One of my favorite things about living in Montana is that when out running errands it’s never a surprise to run into this site …
Almost every time, I want to pull over and spend time just watching the cows.
And if I happen to have my camera, I try to get closer so I can get a better view.
But then …
I realize I’ve overstayed my welcome …
And I go home and make Coconut Rice to calm my nerves.
Because no one wants to be stalked by a cow.
And because there are very few easier, more delicious and more comforting side dishes than fluffy coconut rice.
Why white rice?
I’m glad you asked! I’m going to invite you to read Butter Believer’s really simple explanation about white rice may actually be the healthier rice choice.
But I’m also going to be super honest and admit that … I LIKE white rice better than brown rice. I like that it’s fluffy and aromatic and goes with almost anything (including garlic baked chicken) and I like how easy it is to make and I love that my kids love it.
So … there you have it.
- 1 c. Coconut Milk
- 1 c. Filtered Water
- pinch Sea Salt
- 1 c. Long Grain Rice
Combine Coconut Milk, Filtered Water, Sea Salt and Long Grain Rice in a stainless steel saucepan and give it a good stir. Turn the burner on high and bring the mixture to a boil. Just as it begins to boil, turn the heat to it’s lowest setting, cover with a tight lid and let simmer for 17 minutes. At the end of 17 minutes, remove from heat (DO NOT UNCOVER), and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.
Do you remember my friend April?
She sent me this recipe for Irish Soda Bread that … well … if you haven’t tried it yet you are really missing out on some serious yumminess.
A few months ago, April asked me if I had a recipe for homemade chia “pods” so I sent her our link to this one. It was my first attempt at the “pods” (aka chia pudding) and it’s still one of our go-to portable snacks/desserts. It’s also one of our most-searched and clicked links ever. (I’m still embarrassed about the photos in that post. Not embarrassed enough to retake them, but still …)
Anyway, I’m happy to report that it started an obsession in April’s kitchen that just can’t be contained! She has since inspired me to make chocolate chia pods, cherry vanilla chia pods, chia pudding parfaits and most recently, she shared a new recipe with me.
Tart. Sweet. Totally refreshing. A PERFECT summer treat.
- 1 1/4 Cups Rhubarb (rough chopped)
- 2 Cups Strawberries
- 2/3 Cup Chia Seeds (black or white, both are nutritional powerhouses)
- 2 Cups Coconut milk
- 1 TBS Grade B Maple Syrup
- zest from one lemon
Combine all the ingredients in a high speed blender.
And thank April … I did.
Makes 8-10 servings.
SHARED on: Kelly the Kitchen Kop
When I was introduced to holidays with my husband’s family, I was introduced to a whole host of new family food traditions. It’s one of the many blessings that comes with joining families, I think.
I love making Nana Ivy’s Molasses Cookies with the littles at Christmas. And while I haven’t yet been given the family pilaf recipe, I look forward to eating it at Thanksgiving. But my favorite of favorite dishes has to be Eggs Benedict for Easter (and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day) brunch.
It’s just so … buttery.
Honestly, it just seems so decadent.
It requires “all hands on deck” to get it served hot and to the table for everyone. (Someone manning the poached eggs and asparagus, another on English muffin duty, and a third on the hollandaise … I love it when there’s a kitchen full of activity.)
And with the advent of the modern convenience of a blender … there’s just no excuse not to make eggs Benedict.
There are so many blender hollandaise recipes online these days. And so many are inspired by the great Julia Child There’s this one from simply recipes. I love and have used this one from Tori’s Kitchen. Even Food Network has one.
But here’s what I use for 10 servings (assuming one serving equals two eggs, asparagus, ham and one English muffin)
- 2 bunches of fresh Asparagus (bottoms trimmed)
- Avocado oil
- Sea salt & cracked pepper (to taste)
- You don’t have to use meat (we have enough vegetarians in the family that not everyone gets meat on their plate). But we have made Eggs Benedict with spiral ham, Canadian bacon, bacon, prosciutto, pancetta … Pick your favorite, pre-cook it the way you like it and set aside until it’s time to prepare the plates.
- 1 large sauté pan filled with water
- 1 TBLS apple cider vinegar
- 10 farm fresh eggs
- 5 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 stick melted salted butter
- fresh cracked pepper (to taste)
- If we’re lucky, my Cowboy-sourdough-bread-master-husband makes fresh sourdough English muffins. Otherwise, since it’s generally for a special holiday, we find the best English muffins we can and set someone on toaster duty. (This is a job we’ve even given to our 5 year old because any time we can engage the littles in food prep, they are more likely to be game to enjoy the food.)
First things first:
MEAT & ASPARAGUS – pre-cook your meat and asparagus and set aside.
For the asparagus, I toss the asparagus in a little avocado oil and layer in a roasting pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, turning at least once while they are in the oven.
POACHED EGGS – Fill a large sauté pan with water (leaving about an inch from the lip) and add ACV. Bring to a boil. (My sauté pan is a 12-inch stainless steel pan and I can poach about 6-8 eggs at a time).
While the water is coming to a boil …
HOLLANDAISE SAUCE – Add egg yolks and lemon juice to your blender and blend for about a minute. The eggs will get a little frothy.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan careful not to brown or burn the butter. It’s important to keep the moisture intact in the butter. When it’s fully melted, turn your blender back on a low speed and drizzle the butter into the eggs. Keep in a warm spot (in a bowl of warm water?) until you are ready to use. (Use within 30 minutes … if it needs thinning before serving, add a tablespoon of warm water and blend again.)
POACHED EGGS (cont.) – Very gently crack eggs into the boiling water. Let cook for 3 minutes.
In those three minutes, prepare English muffins, meat and asparagus on individual serving plates.
Remove the eggs from boiling water using a slotted spoon and add to the serving plates. Top with Hollandaise, a touch of cracked pepper and have a HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!
I met Michaela von Schweinitz last summer at a Cowboy Cookout at my friend Steph’s. She is a gorgeous German ex-pat film director living and working in SoCal. Michaela was the only other woman there in Cowboy boots…
Did I mention she’s German? Because I’m always looking for ways to connect to my grandfather’s heritage I often find myself being drawn to people and food from the Old Country.
So I whipped out my one year of German (technically, it was a one-credit elective called “German Folk Songs” during which we sang German folk songs for an hour each week) and utterly embarrassed myself with nonsensical conversation.
Thankfully she overlooked my lameness.
And even though we only met once and emailed two or three times, I now believe her to be a lifelong friend.
I firmly believe this to be true because she shared recipes with me.
Her first recipe was for a salad that I dream about. It was the salad she brought to Stephanie’s cookout and now I check our beets in the garden daily so I can make it again. It’s the sole reason I planted beets this year. So I think about Michaela nearly every day as I weed and water in the garden.
And the second recipe is even better than the first …
She told me she makes this cake as a breakfast treat for camping trips. The hazelnuts remind her home. And it’s a nourishing, delicious and easy way to reconnect with her past.
And the fact that it’s paleo-friendly, gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian … it’s a tasty treat for almost any get-together and almost everyone can have some (except for those with egg and nut allergies).
The original recipe calls for 2 cups of ground hazelnuts, 1 cup sugar, 5 eggs, hot water and 2 drops of bitter almond aroma. And makes a 9×12 pan.
But I don’t want to have that much of this cake sitting around our house because I will eat the whole thing.
We don’t use sugar too much these days (except in homemade kombucha), so I needed to find an alternative.
And in the almost year that I have had the recipe, I have not remembered to pick up bitter almond aroma at the grocery store … not once.
So I’ve made a few adjustments.
- 1 cup hazelnut meal (Bob’s Red Mill sells it pre-ground, or you can grind your own.)
- 1/3 cup pure grade B maple syrup
- 3 eggs (separated)
- 1 TBLS hot water
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and put the rack on the lowest setting.
Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and oil the paper with coconut oil.
Separate the eggs into two bowls and refrigerate the whites.
Whisk the egg yolks with vanilla, hot water and maple syrup into a cream. Whisk until it goes beyond frothy and almost Zabaione-like (a very loose custard). Add the hazelnuts and mix well.
I use the whisk attachment on my immersion blender to beat the whites into a stiff “snow.”
And I have to quote Michaela’s email for this next step …
“With a tool my friend in Germany calls ‘Kinderfeind’ because with it she scrapes the last bit of dough out of a bowl leaving nothing for the kids to ‘nash.’ I very carefully add the ‘snow’ to the nut mix. I just don’t know how you call this tool here.”
*I call it a rubber spatula or rubber scraper, but I’m calling it a ‘kinderfeind’ from now on. It’s a PERFECT description.
NOTE: DO NOT OVERMIX THE EGG WHITES AND HAZELNUT!
Gently spoon into your baking dish.
Bake for 40 minutes.
*The original recipe bakes for 60 minutes … the smaller glass pan takes less time.
Turn off the oven and let the cake rest in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and remove from the pan and let cool completely.
It’s incredible breakfast cake, but I’ve been known to nosh on it all day, and serve it with a dollop of whipped cream for desert.
Makes 8 servings … (or one serving, if there’s no one else in the house to share it, or the kids sleep late and you’re alone with the cake for too long? … not that I would ever eat an entire hazelnut cake … ever … seriously.)
I’m going to take Michaela’s advice and bake this for camping this year. It’ll be a great compliment to sunrise over the Gallatin Mountains …
SHARED on: Kelly the Kitchen Kop
The day after my high school graduation, my three best girlfriends and I headed to Fort Lauderdale. Our version of a great time was henna tattoos, and opting for baby oil instead of sunscreen. We rubbed ourselves down with that stuff, and wore our sunburn proudly.
Obviously things have changed a lot for me. While I’d do just about anything for a trip to the beach with girlfriends, I now know that worshipping the sun isn’t necessarily the best thing.
In all my reading and trying to understand natural health, I’ve learned that the sun (in reasonable amounts) is my friend. Most days we don’t use sunscreen, but when we are out for several hours and can’t catch a break or a bit of shade we apply a safe, non-toxic sunscreen.
This time last year we told you about the dangers of most standard sunscreens. Nothing’s changed, so you can imagine our delight when Garden Goddess approached us to sample their products and give a bundle to you guys.
Garden Goddess was founded by a mom in 2004 for her daughter who was allergic to chemicals in traditional sunscreens and bath products. They’ve sent over their Kids Continuous Sports Spray, 3.4 oz Sunny Face and 3.4 oz Sunny Body (a $54 value) for one lucky reader, just in time for warm weather!
Use the widget below to enter, and winner will be announced as an update to this post on Monday, May 26. Good luck!
I heard a story on NPR a few weeks ago about impoverished Chinese women who live in remote regions of China. The story was about the struggles these women endure to raise their families and work the land as their husbands, forced by their economic situation, are emigrating to cities for months at a time to work low-wage factory jobs to send little sums of money home.
For about three and a half seconds I thought … yep … that’s my life.
You see, my husband works in the movie business and has been in Vancouver, Canada, since January working on a film. He won’t be home until mid-August. And we miss him something fierce.
It’s so easy to feel frustrated because I’m alone with the littles all day every day. That running to the store is never just a quick stop. It involves car seats and carts and hand holding and kids asking for things we don’t need or I don’t want them to have. It means being the good guy and the bad guy (sometimes at the same moment). It means saying “no” often … and refereeing a lot of sibling squabbles. It means being strategic about finding time to take a shower. It means taking out all the garbage. Mowing the lawn (or shoveling the snow … depending on the day). Washing all the dishes. Cleaning up all the messes. It means trying to make sure the littles remember how much their dad loves and misses them.
It means not having strong arms around me when things get overwhelming.
And then I came to my senses and got over my pity party because to compare our struggles with that of a Chinese peasant who might not have a roof over her head and works in the fields every day not because she happens to like gardening, but because if she didn’t work the fields her children wouldn’t eat … yeah … I got over my pity party fast.
And then I decided I needed to step it up with regard to how I approach these months our Cowboy is away.
You see, it’s easy to get depressed and want to just sit in the house and watch movies all day. And in the midst of our snow-heavy winter, with short days and cold dark nights, it seemed like a totally okay option.
But the littles don’t deserve to be short-changed on experiences because it might make my day a little more complicated.
And that’s not just about making sure they got to the ski hill, or get to ride horses, learn to swim and go to the park. It’s about little things, too. Like making sure we sit down to a civilized meal at least once a day. It’s about giving them opportunity to try new activities and new foods.
Because even though I’m a real food blogger and spend way more time than I should caring about the food that goes into my body and that of our littles, I am still human, and it’s easy to slip into the pattern of making something easy for dinner, which is not always the “good” choice. It might be organic pasta with butter, but it’s still pasta with butter. Or sourdough pancakes. Or egg tacos. Carb-overloaded ease. I still have a responsibility to expose the kids to a varied diet of good greens and grassfed-pasture-raised proteins even if it takes me a few minutes to prepare.
To be honest, they don’t love it all. Some nights I’m sure they would prefer pancakes. But once in a while there’s a moment when even I’m surprised by what they like.
Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
- 3 cups of Brussels Sprouts (quartered)
- 1-2 TBLS Avocado Oil
- Sea Salt & Pepper (to taste)
- 1 Shallot (finely chopped)
- 1-2 TBLS really good Balsamic Vinegar
Wash and quarter Brussels sprouts and toss in one to two tablespoons of avocado oil and then put them in a roasting pan in a single layer.
Turn the oven to 400 degrees and place the roasting pan in the preheating oven.
When the oven reaches temperature (it takes ours about 10 minutes to hit 400), stir the Brussels sprouts and let them roast for another 15 minutes.
A few minutes before the sprouts are done, sauté the chopped shallots in just a dash of oil until they are translucent. Remove the shallots from the heat, add the Balsamic Vinegar. Then take the sprouts from the oven and toss with the balsamic and shallots. Serve.
Makes 4-6 servings.
Surprisingly easy to make tasty Brussels sprouts that go great with steak or fish or chicken or on a big leafy salad. They look elegant and taste delicious. I would serve these at a dinner party, for sure, if my life was about dinner parties these days. Since it’s not, I’ll just keep sharing them with the kiddos and be grateful for whatever challenges this life has to offer.
SHARED on Kelly the Kitchen Kop
“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.” – Lloyd Dobler (Say Anything)
And that sort of goes triple for me.
I mean, I am not a fan of sales people.
I once didn’t buy a Honda because the salesperson spent the entire time I was looking at the vehicle bad-mouthing the competition (Volkswagon).
I go to Rodan & Fields parties and feel pressured to buy sunscreen even though I’m freaked out by the long list of ingredients (including cancer-causing parabans and sulfates) in the formulas.
And as much as I love Pampered Chef (and I do … I LOVE Pampered Chef … I want everything in their catalog) I just can’t bring myself to “join sales team.”
In fact, it’s taken me more than five years of continuous use of essential oils to get the courage to actually write this post. (Yes, I’m that weird about multi-level marketing deals even though I know they are effective and useful ways to earn money for one’s family).
But I’m here now.
And there’s no turning back.
Because this blog is about good food, health, wellness, simplicity, sustainability and caring for our littles.
And we’ve been relying on essential oils for years.
Specifically, we’ve been relying on Young Living essential oils for years.
When I was pregnant with our first, I was on a business trip to Russia. It was the ONLY time I had morning sickness during either pregnancy. And if it wasn’t for Thieves Oil Spray, I wouldn’t have made it through the trip. Seriously. I sprayed it on my bed and pillows when I arrived at the hotel because all I could smell was sweat and body oils in the room, even after housekeeping changed the sheets for me. (I was pregnant. I could smell EVERYTHING.)
A few hours later, when it was time to sleep, I had my first moments of relief the entire trip.
When someone in the house has a fever, my first line of defense is peppermint oil on the soles of little feet because it has consistently brought temperatures down that critical one or two degrees that lets tiny bodies keep fighting disease, without any extras like preservatives and sugars. (This is NOT to say that I won’t turn to acetaminophen if we need it. I’m not anti-medicine. But I’m personally not into over-medicating, so if I can use a safe alternative wholistic approach, I’d much rather start there.)
When I nearly set fire to our kitchen, what did I turn to? Purification and Lemon Essential Oils made all the difference.
And most recently, I was starting out on an 18 hour road trip with the kiddos and the little one ended up with a bummer case of motion sickness.
And I had just vacuumed the car and washed the carseats.
(I mostly felt bad for the little guy, but I’d be lying if I didn’t have my own little personal pity party right then and there …)
After a wipe down and a change of clothes, a little EO on his belly and we were good to go. No, I didn’t take a picture mid-crisis. It would have been gross and totally inappropriate! But here’s the “after” photo:
Hooray for YL Lavender Essential Oil!!!
Anyway … you won’t get pressure from me to buy Young Living (or any other equally reputable) essential oil. But I’m passionate about living holistically and simply and sustainably and want to share with you some of the solutions I feel good about that we’ve found along the way, which includes our experiences with YL Essential Oils. Here’s an affiliate link or two to my “store.”
… And I’m here if you want to talk essential oils (selling or buying).
And I want to hear how YOU use essential oils?
Reminder (disclaimer): I’m not a doctor and any advice I suggest is simply based on my personal experience or that of my family. It’s not intended to replace the guidance you receive from your medical professional team. Talk to your doctor before changing your regime.