  There are so many benefits… I wish I would have discovered it sooner!   It cooks much quicker than many other grains (usually only taking 15-20 minutes), is lower on the glycemic index, and has a high protein content. 

Bring 1 ½ cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add ¾ cup uncooked quinoa.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.  Cool quinoa slightly.  Stir in ¼ cup minced red bell pepper, ¼ cup chopped green onions, 3 TBSP fresh lemon juice, 1 ½ TBSP olive oil, ½ tsp kosher salt, 1 ½ tsp honey, ¼ tsp black pepper, and 1 sliced ripe peach. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup).

Each Serving: 196 calories, 7.1g fat (.9g sat), 245mg sodium 

One last word on peaches…

They make great dessert!  For the past couple of months I have been working towards avoiding all forms of processed sugars.  Mostly to be mindful of my body and to be healthy, but also because my ND prescribed this as necessary for my treatment plan.  I am happy to report that I have been able to keep this up in at least 90% of eating circumstances.  The 10% being my week-long trip to MI and my small daily dose of dark chocolate.  All this to say… if you’d like to try a peach for dessert, just slice a pitted peach in half, place skin side down in a dish, sprinkle with cinnamon, bake at 350 degrees F for at least 30 minutes, and ready.  If not sweet enough, drizzle with some honey.