Cherry Tomato Ricotta Pasta

Cherry Tomato Ricotta Pasta

This Cherry Tomato Ricotta Pasta is a delicious way to feature those little tomato gems that hit the markets in the middle of summer. This dish is simple and basic, but it tastes like a fancy restaurant meal. We returned from vacation a few weeks ago on the eve of my husband’s birthday. I had little energy for cooking a birthday dinner as I faced a nearly empty pantry and refrigerator. I did have a pretty pint of cherry tomatoes from the farm, though, which reminded me of a pasta recipe I used to make from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express. That recipe inspired this dish, and my family loved it. One of these days, you really should try making your own ricotta. I know it sounds like a big … [Read more...]

Berry Vanilla Baked Oatmeal

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Baked oatmeal is an easy, make-ahead breakfast that can be flavored all sorts of ways. I have a blueberry banana baked oatmeal recipe in my book, Conquering Your Kitchen. It’s one of my favorite recipes in the book. Not everyone loves bananas like I do, though. Without the banana in my baked oatmeal, a substitute is needed to boost the flavor. This month’s Recipe Redux challenge calls for recipes that use spirits and extracts, and vanilla extract is the perfect substitute here. Adding vanilla is a great way to flavor recipes without adding extra sugar. I like to make my own vanilla extract. The homemade version is a lot less expensive than the grocery store kind, and it makes a great … [Read more...]

10 Real Food Popsicle Recipes

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Everyone loves popsicles in the summer. I can’t bring myself to buy them at the store, though. The ingredient lists are scary, including things like artificial food coloring, corn syrup, and preservatives. Healthier store-bought popsicles are priced through the roof, so it makes sense to make them at home. Fortunately, homemade popsicles couldn’t be easier to make. You just mix the ingredients in a blender or food processor and transfer them to the freezer for a couple hours. I have two different popsicle molds that I like to use, a push-pop style and the star-shaped version in the photo above. If you don’t have molds, you can simply freeze the popsicles in paper cups or an ice cube … [Read more...]

Carrot Zucchini Bread

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  The volume of carrots and zucchini that I’ve been bringing home from my farm share is getting to be overwhelming. My kids are especially hesitant around zucchini, so when in doubt, I bake it into a snack. Chocolate zucchini muffins are a popular option. This carrot zucchini bread is another delicious snack recipe full of veggie goodness. The cinnamon adds a great flavor. I use a cup and a half of each grated vegetable, but you could easily add a little more zucchini, carrots, or a combination. This bread freezes well, so I put the cooled second loaf right in the freezer and save it for a week when I'm short on time. [amd-zlrecipe-recipe:127]   Carrot … [Read more...]

Real Food Meal Plan Week 24

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We’re coming and going a lot this summer, which makes meal planning tricky. After a weekend in Burlington, Vermont for July 4th with extended family, we’re home for most of the week before heading out to Canada. Three of the five nights we’re home this week involve swim meets and track meets at dinnertime. Portable dinners will keep us on track while we’re out in the evenings. Calzones and salad in a jar can be eaten bit by bit before, during, and after these events. It’s not the sit-down dinner I’d prefer, but it works for us. I won’t be posting a meal plan next week because we’ll be away in Nova Scotia. I do actually have a detailed plan of where we’ll likely be eating each day, but … [Read more...]

Mango Salad Dressing

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Lettuce comes fast and furious from my farm share this time of year, so we eat a lot of salad. It’s great for me because a big, loaded salad is just about my favorite kind of meal. The kids, on the other hand. . . They’re pretty good about salad, but they were happier about it when I used to buy store-bought dressing. Ranch was their favorite, and they liked Italian too. After I started scrutinizing ingredient labels a few years ago, store-bought salad dressings were among the first things to go. Lengthy ingredient lists with thickeners and other additives don’t make the real food cut. I’ve worked hard to come up with homemade salad dressings that my children would like. There have … [Read more...]

Chia Seed Blueberry Muffins

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Have you heard? It’s all about chia seeds these days. They’re full of full of fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium. I love chia pudding, which is thickened by the reaction between the chia seeds and the liquid. I also like to throw a tablespoon of these seeds into my smoothies. Chia seeds can be added to baked goods, too. These Chia Seed Blueberry Muffins are a delicious snack. This recipe is a great example of how chia seeds add texture to baked goods. You’ll barely notice they’re there, but they add the slightest crunch to the muffins. This fruity snack freezes well, so put some away for a busy day and you’ll be so happy to find them waiting in your … [Read more...]

Conquering Your Kitchen Giveaway

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I’m so excited to announce today’s launch of my book, Conquering Your Kitchen. This book will teach you how to plan meals, shop, and cook real food with confidence and purpose. With a good system and collection of recipes, you can take control of your kitchen. Conquering Your Kitchen includes 80 delicious recipes, and each one takes 30 minutes or less to prepare. It’s never too late to ditch the takeout window and make a commitment to homemade food. Conquering Your Kitchen Giveaway To celebrate the book launch, I’m offering a fantastic, multi-prize giveaway to help make food preparation easier. First Prize: Cutco Knife Set and a Copy of the Book Fifteen years ago, my … [Read more...]

Real Food Meal Plan Week 22

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For one of my birthday gifts this past January, my husband said he’d cook dinner for a week. He knows that cooking day after day can be draining for me, so of course I loved the idea. But I was skeptical about whether it would actually happen with his work schedule. Six months later, I’m off duty this week and he’s doing the cooking. My husband actually enjoys cooking more than I do, so I don’t know why this doesn’t happen more often. :) I did the bulk of the meal planning based on our overflowing produce drawer from the farm, but he added a few menu items too. A plan is just a plan, so we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully with some advanced preparation each night for the following night’s … [Read more...]

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

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My new book, Conquering Your Kitchen, is now available on Amazon. I’m so excited to share this cookbook and guide with you. It walks you through everything you need to know to plan meals, shop, and cook real food with confidence. The book includes 80 easy, delicious recipes, and all of them take 30 minutes or less of hands-on preparation time. Who wants to spend more time than that in the kitchen? I know I don’t. :) This Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is one of my favorite new recipes from the book. It brings together the flavors of a traditional Greek salad. Quinoa adds whole grain protein to the dish, so it can be served on its own for a light lunch or dinner. This salad is a great … [Read more...]