Red curry veggies over cauliflower fried rice

I had more energy than normal tonight following an awesome workout so I prepped dinner with a little extra love and passion. As it happens, it came out awesome and was actually pretty simply so I wanted to share. I stir-fried a bunch of veggies, made a quick (literally under five minutes) red curry and served it over cauliflower fried rice. The most time-consuming part was food processing the cauliflower, but you could always do this in advance or just dice it up small. Any veggies will do :)

Red curry veggies over cauliflower fried rice


for stir fry
coconut oil (or whatever oil you use for higher heat)
LOTS of roughly chopped veggies (I used 1 green bell pepper, 1 zucchini, 1 package of shitaki mushrooms, a few handfuls of bean sprouts, 1 medium yellow onion)
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

for fried rice
about a thumbs worth of butter (or your favorite fat)
1 head of cauliflower, food processed until rice size
~1 cup frozen peas
3 eggs

for red curry
coconut/extra virgin olive oil
~2 tbsp red curry paste
1/2 can full-fat coconut milk

First, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat in a wok or heavy pan. Toss in all stir fry veggies and cook about ten minutes until soft but still with a bit of crunch and color. Take them off the heat and put to the side.

Next, heat butter in the same pan over medium heat and add cauliflower. Make sure to coat it all with whatever fat you are using and cook until slightly brown and toasted looking, about 10-15 minutes. Then, create a hole in the middle so that pan is showing, add a little more butter and then eggs, beating slightly in the pan. When mostly cooked, stir eggs fully into cauliflower and add peas. Cook another two or three minutes. You can add coconut aminos or soy sauce at the end for flavor.


You can be be making the curry in a second pan at the same time. Heat up coconut or olive oil over medium-low heat. Add curry paste and toast a few minutes until fragrant. Mix in coconut milk and just heat through. Finally, toss veggies and simmer all together for another five minutes.

Serve over fried rice and enjoy.


Ordinary Kitchens: The hog files

A brief tale of turning my grandparent’s ordinary kitchen (and garage) into a butcher shop and meat locker.

A few weeks ago, while visiting my grandparents in sunny southwest Florida, my boyfriend Chris went on his first wild hog hunt, and it was a great success. As I have mentioned before, I consider the real story of such adventures, the ones I tell people and write about, to start in the kitchen. Once an animal has been field dressed, skinned and at least quartered, then I step into the process. So let’s start there.

Chris brought the hog back to gram’s house quartered and on ice in a cooler. Then, for the next few hours, her garaged transformed into a butcher shop as we separated out the cuts and portioned it to freeze.

Neither of us have a ton of experience butchering a whole animal, but we felt it out, literally. If you pay attention to the meat it shows you where to cut and trim.


Gram and pops were both really good sports about the whole event, but for a while gram refused to come into the garage. She would just shout, “how’s it going guys?,” periodically from the safety of the house. But then, she got curious.


She even asked for more details on the kill shot!


Ok, she didn’t ask for more details, but once we got her into the garage, she was getting the whole story. By the end of the night she was assisting and it was awesome! Now I guess we’ve both been places and seen things we never thought imaginable.


When everything was cut, we vacuum sealed and label it all and then somehow got it to fit into the freezer.


Once we got the meat home (in the cooler, checked-in and flown under the plane like normal luggage – who knew?) I started experimenting with the best ways to cook it. So far, we’ve made stew, pulled pork and red curry. Recipes of the stuff that turns out awesome to come!

Veggie hacks: 3-bean chili

One day last week, while attempting an aerobic walk during the arctic blast, my friend Lara and I were discussing what to make for dinner, and she mentioned vegetarian chili. This used to be one of my staples, especially when I wasn’t eating meat, but I have not made it forever. So I decided to make one that night. Please note: I wasn’t thinking about this blog when I was cooking, so there are neither pictures nor a precise list of ingredients. This barely counts as a recipe, consider it more of add-on that you can use when developing your own chili with your favorite ingredients or a trusted recipe.

Or, since chili is pretty fool-proof you can just take me at my word.

Really, the only reason I am posting about this at all is that I randomly tried something new that ended up coming out great and I had to share. I chopped the uncooked carrots and portobello mushrooms super fine in the food processor, until they were almost the size and texture of big breadcrumbs. Then I added the mixture to the chili when I put in the tomatoes and broth. The result was that the sauce took on the texture of meat chili, and it added the extra veggies and flavor without more chunks.

Here’s sort of what I did:


A few tbsp EVOO
1 yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
a few garlic cloves, chopped
2-3 carrots, peeled
6-7 baby portobello mushrooms
*Not positive on the quantities of carrots and mushrooms, I would say I had about 1.5 cups of the ground mixture in the end
1 large jalepeño, diced
*spice mixture (more on this below)
1 can each: Red kidney beans, black beans and garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
~2-3 cups veggie broth (I actually used chicken but can go full veggie here)

  1. Sauté the onion, peppers and garlic in olive oil for 10-15 minutes until onions are golden
  2. Add in chopped chili pepper and your spice mixture. Stir and cook for a few more minutes. I didn’t have chili powder in the house (dumb because I made some for Christmas as gifts and didn’t keep any for myself!) so I mixed together paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, cayenne and turmeric until it tasted good.
  3. Chop carrots and mushrooms in food processor
  4. Stir everything else into the pot: beans, tomatoes, carrot/mushroom mixture and broth as needed (just enough so it’s not too thick)
  5. Boil and then simmer, uncovered, on medium low for an hour.

I’d love to hear how this turns out if you try it, so please share below!

Pumpkin Chili Reenactment

I’m pretty excited for fall. In my family, fall is full of birthdays and milestones. Some are happy, some are pretty sad, but I still love it. Don’t get me wrong. I will miss sunbathing and outdoor showers more than anything. But as the weather cools, I’m find I really am ready to get back to the business of cooking well and eating right. And being able to turn the oven on again without sweating to death.

In preparation, I went to Trader Joe’s this week with my friend Kathrin to stock up on all things pumpkin. I remembered making some sort of pumpkin and black bean chili last year, so I bought a few cans of pumpkin puree, a few cans of beans and a 1lb of ground turkey figuring that seemed like about the right ingredients.

When I got home I started searching for recipes, but they all had something in them I didn’t have in the house or don’t like. So, I made up my own version based on what I had and the veggies from the farm this week.


It came out delicious! But I forgot to take any pictures or write anything down. So, in the interest of full disclosure, the recipe below is a staged reenactment of that chili.

Pumpkin Chili

*makes 6 servings
(the recipe is doubled in the pictures if you are wondering why the pot is so full!)

1-2 tbs butter
1 frying pepper, cut into rings
4 small sweet peppers, cut into rings
1 onion, chopped
1 large jalapeño, sliced thin
2-3 garlic cloves sliced
1/2 tsp each: cumin, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, salt
3 small tomatoes roughly chopped (w/ seeds)
1 15oz can black beans
1 15oz can cannellini beans
2 cans pumpkin puree
1 lb ground turkey
2 cups chicken stock

In a large pot, melt better and sauté onions and peppers over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until soft. Add in jalapeño and chopped garlic and cook a few more minutes.


Once veggies are soft, mix in spices and cook a few more minutes. Then, stir in tomatoes and turn heat to low, letting everything stew for 5-10 more minutes.

In the meantime, brown ground turkey in a separate skillet with just a little bit of olive oil.

After the tomatoes start to get soft and cook down, add pumpkin and chicken stock into the pot. Mix well, then add in beans. Bring everything to a boil, making sure to stir often since the pumpkin is thick so nothing sticks.

Once the pot boils, turn down to low heat and mix in browned turkey. Let pot simmer on low, uncovered, for about 1 hour, stirring often.


I served as is, but you could top with a bit of grated cheese or a scoop of greek yogurt or sour cream.


Ordinary kitchens

This year, I had two major “aha!” moments, both while driving and both related to food. Out of the first, back in January, came the topic for my master’s thesis. The second, which happened today, gave me the idea for my next project. It’s called “Ordinary Kitchens,” and will chronicle the stories behind the best dishes I have encountered in the homes of my friends and family.


my ordinary kitchen

You see, on my journey to learn everything there is to know about food, I’ve jumped around a lot:

I’ve tried to figure out what I really want to learn and why.

I’ve been both light hearted and serious in my approach.

I’ve created a recipe blog and studied food policy at the graduate level.

I’ve waded through serious and paralyzing self doubt.

I’ve questioned whether or not I can make a positive impact on a food system that doesn’t work the way I’d like it to.

I’ve tried to decide if I should cook or write, or go to culinary school or get a Phd.

Here’s what I know: food is the starting point of everything else in life. It’s as simple and complex as we are. It’s what we make of it. Not a day goes by where we don’t think about it and touch it and plan around it. Because of that, there is knowledge and richness to be soaked up absolutely everywhere.

So, I am enrolling myself in cooking school by taking the time to discover the hidden secrets in all the ordinary kitchens in my life. Then, I’ll share what I find out here. If one instant driving in the car can be so life-altering, imagine how far preparing an entire meal can take us.

Where have I been? A story in 10 pictures

Here are top 5 reasons (excuses) I have not blogged since July:

5. I returned from a month-long cross country road trip and wanted to savor the feeling of being unplugged.


4. It was summer, I can walk to the beach from my house, and I don’t like getting sand in my laptop.


3. I started my third semester of full-time graduate school.

Untitled presentation

2. I stopped prioritizing eating right and training hard, stopped cooking, and entered into a downward shame spiral in which a clean eating blog had no place.


1. I realized this blog didn’t feel like me anymore.

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 6.14.24 PM

5 recent and related events that helped me commit to starting again:

5. I ended 2013 by baking my first real loaf of bread, using my Uncle Jimmy’s recipe. It turned out delicious and I savored every bite. I remembered simplicity, good smells and how happy I am in my kitchen.


 4. Then, with the holidays behind me, I decided it was time to go back to the gym, start eating mindfully again and get my muscles back.
3. Upon reconnecting with my awesome network of strong fitness pals, I heard about the wonders of almond flour and started breading EVERYTHING.

2. With a focus on getting strong again and leaning out, I added a lot more fat back into my diet, and started cooking almost everything in coconut oil…


**Note: As far as I can tell, coconut oil has life changing properties

or butter or lard.


1. Finally, with a little help from a friend, I decided that this blog can be about anything I want. Instead of waiting to find the perfect recipe and then trying to write the perfect post, I think I will just share cool information as I find it. Sometimes you have to approach life one hurdle at a time in order to move forward.


6 car camping “pantry” must-haves

You don’t need much to cook tasty meals on the road. However, car camping provides a little more space than other types of camping, so you can get away with stashing some treats. Here are a few things I keep the back seat or a cooler to give those fireside meals an extra boost.


  1. Jarred jalepeño slices and/or hot sauce. These are first on the list because you can use them in almost every camp meal, morning, noon or night. If you like a bit of a kick, add hot sauce or pepper slices to eggs, wraps, grains, veggies, sandwiches, etc. They will keep in the cooler for probably way longer than you need them too, and you can always bring leftovers home or gift them to fellow campers.
  2. Salt, pepper and olive oil. Spices are non-perishable, easy to store, and go a long way in flavoring dishes. If you are working with the same basic ingredients for a few days in a row, you will be surprised how exotic even just salt and pepper will taste. You can pick up a cheap non-breakable salt and pepper set at the grocery store, or pack spices from home in plastic straws that are bent and taped shut at the end. It is best to store everything so that you can pour directly on food and don’t have to use your fingers, since they will likely be dirty. Olive oil is an easy cooking medium/fat because it adds flavor, does not need to stay in the cooler, and can be used to cook almost everything. Try to find a plastic bottle since glass can break and is not allowed at some campsites.
  3. Tortillas. You can instantly turn a pile of left over ingredients into a dish-free breakfast, lunch or dinner with any kind of wrap. Plus, most of them do not require refrigeration. You can even toast them in an hot, non-greased skillet on the camp stove or over a fire for 1-2 minutes.
  4. A block of cheese. Need I explain?
  5. Chocolate. Chocolate is a lifesaver for a few reasons. Most importantly, depending on how long you are camping, you will likely become sick of all of your food and will just want a treat. Chocolate, in any form, will back you up in those moments. If it’s hot out or your food is being stored in the car all day, keep it in the cooler. Chocolate is also a great trail snack that provides some sugar to keep you going. Snickers are my favorite because they provide salt and fat in addition to calories, which is helpful if you are doing something particularly strenuous and sweating a lot.
  6. PB & J. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a staple on all my hikes or long driving days. They are filling, substantive, easy to make and carry, and delicious. They can also sub in as breakfast or dinner in a pinch.


    personalized pb&j’s