Almonds, four ways.

Change: v. to make different; transform; n. the act or instance of making or becoming different.

Not everyone deals with change well. For others, they crave it. Routine is something that we grow attached to, it gives us comfort. For many, food provides that sense of ease and security. Morning mug-filled sessions to start your day, an afternoon pick-me-up, your go to evening protein-starch-veg trio for dinner, a sweet treat night cap. 

I happen to fall in the “others” category. Change for me is something I hunger for (no pun intended.) It is an opportunity to reinvent and find new exciting things, in the old. I especially love when I discover new and exciting ways to use ingredients. I get really inspired when I can find a healthier way to make classic recipes or comfort foods, that taste just as good, if not better.

Today’s motivation is one ingredient. Taking one simple ingredient and giving it four different faces. The almond. 

The almond is a wonderfully satisfying and health supportive food that many of us already enjoy. What many don’t know is that nuts do need some preparation in order to make them more beneficial for our bodies. These littles guys can be quite harsh on the digestive system. Nuts have enzyme inhibitors that make them difficult to digest, however, with the simple process of soaking them in salted water overnight, you unleash these enzymes to help neutralize the inhibitors. Through this soaking method, these enzymes are now accessible and actually help us digest fats. Along with this, it makes all the good stuff more available for our bodies, making these morsels healthy powerhouses. A great source of protein, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamin E. 

I know this process can seem a bit daunting when you are just looking for a easy, healthy snack on the go. This got my wheels turning, so I began playing in the kitchen. How can I make one soaked batch of almonds and stretch it to its fullest. And this is what I came up with....

To start: the night before, simply soak those suckers in some salted water for at least seven hours; drain and let the fun begin. 

Recipe #1
Almond Milk:
1.5 c. soaked almonds
5 c. water
2 pitted dates
pinch of salt
splash of vanilla extract

Put all your ingredients into the blender and give it a good whirl for about a minute. Strain through a cheese cloth or cloth napkin lined strainer, reserve the pulp remains. Voila, almond milk! 
Great in morning tea or coffee, with oatmeal or cereal,  or just straight up. The uses are endless, and a perfect dairy substitute. 

So now that I have made milk what do I do with all this leftover pulp? Remembering my goal, to stretch this one ingredient as far as I can...Crackers & dip!

Recipe #2
Almond Pulp “Pita” Crackers: 
1 c. almond pulp
1 egg
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic power
few grinds black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine all ingredients into a bowl. Between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out dough to a thin sheet, about 1/4” thick. Remove upper sheet of parchment and bake for 15 mins. Remove and slice into squares or other desired shape. Place back in the oven for and additional 3mins. Let cool and enjoy! 

Recipe #3
Almond Pulp “Hummus” Dip:
1 c. almond pulp
1/4 olive oil
1-2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp tahini
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, zested & juiced
salt & pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Add olive oil as need for a creamy consistency. Salt and pepper to taste. 
Great with crispy crudites!

Now you are left with some soaked almonds that make for great snacks to have on their own. You can pop them in the oven to dehydrate while you have fun making the other recipes. 

Recipe #4
Crispy Almonds: 
(Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions recipe)
Place soaked nuts into an 150° oven to dehydrate, 12- 24 hours. Once completely dry and crisp, store in an airtight container.

And there you go, almonds, four ways. 


Lucas Family Dinner.

Second edition of Lucas Family dinner series: 

February 14th 2013.

Adrian Hale of Communal Table & I prepared and inspired menu for the evening.
Ricotta & pickled fig crostini
Celeriac soup with curried apples
Kale salad with dried cherries and almonds
Wine-braised shortribs with creamy polenta and citrus gremolata
Rustic olive oil cake with candied kumquats
Everyone loves a goodie bag, right? We left our guests with some treats to take home for the morning, 
{coconut currant granola w/ toasted almonds & chocolate.}



hot toddy me!

A fun holiday gift: homemade hot toddy kit. It's simple, creative, & fun! 
Customize it with any cocktail or theme for your favorite person.

What you'll need:
vintage wine crate
porcelain pen
vintage old-fashion decanter 
your favorite whiskey
cinnamon sticks
local honey
good quality chocolate bar
illustrated recipe card

Line the crate with the apron. The mugs can be personalized using the porcelain pen. {I monogramed these for the couple recipients.} Fill the vintage decanter with whiskey. Arrange all the other items in the box. I tried the cinnamon sticks with some twine and placed them in a cute vintage glass. You can add any additional items you love. Design and write up a recipe card to include.
Have fun collecting and making this gift customized for you!


autumn is apples.

I recently had the pleasure of working with Chelsea Fuss, of frolic! blog and photographer, Lisa Warninger. I developed a gluten free apple tart recipe and styled if for a Thanksgiving shoot we did a few weeks ago. It's the perfect little bite of Autumn, give it a try.

Rustic Caramelized Apple Tart 
w/Honey Crème Fraîche
Serves 8


4 tart apples, peeled, cored & thinly sliced
5 Tbsp maple sugar, white, or brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
squeeze of lemon
2 Tbsp butter 

1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar, plus pinch for dusting
10 Tbsp butter chilled & cubed
1/4 whole milk
2 Tbsp cold water
1 egg white

5 oz. crème fraîche
1 tsp honey

Preheat oven to 400˚

Toss sliced apples with 5 tbsp sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom in a large bowl. Over medium high heat, melt 1 Tbsp of butter. Saute apples until soften and caramelized, 8-10 mins.

Meanwhile make the pastry by combining rice flour, potato starch, xanthan gum, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Pulse and slowly add cold, cubed butter. Drizzle milk and process until dough pulls together, adding cold water as needed. Transfer pastry to a work surface. Form into a ball and roll in between pieces of parchment paper to a 12” circle. Transfer to a cookie sheet.

Spoon apples over pastry leaving a one inch edge. Fold edges up over the filling. Pour any remaining pan juices over the apples and pad with the remaining 1 Tbsp of butter. Brush edges with egg white and dust with sugar. 

Bake 35-40 mins until golden and crisp. 

While pastry bakes, combine crème fraîche and honey.

Let tart cool at least 15 mins. Serve warm or at room temp, with a generous spoonful of creme fraiche.



chocolate mousse, in a pie.

Chocolate Mousse Pie: grain & dairy free.
Serves 8


2 cups almond flour, or any nut four
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 egg

8 oz. semi-sweet or dark chocolate
3 eggs
2 cans coconut milk, chilled
3 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350˚

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add oil, making sure it’s at room temperature before stirring in egg. Press dough into a pie dish.

Bake 12-15 mins. until golden brown.

While pie crust bakes, prepare mousse. In a double boiler melt chocolate, reserving a small square for garnish. Stir 1 egg and 2 egg yolks into melted chocolate. In a separate bowl whip egg whites to a stiff peak. Fold egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

Drain any liquid from the chilled coconut milk, so only the cream is left. Whip coconut milk, honey and vanilla, until thick and fluffy. Fold 2 cups of whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Set remaining whipped cream aside for topping.

Let pie crust cool completely before filling with mousse. Top pie with whipped cream, adjusting the sweetness if desired by adding more honey. Shave reserved  chocolate and sprinkle on top.

Chill until ready to serve.


love & a lake.

This week will be our one year anniversary at the family lake house. This year has been filled with so many memories, and many of them have been at that very house. Waking up to the birds gossiping, glistening reflections of water & light on my bedroom walls, and seductive smells of coffee, commence many of my mornings on East Phillips Lake. 

This weekend was a spontaneous trip for me. The idea of tranquil waters & fresh surroundings lured me north, Friday evening. From riding up as a backseat passenger in my parents' car, to dangling my toes off the boat into the crisp Sound waters, & belly laughing on a couch filled by three, nostalgia lingered all weekend long. We read magazines on the dock, drank wine at sunset, and conversed about everything from decorating, food, investments, & love. 

Our final day concluded with "our fish monger" coming in from an early morning on the water, flaunting a beautiful rainbow trout in his net, and grin on his face. This is the part where I should mention, the prized seventeen inch scaly body, {which may, in time, turn into twenty + inches, when recounted by any true fisherman.} 

The sight of the silvery skin, immediately got my epicurean wheels turning. I proceeded to the kitchen, to whisk up garlic aioli, fried farm eggs, & a lemony, butter herb filling for our guest protein. We grilled the skin crisp, before taking our lake-view breakfast seats to feast on the day's winnings.  
{It was the perfect meal.}