Chicken Breast Picatta (chicken breast tips)

Tried this recipe from NoRecipes blog- what an exciting new way to cook chicken breast!

You can use this method for skillet chicken breasts with a variety of sauces. I want to try an orange chicken version next!

Key points:
  • Pounding chicken breasts until thin is absolutely necessary for even cooking
  • Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper on the raw chicken- probably 1/2 tea coarse salt or more per breast (I undersalted mine!)
  • Dusting in potato starch (katakuriko) keeps the moisture in and makes the sauce stick to the chicken
  • Fry in small amount of oil to sear the outside. Then nestle back into the pan with whatever sauce and put on low to finish cooking.
Other chicken breast recipes I like or want to try:


Tropical Zucchini Smoothie

Surprisingly zucchini makes a good smoothie, at least paired with sweet tropical fruit like pineapple or mango. And you can't taste the zucchini! Great way to use up extra summer zucchini!

Blend and enjoy:
1 C pineapple or mango
1 small zucchini (about 1 C), chopped
1" ginger root
1 tea lime juice
water to cover and blend

Tamales & Masa dough recipe

Delicious meal in a pocket. Very easy to freeze and reheat, making it the perfect "freezer meal" or work lunch. Can be served alone or with sauce/salsa on top.

NOTE ON QUANTITY: Using a standing steamer pot (like the ones people make spaghetti in), was able to fit 25 tamales, which used a dough containing about 4 C masa harina (i.e. half batch of masa per below). A half batch, or 25 tamales, requires about 4-5 C of cooked filling.

For the full 8 cups of masa harina, make sure you either have two large pots (to steam both at once) or are planning for 2 sessions of steaming (2 hrs each).

PREPARATION: suggest making the fillings ahead. You can reserve extra meat dishes in the freezer, just remember to start thawing in the fridge the day before. That way you aren't making fillings and the masa and the tamales the same day.

Start soaking the corn husks early (even overnight is fine- they don't seem to "oversoak"). This makes them more pliable. Remember to rinse them and then set aside for forming the tamales.

Couple good references on tamales:

Masa Dough
Beat 2 Cups butter (or use lard if you can find non-hydrogenated) in a stand mixer until fluffy (color will lighten and it will stick to the sides of the mixer a bit).

In a separate bowl, combine:
8 C masa harina (the package will say "tamale" somewhere. this is NOT corn flour or corn meal)
4 tea salt
8 C liquid. Use a mixture of broth and water (I used chicken broth, but veggie broth or beef/pork broth would work too). Should be cool temperature-- hot water will melt the butter you spent time whipping.

Add the masa/broth/water mix to the whipped butter in the stand mixer. Beat until combined.

Filling Recipes & Ideas
You will need approximately 8-10 C of cooked filling for the above amount of masa dough. 

  • Tamales: spread masa dough on soaked corn husks. Dab filling. Roll up and/or fold (see this method, particularly the photos. It is faster b/c you don't have to tie shut!). Steam for 2 hours. Eat or freeze.
  • Dessert tamales: same as above, except fill with chopped bittersweet chocolate. Fold cinnamon into the dough. Or fill with chopped almond/pistachios and dried apricots or raisins.
  • Baked masa "muffins": pour extra masa into muffin tins. Bake at 425 F for 20-40 minutes or until set and the top is browning. Surprisingly good as a snack as is, like a breakfast muffin or dinner roll. Or top with salsa or Mexican sauces.

Tea Time

Finally some warm weather! Hit 66 degrees which meant time to open all the windows and sit outside and drink tea. Thanks LorisanCooks for hanging out today!

This is my favorite tea brewing device- it's a style of Japanese tea pot called Yokode Kyusu. Read more about this type of one-handed side handle tea pot here. An overview of Japanese tea pots here.

The tray, tea cups, and small plates all bought at a 100 yen store in Fukuroi.

Kheer (Indian rice pudding)

This was so simple and incredibly delicious. Hubby immediately demanded this go on the "make often" list. If you make it not-too-sweet it is a great breakfast pudding (albeit indulgent). Would be amazing to take to potluck b/c it is simple, cheap (1 C rice + half gallon milk!), doesn't need to be dished out/cut and is a little exotic while being approachable.

Can be made in slow cooker (5 quart) or over the stove in a large pan.

Combine in slow cooker or large pan:
1 C white basmati rice
8 C (yes, that's nearly a half gallon) milk (whole milk is best)
1 tea cardamom seeds, crushed
1/2 C raisins

Gently bring to a near-boil then reduce to barely simmering. WARNING: don't cook too hot. Milk separates at high temp and there's no going back! Tip: after bringing up to a near-boil, reduce heat to low. If that isn't low enough to prevent it from simmering, then put on a smaller burner on low.

Cook slowly like this until rice is cooked and starting to disintegrate a bit- it will expand to use all the milk.

You'll know it is done when you can drag a spatula through it and it doesn't rush to fill in- i.e. you can see the bottom of the pan for a moment or two. This will take 45 minutes to 1 hr 15 minutes or so.

This book says cook on high in slow cooker for 3 hours-- using an old slow cooker it was nowhere near done after 3 hours on high... so you may have to adjust the times with your cooker.

Finishing the Pudding
At the end, stir in 1/4 - 1/2 C agave syrup (or use honey or sugar).

Serve hot or cold. Optionally top with chopped almonds or pistachios.


Drunken Pinto Beans w/ Smoked Ham Hock (slow cooker)

Made a huge pot and the house smells delicious. Really warming, comforting dish for a cold and rainy day. Was really good that day and even better the next day when the flavors married. So good I ate it warmed up for breakfasts!

You could probably get away with using the ham hock and omitting the bacon, but if you have it lying around-- why not use both! Had never cooked with a ham hock before-- have a new appreciation. It is apparently the pig's ankle. Comes with dark fatty meat attached, good amount of fat and the bone for marrow/collagen. Really takes anything bean-y to the next level. I will be using ham hocks in bean soups from now on!

Soak 1 lb dry pinto beans over night in water. Then drain and add soaked beans to slow cooker.

Add to slow cooker:
1 small smoked ham hock (pig ankle, bone & meat)
2 sprigs epazote
1/2 tea oregano
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, minced

Meanwhile, over the stove, fry up some bacon in a pan (use bacon "odds and ends" which are half the price!). Add 1 chopped onion and 5 gloves garlic (smashed) and cook until starting to brown.

Deglaze pan with 1 bottle beer (12 oz), stirring to scrape up fond from bottom of pan. Simmer until reduces slightly. Pour over the stuff in crock pot.

Add enough water to cover beans. Cover slow cooker and cook on LOW for 9-10 hours.

Add salt to taste at the end of cooking.

Serve as is like a soup, or over brown rice.


Chicken Chile Verde (slow cooker)

Good as a stew and amazing as tamale filling. Goes together quickly. Alternatively you could use canned tomatillo sauce/salsa instead of blending the ingredients below.

Layer in crock pot:
3/4 onion, chopped
1-2 C yukon gold, fingerling or pearl potatoes (bite sizes)
4 lbs dark meat chicken (thigh, drumstick, dark meat. Chicken breasts aren't amazing in slow cooker)

Sprinkle cracked black pepper, salt, ground cumin over the chicken pieces in the slow cooker.

Blend until pureed:
1/4 onion
6 cloves garlic
1 poblano pepper, roasted and de-seeded
1/2 serrano or jalapeno pepper
lime juice from 1 lime
1/2 C cilantro including stems
5-8 tomatillos (removed from husk and rinsed)
1/2 C water or chicken broth

Pour the liquid over the chicken.

Cook on LOW in crockpot for 6-8 hours.

Serve in bowls with warmed corn tortillas. Use leftovers as enchilada, burrito or tamale filling. Freezes well.


Carrot Orange Cake (Raw Vegan)

This is a riff off of Ani Pyho's carrot cake- made a little more tropical for an Aussie friend of mine. The only tricky part is it requires a blender, food processor and juicer!

Juice 1.5 lb carrots. Drink the juice or use in papaya carrot smoothie. Use the carrot pulp for the cake. you should have 2.5 C carrot pulp. This uses juice-pulp instead of grated carrots b/c grated carrots are quite wet- and since this is raw and not baked you don't want it to be soggy.

In food processor, grind up almonds to make 1 C almond meal/flour (or buy ground almond flour or "almond meal"- Trader Joe's carries). Pour into mixing bowl with the carrot pulp.

Now in a second batch in food processor, blend 1/2 C pitted medjool dates with 1/2 C pineapple until smooth, scraping down sides. Add to the mixing bowl.

Stir in orange zest, optional pinch of sea salt depending on your preference.

Stir to combine. Press into cake pan.

Cashew Frosting
Blend until smooth and creamy and no chunks remain:
1.5 C cashews
1/2 C filtered water
2 TB orange juice
2 TB agave
Optional: 1" section of vanilla bean (do not substitute with vanilla extract as the alcohol will be too strong since it is not baked).
Frost cake with frosting, top with orange zest as garnish. The frosting will set once chilled.The top looks like this (vanilla cashew frosting with orange juice and orange zest):
Store in the fridge or freezer.

You'll probably have a little more frosting that you need to top the cake. If you have any leftover frosting, enjoy over sliced fruit as a breakfast parfait.


Honey Lime Beets

I'm trying to make myself like beets. This was actually edible (for beets!)-- will go in the rotation for learning to like beets! I used "honey beets" which are the yellow/orange variety (instead of the usual red). Adapted from this exciting tome on french cooking.

Serving suggestion: I liked it best served over green salad with a squirt of lime and salt over the lettuce leaves, then topped with fresh mung bean sprouts. (see top photo)

Takes a bit of advance prep to cook 2 small beets. I boiled them in water (probably 30 minutes since I boiled them whole- if you cut them first they probably would've cooked faster).

Then you peel and cut them into bite-size chunks.

Toss with vinaigrette:
1 tea apple cider vinegar
grated zest and juice from 1/4 lime
1.5 tea olive oil

Chill with the vinaigrette for 2 hours or overnight.

Difference between Chana Dal & Yellow Split Peas

Chana dal on the left, yellow split peas on the right. Notice how the yello split peas look like spheres that are cut in half. Chana dal are more of a rounded cylinder. Chana dal also have a more rippled appearance to the split pea's smooth surface.

Yellow split peas and Chana Dal look very similar, and are sometimes sold with the wrong label. But beware- taste and how they cook is different!

Chana dal have a more favorable glycemic index and are apparently a godsend for diabetics. This guy has done a lot of research on the subjet.

Yellow split peas will cook down to mush quite quickly, whereas Chana Dal will hold their shape well.

You can substitute yellow split peas for most curry recipes that use Chana Dal. However the swap won't work as well if the curry is a "dry curry" where you want the dal to keep its shape. If the end product is mashed, pureed or a soupy consistency, the swap won't be as noticable.

I like the taste of Chana Dal much better than yellow split peas- probably mostly due to the improved texture of cooked chana dal.

The best place to buy Chana Dal is at an Indian grocery store- will be in big bags and cheap. I was in a hurry and purchased a smaller bag at a natural foods store but it was more expensive ($4 for the small bag seen up top; Indian stores will give you twice that for the same price). If you are lucky though you might find it in the bulk bins at Whole Foods, generally at a good price.

My favorite Chana Dal recipes:


Brussel Sprouts, Bacon, Raisins in Cider Pan Sauce

Had never had brussel sprouts before. And figured it was high tide I tried 'em out! Following this recipe from Epicurious which was delicious. Here's the gist:

Cook 2 strips bacon. Stick bacon on plate.

In same pan, brown 2 C brussel sprouts (trimmed & cut into halves or quarters) in the bacon fat with liberal amount of salt & pepper, 5 min.

Add 1/8 C raisins, 1/4 C diced white onion and a knob of butter. Stir to combine and cook until onion softens, 3-5 minutes.

Add 1/4 C chicken broth, bring to a simmer (uncovered) and cook until the sauce reduces, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

Finally, add 1 TB apple cider vinegar. Top with chopped bacon. Serve hot with pan juices.

Apple Mustard Grilled Cheese Sando

Confession: I can't stand to call sandwiches "sandwich" anymore. The Japanese "sando" is really much more convenient.

Unexpectedly good. And I generally have these ingredients on hand for an indulgent snack. Pair with green salad and chopped apple (use grated apple + apple cider vinegar and salt for the dressing).

Butter 2 slices bread
. Sprinkle salt, garlic powder and pepper over the buttered side.

On the other side, spread whole grain/dijon mustard. Top with thin slices of apple and thin slices of white cheddar cheese. Top with other slice of bread.

Heat a skillet to medium high. Place sandwich in and let the butter warm up a little, 30 sec to 1 min. Flip over. Using a heavy pan, press down on the sandwich while it cooks on that side, 2-3 minutes.

Flip over, then replace the heavy pan press and cook on the final side a minute or two until down. The pressing actually works well- gives it a great texture in the sandwich (and approximates a panini press quite well). It also improves the texture of the bread.


Slow Cooker Tomato Soup (vegan)

Really soothing tomato soup that can be dressed up. Very simple, and cooks for a half day (i.e. start the crock pot on lunch break for after dinner soup!). Would be a great dish for lunch guests as it can be prepped in the morning and bubble away until serving time. Vegan unless you top with cheese!

Serve with crusty bread (or crutons) and side salad. Or with garlic roasted fingerling potatoes. Dunk the crutons in the bowl and let them soak up the soup- YUM!

Serves 3-5.

Combine in slow cooker:
2 large (28oz) cans diced tomatoes (in the summer, substitute fresh tomatoes- but you may want to peel & remove tomato skins)
1-2 C water
1.5 -2 small white/yellow onions, cut into chunks
4-6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves
cracked black pepper
2 TB - 1/4 C olive oil
Optional: oregano, rosemary, basil

Cover and set slow cooker on LOW and cook for 3-5 hours.

Before serving, pull out the bay leaf and discard.

Ladle the chunks of onion and garlic and half to 3/4 of the tomatoes into blender (or food mill). Puree until silky smooth. Return to slow cooker, stir in and bring back to heat.

Add 1/2 to 2 tea salt to taste. Serve.

Half version for 2 people: use 1 can (28 oz) tomatoes, 1 small onion, 3 cloves garlic etc.

Tomato Soup Variations/Serving Suggestions:
  • grate Parmesan, reggiano or cheddar cheese into the soup and stir
  • top soup bowls with crutons and let them partially soak up soup. Garnish with parsley, basil and grated Parmesan
  • toast mustard and cumin seeds in olive oil or ghee (to make a tadka/tarka in Indian cooking). Then drizzle the scented oil over individual dishes of soup.
  • stir in a few tablespoons heavy cream for "can soup" variety


Mexican 7 Layer Dip

Using blog posts from Pioneer Woman and Oh She Glows, I compiled my own Mexican 7 layer dip.

Took a little bit of assembly but wow was it good. And stayed good in the fridge for a day with the leftovers. Would make a good party dip or husband safety net food ;)

Layer stuff like this in a medium small glass bowl (see Rhee from Pioneer Woman's note about people avoiding it once it mixes all together from being in a huge dish!):
  • Refried black beans (Trader Joes sells in cans but I need to learn how to make refried black beans!)
  • Roasted pepper salsa (Trader Joes)
  • Thawed frozen sweet corn (also Trader Joes- noticing a trend here!)
  • Guacamole (home made- see guac recipe)
  • Sliced red onion
  • Scallion
  • Tomato
  • Cilantro
Scoop into warm corn tortillas and eat taco style. Or serve with homemade flax crackers or organic (non GMO) corn chips.

Best Fritata ever (or Mexican Omu-raisu)

Flipped this fritata over leftover Mexican green rice and cotjia cheese and it was heavenly. Total flashbacks of Japanese Omu-raisu (omlette wrapped around rice, usually with tons of ketchup) but in a good way.

The credit for cooking the egg goes to Chris- nice job!

Gently fry 1 C mushroom slices in butter. Pour the mushrooms out of the pan. Combine with 4 beaten raw eggs in a bowl or pyrex measuring cup.

Add chopped parsley, 1/4 - 1/2 tea salt and optional roasted chiles (if your rice is spicy then leave it out) to the raw egg.

Reheat the pan, add some more butter. Pour the egg mixture in, covering bottom of pan. Cover and let cook on med low for 2 minutes.

Carefully check the underside of the egg. You want the top to be slightly firming up -- just not liquidy.

Using multiple spatulas flip the fritata over, cook on the opposite side for 30 sec.

Plop out the fritata on top of rice. Enjoy!

African Peanut Sweet Potato & Kidney bean stew (Vegan)

This was surprisingly good and not like anything I normally make. But it's ow firmly on my "make for guests" list!

Would also be nice as a vegan dish to bring to thanksgiving as the sweet potato and cinnamon makes it a hearty "autumn" kind of dish.

Took 40 minutes of leisurely prep, then cooked for 30 minutes (mostly unattended).

Cook 1 large sweet onion (or 2 smaller regular onions- diced) in 1-2 TB water in large pot. Add 3-5 cloves garlic (minced) and stir.

Add 1-2 red bell peppers (chopped) and cook for 5 minutes until soft.

Add and stir to toast spices:
3 tea brown sugar
1 tea ground cumin
1 tea ground cinnamon
1/2 tea chili powder
1 tea microplane-grated ginger (about 1 " knob)

Mix 1/2 - 3/4 C peanut butter with 1/4 C hot water. Then add to the pan and stir.

Add the following to the pot, bring to a simmer then cook covered on low for 30 minutes until tender:
3 sweet potato/yams (cubed)
1-2 C cooked kidney beans
15 oz diced tomatoes
4 C veggie stock

Taste and add 1/2- 1 tea coarse salt.

Serve over cooked quinoa. Garnish with chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts.


Green Rice (Mexican style)

This was quick to put together and was definitely comfort food! Got the concept from a cookbook but simplified it- husband scarfed it down so I know it's a winner :) Also a good way to use up cilantro that is about to go bad. (sorry the photos aren't that great- that's what happens when you're hungry!)

Blend and set aside:
1 C cilantro (stems ok)
3 cloves garlic
1 poblano pepper- roasted (or sub jalapeno or any other green pepper)
1 C water

On the stove, brown 1 diced yellow onion in oil in large pan.

Add 1 to 1.5 C basmati rice and 1 tea cumin and stir to coat. Let toast on medium heat for 30-60 seconds. Do not burn!

Pour in the cilantro liquid and a few additional cups water to cover rice.

Bring to a simmer then cook on medium or med-low heat until rice becomes fluffy- about 15-20 minutes. You may need to add additional water as it cooks.

Season with 1-2 tea salt. Enjoy!

Serving ideas:
  • With cooked rotisserie chicken, guacamole and cotjia cheese (see top photo)
  • in burritos
  • as a base layer for fried eggs
  • decadent casserole style: stir in cream and cheese, place in a baking dish. Top with melty cheese (like manchego) and cook/broil.

Fake Pho Broth (pressure cooker)

Use old pork fat that my husband cuts of pork chuck before slow cooker recipes. Threw the fatty pork bits in the freezer until I was ready to make this. Smelled precisely like pho broth, but not quite as intense as I would have liked. I think pork bones/knuckles would make this just right.

In the pressure cooker pan, cook in a little oil until golden:
1-2 onions, sliced
ginger (fresh or ground)
star anise
peppecorn and/or schezwuan peppercorns
1 " piece cinnamon stick

Now add:
3 quarts water
pork fat (or other fatty bits of meat and/or bones)
pork bones or knuckles (I didn't have but want to try it with the bones next time)
1/2 - 1 C cilantro (stems are ok)

Cover and pressure cook for 35 minutes.

Turn off heat and let come pressure come down. Open. Strain, discard the solids. Let cool and then skim the fat off the top.

Add optional vietnamese fish sauce, lime juice or salt.

Use in pho or other asian-inspired soups as the stock/broth (seen above with chicken, shiitake mushroom, rice noodles, celery and bean sprouts).


Tali Sauce (Lemon Garlic Sesame Sauce)

This is a lemony garlicy slightly-cheesey vegan sauce. It may even be raw (not sure on the nutritional yeast).

Inspired by the Whole Bowl in Portland that has delicious bowls of brown rice, black beans covered in this kind of sauce, then topped with avocado and pico de gallo. Ooo yumm!

Blend until seeds break down and it becomes a tan creamy sauce:

3/4 C "sprouted" (soaked and dried) unhulled sesame seeds (or substitute regular sesame seeds as is)
juice from 1 lemon
3/4 tea coarse salt
1/2 tea onion powder
3 medium cloves garlic
1 TB nutritional yeast (these are flakes of yeast- also called "nooch"- vegan but give a cheesey umami flavor and potentially some B-vitamins)
2/3 C water, or enough for the blender to work

Yield: Makes a little more than 1 pint of dressing.

Nutritional info for approx 2.5 TB dressing: 94 calories, 3 g protein, 8 g fat, 5 g carb.

Also would be good over noodles, as a pasta sauce or drizzled over steamed broccoli. For inspiration, here's another recipe: Japanese style sesame dressing called Goma-dare.


Spring Soup

Simple spring soup using what I had left in the pantry and fridge. Came together quickly and was quite good! The green peas and rice were a really nice combination.

Warm up chicken or veggie broth in a pan. Add thyme or rosemary or your favorite herbs.

Add veggies and simmer until cooked through:
yukon gold potato chunks

When the veggies are nearly done, add and stir:
cooked basmati rice
cooked garbanzo beans/chickpeas
frozen green peas

Taste and add salt and black pepper as needed.

Serve when hot!

Gluten Free Spring Quiche (Asparagus, Pea & Scallion) in Corn Crust

Combine crust ingredients:
1 cup cornmeal (or a mixture of corn flour and coarser polenta)
2-4 Tbs cold butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp water
1/4 tea salt
Optional: pepper, paprika, oregano, thyme or whatever you like

Press into tart pan. Par bake for 10 minutes in 350 degree oven.

Meanwhile prepare the quiche. Beat 2 eggs. Pour in 1/2 -1 C milk (half and half or any type milk will work). Add 1/4 tea salt, cracked black pepper.

When the crust comes out, grate some cheese (parmesan, gruyere, swiss, goat cheese or whatever your favorite cheese is) into the crust.

Add chopped veggies to the crust. I like asparagus, green peas and scallions. You could do broccoli, sliced mushrooms etc.

Carefully pour the egg/milk mixture into the crust over the fillings, which will bob and float about.

Carefully place the pan in 350 oven, cook for 20-30 minutes or until done/set.

Using a thin tart pan instead of a deep dish pie pan will make the quiche cook faster and stay more tender.

Nut Mylk (raw vegan)

Can't believe I don't have a post for making nut mylk!! I make this all the time with various different nuts or seeds.

Great for making puddings (chia pudding or vegan pudding made with kanten/agar agar, like vegan panna cotta recipes), pouring over home made cereal/muesli/grainola or topping off coffee (diy cold brew coffee concentrate)!!

Up close - see how it is frothy? Perfect for a "latte" with coffee concentrate.

You can soak your nuts before making the milk- supposedly offers more nutrition. Soaking makes it easier to blend, especially if you have a "regular" blender (instead of a vitamix or blendtec etc.).

You can use a "nut milk bag" which is a fine cheesecloth. It will strain out any chunks. People use the leftover pulp for cookies raw crackers and other recipes.

Personally I go the lazy route most often- put it in the blender then drink.

1/4 C nuts or seeds
2.5 C filtered water
2-4 medjool dates, pitted (more or less depending on how sweet you want it)
pinch salt

Nut/Seed suggestions:
  • Almonds (good for protein and minerals)
  • Walnuts (good for omega 3 fatty acids)
  • Brazil Nuts (rich and creamy, similar to half and half)
  • Pecans (makes a really rich milk and a decadent coffee)
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pepitas/pumpkin seeds (good for magnesium)

Quinoa Porridge (breakfast) with Nut Mylk

Good alternate for steel cut oats. Quinoa can taste bitter, but if you rinse it before cooking, and then drown it in almond milk it's really quite delicious. This is a favorite breakfast, and it can be made when we've run out of oats an granola! And it is gluten free and dairy free.

Rinse quinoa. Cook quinoa in rice cooker (1 part quinoa to 2 parts water).

1. Plop cooked quinoa in a bowl
2. Add berries: raspberries, cut up strawberries, blueberries etc. (fresh or thawed from frozen works too)
3. Pour nut mylk (like home made almond milk) over and enjoy

Plain Soft Polenta

Really fast and very comforting as a grain/base for sauces or other dishes. Polenta is a great gluten free alternative to pasta.

Bring 1 C water to boil in a saucepan. Optionally melt butter, bacon fat or a little bit of olive oil (approx 1 TB) with the water.

Stir in, breaking up clumps:
1/2 C polenta (stone ground grits/corn)
1 tea salt

Lower the heat to a simmer and uncover, stirring. Cook for 7-10 minutes, until polenta reaches creamy consistency. The longer it goes the more firm it will get.

Leftovers will become really firm. Cut into slices and saute/pan fry, serve with marinara sauce as dipping sticks.

Bacon, Eggs, Dijon Salad

Truly a "breakfast" salad! It's great because I always have greens, eggs and bacon (frozen between sheets of wax paper) on hand. Comes together quickly, especially if you boiled the eggs for breakfast and have some left over.

Hard boiled eggs, cut into quaters
2 strips nitrate free bacon, cut into chunks

Mix 1 TB dijon mustard with scant 1 TB water to form dressing consistency. Pour over salad.

Finish with cracked black pepper, smoked paprika and/or salt.

Raw Sesame Coconut Chocolate Date Cookie/crackers

Ate a bag of "GoRaw" chocolate cookies from whole foods and really liked them- quite addictive! Here's my try at recreating them.

One batch per below can fit on a somewhat small baking sheet. Make a double or triple batch using 2 or 3 pans.

Combine in food processor:

3/4 C shredded coconut
1/2 C sprouted sesame seeds (soak unhulled sesame seeds overnight, drain and let sit for 8 hours, then use)

4 medjool dates, pitted

2 TB raw cacao powder
1 TB water
pinch to 1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine into a ball- using pressure with your hands will bring the dough together.

Press dough onto cookie sheet. Lay wax paper on top. Use rolling pin to flatten to 1/4" or thinner.

Dry in lowest temp over (or dehydrator)- around 170 degrees.

Flip over when the top dries out a bit.

(since I don't have a fanyy excalibur dehydrator- mine is really more jerky/fruit style- I start in the oven on a pan. Then when dry enough it will stay together in pieces that I can transfer to the dehydrator).

Cut into pieces. Finish dehydrating/drying until crunchy. Great for a trail snack as they're light weight but pack a lot of energy!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Quinoa Kidney Bean Muffins

Took a favorite pumpkin quinoa muffin recipe (with flour) and swapped out ingredients to make these more fibery and without gluten (be careful of oats if you are strict gluten-free; use a gluten free flour mix or certified GF oats).

Pulse in food processor until nuts are ground up
1/2 C ground nuts (almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts) or almond meal
1/2 C gluten free flour mix or finely ground oats
1/4 C flaxmeal
1 tea baking powder
1/2 tea baking soda
1/2 tea salt

Add spices (or use "pumpkin pie spice"):
1/2 tea cinnamon
1/4 tea ground ginger

1/8 tea allspice or cloves

1/8 tea nutmeg

Add to food processor and pulse until beans and dates are thoroughly combined:
1 C cooked beans (kidney beans, or other red beans like adzuki would probably be good. or substitute white beans)
1/3 C packed pitted dates (approx 3-4 dates)

Now add and combine:
3/4 C canned plain pumpkin (if using "pumpkin pie filling" omit dates and spices from above)
1/2 C buttermilk or plain yogurt or substitute applesauce
2 eggs

Stir in 3/4 C cooked quinoa and mix just to combine. (you could substitute other cooked grains, like millet, amaranth, barley etc.)

Pour into greased muffin pan. Sprinkle raw pumpkin seeds on top.

Cook for 30 minutes in 375 F oven or until done in the middle.
1/12 of the recipe (i.e. pour into 12 muffin tins, 1 muffin is a serving) = approx 120 cal; 5 grams protein; 5 grams fat; 16 carbs