Vegetable Korma

I recently made friends with an Indian woman whose son is in our  daughter Nora’s school class. She’s been in the United States for about 3 years now and when I found that out, I asked her if she knew how to cook Indian food. She of course did, and she asked if I’d like her to make some for me. What a dear! I told her that what I would really like would be to have her teach me how to make Indian food. And so we got together one day last week and she taught me how to make Vegetable Korma! I was so excited and pleased to be in her kitchen, watching, smelling, tasting, taking notes and learning from her! It really was a dream come true! And guess what?! She said we can do it again! Next time we meet we’ll go to the Indian Market together so I can get some of the ingredients she used that’d I’ve never seen before like the chana dahl in the first picture below on the far left, and the white poppyseeds in the next picture, and the Indian chilies. I took lots of pictures!

The first thing we did was make our korma paste. We did this by adding all the ‘paste’ ingredients (listed below in recipe) to the blender and blending it til smooth. We added more water as needed if it was too thick to blend.

Next we chopped up the red onion (she advised we use red or white, but not yellow as it’s too sweet) and sauteed it with a little oil (you can use olive oil or coconut oil), salt, curry leaves, turmeric and chili powder. Next we added the tomatoes and cooked them until they were mushy, about 5 minutes.


Next we added the paste from the blender to those tomatoes. Once we dumped that in, we added about 1/2 cup warm water to the blender jar, put the lid on and swirled it around to get all the paste sticking to the inside of the jar, and we poured that into the frying pan.

Next up we added the chopped veggies. And you could really use whatever you like here. I love carrots and chopped potatoes in my Indian food. Cover the pan and bring the heat to low and cook 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, add the beaten yogurt to the sauce, bring heat back up to medium and cook another 20 minutes, stirring ocassionally and adding more water if needed, a Tbsp at a time, so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

Garnish with cilantro. Serve with rice and Naan.

Vegetable Korma

5 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
12-15 cashews, blanched (or can just soak in water for a couple of hours)
2 tsp white poppy seeds
1/2 tsp roasted chana dal
1/2 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves
2 green cardamom
2-5 black peppercorn
2 small green chilies (indian green chili found at an Indian market)
3-4 cloves garlic (3 if big cloves)
3/4 inch ginger, peeled
1/2 c water (or a little more if needed, to get a creamy paste)

Combine all paste ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth, adding water, 1 TBSP at a time, if needed to blend.

1 red onion, diced (or white, but not yellow because too sweet)
1/4 tsp sea salt
7-8 curry leaves
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 large Roma tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp yogurt, beaten until smooth
1/2 c water for slightly thinning gravey if needed, added a little at a time
optional chopped veggies: carrots, russet potato, peas
chopped cilantro to garnish

In a large frying pan, add 2 Tbsp coconut or olive oil over medium heat. Add the finely diced onion with 1/4 tsp sea salt, curry leaves, turmeric and chili powder and cook until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes and cook until they are mushy, about 5 minutes. Add the paste from your blender. Add about 1/2 cup warm water to the emptied blender jar, put lid on and swirl it around to get all the paste sticking to the inside of the jar, and pour into the frying pan. Add chopped veggies. Cover the pan and bring the heat to low and cook 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, add the beaten yogurt to the sauce, bring heat back up to medium and cook another 20 minutes, stirring ocassionally and adding more water if needed, a Tbsp at a time, so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with rice and Naan.


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Scott’s Challah Bread

My husband Scott is great in the kitchen. Not only can he follow a recipe, but he can also create some amazing things on his own. He served a two year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and while there, he and his companion cooked pasta dinners with sauces almost daily for dinner, so he can make some great sauces and he’s amazing at knowing which spices go well together :). Now, I’m not sharing any of his sauce recipes today, but I am going to share a Challah Bread recipe that he has made his own and which we LOVE and have asked him to double so that we can make one loaf into French Toast and snack on the other loaf :). We have breakfast for dinner, once a week, on Sundays, and he will make this recipe one Sunday a month and it’s something we look forward to.

Since we double this recipe to make two loaves, after the dough has risen, we split the dough in half, braid one, then braid the other.

Sometimes Scott will take 2 of the 6 ropes (or 1 of the 3), and rub it with butter and roll it in cinnamon before he braids it. Yum!


Nora brushing the bread with our egg white wash. And normally we’ll fit both loaves on this large cookie sheet.

The Recipe:

Challah Bread
*makes 1 loaf

2 tsp active dry or instant yeast
1 c (8 oz) lukewarm water
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour (we use an umbromated white flour)
2 1/2 c whole white wheat or spelt flour
1/8 c granulated sugar
2 tsp sea salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for the egg wash)
1/4 c softened butter (or oil)

Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a small bowl and add a pinch of sugar. Stir to dissolve the yeast and let stand until there’s a frothy layer across the top. Set aside. In a standing mixer with dough hook attachments (we use our Bosch), combine 4 cups of flour, sugar and salt. Add the eggs, yolk and softened butter and mix. Pour the yeast over top. Knead with dough hook for 6 minutes(or knead by hand for 10 if you don’t have a stand mixer). If dough is very sticky, add flour, a teaspoon at a time until it feels tacky. The dough is finished kneading when it is soft, smooth and holds a ball shape. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel in a warm area (we wrap a towel under and over and set it on our counter). Let rise until doubled about 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Separate the dough into 3 to 6 equal pieces for braiding. Roll each piece of dough into a long rope, about 1-inch thick and 16 inches long. Gather the ropes and squeeze them together at the very top. Braid the ropes together. Line a baking sheet with parchment and lift the loaf on top. (If you have the time, you can certainly allow this to rise a second time, which you would do right now. But it’s not necessary, we almost never have time to do a second rise and it turns out beautifully, just as pictured). Whisk the egg white with a tablespoon of water and brush it all over the challah. Be sure to get in the cracks and down the sides of the loaf. Put in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, challah will be browned. Cool on a cooling rack until just barely warm, slice and eat.

*We like to double this recipe and snack on one and cut the other into thick slices for French Toast.


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“Refried” Beans

Growing up with a father who was born and raised in Mexico, we ate Refried Beans and Mexican Rice almost daily. And that’s not an exaggeration. As I’ve gotten older, my body can’t handle all the oil and just fried food in general, and this recipe has none of that but is still so yummy! This recipe comes from my sister, who gave me permission to share it with you here. As I mentioned these ‘refried’ beans are really not fried at all, but instead you cook the beans in water in a crock pot for 5 hours, drain them, then add some salsa, diced chiles, and spices and mash them up and they’re ready to eat! Delicious and nutritious!


I like to use as few dishes as possible, so I cook the pinto beans in the crock pot, drain them in the sink (I don’t even use a strainer to save on dishes; it’s okay if there’s a tiny bit of water left in there), and then I dump all the other ingredients into the crock pot with the cooked beans and mash them with a potato masher.



We love to eat these beans with enchiladas, or inside burritos, or on the side of any Mexican dish. It’s also a great chip dip! Enjoy!

‘Refried’ Beans
*serves 8-10

3 c pinto beans (or more if you like, just add a little more spieces), rinsed
1 c salsa (I like medium heat)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 8 oz can diced green chiles
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cumin

Put beans in a large crock pot and fill with cool water. Cook on high for 5 hours until soft. Drain beans and put back in crock pot(if you strained them in a separate dish). Add all of the other ingredients and mash with a potato masher until desired consistency.

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Peanut Butter and Honey Popcorn 


We love peanut butter popcorn and I have another recipe posted on here that we also make all the time but I wanted to share a variation of that recipe that I often use because sometimes I don’t have brown rice syrup on hand, and sometimes I have a big Costco bag of SkinnyPop popcorn (which only has a couple of ingredients, which I love!) and I want to make a fun, yet somewhat healthy, Friday night treat for the kids that I know they’ll love (you could also easily pop 1/2 c kernels as well, which is what we usually do). It’s super quick and easy, you’ll be done in five minutes and have a delicious treat, one in which everyone will keep coming back for more. And look at how few ingredients you need! I love it! (As a side note, you can add a little vanilla extract to this recipe when you add in the peanut butter, but we treat vanilla like gold these days as prices have jumped crazy high, so if it doesn’t make that much difference in a recipe, I tend to leave it out.)


First you’ll want to get out get out a large mixing bowl and either make your 1/2 cup, plain, air popped popcorn, or measure out 10 cups of Original flavored SkinnyPop. Set the popcorn aside.

Next you’ll want to add your coconut sugar and honey to a medium saucepan over medium, to medium-high heat. Stir this mixture together  and once it comes to a soft boil, set your timer for 1 minute and allow it to boil while you’re continuously stirring. Once the timer rings, remove it from the heat and add in your peanut butter and quickly stir until they’re melted together. Immediately pour this peanut butter and honey mixture over your popcorn and stir until everything is combined and evenly coated. And that’s it!


Peanut Butter and Honey Popcorn

*makes 10 c

10 c SkinnyPop original popcorn (or 1/2 c kernels popped)

1/2 c coconut sugar

1/2 c honey

1/2 c natural peanut butter (creamy or crunchy; personal preference)

In a large mixing bowl add 10 cups of popcorn. Set aside. In a medium sauce pan, stir together coconut sugar and honey over medium  to medium high heat. When it comes to a soft boil, allow it to boil for one minute while stirring continuously.  Remove from heat, immediately add peanut butter and stir until combined and melted together. Immediatley pour over popcorn and stir to combine. Enjoy!

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Pitaya Bowl

My mom introduced me to these pitaya granola bowls at Jamba Juice several months ago, which I love! So later, when I was shopping at sprouts, and I saw frozen pitaya(or dragon fruit) packets I grabbed some and have made several Pitaya Bowls since! I like to have this for lunch or a late afternoon snack if I’m feeling really hungry. It’s a pretty simple recipe, basically put half a pitaya packet in your blender along with a little bit of milk, strawberries and banana and blend it til its smooth.

Pour this over some granola and add whatever other toppings you like and that’s it!  I make this homemade granola weekly, but any store bought granola would work too.

Pitaya Bowl

*makes 1 large serving, or 2 small

1/2 frozen Pitaya smoothie packet (aka dragon fruit)

1 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk

1/2 banana

1/4 c strawberries (frozen or fresh)

In a blender blend all ingredients together until smooth. Pour into a cereal bowl and top with any of the following:

1/2 c granola

Shredded coconut (I like unsweetened)

Blueberries, sliced bananas, sliced strawberries

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Wild Rice Salad


All the kids are back in school! My elementary kids started back Monday and our 8th grade daugther started back today which means the house is super quiet! There are definitely pros and cons to that, but as it’s our first day, I’m going to be honest and say that it’s very nice :). But it’ll only be that way for a few hours each morning as our youngest is in AM kindergarten this year. This will ease me into an all-day quiet home for next year :).  I hope you all had an enjoyable summer, I know we sure did and I soaked up all the time together with all five kids. On top of camps and family vacations (WA to see my family), we did a sort of homeschool type schedule in the morning where we studied, cleaned, exercised, practiced instruments etc and were usually done around 1pm so they had several hours in the afternoons to play and swim and explore. This schedule meant that I was even more busy than most summers as I did a lot of supervising and tutoring during the day and once play time rolled around I wanted to play with them, so I did! And now we’re back!

There were a couple of recipes that I’ve made lots over the summer that I realized were not posted here on this blog, so I am going to share one of them with you today: Wild Rice Salad. I found this recipe in the cook book Run Fast. Eat Slow.  and lightly adapted it. It is packed with nutrition with it’s kale, radishes, green onions, wild rice and edamame (soy beans), and the homemade creamy dressing (creamy from the tahini) pairs perfectly with this salad. I usually serve this along side a dinner entree, like Italian or American, though I personally always end up eating this as the main entree, while the rest of my family has it as a side. And the leftovers are just as good, if not better, from marinading all night. My husband is not normally a kale fan but I think with the homemade dressing and the kale being finely chopped, he doesn’t mind it at all. In fact whenever I make it he mentions how much he likes this salad, and he takes the leftovers to work! Here are the ingredients for the apple cide vinaigrette dressing:

Sometimes I slice my radishes and then cut them in half, and sometimes I cut them in quarters or dice them even smaller. Any way you like is fine.

Typically I grate my carrots into the salad with my potato peeler because I like how thin you can get them, but you could also slice them with a knife if you like  them to be a little thicker. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Wild Rice Salad- lightly adapted from Run Fast. Eat Slow.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing:
2/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp minced onion (or 1 tsp onion powder/dried onion)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste/butter)

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar with a lid and shake vigorously for a few seconds. (Can be used immediately or keep in fridge for up to a week so it can be made in advance.)

For the salad:
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 c wild rice, rinsed
Apple cider vinaigrette dressing (above)
6 radishes, diced
3 c loosely packed, finely chopped kale, stems removed
3 carrots, grated
6 green onions, sliced
1 c edamame, cooked and shelled
salt and pepper, to taste

Bring 4 cups of water and the salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the rice and reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the rice is soft and chewy, about 35 minutes. Drain the rice, tranfer to a large salad bowl and immediately toss with half the dressing. Allow the rice to cool in fridge while you cut up veggies. Add them to your rice and toss until combined. Add more dressing and salt and pepper to taste. Let the salad marinate in the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to serving. This is also great the next day as leftovers. If you don’t use all the dressing(I usually have some leftover), you can save it in the fridge to use on other salads during the week.

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Watermelon Sticks

I’ve been experiencing some technical difficulties with my photos/camera/laptop, and I’m not quite out of the clear yet, but I think I’ve figured out how to still make things work for now, it’s just a little extra work on my part. On top of that, my kids are out of school for the next couple of months and I am trying to soak up all the extra time with them, so my posts may be a little less frequent during the Summer months.

I got the idea to cut the watermelon into sticks, from my mom and I love it! Most often I cube it, removing all of the rind, and sometimes we do triangles, but this is a fun and pretty way to serve it and still be able to hold onto a bit of the rind as you eat. It’s an easy, inexpensive, fresh snack to have on the counter for kids to grab, or to bring to a BBQ to share with friends.

Start by slicing your watermelon in half, right down the middle of the fat part (not the long way, the shorter way). Lay the cut side down on your cutting board and then cut vertical lines about 1-2 inches apart across the entire watermelon. Then do the same thing but making horizontal cuts.


The edge/corner pieces don’t have as much melon on the rind, and don’t look as pretty, so I just cut the melon off of those and we eat them right away and don’t put them on our serving dish.

So pretty and fresh! Perfect for summer!

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Mexican Kale Quinoa Salad

I can eat quinoa in so many ways, I throw it in stir frys, chili’s, in place of brown rice, but my husband doesn’t love quinoa, and will always go for the brown rice instead of quinoa. But this recipe is an exception. I think all the mexican foods, kale and the lime juice, masked the flavor and texture.He told me twice during dinner that he really liked this salad, and the next morning he had it for breakfast with some scrambled eggs on the side! If you’re looking for a good way to use this superfood, that contains all 9 essential amino acids, give this one a try!


Mexican Kale Quinoa Salad
Serves 6-8

1 c dry quinoa
1 1/2 c water
1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
3 c loosely packed, finely chopped kale, stems removed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (include seeds if you like spice)
1/2  red onion, chopped (if you don’t love onion, try soaking in cold water for 10 min, drain then add to salad)
1/2 c chopped cilantro leaves
1 1/2 c cooked black beans (or a 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
1/3 c lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c Feta cheese, crumbled (chopped olives work too)
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 c toasted pepitas (toast on cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes)

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring water, quinoa and 1/4 tsp salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until water has been absorbed. Transfer to a large salad bowl and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool. Once cool, add the kale, bell pepper, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, back beans, lime juice, oil, Feta cheese and remaining 1/4 tsp sea salt to the quinoa and toss to combine. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Just before serving, top with the avocado slices and pepitas.

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Filed under Dinner, gluten-free, Lunch, Salads, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan, vegetarian

Daily Food Journal: 7 days

“Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” -Michael Pollan

I love the quote above and try to follow it, eating lots of plants, and real foods as opposed to foods made in a lab, and not too much. The ‘not too much’ is probably the hardest part for me because I love food! Awhile back I read the book  “French kids eat everything”  and it was interesting to learn that snacking or grazing is something that is not done all over the world, and is, in fact, thought of as rude in some areas, like France. But it makes sense that if kids, and adults don’t snack, and are actually hungry at mealtimes, of course foods taste better and they’ll eat more variety! And it’s a good way to keep your weight in check. Anyway, that’s a bit off topic for today so let’s get back on track.

I often get asked what I eat in a day, or what a typical day looks like with food, so I thought I’d share a sample week. And since I’m a very visual person, I’ve made a collage of those foods I eat in a day. I really only have a couple of snacks(hummus and veggies, lara bar, fruit or shake) and lunch items(wraps, salad and oatmeal) that I eat regularly, though a couple of times a week I might have leftover dinner for lunch, so that does add variety. My breakfast almost never changes, besides adding a little something extra on Saturdays before my long run like a banana, rice cake with almond butter or a Superhero muffin. So you’ll see that I have my hot lemon water and green smoothie pictured daily. Also, the only thing I drink besides my smoothies/vegan protein shakes is water. And I drink a lot of water throughout the day, probably around 90 oz.

I’m pretty regular about when I wake up, go to sleep, and the times of day I eat so I thought I’d lay that out for you here as well:
515 am wake up, drink room temperature water from my water bottle on my nightstand (around 16 oz);
6-730 am exercise and drink water
8am  12oz hot lemon water
830am 32 oz green smoothie (I drink this over about an hour)
1130am lunch (if I’m really hungry before lunch, I’ll have a piece of fruit like a banana)
230pm snack
6pm dinner
930-10 asleep

Breakfast: hot lemon water and green smoothie 
Lunch: wrap (lettuce, tomato, black beans, avocado, hummus, onion on Teff wrap)
Snack: rice cake with 1/2 Tbsp almond butter and apple slices
Dinner: salad and vegan Mac and Cheese

Breakfast: hot lemon water and green smoothie
Lunch: Oatmeal with slice strawberries and coconut, and toast with coconut oil
Snack: banana and Lara Bar (my favorites are lemon, coconut cream pie, blueberry muffin and cherry pie; it’s nice to have a grab and go snack with no added sugars. Lara bars only have a few ingredients which are usually dates and some form of nuts and dried fruits)
Dinner: Enchilada Soup  and salad (not pictured)

Breakfast: hot lemon water and green smoothie
Lunch: Granola with plain yogurt, honey and sliced strawberries
Snack: Maca Date Shake (I usually have this multiple times a week)
Dinner: veggie Stir Fry and watermelon

Breakfast: hot lemon water and green smoothie
Lunch: Oatmeal with toast
Snack: Vegan Protein Shake
Dinner: Baked Sweet Potato, Mexican Style (the rest of the family used Russet potatoes) and an orange

Breakfast: hot lemon water and green smoothie
Lunch: Leftover veggie Stir Fry
Snack: 2 almond flax balls and a banana
Dinner: Homemade Whole Grain Pizza and salad (sometimes I like to put my salad on top and not use any dressing). We make pizza weekly.

Pre-long run: banana and Superhero muffin
Breakfast: hot lemon water and green smoothie
Lunch: Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich
nack : Hummus with veggies and sweet potato crackers or Ak Mak crackers
Dinner: Black bean, egg and veggie burrito (often Saturday night, Scott and I will go out to dinner and kids will get leftovers or something easy like spaghetti or Little Caesar’s Pizza…yes, I said it, we get Little Caesar’s for the kids. Don’t judge).

Breakfast: hot lemon water and green smoothie
Lunch: leftover Mexican Quinoa Salad
Snack: Banana
Dinner: Breakfast; usually pancakes or waffles with eggs and hashbrowns…sorry I couldn’t fit everything into the picture, but Sunday dinner is a BIG breakfast. Here is our pancakes with Squash and Onion Frittata.

And just so we’re clear here, I do have treats. Usually on the weekend I’ll have a bowl of popcorn with Strawberry Aussie licorice, and then probably once a week I’ll bake something using a healthier sweetener, like our peanut butter cookies, PB popcorn, candy bars, key lime pie or honey sweetened muffins etc and I’ll have some, but I try to limit my sugar consumption and stick to having a treat or two on the weekend.


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Yogurt Fruit Popsicle

When the weather warms up, this girl continuously begs to make popsicles. And today was her lucky day because Mom said yes! We actually make Yogurt Fruit Popsicles fairly regularly in the Summer because it’s nice to have a cool, healthy treat on hand, and the kids like to help make them so it turns into a fun family activity.

Here is everything you’ll need; and you can sweeten it with stevia, pure maple syrup or honey, whatever you like or whatever you have on hand.


Yogurt Fruit Popsicle
*makes about 8-10 popsicles

2 c plain yogurt
1 c frozen berries (I like to use a blueberry and strawberry combo)
2 Stevia packets (2 grams; could also sub 1/3 c honey or 1/3 c pure maple syrup)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds according to directions, and freeze 5 hours or overnight.



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