Plated-a dinner delivery service

I recently tried an online mail order dinner service called Plated. My sister discovered it and sent meals to her daughter when she had a baby. I sent another sister three vegetarian meals and they enjoyed them. I was excited to try the service and ordered four meals. I was impressed! The packaging is amazing and everything is included except for canola oil, salt and pepper. Instant Mis en place! It was amazing how fast the meals came together. There were new and interesting combinations and it was all delicious! Here are the meals we tried-
-Soy sriracha beef bowls with brown rice and avocado-including a carrot edamame salad
-Fennel roasted pork with apricot, almond, blue cheese arugula salad
-Cornish hen with creamy morel sauce and oven roasted potatoes and asparagus
-Seared strip steak with olive chimichurri, blistered shishito peppers and roasted wild mushrooms
Plated meals


Ultimate Nutty Granola Clusters

My Canadian friend, Jen, gave me The Oh She Glows Cookbook, vegan recipes, that she claimed is the hottest cookbook in Canada! This is an easy and delicious granola recipe.
1 c. whole raw almonds
1/2 c. raw walnut halves or pieces
3/4 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. raw buckwheat groats or rolled oats
2/3 c. mixed dried fruit-apricots, cherries, cranberries etc.
1/2 c. raw pepita seeds
1/4 c. raw sunflower seeds
1/3 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
2 t. ground cinnamon ** I only used 1/4 t.
1/4 t. sea salt
1/4 c.+ 2T. maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
2 t. pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 275. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 1/2 c. almonds in food processor and process for 10 seconds-until a fine meal forms. Transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining 1/2 c. almonds and the walnuts to processor and process for 5 seconds-you want some larger pieces and some finer meal. Add to bowl. Add remaining ingredients through the coconut and stir to combine. Add maple syrup, melted oil and vanilla and stir well. Spread onto the sheet pan and gently press it down to compact it slightly. Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate pan and bake 18-25 minutes-until golden brown on the bottom and firm to the touch. Cool for one hour before breaking apart. Store in glass jar in refrigerator or freeze for 4-5 weeks.

Shrubs-the perfect summer beverage

Have you ever had a shrub? They are a fruit based mixture that you cure for a few days and then add vinegar and steep longer and end up with a lively shrub that you can add to club soda or a cocktail. I am crazy about these and we briefly had a great Thai restaurant that had four shrubs on their menu. I have been making these as I see the perfect fruit come to market. So far I have strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, cherry and I just made this wild lavender kumquat shrub! I first started making these from my favorite blog, use real butter and haven’t stopped. They seem to last forever in the refrigerator and it so refreshing on a warm day.
Summer shrubs 2014
The basic recipe is equal portions fruit and sugar to soak and then strain the fruit out and combine with the same amount of vinegar of your choice. The lavender shrub I made today is the wildest combination of ingredients and I can’t wait to try it! The inspiration was finding gorgeous California kumquats in the market and then I made an early harvest of lavender from my garden. I ordered the blood orange balsamic vinegar online as I was so excited to try the recipe!
Lavender shrub
1 c. brown sugar
2 T. pink peppercorns (very interesting-not real peppercorns-tons of flavor
2 T. ch. lemongrass
4 T. dried lavender
1 1/2 c. chopped kumquats
Mix together, kneading with your hands gently in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours. Strain the liquid and add:
2/3 c. blood orange balsamic vinegar (I am sure you could sub. regular)
1/3 c. cider vinegar
Pour into a jar and use as you wish.

Homemade Almond Milk

This is a recipe from my cousin Susan who is a wellness coach. My sister Jody and I recently participated in her three day cleanse (which I highly recommend!) and this was one of many great recipes. I always have a jar of almonds soaking in my refrigerator so I can make a smoothie for breakfast.
Almond Milk
1/2 c. raw almonds
3 c. water
2 large dates, pitted and chopped
pinch of salt
Place almonds in a bowl or quart jar and soak overnight or at least four hours. Drain and rinse almonds. Place almonds, dates, 3 cups of fresh water and salt in blender. Blend on high for one minute. Strain into a cheesecloth lined sieve and wring out. Store in an airtight container up to 5 days.

Gardening in Colorado

In Colorado, we plant on St. Patrick’s Day! Any cold season vegetable or green can go in and believe it or not this is the result of several plantings in March! It is so wonderful to get fresh greens right outside your door, despite snow and other inclement weather! We can also plant cold season greens in the fall and as soon as the weather warms up, they will take off!


Chives in the garden

Perennial herbs are the most satisfying plants in the garden. Chives are one of my favorite as they are the earliest and so appreciated after a long winter! They do not mind the snow (this picture is after our May snow of 4″!) and grace you with the most beautiful flower that is delicious! Chives are in the allium family and can be aggressive so you must mind them but they are not hard to remove and share with a friend. I also grow other alliums known for their purple bloom and these I use as cut flowers so they don’t spread too much in my small garden.

Drumstick allium

after a spring snow
after a spring snow

Chives are the perfect garnish or addition to any dish! You can swirl them into yogurt and garnish a soup or snip them over a salad.


Nostalgic China

I recently ordered two place settings of my grandmother’s china pattern, Spode Buttercup, from EBay. I was thrilled to find it and I am so excited to have it. My grandmother was a wonderful cook, gardener and nurturer and I think about her often.  I feel like I am sitting at her table eating with her when I use this china!

Nana's buttercup china pattern