Layered Eggplant Fattoush

eggplant fattoush

All summer long, I have been obsessing over the stunning eggplants at the farmers markets. Beautiful shades of light and speckled purple, striped and red and blank white. I never picked up a single one because I was totally uninspired as to what to do with them. Then I saw Sarah’s beautiful Heirloom Tomato Eggplant Caprese Stacks.  They looked bright and summery and craveable and reminded me of a strained yogurt and spicy tomato eggplant thing I used to make. I don’t know what it was called, or even where I got the recipe, but I do recall that it was of Middle Eastern origin. And I had recently acquired a generous amount of sumac, my favorite all-time Middle Eastern spice. I think I like sumac even better than I like thyme.  So sumac + eggplant + farmer’s market whatever = fattoush something.

eggplant fattoush

I used these pretty Dancer eggplants, shining in a lovely amethyst hue.  After roasting, they were so creamy, almost melting on my tongue. I never want another supermarket eggplant again. But I’ll probably change my tune once the farmer’s market closes for the season and I’m huffing around the Kroger produce section, kicking at the wheels of my cart. I actually like Kroger produce, but nothing can ever compare to fresh-from-the-dirt. There is a nice tomato-headed kid who always helps me out, showing me cotton candy grapes and such. Digging up the plumpest Brussels sprouts when he catches me poking at the bruised brown-leaf ones. So I guess going back won’t be so bad. Maybe.

Since I love sumac so much, I made a pseudo-hummus out of lemons and chickpeas and sumac. A little garlic and salt. It really brings makes the Middle Easter flavor spark, like a hot hum of the last days of summer.

eggplant fattoush


Layered Eggplant Fattoush

Yield: 2 main, 4 side

I used beautiful Dancer eggplants, a gradient white-lilac variety known for their low bitterness. If you use darker eggplants such as Nadia, Galine, or Traviata, you may want to increase the salt-and-sit time to 20-25 minutes.


  • about 2 lbs worth of eggplant (This was 5 medium eggplants for me)
  • 8 oz cherry tomatos, sliced
  • 1 large cucumber, or 1.5 smaller cucumbers
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup parsley, minced
  • 6 green onions, top parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 scant tsp microplane grated garlic
  • 1 1/4 tbsp sumac powder, plus more for sprinkling
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil


  1. Cut the eggplant into 1/4 inch slices. Sprinkle both sides with salt and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450.
  3. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Lightly drizzle the slices with olive oil as well. (very lightly)
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, flip, and bake for 10 more minutes
  5. While the eggplant is baking, blend the chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, and sumac, into a smooth paste. Add salt to taste.
  6. Place a single layer of slightly overlapping eggplant slices in a square (about 8x8) This will be about half of the eggplant slices
  7. Spoon on a layer of the chickpea-sumac paste and delicately spread.
  8. Add layers as follows: cucumber, radish, sprinkle of parsley, sprinkle of green onion, tomato, sumac paste, cucumber, radish, parsley, green onion, tomato, sumac paste, and then top it all off with the remaining eggplant.
  9. Sprinkle with sumac and garnish lightly with additional radish, parsley, onion, and cucumber.
  10. Serve with pita or soft corn tortillas.
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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cat Cake

No special equipment, no mold, no fondant. If you have an 8×8 pan, you can make this meow-some cake! Vegan and GF. 

Cat Shaped Cake Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake Vegan Gluten Free

Don’t worry, I didn’t feed chocolate chip zucchini cake to my cat.

I baked this to celebrate our 1 month Clover-versary. I actually made it a few days late, but it’s not like the cat’s gonna know that. And Jason didn’t care, so long as there was cake in the house. I think he ate 80% of the test batch by himself.

We love our little Clover so much, we can’t imagine life without her. Jason initially objected to her, when she first started hanging around and before we actually adopted her. But now he’s ridiculously smitten for that kitten. Building a cat drinking fountain out of a fish tank filter. Saying “awww, look at her,” several times a day. And I have to exercise a huge amount of self control when it comes to social media. I want to post a plethora of pictures, like those parents who share everything their kids do.

In lieu of Facebook-virusing my wall with cat images, I made a cat cake. It’s so easy. Take a look, folks:

It starts with this awesome chocolate chip zucchini cake. Bake it up in an 8X8 pan and let it cool.

Cat Shaped Cake Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake Vegan Gluten Free

Position the cake in a diamond shape. Measure about 1 inch above the corners and make a cut all the way across.


Cat Shaped Cake Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake Vegan Gluten Free

Cut the big triangle into two smaller triangles. Then flip the triangles so that the uncut edge/crust edge/hypotenuse is the innermost part of the ear.


Cat Shaped Cake Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake Vegan Gluten Free

Cut about an inch off the bottom corner/chin and place it between the ears You may be able to place this directly between the ears, or you may have to cut it and reshape it a little with your fingers — as you can see, I had to cut the piece to make it fit. Round it a little with you fingers if you wish.

Once you’re happy with the way it looks, move the pieces over to your serving plate. Put the pieces back in place, holding them together with frosting. Now you can start frosting the cake.

That’s it. Serve this cake with your loved ones. Toast to your feline’s health with catnip wine. Ew, that’s not a thing. I hope it’s not a thing. *goes over to Google* Oh no. It is a thing. Why? Why!

Toast to her health with beer or mead or milk; whatever pleases you, with plenty of kitty cuddles on the side.

Cat Shaped Cake Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake Vegan Gluten Free
ugh mom, so embarrassing. It doesn’t even look like me!


Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cat Cake

Every bit of food coloring in this is natural. The pink ears came from beet juice and the eyes were matcha. The light accent fur is cinnamon and dark fur is cocoa powder. If you prefer an orange cat, use turmeric and carrot juice instead.


  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup unsweetened unflavored almond milk
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 flax eggs*
  • 2 tsp Saigon cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups of Cup-to-Cup GF flour, such as Bob's Red Mill**
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups of mini chocolate chips
  • For the frosting
  • 3/4 cup of non-dairy non-soy butter spread, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectionery sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • for decorating
  • a little bit of beet juice (ears)
  • a little bit of matcha (eyes)
  • a little bit of cocoa powder and cinnamon (fur)
  • a small scoop of chocolate chips (eyes and mouth)


  1. Line an 8X8 pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350
  2. Combine the zucchini, almond milk, flax eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla
  3. Measure the flour according to suggestions below. **
  4. Combine wet and dry incredients until just mixed. Do not over mix.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Swirl in the chocolate chips. Chocolate chip palooza.
  6. Bake at 350 for 35-38 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool completely before cutting and assembling.
  8. Assemble according to tutorial above.
  9. to frost and decorate
  10. Beat frosting ingredients together. If you like a thinner frosting, add a splash or two of almond milk.
  11. Layer on a thin crumb coat and then a top coat. You'll still have plenty of frosting remaining.
  12. Divide up the remaining frosting. Dye some of it pink with beet juice for the ears. Dye a smaller potion green for the eyes. Cinnamon for the light brown fur and cocoa for the dark brown fur.
  13. Frost on the ears.
  14. For the eyes and mouth, you'll be drawing with chocolate. It's super easy, I promise. First, draw the eyes and mouth and whiskers on a piece of scrap paper. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the scrap paper.
  15. Place some chocolate chips (about 1/4 cup) in a sealable plastic bag. Heat some water in the microwave and then immerse the bag in the hot water until the chips fully melt.
  16. Cut a very small tip off the bag and pipe the chocolate over the parchment paper. Allow to harden.
  17. If you don't understand anything I've said about how to draw with chocolate, here is an excellent video with a perky lady. (hover for link)
  18. Gently peel off the chocolate and place it on the cake. Fill in the eyes with green frosting and then add the pupils (more chocolate)
  19. Frost on the light and dark brown fur as desired.
  20. Serve with love.


*flax egg = 1 tbsp flax meal + 3 tbsp water.

** I have found that even the best cup to cup blends of GF flour can yield gummy results. If you have a sifter, you should sift the GF flour prior to measuring and then measure with a spoon-and-level method (spooning into your measuring cup). I don't have a sifter, so I sifted it as well as I could with a fork and then used the fork-and-level method (same as spoon-and-level, but with a fork). Yes, it took a little bit longer to measure with a fork, but the results are far better.

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cake adapted from my baking addiction, frosting from very well

cat cake gluten free vegan no mold
chocolate chip zucchini cake gluten free vegan

Padrón Pepper and Blackberry Salsa

a sweet and simple and mostly mild salsa

Blackberry and Padron Pepper Mild Salsa

I used begrudge our little Ohio town for Not Being Raleigh and for Not Having An Umstead Park To Run At.  I sneered at the quaint Stars-Hollow beat of life. (But in all seriousness…..I pretty much live in Stars Hollow).  At night I’d whisper beneath the covers, glaring into my Kindle — this place is dumb, it’s not real.  

But after a year, I’m falling in love. There are several contributing factors:

  1. Insert very long story … and then Jason realized I was clinically depressed and took me to my doctor.  
  2. Cat.
  3. Getting back into a regular running routine.
  4. Summertime. I love being hot and sweaty and the sun staying out late and everything else that goes along with it.
  5.  Being DONE with school
  6. Our awesome little farmer’s market.

Okay. So really only one of those factors actually has anything to do with the town. I did love the Raleigh farmer’s market, but this one is close enough to walk to. And as I no longer work on Saturdays, I can go on a regular basis.

padron peppers

There’s no single stall I like the best. Jason says I throw elbows at the peach stand, but a) that’s not true and b) you gotta try these peaches. There are stands that I skip and stands that I must hit every time. One of the ones that I hit every time is the kale lady. I never actually buy her kale, but I do load up on her padrón peppers and puslane.

Padrón peppers are also known as roulette peppers because they are mostly mild, with the occasional scorcher. They are fun to pop as a snack, all toasty and oily and blistered from the pan.

But they also make excellent salsa. Normally I am not a fan of mild salsas, but in the summertime, I just want to taste every flavor, and not just the heat. Plump blackberries, sweet milky corn, the ephemeral wonder of the summer tomato. I want to know that they are all there on my tongue.  The padrón is perfect for this, a hovering of warmth with an occasional flare.

I kept the corn in the salsa raw, but it bothers your stomach, feel free to roast it first. In this case, use two ears of corn instead of one, as some of the plumpness will be lost in cooking.


Padrón Pepper and Blackberry Salsa

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: about 4 cups

Although some salsas taste better as they mellow over time, this recipe tastes best fresh. Eat it the same day you make it. If you must keep it for a second day, add a spoon or two of brown sugar to bring back the sweetness in the blackberries.


  • 6 oz padron peppers
  • 8 oz blackberries
  • 8 oz cherry tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 large ear of corn
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp microplane-grated garlic
  • salt to taste
  • coconut oil


  1. Coat a large pan with a thin layer of coconut oil, and set over medium heat.
  2. Once hot, place the peppers in the pan. Cook until dark blisters appear on the bottom of the peppers, about 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and salt immediately.
  3. Mince the peppers
  4. Dice the avocado and tomatoes, and strip the kernels off the corn.
  5. Gently cut the blackberries in half.
  6. Toss the peppers, the corn, the tomatoes, the avocaodes, and the blackberries together in a bowl.
  7. Add the lemon juice and garlic.
  8. Add salt to taste and serve right away.
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mostly mild salsa easy padron pepper






Almond Joy Almond Butter

Almond Joy Almond Butter

Even though I’m a big chocolate fan, I tend to dislike candy bars. They’re just not chocolaty enough for me, too sweet, never worth the calories. The one exception used to be (pre-soy allergy) almond joy bars.

When I came across a jar of coconut-cocoa-almond butter in the discount bin at the grocery store, I was super excited. Upon arriving home, I discovered why it was discounted. It was rather dry and crumbly and somehow heavy and gloppy all at once. The chocolate and coconut flavors were indiscernible, and even the almond presence was rather lacking. I tried to salvage it by mixing in a little maple syrup, but it just wasn’t worth it. I had to throw it away, which I hated doing because food waste unnerves me. (insert rant here) 

almond joy almond butter

In stereotypical food blogger fashion, I decided instead to make my own coconut-cocoa almond butter. We live in the Pinterest era. DIY or bust.

I started this recipe with slivered raw almonds, which were somehow cheaper than whole raw almonds. Beginning with slivered almonds also means your blender has to do less work, thus reducing the risk of blender burnout. And the maple syrup supplies a wonderful blade lubricant without adding extra oil.

I will conceded that the added maple makes it somewhat less healthy than regular almond butters. On the other hand, it is a protein rich snack that’s perfect to satisfy a chocolate craving.

This is a wonderful back to school recipe because it’s so quick and easy. And if you don’t have kids (or your kids hate coconut, gah, why) you should make it for yourself anyways. It’s a candy bar in a jar, which is pretty much the cat’s pajamas.


Almond Joy Almond Butter


Almond Joy Almond Butter

Yield: approx 2 cups

Because of the maple syrup, this will become a coarse butter quickly, but it will take about 8 minutes to smooth out. Remember to give your food processor/blender a break every few minutes so that it doesn't overheat.


  • 2 cups slivered raw almonds
  • 3/4 cup unsweet coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder


  1. Grind the almonds down to a coarse meal.
  2. Add the coconut and grind again.
  3. Add the cocoa powder and maple syrup. Process until it becomes a paste.
  4. Enjoy!
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easy vegan almond joy almond butter

Raw “Fried” Avocado Salad with Peaches, Ground Cherries, and Tangy Strawberry Dressing

Silky raw “fried” avocados, the best summer produce, and a creamy low fat vegan dressing come together to make this yummy salad.

Raw Fried Avocado Salad

Earlier this week, I went to TJ Maxx in search of some work dresses and running gear. Save for an eight dollar pair of shorts, I found neither work clothes nor sweat-in clothes. That’s how it usually is at TJ Maxx-y type places, you either find armfuls of cute outfits or nothing at all. This was a nothing-at-all day.

I didn’t leave totally empty handed, because I wandered over to their random foodstuffs section and kinda hit the jackpot. Saigon cinnamon, Himalayan salt, peanut butter powder. And best of all — hemp hearts! I usually don’t buy hemp hearts because they are rather pricey, but these were so discounted that I just had to have them. Funnily enough, a few days later, I came across this article in Bon Appetit, all about how our TJ Maxx food purchases are mostly fueled by FOMO.

Guilty. But not too guilty because those are ingredients that I really want anyways, and can definitely put to good use. Big Lots also has an excellent food section, the Bob’s Red Mill stuff is cheaper than it is anywhere else.

ground cherries

I was very pleased with my hemp-heart purchase. Paired with avocado, they create a lovely crust — a little crunchy, a little soft, very reminiscent of fried avocado. Only better, because I dislike hot avocado.

Another purchase I was happy with this week was a bag of ground cherries from our Saturday farmer’s market. Ground cherries are relatively new to me, but I’m already crushing hard. They look delicate beneath their gossamer shell, but they are actually firm and juicy. The papery husk peels back to reveal a small golden fruit that tastes like pineapple and honey. I just cannot get enough of all this wonderful summer produce. Also, when you’re peeling them, they look like little Golden Snitches.

I did have a little problem while I was shooting the cherries, though. They are toxic to cats, and Clover likes to poke her little nose whatever I’m doing. I kept having to shoo her away, and finally I gave up let her play outside so she would leave me alone. Then she climbed a tree, and looked cute doing that, so I stopped taking pictures of food and started taking cat videos. Which defeated the whole purpose of letting her out to play. In the end, I just gave her her lunch a little bit early.  As a new cat mama, I’m learning that the feline-human relationship is hierarchical — and we’re on the bottom.

raw "fried" avocado salad with tangy creamy strawberry dressing

Raw “Fried” Avocado Salad with Peaches, Ground Cherries, and Tangy Strawberry Dressing

Yield: 1-2

For best results, make the dressing a few hours (or even 1 day) prior to serving. This allows the flavors to mellow and mingle. If your strawberries are extra sweet, you might may want to omit the maple syrup. This dressing lasts about a week in the fridge, and makes way more than is necessary for this salad -- so you'll be able to enjoy it on other summer goodies as well.

This recipe can be eaten as a main meal for one, or as a side salad to share between two.


    for the salad
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 peach, sliced
  • 1/3 cup ground cherries, husks removed prior to measuring
  • 3 tbsp hemp hearts
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 ear of corn, shucked
  • 3-4 handfuls of greens of choice
  • for the dressing
  • 1 lb strawberries, hulled
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled
  • 2/3 cup canned northern white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp microplane-grated fresh garlic
  • salt to taste


    for the dressing
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Makes just over 2 1/2 cups
  2. for the salad
  3. Turn on the broiler. Once hot, place the corn directly under the heat. Cook for for 12 minutes, turning the corn every 3-4 minutes. Allow to cool and strip off the kernels.
  4. Combine the hemp hearts and the salt.
  5. Slice the avocado into 8 pieces. Gently roll in the hemp hearts to coat.
  6. Combine the greens, the peaches, the avocado, the corn, and the ground cherries in a bowl. Drizzle with dressing.
  7. Enjoy!
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avocado and peach salad with low fat dressing


Cherry Berry Sundae

Cherry Berry Sundae

Oh gosh. I’m sorry I’ve been a bit absent. Between running and being hyperfocused on studying for my boards and starting a new job next week and taking a beginning drawing class, I haven’t spent much time in the kitchen.

That’s why this sweet, cold dish is just perfect right now. Just blend up some frozen fruit, drizzle on an easy homemade magic shell, and go to town. It’s refreshing and filling. Not filling in an ughhhh-gotta-take-a-tap kind of way. Filling in a that-hit-the-spot-now-I’m-gonna-tackle-the-rest-of-my-day kind of way. I ate it right after a run, before heading to my art class.

frozen fruit

Y’all, I’m so awkward with a charcoal stick and I’m probably the least advanced person in the class, but I LOVE it. Even if it is 40 minutes away. The folks I’ve met are chill and kind and I enjoy their company. And after spending all winter cooped up and sad, that feeling is just about as refreshing as this sundae.

Cherry Berry Sundae


Cherry Berry Sundae


  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup of frozen cherries
  • 1 cup of frozen blueberries
  • almond milk
  • tahini
  • cinnamon toasted oats -- hover for recipe
  • 2-3 tbsp each of:
  • coconut oil
  • maple syrup
  • cocoa powder


  1. Blend the cherries and one banana, with enough almond milk to make the blades move.
  2. Repeat step one with the blueberries.
  3. Place the ice cream in the freezer while you prepare the cinnamon toasted oats and the magic shell.
  4. Prepare the oats
  5. Combine the cocoa powder, the coconut oil, and the maple syrup until smooth.
  6. Remove the ice cream from the freezer, scoop into a serving bowl.
  7. Drizzle heartily with tahini, magic shell, and oats. Top with additional berries if desired. Eat right away!
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Lemony Smashed Potatoes with Okra, Tomato, and Purslane

or……what Annie found at the farmer’s market this week. Minus the lemons, duh. Those came from the grocery store.

Smashed Potatoes with summer produce

What I really wanted to make this week was this dish, minus the potatoes and add squash blossoms. But nobody at the farmer’s market had squash blossoms, and the German butterball potatoes just looked too good to pass up. I ended up loving my choice because it was hearty and easy and cheap and I didn’t have to stand over the burner sauteeing squash blossoms. I’m not ruling out those big orange flowers for future posts, though.

The folks at the market also had some nice purslane. I’ve been foraging my own wild purslane, and it’s delicious. But the farm-grown greens are even better. Sweeter and lemony and meatier. I usually eat purslane sauteed with a little garlic and onion, but the farm-grown stuff is good raw. Also, sauteed purslane looses its color in like five seconds after it hits the pan and I like my food bright. I’ll still eat the foraged kind because it’s free and plentiful, but for this recipe, I used the farmed shoots.

smashed potatoes with summer produce

I was super excited for the okra because I haven’t had any this summer. I just love how the little seeds pop in your mouth when you bite in.  This is kind of like fried okra, only not fried. I used aquafaba to get the breading to stick to the okra. Just be sure to shake off excess moisture, or the breading will get soggy even after baking. Yuck.

The guy at the potato stand had three different kinds of midsummer tubers, and I had the hardest time choosing. Finally I decided on the German butterballs because the dude said they got the best golden crust when roasting. In truth, they were a little mealier than I like, but not by much. Little viking potatoes or red bliss or whatever small potato you can find will work just fine.

Smashed Potatoes with Summer Produce

Lemony Smashed Potatoes with Okra, Tomato, and Purslane

This recipe calls for coconut oil, but you can certainly substitute olive oil if you wish. For an extra golden crisp, drizzle a little bit more oil over the lemon coating.


  • 18-20 German Butterball potatoes
  • 8 oz multicolored cherry tomatoes
  • 12 oz of fresh okra
  • 1 cup of purslane leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp of coconut oil, plus a little more
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp microplane-grated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Okra breading
  • 2 1/2 cups of corn Chex or generic equivalent
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • aquafaba from 1 can of chickpeas


  1. Scrub the potatoes and boil them in salted water (uncovered) over high heat until the yield to a fork -- about 15-20 min.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, the coconut oil, the lemon zest, the garlic, the salt and the pepper. Set aside.
  3. Cut the stem and the tip off the okra and slice in half lengthwise. Set aside.
  4. Cut the tomatoes in half or quarters.
  5. Place the corn cereal in a blender and pulverize. Combine with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Set aside.
  6. Preheat the oven to 450 and grease 2 pans with coconut oil
  7. Once the potatoes are done boiling, allow them to cool. Quarter the larger ones (so you get more "smashed" surface area) and then place them on one of the pans. Smash flat with a cup.
  8. Carefully pour the lemon mix over top of the potatoes.
  9. Bake the potatoes for 25 minutes, until nice and golden. Sprinkle with more salt the second they come out of the oven.
  10. While the potatoes are roasting, dip the prepared okra in the aquafaba, shake off excess, and roll in breading. Place them on the second pan. Put them in the oven 10 minutes after you've started the potatoes, but remove them at the same time. (okra bakes for 15 minutes)
  11. Combine the orka and potatoes in a big serving dish. Toss in the tomatoes and purslane leaves.
  12. Serve right away, with lots of love.
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lemony smashed potatoes with summer produce easy cheap vegan

Pink Nectarine Wine Pops

Pink Wine Pops

Will you look at that gorgeous shade of pink?!? I almost wish that one of my friends had a bridal shower coming up so that I could bring these. They are just right for a best girlfriends’ party. Or any party.

Speaking of weddings, the girl who caught the bouquet and the guy who caught the garter at our wedding are getting married at the end of the month. Isn’t that cute? They already had a kid together, so it wasn’t like our wedding actually had anything to do with their upcoming nuptials. But I’m going to pretend that it did anyways.

Too bad she’s already had her shower, or I would show up with a huge batch of these. Just because she’s a camo gal doesn’t mean she wouldn’t dig the pink.


That candy-pink shade was achieved without a single drop of food coloring. Before I made them, I thought they were going to turn out sort of beige and clear. I was so surprised with the results. When you make these, be sure to leave the skin on the fruit, because this is where the rosy hue comes from.

Another reason to love these pops: They are so very simple to make. You just pit the nectarines, throw them in a blender with some wine and sugar. Strain the mix through a flour-sack cloth or a fine mesh sieve and then pour in to your popsicle molds. That’s it, kids. Since I don’t own any popsicle molds, I did have the one extra step of waiting until the firmed up a bit before I put the stick in. But if you have a mold, yeah, you’re done.

Of all the ice cream-popscile-frozen things that I’ve made on this blog, this is by far my favorite.  Sweet and fruity and just a little boozy and totally delicious.

Pink Vine Pops

Pink Nectarine Wine Pops


  • Six nectarines, pitted but not peeled
  • 1 cup pinot grigio
  • 1/4 cup of sugar (or to taste)
  • (optional -- extra nectarine chunks)


  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and whirl.
  2. Strain through a flour sack cloth or fine mesh sieve.
  3. Pour into popscicle molds and freeze until solid. To unmold, run briefly under tepid water.
  4. Serve with love.
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sweet nectarine wine pops bridal 1

Vegan Rainbow Icebox Cake (with a cat story)

Made with fresh fruit, coconut milk, and gluten-free grahams, this vegan ice box cake is simple and refreshing. 


The day after Independence day, a little cat showed up at our door. She pawed and mewed cutely, determined to be let in. I’ve had cat allergies as long as I can recall, so I was determined not to let her in.  I gave her a bowl of cold water and some food, and went about my business.

When she showed up again the next day exhibiting the same behavior, my willpower dissolved and I allowed her to cross the threshold. “The moment I start to sniffle, you’re out,” I told her.

But the sniffles never started and she promptly developed a short-lived pattern of coming and going at leisure. I say short-lived because that Friday, I was out for my run when I spotted her sweet visage on a lost cat flyer. I dashed home to dial the number, and a grateful woman with pretty French braid came to pick her up immediately. With kitty safely on her way home, I refilled my water bottle and resumed my run.

In truth, I was slightly disheartened that she’d gone …



… but the cat showed up again on Monday.

The woman with the pretty braid had been the house sitter, so I alerted her real owners to her location. An our-parents-age couple came to get her. We chatted briefly, and I learned that they had a few other animals, some of whom bullied the cat. They were also the full-time caretakers of beloved relative, and they hinted heavily that they might consider finding a new home for the cat. I hinted heavily back that my husband and I would love to have her.

When the cat visited again two more times, it appeared that a decision had been made by all parties involved.  The couple came by to drop off some litter and veterinary information, and Jason and I darted off to Target to get a litter box.

Clover and Pencil

I’m not totally sure why I’m not as allergic to her.  I sniffled a bit after the first full night she spent with us, but some cetirizine took care of that. Some quick research revealed  that light-coated female cats have fewer allergen-inducing proteins than other cats. I’ll probably have to start vacuuming more often, which I should be doing anyways.

Forgive me in advance if I begin including cat escapades on this blog.  I already feel a little dizzy and delirious when I spot her resting in the sun. She came with the name of Sammi, but we rechristened her Clover because she’s small and humble and sweet.  I don’t know why she picked our door to paw at. I just know that I’m the happiest that I’ve been since I left North Carolina.

Vegan Rainbow Icebox Cake

Like Clover, this cake is a true treasure. Sweet and tart fruit blend with coconut whipped cream to create a vegan version of a fruit fool. Because I was in an ambitious mood when I made this, I baked up my own grahams from this wonderful recipe (I had to sextuple the recipe….um…I don’t know if that’s a real word. I had to increase the amounts by six). But since that defeats the purpose of a no-bake cake, I suggest simply using your favorite graham brand.  I’ll definitely be making those grahams in the future, just to snack on.

I loved how the sweet grahams complimented the sugary-tart fruit cream. It was a delightful combination, and simple enough to make at a moment’s notice. If you don’t have kiwis or mangoes, simply double up on the raspberries and blueberries. No need to fuss over perfect ingredients here. Like new friends, this cake was made to bring joy.

vegan rainbow icebox cake

quick note-

If you’re not familiar with making coconut whipped cream, check out Angela Liddon’s flawless tutorial here

Vegan Rainbow Icebox Cake


  • Milkfat from 2 cans of coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup (plus more if needed)
  • 1 cup of blueberries, smashed with a fork
  • 2 cups of raspberries, smashed with a fork
  • 4 kiwis roughly blended
  • 2 mangoes, roughly blended
  • 4 sheets of gf graham crackers
  • a little coconut water from the can


  1. Whip the milkfat until high and fluffy.
  2. Add the maple syrup to the whipped cream and blend again.
  3. Divide the coconut whipped cream among the prepared fruit, making sure to reserve some plain white whipped cream for the top. (so you're spliting the whipped cream by 5)
  4. Stir the whipped cream into the fruit. Taste it all and add a little more whipped cream to the individual bowls as needed. I only needed to add a bit to the kiwis. Keep in mind that the grahams are already sweet. The tartness of the fruit goes refreshingly well with the grahams.
  5. Pour a little coconut water into the bottom of a 7x7 or 8x8 pan. Layer the first sheet of graham crackers. Spread the blueberry cream over the crackers, but make sure to reserve some to make a design with on top.
  6. Repeat, layering on more grahams, and then the raspberry cream, grahams, kiwi cream, grahams,mango cream, grahams.
  7. Spread the plain whipped cream over the last layer of crackers, and then use your reserved fruit cream to add a bit of color to the top.
  8. Refrigerate sit at least 4 hours, or overnight. Garnish with additional fruit if desired.
  9. Serve with love.
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Sweet Corn and Green Bean Succotash

The very freshest, crispest seasonal produce comes together to make this classic summer dish — sweet corn succotash.

Sweet Corn Succotash

Yep, the theme this week is corn. Get out your moonshine, folks, it’s a party.

This recipe was inspired by J. Ryan Stradal’s Kitchens of the Great Midwest, which is my current favorite book. I’ve been really lucky this year with books, loving almost everything I’ve picked up. The author of Great Midwest is going have a reading and reception and a local library near the end of the month. I’d like to go, but what would I say? “Um…hi…I’m obsessed with your book…would you sign my Kindle?” Perhaps I’ll just go to listen.

The heroine in this book as an ethereal palate, her knives and skillets are almost magic. I feel like I’m giving you a poor description of a complex character, but I don’t want to spoil too much. Read it. You’ll love it.

Summer Produce

One of the reasons that her food radiates is that she reaches for the freshest possible ingredients. Of course I like things fresh, fresh tastes best (unless it’s apple pie….that’s always better the next day.) But this book forced me to think about how much effort I make to get the fresh-fresh-freshest produce. I’d like to think that I do make an effort, but apart from picking the days that I shop for certain items and pawing through the produce bins, I really don’t. Our summer farmer’s market affords me that luxury (and it truly is a luxury and a privilege. I won’t go on a social justice rant, but I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.)

For this dish, I decided to make sure I did get the freshest available food. Everything was local, the corn was picked at 6:30 that morning. I dislike soggy vegetables, so I barely cooked them. They are crisp and al dente. Because everything was so new-from-the-earth, the flavors were prime. I seasoned them as lightly as I could, with just-plucked herbs. Before I took my first bite, I noted that I hadn’t added any salt. After I took that bite, I was surprised to realize that it didn’t need any. I’m a salt fanatic (I’m probably headed for high blood pressure when I’m older), so this is saying quite a bit. I have never eaten an unsalted vegetable.

Serve this the moment it leaves the stove burner. Or heck, right out of the pan. It’s summertime. You’re allowed to get messy.

Sweet Corn and Green Bean Succotash


Sweet Corn and Green Bean Succotash

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2-4


  • 6 ears of the freshest corn
  • 8 oz haricot verts
  • 8 oz mulitcolored cherry tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup thinly slivered purple onion
  • 1/2 tsp microplane grated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 cup parsley, minced
  • 8-10 basil leaves, minced
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • salt, optional


  1. Slice the kernels off the corn, french cut the haricot verts, and quarter the tomatoes.
  2. Fill a pot of water halfway and bring it to a high boil. Steam the beans over this for 1 1/2 minutes.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a large pan set over medium heat.
  4. Add the onions, garlic, and thyme to the pan. Stir and then cover the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the beans and the corn. Stir, cover again and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes, cover again, and cook for 2 more minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the parsley and basil. Add a pinch or two of salt if desired.
  8. Serve right away, warm, with lots of love.
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Sweet Corn Succotash