Friday, December 26, 2014

Egg Strata

With so much going on during the holidays, it's great to have a breakfast recipe that can be prepared a day ahead to bake just for breakfast or brunch the next morning. I made this Egg Strata dish on the afternoon of Christmas Eve to bake and enjoy after opening gifts with the kids on Christmas morning. I pulled it from the refrigerator at 7 a.m. to warm until time to bake and serve later in the morning. I will be serving a version of this dish this coming Sunday, when we enjoy another holiday brunch with our family in Bend, Oregon. Serves 8

Egg Strata


14 Eggs
2 cups Coconut Milk beverage, unsweetened (I used SoDelicious brand)
2 Baguettes, Udi's gluten-free (defrosted and cubed) OR 12 slices gluten-free bread (cubed)
4 Green Onions, sliced
1-1/2 cups fresh Mushrooms, chopped
1-2 cups fresh Spinach, chopped
1/2 tsp. Lawry's Seasoned Salt
Pinch or two of Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
2 cups of shredded Cheddar Cheese 

Optional Ingredients: Red Bell Pepper (chopped or minced), Butternut Squash (cooked and cubed, small), Herbs (garlic, thyme, oregano, with Paprika and/or Goat Cheese (crumbled) for a topping.

  1. Grease a 13X9 inch glass baking dish with butter or a butter substitute (my preference).
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, coconut milk, Dijon mustard, Cayenne pepper, and seasoned salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, blend together the cubed bread, shredded cheese, fresh mushrooms, spinach and green onions and any optional vegetable or herbs you wish to add.
  4. Add the bread mixture into the buttered baking dish, and spread evenly.
  5. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread mixture in the baking dish.
  6. Refrigerate overnight covered with plastic wrap.
  7. In the morning, set the Egg Strata out on the counter to warm to room temperature.
  8. Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees.*
  9. Bake at 350-degrees for 50-60 minutes, until set and slightly browned on top.
  10. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.

*NOTE: If the glass baking dish is still cool when you are ready to bake the Egg Strata, place the egg dish in the oven as soon as you begin to pre-heat the oven, and bake for 1 hour.

The day after Christmas and all through the house...

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and are now looking forward to the New Year with hope in your hearts for many good things ahead for you and your's in 2015!

The day after Christmas and all through the house are signs of the holiday... cards, gifts, wrapping papers and bows, and sweet and savory homemade snacks to enjoy this coming week.

I made gluten-free cookies, white chocolate covered popcorn (addicting and so bad for you I won't share the recipe), and spicy pretzels, which I gave for gifts. Too big to be stocking stuffers, I put the spicy pretzels in decorative holiday bags and tins. Below is the spicy pretzel recipe our delightful neighbor, Andi, shared with me. Thanks, Andi! My batch was gluten-free. This snack will be great to enjoy while ringing in the New Year!

Spicy Pretzels


1/2 cup Canola Oil (I used Safflower Oil)
1 envelope dry Ranch Dressing mix
1 tsp. Garlic Salt
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper (For the grandkid's sake, I reduced to 1/2 tsp. Perfect!)
1 large (20 oz.) bag of Pretzels (I used gluten-free)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200-degrees.
  2. Put the pretzels in a large mixing bowl. 
  3. Whisk together the oil, dry dressing mix, garlic salt and cayenne in a small bowl.
  4. Drizzle all of the oil and spice mixture over the pretzels, and toss gently until completely coated.
  5. Spread the pretzels out evenly over the two baking sheets.
  6. Bake at 200-degrees for 75 minutes. 
  7. Cool completely before packaging.
  8. Instructions say to stir once during the cooking time, but I did not. They turned out great!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Holiday Brunch Fruit Salad

This colorful and zesty fruit salad is simply delicious; quick and easy to prepare and marinate ahead the night before your brunch. Serves 12-16.


2 cups green Grapes, halved

2 cups Strawberries, sliced

2 cups Peach, sliced or chunked

2 cups Orange (Mandarin Oranges), segments

1 cup Kiwi, peeled and sliced or diced

2 Bananas, sliced

1 cup, Blueberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup Orange Juice

1/2-cup orange-flavored Liqueur (Cointreau®)

2 tablespoons white Sugar

  1. If using canned fruit, drain before adding.
  2. Add the prepared fruits, except the bananas and blueberries, to a large bowl.
  3. Whisk the Orange Juice, Cointreau, and sugar (until dissolved)
  4. Gently stir the orange mixture in with the fruit medley until coated.
  5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  6. Before serving, gently stir in the freshly sliced bananas and blueberries, tossing with the orange dressing to coat.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Special - How Artists Would Plate Thanksgiving Dinner by Hannah Rothstein

Repost of : Thanksgiving Special: How 10 Famous Artists Would Plate Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Special: How 10 Famous Artists Would Plate Thanksgiving Dinner Thanksgiving humor
Piet Mondrian

Thanksgiving Special: How 10 Famous Artists Would Plate Thanksgiving Dinner Thanksgiving humor
René Magritte

Thanksgiving Special: How 10 Famous Artists Would Plate Thanksgiving Dinner Thanksgiving humor
Vincent van Gogh

Thanksgiving Special: How 10 Famous Artists Would Plate Thanksgiving Dinner Thanksgiving humor
Pablo Picasso

Thanksgiving Special: How 10 Famous Artists Would Plate Thanksgiving Dinner Thanksgiving humor
Jackson Pollock

Thanksgiving Special: How 10 Famous Artists Would Plate Thanksgiving Dinner Thanksgiving humor
Georges Seurat

Thanksgiving Special: How 10 Famous Artists Would Plate Thanksgiving Dinner Thanksgiving humor
Andy Warhol

In this fun series of photos titled Thanksgiving Special, San Francisco-based artist Hannah Rothstein imagines Thanksgiving dinners as plated by famous artists throughout history. Gravy, corn, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, and even the plate itself is used as a medium for edible artworks in the style of Jackson Pollock, Cindy Sherman, Georges Seurat, and Vincent van Gogh. To see all 10 artworks head over to Rothstein’s website. Prints of the artistic plates are available, and Rothstein is donating 10% of the profits to the SF-Marin Food Bank. (via Coudal, Quipsologies)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sweet & Savory Rice

This sweet and savory rice dish is perfect for serving as a side dish at Thanksgiving, even if you are serving stuffing. It's a delicious gluten free, vegetarian alternative. Serves 8-10


2 Cups Brown Rice, long grain
3 Tablespoons, Vegetarian "Better Than Bouillon"
4-1/2 cups Water to cook rice
1 cup Onion, chopped
1/2 cup Green Onion, chopped
1 cup Butter, or substitute
1/2-1 cup White Wine
1 cup Dark Raisins
1 cup Golden Raisins
6 tablespoons, Slivered Almonds or Pine Nuts, toasted
1 teaspoon Salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon  Cayenne Pepper


Let the raisins soak in the wine, while you are preparing the rice and other ingredients for cooking.

Steam the brown rice in the vegetable bouillon until done. I use a rice steamer, but stove-top method is fine too.

In a deep skillet, saute both onions in the butter until soft. Stir in the wine-soaked raisins with all the liquid, toasted almonds, salt, cayenne pepper and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the parsley.

 When the rice and raisin mixture is ready, combine and serve warm, or cool to room temperature, refrigerate and reheat to serve as desired. This is a moist rice, so if you want it dryer, use less water to cook the rice of add less wine to the mixture.

Enjoy! And Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Prickly Pear Aguas Frescas and Thanksgiving

This has been a year, not just a season, of great transition... an epic relocation back to Oregon from the far reaches of Washington. It took us months to accomplish our move with a husband who suffered an injury, required surgery and a long stretch of recovery time. Transitions into new jobs, new opportunities, putting down roots, networking for business, and yet another move, have kept my dance card pretty full.

I don't wonder where the time went, that's pretty clear, but as I reflect on how much has been packed in to this year, I'm going to take some time here to be thankful for all blessing packed in to this year too. Surviving and thriving, I'm amazed and thankful for all.... after all, everything leading up to right now has brought me here. "Here" is good, and it's right here that I attend to my languishing food blog, and that's another good thing!

Oh yes, my food blog has seriously languished... my last post was in April, like seven months ago! A quick post about the marvels of peeling an egg. Wow! During these past months, there were so many meals shared, and mostly prepared by family, who are far better cooks than me; quite a few meals on the go, and with so much on my plate, there has hardly been room for food.

I may not post as often as I have in the past, but I do want to play catch up during the winter and share some tasty recipes that are creations of my daughter and her husband (at one time a chef). Hopefully, we can get some good photos of our fare and feasts, and I'll try to get back in my kitchen as my own creative juices start flowing again...

And speaking of juice... Fantastic to serve at Thanksgiving, here's my daughter Effie's recipe for her non-alcoholic Prickly Pear Aguas Frescas:


4 prickly pears (available fall/winter seasons), peeled with a knife and rubber gloves (a must)
1/4 cup white sugar
2 limes, juiced plus 1 lime for slices to garnish
1/4 teaspoon ground canela (Mexican cinnamon) or regular cinnamon
2 cups ice

  1. Puree the prickly pears in a blender.
  2. Pass through a fine sieve or mesh strainer in to a bowl to strain out ever seed; use rubber spatula.
  3. Puree the pear liquid again, adding in the sugar, lime juice and ice in a blender for 1 minute.
  4. Pour into glasses and garnish with lime.

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Novembers.”  


Friday, April 18, 2014

How to Peel a Hard-boiled Egg & the Tick's Battlecry

Justin Chapple, Food & Wine test kitchen chef, demonstrates a brilliant trick for peeling hard-boiled eggs with a spoon. I would have loved using this technique after boiling dozens upon dozens of hard-boiled eggs for my signature creamed eggs on biscuits, which was served as one of our Bed and Breakfast's special selections.

Which reminds me of my favorite battlecry, "Spoon!"
- Arthur, the Tick's sidekick.

“Sometimes it's not the strength but gentleness that cracks the hardest shells.” —Richard Paul Evans

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Orange Millet Pilaf

My friend, Larry Fried, the owner of Natural Choice Directory, has shared his recipe for Orange Millet Pilaf. He's made it for years and is one of his favorite dishes to take to a potluck. I made it the other night for my family, including my five and three year old grandchildren. They gobbled it up, saying "I love it, Nana!" I bet you will too.

For those of you making the transition to more of a plant-based diet, I encourage you to read Larry's article "For My Heart: A Personal Perspective on Eating a Plant-Based Diet."



1 cup Millet (rinse)
4 medium Oranges
1/2 cup Cashews
1/2 Raisins
zest of 1 Orange (above)
1 tablespoon of Agave Nectar or to taste
Water (see below)

  • Juice 3 oranges
  • Add water to the juice for a total 2 1/4 cups total liquid
  • Put millet in saucepan with liquid
  • Cover pan
  • Bring to boil, then turn down to simmer, and cook until liquid is gone (about 20-25 minutes). DO NOT STIR
  • Turn off, let sit for about 5 minutes, then fluff lightly with a fork

While the millet is cooking, combine:
  • The zest of final Orange
  • The juice of that Orange
  • Cashews
  • Raisins
  • Agave
After fluffing millet, add the above mixture, stir in with the fork, and serve.

Pilaf can be eaten hot (best) or cold.

[Note: Before I cooked the millet, I dry-toasted the grain for 4 minutes or until slightly golden, on medium heat, for a nuttier flavor. Be very careful not to burn.]

For information about millet and it's many benefits. click here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Homemade Italian Seasoning

Most stores carry an Italian herb seasoning, but it's easy and perhaps less expensive to make your own blend from the collection of dried herbs you already have in your kitchen spice cupboard.

Here are two options for blending your own dried herbs to create  homemade Italian Seasoning.

Measure, mix together and store in an airtight container:

Five Herb Blend

2 Tablespoons Basil
2 Tablespoons Marjoram
2 Tablespoons Oregano
2 Tablespoons Rosemary
2 Tablespoons Thyme

Seven Herb Blend

1 teaspoon Basil
1 teaspoon Marjoram
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Rosemary
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 teaspoon Sage
1 teaspoon Savory

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Snap! Our Gluten-Free Gingersnaps - the Best Ever!

Tuesdays with Nana - Bake a Cookie Day

Today, we baked Gingersnaps, gluten-free gingersnaps. Decidedly the best gingersnap cookies any of us have ever eaten. Seph helped with gathering and blending the ingredients and mixing the dough, but both helped with rolling them in granulated sugar before baking.

Papa photobombed us while the gingersnaps were cooling, then tried to snitch one from off the cooling racks before we had a chance to test them ourselves. We caught him red-handed in the kitchen and made him put his cookie back, and wait five more minutes until our "Cookie Party" with Mama.

 We all watched as Mama dunked her gingersnap in coconut milk. Mama said, "Nice and crispy, lots of flavor... the best gluten-free gingersnap cookie I've ever had!"

Sephira and Leif thought the cookie dough had such great taste, they quickly dunked their cookies into rice milk, goggling them down posthaste. They didn't fall apart; crispy on the outside with the slightest bit of chewiness in the center. Perfect!

Even Papa agreed that he'd never tasted a finer gingersnap cookie, and well worth the wait.

You too can enjoy our Best-Ever Gingersnaps Cookies!


3/4 cups Butter or Earth Balance (our non-dairy preference)
1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Molasses
1 Egg
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground Cloves
1 teaspoon ground Ginger

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar.
  2. Add the molasses and egg; beat well.
  3. In another bowl, using a fork, thoroughly blend the flour and dry ingredients.
  4. Add the dry mixture to the butter mixture, and mix until a well-blended doughy consistency.
  5. Roll the gingersnap dough into small balls (heaping teaspoon), then coating with granulated sugar.
  6. Place the sugared, gingersnap dough balls two inches apart on a greased baking sheet or on a Silpat baking mat (our preference). 
  7. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Our's baked for 11 minutes and were perfect.
  8. Slide them off the Silpat onto cooling racks.
Enjoy! And don't forget to dunk!

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap. - Barbara Jordan

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sweet Potato, Lentil and Kale Burgers

For me, 2014 is the Year of Change. I'm in the midst of moving from the shores of Washington's Puget Sound, where fresh seafood is abundant and shellfish is easily harvested, back to a place in Oregon that is beautifully situated between the Cascade Mountain Range and a city where a river runs through it.

I'm also starting off this new year transitioning towards more of a plant-based diet, eliminating the fish and shellfish that have been a part of my pescetarian diet for the past number of years.

I've tried this before and failed, but now I have the support and encouragement of family who are also discovering and enjoying the benefits of vegetarian and vegan cuisine, which makes it easier for me to stick with my resolution to eliminate seafood and more. I haven't entirely eliminated eggs and the occasional sheep and goat cheeses, yet.

Ever wondered what to call yourself while you are transitioning to a plant-based diet?

  • A vegan is one who does not eat meat, eggs or dairy of any kind. Some vegans avoid such foods as gelatin, honey... or eating or buying anything that has some form of animal-based ingredient used in the process of making the product.
  • A flexitarian is one who has a mostly vegetarian diet, but sometimes eats meat. 
  • One who is a vegetarian but also eats eggs is called an ovo-vegetarian. 
  • One who is a vegetarian but also eats dairy is a lacto-vegetarian. 
  • One who is a vegetarian but also eats dairy and eggs is called a lacto-ovo vegetarian. 

This past weekend,  I attended a vegetarian/vegan potluck. Everyone brought something for the "Burrito Bar" - tortillas, beans, corn, tempeh, tofu, homegrown sprouts, salsa, spices and condiments. One brought black bean brownies and another black bean pudding for dessert.

The theme of our discussion was beans. I tossed out the idea of having a bean burger "bake-off" with a prize for the best bean burger recipe. I am not posting my bean burger "bake-off" entry recipe until after this event happens, IF it happens.

Although this is not a bean burger, here is one our family's favorite ovo-vegetarian burgers. There are only a few changes to the original recipe, which is on page 79 of Luke Volger's cookbook "Veggie Burgers Every Which Way."

 This recipe will make six 4-inch burgers, so we recommend doubling or tripling the recipe, cooking and freezing what you don't eat right away to reheat for later meals. Remember to never double or triple the salt when making more than one batch of anything with salt as an ingredient; increase salt to taste.


3/4 cup French Lentils (small, green)
1 bunch Kale (remove tough stems)
1 medium Sweet Potato (approx. 8 ounces), peeled and chopped into 1" pieces
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, diced
1-1/2 teaspoons Garam Masala
1-1/2 teaspoons Curry Powder
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon ground Coriander
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Squeeze of fresh Lemon Juice
3/4 cup Oatmeal (gluten-free), lightly ground
1/4 cup Almonds, ground to a meal-like consistency (using spice grinder with slivered Almonds)

Sort through the lentils and rinse. Bring lentils to a boil in a small sauce pan in 3 cups water. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. When tender, drain and transfer to a large bowl. Coarsely mash lentils with a potato masher.

Steam the kale, by what ever method you prefer, for 5-8 minutes. Remove and cool, then wrap in a clean kitchen cloth towel and squeeze out any excess liquid. Finely chop and set aside.

Steam the sweet potato for 8-10 minutes, or bake until tender. Add the sweet potato to the lentils, mashing and blending with a potato masher or fork.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a saute pan on medium heat. Add the onion, garam masala, curry powder and cayenne pepper. Cook until the onion is translucent, 8-10 minutes. Then add the chopped kale and minced garlic. Cook and toss to combine for 2 minutes. Note: If a crust forms on the base of the pan, add 2 tablespoons water and scrape up the browned mixture with a wooden spoon.

Combine the kale-onion and lentil mixtures together. Stir in the eggs, coriander, salt and lemon juice. Blend in the ground oatmeal and almonds. Adjust seasoning according to your taste. Shape into 6 burger patties.

In an oven-safe skillet or non-stick saute pan, heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the patties and cook until browned on both sides, 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until firm to the touch and cooked through.

Serve hot on a toasted bun, or room temperature in a lettuce wrap, with your favorite condiments. Freeze and reheat leftovers.

Recipe adaptation, meal preparations, and photos by Effie.