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Spinach Artichoke Dip Stuffed Beer Steamed Mushrooms

Spinach Artichoke Dip Stuffed Beer Steamed Mushrooms (perfect appetizer for thanksgiving or vegetarian main!)

You guys, it’s here. IT. IS. HERE!!

After two years of working and waiting I finally have an actual, real-life, physical copy of my book LUSH in my grubby little paws. It’s gorgeous and by far my favorite book I’ve ever written, I hope you love it as much as I do. 

Wanna get a beer with me and celebrate? The answer is yes. YES, YOU DO! Are you going to be in Seattle or New York in October? Then you have no excuses, not one. 

To entice you into joining me I’ve made you some stuffed mushrooms. I will, however, eat all of them before either event so don’t be counting on eating any, they’re all mine. But you should make them for yourself. Especially as an appetizer for Thanksgiving. Or a Halloween party. Or just a Tuesday because you feel like it. 

Stuffed mushrooms was one of the first recipes I ever developed on my own and I still love them. Do you have a veg-head coming over for Thanksgiving and are at a loss for what to serve them as a main? Just swap the 24 cremini mushrooms with 8 portobello mushrooms and they will have more than enough food to be as stuffed as the rest of us. 

So there you have it. A perfect appetizer that doubles as a vegetarian main dish, and you’ve already decided to come out and have a beer with me next month. Not a bad Thursday.

Spinach Artichoke Dip Stuffed Beer Steamed Mushrooms

5 from 1 vote

Ingredients
  

  • 24 cremini mushrooms baby bellas
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped white onions
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon (6g) salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper 3g
  • 1 cup (50g) chopped fresh spinach, packed
  • ½ cup (120g) marinated artichokes, chopped
  • ¼ cup (2oz) plus 1 cup beer (8oz) Oktoberfest, Marzen, brown ale, divided
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • ½ cup (56g) shredded mozzarella
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup (30g) Italian bread crumbs

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Wash the mushrooms well, removing the stems. Chop the stems, set aside. Add the mushroom caps, hole side up, to a baking dish (or dishes).
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped mushroom stems and onions, cooking until onions and mushroom pieces have softened. Stir in the salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the garlic, then add the spinach, cooking until the spinach has softened and wilted, stir in ¼ cup beer and the artichokes. 
  • Add the cream cheese, stirring until it has melted and combined with the rest of the filling ingredients. Stir in the cheese until melted.
  • Add heaping spoonfuls into the holes in the mushrooms.
  • Stir together the melted butter and breadcrumbs. Add a teaspoon or so to the top of each mushroom.
  • Add the beer to the pan around the mushrooms (if using two pans, divide the beer between the pans).
  • Cover the pan and bake for 18 minutes, remove the cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the top has browned.

Notes

  • To make this entree-sized portions, substitute the cremini mushrooms for 8 portobello mushrooms. 
  • To make in advance, stop at step seven (right before you pour the beer into the pan, just drink it instead!), cover and refrigerate for up to 36 hours. 

Fiery Thai Kettle Chips and Sweet Potato Burgers with Beer Sweet Chili Cream Sauce

Fiery Thai Kettle Chips and Sweet Potato Burgers with Beer Sweet Chili Cream Sauce

I was a vegetarian for 3 years. Mostly because I grew up on a farm, and I saw how the sausage was made. It didn’t stick, but what did stick is my true and complete love for non-meat burgers (and yes, I still love burgers of the meat-based variety, I just see them as two different things).

The flavors you can get from a patty made with a bowl full of produce is rather staggering, and this burger is easily my favorite.

Fiery Thai Kettle Chips and Sweet Potato Burgers with Beer Sweet Chili Cream Sauce

I’d love to take credit for the depth of flavors, but it’s due in no small part to these chips. Even when turned into crumbs and buried in a ton of other bold flavors, you can taste the heat and the lemongrass from the Kettle Brand Fiery Thai potato chips!

The burger also just so happens to pair beautifully with a winter ale. The malt and spices of a good winter ale will taste fantastic with the flavors of sweet potatoes, smoked paprika, and lemongrass.

I’m not going to lie to you, you can always see right through me. I ate these burgers for three meals in a row. I even put an egg on a patty, added some avocado and sweet chili sauce and ate it for breakfast. And I’m not even sorry about it.

Fiery Thai Kettle Brand Chips and Sweet Potato Burgers with Beer Sweet Chili Cream Sauce

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

    For the Burgers
  • 1 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided (plus more as needed)
  • 1 (4.2 oz) bag of Kettle Brand Fiery Thai Potato Chips
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup quinoa (red or black), cooked (1/3 cup pre-cooking volume)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • 2 tablespoons green onions, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 tablespoons beer (winter ale, rye, Bock)
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • 1 large avocado, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Additional potato chips for garnish, if desired
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon beer (winter ale, rye, Bock)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes, then cut into cubes. Add to a baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes (boiling the potatoes will add too much moisture to the filling).
  3. Add the potato chips and the oats to a food processor, process until just crumbs remain.
  4. In a large mixing bowl add the chip crumbs, sweet potato cubes, cooked quinoa, black beans, cilantro, onions, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and beer. Mix until well combined. Form into 6 large patties, about ¾ inch tall.
  5. Heat remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat, cook the patties until golden brown on each side, adding more olive oil to the pan when it starts to dry.
  6. In a small bowl stir together the sauce ingredients.
  7. Plate burgers in the buns topped with avocado slices, tomato, sauce and potato chips (if using), serve immediately.
  8. To make in advance, make the burger patty mixture, add to an air tight container, chill for up to three days before using.
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https://domesticfits.com/fiery-thai-kettle-chips-and-sweet-potato-burgers-with-beer-sweet-chili-cream-sauce/

 

Mushroom, Stout and Goat Cheese Pot Pie

A bunch of years ago I was in Dublin, Ireland for the St. Patricks day celebrations. I had flown over from LA, with only two nights booked at the Brewery Hostel at the base of the Guinness brewery.  The night of the festival I was without a room, all at once ecstatic to be in Dublin for the Merriment and panicked to be without a place to stay.

Mushroom Stout and Goat Cheese Pot Pie4

I had three options.

1. Through a friend of a friend twice removed, I was connected with an Irish man willing to take me in for the night.

2. I had met some lovely Australians who were working on renovating a flat in town, but it was completely empty of any furniture and the electricity and water were both shut off, but it was walls and a roof.

3. Wander the streets for the evening, falling in and out of pubs, until I pass out on the street with some of the more rowdy locals.

Mushroom Stout and Goat Cheese Pot Pie5

I hesitantly opted for option one. If you have ever been a young girl with a backpack and a guidebook in a foreign city, I don’t need to underscore the concerns I had with this set up. Lucky for me, this man was Irish to the core: friendly, hospitable and a perfect gentleman.

I spent most of the evening running around Dublin, from pub to pub, drinking the local beer (Guinness), probably offending the bartenders by tipping them (not a custom in Ireland, "Would you tip your doctor?!") and watching the locals swell with patriotic pride as fireworks burst over the River Liffey in the heart of Dublin.

All of this, the people who welcomed me in, the beer that warmed my soul, and the celebration that swirled around me, will always give me a deep love for Ireland and Her people.

Kiss the Irish, they deserve it.

Mushroom Stout and Goat Cheese Pot Pie

Mushroom, Stout and Goat Cheese Pot Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs olive oil (plus additional as needed)
  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 large leek, chopped (white and very light green potion only)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ lb assorted mushrooms (i.e. portobello, crimini, shiitake)
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 cup broth (vegetable or beef)
  • 12 ounces stout
  • ¼ cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 tbs melted butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the carrots, leeks and celery, sauté until the carrots start to soften.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened and darkened, about 5 minutes (add additional olive oil if the pan starts to dry).
  4. Add the peas, broth and stout. Bring to a simmer. Sprinkle with flour, stir to combine. Stir in the oregano, pepper and salt. Cook until thickened, about 2 minutes, remove from heat.
  5. Divide evenly between 6 oven safe (12 to 14 ounce) serving bowls, sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese.
  6. Roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface, cut into 6 equal squares.
  7. Top each bowl with one square, press into shape.
  8. Brush with melted butter, slice 3 to 4 small slits in the top of each bowl.
  9. Bake at 375 until puff pastry is golden brown.
https://domesticfits.com/mushroom-stout-and-goat-cheese-pot-pie/

 

Mushroom Stout and Goat Cheese Pot Pie2

 

Broccomole: Broccoli Guacamole

 

It’s broccoli guacamole. You’re skeptical, I can tell. But this is really great, and with a creaminess that was slightly shocking, I will be making this again.

And, if you set a serving size at an ounce, as Livestrong is telling me to do, it’s only 22 calories a serving. And only about 250 calories if I eat the entire bowl, which I am prone to doing.

I love guacamole. I profess honest culinary devotion to avocados and guacamole. It is chocked full of healthy fats, vitamins, and protein. A great food that can not be improve upon. This recipe isn’t about improving guacamole. It’s a new food, a lower calorie creamy green dip that is about 1/3 the calories of that guacamole I love. But with twice the protein and less fat.

And broccoli is known cancer fighter, bone strengthener, cardiovascular health champion, bone-fide superfood and one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. We could all stand to be a wee bit addicted to a bowl of this stuff.

And it was so tasty, I ate it for lunch. And dinner. It’s like a dip with a mission, you don’t even have to feel bad about it. You are preventing heart disease and stroke one bite at a time. Really, it’s like medicine.

 

This recipe was inspired by Ludo Lefebvre. While giving an interview about his book, Ludo Bites, he spoke about a Broccomole he made. This is my version.

 

Roasted Garlic & Parmesan Beer Cheese Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 large heads of garlic
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 12 oz cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup Reggiano or Parmesan cheese, plus an additional 1/4 cup for top
  • 6 oz smoked Gouda or smoked mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup Saison or IPA beer
  • 1 tsp red chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs cornstarch (very important. Keeps the dip from separating)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions (green onions)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Cut the top tip of each head garlic off, just enough to expose all of the cloves. Place each head on a separate piece of tin foil. Drizzle with olive oil and seal the foil around the garlic.
  3. Place both garlic packets on a baking sheet or baking dish. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  4. Reduce oven temp to 350.
  5. In a food processor, add the cream cheese, 1 1/2 cup reggianno, gouda, beer, red chili sauce, salt, pepper and corn starch. Squeeze the roasted heads of garlic until the soft cloves comes out, add the roasted cloves to the food processor, taking care that none of the papery garlic skin is added to the food processor. Discard the empty garlic head. Process until well combined.
  6. Add to a baking dish, top with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 until melted and the top has started to turn a light golden brown, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven, top with green onions, serve warm.

Notes

Use a saison or a wheat beer if you want a more subtle beer flavor, use an IPA for a bigger, bolder beer taste.

https://domesticfits.com/broccomole/

 

 

 

Cucumber Cups Stuffed With Goat Cheese Caprese


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

On Friday I fought a culinary chicken battle that ended with a giant foam core check with my name on it. This was my second attempt to win the Semi-Finals of the Foster Farms Chicken Cook Off, last year wasn’t my year. But this year, I won a giant check, a trip to Napa, the opportunity to cook at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (my favorite prize so far) and the chance to grab another Giant Check worth ten grand.

I’m so excited. Not just because the other dishes I was competing against were incredible and each worthy of their own Big Check, but because, in a way, this Big Check (that currently sits on my bar, in all it’s 4 foot long splendor) serves as a validation for what I do. I’m good at this! See, look, other people picked my recipe out of thousands of other ones!

Maybe that seems silly, I create 3 to 5 recipes a week, post them for you and you seem to like them. You send me emails and post comments telling me that you liked my little creations. That should be enough, right?

But for some reason, that Big Check gave me tangible evidence that my recipes are good. Other people, who don’t even know who wrote that recipe, liked it.

Maybe I have a future here.

;

For this, I’m resurrecting and re-creating one of my most popular posts.

I love these little cucumber cups, so easy, so versatile, the perfect thing to throw together for a party. They take about 5 minutes, and they look so fancy. I used persian cucumber for these, smaller than your standard English cucumbers and the skin is so thin, there is no need to peel them.

Just use a small melon baller to scoop out a good portion of the middle, or use a paring knife to cut a wedge out of the middle and you can fill them with just about anything.

;

Beer & Bacon Pecan Bars

Ingredients

    For The Crust:
  • 1 stick plus 2 tbs (10 tbs) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs water
  • For the Filling
  • 1 cup stout
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a food processor add the flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and salt, pulse to combine. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the food processor. Process until butter is incorporated into the flour mixture. Add the water and process to combine. Add additional water, 1 tsp at a time if there is flour that still hasn't been dampened.
  3. line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper (this will make it easier to remove from the pan) and dump the shortbread into the pan. Press into the bottom of the baking pan in one even layer.
  4. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes of until a light golden brown.
  5. In a pot over medium high heat, add the stout, cook until reduced by half. Add the butter and stir until melted, remove from heat. Add the sugar, corn syrup and stir until melted. Once the mixture has cooled to room temperature, add the eggs and stir until combined.
  6. Pour the filling over the crust, sprinkle with cooked bacon and bake at 350 until the filling no longer jiggles when you gently shake the pan, about 25-30 minutes.
https://domesticfits.com/cucumber-cups-stuffed-with-goat-cheese-caprese/

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Orzo Caprese In Tomato Cups

When I was a kid "Pasta Salad" was just a requisite side dish at family gatherings that was hastily bought at the grocery store and remained in it’s plastic tub beside other more appetizing offerings while slowly making it’s way to room temperature. I never really understood how macaroni noodles, eggs and mustard where always such an important part of every barbecue I went to. And while these little gatherings were being planned, there was always a mention of it, "Who is going to bring the pasta salad?"  Pasta salads have so much variety and take so little time, you don’t ever have to resort to grocery store tub again.

Instead of that I offer you this. Orzo pasta and a fairly traditional Caprese salad, mixed together and served in a hallowed out tomato (feel free to bypass the individual serving size vegetable dish for larger gatherings.)

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Orzo Caprese Salad in Tomato Cups

1 cup dry Orzo pasta

2 cups (10 oz) grape tomatoes, halved

2 cups small mozzareall balls (ciliegine sized) cut in half or quarters

5 basil leaves, chopped

3 tbs pesto sauce

1 tsp balsamic

Salt & Pepper

4 beefsteak tomatoes

Cook Orzo according to package directions until al dente, put in a bowl with the grape tomatoes, mozzarella balls, basil leaves, pesto and balsamic. Toss to combine, salt and pepper to taste.

To serve in tomato cups, cut the beefsteak tomatoes in half widthwise and use a melon baller to scoop out the insides.

Fill with Orzo Caprese Salad and serve.

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Chipotle Grilled Cheese With Shiitake Mushrooms & A Chipotle Round Up

I don’t buy many things in cans. I DO buy Chipotle peppers, and those come in cans. I’ve had to become inventive with them, as I try to use the food in my fridge rather than let it go to waste. And although the can these gorgeous smoked Jalapenos come in is rather small, a little goes a long way and I end up with a lot left over.

Seeing as how I am asking you to open a can to make this here sandwich, I also wanted to leave you with a few other things you can do with the rest of that can, once you devour that spicy, smokey grilled cheese. 

I rarely do "Internet Round-Ups," But Chipotle peppers and my desire to use the whole can has left me no choice, but has give me quite a few recipes that I can’t wait to try. Check them out:

1. Shrimp & Pasta with Chipotle Cream Sauce, Modern Comfort Food

2. Honey Roasted Chipotle Peanuts, Braised Anatomy

3. Cherry Chipotle Beef Ribs, Pop Artichoke

And some Chipotle Goodness, from my own Kitchen:

4. Chipotle Hummus, Domestic Fits

5. Chipotle Stout Braised Beef Tacos, The Beeroness

Now you are fully equipped to use an entire can of Chipotle In Adobo. 

Shiitake Mushroom & Chipotle Grilled Cheese

1 tbs olive oil

6-8 large shiitake mushrooms, sliced

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped (use gloves)

2 tbs cream cheese, softened

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 tbs chopped cilantro 

4 slices of bread

2 tbs butter, softened

In a pan over medium high heat, add the oil and allow to get hot but not smoking. Add the sliced mushrooms and sautee until dark and cooked through, remove from heat. 

In a bowl, add the softened cream cheese and the chipotle peppers, stir until well combined. Add the cheddar cheese, mushrooms and cilantro and stir until combined. 

Butter one side of each slice of bread. Return the pan used to cook the mushrooms to medium high heat, add one slice of bread, butter side down to the pan. Carefully slather half of the chiptole cheese mixture onto the bread and top with another slice, butter side up. Repeat for the additional slices of bread. Cook on each side until browned, about 4 minutes per side. 

Remove from pan, slice and serve with a cold beer.

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Skinny Potato Skins: 62 Calories

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that these are as good as the real thing. Those potato skins loaded up with bacon, sour cream and cheese that are somewhere around 62 calories per bite. But these make a great lunch durring my "I am GOING to lose those final 3 pounds" week. And they reheat really well, so you can make a batch on Sunday, and reheat them through out the week for lunch. With a side of this salad.

I’ve run the numbers and have come up with 62 calories each potato half, but that completely depends on the size of your potato and the amount of flesh you scoop out of it.  

My Husband added fat free sour cream and shredded cheese. If you add a tbs of fat free sour cream and a tsp of shredded part skim mozzarella cheese, it will about double the calories in the potato. But, if you like it more and that will make you eat less, it may be worth it. 

Also, this dish is:

Gluten Free

Vegan

Kosher for Passover

Skinny jeans friendly 

Skinny Potato Skins

4 large red potatoes

1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced, stem removed

1 large yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced, stem removed 

2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

olive oil cooking spray

2 tbs Smart Balance Light, melted

1 1/2 tbs or Fajita Seasonings

(Or: 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp chili powder)

1/2 cup Pico De Gallo (or you fav salsa)

Preheat oven to 400. 

Pierce the potatoes a few times with a fork and microwave on high for 5-7 minutes or until cooked through. Remove and allow to cool until enough to handle. Cut in half and scoop out most of the insides, leaving about 1/4 inch of the walls in tact. You can save the potato middles for mashed potatoes or potato cakes.

Place thinly sliced bell peppers, mushrooms, and garlic on a baking sheet. Spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkle with fajita seasoning (or the homemade blend) and toss to coat. 

Roast the vegetables in the oven for 15 minutes or until soft and the mushrooms have browned, tossing every 5-8 minutes with a heat safe spatula. 

Place the skins on a baking sheet and brush the insides with melted smart balance light, sprinkle with salt. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, allow to cool slightly. 

Fill each potato skin with fajita veggies and top with Pico De Gallo. 

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Passover Risotto: Quinoa & Roasted Mushrooms

I’m over at a Passover Potluck today with Tori at The Shiksa In the Kitchen! Check it out, if you are Jewish or a Shiksa (non-jewish girl) I think you are gonna love it. Tori and I have acctualy known each other since the 4th grade and reconnect as adults through blogging.

She is one of the most genuine people I have ever known, sweet, smart and generous with her talents and knowledge.

Tori recently interviewed a man I know, Michael, who is an 81 year old Holocaust survivor who was sent to Auschwitz concentration camp when he was 13. His story is incredible and Tori even got is World Famous Tiramisu recipe! The interview is inspiring, you should read it (Click here).

The recipe I created today for the Potluck is one of my favorite dishes, risotto, that I have re-made using the rules of Kosher cooking, which Tori was sweet enough to walk me through! I love Risotto, which is traditionally made with rice, but during passover, it isn’t considered Kosher. You all know my love for quinoa, so this was a fabulous stand in when rice is not an option! Roasting the mushrooms was so quick, and developed a rich flavor quickly.

Check it out over at The Shiksa!

Roasted Mushroom Quinoa Risotto For Passover

Chipotle Hummus & Bone Marrow Donation

The night after I joined the Bone Marrow Donor registry I had a dream that I was a Bone Marrow match for a little boy who was dying of Leukemia. But in my dream, I had joined the registry one month after he died of the disease. I had the lifesaving cure just walking around in my body and I had no idea until it was too late.  

Horrible, I know. But It happens, I’m sure. This morning, when I woke up, I got an email for the registry, and whenever that happens I have a flicker of hope that I am one of those people who has the opportunity to donate. I want to. I want to use the marrow I grow so easily in my bones to save the life of someones else’s Tater, because I would want you to do that for me, if she is ever in need. Of course, if I ever am a match, I’m sure the news won’t come via email so as you have probably suspected the email was just an update about the progress being made by the Be The Match foundation

Now that I have this platform, I want to use it to reach out. To help save the life of someones baby. What if it is you. What if you are the one who holds the key to a cure inside your bones.

Are you in the Bone Marrow Donor database?

Here was how simple it was for me to get on the list:

Go to a donation center, give blood, sign a form.

It can be even easier for you. You can click here, fill out a form online and order your cheek swap kit through the mail. It’s so easy. 

It took about twenty minutes. Although it did cost me about $50 at the time, I can now put my mind at ease that I am doing what I can. $50 is a lot, more to some people than to others, but it was worth it for me know that I wasn’t the reason that someone was dying.  That I wasn’t caring the lifesaving cure inside of me while someone was dying, over a mater of $50. 

Click here to find out how you can get on the list of Bone Marrow Donors. 

Here are some simple facts about Bone Marrow Donation and how and why to get on the list:

Q: If I join the Be The Match Registry, how likely is it that I will donate to someone? 
A: On average, one in every 540 members of Be The Match Registry in the United States will go on to donate bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells to a patient. We cannot predict the likelihood that an individual member will donate because there is so much diversity in the population. However, if you are between the ages of 18 and 44, you are 10 times more likely to be called as a marrow donor than other members of the Be The Match Registry. That’s because research shows cells from younger donors lead to more successful transplants.

Every person who joins the registry gives patients hope, and new patient searches begin every day. You may never be identified as a match for someone, or you might be one of a number of potential matches. But you may also be the only one on the registry who can save a particular patient’s life.

Q: How do I become a bone marrow donor? 
A: The first step to become a bone marrow donor is to join the Be The Match Registry. Doctors around the world search our registry to find a match for their patients. If a doctor selects you as a match for a patient, you may be asked to donate bone marrow or cells from circulating blood (called PBSC donation).

Q. Does bone marrow donations involve surgery?

A: The majority of donations do not involve surgery. Today, the patient’s doctor most often requests a peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation, which is non-surgical.

Q. Is Donating painful or involve a long recovery?

A: There can be uncomfortable but short-lived side effects of donating PBSC. Due to taking a drug called filgrastim for five days leading up to donation, PBSC donors may have headaches, joint or muscle aches, or fatigue. PBSC donors are typically back to their normal routine in one to two days.

Q. Is donating  dangerous or weaken the donor?

A: There are rarely any long-term side effects. Be The Match® carefully prescreens all donors to ensure they are healthy and the procedure is safe for them. We also provide support and information every step of the way.

Q. Once you have been chosen as a match do donors have to pay to donate?

A: Donors never pay to donate. We reimburse travel costs and may reimburse other costs on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Does race or ethnicity affect matching?
A: Racial and ethnic heritage are very important factors. Patients are most likely to match someone of their own race or ethnicity. Today, there simply aren’t enough registry members of diverse racial and ethnic heritage. Adding more diverse members increases the likelihood that all patients will find a life-saving match.

Members of these backgrounds are especially needed:

  • Black or African American
  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Asian, including South Asian
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Multiple race
This in no way relates to Chipotle Hummus. Except that maybe those lazy summer days, hanging out with friends, enjoying a spicy dip, are gifts that you maybe able to give another person, if you are a match. And if you get on the registry, and get to donate marrow and save someones life: I will be really jealous. 

Chipotle Hummus

15 ounces garbanzo beans

1/4 cup tahini

3 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp cumin

2 tbs olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1-3 tbs water

salt and pepper to taste

Crudites for serving

In a food processor, add the garbonzo beans, tahini, chilies, garlic, cumin, olive oil, lemon juice and process until smooth. Add the water until you reach the consistency that you prefer, more water will equal a creamier hummus. Salt and pepper to taste.

I find that this dip tastes best with the cool crunch of fresh vegetables such as cucumber slices, sliced peppers and carrot sticks.

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Portobello Mushroom Benedict with Sriracha Hollandaise


Food is one of the greatest choices we have as members of the 1st world. For the most part, we get to choose what we put in our bodies, and how much. 

The path people take to the way they eat as adults is a direct result of the experiences they have as children. Although I am no longer a practicing vegetarian (as evidenced by the extensive number of bacon related posts on my blog) I did spend about 4 years in my early 20’s with a very meatless existence. That choice was a direct result of the farm style living of my youth. 

Just before I started Junior High, my parents moved me from the Central Coast of California to a small farm in Eastern Washington state. It sounded like such a romantic and adventurous journey, my love of animals having the full indulgence it had always wanted. 

I was a 4-H kid, and the idea of acres and acres of animals was like a dream and within hours of a pig pen fully inhabited by squealing little pink and brown creatures I was in love. I named my favorite guy Garfunkel, as an nod to my love of 70’s music. I spent the summer feeding, walking, and training my new pet. In my head was the knowledge of the inevitable fate of this little guy, but some how it didn’t reach my heart. 

Then, towards the end of summer, came an old Chevy pickup truck. White and faded with wooden boards rising up above the sides of the truck bed. I watched from the window as the town butcher consulted with my step father, compared guns, pointed at the pigs, and unceremoniously shoots Garfunkel in the head. 

He struggles to get up. Another shot. He moves again. Another shot. 

Three days later, I stared at the pork chops on my dinner plate, unable to get the image of his last moments out of my head. Unnerved by the feeling of knowing the first name of my dinner. 

Although this is a brutal reality for the meat eating world, and one that we should come to terms with if we choose to eat meat, I am not advocating for everyone to go vegan. I know that the pigs my family raised had great lives. They were loved, cared about, and fed well. If it wasn’t for the dinner they became, they wouldn’t have existed in the first place. 

Choice. Choosing to spend more for free range. Choosing to support local growers. Seeking out raw milk and cheese from reliable farms. 

Because if the story of Garfunkel is horrifying to you, it is Disneyland compared to way some commercial farms are like. 

Just some food for though. 

Let me know what you think. If you disagree, agree, or even if you don’t care. 

In the interim, here is a meatless breakfast that will give you a break from meat, if that is what you are looking for. 

Portobello Mushroom Benedict with Sriracha Hollandaise   

4 Portobello mushrooms

1/4 cup olive oil

pinch of salt

4 cups fresh spinach, chopped

1/4 cup chopped onions

3 cloves of garlic minced

4 eggs

1 large tomato, cut into slices

For the Hollandaise:

4 tbs melted butter

4 egg yolks

1 tbs lemon juice

2 tbs room temp water

1 tsp sriracha sauce 

salt and pepper

In a pan over medium high heat, add the oil and allow it to get hot but not smoking. Place the mushrooms in the pan. If the pan is two small for all of the mushrooms to fit, cook in two batches. Turn the mushrooms once the bottom has turned dark and has softened, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and allow to cook on the other side until the entire mushroom is dark, soft and cook all the way through. Remove cooked mushrooms from pan and add the spinach, onions and garlic, cook until soft. 

Poach the eggs in lightly salted simmering water. (Tutorial)

Melt the butter in the microwave. In a good quality sauce pan, add the yolks, lemon juice and water and whisk quickly and continually over low heat until it’s frothy and doubled in size (this is an arm work out, be prepared). You don’t want too much heat or you’ll have scrambled eggs. If you need to step away for even a second, or if it’s getting to hot, remove from the heat. While continuing to whisk, slowly add the butter in a steady stream. Continue to whisk until thickened, and almost doubled. If your sauce gets too dry and thick, you can add a few tbs of water. Add the sriracha, and salt and pepper to taste. 

Place the mushroom on a plate, top with spinach, then tomato slice, then poached egg and drizzle with hollandaise. 

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The Best Little Quinoa Salad Ever

By now, you  have probably heard a thing or two about this scandal with Paula Deen. If you haven’t, here is a recap:

Paula Dean was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

Three years ago.

The number 1 treatment for Type 2 Diabetes is diet and exercise.

She continues to cook large volumes of high fat, high sugar food on TV, in her restaurants and cook books.

She now wants to endorse a Type 2 diabetes drug and "comes clean" about her diagnoses.

The public freaks out.

Although we all have opinions about, well, just about everything and everyone we have ever met, I’m not concerned about Paul Deen. I don’t know her, and it’s none of my business.

But I am concerned about you. And me. And what I feel like is my responsibility to you. I have quite a few "special occasion" food recipes on this blog, made with high fat, high calorie, high sugar ingredients. And I hope that doesn’t give you the wrong idea.

I hope you all read my post about how I don’t eat like that all the time and how I stay in shape.

Learning from someone else’s mistakes is better than making one yourself, the same dramatic positive changes without the mess to clean up. Use her as inspiration, not as fodder for gossip. She is unhealthy and needs to make changes in her life, but that’s her business.  How can we take this all in, look at ourself and see how to make our own changes rather than making her the villain? How can we help the people we love who are living unhealthy lives? How can we all be in this together and use it as a way to live better and eat better?

How can we have those uncomfortable conversations with people we love who are killing themselves with food? You know who just popped into your head when you read that. Why haven’t you talk to that person?

Use Paul’s story as an icebreaker in your own life. As inspiration to change. 

Whether she decides to change or not, who cares? 

I’m glad this came out, but can we stop pointing fingers and starting living better?

Here is my salad, my way of staying in shape. I eat it about 5 days a week in various forms and this one is my favorite.

Chocked full of protein, iron, amino acids, general good stuff. It also keeps me full until dinner.

Best Quinoa Salad Ever

 2 cups arugula (or spring greens), chopped

1/2 cup cooked quinoa (Here is how you cook Quinoa the RIGHT way don’t cook it like rice or it will be mushy)

2 tbs pine nuts

1/2 an avocado, chopped

1 oz goat cheese

1/4 cup Pomegranate seeds

2 tsp Balsamic vinegar

Toss it all in a bowl, makes about 2 servings.

Printable: Best Quinoa Salad

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Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad

I get asked a lot of questions as a food blogger. Some are about food. Some are about blogging. Some are more personal. But one of the most common questions I get asked is, "How do you stay so skinny when you cook so much food?!"

First, it’s hard. Really.

Work, being a mom, a wife, a blogger. AND trying to stay in shape is a lot of work.

A lot.

Here are some of the rules that I use to a balance food blog and skinny jeans:

1. I don’t eat fast food. It is a really rare occasion when I do, and never, ever, ever for dinner. More of a road trip occasion, or an I’m running late so I’m going to grab the one sandwich under 400 calories at Quiznos occasion. And no chips, and an unsweetened iced tea.

2. I always eat breakfast. Once in a while I have fatty things, like that french toast I still can’t stop thinking about. But 5 out of 7 days, its 2 slices of reduced calorie whole wheat toast (or whole wheat english muffin) with 1/2 tbs peanut butter each. For breakfast, you want the trifecta: low cal, high protein, good carbs.

3. I read ALL the labels of everything I put in my mouth. And just assume that you will have more than the serving size. For instance: most cereal puts a "serving size" of 3/4 a cup. Really? That’s less than my cup of coffee. You will probably have more like 2 cups. So that cereal that you think is only 175 calories. It’s probably more like 430. Thats like eating a burger. But at least the burger is worth it. Bottom line, if you are counting calories, measuring your food is a BIG part of that.

4. Snack well. I like to get the most food possible for the least amount of calories. It’s like a game. But I don’t eat a lot of processed foods, and even when I did, those 100 calorie packs aren’t really a calorie bargin. I want 2, and if I’m going to eat 200 calories, I’d rather have a snickers. This is one of my go to snacks: 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced, drizzled with lemon juice, sprinkled with salt and chili powder. It’s like 15 calories. I also do that to radish slices.  Crispy and salty. Like chips, but good for you.

5. Know your weaknesses. I know I like to cook big breakfast on the weekend, and eat more for dinner when I get to cook for other people. So on the weekdays, I eat a low dairy, high plant, low fat diet. Such as: Salads with low-cal dressing (or just balsamic vinegar) or even my favorite salsa instead of dressing, non-dairy soups, roasted veggies with skinless chicken.

6. Know your calories. I have the Lose It app on my phone (it’s free) and I try to stay under 1,600 calories a day during the week. Give up calories where you can, but don’t feel like you have "earned" an extra slice of pie. That just ruins all the work you did. The truth is, unless you are an Olympic swimmer who burns 14,000 calories a day, you will never reach your goal weight with exercise alone. Never. You have to get your eating in check. Can you indulge? Sure, once in a while, but make sure you make up for it but eating lots of plants. Don’t starve yourself, it makes your body store everything as fat. So you are hungry and still gaining. That sucks. Think of calories like you think of money. You only have so many (probably around 1,700 a day if you’re a girl) to spend before you go "into debt" (meaning: gain weight). Is that mediocre lunch really worth half of your calorie budget? Do you like that White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks 600X more than a regular cup of coffee? Because that’s how many more calories are in it (a venti White Chocolate Mocha, with whip has 620 calories, a plain cup of coffee has about 5 calories). Spend where it counts, cut when it doesn’t.

7. Find the WHY. I have a Masters Degree in Psychology. Did you know that? It’s true. The mental part is hard. Probably harder than being hungry, is being unmotivated. Write a list of WHY you want to stay (or get) in shape and post it everywhere, and keep updating it. And talk yourself down when you do want to grab for that bad stuff. Oh, and don’t keep in the house, it just makes it that much more difficult for yourself.

(pretty much my WHY for everything good in my life)

8. Replacement behaviors. This is an important part of therapizing yourself. Find your bad habits and replace them with good ones.  For me: 3pm candy jar. My coworkers all have them, and I do as well. Instead of wandering around chatting with the intention of snacking, I walked my office building for 15 minutes, stairs and all. Now, my candy jar is filled with candy I don’t like and I’m not even tempted to eat, just for those people who come to visit with the intention of snacking.

9. Just have one. If you really want to try a new recipe for cupcakes, pie, cookies, thats OK. Try and plan to make them when you can give the rest away. For me, most of the fun of cooking is having a recipe in my head and trying to figure out how to make it work in the kitchen. But most of my food, the sugary, high fat stuff, is given away. Take it to the office, or to a friends house, or let your husband take it to his office. Find a charity, like a women’s shelter, that might want it. Or throw it out. It sucks to waste food, but is it really doing any good taunting you from the fridge? Or, you can make a half or a quarter of the original recipe using an online site like Half Recipe.

10. Move a lot. Even though exercise doesn’t burn as many calories as we would like, it’s still important to move. For me, it’s spin class. Because it’s the most amount of calories I can burn in the least amount of time. If I really push myself, do everything that spin guy is yelling at me to do, I can burn nearly 700 calories in an hour. Thats a lot. Do that 3 times a week and thats 30 lbs a year. Find something that you will actually do, and do it. A lot. Spoil yourself with dance class, then treat yourself to shrimp cocktail (fairly low cal treat).

11. Water is essential. Get a water bottle and carry it around like a security blanket. First, it flushes out your body. Second, the human thirst reflex is so weak, it is often mistaken for hunger. Drink a lot of water and you will eat less and glow more.

Now onto the recipe. This makes 2 large entree sized portions, at about 330 calories each, or 4 side salad portions at about 165. If you want a little more, you can add 3oz grilled skinless chicken.


Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad

1 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 tsp fresh sage, minced

1 1/2 cups fresh kale, chopped

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1 large roasted red bell pepper, chopped

2 tbs shallots, minced

2 tbs balsamic vinegar

2 tsp raw honey (sub agave for vegan)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Boil the sweet potatoes in a large pot of lightly salted, boiling water until fork tender, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from water with a slotted spoon, allow to drain. I did a guest post of Eating Rules about the proper way to cook quinoa, if you are interested.

In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, sweet potatoes, sage, kale, cranberries, and red pepper. In a small bowl, add the shallots, balsamic, honey, salt and pepper, stirring to combine. Drizzle over the quinoa salad, tossing to coat.

Legal Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionsinst. The ideas presented here are just what works for me.