Category: Products I Use Page 3 of 11

5-Minute Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream {Paleo}

It finally feels like winter, and I’m pretty sure I saw my first snowflake yesterday…but that didn’t stop me from making ice cream!

This recipe is a variation of the 2-minute banana ice cream recipe I shared a few years ago. This is a GREAT way to use up bananas that have seen better days instead of throwing them away ? Just peel and then freeze them, so you’re always prepared to make banana ice cream.

This recipe is quick and easy to make, and the texture is just like soft serve ice cream. I have no idea how frozen bananas turn into such a smooth and creamy consistency, but they do. It’s pretty amazing, and if you haven’t tried it before, all you need is a food processor to make it happen!

I put a seasonal spin on the original recipe by adding pumpkin puree and some festive, warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutmeg. I topped mine with some chopped pecans, but you could also use pumpkin seeds or even some dark chocolate chips.

Enjoy!

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Ingredients

2 cups peeled, frozen bananas cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Pinch cloves
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch fine grain sea salt
Chopped pecans (optional)

Directions

  1. Put the frozen bananas in the food processor. Grind the bananas until they resemble this gravel-like consistency. Keep processing until the bananas resemble a smooth consistency. See this post for pictures of the process.
  2. Add in pumpkin puree, spices and maple syrup. Pulse until evenly combined. Add toppings and serve immediately (my preference) or follow step #3 below.
  3. Pour ice cream into parchment-lined glass baking dish with lid and freeze to firm up consistency. Once hardened, lift ice cream block out of dish using corners of parchment paper and cut the block of ice cream into cubes. Return cubes to food processor and follow step 1 above until it becomes creamy again.

Pure Genius Brownies & Blondies: Upgrade Your Sweet Treats

When I was in college, one of the nicknames given to me by my husband’s fraternity brothers was “Betty Crocker.”

I grew up baking with my mom and neighbor, Miss Muriel, and it was always something I enjoyed. I was known for making Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup cookies, GIANT chocolate chip cookies, and cookies and cream brownies in college. I wasn’t exactly into healthier baking back then, but the cookies and brownies were always a hit!

Since I’m all about upgrading what we eat, so we can eat tasty things AND feel good about it, I share dozens of sweet treat recipes on this blog. And as much as many of you like making things from scratch, sometimes it’s nice to have store bought options when you’re short on time or just want to try something new.

What if there was a company that could take one of our favorite sweets – brownies – and upgrade them by adding in some fill-you-up fiber and protein? And what if they put all of that goodness into one little package that actually tasted good?

For all of you with kiddos, what if you could find a dessert that you felt good about putting in your little ones’ lunchbox, knowing it was school-safe and nut-free and had some nourishment in it?

Meet, Pure Genius brownies and blondies.

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I first tried these at the Natural Products Expo East last fall and became a fan. They were recently named the NEXTY award winner for best new sweet or dessert at Expo East 2016.

I couldn’t believe that the FIRST ingredient in both the Deep Chocolate Brownie and the Chocolate Chunk Blondie was…chickpeas!

You’d never guess that every Pure Genius brownie and blondie contains more than 40% garbanzo beans (chickpeas). And we’re talking whole beans, not flour.

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Believe it or not, YOU DON’T TASTE THEM AT ALL! All they do is add protein, fiber, and a nice soft texture to these tasty treats. Here are a few more reasons why you should give these brownies a try:

  • They’re gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, dairy-free, and nut-free (perfect for nut-free schools and kids with food allergies!)
  • GMO-free (verified by the Non-GMO Project as not being genetically modified or made with genetically modified ingredients)
  • They taste great and have a nice chewy texture, unlike most gluten-free brownies, which are often crumbly. My husband, who also has a sweet tooth, loves them as well, especially the blondie.
  • Each hefty bar has under 200 calories, 3 to 4 grams of protein, 3 to 4 grams of fiber, and only 11 grams of sugar.
  • They have an expiration date! Real food is supposed to go bad and rot, and these will, too. If a food lasts on a shelf for six months or more, is it really something we want to be putting in our body if we want to feel our best?

So, where can you buy these bean-based brownies?

  • Visit Pure Genuis’ website here. I’ve got some good news for you! Use code RACHELSKITCHEN for 20% off all online orders. The code is valid through November 30, 2016.
  • Buy on Amazon: Chocolate Chunk Blondies or Deep Chocolate Brownies.
  • Find them at your local Whole Foods.

Have you tried Pure Genius brownies and blondies before? Let us know what you think below!pure-genius-brownieblondie-brownie

10 Tasty New Food Finds from Natural Products Expo East 2016

What a whirlwind the past few weeks have been!

From the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore to the Culinary Nutrition Expert Retreat in Toronto, a Holistic Health Conference in Madison, Wisconsin and the New Jersey Veg Fest yesterday, and teaching a few workshops in between, I’ve been on what felt like a natural health tour of North America.

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I’ve also gotten some clarity around how I want to focus and what I want to share. I feel drawn to go deeper on this blog than I have been in the past few months. I’m grateful for your patience with me as I’ve been a bit less regular with posts over the past month, but the clarity I’ve gained during that time was worth it.

One of the reasons you’ve told me you come to me with questions or follow me on Instagram and Facebook is to be up to date on the latest and greatest natural food products that I use in my own home and recommend to you. I know one of the most frustrating aspects of starting to eat well and remove foods like dairy and gluten is the overwhelm you feel when you step into the store and blankly stare at a wall with 20 options for one product.

How do you know which to choose?

I’m here to make it easier AND to introduce you to some fun, new products before they hit stores. For the past three years, I’ve attended the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore as Press because of how much this community supports my efforts on social media (THANK YOU!).

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I want to pay it forward by sharing with you my top finds from the expo. As with all of my recommendations and recipes, they are all gluten-free and dairy-free.

I think you’ll be excited to see what is going to be coming to grocery stores in the coming weeks and months!

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1) Hilary’s Eat Well Breakfast Sausage Patties

I first found out about Hilary’s Eat Well veggie burgers two years ago at my first Expo. To be honest, I wasn’t someone who ate veggie burgers; I thought they were pretty nasty and full of a bunch of ingredients I wouldn’t have in my own pantry.

These burgers are different. They are one of the ONLY foods we have in our freezer at all times. Bill loves to have them for breakfast, topped with an egg or on top of a sweet potato hash, and we also love them toasted and then crumbled up on a salad. I featured these burgers in my mason jar salad recipe at the end of the summer. They are SO good!

To make things even better, they now have a breakfast sausage version. It contains all real food for ingredients (i.e., no weird soy protein isolates) AND is dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and egg-free. The two versions I tried were Apple Maple and Spicy and my favorite was definitely the Apple Maple.

Where to Find Them: Click this link to find a store near you where you can buy all of Hilary’s Eat Well products.

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2) Farmhouse Culture Ginger Beets & Kraut Krisps

Since over 70% of our immune system sits in and around our digestive system, eating fermented foods is one of the best things we can do to boost our immune system, not get sick, clear up our skin, reduce bloat, and have regular bowel movements (at least 1/day!).

I’ve been a fan of Farmhouse Culture’s Kimchi and Sauerkraut for about a year now and a few months ago I started taking their Gut Shots to support my digestive and immune systems. When I stopped by their table and saw their new branding (love it) and their new products, I was stoked!

The ginger beets were amazing and would be delicious chopped up and put on a salad or just eaten as a snack. But one of the coolest snacks I tried all day was the Kraut Krisp. With almost 50% sauerkraut, organic corn masa and a shelf stable probiotic blend in the seasoning mix, this is a chip you can feel good about eating. The dill pickle is amazing! I’m hoping to see both of these yummy foods in my local store soon!

Where to Find It: Here is the link to their Store Locator. On the link is a Product Request form that you can print out and take to your local store!

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3) Beetnik Organic Frozen Meals 

We discovered beetnik Organic frozen meals about a year ago.What I love about them is that they are made with real, whole food ingredients and taste more like a homemade meal than a frozen one.

They are Bill’s #1 go to choice for lunch at school when he hasn’t packed leftovers or planned ahead. As an elementary school teacher, he’s lucky if he gets 20 minutes to enjoy his lunch, so convenience is key, but so is staying fueled and energized throughout the day.

Bill has liked every single one he has tried, and I know he’ll be excited to check out some of their new flavors like Ragu Alla Bolognese, Pollo Alla Cacciatora, Organic Lemon Chicken with Cauliflower Rice, Organic Shepherd’s Pie with Grass Fed Beef, and Organic Beef Chili with Sweet Potato. The first two are pasta sauces, and the last three are paleo-friendly and grain-free.

Where to Find Them: I buy them at MOM’s Organic Market or Roots Market, but you can use this store locator to find them near you.

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4) Miyoko’s Creamery {Dairy-Free Cheeses}

When you stop eating dairy, one of the things you miss the most is the creaminess of cheese. Fortunately, food has come a LONG way, and brands like Miyoko’s give us the opportunity to get that beloved texture back 🙂

At the Expo, they were sampling their Smoked Farmhouse, Fresh Loire Valley and Double Cream Chive cheeses as well as a few others. They also have Garlic Herb, Sundried Tomato Garlic, Winter Truffle and Herbs de Provence varieties. Organic cashews are the base of their cheeses and give them a rich and creamy texture

Where to Find It: I buy mine at MOMs Organic Market or Whole Foods but you can use this store locator to find where they are sold near you!

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5) Soul Sprout Snacks

After undergoing a rebranding from Two Moms in the Raw (who I’ve written about here) to Soul Sprout, these snacks are better than ever. They have granola bars, almond butter truffles, nut bars, grain-free cereal, and almond protein crackers.

Their plant-based snacks are made with sprouted ingredients and have recently undergone a makeover in the ingredient list. They used to use agave as a sweetener but upgraded to coconut sugar, which is less controversial and even more delicious.

Where to Find Them: I buy mine at MOMs Organic Market, but Whole Foods and The Fresh Market carry their products as well. Look for them at your local grocery store or shop online on their website here.

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6) Jackson’s Honest Chips

I first tried these chips at Expo East two years ago and fell in love. They have become our go to chip and I’ve introduced them to dozens of people through my workshops and cooking classes, and my coworkers are kind of obsessed with them, too. They’re perfectly crunchy and incredibly satisfying.

The founders of the company created the chips as a result of helping their son recover from an illness doctors couldn’t diagnose or treat. They discovered how powerful coconut oil was in his healing and use it as an ingredient in all of their chips. My favorite variety is the sweet potato chips, but they introduced two *new* products at the Expo – Maple Cinnamon Sweet Potato and Rippled Red Heirloom Potato Chips. All I can say is YUM.

Where to Find Them: I buy mine at MOMs Organic Market, Wegmans or The Fresh Market, but you can find them near you using their store locator here.

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7) Cappello’s Cookie Dough

I first fell in love with their chocolate chip cookie dough two years ago at the first Expo East I attended. Their cookies are gluten-free, dairy-free, and grain-free and use almond flour as the base. They introduced three new kinds of dough at the expo: Double Chocolate, Lemon Zest and Ginger Snap. I have a pack of each sitting in my freezer right now along with some of their fettuccine and lasagna sheets that I can’t WAIT to use!

Where to Find Them: I’ve bought their products at MOMs Organic Market and Whole Foods Market, but you can find them near you using this locator.

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8) Simple Mills Crackers & Baking Mixes

I fell in love with Simple Mills baking mixes when I met them at Expo East two years ago. They have the best boxed bread mix, pancake and waffle mix, cake mix, muffin and cupcake mix, and pizza dough. I use their bread mix to make this delicious paleo-friendly, gluten-free stuffing, perfect for the upcoming holidays!

At the Expo, they were introducing their new almond flour crackers. My favorite is the Sun-dried Tomato Basil version, but they also have a Fine Ground Sea Salt and Rosemary & Sea Salt variety. You HAVE to try them!

Where to Find Them: I buy their products at MOMs Organic Market, Target, Home Goods (hit or miss!), or online at Amazon. Use their store locator to find them near you.

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9) Forager Dairy-Free Yogurt

I used to eat yogurt every day growing up. I didn’t like sandwiches as a kid, and yogurt was one of the few foods that was easily portable and filled me up. It took me 25 years to figure it out, but the yogurt I was eating wasn’t the healthiest. It was usually full of lots of sugar and the brands I used to buy (Yoplait and Dannon) rank as two of the BOTTOM FIVE of a list of 129 yogurts rated by the Cornucopia Institute here.

Most dairy-free yogurts have a funky texture and more gelatinous than smooth and creamy. Fortunately, companies like Forager are beginning to step up their game and bring us delicious dairy-free yogurts that taste closer to the real thing. I loved how velvety smooth their cashew milk-based yogurt was and think you will, too!

Where to Find It: I’ve found their other products at MOMs Organic Market, so I’m hoping they will carry the yogurt soon! You can find out more on Forager’s website.

img_827010) Coco-Roons Superfood Cookies

I have to admit it – I used to hate coconut. At Halloween, every Mounds bar or Almond Joy went straight into the trash. No thank you! Over the years, I’ve come to love coconut no matter what form it takes – coconut flakes, milk, oil, and butter. It’s so rich and full of flavor.

One of my favorite desserts are the Coco-Roons made by Wonderfully Raw. My usual go-tos are the brownie and vanilla maple versions, so I was super excited to find out that they rebranded AND introduced two new flavors at Expo – Salted Caramel (YESSSS) and Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Where to Find Them: The best deals are at Home Goods, but you can also buy them at MOMs Organic Market, The Fresh Market, Whole Foods, and Safeway. Check out their store locator for more store options!

Well, that’s a wrap, friends! Those are my first ten finds. I think you’ll love them and can’t wait to share another round of awesomeness in my next post!

HEX Ferments: The Difference, The Flavor & The Future

This is the second part in a two-part series. Did you miss the first post? To learn about the start, the art and the heart of HEX Ferments, click here. 

I had the privilege of interviewing Meaghan Carpenter, one of the founders and owners of HEX Ferments, a fermented food and drink company located in Baltimore. I was drawn to her story because of how her company embodies the core of my food philosophy – to connect with our food, where it comes from and how it makes us feel; to savor our food, prioritizing quality and taking time to enjoy it; and to nourish our bodies with vibrant, life-giving food.

The Difference

So, what makes HEX Ferments different than other fermented foods and drink companies? Meaghan had a lot to say about that and was passionate about the quality of what they create.

We source and ferment for peak flavor. [
] We work with layering flavor. Our staff are all trained in the culinary field. We’ve hired people that know how to work with flavor. We don’t use a lot of dried spices. We use a lot of fresh herbs and spices and we source from local farms for about 90% of our produce. That helps us to get the foods that are the freshest and at the peak of their flavor and nutritional profile.

The health benefits of HEX’s products vary greatly from most products on the market, especially in the case of something like pickles. Most pickles on the market are made with vinegar, which acts as a preservative to make them more shelf stable. It’s used as an instant acidifier.

hex-picklesUnfortunately, most vinegars are denatured or killed, so the nutritional benefits of fermented food are lost; there’s no probiotic component to vinegar pickles. The way HEX produces their products preserves the nutritional integrity and gives us the host of benefits we expect.

HEX naturally ferments their products through the process of lactic acid fermentation, which creates the beneficial microbes that characterize pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi. The next time you’re in the market for a jar of pickles or sauerkraut, make sure you read the label. You want it to be a “living food” with live cultures, no heat and no vinegar.

Not only does HEX prioritize using high quality ingredients and best in class fermentation practices, but they are also particular about the vessels in which they make their products. Unlike most large companies, they don’t use plastic barrels lined with plastic to ferment. When you’re creating a food that acidifies itself, you’re creating a lot of microbes that are really powerful that can eat away at plastic. Because of that concern, the team at HEX ferments in stainless steel, which also helps to keep their products tasting the same as well. That is considered the gold standard for how to ferment.

What I was surprised to learn next gave me another reason to take pride in having HEX Ferments as one of our own. They are the only fermented food company in the U.S. that makes and sells everything at their storefront. This gives their customers a unique experience and the ability to taste and smell everything and talk to the people who have a hand in making the food.

The Flavor

People often come up to the stand and aren’t shy about their feelings toward fermented foods, “I hate sauerkraut.”

Instead of being flustered or offended, Meaghan responds gently, “I’m sorry to hear that. That just means you haven’t had really good sauerkraut. You can learn to like sour.”

If you’re new to fermented foods, it can take a little while to adapt to their naturally sour taste, but Meaghan gave me some suggestions that could help.

  • Pickles are a great way to start because most of us are already familiar with them and have tried them before. Try some cucumber pickles or other pickled vegetables.
  • Try kombucha. It’s an easy entry point because it often has a bit of sweetness to balance the sour, and people tend to like its fizziness.
  • Their carrot confetti made with pickled carrots is a good starter and converted a former sauerkraut hater into a weekly customer.
  • Mix and eat things like sauerkraut with food. If you eat salad, instead of adding dressing, take a few tablespoons of the kraut, chop it up, mix it into your salad and add some olive oil.
A few bottles of HEX's brightly colored kombucha

A few bottles of HEX’s brightly colored kombucha

So, how much sauerkraut should you eat? What amount of kombucha is best to drink?

Start small. Keep in mind it is a living food and you’re introducing billions of bacteria into your system.

Meaghan suggests starting with one tablespoon of kraut or kimchi a day with food (i.e,. chopped up on a salad, as a condiment, mixed in with grains and beans, on a sandwich, etc.) and see how your body reacts. Her stepmother swears by breakfast consisting of an English muffin with peanut butter and HEXs juniper caraway sauerkraut. I can’t say it appealed to me, but Meaghan’s enthusiasm about it might get me to try it!

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Sauerkraut pairs nicely with tacos in this dish with Clavel’s tacos and watermelon radish pickles

For kombucha, Meaghan recommends starting with four to six ounces on an empty stomach in the morning. This has helped her and others with chronic constipation.

As with any food, slow down and pay attention to how your body responds and then increase the amount you’re eating or drinking or stay where you are. Over time, it’s likely you will be able to eat more.

The Shop (Where to Find It!)

To learn more about HEX Ferments and their upcoming events and for locations where you can find their products, check out their website at www.HexFerments.com.

Locally, you can find their products at MOMs Organic Market, Whole Foods, Graul’s, and Eddies Market as well as at the Waverly Farmer’s Market in Baltimore on Saturday mornings.

fullsizerenderIf you’re in the DC area, swing by Each Peach Yes! Organic Market at Capitol Hill, or the Arlington MOMs Organic Market for a jar of their famous kraut or kimchi. Hex also has a presence at the Silver Spring Farmer’s Market and Bethesda Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings.

If you’d rather skip the trip to the store or market and order online, you can order their products through Washington Green Grocer, Relay Foods, Hungry Harvest, and Hometown Harvest.

The Future

HEX Ferments is experiencing a ton of growth and will be expanding to a larger production space just down the road from Belvedere Square, where their storefront will remain. They will gain over 1,000 square feet of space.

A sneak peek at the new space

A sneak peek at the new space

They have plans to teach a few workshops in the fall and look forward to introducing more people to the art of fermentation. I’ll be sure to keep you updated about those events through my Facebook page and this blog.

Over the years, Meaghan and Shane have grown to appreciate and embrace all that Baltimore has to offer. They look forward to continuing to build community through HEX Ferments, as they invite us to connect with our food, how it makes us feel and where it comes from; appreciate food as beauty and art; and nourish our bodies with living, healing food that will leave us looking and feeling our best.

Have you tried HEX Ferments products? Do you have a favorite? Feel free to share below!

Healthy Dining in Portland: An East Coast Foodie’s Guide

Whether you live near Portland, Oregon, have plans to go there sometime soon or are looking for ideas for future vacations, you’ll want to read this post! (Or just scroll to be tempted by the amazing food in the pics!).

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When we booked our trip to Portland, Oregon several months ago, and I told people we were going there, their responses were unanimous:

“You’re going to LOVE it there!”

“You’ll be with ‘your’ people.”

By “my people”, they were mostly referring to foodies that have some food preferences not so easily accommodated here on the East Coast (i.e,. gluten-free, dairy-free, organic). Portland is known for being a very allergen-friendly food city, so you can go just about anywhere and find gluten-free, dairy-free options.

Whenever Bill and I travel, we look for three things:

  1. Delicious, nourishing food
  2. Farmer’s markets
  3. Walkability & hiking

IMG_7081Portland happened to have the trifecta, so we couldn’t wait for the trip to begin. During the six days we were in Portland, we made the rounds and tried over a dozen different eateries, all of which offered and often specialized in gluten-free, dairy-free options that tasted as good as, if not better than, the originals.

If you’re traveling to Portland (or if you live there and want to check out some new spots) AND are looking for nourishing and delicious options, use this list as your guide.

Portland Farmer’s Market

Portland State University, SW Park & SW Montgomery; www.portlandfarmersmarket.org

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We had heard that this market was all the rage and were stoked to check it out on Saturday morning. We liked it so much that we spent three hours there. I love the energy of farmer’s markets. The people. The sounds. The colors. This market was no different.

We also made friends with one of the volunteers, Steve, who gave us some pretty stellar recommendations about places to check out while we were staying in Portland. It always pays to talk to the locals, the people who will send you somewhere other than the places all the tourists go. They tend to be way better (and less crowded).

What We Ate / Drank

  • Chai Donut (Petunia’s Pies & Pastries)
  • Everything Bagel (New Cascadia)
  • Honey Mama’s chocolate bars (Sample every chocolate! We bought a 4-pack)
  • Lentil Dal (Portland Curry Co.)
  • Strawberry Ginger Kombucha (Symple Foods)

Harlow Restaurant 

3632 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland; 971-255-0138; www.harlowpdx.com

IMG_71580C19EC8E-E8BF-43D9-8524-042A4B24666FIMG_6965Considering we ate here three different times and sat in on a cooking demo they did at the Farmer’s Market, this became our go-to spot. Everything they sell is gluten-free and dairy-free (win!), and they source their ingredients from local, sustainable sources.

We went there for breakfast twice and lunch one time but could have easily spent every meal there because they have such a variety of delicious options including smoothies, juices, bowls, salads, and sides. Their sister shop, Prasad Cafe, has a few locations downtown and their menus are pretty similar, so we were happy sticking with Harlow but would definitely check out Prasad on our next go around.

What We Ate

  • Betty Bowl (with a perfectly poached egg)
  • Chipotle Chili Bowl
  • Turmeric Toddy (iced or hot – I had both – SO GOOD!)
  • Strawberry Short Stack
  • Outlaw Scramble
  • Mercy Blues
  • Pesto Garden Scramble
  • Trail Mix Cookie

Portobello Vegan Trattoria

1125 SE Division Street, Portland; 503-754-5993; http://portobellopdx.com/

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Delicious. Italian food…Vegan.

Say what??

How could a restaurant with cuisine based entirely around cheese, pasta and bread possibly have options that a gluten-free, dairy-free eater (and her husband) could enjoy?

They did! We’re so glad we gave this place a shot. I’m glad we didn’t let its not-so-fancy storefront deter us from checking out what ended up being one of our favorite meals of the entire trip. For starters, our server, Corinn, was sweet and spunky as can be and guided us through the menu. With a variety of gluten-free options (including pizza!), we had plenty of options to choose from and enjoyed every single one – so much so that two dessert-lovers like us didn’t have room for dessert.

What We Ate

  • Beet Tartare with New Cascadia Gluten-Free bread (even Bill said that bread tasted BETTER than the regular bread)
  • Kale Caesar Salad
  • Tom’s Pizza on gluten-free crust
  • Bliss Tea

Blossoming Lotus

1713 NE 15th Ave, Portland; 503.228.0048; www.blpdx.com

FDC8891B-EBB2-4A9C-A3ED-85A23370021AWe picked a beautiful day to check out this restaurant in the Irvington neighborhood. Another dairy-free, gluten-free find, we were drawn in by the pictures of their live nachos on Instagram and Yelp! and knew we had to include them on our self-guided food tour of the city.

What We Ate

  • Live Nachos (man oh man were these good!)
  • Curry Bowl
  • Lotus Benedict

Departure

525 SW Morrison St, Portland; 503-802-5370; http://departureportland.com/

IMG_7155We’re Top Chef fans and have watched just about every season of the show. One of our favorite seasons featured Gregory Gourdet, who is now Executive Chef of Departure Restaurant. His inspiring story of becoming sober and prioritizing nourishing, quality food in that process was certainly one draw to bring us to this trendy rooftop restaurant in the heart of downtown. That, and Farmer’s Market Steve highly recommended it, too!

I loved that they provided both vegan and gluten-free menus in addition to the standard menu, so there was no shortage of options for appetizers, entrees or desserts.

What We Ate

  • Tandoori Spiced Scallops
  • Kani Avocado Roll
  • Shaved Collards Salad

Verde Cocina

Multiple locations; Portland Farmer’s Market; www.verdecocinamarket.com

0BB50060-A2CA-4E70-9E86-44324C75E942Farmer’s Market Steve came through again when he recommended we check out this place for a meal. Fresh, bright Mexican food with handmade, corn tortillas. Bill had a dish for breakfast at the farmer’s market and we liked it so much that we went back for a happy hour at their main restaurant a few days later.

What We Ate

  • Buenos Dias Breakfast
  • Sweet Potato-Black Bean Salad
  • Carne Asada Taco
  • Guacamole & Tortillas
  • Gringas con Mole

Nong’s Khao Man Gai

Multiple locations; http://khaomangai.com/

IMG_7147People flock to this food cart for what might seem like too simple of a dish. But simple done well and with the highest quality of ingredients can be simply delicious
and it was. They had a gluten-free option, too, so I was in!

How’s this description for your taste buds?

Poached, organic chicken with rice simmered in chicken stock and Thai herbs, served with sauce of fermented soybeans, ginger, garlic, thai chilies, vinegar, house made syrup and soy sauce. Garnished with cucumbers and cilantro, and accompanied by a light soup

What We Ate: Chicken & Rice with sauce (Khao Man Gai)

a.n.d. Cafe

5420 E Burnside St, Portland; 503-233-4550; http://andcafepdx.com

IMG_7150This was our last official stop and was a welcome meal after running a 5k through Portland that morning. Once again, we were given a whole menu of delicious dairy-free, gluten-free options. This place was a bit off the beaten path but well worth the run there!

What We Ate

  • Full Nest with 2 poached eggs
  • Hashtastic with a poached egg

Slow Squeeze Juice Bar

2880 SE Division St, Portland; www.slowsqueezejuice.com

IMG_6795Another gem at the Tidbit Food Farm pod, I swung by Slow Squeeze while I was waiting for my waffle to be finished. The turmeric tonic made with fresh turmeric root, carrot, spinach, apple, cucumber and ginger caught my eye and gave my immunity and digestive system a nice boost before enjoying my Smaaken waffle.

What I Drank: Turmeric Tonic

KURE Juice Bar

Multiple locations; http://kurejuicebar.com/

IMG_7146 IMG_6875This was another gem and a place we hit up twice on our trip – once for lunch, and then the next day for breakfast. They use organic ingredients and are, like so many other places in Portland, gluten-free and dairy-free, so I had lots of options to choose from. No matter time of day it is, you can find something at Kure to give you a nourishing energy boost.

What We Ate / Drank

  • Vietnum Bowl (recommended by Britt from Harlow)
  • Full Moon Salad
  • Eisenhart Smoothie
  • Bowl of the Gods Acai Smoothie Bowl
  • Green eLemonator Juice

Greenleaf Juicing Company

Multiple locations; http://greenleafjuice.com/

IMG_7153Another juice, smoothie, and acai bowl in the heart of Portland, I decided to check it out after seeing their menu of steamed soups. They use a broth of fresh-pressed vegetable juice – celery, carrots, etc. and steam it with an array of vegetables before blending it all in a high-powered blender. It was a little windy the day we stopped by, so a cup a soup was a perfect between-meal snack to hold me over.

What We Ate

  • Zen Shot
  • Spinach & Cauliflower Steamed Soup

Petunia’s Pies & Pastries

610 SW 12th Ave, Portland; Saturday Farmer’s Market; 503-841-5961; http://petuniaspiesandpastries.com/

A gluten-free, vegan bakery. It seemed too good to be true. It was our first purchase at the market, and while we were debating which goodies to purchase, a local came up to the stand and said, “They have the best donuts at the market,” as he noshed on a bagel from New Cascadia, a 100% gluten-free bakery. We were sold. Now, I wouldn’t say this was the most nourishing stop on the trip (after all, we were eating donuts!), but it was one that gave me the opportunity to try a food I hadn’t eaten in years, so why not? Live a little 🙂

What We Ate

  • Chai Donut (yes, please!)
  • Chocolate Mousse Donut

Back to Eden Bakery

2217 NE Alberta St, Portland; Tidbit Food Farm Food Truck Pod; 503-477-5022; www.backtoedenbakery.com

IMG_7152A gluten-free, vegan bakery. Again, I was in heaven! At the recommendation of our AirBNB hosts, whose son is gluten-free, we checked out this place
twice. They have a food cart at what was arguably the best food cart pod for healthy options (Tidbit Food Farm) as well as a storefront in the Alberta neighborhood. We went to both because
why not?

What We Ate

  • The Alberta Park Sundae
  • Peanut Butter Toffee Bar

Smaaken Waffles

2880 SE Division St, Portland; www.smaaken.com

IMG_7157In retrospect, our trip to Portland gave me an opportunity to indulge in some foods I never eat at home because of the lack of places that make them in Baltimore. If I want waffles, I have to make them myself or use Simple Mills boxed mix (so good!), so it was nice to have someone make me one for a change. ALL of their items can be ordered with gluten-free and/or vegan batter.

This was one of the food trucks at the Tidbit Food Farm & Garden (arguably the best food cart pod in Portland!).

What We Ate: I had the special, which was a gluten-free waffle with roasted beets, arugula, and an egg (subbed that in instead of the chùvre). It was fun and messy to eat
and delicious.

Vtopia Restaurant & Cheese Shop

1628 SW Jefferson St., Portland; 971-271-7656; http://vtopiancheeses.com/

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Shortly after posting a picture of our cheese plate from this place, my friend Yvette texted me, “The cheese plate is vegan?!?!?!? No lo creo. No entiendo!!” (Translation: I don’t believe it. I don’t understand!).

When you don’t eat dairy, cheese is one of the foods you miss because, well, nothing else really tastes or feels like cheese
except cheese. Having said that, vegan chefs have gotten incredibly creative with their recipes to reinvent the texture, consistency and tang of dairy-based cheeses by using ingredients like raw cashews.

What We Ate: Cheese Plate with 5 cheeses: Chive & Dill, Peppercorn Brie, Cheddar, Caramelized Onion Camembert, Chocolate Strawberry Brie with gluten-free bread, fruit compote, and pickled vegetables

Salt & Straw

Multiple locations in Portland and Los Angeles; http://saltandstraw.com

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Sometimes you wonder if the long lines outside of popular eateries are just another tourist trap. We decided to take the risk and wait in the 20-minute line (there was ALWAYS a line)…and it was so worth it.

Since I was a kid, my favorite ice cream has been mint chocolate chip. I had it in every birthday cake for as long as I can remember (you know, the Carvel cakes with the chocolate crunchies?).

Since removing dairy from my diet, finding a respectable mint chocolate chip ice cream that doesn’t have a funky aftertaste has been a challenge. So I was skeptical but open when I found out that one of Salt & Straw’s vegan ice cream flavors was none of there than Petunia’s Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream.

HOLY COW! It was worth the wait in every way. It lived up to every expectation – smooth, creamy, minty, crunchy, chocolatey and downright delicious. I didn’t want the magic to end.

Maple Parlor

3538 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland; 503-206-4757; www.themapleparlor.com

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Conveniently, it was a block away from Harlow, which made it the perfect stop for our first dessert in Portland. Not only do they have paleo ice cream options (the peanut butter hard serve is to die for!), but they have a toppings bar that is entirely gluten-free. Score!

What We Ate: Twist of Cashew Maple & Peanut Butter Cashew soft serve with Oregon Berry Compote and Granola

Eb & Bean

1425 NE Broadway Portland; 503-281-6081; www.ebandbean.com

IMG_7154Ice cream is such a treat for me because I rarely eat it but absolutely love it. Finding this gem right around the corner from our lunch visit to Blossoming Lotus was one of the highlights of our sweet treat experience in Portland.

What We Ate: Twist of Chocolate Hazelnut Pudding and Coconut Caramel Cream soft serve flavors topped with Honey Mama’s CocoNoNut bar and gluten-free, vegan cookie dough crumbles

Townshend Tea House

Multiple locations; www.townshendstea.com

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We stopped by this tea house on our last night there and were wowed by their tea selection. I’ve never seen so many tea options in my life! They sell tea, kombucha and coffee, and the vibe is super cool. I wish Baltimore had a place like this!

What We Drank

  • Tummy Tamer Tea (post Portobello dinner)
  • Chamomile Mint Tea

Places to Check Out Next Time

  • Ava Gene’s
  • The Bye & Bye
  • Gigi’s Cafe
  • Prasad
  • Xico

Non-Food Fun

IMG_7080Clearly, we like to eat
but we also like to do other things! Check out the list below for some fun ideas for things to do around Portland:

  • Cannon Beach (the rock from The Goonies movie!)
  • Cascade River Gorge
  • Living Room Theater
  • Powell’s Book Store
  • Saturday Waterfront Market
  • Bike Rentals (Nike has orange bike rentals throughout the city)
  • Jet Boat Tour (recommended but we didn’t get to do it)
  • 4T Tour (recommended but we didn’t get to it)

Sweet Potato, Edamame & Quinoa Bowl

What if meal prep and planning could be easier? Cheaper? Tastier? More nourishing?

During the typical work week when I have lots of presentations and meetings and spend a good amount of time in my car, one of the best ways to make sure I stay energized is to have nourishing meals readily available.

I was preparing to teach a cooking demo about Meal Planning Made Easy to a client in DC and shared how to make overnight oats and mason jar salads. I knew I wanted to add one more recipe into the mix. I thought about the types of meals Bill and I typically prepare during the week without following recipes and was inspired to create this recipe.

sweet-potato-bowl-closeup

We tend to use recipe templates instead of always following a recipe line by line. In addition to the versatile overnight oats and mason jar salad recipes, grain bowls are another template we roughly follow when coming up with meals.

They’re easy to assemble. We toss together whatever veggies, grains and proteins we have and mix everything up with a homemade dressing (or whatever we have in our fridge!). We top everything off with chopped nuts or seeds to add some crunch.

In this Sweet Potato, Edamame & Quinoa Bowl, I combined a gluten-free grain (quinoa) with a fiber-filled roasted veg (sweet potatoes) and protein (edamame), a pop of color and greenery (scallions), and some crunch and healthy fat (cashews). I topped everything off with my favorite salad dressing of all time plus one of my favorite anti-inflammatory, digestion-loving, heart healthy ingredients – fresh ginger root.

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My husband, Bill, and I love this dish so much that we’ve made it twice in the past few weeks. It can be served warm or chilled, and it’s lasted us for multiple dinners and lunches each time, which has saved us time and money.

We decided to repurpose the dressing from our favorite kale salad for this recipe and added minced ginger to boost the flavor even more.

sweet-potato-bowl

Sweet Potato, Edamame & Quinoa Bowl

This dish has every texture and flavor you could want in a dish and is ALWAYS a crowd-pleaser!

Salad

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
  • 2 cups shelled edamame
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews (lightly toasted and chopped)
  • 1/3 cup scallions (chopped)

Creamy Ginger Tahini Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons tahini ((sesame paste))
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon tamari ((gluten-free soy sauce))
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 small cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 inch ginger root (peeled and minced)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin)
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roasted for 20-25 minutes until pierced easily with a fork.

  2. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Spread quinoa on a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool and prevent it from clumping together. This last step is optional but really helps.

  3. While quinoa is cooking, cook edamame according to package directions and then set aside.

  4. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small jar. Set aside.

  5. Put cooled quinoa in a large bowl and add sweet potatoes, edamame, scallions, and cashews. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine evenly. Add more sea salt and pepper to taste.

Our Kitchen Renovation Is FINISHED! {Before & After Pics!}

When we bought our house almost three years ago, we knew one thing for certain – we were going to knock down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room. We live in a rancher built in the 1950s, so open floor plans were definitely not a thing back then.

Our oak cabinets were dated, we had very little counter space, and our Pepto-pink pocket doors needed to go! From a practical standpoint, the layout made it impossible for us to talk with our guests and prepare food at the same time.

We were ready for a change.

kitchen-before-demo

To complicate matters a bit, I’m incredibly indecisive when it comes to interior design. Selecting colors, styles, and layouts is NOT my thing.

When we were first coming up with ideas, I was convinced I wanted “warm” colors and a sunshine-y feel to the room – from countertops to paint colors. Oh, and I was adamant about a modern look. I told myself and anyone I talked to that the one thing I did not want was a modern look.

Sooo, naturally, we ended up with…dark gray porcelain tiles, a grey-beige paint color, white cabinets, nickel fixtures and a cool countertop with hints of plum – pretty much the exact opposite of what I thought I wanted!

Now that it’s finished, we love it!kitchen-new-full

Can I tell you how AMAZING it is to have counter space?? Soft-close drawers and doors? A pantry? Space to move? A place to entertain guests?

We used Craftmasters Remodeling to do the job, and they did pretty amazing work, making our (limited) vision into reality. We couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out 🙂

Here are some before and after shots of our old to *NEW* kitchen!sink-before-after kitchen-doorway-before-after full-before-after

I know people like to know the particulars of renovation jobs like this, so I will do my best to let you know where different things came from:

  • It’s amazing to finally have some storage! Our cabinets are by Wolf and are the York style in white. We highly recommend the drawers for pots and pans and the rollout shelves in the pantry!
  • We bought these drawer liners for our spice drawers from Amazon, so we could easily organize and access our herbs and spices.

kitchen-storage kitchen-pantry

Now, let’s take a look at some of the fun decorative stuff. We used greens and purples / plums as our accent colors, since our countertop has hints of plum in it and because I’m kind of in love with the color purple.

kitchen-decor

Our wall artwork is from Marcella Kriebel. She does BEAUTIFUL watercolor art. Speaking of the walls, we’re looking to update a different room in the house soon; we’re not sure which one yet but we know we want to radically change the walls in some way. One of the thoughts we’ve had is to get some peel and stick wallpaper as we’ve seen some really nice designs. But for now, we’re quite happy with the wall artwork we have as it does bring some character to the otherwise bare walls.

I have a few more prints from her that we will be framing and hanging in other rooms in the house. She’s based nearby in D.C. but ships everywhere. She’s also on Etsy, so check out her stuff.

The frames on the ends are a Vintage Stone Grey wood frame from The Rusty Roof on Amazon.

kitchen-art-collage

So, there you have it!

Rachel (& Bill’s!) Nourishing Kitchen is complete 🙂 I’m excited to see what will happen in our new space and look forward to sharing with you some new videos I will be filming using the island. I hope to host some smaller cooking events in our home, so those of you who are interested in having a more intimate and cozy class can join.

Now, I’d love to hear from YOU! What do you think of the renovation? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Easy One-Pan Meal: Baked Salmon, Potatoes & Asparagus

As much as I like experimenting in the kitchen, I also think it’s fun to explore other blogs and cookbooks to find inspiration for the next great meal idea!

Last month, we tried something new and used the meal planning service from Relay Foods, an online grocery store that makes grocery shopping quick and easy. The last time we used their meal planning service, we made a yummy black bean soup and kale slaw with our friends Zach and Kiersten a few weeks before they said, “I do.”

I was curious to see what Relay’s One Pot Meal options looked like, since I’m not a huge fan of the clean-up part of cooking. I found a One Pan Salmon, Potato and Asparagus dinner that looked easy to make. Asparagus is in season, so I thought it would be a great way to showcase that veg.

asparagus-closeup

What I loved about the dish was its simplicity and how delicious it was! Not only that, but two of the main ingredients are mood-boosting foods that I wrote about in my last blog post – folate-rich asparagus and wild caught salmon.

Folate is one of the most important nutrients we can eat and is found in leafy green veggies, asparagus, lentils and other beans. It plays a key role in helping our body produce the mood-balancing and boosting neurotransmitter, serotonin.  The omega-3 fats in the salmon feed our brain and help our body reduce inflammation, which is at the root of so many of the diseases that are taking life from our years and years from our lives.

I bet you will enjoy this delicious dish as much as Bill and I did!

**UPDATE: Relay Foods was bought by Door to Door Organics in 2016, which has since shut down. For more ideas about online recipe options and meal kits, check out one of these options:

Here is the link for a similar recipe from Simply Recipes, since Relay Foods is out of business.

one-pan-final

 

How to Have an Easy Weeknight Dinner Double Date {+ Kitchen Update!}

Are you looking for some ideas to make dinners a little more exciting? If you’re like us, you tend to wait until the weekend to get together with friends around mealtime. But why not change it up and build that into your week?

In today’s post, I’m going to share the steps for planning a no-fuss weeknight dinner date with your friends or family based on a cool experience Bill and I had last week. I hope you’ll be inspired and excited by this idea and feel encouraged to change things up during the week.

Before we dive into that, I have a kitchen update to share! 🙂

We’re about two weeks into our kitchen renovation, and things are coming along nicely. The demo is finished, the floor tiles have been laid, the electric is wired, and the walls are painted. We are going to clean the new flooring properly before our guests come. Friends of ours have recommended Bissell steam cleaners for flooring like ours.

We’re expecting the cabinets to arrive on Tuesday and the whole job to wrap up in about two weeks!

kitchen update.jpg

Versatile Gray is the “Greige” paint color we chose for our kitchen (looks so good!). Aren’t these kitchen towels PERFECT?! And our floor tiles have been laid down and grouted (but not yet cleaned!)

We’ve essentially moved our kitchen to the basement, which happens to be completely finished AND has an extra fridge and sink (serious perk).

Embarking on this basement renovation project has reminded me about the time we found a leak down there! Fortunately, since then we have invested in basement waterproofing techniques to help keep unwanted water out. No one wants a soggy basement after all

While it’s not the most convenient set-up, we have just about everything we need to continue to make meals each week using our blender, induction cooktop, and food processor. Surprisingly, the blender is very versatile with what you can make. From soup, to sauces and smoothies, you can do just about anything with one, so we’ve found it important to keep it around.

At the beginning of the construction process, Bill and I thought it would be a neat idea to become dinner crashers while our renovation was being completed, so we weren’t making dinner in the basement every night.

Our friends and family offered to take us in for a meal or two, and it has been so much fun! It’s given us an opportunity to be more social during the week, something we had not prioritized before now. Here’s the process we followed for having an awesome weeknight dinner date!

Step 1: Pick Your Peeps

Last week, we got together with our friends Kiersten and Zach for a dinner double date. They are in the midst of their own transition, as they’re in the final weeks of preparation leading up to their April 30th wedding. They’re foodies like us and appreciate a wholesome, nourishing meal, so we thought we’d bring the ingredients to them and make the meal together for a weeknight dinner double date!

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With our lovely hosts (bride and goom-to-be!) after our delicious meal

Step 2: Choose Your Meal & Shop (from Home!)

I’ve had the opportunity to partner with Relay Foods, a healthy online grocery store that carries everything from organic, local produce to pantry staples, snacks, treats, and even personal care products like soaps, shampoo and lotions.

They have a cool Meal Planning feature on their website that lets you search for recipes by category – One Pot Meals, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Paleo, Dairy-Free, 30 Minutes or Less, etc. You can just use it as its own recipe search and use your own ingredients, but if you want to streamline the whole process, click “Add to Meal Plan and Review” when you find a recipe you like. Your cart will automatically update with the ingredients needed for the meal.

We chose to make this Black Bean Soup with Kale Slaw. The cost of all ingredients for a full dinner plus leftovers for four people was about $30. Depending on where we go out to eat, a single dinner and tip can cost that much…for one person! Also, cooking once and eating twice makes meal planning more doable and less intimidating because you’re saving money and time.

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Black Bean Soup with Kale Slaw recipe here

Step 3: Pick Up Your Grub (or Have Them Delivered!)

My husband, Bill, was on spring break last week, so he picked up our bags at a nearby pick-up site, but you have the option for Relay to deliver to your house an unlimited number of times each month for $19/month.

Want to try out Relay Foods? Click here to save $20 on your first order of $60 or more.).

Step 4: Make the Meal & Enjoy!

The day of our pick-up, I got an email from Relay that contained the full recipe we were making that night, so once we arrived at Kiersten’s house, we gave everyone a task to do to make the meal come together. We chopped, diced, shredded, and sauteed the ingredients for this warm, grounding soup topped with a bright, refreshing, perfect-for-spring slaw.

This meal was rich in GBOMBS, which are some of the most nourishing, protective, and healing foods on the planet; food like kale, red and yellow onions, garlic, cabbage, and black beans. That is a recipe for whole body nourishment!

Here is the link to get the full recipe for the Black Bean Soup with Kale Slaw. Try putting a few slices of avocado on top for some creaminess!

bill tasting soup

Bill tasting the soup and preparing the colorful kale slaw!

Even though I personally LOVE the idea of going to the grocery store, sometimes I’d rather order my groceries from home. If you’re one of those people who gets anxious at the thought of stepping foot in a crowded store, then I’d recommend giving Relay a try.

Also, because you’re auto-populating your grocery list based on ingredients in the meals you select, you will only be buying what you need, which makes you less likely to waste food and more likely to save money!

I also ordered a small gift for the bride-to-be that she was excited to receive – a bag of Hudson Henry Granola and a box of Numi chamomile lemon organic tea.

gifts

If you’re making a dinner for friends or family for a special occasion or just as an excuse to hang out, it’s nice to bring a small gift along, especially when it’s in the form of food.

If you want to host a weeknight dinner date and are curious about trying Relay Foods as an option, follow this link to get $20 off your first order of $60 or more.

Sunny Cran-ola Bars {No-Bake, Nut-Free, Gluten-Free}

One of my coworkers has peanut, tree nut and coconut allergies, so I challenged myself to make something she could enjoy along with everyone else for a cooking demo I taught today at work.

That’s how these bars came to be.

They’re slightly sweet, salty, tart, crunch and chewy – lots of tastes and textures to keep your taste buds happy!

bars on plate

The main ingredient is sunflower seed butter, which is where this recipe gets its “sunny” name. I’ve written about Sunbutter in a previous post here. You can find it at any grocery store (often in the natural food aisle) and at Target and Walmart. Target sells it in single serve to go packets, which is super convenient.

I shared a variation of this recipe back in the fall for a healthy snacks for kids cooking class but changed it up a little bit, so you wouldn’t need a food processor to make it. I also swapped out cranberries for raisins and used less sweetener overall.

This recipe comes together in about 5-7 minutes, so it’s easy to make in a pinch for an energizing snack!

cran cover

Yield: 20-24 squares

Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole rolled oats (I love Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free brand)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter (or peanut butter)
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon honey (add more if you want sweeter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Water, as needed

Directions

  1. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper. Combine oats, cinnamon, sea salt, pumpkin seeds and cranberries in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat sunflower seed butter and honey on medium-low, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  3. Pour liquid over oats and stir with a spoon or your hands to combine. If it’s too try, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until it sticks. Once everything comes together, press mixture into lined pan, using the back of a spatula or excess parchment paper to press it down and flatten the top.
  4. Refrigerate for at least an hour to set. Lift parchment from pan and cut into squares. Store in the refrigerator.

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