Katwrites Food

Closing down my katwrites food blog in an effort to have it all in one place…
So recipes will just be published out on the normal blog.  These I pulled off the old blog.

Recipe: Hot Blackened Pepper Pesto

DSC04331I used to make my pepper pestos from scratch, starting with fresh hot peppers of varying kinds, blackening them, and then making pesto.  Now we have an amazing small business at the PSU Farmer’s Market, where the owners roast various types of peppers for you.  Now I buy enough to make a year’s worth of pesto for us; that is about 50 pounds!  By far our favorites now are Sugar Chilies, a sweet-hot pepper that is between a 5-7 on the heat scale.  We also buy a few extra bags of various hot peppers (Poblanos, Anaheims) and freeze them in small baggies of 2-3 peppers to eat alongside a roast chicken.  Yum!

blackened pepper pesto 4

Chopping Sugar Chilies for a Chicken Pot Au Feu. Don’t do what I did — wear gloves!

When I bring them home I begin by removing the stems.  I know many remove the skins, but we like them, and the seeds, so whole chilies go into our small chopping Cuisineart.   I know what we use the pesto for, so add about a teaspoon of cumin + a teaspoon of garlic salt per batch, with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.  That means if we use it to spread on a quesadilla it is already seasoned.

Some of this pesto is put into small jam jars and frozen for our daily use or to give as gifts.  The rest of the mixture is put into a glass jar or bowl, and the freezing begins.  I have several ice cube trays that we use for freezing pestos of all types, and I monitor them over a few days as we freeze the cubes.  These are perfect for throwing into beans, soups, and other hot recipes.  I have cut my salt intake in half using hot chili pesto!

blackened pepper pesto 6

Frozen pepper pesto cubes in a gallon freezer bag.

Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!

My First Adventures with Risotto: Stout Sugar Chili Risotto

We’ve fallen in love with risotto cakes from New Seasons,
seasoned with hot pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese.  They are so satisfying!
If we want them every day I need to make sure I can make them
because otherwise it will be a $240/month habit . . .

First I made my first risotto: Jamie Oliver’s Risotto bianco (white risotto).
He says it is easy, and it was!  I did change it slightly because I didn’t have the ingredients.
I followed his recipe directions but used the following ingredients:

  • a qt chicken broth
  • t butter
  • dollop olive oil


  • 3 cubes Hot Blackened Pepper Pesto
  • 2 tsp garlic, chopped (mine went bad so I used bottle)
  • 5-6 shallots, minced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 c dried chives


  • 2 cups arborio rice


  • BIG glass White wine
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste  (BTW, now I only add salt after — often the Parmesan is salty enough!)

Finally — all according to Jamie Oliver.

  • 2 oz finely ground Parmesan cheese
  • 3 t butter

We were hooked, and made it several times this way, slightly different but close.

W15 10 12 STOUT RISOTTO 9Then I started experimenting!
Stout Sugar Chili Risotto!

  • a qt chicken broth
  • 1 cup leftover onion soup

Bring to gentle boil then turn down to keep hot.

In separate pan, put a dollop of olive oil and make the soffrito.  Add the following and gentle cook until soft:


  • 2 cups organic arborio rice

Slightly brown on higher heat until translucent then add the following and turn down to simmer.

  • 1 pint to one pint organic HUB Survival Stout with Coffee added or similar stout  (I also used 1/2 pint stout and 1/2 pint water mixed)

As this cooks off (do not let burn) add a ladle of the chicken broth, stirring occasionally — and making sure you do not let burn — until the rice is done.  Remove, then add the following and cover for several minutes.

  • 3-5 oz (or more to taste) finely ground Parmesan cheese
  • 3 T butter

IF you are like me this can be dinner!
Or Breakfast.  Or Lunch.  Or middle-of-the-night!

Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!

54 1 54 9 54 12 54 10 54 3 54 11 54 2 54 6

Recipe: Subzero Chili with Beans


Ice and snow and we lived on this in the studio….
Recipe, rough, approximate, because I rarely use a recipe…

  • 2 big onions, chopped
  • 1 lb ground round
  • 1 oz chili powder
  • tsp salt
  • tsp black pepper
  • tbsp cumin

Mind, you, I may add more spices, but the beef especially  is so good browned in spices….
So, start with the hamburger in a hot pan and all the spices, and brown
(you may have to use a bit of olive oil); when the beef is brown put it into a BIG pot.
Brown the onions after and drop into the pot.  Add:

  • 4 (though you may need a total of 6) 15-oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 4 tsp chopped garlic

Now here is an option, but not necessary.
Sometimes I add a couple of heaping tbsp of Blackened Hot Pepper Pesto
or add a couple of roasted poblanos or mild warm chilies, chopped.
Simmer for about an hour.  Add:

  • 3 stalks celery, chopped with leaves if possible
  • 4-6  sweet carrots, chopped (I must get healthy in there and they add natural sweet)
  • 4-6 15-oz cans kidney beans (rinse beans before dropping into pot)

Simmer until carrots are cooked, tasting and stirring constantly
and trying to keep your “Mitchell” out of the pot until it is fully cooked.
Add more chili/cumin to taste…
Green onions are excellent on top, and of course,
if your “Mitchell” makes corn bread then you are in heaven.
Sometimes I add frozen corn when reheating…

This recipe freezes well too!

Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!


Hub IPA-Bacon-Sugar Chili Risotto

W16 4 2 TFK HUB IPA 019

Yummiest I’ve made to date!

Fry 6-8 pieces of organic humanely raised no-nitrate bacon until CRISP, reserving some of the fat unless you just can’t bring yourself to do this….  break into little pieces and do not eat it all.  I sometimes do this when I am making breakfast then freeze for later.

Heat 1-2 qts of the broth described below, and nuking it is fine.  I have up to two qts ready but I am on a disgusting electric range and so how much I need varies as cook time varies.  I miss gas.

  • 1-2 qts chicken broth (preferably bone broth, it is so good for you)

Bring to gentle boil then turn down to keep hot.

In large frying pan, put a dollop of olive oil and make the soffrito.  Add the following and gentle cook:

  • 1 t bacon grease left over from frying the bacon (store the rest in the freezer in ice cubes) OPTIONAL but wow…. unless you are cooking for someone who cannot do this try it even occasionally….
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 6-8 slices organic humanely raised bacon (or turkey bacon), fried CRISP, then chopped
  • 4-6 T Hot Blackened Pepper Pesto — you decide how hot you want it but really, if you can stand heat this will not scream at you but be a nice warmth in your body!  You can substitute another hot red blackened chili, of course.
  • 1 T organic garlic, chopped
  • 2 small or 1 large sweet organic onion, chopped
  • 2-3 organic celery stalks (if possible some with leaves), chopped (celery is one veggie you really want to buy organic)
  • 3-4 medium carrots, chopped

Cook on medium high, watching it and stirring it.  When it is a lovely translucent but still slightly firm veggie mix, add:

  • 2 cups organic arborio rice

Slightly brown on higher heat until translucent then add the following:

  • 1 pint organic HUB IPA or similar IPA

Simmer high for just a minute to allow the alcohol to blow off a bit, stirring, and begin to slowly add the hot broth.  As each round cooks down (do not let burn or get too dry) add another  ladle or two of the chicken broth, stirring occasionally — and making sure you do not let burn — until the rice is done.  Remove, then add the following and cover for two minutes.

  • 1/3 lb oz (or more to taste) finely ground Parmesan cheese
  • 3 T butter (again, if you are cooking for someone who needs not to have saturated fat you can add 2 T
  • DO NOT ADD SALT UNTIL SERVED; the cheese and spices may be salty enough.
  • Black pepper, cumin to taste before serving.

Magic Happens!

This will feed many people and serves as lunch for us for a couple of days, topped with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds or Toasted Sunflower Seeds.  We toast our with a bit of Braggs.

Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!


My brother sent this to me after hearing I was losing weight.
He is not (losing weight) — I laugh every time I see it.
It also sums up the feeling most women have toward men because men can skip desert
and lose eight and women have to skip two meals a day!

I don’t know who the author is (no signature) but this is who claims it!
Funny funny stuff.

Recipe: Black Bean and Corn Side Dish (or the main meal!)

W15 2 19 RECIPE CORN BEANS 2One of the yummiest dishes to have around during this dieting time is this basic recipe, which can change from winter to summer, and can combine in so many different ways to make a satisfying meal.


Organic ingredients if at all possible; sauté the following:

  • 2-3 T Olive oil   240-360c
  • a handful of dried sliced tomatoes, cut into pieces  25c
  • 1 large sweet or yellow onion, quartered and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces 75-100c
  • 1-2 T blackened chili pesto (or you can substitute a broiled chili pepper of your choosing, chopped finely) 25c
  • 1 t chopped garlic (optional
  • 1/2 bag or ?oz frozen corn
  • 1 stalk celery diced (leaves are wonderful if you can get them)
  • 1-3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 can black beans, drained and washed 385c  (you can substitute other beans if you don’t like black beans)
  • cumin (start with at least 1/4t)
  • black pepper, garlic salt to taste

W15 2 2 BAKED COD W BEAN MIXDish it up and top with cubed avocados, at least 1/4 avocado each serving.  Right,
I show it paired with a large
Sugar Chili and a piece of fish.
Chill overnight to let all the
wonderful flavors mix!
This is an excellent mid-afternoon
snack by itself full of protein,
and good alongside cold chicken
and/or on chopped lettuce for lunch.

Total calories = 2,085 for about 8 cups;
1 cup = approx 270 calories.


Substitute 1-2 ears corn sliced off the cob during cooking!
Substitute garlic greens (early if you want to pack a subtle punch, at the end if you want a good strong garlic flavor!)
Green onions added early or late are also yummy.
Drop the dried tomatoes, and after you’ve taken the dish off the stove and either while it is still hot or after it has cooled, add a basket or half-basket of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered.  Changes this dish completely — it is less sweet, and more like a salad.

W15 2 19 RECIPE CORN BEANS BANNER copyI often double the recipe when we are slammed at work for high-powdered snacks and lunches which are so satisfying and so easy!

  • Add salsa if you like, and roll it in a large organic wheat tortilla to make a vegetarian lunch that will satisfy.  I like them warmed or cold, and this will also freeze well.
  • Add chicken, fish or any meat and salsa (or not), and eat cold or hot — this is excellent the next day for leftover lunch.
  • Toss with a crisp lettuce for a no-dressing salad, filling and yummy.
  • Scramble into eggs.
  • If you are not on a diet or want to count the calories associated with baked non-GMO corn chips, a serving of corn chips with the bean salad is yummy!

Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!

Recipe: Golden Milk
(and discussion about arthritis at the end.)


These are my experiences only, and I am offering them in
case you, too,
want to avoid having to go on long-term medications
with the accompanying side effects.  IF these had not worked
for me I would have gone to medications.

I’m going to write in this post and the next about my experiences dealing with arthritis, inflammation, and pain.  I am writing it mostly because I tend to write this to various folks on Facebook or a friend 1-2 times per month.  Now I can send them to these pages!  As you will hear in my post on how I dealt with arthritis, I went through a cleansing fast (not as bad as it sounds), found the items that were causing inflammation, and then set about making my life shift.  I have little pain now, and only occasional swelling (due to my lapses in diet) and am NOT on arthritic medication, which is not one of the fun meds to engage.

Turmeric has phenomenal healing properties (see the video below), and we use it almost daily in roast curry chicken, in tacos, in beans — so many recipes — along with cumin.  It has a staining property so wear an apron or you WILL end up with golden spots!   Golden milk provides not only a massive dose of turmeric, but in a combination (this is important) that allows the body to take full advantage of the turmeric.  Black pepper is essential, and even if you are not a pepper fan, try it — it allows the turmeric to assimilate.  We have fallen in love with Golden Milk, and this summer we will try one of the recipes I refer to at the bottom for various summer teas.  IF we change those recipes I will post our tweaks.

Two references for Golden Milk, one from an Ayurvedic doctor (video below), and the one we make, which we pulled off a good friend’s blog:  The Radical Rebirth of S (I highly recommend the story behind the recipe Susanissima offers!) We changed is slightly to fit our tastes and dietary considerations,and you may want to read her recipe.  We use goat’s milk (that is all we use anyway) and I am sure that it would be equally good with almond, rice, hemp, or soy if that is your choice (only organic soy to avoid GMO).   We do not do coconut oil, feeling that not only is it expensive but I want to make sure this coconut craze is not some fad diet additive, for it adds a lot of other fats to the recipe.   If you love it and want to use it, feel free.

Turmeric Paste

  • ½ C. turmeric
  • 1 C. filtered water (More can be added during cooking if needed)
  • 1/8 t. cayenne or other pepper (optional)

Place ingredients in a small pot and stir frequently with a wooden spoon for 9 minutes on medium low. Add more water, if necessary, to maintain a smooth paste. Pour into a glass canning jar, cool and cover.  Keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.  From this paste the Golden milk is made.

Golden Milk

Per serving.  I use goat milk.

  • I c “milk”  (almond, rice, hemp, soy, cow, goat, etc.)
  • ½-1 t. turmeric paste
  • honey or maple syrup
  • 1 t. Udo’s 3.6.9 oil (optional, we use because it is an amazing oil)
  • Any of the following to taste: cardamom, cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg (we use cardamom)

Heat milk, sweetener and optional spices on stove or in microwave until hot, but not boiling, then stir in the oils, if used. Serve with a little spoon to stir every now and again.  NOTE: If you decide to crush the cardamom, be sure to strain it through a tea strainer before serving.  Cardamom is extremely abrasive crush but not powered.

We’ve seen a recipe for a Summer Cold Tea that looks good but we’ve not tried it yet, from Fresh Bites!  It sounds yummy, and she has alternatives with powdered ginger and turmeric, or with fresh turmeric and ginger root.  Lighter, no milk.

W15 GOLDEN MILK BANNERAlways organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!


These are my experiences only, and I am offering them in
case you, too,
want to avoid having to go on long-term medications
with the accompanying side effects.  IF these had not worked
for me I would have gone to medications.

My mom acquired Rheumatoid Arthritis at about 35. She had the grace to have a lovely wise friend, Georgette Robertson, who has a very serious disease who was seeing a Chinese doctor. (BTW, Georgette had 10 years to live in 1965 and died in 2014 at 89 — much of this was from listening to a Chinese Doctor.) The Chinese diagnose most arthritis as a poor diet — a Western diet!  My mother followed their instructions (same as the ones I used below) and lived until 97 with very little impact from Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Her knuckles have the slight bent disfiguration, as that happened prior to her acquiring a healthy diet.

When I stepped into arthritis at about the same age, it came upon me quickly after having the shingles vaccination (I do not know if there was a connection.)  It was completely debilitating.  I was in agony in my knees, sharp pains like needles and there was no comfortable position for relief.  It was a pain unlike my back pain (dance injury).  I had trouble walking (even a few steps was agonizing), standing and sleeping.  During the few months I was solving my body’s riddles, I gained about 25 pounds because I was incredibly immobile.

I spoke with my AMA PCP, he did a test to see if it was Rheumatoid Arthritis, and it was not.  (BTW, and told him that I wanted to try the Chinese way first.  For one thing, the drugs are horrendous for arthritis. Really as bad as the disease.  My doc armed me with some serious pain meds (Percoset) for a short time, which I only took at night to assist me with sleep.  I then headed over to Golden Needle in Portland.

NON-GMO3I did a complete cleansing diet on their recommendation, which meant I could have mild salad fixings with organic olive oil, carrots, summer squash, hot red peppers (no bells), onion, garlic (thank goddess for both), butternuts, celery, chicken fed a rice diet (they have white skins instead of yellow skins, and rankly, now with the GMO crapola — yes I am completely against it and perhaps it is time to write about that as well —  I would say now everyone should abandon grain fed meats unless non-GMO or organic.), fish, apples, peaches, blueberries, pineapple, papaya, and black beans and rice. He said rice has rarely caused anyone arthritis; the Chinese had almost no arthritis until McDonald’s showed up in their country! Black beans are held apart by both the Vedic and Chinese practitioners, though he said beans rarely caused arthritis either.  If I remember, they are one of the beans which are the most whole? Whatever.

NO tomatoes, oranges, most foods with high acid (pineapple was the exception, as it is structured differently), no potatoes, no wheat of any kind ancient (no spelt) or highly processed, no red meat or pork (it is not that it is the problem, but sometimes what it is FED that is the problem), no crustaceans, no nightshades of any kind, almost no salt (though other herbs were fine and black pepper), no SOY of any kind (sauce, tofu, raw beans, soy sauce), no sugar (he allowed me a bit of honey but said if my symptoms persisted to cut it), no coffee or caffeinated tea, no cherries, watermelons, etc.


Now I could tell you I was not happy about this diet, except that within a week I could walk — HALLELUJAH!  I am totally serious.  The arthritis had hit my knees and three stairs were like needles in my knees and we had two stories; I had trouble walking at 50 and 140 lbs. Now I could walk up the stairs with such reduced pain levels and I was so damn happy the diet was easy.

After four weeks I introduced one food every day, and watched for a reaction. IF I had a reaction I had to wait a week to introduce another food, or at least until the reaction was gone from my body.

The docs at Golden Needle said most foods that westerners have trouble with are highly processed wheat, highly processed corn (corn syrup, powdered sugar, or a daily dose of corn flakes), MOST cereals in general except oats, nightshades, high acid foods like coffee and oranges, and various sugars.  However, every body has triggers and people had to find what worked. I can tell you my triggers and what doesn’t work for me, and they fall into three categories:

  • NEVER EVER EVER: Eggplant or potatoes, I don’t walk for a week again, it is that strong, and now due to the non-gluten craze potato flour is a real problem — it is even in some cat food! TWO potato chips will do it, that is how strong this reaction is, and the few times some potato flour has gotten past me I was in serious pain for a week+.  I check all labels (including vitamin and pro-biotics) and ask at new restaurants if the chef uses potato flour.  Also, anything with corn syrup or powdered sugar makes me crazy sore for a long time, but I can still walk.  I don’t want it!
  • Occasional foods that will cause me moderate swelling and pain if eaten once a month, but I don’t die over it — especially if I am at someone’s home for dinner, let’s say: sweet potatoes (different family from potatoes or yams, and thankfully I can have yams), soy sauce (substituted Bragg’s and had no problem), tofu, soy milk, most baked goods, wheat goods including spelt and so forth (I have one brand that does not fall into this category for some reason, thank the heavens), bell peppers, raw tomatoes, orange JUICE and most fruit juices except pineapple, cow-dairy, and sadly, most ice cream.
  • In moderation, up to let’s say once a week if I wanted.  I pay for it a little bit, maybe am stiff the next morning but it dissipates quickly in my body so if I crave it then I give into it: red meat IF IT IS GRASS FED (1-2 week tops), organic salsa, shellfish, pork (once a week maybe), Dave’s Bread (I am not sure why but his bread is the only one that we can have a slice or two A DAY with no problem, and now he is nationwide), organic corn chips (a bowl, not a bag), organic popcorn, organic low-fat cottage cheese.  I can have up to three oranges a week if I munch the white part too, and if I feel the pain I simply stop.

I don’t drink but can tell you that my mom, who did this same diet, had to limit her red wine intake to very occasionally, and her beer intake to very very occasionally.  White wine was not as bad.

My mother’s Chinese doctor also had her eating a can of sardines a week.  Fortunately she likes them and so, it was not a problem.  I don’t love them and so don’t add that but if I was still in pain you betcha’ I’d eat sardines!  She also takes a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar daily, but I am not sure if this is for the arthritis.

I can have:

  • Yams, delicata squash, carrots, and butternuts I want, and most summer veggies.
  • Onions, ginger, and garlic (or I’d have to kill myself.)
  • Goat cheese and sheep cheese in moderation (especially if it is softer), and
  • Goat yogurt in our smoothies.
  • I have less of a reaction to organic ice cream, and we make our own using goat milk for an occasional treat.
  • We make burritos like other people make sandwiches (wrap) and the organic tortillas we buy are so thin they have never been a problem; we use organic shredded cheeses only once in a while.
  • I live on Hot Blackened Pepper Pesto as a condiment and ingredient in many dishes.  I can eat any hot pepper, but no bells peppers — different family!
  • Rice, including pure rice crackers, thank you!
  • Beans, as long as I watch how they are cooked — it is the other ingredients that tend to screw with my joints.
  • Salt in moderation.
  • Apples, berries, pineapple, bananas, papaya, kiwi.
  • Cherries in moderation.
  • Watermelon in moderation (other melons so far are fine).
  • Fresh organic corn on the cob is totally fine, but only one ear a day. I also can do frozen organic corn 1-3 times a week.
  • Oats, thank you!

One other thing that I will say about all this: for some things it appears it is the COMBINATION OF INGREDIENTS, so, after a couple of months, I played with this:

  • I can have corn chips and some salsa in nachos (my own, so I am using organic ingredients including cheese) or with salsa and guacamole, and I have almost no problem — while with wet ingredients it seems better. But eat a bowl of corn chips (I have salty-crunchy cravings) and I have at least moderate swelling.
  • I can eat dairy organic blue cheese or cheddar (in moderation) with apples/pears, and have little problem but alone or with rice crackers and it hurts.

I also drink a gallon of water a day, and can have a cup of organic coffee (makes all the difference in the world). We make ours with slices of organic ginger and organic brown sugar.  On that note I will also tell you that I am firmly convinced that much of this is from high levels of pesticides in our foods, as arthritis is an auto-immune disease.  I’m no doctor, and in the comments possibly there will be arguments, but unless I have someone offer me a really good substitute notion, I remain convinced!

It took about a year to really come to the point where I was pretty sure what the triggers were, but I was doing very well after three months of “fast” and introducing foods.  I found things that work, and I am pretty much okay with my diet now — I miss potatoes the most, as I had one almost every day, and I would kill for other breads.  Wheat is one ingredient that is never found in traditional Chinese diets, and so, the Chinese feel it is a serious cause of inflammation.

The recipes I publish on this blog are all good for my arthritis, FYI.

We also added turmeric to our diet, and frankly have fresh sliced ginger every day in our teat or coffee.  In another post I offer recipes for turmeric drinks (such as Golden Milk), the easiest (and tastiest) ways to include an anti-inflammatory into your diet!

Recipe: Leftovers: Chicken Curry with Yam

W14 12 29 CHICKEN CURRY LEFTOVER 1I will eat turkey or chicken the next day, but even by the next night I am not fond of the “day-old” smell and taste of leftovers.  Curry is a wonderful way to liven and refresh leftover chicken, and so little chicken is needed to make a great almost vegetarian meal!

This dish was made with two legs and those little bits of meat that you pull off the carcass around the back and near the neck and around the breast — we strip our chickens clean.  I’ve always done this — or popped the carcass into a pot for stock — but it is even more important as we now pay top dollar for a humanely raised non-GMO fed or organic chicken.  Using the little bits that are left over will stretch a “chicken” dish a long way.
I am one of those people who has a hard time with a straight vegetarian diet, so using chicken this way — stretching it out with veggies and beans in its second or even third day — is so good for our health and well-being.  Almost vegetarian, but not, suits my body.

This recipe will be an approximation because it is based on your chicken leftovers, so what you have on hand determines the amount of your ingredients!

  • one medium-sized onion, chopped into bite-sized bits
  • olive oil
  • leftover chicken cut into bite-sized bits
    Note: Turkey would also be good as a substitute
  • 2-3 cubes of organic or non-GMO chicken drippings*
  • 1-2 cups organic chicken broth
  • 4 t curry
  • 1 t turmeric
  • 1 yam, chopped into bite-sized bits
  • 1-2 stalks of celery, chopped into bite-sized bits
  • 1-2 cans of cooked white beans, preferably cannelloni beans
    Note:  Thoroughly rinse canned or boxed cooked beans and drain before using!
  • garlic salt** to taste, black pepper to taste
  • Optional: chili flakes to taste

In a large frying pan or Dutch oven, saute the onions in 1-2 teaspoons olive oil to brown the edges, but do not caramelize.  Add the chicken, drippings, broth, curry and turmeric and let simmer for about a half-hour on low, to push the curry flavorings into the chicken.

Add the yams and let simmer until they are just al dente — not quite soft enough to be yummy.  Add the celery and white beans, and simmer  stirring frequently (beans and stick on the bottom of a pan so easily) until yams are soft and the beans have also absorbed some of the curry flavor.  Taste and if you need to add more curry, turmeric or salt/pepper, do so before serving.  You can add more chicken stock as needed if the mixture looses too much liquid for your taste.

We love this served over organic basmati rice, but it is also good as a stew.  And, it freezes well too!

*If you do not have this that is fine — but remember you can also save the drippings from the chicken you just cooked and are using as leftovers!

**You can also mince a head of garlic or use a 1/2 t chopped garlic such as Christopher Ranch Organic garlic then use plain salt to taste.

Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!

Recipe: Hummus with Pepper Pesto + Raspberries

W14 7 8 hummus raspberry pepper 300dpi 1I like hummus, but was bored with with the same old.  A Moroccan recipe from Bon Appetit caught my eye, and not having the ingredients, I decided to make my own with what I had on hand.  It was delicious!  I can only give you guidance as to ingredients, as I have adjusted it differently the two times I have made it.  I think the dryness of chickpeas can be mitigated with adding more of the olive oil and/or lemon juice and/or even a bit of water — I have difficulty if beans are not WET.   I typically use Westbrae’s Organic Beans; I like their politics and their beans, AND, they have done away with BPA.

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed thoroughly with cold water
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflowers
  • 1 cube Pepper Pesto or substitutes a milder hot pepper
  • 1 sweet carrot
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 c fresh raspberries
  • Garlic salt and black pepper to taste

Place first six ingredients in a Cuisinart and blend until it is mostly chopped; add raspberries and salt/pepper, and blend again.  Taste and add olive oil/lemon juice/water and salt/pepper to your liking.  If you like it hotter, add peppers; sweeter, add raspberries!  In winter, I will try pomegranates!

Good on cracker or on toast with lettuce, mine had a pleasant heat and sweetness without being a dessert!


Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!

Recipe: Lemon Ginger Garlic Sweet Hot Pepper Broiled Chicken

W14 6 24 LEMON PEPPER CHICKEN 600dpi_2Some people despise prepared garlic; I cannot always take the time for fresh garlic and so, I always have a bottle of Christopher Ranch Organic Chopped Garlic on hand. Ditto, if you don’t have fresh lemons by all means use bottled lemon juice and zest.  Is there a price for substitutions?  Yes, but if that is the time you have or the ingredients on hand, I won’t call the Chef Police.

  • 2-4 organic, humanely raised chicken breast (the butcher will cut up chickens for you if you ask)
  • 2 organic lemons for juice and zest (take 1-3 thin slices from the middle of each before juicing for presentation)
  • 1 organic lime (optional, again, 1-3 thin slices for presentation)
  • 2 t Pepper Pesto  (use hot or less hot to your liking)
  • 1 thumb of organic ginger, peeled and diced
  • 1 t chopped garlic, or 2-3 fresh cloves
  • 1/3 c organic olive oil
  • pepper, salt, and a bit of cumin

In baking dish, mix all the ingredients, setting aside enough thin sliced lemons and limes to garnish the chicken breasts later.  Roll the chicken breasts around in the mixture, and refrigerate to marinade.  Turn them two or three times during the day.

This can be grilled or broiled, depending upon your circumstances/cooking possibilities.  The three breasts below took approximately an hour in the oven.  I served them over rice with some of the drippings over them, a salad on the side.  Turkey thighs or a breast can be substituted but change cooking times to reflect the size of the items, and baste if a turkey breast is used.

w14 6 lemon ginger pepper garlic chicken copyAlways organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!

Recipe: Organic California Transplant The-Real-Deal Salsa

W14 1 SALSA 300dpi_2When our favorite organic salsa was bought by another company, who then ruined a great salsa, we tried hard to find another.  No dice.  So many companies use lemon juice (not a bad substitute for lime) or worse, vinegar, and it tastes off.

But hey, I’m a California gurl!  I decided to make our own.  And I froze half of it because I remember my mom freezing half of hers (or I think she did, so we will experiment and post a comment later.)

This is amazing on eggs, over refried beans (canned or homemade), over any meat, over fish, over eggs, heaped into a burrito of whatever before it is rolled, and . . .  I can’t think of anything salsa is not good on except desserts — and I am sure they are out there.

BTW, did I tell you I am not a tomato fan?  This is the game changer.  LOVE salsa.


w14 organic salsa transplant 4 copyWash tomatoes and limes.  Peel the onions.
Pop the unpeeled Elephant Garlic whole into a baking bowl, and bake at 375 for 25 minutes while you do everything else.

Puree, then place in large bowl:

  • 4 fresh organic Roma tomatoes
  • juice of two limes

Whole Ingredients, Finely Chopped, added to large bowl:

  • 4-5 fresh organic Roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 head elephant garlic (I prefer mine baked then cooled before chopping)*
  • 1 finely chopped red onion
  • 1-3 T Pepper Pesto (how hot do you want it?)
  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley**
  • 1 t cumin (or more if you love it), salt and pepper to taste

Everything goes into a big bowl, and is mixed thoroughly.  It is good same day but better then next — the tastes mix all up!

This makes enough for a family of salsa eaters, or to hand over to your neighbor across the hall or over the fence.

* 2-4 cloves garlic can be put into the processor in place of Elephant garlic, which is milder.
**I have used finely chopped carrot tops, no stems, for a fresh earthy, slightly sweet taste of carrot

w14 organic salsa transplant 6

Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!

Recipe: Fresh Fruit Salad

W14 6 20 Fruit Salad _2Summer means fresh fruit salad!
The key to amazing fruit salads is canned pineapple:
the juice keeps the rest of the fruit from turning.
I wish I had a good organic offering (Dole, take the hint!)but I don’t,
so Dole Chunks in their own juice it is!
(I am putting my recipe pages out on Paint Party Friday — a blog hop!)

Whatever is fresh is cut into bite-size pieces:
1 Mango
2 Peaches (or Nectarines)
carton Blueberries
Carton Strawberries (and Raspberries, Blackberries, Marionberries)
2 Kiwi
1/2 can pineapple with juice*

*If you want to use fresh pineapple then add a cup of orange,
pineapple, or pineapple-coconut juice to keep the fruits fresh.

Serves 6. or one if my husband is around.

Also amazing with yogurt and plain oats added.  Put the oats on the bottom, add the yogurt (no corn syrup, no sugar), top with fruit, and stir.  The oats become soft!

Then there is ice cream on the side . . .  sorry, I couldn’t resist!

If it isn’t eaten (rarely happens in our house) the third day it’s still good in a smoothie!

fruit saladAlways organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!

Chicken Drippings

I’m not taking responsibility for anyone with heart disease. 
Follow your doctor’s orders.

Also, know that I have tried vegetarian eating for over two years twice,
and my body doesn’t run well on it.  We made a commitment to eating way less meat,
and so can afford to pick and chose healthier meat.  Just sayin’.

I am committed to using every bit of our birds now that we only use organic or non-GMO fed birds, and whenever possible, buy the most humane choices or none at all.  Locally in summer we can easily do this in Portland, but you can buy a more humanely raised chicken by going to Whole Foods and checking out their rating system.

One way I use every bit of the bird is that we use chicken drippings in many of our bean dishes, or stews and soups.  Olive oil is a healthier fat, but a cup or two of drippings in a pot of beans or bean casserole and the flavor of the chicken come through the beans, making it more satisfying to me for a full meal.  I also use them to boost the flavor in a chicken or pork stew.

chicken cube 1

To show you the differences in fat levels in grown birds, I used a Draper Valley organic chicken on the right, and a Kookoolan organic chicken (small farm) in the middle. Notice how little fat was in the Kookoolan drippings? Almost NONE. Unlike Draper, Kookoolan’s local birds have a full run and so are a bit leaner, and way healthier!

How?  I pop them into an ice cube container (used only for this) and then I can put them into a plastic bag, below.  The drippings are condensed broth and gelatin and some fat, which makes for a heavenly soup.  Drippings also tell a story about healthy chickens.  Notice above, the broth cubes on the right with a large layer of fat on them?  Draper Valley organic chicken drippings, and they are high in fat because they don’t get to run around outside and eat grazing on bugs and seeds and greens (don’t let chicken loose when the seedlings are coming up!)  In the middle the drippings are from Kookoolan Farms chickens, who lead a lovely life and it shows in their healthy levels of fat — which translates into healthier levels for you!

W14 6 7 Heathers Basting Brush copyMy niece Heather gave me this funny wire basting brush when I was 19 (she was 11) and moving into my first apartment.  I didn’t think much of it at the time; I wasn’t that good a cook yet and so it wasn’t obvious to me the benefits of the brush.  It is not an expensive brush, but oh, what a great brush it was.  It was never beautiful, so never was allowed on my architecturally informed counter.  It was my little secret, and I ALWAYS rummaged about to find it for every marinade and very barbecue.

The beige (hate beige) plastic (not fond of plastic) bell that covers the brush can be pushed back for cleaning, and so this ingenious brush can be completely cleaned of all the residue from the barbecue.  (Otherwise these brushes get pretty disgusting.)  the bristles were exactly as stiff as they needed to be to get the marinades all over the chicken or ribs or fish, but not too stiff.  Perfect.

It lasted me until last year when finally the bristles started breaking.  There must be some bristle rule, because after a few broke, all of a sudden there seemed to be a bristle exodus, and I was left with a wimpy brush that could barely hold the bell in place.  I lamented my brush, and Mitchell understood because he understands a good tool.

I tried to find another one.  No luck.  Finally I had to replace it and did it with the best brush I could find, one of those newfangled rubbery numbers.  It is a very cool color, and it looks good in the kitchen, but the rubber bristles are not quite as good as my old brush.

If anyone ever sees one of these old brushed in new condition, please tell me!


Recipe: Salmon with Garlic Greens, the Beginning of Summer

W14 6 1 Salmon with Garlic Greens 2Garlic greens are so wonderful, and they are only at the Farmer’s Markets for a short time in late spring, early summer.  We buy handfuls and roast or grill them with a little olive oil, and serve them alongside other grilled or broiled veggies.

This year I ventured to try them in recipes. Salmon with Garlic Greens, to serve two (with a bit left over, maybe!)  If you have more people just adjust your recipe.

NOTE: Never ever buy Chinook Salmon!
80 Orcas left on our planet!


Wild caught salmon for 2: we had salmon steak this time,
but two filets would be fine also.
a handful of fresh garlic greens
2 Roma-like tomatoes, sliced to broil
3 sugar chilies or sweet-hot chilies to blacked under the broiler
1 is chopped, the other two can be saved to eat alongside the salmon,
unless this is not your liking
1/2 bag sweet corn kernels (or two ears corn)
olive oil to drizzle
garlic salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 c or a bit more pine nuts
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 avocado, sliced just before serving

We tossed or coated (by rubbing) the salmon and all the veggies listed but the last three in olive oil and garlic salt and pepper.  Place everything but the corn laid out under your broiler and blacken or broil to your liking.  I like my greens and peppers blackened, but my tomato and corn less so, so I put them in later.  Remove to prep.

While broiling your salmon, snip the ends of the garlic greens in a bowl with the corn, pine nuts, fresh chopped green onions, one of the peppers (chopped), the avocado (chopped unless you want to garnish with a slice or two) and some of the tomatoes chopped, leaving enough for a couple to garnish the plate.  Toss like a salad.  Put everything (including a whole sugar chili if that is desirable to you) but the garnishes onto the plate, and when the salmon is done, put that in the center and add a tomato slice and avocado slice to garnish.  Serve right away!

W14 6 1 Salmon with Garlic Greens 6THE NEXT MORNING . . .  Salmon Burritos!

We had some left over, and so, the next morning I added another half an avocado and placed it all in a large burrito like a cold wrap.  You can add beans or carrots or celery to fill the burrito.  We eat them for breakfast or lunch!

Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!

W14 5 26 Mitchell Cooks 15 copy

Recipe: Coho Salmon with Corn + Black Bean + Onions + Sugar Chilies

W14 COHO SALMON CORN BEANSLiving in Oregon with the Alaska-Oregon fishing connection means that in early summer we can buy whole salmon at amazing prices, and the butcher will cut.  This year the coho was so wonderful I went back and got a second, so will will have wild salmon for the next three months.  I like this with filets, but you could do it with steaks.  If so, I would not put the steak on top of the corn-bean mixture, but to the side, due to bones.  It takes about 45 minutes to cook, unless you have to blacken the peppers.

blackened pepper pesto 6 copyThis is a two step process.  If you don’t have the Blackened Sugar Chili Pepper Pesto, use two blackened chili peppers finely chopped, your choice.  If you can’t handle hot, use a poblano or other milder chili.  Take the time to blacken the outside skin, and leave the skin on — why people take the skins off is beyond me.   Chopped in this case mean the size of the small black beans, and if you hate black beans (I am sooooo sorry for you) you can substitute other beans.

I love Westbrae’s or 365 Black Beans.  They are organic, I like their politics, and they have done away with BPA!  A tip in using canned beans:  rinse them thoroughly in a colander until the water runs clean.  It will make them taste closer to freshly cooked.

1 sweet spring onion, sliced (will chop later)
1 large or 2 small roma-type tomatoes, cut
into circles to blacken (will chop later)
1 small package frozen sweet corn
1-2 cubes of blackened pepper pesto
(or 2-4 tablespoons)
2 sweet carrots, chopped
1 can black beans
1 t cumin, garlic salt and pepper to taste
2 – 4 salmon filets

In a 10-12-inch skillet, drop about 2 T olive oil, and lay the onions and tomato slices in the thick oil to blacken edges.  When blackened, remove to chop, and while chopping drop the corn into the pan and cook fast to blacken edges.  Throw all chopped items + peppers and carrots into the pan but the beans, and cook hot for a couple of minutes.  Turn heat down, add another teaspoon olive oil, and stir in black beans and spices to heat, gently.  You don’t want to overheat the beans, and stir constantly, or they will begin to stick to the pan.  Remove and plate, ready for the salmon.

The filets were pan fried with garlic salt + pepper on the skin side at the end, skin side down until crisp, then quickly flipped and barely cooked.  Chop avocado while the salmon is cooking (or before if you are slow at chopping avocados.)  Place the salmon over the corn-bean mixture, with chopped avocado on top.  This serves 2-4.  If 2 you may have the corn-bean mixture left over, which is good cold wrapped in a tortilla the next day.

w14 5 pan fried coho salmon with corn black bean

Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!

Recipe: Yummy Summer Organic Black Bean Corn Carrot Mix

I make two versions of this: one in summer-fall, when everything is fresh, and another in the dead of winter, when you have to make do with salsa and canned and frozen.  In all cases, you can substitute fresh for frozen, as in sweet corn, if you are up to slicing the kernels off the cob (which I do in the summer months, it’s pretty fast!)

This recipe is the summer version.  I make this before our week starts, and we eat it warmed in a bowl with fresh chopped avocado on top, alongside basmati rice for a good veggie lunch, or rolled in a big tortilla for breakfasts.  For dinner sometimes as an accompaniment to roast chicken, we warm corn tortillas and serve for guests with guacamole.  It’s all yummy, fast, and satisfying, especially when we are in a hurry.

W14 5 3 SUMMER ORGANIC BLACK BEAN MIX 4Everything is chopped the size of beans!

    • 1-2 cans black beans, drained then rinsed in cold water (makes them taste much better)
    • 1 can refried beans, we prefer black
    • 1 sweet onion, the sweeter the better
    • 2 T cumin, black pepper and garlic salt to taste
    • a hand-full of grated cheese (we like Organic Valley’s Mexican blend for fast+easy)
    • 1 package white corn or 2-3 ears fresh sweet corn off the cob
    • 2-3 plum or Roma tomatoes
    • 1-2 sweet carrots
    • 1 cup celery with leaves if you can find it
    • 1-2 blackened hot sugar chilies OR 1-3 cubes of Blackened Chili Pesto* (if you can’t handle hot use bells if you can do them, or a milder canned chili)
    • OPTIONAL: 1-2 frozen cubes chicken drippings from an organic chicken**
    • OPTIONAL: chopped fresh garlic greens, parsley, or cilantro to taste

2014 5 3 SUMMER ORGANIC BLACK BEAN MIX 3Microwave the first five ingredients for about 5 minutes, stir.  (If your corn is fresh, add it at this time.)  Add the other ingredients, microwave for another 5-6 minutes, stir and let set for a few minutes.
If you don’t like microwaves use a dutch oven.

This will make enough for up to 8-10 servings, possibly more, depending how you are serving it.

blackened pepper pesto 6 copyYou can substitute a different bean, or mix up the types of beans if you like.
* My recipe for Blackened Chili Pesto.
** When we roast an organically or non-GMO fed humanely raised chicken, the chickens are not as high in fat, and the chicken drippings are quite lean.  Unless you have a serious heart issue, there is nothing wrong with using the drippings, and we freeze the dripping of these chickens in ice-cube trays so we have the cubes on hand to add to recipes like this.


Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!

Recipe: Spring Garlic Green Hot Blackened Pepper Chicken Pot-Au-Feau

2014 4 29 spring garlicky stewI’ve not been writing on this blog for months, because I have been swamped with work and also the A-to-Z Challenge on my other blogs!  Glad to be done! Mitchell is glad I am done, because I was rushing through cooking to get to writing to get to posting . . .  AACK!

Thursday I pulled out all my odd pieces of organic chicken (backs) + a whole chicken,
two quarts of my home-made stock,
two heaping tablespoons of my homemade blackened hot pepper pesto,
2 teaspoons of cumin, a teaspoon of black pepper,
a cup of chopped spring garlic greens and
another quart of water (or cover the top of the chicken.)

This simmered until the chicken was done (an hour and a half or
until it falls easily off the bones), and the chicken was pulled out to cool.
While it cooled, I chopped two large sweet onions to simmer.

When it cooled, I stripped every bit of chicken off the bones and popped it back into the simmering pot.  Finally, chopped carrot (I was out of celery or would have added it), corn, and black beans were added with the cooked chicken.  This chicken will put hair on your chest, make you dance like a crazy woman, and knock a cold right out of you!

I painted while the cooking happened, and dinner was served over basmati rice, yummo!

Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!

Aquabee Super Deluxe 9×9-inch journal with a Pitt pens,
and Daniel Smith, Sennelier and Holbien watercolors.

Recipe: Mitchell’s Spicy Beef Pepper Bean Stew


Mitchell’s wanted me to create a hot, spicy, beanie stew!  I was at maximum creativity today, painting on vacation, totally into old sweats covered in paint and enjoying good tunes and great smells.  Mitchell caught a rare pic of me cooking, right.

Best of all, I didn’t have to cook dinner — it did itself and we noshed on it all day.  It is wonderful alone but we like it served over basmati rice.

Ingredients / Directions:

  • 3 lb grass-fed chuck roast, sliced and huge chunks of fat or gristle removed
  • garlic salt and black pepper

I broiled the beef strips with the seasoning before I began to simmer to soften.

While that was broiling in a large stew pot added the following ingredients.

  • 2 T organic olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 blackened hot peppers (to your level of heat, we used sugar chilies) or about 1/2 cup chopped (I use scissors)
  • 1 t roasted chopped garlic (yes, I am always in a hurry so I use Christopher Ranch Organic Roasted in a jar)
  • 2 handfuls (what I can grab) dried tomatoes

The beef was done, and whole strips were popped into the pot along with the following

  • 1 qt organic beef broth (I use Pacifica, and you could use chicken broth, both for a richer broth, AND this is optional — if you decide not to use then add this to your water)
  • 2 qts cold water
  • 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp cumin

Bring to a boil then turn it down to a nice simmer.  It took about two hours for the beef to soften into a state that could be pulled apart.  Keep an eye on the liquid.  You don’t want too little or it will not be wet enough, but you also don’t want it too watery.  When the beef is soft and the liquid is just right (taste it!) pull the pot off the burner.  Remove the beef and set on a plate; let it cool so you can pull it.

In the meantime, prepare the following and add them to the pot:

  • 3 organic sweet carrots, chopped
  • 3-4 organic celery stalks, with leaves if you can find them, chopped
  • 3 small cans or 1 large can organic red beans, thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 small bag organic white (preferred) corn

DSC03913When the beef is cool, pull it gently into bits.  I like the bits long, but if you end up with bits longer than about 1 1/2-inch, cut them.  Add this to the pot.  Stir everything up, and taste for final seasoning.  We added one more “ice cube” (below) of pepper pesto, a bit more garlic salt, and more cumin.  I say “we” because Mitchell has to get in and taste too at that point!


We heated the entire pot back up one more time so everything was heated, but did not let it linger — this kept the carrots and celery just a bit crunchy.  Yummers!  This made enough for dinner and lunch, and two more meals (for two) frozen in quart jam jars.


The Radical Rebirth of S: Reblog on Golden Milk

Susanissima writes a lovely blog, and this is an interesting post. Mitchell and I are going to try the Golden Milk! I’ll write and tell you how it worked for us. Mitchell said it was an Ayurvedic recipe.

I copied the basics down in case we lost it as blogs can shut down!


Painted with Turmeric Paste

It had been several years since we’d been up on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. After all, the trek requires a drive across the border, a sluggish traffic grind through Vancouver, and a ferry cruise to Langdale followed by a meandering ride up to Bargain Harbour. There, on a rock jutting out into the gray waters of Georgia Strait, in a tiny wooden cabin with a view so remarkable it makes your heart ache, our dear friend S lives with her cat Peaches.

R and I had come to spend Boxing Day morning with S, but when she opened her door, we were shocked. Our friend, who had just turned 80, looked years younger than when we had last seen her and it wasn’t just the twinkle in her eyes or her ear-to-ear grin. She emitted a kind of energy, a golden corona that reminded me of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and made us gasp.

“Wow! You look really young, S!” R said.

“So beautiful!” I added, wondering if she’d had plastic surgery.

“Golden milk,” S told us in her musical British accent. “I’ll make some for you.”


The fire was roaring in the woodstove as we entered the 400 sq. ft. cabin. We removed our shoes and had our bones warmed by S’s signature bear hugs. We looked around. On every wall hung black and white, nearly life-size photo-portraits of Lacandon (Maya) people, shot in the jungles of Chiapas by S’s husband, C. Like ghosts, the women, men and children in the photos felt present, tangible, but diminished by time and the eradication of an earlier culture. Many of them had, in fact, passed on, as had C sixteen years earlier.

But S was still sharing her life with her husband. She wore the golden wedding ring he had slipped onto her finger and continued to use his name in her email address. Every surface in the room was decorated with artifacts the couple had collected on their journeys to Mexico, and during voyages in the wooden sailboat that rests in peace in an open shelter down a path at the edge of the rock. Books, journals, assorted articles and documents were piled on shelves and a small desk as though some serious research had been going on. Quartz lamps burned like torches in an Andalusian cave. The overall effect was of a cozy salon in which important and scholarly conversations took place.


S seated us around a table that dominates the room, R closest to the woodstove, me across from him and next to Peaches who slept in a cardboard box lined with newspaper. S stood near the entrance to the kitchen area, the embers from the woodstove pulsing red and gold around her like an aura.  She looked like a being made of light.

“She loves it when you pet her,” S told me, so I did, not having the heart to tell my friend that I’m quite allergic to cats. “I’m going to make your golden milk now. And then while you sip it, I’ll tell you about how I was recently reborn.”

“I’m going to watch you,” I said rising, moving away from Peaches, “so that we can make it at home.”

This is what S did:

She took a jar of turmeric paste out of the refrigerator and explained how to make it.

Turmeric Paste

  •  ½ C. turmeric
  • 1 C. filtered water (More can be added during cooking)
  • 1/8 t. cayenne or other pepper (optional)

Place ingredients in a small pot and stir frequently with a wooden spoon for 9 minutes on medium low. Add more water, if necessary, to maintain a smooth paste. Pour into a glass jar, cool and cover.  Keep for up to 2 weeks.


Then S made the golden milk.

Golden Milk

Per cup of milk (almond, rice, hemp, soy, cow, goat, etc. I use almond, S used cow):

  • ½-1 t. turmeric paste
  • honey, agave, maple syrup to taste (S used agave)
  • 1 t. Udo’s 3.6.9 oil (S used, but this is optional)
  • 1 t. coconut oil (S used, but this is optional)
  • Any of the following to taste: cardamom, cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg. I use cardamom. (optional, S did not use any of these)

Heat milk, sweetener and optional spices on stove or in microwave until hot, but not boiling, then stir in the oils, if used. Serve with a little spoon to stir every now and again.


As R and I sat stirring and sipping what must surely be the most exotic and wonderful drink ever made, a cross between chai and eggnog, S looked out toward the water and told us about her transformation.

“It happened quickly, a synchronicity, you might call it. I had grown tired of things as they were: the arthritis pain in my hands, my back, my legs; having to walk with a stick; the hours I wasted staring at the t.v. I wanted something more and I knew that change must always come from within, so I opened myself up to that. I started to envision the changes that were needed, like a fountain instead of a television. I could actually actually see it. I got rid of the t.v., put the fountain that you see there in its place, and immediately I began to feel like a different person. Not a changed person, a new person.”  She paused, smiled, and continued, “Quite simply, the old S has been completely replaced. This may be hard to understand, of course, and you should know that I still stare out, but at nothing, which is quite delightful.”

We were saucer-eyed because we could see that what she said was true.  S was not the same person.

S giggled, and we did, too. “Then, around the same time I discovered golden milk and began drinking it every day. Soon my pain disappeared completely. I stopped using my cane and now I can walk anywhere without it.  My body is not the same body; it, too, has been replaced. Do you see this? I have been reborn, my friends. And now you know how.”

Later, as we were about to leave S and her cabin on the rock, she led R and me down the steep trail that leads to the wooden sailboat on which she and C spent so much of their life together. I walked behind her as she wove her way through the trees like a cougar. It was raining and the ground was slippery and full of potholes and exposed roots and rocks. We could barely keep up, yet we’re much younger, chronologically, than our friend. When we arrived at the boat, S looked at it with such adoration that I thought I’d cry. Oh, how she loves and misses her husband! R took pictures of S and me and a few of S alone, then we climbed back up the hill and hugged goodbye, promising to visit more often in 2014, and maybe even to toss our t.v. over a cliff. (We haven’t done this yet.)

“Thanks for the story and the golden milk recipe,” we told her.  “We’re gonna drink it every day so we can be reborn, like you, S!” And we have, every day, and dang if we don’t feel pretty darn good!

Recipe: Cannelloni Bean with Smoked Turkey

We are looking for affordable ways to eliminate all possible GMO items from our diet.  This is another step in the continuing clean-up of our ways of eating.   While we will still go out to dinner occasionally, moving to eating little meat, and only grass fed or certified non-GMO fed meat, will eliminate the huge amounts of GMO corn feed that fills most beef and chicken; this will lessen the amount of glysophate, which is atrributed to many problems in our bodies which are on the rise, namely, stomach and intestine problems, reproductive problems, and allergies.

Our move to organic or non-GMO fed meats is problematic because we cannot afford it; on the other hand, with the looming problems and wanting to be healthy, we cannot afford not to make this move.  Our decision is to buy less meat, eat more beans and rice, and to use all possible parts in the beans in order to stretch the flavor and nutritious parts.  I have never been satisfied on a total vegan diet, and have tried twice for several years.  A little bit of meat however, in beans dishes with rice, is very satisfying.

NON-GMO3To ensure that meats are non-GMO, buy certified organic, grass-fed, or those that are certified in conformance with  the Non-GMO Project, with the label shown left.   Organic always means non-GMO.  True grass fed, as can be found in beef and lamb, means they have not been finished off with corn-feeding in lots.   The Non-GMO Project site can tell you the products they have certified as non-GMO.

ALL items are non-GMO verified or organic.

DSC03615Cannelloni Beans are white Italian beans, with a mild flavor, a bit nutty, that soaks up flavors.  the danger in cooking white beans in a pot is that you can overcook them and they will fall apart.  I paired the mild beans with a Diestel smoked turkey thigh for a savory pot of beans akin to a white bean ham soup.  Read all ingredients, as there are more later in the recipe!

2 lb dried cannelloni beans
smoked turkey thigh
1 large chopped onion
4 T sugar chili pesto
1 T chopped garlic
1 t garlic salt
1 t onion powder
1 t black pepper
1 qt organic chicken stock
cold water

Begin by cleaning the beans and picking all distorted shriveled beans and rocks from the pile; rinse thoroughly.  Put into a thick stock pot and just cover with cold water; bring to a boil then pull off the stove and drain the liquid.  Put the beans back into the pot with all the ingredients above, covering the bean/turkey mixture with cold water before putting it back on the stove.

DSC03617Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer, uncovered.  It is important to watch cannelloni beans, as they can overcook easily.  I checked and stirred every 20 minutes.  When  the turkey thigh was falling apart the liquid was also where I wanted it, I covered the pot, and had it barely simmering.  I added the following items:

1 large yellow carrot, grated (adds sweetness without sugar)
1 c finely chopped celery with leaves

I continued to simmer covered, stirring the beans every 15 minutes.  When the beans were almost completely soft, add:

2 sweet carrots, quartered then sliced thin.

Bring to a boil and then, if soft, take off the heat and let set.

DSC03620Serve with a crusty organic garlic bread!  People can salt and pepper to their taste.

We freeze in 2-cup Ball jars for lunches.  It is also good topping a baked yam.

A Better Chai Recipe

coconut french toast_2

I love chai, and long ago learned to make it, fooling with spices until I had my own recipe that I liked.  Mitchell had a better recipe, and I forgot mine entirely and used his.  I use one bag of Earl Grey tea for every two large mugs; we tie our spices in a bit of cheese cloth.  And all should be organic!

  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 2 slices fresh ginger
  • 5 cloves
  • 8 pepper corns
  • 5 crushed cardamom seeds
  • Earl Grey tea (one bag for each mug of two cups)
  • Milk
  • honey (I’ve seen him use maple syrup too)

Simmer first five ingredients in 4 cups* of water for 15 minutes; strain (we add extra ginger and that is what you see floating, above.)  Add Earl Grey tea to steep.   Add milk and sweeten to taste, which in Mitchell’s case is very sweet!

Now we have a new lovely chai recipe, from Dr. Rose Kumar of the Omani Center’s blog, which is also a great resource for staying healthy.  I am going to make you go visit the blog to see her recipe, which has no tea, and a surprising ingredient!  I used no sugar when I used her recipe, which makes it a very healthy drink.  I sliced my ginger and let it be in the chai, and added extra — I am a ginger freak!


Egg Pie: More Turkey, Duck and Chicken Eggs!

DSC07264_2Ralph is our studio neighbor and he has pets: gobblers, duckies, chicks and anything that wanders onto Muddy Finger Mountain.  (The big Tom above is hiding his girlfriend, who is the egg-layer.)  Springtime each year he has more eggs than he can give away.  (They are sooo pretty, below.)  This year, the birds were particularly amorous and gave and gave and gave.  What to do with all the eggs?  Egg Pies!  So, this post is for Ralph.  When I begin to make videos he will be the video man I do all videos with — he is so good and easy to work with!

turkey and duck eggsI hate to make pie crusts.  But I love quiche.  One of the few ways I like eggs in the morning, camouflaged by other flavors.  So, being a So Cal girl and growing up with all things mexican, I saw a big burrito one day and said, “A-hah!”  Now I make quiche or egg pie all the time using big tortillas as crusts, especially in spring when Ralph brings me extra eggs.  I make them and freeze them, and make so many that Ralph gets a few back!

What is also great about this method is that I can make a pie in about 15 minutes with leftovers.  A bit of blackened salmon, a bit of chicken with grilled veggies, or in this case, just enough sliced humanely-raised organic ham that won’t make two sandwiches for us but will make two great pies!  This is my “Denver Quiche in Honor of Stephen” egg pie.  My brother turned me on to Denver omelettes years ago.  Another story, but it made me eat eggs.

So here is my easy easy way to make egg pies.  I will give a few recipes at the end.  Start with an organic BIG wheat tortilla.  Lay in into the pie pan, no oil or butter needed.  (Yeah diet!)  I then take a bit of goat cheese and flake some in the bottom of the pie pan.  This makes for a thick egg-custard mixture on the bottom of the pie as the goat cheese melts into the egg while it cooks.

egg pie startIn a separate bowl, I mix the non-cheese ingredients for the pie; in this case, ham, blacked sugar chilies, a handful of frozen sweet corn (I made two pies last night, a large one and a smaller one, so I mixed enough for the two.)  I did not add spices in this case as the ham is salty and spicy enough, but here is where I would add the spices.  Toss the ingredients to mix them.  Spread the ingredients evenly on top of the goat cheese.

Beat enough eggs to cover the mixture and fill the tortilla crust.  That is a tricky thing, but for a big pie pan I say between 5-8 eggs, depending upon the size.  In a smaller pie pan, between 4-6.   Beat them just before you pour them into the pan, by hand so they don’t get too fluffy, until they are thoroughly mixed.  Add milk or cream or not — sometimes I add a bit of organic goat milk, as it makes them creamier.  But with the turkey eggs, they are so creamy and rich, I don’t.

egg pie mixed

Pour the beaten eggs over the ingredients in the pie pan gently, so as not to move them around much.  I add organic grated cheese — in this case it was Organic Farms grated Mexican blend — about four finger-fulls, distributed gently over the top.  Then take a fork and insert the fork into the mixture straight down (but not so hard you break the tortilla skin) and give it a little shake to “mix” the ingredients.

Top the egg pie with chopped green onions or chives, and then add pepper to taste.  I pass on salt, because I like people to salt as they need to — and ham is salty.

Cook for 20-40 minutes at 350-degrees.  This is a bit iffy, because it really does depend upon the oven and the number of eggs and the size of the pie pan.  Watch it so it does not burn, and if it looks like it is burning on top then place a piece of foil lightly as a shield between the pie and the heat source.


egg pie cooked

Now, how to freeze and warm.  Let the pies cool completely, and place them in a plastic bag marked with the type of quiche you made, or, “surprise!”  I use the bags we bring our veggies home in or the big tortilla bags.   Place a paper towel into the bag to absorb any water in case that may gather if it hasn’t completely cooled, and close the bag, pop into the freezer.

Bring the pie out of the freezer the night before to thaw by placing it in the fridge.  I recently tried to rush this process by warming in the microwave from frozen to heat, and all I got was a sloggy egg pie!  To warm, put into the oven at 300 until warmed, about 20 minutes.  Or, warm only the pieces you want to eat by cutting them and putting them on a microwave plate.  put one paper towel with a few drops of water on it over the pie pieces, and heat for 1-2 minutes only.


Some favorite combos:

Diced ham, hot or sweet blackened peppers, a handful of frozen corn (sweet) or a handful of black beans, thoroughly rinsed.  Mexican grated cheeses — or cheddar — plus soft goat chevre cheese.

Mushrooms: portobella/shiitake sautéed in olive oil with onion and a dash of Braggs (or organic soy sauce) and pepper.  Garlic salt.  Italian grated cheeses — or pecorino, mozzarella — plus soft goat chevre cheese.

Leftover blackened salmon (bone removed, skin sliced into thin slivers), dried tomatoes, onions, green or sweet chopped.  Reconstitute the dried tomatoes.  they have a sweet tang that is quite different from fresh tomatoes.  Garlic salt and cumin, as needed.   Mexican or Italian grated cheeses plus soft goat chevre cheese.   (Below.)

salmon dried tomato onion italian cheese

Recipe: Turkey Curry Carrot Cashew Stew

Mitchell and I were bored with food and in a rush with deadlines, no time to go to the store.  I always have on hand: onions, yams, and carrots in the fall and winter, plus some canned items in the pantry.  I created one of my favorite stews, thick and creamy and flavorful and easy!  It is naturally sweet from the carrots and yams.


You need a Dutch oven or similarly sized pot.

I used a large turkey thigh: put into pot skin down.  We only buy range free turkeys and chicken from our local farm, so the amount of fat in the skin is minimal.  I want to crisp the skin and have the fat in the pot.   I browned the fat with a little garlic salt.  Add the large sweet onion, or a purple onion, cut into 16th’s or large chunks.  Move the turkey thigh as it browns, to allow the onions to brown in the fat.

Pour both boxes of Pacific Organic Cashew Carrot Ginger Soup and Pacific Free Range Chicken Stock into the pot.  Add 1 heaping teaspoon of roasted chopped garlic, 1 heaping teaspoon of ground cumin, and a teaspoon each of turmeric and black pepper.

Bring to a boil then lower to medium heat and allow to simmer for 2 hours.  The bird is not only tender, but the bone is leaching good minerals and flavor into the stock.

Remove the turkey thigh carefully (it may want to fall apart at an inopportune time and cover you with hot stock.)  Let it cool enough that you can cut the meat off the bone.  Cut it into bite sized pieces and put it all back into the stock pot.

Add a second large sweet onion (a handful of green onions cut into 1-inch lengths would be good too) cut as the first, if you want it very onion-y.  Add all to the pot and simmer for while doing the next.

Drain the can of white navy beans while you are chopping.  Chop the carrots and yam into bite sized bits and set aside.     Put the yam into the pot.  cut the heart out of the romanesco broccoli and then break into bite-sized pieces (each will look like little heads in themselves.)  When you are done breaking the broccoli, add the carrots (just enough time to let the yam cook).  Let the carrots cook until they are just a bit soft, but still crunchy.  Add the broccoli, and cook for 10 minutes.

Turn the heat off the stew, put the beans in, and let it sit without heat for 15 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste.  Add more curry as you like.

We freeze some for our lunches in the studio.  Serve with crisp bread or over rice.

Shopping List:

1 Turkey Thigh (or whole small chicken)
1 box Pacific Organic Cashew Carrot Ginger Soup
1 box Pacific Organic Chicken Stock
1-2 large organic sweet onions, cut into quarters and sliced
1 T organic chopped garlic (can use bottled, and if so, use the roasted chopped garlic, as it is sweet and savory)
1 large organic garnet yam, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 each heirloom carrots: we used purple, yellow and sweet orange
1 can organic white navy beans, drained (we use Eden farms as they are the only ones to commit, as of this writing, to no BPA’s in their cans — if you love beans use 2 cans)
1 head romanesco broccoli (cauliflower can be substituted, even though it is not close to the same, it would also taste good in this dish.)
Spices: the hottest curry your taste buds allow, black pepper, cumin, turmeric, and garlic salt to taste.

Recipe: Roasted Sugar Chili Chicken Stew

September at the growers market means tomatoes are getting cheap, and the smell of autumn is in the air.  Because of our warm days, we still have summer squash, and we can’t get enough.  During the week I grill them, but today they went into the stew.

Mitchell has fallen in love with the Organic Roasted Chili Pepper stall from Westwind Gardens in Forest Grove.

Today we bought a $5 bag of hot Sugar Chilies, guaranteed to be sweet and between a 4-7 on the heat scale, which is warmer than a poblano.

Another lesson learned:  If you say you want small hens to a grower of heritage hens you will get hens the size of Rock Cornish Game Hens!  Three of our hens from Deck Family Farms went into this stew; two will be cooked like Rock Cornish Game Hens.

The stew is fabulous; Mitchell is saying this is the best one ever.  I can’t share it with my extended family; all my family are hot pepper wussies!

You need a stock pot bigger than a Dutch oven and smaller than a lobster pot.

This recipe used approximately 6 pounds of chicken, innards removed: put into stock pot.

Add 1 of the large sweet onions, if possible, or a yellow onion, cut into 16th’s or large chunks.  Add 2 heaping teaspoons of roasted chopped garlic. 2 heaping teaspoons of ground cumin, a bit of garlic salt, and a teaspoon of black pepper topped the items in the pot.  I medium pan of diced tomatoes with garlic were added for flavor.

1 box of Pacific Free Range chicken stock was poured into the pot, then as we didn’t have any veggie stock on hand, I chopped beet greens, added two older squash cut in half (the latter were removed later), and then topped with tap water.

Bring to a boil then lower to medium heat and allow to simmer for 2 hours.  The bird is not only tender, but the bones are leaching good minerals and flavor into the stock.

Remove the chicken carefully (it may want to fall apart at an inopportune time and cover you with hot stock.)  Let cool to the touch and debone the bird.  I use every bit of chicken except the skin, even stripping the neck.  I hand-pull the chicken into strips.  Put it all back into the stock pot.

Add the other two cans of diced tomatoes.  We added half the bag of roasted sugar chilies, five chilies, chopped into small slivers, and three chopped roasted poblanos.  Add the other two cans of Fire Roasted Diced Adobo Tomatoes and the other had Chipotle Peppers. Chop the second large sweet onion (a handful of green onions cut into 1-inch lengths would be good too). Chop four stalks of celery with the leaves (good luck finding them with leaves in the store) for a full robust flavor.  Add all to the pot and simmer for while doing the next.

Drain the large can and small can of black beans.  Chop the summer squash into bite sized bits and set aside.  I use heirloom for better flavor — in this recipe I used those yellow crookneck squash, an heirloom Italian that has the ridges, and two ronde de nice.   Turn the heat off the stew, put the beans in and the squash in, and let it sit without heat for 15 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste.

We freeze some for our lunches in the studio.  Serve with crisp bread or over rice.

Shopping List

6 lbs of chicken, or two small hens
cumin, pepper, garlic salt
2 large sweet yellow onion

tops of a bunch of beets

5 roasted sugar chilies

3 roasted poblanos
2 teaspoons of roasted chopped garlic
Pacific Free Range Chicken Stock
3 medium cans Diced Roasted Tomato ( I used one of each: Adobo, Chipotle, Garlic)
1 large can black beans

1 small can black beans
summer squash

Recipe: September Chunky Fresh Minestrone Black Beans

This is quite different from the August chicken soup; it has a much more thick tomato-y base, and so, is a minestrone.  If you are a noodle nut add them; I am not eating wheat these days with the exception of burritos.

You need a stock pot big enough that liquid will cover the hen and then some.  Bigger than a Dutch over and smaller than a lobster pot.

1 whole hen, innards removed:  Season entire bird with cumin, pepper, and a bit of garlic salt.  Put into stock pot.

Add 1 large sweet onion, if possible, or a yellow onion, cut into 16th’s or large chunks.  Add 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic and a teaspoon of marjoram or oregano, or if you have it, 1/4 cup of fresh leaves or either.  I prefer marjoram.

Add 1 large can of Crushed Fire Roasted Tomatoes.

Add a box of chicken stock; cover with water.

Bring to a boil then lower to medium heat and allow to simmer for several hours.  The bird is not only tender, but the bone are leaching good minerals and flavor into the stock.

Remove the whole bird carefully (it may want to fall apart at an inopportune time and cover you with hot stock.)  Let cool to the touch and debone the bird.  I use every bit of chicken, even stripping the neck.  Put it all back into the stock pot on simmer.

Open a large can of black beans into a colander, rinse and drain.  Add to pot.

Add handful of sweet summer carrots cut into large bites.  Add a bunch of green onions cut into 1-inch lengths.   Let simmer for 15 minutes while you are chopping the summer squash.

Chop two medium summer squash into large bite sizes.  I use heirloom for better flavor — in this recipe I used those great squash that are half yellow and half green (what possessed nature to evolve into that color combo?), and an heirloom Italian that has the ridges.  I think any good solid squash will do, but you need about two fistfuls.  Turn the heat off the stew, put the squash in, and let it sit, for 15 minutes.  They won’t be overcooked, and the stew will look and taste fresh.

We freeze some for our lunches in the studio.  Serve with crisp bread or over rice.

Shopping List

1 whole hen
cumin, pepper, garlic salt (optional: hot pepper)
Add 1 large sweet yellow onion
2 teaspoons of chopped garlic
Pacific Free Range Chicken Stock
1 large can Crushed Fire-Roasted Tomato
bunch green onions
3-5 sweet carrots

I large can Black Beans
two medium summer squash

Recipe: August Heritage Hen Tomato Garlic Pepper Squash Bean Stew

The first batch of hens we bought from the first farm had a slightly fishy taste to it, and everyone tasted it.  This was not what I wanted in a roast chicken, and so the last one went into the stock pot.  Mind you, the heritage chicken needs to “stew” a bit longer in order to be tender.

I make heavenly stewed things.  I love them, and so love making them, and they usually turn out wonderful.  They change slightly with the season. Use Organic Everything as possible.

You need a stock put big enough that liquid will cover the hen and then some.  Bigger than a Dutch over and smaller than a lobster pot.

1 whole hen, innards removed:  Season entire bird with cumin, pepper, and a bit of garlic salt.  We like things hot spicy and so add a bit of hot pepper.   Put into stock pot.

Add 1 large sweet onion, if possible, or a yellow onion, cut into 16th’s or large chunks.  Add 2 teaspoons of chopped garlic.

Fill half the pot with veggie stock (this one was made with beet leaves, mushrooms, carrot and squash ends); top with water.  If you want a richer stew you can add a box of Pacific Free Range chick stock then top with water.

Bring to a boil then lower to medium heat and allow to simmer for several hours.  The bird is not only tender, but the bone are leaching good minerals and flavor into the stock.

Remove the whole bird carefully (it may want to fall apart at an inopportune time and cover you with hot stock.)  Let cool to the touch and debone the bird.  I use every bit of chicken, even stripping the neck.  Put it all back into the stock pot.

Add 2 cans diced tomatoes.  We used Fire Roasted Diced Tomato and hot Peppers.  Tomatoes and Garlic would be good too.  If you can’t find it add a small can of chopped hot peppers.  Add a can of Red Beans, or Black if you prefer.  Bring to a simmer for 30 minutes.

Add a handful of green onions cut into 1-inch lengths.  Let simmer for a few more minutes while you are chopping the summer squash.

Chop two medium summer squash into large bite sizes.  I use heirloom for better flavor — in this recipe I used those great squash that are half yellow and half green (what possessed nature to evolve into that color combo?), and an heirloom Italian that has the ridges.  I think any good solid squash will do, but you need about two fistfuls.  Turn the heat off the stew, put the squash in, and let it sit, for 15 minutes.  They won’t be overcooked,a and the stew will look and taste fresh.  Yummy!

We freeze some for our lunches in the studio.  Serve with crisp bread or over rice.

Shopping List

1 whole hen
cumin, pepper, garlic salt (optional: hot pepper)
Add 1 large sweet yellow onion
2 teaspoons of chopped garlic
veggie stock
Pacific Free Range Chicken Stock
2 cans Diced Fire Roasted Diced Tomato and Hot Peppers
bunch green onions
two medium summer squash